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happy new year!

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Friday, December 31, 2010
adventure now

I've got a good feeling.

this thing that I do that I hate

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010
When asked certain kinds of questions or performing certain kinds of tasks - particularly if I'm in unfamiliar territory - I often retreat to a safe answer or deed which I later detest (in my mind) for being so boring or stupid or cowardly. Part of it is because I don't want to do it wrong, which is another thing I do that I hate! (ideal me would rather do it wrong and learn something than do some half-assed, insipid version of "right.") I know that part of this conflict is just my nature - I'm mostly even tempered, I try to be fair, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or step on any toes - but I take it too far and worry about imaginary offenses, which is to my detriment. Basically, too much worry about stuff that shouldn't rate.

The most recent examples of this would be the gift I took for a white elephant exchange (so boring! but at least it's not in my house anymore, so let's count that one 50%), and tonight at trivia when we all gave subjects for next week's jeopardy style game. My topics were so broad and not even that interesting to me! What I should have said was Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Fictional Teen Detectives. I would tell you what I did write down and hand in, but my brain is currently trying to spare me the memory/mortification. I'm sure I'll remember in the middle of the night. This is the kind of thing I'd like to stop - what's done is done and is actually nothing to worry about. (my brain factory fabricates mountains from molehills all day and all night when it gets going - if you ever see puffs of smoke coming from my ears, that's probably why.)

Notice the common thread between the two examples? Both of them involve people I know and like, but who are in the more 'new friend' category. Maybe I'm trying to break it to them slowly that I'm actually bonkers? Friends of longstanding already know this. Hmmm. There's fear involved, but also diffidence, which is super lame. Some things I've put off or passed over so many times I'm not even sure what I want or think.

The bottom line is that I'd like to stop tormenting myself about it afterward -it happened, it was truly TRULY no big deal. I don't think about it twice (or notice at all!) when someone else does it. TRULY, TRULY.

Which reminds me, I may hate that thing that I do sometimes (above), but I love this song (below) - there was a period where I couldn't leave it off of a mixtape:


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Tuesday, December 28, 2010
the reckoning
It's raining now and will rain, I think, FOREVER. I keep hoping it will turn into snow (knowing that even at Portland's snowiest it will never reach the blizzard conditions of the east coast), but I think rain is what it will remain. Oh well. We're good at it.


Today at work I was filing holds, which involves taking books that have a slip of paper with the patron's name sticking out the top and filing them alphabetically by (patron's) last name in a long aisle. (you wouldn't believe the number of people who ask me if it's by the book's title or by the author's name - either of which would be so convoluted in a picking-up-holds situation I can't even imagine...) Anyway - this is a very busy branch and the hold aisle is usually hopping pretty much the whole time we're open. I was filing something on a bottom shelf and when I stood up, a smiling man came around the corner of the aisle. I smiled and returned to my work. He waited until I turned around (because I was filing more holds - they never end) and said "do you like poetry?" (which is not the usual question in the hold aisle - that would be "um, I think I'm supposed to have another dvd? but it's not here?") I said sure I did and he held up the book he'd gotten and said that he's really been looking forward to reading it - it's "similar to haiku, but not haiku." which makes sense since it's Chinese not Japanese. But anyway - I told him I'd keep an eye out for it, but then after he left I put another copy on hold for myself. Why not? Who am I to dispute the wisdom of the hold aisle?

*photo at top is of some library books I had out in the summer of 2007. you can see hold slips coming out of the tops of some!

where's the chance in that?

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Forecast: 100% chance of precipitation.

merry christmas!

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Saturday, December 25, 2010
green and red

Today has been LOVELY. I have a lot more to say about this that and everything, but I'm going to either keep reading my book (Jane Eyre, which I've somehow never read before), or continue watching The Empire Strikes back on TV (Leia is so awesome), or maybe go to bed since I stayed up too late last night. (for a no-stress holiday, these are good choices!) My hope is that you're having a wonderful weekend wherever you are.

full moon

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Monday, December 20, 2010
I can't see the full moon or the eclipse because it's wall to wall (horizon to horizon?) cloud cover here, but I bet it is BEAUTIFUL. I was able to catch part of it on the Spacevidcast channel on ustream ( a website last viewed by me to watch shiba inu puppies), but it's not quite the same as seeing it in my own sky.

Back here on earth, I've spent the day doing various this and that; pre-Christmas sewing projects and willing away (also drugging away) my wannabe cold. I'm working tomorrow at a branch I like quite a bit, but haven't worked at in MONTHS, so I get nervous which is stupid but pretty much a fact of my life at this point. So I'm doing things tonight like making sure I have enough cough drops and kleenex with me. It will be fine, I just wish I wasn't feeling so foggy. Maybe it will take the edge off of my crazy, though. (glass half full.)

BUT, tomorrow (Tuesday) is the solstice and the shortest day of the year! WOOOOOOOOO! I swear, I know Wednesday will only bring only seconds more daylight, daylight I won't even see if it stays cloudy like it often does in winter - but just knowing that it won't be dark by 4pm in the near future is a big psychological boon. BIG PSYCHO(logical) BOON! Which sounds like the name of a circus enforcer (I don't know - bouncer? patroller of the midway? styrofoam weights? little one-shoulder dress made of faux leopard skin? now I'm veering into strong man territory, but it's a FINE LINE.) Anyway - hooray for 1) the moon 2) eclipses 3) the return of the sun in my hemisphere 4) my new imaginary professional wrestling circus enforcer hero, Big Psycho Boon.

blame the barometer

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Thursday, December 16, 2010
I've had a low-level headache all day, which totally bums me out. But I think it's passing! I usually get these kinds of headaches when the weather shifts from one way to another way in a dramatic No Longer Raining fashion. My desire is to wake up in the morning and not feel like someone is dragging a chain around inside my brain. If I'm allowed to get super specific, I'll add that it would be nice to do this without specialized pharmaceuticals. (puts imaginary coins in imaginary 12th century Italian desktop wishing machine.)

Honestly, it feels so much better already. (it being my head.) The problem with a low-grade headache is that it can go on for hours before I realize MY HEAD HURTS and by then it's really too late to take a pill to abort the headache that is already happening. (for some reason I just had a flash of my headache being a rebellious teenager who just wants to party, and my consciousness being this really uncool drag of a neighbor who keeps calling the cops.)

ooh - other news! Last night our trivia team came in first by lots of points! (lots = 5) Of course our archrivals were not there, so it's not as sweet as it could be, but it was still very fun. Hilarious moment of hubris: quiz dude comes around to our table and is all "thank god you're here tonight - someone will get these questions!" (paraphrase, obvs.) We were smiley and pleased because AREN'T WE SMART, but then later it turned out that he said that because WE WERE SO OLD. (but in this instance age led to wisdom led to singing WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS all the way home.)

And now, because I'm going to bed to read my headache into oblivion, here are a couple of youtube videos that caught my eye today - they're both about being creative but in totally different ways. They're also both promoting longer films, but I like what I saw in each of them and would like to see more.

the first is about bad writing, via Margaret Atwood:

and the second is about inspiration, collaborating, having fun with it, via I am Fuel, You are Friends:


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Tuesday, December 14, 2010
happy face
I found my keys! (boring saga of the key search deleted!)

Oooh - have you seen Better Off Ted? It's streaming on Netflix so I've been catching up - there were only two short seasons but it is SO FUNNY. (after reading Wikipedia entry:) Holy cow! It was just cancelled this year! I don't even remember hearing about it, or if I did it was just barely. It's a workplace comedy set in the R&D devision of Veridian Dynamics, a huge Halliburton/Monsanto-esque corporation. I've almost finished watching the second season - more to say when I'm done. It's smart and funny and has surprised me on more than one occasion. (all good things in my book.)

golden sphere

(both of these photos were from Wordstock weekend - the happy face was on a no parking sign by the train, the pendulum is inside the Convention Center, which is also where Crafty Wonderland was this past weekend.)

unknown location: the story of my keys

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Monday, December 13, 2010
key in the tree
I know they've got to be around here somewhere, which is why I'm not freaking out. I'm almost afraid to look, because if I do and still can't find them I will definitely freak out. Anyway! I will worry with that tomorrow.

This weekend was busy but in good ways. The work Christmas party that I was getting so wound up about turned out to be FINE. Better than fine, even. Now I've done it once I won't have to worry about it again because I know how it goes sometimes, and that's all I ask to not be a neurotic mess. (That's all! It seems so reasonable to me...)

This weekend also featured the fantastic Crafty Wonderland . I had a wonderful time even though I forgot my wallet and had to go home and get it. If you missed out on the two day weekend event or have more shopping yet to do, they're also running a pop-up shop downtown across from Central Library through the end of December.

I'm going to find my keys tomorrow, right?

Here's a bizarro video for one of my favorite Christmas songs - it's in the fine tradition of the Christmas story-song. (although who can ever find cranberries on Christmas Eve? That's the stealth Christmas miracle of the piece.) I love the way she sings this - it sounds so teenager to me. The bizarro part is of course the synchronized holiday lights, although why not? I kind of love this too! It's just so ... I don't know. It's the best video for the song on Youtube. (I had high hopes for the Spice Girls cover, but no.) I'm always amazed at the variety humans take in their entertainment. Some people synchronize new wave classics with their holiday displays, some people knit.

a day off all week

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Thursday, December 09, 2010
Today was only Thursday! I keep getting a day ahead of myself and freaking out because that's what I do, I guess.

Some things about today:
0) it was THURSDAY and not Friday. As you undoubtedly knew from the time you opened your eyes in the morning. Not all of us are so clever.
1) it rained really hard all day long
2) the christmas tree is UP, but still has no lights or anything on it.
3) I've been experimenting with extreme list making to see if I can give myself a little jumpstart. Something's not quite right in jenland (jenosphere? planet jen? village of the jen?) and I can't figure out what it is. It might be too much candy. Will a list help? I don't know. It's satisfying in the short term, anyway.
4) I finished rereading the final volume (6) of the Scott Pilgrim books this morning. So much better for me this time around! I loved them the first time, but was confused over several of the secondary characters (Lisa Miller!), but I am confused no longer!
5) Now I'm trying to decide what to read next. I've kind of got a read a classic holiday plan lined up (more on this soon), but it may be too early to start. What to read in the interim is the question. HMMM.
6) my list says I should go to bed because sleep is so important. I say I should go to bed because I'm so tired. INEXPLICABLY. Maybe it's rain induced tiredness.
7) oh, but first - this picture: some fabric and a ribbon that was on my desk a couple of months ago. I'm powering my way through another hideous flickr backlog.

lunar seas

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Monday, December 06, 2010
According to this list from the Trivia Lovers' Lists of Nearly Everything in the Universe by Barbara Ann Kipfer, Ph.D.: "A lunar sea is any flat, dark plain of lower elevation on the moon."

I love these names - so evocative! I can tell you that many a time I've aimed for the Sea of Serenity only to find myself mired in the Marsh of Epidemics.

Here's the list:

•Bay of Dew
•Bay of Heats
•Bay of Rainbows
•Borer Sea
•Central Bay
•Eastern Sea
•Foaming Sea
•Humboldt's Sea
•Lake of Death (!)
•Lake of Dreams (!!)
•Marsh of Decay
•Marsh of Epidemics
•Marsh of Mists
•Marsh of Sleep
•Ocean of Storms
•Sea of Clouds
•Sea of Cold
•Sea of Crises (!)
•Sea of Fertility
•Sea of Humors
•Sea of Ingenuity
•Sea of Knowledge
•Sea of Moscow
•Sea of Nectar
•Sea of Rains
•Sea of Serenity
•Sea of Tranquility
•Sea of Vapors
•Sea of Waves
•Smyth's Sea
•Southern Sea

Speaking of the moon - it's my understanding (I read it somewhere once and have not verified) that along with the solstice on the 21st, there will be a full moon. And not only will the moon be full, but there will be a lunar eclipse! Perhaps my vague internet recollections will BE TRUE and all those things that sound crazy but aren't actually crazy will happen this month! Maybe I should write out the question, push it in a bottle and then throw it in the lunar Sea of Knowledge and await my reply. (or look it up for real, I guess.)

Russian Art Nouveau

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Friday, December 03, 2010
Russian Art Nouveau: the world of art and Diaghilev's painters by Vsevold Petrov

I saw this book come through on hold for someone at the library this summer and promptly put myself on the list to get it next. I'm a fan of the art nouveau style, but I was completely unfamiliar with the Russian iteration.

Some loosey goosey googling tells me this title is currently out of print, but if you come across it in a library or used book store, I recommend picking it up and having a look. People of Portland, our library has one reference copy and one circulating copy, the latter of which as of this very moment is available. If you put it on hold, keep in mind that it's a BIG BOOK if you're walking or riding your bike. It looks like used copies are available through Amazon, but they're expensive!

I took a bunch of photos before I had to take the book back. I should tell you now, this post is mostly pictures. Since the book is mostly pictures, I'm okay with this.

columbine poking out her tongue
I love this one! Columbine Poking Out Her Tongue was painted in 1915 by Konstantin Somov. The color is so fantastic and her attitude so flirtatious and fun. (The curls!) I can't remember if the streaks in the sky are from fireworks or a meteor shower, but either one is a nice touch. Since these are photographs of book pages, a lot is lost - I would love to see any of these in person.

Pierrot and Lady
Pierrot and Lady by Konstantin Somov, 1910. (I like Konstantin Somov.) The little details are so great - the way she's leaning into him and has her mask off already; some powder bewigged busybody in the background (her husband?) has noticed. No doubt there will be much gossip! This is part of a larger painting that also has a lovely night sky.

masked lady detail
Another one by Konstantin Somov! This is a small detail of a huge painted curtain for the Free Theater, made in 1913. I love the black mask and her blonde braid and how bored she looks despite the wild party going on all around her.

curtain design
Curtain design for the Free Theater 1913 by Konstantin Somov - here's a look at the curtain as a whole.

Just in time for Nutcracker season! This was painted in 1923 by Zinaida Serebraikova and is called Ballet Dressing Room: Snow flakes (the Nutcracker). I love the way she paints faces.

the card house detail
This is a detail from a 1919 painting called The Card House, also by Zinaida Serebraikova. I also love the way she paints children! This lot look like they could be my little cousins.

young girl detail
And last but not least, a detail from Tatia With Vegetables, by Zinaida Serebraikova 1923. There's so much expression in her gaze -she looks like a very smart but kind little girl.

hello, december

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Thursday, December 02, 2010
the blue wall

Two days in and December is awesome! Okay, more like approaching awesome but getting really close - I feel like I should give it the benefit of anticipation and pre-grade it to awesome. (the truth: I'm nervous about a work party, so I'm trying to override my anxiety circuits with AWESOMENESS, but am carefully wishing for the low key kind and not the kind where high fives are demanded at every juncture.)

I should have some book posts this week which makes me happy. Hold the phone! It's late Thursday/ Friday already - I keep thinking it's some other day - so let's say book posts sometime in the near future. There should be one tomorrow, anyway.

Snapshot of recent reading: just re-read Scott Pilgrim 1, with plans to read the whole series again. The first time I read it from the library, which meant that I waited months and months between books and didn't reread before the next. Now I have my own set and I expect it will be a much richer experience this time around. Also, Scott Pilgrim is funny in case you forgot or weren't really sure. I'm loaning vol. 1 to a friend who managed to get vol. 2 from the library but would have to wait behind 107 other people to get the first one.

After SP1, I started One Day by David Nichols - I'm not very far yet. The day in question is MY BIRTHDAY (July 15) over the course of 20+ years. I'm expecting funny bittersweet unrequited whatnots. (it's not just my lifelong birthday understanding of July 15 that leads me to this thought, but also cover blurbs. blurb blurb blurb - perhaps the dumbest/ greatest word of all time!) Now that I'm properly punchy, I guess I should go to sleep.

Goodnight and happy December!

(photo is of a blue wall somewhere in Washington, sometime in October, some years ago.)

it's raining, here are some links

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

this video makes me laugh and laugh and I'm not entirely sure why. I love how irritated they are with each other having this ridiculous argument in a restaurant, yet neither one of them will give way. I haven't watched this show yet (no BBCA for me), but this made me run off to netflix to save it for later. (via the awl)

SO SUPER FUN! I wish more bands made interactive coloring videos. Color one! Do it! You know you want to. The first couple of times I panicked because I wasn't done before the song came on and I thought I'd lost my masterpiece, but now I know that if you watch the charmingly spooky video - which features a sheet ghost (my favorite kind!) on piano - you will be able to resume your project. I like the tarot cards they're using - I wonder if it's the Pamela Coleman Smith aka Pixie Smith (iconic tarot artist) commemorative set. (via fluxtumblr)

mystery solving teens + dubious fogey principal's office + el chupacabra = me laughing and laughing. "We're muscle for hire, in a way." ha ha ha!

advice for tourists

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Sunday, November 28, 2010
souvenir design

I hope that you (whoever you are, wherever you are) have taken the time AT LEAST ONCE in your life to press a penny in one of these ridiculous machines. It's fun, especially if it's the kind where you get to crank it yourself.

Out of Order
look at that sad face! This is what happens when denied the therapeutic penny crank. (therapeutic penny crank sounds dirty and/or crazy, but what can I say? It is what it is.)

pressed penny (world famous)

this is what it would have looked like, had it not been sad faced out of business. (note the bear statue in front! I'll have you know that's a chainsaw carved bear.) I don't even collect these things, but my mom and aunt both do. They're locked in a hilarious (to me) pressed penny battle. They're in it for the long haul, with strategies and feints and whatnots. I admit to being an enabler, but I'm lucky to know someone who's into it or I would have to be. You know how it is.


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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! I know I'm a little tardy with the update here, but since I am so very grateful for so many things, I thought it wouldn't matter if I was a little late saying so.

But first, Thanksgiving dinner, which was AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS. You know what I love? I love that Thanksgiving is a holiday built around food and feasting and thanks rather than religion. I love that when I went to the grocery store the other day almost every basket in every line had a variation on the Thanksgiving theme. (I'm all for alternative menus, but there's something almost patriotic feeling about watching so many people from so many walks of life buying their sweet potatoes, you know?)

Should I mention here that one of the things I miss from my churchgoing youth is singing harvest hymns? They were old fashioned and made me think of I don't know what. Continuity, maybe. I liked singing a song that people have sung for hundreds of years about hastening and chastening.


In attendance: me, my mom and sister, weird cousin Bonnie (who is awesome) and Martina and Irmgard (also awesome).
This is what we ate:

Turkey (there was almost a turkey incident as I rattled around town on Tuesday from fancy grocery store to fancy grocery store looking to buy a fancy additive-free turkey that I didn't pre-order in March or whenever. IT ALL WORKED OUT, but there were some tense moments. I ended up at the Hollywood Whole Foods, which is very nice. They gave me a free turkey bag and politely laughed at my manic turkey jokes, variations of which I'm sure they'd heard all day.)

Stuffing - my mom makes really good stuffing, but she can never remember how she does it so there's always an element of surprise. There was stuffing in the bird, but also a pan of non-bird stuffing.

Mashed Potatoes: Martina brought these and they were SO GOOD. Very creamy, and I think included cream cheese and a pound of butter, more or less. This makes no health difference to me as I already had half of my blood replaced with butter earlier this fall. DELICIOUS.

Spaghetti squash: my sister made this from a pioneer woman recipe, and it was so good - baked in the oven whole, then spaghetti'd up, then mixed with shallots and maple syrup. Verdict: I would be eating it right now if it wasn't gone.

Cranberry Cherry Chutney: I made this ahead - it's really good, but I was a little short on cherries and I don't think it thickened up like it should have. Very tasty, but it didn't have as much structural integrity as it could have. Still - very good on sandwiches!

Sweet Potatoes: Bonnie brought these, and I'm so glad she did. Rather than try to make them sweeter with marshmallows or brown sugar, she fixed them savory-style. Of course the potatoes themselves are very sweet already, so it was a lovely sweet/ savory combination. There were also pecans in it. Very tasty!

Raspberry Jello Salad: My great grandmother used to make this all the time. To be honest, we probably wouldn't have made it if Bonnie hadn't said "I really want Grammie's jello salad." But it is good! There's a layer of sour cream in the middle and the raspberries started out frozen, but they were ones we picked last summer.

Rolls: these white bread rolls made from scratch by my sister are so buttery and delicious, even more so when they're hot with extra butter. (It's like butter anemia. I need a butter infusion or I will die.)

Gravy: homemade turkey gravy. Not too salty, not too boring.

PIES: homemade pumpkin pie from scratch (aka: sugar pumpkins roasted in the oven then converted to delicious PIE.) and apple hand pies, served with whipped cream. (all made by Bec.)

Mystery Salad: brought by Bonnie, I think this had both marshmallow fluff AND cool whip in it. And apples and cashews. Not at all what I was expecting when she said "I'll bring salad" but the textures worked remarkably well together, considering one of those textures was marshmallow fluff.

Didn't make it: I really wanted to make a small soup course to be served in a shot glass, but I ran out of time and honestly, we had so much food! It was going to be carrot ginger. sigh.

Something to consider for next time - maybe a green salad or something with a little bite to counteract all the starch. But I'm not complaining - it was a delicious meal made all the better by good company.

Which leads me to part two of this post - things I'm thankful for. The list would be too long if I tried to write it all out, but every single day I'm reminded of how lucky I am in my family, my friends, and life in general. Thank you to everyone who is a part of that!

the hansel gretel seven

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Monday, November 22, 2010
grand coulee dam
I should either be sleeping or writing right now, but I'm making a blog post instead!

Here's what's cooking around these parts:
1) I'm terrifically behind on a bunch of things, but for some reason it's not bothering me. I would investigate, but I'm afraid investigation would cause me to lose that loving feeling, then it would be gone, gone, .......... gone and so on. (Woah-oh oh) So I'm noticing it and moving on!

2) the cable guy had to come out yesterday because many channels were unwatchable and I called to (politely) complain. He came up the driveway while I was putting some stuff in the recycling bin and noted that "you've got some kind of Hansel and Gretel thing going on here." (I think because the house is set back off the road with a lot of garden in front, although maybe he meant I look like I would bake children in an oven. I hope it wasn't that second thing!) Anyway - SQUIRRELS! They apparently love the taste of cable and like to sharpen their little teeth on it. Cable guy replaced it and also bestowed 3 months of free HBO! Score.

3) The Buffy Watching Club (for lack of a better name) is now firmly in season 6, which I haven't really watched since it aired the first time. Man, that is a dark season! But it's good. Today we watched After Life, Flooded, and Life Serial. It'll be interesting to see how these episodes seem after all this time. But as always the best part was seeing all my Buffy peeps, because they are wonderful even if some of them have irrational prejudices against certain episodes in season 1. (:::coughcoughPuppetShowcoughcough:::)

4) OMG! It might snow tonight/ tomorrow/ some time in the next 30 days. This means that all local weathermen have already removed their jackets so that they might roll up their shirt sleeves and get to work readying the WEATHER CENTER or STORM WATCH or SNOW TURKEY SPACE HEATER ALARM CENTER. (okay, on that last one I'm just mashing up a few stories all together as a time saver.)

5) Next blog post I'm going to write in paragraphs or a paragraph rather than lists or bullet points. It is my SNOW DAY GOAL.

6) the picture above is from one of the James Bondian hallways in the Grand Coulee Dam, which by the way is the largest concrete structure in the United States.

7) now I'm super tired.

singing, dancing, raining

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Thursday, November 18, 2010
It is raining and dark. I started this post a couple of times with some dramatic interpretations of these facts (there was a toupee… a toupee made of heaven's TEARS), but when it comes right down to brass tacks or crying toupees - it's raining and dark, neither of which is a shock for Portland in mid-November.

What is shocking: I managed to finish some things - the forever incomplete quilt is now COMPLETE. Huzzah! One day I may even take a picture of it. The epoch-spanning bookcase project is not yet complete, but it is at that chaotic almost-done phase. That's what phase it is, right? not the chaotic never-done phase? RIGHT??? (oh, never mind. It's right!)

Work was so nice today in a gentle way - it was a short shift, I was happy to see everyone working and they were all happy to see me. There was only one sort of weirdly shirty patron, but even he didn't leave without checking something out. My favorite was a boy of about 10 who came in because he was conducting his after school business (by himself, as far as I could tell). He got a replacement card, chatted about the weather ("it's so cold and wet, I had to come in." ) and checked out some Calvin and Hobbes. Such a charming, self-possessed little dude!

Bonus: while I was writing this they called to see if I will come in tomorrow. (answer: why thank you, yes.)

And now for the singing and dancing portion of this blog post, here's a Camera Obscura video that I also find to be very charming. I love the contrast of the retro cavorting dancers with Tracyanne Campbell's eye-avoiding delivery; the visuals remind me of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg crossed with what I imagine a commercial for Japanese Ikea would look like. I love that it's a bright happy video for a happy sounding melancholy song. Did I mention that there's dancing? Because there totally is.

things I found

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Today was Veteran's Day. I really like this piece from American Women Veterans called The Nights in Kabul are Beautiful. It's thoughtful, thought provoking and all around good writing. I would encourage you to read it if you haven't already.


This week has been so weird! But boring to describe, so I'll leave it at weird.

Things I Found:

in a box: Some lovely letterpress cards with Emily Dickinson quotes on them. I got them at wordstock a couple of years ago from Letterary Press and they must have fallen into The Void. (Emily D. would want me to capitalize it that way.)

at trivia: the most painful questions to miss are the ones where you know/remember just enough about the subject to realize that the answer springing fully formed into your brain is WRONG. My downfall last night: rapper feuds, less popular ancient Roman emperors. 50 cent v. Valerian. Now there's a feud I'd remember!

in another box: Buffy Clue game pieces - This is OLDEN DAYS awesome - I found this on someone's live journal back in the season 4-5 days. Since I love a) Buffy and b) Clue, I was ALL OVER IT. It's really well done in that instantly recognizable late 90s fannish photoshop style. The designer made a game board with Spike's Crypt, Xander's Basement, The Factory, The Bronze, The Magic Box, The Library, Willy's Bar, Giles' Apartment, and Buffy's House. Instead of "who killed Mr. Body?" the question is "Who killed The Master?" There are game pieces (I seem to be missing Buffy, but I'm sure she'll turn up) and clue cards and I remember having a jolly good time printing it out and putting it together. (note: this photo looks like it's from season one or two rather than four and is not part of Buffy Clue, but I love it so much I'm using it anyway.)
in a stack of papers: Cardboard Saturn and Cardboard Earth. These are part of a larger solar system mobile -I hope I find the rest of it, because these are great. (and really pretty. If Saturn was a little smaller, I'd make a necklace out of it.) I think these two got separated from the rest of their solar system cohort when I photocopied them to use in my epic (never completed) Bubblegum battle of the bands in outer space collage. (The Archies vs. I can't remember who.) EPIC.

butter, garden town after dark, and a video

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

•This song/ video makes me happy.

•I scored 19/20 on the BBC spot the fake smile test - I know it probably has nothing to do with nothing, but it felt like a validation of my general ability to detect bullshit! (for hints on getting a high score, look at the bottom of this post**)

•it's blood and butter in my veins now: I have discovered the brown butter SECRET for mushroom ravioli. By which I mean I googled "what sauce goes with mushroom ravioli" and was told to make a brown butter sauce with walnuts and sage. I used hazelnuts (Oregon's state nut, aka The Filbert!) and thyme since it was $%^&* dark already when I went out into the garden to pick herbs. (The sage is in an area with a high incidence of slugs, which is a sketchy part of garden town to be avoided after dark even with a flashlight.) ANYWAY: secret recipe is a stick plus of butter (I know! so delicious), which you cook without burning until it turns brown (mine got foamy, but it was fine), add the nuts and herbs, put it on the ravioli and that is the end. It is a happy end.

•As part of Operation Art Supply, I'm sorting and moving things around in the hopes that my life will be less stupid. (I will report back upon conclusion.) I found a big box of nice markers I even forgot I had (the box was in another box, you see) - I had to test them all, which I did on an envelope and now the envelope is so pretty with random bright graffiti, I don't want to throw it away. Signed, Makes Her Own Problems.

** hints for the smile test: check the eyes, natch - but also a genuine smile is more likely to make you want to smile in response. I think it's one of those hard-wired animal instinct things.


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Sunday, November 07, 2010
I didn't take a 4 hour job at my favorite branch today - the deal I made with myself was that if I didn't take it, I would instead have to make serious progress on ongoing projects. Serious for real progress.


Inventions! (I should note that these are still in the theoretical stage because I just thought of it today and COME ON - like Ernest and Julio Gallo, I can make no wine before its time.)

Invention 1: pneumatic bottle/can return. A mundane household task that fills me with loathing and despair is returning cans and bottles for deposit. I hate it so. As I was brushing my teeth this morning (and discovered a diet coke can on the shelf) I thought how nice it would be if there was a hole in the wall somewhere that led to a discreet series of pneumatic tubes that led to a can payment center. I would put the can in, it would be whisked away by SCIENCE and then a nickel would appear as if by magic (but actually by science) in a coin receptacle nearby. I would even accept receiving a quarter for every five cans returned, or maybe they could just automatically be applied to my bank account. WHY HAS NO ONE DONE THIS?! What better way to grow the economy than with pneumatic tube infrastructure? I'm writing my congressman.

Invention 2: this is not really an invention because they already exist in the world, but: Pneumatic desk so I can stand up while I do my computer work! (I am enchanted by pneumatics today! It's like being blinded by science, but for people who don't necessarily have a sense for how these things actually work.) We have ergonomic adjustable desks at work, but they are ugly (and at work, and we've already established that I'm not there today). Then I thought, maybe I should just put my desk on some kind of PULLEY SYSTEM with ropes and a special desk heaving chanty. It would be like raising a sail on a boat, apart from how it's nothing like that at all! Anyway - this one I managed to solve. I'm currently typing this while standing in front of my dresser! If I put my laptop on a dictionary, it's at a lovely ergonomic height. Writing while standing (or at least while not sitting all the time) is my experiment for the day. Take that, Butt In Chair people. I'm going Feet On Floor.

well, that was exciting

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Thursday, November 04, 2010
Hooray! Things finally shook out the way I hoped they would here in the great state of Oregon. It was really freaking me out that Kitzhaber might not win. I was trying to prep myself in case he didn't (using GWB terms 1 & 2 mental ninja tricks) but in the middle of that I realized how lucky I am in so many ways - is there anything easier than being a liberal in Portland?

In non-election, non-surprising news, I've started too many projects at once. I've got some stuff I need to mail out, there are two more sides of binding to go on that quilt, I started putting together my massive bookcase project and things are EVERYWHERE. It looks like a paper/fabric bomb exploded which isn't as decorative as you might think. My desk was cleared off for 4 brief shining moments but no longer. I will dig out!

I did get some flickr pictures uploaded, so do please enjoy some of the Waldo Lake in August experience!

red canoe adventures
Canoe! I hadn't been in a canoe since I left florida ages ago - it was nice. The lake is really huge, but we were just in one little "I can see shore" section of it.

my paddle
The water is so clear and so pure we could see to the bottom even though it is REALLY DEEP. hang on.. let me find the text of the sign (which is on a photo that has yet to be uploaded). Okay! here it is. This one is for the geology nerds:

Welcome to Waldo Lake. Waldo Lake, Oregon's second largest lake, covering more than ten square miles, occupies a basin scoured by alpine glaciers. It is one of the clearest and purest lakes in the world. You can see to depths of 100 feet on a calm day. The clarity gives Waldo Lake its indigo appearance as all the sun rays are absorbed except blue.

Snowmelt and subsurface flows are the main sources of water into the lake. There is little soil erosion entering this lake resulting in few nutrients available for algae growth.

Waldo Lake is a fragile and rare resource. Enjoy its beauty and help keep it pure.

waldo lake
I can't get enough of the green of the grass with the blue of the lake and sky. So beautiful! I'd like to go camping there for real someday. (there is a story that goes here about motels, the perseids, and lady motel keepers with binoculars that one would assume were for looking at meteor showers but were apparently for spying on guests as they take luggage from the car to the room in the dark. She's probably a Jessica Fletcher style amateur detective, but it was still creepy.)

sun goes down
and then the sun went down. I had that heavy square format camera with me and took some pictures through the viewfinder. I know they're not straight or perfect, but I think they have an imperfect charm.

waldo lake sunset
I should note that I was balancing the camera on a rock that had a kind of flat spot on the top. I was also being assisted by a 7 year old, but he was very helpful.

waldo sunset
I love this picture! It looks all serene sunset silhouette, but there was actually a lot of whooping and laughing echoing across the lake - a group of teenage boys piled onto a rubber raft and were paddling (with their hands) to the middle. There was much falling off and falling out and general warm weather/cold water/ summer evening hilarity.


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Tuesday, November 02, 2010
I can't believe I have to go to bed not knowing who won the Oregon Governor's race! Multnomah county (Portland), Clackamas County (Portland metro-area) and Marion County (Salem) are still not fully counted and they're likely to go for Kitzhaber, but MAN I don't like not knowing. It shouldn't be this close! Dudley has ZERO government experience - his resume is: rich white former athlete. I'm also stressing out about Washington's Senate race, although I feel like Patty Murray is going to take it. I hope.

I can't even talk about the rest of it yet, except to say that Boehner looked a little pale beneath his tough orange hide tonight. Now their fractured party is going to have to do some actual work instead of just consensing on "No."

Bah. I'm going to bed.

election day

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010
I voted! Which for me in Oregon means I took my ballot to the library and dropped it off, because I'll be damned if I'm going to put a stamp on it. (okay, I would put a stamp on it if I was out in the library-free wilderness somewhere. But only then!)

This video made me laugh this morning:

and the words "election day" always ALWAYS make me think of the song below for at least 20 seconds:

I can't help it. Now I'm going to put together a bookcase and watch some election returns.

happy halloween!

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Sunday, October 31, 2010
Happy Halloween!

So, I'm waiting for trick or treaters. I want to write TREATORS because that looks better to me, although maybe a little too close to traitor. Which is right? Spell check thinks treaters, but spell check is always harshing my mellow. (it doesn't like harshing either.)

Speaking of hippies and harshed mellows, today at work I had to spend 5 minutes de-stinking a Carlos Castaneda book (the one with the hand on it). Someone - a hippie, I presume - got hippie oil (sandalwood or similar) all over it, which you may or may not be surprised to know is not uncommon with New Age or witchy books. I got it off and managed to avoid my usual hippie oil headache - a Halloween miracle!

My street is not good for trick or treating. It's on a long block, there's a bar on the corner, and there aren't that many kids who live on it - although there are more now than just a few years ago. But there've been a few little goblins so far. Hard to beat the first ones (probably about 4-5 y.o.): a ghost in an old-school tablecloth and sharpie eyes costume along with an adorable lion. There was also a baby dressed as something but I couldn't tell what. I gave them a LOT of candy (so much so that one of the two dads with them said "woah -that's enough" what a buzz kill - I bet your kid was okay with it!)

UPDATE: There have been many more! Including a spiderman who waltzed into the house wanting to know if I had a dog, and barring that did I have any cats? ("he likes animals," said his mom as she redirected him out of the doorway and down the driveway.) Now I'm putting my favorite candy at the bottom of the bowl so I give out the other stuff first. Ha ha! Take that, small children! I'm turning off the light when Sherlock comes on, though. (I love the new Sherlock! Mostly for Watson, but even so...)

Just had a toddler tigger, a sparkle witch, and another little bear or lion. I'm digging all the homemade outfits.

In Other News...let's see. This month has been bananas! I know I say that every month, but it's true. Maybe I have a low bananas threshold, although I think all Americans during this election cycle are having a bananas month. (Banana! now that would be a costume.) I can't wait till the end of these ridiculous political advertisements. Maybe I should just enjoy the spectacle and stop getting so wound up about the complete lack of logic or sense-making. It's not like I'm demanding irrefutable vulcan logic or anything, just garden variety common sense and basic human kindness. Too much to ask? Apparently!

halloween card 07
Let's get back to Halloween, shall we? This card was my Halloween card a few years ago. I was too bananas/lazy to make any this year, even though they are 10000x more fun to make than Christmas cards. (The central image is a rubber stamp from Zettiology.)

Last night my sister and I watched spooky movies over at Martina's house. We went with more of an old fashioned spooky rather than new fangled horror - unless it's also a comedy, the latter is so scary to me I can't sleep for one million years. One million years! It was my sister (Rebecca)'s birthday last week, so we watched Rebecca by Hitchcock. So good! Mrs. Danvers would be a great halloween costume, I tell you what. But I almost think it would have to be a tandem costume, with young blonde Mrs. de Winter II cringing away from dark haired personal bubble buster Danvers. They make more sense as a set. ANYWAY. It was really good! I hadn't seen it in years and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I forgot how funny some of the first part is.


Then we watched The Others with Nicole Kidman. I think this was the last movie she made before her forehead froze! I enjoyed this one too, although it's not as good as Rebecca. The Others is full of classy creepiness and building suspense. Of course I spent the whole time convinced that the little girl in the movie was Evan Rachel Wood, but dun dun DUN... she was not. Anyway - it's got old fashioned gothic spookiness to spare. It does get a little slow and hokey in parts, but you can use that downtime to admire the costumes.

For the enjoyment of all, Kate Beaton's Halloween Dracula comic. Turnips! ha ha ha. I can't believe I've never read Dracula.

okay, now it's after 8 and I haven't had any candy seekers in about an hour. So endeth the candy dispensing portion of the evening. The candy eating may now commence!

summer trees of the recent past

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Thursday, October 21, 2010
looking up
Finally getting some of my pictures uploaded from August. (what is the matter with me??) Anyway - Waldo Lake in August is a beautiful sight! I'm still sorting through and will have a more thorough Waldo photo post soon, but here are a few in the meantime.

looking up
These trees were right near the campsite - like tents, step, step, step over that log, THESE TREES. (I wasn't camping, but visiting campers.) It was lovely. I'd never been to this part of the Willamette National Forest before.

Kayak picture for Maggie.

shooting the breeze

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I always like the expression "shooting the breeze" even though I'm not sure where it comes from. It sounds friendly and dangerous all at once. Or like something a person with a deep abiding grudge against the wind would do. (I can picture it in my mind - shotgun off the wall, stomping through the grass and shooting the goddamned breeze until the ammo runs out or a sane member of the family runs out and says "Sweetheart, we've talked about this.") Anyway, here's what's going on Chez Jen @12:49 AM: (I should go to bed, but I totally slept through the entire middle part of Castle (should I be embarrassed?) and now I'm feeling AWAKE.)

1) My nails (both feet and hands) are now painted GUNMETAL. Which is awesome. It's a little less severe than black and it makes me feel like I'm turning into a robot starting with my fingertips and toes. This charms me more than it worries me, which you may take as you will.

2) I got a lamp! It's bigger than my old lamp so I'm still getting used to it, but it looks nice and casts a good light that comes from lightbulbs so eco-friendly they actually foster kittens and plant trees when not in use.

3) Today I am obsessed with American Chestnuts. I love this story.

4) I must be preparing for a winter indoors, because I'm cleaning and culling my junk and making way for a new bookcase, possibly TWO (one is very small). I have many plans.

5) Not unrelatedly, I bought a few things (giant bag full) at the Friends of the Library sale on half-off Monday last week. It was either 13 or 16 dollars for a bag FULL OF AWESOME. Last year my prize find was a 1970s reprint of Audubon's Birds of America, this year it was a library bound collection of Arizona Highways Magazine from the year 1960. Five bucks! My folks had old copies of this magazine when I was a kid and I remember being AMAZED, etc. I'm happy to report that it still looks amazing to me all these years later.

6) I had a meeting with my boss today. I'm proud of myself because I asked for the meeting, I went to a strange-to-me location that involved key pad doors and having to be fetched from reception, and I asked the questions that were on my mind. (These things are not always easy for me.) But it was a good meeting! I got valuable information and he reinforced a few conclusions that I'd come to on my own. What resonated with me the most, which I think is applicable to any period of growth, is that you have to humble yourself to the process. It takes what it takes and what it takes will change over time, because everything changes over time. (I should note that this is my interpretation, not verbatim quotes. I agree that if he said this exactly it would be a little weird.) The fact that this is government really does make it different than a private sector job - there are larger issues at work. Yes, it can be frustrating (has been frustrating), but now I have some tools and direction and we'll see what happens.


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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Guess what? It got WAY LESS WEIRD at work. Going out to trivia night with a bunch of coworkers probably helped. (Thank me now! I deleted a lot of Very Special Episode navel gazing about letting people help you, etc.) (I enjoy reading VSE navel gazing when it gracefully gets to the point, but this had miles to go before the point and I've got things to do this afternoon. Sometimes it takes longer to write shorter. You know what I mean.)

ANYWAY. The past is past and the future is now!

Speaking of the future, this afternoon I'm going to buy a new desk lamp since the lightbulb for my four dollar plastic lamp has burned out and new lightbulbs are more$$ than the lamp cost in the first place. It has served me well these past 5 years, but I think I'm ready for a new one. Ikea, here I come.

last week

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This is the last week of my temporary position at work. It's weird already! I can feel myself making a little distance and space (like a moat) around me to mitigate how bummed out and disappointed I'll be when it's over. The moat won't work and will just be weirder, so I should probably just give in to the existing weird and let it roll out however it's going to roll out. LA LA LA.

Further should probablys:

1) go to bed
2) stop equating my lack of permanent job with lack of personal qualities. (I WISH)
3) be done with day one wordstock writeup in the next couple of days

But really, I know it will be fine and it will work out and blah blah blah - I just wanted to note the particular flavor of strange this week has taken on.

ten ten TEN books books books

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

just a quick list of today's wordstock adventures - I figure if I list it here, I'll be more likely to actually come back and fill it in, unlike the last couple of years -

PANEL: The Future of Reading (featuring Michael Schaub, Matthew Stadler, and Mona Simpson. Moderated by David Biespiel.)

loosey goosey meandering, which included seeing part of Timothy Egan, part of Carson Ellis

lunch, with the intention of seeing at least half of Jess Walter, but he finished early so...

PANEL: Cracking Up is Hard to Do (featuring Jess Walter, Steve Almond, and non-program addition Paul Provenza. Moderated by Courtenay Hameister.)

Myla Goldberg, mostly

This hour was spent fleeing from one stage to another until we ended up (happily) at the children's stage with Joelle Anthony and Cecil Castellucci.

Julia Quinn

Details to follow! (for real - I have many opinions.)

book weekend

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Saturday, October 09, 2010

Wordstock is this weekend! Here's who I saw today -

Short story panel: Aimee Bender, Anthony Doerr, David Vann - moderated by Meg Story

Lan Samantha Chang and Aimee Bender (they each read from their most recent books, then took questions.)

LUNCH BREAK: Burgerville's new Bleu Cheese burger, which unlike every other bleu cheese burger on the planet does not feature bacon! Tasty.

Steve Almond and Kristin Hersh (each read, then questions. Almond is so good and so funny and so skilled at being in the room he's in.)

David Rakoff (!!)

details to follow.

unrelated, except that I stayed up way too late watching it and then had a hard time getting out of bed, which meant I missed half of the short story panel - I love this video of the Gorillaz mini-concert at the Ed Sullivan Theater. I watched it at my desk in the dark and had such a good time! I'm glad they found a way to tour and not be constrained by their cartoon personas. (I first saw this via either fluxtumblr or vulture.) (My 90s Blur crush on Damon Albarn lives on. There's a man who takes pleasure in his work.)

weird day

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Today was such a strange day! Not Twin Peaks peculiar strange like "I saw a one armed man putting shingles on a roof" or " a bicycle with a giant plastic swan on the front almost ran into me" (those were last week), but more like every hour at work (on the desk that isn't a desk anymore) seemed to take 2 hours - I think I caught the second hand ticking backwards. I sense hemisphere hijinx. Must go flush toilet and note whether the water goes clockwise or counter clockwise. BRB.

In less ridiculous news, two things: 1) I am reading Aimee Bender's wee little book/story The Third Elevator right now and I love it so much. In typical fashion, I've had it checked out for months and am only reading it now because it's due tomorrow with no hope of renewal. Also typically, I am kicking myself because if I'd read it sooner, I could have read it again! It's about a swan and a cloud and a bluebird and a miner and a logger and these three elevators and a forest plus a mine and a castle with a king and a queen. Oh, also a moat! and a lobby! Anyway. I should just buy it, but I'm not even sure that's possible since it was a special little book for an art exhibit. I shall consult the goodreads "buy now" oracle. DAMN! Not available at the usual amazon-powell's suspects, but I will persevere!

(...exciting news bulletin: it is available for the low, low price of $6 directly from the publisher, Madras Press. The proceeds go to charity, which is a swell deal all around.)

second thing: Aimee Bender will be at wordstock, which is this weekend! As is the Friends of the Library book sale. I think the festival and the sale keep roughly the same hours, which is unfortunate, but I will make it work. Jonathan Lethem will also be there, but I haven't read his last book yet. Also, many more authors! Hot time in nerd city!

sewing by musical

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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

WOOOOO! I just have three more sides of binding to sew on to my Meant To Finish a Year Ago quilt and it will be DONE! I sew the binding half by machine and then finish by hand, so it's going to take me a little longer (mainly because I put the sewing machine away), but the end is definitely in sight.

I spent a good part of Sunday finishing the piecing of the quilt top and watching musicals, namely Hello Dolly and Annie. I'd never seen Annie before! (this was the John Huston version with Albert Finney as Daddy Warbucks and Carol Burnett as the awful drunken orphanage lady.) Sandy the dog is by far my favorite character, and also the cutest. (Also least likely to call FDR on the phone and bitch about the New Deal.)

Hello Dolly is completely ridiculous (as are many musicals when you get right down to it), but there's something comforting in its over the top unreality. I like Irene Malloy's millinery shop with its feathers and ribbons and the Harmonia Gardens with its gaudy fountains and red velvet, even though they both look prop-department fake - like you'd find on them on Main Street in Disney World (or Land). Likewise the open sided Yonkers trolley. Is it what they took to the city? I don't know. Would the white and teal striped seats be clean for more than one ride? No! does everyone look charming hopping on and off while they sing and dance? Yes!

My main takeaway from both films is don't find yourself in a musical if you're in a hurry. It takes AT LEAST two songs and 30 dancers for any service industry job to be performed! (unless you're animated like Cinderella and have the help of cartoon birds and mice, in which case it's one song and limited dancing (with some flying).)

Monday was pinning the top to the batting and backing, then tying the quilt - I watched the movie Timer, starring Emma Caulfield aka Anya from Buffy. (Halfrek also has a small supporting role!) This movie made me want to argue, which I may return to this space to do. I mostly liked it, even as it made me say "HEY! Wait just a minute, you don't make any sense." More on this later because I have to be asleep in 15 minutes or less or the rest of my week is going to be rough.

the ficus mushroom

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Thursday, September 30, 2010
This week! I don't know where to start so I think I won't - I'll just jump right into TODAY. Today was the day of the ficus mushroom. I don't know if it's because it's mushroom season or what, but today it was observed that there is a big, bright screaming yellow mushroom growing in the base of the ficus in the lobby of the library. It was impressive! It also made me laugh - we would go over and look at it in shifts. At any given moment during its (literal) 15 minutes of fame, there were two or three people looking down at it nodding their heads "that's a big mushroom." I didn't go get my camera - I hope it's still there tomorrow and that it doesn't explode all over with poisonous spores or whatever.

SPEAKING OF SCREAMING - slightly after the mushroom discovery there was a toddler throwing an epic tantrum: unconsolable wails of incoherent rage and sorrow. I felt bad for her - she was clearly having a tough time. Her mom got her out to the lobby (where the mushroom is!) and she screamed and screamed (the doors are not soundproof, alas), until finally she calmed down and they came back into the library. This turned out to be only the eye of the storm - Tiny Tantrum (who was in a very cute little dress) lasted about 20 paces before she melted down again. Her mom put their books down on the counter and they marched right out of the building. As ear splitting and disconcerting as it was (a regular patron who came in right after with his own baby daughter noted that we all looked shell shocked), I felt bad for both of them. Is it worse to be the tiny creature who cannot be reasoned with, or to be the adult trying to reason with the unreasonable?

And now, some videos!

This video of Janelle Monae on Dancing With the Stars makes me so happy - I got those little involuntary behind the eyes tears of joy. Because of the singing? The dancing? The enthusiasm? the tuxedos? the horns? the aviator cap? the lady in the audience who claps like my mom? THE CAPE? Perhaps all of the above.(via Fluxtumblr. )

This one is fun - they're having such a good time, which causes me to have a good time! (I would like to note that Jimmy Fallon STILL cannot keep a straight face! He was the worst cracker-upper on SNL and I see it continues. In sketch comedy it can be a problem, but here I like it - he's clearly enjoying himself and it seems like people are not always willing to admit that they're enjoying themselves, which is a shame.) (via Vulture.)

two videos

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

live version of When We Swam by Thao + Mirah. I like their style! (and albums.) via 17 dots.

John Legend and the Roots performing a cover of Arcade Fire's Wake Up. This is so good! via Vulture.
p.s. John Legend is a handsome man.

how it is at 3:44

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Monday, September 27, 2010
right this moment I'm sitting outside and it is lovely. LOVELY! A chickadee just took a swim in the bird bath (which has water in it thanks to the downpours of yesterday). It's sunny, 80 degrees and a little bit humid. I'm allegedly out here to work on some book writeups I've been meaning to do, but for someone who is supposed to be doing that, I've read 3 Mad Men recaps. (I was so worried Sally wan't going to get those tickets! Disproportionately worried, considering everything else that was going on in that episode.)

(ooh! there was just now something that sounded like a gunshot, but I'm pretty sure it was a car backfiring. The busybody barber next door just came scurrying out of the duplex on the corner. Since I noticed this, does it mean I'm the busybody? Maybe.)

I've got today off and have been taking it easy. I'm getting over a cold and feel like I'm living underwater - I'm not moving too fast and things take a little extra time to reach me. Anyway - I've got another 3 weeks on my temporary position at work, and I'm thinking about what kinds of things I want to do when it's over.

(busbybody barber is now rounding the corner and picking up horse chestnuts on the sidewalk. I will not make eye contact because then it will take me 15 minutes to disengage from a conversation I'm not interested in, and then I'll have to go inside to keep him from telling me how the neighbor has her appendix in a jar or something. wah wah.)

I took a couple pictures with the photo booth thing on my laptop so you can see how nice it is! (I'm behind on flickr, so if I took them with my regular camera it would be november before I could illustrate how nice it was on this september afternoon.)
The first one is backwards and on glow setting, the second one is just normal but flipped so it's oriented the way I see it.

back to what I want to do:

• first I'd like to note that my sister told me the easy way to make bullet points (option 8 on a mac). Woo!

• make necklaces - I went back to the bead store for the first time in many years and found that they have a big selection of chain at reasonable prices, which I need for my Brilliant Necklace Ideas. I also bought a beautiful slab of sliced and polished red agate and a chunky sparkly stone bead. (this "also bought" part is why I stayed away from the bead store for so long.) But I decided it would be ridiculous to order chain on the internet when a wonderful bead store is so close by.

• get walking again - due to various minor injury, illnesses, and my old friend laziness, I fell out of the habit of my daily walk. I miss it! Fortunately, fall and winter (as long as it's not super-rainy) are some of my favorite times to walk, so I hope I can get back in the swing of it. I need to freshen my ipod for new resolution inspiration. Maybe podcasts? Audiobooks? New music? l've never had great luck with audiobooks, but many of my colleagues love them so I might give it another shot. I think a lot depends on right match between reader and material.

•sewing, as always - I've got to (GOT TO) finish the unfinished quilt I gave as a christmas present last year. It's nearly done, but not actually done. Once I'm out of the realm of obligation sewing, I'm not sure what I'll do. A quilt for fun, maybe? dresses?

PUNDIT BREAK: I went inside and watched Hardball. Eugene Robinson's (The Washington Post) and Seth Rogen's (writer, actor, star of many stoner comedies) voices sound almost exactly alike, which I always find distracting yet delightful. (they even laugh the same!) They should do a political reporter buddy comedy together. I should note that Rogen was not on Hardball.

• writing - oh, man! I almost left this off because I don't even know what to say. I've got a lot of things in a state of suspended animation. I don't like how slowly everything is going, but there's no one to blame but me.

I went to go take this yellow flower picture and passed no less than 4 giant hard bodied spiders in their giant webs. I walked into one web and the only reason I'm not jumping around and doing the 'IS IT ON ME?' hysterical dance is because I saw the spider crawl up into a tree. (BIG ENOUGH TO SEE CRAWLING UP A TREE!) One of the other spiders was busy wrapping up a bee to eat later. Nature, man.