Category Archives: Uncategorized

I Can’t Get Enough *Something* In My Life

Take a good look at this, folks:

The dratted laundry room

Remember when I told you that I came home and the garage was raining, because the washing machine had broken? Today, we had the disaster recovery people in to assess the flood damage. That entire room, plus the older kids closet (on your right, behind that wall) and the linen closet (to the left) have to be ripped out. The whole area has to be dried with giant fans — whee! — for three days, then put back together with glue and thumbtacks. Ok, maybe not with glue and thumbtacks but I’m a little worried. We’re talking major construction here, most of which I HOPE will be covered by insurance but I am not optimistic. The older boys will not be able to sleep in their room until the whole process is finished, and the cats will have to be locked up in our bedroom for a lot of the construction period.

On the plus side….there is no plus side. We will end up replacing all of the upstairs carpet, but only because it looks effing stupid to replace a rectangle of good carpet next to the pile of putrefaction that is our current carpet. Necessary, and something I’ll be grateful for later (probably), but it’s going to cost a buttload of money we don’t really have. ARGH. Not to mention moving all the furniture and other stuff. DOUBLE ARGH.

I don’t know how much sewing I’ll be able to get done. Between the fact that I’ll have no laundry room for a week or three, and the construction and the dust….well, I might actually be driven to sewing “cheap and cheerful” if I run out of clothing, but I’m hoping it won’t go to that extreme. I do plan to continue blogging, but it’ll be light on the sewing projects.

My MIL came over today to make her famous Seafood Salad for dinner, to cheer us up. The ensuing overfeeding on top of a stressful day led to several ridiculous conversations, like this one:

Me: I really don’t get enough crab in my life.

Hubs: WHAT!?!  (I repeated myself)  Oh, I thought you said you didn’t get enough crap in your life and I was gonna say, if two weeks of construction isn’t enough crap…

Trust me, darlings, it’s enough crap. Crap I have in abundance.

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Film Review — Magic Mike

Sorry for my absence, y’all! WordPress went hokey on Friday and wouldn’t let me post pictures, so I had to abandon the post I’d planned for that day.

Anyhow, I did something rather silly yesterday. I went to see Magic Mike in the theater, by myself, out of sheer curiosity.

(movie still from justjared.com)

Let me say up front, I am not a fan of male strippers. Something about a guy wriggling around in a g-string while screaming women stuff dollar bills in the elastic makes me acutely embarrassed for everyone involved. However, I did enjoy the movie and can give it a cautious thumbs-up. Will it win any awards? No. Will it make you feel better about the world? Eh, no, but I consider that an advantage. I expected a traditional feel-good movie ending, and Magic Mike doesn’t really deliver on that front. What it does is portray the world these people live in as much more nuanced (and hard to escape) than you would expect. From what I’ve heard, Channing Tatum wrote the script based on his experiences in a male show so a lot of the characters and story lines ring true.

The good:

1) Channing Tatum. The boy can dance, and I’m starting to have some serious appreciation for his acting skills as well. He has excellent comic timing and no self-consciousness — watch him launch himself into a fistfight while nearly naked, and you’ll be cringing at the potential damage.

2) Matthew McConaughey. He was pretty much born to play this role, and he revels in it.

3) The movie avoids a number of traditional boy-girl cliches. Mike’s friend-with-benefits Joanna is a well-rounded character, the Kid’s sister (played by Cody Horn, daughter of former Warner president Alan Horn) isn’t a fan of stripping and never does accept it, there is no blame or condescension for anyone’s sexuality. There ARE some creeptastic moments from a sexual perspective, but nearly all of them are due to recreational drug use which Magic Mike roundly condemns. By the way, some reviews accuse Horn of ruining the movie but I think her understated performance works for the character, who actually does spend much of the movie being confused, exasperated or disgusted.

4) Gabriel Iglesias, Joe Manganiello, and Adam Rodriguez turn in excellent side performances.

The bad:

1) Alex Pettyfer. He’s been accused in the press of being a diva on set, but I can’t tell how much of my distaste for him is actually due to the character he plays.

2) Matt Bomer. I continue to be mystified at people who call Matt Bomer an actor. He can show up and look pretty, but I have yet to see him act in anything and in this movie, he concentrates so hard during the dance scenes that he looks like he’s trying to perform brain surgery.

3) Kevin Nash, who plays Tarzan. To be fair to Mr. Nash, his appearance and behavior are much more typical of my experiences with male stripping than the pretty guys in Magic Mike. However, I’m not sure he can dance and after the first few minutes, his character barely speaks or interacts with the other guys. Also, I mistook him for Mickey Rourke until I saw the final credits at the end.

So…if you’ve got a couple free hours, you could do worse than watching Magic Mike.

What I’ve Been Doing Instead of Blogging

This morning, we dropped Oldest and Middlest off at the pier for their first day of camp. Yes, I said the pier — this year’s camp is on an island, with a two-hour boat ride over. Cue lots of Bonine for a very worried Middlest who is prone to motion sickness. They won’t be back until Sunday, and I am sorely missing them already. Oldest has had plenty of Scout camp experience (as did Middlest during his Cub years), but this is the first time we’ve sent them off to a non-Scout, mixed gender camp. I hope they get to have the camp experience I remember from my childhood — fun and annoying counselors, questionable meals, crushes and feuds.

Which means the last week has been full of this:

Picture two more stacks of clothes. Now picture fitting all that in two duffel bags. YEAH.

Lots of laundry and counting items, and yesterday’s late night dash to Walmart when I realized they did NOT have enough underwear between them. I sent them off with self-addressed, stamped envelopes…is it too much to expect they’ll write? Yes, probably.

On top of that:

1) It’s hot. I promise not to whine overmuch about it because we are coastal and I KNOW it’s nothing here compared to many parts of the country. Still, I don’t normally see this kind of dead, white, spend-a-few-minutes-in-the-sun-and-get-burnt heat until late August. I already have a sunburn, and we’ve only spent one day at the pool. This is not a good sign.

2) I sewed a skirt. I will model it later. It is absurdly simple and the wrong color for my palette. I should have made the pattern in black knit. I should buy black knit, but I never do because I’m an idiot who forgets about basics. I’m telling myself it’s a wearable muslin.

3) I’m trying out a new DENTIST tomorrow and oh boy….not looking forward to it. I decided to fire my dentist after having him tell me for the millionth time that my tooth pain was due to an uneven bite. When he knows that I’m prone to getting cavities under my fillings and every time I have him yank a filling, I’m right about the decay. He also tried the “uneven” bite nonsense on the Hubs who broke that tooth (due to untreated decay) three weeks later. Hmph. Anyway, I have two teeth that need work and this ain’t gonna be pretty.

4) All three kids did their summer toy purge last week. This was the damage:

I swear, I don’t know how they end up with so much crap. Some of the stuff in that paper bag actually needs to go into the garbage.

5) I am still reading a lot of trash, except I tried to switch it up with Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. Yikes. You want to talk trash? I had to stick it in the bathroom for the last 100 pages because the only way I could tolerate the overblown prose any further was in two-minute increments on the toilet. That’s a good way to get through questionable books, by the way — save them for your bathroom reading. Have just finished Woolf, am in fact quite possibly permanently done with her oeuvre (I did read Mrs. Dalloway in college as well and found it strangely unmemorable), and am considering putting my other unread classics in the bathroom.

So tell me about yourselves, chickadees. Are you sweltering? Suffering under the burden of terrible writing? Sewing anything worthwhile? Any fond memories of summer camp?

Back Soon!

I have an ear infection, and the entire left side of my head is swollen, inflamed and stuffed up.  I’ll be back after the weekend, or whenever I run out of home remedies to shove in my ear.

Who the Heck is Christopher Webb?

I ran into the thrift today to drop off a bag of clothes, and came out with these jeans:

The back label says Christopher Webb, CW Jeans.

I had never heard of Christopher Webb, so I did what any sensible person does — I hit Google.

And Google failed me. It gave me Christopher Webb, filmmaker (not a likely crossover). A few regular schmoes and a lot of mug shots (apparently, if you want your child to be a law-abiding citizen then Christopher Webb is a poor name choice). Oh, and a headstone.

I’m pretty sure THIS guy has no connection to the denim industry.

Whoever CW is, though, he makes some pretty soft jeans. I was looking for jeans because one of my workhorse pairs started scratching me in the hip every time I wore them. The rivet had broken and I couldn’t figure out where in the fabric layers the thing was hidden. I finally found it and pulled it off today:

That looks even more painful than it felt.

So, I have a slight hole there but now I can patch it. I don’t REALLY need your jeans, Mr. Christopher Webb, whoever you are.

I’ve been working on a skirt that has been giving me kittens (metaphorically, that is — actual kittens would be much cuter and less frustrating) so I spent today pre-washing and sorting fabric. Including this black twill:

O HAI, I HELP U FOLD.

Crystal insists on rolling around on any fabric I lay out for cutting. She’s magically attracted to dark fibers and snag-prone weaves. It’s a good thing she’s cute.

Speaking of cute, crush of the week:

Silas Weir Mitchell, from the TV show, “Grimm.” He plays a werewolf. What? Personally, I prefer furry to fangs.

I missed my 200th blog post on Sunday so I’ll be doing some kind of celebration over the next few days! THERE WILL BE SHENANIGANS. Oh, yes, there will.

Baby Steps

Those of you who read here regularly know that our two cats are rescues. They were in an abusive situation previously, although I’m sure we’ll never know the full extent of what was done to them. They’ve been with us for nearly a year now, and the difference is remarkable. Lila used to hide under the bed for days at a time and now she will sleep with us, play with us and sit on my lap. She still has trouble with being picked up:

This is the Hubs, holding Lila. She used to freak out completely; she's relatively calm here.

We’re trying to pick her up more, to see if we can get her accustomed to the experience. Crystal will tolerate being picked up, carried and petted but is NOT a lap cat and will sometimes growl or verbalize her displeasure if we’re too friendly. Also, Crystal hates being in pictures and insists on sleeping with Youngest. We think she’s a bit of a masochist.

The elusive Maso-chat in her natural habitat.

I have accomplished very little this week because Youngest came down with the FLU. Luckily, it was the cold variety and not the stomach flu and he’s back in school, but things like that completely throw me off. I have sewn three muslins and tossed two patterns in the giveaway pile (and good riddance). I did pick up a few new patterns at JoAnn’s Simplicity sale, notably 1887 which I’ve been eager to try since the spring patterns went up on the website:

Misses' Pants & Skirts It has a flat front waistband with back elastic, side pockets, and the kind of style details I’ve seen in a lot of RTW garments lately.

I also picked up this:

Doll and ClothesThese dolls were too cute to pass up, although I have no idea who I would make one for.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to get some sewing done this weekend — although we do have a concert and a boring educational outing for Scouts. I am not knocking Scouts, but educational tours get VERY old by the time you’re on your third Cub. I should bring along a flask and make it into a drinking game…every time the guide says, “Attention,” take a swig. Every time you smack your head on a low mantel because people were apparently shrimps way back when…take a swig. Every time one of the kids asks a rambling, three minute question that makes you want to reach out and choke him, take a swig. If it’s your kid, take two swigs.

Who am I kidding, I’d be drunk before we got to the first bathroom break.

Sci Fi Sunday — Teen Fiction Edition

Anybody noticed that we’re experiencing a new boom in Young Adult fiction? They have their own section at Barnes and Noble now. So much for all the oldsters complaining that books are going out of style.  Ha!

Currently Reading:

The Hunger Games

 

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Oldest read this series last year and really liked it (he bought Mockingjay in hardback because he couldn’t wait to get it from the library). However, he said he wasn’t satisfied with the ending so I was discouraged from beginning the books myself. Enter my book club who voted on this book for January.  Let me just say here…I love my book group and have been introduced to much good literature through them, but they also made me read Twilight. I spend as much time annoyed by their choices as I do reading.

The Hunger Games is dystopian fiction at its finest. From the first chapter, I was drawn into the book and couldn’t put it down. Never mind the YA label, this is futuristic fiction worth reading. Collins goes for the jugular; she never shies away from violence, her characters are multi-dimensional and she avoids overly optimistic conclusions. Katniss is a young teen in a post-apocalyptic world who becomes a candidate for her district in the Hunger Games. Winners get a house and prizes, as well as acclaim for their district, while losers die. There were many moments in the book where I thought I could tell what would happen next, but Collins surprised me every time. For those of you who like movie tie-ins, the movie will be coming out in March and there are trailers online if you’ve read the book and are curious about the film. I strongly recommend The Hunger Games for eleven and up, although I will add a warning that you will want to continue the series. I’m now reading Catching Fire, to be followed by Mockingjay. DO NOT TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS, or I will throw a knife at you. May the odds be ever in your favor!

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Here’s wishing you and yours a very merry holiday season! Whatever you celebrate, may you do it in the warm glow of family and friends. Whatever your burdens, may they be lightened and whatever your joys, may they be increased tenfold.

The blog will be on hold until Monday. And in case you think I’ve become irredeemably sappy:

This is how we do gingerbread in our house. Rudolph + hunting bow = macabre reindeer.

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas….

I sent my kid to school with:

Two yards of fabric cut in 8″ x 2″ rectangles with pinking shears, one wire hanger, two tubs of white frosting, one bag of mini marshmallows, one ornament for the gift exchange, four book orders, $20 for the teacher’s gift, and a gift card for Adopt-a-Family.

That’s not including the two gag gifts, one donation to Toys-for-Tots, and two packages of treats sent earlier in the week.

Dear Teachers: We get it. We even appreciate that you want our children to have a lovely holiday. NOW PLEASE STOP. Kaithanxbai, The Parents.

Happy Birthday to Me, I Live in a Tree….

And I have no idea how to end that rhyme because it’s been exactly 30 years since second grade. Yeah, you can go ahead and do the math.

This isn’t really a post, I just wanted to brag. Oldest gave me breakfast in bed and cleaned the kitchen, almost making up for getting a bad grade in math today. Almost. Middlest made me a card in which he hoped I got to do what I liked best, reading and making clothes. The kid knows me well. Youngest gave me a very sticky kiss and a no-whine morning. Also? I’m still breathing and nothing hurts. AWESOMESAUCE.