Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bubbles

This morning I made myself a fairly lengthy list of things I wanted to accomplish on my day off. I was making decent headway through the list until I got to vacuum under sofa cushions. Apparently my son's candy wrapper collection was too much for the vacuum because it wasn't long before it began to blow instead of suck. I did all the usual vacuum troubleshooting, including watching a YouTube video on vacuum repair. (There's a first time for everything.) After about an hour I had taken the entire appliance apart and put it back together again, I was covered in vacuum dust, and was still no closer to having a working vacuum.

I collapsed on the couch in frustration and began to absentmindedly play with one of the bottles of bubbles we had pilfered from a friend's summer party earlier in the week. (Thanks again Kim!) As soon as the girl saw me she asked if she could blow bubbles too. Together we sat on the couch, in relative quiet, and blew bubbles.
It was, by far, the nicest moment of my day.

As for the vacuum, sorry Jay, I'm passing this one on to you.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Swap

A few months back Kashoan called me with a proposal. She'd been admiring the patchwork pillow covers I had been making (like these and the one mentioned here) and wanted to get in on some patchwork action. But lately sewing isn't Kashoan's thing, jewelry making is. (You can get a glimpse of her handiwork in her Etsy shop.) So, she offered me one of her vintage dictionary pendants in exchange for a patchwork table runner. Of course I agreed, but after I hung up with Kashoan, I realized I'd never made a table runner before. Um, yeah, minor detail.

But I figured it can't be that hard. I mean, Jodi seems to pound one out every weekend. Well, I have a new found admiration for those of you regularly making runners, because this took me much longer than a weekend.

First, a few pictures and then some details:I asked Kashoan what color scheme she wanted. I'm not sure but her exact words may have been, "I don't know. Whatever." I chose for her. Green, red, and yellow/gold. Essentially this was very easy to make, just a lot of straight line sewing, which, not to toot my own horn, I've gotten pretty skilled at. (Toot Toot.) Plus, I didn't use precise measurements on each individual strip, so they're all wonky. I did this for two reasons: One being that I like wonky, two being that I'm far too lazy to do it any other way.

It was time consuming though. Although it looks as if there is no rhyme or reason to the pattern, I did work very hard to make sure that there was never too much red in one section or that the florals were never overpowering.I didn't buy any new fabric for this project, all of it came from my stash or from shirts I can no longer wear because I dribbled coffee down the front of them one too many times.

I wanted the flip side to be a bit more modern so I backed it in this Ikea bird fabric:(I suppose it would have been nice if I'd ironed it before taking the picture, but whatever.)

Kashoan received her table runner today and claims to love it, so I'm pleased. Even though it was a new-to-me project, I had a lot of fun making it. It was one of those semi mindless, kind of stress reducing projects that I can do while watching Law and Order. (Note:: If I can do it while watching L & O, it's probably gonna get done.) Now I want to make more table runners, but I can't make them for myself because my cat will just lay on them. There are no rules against such things in my house. So if I come to you and slyly ask what the measurements of your dinner table are, then you know what's up.

Now onto my pendant.

I was so excited by the prospect of new jewelry. Jewelry isn't in my budget right now. (Things that are in my budget: debt reduction and saving for a second car. POO!) I had trouble deciding which word to choose. I didn't want anything too sticky sweet or overtly upbeat, that just isn't me. So after much discussion with Jay and Kashoan, I finally decided on resilient. (Able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.)I think it fits me perfectly.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Book Review: We Need To Talk About Kevin

Eva Khatchadourian never really wanted to be a mother. She was happy to spend her days visiting foreign countries for her travel brochure business and perfectly content to come home to just her husband. Then Kevin arrived, and she tried. She tried to fake her way through the role of doting mother, but even as an infant Kevin seemed to be able to sense Eva's ambivalence towards motherhood. He screamed uncontrollably, he wouldn't breastfeed, he was perpetually dissatisfied and unhappy. As he grew, the screaming gave way to chilly silence and icy stares and Kevin was never interested in playing the way the average child did. His way of playing was mean, malicious, and eventually, violent.

When Eva tries to discuss Kevin's behaviour with her husband Franklin, he continuously makes excuses for Kevin. In Franklin's eyes nothing is ever truly Kevin's fault and Eva is just overreacting. Even when Kevin is involved in an accident that causes his little sister Celia to lose an eye, Franklin takes Kevin's side, claiming that the boy is just as traumatized by the event as his sister is. All of these minor incidents (well, 'minor' only in comparison to the eventuality) lead up to Kevin committing a horrifically (and creepily unusual) violent act onto his classmates.

This story is told from Eva's viewpoint in the form of letters to Franklin, who is now absent from her life (although it isn't revealed how or why he's absent until the end of the book.) Usually I find this letter format tiresome but in this case it was the perfect way to tell this story. It allows Eva to relate her family's history in a way that assumes the reader is already aware of it (since the reader is, so to speak, her husband), so the narrative is not just facts laid out, but also Eva's deeply personal feelings about the events.

After doing a bit of internet research, it seems that everyone who reads this book falls into one of two camps: those who feel as if Kevin was a bad seed from the beginning, and those who think that Kevin's violent personality was created, at least in part, by Eva's apathetic mothering. Personally, I have to take Eva's side. While at times her character was definitely unlovable, I think she tried her best and I found her completely real and relatable. But then again, I tend to be drawn to things that honestly and unflinchingly portray the darker side of motherhood.

We Need to Talk About Kevin was first recommended to me by Dani about two years ago, and I'm really pissed that it took me this long to getting around to reading it because as far as fiction goes, this book was what I've been aching for all year long, a smartly written book with believable characters. It's definitely one of my favorite books of the year, if not my life.

I couldn't put this book down. I dragged it everywhere I went for the better part of a week. I read it in bed, at work, and in the bathtub. (At one point, I stayed in the bathtub so long that Jay tapped on the door and asked if I was okay.) If I didn't get carsick, I would have even read this book while stuck in traffic. Jay, at my insistence, is reading it now and every time he puts it down I want to scream, Why are you not reading Kevin? We need to talk about Kevin! I've lost myself so deeply into this book that I need to talk it out with someone. So should you read this book? YES. And then come back and leave a long winded comment sharing your thoughts.

(Also, it's been made into a movie starring Tilda Swinton-whom I love-as Eva. The trailer can be seen here at HuffPo. It's subtitled in french, but you get the idea. This movie may be my motivation for making my once a year trip to the movie theatre.)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Random Thoughts

Well shit. How do all you people work full time and manage to update your blogs more than once a week? (And when you do it, how do you manage to do it without resorting to cursing in the first sentence?) When I get home I barely want to open up my laptop. But yet I still find that I have the urge to write and have no intention of abandoning my little space here on the internets. Maybe I should carry a notebook to write in and transfer the posts later. I don't know, just thinking out loud here.

Anyway, the randomness:

*Tomorrow is our once a year, big-mega anniversary sale at work. We only have one sale a year and I'm told by co-workers who have done them in the past that it is complete insanity. People come in and grab stuff off the shelves and line up to pay. The line weaves throughout the store, sometimes going all the way to the bathrooms at the opposite end of the building. I'm excited to work the sale, but I also kind of just want to get the day over with.

*School starts in about three weeks. I had begun buying things earlier in the summer and thought I was ahead of the game but I just did an inventory last night and realized the kids still need quite a bit more. Especially the boy. The girl is easy and has no opinions about such stuff but the boy has strong opinions about everything from clothes (of course) right down to what binder to carry. The clothes thing though, has really thrown me for a loop. Gone are the days when I could take him into the Gap, grab a few items and be done with it. Now he wants to drag me into stores with names I'm unfamiliar with, like Zumiez. I feel so uncool when I cross that threshold. The store manager is always about 20 years old and incredibly hip, with a lot of piercings and tattoos. I feel like such a stodgy old woman. The price points are a lot different too. For what I could have gotten a whole outfit at the Gap, I can usually only get half an outfit at Zumiez. Like jeans and a pair of socks. The whole shopping experience has been quite a reality check in more ways than one.

*BOOKS! I've finished two books in the past month, both of which I had planned to review here but never had the time and before I knew it they had to be returned to the library. But I did want to mention a bit about them.

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio. This one started out really good and I read the first 100 pages in just a day or two. But then it went down hill. There were too many characters and it all became kind of confusing and convoluted. By the time I got to the end, I had long since stopped caring about it all. It was disappointing because I had requested this one from the library and had waited quite a while, only to not love it as much as I had hoped. Definitely not the worst book I had ever read, but a let down.

Bossypants by Tina Fey.I love Tina and I loved this book. It's nothing fantastically groundbreaking, but just a fun, easy to read book. If you're a fan, you should read it.

*Today the family and I are headed to OMSI to see the video game exhibit. The girl is so excited she may pee herself. The boy wants to go but would probably be happier going with someone cooler than his nerdy family. He's at the age where we are all horrifically embarrassing. Sorry, dude, you get what you get and you don't throw a fit.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mario

Last I checked, it wasn't even the middle of August yet, so I was surprised to find that those overachievers at my local Goodwill have two full isles of Halloween stuff out already. Halloween isn't my favorite holiday so I would normally bypass all of the skulls and witches caps until at least the beginning of October, but I had had a mimosa at breakfast, I was in a good mood, so what the heck? I'm so glad I did because nestled amongst the various snagged up Disney Princess gowns was a Mario costume just the right size for the Mario lover in our house. She really wanted one last Halloween but I just couldn't justify the cost. (I have a hard time parting with my money when it comes to items that will only be used once or twice.)And the $6.99 I paid is much more reasonable than the $34-$50 I've seen around the internet.

Now that I can scratch Halloween off the to-do list, back to more pressing matters, like school shopping.