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rose hip january

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Saturday, January 31, 2009
rose hip

This is what they look like in the wintertime! (although some of them turn red.) So, this is what this one looked like in the wintertime, several years ago. (sneaky last minute new year's pledge: I want to do more garden things this year!)

It's the end of January and therefore the end of the post-a-day EXPERIENCE. It was so different for me this year than last. I remembered it as more footloose and fancy free, but felt mostly frustrated by various constraints this time around. Is it because it's objectively TRUE (doubtful, thinking back to my journal entries from January 07), or because selective memory can be a dangerous thing?

(I read something interesting today in one of those Oprah/The Secret/ Shake 29.95 Out of Your Pocket affiliated books as I was processing a hold. I opened it to the page that said "your thoughts are not always right" (or "true" I can't remember now.) Anyway, this woman's point was that in order to get to the Whatever Fabulous Self Help on the cover, you had to realize that just because you think some nutty thing, it doesn't make it true. And I thought, "crazy shakedown self help lady, you are RIGHT. At least about this.")

ANYWAY: big respect to people who post every day all the time! It's not easy.

I have more to say (always), but I have to be to work super early tomorrow, so I'm going to sleep instead. I was so tired today I forgot to send in my timesheet. Sleep = dollars!

See you in February!

fake bait and switch

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Saturday, January 31, 2009
I worked at my favorite branch today, which was nice but strange. Nice because I like it there; strange because it was a day with a lot of subs (like me), and not a lot of the regular staff. Many of the subs were ones I don't know well, either because we've not worked together that often, or because they are new hires. And by hires, I mean HIRED hires, not like me in my weird employed but not an employee limbo-state.

I always think I have a handle on my feelings about this, but am always surprised by how it disorients me every single time I'm confronted with it. Why them and not me? some little atavistic lump of brain always gets het up. Once I get over that primitive jolt (UNCHOSEN), I remember that I'm good at my job, I like my job, people like working with me, and that there are a million subjective factors built into the hiring process, even though they try to make it as fair as possible. My interview panel might have graded on a stricter scale than other panels, or I may have just screwed it up. I scored very high on the test, so it's likely the interview was what kept me from placing higher on the "to be hired" list. (the list I was on has since expired, so I have to wait for another general recruitment before I have a shot at a regular Employed With Benefits job. I'm free to keep doing what I'm doing, though.) The more I think about it, the more likely a botched interview seems. I was recovering from a giant face infection and I know I didn't answer one line of questioning as well as I could have.

None of that really matters, anyway. I don't know the situation for these new hires (maybe they were on the list for AGES), and I don't even know for sure what happened to me. It's so easy to get pulled down into these pockets of 'you think you know' quicksand. I don't know jack.

WHICH BRINGS ME TO HALL & OATES. (did I think when I woke up this morning that I would be typing these words by the end of the day? No, I did not.) As I was saying... there are five computer workstations in the back room of this branch. The woman working at the station next to mine asked the room if we minded if she put on some music. No, we don't mind. (3 people didn't answer, and I didn't mind.) I had no idea what she'd put in. Some people have really specific tastes, which is sometimes fun and fine (psychedelic tropicalia!) and is sometimes an exercise in keeping a neutral expression (lite jazz). This woman (whom I did not know, but she seemed nice enough) put down a Best of Hall & Oates CD on the edge of the desk and changed the CD from whatever movie soundtrack was in there. (whatever movie = when harry met sally. I have a long involved story about this soundtrack, but I will save it for another day.) OKAY. I thought. This will be interesting. I haven't listened to Hall & Oates in a long time. If I'm singing I Can't Go For That all day to myself... well, I will survive! But then it didn't sound like H & O. I thought "hmmm, this seems to have more marimba than I remember, I am totally kind of digging this!" The Music Picker was bopping around in her chair while she checked in bookdrop, singing along. La la la. More songs go by, and I am amazed at how little I seemed to recollect of Hall & Oates greatest hits. ... then I hear a song that I recognize from an alternate arrangement heard via one of my favorite music blogs. Hey. HEY! This isn't Hall & Oates at all! It's VAMPIRE WEEKEND. (ha ha ha!)

(I should note here that this was coming out of really crappy speakers at a semi-low volume.)

I'd never listened to their whole album because I'd heard a couple of songs that I liked only okay, and heard a couple that I liked pretty well, except the lyrics made me want to punch someone. (someone = preppy asshole.) Before I got to the logical "I shall listen to it all and make a fair assessment without emotional baggage of any kind because I am a rational robot and not a hysterical teenager" part of my listening agenda, I saw them on SNL and had a viscerally negative reaction, which wasn't really about the band so much as ancient high school drama. (so much for rational robot!!) (I WILL CHOKE YOU WITH THAT SCARF!!!)

Once again I think I know what's going on, but I really don't. The eye sees one thing, the ear hears another and tries to make it fit. Hall & Oates is Vampire Weekend is right now is ages ago. Private Eyes are watching your Oxford Commas. I don't know anything, and it's kind of a relief. (Hall & Oates: consider the marimba. I think you could rock it.)

color spot

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Thursday, January 29, 2009
no time tonight! so here are some bright pictures for a grey season.


I love sharpies! and I love that they come in every color now.

spider-man collage

This was made from candy boxes and paper. It was the grossest candy EVER, but the boxes were fun. I think I have some x-men ones in a bag somewhere.

rose festival fireworks

Wheeee! this looks this way because I couldn't hold the camera still, but I like how it turned out. it looks like stitching! Only it's fireworks instead.

search for an alternate spreadsheet solution

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009
good advice for life

Today I have come to the depressing but certain realization that if I'm ever going to get anything done, I'm going to have to break it down and make a list or a spreadsheet or something so I can get moving on the unruly mess that comprises My Ambitions. I loathe spreadsheets! I have many friends with great spreadsheet affinity and mojo, who find them useful and affirming; tools to defeat the forces of chaos. You know, all Katharine Hepburn "let's get this done" brisk handshake yankee efficiency. I, on the other hand, find myself wringing my hands and flapping around in a clammy dither at the very thought. It's not that I can't be efficient (I can!), I just have a hard time doing it on my own behalf and will make a straw man argument against a spreadsheet rather than do what I need to do. In short: wah, wah, wah. I just have to suck it up and figure it out in the way that works (really works, not ideally works) for me. I will do it! I just have to flap around a bit first, I guess. bah.

On the bright side, I'm really excited at the prospect of doing something, so maybe that will fire synapses and some brilliant solution will present itself. Yeah!

photo note: this was from the state fair this summer. I couldn't not take it.

links for clicking

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009
tonight I worked at a branch of the library that was so busy (until 8pm), there was nowhere to park in the rather large parking lot. People were CIRCLING THE LIBRARY, which is pretty cool. ("I need The Sun Also Rises, and I need it fast! My husband is driving around the parking lot.")

Parking was short because of the big lunar new year celebration, which makes it even cooler. I had to work three hours in a row (!!) on the desk, but it was fine and fun! (Plus, they gave me a 1/2 hour break from the desk, which was quite thoughtful.) The lobby was full of kids on their wheelie shoe-skate things along with people spilling out of the meeting room (where the party was) laughing and talking over the strains of various chinese string instruments. Not bad for a cold rainy tuesday in January!

Anyway -- I keep having this fantasy that I will sit down and write up one of the many things I've been meaning to write up for ages. Tonight is not that night! But here are some wonderful links I've also been meaning to post:


both from local Cut

first, here's a charming, summery, unreleased song from The Online Romance. It's a sorta stereo-labby, dreaming of summer song, but I'm pretty sure it will be a good straight-up summer song, too. (dig those matching outfits!)

second -- localCut has started a series on classical music (Furniture Music). Its mission is this: "For the entirety of 2009, Willamette Week freelancer Robert Ham is going to focus much of his attention on classical music in an effort to learn as much as he can about it but also to gain some insight into why it has become so inaccessible to common folk like you and me." I am intrigued!


A new to me favorite photo blog is Sandra makes beautiful photographs in Sweden, but I first came to her work from a wonderful series she did on vacation in New York. LOVELY!


to Neil Gaiman for the Newbery Award! I read the Graveyard Book right before Christmas, and I enjoyed it so much. He does that rare and wonderful thing that the best authors (of children's books and otherwise) do -- he tells the story, but he tells it with style and wit and warmth. (but not warm in a gross re-heated for kids way.) He never condescends to the reader, which is a major pitfall for many authors who go from writing for adults to writing for children if you ask me -- he writes for people. The beginning of this book is very out-of-the-corner-of-your-eye-creeping-up-the-stairs scary (the scariest!) yet still in language and tone appropriate for young readers. It's a rare talent and I'm so glad he won this award for it.


Speaking of Neil Gaiman, I saw Henry Selick (director/screenwriter of Coraline) at Live Wire last month (how can it only be last month???), and he was so great and obviously one of those people who loves his job. (and now I know the DARK SECRET of the Pillsbury Dough Boy!) I love the Coraline boxes that Laika studios sent out (so cool!), I love to read of people's reactions... it's just a lovely thing. I know it's promotion, but it's so above and beyond -- it's not just about advertising, it's about reaching out and being proud of your work and doing something kind. I know it sounds cheesy, but it makes me happy to know I'm in the same city as people who do this sort of crazy and wonderful thing.

Here's a Coraline trailer -- I'm even more excited to see it now than I was. It's so candy-colored creepy! And I love that every second of it is the result of someone's (many someone's) hands making it happen. (Am I the only one who yells AL SWEARINGEN at the TV every time one of the ads comes on?! Ian McShane does the narration on those or I'll eat my hat.) (direct link to trailer here.)

brain needs oxygen

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Monday, January 26, 2009
five little things:

1. Happy Year of the Ox!

2. can't stop yawning.

3. finished my bag! started another.

4. found the hippo! (it was right in front of my face, more or less.)

5. I heart Roz Chast! I'm currently reading her Theories of Everything, but this cover for Cold Comfort Farm cracks me up every time I see it.

5a. still yawning! Is it because I'm tired, or because it's cold or does my brain require extra oxygen for some other mysterious reason? I'm going to sleep on it.

another sunday night hippo conundrum

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Sunday, January 25, 2009
the BEST!
I mean, they're BIG, right? A hippo isn't the sort of thing that should just disappear, and likewise neither should a red and purple hippo portrait disappear. It's my own fault, of course, like the majority of my minor calamities. A couple of weeks ago I got it into my head to move some pictures around -- you know: change it up! Freshen the environment! Blah, blah blah blah! I had nails in my mouth and a gleam in my eye! (January is particularly bad for this kind of malady.)

The hippo had been comfortably resting propped on top of another picture; minding its hippo business, being charming and ridiculous and making me laugh every time I went down the stairs. But SUDDENLY, due to some sort of decorating EMERGENCY and concomitant MADNESS I took it down and put it somewhere so safe I cannot find it again. The wall in question is right by a bookcase! It should be resting on top of some books. But no. This is what happens when I try to be smart about things. Hippos go missing.

The hippo is at large! HIPPO AT LARGE. (that cracks me up! No wonder the hippo left me. There is probably a note somewhere that says "#7, your "jokes" are not funny" and ends with "I'm going to the river for a couple weeks to hang out and menace small watercraft for a while and just, you know, figure it out.")

(I had better straighten this out pretty quick, because if this imaginary hippo writes any more of this imaginary note, I'm not going to want it to come back. Stay in the freaking river covered in flies for all I care!)

(only kidding, Hippo!)

It wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't pretty sure I've been looking right at it, but missing it somehow. Like my eyes slide over it even though it is the very thing I'm searching for.

the so and so phenomenon

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Saturday, January 24, 2009
Today I worked at one of my upper-middle-tier favorite branches. (I should make a chart.) I was checking in holds (so many holds! it was really busy) and saw a familiar name. Hmmm, is this Familiar Name the same Familiar Name that I know but haven't seen in several years? I wondered. It's a common enough, but not that common name. (...cut interminable details to get to the point...) It was! I was only on the desk for 2 hours, but he happened to come in right as we were changing over for my second hour. (the idea is not to be stuck working the desk more than an hour in a row). He recognized me before I realized it was him. So funny! But extra funny to me, because stuff like that kept happening all day long -- except mostly with books and ideas rather than holds and people. (example: thinking of some problem or query or ISSUE, then a book or movie with the exact topic or name or ANSWER would pop up in the book drop or in a patron's hand. Disorienting! Yet kind of fun -- like an out of the sphere magic 8 ball.)

In other news, something today made me think of this quote/video from Flight of the Conchords. Bret was accused of never dancing, and his reply was: "I dance all the time. I dance at parties, I dance...when I'm angry."

I'm afraid Bret's Angry Dance makes me laugh a lot. Maybe it's his skinny arms punching the sky, maybe it's because he ends up in a warehouse with a bunch of unidentifiable equipment and a saxophone player, or maybe it's just time to watch Footloose again. In any case, it makes me laugh which I always appreciate.

currently, briefly

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Friday, January 23, 2009
at the state fair

reading: Moby Dick, which is a lot funnier than I would have ever suspected.

recently watched DVD: Be Kind, Rewind -- v. charming! I thought it celebrated human joy in telling stories in a very appealing (to me, anyway) way. Now I want one of those flip cameras more than ever... (I am an excellent tinfoil costumer.)

TV: LOST -- OMG! does anyone watch this anymore? I loved it! the story had spun pretty far out by the end of last season (which I also enjoyed), but they're beginning to reel it all in.

that is the report for tonight! I have lots of thoughts on this and that, but they will have to wait.

alien virus abates

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Thursday, January 22, 2009
columbine bud

WOOOOO! I have been returned from the undisclosed location testing facility where my guts had been poked and twisted and purged by what I can only assume was a team of sadistic Last Administration government scientists* working at the behest of Our Alien Overlords. Or, you know, today was the first day that I could EAT AGAIN for real since contracting that stupid stomach virus or whatever it was. Of course I had to eat a little bit on Tuesday and Wednesday, but I got carried away Tuesday night which led to a whole uneasy Wednesday where I could only eat things I couldn't smell. ANYWAY. All of this is by way of saying I feel much more like myself again. In fact, I feel more like myself than I did for two weeks before I got the virus, which maybe lends credence to the aliens thing. (I said maybe!)

*it all makes sense! I was violently sick (will spare the slumped and sweaty on the cold bathroom tile details) on Monday -- the day BEFORE our peaceful governmental transfer of power. Coincidence? Perhaps, but I am looking at it with squinty eyes.

** the columbine picture is entirely unrelated. Mostly unrelated. They aren't blooming right now, I didn't have visions or hallucinations of columbines, but I DO think that they sort of look like alien helmets from certain angles at certain times. As things do.

I like it: inauguration edition.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009
1) I don't care what the haters say, I loved Aretha's hat. Why aren't more people wearing hats? That was A HAT, and she wore the hell out of it.

2) DELETED (because I was bitching about something instead of appreciating, which is antithetical to the spirit of this list.)

3) I loved Michelle's daytime dress! (nighttime dress was okay, but I LOVED her daytime ensemble.) More specifically, I loved that she wore olive gloves with her lemongrass-colored wool lace (!!) dress. Read this great post at A Dress A Day to find out more about what makes it all so great. (hint: it's in part because she's an independent minded woman who dresses to please herself and not some antiquated notion of what's appropriate. RIGHT ON!) (I also loved that she had a ribbon sash, and so did both of the Obama girls. A nice family touch without being matchy matchy.)

4) Go read Bright Lights After Dark for the Fred Astaire connection: "Obama’s Inaugural Address was memorable. Obama’s speeches generally are. But the line I hear quoted from it most often comes not from the Bible, Abraham Lincoln, or our Founding Fathers, but from ... Fred Astaire."

5. You know what? I liked the poem! I liked it a lot!! I thought it was very visual and evocative of not just this Anything is Possible moment, not just of the toiling and dreaming that led to it, but of the fact that the work has just begun. I think Elizabeth Alexander was (understandably!) nervous, so it sounded a little stiffer than it is. I have no idea if the line breaks below are accurate -- this is what the NYT had as a transcript.

Praise song for the day.

Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others' eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, "Take out your pencils. Begin."

We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, "I need to see what's on the other side; I know there's something better down the road."

We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.

Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thy self."

Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.

What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.

In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light.

-- Elizabeth Alexander

in with the new

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This really feels like the start of something new. I'm so happy it's starting now.

modest goals

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Monday, January 19, 2009
new beginning

I'm sick, which is totally bumming me out. It's not even the "oh, nyquil, god bless you" sick or headache sick, but can't keep anything down sick. My least favorite kind! I blame GWB.

It's stressing me out because who likes to be sick, but also because I am scheduled to work all day tomorrow. Since libraries were closed today for MLK day, I couldn't call and tell anyone I won't be there. Argh! It's almost certainly no big deal, I'm sure it will work out, but it's on my mind nonetheless. I just don't think I'm going to be able to work until 8pm tomorrow fueled by the one piece of toast I have managed to eat successfully today.

On the upside, this means I can watch Inauguration stuff to my heart's content! Woo! And maybe stand up long enough to get into the shower. That would be good.

roadtrip continued

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Sunday, January 18, 2009
Time for road trip details! First up -- travelers: this was another me, mom and bec (my sister) joint production. What can I tell you? They are top quality road trip companions who let me pick the music.

out the window
Out the window (actually through the window, I think) photo of the SECRET SHORTCUT to Lincoln City. I can say no more unless you agree to perform the ritual.

timber machinery
There is a lot of logging that goes on in and around the coast range. Almost everyone whose ever done any exploring in these parts has gotten stuck on a timber road at some point. (But I thought it went through!) (this wasn't on a timber road, though -- it was right on 18.)

willamina machine
There was some kind of lane closure on the regular road. Since the weather was exceedingly fine, half of the portland metro area was on its way to the beach -- there was a lot of backed up traffic. A state map indicated that we could take a shortcut (not actually shorter!) that went another way we'd never gone before. Due to this rerouting, we went through the town of Willamina (Timbertown USA, 2003!). We had a discussion about whether or not it was pronounced Will-a-meena or Will-uh-minah. I preferred the second because it put me in mind of crazy fake southern (southerun) accents, big floppy hats, spanish moss, men named Beauregard, and drinking gin from a jelly jar when no one is looking. Somehow it became an old south Timbertown in my head. (These things happen.) Eventually, the gazetteer was consulted, which revealed that the "shortcut" was actually 53 miles long and twisted like a mofo, so we decided to take our chances with the lane closure. We bid Willimina a fond farewell (I would like to go back someday), and I thought kindly thoughts toward it in a Scarlet O'Hara accent.

We returned to the main road and it was actually moving right along.

By the time we made it to Lincoln City, we had to eat Or Else. We decided to go to the 60s Cafe -- it was after 2pm, yet it was as full as I've ever seen it. We waited a long time. A desperately thinking about eating ketchup long time. The food eventually came, and yea verily, it was good. I took pictures while we waited, including this one of the fully stocked condiment caddy.

elvis head-on
The Elvis Bathroom!! His eyes are everywhere. It is freaky and hilarious all at once. They did some remodeling, but I was very pleased to see they had sense enough to leave Elvis where he belongs: pervertedly watching people pee in his fluorescent temple.

Lots of jellyfish and other gelatinous mysteries washed up on shore. One guy had a big jellyfish on the end of a stick and was waving at his son, saying it was a monster and he was going to sell it on ebay for a lot of money. (What won't people try in this economy??)

There were a lot of people at the beach, but it was such a wonderful day it was a pleasure to share it with them. I know that sounds corny, but it was totally true! People were having a really great time (it was sunny, not too windy, JANUARY) flying kites, hanging out, building fires -- which made me have a great time, which maybe made someone else have a great time. Some things are contagious. (thankfully, not the urge to pick up jellyfish on sticks.)

one small part of a larger dance
I saw these girls from far away and thought they all had pink rain boots on. Nope! their legs were all so cold they turned pink! You can't really tell from this picture, but they had this whole complicated Ode To Ocean dance that ended up with one or three of them being completely soaked. They just kind of went with it, though, like any good interpretive dancer will do.

delighted dog
I love this picture! It was kind of a mistake -- when I have my camera on "intelligent auto" it does some weird stuff, including go to macro mode if I have the zoom all the way extended. Between that and shooting directly into the sun, I got this blown out photo. But I really like it -- it's like a dream of a dog at the beach, or an old photo from an album. It was a happy accident for sure. It's no longer of that particular dog (who was having a spectacularly wonderful time running in and out of the surf), but sort of an everydog picture.

coastal waves
The light was so pretty!

sand castle
sandcastle with moat. It was somewhere around this time that the guys on horseback came charging along. It was just like an old timey commercial for ladies deodorant. HILARIOUS, but also awesome.

beach walk
This was my favorite sunset silhouette picture. The girl was only about 14 and was clearly having a nice bout of Alone Time. (note the hood pulled up.)

The sun goes down like it does every day. It will be back tomorrow.


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Saturday, January 17, 2009
beach day (perfect)

I am SO TIRED. (I feel like I've been saying that a lot lately.) However, I have a really good reason for being tired today -- I went to the beach for probably the most perfectly wonderful weather/view/dogs having fun/yes, that was a horse ratio in ages. More tomorrow. Picture above looking north just before sunset, picture below... MYSTERIOUS PANCAKE SMELL to be explained later!

I smell pancakes!

project placeholder

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Friday, January 16, 2009
babette so far

Or should I say project POTHOLDER, since this is not nearly as big as I thought it should be? Today I laid out all the squares I've made for the babette blanket (in no particular order). I must say, I thought there were A LOT more. Acres more! ...okay, maybe not acres more. I won't even be able to use all of these, since my crocheting has gotten a lot more, uh, even, than it was when I started.

I'm okay with this, though -- it's a process! Since I'm only this far along there's plenty of opportunity to add and adjust various colors. It's not like I have to have the whole thing sitting in my lap when I work on it, so I could conceivably crochet even when it's warmer.

I've found a new project, so of course I want this to be DONE. It's probably good for building patience, character, and whatnot that it's not done, or even almost done. (although I feel like I'm already sufficiently stocked in the whatnot department.)

squares in progress


| On
Thursday, January 15, 2009
potatohead mosaic
did I mention that my sister gave me a lovely orange nano for christmas? I cannot say its true name for fear that it will become ensorceled Rumpelstiltskin-style. (I had a whole thing here about ipods and straw and gold and cranky dwarfs and clever girls and evil kings, but quite honestly I got confused about the who and what of it all, so I will just leave it at "I wish to avoid any Rumpelstiltskin-style name entanglements.")

did I mention that I saw a fence full of potato head cards today? SO AWESOME! I was walking down the sidewalk minding my business and saw a potato head card stuck in the fence. I laughed, took a picture (as one does), then I saw that they ran almost the whole length of the fence, which made me laugh some more. I got to the corner and turned and looked back, saw that one had fallen, replaced it, then went on my way. POTATO HEADS! That's not something I see every day.

did I mention that sometimes I think I am going crazy, but then I feel bad because I know there are people who are really crazy and maybe don't have the luxury of feeling crazy because the aliens are chasing them? I am bourgeois crazy (only I have no insurance and therefore am medicated only by MY CRAZY THOUGHTS).

did I mention that Dash the orange cat was rolling a marble around on the hard floor for about 100000 hours during the middle of the night? Until he chased it into something heavy that fell over and gave me 10 heart attacks, but thanks to the cat annoying me for hours they were not heart attacks from a deep sleep and therefore non-fatal. For me or the cat.

did I mention that the nights are really long here right now? But they're getting shorter, so that's okay.

fograin sunshine
did I mention how freaky today was, weather-wise? There was frozen fog in the morning, and by the time I got my act together to go outside it had started MELTING, which had the effect of making it rain, but only under the trees. It was sunny, unless I was under a tree where it was actively raining with a little hail.

foggy silhouette

It looked really cool, though. And I'm not going to complain about the sun.

renew online or by phone

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009
yes to wednesday!

Today was pretty good, which makes me happy. I knew it was good for real and not just that fake fleeting good when I had a great idea in the shower. Of course I couldn't even take the time to write down this great idea because I was running LATE (why couldn't I have had this great idea right when I woke up?) and the location I was working at today is way the hell across town and I always think it will only take me 15 minutes to get anywhere, which is only true of like, 3 places. BUT I still had this great idea and even though I was 5 minutes late nobody cared or even really seemed to notice. (and I remember enough of my Great Idea, which may soon be downgraded to Interesting Notion, that I'm going to write it down when I finish this post.)

I issued a bunch of new library cards today, which was another mark in the good column. I still love doing new card registrations! A lot of people get a card so they can use the internet. I totally understand this; I think it's a vital service to provide to the community (email, job searching, etc.), but I still get an extra happy thrill when someone who has just signed up for a card actually uses it to check out books! Card registrations are up -- I think it's just the tip of the iceberg in this economy. It makes me really happy in a Healthy Society way (not just a job security way) that people are making use of existing resources like the library. You've already paid for it with your tax dollars! It's a great system -- one of the best! Use it! Use it a lot!

my what is as what?

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009
your _uture

I was recently bemoaning the lack of fortune cookie in some takeout (it wasn't actual moaning bemoaning, more of a sigh, really) -- the next day I was walking home and found this fortune on the sidewalk! True story!! (I propped it up on a telephone pole to take the picture.) I was debating on whether or not I should just leave it up on the phone pole for someone else to find, but in the end I decided to keep it. Except it must have fallen out of my pocket, because I found the exact same fortune with the exact same letters rubbed off the next day. Weird, right? Well, any kind of good news I always have to hear about 15 times before I believe it, anyway. So assuming that the second word is FUTURE.... what do you think the ndless word is? endless? mindless? what goes with lofty h*aven?

I kind of enjoy the mystery. Maybe good, maybe bad, but I think good.

measuring dimensions

Yesterday was pretty much a bummer all the way around, but sometime this morning I realized that I would feel a lot better if I'd just power through some of the stuff I've been meaning to do. Included in this was: make a new bag! I'm about 1/2 done with it, and I think it'll turn out pretty cute. (hooray!) I'll post some pictures when it's done.

camellia silhouette

Winter flowers getting ready to bloom: Camellia. I think there'll be some out by next week.

Today was at least 50% less crazy than yesterday, for which I am grateful.

fate intervenes

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I had some weak, WEAK post about how I'm a) tired and b) lame for not being more on top of this Post a Day in January project, but blogger knows better than I do and ATE IT. (Unless it shows up later, which would probably serve me right.)

Since I really am tired, I will stop backspacing long-winded meanderings about what this must say about my WORK ETHIC and general PROPENSITY FOR LAZINESS AND CAPITAL LETTERS and go to bed.

tomorrow (or later today, depending on your internal chronology), is another day!

ice hotel

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

I am totally in love with the idea of an ice hotel. It looks like it landed on earth from another planet. (an ice planet!) I love that such care and planning goes into something so ephemeral. A HOTEL MADE OF ICE!!!! Whoever thought of such a thing? I wonder what it sounds like in there. Is it quiet, like on the snow, or does it echo?

Every year I look forward to when Etolane posts her amazing photos of the ice hotel in Québec. Every year she has some pictures more incredible than the last.

The ice is such a receptive conduit for light and color, which Etolane captures and documents. She's got a marvelous eye and has been taking pictures of various incarnations of the ice hotel for several years. (check them out here.)

Look at the rest of her photostream, too! So many beautiful images.

(all images in this post belong to Etolane.)

cloud cover

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Once again I failed to do the thing I thought I was going to do, but I'm doing something else instead, so I guess that's okay. This isn't exactly what I had in mind with my enthusiastic failures theory, but you know, the year is still young! I plan to fail much more spectacularly before it's all said and done.

cloud break

The moon is allegedly HUGELY FULL tonight, looking bigger than ever due to being closer than ever. Rather than observe this phenomenon myself, I had to hear it from some cheesy weekend weatherman because it's too cloudy for a moon tonight here in Portland. Hence the cloud pictures, although these are from all over the year and all over the place, not just what's blocking my view of the moon tonight.

late-summer sky
Hmmm. I could use this space between the pictures to update posts that have gone before. 1) I had a garden variety good day today, which was so nice! 2) got all the glue thrown away that needed to be thrown away, but unfortunately it now looks like a volcano erupted on the shelf where I keep old notebooks. 3) the quilt binding remains stitched on! huzzah! 4) I got back to work on the babette blanket and made a lot of the two round squares which should be fun but I find them tedious for some reason. The four round ones are my favorite, probably because there's more room to play with the color. 5) I have yet to start on my bag, but tomorrow is another day.

at the fair

Here be dragons!

bedtime story

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Saturday, January 10, 2009
pointing tree
Today was weird. Not full on "some guy who thinks he's Tony Danza is singing Phantom of the Opera on the lawn" weird, but everything is a half turn wrong all day weird. Itchy ants in the pants followed by clammy hands on the heart followed by space madness. (oh, fine! no space madness.) If I started listing all the instances of weirdness, I would type all night and into tomorrow. At that point delirium would set in and it would turn into that first kind of weird (Tony Danza weird), which is not what I'm hoping for on a Saturday. I'm hoping for a good night's sleep followed by either a garden variety good day, or maybe a spectacular day. I'm not picky about which, I swear.

ANYWAY. I just got a Charles Simic collection from the library (1963-1983) and was thinking that I should maybe put a poem in for today's post since I had intended to do something else, but the day went weird so I didn't, and I don't really want to leave it with some imaginary deranged person singing show tunes on the lawn, so here is a poem that is a) short and b) appropriately titled. (also c: awesome.)


When a tree falls in a forest
And there's no one around
To hear the sound, the poor owls
Have to do all the thinking.

They think so hard they fall off
Their perch and are eaten by ants,
Who, as you already know, all look like
Little Black Riding Hoods.

-- Charles Simic

the clash! the clash! the clash!

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Oh, Mad Men -- when will you be back?! I miss me some creepy Pete, some angry Betty, resigned but hopefully soon to be furious (yet always fabulous) Joan*, in denial AND command (just like Don) Peggy... you get the picture. I miss them all! Visiting the fantastic flickr Mad Men Illustrated set by Dyna Moe helps. Ossining Calling is one of my favorites.

I love this illustration! There were a bunch of these flow chart song things when flow chart madness ruled the land, but this was always one of my favorites -- mostly for its simplicity, but also because I love the song. (I'm listening to it right now!) To see more song flow charts, visit JC Niemeyer's song chart flickr set. To see even more (of various qualities), visit the Song Chart pool.

*I doubt we'll see a fully empowered running the television department Joan, even though she's obviously got the right stuff. It would be the easy feel-good thing for them to do, but it would be a cheat.

project list

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009
I was thinking just the other night that I was all out of sewing/craft projects and WHAT SHOULD I DO NEXT? But then I got over my temporary euphoria/amnesia, and remembered that I had these projects still to do:

1. finish the binding on the quilt I made my sister. (which I did finish since the other night. If I were standing in front of you now, the quilt would be described with handwaving and maybe a thought bubble showing me sewing the binding by hand wearing clothes from three days ago that indicate this task is already completed.)

2. purge supplies. I know this doesn't sound like a project, but when you have a box full of nothing but different kinds of glue (mostly dried up) IT IS. I'm about 1/2 done with this and hope to finish it before the weekend.

3. make new bag. I need a work bag. Since I go from branch to branch I don't have a locker, so my regular purse-bag is not enough. For a long time I thought I just needed a purse that satisfied every eventual need, with many pockets and flaps and whatnot. I was planning on making one (waiting for that never available IKEA fabric!), but in the meantime I started using one of those reusable shopping bags (from powells -- it has a squirrel on it) and discovered that this humble bag was just about the perfect size. I can drop my purse into it, and carry around water bottles and notebooks and whatever, plus it fits over my shoulder. The downside is they get ratty pretty fast, especially when a person drags home a lot of heavy pointy books. I bought some groovy canvas weight fabric last week and hope to make a replacement. I could have just gotten another squirrel bag for .99, but this other fabric makes me really happy so we'll see how it goes. I think I'm going to start this tomorrow.

4. Finish crocheting babette blanket! I need to get busy and finish this before it gets hot and I don't care anymore. There's no more room in the "it's too hot/cold, I don't care anymore" cupboard.

5. I really want to do some embroidered something on something, but I don't know what and I don't know where. Or when. #5 is an embroidered tale of frustrated longing, is what it is.

There's more, but five is respectable, so I'm going to go answer some email and go to sleep! (notice how I have gone one whole week of posting every day and not whining until right now about how it is hard.)

LIST BONUS: Here's a lovely Blitzen Trapper video for the song Furr. I saw it all over the internet today, but all roads seemed to lead to I love so much about it, but especially the bears, the woods, and the stop motion paper animation.

january tree video

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009
because it's not enough to take 100000 tree photos, I present you with two tree VIDEOS. It was windy today and I didn't feel like taking pictures because of the aforementioned 100000 tree photos, but then I thought "a-ha! I will make a tiny tree video!" so I did. I need to figure out how to turn off the sound on my camera when it's in video mode -- it always sounds like someone is hissing into a plastic cup.

... except on this one, where there is howling in addition to the hissing. I have no idea what that's all about because I was listening to my ipod.

I wish I'd made a note of what I was listening to.

brain aches and short stories

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Monday, January 05, 2009

I spent today having a headache, which was no fun at all. It was the stealth headache, which is my least favorite kind because it sneaks into the brain and hurts for HOURS before I realize what's going on. In the meantime it makes me irritable and prone to cringing like a dramatic headache baby at things involving: light, sound, smell. Also my printer ran out of black ink, although I don't suppose that has anything to do with my head hurting. (maybe I'm developing a new super-annoying strain of headache that actually leaves my body and does things to irritate me, like siphon off black ink. My migraine EVIL TWIN. Genius! I am awaiting my Nobel prize in headache/evil twin science. A Nobel, or maybe a cabinet position.) (Whenever I hear "cabinet position" I think things like "put me next to the SALT SHAKERS" and dumb stuff like that. Let's just say that's the headache hangover talking.)

ANYWAY, before I got all carried away with my headache politics and headache poltergeists/doppelgangers/evil twins, I meant to say "since somebody has put a hold on the library copy I have have had checked out since July, the time has come to talk a little about the Barthelme Sixty Stories collection."

I liked this a lot.

I read it over a period of a couple months -- the stories are very short (mostly), but they're so... much. (in a good way!) so much packed into so little, it was hard for me to read more than one or two at a time. Hard is the wrong word. I knew that if I read it in the usual page-turning manner, I wasn't going to have time to think at all about anything, let alone look up words I didn't know. (I love looking up words!) I read this mostly when I was on breaks at work. I made little notes to myself on the back of the hold slip I was using as a bookmark, which is how I found these quotes tonight, Headache Night.

I didn't love every story, and I can see how this collection could be irritating to someone who prefers their narrative straight up/straightforward/straight ahead, but overall... OH MY GOD. It was like having tiny jumper cables hooked directly to my brain delivering steady voltage with occasional surges where it was just so good I couldn't even look at it anymore.

These quotes are not necessarily from my favorite stories (although some of them are), and some of my favorite stories are not represented in quotes, but I think these give an inkling of what it's about. (although I would urge you to check it for yourself!)

from The Party, where King Kong is in attendance: "The mind carries you with it, away from what you are supposed to do, toward things that cannot be explained rationally, toward difficulty, lack of clarity, late-afternoon light."

from The Great Hug, in which Pin Lady and Balloon Man strike a balance: "Pin Lady tells the truth. Balloon Man doesn't lie, exactly. How can the Quibbling Balloon be called a lie? Pin Lady is more straightforward. Balloon Man is less straightforward. Their stances are semiantireprophetical. They're falling down the hill together, two falls out of three. Pin him, Pin Lady. Expand, Balloon Man."

from The New Music:
"--The body knows.
--The body is perspicacious.
--The body ain't dumb.
--Words can't say what the body knows."

from Me and Miss Mandible:
8 December
My enlightenment is proceeding wonderfully.

9 December
Disaster once again.

from Rebecca: "The story ends. It was written for several reasons. Nine of them are secrets. The tenth is that one should never cease considering human love, which remains as grisly and golden as ever, no matter what is tattooed upon the warm tympanic page."

preservation and encouragement

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Sunday, January 04, 2009
world's tallest

Before I can describe how I came to take several pictures of the World's Tallest Barber Pole today, I feel like I need to give some background information: My family is full of map nerds. It's not really so bad with me (sure I had National Geographic star maps, maps of the ocean bottom and the arctic circle on my walls for years, but they're currently in drawers) -- but my mother, sister, and various uncles have it BAD. Topo maps, old insurance maps of the city, arguments about what certain markings on BLM maps "really mean" and so on. Road trips throughout my life have been much more interesting due to this gene mutation, but interesting covers a lot of ground. (Usually of the "well, it didn't look that twisty/empty/deserted/completely without gas stations/bedevilled by sasquatch on the map!" or "did it really go down to one gravel lane for 20 miles?" variety.) My Fresno uncle's specialty is picking roads that technically have fewer miles and are therefore "faster," but they're usually clinging to the side of a mountain, one hairpin turn after the other. He really gets into describing how (even though he's never been on it), it's not as a twisty as it looks while my aunt stands behind him and shakes her head and mouths "don't do it" to anyone who will catch her eye. My mom's particular talent is choosing roads with no gas stations and no way to get off of them, just as the sun is going down. Ah, TRADITION!

Did you know there was a special program to put writers to work during the great depression? The Federal Writers' Project was part of the Works Projects Administration under FDR. One of the most famous products was the American Guide Series, the goal of which was, according to this site, to "reflect topics such as local history, folklore, economic development, scenic areas, places of interest, local lore, facts, and tours. The books were initiated to stimulate travel to bolster the economy during the Great Depression." These books are GREAT FUN, and the NYT has begun a multimedia series sending journalists out to re-take some of the tours and see how things have changed. (these tours are also great fun!) Click here for more NYT WPA resources.

ANYWAY, for Christmas my mom acquired a copy of the Washington book for my sister and ordered a reprint of the Oregon book for herself. Today was tour day! She chose one that started downtown and headed out toward Forest Grove on state road 8, which has changed a lot since the 30-40s (fewer farms, more strip malls featuring tanning salons and dollar stores). But once we got to Forest Grove, things started looking up.

First, we stopped and had lunch at the Grand Lodge. (the service is always really S L O W, but the food is tasty and I love how they rehab these old buildings!)

copper top
I also love this copper tabletop. I think it looks way cooler than stainless steel.

world's tallest

After lunch, we drove around the campus of the local university to see some work that the company my sister works for had done. This is where we encountered THE POLE. I don't know how I feel about this, honestly. It's a tall pole, sure, but is it really a barber pole just because it's painted red white and blue? There's no barber shop nearby! (Although I did notice what seemed like a lot of hair salons around town.) It's no World's Largest Frying Pan, I tell you what. But I did learn that Forest Grove is HUGE in the world of barber shop quartets! It is Ballad Town, U.S.A, for crying out loud! How could I live this close all this time and not know it?

I can't help but think this kind of trip and discovery is exactly the sort of thing that the American Guide Series was trying to promote, which leads me to wonder what kind of public works projects will be launched in the new administration. I hope they make room for artists and writers, too.