Sunday, August 29, 2021

2021 Project 365 – Week Thirty-five

The world continues to be a hard and heavy place, but we found comfort in some things around us…
Sunday, August 22nd  
Our mum is lovely!
 

I went to visit Daddy & Sue & had the most fabulous brownie ever. It’s my dad’s invention – take a regular box of brownie mix and fix it according to directions, replacing the water with a jar of maraschino cherries – juice & all. Oh my merciful heavens.
 

Monday, August 23rd    
There is a lot of brown out there, but Dr. M still found some color in the yard. I love that the Encore Azaleas have a second blooming season (thus the name, duh).
 

Tuesday, August 24th      
Dr. M’s alma mater journey continues with this Wake Forest University t-shirt. He got his undergrad degree there.
 

The Roy came by for a treat!
 

Wednesday, August 25th     
Our coneflowers might look brown and ugly to us, but to the goldfinches they are the finest restaurant in town.
 

Thursday, August 26th  
Our mandevilla apparently loves this hot weather (especially since Dr. M is the Watering Man).
 

I updated my Facebook profile pic to the one on the left (taken after my most recent cut & color). Then I posted a photo of how I actually looked that evening – “Woman Whose Hair Has Been in a Topknot for Two Days.”
 

Friday, August 27th    
I’m still not sure I like this scarf, but I do like how it matches my Amanda Gorman mask and the earrings a friend gave me ages ago (I just spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to figure out when I got the earrings – it was eight years ago almost to the day! Thanks Kim!).
 

Saturday, August 28th  
Temperature blanket update. I was washing the sheets so decided to put the blanket on the bed to see what it looks like. It’s almost a perfect fit for our double bed. And yes, I did stock up on more Autumn Red yarn, which is a good thing since I had to use it this week (and there was one pumpkin day. It was hot.).
 

Dr. M has been keeping an eye on Ida as it bears down on New Orleans on the 16th anniversary of Katrina. Although it looks like New Orleans won't take a direct hit, it is still a VERY scary storm.   
 

I could have just copied & pasted the same closing sentiment as last week, but it’s too depressing. Instead I’ll just say I hope you are all vaccinated, masked in public, and finding joy in the beauty you can see around you.
 

Sunday, August 22, 2021

2021 Project 365 – Week Thirty-four

This week is the Dr. M show! You can tell it’s high summer – it’s just too dang hot to be taking pictures outside.

Sunday, August 15th
I was listening to Lonely Girls by Lucinda Williams the other day & had an epiphany. I have always struggled with my weight, and I realized that I’ve thought this song was about girls who also struggle with their weight. It’s not. I just read that into the song. What kind of messed up world is it when a person would think that fat = lonely? But also, I do like a heavy blanket, so there’s that.
 

We were menaced by a goldfish!
 

Monday, August 16th   
Dr. M’s t-shirts have been getting more & more raggedy, so he’s been replacing them with new ones (and his wife said glory hallelujah!). This week he got shirts from some of his alma maters. This one is Western Carolina University where he got his master’s degree.
 

Tuesday, August 17th      
Dr. M’s weather command center – keeping an eye on Not Dead Fred. We got a LOT of rain and some thunderstorms from Fred, but were otherwise not inconvenienced.
 

Here’s Dr. M’s next alma mater – University of Cincinnati where he got his Ph.D. You’ll have to wait until next week to see the Wake Forest University one (undergrad degree).
 

Wednesday, August 18th     
I decided to use my glasses as a headband. I don’t know why they look better than an actual headband, but they do.
 

Thursday, August 19th  
The Braves weren’t playing, so Dr. M & I had a personal space evening. I have no memory of what I did (Crochet? Instagram? Played a game on my iPad? Listened to a podcast?), but he had a Star Trek marathon.
 

Friday, August 20th    
No photo.
 
Saturday, August 21st    
Temperature blanket update. I’m almost out of red and autumn red. This is the same problem I had with the orange temperature range in my last blanket. There are just long stretches of hot right now.   
 
 
Did you notice that the world got much better and less crazy this past week? Me either. Sometimes it feels like we’re circling the drain, but my own personal life is so comfortable that there’s a disconnect for me. I used to just not read the news so I didn’t have to worry about stuff. Now I obsessively check the news and feel helpless and depressed. How do you keep from living in despair?
 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

2021 Project 365 – Week Thirty-three

Well we are definitely in the summer doldrums – we just don’t remember to take photos every day. I think that the photos we DID take will make up for that, but seriously we are getting slack.
 
Sunday, August 8th
No photo.
 
Monday, August 9th   
Dr. M’s shopping list. On Saturday when Dr. M was at his dad’s house he found a yellow jacket nest in the ground out by the muscadine vine. While he was preparing the gasoline to pour on the nest, he disturbed a wasp nest & was stung a dozen times on his legs. OUCH. Anyway, he took care of the yellow jackets & this list is making sure that he takes care of the wasps.
 

Tuesday, August 10th      
I was hanging out at Daddy & Sue’s house when I found out that my great-nephew was over at my brother’s house. It was nice to see you Daddy & Sue – bye!
 



 Wednesday, August 11th     
I WAS ABLE TO GIVE BLOOD! My iron was finally high enough. So I got to get my apple juice & oreos (the main reason I give blood).
 

Thursday, August 12th  
This isn’t our photo, but it’s what we were doing tonight – watching the “Field of Dreams” game between the Yankees and the White Sox. It was pretty darned special – Kevin Costner & then the players walking out of the corn onto the field, and the bottom of the 9th walk off homer by the White Sox… I was impressed.
 

Friday, August 13th    
Stopped by to see Daddy & Sue again. Daddy was showing me the recipe that he said reminded him of some of my concoctions. I think it looks amazing and I shall definitely be trying it. I mean, you can’t go wrong with naan can you?
 

Saturday, August 14th   
A final visit with the baby before they head back to Oklahoma on Tuesday. We even facetimed his dad (who was in training back at home). I’m just now realizing that I didn’t get a photo of his mom on this trip – sorry Britt!
 

He is SO CLOSE to crawling. But given how much he likes to bounce & keeps his legs so stiff, I think he’ll be walking in no time at all.
 


Temperature blanket update. It looks kind of pretty all laid out like that, but up close those warm weather color combos are U.G.L.Y. Also, I’m about to run out of red and harvest red. But we’re in the home stretch – I started my first decrease row this week.  
 

 
I was glad to be able to give blood, although I felt kind of depleted (see what I did there?) for a couple of days afterward. In fact I didn’t start feeling more energetic until today. So maybe I won’t try to give again right away when I’m allowed. But it’s hard because my blood type is desirable (O+) and there’s such a shortage right now. And it’s one thing I can do when it feels like the world is falling apart around me. I’m talking about world events, not my personal world – although a cousin of Dr. M’s died after a bicycle accident this week. So sad. I guess I was giving blood for Chad. And the people in Myanmar, and Afghanistan, and Haiti… What do you do when the world is too much?
 

Sunday, August 8, 2021

2021 Project 365 – Week Thirty-two

This week we have flowers and crochet and babies – a trifecta of lovely!
 
Sunday, August 1st  
No photo. What is up with that?
 
Monday, August 2nd   
I’m working on a project for my niece. It’s going rather slowly, but it sure is groovy man…
 

Tuesday, August 3rd     
Surprise baby attack! I was at my dad’s house working a jigsaw puzzle and we had a little visitor! My great-nephew is just the MOST ADORABLE BABY EVER. Really – don’t you agree? The second photo is my brother playing his favorite game with him – apparently he can bounce until the cows come home.
 

Dr. M says, the wildflower “overstory” of bee balm and coneflowers is all but spent, but we still have a bit of rudbeckia in one corner. We do have sulfur cosmos making an appearance, along with lovely aster.
 

Wednesday, August 4th     
The only picture is one I sent to an absent coworker showing her that I was wearing yellow (we had been talking about how I never wear that color). Thanks Sue for the yellow blouse!
 

Thursday, August 5th  
Tiny little wildflowers…
 

Friday, August 6th    
In addition to our more traditional morning glories, we have this Ivy-Leaved variety. It’s a little more blue than purple. So lovely!
 

I was getting ready to make peach banana bread & realized I was out of vanilla. Dr. M was rooting around in the cabinet & found Louisiana hot sauce. I said, “you know actually …” I decided to go with almond flavoring instead. But if you know me, you won’t be surprised that I thought about it for a hot second. I’m going to start a new hashtag called #thebugcookingbadly P.S. the bread is EXCELLENT. P.P.S. I had a slight mishap with the cinnamon.
 
Saturday, August 7th   
No temperature blanket update – I just plain forgot to take a picture. Just add an extra row of red to last week’s photo & you will see what it looks like. In the meantime, enjoy these lovely photos of Dr. M’s dad’s muscadine vines. 
 

I felt really checked out (or more than usual) this past week. I went through the motions & got things done, but I haven’t felt actually present. Very weird. Here’s hoping that I “wake up” this week! Have you ever had periods of feeling like you’re not really inside your body? Or am I the only weirdo here?  
 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Book Reviews – the June/July Edition

 

I only read two books in June, but I read four in July, so buckle up!
 
1. Crooked River (Pendergast #19), by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. ★★★★ Dozens of identical blue shoes are found in the ocean off the southwestern coast of Florida, all with a severed human foot inside, all exhibiting unmistakable signs of violence. They appear out of nowhere one day, floating in on the tide. Called off the tarmac from his return flight back to New York City, Pendergast reluctantly arrives on Captiva Island and is quickly drawn into the mystery. A preliminary pathology report indicates the feet were wrenched from their bodies in the crudest of ways. As the days continue, more wash in until the number tops one hundred. Soon, Pendergast and his partner, junior agent Coldmoon find themselves squaring off against an adversary more powerful and deadly than they've ever encountered. 
 
The Bug Says: See that disgusted face up there? That was my reaction to one of the scenes from this book. Which is just par for the course for this series – I always try to remember to not eat anything while reading them. That said, I enjoyed it a lot – it was a return to Pendergast of old & I find him to be a fascinating character. And his ward Constance has a pretty interesting side plot too.
 
2. Fallen (Will Trent #5), by Karin Slaughter ★★★★ There’s no police training stronger than a cop’s instinct. Faith Mitchell’s mother isn’t answering her phone. Her front door is open. There’s a bloodstain above the knob. Everything Faith learned in the academy goes out the window when she charges into her mother’s house, gun drawn. She sees a man dead in the laundry room, a hostage situation in the bedroom. What she doesn’t see is her mother. When the hostage situation turns deadly, Faith is left with too many questions. She’ll need the help of her partner, Will Trent, and trauma doctor Sara Linton to get some answers. But Faith isn’t just a cop anymore, she’s a witness—and a suspect. To find her mother, Faith will have to cross the thin blue line and bring the truth to light—or bury it forever.
 
The Bug Says: I’m still enjoying this series quite a bit. Lots of human drama, an excellent mystery, and the enigma that is Will Trent’s brain. Highly recommend!
 
3. Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, by Kristin Kobes Du Mez ★★★★★ A scholar of American Christianity presents a seventy-five-year history of evangelicalism that identifies the forces that have turned Donald Trump into a hero of the Religious Right.

How did a libertine who lacks even the most basic knowledge of the Christian faith win 81 percent of the white evangelical vote in 2016? And why have white evangelicals become a presidential reprobate’s staunchest supporters? These are among the questions acclaimed historian Kristin Kobes Du Mez asks in Jesus and John Wayne, which delves beyond facile headlines to explain how white evangelicals have brought us to our fractured political moment. Challenging the commonly held assumption that the “moral majority” backed Donald Trump for purely pragmatic reasons, Du Mez reveals that Donald Trump in fact represents the fulfillment, rather than the betrayal, of white evangelicals’ most deeply held values.

 
The Bug Says: Oh my gosh this book alternately blew my mind and blew my gasket. Such a good examination of evangelicalism and how it became what it is today. I feel like anything I say wouldn’t do justice to the book – if you’re interested in this subject I recommend that you read it yourself. I’ll end with a quote from one of the reviews on Goodreads: “If you’re like me, you’ll end this book in lament and grief. These are not problems fixed with a clever tweet or a new denomination or a label to replace evangelical. No easy fixes are offered. I guess I’ll sit with the grief for a bit before I try to figure out where we go from here.
 
4. While Justice Sleeps, by Stacey Abrams ★★★★★ Avery Keene, a brilliant young law clerk for the legendary Justice Howard Wynn, is doing her best to hold her life together—excelling in an arduous job with the court while also dealing with a troubled family. When the shocking news breaks that Justice Wynn—the cantankerous swing vote on many current high-profile cases—has slipped into a coma, Avery’s life turns upside down. She is immediately notified that Justice Wynn has left instructions for her to serve as his legal guardian and power of attorney. Plunged into an explosive role she never anticipated, Avery finds that Justice Wynn had been secretly researching one of the most controversial cases before the court—a proposed merger between an American biotech company and an Indian genetics firm, which promises to unleash breathtaking results in the medical field. She also discovers that Wynn suspected a dangerously related conspiracy that infiltrates the highest power corridors of Washington.
 
The Bug Says: I admit that I got this book because of the novelty that Stacey Abrams wrote it – I was VERY curious about how she would be as an author. I thought it was great – I liked the main characters and the puzzle that they were trying to solve. And the end was very satisfactory. I would definitely read another book by her.
 
5. Legacy, by Nora Roberts ★★★★★ Adrian Rizzo was seven when she met her father for the first time. That was the day he nearly killed her—before her mother, Lina, stepped in. A decade later, Adrian has created her own line of yoga and workout videos, following in Lina’s footsteps but intent on maintaining creative control. And she’s just as cool-headed and ambitious as her mother. They aren’t close, but they’re cordial—as long as neither crosses the other. But while Lina dismisses the death threats that Adrian starts getting as a routine part of her daughter’s growing celebrity, Adrian can’t help but find the vicious rhymes unsettling. Year after year, they keep arriving—the postmarks changing, but the menacing tone the same. They continue after she returns to Maryland and becomes reacquainted with Raylan, her childhood crush, all grown up and as gorgeously green-eyed as ever. Sometimes it even seems like the terrifying messages are indeed routine, like nothing will come of them. Until the murders start, and the escalation begins… 
 
The Bug Says: Nora books just automatically get 5 stars, but this one was, as usual, excellent. I have a slight bias against fitness guru type people, so I had to get around that a bit, but the story is good, and the mystery was compelling.  
 
6. Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir ★★★★ Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission--and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish. Except that right now, he doesn't know that. He can't even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it. All he knows is that he's been asleep for a very, very long time. And he's just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company. His crew mates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that's been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it's up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species. And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.
 
The Bug Says: I loved (LOVED) The Martian, but for some reason didn’t read Weir’s second book. But when my brother told me I had to read this one I decided to jump right on it. I didn’t love it to the level of The Martian, but it was pretty darned close (and actually, I will definitely read it again & probably love it more with each reading). There is one character in particular that was just the best.
 
 
Right now I’m reading Terraform: Building a Better World by Propaganda and I feel like I need to insert that head exploding emoji to communicate how I feel about it. I’m listening to the audio version, which he narrates, and since he’s a performer it is just excellent. I hope I can find actual words to convey how I feel about it when I review it next month. How about you – has anything made your head explode (for good or ill) lately?

Sunday, August 1, 2021

2021 Project 365 – Week Thirty-one

This week had food, flowers, crochet – you know, the usual.
 
Sunday, July 25th
My gourmet lunch – saltine crackers spread with Laughing Cow cheese, topped with carver turkey & a dab of strawberry jam. It was very tasty!
 


Monday, July 26th  
The Lion in Winter Summer. The King of the weather system. The Jungle Cat that ate Kings Mountain…
 

Tuesday, July 27th    
Dr. M’s dad's blueberry bush has been VERY prolific this year! That’s like two quarts of blueberries in that container – and there has been at least three times that much harvested so far.
 

A Yarny Tale of Woe: You already know about my too small shawl. Here is my knitted scarf (yes, I cast on about 500 stitches on too small circular needles – it just looks like it’s a round garment). It was going swimmingly until I got to the dropped stitch row and then something went very awry. Unlike crochet, I’m not very confident about fixing it – even if I frog back to the bad place. And then when I got home from work I saw that one of my gnomes had jumped in the floor & decided that the yarn gods were making some sort of statement – and not a good one!
 

Wednesday, July 28th    
We had brats for dinner. I put some cucumber tomato salad on mine & it was delicious! Dr. M put sauerkraut on his brat  & had his salad more traditionally on the side.
 

Thursday, July 29th
New hair! We’re starting to work toward the day when I stop coloring my hair. I’m all for getting off the merry-go-round, but what happens when I get bored with my hair?
 

Friday, July 30th   
I put all of my other yarn projects in time out & started something new. This will be a purse for my niece. I’m a little nervous about it!
 

Our four year old mum is starting to bloom!
 

Saturday, July 31st  
Dr. M found a zinnia farm! So pretty…
 

Temperature blanket update. It’s been hot!
 

Saw this critter outside during the blanket photoshoot. I feel like I see them every year & every year I find out what they are & every year I forget.
 

I’m getting ready to work on my book review post. I only read two books in June so I decided to save them for my July post, but then I read four books in July, and six books seems like a lot to review at one time. What I’m saying is I procrastinated & now it feels like even more work. Welcome to my brain. Also, HOW IS IT AUGUST ALREADY?? Seriously, tell me how in the comments.  

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 ...