A Coworker’s Advice

Glenn said, “Write something

each day, even if merely

a lonely haiku.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Every Thursday a Holiday

I’ve decided that Thursday shall now be known as “Picard Day,” because Thursdays are when new episodes of Picard come out. Having been able to stream TV shows on demand for years, I find it so annoying to have to wait a whole week between episodes. But it’s good for me and good for my opinion of the show. We cherish the things that are slowly doled out to us and care less for things we have in abundance. Picard Day gives me something to look forward to. Each episode is like a reward for having made it so far into the week. Happy Picard Day!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

From My Phone

While working on my photo album this weekend, I remembered that I had some pictures on my phone that I wanted to include. So, for the first time since 2017, I took the effort to transfer pictures from my phone to my computer. Among them were these two.

Even Stop & Shop is trying to gaslight us!

The library cares! This sweet note was hanging in the fiction section at my local library. Messages included “You are amazing,” “You matter,” “You are talented,” “You are loved,” and “You are appreciated.”
Posted in Out and about | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Small Successes

I’ve struggled to get anything worthwhile done today, but I did at least write in my journal, blog, make the bed, do the dishes, and finish an art project.

Art Project Additions: Grass and Fairy
I’m so glad to have finished this art project. Now I have at least one piece to enter into the contest. Phew!
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It Never Ends!

Watching The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers last night I was struck by how many times the movie seemed like it ought to be coming to an end but instead kept chugging along. The third movie suffers from the same kind of awkward pacing at the end, as I recall. It might simply be an unavoidable consequence of having so many story lines to tie up.

I also have to say that, having come to expect more diversity on the screen, it is now a strange experience to watch a film in which nearly everyone has blue, gray, green, or hazel eyes, fair skin and light-colored hair. The story was written by a white guy about white guys, but even so, it seems wrong now for it to be so full of white guys. I wonder if the movie would be cast differently if it were made today, and how people would react either way.

There were some eye-color exceptions, though, including one very interesting one: Legolas, played by Orlando Bloom. I amused myself by monitoring Legolas’s eye color throughout the film and yelling “Gotcha!” when we finally reached a scene in which his eyes were brown. I had noticed the eye-color shift the last time I watched one of the LOTR films, and I looked it up on the Internet. Apparently the blue contact lenses bothered Bloom while filming, so he didn’t always wear them. Consequently we are treated to glimpses of his perfectly beautiful brown eyes from time to time.

These criticisms might make it sound as if I don’t like the movie, but that’s not the case. I’m still a fan. As with any film that you watch over and over again, you’re likely to notice different things about it during each viewing and to have evolving opinions.

I’m looking forward to the third film, which we plan to watch later this week.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Long Weekend

  • This weekend I finished my fourth book of the year. Since I aspire to read a book per week, I should be at 6 or 7 rather than 4, but I could still easily catch up with a few quick, lightweight novels. Last night I started A Wee Murder in My Shop by Fran Stewart. It qualifies as lightweight. So far, the quality is about what you’d expect for a cozy mystery, which is to say not the finest, but it’s suiting my lazy mood.
  • I had the day off today (Presidents’ Day), so I spent some of it with the kids. We worked on art for our February Art Contest. I wonder if they’ll grow up and be shocked to find out that it’s not a typical thing to have family art contests, and they’ll be like, “Wait, what? You mean that’s not a thing?”

Here is how my art project looks so far:

The theme for this month’s art contest is trees. My project is made from construction paper (background) and twisted/crumpled tissue paper (tree). I’m not sure how well it comes across in this picture, but the tree is entirely three-dimensional. I like it the way it looks now, but I might add more to it later this week.
  • I spent most of yesterday hanging out in Putnam with my friend Sprite. We did all the usual Putnam activities, starting with a delicious lunch. She had French toast and I had a Hawaiian-themed combo that included ham, fried pineapple, eggs, hash browns, and mango aioli. The food there is always decent and sometimes amazing. Yesterday was one of the amazing days. Sprite and I caught up on things happening in our respective lives and in politics as we lunched, took our traditional walk along the river, and checked for interesting books in the Little Free Libraries. We capped off the afternoon with hot beverages at the cafe, where we talked about old times, including English teachers of yore. It’s a rare and wonderful thing to be friends with someone for so long that you can talk not only about the present and the recent past, but also about the Way Back. We had as good luck with our beverages as we’d had with our lunches. Sprite had a delicious-looking cherry concoction topped with whipped cream. I had a lavender London Fog, which was unexpectedly yummy. Putnam is a great place to visit, and there is no one I’d rather spend a day with than Sprite.
  • I had hoped to take down the Christmas tree and finish my 2019 photo album, but those things didn’t happen. That’s OK. It just means I know what I’ll be working on next weekend.
  • Tonight is family movie night. We’ll be watching the 2nd LOTR movie. Movie time is at 7:30, so I gotta go!
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mermaids, Poetry, and the Scots Language

Currently reading:

  1. The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler: this is a story about a young girl who discovers that she’s a mermaid. The book had good reviews, so I borrowed it from the library for Livia. She liked it enough to ask for the sequels. I decided to read it, too. It’s cute, but I do not love it. I’m glad that it’s short and that I’m nearly done with it.
  2. The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes edited by Arnold Rampersad: this year I’m actively celebrating Black History Month by reading some works written by authors of color. In high school, I was assigned Hughes’s poem “Mother to Son,” which I liked then and still remember all these years later. I haven’t read anything by him since, though, and it’s high time that I did. On a side note, I hope my high-school English teacher, Mrs. H., received some sort of karmic reward for being such a good teacher. The books and poems I read in her class had a profound effect on me, though it’s only now as an adult that I’ve come to understand that, and I am grateful.
  3. Chairlie and the Chocolate Works (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, translated into Scots): My progress on this book has been slow, but not because I’m not enjoying it. It’s actually a great deal of fun. It’s taking longer because I need to be near my computer when I’m reading, so that I can look up unfamiliar words. Scots is readable to me because it is, if not a dialect of English, certainly very closely related to English, but I don’t know all the vocabulary (BTW, some people argue that Scots is a dialect, and others argue that it’s a language in its own right, and I am not qualified to judge, so I’m not going to jump into the fray). I can guess at the meaning of most words, but for truly unusual words (e.g., “kenspeckle,” “glaikit,” etc.), I usually stop and look them up. It’s an interesting challenge to read the story this way, and I don’t mind the slow progress.
Posted in Reading | Tagged | Leave a comment

No More Unfinished Projects!

My new cross-stitch supplies and patterns are sitting on my desk. That’s not a good place for them. If I leave them there, eventually I will lose something. Needles are particularly bad to lose, because of the painful ways in which they might be found later. My sewing box is small, so I can’t put the stuff there. My needlework bag would be ideal, but it already has a lot in it, including some unfinished projects.

There’s this unfinished project:

This cross-stitch project is close to being done. I haven’t worked on it in years, but the needle is still in the fabric, just waiting for me to pick it up again.

Also this one.

This was supposed to be a gift (a pair of matching pillowcases).
The pile of unused embroidery floss makes the image sadder to me, because it symbolizes all the effort, expense, and hope spent on readying a project that I gave up on almost immediately.

I stopped to think about this for a while, and I’ve decided that the best thing to do is to make room in the bag by removing the old projects. For now, I will put them in my grandmother’s bag, next to her unfinished project. That sounds gloomy, because she’s dead and consequently never going to finish hers, but my goal is simply to put them somewhere safe, where they won’t be lost or damaged. There they will be also be in good company. My grandmother seemed to favor the simplicity of cross-stitch, but she could do fancier needlework, too, and prettily. And there they will not be a constant reminder to me of my unfinished tasks.

But, assuming I ever finish my current project, I should go back and either finish or dispose of the other two. Then I should either finish or dispose of my grandmother’s unfinished project, because yeah, it’s gloomy. Then I should finally clean and frame her two finished projects. My fear of accidentally ruining them is keeping me from enjoying them.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Cross-Stitch Project

As I mentioned yesterday, I recently bought a set of Calamityware dishes. Calamityware looks like traditional willow ware, but each design includes things that are odd and/or calamitous, like robots, aliens, black holes, sea monsters, etc. I like it because it’s funny and a little bit rebellious. Since I’m planning to use the dishes mostly for Thanksgiving, I started looking online for Thanksgiving decorating ideas that would go well with willow blue. I came across some crafty websites with ideas for embroidering napkins. The designs were nice, but too traditional (read: boring).

But then it occurred to me, what if I were to create cross-stitch patterns to match my plates? I liked the idea of adding my own personal touch. Anybody can shop. Anybody with money can buy things. I don’t want to be just anybody.

I wasn’t sure I could pull it off, but I decided to give it a try. I took a photo of one of the plates, isolated one of the design elements and gridded it to use as a guide. I bought blue and white embroidery floss and a small embroidery hoop. I researched how to cross-stitch onto a fabric that doesn’t have easily counted threads. I found a technique that I thought might work, and I applied it to a cloth napkin that I happened to have lying around. Here is the result:

Zombie Poodle Cross-Stitch
(based on a Calamityware design)

Silly me, I accidentally stitched the zombie poodle upside-down (its head is near the corner, but it ought to be the other way around), and the back of the piece (not shown) is a mess. I definitely need to practice. But I only stitched it as a proof of concept, and I wasn’t expecting it to look nearly as good as it does. Even my husband is impressed.

Steps For Finishing This Project:

  1. Pick a material for the napkins. The options are linen, cotton, linen-cotton blend, cotton-polyester blend, and polyester. There are a lot of factors (look and feel, absorbency, durability, price, ease of care, etc.). The only thing I’m certain of is that I don’t want 100% polyester. I will need to buy quite a few napkins, so it’s a big decision.
  2. Pick a color for the napkins. I’m leaning toward white, but my husband is leaning toward blue. The only thing I’m certain of is that we won’t pick mustard yellow (that’s the color of my practice napkin, and it happens to be one of my least favorite colors).
  3. Maybe buy a different white embroidery floss. I probably won’t need a lot of white (the zombie poodle design has just that one large white X), but the floss I bought turned out to be polyester, and it’s unpleasant to work with.
  4. Test the color-fastness of the blue floss. It’s probably fine, but better safe than sorry. I might run the napkin through a regular wash and dry to see how well it takes that treatment.
  5. Practice! I had some problems with keeping my stitches even, anchoring the thread ends, and avoiding knots in the floss. I also managed to get my threads caught on the hoop-tightening mechanism several times. The back of a cross-stitch design is usually not an issue, but it will be for this project, because napkins get flipped over, and the stitches must be secured properly because napkins also get washed. I know perfection is unattainable, but there’s plenty of room for improvement.
  6. Create more designs. I randomly picked the zombie poodle, and I think it’s awesome, but I don’t want all of the napkins to have zombie poodles on them. I want to have at least a few more designs, if not one for each plate.

My deadline is Thanksgiving. That seems like a long way away, but already January is over, and I’m in shock, as I always am, to see February come so quickly. I’d better hustle!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Creeping Blue

It started with the great room, where we painted the walls dark blue. Then the blue spread to our bedroom. Now the blues, creeping from one room to the next, have reached the kitchen and dining room via our new willowware dishes.

Calamityware Sea Monster Plate
Each of the 12 Calamityware dinner plate designs has a different calamity. The sea monster is one of my favorites, but they’re all awesome.

It was totally unexpected, the sudden urge to buy new dishes, but when I saw an ad for Calamityware in my Facebook feed, I fell in love. I also didn’t expect my husband to like them, but he did. Faced with the prospect of having to entertain the whole family next Thanksgiving, splurging on dishes seemed like a perfectly reasonable idea to us. So we bought ourselves a set of Calamityware. And when you have nice dishes, you need other nice things to go with them, so . . .

Fancy New Stuff

Now we have these fancy blue goblets, crystal water glasses, and shiny new flatware. The table runner and place mats will likely be blue, too. And since it’s time to repaint and redecorate the dining room, we’ll probably add some blue elements to match the dishes (curtains and and chair cushions, perhaps). The blue just keeps on creeping.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment