Friday, January 30, 2015

the circle

This year is off the a roaring start and I'm meowing with a measly one book read.  According to Goodreads I've finished two, but I'll admit that one was started before the first, so whatever, right?

My first official finished book was The Circle by Dave Eggers.  I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it.  The storyline moved quickly enough, but the plot was kind of meh.

The story follows a girl named Mae and her rise within the Circle.  She starts at an entry level job her friend from college gets her.  Within the first few weeks, she adapts to life working at the Circle.  There are parties, meetings, functions, hangouts, etc and they're all coordinated through the InnerCircle and OuterCircle.  She shows up, snaps a picture, posts it with comments, and sends "smiles" or "frowns."  Mae realizes quickly that to be recognized by her superiors, she must interact more and more to the point that her friends and family get annoyed.  Having dinner with her parents and ex-boyfriend Mercer, they ask her to put her phone down and join in the conversation rather than fill them in on who liked her pictures or who commented on his art work chandeliers.

The Circle is constantly putting out new tech and ideas, one being SeeChange.  Certain government officials have been wearing these cameras in an act of being transparent and not hiding anything from the people.  It becomes a mob as more officials wear them and the ones who don't are accused of hiding things.  Eventually Mae wears one and she's the first to let the public really see life in the Circle.  The ideas behind this are "sharing is caring," "secrets are lies," and "privacy is theft."  Events turn dramatically and in the end you wonder if Mae will realize that all of this should be stopped.

If anything, the book definitely made me rethink how I act on the internet.  Will I stop posting photos on Instagram?  Will I stop blogging, although I don't write as much as I wish I had the time for.  And how much is too much when it comes to sharing your personal life online?

So worth a read if you want to see an extreme view of the evils of the internet.  Or just to be entertained, that's ok, too.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

bathroom makeovers

Sometime last year we had to replace the toilet in the guest bathroom.  During that time, it became loose for some reason or other and the whole room smelled like pee.  We cleaned and cleaned and bleached and bleached and it still smelled.  Corey decided we should replace the bolts and nuts and washers and whatever else and while it was pulled up, he asked me what I thought about tiling it.  It's such a small space we figured it wouldn't be too expensive.  He took some measurements and we browsed tile online.  I decided if we were redoing the floors, I might as well paint too.

A before-ish.  We already removed the toilet and shower curtain and added tools.
So on a whim, we decided to redo the bathroom.  And then we threw in ours as well.  I went to Home Depot, picked up three gray paint cards and chose one (Anonymous by Behr) and came home and painted both bathrooms.  I had a lot of help from Logan, but got the bulk done while she napped.  Her help included placing small pieces of tape that I would give her onto the side of the vanity. 

After painting it Anonymous.  Clark thought it was the same as before.  I told him to look again, and he says, "Oh!!  Brown!!"
A couple of days later we all went to Home Depot to look at tile.  We decided on a lighter gray ceramic mottled look (or whatever the tech term may be) and got all the other stuff we would need, like thinset and grout.  A coworker of Corey's loaned us a tile cutting saw, drill and mixing head, and spreaders.  Nice.

Oh ya know, just doing man stuff.
All ready for grout.
Corey had a Friday off to get his wisdom teeth out and the kids were staying with Corey's mom that evening.  Depending on how he felt we were going to try and get some of it done that night.  Like a champ, he was able to do quite a bit of cutting and I did most of the heavy lifting and bending over to place tiles since he really couldn't.  Saturday we placed tiles in our bathroom and did a majority of the cutting.  During the next week, we grouted, placed tiles around the walls instead of trim, and caulked.  This weekend we spent all Saturday cutting wall tiles and laying the floor tiles in our bathroom.  Throughout the week we'll be able to grout and caulk and hopefully by next weekend we will be a two bathroom house again.

Done.  Mostly.  We need to hang towel bars and what not.  Also I want to paint that cabinet a dark brown, but Corey says there's enough dark and wants to go white.  NO!  And we want to hang a cabinet or shelves over the toilet.
And without the rug that "doesn't match" according to Corey.
Maybe next time I'll post pictures of our finished bath.  Or you can just imagine it looks similar to this.  Also, I think I've convinced Corey he can DIY.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

christmas knitting

November and December were busy months with travel, school, and holidays.  I somehow managed to knit several things, most commissioned by my friend from church.

Let's call her T.  She is a wonderful lady who would do anything in the world for the people she loves, which includes promising knit gifts for her sons' girlfriends.  It started with a pair of socks.  I didn't love the look, but she adored them and said they would be perfect for one of the girls.  When she dropped off the supplies I would need to make them, she brought the yarn for a different pair we had discussed as well.  "No rush on those, but whenever you get to them, I still want them."  I completed the first pair.

Kind of cute, kind of odd, but pretty comfy.  I started on the next pair and really enjoyed the pattern.  It was a lacy, cabled, beaded sock and it was working up quickly.  I finished them and in the meantime, she requested another pair of the squishy socks.

I finished the third pair of socks and all with plenty of time to spare.  Then I got a panicked call the weekend before Christmas.  She showed the finished socks to one of the girlfriends to get an idea about which pair she'd like.  One pair of squishy socks was already decided, but the others were kind of up in the air.  The girlfriend chose the owl socks and then, I'm not sure who decided, but T needed a pair of mittens to give the girlfriend for her birthday just two days after Christmas.  Of course, I obliged.

And what's crazier than giving each girlfriend a pair of socks and one of them a pair of mittens?!  T was knitting them gifts as well.  One was getting a scarf, two were getting cowls, and one was also getting a lap blanket.  She finished everything before Christmas, but I'm sure there are a few gray hairs that weren't there before.  Whew!

In between and after knitting gifts for her, I made myself a pair of socks.  Another pair of Skew to be exact.  In addition to paying me for knitting, T gave me a bunch of yarn she had leftover or never used.  I found some fun striping yarn, but the stripes were huge chunks, so I did a lot of doctoring along the way to make them as skinny of stripes I could.  I miscounted or wasn't paying attention and yes, the left sock is slightly longer and bigger than the right.  No matter because I'll just be wearing them around the house.  Why's that?  Because they're too big to wear with shoes. 

I also wanted to make our babysitter a pair of the owl socks for Christmas.  She had her wisdom teeth removed so we wouldn't see her again until the new year, so it gave me plenty of time to whip up a pair.  I bought some pretty navy/purply blue yarn and used the same graphite colored beads for eyes.  I finished one and it was way too small.  I mean it fits, but it stretches so much you can see the foot.  I didn't want to undo it, but I also didn't have enough yarn to make two more larger socks.  I found a different pattern of an ankle sock that I decided she would like, especially since she wasn't expecting anything at all.

And before Christmas, at church as I was talking to T about her knitting woes and adventures, I noticed a pretty purple scarf that someone made for her.  Another lady was standing there and said she loved it and I told her I would make something for her.  We joke around all the time and can be pretty sarcastic with each other, so I don't know if she thought I was serious, but I knit her a cowl and delivered it to her when we returned to church.  She was shocked and loved it and then her daughter promptly slipped it over her head and I'm sure they'll be "sharing" that one.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

new year, new you

Okay, every year I set some goals that I'd like to attain and with a new year, I've got a new list.

Last year I set some easy goals and I met most of them.
1.  I got happier.  I had to make a conscious effort some days to not dwell about stupid stuff, but I did it.
2.  I played my ukulele and learned to play a few songs.  I haven't really picked it up lately, but I will.
3.  I met my goal of reading 40 books and surpassed it with 48 total.  I'll admit some weren't quality and I added a handful that were juvenile books I read aloud with Clark, but still.  Guys, 48 books!
4.  We were super healthy for awhile.  We did Whole30 in the spring and felt great for a couple of months.  Then I trained for a half-marathon and ran it in September.  After that, I kind of did things sporadically and ended the year feeling chubby and desperately wanting to do another Whole30.

So for 2015:
1.  Read 45 books.
2.  Run at least two half-marathons.  I'm signed up for the same one in the fall, but want to find one for this spring as well.
3.  Run at least 1 mile every day.  So far, so good.  I thought about setting a number goal, but decided this might be better.
4.  Eat way healthier.  I can tell by the way I feel and look there are some things I should cut out.  For starters, I'm cutting Cokes and sugary coffee drinks completely.  I'm also going to limit the bread and baked goods only a few times a week, as opposed to three meals a day haha.  I would love to do Whole30 again, but I'm not sure when we will start.
5.  Be a better parent.  I have a habit of being in the room with my kids, but not really engaging them, so I'd like to be more aware of that.

I think that's it.  I know people treat the new year differently and I like to set a few attainable goals that are also lifelong habits to make.