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things I'd like to do in February

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Monday, January 31, 2011
How to Grow

1) figure out a kitchen compost system
2) start sweet peas and appropriate beans indoors (although it's warm enough I could probably plant directly outside.)
3) finish sunburst afghan - I figure I'm only about 1/2 way done, but if I really put my mind to it, I should be able to finish.
4) begin craft supply/ fabric reckoning. It will be a biblical banishment type reckoning. (a Go Forth to Goodwill and NEVER RETURN, kind of thing. I will point my finger and wear a robe and all that jazz.)
5) stay on top of things so there's always something to do, but not so much that I get completely overwhelmed. (ha ha ha! just reading this makes me sort of hysterical.)
6) Write up all books I read in 2010.
7) go to the movies at least twice.
8) Read.
9) figure out writing scheme like my walking scheme. It's within reach! I just have to figure it out.
10) make something I've never made before. This could be sewing or cooking or baking or whatever.

I'm sure I'll come up with a much better list for tomorrow, but this is today's list. Do you have any plans for february?

Sunday nurse

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Sunday, January 30, 2011
cherry ames

(photo is of Cherry Ames, of course.)

I'm having a hard time coming up with tonight's blog post. (But I can't believe this is the first time I've complained about it! I think this is some kind of blog-a-day record for me - woooo!)

General life update: WEIRD, MAN. But not bad. I think things are going to change one way or another at work sometime in the next few months. (either I will get some nature of permanent position and be weirded out by that, or I won't and I'll be super depressed PLUS weirded out.)

I've also been working on the writing project that I dropped like a hot potato when the holidays came around. I just deleted a bunch of mealymouthed evasions about what it is and how it's coming along - the truth is I'm incapable of giving a straight answer because I'm still making it up. Some days I think it's great, other days I'm so frustrated I could scream because nothing's coming out like I want.  THE USUAL.

As for this blog,  I haven't forgotten that I meant to do a bunch of last year book reviews.  I think those will spill into February, and that will be fine.

history videos

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Saturday, January 29, 2011
I love this youtube channel! From what I can gather, it's a pair of (high school?) history teachers in Hawaii who make these for their classes. Super fun! The videos are playful and goofy with wigs, costumes, dancing, and FACTS. I kept changing my mind about which ones to include here - I look forward to seeing what they will do next.

note: Most of their videos are done to hits from the 80s, but not all! (all of these are, though.)

WARNING: I had the original version of this song going through my head for 4 days after watching this.

Oh, Alexander. Ma-Ma-Ma-Macedonia!

This is so over the top ridiculous (as were the Borgias!) - I love it. These wigs are particularly hilarious AND there is a poison ring. I  also like the marquee B-O-R-G-I-A over the stage.

code name "clear skies"

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Friday, January 28, 2011
My fingernails are currently a color listed on the bottle as "clear skies", only they don't look ANYTHING like clear skies. If the skies were this color, it could only be the still light blue part of a tropical sunset, which usually means clouds. So, nail polish company -- kudos on the awesome color, but it's more of a "teal play-doh" than "clear skies."  (I look forward to my invitation to be chief color namer at your company! I think we can give OPI a run for their money.)

Update on walking:  so far (up to day 4) I haven't had to skip. Although today I did cut it short because I have blisters (argh), and I found myself in the early stages of a minor freak out. There are so many people at the park from when I used to walk all the time. I feel obliged to be friendly and wave or stop if they start talking to me (I always have to pull out my earbuds and ask them to repeat whatever it was they said, which is a drag), and I  realized that I don't want to do that. Or at least I didn't want to do it today. I just wanted to walk and think my thoughts and do my thing. No chit chat! I like it best when it's raining really hard and no one else is there. As I was walking home counting my blisters I thought about it more - this kind of thing might slightly annoy me under normal circumstances, but wouldn't cause me to freak out like I did. What's the deal, Jen?  Then I had a sad, pathetic lightbulb moment: I'm still working with my guilty feelings and embarrassment. I can't walk as fast or as far because I'm out of shape; I'm heavier than when I was a regular - seeing all those people from before makes me feel guilty, which is just ridiculous. It's not their fault! And frankly, who cares?  Most people are too wound up in their own stuff to think much about mine. Now that I've got that sorted (or at least identified), I hope it will be easier to keep on keeping on.

pencils everywhere

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Friday, January 28, 2011
colored pencils
(I have a headache looming - right now it's to the base of my skull, which means there's still hope to fend it off -  so today's post will be brief.)

 The colored pencil picture is from last year, but I've currently got them all over my desk. Everywhere! Alright, maybe they're not EVERYWHERE, everywhere - but it's pencils to the right of me and notebooks to the left. Time to clear off the desk. Tomorrow.

foggy but timely

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011
foggy morning
Get this! I'm actually writing this before 1AM. I'm so proud.

GET THIS X2: I took these pictures THIS MORNING. Holy hell. Next thing you know I will have all my work done ahead of time. I will get so far ahead I'll have to travel back in time in order to ... do something! something something! (it made sense in my head before I started typing. I call time travel shenanigans.)

foggy morning
I included this picture so you could see the green and also see that it's not that I fiddled with some settings to remove the color from all the other pictures - that's just the way it was. Nature's own black and white ye olde tyme no-color vision. It was beautiful.

foggy morning
This is looking directly at the sun. Can you see it?

foggy morning
Then after a bit the sun started to break up the fog for real and it became a blue sky beautiful sort of day.

And now I'm off to trivia! I may do another post (videos) when I get back. Who knows what will happen in this mixed up ahead of time day?

plan activation

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011
I activated my Walking Plan today. (note to self: need catchier name.)  It's been in the works for a while, but sometimes (most times) I have to work things out in my head first. Basically the plan comes down to this: for 21 days from the first day (TODAY), I have to get outside and walk every single day. On days I'm working, it can be shorter, but I still have to do it. I even built in two days where I can skip without guilt if it's absolutely necessary, but my hope is that I can get through it without using either of them. I used to walk almost every day without fail - not only did my jeans fit better, but I felt better all around.  The 21 days part is just to get myself accustomed to doing it again - once I get going I want to do it so here's hoping it goes to plan.

THINGS I LEARNED while out on my walk today:

1) I will have to re-toughen my feet!

2) I need to freshen my ipod, make new playlist, something something something. I've got a lot of great music, I just need to get it where I can get to it.

3) I missed seeing the dogs! Now I don't have to miss seeing them anymore.

4) The Garden Gnome ran by me today and it was fine, not weird. It was weird for a while when I'd see him in the library for two reasons: one was because I don't like people to know more about me than I tell them, and two because I felt so guilty about not walking.  Now neither one are an issue since he knows what he knows (which isn't much) and I'm not not walking anymore.

5) Crows, man. There was a whole flock, no wait - MURDER - of crows at the park today. They were hanging around the horseshoe pit like a gang of surly bad seed teens, but flew up into a tree when I walked by (squawking all the while).

6) the crocus are starting to come through the mud - just the leaves so far, but the purple won't be far behind. Camellias are also getting ready. Woo!

best question today

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Monday, January 24, 2011
domino fun

the best question I was asked at work today was "Is that a crocodile? On a bicycle??" To which I responded, "no, it's an elephant on a bicycle." She was asking about my necklace, which for some reason everybody always wants to talk about.

one possible reason: ELEPHANT ON A BICYCLE!!!

(it's a locket, which was bought at Crafty Wonderland a couple of seasons ago from the fine people at Locket 2 You.)

sunday conundrums

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Sunday, January 23, 2011
flower embroidery

I'm having Small World Syndrome in the most boring, literal way. I've been sticking fairly close to home, not going anywhere but work and the fabric store. I've had a lot of inside projects going so it made sense at the time, but I feel myself growing more resistant to doing anything else. This is bad! I have to move my feet before they grow to the ground or engage in some other homebound metaphor!

Part of it is a reaction to the weather - easier to stay inside and watch movies and sew or read, right? (the answer is: right.) And I've gotten a lot of things done, which makes me happy. But I've hit the point where it's just about to tip over into cabin fever, which is no good at all. Fortunately, this malady is treatable by opening the door and walking out.

There's some work stuff going on too, but I'm still sifting through it in my head. Nothing bad! But there's change with the potential of more change on the horizon. Transitions can be tough, but I'm trying to take the wider view. In some things (like this thing) I tend to fixate on how I must've done it wrong rather than the possibility that it will all work out as it should. I don't even know how it "should" and I think that's what freaks me out. I'm not quite sure what I want, or how many stages I'm willing to take to get there. SUNDAY CONUNDRUMS.

(photo: is of a completely unrelated to anything vintage embroidered tablecloth.)

various facts and adam ant

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Saturday, January 22, 2011
christmas at the grotto
fact: I am playing Adam Ant videos in another tab so I can listen to them while I get this post together. Oh, Goody Two Shoes. Before that it was the Waitresses! They know what boys like. They like to dress up like pirates and wear peach lipstick. (what? That's what Adam Ant likes, or so his videos lead me to believe.)

christmas at the grotto

fact: I love these pictures! I took them at the Grotto - I think they look like embroidery or shooting stars or the spectacular end of the world. Or sparklers. It's fun taking them, because there are so many variables. It's hard to plan for how they will turn out - you just kind of have to go with it.
christmas at the grotto
fact: Somehow now I'm listening to  What I like About You by the Romantics. Hee hee. What I like about you? Your skinny tie!

christmas at the grotto
fact: More The Romantics: keep on whispering in my ear, tell me all the things I wanna hear/ cuz they're true, that's what I like about YOU. ha ha. You know what's weird? There are no Duran Duran suggestions coming up for any of these videos. Hmmm. The Romantics were okay by me, but I held no truck with REO Speedwagon (ptui!) or Loverboy, both of whom are showing up in the youtube sidebar.

christmas at the grotto
fact: I am tiring of this FACT gimmick, but I am too tired to think of something else because I waited too damned long (again) to write this.

On further listening, I would say What I Like About you is the Romantics song that I like and am unable to listen to any of the others in full. So what I like about you is this one song, but I really like it so don't worry. It should be used in an 80s montage in some nostalgic movie. Hollywood: GET ON IT.
christmas at the grotto
fact: I've switched back to Adam Ant. I spend my cash on looking flash and grabbing your attention, he says. It worked! I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something wild and wonderful about those Adam Ant videos - I think it's because they're varying degrees of silly. Adam and his Ants are willing to look ridiculous, which is actually kind of badass. Prince Charming, Prince Charming, ridicule is nothing to be scared of. (It's like the Scarlet Pimpernel, kinda.) I'm not even talking about the Highwayman costumes or the war paint, but more the playful yet dangerous attitude - it's unpredictable, which I think is one of those basic components of pleasure.

little something

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Saturday, January 22, 2011
christmas at the grotto

I'm going to go to bed and read - I'm sorry I don't have a more substantial post for tonight, but some nights are like that. I hope to have more soon. (I think if I did one of those wordle clouds for this blog, MORE and SOON would be enormous.)

ANYWAY. Before I go to bed to read*, I will say that the photo at top is from The Grotto at Christmastime. I'll have more of these pictures later. I was having a fine old time by the end.

* I'm reading Running the Books right now - it's due day after tomorrow and blah blah blah. After I finished Jane E, and another book I read for bookgroup, I just wanted to read one of the quick novels I have piled up around here. I even literally said "I want to read a novel!", but then I saw that this was due and I probably wouldn't be able to get it again for 6 months, so I opened it up and it started pretty strong, etc. etc. etc. But I swear, novel next! Anyone have a recommendation? Read anything novel-y lately that you think I'd like? I can't promise I'll read it next, but I would add it to my list.

4:30 wakeup call

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Thursday, January 20, 2011
I woke at 4:30 this morning because there was this rustling/crinkling/ TROUBLE noise at the bottom of my stairs. I staggered down and found that Dash, the clever orange cat, had found a bag of cat treats and dragged them to the rug in front of my stairs so he could slice them open with his switchblade claw. The rustling/crinkling/ trouble was from his attempts to get the treats out. I got that sorted (treats put in cupboard with secure latch) and realized that I had a headache, which was probably from the weather shift. I took some headache drugs and tried to go back to sleep, but then I started fussing about my headache which morphed into some work anxiety which morphed into me never going back to sleep. I am so tired! My head hurts again, but I think it's just from being awake for so long. (I didn't go to bed early at all last night, which compounded my problem.)

Tonight the plan is to sleep like a log. (Logs! who knew they were such good little sleepers?)

happy blonde lady birthday

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Thursday, January 20, 2011
Today (the 19th) is the birthday of




both of whom you must agree are awesome ladies!  But they've got more than a birthday and hair color in common - both are high achievers despite being underestimated by FOOLS all the damn time; they work really hard in difficult careers, but stay true to themselves and find success. (I now really want to see Dolly show up in an episode of Buffy! I think they could learn a lot from each other and you know there'd be an awesome performance/ fight scene at the end.)

Today the library (in conjunction with Dark Horse and Cosmic Monkey Comics) had a birthday party for Buffy - I couldn't go because I had to work too late, but it made me happy to just know it was happening. (in addition to being Buffy's birthday, today was also the release date for the finale of Season 8!) I wish I could have been there.

(I went to trivia instead, which started later. We won! But I dedicate the victory to the birthday girls.)

Here's a song from each. Buffy and her existential despair/ Disney heroine song: (That "whatever" never makes me not laugh.)

And Dolly being awesome all over the place. (p.s. Porter Wagoner has some CRAZY suits, but he wears them with conviction.)


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Tuesday, January 18, 2011
solstice light

Tonight is the full moon! I can't see it because there's a bunch of clouds between me and above the clouds, which is where the moon, stars, planets, milky way, superman, super grover, wormholes, black holes ( a lot of holes in space!), satellites, moonbeams, starlight, ziggy stardust and the spiders from mars,  space hospitals specifically for space madness, space camp (the real one! not the one where you jump on a terrestrial trampoline and squeal PIGS IN SPAAAAACE, although I imagine that one's pretty fun), Pluto - even though it's not a planet anymore, Neverland, etc. all are. I'm here, they're there. It's okay, it's just been one of those crabby neverending rain winter blahs random bouts of insecurity kind of days. What is up with those days? Anyway - I looked at my google page and saw that my moon widget (I love my moon widget) said 100% FULL, which somehow made me feel better. Go figure!

The photo at the top is from the winter solstice - I was working at Belmont, which is near Laurelhurst park. I went to the park on my lunch break (which was from 4-5 cuz I was working late) and took this picture right as it got dark enough for the lights to come on. I like it, and since I can't see the moon the lamp will do.

it surprised me too

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Monday, January 17, 2011
I finished the quilt! I bought the fabric just after Christmas and finished it 2.5 weeks later, which is a record for me.  It was a simple pattern (simple in the good way) and not that big (perfect for reading on the couch), but DUDE: I got it done!

I used the Wonky Simple Math instructions provided by Elizabeth at Oh, Fransson. She writes very clear instructions and also  often has cat helpers in her pictures. I feel a certain kitty sympatico.

king of the quilt project
For example? Here Busby waiting for me to move so he could help in the crucial quilt sandwich stage.

the front
Of course once it was done, I noticed squares that I would move, but that would have happened no matter how long I'd taken to do it. I'm so pleased I got it done!

the back
I love the backing fabric, which is a little more olive and a little less brown than it looks in this photo. It was on SALE, which made it even cheaper than the solid fabric I'd chosen to begin with.

front, back, binding
Front, back, binding  - I'd never machine quilted something this much before. (I'd only machine quilted one other time!) It was so fun! I'll definitely try it again.

This photo is a little washed out (especially on the bottom), but I wanted to get this up tonight. Because WOO HOOO!

In other news, I've got to get outside more. I had to run to the grocery store this afternoon and the sun was low and bouncing off the dark clouds onto the fir trees and it was AMAZING. They looked like they were lit from within. Then I was sitting in the parking lot (not scenic at all) looking over the gas station, and a flock of gulls flew through that same light and it just made me so glad to see. It enlarged my tiny little winter heart. I don't know what it was, but I felt lucky to witness it.

progress report

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Sunday, January 16, 2011
Jane Eyre: Reader, I finished it. (so good!)

Quilt: I managed to finish stitching the binding on tonight despite exciting television happenings on Downton Abbey (the Turkish ambassador, oh my!) and despite the assistance of one enormous grey cat. (he feels he can best help hand stitching by biting the thread, attacking the needle, and other forms of dubious yet sharp support.) Anyway  - tomorrow I'll wash it and see what happens and then I'll take a photograph, no matter what happens.

singin' in the rain

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Sunday, January 16, 2011
Every weekend my young neighbor Henry (age 3 or 4) plays outside in the backyard with his dad. Usually it's catch or practicing hitting a giant plastic ball with a giant plastic bat or riding his big wheel at top speed on the paved part of the yard. He's a sweet kid (in recent possession of a new baby sibling), and any noise that's Henry-generated is never a bother to me.

This morning was a different sound, though. It was raining, so I wasn't sure what I was hearing at first. It was definitely singing, but was it what I thought it was? YES IT WAS. By the time Mr. Henry's Dad got to the ella, ella, ay, ay, ay I knew for sure - Rihanna's Umbrella!  I like that the rain song canon is getting bigger. (and singing ella, ella, ay, ay, ay is fun for all ages.)

action items

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Saturday, January 15, 2011
kathy's fabric stash

For tomorrow:

1) finish quilt  - all I have to do is stitch the binding on. 1/2 by machine, 1/2 by hand - it's going to rain for a million years tomorrow (it's one of those mysteries of time things) so I should be able to watch a movie (2 movies) and get it done.

2) finish Jane Eyre - so I can talk about it in terms other than "I need to finish this book!" or "It's so good!" or "Everyone is whackadoodle!" 

3) laundry - Party in the USA, y'all! 


photo at top is of my friend Blondie's fabric stash a couple of years ago. Since then, she's moved her sewing studio into the master bedroom and herself into the guest room.  But look how organized! If I did that it wouldn't last more than a week - but I find it inspiring nevertheless. I need a little more order so I can get a little more creative. That sounds counterintuitive, but it makes perfect sense to my current state of mind. 

how go your plans?

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Thursday, January 13, 2011
Today was funny.  I was at work minding my business when a person who is not my direct boss but in a position of authority was taking her leave from a meeting. I know her, but not really well. She was chatting with people as she left, and stopped by my workstation to ask "how go your plans for world domination?" My first thought was WHAT?? my second thought was how did you know? What I said aloud was non-commital but generally positive. (the gist: I have no idea what you're talking about, but if I did, I would say Very Well.) (this was an exaggeration, but I've found - thank you Ghostbusters - that if someone asks about your plans for world domination, it's good to at least pretend to be prepared.)  The best thing about her question is that I spent the rest of the day feeling like a benign Doctor Evil with plans to make One Meeellion Dollars and maybe get some fricking laser beams on some fricking sharks. Time well spent!


Below is the official trailer for the Jane Eyre movie coming out in the spring. It seems like they've got a lot of appropriate gothic spooky atmosphere, but as always Mr. Rochester is too handsome  and Jane too pretty. But they're making an effort to be more homely, I can tell! It's Hollywood Homely, bless their hearts. But anyway - I'm excited to see it! It's got Judi Dench (love her!) as Mrs. Fairfax and I believe Sally Hawkins (love her too!) as the evil Mrs. Reed... Excellent. They spared no expense on the fog machine, which is as it should be.

I am ALMOST done with the book. I'm going to quit the internet right now and go read some more - but before I go, I ask you: How go YOUR plans for world domination?


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Thursday, January 13, 2011
NOTE: I had this mostly written before I decided I was going to write about all the books I read in 2010 - don't worry, they won't all be this long.
Heartburn by Nora Ephron

Rachel Samsat, cookbook author, wit, public television personality, pregnant mother of a toddler, and nice Jewish girl from New York is married to Mark Feldman, newspaper columnist, political reporter, father of her children, and philanderer from Washington DC. While hugely pregnant with their second child, Rachel finds out about the affair Mark is having with her former friend (Thelma Rice, that tall bitch), and this is the story of what happens after that.

It’s written in a conversational style that I found appealing, but something about it struck me as JUST SO WEIRD. I tried to put my finger on what it was - the first person narration is like she’s relating the story long after it happened, but that was fun and fine and not weird. I finally decided that it was the same thing I noticed when reading Wallflower at the Orgy: her perspective is from that elastic time in the 70s when things were changing so fast for women. (Although published in the early 80s, the book rests in the cradle of the 70s.) Feminism is going on! But the middle-class worldview is still resolutely tied to the idea that marriage, children, and a nice house (for dinner parties!) is the primary goal for women. For the record, I think husbands, children, and houses for dinner parties can all be wonderful things, but they shouldn’t be a requirement - I’m glad that the era we live in now is a little more flexible on how and when or even if they’re acquired. Anyway, that’s the interesting part to me, here - the in-betweeness of it. Rachel is smart, funny, successful on her own, but also a scorned woman who is socially vulnerable. There’ve been women like this since the dawn of time - what differs is how they’re received into the larger culture. I know there are still wide swathes of American culture (both high and low) where whether or not you’re married means a lot, but (and maybe I’m being willfully naive) it seems like the presence or absence of a wedding ring is not the big deal it used to be.

Other things:

1) It is widely assumed that this novel is based in large part on Ephron’s breakup with Washington journalist Carl Bernstein. Since he left her for another woman when she was pregnant with their second child, this seems like a reasonable assumption.

2) lots of people on Goodreads read it as a straight up divorce-style chick lit novel. When you look at the cover for the latest edition, it’s easy to see why!

3) there are recipes throughout.

4) it’s funny, and there is an armed robbery.

5) check out these other covers - I think I like the one with the parsley and the devil the best, although either of the old ones are better than the new one. 

all ones

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011
#1 flower pot

one eleven eleven! 1/11/11!! (or, translated into what I originally typed: !/!!/!! !!!!)

I was hoping for snow today, but it didn't really happen. Some frozen rain and random coldness and wind. It's the wind that's blowing the cold air right on through.  20 degrees warmer tomorrow! It seems unfair - so many places have too much snow, I'd gladly take some.  Time to get back to work on my weather machine.

Today I did pretty much what I said I'd do if it snowed - I watched the rest of Big Love season 4* and finished quilting my quilt.  All that's left to do for it is put on the binding, which I'll do tomorrow.  Wooo! I can tell you that this is the fastest I've ever finished one and it feels pretty good. I'll take pictures soon.  I would have taken pictures of it in the snow, if only.

Oooh! I'm going to try this newly discovered cut tag thingy for some bellyaching. (EDIT: I think maybe it doesn't work with my browser? Anyway - Imagine a READ MORE part here...)

 In other today news (I just deleted a very earnest recreation of a phone call) I said no to my boss which always makes me a little antsy.  He asked if I could work at a branch across town, today. It was well within reason for me to decline, but I still feel guilty. TOO MUCH GUILT OVER NOTHING. This is one of my perpetual problems. But then I think if I felt no guilt about anything, would I be a sociopath? ha! I know - there must be a happy medium. I'm probably living right in the middle of happy medium, but I'm too blind to see it. Anyway - the crux of my worry: I don't like same day calls for work unless it's the one place I work the most that is also very near my house. Day before? no problem! Morning of? gnargh.  x15 if there's bad weather involved. But I feel like I should do it every time they ask. It's hard for me to say no even when I know I should.  (I wrecked a car in the ice once. Have I mentioned that before? Ice and roads are two things that should stay apart, I don't care if they only get to see each other twice a year.)

Back from my imaginary cut tag.

More tomorrow! I'm thinking it might finally be time for some book posts or maybe a "things that would be awesome to do in 2011" list.  Who knows what the weather will bring.

*My favorite part might have been when Lois chopped off Hollis Green's arm with a machete. (it makes sense in context, sort of.) Lois is badass but still so vulnerable.

cool, crisp, even

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011
I know! It's not Christmas anymore  - good king Wenceslas is hibernating in a cave full of christmas trees or something. And it's not even snowing or snowy here in Portland. But cool and crisp and even is the phrase that came to mind when I left work at 8pm. The sky was clear; the moon, waxing crescent, was high in the sky and it looked like a WINK.  I know it sounds crazy. The houses on the street still had their Christmas lights up and on, and sky was that inky blue color that comes during the long winter nights when it's not raining. Later, I dragged the garbage can up to the curb and there was the moon again - already sinking, but closer, bigger, and warmer like a smile.  (note: pdx sky was flirting with anyone looking up tonight! I read it in the almanac.)

The wind is blowing hard, sharp, and cold as I type. I think it's going to snow tomorrow! I'm all for it since I'm not scheduled to work and have supplies to make a lot of sandwiches if it comes to it.  Maybe I'll finish quilting my quilt and watching season 4 of Big Love. (seriously! what is with that show? "I know what I'll do - I have 3 wives, one of whom my teenaged son is in love with, a business,  a casino, problems back at the polygamist compound... I should run for public office!"  I have thoughts.)
Snow! (I'm hoping, not forecasting.)

sunset mosaic and exclamation point TV

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Monday, January 10, 2011
beach sunset mosaic

I keep not leaving myself enough time to write a proper post - maybe I'll start tomorrow's right after I finish this one. (It could happen!) Anyway - this mosaic is made up of photos I took from the upstairs/downstairs windows of the beach house we rented in October for my sister's birthday. The view: not too shabby! The seagulls: Barnaby and Cornelius.

Unrelated to the beach, but definitely related to Upstairs/Downstairs: Are you watching Downton Abbey? It's like a 6 hour Gosford Park! (I think that's a good thing, even though there's no Clive Owen, who would make it an even better thing.) ANYWAY. Maggie Smith! That Guy who is in all those period dramas! (He's really good!) That other guy you recognize! Penelope Wilton, aka Doctor Who's Harriet Jones! Costumes! Intrigue! Idiocy in the aristocracy and great competence below stairs! The Reverse!!! Gossip! THOSE DRESSES!!!
Seriously, though - I love seeing how those big houses operated. So much work to be done, so much interdependency between the servants and the masters.  I'll admit it's sometimes hard for me to wrap my mind around how stratified and codified society was, which is dumb because it still happens now, only less overtly.  Or maybe it's equally overt, just moved to a different milieu. Or maybe it's exactly the same! I don't really think this, but it's not like I'm having tea with the Dowager Countess of Grantham so I don't know.

super link saturday

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Sunday, January 09, 2011
super NU

John Roderick on The Pink Moon Problem : Discovering things for the first time can still be the source of great pleasure, even when everyone else in the world has already heard it.  
(I love that feeling of discovery and I was just talking with a friend about finding things on an individual timetable instead of always chasing after the latest fresh thing, but this says it all so much better.) 

Kate Beaton and Nancy Drew,  together again. (takeaway: if Nancy has a shovel, look out.) 

fashion from old people  - I love this! She does illustrations from vintage/antique garments and puts them on a character and in motion. So much fun! 

Bangable Dudes in History  - yeah, that's right! As soon as I heard about this blog, I had to rush through the entries to see if the hottest founding father, aka my historical crush was on the list. Oh, yes he is.  NUMBER ONE.  Someone was just giving me a bad time about this at trivia. "Alexander Hamilton? Isn't he the one you have a crush on?" which sounds fine if a little crazy when it's coming from someone you know pretty well, but when the rest of the table hears and looks at you like you're a lunatic... Oh, fine. I'm a not-so-secret lunatic. But I'm not the only one! p.s. young Stalin was  hot. 

Jane Eyre vs. Villette: I've only read about 1/3 of Villette, and that was years ago. This post makes me want to try again! (Also, I'm almost done with Jane Eyre, but I have to finish this book group book first, which is bumming me out. I think things are about to get super crazy in JE, but I'm reading about making pigment from walnuts.)  Also, The Hairpin  in general is one of my favorite new sites. It is delightful and hilarious. 

your camel

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Friday, January 07, 2011
still love




Is loaded to sing.

Look what good poetry can do:

Untie the knot in a burlap sack

And lift the golden



translated by Daniel Ladinsky

quilting kind

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Thursday, January 06, 2011
busby loves quilting

Today was the day I got all the blocks done on my new quilt -  an all-time speed record for me! Tonight after dinner I went out to get what I needed to finish: backing fabric, batting, thread, and safety pins. I'm going to try machine quilting it, which I never do. Never! (well, I did once and not since then.)  !!! I'm excited. I hope it doesn't make me cry or spit nails or pull the whole thing apart She-Hulk style. (fingers crossed!) I might even get it done this weekend. I'm already plotting the next quilt.  

I don't yet have any pictures of Busby helping me make this one (although he's been as helpful as ever), but the photo at the top showcases his assistance on last year's quilt - he was helping me remove the plastic wrapper from the ruler, and also protecting the fabric from the deadly rotary cutter.

busby loves quilting

Busby's help this year is mostly in the form of helping me lay out the blocks to determine placement. Here's how it goes: I put them out one by one on the carpet, and he waits until there's a good row or two. Then he sits in the middle of them and starts behaving like a dragon guarding a hoard of gold. If I attempt to move any blocks already in place, he will slap at my hand with his razor sharp claws.  He would breathe fire if only he could breathe fire. This isn't the limit of his participation, however. He also likes to chew on thread, be the rotary cutter inspector, and walk back and forth in front of me until I have to quit what I'm doing. I'm sure it's just to make sure I get OSHA mandated work-breaks. 

I just realized I've not taken any pictures at all so far in the new year. That's weird. I'll have to get on that… 

what are you reading?

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011
book display

Do you have any reading goals for 2011? A number to reach? A book you've always been meaning to read but haven't done yet? A genre? A new area of study?  A couple of years ago, I decided that I wanted to read more nonfiction. I am lucky enough that my local (favorite) branch of the library has a nonfiction reading group, so I joined up with them. (Need to finish by Sunday - Color: a Natural History of the Palette).

This year, I think I'd like to read some big classics that for one reason or another I've never read. I'm really light on Dickens, for example. Also Mark Twain, believe it or not. I'm currently reading Jane Eyre and loving it, even though (or perhaps because) everyone in it so far is a complete whackadoo. I just read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and I'm afraid my big takeaway question was this: did Robert Louis Stevenson take a lot of drugs? I think the answer must be yes.

book display

Last year I kept a record of my books for the year on a special shelf in goodreads. It worked out for me, so I'll probably do it again. It's a nice reminder! Although goodreads is also reminding me that I haven't finished Moby Dick yet. Maybe this is the year for that?

I like this Laura Miller article in Salon about reading outside of your comfort zone. Don't get me wrong - I love my comfort zone, but it's nice to step outside it and see more of the wide world from time to time.
book display

What are you reading right now? What will your next book be?

(photos are from the Powell's shop section at Wordstock this year.)

lies of omission to my former nemesis

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011
pink dots
See, it started off pretty simple - I used to have a work nemesis. Now I don't, mostly because I don't get enough juice out of having a nemesis (I can see how it works for some people) to justify the energy expenditure in maintaining one. (But it sounds so cool! Narrowed eyes, hissing "my nemesis," when people ask who you're narrowing your eyes at...) Once I realized that the only reason she was my nemesis was because I was jealous, I couldn't do it anymore. There should be a better reason! (I was jealous because she was hired after me and got a permanent job right away, while I still labor in the On Call salt mines.) ANYWAY. I'm over all that now.  It's not like we're best pals or anything, but she's pretty loopy and I enjoy talking to her.

Today's misunderstanding came about when she said that she was talking to a patron "about our age," which is hilarious because I've got to be at least 15 years older than she is. (10 at the very least.) I don't think it was some ham handed attempt to flatter me, because she's a very blurty thinks it/says it kind of person. (example, to patron: "why are you wearing those rubber gloves?" a question I'd never ask in 10000 years because the answer could be anything from "severe OCD, thanks for asking" or "I've been treating the chickens for mad chicken disease" or etc. etc. you get the picture.) ANYWAY. Maybe the real answer is that she's a lot older than she looks, like a vampire or a creature who sleeps for 100 years and then is awake for a year, or maybe she simply meant an age greater than 10 and less than 80, in which case we are totally the same age.

The point of the story (if it has one! I can't even tell. I've got to start these posts earlier in the day) is that I didn't correct her even though it would have been relatively easy to say "but I'm ages older than you are!" but then I think it once again becomes about me and my insecurities, so maybe it's just as well I said nothing on that particular subject.

In related news, I thought for a minute that I had a new work nemesis lined up, but it turns out that the person is fine apart from an appalling work ethic.

beat the clock

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Monday, January 03, 2011
Okay - so I switched over to the newer editor thingy in blogger, which means that posts are time stamped from when they are published instead of when they are opened. This means I have to type VERY QUICKLY to get this post in on time! (I know it's only a deadline of my own making, but I'm trying to get better at meeting those as they can be very useful in many areas.)

Today went roughly like this: read more of Jane Eyre, read internet, get piecing on my new quilt* while watching Season 3 of Big Love (there's so much to like about this show - NICKI - but my enjoyment is hamstrung by how annoying I find Bill and how much I don't want to see his pasty white ass humping across the screen), go to work**, come home, eat dinner, fall asleep on the couch etc. and so on. EXCITING TIMES and yet I enjoyed it all. Even my irritation at Bill the Self-Righteous Polygamist.

*the quilt I'm making from this excellent quilting blog

** several quality moments today, mostly with younger patrons. This is one of my favorite parts of my job.

JANE EYRE BONUS! Okay, so I've been reading this for a while (since Christmas, but I got waylaid several times which is why it's taking me longer) - but, may I just say: this book is bananas! In a good way. Jane sounds so modern to my ears - the situations are all as you'd expect in a gothic novel ( cruel aunt, poorhouse school run by religious nutter,  governess, brooding master, MYSTERY and INTRIGUE, and copious descriptions of DRAPERIES), but Jane is so sharp and on it! I can't even formulate thoughts (beyond BANANAS) about the gypsy fortuneteller. (seriously...)

Here's something that jumped out at me in this morning's reading - Jane is returning to Thornfield after staying a month at the house of her miserable childhood. She's eager to return because Thornfield has become the place she most wants to be. Here's the quote upon coming home and being warmly greeted: This was very pleasant: there is no happiness like that of being loved by your fellow-creatures, and feeling that your presence is an addition to their comfort.

Such an apt description of feeling at home someplace.

(Have you seen the Illustrated Jane Eyre  with drawings and paintings by Dame Darcy? I think she's got a real feel for the novel.)

edit: I couldn't finish in time, so I published then came back to edit the picture in... we'll see if it works!

at home in the water

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Sunday, January 02, 2011
As a way to get ready for 2011, I wanted to get all (or most) of my photos from 2010 uploaded so I could start the year without that task hanging over my head. I still have a few to do, mostly from The Grotto. (More on that later - it was both creepy and peaceful, which is not an easy mix to achieve.)  Anyway - these photos were taken in November at Silver Falls down near the town of Silverton.


it was raining like crazy, which it seems to be every time I go there. Maybe because I keep going in the winter? I know people swim and have warm weather good times in the summer, but it's hard for me to picture. I'd never actually been on this path to the lower falls before - I LOVED how it looked in the rain. There were some people but not too many, so it was easy to imagine things. (except, apparently, warm weather swimming.) I think these ferns look very mermaid-y. I thought of the Oz books, and how this could easily be some kind of damp kingdom within the land of Oz. It would, of course, have to share a border with a desert of some kind because that's the way the atlas works in imaginary realms. (Check out the Dictionary of Imaginary Places if you haven't already - I've not seen the updated version, but the old one is a lot of fun so I bet the new one is, too.)

upper north falls

This is one of the shorter waterfalls - only 65 feet - a more personal waterfall sized than some of the ridiculously tall ones.

Speaking of water and mermaids and selkies (which I haven't, but you know), tonight I watched Ondine and I enjoyed it quite a bit.  It's similar in mythological theme to The Secret of Roan Inish (which I love!), but set in the modern here and now -  I thought it lost a little something with some of the modern elements, but it's a nice addition to the part time seal/ part time human oeuvre.
Ondine trailer
The Secret of Roan Inish trailer

This song below (by Lisa Hannigan), features in Ondine - it caught my ear particularly because it mentions flowers that would actually bloom at the same time by name (crocosmia and fuchsia), which is unusual in a pop song! (Feist's Mushaboom also qualifies with its lilacs and buttercups.)

hello, year MMXI

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Saturday, January 01, 2011
pink clouds
(I took this picture through my sunglasses in October.)

Happy New Year! I hope 2011 brings you good times, good friends, good books, and some nice surprises!

Did you have a good New Year's Day? I didn't leave the house, but it was fine! I got a new quilt all cut out and WHATNOT. It felt like the right thing to do at the moment, which I think is a perfectly good reason. I can't wait to start sewing it together, which could happen as soon as tomorrow.

I've decided that I'm going to blog every day for the month of January. (So is Martina.) I'm looking forward to it! I've not done it for a couple of years and am excited to do it again. I've been thinking of how I'll fill the days and I think one of the ways will be to do a little quickie by-memory review of every book I read last year. Don't worry - some will be just a couple of sentences. There were a lot of books, but a lot of them were good! This year I'm going to try to work more classics into rotation, but we'll see. We live in a good age for reading; there's so much good stuff out there - all the best that humanity has produced so far, and all the best being made right now - exciting times!

Now I'm going to go to bed and read some more Jane Eyre. I'm enjoying it so much.