Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Life Lately

  • Can you feel it?  The excitement in the air??  That hush that comes right before a storm... ???  Oh, how I love the anticipation of a good dumping of snow!!  We really haven't had one yet this year (yes, we have had snow, but never in a big amount at once).  It makes me tingle from head to toe!  
  • I'm glad we're going to be getting a little storm, because I was starting to feel like I'd been jipped by this winter. It hasn't felt long enough for a snow lover like me, and the past week has been day after day of sunshine and + temperatures.  The snow was starting to fade fast. We went sliding Sunday afternoon and I didn't even wear a coat; I wore the coat to snowshoe on Monday and almost sweat to death.  I felt like winter was slipping through my fingers.  However, this 30-40 cm in the forecast and the cold temps over the weekend should keep me in winter mode for a little while longer!
  • Since I haven't blogged in a few weeks, here's a quick V-day re-cap:  I had plans that day to go shopping and out for lunch with a friend, but they fell through.  I was feeling kind of ho-hum and blue about it, but decided to fill my day with things I enjoy.  I had a long bath using heart-shaped bath bombs I'd treated myself to while reading, then I baked cookies.  I finished crocheting my first pair of slippers, and they turned out surprisingly well.  I had grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch, pretty much the definition of comfort food. I spent a few hours playing with my new alcohol inks.  Then I watched a bunch of silly old movies that I love, including Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead and Son-In-Law.  My biggest fail of the day was my attempt to make pizza dough in the breadmaker.  I put it on the wrong setting, and ended up with a baked ball of dough.  It was too late by then to start over, so I used a can of crescent rolls I had in the fridge as a make-shift pizza dough.  It wasn't perfect, but it was okay.  And that's just what Valentine's Day will probably always be for me.  Not perfect, but okay.

  • I literally did not poke my nose out of my door that day - not once.  (It was a really frigging cold day).   So the following day, when I DID leave the house, I discovered a bag of valentines hanging on my door from Sam & Lainey.  It made my day!!  Probably would have lifted my spirits even more if I'd found them the day before lol!!  But still... nice to be loved by the littles in my life :)
  • This past weekend, I DID poke my nose out the door... a lot!  It was such a fun winter weekend.  We had our annual Family Winter Fun Day at my sister's place on Saturday, spending the afternoon out sliding, snowshoeing, playing on the rink.  We had chili and hot dogs for supper, and it was just an all-round great day (despite a persisting headache).  On Sunday after church, a bunch of us went sliding on the hill behind my mom's.  There was a lot of fresh air and fun had!!
  • I've been crocheting lots of little things lately, trying to build up a stash for Shawville Fair now when I have more time to sit and crochet.  I made a Call The Midwife blanket last week, and now I'm working on a matching baby sweater/hat/bootie set.  I also have patterns to try a doily, a Christening gown, and a child's dress.  I have to get some dish cloths done for our Irish basket (church fundraiser), and I want to make a bunch more slippers since people seem interested in them.  I also want to make a blanket for a little cousin of mine (my Granny Young loved to crochet so I thought it would be nice to make a blanket for all of her littlest descendants in her honour), AND I bought yarn to attempt one of the popular Grinch scarves I keep seeing online. SO much to crochet, so little time!
  • I finished the next book in our book club lineup, which was One Night: Promised by Jodi Ellen Malpas.  One of the girls in our club made a deal last year that if she finished a daunting book within a month (Stephen King's 11/22/63), she could pick a smutty fun book for this year's line-up with no questions asked.  She completed her challenge, and this is the book she chose.  I'm not above some good smut, in fact I quite enjoy it once in a while.  However, this one didn't really do it for me.  Is it just me, or since Christian Grey, do all the books like this include a rich, domineering businessman who likes to exert his control over a meek young woman?  There was nothing about this guy that was attractive to me.  And if I read the line that he "took her by her nape" one more time, I think I could have screamed.  The image of a guy steering me around with his hand on the back of neck like that?  Gave me the icks.  Now don't get me wrong... many of the, er... "romps" were fun.  But...long.  Almost exhausting.  And then the whole stupid thing ended on a cliffhanger.  So many questions unanswered.  I could have gone ahead and downloaded the next book (it's a trilogy, apparently), but I had no interest in continuing this saga.  At least not right away.  Maybe I'm too old and I've been alone for too long, I don't know, but I was just glad to move on from this one.
  • Now, I KNOW you're wondering what I moved on to.  And I KNOW I just said I am too old for this.  But the frank truth is that I have moved on to... a 16-year-old boy.  *sigh*  Before you get too creeped out... NO, not a real 16-year-old boy.  Just a fictional character.  But still... I haven't been so madly in love with an unattainable figure since Kawhi.  It feels good to know my heart can still go pitter-pat!!  
  • So who? How?  Why?  Here's what happened:  This past Friday evening, I was on the couch battling another sinus headache, which I'd suffered from off and on since last Wednesday.  I fell asleep watching The Shape of Water, then woke up when it was over.  I decided to throw on a light fluffy chick flick since I knew I'd just fall asleep again, so I put on a Netflix movie called To All the Boys I've Loved Before.  I did fall asleep, but ended up waking up about half-way through and sort of started paying attention.  Since I'd been sleeping for a few hours, I was suddenly wide awake at 11 PM and I got so into this movie. SO into it.  When it was over, Netflix automatically rolled into the sequel, To All the Boys, PS I Still Love You, and by then I was officially in love with 16-year-old Peter Kavinsky.  When that was over, I went back and started the first movie again since I'd missed how it all began.  When I finally went to bed around 2 AM, I was on Kavinsky Cloud 9.  This boy... you guys, this BOY.  He is everything little 16-year-old Jill dreamed of!!  And thus... a new obsession was born.  
  • It has taken all my power to not re-watch the movies every night since.  I have watched Youtube videos galore of the actor, Noah Centineo (23 in real life, so less creepy, right? right???) giving interviews and stuff like that.  I also discovered he's a bit of a Netflix darling, and has been featured in several other of their movies over the past few years.  However, some of them are prettttty bad.  I couldn't get through The Perfect Date, even with his adorable face. He was also in Sierra Burgess is a Loser, and that one was okay.  But what I really want to do is re-watch the To All the Boys movies.  I'm also thrilled to know there's a third movie coming, probably sometime later this year.  My Peter Kavinsky crush has legs.  It's not going to sign with the Clippers and leave anytime soon.  Woo hoo!!

  • So, I am forcing my friend Lindsay to watch the movies with me Friday night.  Will she like them?  I have no idea.  Probably not.  They are very teeny-boppy.  But I do believe they are very well done teeny-boppy movies, and I do think that the actors did an excellent job for a teeny-boppy movie.  I was rooting for Lara Jean, I adored her little sister Kitty, I thought their dad (played by John Corbett... actors I used to love are now playing the dads in movies *sigh*) was so cute, and I actually LOL'd at LJ's BFF Chris at times.  And there were other boys too... Josh, and John Ambrose McClaren, specifically, who were quite endearing.  But Peter Kavinsky... My gosh, Peter Kavinsky.  He was totally Teen Jill's cup of tea.  He is still 36-year-old Jill's cup of tea.  Can't get enough.  Can't wait to watch them again.  Can't wait to see if Lindsay even remotely agrees. LOL!
  • How am I keeping this Kavinsky crush at bay until Friday, you ask?  By reading the book.  I had no idea when I started watching the movies, but To All the Boys I've Loved Before was originally a book, a young adult novel written by Jenny Han.  So are the sequels PS I Still Love You and Always and Forever, Lara Jean.  And now that I have the image of Kavinsky in my head, reading the books is almost as good as watching the movies.  So I have paused my book club reading for these instead.  I am already half-way through the first one and I just started in Monday, so I have a feeling it won't take long. 
  • Well.  That's about it for today.  Truly, Peter Kavinsky is the only thing new in my life.  When people say to me "What's new?", he is what immediately comes to mind.  But I can't actually tell anyone about him.  My God, they would think I was crazy.  Anyone reading this thinks I'm crazy.  Lord KNOWS I'm crazy.  But seriously, watch the movies.  If you want a light, fun little break from reality.  If you want to have a crush on a teenage boy.  You just might agree with me.  

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Thoughts on Thursday

  • You know, I really wish I could bottle up how good I feel after I go for a nice long walk, and carry that with me as a reminder of how much it helps me.  I had abandoned going for walks after work a while back - mainly because I don't like walking after dark in town, and it get dark so early in December.  But Tuesday after work, I made myself go for a walk, and while I felt sluggish and out of shape, it felt good when I was done.  Last night, I felt much better about the walk, but it also improved me mentally SO much, I can't even explain.  I have been feeling so anxious lately - it comes and goes, but I was feeling quite wound up and uneasy yesterday afternoon.  I didn't even realize it until long after I got in from my walk, but it dawned on me that I felt so much more calm and relaxed after the fresh air and exercise.
  • Why do I need to bottle that up as a reminder?  Well, because I so easily forget. LOL!  Part of my reason for re-implementing the evening walks is because the little half-hour morning workouts I'd been doing religiously last year have NOT been happening.  Even though I feel good when I do them and they set me on the right path for the day, it is so much easier to lie in bed and give myself some kind of excuse.  It is such a struggle for me to get my butt out of bed in the morning.  I have only done it a handful of times since Christmas.  Blahhhhh.  If I'm not going to get it done in the way, I have to find another way... I cannot become a total couch potato... I simply can't allow it!
  • I'm feeling very hermity and I only want to hibernate these days.  I keep pushing myself to get out, but the instinct is just to curl up in a ball.  I keep making myself make plans and forcing myself to get out - even when I really don't feel like it - because I think it's important.  But man...sometimes it's hard!!
  • I was telling my mom the other day I feel like a little old lady lately.  Last Saturday evening, I was really tired, even though it wasn't even 9 PM, and I knew if I lay down on the couch I'd fall asleep in minutes.  So I got into my pj's, made a cup of chamomile tea, and got into bed to watch Shameless.  As soon as I was done the tea, I konked out.  And she was like, "Geez, Jill... even I had a rum & coke, at least!"  I don't have wild nights anymore, but this was pretty lame even for me.  And yet... I enjoyed it so much!!  I make no apologies for being a hermity old lady. lol!
  • I think part of my discontent this week is that I am not "into" anything... if that makes any sense.  I just finished a book I LOVED (as you probably saw on yesterday's post!), and the next book I started so far hasn't grabbed me.  I'm having trouble getting into it.  On top of that, I finished Season 9 of Shameless the other day, and I have yet to find another show to fall in love with.  A friend recommended The Chronicles of Frankenstein on Netflix, but after two episodes I decided nope.  Last night, I tried out The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Prime, a show I've been wanting to check out for a while now, but it also didn't grab me.  Any suggestions for me??  I'm thinking maybe Brooklyn Nine-Nine or Grace & Frankie.  Maybe I should give Mrs. Maisel more of a shot... I'll try again tonight.
  • OK... I didn't intend for this to be a whiny, lamenting post.  Moving on to things I'm excited about!!
  • Alcohol inks!!!  I ordered them online and they arrived on Monday.  I sent my mom on a mission to find tiles for me the other day, and she could only get the rectangular ones.  I'm hoping to find some squares and arabesque shapes, but at least I have enough to get me started, as well as some yupo paper.  I'm looking forward to playing around with it this weekend.
  • Tomorrow is V-day, and I'm doing my ever-lovin' best not to dwell on the "single and alone" aspect of the day.  I mean, essentially, this is the life I have chosen  So I might as well have fun with the day rather than mope about it!  I'm going to Renfrew in the morning to shop, and likely will have lunch out, so that's something to look forward to.  I'm also planning to pick up some fun junk food to snack on tomorrow night, and rather than watching rom-coms like I normally do, I think I'll dig out some of my old fave comedies.  Like, Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead and Weekend at Bernie's and Son-In-Law. Cozy and fun and just what I like to do.  Who needs a Valentine, am I right??
  • Last night, I finished my latest crochet project, the Kaleidoscope Shawl. I LOVED how it turned out, even though it isn't perfect.  I somehow messed up my counts, and in the end my stitiches didn't add up to what the pattern called for, but I don't think anyone would ever be able to tell.  (Truthfully, I still can't figure out where I went wrong myself).  I used the Red Heart Unforgettable yarn in Tealberry, and I absolutely adore the colours of it.  It is so pretty in person.  Another item finished and packed away for Shawville Fair!
  • Next up on the hook: Slippers!!  I have a pattern I've been wanting to try that is supposed to be quite simple...we'll see if these turn out.
  • Today is so my kind of day.  It's been snowing and blowing all day, and so I'm all about the hot cups of tea and gazing out the window at it swirling around.  Ahhhh how I love winter!!!
Well, I think that's it for me today.  Hope you're all having a great week. :)

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

*WARNING:  May contain spoilers!!*

The first time I heard about Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens was an email my mom forwarded me from a cousin of hers who lives in California.  She had read it, and emailed all of her friends and relatives to recommend it.  Then I started noticing it popping up on blogs that I follow on "Must Read!!" lists.  I suggested it for our book club and it was one of the books chosen for 2020.  We will be discussing it coming up in June.

My initial expectations for this book were extremely high, but then they were brought back down a bit.  My Aunt Nora was given the book by a fellow cruiser on the ship last fall; she read it and passed it along to my mom, saying she liked it but it was just OK.  My mom read it before me and she, too, had a similar review: easy read, but nothing that blew her socks off.

I'm kind of glad that my expectations were lowered before reading it, because I think that caused me to enjoy it that much more.  I absolutely LOVED this book, guys.  LOVED it.  I almost hate to say that, because now I'm raising your expectations.  But truly, this is one of my favourite books that I've read in recent memory.  I blew through it in a week.  (That is fast for me; I am a slow reader).  I was choosing to read instead of watch TV, which is also unusual behaviour on my part.  I just couldn't wait to get back to that place, that story, to see what the next chapter would hold.

This story centres on the main character, Kya, and it begins in the 1950's, as young Kya's world begins to tear apart at the seams.  Her home is a place of both great love and great despair:  a shack near a marsh along the North Carolina coast, where her drunken father provides little, but she, her mother, and siblings love each other dearly.  However, her mother cannot take any more abuse and abruptly leaves the marsh, and shortly thereafter, so do all of Kya's older siblings.  She is left alone with her abusive father, until he, too, leaves her behind.  From a very young age, Kya learns to take care of herself, and comes to truly love her lonely existence, exploring the marsh and learning from it.

The townspeople nearby come to call her as The Marsh Girl.  They see little of her, and know even less about her.  However, Kya eventually grows into a beautiful young woman, and develops a relationship with two different men from the town, leading to self-discovery and even more learning from both of them and the land around her.  That is, until Kya is unexpectedly thrust into a murder investigation and her world is turned topsy-turvy once more.

This book literally came to life in my hands from the very first chapter.  I quickly caught on to the "voice" of the story, and the way Kya and the people around her talk.  I could hear their accents in my mind.  I also gravitated to Kya as such a sympathetic character, and marveled at her courage and endurance, her will to survive even when it seemed that everything was stacked against her.  Of course, there's enough of a love story too, to keep me drawn in and invested.  I wanted so badly for Kya to find happiness, and to let her walls down enough to let in the one who I felt was her true soulmate.

Throughout the novel, woven in between the story of Kya's coming-of-age, is a murder mystery of sorts.  One of Kya's former love interests, the handsome beloved local, Chase Andrews, is found dead.  As the investigation develops, Kya is named as the prime suspect.  As the novel hurtled to a close with Kya on trial for Chase's murder, I found myself gripped, unable to put the book down until I found out if she was deemed innocent or not, and who, if not her, did murder Chase?

I loved the descriptive writing, I loved the little snippets of poetry inserted into the storyline, and I loved the characters.  When I opened the book, I was transported to a different time and place, and I believe that is truly the mark of a great novel.  To open a book and escape to another world is what every reader is hoping for, I believe.

I was also intrigued to hear that Reese Witherspoon apparently owns the rights to turn this book into a movie. I think it would play out on the big screen AMAZINGLY well.  Coincidentally, I also pictured Kya as Reese Witherspoon's character in the movie The Man in the Moon, especially during her younger days.  That's probably why I always had an issue with one physical trait of Kya's - her long black hair.  I always pictured her as a blonde.  It was literally the only hiccup I came across while reading it; otherwise, the pictures just came to life like a movie in my mind.  I hope that one day I actually will be able to see it on the big screen.

I gave this book a 5-star rating on Goodreads, a rating that I don't hand out that often.  I would absolutely recommend it to fellow readers, and I am so interested to see at our book club meeting in June how the other ladies felt about it.  If you have already read it, please let me know in the comments what you thought of it!

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

February: Currently...

Here we are, February already!!  I know so many folks find January a long, hard month, but I felt like it went by fairly quickly.  Almost too quickly for my liking.  I keep consoling myself by saying, "At least there's an extra day in February this year..." LOL!  My winter-loving heart isn't ready to think of spring yet!

It's been a while since I've done a "Currently" post.  Here's what I'm at right now, in the early stages of February:

Listening to... A lot of fun new stuff that I've discovered!!  I signed up for Apple Music back before Christmas, and so far, loving it.  Here are the songs getting regular rotation on my playlist these days:
What a Man Gotta Do - Jonas Brothers (the best song I've heard in a long time!!!)
Let's Fall In Love for the Night - Finneas
Underdog - Alicia Keys
Hang In There Girl - Ashley McBryde
Hard Place - H.E.R.
You Should Be Sad - Halsey
Don't Start Now - Dua Lipa
Yummy - Justin Bieber
Raising Hell - Ke$ha
Anything by Tyler Childers

Eating... A bunch of not-very-good-for-me food... I made bacon & leek mac & cheese on Saturday night for dinner, and I made a Delissio stuffed crust pizza on Sunday night (for Super Bowl!), and I have been eating the leftovers all week.  Lord help me.

Drinking... Water (as usual), and I've been trying to have a cup of tea every afternoon, which always makes me feel cozy during the winter months.  I also have discovered a love for that Bubly sparkling water.  I tried the blackberry at my sister's a few week's ago, and bought a case of cherry for myself.  Last night, after a trying day that left me feeling a little heavy, I added some vodka to the glass and discovered I might actually have an alcoholic beverage I enjoy.

Planning... for Book Club which I am hosting on Friday night!  I have two snack lists going. LOL!  I am hoping to get to Shawville Friday morning to pick up some last minute necessities, but it is supposed to snow on Thursday and Friday, so if I decide to stay tucked in at home, I have an alternative snack list with stuff I already have in my fridge and cupboards.  Either way, a lot of my thought this week is going into making food and tidying the house for Friday night.

I am also in the early stages of helping to plan the Spring Vendor Sale at our church.  I sent out messages to all of the vendors we had last year, and I should be able to create the FB event and ad's by the end of this week.

Feeling... pretty good today, which is nice.  I mentioned feeling kind of heavy yesterday, I had a lot of little anxious thoughts weighing me down and I couldn't seem to shake it.  Those things aren't bothering me as much today, so I can't complain.

Reading... Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, and I am LOVING it!!  It's been a while since a book has interested me so much that I can't wait to get home and read; that I choose reading over watching TV.  This morning I woke up early to do my little workout, and instead talked myself into reading for half an hour. whoops.  I had heard great things about this book, but then my mom read it and said it didn't blow her away, so my expectations for it leveled out.  I think that was probably a good thing, because it is now exceeding my expectations big time!

Watching... Shameless Season 9 on Netflix.  I'm catching up on shows that have released new seasons lately.  I blew through Part 7 of The Ranch and Season 7 of Wentworth last week, then started in on Season 9 of Shameless.  I'm sucked back in to the Gallagher's world.  Totally madly in love with Season 9 Lip, might I add.  I don't know if it's the shorter hair or the fact that he's getting older or what, but... yeah.  I'm liking Lip.  A lot.

Loving... My new oil diffuser that I ordered from Saje Wellness!  It arrived in the mail on Monday, along with the oil blends I ordered:  Liquid Sunshine, Unwind, and Immune.  I'm already antsy to order more!  I was a little nervous about having an allergic reaction, because I blamed a rash I had a few years ago on the el cheapo oil diffuser I had in my room at the time, but so far so good.  I figured I was probably OK because I use the Saje farmacy roll-on blends all the time (including my beloved Peppermint Halo) and never have had a problem.  Anyways, it is really pretty and I love it.

I also got myself an area rug for my living room... FINALLY!!  It's only been on my personal wishlist list for years!!  I love how it looks, even though it's still kind of wrinkly from being all rolled up. 

Wanting...  to "complete" my living room with new vertical blinds for the windows.  Again, a long-standing wishlist item that I am determined to make happen this winter.  White vertical blinds will look so good with my new area rug!

I am also very much wanting to invest in alcohol ink supplies.  I have been thinking about it ever since I took the class at Shannon's several weeks ago.  The problem is, by the time I buy everything I need, I'm looking at $200+ in supplies, and I'm worried it's just a passing phase.  I don't want to put that kind of money into it, and then shove everything in a box in a corner to collect dust.  (I just cleaned out the junk room last week, remember.  I know I have a habit of doing this!!)  I keep telling myself that if I get it, I can consider it a Valentine's Day present to myself, but I also said that about my diffuser, so... not sure how many presents I'm allowed to get myself lol.

Needing... Not a whole lot right now!  In the grand scheme of things, I'm doing A-OK.  My needs are few.  I am lucky!! :)