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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.