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the mad scramble

| On
Thursday, December 31, 2009
guest pass
This whole year has felt like I've done it with one shoe off, hopping toward the door trying to put it on, late and ill-prepared. But that's okay - some years are just like that. Here's the main thing I've taken away from it : (mind you, it's hanging half way out of my bag and dragging on the ground a little bit, but it's there)

+ if you think of even one little thing to do that gets you a tiny bit closer to a goal (large or small, frivolous or serious), DO THAT THING. It helps! and later on when you (if you're me) are boo hooing about how you're not there yet, (wherever there might be), you'll notice when you stop being dramatic that you're probably closer than you thought. Or at least closer than when you started.

More on the new year TOMORROW. I want to finish uploading 2009 pictures before 2010 gets too far underway. (2010 may be a scramble too, but I hope for a more mindful scramble.)

Happy New Year!

minor wondering

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Sunday, December 27, 2009
This afternoon a woman about my mom's age came up to the desk to check out some books and said "I love your top! It looks very Peter Max." (it's black with bright crazy paisleys - I love it and wear it probably too often.) I told her thanks and that I loved it too for that very reason. "But it's not Peter Max." her face fell and I felt bad and was thinking that this was one of the times where I should have just stuck to THANKS. Why am I such a ruiner?! It was bugging me because her expression was so familiar. Then I figured it out! It was the exact same expression as the woman at the hippie shoe store (birkenstock outlet that also sells danskos, which is what I was buying) - I paid with visa, she asked to see my driver's license and commented on my extreme hippie middle name. She asked if my parents were fans of the thing they were obviously fans of to give their first born a name like this, and I said "uh, yeah." She said that it was a very beautiful name; I said that I liked it now, but it was a great burden to me when I was a kid. (I treated it like a terrible secret, which of course manufactured even more trouble.) The lady's face fell and I felt like a jerk, but now that it has happened again (maybe even the same woman), I wonder where this keeps going wrong. Am I fated to keep having semi-awkward encounters with an original recipe hippie until I get it right? Is this a Groundhog Day lesson I have to learn? Or maybe this poor woman just has a face that falls after 2 minutes of conversation, no matter what the topic. Or maybe it's nothing of the sort and what's really going on is that my eyeballs are tiny projectors inventing problems where none exist.

merry christmas

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Friday, December 25, 2009
twinkle twinkle

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!

I've had a lovely day and a fun but frantic couple of weeks leading up to it. I made a lot of the gifts I gave this year, which was sometimes hectic (when I ran out of bobbin thread in the middle of a visible seam, couldn't find the white thread, etc. etc.), but mostly was a reminder of how much I like making things. This experiment will definitely inform how I approach the new year!

all the best to you and yours. I hope to be back here soon.
christmas lights

small victories

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Sunday, December 20, 2009
I’m back from BEND OREGON, and it was even better than I remembered. Most of the mountains (there are a lot of mountains) were socked in with fog, but even so it was arrestingly beautiful both coming and going. (Different routes.)

BUT, the tiny victory I’m here to report is that I have successfully created a ringtone for my phone! This is hilarious for a number of reasons, mainly because a) I almost always keep my phone on vibrate and b) I don’t really like talking on the phone. But I love this ringtone so much, all that may change. I might become that person, the one who gets a second phone just to call the first one and hear it ring! (It’s possible I have Car Travel Delirium.) My magic ringtone is about 15 seconds from the song Fallait pas ecraser la queue du chat by Clothilde from the Swinging Mademoiselles Deux collection. (If you click on the amazon link, you can hear it in the sample.) It’s a sort of psychedelic yé-yé instrumental bit so perfect that when I heard in the car I announced, "I must learn how to do ringtones so I can have this!" I love it - it sounds very ringtone-like, but also like a groovy French sixties pop song - ringtone perfection if you ask me!

I'm so tired from all the driving in car/ riding in car that I am about to fall asleep at the keyboard. (it would not be the first time.)


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Friday, December 18, 2009

I'm going for a quick trip this weekend to BEND OREGON. Bend is known for its beautiful high desert setting - it is attractive to sporty-type people due to the mountains and rivers and whatnot, but that’s not why I’m going. (I am not sporty. Relatives, puppies, impulsive road trip - the usual.) I always think of it as capital BEND OREGON, thanks to Twin Peaks and that weirdo FBI dude played by David Lynch who was stationed in some office in BEND OREGON. (He was hard of hearing, always shouting, and always letting you know that he’s not talking about BEND IOWA or wherever. BEND OREGON.)

In other news, the orange jacket in the photo above makes me ridiculously happy. There was an orange one and a black one at the store. They were both half off, but I bought the orange. I suppose the black one would have been more versatile or more practical but I sincerely doubt it would make me as glad as the orange. (Gladness has a value that cannot be measured in conventional, practical units.)

IN YET OTHER NEWS, I have finally signed up for netflix and it is so great! The library is fantastic for a lot of things, but the one weak spot is getting new movies in a timely manner - too much competition. This solves that problem - now I want to get one of those box thingies so I can watch streaming content on the TV. SO COOL! And easy. I know, I know. "Welcome to the 21st century, Jen!"

Anyway, I’ve been watching a lot of movies. More on that soon.

Below is a video that I’ve watched 4 times today, even though it’s 7 minutes long. It blows my mind! If you are alarmed by the notion that we are just tiny specks in the universe, skip it. I find the video strangely soothing and very beautiful. I’m sure it’s the kind of thing they will play in planetariums (AS THEY SHOULD), but I sort of love that it’s also the sort of thing they show on youtube.

And here’s Becky Stark in the WKE video Califunya on the subject of space travel and TIME. I watched this video and the American Museum of Natural History video for the first time on the same day (TODAY) and it made me Orange Coat happy that it happened that way.

Now I must pack for BEND OREGON. Happy weekend!


| On
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
library sticker

1. If you get jelly or coffee or whatever on an item that belongs to the library, it’s okay to wipe it off before you return it. Really.

2. Library fines are not a moral failing. Things happen! I have library fines right now, as do many of my co-workers. Don’t be embarrassed - I can only speak for myself, but I promise I’m not doing any inward finger wagging or tut-tutting. Quick facts for Portland: you can still check things out as long as your balance is under $20; you can pay online; you can put an email address on your account and get a reminder 3 days before things are due, which will hopefully help alleviate future fines. If you’re in a dire situation, talk to someone - we’ll do our best to help you!

I feel bad that so many people come to the counter ashamed and stressed out over something that 99% of the time is really not a big deal. I feel worse about the people who are so stressed out and ashamed that they avoid the library all together.

3. I currently have 77 things checked out. CRAZY! (Although totally within legal limits.) I need to get it back down to at or around 60 items for my own peace of mind. The problem comes from cookbooks and poetry books, both if which I just want to keep forever. I guess my point is that most people who work at the library also USE the library a lot, so we understand crazy obsessions and armloads of books. In addition to paying fines, we’re also subject to the same check out periods and the same hold procedures as everyone else. I feel your pain at being #423 on the waiting list. I feel it even more keenly when I am #424.

4. The library has a deep DVD collection - Criterion Collection to TV from the 80s to documentaries to musicals to Vietnamese soap operas. Program yourself a film festival! I think I’m about to embark on Ginger Rogers without Fred. It’s fun, and you can keep DVDs out for the same period as books - 3 weeks. If nobody else has a hold on your DVD, you can renew it up to 49 times. FORTY NINE! Don’t be stingy with renewals if it will help you avoid late fees.

still in the dark

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009
ponderous gnome

Today I realized that it's possible in blogger to schedule posts to appear in the future! (I am sometimes a very slow realizer.) I don’t know why I find this so intriguing, but I do.

However, this post is written in the As It Happens moment of right now (11:56 pm.) As it happens, I’m getting ready to go to bed (work early tomorrow) and I’m listening to the song Still in the Dark by Big Joe Turner, which I heard earlier today and made a note to listen again (and again). I got the song from the Blowing The Fuse: 26 R&B Classics That Rocked The Jukebox In 1950 compilation. (I have thoroughly enjoyed any of these collections that I’ve heard.) The iTunes store doesn't have this version - which is more 2AM than the ones they do have - but you can hear 30 seconds of it at Amazon. It's absolutely not a Christmas song, but something about it puts me there. Maybe because it’s almost Christmas now? Maybe because it sounds like something my parents would have listened to when I was a kid, even though I’m pretty sure they didn’t listen to this particular song? Vague family times nostalgia? Anyway. It’s a warm, sad song that suits a cold day - it works in the daytime and the nighttime, but I think its natural habitat is (as the title indicates) in the dark. If there’s light, it’s definitely not a fluorescent bulb. Maybe Christmas tree lights, although I don’t have a Christmas tree yet. SOON!

thirteen degrees

| On
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
christmas train

It’s only 13 degrees here in Portland! THIRTEEN!!! All the evergreen rhododendron leaves have curled in on themselves, like they’ve been mummified or preserved in a bog or something leathery like that - Local Garden Beset by Bog Mummy Rhodies! I guess it’s more of a flash freeze, but it looks similar and the other sounds more like a campy horror movie. Now I’m going to get paranoid that they’re creeping ever closer to the house with their reaching, twiggy hands. (Please don’t kill me, Bog Mummy Rhodies.) At least the knifepoint east wind isn’t blowing; it’s just sunny and still, clear and &^%$# COLD.

This boozy Christmas train photo doesn’t really have anything to do with my new (beginning and ending with this blog post) horror movie project, but maybe it should! Unsuspecting teenagers could ride the christmas train to a grove of frozen evergreen shrubs - they would THINK they were going to the haunted amusement park for teenaged shenanigans, but the evil, sentient train whistle (in league with the frost-bitten denizens of TERROR GROVE) has other plans. (It turns out that these other plans are all part of a rhododendron/train whistle communication problem - the Evil Shrubs, who are actually merely frozen, require the chlorophyl of the young to survive, the Train Whistle is a little foggy on biology and thinks teenaged humans would fit the bill.) Blah blah, screaming, scary shadows, don’t pick up that hatchet, nooooooo, it was all a dream… or was it? Wiggly camera! Wiggly camera! Blah blah, everyone’s fine apart from that one chopped off arm, but it doesn’t look so good for that train car full of hothouse poinsettias chugging around the bend. THE END.

Now I’ve got to finish my Christmas cards.

calendar acceptance

| On
Sunday, December 06, 2009
I CANNOT believe it is December already. But the calendar tells me DECEMBER, so December it must be. I had a minor advance warning system holiday freakout - the kind where something shorts out in my head (I picture a red wire and a green wire, a small flare of flame, then blackened copper, smoke, and melted plastic somewhere deep in the meat of my brain), usually triggered by ads for department stores, diamond stores, or excessive jingle bells. But since I had my advance warning freakout, I can hopefully avoid future freakouts. It’s a tricky thing, but doable if I keep my wits about me - avoidance largely involves the mute button on the remote control.

Anyway, in the spirit of soothing frazzled brains, here are some ocean pictures from some time in November.

It was around 2pm here. Afternoon, anyway. The clouds and overcast sky made it seem much later, but it was so pretty I wasn’t complaining.

Puddle picture in the parking lot of Whale Cove - I didn’t see any whales, but I've seen them here before. (in the ocean! not in the puddle.)

crested wave
This looks kind of Japanese to me -I think it’s because I actually managed to get a picture of the wave cresting rather than just before or just after (like usual). I love, love, love the weird yellowy green color of the ocean here. The light kept changing, like one of those rotating party lights, only in slow motion loaded with green, blue, grey, pink, silver, yellow, gold.

gulls like it
Mirror ball ocean! Each of those seagulls had a disco whistle. I challenge any doubters to disprove me.

sky at the beach
At the D River Wayside in Lincoln City proper. I hardly ever go here because it’s usually so crowded, but it really is a lovely stretch of beach. The D River is the shortest river in the world according to itself, although apparently the Guinness Book of Records doesn’t care about shortest rivers. It flows from Devil’s Lake to the Pacific ocean, but not for long!

ten of hearts

| On
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
ten of hearts

Hello, December!
This is just a quick photo post - the sun is shining and I can't help myself. CAN'T HELP MYSELF! That phrase sounds like maybe I need some professional help. Perhaps it's true, but right now it doesn't seem like a problem. Not necessarily an asset, but not necessarily a problem.

Last week (I think? the week before? November is a blur) I took a walk down to the library to do the usual picking up and dropping off and hi how are you-ing that goes on. Satisfying and civilized. As I was walking along I saw the ten of hearts in the grass. I don't know that laying eyes on it means anything, except seeing it made me think "alright!" which is always all right with me. (I suppose it's actually litter, but I left it there anyway in case someone else needed a ten of hearts in the arm.)

hello little yellow leaf
this was near the top of the STEEP HILL. I had to squat down to take the photo and I almost tipped over, which made me laugh.

yellow leaf takes a bow
I can't decide if I like it better close up or far away, so I'm including both.