Saturday, May 29, 2021

2021 Project 365 – Week Twenty-two

Oh my goodness, what a deliciously lazy day I’ve had. I slept late, went to a frou frou yarn store, and basically spent the rest of the day crocheting. Sweet!
Sunday, May 23rd
This seems a little early. Does it seem early to you?
 

Monday, May 24th  
New color alert! Autumn Red, for my 76-80 degree range. I was all excited, but this might be the new orange (in reference to my last temperature blanket). I used this color for five days straight this week – the first time this year of having the same color that many days in a row.
 

Tuesday, May 25th  
Last week I gave you my “daw” face. This is my “what fresh hell is this?” face. I knew that there would be a disgusting moment in this book because there always is in this series (Pendergast), but still… Also, how many necks does one Bug need?
 

Ms. Rita, the bolting basil, and the catch-fly had their close-ups with the big camera today. We pinched the basil after the photo shoot.
 

Wednesday, May 26th
The moon!
 

Thursday, May 27th
I walked into Daddy & Sue’s house after work & saw this! I was very excited….
 

Friday, May 28th
I was so excited by the puzzle that I went back the next day during my lunch hour. I’m also planning on going back tomorrow. And it took great restraint to not stop by on my way back from the yarn store today. I don’t have a problem. Nope.
 

Saturday, May 29th
Ms. Pinky says that it’s bad enough that The Watering Man won’t leave her alone, but now God is trying to drown her? She can complain all she wants, but we really did need the rain!
 

I had ordered the two skeins of yarn on the top left, but needed a contrasting solid to go with them. I was thinking some sort of quiet color, but I came home with the skeins on the right. Oops.
 

Here is my progress so far. I’m not too sure about it, especially given the cost of the yarn. I haven’t woven in any of the ends, so I might undo it and try something different. Stay tuned!
 

Temperature blanket update! I put it on the bed & decided that it’s wide enough now, so I’ll stop increasing. Very exciting!
 


My very relaxing day has turned my brain to mush. I have nothing to say here, so just talk amongst yourselves!
 
 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Book Reviews – the April Edition

 


Here we are almost finished with May, and I’m just now writing my April book review post. I read five books in April.    
 
1. 
A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewaledited by Sarah Bessey. ★★★★★ It's no secret that we are overworked, overpressured, and edging burnout. Unsurprisingly, this fact is as old as time--and that's why we see so many prayer circles within a multitude of church traditions. These gatherings are a trusted space where people seek help, hope, and peace, energized by God and one another.

This book, curated by acclaimed author Sarah Bessey, celebrates and honors that prayerful tradition in a literary form. A companion for daily inspiration, this collection gives women permission to recognize the weight of all they carry, while also offering a broadened imagination of hope--of what can be restored and made new. Each prayer is an original piece of writing, with a short introduction from Bessey sharing exactly why she loves and looks up to the writer.

This book is a literary hug, an invitation for respite, and a chance for readers to pause and celebrate who they are, beyond what they do.

 
The Bug Says: This book caused QUITE a furor because of a prayer written by Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes, which contains these words: “
Dear God, Please help me to hate White people. Or at least to want to hate them. At least, I want to stop caring about them…” (You can read the full text here.) As a progressive white Christian lady, when I read that prayer I thought, “PREACH!” But there was some conservative outrage about this well-educated black woman who wanted to hate white people. It is a beautiful prayer, written in the style of lament, as a response to a "friend" using racist language, and she should not have been harassed because of it. Harrumph. Also, the other prayers were lovely too. If you’re a person of faith, or almost faith, or used to be, or just curious, I highly recommend this book!


 
2. Fractured (Will Trent #3), by Karin Slaughter. 
★★★★ When a tortured young woman enters the trauma center of an Atlanta hospital, Dr. Sara Linton is thrust into a desperate police investigation with Special Agent Will Trent and his partner, Faith Mitchell. Though guarding their own wounds and their own secrets, Sara, Will, and Faith find that they are all that stand between a madman and his next victim.
 
The Bug Says: I am really enjoying this series. Lots of moving parts, excellent twists that I don’t see coming, engaging characters… I’ve already finished book #4 and enjoyed it just as much.


 
3. Twisted Twenty-Six (Stephanie Plum #26), by Janet Evanovich. 
★★★★ Grandma Mazur is a widow...again. This time her marriage lasted a whole 45 minutes. The unlucky groom was one Jimmy Rosolli, local gangster, lothario (senior division) and heart attack waiting to happen...well, the waiting's over. It's a sad day, but if she can't have Jimmy at least Grandma can have all the attention she wants as the dutiful widow. But some kinds of attention are not welcomed, particularly when Jimmy's former "business partners" are convinced that his widow is keeping the keys to their financial success for herself. As someone who has spent an entire career finding bad guys, a set of missing keys should be no challenge for Stephanie Plum. Problem is, the facts are as twisted as a boardwalk pretzel with mustard.

The Bug Says: While I was reading this book I kept thinking, did someone else write this? Grandma Mazur waxed philosophical, Ranger ate ice cream (!!!), and Stephanie seemed to be a much more deep thinker. I didn’t dislike the change, but I definitely noticed it. I went to check out the comments on Goodreads & lots of other folks noticed too. It will be interesting to see what the next one is like.
 

4. Next to Last Stand (Walt Longmire #16), by Craig Johnson. ★★★★ One of the most viewed paintings in American history, Custer's Last Fight, copied and distributed by Anheuser-Busch at a rate of over two million copies a year, was destroyed in a fire at the 7th Cavalry Headquarters in Fort Bliss, Texas, in 1946. Or was it? When Charley Lee Stillwater dies of an apparent heart attack at the Wyoming Home for Soldiers & Sailors, Walt Longmire is called in to try and make sense of a piece of a painting and a Florsheim shoebox containing a million dollars, sending the good sheriff on the trail of a dangerous art heist. 

The Bug Says: What I love most about these books is that Walt is “still waters run deep” personified. He spends a lot of time in his head, but there is still plenty of action. And a bonus in this one was hearing the Native American view of Custer.


5. Midnight at the Blackbird Café, by Heather Webber. ★★★★ Nestled in the mountain shadows of Alabama lies the little town of Wicklow. It is here that Anna Kate has returned to bury her beloved Granny Zee, owner of the Blackbird Café. It was supposed to be a quick trip to close the café and settle her grandmother’s estate, but despite her best intentions to avoid forming ties or even getting to know her father’s side of the family, Anna Kate finds herself inexplicably drawn to the quirky Southern town her mother ran away from so many years ago, and the mysterious blackbird pie everybody can’t stop talking about. As the truth about her past slowly becomes clear, Anna Kate will need to decide if this lone blackbird will finally be able to take her broken wings and fly.

The Bug Says: This book is almost too syrupy sweet, but I loved it. Maybe I needed something light after all the murder & mayhem. There is depth to it as well. It was very satisfactory to read!
 
I’ve only finished two books so far in May. I’d better get with it, or next month’s reviews will be slim pickins! What good things have you read lately?

 

Saturday, May 22, 2021

2021 Project 365 – Week Twenty-one

Although it was busy, this past week wasn’t quite as crazy as last week. I think I might have things under control at work. Pretty soon I’ll have no excuse to not start doing housework again. Dang man.
 
Sunday, May 16th   
Dr. M’s botany lesson: every spring we scramble to remember what flowers a given “weed” in our wildflower bed might produce. Some IDs are easy: the lance-shaped leaves that give us lovely yellow coreopsis, which blooms not too long after we spy orange Siberian wallflowers. Harder is remembering the difference between anise hyssop leaves (broader, duller arrowhead leaves, shorter plants) and bee balm leaves (narrower, sharper leaves, taller plants focused on world domination). We did try to thin the bee balm, I promise we did! Oh, and meet our shy little purple coneflower.
 

And just because it’s been a minute, our great-nephew looking adorable.
 

Monday, May 17th     
I walked into the office & glanced into the mirror on my wall and this is what I saw. What. The. Heck. Fortunately I got to work so early that no one else saw me.
 

Tuesday, May 18th  
Peonies!
 

Wednesday, May 19th       
The only picture today – the plate of food that I brought home to Dr. M. It was public works appreciation day & they were kind enough to put together plates for the HR folks. There was enough food in there for both of us to have for supper (BBQ AND chicken, slaw, baked beans, and potato salad)!
 

Thursday, May 20th     
This is my dawww face from a tender vittles moment in my audiobook.
 

Dr. M channeled his inner 19th century middle-class housewife by arranging flowers for his mother’s grave. I think he did a great job!
 

The waning days of Dr. Van Fleet…
 

Friday, May 21st   
Ms. Rita the geranium is really hitting her stride! Plus a bonus blurry photo of one of our catchflies. These little flowers are so hard to photograph! We’re going to try using the big camera & see if it does a better job than our phones.
 

Saturday, May 22nd     
Weekly temperature blanket photo. I keep trying different places to take the photo (there was Free Range Roy outside so I didn’t try out there). It’s four feet wide. I’d like another foot before I try to stop increasing. Maybe it will be a square blanket? We shall see.
 

I’ve signed up to do a course about how to be anti-racist on social media. So you might see more posts in this space, or at least more discussion on my weekly posts. Even though I’m pretty sure that everyone in my life knows where I stand and what I believe I’m trying to be more courageous & crystal clear. Do you have any growing edges in your life? Do tell!
 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

2021 Project 365 – Week Twenty

It’s open enrollment time at work & it was really busy. I had to talk to many more employees than usual, plus had more new hires than usual. THEN my sister-in-law invited me to attend her company outing at our local baseball team’s game on Friday. All of that to say that this introvert slept until 11:00 yesterday and am just now feeling up to communicating with the outside world. You lucky guys!
 
Sunday, May 9th   
I’ve waited my whole life to be one of those people who knit at church.
 

I “took” Sue and Daddy out to lunch for Mother’s Day. By which I mean I met them there & Daddy paid. I’ve quit trying to argue. I did have a card for Sue, so I wasn’t a total slacko.
 

Meanwhile, Dr. M did a photo shoot of things around the yard. Here is our wildflower bed, which mainly has yellow flowers blooming. He has finally figured out what is filling up most of the rest of the bed, and if he’s right it will be quite lovely! It’s been fun how it’s different every year.
 

Monday, May 10th     
Dr. M’s body was crying out for vegetation, and he decided to oblige it.
 

Tuesday, May 11th  
Ironically, my car needed gas just as people in NC lost their minds & decided to hoard it. I didn’t have enough to make it back to work the next day & I was starting to be a little worried after I passed my fourth gas station with no gas, but this one close to home had quickly instituted a $20 limit so they still had some. Whew!
 

Meanwhile, my niece was at the cheerleading world championships in Orlando and won TWO trophies – a bronze for one team and a gold for another one. She is amazing.
 

Wednesday, May 12th       
I’ll spare you the photo of Dr. M’s toe, but I loved what he had to say about the situation: “So I kinda stubbed my toe and fell into the dirty clothes sorter...can a brother get a gentle wash and a tumble dry low?” P.S. I went in there to see what all the racket was about & found him huddling by the bin on the floor and he was ADORABLE. I should have taken a picture. P.P.S. I just realized this happened on Monday, but this is the day without a photo so the story is staying here.

Thursday, May 13th     
I was unstapling my gazillionth open enrollment packet & wondered how long after the invention of the stapler did someone decide to invent the staple remover. Seventy years! That’s crazypants. (Although I have not fact checked this history nugget, so take it with a grain of salt).
 

Dr. M helped mow his dad’s yard, except this ditch. He liked the look of the wildflowers.
 

Friday, May 14th    
Our peonies finally decided to bloom – so gorgeous! Plus Peaches the knockout rose is going gangbusters.
 

Photos from the baseball event. Yes, I took my knitting. Ha!
 

And speaking of my sister-in-law, my nephew graduated summa cum laude with his associate degree in mechatronics. So proud! He’s heading onto Old Dominion for his next degree.
 


Saturday, May 15th    
After I finally woke up yesterday I sat on the deck and crocheted for a while with the bolting basil and prehistoric looking geraniums. My temperature blanket is now resembling Wild Berry Skittles.
 


Later on we had a visit from Roy!
 


 
Well, the CDC and our governor have now told us that we can be mask free except in certain circumstances. So I’ve done a few maskless things, but it FEELS VERY WEIRD. I’m going to be playing this by ear. Will definitely still wear a mask when I go into a store. How are things where you are – are you going to stop wearing masks?
 
 

Saturday, May 8, 2021

2021 Project 365 – Week Nineteen

It’s Saturday night and I’m watching hockey & trying to write this post, but I’m leaned back in my chair squinting at the laptop because I’m this | | close to falling asleep. So this will be interesting!
 
Sunday, May 2nd  
Packaged up a gift.
 

These guys! So adorably ugly. As you can tell they are literally on the edge of the nest ready to fly away. Which they did the next day – right over Dr. M’s head!
 

Monday, May 3rd    
Finished! My very first knitting project. This picture isn’t the best – it’s actually more rectangular than it appears here.
 

Tuesday, May 4th  
This is what I saw when I left the office to walk to my car. I had to basically walk around the whole block to get to my car – in the rain. I was not amused!
 

Wednesday, May 5th       
The Dr. Van Fleet rose at Dr. M’s dad’s house – it’s always so faithful to bloom around Mother’s Day. It’s a cutting from Dr. M’s grandmother’s rose.
 

Thursday, May 6th     
I had a headache, which is a rare enough occurrence these days that I decided to be a drama queen about it. I found myself sitting at my desk with my hand pressed to my forehead & had to document it.
 

Seen around the house – it’s so pretty here right now!
 


Friday, May 7th    
I finished my second dishcloth! I ended up purling a few rows on this one, but I actually like the texture of just knitting the whole thing. I also started on my next project, using scrubby yarn. I’m not addicted to knitting. Nope. Not me.
 

That evening I went to a party celebrating my cousin’s daughter – K graduated from PA school! We’re very proud of her – she’s worked hard. She takes her boards next week (I think) and then she’ll be ready to find a job as a physician’s assistant.
 

Saturday, May 8th    
Weekly temperature blanket sighting. I went outside to do the photo shoot, but suddenly there was Free Range Roy & I decided that Roy and crochet do NOT mix. I gave him some treats & came back inside.
 

Wrapped a couple of more presents. Then smooshed them into an envelope for mailing – at least they looked cute for a few minutes.
 

Well, I’m still half asleep, but I’ve reached the end of this post. I could wait until tomorrow to look it over and make sure I’ve made sense, but why would I do that? So I shall publish this and then sleep like a baby that actually sleeps through the night. How exciting was your Saturday night?
 
 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

2021 Project 365 – Week Eighteen

This is the week of the temperature blanket (at least according to my photos). Plus birds and flowers. You know, the usual.
 
Sunday, April 25th  
I’ve been enjoying this book! I listened to it this Sunday too.
 

I washed The Monster (my 2016 temperature blanket for those who might not remember) & prior to folding it to put away for the summer I decided to “try it on.” Man that thing is huge!
 

Monday, April 26th   
My current temperature blanket is starting to look like an explosion of My Little Ponies.
 

Tuesday, April 27th  
Cardinals always look so ANNOYED! I love the photo that Dr. M got of Papa in flight.
 

Wednesday, April 28th       
Look ma – I’m knitting! This is a dishcloth, which is the perfect full circle thing for me to knit. The whole reason I started crochet was that the person who used to give us knitted dishcloths left the family (she was a girlfriend) so I decided to give it a shot but I was intimidated by knitting needles & had crocheted long ago. Will I start handing out knitted dishcloths on some distant Christmas? We shall see!
 

Our azaleas, showing off.
 

Thursday, April 29th     
Well, the My Little Pony phase didn’t last long – today I messed that whole vibe up with the introduction of RED.
 

Friday, April 30th    
Phoebe babies!!
 

Dr. M got his second jab today. So so grateful.
 

It’s Ms. Rita the Vermillion geranium’s gotcha day! I got her at a church conference five years ago. She’s still waking up from her winter slumber and giving off a serious bonsai tree vibe. 
 

Saturday, May 1st    
It’s May! It was GORGOUS and I spent a great deal of time crocheting and knitting on the deck. And I have a wee bit of sunburn to show for it (plus a finished crochet project – photo shoot after it dries). Anyway, here is my temperature blanket through April. It’s interesting seeing the gradual change from the cool weather colors to the warmer ones. Just wait until we get to orange and yellow!
 


We had a council meeting after church today – the first “real” one since last February (we’ve been zooming, but it’s not really the same). We even talked about starting the choir back (the CDC says that we can if we’re vaccinated – our choir is usually only 8 or 9 people). Things are starting to feel a little more normal. Yay! But really we’re only as safe as the rest of the world is, so I hope that India is able to come out of its crisis SOON. How are things where you are? Feeling a little closer to normal? Or are you a “nope not ready yet” person (this is where I fall, but I guess I don’t have any say in the matter).

2021 Project 365 – Week Forty-nine

The first full week back at work after a holiday or vacation is the longest. I felt quite uninspired photographically, but still managed to ...