Friday, May 25, 2012

Hurry, Hurry, Hurry

1. We had kind of a tough winter around here, what with my ankle and Marshall's surgery and ... everything else. So the backlog of stuff needing to be done is rather epic. Somehow, in the last week, I've wanted to tackle it all. In 5 days.

I know you're thinking, "Well, she did say last week that she was feeling better, but she didn't say she'd gone completely over the edge, did she? Did I miss that part?"

The motivating factor is that tomorrow I am leaving with my parents to spend the weekend in North Jersey at a family wedding. Marshall has a big project at work so he will be in the office until about midnight tonight and then all day Sunday. So, for the first time ever, we are leaving our children with someone not blood-kin overnight. Which means, since I am a control freak, a perfectionist and borderline OCD, I want everything to be perfect!

It does help that my cleaning lady came first thing this morning, so the usual layer of dirt and grime that lays on top of everything has now been wiped away. And I have been going through the piles that have been accumulating since December all throughout the week, recycling loads of paper, tossing anything broken or out of date, setting out clothes to give away, etc. But I haven't made it to the bottom of all the piles yet. Maybe by the end of June I will see all my corners again. Still, it feels good to make significant progress, as well as keep up with all my usual stuff.

2. On the nights I haven't dropped dead from exhaustion, I've been stitching. Here's my progress pic:

As I stitch, I've been watching Rookie Blue, starting in Season 1. It's soapy, but I like the actors and they do have chemistry. It's like the little sister series to Flashpoint, which I have been a fan of since its beginning.

3. All my activity this week has been focused on preparing the children and the house for someone else to be here (our babysitter). As soon as I return from the weekend away, on Monday afternoon, I start baking up a storm to make chocolate chip oatmeal cookie bars in miniature disposable baking pans for the millions of people who work with my children as end of the year gifts. Well, it's not millions, but twice a year, when I plan inexpensive, easy-to-duplicate gifts, it feels like it. The list is so long I do it in small chunks so I don't get overwhelmed. For example, next week will be the women who work with Miranda at MOPS (3). Then I'll move on to her teacher, aides, therapist, case manager, and bus driver for school (I think it's 12 but I'll need to recount). And then Alex's two classes at school. And then their buddies at church. Yes, I have a lot of people to be thankful for. And a lot of cookies bars to bake.

4. My calla lilies, the pride of my garden, just started opening today. Here's the first bloom:

5. If you missed it last night, here's my updated movie post.

6. What on earth did I do this week? Clean, stitch, read, play Words with Friends, fill the fridge for Marshall and the babysitter for while I am away.... I guess that will fill up 7 days.

7. My last MOPS meeting is Tuesday morning. I was part of the founding team, six years ago, but now that Miranda will go to full day kindergarten in September, it's time for me to move on as well. I'm actually going to write out a short farewell address to share during our "Tea & Testimony" time and I'm sure I'm going to cry. It's been an awesome group and God has blessed me hugely with the friendships I've built along the way. I'm not sure what God's plan for me in the fall is but what I keep hearing from him is to leave my options open, so for now, that's what I'm doing.

I remain confident of this:
   I will see the goodness of the Lord
   in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
   be strong and take heart
   and wait for the Lord.
             Ps. 27:13-4, NIV

And here's Jen.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

That Promised Movie Update

... was awesome! I saw it opening night and hope to see it again next week!

2012 Movies

January 20
Haywire (I didn't manage to see it in theatres so now I'm waiting for DVD.)
Underworld: Awakening (even though the first one was only mildly entertaining and the second one was so problematic I had to refer to Wikipedia's plot summary to figure out what was happening while I was watching the film on cable, Kate Beckinsale is a lot of fun to watch run around in black leather with double pistols. Maybe on DVD.)
Coriolanus (It never came to NJ. I will have to see it on DVD, dang it, in June. I have already been looking forward to this for months, but then I'm a sucker for Shakespeare anything)
February 10
Safe House (because Ryan Reynolds is just so appealing and I like cotton candy action movies. I never managed to see it in theatres so am now waiting for DVD.)
March 9
John Carter (of Mars. It was awesome! You should have seen it. Rumors of its failure were greatly exaggerated.)
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (looks really sweet. Maybe on DVD.)
March 16
21 Jump Street (got incredible reviews, which makes me curious, but I'll wait for DVD.)
March 30
Wrath of the Titans (I saw it right before it left theatres; they ran the movie just for me. It was pretty but rather hard to follow if you know a lot about Greek mythology. If you knew nothing about the origins of the characters, I'm sure it was fun. As always, Sam Worthington and Rosamund Pike are very appealing.)
Mirror Mirror (I went to see it with my mother and really liked it.)
April 13
Lock Out (awesome trailer but bad reviews meant it didn't stay in theatres long enough for me to see it, so I'll have to wait for DVD)
April 27
Safe (I did see it in theatres and while it did have plenty of plot holes, Jason Statham is still as appealing as ever)
The Pirates! Band of Misfits (from the makers of Shaun the Sheep, got great reviews but was geared for older kids so we did not see it as a family. Maybe when it comes out on DVD we can watch it together and tackle it in pieces.)
May 4
The Avengers (So excited! I'm not watching the trailer every week, like I did with Star Trek, but I still expect it to be my favorite movie of the summer and worth at least one return trip to the theatre.)
May 18
Battleship (Reviews were better than I expected, but I'm still just going to see The Avengers again, like the rest of America, instead.)

Films still to come

May 25
Men in Black III - (I have a date to see this June 1st with my mother and mother-in-law; we're leaving the boys at home to watch the kids.)
June 1
Snow White & the Huntsman (I was doubtful until I saw the trailer, which makes it look fascinating.)
June 9
Prometheus (this is the movie Marshall is most looking forward to in the summer of 2012; with a cast that includes Noomi RapaceMichael FassbenderIdris Elba and Logan Marshall-Green and directed by Ridley Scott, it would be hard for this to fail. Possible, but unlikely.)
June 22
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (I'm curious; I'll wait and see what the reviews say.)
Brave (Pixar's new film that we don't know much about yet.)
July 6
The Amazing Spider-Man (this picture has transfixed me for months.)
July 20
The Dark Knight Rises (Can Christopher Nolan really finish his trilogy well? Is the Pope Catholic?)
August 3
The Bourne Legacy (Basically, I'll watch Jeremy Renner in just about anything.)
Total Recall (maybe; I like Colin Farrell and am not fond of Paul Verhoeven so I might find this version an improvement, maybe.)
August 17
The Expendables 2 (the first one was amusing; I will probably will see this on video.)
September 14
Argo (sounds interesting, although I have yet to watch any of Affleck's director projects)
September 21
Dredd (Karl Urban is a good actor and I've read enough about the project on Wikipedia to read the reviews and think about seeing it.)
September 28
Looper (comparisons to Moon can only be good.)
November 9
Skyfall (new James Bond; end of story. New trailer debuted this week.)
December 7
Les Miserables (love the musical so am curious about the film)
December 14
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (do I have to make any explanation about why I want to see this movie?)
December 28
The Great Gatsby (I am not a big fan of the novel but the trailer was released this week and it's gorgeous!)

Unannounced Date
Much Ado About Nothing (directed by Joss Whedon, cast includes innumerable old favorites--what's not to like?)

Earlier this week, G.I. Joe: Retaliation was moved from June 29 to next March. Here is some speculation as to why that might have occurred. I would still like to see it, regardless, just not in 3D.

And that's my list, so far.

Friday, May 18, 2012

It's A New Day

1. Feeling much more like myself today, thanks to the prayers and support of family and friends. The dark cloud of depression seems to have been removed and I am forging forward. Surging? Foraging? Whatever.

In fact, I am feeling so much better than yesterday, not only did I buy fabbie (cross stitch fabric) for my next project (I use high quality Jazlyn that is only available by mail order), I took out poor old Celestial Dragon and put in several hours of work on it last night.

I posted my future projects on our photo site, sometime in 2005, apparently, but they are still valid. See them here. The dragon is for Marshall and the flowers, collectively known as Connections by John Clayton, I planned to stitch, years ago, for our bedroom. I'm not sure which wall they will hang on but I still want to stitch them, so full steam ahead! (A side note on John Clayton: his Connections series used to have the four flowers in red/brown and the other four in blue. Since I purchased the patterns for day lily, calla lily, tulip and iris, he has recolored the other four--anemone, carnation, freesia and rose--from blue to the same red/brown.)

So, here are shots of Celestial Dragon before and after last night's progress:

Because of the level of difficulty of this pattern, I won't be moving quite as quickly as I did last year when I was working on White Lilies on Red as a gift for my sister-in-law, Stephanie. Still, any movement forwards is a good thing. Hopefully, I will be posting weekly progress shots. Oh, and if you need a reminder of last year's happy dance, here it is:

I am still so pleased with the final product. So pretty!

2. Kimberlee Conway Ireton has another post this week about the fight against child exploitation and slavery and you can read it here. Please, leave a comment and pray for those who work in Jesus' name against these horrors.

My dianthus are in full bloom, so I've included a few pictures of them.

3. My regular readers will recall that Jen Fulwiler, of Conversion Diary, took a break last week from 7 Quick Takes because she had witnessed the horrific death in a motorcycle crash of a neighbor. She writes about it very movingly here.

4. On a lighter note, Simcha Fischer has a hilarious post called "Ten Reasons I'm Doomed This Summer."

My irises and broom are starting to fade, but here are a few photos of their last gasp of beauty. Oh, and Miranda's purple pansies are in the middle and looking very happy. But then, we have had a lot of rain lately.  I do really love my red broom, as opposed to the usual yellow, but one of my neighbors has an orange one that I am slightly jealous of. I do love orange flowers. Must be the hair.

5. I really need to update my 2012 movie review list, but I've been too busy reading my mother's day gift from my husband, Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion: The TV Series, the Movies, the Comic Books and More: The Essential Guide to the Whedonverse. Well done there, Marshall.

6. In the meantime, I looked for something light and fun to watch, so I've started my way through Warehouse 13. I'll catch up on all my other series season finales later.

Also, I am happy to report Marshall and I have made it through episode 10 of Series 6 of Doctor Who. Only 4 more to go and we'll be all caught up for the start of Series 7, which I think is to be broadcast starting in September.

7. Simcha also has a post about robins, which I was reminded of when I climbed up the old pool ladder in the back yard to check on the nest of robins we have in one of our pine trees. Here they are, looking very snug, but growing fast.

And here's Jen.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Oops, Missed a Friday There

1. An old friend of mine (we met in third grade, which was sometime in 1982, I think, so it's probably safe to say we are old friends as that was a really long time ago, or maybe I'm just really feeling my age this week) recently started blogging at a site called Peace It All Together. I've also added it to the sidebar for easy reference in the future.

Since we are both redheads, we didn't always get along well. But somehow, in 9th grade, we became real friends. Or maybe, after all those hours of band rehearsal, we stuck together out of necessity. I mean, only other Band Geeks understand other Band Geeks.

Anyway, she started blogging at the end of Lent and I will admit, I only caught up on all of her posts this week because she mentioned my blog on her blog. Most of what she writes about is being the mom of a special needs kid and it's hard for me to read that because I hate that my friends suffer like me and I hate being reminded of how hard it is to have "classified" kids. It's so much easier to live in a place like "MirandaWorld" where everything is exactly the way you want it to be (if you are Miranda). Sigh.

So, she nominated me for this thing called the Liebster Award.

According to Sybil, Liebster in German means dear, beloved or favorite, and is for bloggers with under 200 followers.

The rules are as follows:

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.

2. Link back to the blogger who awarded you.

3. Copy & paste the blog award on your blog.
4. Reveal your 5 blog picks.
5. Let them know you chose them by leaving a comment on their blog.

So, my five blog picks are:

Three of these people are my friends in real life and two of them have become my friends because I read their blogs and feel like I know them. Does that make them Digital Friends? I don't know. But their lives matter to me. 

2. Kimberlee Conway Ireton has another blog post about sexual slavery, called Home. Please, leave a comment, pray for these children and be the hands of Jesus to change the life of someone, today. 

3. Speaking (writing) of excellent blog posts, Brynn Gutelius has an awesome post called I Am Mom Enough. It will break your heart and make you cry. 

4. We did see The Avengers last Friday and it was a lot of fun. I'm going to go see it again in a couple of weeks with my mother after she does her homework and watches the 5 previous movies. :)

5. I also saw Wrath of the Titans on Thursday afternoon while Miranda was at school, since it was the last day it would be playing in South Jersey. And they ran the movie just for me. The movie wasn't great but it was pretty and Sam Worthington is still awfully nice to look at, as is Rosamund Pike. But it's theology is just weird. I so much prefer the universe of Percy Jackson & The Olympians

6. The new Rick Riordan book, The Serpent's Shadow, came out this week. However, I decided I wanted to re-read the first two of The Kane Chronicles before I read it, so I loaned it to my niece so she could read it first. I am such a nice aunt. 

7. Actually, I'm still trying to finish up Raymond Chandler and then I got a tome of Dashiell Hammet from the library yesterday and read The Thin Man and the first half of The Maltese Falcon before falling asleep last night. Also on my bookshelf from the library are The Gulag Archipelago and Casino Royale, so I may be busy for a while. So far, I prefer Chandler to Hammet. I do adore The Thin Man film, though. 

Jen took the day off; here's Hallie

Friday, May 4, 2012

It's Avenger Day!

1. As promised from last week, here are some pictures of my irises in bloom.

2. These are really going to be quick takes today because I have lots to do to be ready to go out and enjoy an evening with my husband. Dinner and a movie together, leaving the children with a real babysitter. It's going to be awesome.

3. I am starting to get a little caught up on my movies. I went to see Safe on Sunday night after Youth Group and tonight is The Avengers. I will post a movie update next week.

4. While surfing around this week, I found the list of 100 Best Books of the Century and realized, to my shame, how very few I'd actually read. So, off to my library and I've started with Raymond Chandler. I started with The Big Sleep and am now working my way through his short stories, 500 pages since Wednesday. I am embarrassed to have lived this long without reading his work. The Big Sleep is really as good as they say it is; go read it.

5. I finally realized this week that I'm in the midst of a depressive episode and started feeling better almost immediately. As long as I understand why I'm feeling so lethargic, and I know from past experience that it only lasts for a couple of weeks, I can cope with it much more easily.

6. My parents return from Madison tomorrow and we will be very glad to have them around for the next month without any other travel plans.

7. I told you it would be short. Enjoy flowers.

Bonus 8. My dear friend, Kimberlee Conway Ireton, added a new post to her Stop Slavery Series. Read. Pray. Leave a Comment. Help us change the world for one child at a time.

And here's Jen.