Sunday, September 26, 2021

2021 Project 365 – Week Thirty-nine

Dear Congress, please get your act together. Love, a Constituent.
Sunday, September 19th   
Rosie was plagued by Japanese Beetles all summer, but is finally bouncing back. And the Monkey Grass is lovely!

Monday, September 20th     
These ladies are ready for fall!

Dr. M moved one of the hanging baskets back out front – it’s so pretty. And so is he!

Tuesday, September 21st      
Went out to eat with the fam & tried to eat a chip as big as my head, but there seemed to be an impediment…

Wednesday, September 22nd     
Sky Wednesday!

Thursday, September 23rd     
Wisdom from Danielle Coke.

Every now & then I have to try curlers again. I wrapped these up with a scarf so they’d stay put.

Friday, September 24th    
Pretty floofy to start the day, but by lunchtime not so much. Oh yeah – this is why I don’t mess with curlers!

Saturday, September 25th  
I had a lovely day! Spent a lot of time crocheting, but I also actually got some housework done. The vacuum had almost completely stopped sucking so I checked out the beater bar (full of hair and YARN – oops), and the hose attachment (it had one of those little caps that seal bottles like ketchup – it had almost completely sealed the hose shut). It worked much better after I cleaned it out.

Today I made apple banana bread. It’s a little weird – it seemed goopier than it should have (I think I went a banana too far), and it’s VERY sweet. But still, it felt nice to make something, and that’s done for the next six months. Whew! How has your weekend been? Did you make anything?

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Book Reviews – the August Edition

I’ve been putting off writing this post because I’ve made the process so complicated for myself. I think I’ll go ahead & do it the same way this month (and maybe next), but I will hopefully change things up for the October book review post. We shall see.
1. Terraform: Building a Better World, by Propaganda. ★★★★★ In this debut collection of essays and poetry, musician, speaker, and activist Propaganda inspires us to create a better, more equitable world.  “If we get to make the very cultures that shape who we are, then let us remake them in the best way possible.” In this deep, challenging, and thoughtful book, Propaganda looks at the ways in which our world is broken. Using the metaphor of terraforming—creating a livable world out of an inhospitable one—he shows how we can begin to reshape our homes, friendships, communities, and politics
The Bug SaysI struggled with how to describe this & its impact on me. First of all, you need to listen to it. It’s performance art, music, poetry, call to action… He says that if we have basically already created our cultures, why can’t we remake them into something better? Let’s terraform our world into what it could have been all along. I’ll be listening to this one again!
2. The Consequences of Fear (Maisie Dobbs #16), by Jacqueline Winspear. ★★★★  
September 1941: As Europe buckles under Nazi occupation, Maisie Dobbs investigates a possible murder that threatens devastating repercussions for Britain's war efforts. While on a delivery, young Freddie Hackett, a message runner for a government office, witnesses an argument that ends in murder. Crouching in the doorway of a bombed-out house, Freddie waits until the coast is clear. But when he arrives at the delivery address, he’s shocked to come face to face with the killer. Dismissed by the police when he attempts to report the crime, Freddie goes in search of a woman he once met when delivering a message: Maisie Dobbs. While Maisie believes the boy and wants to help, she must maintain extreme caution: she’s working secretly for the Special Operations Executive, assessing candidates for crucial work with the French resistance. Her two worlds collide when she spots the killer in a place she least expects. She soon realizes she’s been pulled into the orbit of a man who has his own reasons to kill—reasons that go back to the last war.
The Bug Says: This series is so well written, and I love the audio narration. It’s like revisiting an old friend when I read the latest installment.
3. Magical Midlife Madness (Leveling Up #1), by K.F. Breene. ★★★★ A woman starting over. A new house with an unexpected twist. A cape wearing butler acting as the world's worst life coach.  When Jessie’s husband of twenty years packs up and heads for greener pastures and her son leaves for college, she decides it’s time for a do-over. Eager for a fresh start, she makes a somewhat unorthodox decision to move to a tiny town in the Sierra foothills. She’ll be taking care of a centuries old house that called to her when she was a kid. It's just temporary, she tells herself. It'll just be for a while. That is, until she learns what the house really is, something she never could've imagined. Thankfully forty isn't too old to start an adventure, because that's exactly what she does. A very dangerous adventure that will change her life forever. She has a chance to start again, and this time, she makes the rules.
The Bug Says: This was an excellent light-hearted romp. Jessie’s character was refreshing because she’s forty, is done with doing what other people thinks she should, speaks her mind, and makes decisions about her own life – against a backdrop of a spooky house, vampires, werewolves, witches, and other interesting beings. It was a lot of fun! Unfortunately the reviews for the next book in the series don’t look as good, so I’m not sure if I’ll read it. If I do, you know you’ll hear about it here!
4. Long Road to Mercy (Atlee Pine #1), by David Baldacci. ★★★ Atlee Pine, an FBI agent with special skills assigned to the remote wilds of the southwestern United States who must confront a new threat . . . and an old nightmare. Three decades after her twin sister Mercy is kidnaped from their bedroom, Atlee Pine works for the FBI. She's the lone agent assigned to the Shattered Rock, Arizona resident agency, which is responsible for protecting the Grand Canyon. So when one of the Grand Canyon's mules is found stabbed to death at the bottom of the canyon-and its rider missing-Pine is called in to investigate. It soon seems clear the lost tourist had something more clandestine than sightseeing in mind. But just as Pine begins to put together clues pointing to a terrifying plot, she's abruptly called off the case. If she disobeys direct orders by continuing to search for the missing man, it will mean the end of her career. But unless Pine keeps working the case and discovers the truth, it could spell the very end of democracy in America as we know it...
The Bug Says: The story was excellent – I love the very strong lead character and that she had an equally strong female sidekick. The three stars are for two reasons: 1. There were a couple of times when Atlee seemed reduced to the “little lady” when there was a “strong man” around (I might be a little too sensitive to this kind of thing, so maybe ignore this one). 2. I listened to the audiobook and as is so often the case with Baldacci books, they had a female narrator and a male one. The female narrator was EXCELLENT and thank goodness because she was the main narrator. But the male sounded like a porn star in a studio – the sound was totally different (it was jarring!) and he sounded the exact same no matter which character he was being. Just terrible. This won’t stop me from listening to the next one though.
I’ve already finished four books in September (although one was pretty much a short story so it only sort of counts). I’ve started re-reading another Nora Roberts series, so maybe the four will be all that get finished. We shall see. Now, tell me something good that you’ve read lately!

Sunday, September 19, 2021

2021 Project 365 – Week Thirty-eight

I finally had a pretty calm week. Work was fine (I actually got a couple of projects done that I’d been dreading – it felt good to get those off my plate!). Home was fine. Dr. M was fabulous. The world was mostly ignored again (mental health break people!). Let’s see if this coming week will continue the theme.
Sunday, September 12th   
Dr. M posted another of his paintings on the socials. I love this one too – it was in the running for my new office painting. I especially like it because it reminds me of vacations past.

I stopped by to work a puzzle see Daddy & Sue after church. I brought KFC and we had a nice visit.

I really struggle to read nonfiction books. There’s some sort of mental block going on there. I have so many that I’ve bought recently & just allowed to languish, unread. So I’ve instituted a new policy (also designed to get me to go to bed in a more timely manner): I’m reading a chapter each evening right before I turn the light off. So far I’m really enjoying this book – although strangely I feel like she’s too nice to White Peacekeepers (which is the WHOLE POINT OF THE BOOK actually).

Monday, September 13th     
Sent Dr. M this picture of my Cheeto stash at work.

Tuesday, September 14th        
No photo.
Wednesday, September 15th    
I used to take sky pictures all the time in Ohio. I don’t down here because there isn’t as much sky to photograph, but I’m going to try to remedy that because I need to remember it’s up there. Maybe Sky Wednesday will become a thing!

Thursday, September 16th    
Dr. M posted a number of lovely pictures of rain-drenched sedum and morning glories, but these were my favorites.

Friday, September 17th    
My dad’s birthday! I stopped by to give him his gift (these books), and watch him make a grape, peanut butter, and jelly sandwich. Topped with the heel of the bread. I posted it on the socials talking about how people would be able to see where I got my strange food choices from and everyone was all like, “that looks good!” And, “I would eat that!” Humph.

Saturday, September 18th  
We had a little family pizza party for the birthday boy. We were missing my brother who was out on the road, but it was a nice time with the ‘rents, Dr. M, my sister-in-law, and niece. Did I take photos of any of those people? No I did not. At least I got a picture of the pizza and my dad, so you know my priorities were in order. 

Despite the fact that I continued to use red (and autumn red) in my temperature blanket last week, there was definitely a hint of fall in the air. The mornings were crisper, and I had to turn the light on in the living room as I was getting ready to leave for work each day. I was talking to Dr. M about how my dislike of fall has softened over the years. I was feeling all philosophical (maybe I don’t dread fall as much because he’s no longer teaching in the fall & I always missed Summer Dr. M…), but he was more practical: we live in the south now, so the onset of winter doesn’t depress me as much. (Yes, in my mind fall means that we will immediately have winter – I am ever “A to Z” in all things.) How do you feel about fall?

Sunday, September 12, 2021

2021 Project 365 – Week Thirty-seven

Remember how last week I said the week before was crazy? This week said “hold my beer!” I guess it’s good that my job isn’t boring.
Sunday, September 5th   
It was a lovely day so we did some deck sittin’. The neighborhood cat, Callie, likes to hang out on our deck – she gives us the evil eye when we go out there.

Monday, September 6th     
I finished this groovy bag for my niece. I made a matching (rather lumpy) coin purse for her.

Tuesday, September 7th        
Lunch! My text to Dr. M: Mount Chicken & Potato Hill are surrounded by Bean Lake!

Wednesday, September 8th    
I finally picked which of Dr. M’s paintings to take to work. It’s Marblehead Lighthouse up at Lake Erie – a place we used to love to visit. Makes me smile to have a bit of Ohio in my NC office.

Thursday, September 9th    
One of my dad’s friends gave him some jigsaw puzzles for an early birthday gift. I stopped by & we got the edges done.

Friday, September 10th    
I finally frogged this monstrosity and started a whole new version of that shawl I was working on a couple of months ago.

Saturday, September 11th  
Progress on the updated version. I got new black(ish) yarn that is the correct weight & I think this one will end up being the right size. We shall see. I’ve said before that this is my last attempt at this, and this is attempt #4 (I think?). So never say never? But also, never.

Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and I tried to stay off of social media because I’m uncomfortable with so many of the types of remembrances we have – and heaven forbid I be uncomfortable on the anniversary of a national tragedy. Maybe it’s the juxtaposition of this tragedy with the current one that has (inexplicably) torn the country apart instead of bringing it together. So I crocheted, and finished an Armand Gamache book, and changed the sheets on the bed (and dropped off a birthday gift for my cousin K – Happy Birthday K!). How did you spend the day? 

Sunday, September 5, 2021

2021 Project 365 – Week Thirty-six

Was there ever a Bug as excited as this one about a three day weekend? I think not. What a crazy week! Which is not reflected at all in our photos because how do you photograph crazy politics, crazy weather in other states, and crazy work issues?
Sunday, August 29th   
I don’t know if you remember when I made this wall hanging, but Dr. M found the perfect stick in his dad’s yard oh, about 2 months ago. I finally decided to attach the hanging to the stick. Check out Friday below to see it in its new location. Also, I had this to say about my fortune cookie fortune: What is it that I hold so closely that I can’t give away? Well, the time I spend on my iPad comes to mind. I do jealously guard my “me time.” But the other thing I was thinking about is the structures that are in place that make my life easier. What can I give away that will make life more fair for BIPOC and others? Probably my time, for one thing. Crochet & thoughts about systemic racism - just a normal Sunday afternoon around here. Oh, and baseball.

Speaking of, Dr. M watched baseball with his Pop.

Monday, August 30th     
Pretty pretty…

Tuesday, August 31st       
Morning glories!

Wednesday, September 1st      
My friend Becci at Feryl Designs is running a fundraiser for her local YWCA (in Walla Walla). I took these photos to show some of my favorite pieces, but forgot to post them to my socials (BRB).

Thursday, September 2nd   
Temperature blanket update – this is through August. We have actually had a smidge cooler weather in September – three red days and one fuchsia. Woo hoo!

Friday, September 3rd   
Here’s the aforementioned wall hanging, along with some photos of the rest of my office. I have one more section of wall to fill in. I was thinking about more mandalas, but I think I’ll use one of Dr. M’s paintings too. I just have to decide which one! The problem is that I have a favorite, but if I take it to the office then it won’t be at home for me to look at. Decisions, decisions.

Saturday, September 4th  
What a nice day! I actually did a smidge of housework, and then spend a nice long stretch of time on the deck working on my niece’s purse. I finished the strap – just have to attach it & then crochet around the edges for a more finished look. And I might make a little matching bag for the inside. We shall see.

I was listening to a podcast today about humanizing politics (Sharon Says So Podcast, episode 20 – an interview with the Pantsuit Politics podcast hosts) & one of the big takeaways for me was about preserving relationships with people that you disagree with. One of the hosts said that her line in the sand is to remember the humanity of all the people in the discussion. “Othering” people is so destructive – and both sides are very good at that. We can still hold the people in power accountable, but we can still love and have relationships with people who disagree with us. Sounds easy right? Ha! Yeah, I’ll be thinking about this concept for a while (not about my actual relatives & friends – it’s easy to love them even though we disagree – I’m thinking about Facebook & Instagram). Have you had anything challenge your way of thinking lately?

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...