Monday, 28 March 2016

Looking for an Aggressive Fabric

Have you ever thought of fabric as being aggressive? I haven't, at least not until I was looking for fabric to use for borders for my Stars Over Africa quilt. The quilt is a project I'm working on to enter in the Johnson's Sewing Centre/Quilter's Dream quilting challenge. I purchased a 4 fat quarter bundle and have to use some of each fabric in my quilting project, and can add whatever fabrics I want. The quilt has to be a minimum of 16" square, but can be a bag, a jacket or other quilted project - not just a quilt. I opted for a throw size quilt, and here's what I have so far (ignore the purple square as that's part of a different project):
These are the actual fabrics in the bundle (Northcott's Karma Spirit):
Those elephants were just begging to be fussy cut. Originally I was planning on doing a scenic childrens quilt with elephants, water (aqua fabric), grass (green fabric) and flowering shrubs (pink fabric). I purchased the blue batik in the photo below to use as the sky:
I also added the coral fabric, just because I liked it and it seemed to fit in the colour scheme. However, if I wanted to win the challenge, I felt that I needed to come up with something better than a funky elephant scene. That's when I decided to use the black fabric and make the star quilt. However, I wanted it be at little more interesting and decided to set this section on point. I want to put a border around this section, add four more blocks (not sure what those blocks will be yet) plus setting triangles for the corners, then a final border. The setting triangles will likely be the blue batik. But coming up with a fabric for the borders is another matter. I'm trying to avoid purchasing more fabric, so I rummaged through my stash. I had to find something that both colours and patterns suited the rest of the quilt. Because the colours and patterns in the fabric are definitely not subdued, I realized I needed something "aggressive." 
Upper left and centre fabrics are just too "wimpy" for this quilt. Top right fabric is not quite the right colours, and the pattern is definitely not right. Lower left - the pattern is great, but the colours are not quite right, though I haven't totally ruled this one out. 
These two are awesome colours, but not bold enough for this quilt.
More great fabrics, but nothing really aggressive about any of these.
Ouch! The colours are right, and it's definitely bold, but the pattern really doesn't work.
The one on the lower left is what I purchased for the binding. I will probably use the one on the lower right for the first border. I don't want to use it for the outer border as it doesn't contrast sufficiently with the binding. I'm not really sure if the orange fabric in the centre will work, and there's not enough of it for the outer border. Still considering... I may have to break down and buy some fabric, which, of course, will be such a hardship. LOL!
Meanwhile, in my 5 days off work over Easter, I did a couple of mini quilts to enter in Moda's contest celebrating Electric Quilt's 25th anniversary. I would have dearly loved to win a copy of EQ7, but I didn't. I had fun anyway. 
This is Summer Star.
Here you can see it's been cat-tested and approved.
And this is Spools. 
And yes, I actually did free motion quilting on my domestic machine on both of these quilts. 
That's all for now. Time to give my grandson a bath, which is Grandma's privilege tonight.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Sweet Dreams

It had been over a year since the last time I quilted on a long arm machine. That was the Far Above Rubies quilt, for which I had chosen a more detailed pantograph. It took me 5 hours to finish the quilting and, at $30/hour, that was $150! For a 60" x 60" quilt! I was very frustrated. It should not cost more to finish a quilt myself than it does to pay someone else to do it. But I also didn't want to limit myself to just using very basic pantographs so that I could complete the quilts more quickly and keep the expense down. The time it took to load the quilt, if I needed help or stopped for lunch or to chat with another quilter, I was still "on the clock" and paying for my machine rental during that time. Yes, they did provide the thread and the pantographs, but I wasn't always happy with their selection and ended up buying my own, thus adding to the expense of the quilt. I decided to do a little shopping around. There was a sewing machine retailer that also rented their long arm machines - for half the hourly rate of the studio at which I had been renting! Unfortunately, they only had certain days when the machines were available for rent, which didn't necessarily coincide with my days off work. And when their prices went up to the same, or nearly the same, as the other studio, it definitely wasn't worth paying $150 to take the training required to use their machines. I'd already paid that to take the training at the first studio. On kijiji, I found an ad from a woman who was willing to rent her machine for $75/day, and I was seriously considering that. She lived out in the country, likely over an hour's drive away, so it definitely wasn't convenient, but the price was certainly more attainable. Then recently, one of my work colleagues, who had also gotten into quilting, informed me that our local quilt shop was willing to rent their machines out for $35 per quilt! Hurray! $35 including thread, and no need to take a training course as the store owner is willing to help as needed! And that's for any size of quilt. The only drawback is that only her smallest machine, an HQ Sweet 16 (I think), has a laser stylus to use pantographs, which are my preferred method of long arm quilting. Plus the fact that the longarm machines are in the basement of the store: concrete floors, not the most pleasing aesthetics, and it's cold down there. But these I am willing to endure for the sake of finishing my quilts. At least until a better option occurs, like buying my own long arm machine. I've already decided that if I ever marry again, I want a long arm quilting machine rather than a diamond ring.  Seriously! But since that is not likely to ever happen, I'll have to save up and buy my own.
I took Sweet Dreams and Unbroken (more about that one in a future post) to the quilt shop, with the intention of using pantographs on both of them. That never happened. I ended up deciding to try computerized quilting on the Pfaff Powerquilter 3 for Unbroken. And somehow, Geri, the proprietor, managed to convince me to try freemotion on the Tin Lizzie for Sweet Dreams. She demonstrated the first row, and then had me trace the design with my finger before finishing the quilt myself. I'm certainly not as proficient as her by any means, and there are lots of mistakes in my quilting, but it really doesn't look horrid. And as my mother used to say, "A blind man will never see it." 
Here's the finished product:

Now for Sweet Dream's story: Keepsake Quilting has some awesome deals in their clearance section, and, when our dollar was on par with the US dollar, I have made several purchases there. And likely will again, when the exchange rate becomes more favourable. Or maybe even if it doesn't... That's where I purchased the Sweet Expressions layer cake, which is all desserts - baking - candy fabric, and they provided a free pattern for the Uneven Nine Patch, which I chose to use for this quilt. It actually called for 25 - 10" squares while this layer cake only came with 20, so I had to add some other fabrics to complete the total. I decided to use this for a neutral baby quilt. I still have the Scrappy Shine that I made with pink binding for a little girl's adoption that never happened. And there haven't been any little girls born in the family since. So I have resolved to henceforth make neutral baby quilts (with the exception of a boy's quilt that I already have the fabric for). And I knew that I had two great nephews expected this year. One, Patrick, is already born, and he will be the recipient of the Sweet Dreams quilt. Here's the backing:
And a close-up:

When this fabric, and others like it, was on sale at Fabricland, I bought several metres of it to use as backings for children's quilts. I like to make my baby quilts less baby-ish, and more child-like. That way the child can use it throughout childhood, without being embarrassed by all of the diaper pins and storks on it. 
Now to finish the binding on Unbroken, which has been languishing for over a year while I got the basement renovations done and searched out a more economical alternative for longarm quilting. I did attempt to quilt it on my domestic machine, but that only resulted in a lot of stitch-ripping.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Modesty, Common Sense and Rape Prevention

I originally wrote this post a couple of years ago when the events in the opening paragraph were current. Because of the controversial nature of this post, I opted to save it to my Draft folder for further consideration. And practically forgot about until today, when I opened my draft folder. Upon reviewing it, I decided to post it, with a few alterations.
This week at the Emmys, Aubrey Plaza wore a surprisingly demure dress. I say surprisingly because Red Carpet dresses are known for being anything but demure or modest. And there was criticism of her "Laura Ingalls" look. I don't even know who Aubrey Plaza is and I generally don't care about the Emmys. But I found it rather ironic that only a month ago the world was aghast at Miley Cyrus' definitely immodest behaviour at the VMAs. Now they're being critical of a woman's modest dress. Hypocritical? I think so.
But then I think there's a lot of hypocrisy on the whole topic of women's dress and behaviour and modesty and equality and sexual assault and...
Well, this is going to be a hot topic. And I know that there will be some who will heartily agree with what I'm going to say. And there will, no doubt, be many who will violently disagree. But I've been mulling it over for awhile and decided it's time to air my views.
Since I mentioned Laura Ingalls above, let's start there. I've read the Little House books. I've also read other biographical material on Laura Ingalls Wilder. I think she seemed like a pretty liberated woman. Progressive. Independent. Respected. I never got the impression that she lived an unhappy life or felt oppressed by society or held back by her marriage. Or having to wear too many clothes. So how and why did we get from this
Laura Ingalls Wilder
taken from 
to this (originally I was going to post a picture of Miley Cyrus in all her indecency here, but decided not to post something I regard as pornographic on my blog. It's easy enough to find those pictures online if you really want to see them).
And why?
I may have feminist leanings, but I'm not a radical feminist. Even so, if equality with men is our goal, how is that consistent with wearing less clothes? I won't deny that there were women who were oppressed and held back in Laura Ingalls' time. But there still are. Wearing less clothing hasn't helped. As a matter of fact, the less clothes we wear, the more crimes of violence against women have increased. That's certainly not liberating.
Yes, I know what you're thinking: here comes another lecture from someone who thinks that women get raped because of the way they dress. But that's not exactly where I'm going with this. Hear me out.
First I want to say at the outset that sexual assault is never justifiable or excusable. Men - and women, for that matter - are responsible for their thoughts and actions.
I have been distressed by the rash of stories of young women going to parties, getting sexually assaulted, having pictures taken of them and circulated on the Internet, and resultant suicides by some of these young women. And I am horrified by the vicious bullying, blaming and harassing of these same young women, even after they're dead. And I am shocked by the callous disregard that the perpetrators have demonstrated towards their victims and the sympathy shown towards the perpetrators. I am disgusted and angry and frustrated.
And then somehow I found the site, My Duty to Speak, where victims of military sexual assault share their stories. And I was disgusted and angered all over again.
And we have marches and protests and rallies and laws. But these heinous crimes continue. And increase.
And I ask: what can we do? Is there something that we as women can do to prevent this from happening?
Let me take a little side trip now to talk about health. Most of us want to be healthy. We don't want to die any sooner than we have to, nor do we want to be debilitated. The two major killers are cancer and heart disease. Scientific research has demonstrated that following a healthier lifestyle can help prevent both of these diseases. And preventing them is far preferable to treating them. But we make choices. We choose to die by how we choose to live. Yes, these diseases are not 100% preventable, but we can greatly increase or decrease our risk by our choices.
Could it be possible that the same is true of sexual assault? Is it just Russian Roulette? Or could we increase or decrease our risk of sexual assault by certain choices we make.
Let me be perfectly clear: I am in no way blaming the victim. The perpetrator is the one to blame. He, or sometimes she, made a conscious choice to engage in a heinous and inexcusable act, for which he and he alone must bear the blame and the shame.
But if there are things I could do that might help prevent it from happening, why wouldn't I?
As I pondered these cases of sexual assault, there were things that frustrated and puzzled me. And from these "puzzlements," I came up with a set of guidelines, choices that can be made that could help prevent sexual assault. Some of them seem so logical that it appears ludicrous for me to even write them down, but obviously they're not logical to everyone.
1) Don't drink alcohol. In many of these cases of sexual assault, alcohol was a factor. And yes, it is possible to have fun without drinking alcohol.
2) Don't party with people you don't know and fully trust.
3) Don't party with huge groups of people.
4) Never be alone with someone you don't know and trust well.
5) Don't accept a drink from someone you don't know and fully trust.
6) Don't "make out" with a guy if you don't intend to have sex with him.
7) Don't share a motel room and/or a bed with a guy if you don't intend to have sex with him.
8) Don't "come on" to a guy if you don't intend to follow through.
9) Don't pursue a career in the military. One in three women in the military is sexually assaulted. And if you still choose to enter the military, read and heed the rest of these guidelines. And maintain modesty and decorum at all times.
10) Don't walk unprotected in unsafe situations.
11) Don't share compromising pictures or intimate details of your life on the internet, or with anyone else you don't know and trust.
12) Lock your door.
13) Don't open your door to anyone you don't know and trust fully.
I'm sure these can probably be added to and expanded on. And I'm also sure that many people reading these will be shaking their heads and saying, these are unrealistic, they won't help, they won't make a difference. But what if they will? Wouldn't it be worth it?
Recently, one of my friends shared the following video on facebook:

Here's another one that elaborates a little more on that Princeton study:
So, we're back to clothing again. According to this study, wearing a bikini causes men to look upon the wearer as an object. Could I say that the less a woman wears the more likely she is to be treated as an object instead of as a human being worthy of dignity and respect? This is consistent with what is said about the effects of porn, that pornography subtlely undermines male respect for women by detaching a woman's personality from her body, reducing her to a mere sexual commodity. (Read more: If she's just a "thing," then there's really no harm done in using her to satisfy a man's lusts, is there? And would that attitude be transferred to other women who may be more modestly dressed? Could my dressing immodestly cause a man to look upon other women as objects as well. Note that the study did not say that the men chose to think of women as objects. It seems that it happened outside of their conscious thought. So this business of blaming men for being "animals" or "having their minds in the gutter" may not always be valid. Maybe what I'm wearing is short-circuiting his frontal lobe.
If, by dressing modestly, I can prevent a man from viewing women as mere objects for his sexual gratification, would he not be less likely to rape? As I mentioned previously, as women have worn less and less, crimes of violence against women have increased more and more. I know that's just circumstantial evidence, but it could be significant, couldn't it? Especially with the evidence of the Princeton study before us.
As I said before, I am in no way absolving the perpetrator of the blame. He made that choice to assault, so he alone is to blame. But we are talking prevention here. We are talking choices that we can make.
Years ago, I heard a story about a man who had a heart attack. While he was recuperating, he was given the diet and lifestyle that he needed to follow in order to avoid another one. But he said, "Nope, I'm not going to live like that." Yes, he was free to make that choice. And his choice made his risk of having another heart attack much more likely.
And we have choices. Perhaps the choices we make will increase our risk of sexual assault. Maybe, they just might decrease that risk.


To answer some objections before they are raised: No, I am not saying that we should start dressing like extras in Little House on the Prairie. I believe it is possible to dress modestly and still not look like a "throwback."
You may argue that a woman should be safe walking naked down the street or falling asleep drunk in a room full of men. But "should's" and "are's" are not the same thing. We live in a society where sexual assault of women is a very real threat. If there are some realistic things we can do to help prevent it from happening, why shouldn't we?
You may also argue that it's the men that perpetrate these crimes that need to change. I don't deny that, but what is the likelihood of that happening? How often is there no remorse displayed? How often do we see victim blaming instead: "It's her fault, she was asking for it." These men are not likely to change, barring a miracle of the grace of God. 
I know some of you will be angry and offended by some of the things I have said, but I will not tolerate abusive or profane language in the comments. I am, however, open to intelligent dialogue.
A blog is, after all, just someone's opinion. 

You Snooze, You Lose

Last year, I crocheted and knitted cowls for Christmas gifts. I created a special album on facebook and tagged all of the recipients who were on facebook in this album. As I finished each cowl, I posted pictures of it to this album so that the recipients could view it and think about which one they would like for their own. Each cowl was unique. There were some I liked better than others, and some I didn't really like much at all, so I wouldn't pretend to know which one each individual recipient would want. Or they, like me, might decide they didn't want one at all. How was I to know without their input? The recipients, with one exception, lived in another state or province, but one, I'll call her "Susan," actually visited during the summer and I showed her the cowls I had completed, so she knew about this project "in person." When the cowls were completed, I then tagged the recipients in a comment on the album on November 28, as well as sent an email to those for whom I had email addresses, requesting their choices by December 4 in order to package them and get them in the mail in time for Christmas. 
Now let me tell you a little bit about Susan: she's one of the world's fussiest gift recipients. She has returned a large percentage of the gifts she has received. It's at the point where her immediate family members often buy her gift cards for most gift-giving occasions in order to avoid the inevitable returns. So, she was the last person for whom I would have chosen a cowl without her input. After all my work in creating them, I didn't want hers languishing on a shelf or not being appreciated because it wasn't her colour or style. Or even resented. So I needed her input. And she was tagged in the album and the comment on facebook, as well as receiving an email and being aware of the project from her summer visit. But I didn't get a response from her.
All of the recipients who had responded got their cowls in time for Christmas. 
On December 22, there was a family funeral. I, being over 3,000 km away, did not attend. But a couple of the recipients did, one of whom actually wore her cowl to the funeral, and made a point of showing it to Susan and telling her she needed to go on facebook and let me know which one she wanted. Her response, "I almost never go on facebook." This recipient told me what she had done, so I waited to hear from Susan. She didn't call, email or facebook message me the day of the funeral, or for the remainder of that week. She didn't even call me on Christmas day to wish me a Merry Christmas and say, "Oh, by the way, this is the cowl I'd like and sorry I took so long to respond." I could only conclude that she didn't want a cowl. 
I had to decide what I was going to do with the remaining cowls. I didn't want them sitting around forever. I had decided I didn't want one. And for the intended recipients who didn't respond, though I had toyed with the idea of selecting one myself and mailing it on, how did I know for sure that they even wanted one, since I didn't? And one of the intended recipients was the subject of December's funeral. Then I remembered that one of the antique malls I frequent has a donation box for a homeless centre. I already had plans for a get-together in the city on December 27 with my buddy, Phil. So I suggested that we visit the antique mall on that day. 
On the morning of the 27th, I checked my email and my facebook account before leaving for the city. I wanted to give Susan one last chance to choose a cowl if she wanted one. Obviously, she didn't. And so the remaining cowls were donated to the homeless. And I posted that in a comment on the facebook album that evening. 
On January 3rd, I got a phone call from Susan. She wanted to request a cowl. She made her excuses that she never goes on facebook and she rarely looks at that email account because she gets so much junk in it (neglecting the fact that she never informed me she was using a different email, and not acknowledging that she had been reminded about the cowls in person at the funeral nearly 2 weeks previously) and that she figured I would just pick one I thought she would like and send it to her. Oh? Too late, I had to tell her. And while I did say that I might make her a cowl if I get the chance this year, that's not likely to happen. I have too many other projects on my agenda. And I already made her one. It was her procrastination that caused her to miss out on it. 
But really, missing out on a cowl is not a big deal. It certainly is not going to negatively impact one's quality of life. And definitely will not affect where one spends eternity. However, procrastinating about one's personal salvation is a much more serious matter. Susan was disappointed to not get a cowl, but putting off surrendering our hearts to Jesus can cost us heaven. We may rationalize that we can "enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season," (Hebrews 11:25), and still have time to make things right with God. But not a one of us knows when our lives will end. Or even how long our cognitive abilities will last, to be able to make a decision for Christ. And each time we put it off actually hardens our hearts to the possibilty of making that decision in the future. 
Susan assumed that the cowls would still be there when she got around to asking for one. But she was wrong. Don't be wrong about asking for salvation, don't put it off. "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." 2 Corinthians 6:2. 
Our Lord Jesus is returning soon, but "no one knows the day or the hour," (Matthew 24:36 NLV). "Therefore, you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." Matthew 24:44 NKJV. 
You might not want a cowl, but you won't want to miss out on salvation. 

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Hook & Needle News 06/03/16

I've never aspired to design crochet patterns. Since I work full-time, my time for crafting is limited and I'd rather spend it making something, than taxing my brain to design it first. After all, there are plenty of beautiful patterns already available for me to crochet. And many talented designers out there creating those patterns. 
However, not everyone that designs crochet patterns should. 
I've had my share of patterns where I struggled to figure out what the designer was actually trying to say... And ending up having to re-work the pattern so that it actually turns out the way it's supposed to.
And I'm not just talking about magic circles and standing double crochets, neither of which I choose to use. I'm talking about following a pattern exactly as written and it just doesn't work.
There's that zippered cardigan that has been in my UFO archives for I'm not sure how long.
As you can see, I completed the body, but when I made the first sleeve precisely following the directions, it ended up about 6 inches long. And it's supposed to be full length. Even if I were built like a T-Rex, the sleeves would still be too short. So, I had to reinterpret the pattern and have actually got the sleeve started and it looks like it might turn out... But then other projects have interferred and I'm afraid that, by the time I get back to it, I won't remember how I reinterpreted it. 
Then there's the butterfly shawl, another UFO. I even managed to find the Errata page online and it still didn't work. All of the vertical bars are supposed to line up, but they didn't when I followed the pattern. 
You can see in my picture that I did manage to get them lined up, but only by re-working the pattern. 
And then there are mandalas. Honestly, I'm really tired of reading, "The edges will be curling up quite a bit after this round. Don't worry, it will work itself out over the next few rounds." Or, "you'll need to block it at this point to keep the edges from curling." Honestly, people have been making doilies for centuries, and their edges don't curl. And what is a doily, but a small mandala made of crochet cotton? Can't these designers figure out how to increase the number of stitches appropriately to keep the edges from curling? Doing 5 or 6 or more rows without an increase is just asking for trouble. And blocking? Prior to making a mandala, I had only ever blocked one afghan in my many years of crocheting, and that was only because the pattern told me to. It didn't look any different after and I considered it a waste of time. 
So I have two mandalas in my WIPs, but I think once I've finished them, I won't do another. Though they may be very beautiful, the latest pattern really did me in. It's not that difficult (even though not well written). I'm just not happy with the instructions and how it works out. I want to make a flat afghan, not a bowl, and I shouldn't have to fight to keep it flat. And it's not just the curling edges. Too much of the design is annoying, in my opinion - doubling the number of stitches in one round and halving it again for the next round, for example. I'm actually in the process of squaring it off so that I can finish it as a square afghan. Not that I really know what I'm doing, but hopefully it will turn out well. 
When I was done a section of my mandala, I would place it on the floor so that I could spread it out and assess my progress. Each time, my grandson figured it was on the floor for his benefit and sat or laid down on it. So, I decided I needed to make him a floor afghan. I opted to use cotton yarn for its practicality. Damian chose the colour and I chose the pattern: Frank O'Randle's Mini Galaxy of Change. 
I haven't taken a recent picture. I only have 5 more rounds to go. 
And I'm also doing a temperature change afghan. I went back and forth on whether I was going to do one. I don't like striped afghans and I didn't want an enormous afghan. I finally came up with a spiral, 25 double crochet per day. Here's my colour card: 

And here's the afghan up to the end of February:

Meanwhile, I finally managed to finish Lil's Lighthouse Afghan. It's the first time I have crocheted from a graph. It started out pretty tough, and it was actually languishing as a UFO for at least a couple of years, until the light bulb went on and I photocopied the graph and marked off each row as I finished it. Much easier to keep track that way.
I was crocheting bigger than guage and I ended up running out of yarn, so I did the border with a variegated yarn. The original yarn is no longer available in this colour.
I really have too many projects on the go right now. I get bored with each one and move on to another, but I'm also getting frustrated with not finishing anything. So I really need to quit starting new ones and get the WIPs finished.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

"Where You Left Me" - A Book Review

I saw this book, a 9/11 widow's story, once or twice on the shelf at my local library and thought it looked interesting, but emotionally challenging. My work is emotionally challenging and sometimes, so is my life. I have to be in the right frame of mind to read or watch something emotionally challenging and didn't check this book out until our library's reading challenge. It never made it onto my reading list.
I only read the first 5 chapters.
I expected to feel the author's angst. I expected to be moved. I expected to be emotionally challenged. I wasn't. Instead, I was disgusted. And I couldn't help but think that this book actually was an insult to all the others who lost loved ones in 9/11. Because it was entirely unrelatable to over 90% of the world's population. 
How many of us can afford a $200 per hour psychiatrist to help us through the grief?
How many of us don't have to worry about going back to work after an altogether too brief bereavement leave because we don't have to work for a living? And even a year after our loved one's death, can still afford to send our son to a private school? 
How many of us have both a mother and a father who can afford to drop everything and move in with us for 4 months while we go through our grief? 
How many of us can actually afford to shop for designer clothing, let alone have an exclusive shop's sales associate bring a seamstress to our home to alter all of our clothing? Free of charge? Or usher us through the shop and personally wait on us so we don't have to deal with the other customers while we shop for several outfits for all of the funerals we have to attend? 
How many of us resent a lot of the people that are actually trying to be there to support us through the grief? (That's the impression that I got - that she actually resented a lot of them showing up).
And the list goes on... 
One statement in the book really hit me between the eyes. The author is discussing her friendships with other 9/11 widows whose husbands worked with hers, and says, " All of us were lonely, bored, and terrified." (p. 71). Bored? BORED??!!?!? I have experienced grief. I have lost both of my parents as well as my only brother. Never in all of my grieving would I have ever used the adjective "bored" to describe my feelings during these times. And I really can't imagine any of the others who lost loved ones in 9/11 would have said they were bored during this period of their lives either. The only other character - either real or fictional - that I could possibly think of that would have said she was "bored" during a period of mourning is Scarlett O'Hara. And she was a callous, shallow, self-serving prima donna who never loved the husband for whom she was supposed to be grieving. 
But there's more. The author is ostensibly a graduate of Harvard Law School. And she chose to quit work and be a stay-at-home mother. I didn't say "stay at home with her children" because at the beginning of the book she is starting her 4-year-old son and 2 & 1/2-year-old daughter in preschool. Really? Two years old and you're putting her in preschool when you don't have to? How many mothers in the universe would love to be able to stay at home with their two year olds but have to put them in day care because they can't afford not to work? So just why is she staying at home, if not to actually mother her children? Let her give the answer: "I did my best to make our home a safe, calm space with minimal demands... I made sure that, after work, he (her husband) could move effortlessly from the kids to dinner to a late basketball league game to falling asleep to Law & Order." (p. 6-7) Ouch! Did Mommy tuck him in, too? That description reminds me too much of the Quiverfull MovementDid a Harvard-educated woman really say that in the 21st century? Does she not realize how many years of struggle were invested by women - and men - so that she could have the right to an education at a school like Harvard (See And she chose to be a kept woman, arm candy - and her husband's dutiful little slave? Don't get me wrong - I spent many years of my life being primarily a stay-at-home wife and mother. And I have numerous friends and family members who have also made that choice. But we realize that our job description encompasses far more than making "a safe, calm space with minimal demands" and doing for our husbands what they are perfectly capable of doing for themselves. And from what I read in this book, I strongly suspect the author spent far more time "doing lunch" than cleaning toilets. And respecting "minimal demands," it seems it wasn't a 2-way street as her husband appeared to have more than a reasonable share of demands. To me, he came across as a rather arrogant, controlling, emotionally abusive jerk:
"I attended Knicks games at Madison Square Garden...and dutifully rewatched them on videotape when we got home, so Doug could share his analysis of important plays with an attentive listener. I learned to respect Doug's sometimes exasperating passion for the Knicks - I will never forget making the mistake of attempting to read the New York Post at the Garden during a particularly uneventful game... Doug tore the paper out of my hands and threw it to the ground. 'What?' I asked incredulously. 'Why do you care? You never talk to me during games.' He answered with a semi-serious growl, 'In the event I want to discuss a play or point out a mismatch, you must know what I'm talking about.' After that moment, I always paid rapt attention." (p. 7).
No matter how rabid a Toronto Maple Leafs fan I may have been at one time, I cannot imagine seeing the game live and then going home and watching it again on videotape. And to do this on a regular basis? I can't see how that could ever be considered normal. OCD, perhaps? And the author fails to recognize how disrespectful and abusive - yes, abusive - her husband's behaviour over the New York Post was. Or the fact that he didn't even talk to her during the games.
The above excerpt is from the same paragraph as the statement about making a safe, calm space and so it appears that she considered the Knicks games her duty (note the word, dutifully), part of her responsibility as a wife. There's no mention that she actually enjoyed watching the games or was a Knicks fan herself. It seems like it was all about serving her husband. Perhaps if she'd devoted more time to developing her own interests, she wouldn't have been bored when he died. 
So after being offended and angered by a book that was supposed to have moved and challenged me, I decided I was finished, even though I hadn't read it all. It really was too frivolous and self-serving to adequately portray the horror of that day.