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book sale, surgery, cat nap

| On
Monday, April 30, 2012
book sale bounty

I went to the Friends of the Library book sale on Saturday - as always it was wonderful, as always I left with a heavy bag, a happy heart, and blind optimism that I'll figure out where this stuff is going to go. (it will all work out.) ANYWAY. This photo is just a little sneak peek of what I found - full report soon. (how awesome is that Animals of the Seashore spine? it was less than two dollars.)

My mom is having cataract surgery tomorrow! It's an outpatient thing and I know they do them all the time now, but still it's slightly nerve-wraking. I'm driving her down and (obviously!) driving her home.  Tomorrow it's the left eye, then after a couple of weeks have passed and everything's okay, they do the other eye. She doesn't have them as bad as some, but she has lost all ability to drive at night and she can hardly see distances at all. They told her she could wait a little longer if she wanted to, but she wanted to book it ASAP as she's "got things to do." Everything's going to look bonkers to her when she's done - especially since it's springtime in Portland; the green of the trees, the pink of the blossoms, the bright of the poppies and tulips are practically psychedelic.

Last but not least, here's a picture of Busby taking his afternoon nap - his curly belly fur cracks me up. He loves to sleep on that pink rug.


the vintage man

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Vintage Man

Between a good artist
And a great one 


The novice
Will often lay down his tool
Or brush

Then pick up an invisible club
On the mind's table

And helplessly smash the easels and

Whereas the vintage man
No longer hurts himself or anyone

And keeps on


Hafiz, from The Gift

sunny days

| On
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
stained glass
I worked all day Sunday, which was the nicest day in our mini-stretch of nice days, but I got some pictures anyway. This is stained glass in the library - I love the bright green of the tree shining through on the left!

stained glass
mountains with legs.

white bleeding heart
I L-O-V-E these white bleeding heart. I may have to get some for myself. In the meantime, I look out for these in the neighborhood every year.

spring tree
spring tree! [I haven't tested it 100%, but I think I fixed my camera spot problem with the vacuum cleaner. (make seal around lens, dust goes away!) It's a good thing since none of the many tiny screwdrivers I acquired worked to open the camera.] ANYWAY - I love this green/blue combo.

yellow tulip
Yellow tulips at home. They like the sun, too.

red tulip
Orangey red tulips. (and stealth dandelion. not that they're stealth in the garden, just that I can only see one in this photo.)


shelf 3: private library nurse

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Thursday, April 19, 2012
shelf 3

A Series of Unfortunate Events - Lemony Snicket: I've only read the first few of these, but I enjoyed the writing and the concept enough to attempt to collect the whole set. The ones I've read skew pretty young, but since they're meant for young readers I'm not complaining. I understand that they read a little older as they go on, which only makes sense. I struck it lucky at the most recent Friends of the Library sale (there's one coming up next weekend!), but I'm still missing 10, 12, & 13 and now I have two Miserable Mills.  I might roll that into collecting a new set (it's fun to have something to look for) and make a gift of it to some of my little cousins.

Kim Aldrich, Silent Partner - Jinny McDonnell: I love these book covers and that's NO LIE.  Photos at the bottom of this post.
Kim Aldrich, Miscalculated Risk - Jinny McDonnell: I wrote about this one shortly after I got it back in 2005. (2005!!!!!!!) Kim's got a lot of moxie, which is what it takes to make it in the teen detective/ insurance investigator racket.

Cherry Ames Student Nurse; Cherry Ames Senior Nurse; Cherry Ames Private Duty Nurse; Cherry Ames Cruise Nurse: According to Wikipedia, these are being reprinted! I haven't seen any, but I haven't been looking. I love these not only for the adventures of a plucky nurse who doesn't like to be tied down to one job for long, but also for the AMAZING COVERS! Dude Ranch Nurse is so great- I don't even know where to start. It's the crazy best. I love the white uniform in the middle of the dusty corral, the belt buckle action (!) and the hat flying in the distance. (Maybe she is checking his face for suspicious moles, but I don't think so.)  I don't own this title, but it was my ebay holy grail back in the day.

Peggy Finds the Theater - Virginia Hughes. Holy shit - it looks like there are eight of these! I want them!  I picked this one up at Goodwill because how often do you read about girl detectives in the theater world of 1962 New York City? Here's a bit from the intro: "Ambitious but realistic, Peggy knows her name isn't going to be in lights immediately but finally persuades her cautious parents to let her spend a year in New York to try to gain a foothold in the fabled world of the theater."  I haven't read this one, but flipping through it I see that it has chapter illustrations which are awesome. (My favorite thus far: Peggy waiting for her flight on the tarmac with her parents - her father smokes a pipe, her mother looks worried,  and the airplane is right overhead.)

Confessions of a Teen Sleuth - Chelsea Cain: An affectionate spoof of the teen detective genre.

Below are photos of the cover for Silent Partner: I love the guy doing jumping jacks in the doorway and the fact that she is apparently in the midst of her werewolf transformation - just look at her hand! You know, forget all the insurance company mascots that are going right now - they should bring back Kim  Aldrich, ginger werewolf investigator.

kim aldrich mysteries
kim aldrich mysteries

previously: Shelf 1; Shelf 2 

cake and cowboys

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012
OKAY, there aren't any cowboys in the literal sense. I feel I should confess that right away.

Today I made the French-Style Yogurt Cake with Lemon from Orangette. It was delicious. Actually, I made it from Molly "Orangette" Wizenberg's book, A Homemade Life, which I read last year for my nonfiction book group. The book, like the cake, is very good.  ANYWAY. The cake was delicious and not too sweet  - I recommend trying it if French-Style Yogurt Cake (that is easy) with Lemon sounds good to you!

In the post I linked to above, Orangette mentions that she's listening to the Old 97s,  so here's a song from that record:

cross the desert to the sea

| On
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
This song came up today and I'd forgotten how much I like it! Time to listen to the whole album again.

In kitten news, Otis has a new favorite toy - the humble push pin. He's found them in places I forgot they existed and makes a lot of racket pulling them out with his teeth. Of course I freak out which I know only encourages him, yet I can't stop.

the subtle curse

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Monday, April 16, 2012
Knowledge can be a subtle curse.  When we learn about the world, we also learn all the reasons why the world cannot be changed. We get used to our failures and imperfections. We become numb to the possibilities of something new. In fact, the only way to remain creative over time--to not be undone by our expertise--is to experiment with ignorance, to stare at things we don't fully understand. This is the lesson of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the nineteenth century Romantic poet. One of his favorite pastimes was attending public chemistry lectures in London, watching eminent scientists set elements on fire. When Coleridge was asked why he spent so much time watching these pyrotechnic demonstrations, he had a ready reply. "I attend the lectures," Coleridge said, "so that I can renew my stock of metaphors." He knew that we see the most when we are on the outside looking in. 
-Jonah Lehrer, Imagine: How Creativity Works  from The Outsiders chapter. There are a million other things I could quote because it's a very quotable book, but this one jumped out.

detour project

| On
Sunday, April 15, 2012
unmounted stamps

Behold - a more or less organized box full of unmounted rubber stamps.

 I didn't intend to do this project when I did. It was one of those things that cropped up in the course of doing something else -  I was looking for a stamp, realized that the envelopes I store them in were falling apart - before I knew what was happening, scissors were flying and I was surrounded by tiny pieces of paper and used glue sticks. It took a lot longer than I'd hoped (it always does), but I listened to some podcasts while I worked and had a nice time. I'm glad it's done, though.

Reading Report:  Game of Thrones, which is moving right along - I'm on about page 600 of 800. My fear is that I will only have 700 pages worth of patience with it, but I imagine momentum will be in my favor by that point and I'll get to the end with no problem. I'm also reading Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer, which I have to finish by Tuesday. (it's also moving right along, but in a brain-science/no-dragons (yet!) kind of way.) I might type out some quotes from that later this week - it's so interesting! Not just interesting, but as someone who often feels like I have to trick my brain into doing things, reassuring. (Brains are sneaky - science confirms this.)

...and because my itunes just played it and I love this song, here's Sweepstakes Prize by Mirah. It's so playful and sincere. The beginning reminds me of My Girl by the Temptations, which is not a bad thing!

bee news

| On
Sunday, April 08, 2012
grape hyacinth

  • My neighbors with the huge double (triple, maybe) lot just put in EIGHT (8!) beehives. I'm excited! Bees are good news for all the gardens on my street, and there are a lot of gardens on my street. Lots of people digging up lawn and putting in flowers and vegetables - I'm for it. 
  • other neighbors (original bee neighbors) have turned their backyard into a clover meadow, or at least part of it. It's so pretty. I can see most of it from an upstairs window, but I got to see a little sliver of it yesterday retrieving Young Otis (the kitten), who when allowed a few minutes of outside time promptly used to run around like a maniac. 
  • I put up my little mason bee box today! 
  • I'm eager to see how the bee populations get along this summer. Lots of honey bees (obviously), my little mason bees (hopefully), and then the great big black and white bumbles.

I am so tired! The weather here has been AMAZING for the past two days - such a nice reprieve after a week of cold mean rain/hail. Yesterday we went to the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, which was lovely even though I forgot 1) sunscreen and 2) to check camera for SD card. So I got a sunburn and no photos, but it was so wonderful I didn't even care. The rhodies aren't really blooming yet, but there are other spring blooming things like willow trees and toad lilies, plus lots of waterfowl. (will duck butts in the air ever not be funny? I can't imagine.) I'm going to go back on Tuesday or Wednesday when it is free, less crowded, and I have my camera. 

Today I spent the morning/afternoon doing some sapling removal. The birds planted a filbert and a hawthorne,  the horse chestnut tree keeps trying to replicate itself in the ground all around it, the laurel jumped the fence - all big enough that it was heavy, dirty work.  (Let us not speak of the blackberries.)  It looks so much better now, but I am way out of shape and SO TIRED. 

The photo at the top is of grape hyacinth. They're starting to bloom right now (this photo is from another year) and are beautiful. Happy Easter and Passover to those who celebrate!

shelf 2: state quarters, hamlets

| On
Sunday, April 01, 2012
shelf 2

Hello again and welcome to the second installment of books in a bookcase. (Books in a Bookcase to date.)  This shelf is what I would call rough sorted - it's themed to music writing and ...some plays? Also, state quarters. I don't know. The rest of the plays are somewhere else. I don't know why some things are here and some things are there - it's just the way it is.

The Official US Mint 50 State Quarters: I need to go through my change jar and see if I have any more quarters to add to this - I only have 17 states in here! This book is a nice one, though - it showcases both the front and back of each quarter and seemed fancier to me than the ones where you just push the coin into some cardboard. I remember getting this with a 40% off coupon at Michael's because plain or fancy, I wasn't going to pay full price.

Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth:  This book is so fun, you guys! The Spice Girls, The Bay City Rollers, The Archies (!! and other cartoon bands), The Monkees, The Partridges (and other TV bands) - the book covers these well known artists deftly, but also informs (or reminds) the reader of many one hit wonders and artists who toiled in obscurity.  It came out in 2001, a time when boy bands were front and center (*N'SYNC, Backstreet Boys, etc.) and Britney Spears was still on top. GOOD STUFF!

Lost in the Grooves: subtltitle - "Scram's Capricious Guide to the Music You Missed," this book is brought to the world by the same editors as the Bubblegum book and is a delight to pick up, flip open, and randomly read entries.

Chronicles, vol 1. : I enjoyed this book - if you like unreliable narrators, strangely detailed descriptions of furniture (!), gossip about NYC folkies in the early 60s and ruminations on the creative life from Dylan's point of view, you will probably like it too.

Mystery Train: haven't read it yet.

The Egyptian Jukebox: this is a puzzle book by Nick Bantock - you know the kind: a painting, a story, a MYSTERY. I haven't looked at it in a long time - I should take it down again. I don't know why it's not on the Nick Bantock shelf, except that it's tall and may have been separated at some point prior to this particular bookcase. Another puzzle!

The Beatles Forever: right next to Beatles '64 - these are two mostly picture books from the Title Wave.

The Riverside Shakespeare: bought with a gift certificate to Powell's that my aunt gave me when I graduated from college.

Idiot's Delight: Martina and I saw this play on a whim at the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland on a road trip, many years ago. We didn't know that if we waited twenty minutes from when we were trying to buy our tickets, that the tickets would be half off. Many thanks to the ticket seller who conveyed this to me through a series of raised eyebrows and pointed looking at the 'rush ticket' sign. "Are you sure you want to buy these right now??"

Hamlet: you know, just a good old Melancholy Dane. Oh, wait! I got this at the Title Wave, too - it's the "Complete Text of the Performance for The Shakespeare Recording Society, Inc. New York." I think I bought it because it was a quarter and I liked the drawing on the cover.

Arcadia: LOVE IT!

Three by Tennessee: This was for a class my freshman year of college.

Hamlet: Again with the Hamlet!

Four Great Plays : Also for school.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead: I love this so much.

shelf 2

b/w "film grain" photo of the same shelf - it's got better contrast, that's for sure. This shelf is hard to photograph because it's in the corner farthest from the light. Flash just bounces off the mylar-covered spines of the Beatles books in an attempt to blind us all.