Saturday, November 28, 2020

2020 Project 365 – Week Forty-eight

I have had a lovely couple of days off with a nice mix of housework, crocheting, and book reading. Oh, and FOOD. I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of the pecan pie that Dr. M got me. Oh well, too late now. Rest assured, there are pictures of other food. 

Sunday, November 22nd

We watched a movie for the first time in forever – an old favorite. I’ve probably watched The Martian, read The Martian, and listened to the audiobook of The Martian about a blue million times now. Comfort food for my brain! 

Monday, November 23rd                                

Still plenty of beauty in our yard.  

Tuesday, November 24th                                                               

Dr. M took the mower to his dad’s house for the winter (he has a covered shed where it can be out of the weather). While there he took this picture of his dad’s (mostly feral) cats. Several of these were taken & fixed recently – hopefully the female who had two litters of kittens this year was among them. 

Wednesday, November 25th                                                          

Sign from a local Hardee’s – made Dr. M laugh enough that he turned around just so he could snap the photo. Ha!


Thursday, November 26th          

I couldn’t decide between sweet or savory oatmeal this morning, so I made a small amount of each – the top one has mushrooms, a fried egg, and parm; the bottom, pomegranates and almonds. Both were delicious!

Zoomsgiving! Not everyone participated, but it was nice to see so many family members.

Dr. M fixed us a feast! (We got sweet potato soufflé from my cousin.) It was all delicious! 

Friday, November 27th      

I got Dr. M a lava lamp for his birthday & he plugged it in today. Groovy, man! 

I’m working on a surprise present for a special someone. 

Saturday, November 28th                     

Our 30th anniversary is next month, and as usual we couldn’t wait until then to give ourselves a present. We got an air fryer/convection oven/toaster oven combo. Very excited to see what all we do with it! First, up, zucchini chips! 

Last week I wrote about being excited for a short workweek, and now it’s the next Saturday & I will have to work all five days next week. It’s going to be a shock to the system. Not the actual work (I like my job); getting up early enough to get to work on time is going to be the issue. On Thursday I woke up at 8:00, on Friday at 9:02, and today at 9:16. You can see the disturbing trend. Perhaps I should aim for 8:00 tomorrow? We shall see. Have you had a nice holiday? Will Monday seem rude to you too?

Sunday, November 22, 2020

2020 Project 365 – Week Forty-seven

I’m trying to not feel despair at how (as a nation) we continue to choose activities that might kill ourselves or other people. I feel gaslighted & like a drama queen, but COVID is here in my community now, and even if it doesn’t kill you it can make you miserable and cause long term health issues. Here is a graph showing the trend in my county here in NC (I got it from here): 

I’m also linking to a guide to gathering this holiday season. If you plan to get together with family that don’t live with you, please review this. The author of this guide knows that we are going to engage in risky behavior because that’s who we are, but she wants us to be aware of the risks & to know how to mitigate them.

I’m not trying to be judgy – I myself am going to be participating in a couple of things that seem not all that smart. 2020 is just a whole mood of making decisions and then hoping for the best. I wish us all well!

Sunday, November 15th

Sunday sunset in the holler. 

Monday, November 16th                            

I’m writing this on Sunday, and I’m proud to say that I've hit my (modest) step goal for the last 8 days. Since I work at a desk all day the only way I can achieve that is getting on the treadmill in the evenings. Yes, I know I could walk outside, but I will not do it at lunch and it’s dark by the time I get home. That’s my excuse right this minute. 

Tuesday, November 17th                                                               

An employee came in to sign his retirement paperwork. His wife said that she needed a picture or she wouldn’t believe he’d actually done it. (Image blurred to protect his identity.) 

Wednesday, November 18th  

I keep pressing this button, but I never go to space. This is the Space Force emblem, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, Miss Pinky and Rita moved into their winter quarters to hang out with their sexy neighbor.


Thursday, November 19th          

I crocheted during a riveting webinar about document retention for local government entities. 

Friday, November 20th 

This bush at work has been glorious this fall. It's probably 8 feet tall.

I stole this picture from my sister-in-law. These two surprised everyone by coming home from South Korea five days early! Brandon is in the Army & was stationed there for two years. We’re so glad that they made it home safely.

 Saturday, November 21st                    

I haven’t shown a Misfits Market haul in a while. I’m very excited by the pomegranates!


Dr. M roasted some potatoes, carrots, & parsnips and served them up with instant pot BBQ chicken and shelly beans. Yum! 

Despite worrying about the health (and sanity) of everyone in the United States, I am SO EXCITED that next week is a three day work week! I love my job, but it will be nice to have four days where I don’t have to pack my lunch. I will probably spend some time with Dr. M’s dad, zoom with my dad’s extended family, and play on my iPad. What are you planning to do over the holiday?

Saturday, November 14, 2020

2020 Project 365 – Week Forty-six

People, I am whupped. As you will see later, I finally dusted today. And vacuumed & mopped. I should do the bathrooms, but they’ll just have to wait. We are all about energy (or the lack thereof) management here in the Bug Household. 

Sunday, November 8th                                                               

Sunday morning was just lovely! 

I made pear zucchini bread, even though we didn’t have a lot of the ingredients. What’s hilarious is we replaced our flour, baking soda, and baking powder because they were so old, but we forgot to check all the recipe ingredients. It was pretty good anyway – almost worth the mess! 

Monday, November 9th                               

Fall foliage.

Meanwhile, Amazon has lost its mind.

Tuesday, November 10th                                                               

New Facebook profile picture.

Wednesday, November 11th                                                     

Veteran’s Day. You’ve already seen Heather pilgrim in last Wednesday’s post, but she is worth looking at again.

Thursday, November 12th          

The last (?) daylily for the year. Plus, Peaches the Knockout Rose says that it was raining leaves! We had torrential rain & the power went out just as I was getting ready to take a shower. 

Friday, November 13th      

Happy Happy Birthday to Dr. M! I found the cutest little cake & then put WAY TOO MANY candles on it & had quite the conflagration going on. I tried to carry it into the living room, but ended up having to blow out the candles myself because I was in danger of setting myself on fire. Oops.

Saturday, November 14th                   

I haven’t dusted in quite a while. It is my least favorite chore. I know that I’m just rebelling against my mother every time I don’t dust, but I am allowed to still be 12 years old in some areas, right? 

You may have noticed that I had TWO posts on Wednesday. One was the lovely guest post by Dr. M showing our Thanksgiving decorations. The other one was my book review post that I meant to schedule to post next Wednesday. Oops again. It feels like every day this week I’ve had some sort of oops moment. How about you? Smooth sailing in your life?

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Veterans Day Remembrance Day (Almost) Wordless Wednesday

In a Season of Thanksgiving,

We will remember you

Book Reviews – the October Edition

I once again read five books in October. Next month there will surely be fewer because I’ve only finished one book so far in November. I’d better get with it!

1. All the Devils are Here (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #16), by Louise Penny. ★★★★★ On their first night in Paris, the Gamaches gather as a family for a bistro dinner with Armand’s godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz. Walking home together after the meal, they watch in horror as Stephen is knocked down and critically injured in what Gamache knows is no accident, but a deliberate attempt on the elderly man’s life.

When a strange key is found in Stephen’s possession it sends Armand, his wife Reine-Marie, and his former second-in-command at the Sûreté, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, from the top of the Tour d’Eiffel, to the bowels of the Paris Archives, from luxury hotels to odd, coded, works of art.

It sends them deep into the secrets Armand’s godfather has kept for decades.

The Bug Says: I just love this series. It was a little disappointing that this book took place in Paris instead of Three Pines, but it was still a most excellent mystery. And it had a most satisfyingly schmaltzy ending. Highly recommend!

2. Shadows in Death (In Death #51), by J.D. Robb. ★★★★★ When a night out at the theatre is interrupted by the murder of a young woman in Washington Square Park, it seems like an ordinary case for Detective Eve Dallas and her team. But when Roarke spots a shadow from his past in the crowd, Eve realises that this case is far from business as usual.

Eve has two complex cases on her hands - the shocking murder of this wealthy young mother and tracking down the shadow before he can strike again, this time much closer to home. Eve is well used to being the hunter, but how will she cope when the tables are turned? As Eve and the team follow leads to Roarke's hometown in Ireland, the race is on to stop the shadow making his next move . . . 

The Bug Says: Another favorite mystery series (obviously, since I’m on book 51!). This one included all of my favorite characters, and also had a satisfyingly schmaltzy ending.

3. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, by Holly Jackson. ★★★★ The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn't so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?

The Bug Says: There are lots of things to love about this book – a really bright female protagonist, her quirky family, some fun dialog, and a couple of plot twists. Also, I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did a really good job.

4. In Five Years, by Rebecca Serle. ★★★★ When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Kohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.

But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.

After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.

That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision.

The Bug Says: The premise of this book was really interesting. It caused me to feel propelled toward a destiny that seemed inevitable, but there were some good plot twists here as well. I zoomed through the book because I couldn’t wait to find out what happened. It was well worth the read!

5. The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alix E. Harrow. ★★★★ In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own. 

The Bug Says: Oh I loved this book! It was part Narnia, part A Wrinkle in Time, and part Indiana Jones, The narrator did a really good job, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

I can’t believe I still haven’t finished the latest Harry Dresden book. What the heck. I think I’m partially worried about who may or may not survive until the end, and also don’t want it to end. But really, I just need to buckle down and finish the thing – it’s really really good! What good things have you been reading lately?

Sunday, November 8, 2020

2020 Project 365 – Week Forty-five

Remember how last week I said that I could quit stress eating? It turns out that I have now moved into celebratory eating. I’m sensing a theme here – one that will end up with an extra 20 pounds on my hips. Anyway, what a week! I feel relieved and yet still anxious because we have another two months of potential crazy.

Sunday, November 1st                                                                 

My lunch – egg salad & bbq potato chip sandwich. It was GOOD. 

Monday, November 2nd                              

Finished this scarf. The yarn is sparkly, but still soft. I was trying to create something that could actually be worn in NC, unlike most of my scarves which I can maybe tolerate for a handful of days during the year. People obviously needed a non-election distraction because this post got more than usual likes on both Instagram and Facebook.

Tuesday, November 3rd                                                               

Happy Election Day! Daylilies, roses, azaleas, blanket flowers, and a lone phlox bloom. 

Wednesday, November 4th                                                           Happy Election Day Part II! I had a terrible night because the early returns looked very red. So this is how I felt on Wednesday morning. 

Something in this skein of yarn seems to not belong…


Thursday, November 5th          

Happy Election Day Part III! No picture – we were just hunkered down biting our nails.


Friday, November 6th                                                                    Happy Election Day Part IV! I used this photo (of a painting that my friend Becci painted) to go along with some election thoughts from Jeff Chu. You can read what he wrote here, but here is a snippet:

However this election is resolved, it’s just the beginning, not an end. If the current administration is sent home, and it’s no mystery that this is my hope, some of us will breathe a sigh of momentary relief. Then the hard work will begin. So much hurt has been inflicted over the past four years, especially on some of the most vulnerable among us. As a Chinese American and as a gay man, I have felt that personally in some ways. But others have been harmed far more than I have—and one of the challenges is to broaden my perception beyond myself. When we say “we the people,” who else has been excluded? Who has gone unrecognized? Who has carried the greatest burden of racism and white supremacy, homophobia and transphobia, the ableism and the xenophobia, the discrimination and the bigotry that continue to plague this society? Who has been denied the possibility of being among “us,” instead branded as “them”?  If I believe in a broader, more expansive, more inclusive “we” and “us,” I also have to reckon with the reality that nearly 70 million Americans voted the other way. For one reason or a dozen others, they felt that a continuation of this regime would be right and good, or at least more right and more good than the alternative. Even as I believe love compels me to prioritize listening to those to whom this administration has not listened, it also urges me to empathize with those who felt stronger and more secure under its rule. And though it has so frequently deployed shame and dehumanization, I have to resist the temptation to do the same. 

Saturday, November 7th                   

Happy Election Day Part V! I always put too many ingredients in my omelets. This one was bigger than my head! I ate half of it.

I was getting ready to go to the grocery store, but I was worried that the folks there might think my red eyes were because I was upset about the election results. On the contrary, I spent much of the day in a state of happy tears.

As I said above, I’m relieved and anxious. There’s so much work ahead. And so much potential for chaos. How are you feeling right now?


Sunday, November 1, 2020

2020 Project 365 – Week Forty-four

People. It is November. In two days we’ll have at least some sort of idea how this election will go, even if we don’t have the results yet. I am so ready to move beyond this moment. Whichever candidate wins (please God let it be the sane one) I can either hunker down for a longer fight or hunker down to harass our side to do better. Either way, I can quit stress eating. I hope. In the meantime, let’s look back at the last week of October. 

Sunday, October 25th                                                                 

How much floss did I think I was going to need?


Monday, October 26th                             

I don’t know why my lunches always have to be so complicated. For the record, that avocado was so huge that I saved half of it to have on my leftover pizza the next day.

Tuesday, October 27th                                                                  

Yarn porn. It’s soft & squishy and I can’t wait to play with it! 

Wednesday, October 28th                                                               

This is one of those things that I just make myself do. I really (really) don’t like needles, but so many people are unable to give blood that I just can’t let myself off the hook here. It takes less than an hour. 

Thursday, October 29th          

We had the remnants of tropical storm Zeta blow through – heavy rain and high winds combined to topple a number of trees in our area. We also lost power, but were luckier than some in that it came back on before the end of the day.

 After the storm. 

Friday, October 30th                                                                       

We went all out this year. It was fun! 

Saturday, October 31st                   

I decided to get out my yarn swift & wind my new yarn, even though it will be a bit before I can start on that project. Such a satisfying task!

Nadia Bolz-Weber is hosting an Instagram live event on Tuesday called Keeping it Together, where different guests (Brene Brown! Bishop Michael Curry! Padraig O Tuama!) offer a meditation at the top of each hour. I’m thinking of asking my boss if I can just shut my door for a few minutes each hour to participate. I wonder if it will help? In any case, as soon as I post this blog post I am going to start Operation Chill the Bug because I am not going to be in this high state of tension for the next week. What are your plans for election day (week) (month)?

2024 Project 365 – Week Twenty-three

As I had hoped, this week was a bit less chaotic – I worked a lot of hours, but they were orderly and I made headway on some of the tasks on...