Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Robert and I usually spend Halloween handing out candy.  Now, don't get me wrong; we have a wonderful time handing out candy.  But that's it for us.  

Rachel, however, wanted the whole enchilada: carving pumpkins, dressing up, trick-or-treating, a haunted house tour.  

So we carved some pumpkins.  And spent countless hours working on her costume (which, thanks to Rachel's creative vision and Robert's gluing skills, turned out awesome).  

And there was no way Robert and I were going to be caught dead going to a haunted house so Rachel tagged along with a friend, who also planned to squeeze in some trick-or-treating prior to the haunted house.  

Now, after tennis, a 2 mile walk, a couple hours raking leaves, vacuuming the house, many loads of laundry and getting Rachel ready for her big night I am kicking it, eating some swedish fish with Robert and handing out what we don't eat.  I feel so incredibly fortunate and happy right now.  What a good life.

We were all super excited about carving pumpkins.  The best part? Well, as you can tell by Rachel's expression - dipping our hands into the squishy pumpkin muck.

Our final pumpkins!  From the left: Rachel's Nightmare Before Christmas pumpkin, my polka dot pumpkin, Robert's self portrait, and because I lack creativity, another polka dot pumpkin.

Here's a closeup of Rachel's, which was really spectacular.

I have about 43 oak mite bites from gallivanting around the neighborhood, but it's worth it when I see trees like this:

Rachel's costume was a lesson in patience, but she rocked it.  Who is she? Well duh, she's Sollux Captor.  Honestly I'm still not 100% sure who that is, even after much googling.  

In my opinion she looks a little like an Elton John Zombie.  But that opinion just ages me.  

Thank you Rachel.  This has been the best Halloween yet!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

House Updates!

We officially have a few countertops here and there.  Plumbing should happen tomorrow.  Also happening tomorrow are shelves.  In the living room!  Holla!

Shelves in my office closet:

Finally, a countertop! What a glorious thing!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

jogging and washi tape

Found in library book:

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

lotsa science with just a pinch of poetry

We may only have a bathroom wannabe (aka a toilet and a cold shower), but the most important thing that could have happened to any bathroom happened to ours.  

It got this:

Yes, this has everything to do with Big Bang Theory.  Robert and I have wanted a periodic table ever since we saw one on that show.  Unfortunately our first bathroom had terrible colors that would have insulted the integrity of this shower curtain.  So we have had to wait patiently for years. So worth it!

We also have countertops in the kitchen:

The black splash should be in next Monday.  And let's see, doors and base shoe are going in.  Our dryer has been fixed.  We officially have all the pieces of our refrigerator and two tvs are mounted. 

We made some time to go to the Nimrod Conference for Readers and Writers in Tulsa, which was exciting and educational.  And we also saw Alton Brown, which made Rachel very starstruck and Robert a little giggly.  I think that the thing we're most excited about is cooking together in the kitchen once it's done.  Apparently Rachel has some game in the kitchen, so I say let's get this house done so we can see it.   

Monday, October 10, 2016

one step closer to nesting

I have gotten sooooo much done over the past few days!  I cleaned and groomed the dogs with Robert's help, cleaned and organized the top kitchen cabinets (we're still waiting on countertops so the bottom ones will wait), washed (and sometimes dried) about a million loads of laundry (which was no piece of cake because it all had to be done at Audrey's house), finished making the bed (also no feat because it's a king-sized mattress on the floor of a bedroom that barely accommodates it) and just now, meticulously cleaned Rachel's bed set (all the pieces I could find anyway).

Rachel's bedroom set is from my childhood and has a million stories.  It's a very tall cherry bed with two sets of steps and two nightstands.  The steps open up for storage.  I adored it as a child and am thrilled she is getting to use it.  It needs to be refinished badly and one nightstand is missing a knob.  My current plan is to take Rachel shopping for knobs, carefully pack away the old ones and when it gets refinished in a few years (or less hopefully) I will have a new knob made to match the old ones.  Rachel also needs linens, which I was thrilled about until she mentioned she wants to get white ones and draw her own designs.  Creative, yes, but I'm missing a great opportunity to go linen shopping.  Sigh.  

Cleaning the upper cabinets with our central vacuum, which has been nothing but awesome and fun to use so far.

And this is our master bath vanity:

And here's the bench seat in my office. I cannot wait to pick out the fabric for the cushion that's going on top!  

Robert also put in the under cabinet lights in our kitchen, which I'm worried if I don't say something about how great they look, I may be locked out and never have a chance to enjoy them.  Great job, Robert!  He's mighty proud of his electrical work, and should be, because it goes on my no way nuh uh not in a million years list of things I plan on never attempting in my life.  

It's been so productive around here I'm actually looking forward to library work for a few days just so I can get a break.  In the next week we should have more built-ins, a working dryer, another completed bathroom and a shower that can be used.  Probably the most exciting thing is that our current lukewarm water is only going to get hotter as each bathroom is completed.  So in maybe a month there will be the possibility of hot bubble baths.  

It's good to be home.

Friday, October 7, 2016

helter skelter marbles no more

I'm taking off a few days here and there this month so that I can clean and nest and unpack.  But I'm also gathering up all my helter skelter marbles and putting them back in the jar so to speak.  

Which translates to walks, fabric shopping and laying on the floor with the dogs.  

Thursday, October 6, 2016

moth behind my eyelids

The past few months I've been working on my first ever embroidered landscape.  

Sadly, I've called it a loss and am moving on.  I haven't lost a piece in over a year, and it hurts.  All those hours, the slow build to nothing.  And while I learned quite a bit and will use the knowledge in later pieces, my heart feels like it's full of all those endless stitches, going nowhere.  

Thankfully when the frustration began to outweigh the peace, this little moth, which is for sale on Etsy, fluttered into my imagination and stayed.  So I brought it to life.

And I'm glad I did because this moth carried my creativity away from my heavy heart.  I am excited to sew again, and cannot wait to start my next piece.  Creativity is so fickle.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

love is in the air (and maybe other stuff too)

We officially moved back to the remodel on Saturday, and it's awesome, but also supremely chaotic.  It's been a two steps forward, one step backwards kind of thing.

For instance, Robert got the washing machine up and going so I started a load.  That's when we discovered that the dryer wasn't working.  Thank goodness Robert's mom lives across the street (I may take this back at a later time).  Sadly, one of Rachel's socks is missing so I'm hoping she doesn't notice...  And that it's not in the street somewhere.  

The dogs did a little puking on the fancy floors (which was surprisingly easy to clean up), but now they are happy and nestled in.

On another note, I had some very interesting patron interactions in the past few days.  I almost feel like some kind of divine powers have been trying to keep me distracted from all the chaos at home.

A few days ago I assisted a middle-aged patron with his dating profile.  The poor fellow had a lot of interested women and didn't really know how to respond or anything.  He was very dapper and polite and dare I say, handsome?  So hopefully I didn't help a serial killer.

I also helped a lady print a few pictures, which is nothing new.  She insisted repeatedly that the images must be 5x7, which is also nothing new. However, every time she watched me check the 5x7 box, she pulled out a tape measure from her purse and held it up the screen.  The first time she did this I tried to assure that she was going to get what she wanted without measuring, but it gave her such satisfaction to hold up the measuring tape to the monitor that I thought, "why not, if it makes her happy?" So I kept my laughter and impatience in check, and gave stern looks to those nearby who couldn't do the same.

Later I was asked by an eighty-something year-old patron if I knew of any good audiobooks he could listen to with his girlfriend. Before I had a chance to throw out any ideas he suggested Team of Rivals.  My first reaction was, "whaaa no way. That's not romantic."  And then I thought, "wait isn't that over thirty discs long?"  Apparently we were on the same page (ha a pun!), because he winked at me and said, "that oughta keep her around for awhile, don't you think?"

But the best interaction happened yesterday when a patron shyly approached the desk and asked if anyone had turned in a cell phone.  "Well it's your lucky day," I said when I found it in the lost and found.  She nodded and took the phone from me, put in the code to unlock the phone, tapped on her pictures, scrolled through, found one, looked visibly relieved to see it, and said, "thank God.  This is my cat, so this has to be my phone."

Monday, October 3, 2016

Toads and Beaus

Remember that last bookmark I found in a book at the library and posted?

Well I ran across a similar one, this time in an easy reader instead of an ancient biography.

And while I don't agree with the saying I do like the connection between the two bookmarks.

Also, there is a patron who has decided that I like crosswords (though I don't), and she has taken it upon herself to give me the easy ones.  On each crossword she writes a short and sweet note. The message on this puzzle is particularly great:

Sunday, October 2, 2016

next time you're talking to strangers in a public bathroom

First, I must tell you that I'm reading a lot of smoothie books right now because I need some new inspiration, plus I plan on using my blender a lot more once our new kitchen is set up.  Out of the handful of smoothie books I read this month, the two that show up on this list will eventually be bought because they're so great.  

Also, Matthew Inman is the genius who wrote My Dog, the Paradox, which is one of my all-time most favorite books.  It is a must-read.

Here are my September Favorite Reads Part 2:

Why Grizzly Bears Should Wear Underpants by Matthew Inman

* totally inappropriate humor with a lot of creative cursing * it’s the kind of book that you end up sharing with everyone because it’s totally relatable – for instance, do you love burning your face off with sriracha? Have you wondered if computers are out to get us or listened to your spouse talk about strange things in their sleep? Yep, yep and yep? Then you will love this book. *And anytime you are freaking out on the inside you will imagine that one of the freaked-out faces in this book is your face, and then you will laugh hysterically even though you are at work or in a public bathroom, and it will be awesome because it will put the kibosh on freaking out and maybe make other people smile (once you’ve explained the book and pulled out your phone to show them a picture of one of the comics).

The Complete Photo Guide to Needlework by Linda Wyszynski 

* detailed and easy-to-follow instructions * there's a little bit of everything here - embroidery basics, ribbon embroidery, and even sections on sequins and beads!

Best Green Drinks Ever by Katrine Van Wyk

* Simple, easy-to-follow recipes that don't bog you down with hard-to-find ingredients or information overload * while I’ve seen some of the recipes before there are several that use slightly different ingredients, like in their apple pie smoothie they use kale (haven’t tried that) and also walnuts (a nut I haven’t tried for this smoothie) * I really like the layout – whether you’re looking for a smoothie with plenty of fiber or an energy boost you can find it instantly

The Everything Healthy Green Drinks Cookbook by Britt Brandon

* love the ‘best produce for whatever you’re hankering for’ section: heart healthy, stamina etc. so I can find a veggie or fruit that covers a couple areas at once. For instance, kale is excellent for pretty much anything, including stamina and mental clarity. * post-workout smoothies are always awesome: probably my favorites are the ‘dehydration fighter’ and ‘Yogi’s Favorite.’ * Soooo many recipes in this book, and quite frankly a little overwhelming, but it will keep me happy for a long time.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

turning blobby stuff into music

Despite a crazy month of preparing to move, doing lotsa remodel stuff, overdosing on tennis and family time, and librarying it up I still managed to read quite a bit, and I have another long and happy two-part list of favorites this month.  

Favorites Part 1:

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

Even though I love poetry I’m usually not a fan of novels written entirely in verse. However, my skepticism completely disappeared within the first few pages. The melodic poetry perfectly complements the story of a dancer who loses a leg and her journey towards "chasing down soaring music” again. Filled with memorable characters and fantastic lines like "I can dance beauty into my body,” this inspirational and captivating story set in India is a must-read.

Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts

As they brave their different battles with cancer, Zac & Mia's relationship flourishes in its complexity and beauty. Their relationship isn't effortless, and I found myself rooting for them to become friends. At one point I was so fed up with Mia's attitude that I thought about not finishing, but when I found out the reason for her behavior I felt absolutely terrible and ashamed. So bravo to the author for adding so much depth to the character and taking me by surprise. The ending is also executed very well I think. Of course I knew that this book had potential to be very touching, but I didn't expect to laugh so much or grow so attached to both characters.  

Jack's Worry by Sam Zuppardi

* we have another cuddly abstract thing here, people, just like Orion and the Dark, and though we want Jack’s worry to vanish, I like to think the worry turns to love, to music, so it’s still flourishing through a positive outlet, and therefore still cuddly. * the illustrations are breathtaking: poor Jack hiding from his worry, overcome by his worry, mitigating other worries. * and the message is so simple and brilliant and therefore incredibly impactful and wonderful for any audience. * next time I have a worry I’m going to imagine it as a blobby thing that’s friends with all my blobby fears and negative emotions and then I’m going to make a sincere effort to always turn them into music.

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson 

I loved every panel, every angsty, hilarious moment, every second I spent reading Roller Girl. Roller Derby wasn't easy for Astrid, and I was really impressed by how Jamieson illustrated the amount of effort, persistence and drive it takes to do a sport. Usually young adult books (and a lot of books about athletes) gloss over the hard work and make it seem like passion gets you everything. And yes, passion keeps you motivated, but there's a lot of hard work involved too. Jamieson made it feel like I was right there with Astrid learning about roller derby. And the relationships in this book are insightful, earnest and absolutely dead on. I love how Astrid matured in her relationships, how it became less about her and more about those she cared about.

This is the page that made me laugh the hardest: