Sunday, April 30, 2006

Where's the 26-hour day and the 8-day week when you need them?

I just realized that my Simple Still Life project for April is probably due today but it isn't finished because I kind of forgot about it after I posted my starting photos. Oops. If I get something done before the day is over, I'll post it later, otherwise, I'll share something later this week. Gotta get some starting photos taken for May too! I also have no real ideas for the first week of May's Self-Portrait Challenge theme. Need to work on that. And I have come to the conclusion there isn't a chance in hell I'm going to finish my current quilt-in-progress by the Husqvarna Viking contest entry deadline. And I'm feeling too pressed for time to turn a bunch of those things above into links like I usually would. Not to mention J has been in California all last week and came home a few hours ago for One! Night! Only! and we're trying to get some CoupleStuff accomplished before he hits the road again. All of which is a way-too-wordy way of telling you that today I'm doing Drive-Thru Blogging. Pretty much all you're getting from me at the moment is a photo from my continuing "bug's eye view of the plant kingdom" series. Oh, and this photo of some neighbors watching while I was on Photo Safari in the fields yesterday: A lot of what I tried is languishing in the land of RockSuckage, but I liked this one: "What if Dandelions Were ReallyReally Tall?" More soon, y'all!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Facts so little-known that I didn't even know some of them myself:

I first saw The Mechanical Contrivium on Fickleknitter's blog ages ago and thought it was funny. So I had it generate some trivia. Yay! Then I forgot about it. Boo! (Or Yay, depending on what you think of that sort of thing.) Then I found it again. Yay! (Or Boo. Whatever. Sheesh, make up your mind, ok?) So here is your opportunity to waste a few of your valuable Saturday moments finding out some little-known "facts" about RSR and me. Or you can scroll past all that and just look at the pretty picture at the end. It's a judgment call. Ten Top Trivia Tips about Red Shoe Ramblings!
  1. Red Shoe Ramblings can be found on a Clue board between the Library and the Conservatory. (Good location, yes?)
  2. Without its lining of Red Shoe Ramblings, your stomach would digest itself. (So you see why it's so important to take my words to
  3. If Red Shoe Ramblings was life size, it would stand 7 ft 2 inches tall and have a neck twice the size of a human. (Damn skippy!)
  4. Red Shoe Ramblings cannot be detected by infrared cameras! (I paid extra for that feature.)
  5. The Eskimos have over fifty words for Red Shoe Ramblings! (And some of those words are actually nice!)
  6. Pound for pound, hamburgers cost more than Red Shoe Ramblings. (They're higher in fat and calories too. RSR is clearly the healthier choice.)
  7. The porpoise is second to Red Shoe Ramblings as the most intelligent animal on the planet. (Well, you know, I don't like to brag...)
  8. The state nickname of Iowa is 'The Red Shoe Ramblings state'. (All right! Go, Iowa!)
  9. The deepest part of Red Shoe Ramblings is over 35,000 feet deep. (Luckily I don't often share that part, for safety reasons.)
  10. Red Shoe Ramblings is black with white stripes, not white with black stripes. (But really, you probably don't need to know that unless you're planning to be a contestant on Jeopardy!)
Ten Top Trivia Tips about Deb!
  1. Worldwide, Deb is the most important natural enemy of night-flying insects. (Well, I AM pretty wicked with a swatter.)
  2. If you cut Deb in half and count the number of seeds inside, you will know how many children you are going to have. (Eeeuuuww! And also Ouch! Let's not try that, 'k?)
  3. Only 55 percent of Americans know that the sun is made of Deb! (Shiny!)
  4. Deb kept at the window will keep vampires at bay! (I see my reputation precedes me.)
  5. Neil Armstrong first stepped on Deb with his left foot. (But then I hit him with my right fist and he moved it. Clumsy bastard.)
  6. A rhinoceros horn is made from compacted Deb. (I don't THINK so.)
  7. Deb was named after Deb the taxi driver in Frank Capra's 'It's a Wonderful Life'! (The alternate version with the all-female cast.)
  8. Some hotels in Las Vegas have Deb floating in their swimming pools! (Well actually they don't, at least not at the moment. Maybe someday.)
  9. The moon is 400 times closer to the Earth than Deb, and 400 times smaller. (HEY! What are you implying??)
  10. Deb can be seen from space. (Well now that's just rude. I think we're done here.)
Here's another of my "stick the camera under a plant and see what it finds" photos: "Hosta"

Friday, April 28, 2006

Quick Notes About...

...Comments I had gotten behind the past couple of days, but I've now posted replies to comments for the last three posts or so. I'm not saying any of my replies are super-exciting, but if you commented and want to see if I said anything back, you know where to look. ...Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative Ami's next auction to raise money for Alzheimer's research is running May 1 - 10 and you can see what will be available to buy there. There are some nice small pieces there, including one of mine, so if you're interested in perhaps buying a small piece of fiber art for a good cause, check Ami's site out on Monday. ...Fiberart For A Cause Reverse Auction Then if you're interested in owning a bigger ticket piece of fiber art, (again including one of mine) Virginia's FFAC Reverse Auction will open May 16 at 10 AM CST, with a special one-day-only "must buy it now" opportunity on May 15 starting at 10 AM CST. Virginia has the buy-it-now prices and the opening auction bid prices posted here if you want to check them out. Each day something doesn't sell, the price will drop until either it's sold or the auction ends (which happens on the 23rd at 7 PM CST) and all money raised will go to the American Cancer Society. ...An Experimental Photo I want to share a photo with you that I think is really cool, although I can't take credit for much beyond having a wacky idea. Every day on my walks I've been passing stands of mayapple plants lately. They aren't blooming yet, but I just love the way the leaves look like little parsols. I got to wondering how it would look to photograph them from below, but they're very low to the ground so there's no way I could get low enough to frame a shot. So yesterday I thought "whatthehell, let's try something". So I set the auto-focus and timer functions on the camera and then just laid it on the ground under a stand of plants and stood back and waited. I did that a couple of different times with a couple of different plants. That's one of the things I LOVE about digital cameras is that I can try off-the-wall stuff like that without wasting film (and therefore money). If they turn out badly I just erase them! But I kind of love how this turned out: "A Layered World of Green" (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window - and you really should!) I also tried to get a photo of the snake I found in the grass a few feet away right after this shot, but I missed him! Hopefully he was a nice snake.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Lotsa BlogVisitors, Progress Report, and Poetry Thursday

I was Site of the Day! Yay!! I was very excited to be chosen as Michele's Site of the Day yesterday and to get all the lovely visitors and comments as a result! Thank you, Michele, and thank you BlogVisitors! I'll be making a point of paying some return BlogVisits over the next couple of days. And for those of you who visited just because you wanted to rather than because Michele sent you, thank you too - LOTS! You know I always love seeing all of you and reading your comments, even when I get behind on replies (which I currently am!). Quilt Progress (or lack thereof!) I've been having One of Those Weeks and am falling behind on things, including seeing my chances of making the Husqvarna Viking contest entry deadline grow increasingly dim. Some quilts go together like they're making themselves and some are a bit more of a struggle. This one seemed like it should have been one of the easy ones, but that hasn't turned out to be the case. I think it'll be good in the end so I still hope to enter it somewhere, but I don't think it'll be done and ready to photograph by the deadline. I'll hold off on sharing in-progress photos a while longer though, just in case I pull a bright shiny miracle out of my ass. I'm ever the optimist! Poetry Thursday I decided to participate in Poetry Thursday again this week. I might as well stop being superstitious about it and email Liz to add me to the list of regulars! Except for the thing that I'm still feeling superstitious. Heh. (I hope Blogger's pathetic excuse for a spellcheck program knows the word "superstitious" because I've just typed it three different ways and NONE of them look right!) (It DID know - Yay! And I'd spelled it wrong all three times! LOL!) Anyway, last week I threw all those things I wrote at you. This week I'd like to share an old favorite that someone else wrote...a poem that has been a favorite of mine for years. I hope you'll indulge me even if you've read it. It's called "High Flight" and was written by an RCAF pilot during World War II. Since then it's become something of an anthem for pilots, and while I'm not a pilot, I do love to fly. Having "flying" as one of my "F is for..." words yesterday made me think of this poem. The very first time I ever read it, the first line grabbed me - "I have slipped the surly bonds of earth". That's exactly what taking off in an airplane feels like to me! Take-off is my favorite part of flying. I love the sensation of speeding down the runway, faster and faster. And then the wheels of the plane leave the ground and it starts to strain upward and you can feel the resistance. You can feel the earth's gravity trying to pull the plane back down, like an enraged lover grabbing your coat and saying "no, you can't leave me". And then, from one breath to the next, the plane breaks free and seems to just float into the air to leave the earth behind for a while and ride the wind. It's a moment of magic for me every time. "High Flight" Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air. Up, up the long delirious, burning blue, I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace Where never lark, or even eagle flew - And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod The high untresspassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand and touched the face of God. Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee No 412 squadron, RCAF Killed 11 December 1941 Daily Art Thang To wind up, here are a couple of different versions of a photograph I took last fall, both of them "messed with" and neither of which have the slightest thing to do with anything else I've talked about today! "Red Twig and Berries #1" "Red Twig and Berries #2

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

F is for...

Time for another WordPlay Personal Dictionary Entry! If you want to know more about how and why I started doing this series of posts, read my "A is for..." entry. If you want to see a list of more people doing the same thing, check out Laume's WordPlay site. Now here we go... F is for... Family - Very important people in my life! I'm naming a few of them individually as I go along - my husband, parents, siblings, and my brother's kids. But I decided to stop there with individual entries, so here is where I'm acknowledging the many extended family members who mean a lot to me too - in-laws, grandparents, step-family, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. You're all Fantastic! Friends - Also very important people in my life! I decided when I started this that I wouldn't even attempt to name every friend individually because my memory sucks rocks and I'd be bound to leave someone out who I care about and hurt their feelings. So I'm going to assume that if you're my friend you know it and here's where I'm saying that you're important to me. You're all Fabulous! Fabric - Couldn't make quilts without it. Fusible web - I could make quilts without this, but it wouldn't be nearly as Fun! FlipFlops - I love them! I love that they're inexpensive so I can have a whole wardrobe of colors and funky styles and not feel bad if they don't last more than a summer or two, and I love that they show off my toenail polish. Firefly - One of my favorite, but unfortunately all-too-short-lived TV shows. Flying - I love to Fly. I have dreams about flying. I have envy pangs when I watch birds. I even looked into flying lessons years ago before reluctantly deciding that it was way too expensive a hobby for me to get into. Maybe next life. Flannel Sheets - Cuddly! I love them in the winter because then the bed doesn't feel cold when I first slide between the sheets. Frappuccino - YUM! My favorite is Venti Caramel Light, no whip. But I wouldn't throw rocks at any of 'em. Fountains - I find them beautiful and soothing. I'm drawn to nearly anything that involves running water and fountains are no exception. I nearly always take photos of them when I see them (assuming I have my camera along at the time). Fairy Tales - One of the first sorts of Fiction I loved and probably one reason I still love Fantasy stories today. Fragrance - I have a love-hate relationship with it, as I have a hyper-sensitive sense of smell. I love real scents - flowers, newly cut grass, the smell of the air after a thunderstorm. But many, MANY artificial scents bother me so much I can barely breathe around them and I cough and choke. I hate most air fresheners, scented candles, perfumes and colognes, etc. It's a problem sometimes in our sanitized and scented modern world! Fish - I like it as food (well, some types anyway), and I like it as a symbol (my sun sign is Pisces, sign of the Fish), and I like to watch real fish swimming through the water (I find it soothing). Fruit - Yum! One of my favorite food groups. Freedom - A cause I'm passionate about. February - My least-favorite month...the month I'm most likely to get badly depressed. So why the heck did I choose to get married in February?? Ya got me. It seemed like a good idea at the time. (To be clear, I think getting married was a good idea, but another month might have been better.) Fun - Gotta have it! If you stop having fun you aren't really living. Frou-frou - An expression I use a lot to describe things that are fluffy and frivolous (and sometimes fun). For instance a frozen strawberry daiquiri is a frou-frou drink. High-heeled marabou slippers are frou-frou shoes. A poodle with a formal show cut is a frou-frou dog. You get the picture. (I know most of you probably already knew what it meant, but you'd be surprised how many people I've run across who have never heard the term!) Flowers - Love them! I like them better in the garden than in a vase though. We'd hardly ever have cut flowers in the house if it weren't for J. He picks them and brings them in. "Freaky Friday" - one of my favorite books from many years ago. Fuck-a-doodle-doo - Something I'm afraid I must admit I say when I'm frustrated-but-not-really-angry. Sad, isn't it? Heh. Sometimes in other circumstances I say just the first syllable too. But then y'all knew that, didn't you! "F is for..." (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Self-Portrait Tuesday: April Fool, Week 4

It's the final week of the April SPT theme to act silly and foolish in front of the camera. Starting in May, Self-Portrait Tuesday is getting renamed Self-Portrait Challenge (although I might stick with Tuesday, just because I'm like that!) and is moving to a new cyberhome. If you want to know more, look for the big mostly-red button in my sidebar. Meanwhile though, for this final week of the April Fool theme, I thought I'd share with you... The Ghosts of Foolishness Past Yep, this week I dug through some old photo albums to look for examples of past foolishness caught on film. Take a look at a page from my album. What do you see? 1. You see me as an adolescent in my uniform for a baton corps I belonged to. We were called The Golden Lassies. Yes, we really were. One hardly knows where to start with the jokes, does one! Here you see me in all my squinty-eyed, pigeon-toed, limp-wristed glory wearing the gold-sequin bathing suit and shiny white knee boots I wore to march and twirl in who-knows-how-many summer parades. How much do you love the granny glasses and schoolmarm bun with that get-up? And this isn't even the FULL glory outfit. After this photo was taken, someone decided we weren't quite dazzling enough and we added knuckle-to-elbow sequin-covered armbands and rhinestone tiaras to the ensemble. I rather regret the loss of the tiara. I still have my baton. 2. Check out the hair in that next photo! That was taken between curling and combing on the night of my high school graduation. Hot! 3. Then in college I agreed to play Alice in Wonderland on a Homecoming float. If you wonder why I look all stiff in that photo it was because it was a freezing cold winter day and I was standing there in a thin, short-sleeved cotton dress clutching a papier mache flamingo. I have to say though, other than the pebbled blue skin and chattering teeth, it was a fun day. We recreated the Mad Hatter's tea party on the back of the float and threw candy from giant papier mache teacups to kids along the parade route. 4. I'd happily do the Alice gig again before I let another friend wrangle me into mauve satin and Big Hair for a wedding. (Hey, it was the '80's!) It's unfortunate that the bouquet is obscuring the Madonna-esque mauve lace gloves I wore that day. 5. And that last one? Um...yeah, I wonder about that one too. I was in my 20's and working as a display designer for a department store. But why exactly I climbed on the display and made a BratFace and let someone take my photo? Well, your guess is as good as mine. Check out the tapered pants with hot pink socks peeking through and the FeMullet! Aaahh...good times! Can't wait to see what Foolishness Ghosts I'll accumulate in the future. "Ghosts of Foolishness Past" (clickable if you're foolish enough to want to see it larger in a new window) And even though I should probably post this separately, I'm feeling lazy and Blogger is acting balky, so I'm just going to tack this onto the end - a doodle. "DottaDoodleDo"

Monday, April 24, 2006

Women Writers Book Meme

I got this meme from Deb Roby. I'm a little embarrassed to admit how many of these books and/or authors I've never even heard of, never mind read! But oh well, I'll do it anyway. Here are the instructions:
  • Bold the ones you've read
  • Italicize the ones you might like to read
  • Put question marks - ?? - by any titles and/or authors you've never heard of
  • Put an asterisk - * - if you've read a different title by the same author.
*Alcott, Louisa May - Little Women Allende, Isabel - The House of Spirits Angelou, Maya - I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Atwood, Margaret - Cat's Eye *Austen, Jane - Emma ??Bambara, Toni Cade - Salt Eaters ??Barnes, Djuna - Nightwood de Beauvoir, Simone - The Second Sex Blume, Judy - Are You There God? It's Me Margaret Burnett, Frances - The Secret Garden Bronte, Charlotte - Jane Eyre Bronte, Emily - Wuthering Heights (In the case of both Bronte sisters' stories, I know the plots and have seen some movie versions, but have never actually read the books [blush!!]) Buck, Pearl S. - The Good Earth ??Byatt, A.S. - Possession Cather, Willa - My Antonia ??Chopin, Kate -T he Awakening Christie, Agatha - Murder on the Orient Express Cisneros, Sandra - The House on Mango Street Clinton, Hillary Rodham - Living History ??Cooper, Anna Julia - A Voice From the South ??Danticat, Edwidge - Breath, Eyes, Memory ??Davis, Angela - Women, Culture, and Politics ??Desai, Anita - Clear Light of Day Dickinson, Emily - Collected Poems (Have read lots of her poetry, but don't think I've read the whole collection) Duncan, Lois - I Know What You Did Last Summer DuMaurier, Daphne - Rebecca Eliot, George - Middlemarch ??Emecheta, Buchi - Second Class Citizen ??Erdrich, Louise - Tracks Esquivel, Laura - Like Water for Chocolate (hated it!!!) Flagg, Fannie - Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe Friedan, Betty - The Feminine Mystique Frank, Anne - Diary of a Young Girl ??Gilman, Charlotte Perkins - The Yellow Wallpaper ??Gordimer, Nadine - July's People *Grafton, Sue - S is for Silence (I read A through D before losing interest) Hamilton, Edith - Mythology Highsmith, Patricia - The Talented Mr. Ripley ??hooks, bell - Bone Black ??Hurston, Zora Neale - Dust Tracks on the Road ??Jacobs, Harriet - Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Jackson, Helen Hunt - Ramona *Jackson, Shirley - The Haunting of Hill House * Jong, Erica - Fear of Flying Keene, Carolyn - The Nancy Drew Mysteries (any of them) Kidd, Sue Monk - The Secret Life of Bees ??Kincaid, Jamaica - Lucy Kingsolver, Barbara - The Poisonwood Bible ??Kingston, Maxine Hong - The Woman Warrior ??Larsen, Nella - Passing * L'Engle, Madeleine - A Wrinkle in Time *Le Guin, Ursula K .- The Left Hand of Darkness Lee, Harper-To Kill a Mockingbird ??Lessing, Doris - The Golden Notebook ??Lively, Penelope - Moon Tiger ??Lorde, Audre - The Cancer Journals Martin, Ann M. - The Babysitters Club Series (any of them) ??McCullers, Carson - The Member of the Wedding McMillan, Terry - Disappearing Acts ??Markandaya, Kamala - Nectar in a Sieve ??Marshall, Paule - Brown Girl, Brownstones Mitchell, Margaret - Gone with the Wind Montgomery, Lucy - Anne of Green Gables (seen the movie, I think, unless I'm confusing this with Pollyanna...Hhhmmm...) ??Morgan, Joan - When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost Morrison, Toni - Song of Solomon ??Murasaki, Lady Shikibu - The Tale of Genji ??Munro, Alice - Lives of Girls and Women Murdoch, Iris - Severed Head Naylor, Gloria - Mama Day Niffenegger, Audrey - The Time Traveller's Wife Oates, Joyce Carol - We Were the Mulvaneys O'Connor, Flannery - A Good Man is Hard to Find ??Piercy, Marge - Woman on the Edge of Time (I like that title!) Picoult, Jodi - My Sister's Keeper Plath, Sylvia - The Bell Jar Porter, Katharine Anne - Ship of Fools ??Proulx, E. Annie - The Shipping News Rand, Ayn - The Fountainhead Ray, Rachel - 365: No Repeats ??Rhys, Jean - Wide Sargasso Sea ??Robinson, Marilynne - Housekeeping ??Rocha, Sharon - For Lac Sebold, Alice - The Lovely Bones Shelley, Mary - Frankenstein Smith, Betty - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn ??Smith, Zadie - White Teeth Spark, Muriel - The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (movie! heh) ??Spyri, Johanna - Heidi Strout, Elizabeth - Amy and Isabelle * Steel, Danielle - The House Tan, Amy - The Joy Luck Club ??Tannen, Deborah - You're Wearing That ??Ulrich, Laurel - A Midwife's Tale ?Urquhart, Jane - Away Walker, Alice - The Temple of My Familiar Welty, Eudora - One Writer's Beginnings Wharton, Edith - Age of Innocence (movie!) Wilder, Laura Ingalls - Little House in the Big Woods Wollstonecraft, Mary - A Vindication of the Rights of Women Woolf, Virginia - A Room of One's Own Debra wrote: "If I spent the time, I could add other women writers that I've read who probably deserve to be on this list." And I write: I think I will add a few. I have no idea what the original criteria was for making the list, other than being female and a published author, but here are some more women writers I like a lot and/or want to read more of their work. Several of these are a bit "fluffy", I suppose, but hey...if the list above can include Danielle Steel, I can include the ones below. HA! *Crusie, Jennifer - Bet Me *Dean, Pamela - Tam Lin *Evanovich, Janet - One For The Money *Gabaldon, Diana - Outlander *Hambly, Barbara - A Free Man Of Color *Henderson, Zenna - Pilgrimage *Heyer, Georgette - The Grand Sophy *Hooper, Kay - Out of the Shadows *Huff, Tanya - Summon the Keeper Kenny, Kathryn - The Trixie Belden Mysteries (any of them) *Kimmel, Haven - The Solace of Leaving Early (I was less than crazy about the other HK book I read, but still really want to read this one and "A Girl Named Zippy"!) *Lackey, Mercedes - Burning Water *Leon, Vicki - Uppity Women of Ancient Times *Michaels, Barbara - The Dark on the Other Side *Elizabeth Peters - Crocodile on the Sandbank *Stewart, Mary - The Ivy Tree I'm not tagging anyone officially, but if you want to post your version of this list, with or without additions, please do. I'd love to read it! Today's photos are of an oak tree branch after a rain, two versions: "Spring Oak and Raindrop" "Spring Oak and Raindrop - Altered"

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Escapist Daydreamer? ME?? Well, yeah...

Lazy Sunday = Lazy Quiz Time! I've never seen my aura (dammit), but I can't argue with the description.

Your Aura Colour is Lavender.

Lavenders are the dreamers and artists. They are in tune with alternate realities, escapists, solitary, intuitive, emotional, daydreamers. They can have difficulty connecting with reality.

Find out what colour your aura is.

Here's yet another set of apple blossom pics, one normal, one altered: "Apple Blossom 3" "Apple Blossom 3: Lines" Off to do other things now...more tomorrow!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Random Items from the Junk Drawer of my Mind #14

1. Why does my brain always want to add an "e" to the end of the word "random" when I type it??? (Rhetorical question. Even I can't explain my brain.) 2. Check out the cartoon my friend Jaye sent me in a card yesterday: (Hopefully you can read it, but in case you can't, the caption says "Deb had always said you could never have too many shoes. Actually, she was wrong.") Bwahahahahaaa!!! Thanks, Jaye, that was great! 3. I'm making progress on the quilt front, but not as much progress as I'd hoped and I'm feeling less optimistic today about meeting the HV postmark deadline than I did yesterday. BUT, I'm not going to stress about it. If I miss that deadline, I can enter it in either IQA Houston (where I have a really crappy acceptance record, but it's hard to resist trying for the largest show around!) or PIQF (a venue I really like and where I have a great acceptance record). So it's not like I'm wasting my time or anything. I'll try getting it shown somewhere! (Assuming it turns out looking Not Crappy in the end, that is!) The thing is, I ran into a snag yesterday when something I thought would work kinda turned out to NOT. I spent a lot of the day with a hunk o' stuff on the design wall, trying this and that and not getting anywhere. But I woke up this morning with A Thought! I think I may have done the problem-solving-in-my-sleep thing last night (I love when that happens!). Stay tuned and I'll let you know if the DreamIdea works out. 4. Remember a few months ago when we were talking about the possible return of '80's fashion and everyone-but-Cate was groaning about it? Well, time to groan some more, kids. (Or in Cate's case to Happy Dance!) Did you see the post about SkinnyJeans on BlogHer yesterday? If not, it's worth a quick read - it's short. Go ahead, I'll wait. Are you back? Good! You know what's happening? They're flipping the triangle, that's what. Think about it. For the past few years we've had hairstyles that are pretty close to the head on top with messy, flippy-out-y tips. We've had skimpy, close-fitting tops and mid- to low-rise wide-leg jeans and often chunky shoes. Put it all together and it makes a silhouette like a stable triangle, with a wide base and a pointy top. Now they're talking about the return of super-skinny-leg jeans (and even...gasp!...leggings! Oh gawd, please NO!), topped with long, oversized tunic tops and Big Hair. Just add shoulder pads and earrings the size of dessert plates and you have the '80's all over again. And what you also have is a triangle that's been flipped on its head and is balancing on the point! I don't think my sense of balance is that good anymore. And I KNOW my figure isn't good enough to pull off that look anymore without looking like I'm wearing maternity clothes. I'm not built like a leggy adolescent. I have curves, dammit! So I plan to go out and buy up every pair of mid-rise, boot-cut jeans I can find and afford and hoard them for the next twenty years or so until they either come back into fashion or I don't care anymore. If, a few years down the road, you see an overly-curvy, red-haired, middle-aged BoHoHoldout among a crowd of people who look like they're in a remake of Flashdance, that'll be me. HA! 5. Yet another apple blossom photo (are y'all getting tired of these??), both normal: "Apple Blossom" and altered: "Apple Blossom: Spot of Color" 6. Almost forgot! I changed my profile photo yesterday because Deborah changed hers and that reminded me that I hadn't changed mine for months, so I switched to something different. (Plus we Debs gotta stick together.) Hope you like! Although if you don't, well...frankly, Tough. It's stayin' a while because I don't want to mess with it again this soon.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Let's Talk About Quilts!

(Oh dear, should I have warned you first instead of just throwing the Q-word at you like that?? Sorry.) Yesterday in comments, Deirdre asked "So did I miss what you're working on in the studio or is it a secret?" And I reply - at the moment, it's kinda secret. Not so secret I can't talk about it, but I can't share photos yet. You see, not long ago I had An Idea. (That was not Random Capitalization, fond of RC as I am. I've been so quilt-unmotivated lately that having An Idea in that area is totally capitalization-worthy, IMO.) I did some sketches and pulled some fabrics and had figured I'd share a little in-progress stuff here and there, but then I discovered that the quilt I had planned fit the theme and was within a few inches of the totally oddball size required to enter the annual Husqvarna Viking quilt contest. And since I was in the sketching and planning stage instead of the sewing stage, I re-did the drawings to that size, just in case I could finish it in time to enter it there. (Never tried that contest before, but there's always a first time.) Of course the weeeee-teensy catch is that the entry postmark date is May 2nd, which is only a week and a half away, and I'm not nearly done yet. BUT, I should (in theory!) be done with the hardest part by the end of today and the rest should (in theory!) go pretty quickly. Gotta love those theories. My M.O. in quiltmaking tends to be to think about it a long time and start very slowly, then to finish quite quickly once I really get going on it. If that holds true for this one, and if I enter with digital files on a CD rather than slides, then crazy as it sounds I might just make the deadline. So just in case I DO make the deadline, I haven't been posting any in-progress pics. This particular contest is very picky about wanting only Virgin Quilts. They say "Quilts are to be made specifically for the contest and must not have been published in books, calendars, magazines, web sites, or any other form of publication prior to November 2006." Ok, ok, HV guys! Sheesh! I swear to you that this quilt is isolated in my ivory tower sewing room, unseen by human eyes (other than mine) and untouched by human hands (ditto). When I'm not working on her, She (the quilt) is locked away, alone in the room, wearing ugly clothes and reading the Bible and thinking Pure Thoughts. Well, ok, I swear that PART of that stuff is true. A little of it. A couple of things. Heh. I'm not stressing about meeting the deadline. If I do, great - it's a new venue to try. But if I don't, there are several other shows coming up with slightly later deadlines...shows that are not quite so picky about giving a quilt a chance even if it has been on display a time or two. So one way or another, I'll share some new quilt photos with y'all at some point, but not today. But in other Quilt News, Virginia Spiegel's Fiberart For A Cause Reverse Auction, to raise money for the American Cancer Society, will be going live online very, very soon! If you want to check out the artwork that will be available for auction, you can get a preview by clicking on the link in the previous sentence. Each year, nine artists are invited to donate artwork to the auction and this is the piece I donated: "Spiral Dance 1: Carnivale" (It should look familiar to regular readers of RSR, since y'all helped name the series!) Some of the other artists who donated work to the auction include Pamela Allen, Liz Berg, Linda Colsh, Diane Doran (Happy Birthday, Diane!), and more. So I hope you'll click on the link and check it out and see if there's something there you'd be interested in owning. There will be a "Buy it Now" feature available on May 15 for those who want a piece so much that they're willing to pay a premium to make sure no one else snatches it away from them. The actual auction will start on May 16 at 10 AM, CST. The starting price will be lower than the Buy It Now price and every day that a piece doesn't sell, the price will drop slightly until someone buys it. Every penny raised by the auction will be donated to the American Cancer Society - every penny! All administrative costs, postage costs, etc. are being covered by Virginia and the artists who donated the pieces. So I hope you'll bid if you see something you'd like to own, and buy some artwork for a good cause! Today I'm closing with a photo: "Apple Blossoms by the Bluebird House" We really need to move that bluebird house because they won't nest there now that the tree branches have grown so close to the opening - too much opportunity for predators to get to the nest! But it makes for a pretty photo, yes?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Poetry Thursday: Haikus and Limericks and Sonnets - Oh MY!

It's Thursday and I decided to do the Poetry Thursday Thang again this week with some original haiku and limericks and yes, even a sonnet. Are you excited or what??? (Personally, I'd recommend choosing "or what", but hey, that's just me. Heh.) Anyway, here's the deal. Joshilyn of Faster Than Kudzu will be having a new book called "Between, Georgia" hit the bookstore shelves on July 3rd. On her blog, she's running a contest to give away a pewter figurine cast from a sculpture created by her brother, artist Bobby Jackson. Actually, she's giving away two figurines. Cool, yes? She's giving away one for the best original haiku and one for the best original limerick, with "best" being judged by a couple of Joss's friends. Since y'all KNOW how much I love haiku and limericks and since I also have trouble resisting a challenge, I had to at least try. Joss said people can enter as often as they like, so I've entered a few times already and may yet enter more if I come up with something else I like before the deadline. If you want to enter, just follow the link in the paragraph above! I thought for Poetry Thursday, I'd share my entries here. You know, share the joy! Because I'm sure reading this stuff will make you feel ever-so-joyful, right? Right?? Yep, that's what I thought. Before we begin, let me mention three pertinent facts so some of the poems don't leave you saying "What you talkin' 'bout, Willis?" (name that pop culture reference!) 1) The main character of Joss's new book was born to one family and raised by another and the figure in the prize represents those two families in the form of a fox and a bear. 2) Horace is a dog in an unpublished children's book Joss and her friend Lily wrote and Bobby illustrated. 3) Even though limericks are traditionally quite bawdy, Joss asked us to keep the limerick vulgarity level at PG-13 or below. So here we go! Here are my 3 haiku entries (all pretty non-smartass for a change): Some Bobby Jackson art would look so beautiful here shining on my desk. Here a girl is born, There stolen. Destined to live between fox and bear. Huge gentle bear paws show 'neath a cherry red skirt on a quiet fox. And here are my 5 limerick entries, which were much more fun to write (I looooves me some limericks!): We all love a doggy named Horace. Just list' to the praise-singing chorus! If he's naughty or mean, doesn't matter - we're keen! And we hope you'll write more stories for us. A totem that's cast out of pewter, now tell me - what could be cuter? Send it here double-time to stop Deb's bad rhyme. It'll be like a button to mute her! Intimidation might get what I need-o. Perhaps that should be my new credo! If you like my poems best then I need not request the help of a hulk name of Guido. My last limerick went a bit far. I know threats cannot make me a star! Please accept my remorse toward you and your horse. Can I buy you a drink at the bar? On the 3rd of July in '06 in the stores is a book we'll all pick. If the critics don't love it we'll tell them to shove it, 'Cause that would just prove that they' very nice or smart people. Ahem. And what about the sonnet, you may be wondering? Well, here's what Joss had to say at the end of her post: "Please put Shakespearian sonnets on the subject of Johnny Depp's physical perfection here. Be sure to make liberal use of risque puns and use figurative language to imply extreme naughtiness. Also, link to pictures. It's not a contest or anything. I would just LIKE you to." Even though it wasn't a contest, and even though quite frankly Mr. Depp is not at the top of my personal Celebrity Hottie List, still...I just Could NOT Resist the challenge. I didn't link to photos, but I DID write a Shakespearian-form sonnet (14 lines, with a rhyme scheme of abab cdcd efef gg). And as an added bonus, since my husband's name is Johnny, if I ever need to give him a poem, all I have to do is change the eye color from brown to blue and change the line about pirates to something about engineers and TaDaaa! GOLD! Har, mateys! So here it is, my "Sonnet to Mr. Depp": Ah Johnny, your deep brown eyes and chiseled lips Doth make me oh so faint and weak. You make me want to grind my hips Against your rounded manly cheek. No, not your face - the other end So nicely filling out your pants. To even pirates you can lend An air that makes me want to dance A dance upon your bounding main. I know t'would be such perfect bliss. I now throw caution down the drain And lift my face to meet your kiss. But then, alas, I hear a bell. It's morning. Time to wake up. Hell. Brings a tear to your eye, doesn't it? Sniff. For today's Daily Art Thang, a photo - no, two photos - neither of which have the slightest thing to do with any of the poetry above. At one point I thought I might draw a cartoon of Guido, but I ran out of time. (I'm SEWING y'know!! HA!) Instead, I hope you enjoy the lovely (in my opinion!) sight of the wild phlox that grows along the stream that borders our road. Or to put it in local-speak "them thar blue flars down by the crick". "Wild Phlox" "Blue Flars Down by the Crick"

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

E is for...

Time for another WordPlay Personal Dictionary Entry! If you want to know more about how and why I started doing this series of posts, read my "A is for..." entry. If you want to see a list of more people doing the same thing, check out Laume's WordPlay site. Now here we go... E is for... Email - How did we ever communicate without it? Elna (6005 Heirloom Edition) - my beloved sewing machine. Earrings - my greatest jewelry weakness. I LOVE earrings, especially dangly ones! EDKSky (EvilDemonKittySky) - [aka Dingleberry; aka Scooter; aka "ya big Moose"; aka "Dammit, Cat!"] - my neurotic cat, bless his twisted little heart. Elkhart Lake (Wisconsin) - someplace I used to live. Exclamation Marks - One of my favorite punctuation marks! I use them a LOT!! Really!!! Ellipses - I use these a lot too... Expressionism - One of my favorite art styles. Equality - A cause I feel passionate about. Elizabeth (Peters) - One of my favorite writers (real name Barbara Mertz; also writes as Barbara Michaels). Egypt - Someplace I'd love to visit, partly because of Elizabeth Peters' books, many of which are set there! Europe - Someplace else I'd love to visit! (Have to include the whole continent, since there are so many countries in Europe that I'd love to see.) Escapism - Some"place" I already visit, quite often. It's a lovely place to go. LaLaLaaa... EarMuffs - A winter necessity for me, since I get ear aches nearly as easily as a small child. eBay - I'm not as hooked on it as I was at one time, but I still think it can be a fun place to shop, or to pass along stuff I don't want or need anymore to those who do. Eggs - The first thing I remember learning to cook is scrambled eggs. A scrambled egg is still a sort of meal of last resort for me when I know I need protein but I don't feel like messing with much in the kitchen. Eggnog, Eggplant Parmesan, Enchiladas (especially cheese/onion, or seafood) - some of my favorite E-foods. Eat - Something I Enjoy doing a little too much. You didn't think it was a coincidence that I have lists of food for almost every letter, did you? I come from a family where our motto is "It's All About The Food". Unfortunately, it shows. Sigh... Education - This was big in my family too. I even have a degree in Art Education, although I've never really used it, and both my parents were teachers. Esoteric, Erotic, Eclectic, Eccentric, Exciting, Ecstatic, Exhilarating, Excellent, Elusive, Effervescent, Empathy - E-words I like! "E is for..." (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Self-Portrait Tuesday: April Fool, Week 3

It's week 3 of the April SPT theme to act silly and foolish in front of the camera. So this week I invite you to join me on a photo excursion to Bouncin' Big Curl Beauty Barn. It all started when some friends visited a couple of weeks ago and Brenda had some hot rollers with her. You see, Brenda has Big Hair. She uses a combination of styling products and those hot rollers to make sure she has Big Hair every single day, rain or shine, work or play. Then Morven wondered what she'd look like with Big Hair. Brenda said she could use the products and rollers and Bev volunteered to play the role of Stylist to the Stars and suddenly my library-office-sewing room was transformed into Bouncin' Big Curl Beauty Barn. Morven looked cute with Big Hair (but I won't share a pic because I forgot to ask her if I could), but when her hair was done, the girls weren't really satisfied. They wanted another customer. Brenda had Big Hair. Morven had Big Hair. Bev and Nancy both have Do's that are too short to achieve Bigness. You've figured out who that left, right? Yep. Me. I tried to tell them that my hair doesn't hold any curl but its own, but they reallyREALLY wanted to try, so I agreed. As per their Professional Stylist Instructions, I dried my hair (it was immediately post-shower when they hatched this plan and my hair was still wrapped in a towel), but didn't put any Stuff on it. Without my Secret Weapon, I was left with a frizzy bell of red around my face. Then Mam'selle Brenda made me smear some rather mucous-like gel through it and Madame Bev went to work with the curlers and clips, and before I knew it I had a head full of hot rollers covered in festive plastic wrap. Sex-ay! A cup of coffee and a half-a-slice of apple bread later, we un-plastic-ed and unrolled my new curls. TaaDaaa! Then came the styling phase where Bev gave me Big Hair. Look closely because it will be a long, LONG time before you see this again: Despite Mam'selle Brenda's assurances that her snot-gel and hairspray would hold ANY curl, an hour or two later mine had already deflated this much: (I think it looked better a bit deflated.) Brenda and Morven still had Big Hair though, so I guess two out of three ain't bad. At least that's what Meatloaf says. For today's Art du Jour here's my lasting impression of the experience: "Attack of the Big Hair"

Monday, April 17, 2006

April Bliss List

It's Bliss List time again! Here are some of the things that have been making me feel blissful in April:
  • Daffodils heralding the return of the sun
  • The sight and scent of Spice Viburnum spilling over the front stair railing
  • Lilacs blooming near the back porch
  • Picking asparagus in the back yard just moments before I cook and eat it
  • The return of the purple martins
  • The return of Green to the world around me
  • "The Rock Orchard" by Paula Wall (thanks, Deborah!)
  • "Boy's Life" by Robert McCammon (thanks, Dee!) - I just finished this book and it was wonderful!
  • Days warm enough to let my toes peek out in flip-flops
  • Breathing!!! Sometimes when you go through a spell where breathing is hard, you remember to be thankful when it's easy.
"April Bliss" (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window) What's making you feel blissful this month?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Random Items from the Junk Drawer of my Mind #13

1. I think I'm going to try something new (new-to-me, that is!) in responding to comments. Usually when I respond (which I do quite often!), I respond via email. But sometimes comments don't get forwarded to my email account, even though in theory I have my Blogger account set to do that. And even when I get the emails, so many people have their profiles set to anonymous or no-reply that even when they ask a question I often can't find an email address where I can respond. I really like how Cate handles comments on her blog, The Bean Counter (which you should all check out if you aren't reading it already, because she's a wonderful writer!). She responds to comments within the comments section itself, treating it almost like a mini-message board. I'm going to try that for a while, starting with yesterday's post (so if you commented yesterday, pull the comment box back up for my replies - please and thank you!). That's not to say I'll never-ever respond via email if I think a more private response is called for, but it means I can answer questions for people who have their profiles set to "no-reply" if they care to check back, and it means I won't be cluttering up people's inboxes with "thanks for the comment" emails. We'll see how it goes. I'd be curious what regular readers of RSR think of that system after trying it for a few days. 2. A liquor store is not someplace where I tend to make impulse buys, but a while back I did. I saw some little bottles near the checkout and thought they looked interesting. One said "Tequila Rose Java" and one said "Tequila Rose Cocoa". They were only ~$1 each so I bought one of each, stuck them in the fridge, and forgot them. Ahem. Last night I noticed them again and decided to try the Cocoa one, which I kind of thought might be a bit like Bailey's. I love Bailey's. Well, turns out this stuff is nothing at ALL like Bailey's. Here's what the label says: What, you can't read it you say? Um, yeah. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to put the bottle (the size of an airline booze bottle) on the scanner instead of taking a photo. I thought it would be quicker and easier. That's what I get for thinking. Here's what it says: "Tequila Rose Cocoa Cream: The passionate combination of strawberry and chocolate cream liqueur with a splash of tequila." Here's what I thought it tasted like, told in Haiku: A melted mound of Neapolitan ice cream mixed with cheap booze. Ick. Gee, I can hardly wait to try the Java one. 3. I had something in mind to say about quizzes, but this has gotten weirdly long for what it is, so I'll save it for another day. 4. This is another Serviceberry photo: "Serviceberry Blossoms 2"

Saturday, April 15, 2006

It's a Weekend Thing

When I post silly quizzes, I usually tend to save them for Sunday, but I didn't sleep well last night (thunderstorms rolling through all night!) and this morning I'm tired, draggy, and out of sorts. So I'm going to be lazy and selfish and post a stupid quiz and maybe tomorrow I can manage a real post.
You Are 50% Selfish
You are quite balanced. You are able to compromise when it's in the best interests of those involved, but you're no pushover. If something is important to you, you'll get it!
Here's a photo I took of the branch of a Serviceberry Tree (also called Shadbush). My mother-in-law used to call it a "SAHR-vice Tree" (that's my attempt at spelling it the way she'd pronounce it) and I always have to look it up to remember the real name, because in my mind it's a SAHRvice tree. The blossoms have a fragrance that's delicate and beautiful. "Serviceberry Blossoms" And here's the same photo, altered to look a bit like a chalk drawing: "Serviceberry Blossoms - Altered"

Friday, April 14, 2006

Martin Homecoming

In a spirit of joy and friendship, Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Richardson are thrilled to announce the much-anticipated return of the Martin family to Gobbler Knob. Who are the Martins, you might ask? Well, here's a group shot: And here's a close-up of one of the men of the group: Isn't he handsome? J and I have a couple of Purple Martin condos on our property and every year at least a few mating couples take up residence. Some years the boxes are full to overflowing. I love it when the Martins return and always wish they could stay longer than the all-too-brief visit they pay every year. (We're the hosts of their summer place in the country!) They're my favorite birds to watch, more fun even than the hummingbirds, in my opinion. Watching the hummingbirds is a bit like watching fighter pilot training. They zip around almost faster than the eye can follow. They snark and quarrel and chase each other away from the feeders. Before the summer is over they'll even make little strafing runs toward people, and let me tell ya - it's a little freaky seeing that long, sharp beak coming toward you at near-light-speed! Watching the Purple Martins, on the other hand, is like watching pure joy in flight. They swoop, they circle, they dive and the pull up and rise again. They chase each other, calling and chattering the whole time. Sometimes I swear they sound like they're laughing. I love this shot that makes it look like they're outrunning a jet trail: Both the males and the females look after the nest, so that no one is stuck in the box too long. One sits in the box while the other hunts for insects (including mosquitoes! Yay!), and now and then they'll both leave and go sit on the nearby electric wire, always facing the nest. Whole groups of Martins will hang out there gossiping, ready to swoop back home if anyone or anything gets too close to their babies. Then when the sun starts to set, they head home one by one to rest until the sun comes up again. The hummingbirds are faster. The hawks are more majestic. But the Martins are exhilarating and fun! They make my heart sing. If I could magically experience being a bird for just a few minutes, I would want to be a Purple Martin. Here's yet one more pear blossom photo, both in its natural state: "Pear Blossom 3" and altered to look painterly: "Pear Blossom 3 - Altered"

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Thursday Thoughts

I haven't been talking about The Amazing Race this season, but I've been watching it and I just have to say that I kind of adore the hippie guys, BJ and Tyler. I won't say more, so as not to post spoilers for those who watch it later because of TiVo or being in another country or something, but I just had to say how much I'm loving watching those two guys. I want them to win! Just so I'm at least mentioning the word "quilt" I will say that I have an idea, and I have sketches, and I cleared off my work space (a necessary first step for me because as soon as I start it will turn to chaos again as I fling fabrics around with wild abandon). I can't honestly say I'm working on anything hands-on quite yet, but I'm working on it in my head, trying to figure out exactly how to create the background I'm seeing in my mind. I can picture exactly how I want to do the design part that will go ON the background, but the background itself is giving me technical difficulties. No, not difficulties...challenges. I'll get there...just gotta let the concept stew in my brain a little longer so that (hopefully!) when I start cutting into fabric I won't have to re-do it 27 times, 'cause I hate when that happens! Stay tuned. I keep saying I'm not going to officially sign up for Poetry Thursday because I don't want to commit to participating every week, but then I keep either writing silly haikus or limericks, or running across poems that others have written and I want to share. This is one of the latter: I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit. -----Dawna Markova "Peeking Through"

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

D is for...

Time for another WordPlay Personal Dictionary Entry! If you want to know more about how and why I started doing this series of posts, read my "A is for..." entry. If you want to see a list of more people doing the same thing, check out Laume's WordPlay site. Now here we go... D is for... Deb - C'mon! Where else am I going to start listing D-words?! I have to start with MeMeMeMeMeeeee! DVDs - So great for a movie lover. A way to have my own personal LateLate show anytime! Dean (Koontz) - one of my favorite writers. I think he's not only a good storyteller, but a much more lyrical writer than a lot of people give him credit for. Dress up - One of my favorite games when I was a kidlet and I still love the grown up version. I love being comfy in my jeans, t-shirts, and tennies, but there's just something wonderful about decking myself out in a pretty dress, fancy shoes, sparkly jewelry, and full make-up now and then. Dreams - they fascinate me. DibbleDebble - one of my Dad's nicknames for me when I was a little girl. Doris (Burn) - one of my favorite children's book illustrators. Dance - something I love to do! Digital - how did we ever get along without digital technology? I'm especially enamored of my digital camera. Denial - Not just a river in Egypt, it's one of my favorite coping mechanisms. Severely underrated, IMO! Dominoes - Fun to play! (The game, not the line-'em-up and knock-'em-down thing, although that can be fun too.) Daffodils, Daylilies, Dogwood, Daisies - some of my favorite D-flowers. Dragons - I like them! I like that they're strong, and I like that they can fly, and I like that they like PrettyShinyThings. Dimples - I like those too! Anyone know any dimpled dragons? Dessert - I'd eat it three times a day, seven days a week, if I could get away with it. Yes, breakfast too. I'll share my Real Food cheerfully and willingly, but do NOT ask me to share my dessert. Dictionary - Believe it or not, a source of inspiration. I like to look words up and see how they're described and what ideas those descriptions spark. Dabble - Can one be an expert in dabbling? If so, I think I may qualify. I like to dabble. And I like the sound of the word. (DabbleDabbleDabble!) I figure a Renaissance Man is just a Dabbler with good P.R. Deviled eggs, Deviled crab, Devil's food cake - D-foods I like. (Do we sense a theme?) Delicious - See previous entry! Dingleberry - What I call my cat when he's behaving particularly bizarrely and/or stupidly, which I've gotta tell you is pretty often! Demented - Again...see previous entry. Draw - something I started to do pretty much as soon as I could hold a crayon or pencil. Dentists - Evil Incarnate. Dustbunnies - They make great pets y'know. They're soft, quiet, and they don't eat a thing. Doodle - Love the word AND the activity! Drama - Love it in Fiction, hate it in my Real Life. Depression - something I have had to deal with now and then, mostly related to seasonal changes or hormonal changes. Dogs - My lifesavers. When I'm so down that the people I love can't coax a smile from me (see previous entry), my dogs can make me laugh. When I can't think of a single reason to get out of bed or leave the house for myself, I WILL get out of bed and leave the house in order to make sure my dogs have food, water, and exercise. Damn (also: "Dayum!" and "Dammit, Jim!") - Stuff I say a lot. I wonder if sooner or later I'll list a letter that doesn't include any vulgar words? Naaawwww. "D is for..." (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Self-Portrait Tuesday: April Fool, Week 2

Time for week 2 of the April SPT theme to act foolish in front of the camera. For this week, I thought I'd show a photo of myself Just Lion Around. Hey, gimme a break. Remember I SAID I thought this month would be tougher than it sounded!

Hit 'n' Run Book Reviews

Thanks for the well-wishes, y'all. I'm feeling much more gruntled today, even if I never DID manage to get a B4B entry done. Speaking of books, as I was listing some titles in my "Books I've Read" notebook and putting them on the shelves yesterday afternoon (I'm being Sooooo good about that since my Book Purge of '06...really!), it occurred to me that it's been a while since I've told y'all what I'm reading and how I liked them. So here's a quick run down (in reverse order) of the last half-dozen books I've read, for those who are interested: Master of Wolves (Angela Knight) - Good of the type, the type being romantic suspense with a paranormal twist. It has some extremely explicit sex scenes - you can take that as a recommendation or a warning, according to your personal preferences. [grin] I give it a B, verging on B+. Tomb of the Golden Bird (Elizabeth Peters) - Disappointing. I adore Eliz. Peters and the Amelia Peabody mysteries (of which this is one), but I found this one slow going and muddled and could never quite figure out why I should even care about the mystery aspect, such as it was. I kind of wish Ms. Peters would either wind up the Amelia stories and move on to something else, or jump ahead to the next generation of the family. Best I can figure the math (and anyone who knows me well knows how scary THAT phrase is!), Nefret's and Ramses' twins should be in their early- to mid-twenties at about the time of WWII and I could see some interesting story possibilities there. But for this story, I give it a rather sad D+ and that's being generous. All Night Long (Jayne Ann Krentz) - Pretty good, although one thing the heroine did toward the end verged on TSTL*, in my opinion. I always find that irritating. And for some reason during several parts of this story, I kept feeling like I was reading a Mary Higgins Clark book. Weird. But not bad for a romantic suspense story (non-paranormal type this time). B-. Grave Sight(Charlaine Harris) - The start of a new series by the same author who writes the Sookie Stackhouse books. This one features a heroine with a paranormal gift of sorts, but rather than a world full of paranormal stuff (like the Sookie stories), this takes place in a "normal" world and the heroine's odd gift (she can sense the location of dead bodies and then can "see" what happened in the last few seconds of the person's life) is the legacy of surviving a lightning strike when she was younger. It seemed to me to be a bit darker than the Sookie stories. I liked it and will want to read the next one in the series. B+. The Rock Orchard (Paula Wall) - General Southern fiction. I loved it! I'm not sure how I'd describe the story...a bunch of people learning about themselves and each other, perhaps. But it sucked me in and never let go. Probably my favorite book I've read so far this year. A! Something Rising [Light and Swift] (Haven Kimmel) - General fiction. I honestly don't know what to say about this one. I found it very uneven - parts of it I loved and thought were lyrical and magical. Parts of it I found so draggy that I had trouble sticking with it. I've put it on my keeper shelf for now because I want to try again after a little time has passed and see what my reaction is to a re-read. For now I give it a C-, but that is subject to change. *TSTL = Too Stupid To Live (for those who may not have run across that particular acronym before) Also, although this has nothing to do with books, I just have to mention that I watched the first half of "The Ten Commandments" (new version, not the Heston thing) on ABC last night and what the hell is UP with the way Dougray Scott (aka Moses) stands and walks?? Sheesh! He moves like an 80-year old man with severe hemorrhoids. I kept wanting to tell him to Stand up Straight! And Get your hair out of your eyes! And smile...Smile! You could be a nice-looking man if you'd stand up straight and smile. So, um...when the hell did I turn into my grandmother?? Here's another pear tree pic: "Pear Blossom 2"

Monday, April 10, 2006

Monday Disgruntlement

It's Monday. Considering that I don't currently have a work-outside-the-home type job, that shouldn't mean anything any different than any other day, but still somehow Monday carries that "weekend fun time is over, back to the grind" sort of stigma to it. It's a gorgeous day here today - sunny, warmish, classic Kentucky spring weather...the kind we brag about but seldom really get. I should be in a great mood and I'm a bit ashamed of myself that I'm not, but the truth is I'm feeling disgruntled. (Is there any such word as "gruntled"? It seems that one should be gruntled before one can be DISgruntled, but I've never heard of anyone being gruntled. Anyway...) I'm disgruntled that I'm still getting tired so easily, even though I'm technically more-or-less over being ill. I want to be really over it, not just more-or-less over it and I want it NOW, dammit. I'm disgruntled that I haven't been able to think of anything decent to write for this month's Blogging 4 Books contest, even though I like the theme. Here I've been urging all of you to enter and I can't come up with an entry myself. Sheesh! I'm not giving up just yet though. I have until midnight tonight to come up with something (and so do you!) so maybe my brain will surprise me. Sigh. I'm disgruntled that EvilDemonKittySky decided this morning that The Perfect Place to Puke was all over a stack of sketch books and graph paper pads that I had on the sewing desk. I'd been looking through them to try to get inspired to start something quilty and I went to the kitchen to get coffee. In the time it took me to get the coffee and come back to the sewing room (NOT house isn't that big!), he'd managed to get varying amounts of CatPuke on nearly everything in the stack. We are talking YEARS worth of design sketches here. I cleaned them up as best I could, but some of it is beyond hope. I am not amused. (On the plus side, before the Great Cat Puke Incident, I had sort of an idea for something I might try in fabric. We'll see...) I think I'll go pay bills now. It has to be done and since the day is already Mondayfied, might as well go give away money to the electric company and other boring places. Sorry to grump at you all. I will hope to be more gruntled tomorrow. I took this photo yesterday on my walk. Pretty, yes? "Pear Blossom"

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Oh sure, it looks easy until you try it...

Just a quick reminder - Blogging 4 Books is live for April and you have until midnight your time tomorrow to post an entry and try to win a book. There aren't a lot of entries so far, so it might be a good time to try. Check it out! Speaking of books, last night I was reading and came upon a scene that made me think. That wouldn't be so strange, I suppose, if I'd been reading Serious LIT-ra-churrrrr, but no. I was reading a romantic suspense novel. And the scene that made me think was a sex scene. Yep, seriously. Ok, to be clear, it wasn't so much the scene itself, it was my reaction to it, and then my reaction to my reaction that got my brain going. In this scene, as things are heating up and heading toward the main characters Doing the HubbaBubba, the man does a sort of little sexy stripper-dance move in front of the woman. I'm sure it was supposed to be spontaneous and playful, but my reaction was more like a curling lip and a sound sort of like "gaaaahhhhh". A few years ago, I wouldn't have thought twice about getting sneery over the stripper dance move, but now? Well, here's the thing. In 2004, I did the whole NaNoWriMo "write a 50k novel in 30 days" challenge, which is pretty much the only time I've tried to write fiction since I was about 9 years old. I got sucked into the idea at the last minute and I had no actual idea for a story. NaNoWriMo's slogan is "No Plot, No Problem", but really, I kind of thought that WAS a problem. If you write a mystery, you pretty much need to know who did what to whom, and why, and who is going to figure it out and how. If you write SciFi/Fantasy, you not only have to figure out who your characters are and what they're doing, you also have that whole world-building thing to do, which seems pretty overwhelming to me without a 30-day deadline, never mind with one. General fiction? Too broad, I wouldn't have known where to start. But romance? Well, the way I see it, with romance you have a plot outline built in. Two people meet, they want each other, obstacles prevent them having each other, they overcome the obstacles, they live happily ever after. Or in the case of romantic tragedy, they die. Either way, it's a place to start. So start I did, and somewhat to my surprise, I had a helluva good time writing that story....mostly. I liked my main characters, but I especially had fun with the secondary characters. Writing about the obnoxious neighbor (and her little dog too!), the spacy mother, the surfer dude teen, the sarcastic cat (yes, we know the cat is sarcastic because part of the story is told from the first person POV of the cat) - all those things were a blast. Writing the sex scenes between the main characters? Not so much! That surprised me. I mean, I like sex. I think it's an excellent idea. I like reading about sex when other people write it, provided they don't fall into the whole '80's romance purple prose trap, where everything involved is throbbing and weeping and pulsating like a bad alien on Star Trek. Eeeuuuwww. But I quickly found out that when I tried to write about it, the result was immediate Brain Freeze. All I could picture was that people might possibly read it who knew me and then I'd think "how will they know which parts come from my own sex life and which parts are made up?" and then I'd freak. Brain. Freeze. I managed to write one part of one scene where my mc's were headed toward HubbaBubbaLand, but they got interrupted, thank gawd, because writing just that much nearly made my head explode. In another part of the book, where they DID go to HBL, I simply refused to write it. I got them started, then typed "Add Sex Scene Later" and then next thing you know they're waking up with the heroine's undies on the lamp shade. I never did go back and add the sex scene. All of which brings me back to the book I was reading. Years ago, I could have sneered at the sexy stripper-dance part without a second thought, sure that one (meaning, of course, ME!) could do better. But that has been ruined for me now, since I've TRIED to do better and failed miserably. So now, I start to sneer and then think "Oh yeah, ya big poser, like you could do better! NOT!" Damn. Truth is a bitch. If I ever decide to try my hand at the whole "writing a romance novel" thing again, I think I need to find a collaborator - one who actually likes writing sex scenes. Then I could write the parts I think are fun - like the smartass cat - and then turn it over to my writing partner and say "Ok, in chapter six I've gotten them all hot for each other over dinner, now you get 'em to hump like bunnies without using the words "rod", "cleft", or "dewy". 'k? 'k! Oh yeah, and no self-consciously sexy stripper dances unless copious amounts of alcohol are involved. And I don't mean for the characters." Aaahhh....sounds like a plan. And even if I never write another word of fiction, at least the experience gave me a greater appreciation for those who do. It only looks easy until you try it! Let's close with a doodle, shall we? I'm not sure why I like it, but I do. "Ambiguous DebDoodle"

Saturday, April 08, 2006

It's a Weekend Meme Thing

At some point in my stumbling around the 'net, I stumbled over this meme and thought it was interesting. Here's the deal. You go to Wikipedia and enter your birthday in the search box - just the day, not the year. It pops up with all sorts of things that happened on that day in various years. You list three events, three births, and three deaths that have occurred throughout history on your birthday. My day is March 15. Events
  • 44 BC - Julius Caesar, Dictator of the Roman Republic, is stabbed to death by Marcus Junius Brutus, Decimus Junius Brutus and several other Roman senators on the Ides of March
  • 1820 - Maine becomes the 23rd U.S. state.
  • 1998 - Titanic defeats Star Wars for the #1 place in the North American domestic box office, grossing $471 million.
  • 1767 - Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States, (d. 1845)
  • 1835 - Eduard Strauss, Austrian composer (d. 1916)
  • 1975 - Eva Longoria, American actress
  • 1673 - Salvator Rosa, Italian painter and poet (b. 1615)
  • 1937 - H. P. Lovecraft, American writer (b. 1890)
  • 1998 - Benjamin Spock, American pediatrician and writer (b. 1903)
I'm not going to tag anyone, but feel free to steal it if you want to play! For today's Daily Art Thang I'm sharing a photo that is technically all wrong, but I love it anyway. It's weird how that happens sometimes. I love the quality of light it shows and the transparency effects where the petals overlap. "Sunlit Petals"

Friday, April 07, 2006

Simple Still Life: Month the Eighth, Part the First

The Simple Still Life theme for April is "Floral". Technically, that probably means I should pick some flowers, set up a still life containing them, photograph it, and use that as a starting point. But I don't wanna. Heh. If I change my mind in the next couple of days, I can always post something else. Or for that matter, maybe I should spend a little time this weekend going through some of my old photos. I'm sure I have oodles that fit the description above. But for now, I'm choosing the two below as my potential starter photos, even though they're technically both landscape close-ups rather than still life photos. "3 Daffodils" "3 Grape Hyacinths" No idea where I'll go with this idea, but we'll see!