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week in review

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Monday, June 30, 2008
I was uploading pictures on flickr, and figured out why I didn't get any blog posts made last week. Allow me to illustrate my week in review:

FRIDAY: Strawberry picking on Sauvie Island -- Leslie was the mastermind behind this endeavor; she had already investigated and picked out Kruger Farms, which is a no-spray farm. Or at least they have no-spray strawberries. This was considered kind of early, but as you can see, we found plenty of ripe berries. I know I've said this before, but the drive out to Sauvie Island is so beautiful -- and it's only about 20 minutes outside of Portland. (I know local berries from wherever are delicious, but Oregon berries are really, really good. really good! I believe that they are extra-delicious.)

strawberry picking on Sauvie Island
Friday afternoon about 4PM with fellow u-pickers.

strawberry picking on Sauvie Island
Look how huge! I thought some of these looked very much like the Sacred Heart of Roman Catholic and Retro Tattoo iconography.

strawberry picking on Sauvie Island
There was some worry that because we were so early, they wouldn't be sweet and they wouldn't be quite ripe yet. These worries (like so many) were completely baseless! We should go out again before they're all gone...

SATURDAY: Roller Derby!! It was cowboy theme night, or dress like you're in a rodeo or something. I didn't dress up (there is a cowgirl VOID in my wardrobe), but there were plenty of people who did -- although most seemed to think that a bandana around the bottom half of their face (in bank-robber fashion) was sufficient. Where was the rodeo queen lame, I ask you?? There were some fantastic costumes, so I will stop complaining. Bec found a 20 in the parking lot (vacation bonus!). The Breakneck Betties and the Heartless Heathers won. Fun all around! I will mention again the wonderful crowd watching at roller derby -- it's like a core sample of the city, which is really interesting in a lot of ways.

SUNDAY: work. I complain about the "tyranny of the 15 limit hold list" and was told (with no rancor) by a coworker that I "sound just like a patron." But I AM a patron! and that limit is... limiting! I have to admit that it's probably PERFECTLY REASONABLE, and getting everything I want just when I want it would probably get boring pretty quick. Or so I tell myself.

beach mosaic
MONDAY/TUESDAY: Beach with my sister! She was on vacation this week and I shamelessly tagged along with her beach trip. I decided to make a mosaic rather than subject you to eleven hundred individual photos. The weather was VERY FINE, my book was FANTASTIC -- it was just about perfect as far as low-key "I just want to read and take naps, but in the sun at the beach" trips go.

WEDNESDAY: Work. People are staying closer to home this summer, which means we have a ton more holds to process and volume is generally higher. Audio books are a hot item for people doing car traveling.

THURSDAY: crafty night! Spend the day "cleaning" which is mostly dreading cleaning for no real reason followed by furious bouts of activity and lots of breaks. When actual crafty time rolls around, I sew patches on my vintage quilt. I'm almost done! But I still have to cut off the old binding, and so on.

FRIDAY: go to Silver Lake Falls with my sister. Forgot my camera and wore flip flops, which as we all know are great for hiking around!! It was still lovely, but I have to go back with a camera. We took a couple of the shorter paved hikes (if it's okay for wheelchairs, it's okay for flip flops) and then found a picnic above the falls where we fielded many questions about whether it was okay to swim there. (personally, I wouldn't get into the fast moving water right above the very tall waterfall, but people just don't listen, you know?)

SATURDAY: work. How many Clive Cussler novels can one old man carry on a very hot day? It's like guessing how many jellybeans in a jar!! It's more than you think.

SUNDAY: Movie and a migraine!! And then thunder and lightning, which helped to explain the migraine. (I am at the mercy of the barometer -- it's not that cloudy weather always hurts, or that sunny weather or any kind of weather is always bad -- it's just the transitions that are the sinus-squeezing bitch.)

All in all, it was a great week and a great way to close out the month of June!

post-it quote

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Sunday, June 29, 2008
I'm doing laundry, which is exciting, I know, and not really worth mentioning all on its own, but I found a great quote in my pocket, so here I am! I'm always writing notes of things (titles of books, stuff I want to look up) and putting them in my pocket -- or on the days when I am sadly lacking a pocket, folding them up and putting them in my bra. (this is not ideal! paper is sharper than you'd think.) ANYWAY. Today's pocket cleaning netted this quote from Preston Sturges' Palm Beach Story. This is nerdy billionaire John D. Hackensacker III (Rudy Vallee) speaking to soon to be divorced Gerry (Claudette Colbert) about her (allegedly) no-good but very tall husband (Joel McCrae). It's delivered with such matter of fact resignation that it makes me laugh every time.

That's one of the tragedies of this life, that the men who are the most in need of beating up are always enormous.

century mark

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Saturday, June 28, 2008
rose festival parade

Hey, guess what?? It got to 100 degrees here today!! Now I can start bitching about the heat instead of about it being 50 degrees for eight months!! (why not make every day a celebration?)

I can't even really complain yet because I was in an air conditioned library all day long; maybe tomorrow I will have earned a proper cranky heat-fit. In the meantime, I'm staying hydrated (wheee!) and have 4 inches of really cold water in the bathtub that I can go stand in when I'm feeling sweaty. Lots of houses in Portland don't have air conditioning because of course it doesn't get hot that often. It works out, mostly, with old fashioned heat relief methods such as:
a) keep the curtains closed but the windows open (open curtains late in the day)
b) cold water in bathtub
c) straw fan like genteel southern lady
d) frond fan like genteel harem lady
e) electric fan like normal person
f) travel in time to when ice deliveries were made, mug ice delivery truck OR
f.1) travel in time to when ice deliveries were made, PURCHASE ice, but make sure to have currency of the proper era or risk disrupting the timeline. (No Fabulous Abe in Purple fives or fancy state quarters!)
g) go to movies
h) go to library (people should do this! Anecdotal evidence (aka: I saw it with my own eyeballs) suggests we are having dangerous overcrowding of books on the shelves. People need to check out a lot of stuff, right away!) It's air conditioned and there is free wifi.
i) water garden (and feet) with cold water from the hose. (this only works after 8pm on really hot days)
j) popsicles (I am tragically out of popsicles!)

I know there are more, but I am too hot to think of them right now. In related news, I just had to go get a towel for my super-fab 60's orange vinyl desk chair, because I find I do not care for the Hot Vinyl Chair Experience.

Unrelated Anecdotal Library Observation: Old people love novelist Clive Cussler!!

Freakish Anecdotal Library Observation Coincidence: I just looked up Clive Cussler to see if there was some obvious "oh, of course!" reason for his popularity with the over eighty set, and discovered that he and I share a birthday! (as for the reason -- I'm guessing his books are pretty exciting (more than Matlock, less than CSI), don't require a lot of attention and don't feature scenes of graphic sex or shopping.)

I think I'm going to have to go deal with the Popsicle Issue or at least get some ice for my drink. I hope everyone is either staying cool and comfortable or on their way to check Clive Cussler novels out of the library, where it is air conditioned.

(the photo at the top of this post is from the Grand Floral Parade earlier this month. It was in the 50's and raining.)

typing my fingers to the bone and other lies

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Thursday, June 26, 2008
I can't believe it's been a week since my last post! I wish I could say I've been busy on an EPIC PROJECT of mind-blowing proportions, but... as the illustrations indicate, I've been doing important things like taking pictures of my hands with the photobooth feature of my laptop. ha ha ha. (even this is a lie!!! the x-ray one I took ages ago.)

(let the record show that I have very square palms and am lacking in the long elegant finger department. My sister has hands just like my mom (with long crooked fingers), and my hands look just like my dad's did. Genetics = freaky.)

Anyway! I have been busy doing fun things (strawberry picking, beach going, reading, migraine recovery) and unfun things (migraine, laundry, filing) and will have more details, fun links and other miscellanea soon. Right now I have to go run around and clean up since tonight is crafty night and there are currently no clear surfaces ANYWHERE. (where is my house cleaning robot of the future??? the future is now and I'm lazy!! although I'd probably end up with a surly house cleaning robot that did no cleaning and in fact made a huge mess building model rockets in the kitchen. ha ha ha. yeah, I guess I'll go do it myself.)

the lepidopterous lift

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Thursday, June 19, 2008
The most amazing thing just happened. I was walking along at the park (like I do) listening to my ipod and looking around (as one does) and the song RR vs. D by Au came on. Hooray! I thought, because that's what I always think when it comes on -- but it got even better. I was just coming out of a shady section and into the sunny meadowy part of the park (the sun is shining!) and I spotted the first swallowtail butterfly I have seen this season! They're late because it's been so cold. Anyway, it fluttered around and glinted in the sun in perfect expression of lepidopteran JOY, which filled me with HUMAN JOY, and then there were TWO MORE!! It was so beautiful I got goosbumps all the way down to my feet.

Now I have to go get ready for work -- I'm going to a branch where I will be checking out manga to pre-teens until my arms fall off, which is always fun and I'm not even kidding when I say that.

I was looking for a youtube video so if you're unfamiliar with the song you could hear it easily, but I can't find one! Do not despair, here's a link to a stream where you can hear it yourself. It does sound sort of like a butterfly circus song. oooh! it looks like emusic's got the whole album. excellent.

two moon coyote

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008
The MOON is very full and low and yellow and looking in my window. It has a slightly smaller shadow moon just to the right of it, which I believe is because I'm looking through a double pane and not because of random hallucinations or an actual new moon that nobody has thought to mention until now. (I hope they let me name it!) They are up to no good, those two moons, but they are being so charming I'm not going to fuss about it. (Astronomers rejoice! No fussing from pdx this night.)

danger! Today I read the neighborhood newsletter thing that gets left on the doorstep and learned there is a neighborhood COYOTE! (at least one!) This is crazy! Portland strikes me as the antithesis of coyote country, yet apparently they are drawn to green spots within the city and p.s. look out for your cats. Coyotes! They belong in deserts with roadrunners, right? Martina, Bec and I saw one on our road trip (OUT IN THE DESERT) and thought it was so cool -- little did I know that all I needed to do was look out my window. If the coyote is in cahoots with the moon(s) there is no hope for any of us. Somehow it seems like the cats have read this news and are now pressing their advantage. "you can't throw me out, I will be eaten by a coyote! please cater to my every whim this instant."

best signature: I was issuing a library card to a girl of about eight earlier this week. She insisted on filling out the form herself (much to her in-a-hurry mother's annoyance) and also insisted on signing her name Chloe Heart Smiley Heart (except they were drawn hearts and smileys. so chloe <3 :) <3), more or less.) Her mom had a fit and told her she had to write HER NAME, but chloe heart smiley heart was having none of it. "This," she said with a flourish, "is my signature!" (her mom made her do it again -- I think they're going to be having a great time together by the time chloe heart smiley heart is 14.)

This post was brought to you by the full moon(s), a coyote with a reputation, a fussy orange cat and the Society for Individual Signature Promotion. (I would totally sign my name "Jennifer @#$%!" except it would take too long.)

in every way

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Monday, June 16, 2008
Happy Bloomsday! I've never read Ulysses. It sounds like the kind of thing I might like if I could get over the threshold; alas, it seems a REALLY TALL threshold. (at least it is in my head, where, let's be honest, things are not always actual size in either direction.) Today I've run across various quotations in various places around the internet and in print and I think that maybe the best way for me to read it would be on random scraps of paper here and there. I could appreciate the language, ponder it for a while, and then keep my eyes open for whatever section I came across next without being overwhelmed by sheer volume. (I need to subscribe to a service where someone sneaks around ahead of wherever I might go and leaves small sections of Ulysses for me to find. That would be so cool!) Regardless of thresholds and controversial classics, I am especially in favor of whimsical holidays and I love the idea that people all over the world are celebrating a novel written 100 years ago. Well done, party people! Anyway, I quite enjoyed Answergirl's post on Ulysses, and am intrigued by the notion of trying it as an audiobook. Is it cheating if you haven't read it already? Does it matter?

The sun is shining here in Portland for the moment. I wish it would stay clear until the solstice so I could really appreciate the longest day (right now it stays light until 9:30 or so), but it will be cloudy by then and I'll just have to imagine the sun above the gloom, I suppose. At any rate, here's some photo evidence of THE SUN and its triumphant (however brief) return to parts northwest.


New table for the little brick patio! Hooray! It was a bargain IKEA find. Those flowers right there (you see the white ones?) are on the mock orange tree which is blooming its fool head off right now. It smells so wonderful! As you might expect, it's reminiscent of orange blossoms, but being mock I don't think they're quite as sweet. (one of my fondest Florida memories is riding in the car with the windows down during orange blossom season.)

roses in the air

Here are some roses that grow over an arbor. I have done a really poor job keeping them trained onto the arbor, so now it's a rose monster. An aggressive pink pre-raphaelite rose monster. (Rose Monsters of this variety are more bluster and blossom than bite, thankfully.)


You may recall these space alien/cooked red cabbage peonies from way back when in march. (you may not, which is why I have helpfully provided the photo again.) Well, I promised that I would show a picture when they bloomed, and the time has come! These are from a garden I pass on my way to the park.

that peony
and more, because I can't not:

that peony
and now, because it's still light for a little bit, I'm going to go cut a peony bouquet as big as my car. (it's a small car.) They won't last outside in another day of warm temps, so if I want to enjoy them longer, now's my chance.

"and yes I said yes I will Yes."

it's never too late to revise

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Today was the day that I finally started getting some pictures uploaded and organized from my last little trip. It wasn't very long ago, but somehow due to compressions and expansions of time or gravity on the milky way or bad weather or something, seems like it was no less than a thousand years ago. (interesting weather side note: The Blue mountains, where I was a little less than a month ago, just got TEN INCHES OF SNOW! Does that seem right to you? It is freaking JUNE. side note to my side note: if I hear one more person say "junuary" I am going to strangle them with a sweater.)

Today was also a day for some sewing! I sewed up a pattern for a top that I've not made before. There are some fit issues, but nothing to have a scissor throwing tantrum about. I think I will only have to take out about six inches of stitching and adjust the thing and all will be well. I love the fabric -- it's a rayon I've had forever that I think is best described as a mod arctic zebra design. My plan is to get it adjusted and finished tomorrow. I think this will be a good pattern to work with over and over once I make the necessary tweaks. Woo hoo!

To celebrate having some pictures where I can get to them, here are a couple of my favorite signs from the first two days of our trip. I'll do them in chronological order:

yes, let's

First up, the side of the old theater in Toppenish, Washington, a town which is apparently well known for its murals. (most of them are very lurid and feature BEAR ATTACKS. Okay, at least one does, and I think the bear was probably just misunderstood.) But anyway -- it is very fun to come up with photos to collect on trips like these. My mom got us hooked on county courthouses (it's a great excuse to drive around town); I find carnegie libraries are also a good thing to hunt for since many of these small wild west towns have them; heritage trees are on my shortlist of things to look for next time -- but this picture is from my slowly growing old movie theater collection. (note that the windows on the front of the building are also painted on!)

bookstore cowgirl

Here's a bookstore cowgirl from Ellensburg, Washington. (Ellensburg was entirely delightful.) I think she looks like Jane Russell, except blonde. (Maybe it's Jane Russell playing her own evil twin/country cousin!) Anyway, cheeky lasso cowgirls are not uncommon on signs in central Washington.

it's never too late

This was from a drive-through in Wenatchee, Washington. More on beautiful Wenatchee in a later entry (I will tell you now that it is the Apple Capital of the World). I saw this sign the night before during a wrong turn to Dairy Queen -- but how can it be wrong if we ended up with ice cream AND this sign? My traveling companions were kind enough to go back the next day so we could take pictures. I know some of the letters are falling off and there's an apostrophe missing, but as the sign says in fiction or in life, it's never too late to revise. All I can tell you is that seeing this sign made me very happy on top of my already good mood. It's never too late!

still light out and other updates

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Monday, June 09, 2008
it's 9pm, and still light outside.

I'm disproportionately excited by the new recycling bins AND yard debris bins that were delivered today. (seriously! I was all aflutter when I came home and saw them on the curb.)

Out of town visitors mean I've seen more of the city than I've seen in months. (it's a lovely city)

I love a parade. (it's rose festival) (I love that we have a rose festival, even though some consider it supremely dorky.)

It has only been over 60 degrees one day in the past 10. (although the sun was also shining on that day, which meant half the city was running around with hardly any clothes on even though it was not much over 60 degrees.)

more soon.

summer invocation

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

I know this video by the Headlights has tulips in it (in the TITLE, even), and yeah, you're right -- tulips don't bloom in summer, but it puts me in a summertime mood nevertheless! (if you squint your eyes you could pretend they are roses, or even better -- bird of paradise! squint harder! ooh, perhaps a rare summer-blooming tulip.) What makes it summery to me? Maybe it's the hula arms, the paillette dress, the guitar that slides all around, the accordion, or even the tambourine that turns my mind to kinder weather. (definitely the tambourine! I can't be the only person who sleeps with a tambourine under my pillow during the 4 warmest months of the year, can I? CAN I???) At any rate, it makes me smile. I'm hoping it acts as some sort of solar attractor -- a summer alert, like the bat signal for the sun. (what? those paillettes are very sparkly.) I don't know how many more days of rain I can take without cracking up completely. (video via idolator via fluxtumblr.)

what's your call number?

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008
During a recent library training meeting for on-call staff, the woman running the meeting started with a round of introductions. Not my favorite activity, but as someone who has been working on-call for a while, I'm used to it. This time she found an excellent twist that actually revealed information in a gentle but effective way: she had us give our names, how long we'd been with the library, and then our call number, i.e.what part of the library do we go to first? FUN! I liked this because of course it IS revealing, but it's not something that boxes you in forever. (it also involves a small bit of dewey decimal library nerdery, but no one seemed to have a problem with that.) She started us off by saying that she loves the YA (young adult novel) section, because there are so many great titles now and there weren't that many when she was a kid. We went around the circle -- one woman was a 580's girl (I'm a birder!), someone else 650's (small business), someone else doesn't read books (!!!) and instead just uses the library for media, another woman said that she should know but couldn't recall the call no. for her own book (many published authors in the MCL!), and so on. I was 800's (lit. and poetry) and GNs (graphic novels), but of course that's just the FIRST place I look. Anyway. As ice-breakers go, it's not bad.

park updates: They are putting new bark chips down on the main path around the perimeter of the park -- this is good because it's been raining a lot, the path has gotten muddy and previous bark chips had broken down so much so that the weed-dampening fabric was showing through. It hasn't been spread out yet, and today was just mountain after mountain of bark mulch right in my way. I must confess that my first bad-mood thought was that this was a metaphor for how everything I want seems to get a little further away and inconvenient just as I approach it, but fortunately I snapped out of it just in time to laugh and walk around pile after pile (AFTER PILE). I mean, that's some weak-ass manufactured drama right there!

There is one tree at the park that has particularly graceful above-ground roots -- like pretty feet or something, I suppose. Anyway, earlier in the spring someone (not me!) placed camellia blossoms all around these visible roots -- rings on fingers, bells on toes, flowers in hair. Camellia season ended and I didn't think much more about it, but last week I noticed that someone had put smooth river rocks in the hollows of the roots of this particular tree. Lovely! (this area is blessed/cursed with many, many, many smooth rocks that come up whenever you put a shovel to the ground. Thank the missoula flood.) I took it as a tribute to something, but I'm not sure what. Spring? Trees? Some secret that I don't know? They were gone today, so I know someone is tending to it, not just a hit and run tree be-decker. Oooh -- speaking of acts of guerilla beautification, I love this story of stealth civic gardening.

PROBLEM SOLVED! mostly: Lately I've been having a beach ball issue on my new computer. I need to figure out what it is, because it is (of course) driving me crazy. The trouble compounds itself; sometimes the only way to get out of THE PROBLEM is to force quit my computer. Usually, it's no big deal (especially since I've learned that one of the programs I'm likely to have open and be using automatically saves things even if I haven't), but one of the areas affected is my journal program. I keep an electronic journal, which I generally open up in the morning and write in it off and on all day. I use it for lists, My Deep Thoughts, etc. and whatnot. Usually I remember to save, but sometimes I don't -- yesterday I lost everything for the day. (it wasn't a particularly high-volume day, but still.) Anyway, I got the bright idea that maybe, just MAYBE, there was some sort of auto save feature, and lo and behold, there WAS and I have turned it on! Hooray! So while I still have the bigger problem of "why does my lovely new computer torment me so?", I solved the element that was most likely to make me incoherently agitated. (I use MacJournal, which I LOVE! I'm on an ancient free version, but the new one looks really nice and maybe I should upgrade.)

weather report: right now there is some sun, but it has been raining FOREVER. It is june, and the high is supposed to be somewhere in the mid-60's today. I don't need it to be sunny for months on end (although I would only complain a little!), but I could do with a few days of sunshine. Plus, we don't need the rain!! As I learned while touring the Grand Coulee Dam (more on that soon), the columbia river is full! Full to the top! and all the places where they normally divert water when the river is full? Also full! And the snow hasn't even started melting yet in Canada. Basically, our tour guide informed us that we are in perfect flood conditions, very similar to those of the big Vanport Flood in 1948. (today's blog theme: mighty floods of history! and, as always, my many neuroses.) Anyway, this flood news served as a great diversion to asking some tough questions. I was so distracted it didn't even occur to me to ask, but my sister got in the car after the tour and said "damn! I meant to ask about the fish!" (it turns out that at the Grand Coulee Dam there is no accommodation for salmon. They probably have a "distract the hippies with tales of their city flooding before they can ask about fish" policy in place with their tour guides. It was still a very groovy tour.) Anyway, the point of all of this is that I would very much like for the SUN TO SHINE, for at least three days in a row. Is that too much to ask? I hope not.

june: a little less conversation, a little more action please

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Sunday, June 01, 2008
yes we're open

I am back from the wilds of middle Washington! We did so much in such a short amount of time -- it feels like I was gone a week rather than three days, which is simultaneously really fun and kinda weird. More on that soon. Fun and weird seems like the right way to launch June and the summer as a whole. I love summer! My new plan (I know!) is to actually DO some of the stuff I've been stewing about for months. (see earlier post about my Deliberation Gestation Period, which can be lengthy and tedious.)

To get things off on the right foot, I decided today was a great day to sit my butt down and sew instead of talking about sewing. I finished (and am wearing right now) the frankensteined top I started last year. Preliminary Verdict: kind of lumpy, but in places that would only be noticeable if I happened to be swinging a fish over my head. (which is unlikely! and if I'm swinging a fish over my head and someone's making remarks about lumpy seams in the underarm ease... well, I think they may end up with fish in their hair at the very least.) Verdict: ADORABLE! also, I look really good in this color.

After that, I started work on a dress that I've been thinking about for months. I picked up the pattern ages ago when I saw it made up in the fabric store -- they had it done in a crinkle taffeta, which is great for... I'm not sure what. Appearing onstage as the main suspect in mystery dinner theater? Anyway, I'm trying the pattern out in a really lightweight cotton -- it's not quite a lawn, but is significantly lighter than a regular broadcloth. fun but not fancy! If it works out, maybe I'll make a fun AND fancy one.

other plans for june:

picnics: I think a minimum of two should satisfy my current picnic cravings. I reserve the right to delay this to a later month if the weather stays rainy and in the 60's. Or I will drive 200 miles east and have a picnic there.

garden: it is a monstrous jungle right now, and it would appear I have developed a magic bean problem over the long weekend. (I blame the rassenfrassen squirrels.) I want to move the herb garden and clear the pathways of the "ornamental grass," which is just regular grass run amok. Will fight/bargain with giants as necessary. (maybe they are gentle giants who will climb down the beanstalk at night and pull grass while I sleep! What? I'm a dreamer, baby.)

out of town: As much as I love the three day car vacation (which is A LOT), I find that my feet are getting pretty itchy and going further afield seems like the only thing that will stop the itch. This is quite possibly the worst possible time in the modern era to want to travel, but what can I do? When the feet itch, they itch!

spending gift certificates: They're like free money! I have a couple for fun things that I have yet to cash in. It's happening in June. Mwahahaha!

dresser makeover: a few years ago I got bored with my dresser and painted it in what might charitably be called a "Distressed Circus" theme. It's distressing alright, so it's got to go! I think I'm going to paint it glossy black, but who knows what will happen when I'm standing in front of it with a paintbrush in my hand. (I'm praying "neon circus" doesn't suddenly start to sound appealing...)

blog: I really REALLY hope that this right here is the last mention (at least for a while) of "things I want to write about" -- my astonishing plan is to instead simply write about them.