Monday, March 31, 2014

Happy Sixth Birthday My Wonder-ful Elle!

Someone WONDERFUL is having a sixth Birthday today! 
She's just so wonderful! I'm not saying she's Wonder Woman, I'm just saying that no one has seen Wonder Woman and Elle in the same place at the same time. Blonde, dimples, and glasses - now that is a convincing disguise!
I think she deserves her own cape of birthday fantastic-ness - to show how wonderful she is. (En route!)

I had such a great time hanging out with her in December/January and February and can't wait to show you all her wonderfulness.

Where to start? Oh yes. Her fancy recent haircut - as shown in the photo above and these below, courtesy of her folks.
I thought she just got a haircut. I learned in last night's Skype call (from her sister!) that it was made for Locks for Love. I mean - COME ON. That is a total super-hero Wonder Woman move.

What else? She is a great helper. Helping Nathan with his library books here (again, courtesy of her folks), and
instructing a young Padawan in the way of the Star Wars Universe at the library. Proud of this one, I am.
(That one's Chewbacca! And These? These are the Droids we are looking for.)

Not only that, watch out. She's a future fighter. She may have some Sith Lord in her - when it comes to defending her home and family. This Darth Elle greeted me upon my arrival over the holidays. Good reminder. Don't make Darth Elle angry! She wields a mean sword.
Geek girl has to keep up on her universes. Here she is checking out the men of Marvel. I think she's GOT to be a Loki fan, especially in those colors. (Brains, not brawn, my niece. Let me just impart that wisdom. Loki will make you laugh ... Especially when he gets that glint in his eye. And dances. LO. The dancing. Sigh. Right. Where was I? ELLE... RIGHT!)
Gamer girl has some skillz on the console, but still likes to hang with her dollz - wonder and feline. She may end up as a wonderfully wonderful vet one day. Or Not. But that is fine. She will be wonderful at anything.
 She's still wonderfully silly, especially when Auntie Nettie's around, (or maybe especially when I am around?),
so she can practice taking selfies, or just goofing off. (As a sign of my love, I actually let her take them of me.)

No, I love YOU Elle!

I love her many faces. You just have to carefully watch her, and watch for those moments. You can see things happening behind her eyes, things being considered, not said, or said, an accounting compiled, and the years passing in seconds.
Unimpressed Elle is unimpressed.
 Who is this giant of a niece?
 Wasn't she just Daddy's little girl?
 Now she's trying out new fashions trends.
Suddenly Grandpa is taking pictures of her dressed up like she is heading out for a dance.
Uncle Jed realizes that he may not have to kneel down much longer to be in photos with her,
and she and Big Sister see eye-to-eye - with the wondering of their momma about how much longer before Elle is actually the taller of the two (not much).
 What a wonderful big sister, little sister, niece, daughter, granddaughter, cousin, and friend Ms. Elle is!
My darling girl ... may you have a WONDERFUL WONDERFUL Sixth Birthday!

I love you in this universe, and all the fictional and undiscovered ones that there may be!

Auntie Nettie
Aka Darth Nettie

P.S. Don't get hooked on Diet Coke. Trust me.

via the Twitters

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Auntie Nettie Reads A Lot 2014 - 1st Quarter

The first quarter of 2014 has been an interesting one. To recap (again): First there was the return from the epic holiday journey, the projects from heck at the Big J, 7 day a week schedules of about 60-80 hours, informing the Big J that I was leaving, leaving (FREEDOM!), starting the new job at the "little c", dealing with the learning curve, dealing with the weather, traveling AGAIN, the weather, the commute, and OH YEAH, trying to deal with the rest of my "stuff."

Appropriately titled: UNFINISHED BOOKS
Apparently, I did try to use the other side of my brain and read, but only occasionally. Not nearly enough.

You know the other sad thing from this period?

And I am appalled to even type it?

I haven't been to a library - to check out books - since January.


HOW? What? Sputter!

Read the above. Compute it.

Know that I have a backlog of titles on my bureau, shelves, and e-reader.

And not enough time - obviously - to even blog in a timely fashion.

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 (NOT) 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 and READ!   

January through March 2014 [The lack of titles here saddens me.]
True Love (A Nantucket Brides book) by Jude Deveraux
Big Girl Panties: A Novel by Stephanie Evanovich
The Midnight Witch by Paula Brackston (ARC)
Bellman & Black: A Ghost Story by Diane Setterfield (ARC)
some e-books I don't recall
The Housemaid's Daughter: A Novel by Barbara Mutch (ARC)
After I'm Gone: A Novel by Laura Lippman (ARC)
Longbourn: A Novel by Jo Baker (mine)
Otherhood: Modern Women Finding A New Kind Of Happiness by Melanie Notkin (mine)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Catching Up - a Life in Snaps

I know I say this a lot, but time does kind of whip by when you are living it. Mom made a pointed comment last week about "why aren't you blogging anymore?" It's not like things aren't happening, and my schedule is a bit lighter. The commute is better and my working conditions are certainly better - so why not?

Sometimes you have to just let things go, so you can better deal with other things that need your resources. In my case, I think I was just so fried from the last seven years, (the last seven months, the last seven weeks, what have you), and just trying to survive this winter, regroup professionally, emotionally, physically, etc., that I just ... couldn't.

I couldn't concentrate.

I couldn't blog.

I couldn't organize.

I still can't really.

I only seem to have enough resources to do one thing at a time - forget the creative things. I could bake, OR I could read, OR I could crochet, OR I could travel, OR I could write letters to friends that I have neglected, OR I could try and blog -- on top of getting re-organized, getting re-situated, getting re-acquainted, getting re-acclimated, or getting through. I just really need sleep.

Lots and lots of sleep.

And I'm not getting enough.

This last past week, it all caught up with my health-wise. Which, considering my schedule for the last few months, is amazing. I had it all: head cold. sore throat. I was a Snot Monster. My back was out. I had gastro- and "lady" issues. I love it when I fall apart all at once instead of in bits.

But I still went to work.

Cause I'm dumb like that.


So, here are some iTouch photos of what has happened in March while I'm trying to get to and fro, survive, not freeze, etc. - not counting some work things.

In roughly  reverse order:

Another rainy Saturday. Off to do taxes today - Finally.
The day I got this book, I found this scarf. I'm DREAMING of a real vacation - in England.
Ah, dusk. I missed you. How could I have stood being chained to a screen in a cube in a big grey box for so long?
Signs of spring are FINALLY emerging.
It's a matter of perspective. One way - it's all bright -
Turn around, and winter is looming again.
I had occasion to head to the City a few days after the gas explosion and building collapse in the Bronx. The area is a familiar one from all my years on the train. The building was as close to the tracks and the windows as it appears.
Saturday morning. Above are from the night before.
As horrific as this was, and how devastating - no one really has mentioned how much worse it could have been IF the commuter trains had been right in front of the building instead of 10 seconds faster southbound toward Grand Central. The last car of that train was hit by a shock wave, but not damaged. IF it had been right there, there could have been derailments, injuries, fatalities - or worse, trains over the sides of the elevated tracks onto the streets. And a total shut down of a major transit hub. Scarey.

When I also think about prior incidents in my building, when we all smelled gas for days, propped open doors, and didn't call ConEd ... I get angry. At myself too - for not calling. Never again. We've all learned the hard way.

Anyway - it was GREAT to have dinner with my friend Michelle (no photos) and then brunch the next afternoon with Ms. Ruyi and Messrs. Matt and Ryan (no photos either!). On the way back from brunch I stopped by the quilt exhibition in Grand Central. Please see this link, or the blurb below. The work was incredible; so many versions, variations, techniques, 3-D techniques, etc. I love the turquoise fabric. HINT. HINT.
"Open March 15 to July 6, 2014 at the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex and Store at Grand Central Terminal The New York Transit Museum’s newest exhibition will honor Grand Central Terminal’s grandeur not in marble, but in textiles. Last year, The City Quilter, a Manhattan-based fabric store, partnered with American Patchwork & Quilting for a national quilt-making contest of landmark proportions. Thirty finalists from that competition will be displayed at the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex and Store at Grand Central Terminal from March 15 to July 6 in the vibrant new exhibition, Grand Central Centennial Quilts.

For the contest, The City Quilter designed two beige and aqua fabrics, one modeled off the Main Concourse sky ceiling, the other a collage of distinctive features of the Terminal, including the Information Booth Clock, 42nd Street’s imposing statuary group, train track numbers and timetables. With the requirement to use these fabrics in their design, 81 contestants from 25 states submitted quilts for the chance to win a $2,000 grand prize and display their work at the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex and Store.

The challenge to reinterpret this grand space in fabric yielded a wide array of artistic visions. The quilts incorporate Grand Central’s iconic architecture, with chandeliers, clocks, celestial ceilings, acorns and oak leaves creatively woven into the designs. Quilters looked to the past, present and even future (by way of East Side Access) for “material,” drawing on personal encounters and family stories for inspiration. Although many of the contestants hail from far outside New York, Grand Central’s influence stretches far and wide: in one work, fabric is cut in the shape of neckties, recalling the daily commute to work on Metro-North; another quilt includes a letter between two lovers who met on the railroad. Each contestant takes a different approach to the theme, utilizing complex quilting techniques and embellishments to express Grand Central’s legacy in fabric. This exhibition is free and will be open to the public March 15 to July 6 at the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex and Store at Grand Central Terminal."

What else?
Oh yes. Although I used to "borrow" the golf-cart to go on joy-rides, I have a new "deere" dream.
I want to "borrow" this beaut.
Be afraid. Be very afraid. Hide the keys.

Actual e-mail conversation with Mom (condensed).

Me to mom: It's been 5 weeks. Can I kill the new job/b-day balloons now?

Mom: What? Your office mates do not like the smiley face taunting them? At least do it humanely 

Cue me screaming: DIE DIE DIE and stabbing the hell out of these helium suckers. I MAY have scared some officemates. Those newbies have NO idea the kind of personality I am still suppressing at ye old "little c."

5 weeks. Those balloons lasted a HELLUVA lot longer than flowers. THANKS MOM AND DAD!

Then there was the celebration of March 14 - AKA 3/14 AKA Pi(e) day AKA any excuse to throw a potluck. All pies, except for cow, were welcome.

Look, I know PI isn't PIE - but a) we're an arts organization b) a non-profit and c) musicians, mostly. Getting $$, budgets, and dividing up Pie = MATH! I made pecan pie tarlets and couldn't figure out what 2/3 cups + 2/3 cups = ? Fractions SUCK. Pi(e) doesn't. Doubling the recipe ended up as 3.14 x 26 = 81.64 or about how many little mini pecan pie bites I made, until I "tested" 1. (*chomp* 80)

We ended up with pizza pies, pies, homemade savory and sweet tarts, quiches, refrigerator pies, etc.

So good. What a fun March activity. 

We've Saved the Date for next year, which is 03/14/15 at 9:26 a.m. for the next one: the actual digits for Pi.
I've been asked what I am organizing for the 4/20 celebrations - and I have had to respectfully decline. 
420 = the wacky to-baccy - and that's SO not me. We don't need "funny" brownies at a place that is already "funny."

Did I mention it was winter through all this? With piercing cold winds on some days? It's enough to make you want to snap off an icicle and plunge it deep in your heart - I mean the heart of Jack Frost. Let it Go!? HA!
That "the cold never bothered me anyway" refrain. IS CRAP! It's COLD.

However, after years of being GREY - I will take these final grey rainy days of March - and a reverse commute - so I can stand outside for a few minutes in the suburbs, on a train platform, and see see the last lavender light of day.

 What else did I do in a very busy March? Oh yes ... 

There was a trip to Hershey, PA - where my fat girl, inner child may have done a little dance in front of Chocolate World. I remembered the Hershey Kiss street lights from a family trip in my "youth." It smells like chocolate ALL over the place - which, in my case served as an appetite suppressant.

For all that I was surrounded by it - especially the gift shops and Chocolate World - I only picked up presents and baking supplies. I didn't EAT any chocolate until after we left.


Okay then.

Let me flip through my calendar .... Yup - so aside from work, concerts, and a few other friends dinners I didn't photograph - this pretty much sums up March. I guess I had more to say than I thought.

Bear with me - I will break out of this writers block/cage eventually. Spring will eventually break over the horizon - and maybe my creative synapses will spring back to regular blogging soon soon - aside from some family posts soon to come.

Is it spring yet?

all photos iTouch