Category Archives: blogging

November’s Header

If you’re wondering, and you probably are, this month’s header is from a color slide taken at the 1959 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. My mom and I are big fans of the parade, and she actually got to march in it one year as a “balloonatic,” one of the handlers for the giant helium balloons. I still tear up a little every year when I watch the Rockettes perform for the grandstand.

The very last Horn & Hardart Automat closed in 1991, and I am so very sad that I never ate there.

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Filed under blogging, family, holidays, nostalgia, vintage

love

I haven’t written in a while. If you’re a regular reader, you’ve already noticed this. Not that my blog was ever “about” anything, but I’ve felt as though I have even less to add these days. I’m picking up the odd design job here and there, and busying myself with jewelry-making in between. I’ve been experimenting with new materials, since, outside of the pet tags, nothing seems particularly popular with the masses. And the dog tags? I don’t make a dime on them. Even if I kept the “profit” portion of their price for myself, it would be tough to live on $2 a month.

My usual flurry of Halloween activity was tempered this year. Halfway through my second costume, I just gave up. I didn’t care about it. I was relieved that I already had one finished, but to be completely honest, that one wouldn’t have come together without the dedicated assistance of Megan doing my hair at the last minute. (I did have a great time helping Megan and Joe decorate for their party, and while I know they think that I was doing them a favor, it is I who really appreciate spending all of those days with them.)

In August, I finally started sewing Butterick 4790. I bunged up my sewing machine, and spent hours/days trying to figure out how to affordably fix it. Finally, with some ingenuity (and a metal kebab skewer) I was able to clear out enough thread from the innards to start sewing again. My (single) costume dress was back on, and it came out rather well if I may say so myself (very forgiving material) but that Walk-Away dress is still unfinished. And will likely remain so. I love the chrysanthemum fabric I chose for the front panel, but I went too cheap on the wrap-around solid, and I just don’t want to work with it. Even if I liked the fabric, I am faced with stitching on 300 yards of bias tape. Ugh.

Yesterday, things were picking up. I successfully made myself a cup of tea, AND drank it before it got cold. I’ve been typing out, longhand, a 13-chapter story, one chapter at a time, for a friend, and I managed to find an entire chapter already online. Copy-and-paste! I finally got myself started with my Blue Book, so I could be an informed voter AND still vote early. The beads that I had ordered specifically for an exclusive bracelet design being sold at an online shop FINALLY came in. I swapped some good email with a potential client, and worked on a business card design for another. I cleaned up a section of the kitchen, which has become my cluttered food-prep-and-jewelry studio.

And then the tape came loose. Megan called. In and of itself, unusual. The middle of the afternoon only made it more so. It turns out that their oldest, tiniest, sweetest cat was sick. Very sick. Always plagued with respiratory issues, Wheezer’s breathing had been getting more labored. She had just taken him into the vet, and some cells had been swabbed for testing. He was scared, not feeling well, test results weren’t back yet, and Megan and her husband were supposed to be leaving for vacation on Friday morning. Assuring them that staying home wouldn’t help our dear fuzzy friend get any better, I agreed to stay with him in their home so he wouldn’t have to be kenneled while they were gone. I was nervous about the possibility of the prognosis being Not Good on my watch, but I love that little guy like my own and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for him (and my friends). Besides, the vet have given three possible diagnoses, so statistically, things would probably be okay. I’d pick up some meds and take care of whatever needed caring.

A few hours later, Joe called, and the bottom fell out. He and Megan had gone back to the vet’s to pick up our little pal, but the vet had assessed the situation with more observation and test results, and my friends had a very difficult decision to make. It wasn’t so much a choice as it was a necessary kindness, but that doesn’t make the pain any easier to swallow.

Too soon, I am again left with a hole in my heart that aches for my friends’ loss, knowing that there isn’t a damn thing I can do. This time, that loss feels more personal, because of the relationship that little Wheezer had with everyone who ever walked into his house. Every person he ever met was his best friend, and possessed his most comfortable lap in which to sleep. His only emotion was contentment. I am consoled by the fact that his last weekend was spent in a houseful of hands ready and willing to pet him, an assortment of laps to test, and that so many people, though they didn’t know it, got a chance to say good-bye. I am glad that I stole a few minutes to laugh and play with him on Friday when I should have been setting up more décor, and glad that he slept at my feet, wheezing of course, when the party was all over.

Wheezer brought love with him wherever he went, and no matter how much he gave away, he always had more. His capacity for love was bigger than his physical size. It filled him, spilled out, and if you sat still long enough, it would fill you, too. I hope I can learn from him.

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Filed under blogging, cute and fuzzy bunny, friends, Halloween, jewelry, pets, sewing

lessons from my parents

(Meme stolen from Mighty Girl)

Anything [band here] is doing was done first, and better, by Led Zeppelin.

It’s okay that you don’t type well. That means you can’t get a job as a secretary.

A car is a tool, not a toy.

Your perfume should leave a hint, not a punch.

All generalizations are false.

Offer a firm handshake.

I can sing a rainbow.

Dress nicely for an interview. (You would think this was hella obvious, but some of the people I’ve seen…)

If you can’t make it good, make it big. If you can’t make it big, make it red.

My all-time, absolute, penultimate favorite: Look it up.

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catching up

It’s been brought to my attention that I haven’t been writing on my regular schedule. My apologies, and thanks for noticing! Here’s a quick rundown:

My cracked tooth was successfully pulled, and did indeed leave a tunnel into my sinus cavity. The surgeon did whatever it was he had to do to fix that (I was sedated and I’m fuzzy on what he explained), and I have spent the last days spending quality time with ice packs, Vicodin, ibuprofen, salt water, and squishy food. I have a follow-up appointment on Tuesday to make sure everything is healing properly, in spite of my sneezing a few days before I was “allowed” to.

I’m back under contract with my ex-employer for another week. Which is great, because I have yet to collect an unemployment check! Colorado makes it hard to actually get that first payout. I have received the paperwork warning me that I have to call and request each payment, and if I call too late, I’ll miss it, but if I call too early, my entire app will be tossed and I’ll have to start over. However, there is no paperwork telling me when it is that I’m supposed to call! Yikes!

I made good progress on Costume One yesterday, and am now done with the sewing portion. I still need to practice hair/makeup, and figure out footwear (the shoes donated by Alison just aren’t what I had in mind), but it’s SO CLOSE. Costume Two got a late start, however, and next weekend will be a flurry of catch-up activity.

Now, back to work!

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Filed under blogging, Halloween, sewing, the office

The Big Read

Ren: Hey, Jasper. Where’s Phil?
Jasper the Pup: I told you, they put him to sleep.
Ren: So wake him up.
Jasper the Pup: You don’t wake up from the *big* sleep.
Ren: The big sleep… THE BIG SLEEP? THE BIG SLEEP! THE BIG SLEEP!
Stimpy: What’s the big sleep, Ren?
Ren: He’s DEAD! DEAD you idiot! You know what DEAD is? Just like we’ll be if we don’t get out of here!

I nabbed this meme from Inherent Passion. My mom is a librarian, and instilled in me from an early age a deep love for books. Still, I only came in at 40 (in part because I got tired of checking IMDb to see which Austen or Brontë film was which).

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. The program was created in response to the National Endowment for the Arts report Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, which identified a critical decline in literary reading among American adults. In partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, this study, with a sample size of 17,000, revealed the following about literary reading in the U.S.:

  • Less than half of the adult American population now reads literature. (In this survey, literature is defined as any novels, short stories, poetry, or drama, with no distinctions made for quality or length.)
  • The percentage of the U.S. adult population reading any book has declined by seven percent over the past decade.
  • Literary reading is declining among all age groups, but the steepest decline is in the youngest age groups.

As Mrs. Passion (heh heh) points out, there are some discrepancies on the list. The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe are listed separately. Same with The Complete Works of Shakespeare and Hamlet. For me, this causes a quandary. I’ve read a bit of Shakespeare, but not everything he’s ever written. I read Chronicles as a kid, or rather, my sister read it to me, but I don’t think we finished the series. I’m not fully convinced that this particular list came directly from the NEA, as it isn’t the sort of organization that would miss such an error. Also, as I browse through official site, there are a number of books mentioned that I personally feel are, if not “better” than some on this list, then perhaps more classic. Fahrenheit 451, anyone? Still, it’s fun.

Look at the list and:
1) Bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you own.
3) Underline the books you have seen a movie or TV production of.
4) Reprint this list in your own blog

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
8 Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller (I started to read this is a kid, but never got into it. I suppose I should try again.)
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (Not complete, no.)
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 The Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams (Is there an EXTRA bold I could use?)
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis (Does everyone start singing Lazy Sunday to themselves when they see this title, or is it just me?)
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen (Okay, seriously, enough with the Jane Austen. Another reason I don’t believe this list comes from the NEA.)
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson (That is, I think I own it. I have a bunch of Bryson’s books scattered around the house.)
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (My dad is a huge Sherlock Holmes fan. I’ve read/seen some, but not all.)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad (I’ve seen Apocalypse Now, which I think should count.)
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupéry
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Bank
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Now go to your local library. If you don’t already have a library card, get one. They’re free. Take some books home. Also free. Borrow a few DVDs while you’re at it. Those are free as well. Or stay at the library, find a nice quiet space, and stare out the window. (My favorite window seat at my local library looks out over a grassy field filled with romping prairie dogs.) A lot of libraries even have their own coffee shops now. Go get a latté and a brownie. They’re not free, but they’re probably tasty.

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