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helpful hint, kindle in the bath edition

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Ziplock bag! It probably wouldn't work (or at least not as well) with a touchscreen e-reader, but with my keyboard kindle (which has buttons), the quart sized ziplock bag works GREAT. I can see through to read and it's protected from my wet hands and accidental dozing/dropping. Plus, I love not having to constantly dry my hands on my hair in order to turn the page! 

Speaking of reading (dig my artful segue), right now I'm reading Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I'm enjoying it. The book is long, but I appreciate the set up work they're doing to build this world. This is the first of a YA series that I've been seeing around, but it wasn't until I saw the trailer for the movie (with Emma Thompson and Jeremy Irons chewing up the spanish moss and swampy scenery with outrageous southern accents) that I decided to move the first book in the series up my to-read list. (there are 4 books - I'm not sure if that's total, or so far.) 

Now that I'm poking around online I find a lot of people making snarky "Twilight with witches" remarks, to which I say "whatever"  -  it's such a lazy insult. If you must sniff dismissively at something, at least do it with a little imagination and panache.

I find it interesting that this story (which as you can see from the trailer below has a strong romantic element) is told from the boy's point of view. I'm right in the middle and things are starting to get super-bananas (which as we all know is part of Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey monomyth). SUPER BANANAS (comes after the call to adventure, but before the return) with supernatural libraries, wrought iron, swamps, mean cheerleaders, creepy yet appealing mansions, annoying relatives and unexplored teenage witchy superpowers.

Ooh - BONUS: as you can see, the movie has (in addition to the aforementioned E.Thompson and J. Irons chewing it up with their foghorn leghorn / scarlet o'hara souther'en accents)  Viola Davis, who I like in everything because she is wonderful. 

an afghan

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Sunday, January 27, 2013
SUBTITLE: It's been a long time since I last posted but I did not die from maybe mold poisoning.

So here is the afghan I finished - I think it looks pretty good!  It took me a long time, but I think part of that was because I didn't want to repeat any squares. It would have been much faster to sit down and make 10 each of however many colorways. (There may be repeats, but they are unintentional.)

I used wool-ease, which is a acrylic/wool blend. It's just the right amount of soft, warm and washable. I would love to make one out of superwash wool, but that's $$. Wool-Ease (Lion Brand) is available everywhere at a pretty reasonable cost. I supplemented with some straight up acrylic when I needed a color and I'd do it again. I'm picky about acrylic, though - some of it is scratchy, some of it is shiny, some of it is squeaky - none of which is what I want in a blanket. But some of it is lovely! So that's my advice - use whatever you want, but hold out for the lovely kind.

here's the back - I just did a slip stitch to hook it all together.

Perfect lap size for winter reading! (book in the photo is My Ideal Bookshelf, which is fun!)


I just did a simple edge on it, but I like it! I was ready to be finished, that's for sure. Which isn't to say that I haven't started plotting my next afghan. There's nothing like finishing to make me want to start something new.

MOLD maybe

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Wednesday, January 09, 2013
yellow door
(this door is in Goldendale, Washington and has nothing to do with my maybe moldy floor.)

I was working on something else to post for tonight but then decided that it needed further work or ditching - either way I didn't want to spend more time on it now because I want to go to bed!

But first:

1) I resumed my long stalled floor-painting project and hit a snag. I brought my paint up from the basement, took the lid off, and found a disgusting moldy skin across the top. Ugh. The internet said to throw the paint away, but it was most of a gallon! So I read on until I found one brave soul who said he was going to remove the skin and paint with it anyway. "I'll do that too," I thought. Can I just say UGH UGH UGH. That skin was double plus gross, but I peeled it off and went on with my project. The problem is I think I can still smell the moldy weirdness. I don't want to give myself some sort of respiratory problem - moldy lung or brain mold or whatever. I THINK that it might go away once I get it all sealed. I'm going to try that tomorrow, and if that doesn't work then of course I will buy another gallon of paint. It's just weird that it got moldy in the first place! I've never had paint do that before.

2) I'm reading Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan for book group and I'm enjoying it so much! That's not mold spores talking, either - it's good stuff.

3) it might snow but not stick tonight. I hope so. I mean, I would be happy if it snowed and stayed snowy, too, but that's apparently not in the cards.

finished! mostly

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Tuesday, January 08, 2013
in progress

This photo is from June of 2010 when I was seriously underway on this afghan.

I traveled through time in the slow, regular calendar way to January 2013 and now it's finished! No photos of it done yet, but maybe tomorrow. Hooray!!! Today was seriously bumming me out because every single thing I did felt like I had weights on all my limbs and the atmosphere had turned to thick invisible molasses which made the day s l o w and annoying. Except I'm not annoyed anymore, because THIS IS DONE.

buxton trestle

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Sunday, January 06, 2013
buxton trestle

On new year's day my sister found the Buxton Trestle on a map or in a flickr group and said "right, let's go" so we did. It was so cool! It's part of the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, which is a rail trail, which doesn't sound like the right phrase at all since it rhymes with "whale tail" but that is what they call it anyway. Old rail line, now suitable for walking, biking, equestrian-ing (what is the word for horseback riding that's not horseback riding? Is there one?).

It was still quite frosty and a little bit slippery, but the walk was very beautiful!

buxton trestle
I like the words 'buxton trestle' together. It sounds like a location in middle earth, or perhaps where a train robbery will take place. ("If we head them off at Buxton Trestle, the sheriff won't have time to get there! yee haw!" pew! pew! pew!) This part looks a bit like an old wooden roller coaster.

frozen leaves
We saw no hobbits or elves or dwarves or train robbers, although any would seem plausible in the setting. (I love these frozen leaves that are outlined in frost!)

winter walk
Where does this road go? We only went down it part way. An adventure for another time, perhaps.

winter walk
The light on this tree was MAGIC. The frost and ice that was on it was sparkling as it melted in the sun.

Some frost on the trestle itself. I love these ice crystals.

buxton trestle
Dude riding by on his bicycle. The trestle was slippery anywhere the ice hadn't melted - this guy was riding slow and steady, but even so he slipped a couple of times. (I never saw him fall, though.)

buxton trestle
I like this view because you can see more of the curve of the trestle. I bet it's a lovely walk in all 4 seasons. There were a number of horses around, although they're not allowed on the trestle proper. I mention this because looking at this photo has put horse noises in my ear.

buxton trestle
Doesn't this look cold? It's the water that goes under the trestle. I'm not sure which creek this is - either Beaver Creek or Dairy Creek, I think.

All in all, a very fun fairly gentle most excellent way to spend the first day of the new year.

if it's not on the soundtrack, it should be

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Saturday, January 05, 2013

I watched The Hunger Games movie tonight and I liked it. I haven't read the book, but some trusted people who have said the movie was good, so I thought why not? My main issue is that I've been going around all night singing "I Know All There Is To Know About the Hunger Games" (like this) which is UNTRUE because like I said I haven't read the books nor was I forced to compete in a lethal reality show as a teenager,  but you know the brain wants to sing the songs it wants to sing.

Have you seen it? Have you read the book? What did you think?

top priority: moat filled with swans in crowns

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Friday, January 04, 2013

Oh, man! This afternoon I got to do a totally cool thing and I took pictures but don't have them uploaded yet, so I was going to tell you about the cool thing I did on new year's day that I DO have the pictures for, but I just wasted at least a half an hour in an internet black hole and now I want to go to bed and read my book, so that's what I'm going to do! But know this: two cool things PLUS PICTURES shortly.

a general note to myself: self, you gotta stop with so much internet.

OH! This reminds me of one of a New Year /sanity thing I've been thinking of for a while: observing a digital sabbath. Over the past few years I've been reading here and there (probably after 5 hours on the computer) about people who started giving themselves a brief respite from all things digital. I want to try it and see how it works out. I think it would be GREAT. To start with I'm just thinking laptop, because that's where the time goes which gives me a little flexibility to check my email and the weather on my ipod. But then I think JEEZ, JEN can't you cut the cord for 24 hours? 18 hours? So maybe I should start at the top end where it's no computer, no iOS from sundown to sunset on whichever day. My kindle is an old-school keyboard kindle that I don't even turn the wi-fi on for unless I'm downloading something, so I think that would be okay if that's where the book I'm reading is. Hmmm.

Have you tried it? How did it go? I get mad at myself for the amount of time wasted. Not all of it is wasted of course, but so much of it is! I could be making things!!

on the third day: paint and excuses

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Thursday, January 03, 2013
I painted a wall today and I'm so tired.  The painting part is no big deal (and I used paint I already had!!) but moving all the furniture and then putting it back has done me in.

use it up!

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Wednesday, January 02, 2013
'mossy legs
(don't these look like mossy legs? And a mossy torso? And mossy hands? I'm pretty sure this tree was sneaking up on me.)

Resolutions! I used to be against the Resolution Industrial Complex because it seemed like such an arbitrary system prone to failure, but now realize that I made poor choices. Small steps are the way to go. In my no-resolution years, I switched it up to a general theme idea - like "this year I say yes to things," or "this year I try things and don't worry so much about the result." This works, but I think what's even better is a combination of general ideas and specific (DOABLE!) goals/ resolutions.

I'm still working on the list of specific things for which I can earn a sticker or make a mark on the calendar, but I have a couple of big theme ideas ready to go. The first is: FINISH IT! I have many started and stopped projects, it's a good time to finish them up or let them go. I find myself wanting to pare down to what I really want, which is good because it means I might finally have some idea what I really want.

The Second, which goes hand in hand with the first is STASH BUSTING. I've got a lot of stuff, and I should use it up! What's the point of having some beautiful fabric or lovely yarn or amazing beads if they just sit in a bag or on a shelf. This line of thinking led me to the great World War 2 don't waste it slogan:


Which got me thinking even more about the Use It Up portion -  I can't tell you how many little ends of things I have around (pens that are almost dead, lipstick that's almost gone, etc.) that just gather dust. I'm going to make a concerted effort to wring all of the good out of these things and then send the husks on their way.  2013 will find me shopping from my own supply first. 

I have a weekly desk calendar for the first time in years. I want to write down what I've done so I can see the results at the end of the year. I keep an electronic journal, but it's just not the same for wondering when it was I painted the hallway or what day the sweet peas went in the ground.  

As a break from the money-spending holiday season, I'm also having an Austerity January where I'm not buying anything unless I have to.  We'll see how it goes! It certainly doesn't hurt to try. 

In the end, I think flexibility is key for getting the most out of a new year plan. Try it, if it doesn't work like you thought it would try it again in a different way. What do you want? How do you get there? Keep trying and have a great year!!

january first

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Tuesday, January 01, 2013

a frosty photo for the new year.