Thursday, April 30, 2015

April 2015 Reflections

From the 2011 Year of Memories Brag Book by Dani Mogstad

Click pictures to biggify!

Read, Listened, Watched

Didn't do much reading; I think I finished one Sherlock Holmes short story (still working my way through those). Still hooked on listening to 40s on my satellite radio when I'm home alone (the boys don't seem to have the same appreciation for it that I do).

photo from Facebook
We tried watching Daredevil, but it is incredibly violent (more so than I am generally comfortable with; that is my issue, not the show's problem), and we're not really loving it (or even liking it much, which is a show issue, IMO). The characters are interesting, but I don't like any of them very much. I'll watch "bad" TV if I care about the characters, but I really don't yet after 3 episodes, and I'm not sure I want to sit through any more of it. It makes me sad. I really wanted to like it.

(affiliate links)

New Movies:
  • The Rocketeer (new for Luke) - he really liked it! Also his first real experience with Nazis, which made for some "fun" explaining
  • Poseidon - not bad for a remake
  • The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones - interesting, not bad, but not good really; at least I liked (most) of these characters!
  • Living With Lincoln - very interesting HBO documentary about family of scholars who followed/studied Lincoln, starting with the great-great grandfather who was a Union soldier.
  • I tried to watch Bridget Jones's Diary, but I didn't make it more than about 20-30 minutes in. I just could not get into it. I never really experienced that kind of single life, I didn't relate to anyone, and I didn't find any of the characters likable. I tried, I really did. I just found it blah and boring and not worth my time.

Old Favorites: Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Marvel's The Avengers (to prepare for Age of Ultron in May), Thor: The Dark World (not really needed for Ultron), Ender's Game, Edge of Tomorrow, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The LEGO Movie, Die Hard With a Vengeance, Fallen, Pleasantville, Big Hero Six, Up

Fun with Family and Friends

Always fun to visit with BIL and family in NC. I even snuck in a visit with my friend Leah as well, though I don't have a single picture to prove it! SIL managed to take one that has one of hers, one of Leah's, and my one and only in it. Does that count as proof? LOL

Milestones, Holidays, Special Events

Low key Easter spent with BIL and family. Luke also got to spend a whole day with his best friend over spring break (with the friend's mom graciously hosting so I could get some work done in peace; she earned cupcakes for her trouble).

The Everyday and Routine

Rain has certainly become a near-everyday occurrence. I know they say "April showers bring May flowers." If that's true, then all of Atlanta should be carpeted in flowers come May! I shouldn't complain, though, because the rain is helping a lot with my allergies. (Not sure the May flowers will help much, though.)

The Good, The Bad, The Unusual

So, this is new....

Wasn't sure where to put those ("unusual" or "special event"). Definitely good! He looks so cute. And grown up. Yes, clearly, you can do both at the same time! (Because I'm the mom and I said so.)

Luke also caught his first kid-pitched game.

And pitched his first ever game. Walked four straight (I think having an actual batter at the plate really threw him). We'll see if that gets any better. It's hard, though, when both practice and games keep getting rained out!

The discovery that Luke hadn't been turning in homework (that we had taken the time, pain, and agony to do, just couldn't be bothered to turn it in!) was very not good. Nor was the C on his progress report, the second one in a row. We've got to figure out how to nip that in the bud.

Filed under bad for me is allergies. I didn't think it was possible, but they actually got *worse* at the beginning of the month, and even worse when we went to NC, which I truly thought was out of the question. (BTW, 24-hour Allegra only lasts about 22 hours.) I think it was the dogwoods, but I'm not positive. Whatever it was, the several days on either side of Easter were horrid.

Progress on Goals

Goals? What goals? Who said anything about goals? I have no idea what you're talking about.... There was some birthday party planning progress, and I did do a touch of stitching (more on that in the WIPocalypse update in a few days). That's about it.
    Prompts by Katie the Scrapbook Lady.

    Currently feeling: a bit damp


    This is why I love my friends so very much. The following is a slightly edited Facebook conversation transcript, with names changed to protect the "medical privacy" of the victims. In case anyone considers it relevant, all participants in this conversation are female.

    Me: I'm pretty sure I'm coming down with Marvelitis. I believe Joss Whedon has developed a treatment for it that involves viewing sequenced images on a giant screen for approximately 3 hours. They are expecting a large outbreak, so they will be treating patients en masse at the movie theater. I think he can squeeze me in for an appointment on Friday afternoon. I'm sure I'll be feeling much better afterwards, though I expect an annual relapse during the first week in May for several years to come. Anyone else showing symptoms? #‎AvengersAssemble‬
    LF: Um, yes. We are making plans to stop on our way to DC this weekend to catch the movie! #obsessedmuch #didisquealduringagentsofshieldthisweek #yesyesyes
    AW: Yes!!! Sadly I have to delay my Joss treatment until Sunday due to being in CA an extra day for work.
    Me: An extra 2 days of suffering? Hang tough!
    AW: I suspect multiple treatments may be needed this month
    AWC: Saturday afternoon with my boys. EP has Grad Bash on Friday night and has been warned to be up and dressed by 2.
    WC: Yes, me too. My appointment is shared with 12 of my friends and will be next Friday at 4 pm.
    Me: Unfortunately, as a contractor, I don't get sick days. Thus I have to be very careful so that I can afford (the time for) screen treatments for various ailments (like Jurassicitis) I anticipate having this summer. Consequently, repeat treatments are generally out of my (time) budget. Weekends are also typically out due to my chronic condition called "child." ::sigh:: L does already suffer from Marvelitis, but he is currently too young for treatments. He should qualify in the next year or two, though, which will make scheduling future treatments much easier. (I might be having a little too much fun with this! LOL)
    JC: I have a similar chronic condition that is preventing me from seeking treatment at this time. I'm concerned because I think not being about to get treatment this weekend will prevent me from being about to watch a program about the inflection that helps with my symptoms.
    Me: We were in the same boat last year, JC. We could not continue with our weekly low dose home remedies because it took us either 3 or 4 weeks to have our full Captain-flavored treatment. It was torture watching them pile up on the DVR!
    JL: It's a pandemic. Massive breakouts here as well. Which reminds me, I need to go make our group appointment.
    AS: I've got the shakes regarding this. Unfortunately, with other things barring my ability to resolve this situation (because I could resolve it around 7:30 this evening, if I didn't have to bake 5 quarts of cookie dough for something tomorrow evening), I won't have a cure until Saturday morning.
    MS: We are planning on Friday night or Sunday, depending on how awful Friday is at work.
    JC: We are actually thinking of crossing state lines to be able to get our treatment sooner. But driving 1.5 hrs one way seems a bit much for dealing with our chronic condition.
    Me: Depends on the severity of your symptoms.
    CP: Alas, I know not when I may schedule an appointment for treatment. This weekend is filled with construction related tasks. Next weekend is consumed with moving children from college to their summer endeavors. And the weekend after that, I shall be in Vegas at a work conference. This puts me on a four-week delay for treatment. I may not survive. Pray for my recovery.
    AS: We shall have to all watch multiple times to make up for CP not being able to see it for awhile, and hope that the soothing vibes of our treatment reach her.
    VK: Agents of SHIELD is making me regret our decision to see it next weekend instead of this weekend...
    JL: Sounds to me like JC has an advanced case. Drastic measures must be taken to ensure her safety.
    Me: For those who cannot seek immediate relief, we shall pray to the Allfather in Asgard that the strength of Thor will sustain you until you receive proper treatment. (I was trying to get Stan Lee and/or Jack Kirby in there, but I couldn't make it work. I guess I could have gone with "The Creator.")
    LH: I have it !! I have been trying to keep it at bay by watching everything in order.
    KS: I am scheduled for treatment with my boyfriend for date night on Saturday.
    KW: I will be waiting until Sunday for treatment. Wedding shower at lunch then a little horse race in Kentucky will occupy my Saturday.
    Me: By the way, this just proves what I've always known. I have the best friends EVER! Thank you all for playing along.
    BB: DH and I had our appointment this evening. We are feeling much better now.
    LK: Isn't it nice to know the disease and the cure?
    BB: Warning. One of the side affects of early treatment is anxiety while you wait for others to get treatment so you can discuss it.
    Me: Truth!

    Currently feeling: in need of treatment

    Wednesday, April 29, 2015

    Wordless Wednesday - April 29, 2015

    Currently feeling: Star is unamused by the child's antics

    Monday, April 27, 2015

    Timing: A Conversation With Luke

    Me: Go do your 30 minutes of reading. Please use a timer this time.
    Luke: Can I use your phone?
    Me: No, use the cube timer.
    Luke: But I don't want to use that one!
    Me: Why not?
    Luke: Because it's so much slower!
    Currently feeling: silly child

    Sunday, April 26, 2015

    Cat Seeds

    I have no idea what is blooming and producing these fuzzy seeds, but they are everywhere. On Saturday, I noticed that one had landed in my (very dead) flower box. I joked with Luke, asking him what he thought would grow from it? "A kitty!" Well, what other answer should I have expected from him?

    Well, the joke was on me!

    THIS is what my husband found Sunday morning. Guess they really were cat seeds! (For the record, this is our neighbor's cat, though he frequents our property quite a bit, most commonly on the deck rail or on top of the carport columns.)

    Currently feeling: impressed!

    Wednesday, April 22, 2015

    Wordless Wednesday - April 22, 2015

    Currently feeling: Tigger the Rubber Band Slayer, with her 3rd "kill" in 2 days

    Saturday, April 18, 2015

    WIPocalypse 2015 - April 2015

    Ha! You thought I forgot, didn't you? I mean, I'm only, what, 2 weeks late? (We'll ignore the fact that I did nothing for March.) I haven't been stitching much due to another life project popping up and consuming most of my time. I'm out of the manic/frantic phase with that one, though, so my other interests are starting to reassert themselves. I thought I would just post the series of progress pics I have for each project "on the list" at the moment. You might notice that the February and April pictures look sadly similar for many of them. I'll do the topic question first, though.

    Topic: Which specialty stitches do you love doing on projects? Which do you dread?

    I like satin stitch and eyelets. I find any sort of "tacked" stitch (queen, lazy daisy, etc) very frustrating. I'm not so hot at buttonhole stitch; I can do it, but it's not smooth and rhythmic like it is for most people. I find it difficult to get everything to go right. And I cannot, for the life of me, do any kind of knot (except the unintentional ones that all stitchers loathe). French, bullion, doesn't matter. They either slip through to the back of the fabric, look so different from each other that it's embarrassing, or just look all kinds of wrong. If at all possible, I will substitute with beads.

    I've finally "upgraded" to using the Blogger photo uploader, so each photo is clickable to make it bigger and will bring up the "slideshow" so you can scroll through all of the pictures at once, if you want to. Enjoy!

    Titania, by Mirabilia
    I don't think I've made any progress on Titania since February. I find the wings frustrating, which means I shouldn't have left them for last, but too late now. I also need to start filling in the white on the dress. I left it to the end so it wouldn't get dirty/dingy while I stitched the rest of the stuff. I also like that I have a few "blocks" of color that I can just fill in instead of actually having to focus on the chart. That will come in handy later this summer when I meet up with some of my stitching friends. I would like to get some more done on the wings before then, though.

    Adia, by Mirabilia
    Definitely more visible progress each month on Adia. More dress on the bottom left, a little more wing on the top right, and lots of hair (with flowers)! I'm trying not to make the same mistake here that I did with Titania and work on the wings and the dress alternately.

    Taj Mahal, by Chatelaine
    More non-stitching progress on Taj Mahal. I couldn't start the piece until I cut off a section of the fabric (that I need for a different project). I don't sew, nor do I have a serger, so I decided to "finish" the edges with a nun stitch (which I've never done before, but it was super easy) and cut in between them. That's 54 inches of nun stitch over four (26 inches wide, two rows of it)! But it's done now, so I can *actually* start stitching on the fabric. YIKES!!

    Tiramisu, by Glendon Place
    No progress on Tiramisu since February. I've needed to swap this one to the larger q-snaps that I had on Baked Alaska (next picture!), since the rings are pretty large, but I hate moving/redoing q-snaps. As many years as I've been using them, I still find them frustrating to get straight and tight. But since I had to take everything off the snaps to take pictures, I can swap them and maybe get back to work on this one.

    Baked Alaska, by Glendon Place
    I made a little bit of progress on Baked Alaska since February, but it's hard to see in the flat overcast light. If you look closely next to the curved blue border on the far right, you can see that I filled in the "white stripes" just to the left of it, which is missing from the February picture. (I promise, it's more visible in person!) The coloring on the three photos looks radically different. I think the center picture is closest to reality, at least on my monitor.

    And lastly, just for fun:
    Plum Pudding, by Glendon Place
    This is actually the piece that started me down the Glendon Place Dessert Mandala road in the first place: Plum Pudding. The problem is, I couldn't find fabric I was happy with. I bought the recommended fabric initially (Sprite, by Picture This Plus, a blend of lavender and gray; this is 28 ct Lugana), but when I did the floss toss after receiving it, I thought the lighter colors would get lost on it. I bought 3 other purples to try, all of which were much too dark. I finally decided to reconsider the recommended fabric and at least try stitching the light colors on it to see what I thought (I've learned from the other two pieces that they can look much different when stitched than they did even from a floss toss). These are the two lightest colors of floss in the piece (plus a small dark patch to help with counting/placement), and I think they look great!I should have just trusted the designer's recommendation here. Ah well. Anyone need lightish-medium toned purple fabric? I have a plethora! LOL I don't intend to work on this one any more than this until at least one of the other two is either finished or much further along. (Yeah, we'll see how long that resolve lasts, especially since two of the friends I will be meeting with this summer have this one in progress and are much further along than I am.)

    Not sure if I'll have much (or any) progress to post in May, but I had some time today to actually take pictures, so I wanted to go on and do it. Hope to see you again with at least a little progress in 2-3 weeks!
    Currently feeling: embarrassed that I'm so late with so little progress to show

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015

    Wordless Wednesday - April 15, 2015

    Currently feeling: ready to make a special delivery of thank you cupcakes

    Sunday, April 12, 2015

    Summer Vacation - I'm Moving to Danville!

    That's it, I'm moving to Danville. I want my 104 days of summer vacation! (**See video at the end of this post for reference.) When we visited Disney this year, we rode the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train kid coaster at the Magic Kingdom. I realized while we were in line that it had been so long since Luke watched Snow White that he didn't remember much at all about it. I've been working on a list of things to do with Luke this summer, so I thought a "Disney movie refresher" might be a good plan.

    I decided to make a list of all of the movies - Disney or not, animated or not - that are in Luke's cabinet. I used the above pictures (plus a couple of others not shown) as reference. I was astounded by the final count: there are 80!!! And that's *not* including any of his TV shows or movies that live in the "regular" cabinet (like Star Wars and Harry Potter). Holy cow! Even watching one movie every day starting the first Saturday after he gets out and ending the Sunday before school starts back in August, we could not watch all of the movies in a single summer; we only get 79 days. Heck, watching one a week, we couldn't get through all of them in a year!

    Are we a big family of movie nerds or what?! LOL And I love it! We'll start with the ones I know we haven't seen in a while (Aladdin, Cinderella, The Emperor's New Groove, The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh), and we'll definitely cover the ones I don't think he's ever seen (like Dumbo and The Jungle Book). And did you notice? Snow White isn't even in the pictures! I can't seem to find our copy. Either it's misfiled in the regular cabinet, or I'll have to go spelunking for it in the basement. Wish me luck!

    **For those wondering where Danville is and/or what it has to do with anything, it's where Phineas and Ferb live (pay attention to the first few lines of the theme song):

    Currently feeling: ready to roll film

    Friday, April 10, 2015

    Why, Oh Why?

    Image from 123RF Stock Photo

    Up until now, Luke has almost never remembered to put the H after the W in most every "wh" word, but especially what, where, and which. The good news is that he is now putting that H almost all the time. The bad news is that he is also now *adding* an H after the W in way and watch, even though he's never put one there before! Maybe one day, we'll get it right.
    Currently feeling: holding out hope

    Wednesday, April 08, 2015

    Wordless Wednesday - April 8, 2015

    Currently feeling: azaleas (finally! and allergies, boo)

    Thursday, April 02, 2015

    Pill Popper

    Image from 123RF Stock Photo

    I've heard tons of stories about raising kids from my friends with older children. One story that seems particularly common is the (typical) nightmare of teaching them to swallow pills. I actually have fairly vivid memories of the first time I tried. I was staying with a lady from our church, and it seems like I was running a fever. She wanted to give me some Tylenol, but she only had the capsules (remember those, the kind with powder inside that you could pull apart? I'm dating myself). I couldn't swallow it; I'd never tried a non-chewable pill before, and the fact that it floated triggered my gag reflex. She ended up pulling it apart and mixing half the powder in a spoonful of applesauce. I don't really remember learning to swallow a pill later, but that particular experience stuck with me.

    Anyway, I realized several months ago that Luke is getting old enough that he will age (weight!) out of children's meds fairly soon, so we should probably start practicing the swallowing thing now, before it comes up. I'm good at swallowing them (I can take 4 Advil/Tylenol sized pills at once), but my husband nearly chokes on them one at a time. I wasn't sure which one of us Luke would take after. I literally have (had!) "teach L to swallow pills" written on our summer to-do list, using the suggestions from various friends to start with mini M&Ms and work up to the regular size, adding in applesauce or pudding if needed.

    Turns out, all my fretting was for naught. Luke is having bad trouble with allergies this year (as are most people I know, including myself!), so I bought him kids' chewable allergy pills, but he didn't like the flavor. All on his own, he asked if he could just swallow it whole (followed by plenty of water, don't worry). I said sure. He did it fine, no problem. "That was easy." Whew! Thank goodness he takes after his mom.
    Currently feeling: relieved

    Wednesday, April 01, 2015

    Wordless Wednesday - April 1, 2015

    Currently feeling: testing recipes

    (this recipe, using 1 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup peanut butter instead of butterscotch chips and peanut butter chips, respectively)