Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Annnnnd... I'm back!

Oh, hello.

It has been a while. I mean, dang. A long time.

I just haven't felt like writing. Do you know what I mean? Occasionally, I'll come up with something I want to write about, but then I just don't feel like actually sitting down at the computer. I can always come up with something better, more productive or more exciting to do. It is springtime, though, so here I am. Perhaps I am coming out of a hibernation state like all of the plants around here. Could be.

I have a LOT to catch you up on, life-wise. I'm not even sure what direction I'll be taking this blog in the future, but I'm hoping to write more frequently.

For now, I will say... Happy Earth Day! Go hug a tree.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Monthly Book Roundup: October

Ah, October. It seems like it was so long ago, but it most certainly was not. I read some delightful things in October. They were:

Coastal Summons by Katrina Thomas
The Life of Objects by Susanna Moore
The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman
Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson & Her Family's Feuds by Lyndall Gordon

Not a lot of reading material, I suppose, but I enjoyed everything. Especially The Lost Wife. I'm a sucker for WWII stories. The Gordon book was very interesting, but it took me ages to get through it. That drives me crazy.

What did you read in October?

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Happy Ending

Does it seem like 90% of things that pop up on the news lately are depressing? Senseless violence, natural disasters, etc. You know. It sucks. Today, I got to see something really happy, though, and it kind of redeemed some of the terrible things.

A little bit after I got home, I heard a dog barking outside. I stepped out to see if it was one of my neighbor dogs because I like them and I always try to say hi to them and their human counterparts. The barking was coming from my next door neighbors' house. I started talking to the dog in question, thinking it was their funny old beagle, Cleo. Then I looked over the fence. It was not Cleo, but a little fluffy white creature. Karen, one of the neighbors, came out and explained that Kathy, her housemate, had found the dog (minus a collar, unfortunately) on her way home and brought it to the house until she could find its owner.

I helped Kathy find the non-emergency number for the police station near where she'd found the dog. She called them, but no one had called about a missing dog. I posted a found dog ad on Craigslist, accompanied by a funny little picture of our new friend. After spending a little time with the pup, it seemed to me that he might be blind. I recognized the way he was acting very confused and not coming over to me when I called. His eyes, when I could catch a glimpse of them, were cloudy like my dog Onyx's eyes were when she lost her sight (RIP Onyx. She passed away when I was in high school and I still get emotional thinking about her). 

At first, I thought that the foundling was a girl and decided to try calling her Judy. And then I saw that she was definitely not a girl. Ha! Kathy suggested that we call him Gerald. I agreed that that was good, but I wanted to try some other options. I tried calling him:

-Kleenex Box

He sort of responded to both Gerald and Punchbowls, soooooo I started calling him Gerald Punchbowls. It killed me.

Anyway, anyway. I went home and only a few minutes later, Kathy came over to tell me that the police dispatcher called her. The owner had made contact!!!! We learned then that our little friend was about 15 years old and known as Peaches. We got the address of his family and were going to head over there when we got a phone call from them. I was hanging out there with Peaches, trying to keep him calm, when someone came to the door. 

I answered it and the woman standing there looked so cautiously hopeful that I just immediately blurted out, "Are you here about the dog?!"

She looked so relieved. "Are you Kathy?"

"I'm not," I said, "but she's inside and so is Peaches."

When Peaches made his way to the foyer to greet her, she just started sobbing. She explained that he'd made a mess in the house while she was at work and, while she cleaned it up, she put him in the yard. He doesn't usually escape, but he did this time, and since he is so old and blind, he got lost and confused. She honestly didn't think that she'd see him again and had called her daughter, the one who named him Peaches at the age of eleven, to tell her that Peaches was gone. Her joy and relief was contagious. 

When I got back to my house, I was just overwhelmed. Isn't it amazing that something so simple as reuniting a dog with his family can be so wonderful and happy? I can't imagine the relief that her daughter must have felt when her mom called to say that Peaches had been found safe and sound. Not all stories have a happy ending like this. I'm glad I got to see this one.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Spinach Tortellini Soup

A few weeks ago, I whipped up some spinach tortellini soup for a weekend meal, recipe courtesy of Tracy over at shutterbean.com. It. Was. Awesome. 

It was incredibly easy to make, it tasted like I had spent hours slaving over the stove making it, and (maybe best of all) Boyfriend loved it. He said it tasted almost exactly like the pasta fagioli his grandma would make him when he was small. That, my friends, is a high compliment.

What I'm telling you is that if you make this soup, not only will your stomach thank you, but your family will love it and make you feel like a rock star. PLUS, this has delicious pasta in it. I don't think we have to address why that is amazing. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Monthly Book Roundup: September

September was a fairly calm month in terms of reading. Meaning I did not bulldoze over a million books this time. Sad, but true. The ones I did read were pretty great, though. They were:

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
Code Talker by Chester Nez
The Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley
Austenland by Shannon Hale
The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart

I think I have something to say about all of these. First of all, I read Birdsong because I saw the Masterpiece series pop up on Netflix and I thought, "Well, I have to read the book before I can watch this." So I read the book. It was not exactly what I expected, but it was pretty enjoyable. I think the series is no longer on Netflix, which is a bummer, but I may be able to watch it through Amazon instant video. We'll see.

Side note, when I went to IMDB to get the link for the Birdsong series, I saw this trailer and got all teary-eyed and I think I probably need to see this:

Yay? Nay? What do you think?

Anyway. Back on track... I really enjoyed reading the Chester Nez book. His life has been an amazing one and it was really exciting to read about the use of the language of the Navajo in codes during the second world war. The Girl on the Cliff was kind of ehhhh for me. Know what I mean? I liked parts of it, but I was most certainly not blown away.

I read Austenland because Amanda and I had plans to go see the movie and I wanted to compare the two. For the record, the movie is nothing at all like the book. I mean it. Very, very little is the same. The book was very cute and I liked it. The movie was... ridiculous. Amanda and I laughed our heads off, but mostly because it was just insane. I think the movie wasn't trying to take itself too seriously, which really helped.

The Circular Staircase was the book club selection for September. I enjoyed it. Partially because the author, as I may have mentioned at some point, is from Pittsburgh, and partially because it was just a darn good story. I'd recommend it.

Ikea Dream House

Do you ever get jealous of the fake houses in the Ikea catalog? 

You don't? Oh... 

Neither do I. Nope. Not ever. 

The rooms they make up just look so wonderful! I love my house and I'm happy with the way we are working on making it lovely and ours, but damn. Ikea. You make me crazy. I want all the things.

It is a good thing my sister is an interior designer. I can use her brain to steer my house toward magnificence. MAGNIFICENCE!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Birthday Gifts for a Duck

This is my final post to catch up on all of the drafts I had floating around here! YAY! I'll feel much better about things now. Maybe I'll even be more inclined to post things timely. That would be amazing, right? Right.

Anyway. Back on track. Do you remember the fox bags I made for me and for Holly back in January? The one that I made using the techniques I learned in Deborah Moebes' book, Stitch by Stitch? Yes... those bags. I decided that the little Duck needed some cute bags for her birthday. See, ever since she was very small, she has liked to pretend that she is going to the office. To play this game, she needs to find a hat, a bag, someone's keys and someone's shoes (never her own). I actually don't know if she still plays this game, but I hope so. Maybe three year olds are too fancy to play going to work games.

ANYWAY. Geez. For her third birthday in July, I made the Duck two little skirts (I need to work on my child-size skirt skills; her mom said they fit her like pencil skirts) and two little matching bags. Here are the skirts:

And here are the matching bags. They are not the same size. I definitely made them smaller than the ones that I made for myself and for Holly, but they are also not equal in size to one another. I used the cotton webbing for the handles, rather than the fabric itself. I think they turned out pretty nicely:

I think she loved the Dora stuff the best, but she also seemed to like the cupcakes. She's pretty easy to please, though. And, adorably, she is so emphatic with her thank yous.

I'm looking forward to making her other cute bags in the future. She started dance class a few weeks ago and, if she keeps with it, I'll make her a special bag for that.