So long, February

PicMonkey February Collage

Thank goodness I have hobbies and interests and family, not to mention a sense of humor, to keep me engaged and occupied during months like the one we've just had!

This morning, our below-zero Fahrenheit temperature landed us tied in the record book for the most number of below-zero Fahrenheit days in a winter. People. That's not the kind of record we're interested in even meeting, never mind beating.

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So, arguably, the thing about a Best Picture Festival is that there's hardly a dud in the bunch… one might find reason to complain more about a movie that's not on the list than one that is! Sometimes a movie doesn't find it's place for a while, but it is what it is: 9 movies nominated for Best Picture at The Oscars!

Here are my nutshell reviews of the movies we saw last weekend:

I loved Nebraska — Bruce Dern is amazing — it is relevant and relatable; it could be called Wisconsin or Rhode Island. Some of the characters are over the top (okay, the shrew… I mean wife), but I think everyone can relate to that, too.

I enjoyed Captain Phillips a lot more than I thought I would… again, the actors/characters, and there was a lot of action! One of my fellow movie-goers got a little seasick, though (just a heads up for y'all).

I wasn't really looking forward to a 3D movie — the only other 3D movie I've seen was Beauty and The Beast with the girls (meh, why mess with stuff like this?) — but if you're going to see a movie in 3D, Gravity would be the one. The story is so-so/predictable, but the scenery… WOW! And, okay, Clooney.

And The Wolf of Wall Street. Leo just knows how to play those fellas, doesn't he? That was a wild, debauched ride. I didn't count, myself, but trust that whoever's job it was to count the f-bombs was accurate at 506!

Except for Nebraska, none of these were really on my To-See list. Tomorrow's Best Picture Festival line-up is the one I really look forward to:

  • Philomena
  • Her
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • American Hustle
  • Dallas Buyers Club

I'm so happy that I'll have seen them all by Sunday night — The Oscars with Ellen!!  :)


Ten on Tuesday

Ten on Tuesday: I feel…

Ten on Tuesday:  "I feel…"

1.  I feel cold. Wisconsin, winter, blah blah blah; we're in record-breaking territory for below-zero temps, or something ridiculous like that, so BLAH!

2.  I feel pretty. Haha. Well, I don't actually feel pretty at this very moment, but that keeps popping into my head, and sometimes I do; this time:


3.  I feel satisfied, surprised, accomplished, and amazed that I've finished sewing my Alabama Chanin style top! (I may wear it tonight to book club and, if so, will see about getting a photo; if not, it will happen soon.)

4.  I feel so motivated to do more handsewing… I can hardly believe it. I've been gathering materials!

5.  I feel pleased that I didn't completely frog my Follow Your Arrow shawl, and even found some knitting mojo, picking it up again to do some work during Closing Ceremonies. Obviously, I veered completely off course with that project in terms of completing it during the Olympics!


6.  I feel so happy that I'm able to spend some regularly scheduled one-on-one Grandma time with Junah every week… sometimes I even let Grandpa hold him. Heh.

7.  I feel a little overwhelmed by things… and I'm glad I'm feeling it "a little" and will take steps to make sure I don't feel it "a lot."

8.  I feel as though I've let some balls* drop. Big time.

9.  I feel bad that I didn't write a single letter in February. Not even to my daughter who lives far, far away. I'm a terrible mother. (I do enjoy our weekly Skype chats, though, and I'm SO looking forward to visiting her in May.)

10.  I feel the sun!! Do you? Our bedroom faces south and on sunny days the solar gain is AMAZING. Usually, though, once the sun goes down the room cools right down, but lately it's stayed warm well past sundown. So even though I'm feeling cold (#1), I am well aware of (searching out) all of the signs of the coming warmth.




And the Oscar goes to…

We won't know until The Oscars are presented on Sunday, March 2nd, and I'll be better informed about the Best Picture nominees this year than ever!

I love awards shows, especially The Oscars, and I love movies! I've gone to a fair number of movies in the past year but, incredibly, not a single movie on the list of nominees for Best Picture!

This year, beginning tomorrow and continuing next Saturday, I'll be attending a Best Picture Film Festival at our local movie theater. I have never done anything like that before and I'm pretty excited.

I really have to get a simple knitting project on the needles because I don't know if my hands can be still for that long. I don't usually knit when I go to the movies, but don't usually see four (or five) at a time, either!

It sounds a little crazy.

Here's the line-up for tomorrow:

  • Nebraska
  • Captain Phillips
  • Gravity – 3D
  • The Wolf of Wall Street

Next Saturday:

  • Philomena
  • Her
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • American Hustle
  • Dallas Buyers Club

It is a little crazy.



Current Obsessions

I took one look at my Instagram profile and, well, that pretty much says it all.


My grandson and Alabama Chanin, which sometimes intersect, a little bit of knitting, the occasional observation about the weather, and musing on getting the empty toilet paper roll into the wastebasket… a shot that, even after 27 years of practice from that specific Point A to B, I still miss most of the time.

I am closing in on the quilting and reverse applique of the Alabama Chanin-style top I'm making. I'll have to do some careful cutting of my pieces prior to sewing up, due to rushing in at the beginning and the more careful reading of the directions not happening until later. The whole concept of "slow" is going to be a work-in-progress… a practice, if you will. That's what this piece is all about, anyway, and I can't wait to… slowly… finish and make another. I've made large format copies of all the pattern pages in the books and I'm ready!

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It was a great day off yesterday, beginning with my early morning Junah time. I took my mom to the lampshade shop later in the morning, and it was so nice to get out and actually go somewhere with her; a quick trip to Target with Ali after Junah's (approx.) 6-week check up; chiseling away at odd chores in between, making dinner, and then some sewing while catching up with the day's Olympic action… It's all pretty darn good.


11 lbs. 1 oz.!!


Ten on Tuesday

Ten on Tuesday: The Olympics

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Thoughts On The 2014 Winter Olympics

1.  In regard to any Olympics on NBC, I hope they never change the theme. I never tire of hearing it.

Bugler's Dream by Leo Arnaud

2. We don't have cable, so the only televised coverage at our house is on plain old over-the-airwaves NBC. I record everything and then FF through a lot of it. Sometimes I'm sorry that I'm not forced to sit through and learn all the ins and outs of, oh, let's say BIATHLON or LUGE.

3. I've been known to delete entire "afternoons" of competition. The Tivo only holds so much! And I only have so much time to watch. And while I may have some interest in one cross-country ski race, subsequent contests are far less riveting (and that may not even be proper use of the word); if I'm paying attention during the FFing, though, I'll stop and watch any finish in any sport.

3. I love love love Mary Carillo! I love her energy, her humor, her wonderful people/place/travel stories. I always stop FFing for those.

4. I'm a big sap. I love the athlete profiles and stories, clips from childhood, awkward stages. I stop for as many of them as I can, too. Athlete profiles have always been one of my favorites parts, even when I was a young girl. They are all regular people, except that they are not… they are extraordinary in their focus, dedication, and determination. Gee, wouldn't that be cool? I think I always wished that I might feel so driven… about anything.

5. Don't you love short-track speed skating!? Actually, almost all of the speed skating, and possibly because I'm from Wisconsin, having agonized and cheered every race with the likes of Dan Jansen, Eric Heiden, and Bonnie Blair.


6. I really enjoyed Tom Brokaw's "Space Race" piece. It re-awakened some feelings and memories that I'm still processing and about which I can feel quite emotional. When I watch the film of those old Apollo missions, I still feel the same excitement of LIFT-OFF that I felt as a 5th grader when our teacher would bring her portable TV to school for every launch so we could watch them live. (Never mind a TV in every classroom, there wasn't even a TV in the AV Room, land of mimeograph machines and filmstrip projectors!) I remember my parents waking us up to watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. I remember that we won; we beat the Russians to the moon! I remember knowing astronauts' names — at least some of them — they were heroes! A present-day astronaut was shown in that story and I was sad, almost embarrassed, that I didn't have a clue what his or any current astronaut's name was.

7. Also, because of that piece, I think I've fallen a little bit in love with Tom Stafford and Alexei Leonov. I find their friendship/relationship (more like family) incredibly heart-warming and so very full of hope for us all.

8. Alexei. Olga. Irina. Sergei. Ludmila. Ekaterina. The Olympic games of my childhood were every-4-year glimpses into another world! Russia, East Germany, were… Communist. Enormous. So very Mysterious! Sometimes I miss the tension and drama. Katarina Witt!

9. Figure skating is one of my favorite Winter Olympics "sports." For only about the third time since cutting the cord, I am missing cable for the live commentary of Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, which I hear is among the best, and especially because while Tom Hammond and Scott Hamilton are okay in my book, I cannot stand Sandra Bezic and don't feel any chemistry there at all.

10. I love a little pomp & circumstance, and the spirit of the Opening & Closing Ceremonies — very different from one another! My mother was a student of Russian history in the mid-'60s, and she even had the opportunity to go to Russia in the mid-'70s; I'll never forget her taking me to see Doctor Zhivago and the history lessons she whispered in my ear throughout the whole movie! I'm grateful, not only for the fond memory but also for the knowledge; I am certain that I knew more about Russia — some recent history, at least — than any of my classmates (or teachers) or friends, and I was interested, too. I thought they handled their less than popular history during the Opening quite well. It certainly wasn't an easy thing… and, to critics, wouldn't it be interesting to see how the U.S. handled some of the unsavory bits of their own history in a similar exercise.


So, I'm off to do some more of the sewing to which the knitting has succumbed. Photo of baby modeling Demne (one of my favorites)… because I can, and because BABY!