Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Fifth Birthday Elle!

Happy Birthday my Elle-Belle!

I can't believe how big and beautiful you've grown since I last saw you in person. It was so wonderful to spend time with you at your house over Christmas break and see how you've blossomed and developed into quite a little personality.

I love how you still love orange, Cinderella, and your cats, and even more excited about your new love of Wonder Woman. (I don't like to disparage the Disney Princesses, so I was super excited to see a kick-butt lady on your Christmas list. Wonder Woman's outfit? We'll have to talk about later, right groovy girl?)
I love how you are perfectly content off on your own reading, drawing, or gaming, though I suspect you do need a rest from your siblings from time to time.
I know it's hard being stuck in the middle, but I love how you love on your little brother, and look up to your big sister, though sometimes you girls definitely have your issues, as all sisters do.

Granted, you are rapidly catching up to your big sister in height, aren't you?
I love your enthusiasm to try new things, even if you do sometimes give us a look that is a little skeptical of what is being proposed. (We will also try not to comment on how much that look on the left reminds us of certain of your grandmothers.)

I love getting glimpses of the young woman and grownup you are going to be. Will you become a vet and take care of your animals?  Maybe, though I think in another life you might have been a cowgirl - like Jesse.
 Every time I turned around, you were on a horse of some kind.

Will you take after Papa and be a computer person? Will you be like your Mama and be a loving teacher and caretaker?  No matter what path you choose, this photo to me shows that already you have the determination and drive to handle any obstacle you see in front of you.

Thanks for being my cuddly lap-warming kid, my blondie girl, my Elle-Belle.

Wishing you sweet Birthday dreams.
All my love,

Auntie Nettie 

Again, in the orange, because "orange" you special?

Photos from my Idaho trip, December 2012
"regular" camera/iTouch

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Auntie Nettie Reads A LOT 2013 - 1st Quarter

Well, I usually read a lot MORE  (see the earlier lists), but this year has also been "read"iculous. I was on the road/in the air a lot, or staring at my iTouch or computer screens. 

The usual caveat applies: If you are just finding the blog, please note that this list was maintained mainly so that I could remember what I've read this year. The record does not fully represent me or all of my interests, so don't judge my reading habits. My interests change quite frequently. Also, as a general rule, I don't do book recommendations or link to major retailers or publishers. Except for the ARCs listed below [thanks major publishers!], most of these books came from MY library or a public library. 

Go forth, use your library card and READ!

January through March 2013
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (not finished yet)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Year 1) by J.K. Rowling (rereading from own collection)
Practically Perfect: A Novel by Katie Fforde (reread)
The Mermaid Collector by Erika Marks
Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School) by Gail Carriger
The Runaway Princess by Hester Browne
Me, Myself and Why: A Modern Threesome by MaryJanice Davidson
Yours, Mine, and Ours (Book 2) by MaryJanice Davidson
Love Letters: A Novel by Katie Fforde
The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society: A Novel by Beth Pattillo
2 books from own collection
Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart: A Novel by Beth Pattillo
Demon Hunting in the Deep South by Lexi George
The Flight of Gemma Hardy: A Novel by Margot Livesey (didn't finish)
A Wedding in Great Neck: A Novel by Yona Zeldis McDonough (didn't finish)
Ever After (Rachel Morgan series) by Kim Harrison
Into The Woods: Tales from The Hollows and Beyond by Kim Harrison

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Instructions from the Introvert

I used to think I was just shy and awkward. Now I know I'm shy, awkward, but really an introvert and that's okay. I'm not "wrong," or antisocial, or stupid, or b**tchy, so please don't try to fix me.

Here's some operating instructions.

via the Twitters

I totally want to put the top graph up at work and share it with some managers who need to recognize that more than half their staff are struggling because of the office design and "leadership"/"communication" differences.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wreck it Wednesdsay: Wreck this Journal

After a long week of staring at one screen or another, it was so lovely to spend last Friday with Christine. After hugs and news were exchanged, there was also an exchange of birthday goods.

Christine knows me so well. She could just tell that it was time for some crafts therapy.

My present was Keri Smith's Wreck This Journal - the expanded 2012 edition.

Wreck This Journal: To Create is to Destroy

Already showing my imprint
For anyone who's ever had trouble starting, keeping, or finishing a journal or sketchbook comes this expanded edition of Wreck This Journal, an illustrated book that features a subversive collection of prompts, asking readers to muster up their best mistake and mess-making abilities and to fill the pages of the book (or destroy them). Through a series of creatively and quirkily illustrated prompts, acclaimed artist Keri Smith encourages journalers to engage in "destructive" acts--poking holes through pages, adding photos and defacing them, painting pages with coffee*, coloring outside the lines, and more--in order to experience the true creative process. With Smith's unique sensibility, readers are introduced to a new way of art and journal making, discovering novel ways to escape the fear of the blank page and fully engage in the creative process.
From the Preface:
Warning: During the process of this book you will get dirty. You may find yourself covered in paint, or any other number of foreign substances. You will get wet. You may be asked to do things you question. You may grieve for the perfect state that you found the book in. You may begin to see creative destruction everywhere. You may begin to live more recklessly. 
All color added by me
I spent part of the weekend playing in this ... here are some horrible iTouch photos, which just don't do it justice!

I was writing on top of my own writing
Certain pens bleed through - which I'll have to remember. Also, I can't draw.
Traced my hand with pencil, made annotations, and then illustrated with 3 nail polishes. Added note about which hand.
I love this duct tape. There is a pattern, but you can't see it for the paisley.
Page numbers bleed through. I've been adding dates of which pages I do.
* Coffee/tea substitutions will have to be made, or done with guest journalers.

Thanks for the inspiration Christine. What have you wrought?

Given that some of these pages instruct you to remove them from the book, I may split the spine and remove them all for preservation purposes. How I will do that with the 3-D stuff, I don't know yet!

Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

More Travails Via iTouch

This month has totally gotten away from me. (It didn't help that last week I got a little obsessive about a work project and stayed at my desk for 11, 10, 11, and then 12 hours before enjoying a day off.)

I did manage to do a few things. I baked a lot on the weekend(s) for myself and the various departments. Cookies and cakes good colleagues do make.

This is a very easy vegan-esque cake to whip up to enjoy at night, the only problem being is that baking in this pan makes it very easy to see that eating three slices ends up being a quarter of the cake. That's a bit too much in one sitting.
St. Patrick's Day required thematic cookies. I made lots of batches of Irish Soda bread cookies (so yummy but add more [3/4cup] buttermilk than this recipe asks for), and these sugar cookies with white chocolate frosting and magic kisses from the leprechauns were perfect for dunking in milk or tea.
One late night Cynthia and I ended up at McDonald's before heading home. I usually crave a chocolate Frosty and fries from Wendy's but that's the wrong franchise. Instead I had my first Shamrock Shake with a side of fries and the new fish bites. I joked that  Shamrock Shake really needed to be topped by the Girl Scout's Thin Mints, and Cynthia fished some out of her bag.

I recommend dipping either the fries OR the Thin Mints in the Shake. I do not recommend a Thin Mint fry sandwich washed down with a Shake. Trust me.

On the commuting front, I have only managed to walk to the train station once this month. I've either been working too late, or it rained/snowed. The one time I did, I saw a burning bush. Traditionally, that's usually a sign from above. In this case, it's a message to watch out for things falling from above.
The transit system is really stretching to get our attention on not breaking the rules regarding common decency, like not littering, playing our music too loudly, or smoking.
Look more closely. That's a Lord of the Rings inspired warning. No Elf Harps. No Wizard/Hobbit smoking, and no Gollum littering. I don't know if this is a sanctioned sticker, or a spoof. But I like it.

On other trains, people are catching on to the art graffiti movement called "Vandal Eyes" where they put googly eyes on various things. Sitting on this pelican is weird enough, but someone vandaleyes'd this with a lash-bedecked mean-one-eyed-glare. Don't sit on me. An I have yet to see someone sit there.
The pelican spooked the rest of the train hardware -- so much. See? Startled lock is startled. 
(No vandal eyes required.)
Just when it looked like spring was almost within reach, we got snowed on. AGAIN. (We may be snowed on again TONIGHT too.) There is something to be said about commuting late during a snowstorm. Everything seems ... more ... lonely, lovely, calm, clean, muffled, moody, etc.
Making a different kind of snowy tracks.
Fordham platform is forlorn.

By the end of the week, the grey days, lack of sun, and long long hours were starting to get to me. Luckily, Kari's slightly belated birthday package was waiting for me at the P.O. Box. And it was worth the wait for hand-written birthday wishes from the girls, chocolate, jewelry, yarn, a t-shirt ... and my first pair of hand-knit socks by Ms. Kari herself. (THANKS KREW!)

Thankfully, I had to take a day off to get my taxes done, and I always use it as an excuse to head back up to Westchester County to see my Caramoor crew. The sun decided to celebrate with me. My shadow finally made an appearance.
I even saw trees in bloom. Granted they were wall stencils/appliques in a gym nursery, but LEAVES! GREEN! COLOR! BIRDS! NATURE! I'll take spring anywhere I can get it.

The rest of this weekend has been dedicated to crafts therapy. I just didn't feel like baking, (it happens), and needed to rest my eyes from staring at the computer screen. (My eyes are actually starting to twitch working on this post - eye strain from last week's long hours.)

As previously mentioned, my little neighbor girl and I have been doing guerrilla art decoration/competitions for various holidays. My snowflakes have been attacked by shamrocks, so I had to add Welsh and Scottish flags to my door to compete with the Irish natives down next door. Now that St. Patrick's Day is over, I figured it was time for Easter decorations. I spent yesterday coloring in Easter egg graphics and slipping blank pages under the neighbors' doors. Challenge laid down. Now we wait. l: the Irish and r: the signs that the seasons are still mixing.
I thought I had crayons stashed away, but no. I still managed with highlights, sharpies, and other markers. This one is a red Sharpie and a dying red marker that I kept licking.
 My Irish/Ukrainian egg homage: 2 colors of highlighter and 1 Sharpie.
 Happy Early Easter!

I also spent time doing other art therapy, which you'll see a little later on - thanks to Christine!

Thank goodness for the camera on the iTouch. Without it, I would almost have no record of where the month went.