Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

BubbleShare: Share photos - Play some Online Games.


No words today, just pictures of a recent get together when, thanks to our friend Kim, we were fortunate enough to discover glass slippers, an accessory that flows seamlessly from wine to chocolatini and back to wine again. My Ibuprophen bottle will back me up on this. I was hoping to produce an end-of-year wrap-up post but, really? That thought was just too overwhelming. WAY too overwhelming.

Suffice it to say it's been an amazing year. I thank you for being here with me.

Also, as far as the photos go, it's getting to be a lot of work to be a blogger and not on Facebook all at the same time. Not to worry, though, I plan to continue to muddle through somehow.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Paparazzi Birthday

The honorees in a move almost unheard of in the rarefied world of the much-photographed, agree to actually pose with a large percentage of the paparazzi stalking them. From left: Eva, Mary Ellen, Grandmama, Brenda, Gina, Patsy, Uncle Tom.

I was fortunate today to attend what may well have been the most well-photographed party in the history of Western Kentucky. My Grandmother and Great Uncle both celebrated their birthdays bathed in the blinding glow of constantly flashing digital cameras at my aunt Patsy's house. The honorees, eighty-eight and ninety respectively, took being enthusiastically herded from photo op to photo op with great aplomb. I daresay the pair may have even enjoyed it.
Here we see but a fraction of the paparazzi in relentless pursuit of their photographic quarry.

Uncle Tom opening a present. When I was little, probably five, he sat me on his knee and we had a very serious discussion about the fact that I had a regular uncle Tom and also, a great (him) uncle Tom. He explained that it's like he was an uncle twice over and suggested I could differentiate him from my regular uncle by referring to him "Uncle-Uncle Tom". I did. For about thirty years and he never got tired of it. That I know of.

I snapped this photo just as my Mom walked over, placed a hand on Grandmama's beautiful snowy white hair, and told her she has been the best mother anyone could ever hope for. I kid myself that this exact same image isn't right now sitting on fourteen other digital photo sticks.



The Pink Ladies: Bethany and Patsy.



The Pink Ladies and? An interloper who was later reported to have been heard several times pointedly referring to her red sweater as "dark pink".


Here Patsy and Brenda demonstrate the lost art of Cake Wrangling. Right after they simultaneously got a firm grip on and lifted the desert, the rest of us rushed in and spun the table around. (What, you think it's easy? This meant we had to put our cameras down.)


Could these two possibly be any cuter? Looking at this photo causes all the smartassery to just drain right out of me.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Stranded


At first? She was proud of herself. Proud that she had not only jumped on the couch, but also that she'd made the precarious crossing from couch to coffee table. She pranced around gaily for a few minutes enjoying the view from her new perch and the fact that she was now officially as far off the ground as her big sister.

But then? Reality set in. And that reality was that going anywhere else was going to necessarily involve the "jump-down". And the jump-down has been the very last maneuvering skill to be reacquired since her surgery. In fact, the jump-down doesn't ever happen anymore unless it happens unconsciously. As in, she is sitting on my chair and, suddenly, hears the sound of the treat jar lid rattling. This sound will automatically cause her to lose her mind and quite forget the fact that she's jumping off of anything. I'm pretty sure she'd hurl herself off the Empire State Building if she heard that tantalizing sound in the distance.

But today, the treat jar wasn't rattling. Today she was just stuck and so she went to Plan B. And that is crying. It usually works. She produces a sad little yodeling sound, it is multi-tonal and pathetic. However, since this whole situation evolved about two feet away from me, I wasn't exactly about to come running, worried about what her situation might be. When the yodeling began, and it occurred to me she was marooned, I did what any good Mommy would do. I grabbed the camera and started snapping.

And then I lifted her onto the floor. (Oh yah. I'm a hard-ass.)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Deco Lady...


...finds a home in my hallway. A Christmas gift from my mother. LOVE it! (Click for a larger version.)

Merry Christmas to All


My son, Chase, this morning with his good buddy B-Frank. His shirt says, "Sarcasm. Just one of my many talents."

Honestly. Where does he get that stuff?

(Hope you have a wonderful holiday.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wine + Crafting = Shut-Up


I had some of my BFFs over recently, the core group of which has been getting together in December for years now. We drank wine, we ate food, we did our first ever "art project" a wacky undertaking (my idea, of course), that included snapping a black and white photo of ourselves on my couch, printing that image for each of us, and then cutting out and inserting that image into some wintry landscape photos I had taken a few years ago of a (then) snowy Redwood Forest. There were stickers involved. Also? Snowflakes.

(Did that make any sense? Anyway. It was fun.)

All of this is to explain the photo above taken by Christa (who did an excellent job of covering the event, I might add, my camera stayed on the tripod most the night) of our friend Julie. While the rest of us were carefully cutting out our images, painstakingly inserting them "just so" into the landscape, and pondering our many snowflake and sticker options, Julie cut to the chase. She had her image roughly cut, glued (yes, with a glue stick) to the background photo and a "Shut Up" sticker slapped on there before you could say....well, "shut up".

The photo pretty much says it all. Much hilarity ensued.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Fond Farewell


Despite my earlier declaration that it is best that I never come in possession of the entire Ken Burns Civil War Series, I went right on out to the library not long after in the hopes of doing just that. This lead to a discovery on the library's part that they did not have the series in it's entirety in DVD form which meant I had to request it through an inter-library loan. My request was fulfilled today when I paid a visit to check out Hannah and Her Sisters (a Christmas favorite) and found my loan request in its entirety waiting for me a full two weeks sooner than expected.


Of course, I've spent the evening enthralled by Part 1. I could hardly believe I had forgotten how this section ended: with the reading of a now famous love letter from a soldier to his wife. Sullivan Ballou, a 32-year-old Union soldier from Rhode Island, penned the letter in July of 1861 while he was stationed at Camp Clark near Washington, DC. It reads:

My very dear Sarah,

The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days—perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more . . .

I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing—perfectly willing—to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt . . .

Sarah my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me unresistibly on with all these chains to the battle field.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them for so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood, around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me—perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar, that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness . . .

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights . . . always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again . . .

Major Sullivan Ballou would die a week later at the Battle of Bull Run (or Manassas as it is called in the south). The letter would not reach his 24-year-old wife, Sarah, by mail, but would be found among Sullivan's effects when Rhode Island officials gathered their dead from Virginia. At the time of his death, the pair had been married six years and had two sons, Edgar and William. Sarah would never remarry. She died at the age of eighty, fifty-six years later, and was buried next to Sullivan in 1917.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wishful Drinking (or Finally, a real memoir!)


I am more than a little excited to learn tonight that Carrie Fisher a writer, actress, humorist, and self-proclaimed product of "Hollywood in-breeding" (her parents are Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher) has finally, after a long string of thinly veiled novels based on her own life, come all out with an actual memoir for real. Released the 2nd of this month, "Wishful Drinking" chronicles the star's dysfunctional life up to an including her bipolar disorder, shock treatments, and waking up with a corpse in her bed (the dearly departed was male but also gay, so not a Private Benjamin type situation).

Like everyone else, I loved Carrie as Miss Cinnamon Buns aka Princess Leia, but my real girl crush didn't start until I read her first novel, "Postcards from the Edge", loosely based on Fisher's experiences in rehab and recovery and the subsequent perils of living the life of a recovering addict with a Hollywood diva for a mother in the never-never land of Tinseltown. The move of the same name was highly anticipated, but let me down in casting Meryl Streep as the Fisher character against the brilliant choice of Shirley MacLaine as Debbie Reynolds. I personally couldn't get passed the fact that Streep and MacLaine aren't nearly far apart enough in age to actually be mother/daughter (hello?). Still, thanks to MacLaine, the movie, while not an overall success, gave us some incredible moments like the whole "it twirled up" confrontation.

Fisher would go on to follow up "Postcards" with "Surrender the Pink", "Delusions of Grandma" and "The Best Awful" three more obviously autobiographical works packaged as fiction. Having enjoyed all these books, you'll understand why I'm a little excited to finally have added a book by Fisher to my Amazon shopping card that is overtly biographical.

Even better news is that Fisher is out promoting her newest work most recently on NPR on December 16th. If you're a fan, this 30 minute interview on Talk of the Nation is worth hearing. Carrie is also on the road with her one-woman show with the same name as her newest book. The show will open in Seattle in March. I just might be crazy enough to head on up there and see it.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Out There


So.

Last night I spent the evening helping out a good friend who found herself in an Event Bind. Sort of an oxymoron that presupposes event planning and execution is ever anything BUT a bind, but I guess it's a question of degrees. In my friend's case, it was the day before the event and some of her catering help sort of went away.

Thus we found ourselves (literally) buying Sam's Club out of french bread and dinner rolls, steering overloaded out-of-control carts dangerously fast around corners at one point traumatizing a man to the point of fear who we inadvertently bumped the cart into and then proceeded to trail in a manner that I suppose he perceived as menacing but which was, in fact, just random on our part, and searching the west end frantically for suddenly elusive poultry seasoning.

I've long been annoyed at the institutional size of seemingly everything at Sam's, but for once found myself strangely gratified to, finally, actually have NEED of 20 sticks of butter and 80 stalks of celery and 20 1 lb loaves of french bread in one single night. Eventually, with my Mom's help, I would work into the wee hours to prepare a crunchy Asian style slaw and dressing (or should I call it stuffing?) of sufficient quantity to serve 200 people. We slid the last freakishly large pan of piping hot dressing from the oven at around 2 o'clock this morning, both tired to the point of giggling hysterics but at the same time a little amazed by the accomplishment.

Both Tallulah and Mom's dog, Dudley (a dachshund), were no less hysterical having never experienced excitement quite like it. Not only was there endless motion and ferrying of pans of stuffing back and forth between our two ovens, but also an incredible bonanza of a near constant shower of falling chopped veggies, bread crumbs, and various other manna from heaven. The project left both under-sized dogs producing explosive poops and horrendous drunken sailor-like belches by the end of the night.

In my case, it was good to be busy. Earlier in the week, I learned from a seemingly innocuous routine phone call the distressing news that funding for my job will cease in approximately 30 days.

Yes. You read that right.

I couldn't help but notice that I received this really bad job news almost a year to the day from the date that my marriage imploded in '07. Both incidents conveniently timed to not only completely f*** with my life, but also? My Christmas.

[Dear Fate: Lay off, will ya?]

The good news is that one doesn't survive such a train wreck without gaining a little perspective. Or at least this one doesn't. This whole last year has been one wild, crazy, feast or famine ride but ultimately? When I need money? I have it. When I need help? I get it. In other words the universe has done a pretty fine job of taking care of me and there's no real reason to think that it will suddenly stop now.

Also, I think the message for me continues to be that I very well may not be a person whose future includes a steady, stable job. Rather, It's looking more and more like I might be one of those people whose career will be more varied and unpredictable. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but as I've written before, I come from a clan of people who crave stability, a secure predictable retirement, and a 401K. NOT people who live on the edge trusting fate for sustenance.

The universe continues to shake me by the lapels and slap me senseless whenever I show signs of feeling the least bit complacent or secure.

'Tis not for me, it seems, that life of safety. Not any more.

Just the same? Next mid-December? You'll excuse me if I barricade myself and my dogs in an underground bunker in an undisclosed location. Without a cell signal.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Checking In


I've so dropped the ball here of late--I'm sorry! I haven't forgotten you guys! I promise a beefy post as soon as possible. Stuff is happening.

[Above is a recently scanned photo of my son Chase and I taken when he was but a wee two months old. What a precious little guy he was!]

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hung Up


Among my many strange obsessions (i.e., tiny things, sparkly things, retro things, girly power tools, socks) are: things that hang. Clearly, I need to become an artist specializing in tiny retro hanging sparkly works that I craft with small power tools. While wearing socks. I wouldn't expect you'd ever see or hear from me again.

And let's face it. That might be a good thing.

Pictured here is a mobile that I have been coveting for some time and finally took the plunge and bought during a recent tribulation in the lakes region (don't ask). I would have bought it sooner but it cost (are you ready for this?) thirteen dollars. Yet another strangeness: a reluctance to buy things that I really love even if the price is perfectly reasonable. Note: this quirk does not, for some reason, apply to clothes and make-up.

Ahem.

The mobile did not come with the Christmas wonderfulness you see already in its little clips, those were a most fabulous Christmas gift that I realized were far too lovely to use for their intended purpose which is as cocktail napkins. A few minutes attaching them to the mobile clips and VOILA! a one-of-a-kind Christmas decoration. You see it hanging here from my dining room light fixture, since I haven't yet decided on a perfect final spot for it.

It's hard to see (click for a larger version), but they read:

It was a bitch to clean, but during the holidays, Mrs. Douglas loved to wear her grandmother's fir.


Love!

Monday, December 15, 2008

No Time


Here's a quick photo of Tallulah, visiting at my office today. Her recovery from her recent spaying (on Wednesday) continues apace, however, I wasn't quite ready to leave her and her stitches in the crate just yet. She's lost a bit of weight since the procedure, but is nearly back to her perky self.

Lots of posts rolling around in the noggin', but no time to get them down. Hopefully, that will change soon.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Blog Alert


For all you sisters out there now officially addicted to the Chick Flix Series from Maiden Alley Cinema, know there is, officially, an Official Blog. It's official!

Find it here and bookmark it.

(Yes, there will be a quiz.)

Monday, December 08, 2008

RubberGirl


I would have thought this a physical impossibility based on past experience. Yet, here it is. FurGirl managing to tuck her whole, entire big self inside Tallulah's puppy bed. There is some overhang around the edges? But no part of this dog is touching the floor outside the bed. I checked.

Amazing.

Kentucky 101: Part One

I have a terrible tendency to live in my head. I think this is one of the things that makes me a writer by nature. It wasn't until I was thirty that it occurred to me that this was sort of a bad thing, I was shaken awake by a book coupled with some life experience and other realizations, and it has since been my constant struggle to be present for every wild, wonderful, terrible, boring, silly moment of this one amazing life I have been given.


I have a penchant for history that I think feeds into my "live in my head" tendency. It would be so easy for me to begin to devote myself to the study of this or that era and spend my time in a dreamy reverie of imagining life in a different time and place. I nearly plotzed with delight upon discovering the PBS series based on the premise of taking ordinary modern families and, to the greatest extent possible, stripping them of every modern convenience, placing them in another historic time (right down to replacing their underpants with their historic counterpart), equipping them with nothing but the tools and resources of the time, and then filming their experience. The resulting series: 1880's House, Frontier House, Colonial House, 1940's House, Manor House is some of the most fascinating programming I've ever watched in my whole entire life. Ken Burn's famous documentary series "The Civil War" is something, given half a chance, to which I could devote days and days. I own and have read, of my own free will, the Diary of Mary Chestnut. I've read countless biographies: Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, John Adams, Ben Franklin to name a few.


All that is to say, then, that it may be a little dangerous to put me in a college history course.


That is, however, where I found myself this semester past, due to the fact that one cannot get their paper without: Kentucky History.


Ya'll. We are nuts in Kentucky. You only have to live here a little while to know it and you only have to take one semester of Kentucky History to come to a certain realization: we come by it honestly.


In a state built on the production of whiskey, horseflesh, and tobacco, it's not real hard to figure out why your average Kentuckian of yore is some drunk pissed off somebody riding a too fast horse, sucking on a corncob pipe, and looking for some ass to kick (in other words, native Kentuckians: your (and my) great-great grandpappy). This is how the Bluegrass state lost more soldiers than any other in the War of 1812. And why when Aaron Burr, the Vice President shot Alexander Hamilton, the Secretary of the Treasury in a duel...where did Burr run to and hide out? Why Kentucky, of course! Come on down, have a drink and a smoke, we know how to keep a secret down here (and our pie is divine)! Ever wonder why the Kentucky state line takes a nonsensical jog at the southwest corner? It's because when the surveyors showed up, and plotted the line, a certain farm owner's land ended up on the Tennessee side. And this farmer didn't want to live in Tennessee, see, he was a Kentuckian, he said, and, by the way, he had a vast store of whiskey. And surveyors + food + whiskey = the state line gets moved.

Which brings us to, God help us, Kentucky politics. I'm not going to comment on current KY politics, although, the mess in Frankfort is pretty legendary and continues. But I will say, on a note closer to home, I'm fond of recounting the story of a certain newly elected official's first meeting with his staff. This official, once everyone was seated a the conference table, took a deep breath and said to the assemblage, "Okay, let's start here (gesturing to the employee nearest him) and go around the table and ya'll tell me who's your mama and who's your daddy." Not, mind you, their credentials, or their history of working for the organization, or professional accomplishments, or a little something about their department but, more importantly, who's yer daddy?

Now, this particular elected official had been around a while and his objective was actually friendly, in that we play a little game down here in the south sort of like the seven degrees of Kevin Bacon. And that is, we figure we know a lots of people, and upon meeting someone new, we'll sorta go 'round and 'round each other's friends and kinfolk until--we happen upon a mutual acquaintance--thus getting a fix on who this person is. The conversation will go a little like:

Person #1
So, are you one of the Huckleberrys from Fancy Farm?

Person #2
No, I'm from Possum Trot

Person #1
OH! A Possum Trot Huckleberry. Didn't one of ya'll marry that girl that used to sing at Tater Day?

Person #2
That was my uncle, Rufus Huckleberry.

Person #1
Rufus Huckleberry is your UNCLE?! I'll be darned! Why Rufus and I go way back...

And, etcetera. So, essentially, this official was trying to be neighborly and play a round of Seven Degrees of Kentucky Bacon with his new staff, thereby gaining an immediate understanding of who they are and where they come from. Trouble was? Not everyone at the table was a native Kentuckian.

Which can only mean one thing.

Those people? The people not from Kentucky?

Aren't from around here.

Which means? Ain't no amout of bacon chewin' gonna acquaint you with this person. And that casts those that aren't from around here in a certain suspicious light. Oh, you'll still get an extra hushpuppy with your catfish and a big slice of Derby pie for dessert. It's not that they don't like you, but more like maybe they might just step lightly around you until they gets to know you a little better. In fifteen years or so. This phrase is also sometimes used by way of explanation.

Person #1
What's he doing?

Person #2
Don't know.


Person #1
Is he putting ketchup on his biscuits?

Person #2
He ain't from around here.

Person #1
Ohhhhhhh.

[To Be Continued...]

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Another World


I'm posting here one of the many photographs I took of the giant redwoods in Sequoia National Forest (click for a larger version). If you've never been there, please just go. It's an indescribable feeling to walk among these great, silent giants, the largest living organisms in the world. The oldest of these trees is 2,500 years old.

Older than the Parthenon.

Not so long ago, it was believed the unexplored redwood forest canopy was a kind of desert environment, which makes no sense even to me even as uneducated as I am about these things. Once some brave soul finally shimmied up there, a very different picture emerged. It was one of a whole other world teeming with undiscovered species busily living out their life cycles as many as 38 stories off the ground. This discovery lead to further study and a still growing body of knowledge about these California giants.

Richard Preston, a biologist and expert in such things as the Ebola virus, developed an interest in the redwoods when he began tree climbing as an activity to share with his children. I'm posting below his TED Talk which is a full twenty minutes long, but packed with amazing, thought provoking and fascinating facts about the redwood forest and an alarming (and unreported) environmental situation at the end.

I'm going to run away and join the TED. You should totally come with.
[Edited to add: I've given up trying to embed the video. Follow this link to see it.]

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Looking Back

My oft-denied Facebook habit waxes and wanes. It may have peaked, however, on Thanksgiving day when I received a message from a BFF of yore. And not just a little bit yore, either, I'm talking fourth and fifth grade type of yore. This initial message lead to others and a hook-up through the site with two other very good friends from that time in my life which is to say, collectively, the fourth through the ninth grades. Six formative years.

The facebook photo that started it all posted by the friend behind the camera in this case. That's me at the back at about 13.

Those years of my schooling were a bit unusual because I attended a fundamental Baptist school during that time. A school that forbade much of what we consider normal coming-of-age stuff. Like, for instance, rock-n-roll. Short skirts. Dancing (think Footloose without the breakthrough). Also there was no saying of bad words. Like, for instance, "Gosh".

I call this "Conservative Cheerleader". And it's sad, because I could have totally rocked a short skirt at this point. I'm putting this one at about 1976, just before the make-up moratorium was lifted (PTL!). Still, I can almost smell the "Love's Baby Soft" and the four coats of shiny gloss in "Bubble Gum", my preferred lip scent of the time, wafting from this photo.


Now, understand. When I went home? I could (and did often) slap on a halter top and tune into some WLS (Chicaaaago!) or spin my Donny Osmond 45's on my pea green portable record player (along with Elton John, Abba, and The Who) and dance around in my unfinished basement on roller skates all night long. At the time, it struck me as not at all odd that there were two sets of standards in my life: one for school and one for home. I never paused to consider that my home life (not the least bit wild or crazy) was still wildly more permissive than my school life. Looking back, I think it's a darn good thing, actually, that was the case. I don't know how a person survives that kind of repression at home AND at school.

Ran across this one in the yearbook and it barely scanned. I'm about 14 here. It's notable for two things (choir robe aside): first, there it is, my Dorothy Hamil 'do in all it's glory! I've often reminisced about it, but never realized or had forgotten that there was this photo evidence of it. Secondly? Those shoes. They were Mary Janes! They were wedges! They were Mary Jane wedges! I never tired of them. Still wish I had them, in fact.

Eventually, a series of circumstances would cause me to leave the school and the church all together. My last year there was my freshman year of high school. I made the decision not to go back during the summer. I entered the public school, for the first time since the third grade, as a sophomore wearing jeans to school for the first time ever.

Was the public school a shock for me? I have to say, not really. It was more like a relief. It was where I needed to be.

Synchronistically, I ran across my box of yearbooks while digging out Christmas decorations last week right around the time I started corresponding with these old friends. As I flipped through the pages and looked at the old pictures I was struck by how many people from that conservative place that signed my yearbooks called me "strange". A typical entry by a fellow classmate would read something like, To a strange person but a great cheerleader, keep God in your life! Or sometimes they would sign off with a bible verse citation. Apparently? Darn near everybody considered me "strange" as the word appears over and over written in careful school kid script and applied to me. At the time? This struck me as not the least bit, well, strange. Looking at it as an adult, however, I have to wonder...was I strange? Or was I a "normal" (if there is such a thing) kid in a strange place?

I suspect a little bit of both.

Ultimately, this lead to asking myself, maybe for the first time, am I a liberal because of that very close and prolonged encounter with narrow-mindedness? Or, was I by nature, a budding lefty predestined by nature to inevitably clash with that conservative lifestyle. The whole chicken or egg thing. I suppose I could have developed my philosophy completely aside from that experience. But it seems unlikely, doesn't it?

And anyway, it doesn't much matter how I got here. I'm here. That's the thing.


My twelfth birthday slumber party. Milk and cookies. I'm the wildly happy one with the mouth open smile.

But it was hard back then, very hard, to leave all the friends I'd had for so long and strike out, all alone, to a new (huge) school. Fourteen is not exactly the age one dreams of being a maverick loner. Fourteen is the age when your friends are...everything. It makes me think of the last lines in Stand by Me:

I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Hidden"


Isabelle--thinking she is tucked away behind the tree and secretly napping on the forbidden couch.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Recycling Gone Wrong

So riddle me this: What's more upsetting than finding your puppy in the hallway with a fresh turd, a big stink, and a somewhat guilty look?

Why, that would be returning to the same hallway a few seconds later, TP in hand, only to find the aforementioned puppy, fast-fading stink, and the merest of faint smears where the offending doo-doo used to be. And, no, my puppy isn't bewitched. Although, the first time it happened? I have to admit I wondered.

No, the truth is something infinitely more upsetting. The truth is that my fluffy little cotton ball has taken to eating her own excrement.

That's right. Tallulah Priscilla: sh!teater.

Oh my god, ya'll, I was so KIDDING when I used to refer to her late summer diarrhea poo's as "chocolate soft serve"! Me and my smart-assed blog mouth! (Mommies: we blame ourselves for everything, don't we?)

Of course, by now I've surfed the web and become a lay expert on the subject of puppy poo eating. Turns out, the condition is not as far fetched or uncommon as one might think (even though the fastidious FurGirl wouldn't DREAM of such a sacrament). There are a few explanations for the behavior the most likely of which, by my calculations, is a) the desire to keep the accident a secret and or b) (apologies in advance) she thinks it tastes good.

I'm leaning toward "b" in Tallulah's case given that she is usually pretty unconcerned about defying me, and the fact that she is a VORACIOUS eater to say the least. She regularly devours her breakfast and dinner in under fifteen seconds. In fact, to the untrained eye, if one were to see Tallulah eating with no other information, they would likely assume her life just might depend on frantically devouring every single morsel as quickly as possible. Tallulah falls onto her food with a reckless abandon that would tend to indicate it's been 12 days rather than 12 hours since her last meal. Knowing Tallulah? Probably where we see poo-poo, she sees only slightly processed dinner, ripe for the savoring a second glorious time.

We're working on it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Great White Tree

Thanksgiving?

Did it.

And we all know what that means.

Movin' on to Christmas. And for me, this means the Year of Doing Whatever The Hell I Want continues. For the passed decade plus, I've been unable to have a fake Christmas tree. And, you know? That can be nice. A real tree is pretty. It smells good.

On the other hand, it's a bitch to drag one home if you're not really in the mood. Also? They don't come pre-lit (well they do, but it is very, VERY expensive). Plus? There's that whole putting it in the tree stand drama. The figuring out the best angle. I could go on. And, in case you have to ask, I couldn't possibly have anything but a real GREEN tree because that was the Ex-Man's Proclamation #652 (refer to Thou shalt not have curtains.).

That's why 2008 is the Year of The Fake Tree. And not just a little fake, either. I mean the really, really, SUPER no doubt about it fake tree. Woo hoo--look out...


...'cause I got the great, white, glowing, artificial crazy already goin' on up in here!

But, honestly, besides crazy, isn't it sort of beautiful? I considered leaving it just naked and glowing and white, that would have been the classy thing to do. But I'm having a Big, Wacky, Christmas, and so we piled on the ornaments.




Until we reached the perfect consistency of "Holy crap is that a Christmas tree or did Santa's Village throw up in your living room?"




What can I say? I love it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tipster Tuesday: The $15 Sock (!Updated!)


[Edited to add: So, the other night? I've got on my $15 socks and I walk out onto my deck before I realize 1) it has rained muchly and 2) I'm standing in a puddle of water. And we all know what a pain it is to walk through water in socks. So, I'm all, "DAMN", and I come back in and I walk around for a bit and then...I realize...hey...my socks aren't wet anymore?! Amazing space age technology, these socks. Just thought you'd want to know.]
Oh, alright already, I admit fifteen dollars is a lot of money for a pair of socks. I'll give you that. (As an aside: Apologies for the crappy glare-ridden photo. It wasn't happening for me today.)

But consider this: I now have three pairs of fifteen dollar socks in my sock drawer (don't do the math please) and I get near-frantic if there isn't a pair available on a daily basis. Because people? Hear me now believe me later: it's hard to accept a substitute when you've experienced the best the sock world has to offer. (Much like so many other things in life.)

Don't think a sock can make that much difference? Consider the lunch conversation I had with Monica just last Friday at a downtown restaurant:

ME
(to Monica)
CUTE SHOES!

MONICA
(Extending a leg and doing the slow toe circle.)
Thanks! Got 'em in Santa Fe.

ME
Wish I had my camera I'd have to blog those babies...WOW!

MONICA
Yah, well, I paid too much for them.

ME
Doubt it. From the looks of 'em.

MONICA
(still extending and toe rolling, her face radiating an obvious girl crush in the direction of her foot)
Hmmm...I don't know...

ME
You're probably talking to the wrong person, anyway. I can't stop buying fifteen dollar socks.

MONICA
Wait! Did you say fifteen dollar socks?! Because I have fifteen dollar socks!

ME
You mean the hiking...

MONICA
...socks from Hooper's!

ME
Yes....YES!

MONICA
Isn't it AWFUL!

ME
Completely!

MONICA & SUZANNE
*squeeeeal!*

MONICA
Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

ME
Are we walking or driving?

In our defense, we did buy a pair for a mutual friend who had a birthday the next day (honest), but we couldn't walk away without a pair for ourselves. (Think of the savings in laundry costs!)

So whether your feeling decadent all by yourself or are casting about for that hard to satisfy customer on your x-mas list, please consider any style of the $15 Smartwool Hiking Sock. Because, trust me, it's hard not to smile when your feet feel that good.

[Available locally at the aforementioned Hooper's already in their new location at 219 Broadway. Also available on the web, but almost never for less than the dreaded $15.]

Sunday, November 23, 2008

For the Boys...(and possibly the girls, depending.)

The new Guitar Hero commercial featuring super model, and Project Runway host and co-creater, Heidi Klum, was all over the internet this weekend. It's a take-off on the "Risky Business" scene that featured the music of Bob Seger that Tom Cruise famously originated back in the day. And, while Tom certainly did a fine job of it, it's hard to think Heidi doesn't just flat kick its ASS about twice as hard.

I love Heidi. I love that she went right ahead and had her first child after the baby's father, her jackass boyfriend whose name we won't speak, dumped her and then she just got up and fell right on into True Love with Seal and had two more babies all the while keeping up her Project Runway shooting schedule, marching down the Victoria's Secret runway, developing her own jewelry line and just being all around fabulous. And, oh, she can sing too!

The first video is the G-Rated version, the second the Director's Cut. Three kids later? The Body shows no sign of fading.

Go ahead. Start your Monday off right, why doncha?




Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Singalong



I'm going to quit posting videos, I really am, because that's not really what I'm about here, but...bear with me for one more?

Because, this one is just a great way to start your day (it's how I started my day) or a the perfect excuse to take a break and have a little sing along. I ask you, who doesn't need a little John Lennon interlude? I mean...who do you think you are; a superstar? Well, right you are!

Also, a word about Yoko, who appears in this video wearing a gauze blindfold and knitting a sweater. Clearly, the thing wouldn't have worked without her (ahem). As a young person I was among the Yoko haters as in--what is she doing there? What's the matter with her? What is John thinking? She broke up the Beatles...blah, blah.

But then I grew up a little and saw "Imagine" and grew up some more and lived through a few relationships and now when I see her hanging around I'm just impressed that John cared so deeply for his wife that he wanted her there all the time. Even if she is knitting a sweater blindfolded. Maybe especially if she's knitting a sweater blindfolded. 'Cause I don't care what anybody says--that's love.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Like...OHMYGAWD!



I'm sorry in advance for posting this video of a group of overwrought girls watching the finale of American Idol. But, you have to see it. (Blame Pamie.)

Watching this just makes me...tired and amused and, oh Lord, ever so glad I survived the Drama of this age to live to experience a more reasonable phase of human existence.

Finally, I'm reminded of my favorite line in The Virgin Suicides. The scene finds Cecelia, a 13-year-old girl in the hospital following a suicide attempt. It goes like this:

Doctor: What are you doing here, honey? You're not even old enough to know how bad life gets.
Cecilia: Obviously, Doctor, you've never been a 13-year-old girl.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Tiny Powertale

Once upon a time there was a girl named Suzanne who really, REALLY liked girly stuff. She hosted tea parties with her stuffed animals. She twirled a baton. Later, she became a wildly enthusiastic cheerleader. As she grew older, this bent toward the girly turned into desire for a wide variety of make-ups and, especially a penchant for GOOD perfume. (She honed her nose for scent at the mall counters dousing herself with many samples leading her father to wonder, upon picking her up at said mall later that day, and catching a whiff of her ten-year-old self wafting from the back seat, if there was a “whore in the car”.)

Eventually, her girliness lead her to be attracted to shiny things. Sequins. Glitter. Precious gem stones. Tiaras. If she had been a fish? She wouldn’t have lasted long in the pond if a sparkly hook were dropped into the water.

But then one day Suzanne found herself on her own all alone with a sack of Bath and Body Works Wallflowers. A product that, while it smells REALLY good, is super hard to open (they have plastic twist-tops). And, being all alone (did I mention?), with no burly person to turn to for assistance and unable to budge the twist tops and fulfill her critical need to fill her house with the luscious scent of amber, she began casting about for a solution to the problem.

And, lo, she realized she had made off (accidentally of course) with one of the ex-man’s (many) toolboxes inside of which she found hammers and pliers and…vice-grips! Unsure of how the vice-grips worked, she nevertheless uncertainly applied them to the stubborn twist tops and…voila!

Suddenly? Through the magic of tools? Suzanne had the strength of a burly person all by herself.

And she liked it.

Soon she was pilfering through the toolbox on a regular basis. When she bought new glasses with annoying gummy price tags glued to the bottom? She scraped the offending tags off with the retractable razor blade tool thingy she found. When she painted a room? She hammered the paint can lid back on with the rubber mallet. When she needed to remove the switch plate covers? She found an oh so satisfying assortment of screwdrivers (so much more handy than a butter knife, as it turned out), one of which had a head that fit right into the screws. When she wanted to switch out her dresser pulls? Yep. The discovery of a level led to an hour of applying it to the top of every hung picture and adjusting the frame to PERFECT level…so satisfying.

Soon Suzanne was haunting the tool aisles whenever she was at Lowe’s or Home Depot. Mooning after the laser levels quickly led to…

The Power Tool Aisle.

That’s right. Dewalt. Bosch. Makita. Pretty much? Suzanne quickly calculated that a tool from any of the major lines could boost her strength to that of a couple of burly people. At very least. Best of all? Power Tools aren’t just built for burly people any more. Most every line now carries…

[insert chorus of heavenly angels]

…Tiny. Power. Tools.

Cordless and mighty, but small enough to comfortably right into the palm of her very own hand, Suzanne, the girly-girl, soon began to contemplate the possibilities inherent in owning her own Tiny Power Tool. Specifically, her affections were quickly drawn to the cutest Tiny Power Tool of all, the Bosch 10.8 Volt Litheon I-Driver, baby. As soon as she hefted the tiny snub-nosed floor sample from its holder and the James Bond theme song quickly unspooled in its entirety in her head, she knew it was Meant to Be.

She needed a Tool. A Power Tool.

She pressed the power button and the Bosch 10.8 Volt Litheon I-Driver sprang to life in her hand, its super-efficient motor winding up instantly….zzzzzzzzzzzzing!…it sang.

She let off the power, spun around and, lightening quick, pointed the Bosch 10.8 Volt Litheon I-Driver at a little old lady far down the aisle obliviously contemplating the cabinet hardware. Suzanne pulled the trigger again… zzzzzzzzzzzzing!… the Bosch 10.8 Volt Litheon I-Driver instantly responded.

Why she could have a switch plate off the wall in under five seconds! With the addition of one of those mixer blade thingys, she could have a can of paint stirred quicker than you could say, ‘Maybelline Great Lash’ (if you still used MGL, which of course, Suzanne does not). Why she could…she could…install curtain rods at every window…IN A SINGLE DAY.

“May I help you,” the voice of the Lowe’s guy startled her.

“Um…yes, how much is this?” Suzanne held up the Bosch 10.8 Volt Litheon I-Driver.

Over a hundred clams, as it turned out. More than her budget could stand at the moment thanks to her most recent binge at the Lancome counter. Reluctantly, Suzanne replaced the Bosch 10.8 Volt Litheon I-Driver in it’s holster…um…or holder, rather.

Turns out, the cost didn’t stop her from visiting.

It was one day in the power tool department a few weeks later, in fact, that she was visiting the Bosch 10.8 Volt Litheon I-Driver and having an especially satisfying Travis Bickle moment:

“You tawkin’ ta me?”

zzzzzzzzzzzzing!

“Hey! You takwkin’ ta…me?!”

zzzzzzzzzzzzing!

(By this time the Lowe’s sales people were leaving Suzanne alone).

Suddenly, Suzanne’s cell phone rang.

SUZANNE
Hello?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON
Hello?

SUZANNE
Hello? (zzzzzzzzzzzzing!)

UP
What's that noise?

SUZ
You mean this noise? (zzzzzzzzzzzzing!)

UP
Yah. THAT noise.

SUZ
Why...(zzzzzzzzzzzzing!)...that would be the the Bosch 10.8 Volt Litheon I-Driver.

UP
YOU have a Bosch 10.8 Volt Litheon I-Driver?

SUZ
Nope. But I visit one (zzzzzzzzzzzzing!)

UP
You visit one?

SUZ
(zzzzzzzzzzzzing!) Yep. At Lowe's.

UP
God help us all.

SUZ
(zzzzzzzzzzzzing!)

And so it happened that a week or so after that, the Fed Ex guy turned up on Suzanne's doorstep bearing a Very Special Package.

That's right, people.

Fear me. I have a Power Tool.
But not just a Power Tool.
A Power Tool, and? New Highlights....


MWWAAAHAHAHAAA....

zzzzzzzzzzzzing!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Would you forgive a Monday quote (a good one)?

These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones; they are for what they are; they exist with God to-day. There is no time to them. There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence. Before a leaf-bud has burst, its whole life acts; in the full-blown flower there is no more; in the leafless root there is no less. Its nature is satisfied, and it satisfies nature, in all moments alike. But man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future. He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time. [This, friends, is the essence of Transcendentalism]

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wondering what to do...



...when your annoying, sh!t-eating (literally, but that's another post) younger puppy sister gets a nice, fluffy new dog bed?

That's right, nestle your over-sized hiney in it. For added effect? Casually rest right paw on expensive Fortuny -covered pillow to make yourself the very picture of "eff-you".

Ahhh. Now! Doesn't that feel better?

(I'm pretty sure she feels better.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

So, tell us what you REALLY think...

Lately, I'm doing that thing I do. That, “Look over there!” thing I do when I don’t really want to write about me in this space. It’s what I do when I’m not feeling like the chirpy, plucky person that usually writes my blog entries. Don’t get me wrong, that person is me, the perky know-it-all lives. (Just ask all the people she annoys.) But she’s far from the full picture, of course.

And I’m not feeling her right now.

It’s been rainy and overcast too long for my taste. It’s true that I am awed by the foliage, but the darkness and cold that come along with it hover at the edge of my consciousness.

Is everything really okay?

I’m thrilled about the election results, but fancy Barak Obama is losing weight. Good lord, who wouldn’t?

Um, yah, no pressure? But can you fix the world please? We’ll just be right over here second guessing your every move while you give it a shot, okay?

Maybe it’s just my imagination, but he seems a little more fragile now. I sort of think someone should stand in front of Obama (like me but way cuter) for a time, and have a little pre-talk with the world and the media before a speech. Something like, “Now listen here! Barak has been through a tough, hard fought election and his Grandma just died. Cut him some slack, okay?” Understand, I’m not suggesting that Obama’s not up to the job, it’s just…damn. I worry.

It must take a superhuman amount of spit to stand up to the scrutiny of the world and the pack of bloodthirsty jackals that pass for the press. It must be unbelievable pressure to bear up under a modern US presidential election.

There can only be one thing more difficult. And that would be dealing with that kind of sustained pressure for four years. As a United States President right about now.

I can’t stop myself from personalizing these things. When Bill Clinton was president and the whole unending Lewinsky “scandal” was droning on? Back when were treated to details that we neither wanted or needed to know, and then further exposed to the unending blubbering of the pundits, critics, and a stream of indignant school principals and PTA presidents,[to be read with an extreme southern accent] “But what are we supposed to tell the children?” (As if children had, up to then, been immune to the unpleasantries of life---nice fairytale).


Back when all that was going on and on (and on), I remember at the end of so many “newscasts” there would be a little PS, almost an afterthought, when announcer would toss off something like, “Mr. Clinton continues to work to broker a peace on the middle east…”

Back then, I couldn’t help but think—what must it be like for Bill Clinton when the alarm goes off in the morning? What must be in his head when he opens his eyes and faces the absolute circus of another day on the job? How hard has it got to be to roll out and get in the shower and focus, at all, while the entire world scrutinizes the Technicolor details of an ill-advised sexual dalliance and a rabid special investigator with unlimited funds and power works desperately to oust you from office? Aside from the professional ramifications, there is also the super-fun personal dimension of your wife thinking (if only temporarily) that you need to be drawn and quartered. A couple of times. And then, oh yes! The middle east! And the rest of the country!

How did he do it (I always wonder)? How did Clinton just…keep on?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to suggest that Clinton weathered the most difficult presidential challenges, because no doubt, he did not. One only need visit the fun-filled worlds of good ol’ Abe Lincoln or LBJ—both of whom ended up dead—(granted LBJ lived longer, but even Lady Bird will tell you, the job killed the man) as direct results of their (almost totally) miserable pressure-cooker experiences.


No, what I mean to suggest is that in the modern age, in a post-9/11 world, with the incredible political challenges (the war, the economy) that are inherent and now with the added dimension of an out-of-control 24/7 press and a no-holds-barred mentality on the part of a great percentage of the American public, there just seems to be no refuge or respite for the man with the job. And Barak Obama, unlike Bill Clinton, is facing a challenge of Orwellian proportions.

It seems to me there is only one way Barak Obama can succeed. And that is absolutely, positively not by himself. It is going to take more than just one man and way more than just one party to turn this juggernaut around. It’s going to take some people saying, “You know? I didn’t vote for this guy, but I’m going to get on the team.” It’s going to take acceptance and tolerance and work and understanding and work and innovation and work and then it’s still going to take some luck.


And maybe? If all that important crap that’s teetering and all those people with their toes on the edge-- arms wind milling frantically--and all those issues drifting unheeded on the wind like a Forrest Gump feather, if all that stuff just happens to fall in the right direction?

Maybe we’ll have a chance.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Gliding along...


I never thought I'd see the day when one could lace up a pair of skates and practice their double toe loop in our little town, but it's finally happened. Last night a soft opening of the downtown Paducah Ice Skating rink was held complete with creamy hot chocolate, frosty blue cupcakes, and freshly elected city officials.

Desperate to provide you enquiring minds with photographic evidence (as if the local news media wasn't all over it), and lacking my own camera, I prevailed upon a friend for a snapshot. Instead, I got The Photograph you see above. Enjoy more of his work here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Joy of Intersecting Obsessions


I'm going to stop writing about Michelle Obama and what she's wearing and what she might wear because that's a whole 'nother blog, but not today.

And that's because today you need to know The Daily Beast has posted a fun little piece that challenged past Project Runway designers to mock up an inaugural frock for Michelle Obama or Cindy McCain (at the time of the challenge the election hadn't happened). The catch? They were only allowed to use Laura Bush’s 2005 Inaugural Ball dress, to be chopped up and re purposed, à la Pretty in Pink, an American flag, burlap sacks, and $10 worth of trims of their choosing. My personal favorite is the Malan Breton with Leeann Marshall running a close second.

How much do I love a design challenge of any kind? A lot.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Suzanne is soooo NOT at Facebook

Just a little post to let you know I'm absolutely, positively, definitely not on Facebook.

Because I really don't have time for that particular brand of "stuff and nonsense" (Marilla Cuthbert). Poking people. Ghost throwing. Random photo posting. Writing on walls and such...really! It's immature and a waste of God-given time and talent. Why, when I was a kid we used our free time wisely! Embroidering pillow cases with our initials and watching our mood rings change color. Good clean fun. And anyway, I wouldn't dream of updating friends every few hours on the minutia of my life. Heavens, NO!

Vanity, thy name is Facebook. Also? Get thee behind me Facebook.

In conclusion, I encourage you NOT to go to Facebook and add me as a friend so I can even begin to think of competing with Christa's staggering one hundred and twenty one person friend count (whatEVER).

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Watching Mrs. O


A little site in for a big future is Mrs. O, a blog dedicated to the now intensely important business of keeping tabs on what and who Michelle Obama is wearing. While Mrs. O's election night style prediction, a Maria Pinto, didn't materialize, they at least got the color right. We'll see if they do any better calling the inaugural gown.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Translating Nighthawks

Now that I've been living back in my new/old space for approaching a year (I swear, time flies when you're having fun), I've decided the time has come to start with some redesign projects.

Since settling in, I'm especially starting to rethink wall color.

At heart, I'm a post modern/contemporary/mid-century sort of girl. Since fulfilling my life long desire for a bright red room, most recently, in my last space--I'd link to the posts in this blog that chronicled the painstaking painting of my erstwhile family room bright "Daredevil" red, but I'm at the moment too lazy to look them up. Anyway, having fulfilled that particular paint dream, I'm now leaning toward greens, browns, and grays. Neutrals, basically. As far as the walls go.

My whole space here, every single room, is painted a light buttery yellow. It's a very nice color, and actually works with everything, but it's been this way for a while now and I'm ready for a change.

I'm spending more and more time in my home office these days and this, I decide, will be my starting point. There's not a whole lot of stuff in that space at the moment, unless you count my SUPER cluttered desk, well, table actually, and a couple of two-shelf bookcases. Still, one thing does dominate the space.

And that is my Nighthawks print.


I figure there are way worse choices for color inspiration than the work of Edward Hopper. I don't know, I just feel like maybe he has it all figured out. So, I've decided to use the print as my starting point. It's true that there is a substantial range of yellow hues represented--both butters and saffrons--in the work, but I will focus on the greens and reds. The bottle greens and sages coupled with the shades of cinnamon and brick. Luscious and spicy. Rich and comforting. Yum. And maybe sprinkle in a few yellows.

According to my color/mood research, green is the color most often linked psychologically with creativity, and for this reason, I will choose this hue for the walls. Being the anal/retentive over-thinking creature that I am, I've spent a criminal amount of time at the Behr website perusing their huge catalog of color choices and in person at Home Depot doing the same.

The choice? After way too much dithering: Laurel Mist.


Behr has done a great job of locking down photographs of their colors. Pictured above is the paint chip. Laurel Mist is the most saturated color at the bottom. I consider it a gray/green. It has a sort of a dull velvety quality. Very rich. But still sort of a neutral. It doesn't scream HOLY SH!T GREEN! More like ahhh....greeeeeen. In dark light, it could easily read gray, I think.

Still. I am taking no chances. I want nothing less than the perfect shade of velvety neutral green(ish gray). I've had a few paint disasters and there is nothing worse. So I purchased a tiny can of Laurel Mist and a few tiny paint supplies with which to paint a test patch on the office wall.

Can't sneak it passed you, can I?

That's right. More tiny, baby. It's still there! The rogue fascination with The Tiny! What? Like I'm gonna walk away from a selection of tiny paint brushes and tiny rollers? Me? Sorta doubt it. Check it:


How cute is all that tiny stuff? Tiny roller! Tiny paint brush! Tiny paint can! Doncha just wanna pinch it's itsy widdle cheeks?

Okay, back to business. Here's the yellow wall before:



And here it is after the (okay, sort of large) test patch:

LOVE it! Love. Love, completely. Yes. And you? Yes?

And so it was on to what is, by far, the most exciting portion of the project. You aren't going to believe it when I tell you. I bought...CURTAINS! Wee!

Now, I suppose I sound a little over-excited about purchasing curtains. But, understand. I haven't bought curtains in THIRTEEN YEARS, people. That's right. The Ex-Man was totally opposed to curtains. Curtains were Big No-No. Curtains? Bad. Blinds? Good. I don't know why. It's just one of the many preconceived deeply held notions that I had to live with. Not that I don't have any of my own. It's just that all of mine? Make sense. But when co-habitating with, um, you-know-who himself? You pick your battles. Suffice it to say curtains just weren't one of those things I was ready to don my chain mail, grab my mace, and face-off at the Coliseum over. No, I saved those encounters for the big issues like, oh, I don't know, let's see...THROW AWAY YOUR JUNK MAIL BEFORE I CHOKE THE LIFE OUT OF YOU!

Okay, deep breaths...in...out...in...out. Ah. Better.

But now....NOW? It's, bada boom-bada bing...CURTAIN TIME! That's right! Can't touch this! Bring on the fabric panel window coverings!

Now, understand me, I'm not a huge fan of elaborate, formal, foofy, over-styled curtains at every window. Not hardly. Far from it, in fact. It's just that NEVER any curtains? For 13 years? Is a reeeally long time to go without something fluttering in the breeze by your window panes.

So...behold. My first curtain purchase in over a decade:



What's not to like about those? I ask you? Who among us can resist the lure of the rich spicy color? Certainly not me. Also, tab tops! Woo!

(To Be Continued...)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Wall Design


I'm a little hesitant to pass along a link to Wall Design, a French company that specializes in wall decals. I hesitate because the site, with its interactive tool that allows one to create their own wall graphic(s) from an endless array of sophisticated styles in a bewildering assortment of colors (not to mention letters, god help us), means over-thinkers such as me can spend. Well. Let's just say. Hours. Mocking up the possibilities.

If you have a specific space in mind for your design, and convert the length and width of said space from feet to meters, you can enter these dimensions into the visualizer and tailor your cyber design to the EXACT specifications you need (under the "Model Your Wall" feature). Wall Design drops your graphics into a shopping cart as you work and once you adjust the decal(s) to the exact design and color of your liking, simply convert euros to dollars and head to the check-out. Although, if you're anything like me? This could take years.

I'm heavy in the design mode right now because I'm knee deep in remodeling my home office. Expect a post chronicling this process soon. When I tell you it took upwards of two weeks for me to select a paint color, you may come closer to understanding why wall graphics could well drive me 'round the bend.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Saying "yes" to The Dress


Okay, so the election is over, the right guy got elected, and thank God, nobody is disputing the vote count. I think I've waited long enough to move on to my next subject:

Just what do I think about Michelle Obama's election night dress?

You'll have to give me a little credit, here, for having waited a decent interval to weigh in on the subject. The blogosphere, ever shallow, has been abuzz about the Narciso Rodriguez original (from his Spring '09 collection) ever since Obama appeared in it Tuesday night. Michelle paired the dress with a cardigan, kitten heels, and, obviously, a dark slip to tone down the lacy bottom.

According to a poll posted on fashion critic Elizabeth Snead's LA Times blog, the general consensus on the dress is about half-and-half. About as many voters like it as don't. Snead, herself, thinks the ensemble looked like a "Halloween costume".

Harsh words indeed.

Personally, I was wowed by the look. I thought the dress was figure flattering and bold and a great relief from the same-old same-old suit that, these days, not only candidates have to endure, but often the spouses of candidates feel compelled to choose. Obama really made this look work, I thought, though at 5' 10" tall, she can, admittedly, pull off frocks many of us vertically challenged types cannot. Overall, the look was pulled together, flattering, arresting and, apparently a bold choice though I wouldn't have thought so when I saw it Tuesday. My impression at that point was just, wow, she looks great (and at ease).

In any case, this is good news for the US fashion industry, no matter your personal opinion of the Mrs. Obama's style. Michelle Obama is definitely not going to be a fashion snooze-fest like Laura Bush, and this will, happily, also give us armchair Mr. Blackwells something to talk about.

Form your own opinion, if you haven't already, by scrolling through a selection of Michelle Obama's recent looks compiled by the LA Times. (I think she's spot-on except for that white suit which is a little shapeless.)