Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blocks Received

I've been doing some sewing, but don't have any new finishes to show off.  I DO have some good mail to show, though!

This first one, I've actually had sitting on my sewing table for awhile.  This block arrived from Rhonda (as part of the Quilt Block Swap) just as Boo was born, and everything went on the back burner at that point.  So I just got around to taking pictures today.  Oops.

From Rhonda

I still owe Rhonda her block.  (Oops, again.)  I've also dropped out of this group, so it will be my last block to received and to complete.  As my first "real" block swap group, it was great.  (And not to take anything away from the LITJ ladies!  That swap is special on a whole different level!)  But it seems that my requests for non traditional blocks and enjoyment of nontraditional fabrics kind of threw some of the other members for a loop.  And it was pretty frustrating to put time and effort into blocks not knowing if or when the other half of the swap was going to take place.  (Not that I've never been on that side of it.  Like I said, I still owe Rhonda her block.)  I like the group.  Perhaps I'll rejoin after a while.  But, for right now, with my sewing time so constrained, I'd rather focus on other projects.

One of those is the 3x6 Mini Bee.  I originally signed up to take place in the fourth quarter swap (knowing that I was due to have a baby in the middle of the third quarter), but somehow ended up on the Q3 list.  I probably should have asked to be removed, but I got a little too excited about it and stayed on.  My blocks aren't complete yet (halfway through Q3, gotta get moving!), but the first of the blocks started to arrive yesterday!  All I can say is WOW!  These women do some beautiful work and I'm really super excited to be a part of the bee.

For Q3, I'm part of Beehive 5.  My color requests were red, orange and white.  I can't WAIT to see all of these blocks come together into a finished project!  (I think I may combine the 3x6 blocks with my month in another bee to make a big quilt.)

Becky sent this pretty.

From Becky

And I received this from Elizabeth.

From Elizabeth

I was especially geeked by the daisy in the center.  They're my favorites. :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

More Books

We took another trip to the library today, this time with Richard and Boo.  Much busier today, but we got there with the after-school crowd.  It was still really comfortable though, and with Richard there we were able to take turns alternately reading and playing in the children's section and looking for books for ourselves.  Nice.

I picked up three more books. 

Candide, by Voltaire.  Because the last time I read it I was sixteen and it was in French.  I'm fairly certain that my comprehension will be better this time around.  (When I showed it to Richard he asked "In English?"  If he thinks I could still get through it in French, I'm REALLY doing a good job of pretending that I remember anything I learned in school.)

Someplace to be Flying, by Charles de Lint.  Largely because I haven't read anything by him yet.

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, by Jane Austin and Ben H Winters.  Because...c'mon.  I fully expect this book to be made of win.

Now to decide what to read.  I have too many options.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Book Notes

I finished reading the first of my new library books yesterday.  I started with Adventures of the Artificial Woman, by Thomas Berger and I have to admit that I almost scrapped it.  Which kind of says a lot because I haaaaaate walking away from a book before I've finished it.  Something about time invested and what happens if it gets good/interesting/redeems itself/whatever but I'll never know because I didn't finish it?

But I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

(I'm not planning to do a big in depth book review or anything here, but I'd kind of like to keep my thoughts somewhat on track.  Spoilers abound.)

I didn't think that I was familiar with Thomas Berger.  But I do believe that I read Arthur Rex some years ago and enjoyed it.  And I'm familiar with Little Big Man.  So I didn't discover a new-to-me-author as I'd initially thought that I had.

Adventures of the Artificial Woman was located in the science fiction section.  So I was ready to suspend a good deal of disbelief.  But the author lost me on page twenty-seven.  I'm not kidding.  Page twenty-seven.  That's really early in a novel that runs just shy of two hundred pages.

The subject matter of the novel is easily summed up by the very first sentence.  "Never having found a real woman with whom he could sustain more than temporary connection, Ellery Pierce, a technician at a firm that made anamatronic creatures for movie studios and theme parks, decided to fabricate one from scratch."  Well, actually, I suppose that statement is erroneous, as Phyllis is complete almost immediately.  And just as immediately strikes out on her own.  'Round about page twenty-eight or twenty-nine.  So, really, the book covers her emancipation and life on her own, her reunion with the man who built her and what they do once they're back together again.


The way the novel is written, life is pretty much exactly how it is in real life, except for the building of an anamatronic woman - which put the book soundly into the sci-fi section of the library.  And then, on page twenty-seven, it all kind of goes to hell.  I suppose that the author intended for his readers to be as surprised as his protagonist by the realization that *other* people had anamatronic spouses, too...but it didn't work for me.  I felt like I was being asked to suspend a WHOLE LOT of disbelief when it turned out that all of the spouses invited to a dinner party turned out to be robots masquerading as human.  Granted, the dinner party consisted of two other couples, but it kind of read as if the three of them were pretty much the ONLY other robot spouses out there, so that they were also the next door neighbor and gym buddy of Pierce was a bit too much of a stretch for me.

So, I was ready to pitch the book out the window before I got to page thirty.  I grudgingly decided to give the author a little bit longer to redeem himself, but I realized after finishing the book that'd I'd felt mistrustful the rest of the read.  And I stopped half-way through the last chapter to tell Richard that I felt like I was about to be set up for something ridiculous again at the end of the book.  That didn't quite happen, but I was left feeling pretty lukewarm about the whole thing.

The premise was interesting enough, but neither of the two main characters was sympathetic.  In Phyllis's case, I suppose that makes sense.  But Pierce wasn't strong enough or likeable enough or much-of-anything enough for me to really care much about what happened to him.


I'm not really irritated that I spent the time reading the novel but I'm probably not going to search out another book by the same author anytime soon.

Better luck next time, I hope.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Tiny Little Garden Suprises


Is that not the cutest little tomato ever?  Keep in mind that it's that small looking in the hand of a two year old.  It was tiny.

Bug and I spent a little time in the back yard yesterday afternoon - something that we don't do nearly often enough.  He loves to be outside.  LOVES it.  But it's so incredibly hot during the day that we usually end up putting him off until it's pretty late in the evening.  My step-dad seems to be immune to the heat though, and ends up going out to do yard work in spurts throughout the afternoon.  Bug often goes outside with Pop-Pop.  I love to watch them together - he follows his grandfather around like a puppy - but I do feel guilty for not being out there with him more often.

But we were out there yesterday...

And we found these tiny little tomatoes, which was a fun surprise.

My mom's back yard is an oasis.  Seriously.  It's gorgeous out there.  Green and just wild enough to be very pretty but not feel like a park.  Very friendly feeling.  Relaxing.

Bug and I were walking along the planter than runs along the back fence of the yard.  We were talking about the zucchini, which was recently pulled up, and looked for cantaloupe, which Bug has been obsessed with of late.  (Along with nectarines.)


We got to the end of the yard where all of the herbs are...and I spotted two tiny, bright orange bulbs in the greenery.  I don't have much skill when it comes to recognizing herbs, but I couldn't think of any at all that grow berries.  So I looked closer and they were tomatoes!  Bug was enthralled.


We ended up finding five tiny little ripe tomatoes tucked into the herbs.  (My step-dad identified them as cherry tomatoes, though I've never seen any that tiny.  He said they just popped up there, wild.)  Bug very carefully placed three of the little tomatoes on the ground "for the bugs", and ate the other two.  He said they were tasty.

We looked for more little tomatoes for quite awhile, but couldn't find anymore that were ripe.  I think a few nearly-ripe tomatoes ended up getting picked and donated to the bugs.  There were quite a few green ones though, and I talked Bug into leaving those on the plant so that we can have ripe tomatoes again soon.

We checked the big tomato plant, too (this thing is massive), but nothing was ripe there, either.

The big tomatoes are Celebrity, I believe.  It's been giving quite a lot of fruit.  Tasty.)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yay for Books!

Bug and I made it to the library and got our library cards today.  I kind of can't believe that it took so long for us to get around to getting them...but there's been a lot going on.  And I'm so excited that Bug has his own card!  At our old library he was still a smidge too young to have one of his own.

With today being our first visit, we were limited on the number of items that we were allowed to check out.  Five apiece.  Which was probably a good thing, otherwise we'd have come home with entirely too many books and CDs and movies.  As it was, we picked up four books and a video each.  (And had to put back a book to get the videos...but Bug was pretty excited about taking something home to watch, too.)

The library was nice.  Light and bright and open.  The librarians we spoke to were very nice and very helpful.  Everything was laid out nicely and things were easy to find.  The children's section was large and had a comfortable play and reading area.  Bug and I spent some time hanging out over there after we'd picked out what we were going to take home.

I was a little surprised, though, by some of the things they *didn't* have.  Not much selection for a few authors that I looked for specifically.  Like Jane Austin.  I got a craving for some Austin last week and the library had one book.  One.  But it was one I hadn't read yet, so I picked it up.  The other books I more or less chose at random.  I've had some pretty good luck doing that in the past.

Today's book list: Persuasion by Jane Austin, The Tattooed Map by Barbara Hodgson, Adventures of the Artificial Woman by Thomas Berger and (the one I'm a little loathe to admit to) Hex Appeal by Linda Wisdom.  To keep myself on track with getting through them before the due dates and so that they can perhaps lead me to other books/authors/etc, I'm making a mental promise to write a bit about each of them as I get through them.

Now, off to read...

Have You Ever...

...had that moment when you glance at the mirror and think "Wow, I have a LOT of gray hair"?  How does something like that just sneak up?  Gah.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dress Success!

Bug woke me up at 4 this morning.  (The big downside to his going to bed at 8:30 last night.)  Boo and Richard woke up at 5am.  Yikes all around.

Perfect day for some sewing.

I'd tentatively started on a sundress for Boo last night and got as far as cutting fabric.  I was able to get it all together this morning (with some help from Bug).  I want to make some small adjustments to the pattern, but overall I think I'm really happy with it.  Lots of compliments from the family so far and Boo's all snuggled up asleep in it right now, so I suppose that means she's comfortable in it. :)

Pardon the crappy picture.  Light wasn't good but I was trying to grab a photo between Boo nursing and napping, so I'm running with what I was able to get.

I already want to make another little dress for her.  ...After I get in a nap.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Must. Find. Outlet.

The last few weeks (erm, months?) have been a tad bit hectic/stressful/busy/crazy.  Choose your descriptive.

Bug is doing well.  Or, well enough.  There have been a LOT of changes in his life in the last two months, so some days are better than others.  We've been in a little bit of a rough patch the last two or three days or so, but today was better.  Given that there has been the same amount of chance in my life, I can't say that I've been responding well to his freakouts - which isn't helping.

Boo is doing very well.  Getting big and strong.  She's outgrown her teeny little preemie outfits and is starting to wear "real" baby clothes.  She puts away a LOT of milk and has started to chub up.  Her thighs are getting thick and chunky. :)  (Funny to me...Bug's filling out, too, now that I'm making new-baby milk again.)

My sister is AMAZING.  She's four days post-op and her doctor says she's healing really, really quickly.  She's already got full range of motion back.  My sister is Superwoman.  Which I've always known but this has proved yet again.

Great news from her surgery, too.  The genetic testing showed that she doesn't have the marker.  Her lymph nodes were benign so the cancer hadn't spread.  They were able to get it all out of her and she might not eve have to do chemo.  Yay!

And we bought a condo. (Or, Mom bought a condo and we'll be living in it.)  We haven't closed yet and there's a tiny bit of work to be done (a/c doesn't work - yikes!), but it's really exciting to know that we'll have someplace to really call home soon.  Not that we haven't been comfortable at Mom's, but it'll be nice to have our own space again, and I'm sure they'll be glad to have less chaos in their lives when we're not on top of each other all the time.

So, all in all, things are ultimately going well.

And I haven't had an outlet for any stress at all.  (Because yelling at Bug does NOT count as an outlet!)  I neeeeed to do something creative.  And soon.

I've fallen behind in my bee blocks.   I've got a few starts there, but nothing worth showing yet.

I decided today that I needed to either sew or bake.  So I looked up bread recipes and might try a honey wheat yeast bread tomorrow.  And I got a bug to make a little dress for Boo, so I started on that this evening.  I'm patterning it as I go, so we'll see how that goes.

And I think we're going to (finally!) get library cards tomorrow.  I don't have any time at all to read, but I really need to have something on hand that I CAN read.  If that makes any sense.

Hopefully there will be pictures of something soon...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

It Just Keeps Getting More Interesting Around Here


Not really sure how else to explain (in a nutshell) how things have been going around here of late.

Bug is doing well, considering that his world was turned on it's head less than two months ago and things haven't really straightened out for him yet.  He's loving hanging out with his grandparents and his cousins and has more or less accepted Boo.  He doesn't really like it so much when she's nursing or if I'm holding her when he's really upset, but otherwise he's affectionate and loving and a really awesome big brother.

We're still looking for a permanent place to live.  It's nice being here with my mom and step-dad, but it would be nice to be in our own space, too.  (And I'm sure they'd like to have their space back!)  We've looked at so many houses and condos that makes the head spin.  We've seen some really awesome places...and some really frightening ones, too.  Hopefully we'll see THE place soon. :)

In other news...

My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer this past week.  Unfortunately, I can't say it came as a terrible surprise.  Well, strike that.  It WAS a terrible surprise, just not terribly surprising.  There's a bit of in the family, including our paternal grandfather.  (Which is where everyone in the medical community makes a knowing "Ohhhhh".)  She's being terribly brave and I have no doubt whatsoever that she's going to kick cancer in the ***.  She has a double mastectomy planned for next week.  I'm really glad that we're here, now.

And, the icing, my niece turned up today with what appears to be either shingles or chicken pox.  We've been over there for the last two days helping to paint my sister's healing I'm pretty sure we're going to see the chicken pox here really soon.  I'm glad that Bug will get it out of the way so early, though I wish Boo were a little before she'd come into contact with it.  And I'm sad about the timing.  Bug's best friend is coming to visit from Texas next week.  They've been looking forward to it for weeks.  (As have Richard and I!  We miss our friends, too!)

Not much craftiness to talk about, I'm afraid.  Too much other stuff going on. ;)