Monday, February 29, 2016

What I'm Into (February 2016)

Still not got my blogging mojo back, so lists and linkups are basically all I can manage.  Let's jump in with what I've been into this month/

The last books I've been reading were Grave Mercy (liked), Girl With all the Gifts (loved), Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (LOVE LOVE LOVED), In a Dark Dark Wood (really liked)
 (really liked ), Dream Thieves (liked) and Gone Tomorrow (heart eyes emoji Jack Reacher 4Eva- added bonus, this was a first person narrative, my fave for him.)

In my basket: Don't Look Back (called I'd Know You Anywehre in America, I think?) Blue Lily, Lily Blue, and Dark Triumph.  I'm reading The Quick right now and finally got to the part where I just CANNOT put it down.

I have (always) been watching way too much tv and movies. We rented Bridge of Spies. I will love Tom Hanks forever and ever amen.  That is all.  Five stars.

I watched Whiplash and I don't get it.  The guy was a horrible asshole and then Miles Teller...likes him? It was all worth it in the end? What? I sure do love drums though. And Miles Teller.  And JK Simmons.

Watched Focus one night when Nick was out- So good.  I love these kinds of movies.  Makes me think I should watch Ocean's Eleven? Margot Robbie is so gorgeous, I hope she doesn't ruin Suicide Squad for me.  Plus, Major Dad was in this!! Highly recommend.

How I Live Now- I also love movies like this.  It was no These Final Hours, but it was still VERY good.

Laggies got horrible reviews, but I thought it was tolerable.  I love Sam Rockwell. I mean, this isn't life changing cinema by any means, but it was a good way to pass the time while knitting one evening.

As far as telly, Nick and I binged The Tunnel and we both LOVED it.  I guess they're doing a second season? That's silly.  I was completely satisfied with the way it ended.

I've been watching The 100 while I sew upstairs and I LOVE it.  Apparently cheesy WB shows are my jam.  Where else do you get a world decimated by a nuclear holocaust, teenage love triangles, evil adults making vampires and harvesting children for blood and bone marrow, plus Desmond from Lost? I should really just go thru Netflix and find all the WB shows and watch them in succession.

I also binged Mr Robot and loved that. I think. I wasn't surprised by the 'twist' but I don't think we were supposed to be surprised? Who knows.  What I do know is that Tyrell Wellick is seriously one of the CREEPIEST characters ever.  He was right up there with Paul Spector for me, and you KNOW how I feel about Paul Spector.

I got a fitbit for Christmas so I go for a walk every day before I pick up the kids from school.  It takes me about thirty minutes to get around the block I walk, so I've been listening to podcasts. I've been thru all of Mystery Show and cannot explain the draw of that show.  It's so stupid, but so...poignant.  Does that make sense? When she's talking to the Ticketmaster guy about her Brittany tickets and he's like on the verge of tears? I was crying actual tears.  I do wish her name wasn't Starly though. Starlee? Either way, not a real name.

I also listen to Serial (duh), the Stuff You Should Know ones that I think might be interesting (blood types and caffeine- yes: the pyramids, not so much) and I just started some of the Mortified episodes and they are SO HILARIOUS.  Makes me wish I had some old journals to go thru.  IN PRIVATE.

I've been making so many quilts.

Not gonna lie, I'm a little bummed that I have YET to sell one!! I've gotten two custom orders recently, which is FABULOUS, but I want someone to want the ones I've already made!!! I love them and they're so rad, but there's only so many quilts you can have on your own couch.

Since I have completed two sweaters, I am obviously the greatest knitter ever born, so I've ordered yarn for two lighter weight projects I hope I can wear in California, the Summer's Lease by Laura Patterson and the East End by Alicia Plummer. My other sweaters were both Alicia Plummer so I'm a little nervous about reading a pattern by someone else, but I couldn't resist that lacy top part.  Although I wish it went all the way to the bottom of my boobs like an empire waist.  Too bad I actually know nothing about knitting and can't modify anything.

Anyway, still can't afford the designer yarns, so I ordered this DK in grey for the Summer's Lease and this fingering linen blend in a super pale celery for the East End.  I'm SO excited to get that package next week!!!

But first I need to finish my Wild Goose Shawlette, which I am LOVING.

Well, loving for the most part.  Last night I did my first of the eyelet rows and it took me FIFTY MINUTES.  And there are eleven total, plus each row gets longer and this could get tedious REAL quick.  But right now, I am still in love. I'm using this I Knit or Dye yarn I got in the city forever ago and planned to make socks with, but I think I'm all socked out, so I searched for a pattern that used just one skein of sock yarn and I *think* I can just squeak by with it.  We shall see.

What have ya'll been into this month?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Warren Ray

February twenty fifth, two thousand and nine.  The only time I showed up at the hospital, completely NOT in labor.  I didn't have a SINGLE contraction with that kid.

Warren Ray Engelbrecht wanted to stay RIGHT WHERE HE WAS, and honestly, I think he's been trying to get back ever since.

We had to wait ALL DAY for the OR to clear out and I had a BRAND NEW shiny blackberry, so I blogged here and here from my phone while we sat around NOT EATING and not having a baby.  Good times. A routine scheduled repeat c section isn't much of a birth story, but he sure was a cute baby.

Then we went home and our lives of being outnumbered by our offspring began.

At six month, poor Baby Dub had to move out of his house and into a new one a few states over, but on the upside we got to go meet The Bestie's baby.

Plus, we brought the same recliner that I took his picture with Scott in the day he came home.  Because I'm not a regular mom, I'm a cool mom.

Then right after he turned one, we moved him across the world to Guam. Look at how fricking BLUE his eyes are!!!

this will ALWAYS and FOREVER be my favorite phot

A month before he turned two we got fed up with being robbed on Guam, so we moved to a new house on base.  That's his FOURTH house before his SECOND birthday, if you're keeping track.

I miss our island life. The Guam one, not the Hawaii one.

I couldn't NOT put in this shot.  Unamused Warren is NOT amused.

Right before he turned three, we moved back across the world to his fifth house in Hawaii.  He didn't seem to mind.

This is when he started to look like the Warren we know now.  He's definitely my cutest kid.

Keeping with the tradition, we moved across the world over Christmas to London so he could celebrate his fourth birthday in his sixth house.

If Dub isn't your favorite of all my children, you are wrong.

Same house!!! Fifth birthday.  Believe it or not, we do have lights in this house.

Do you love his guitar?

Same house!! Sixth birthday!! The lights are on!! I forgot to buy wrapping paper so I used leftovers from Christmas!!!

Warren is indescribable.  He's so sweet, but mischievous, and so charming that he rarely ever gets into trouble.  He can work a crowd.
He's kind, quick to laugh and quick to get upset when someone hurts his feelings.  He just has SO MUCH personality.

But when I look at him, this is what I see.  Always.  Forever and ALWAYS.

Linking up with Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop with prompt #1, a memorable date.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Having Coffee

If we were having coffee, I'd be having mine iced bc I am sick of winter and fake it till you make it. Although I feel like that doesn't work with weather?

I would BEG you to help solve my itchy head problem. I don't have lice, I swear. And I don't have dandruff flakes. I just have an itchy head. I've had it a few times before, only in winter, so I'm assuming it's bc the heater dries out the air? But before, a few weeks of washing with neutrogena t gel was enough. Not so this year. The itchiness drives me to distraction!! What a stupid phrase, but it fits. I think about it constantly, and at night when I'm sleeping and can't control myself (and sometimes during the day bc let's face it- self control isn't my strongest suit) I scratch hard enough on my forehead hairline to draw blood.


 So fix it, please. Maybe your Google will come up with something my google hasn't. I've got the t gel. Maybe the British version isn't the same? It sure smells the same. Gross. I've ordered some peppermint and tea tree oil shampoo but that was completely useless. So now I pour a huge dollop of that in my hand and add three drops each of tea tree oil and peppermint oil and then scrub that all over and leave it on as long as I'm in there.

 No idea if it's helping or not. Ugh. It really itches y'all!!!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Show Off Saturday

I'm having a terrible time getting my blogging mojo going, so let's just dive right in with some recent finishes.

My second sweater was the Campside Cardi by Alicial Plummer.  I'd bought the pattern and ordered the yarn for this even before I finished my first sweater and it took me a little over three months to get off the needles and I love it.

I used Drops Belle in Beige (9) and I liked it.  I'm not experienced enough to feel like it's awkward to handle cotton yarn or anything, and I love that it doesn't make me itchy.  You know how I have skin issues. I made the 39 and ordered (I think) thirteen skeins and I have two full skeins left that I didn't even open.

I've been wearing it nonstop since I made it.  It's not incredibly warm (bc it's cotton and linen...) and the back neck part is annoying bc it droops down too far, but I don't know what to do next time around to stop that from happening. The sleeves could be a tad longer, but the length is perfect in the body to cover my butt when I'm wearing yoga pants.  Winning.

My next finish was my hexies quilt.

I want to link to a tutorial, but I really sort of just winged this one.  I scoured pinterest for ideas but the tutorials I found didn't really explain it very well and I'm still quite confused.  I wanted bigger hexies but I only have a 60 triangle ruler and when I tried to make them taller or something, they were really awkward.  So I ended up tearing my strips three inches tall then cutting the half hexies from that, then placing them together like so.
This quilt was out to get me from the start.  Took me forever to lay them out, I got SO confused chain piecing the rows, the rows didn't line up properly when I joined them, and the finished top was a hot puckery mess.

Naturally, quilting it didn't solve all those problems.  However when it was DONE, I actually gasped in pleasure.  Like no lie GASPED.  The lines on the back make triangle pizza pieces and it's just GORGEOUS.  I love it.

I love it.  But it was still a beast to make I won't be sad when someone (finally) buys it and I can get it out of my house and (hopefully) my head. I used the Leah Duncan for Art Gallery Morning Walk collection that I got ages ago from Pile O' Fabric with coordinating Kona solids, but she's been super sick with her pregnancy and doesn't have many bundles left anymore. For the back I used my favorite Minky Cuddle 3 in Sunshine. Binding was strips leftover from the bundle of Morning Walk

I've also been a bag making machine over here, mostly bc I was trying out new ways to put in the zippers.

I mostly stick with Noodlehead's tutorial.  It's written for the wide open versions, but it works for regular ones too, which I prefer slightly.  I just can't seem to get the left side zipper as neat and tidy as I want it, and I'm sick of trying to figure it out.

Fabrics are mostly what I had laying around, plus a few fun purchases of this gorgeous teal geometric print and this Mountain Man green (made that name up) that doesn't photograph well but is actually REALLY cool looking. Ohhh, and I just saw it comes in a teal version too that I want.  Great. The fabulous leaves are another Art Gallery print (apparently I'm very hip and trendy with all my Art Gallery) and I've got a lot of that left for a few more. Zippers are all from Zipit on etsy and I cannot recommend her enough, she's perfect. You can't see my labels in any of those pics, but I also want to give a shout out for Bonnie at One Eyed Bee. She's so amazing with customer service and proofing my design and making sure it will work (I'm still not very computer savvy.  At all.) and the labels are perfect, no fading, easy to work with.  Plus, tons of options.  Can't recommend enough.

Linking up with Sew Can She.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Having Coffee

If we were having coffee this morning, I'd tell you about my plan to bring backpacks back. It's not so much a plan as me sitting around wishing backpacks were cool, but whatevs. 

I don't mean cute stylish leather 'backpacks' a la Kelly Moore. I mean like a jansport. Preferably one with that strap that goes around your waist to help keep your shoulders from hurting.

Yesterday we went downtown and now that the kids are older, I seriously have like a one one hundredth of the shit I used to have. No diapers or wipes or changes of clothes or bottles and formula or any of that nonsense praise the Lord hallelujah forever and ever amen babies are the worst. But. I still had a teddy bear, my book and my sock knitting bag, Ava's book, various papers they colored along the way, a plastic cup full of Lego, Chapstick and mascara, my wallet and phone, a pair of tights and a scarf and a hoodie for Daisy plus my own cardi and a few snacks and a pocket pack of unbranded Kleenex and half a bag of cough drops. All in my purse and draped over my arms. Pulling on my neck. Keeping me basically handcuffed.

Imagine if I'd had my old jansport!!! I coulda brought even more stuff!! And the papers wouldn't get smushed at the bottom!! I'd be The Mom Who's Always Got it Together and Has a Spare of Anything You Could Possibly Want Plus Her Hands Are Always Free!!

It would be so cool!! And I'm not talking about like for trips or special days like going to the county fair or something.  I'm talking about all day every day.  Like, the backpack would actually be my purse.

But I don't want to look ridiculous. I don't want to be The Overweight Woman Wearing a Stupid Backpack With That Hip Strap Cutting Into Her Muffin Top. Or The Mom Who Doesn't Even Realize Backpacks Are For Twelve Year Olds, Bless Her Heart.

I wish I were a celebrity. Then I'd stand a chance at bringing backpacks back.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Book Reports: The Weight of Blood, In a Dark Dark Wood, The Swimmer, and Ready Player One

No idea where I got this recommendation for The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh, but I loved it.  It was perfectly written and somehow terrifying, even though it wasn't a 'scary' type book. I only docked a star bc I wasn't in love with the ending- it was sort of anti-climatic. It was very believable, bc apparently life doesn't often get wrapped up with a bow, but I wanted something a tad more spectacular. And let's add the Ozarks to the list of places I'll never go. Although I sure would love a Birdie in my life.

From the back of the book: People still whisper about Lucy Dane's mother who vanished years ago from the town of Henbane, deep in the Ozark mountains.

When one of Lucy's friends is found murdered, Lucy feels haunted by the two lost women: by the mother she never knew, and the friend she couldn't protect.

But her search for answers, in a place where secrets are easily concealed, leads her to a chilling discovery.

And with this revelation, she must grapple with the meaning of family, the secrets we keep, and the lengths we will go to protect the ones we love.

Next was In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware.  I just happened to see this near the desk at the library one day and it looked cool, so I snatched it up- that almost NEVER happens for me!! I'm a planner, I hit the library with my list of fifteen books I've already looked up and I usually don't stray at all.  

But this was a quick easy read and it was so good!! So much better than that horrible Girl on the Train. Highly recommend. I figured out whodunit right away, but honestly, that didn't take away from the story for me at all.  And people have been saying how much they didn't like Nora- say wha....?!?! I thought she was fine!! Certainly better than that awful Rachel.  Man I hated that Girl on the Train. 

From the back of the book: Nora hasn't seen Clare for ten years. Not since the day Nora walked out of her old life and never looked back. 

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen party arrives. A weekend in a remote cottage - the perfect opportunity for Nora to reconnect with her best friend, to put the past behind her. 

But something goes wrong. 

Very wrong.

And as secrets and lies unravel, out in the dark, dark wood the past will finally catch up with Nora.

Then came The Swimmer by Joakim Zander, which I learned about on one of those random facebook articles about NPR's book recommendations or some such nonsense.  It was fine.  My initial review was wishy washy and it still stands: Didn't love it, didn't hate it. Good story, decent writing. Didn't make my skirt fly up, but there wasn't anything really wrong with it. Different strokes for different folks? Sure did make me want to visit Swedish archipelagos though. It reminded me a little of The Expats, but it was waaaaay better than that. 

From the back of the book: On a remote Swedish island, a little girl, Klara, grows up without a father. Now, twenty years later, she discovers a secret: a secret that powerful men will kill to keep hidden. 

On the other side of the world, an old spy hides from his past. He used to be the best agent in the field. These days the only thing he lives for is swimming in the local pool. 
Then, on Christmas eve, Klara is thrown into a terrifying chase across Europe. Only the Swimmer can save her. But time is running out...

And to wrap things up, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.  Am I the last person alive to read this? Probably.  And the only reason I finally grabbed it was bc I found out Spielberg was directing the movie with my beloved John Williams doing the music, so I had to see what the fuss was about. 

I dunno. It was well written. And I love the main character. But the premise reminded me a lot of Shovel Ready, only Shovel Ready was waaaay better. Maybe if I'd seen the movies they did? Or played a video game? I do think it will make a FANTASTIC movie. I just never got the feeling that it was real world life or death like it was supposed to be. Can't wait to find out who they cast as Sorrento. I, naturally, am picturing Timothy Ophalent from Die Hard Four.

I feel bad that I'm not fangirling all over it.  But there you have it. 

From the back of the book:  In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. 
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.
Linking up with Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop with what I thought was a prompt for book reviews, but I think I got it wrong.  Oh well.  Cest la vie? Edited to add that she did a book review too, so apparently I didn't just make that up! Hooray me!!

Monday, February 1, 2016

What I'm Into (January 2016)

Should I go ahead and embarrass myself by broadcasting to the four of you how much time I spend rotting my brain in front of a screen? Eh, why not.

I watched quite a few movies, if I do say so myself.  Nick and I rented The Walk, which was terrifying and I mostly watched it like this...
Why would two people who are terrified of heights rent this movie?!?! It was really good, aside from the terror.  I just love Tommy Solomon.  Did you ever see Brick? Now THAT'S a good movie. I sort of want to watch Man on Wire bc I'm hoping since it's a documentary it won't have those sweeping shots from way up high? Who knows.

I watched I Origins one night when Nick was out and I loved it.  I just love Brit Marling in general.  I can see a lot of people not liking it, but I like her and I love her movies.  Another Earth is my fave, but honestly, I liked all of them a lot.  I haven't seen the Keeping Room yet though. And I love the guy in it, can't think of his name, but he was one of the creepos in that Murder By Numbers, remember that?

I went to the movies three times (!!!) and saw The Danish Girl, Revenant, and Room. I liked Danish Girl enough, but I thought the Stephen Hawking one was better, and as much as I love Jack Jackson (and I love him a LOT) this movie was exactly like Stephen Hawking in that the wife was even just a smidge better than he was.  Revenant was so good- when it was over, I was like wow that was amazing but then on the ride home I was trying to put my finger on what exactly was so amazing about it.  No idea, it was just cool.  The scenery was amazing, Tom Hardy was amazing, Domhall Gleeson is my main squeeze and Leo just blew me out of the water.

And Room?!?! Forget it.  Easily the best book to movie adaptation I've ever seen- an honor previously held by Gone Girl.  I was sobbing through most of the movie, even though I've read the book twice.  That boy was AMAZING.  Mind blowing even.  When I heard they were making a movie, I thought well that's stupid, there's no way a real five year old can pull off Jack but this kid did it.  I doubt he was actually five, but that's not the point.  It was amazing.

And while I do love movies, my true love will forever be television.  I just LOVE tv, yall.  I really do.

We got the kids an Xbox for Christmas, which means we can watch Amazon Prime downstairs, which means Nick and I binged all of Man in the High Castle over like three days.  Was it good? Eh, I'm not entirely sure.  While we were watching it, it was SO GOOD.  I wasn't expecting Frank to be my favorite, but Frank was TOTALLY my favorite.  I could have done without Jules or Joe, truth be told.  I loved the Trade Minster and...the Nazi.  I KNOW!!! How can you love a Nazi?!?! Ugh. I feel dirty even thinking about it.  

Anyway, it was so good while we were watching it, but then we found out that it was going to have another season.  I think that took a lot of the fire out of it for me.  It would have been so good as a miniseries or something.

I don't know.  Made me want to read the book, but I've heard it's not that great? Maybe I'll just rewatch the Adjustment Bureau.   I really did love Frank though.  He was the most believable to me, you know? I feel like most people wouldn't be radicals or Nazis, they wouldn't be ALL on one side or ALL for the other.  Most people, regular people, would be caught in the middle, knowing that it's wrong but not wanting to rock the boat and get their sisters and her kids gassed.

I've been watching The Frankenstein Chronicles on ITV Encore during lunch.  I don't know what I thought it was going to be about (um, Frankenstein and his monster?) but it's about a detective and some gruesome child murders (they bodies are pieced together a la Frankenstein) and Anna Maxwell Martin is Mary Shelly, who's already published Frankenstein.  And basically, I would watch Anna Maxwell Martin sit down and eat a sandwich, so I like it.

Nick and I have been watching Blindspot (in real time!! One episode a week!! What a bunch of chumps!!) and it's good.  Ridiculous and off the wall, but good.  And Kurt Weller is gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous.

And lastly, I binged all of Firefly and the Serenity movie at the end. I liked it.  Let me get that on the record first- I LIKED FIREFLY.  That being said...I'm not sure it's AS GOOD as all the nerds would have you believe.  I mean, it was good.  But was it THAT GOOD? Not really.  Maybe if it'd gotten to go for longer, it could have been as good as they want it to have been, but as it fell a tiny bit flat for me.  Zoe and Wash? I loved Wash (obvi) but the writers never really gave me any reason to think they'd ACTUALLY be together, other than writing 'these two are together and they love each other.' I need more than that.  And up until the very end, Jayne was still trying to sell out River and Simon? Really? I'm not buying it.

So yeah.  That's what I was into for January, at least screenwise.  Linking up, as always, with Leigh Kramer.