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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.)