Life in a Nutshell

I’m on Round 73 with the Mandala. I added orange, pale yellow and red from earlier rounds to bring the colors outward. My inspiration for part 11 was the fiery sunset, the sky glowed intensely Saturday evening with the beginning of our heat wave here in Jersey. Thankfully, today is the last of this heat and air advisory. I don’t mind the heat so much but 95 is more than I enjoy.  I’m crocheting the Mandala directly under a ceiling fan or I’d be roasting. The picture doesn’t do the three colors justice but next to the blue is the orange, then its yellow followed by the cherry red and when I begin Round 74 it will be yellow again then the orange will end this part. The stitches are hdc, dc and dtr which are easy enough to do.DSC_0019

I did sneak in a mental health break and worked on a seashell hat and scarf pattern that I saw on Rhondda’s  Oombawka Design Crochet. I was very pleased with how it worked up. I’m not thrilled with the buttons I’ve come across yet so that part isn’t done yet. The brown button isn’t large enough nor does it contrast enough. The white plastic just looks cheap to me. Maybe it’s just me because I really wanted a seashell about the size of the white button but finding it thus far has been quite frustrating.

I’m inclined to have the lighter turquoise be the front versus the darker only because so much of the darker turquoise shows on the hat. This is the first time, I’ve tried Caron’s Cake skeins, I loved how the colors unfolded in this pattern. I still have a small ball of yarn after completing the scarf and hat.

If you haven’t checked out Rhondda’s patterns they work real easy with the clear instructions. I’ve included the link to the next hat I’m going to do for my grandson.

https://oombawkadesigncrochet.com/2017/06/just-my-style-hat-free-pattern.html

Writing challenge for the week wasn’t as much as I hoped but I still did accomplish 35 minutes a day with the blogging challenge I am doing on Writing.com and I wrote 2 poems that I’m still mucking with before I share them.

We’ve had guests at our home since last Tuesday until yesterday with the Airbnb part of our lives. Tuesday through Thursday, we had two writers join us because they were attending a writing conference in Princeton. Then we had a couple from DC up to watch their son in a soccer championship for the weekend. And the final guests were a one-night college couple that left a lot to be desired and encouraged me to change the details on my listing. Two of the three groups were awesome and we really enjoyed the conversations immensely. I was genuinely sad to see the DC couple leave.

After looking at Tami’s cinnamon rolls and broccoli alfredo I decided to make the alfredo Saturday evening for dinner, the lesser of the two evils much to Vic’s disappointment.  He’s not starving by a long shot. I made lemon cupcakes and apple brownies for the guests to enjoy and there were tons of leftovers. We had blueberry muffins and a lemon coffee cake for breakfast.  The alfredo, I decided to try a low-cal version with vegetable broth, flour, and a bit of olive oil instead of heavy cream with freshly grated parmesan and garlic. I added broccoli that I had sauteed with garlic and fresh herbs from the garden after the sauce began to thicken.  I love using fresh herbs. I grow rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme, chives, and sage in rail planters.   It came out so good, Tami, thanks for the inspiration.  But I can never cook just for one meal so, on Sunday, I decided to add chicken and mushrooms which definitely took it to the next level. YUM!

Yesterday, I made us grilled cheese with tomato and fresh basil on sourdough bread for lunch. It was simply too hot to eat anything heavier and besides we had a dinner plan that was a lot more appealing. We went out for an ice cream date with our grandson, Chris. I don’t know about you but when it’s 92 degrees ice cream is a perfect dinner alternative. He enjoyed having ice cream instead of dinner too.

I’ve been enjoying reading USA Through Our Eyes posts about Rochester, New York. I learned a lot about the city and saw some lovely glimpses of the area. Gabe’s digital painting is really good , you should check it out.

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/52885002/posts/1489123409

If you’re looking for healthcare info  I suggest you check out my better half’s blog Crain’s Comments.

https://vlcrain17.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/more-scandals-in-for-profit-medicine/

He’s a researcher and enjoys helping people be prepared for life’s unexpected nuances. If you have a question, he’s the person to ask, he’s really good at finding answers to health issues.

I’m going to close with Theresa’s challenge to write with our inner child creativity inspiring us to do something different than we normally write. That in itself is difficult to do because we’re just creatures of habit. At least, I know I am and writing differently sometimes makes me feel unnerved. I need my coffee cup and my pencil in hand. Even this blog entry I wrote the jest of it on paper and then copied it here on WordPress. I feel safe with my paper and pencil.

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/56405964/posts/6515

If you haven’t checked out Theresa’s Tattoo Girl, you’re missing an enjoyable read. I can’ t wait to see what happens next with Jaime and Corey.

 

“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. ”   

Soren Kierkegaard

 

 

 

Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Icing Recipe

This recipe sounds so good, just got to share it. I’m with Yochet, loving the virtual dessert especially cinnamon rolls are my ultimate favorite.

Tanglewood Tapestry

Every Wednesday my son Bill comes over for dinner. I always make him a nice home cooked meal and send him home with some leftovers. I also make dessert every Wednesday too. It is the only night of the week that dessert is guaranteed.

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Shrouded

She gently caressed the withered rose in the vase sitting on the drop leaf table with the crocheted doily Grandma made. She sighed as the last petal slid to the table now shrouded in dust. On the other side of the room stands a silent Grandfather clock, the brass arms twined in cobwebs. She doesn’t miss the clanging of the clock; it used to wake her up when she slept over as a child. She left Grandpa’s old shirt with the tattered collar and worn sleeves draped on the kitchen chair just like it was every night after he came home from work. On the floor, two small dishes sit yellowed with age where Rhubarb used to feast at night now surrounded with mouse turds.  She misses Rhubarb, he kept the mice at bay in this beautiful old house, but she’s the only one left now, and she can’t bring herself to move a thing, it’s easier to live like a ghost rattling around among the forget me not mementos than it is to live without them. 

Life’s blessings

I’ll begin with the Airbnb part of our lives, thus far we’ve had 4 ideal guests and 1 not so much but that’s to be expected. It’s not that the one did anything wrong it’s just a courtesy thing that apparently isn’t a given across cultures. If I ask someone for an exception because I can’t make it happen in the timeframe I call and update the person so they can plan accordingly. Like for instance, check in is between 4 pm and 11 pm which is a 7-hour leeway. These guests asked if they could have a bit later than 11 pm and my response was no later than midnight before they even booked with us. Midnight came and went without a word from our guests. They arrived at 2 am and all they said was we’re late, oops. So that made for a short nights sleep for us. They left at 8 am, didn’t want breakfast after I had it ready. It was annoying because I had inquired when they arrived if they wanted breakfast and at what time would work for their schedule and then to simply dismiss the effort. Communication is a great thing when both parties use it. Oh, well chalk it up to experience. I changed the wording on the check-in process, so it is clear if you are going to be later than I need to be updated with a new arrival time or the check-in time will not occur.

I was in the lower yard taking down the compost from the kitchen to the compost bin when I decided to do some weeding while I was there on Saturday. We have a small courtyard with our townhouse that borders with our neighbors. On one side I have lilies planted and I saw this vine wrapped around my lilies strangling them from my neighbor’s yard. I untangled the ivy and put it back on her side of the fence. I didn’t think anything of it just focused on getting the yard cleaned up some. I came in and washed my hands and went on with my day. I woke up Sunday morning with my right eye swollen shut and my left eye puffy but able to move, unlike my right eye. My left arm was covered with red blotches and tons of blisters. Oops, that ivy I moved was poison ivy. I applied a coffee compress to get the swelling in my eye under control and applied banana peels to my eyelids after that to draw the oil out of my eye area since I couldn’t apply calamine lotion that closes to my eyes. I took Benadryl to help with the discomfort and tried to get on with my day. Finally, I asked my husband to take me to the hospital my eyes were on fire.

At the hospital, they numbed my eyes and checked to make sure I didn’t burn my cornea because it can happen with poison ivy than they flushed my eyes with water to reduce the oil levels there. The doctor then started me on a steroid regime to help get things under control. Yesterday, I could see out of my eyes but today, I arose with my right eye swollen shut again so again with the coffee compresses. ( Coffee works very well on swelling, it reduces the swelling quickly so if you have bags under your eyes that you want to conceal try some black coffee there, it works.)  Are we having fun yet?

I have completed round 10 on the Mandala Madness project. It was very frustrating and challenging to stop and start because of the stitches involved.DSC_0012DSC_0013

As you see it has become rather ripped on the edges but the designer notes this will happen and the next rounds will flatten things back out. I did all of round 10 in sky blue and royal blue. Today, I am looking at my colors used and decided that I need to tie some of my earlier colors back into the project so I am beginning part 11 with the orange I used in the center.

Writing update, I didn’t get more than 15-20 minutes in writing over the weekend because of the eye, I’m struggling right now to see with one eye. I wish I could say I am such a good typer I don’t need to look at the keyboard but I’m not. I know where all the letters are located but fat fingers do make errors.

I’m in a blogging challenge on Writing.com so I have managed to get a blog post done each day thus far but they are really short for me. Hopefully, this is the turning point and my eyes will shrink back to their norm.

I entered one of my poems in the US 1, which is a local paper in my area for their annual local featured author’s edition coming out in July.  The editor dropped me an email and commented how unusual the poem was and that was the first time anyone had submitted a found poem to their featured collection. 🙂

We got the sheetrock hung in the living room where we are doing the renovation around the fireplace. It looks so much better than it did already and we’re not even close to being done. A friend of mine is really good at spackling so she is getting the wall ready for me to paint.  This is what it looked like with the ugly black glass and pink tile surround. My adopted grandson helping me take the old crap down.

 

Fatal Attractions and life

I was reading the latest newsletter from Book Riot about the most disturbing books and chuckled when I realized I’ve read all of the titles Romeo Rosales had listed. Oops, I definitely have eclectic and morbid reading habits. I’m sure you’ll recognize the titles, too! Why as readers are we attracted to true crimes and horror stories?

American Pyscho by Brett Ellis appealed to me because at the time I was trying to find myself similar to the author except I’m definitely female. Ellis comments about American Pyscho  “Whenever I am asked to talk American Psycho, I have to remember why I was writing it at the time and what it meant to me. A lot of it had to do with my frustration with having to become an adult and what it meant to be an adult male in American society. I didn’t want to be one because all it was about was status.” Me either, the status quo wasn’t appealing at all. The character of this book represents everything that is wrong with American culture, extreme consumerism, making a lot of money at any cost, and nihilism of some group of young people. We hate the character yet we wonder secretly if we have some of those traits. (1991) (1)

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote appealed to the younger me because I was told this book was too graphic for me to read so, of course, I snuck it and read it anyway.  In Holcomb, Kansas the Herbert Clutter family was brutally murdered in 1959. Capote and his friend Harper Lee went there to research the case. It took him 6 years to complete the first non-fiction crime drama. The killers, Richard “Dick” Hickock and Perry Smith, were arrested six weeks after the murders and later executed by the state of Kansas. I read it by flashlight in my bed at night and needless to say, I didn’t sleep well but I couldn’t put it down either. My grandmother did discover her book missing and I got grounded to boot.(1966) (2)

The Excorist by William Peter Blatty I originally saw at the drive-in theater on the Barre-Montpelier Road back in the dark ages it seems. I was a whopping 16 years old, married to my first husband when it was released. I couldn’t sleep at all that night after the movie. Nor could I forget the movie, I had to know more so I purchased the book and read it in two sittings.  I was like a moth to the flame. The novel was inspired by a 1949 case of demonic possession and exorcism according to Blatty. He heard about demonic possession while he was a student in the class of 1950 at Georgetown University. (3)

Wolf Boys by Dan Slater This was a grisly yet compelling tale of impoverished Mexican-American youth molded into assassins by Los Zetas, the fearsome drug cartel. It’s an engrossing read with a nightmarish vision of a hyperviolent and corporatized narcotics industry, seducing a new generation with minimal alternatives. A reminder what lies behind the social landscape in the border region of extreme poverty and garish wealth…elaborate courtesy and low-barbarian violence. I stayed up all night with my head wrapped up in all 352 pages because of all the media coverage about the need for a wall between our countries. A wall will not solve the issues. (2016) (4)

Blood Meridan by Cormac McCarthy I was reading a lot during this time about the old west when someone recommended this one to me. I was interested in learning more about the Glanton gang but soon found out they were not appealing characters at all. “The bulk of the novel details the gang’s conversations and depraved, murderous activities as they travel on horseback throughout the borderlands. The gang encounters a traveling carnival, and, in untranslated Spanish, each of their fortunes is told with Tarot cards. The gang originally contracts with various regional leaders to exterminate Apaches and are given a bounty for each scalp they recover. Before long, however, they murder almost anything in their path, including peaceful agrarian Indians, unprotected Mexican villagers, and even Mexican and American soldiers.” I gagged a few times but persevered to the end. Zane Grey’s book about the west are a lot easier to read than McCarthy’s. (1985) (5)

Helter Skelter  by Vincent Bugliosi  Like everyone else at the times it seems I wanted to know more about the Tate/LaBianca  murders and Charles Manson. What created this monster? Why were so many young women attracted to this morbid man?  It wasn’t enough to read the book, again that moth in the flame moment I watched the movie, too! I can’t imagine what went through Bugliosi’s mind writing the book. (1974) {6)

The Road Out of Hell by Anthony Flacco I couldn’t believe this man was a decorated WWII vet, a loving father, and grandfather in addition to being an active community member. Just goes to show how deceiving surface images can be. “The heinous murders were committed by Gordon Stuart Northcott; a Canadian-born sadist who murdered between three and twenty young boys. The story is told by Sanford Clark, Gordon’s nephew and captive from the age of thirteen to fifteen. Sanford was beaten, molested, and raped by his uncle while he was held captive. But the worst part: He was forced to take part in the murders or risk being murdered himself. ” The movie Changeling is loosely based on this book. Yup, I saw that too! (7) (8)

People are morbidly fascinated with crime scenes and horror and sadly some feel the need to replicate the scenarios.  How can we treat our fellow humans so deplorably?

While I am on this topic I would like to send prayers for all the families involved in the bombing incident in Manchester, England yesterday. I pray for a time when all violence stops and we exist peacefully together.

Speaking of peacefully, I cannot say Round 66 on my mandala has been a peaceful journey. This row and I established a love-hate relationship. I’ve taken each of the eight sides apart more than once now so the spacing works. It is so easy to miss a stitch and when you do the end of the section will not work. I am on the final section and when it is done I will share a picture with you.

In Vic and Lyn’s world, this is our first week of being an Airbnb hosts and thus far our first guest initially booked for one week but now as extended his stay for three more weeks. He is here Sunday evening and leaves on Friday morning to return to his home. He works less than a mile from our home so it works out perfectly. We have guests joining us each weekend for the next month as well.

When I put the listing up on Monday, May 15th, I never anticipated how quickly this would all come together. My husband and I did some quick renovations to our home over the weekend and finished an hour before our first guest arrived. Phew!

I hope all of our guests will be as easy as our 1st one has been. Time will tell.

My writing time took a serious hit over the weekend with all the cleaning and renovation projects but hopefully, I’ll be back on track. Yesterday, I was too tired to write and reality wise I was too tired to crochet too but I did it anyway. Unfortunately, I ended up having to take it out and fix my mistakes there too. 😦

Today, I’ve accomplished 35 minutes straight. 🙂

1.https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/interviews/article/47587-american-psycho-at-20-catching-up-with-bret-easton-ellis.html

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Cold_Blood

3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Exorcist_(novel)

4. http://www.npr.org/2016/09/10/493436482/wolf-boys-tells-the-story-of-americans-lured-to-join-mexican-drug-cartel

5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_Meridian

6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helter_Skelter_(book)

7. http://bookriot.com/2017/05/22/the-most-disturbing-book-i-have-ever-read/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Riot%20Rundown&utm_term=BookRiot_TheRiotRundown_Tue-Thur

8. https://anthonyflacco.com/the-road-out-of-hell/