Wednesday, May 31, 2006

K 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... K is for... Keeton - I was a Keeton before I was a Richardson, so some of my favorite people are Keetons. Kisses - The first time I ever experienced a "grown-up kiss" I couldn't quite see what all the fuss was about. Now I do. Kiwi fruit, Key Lime Pie - Some of my favorite K-foods. I make a Killer Key Lime Pie! Kentucky - The state where I live now. It also ties with Ohio for the state where I've lived the most years. Key West (Florida) - A place I've visited a couple of times and enjoyed enough that I'd like to go back again sometime. There's a little shop there that sells slices of chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick. Yum! Knitting - Something I do very, very basically and badly, but enjoy! Kinesthetic learning - This (along with Visual Learning) is one of the best ways for me to get something. I retain things very well via "muscle memory." Knowledge - Love it! Wish I had even more of it! My problem is that my interests are so broad that I tend to have a little knowledge about a lot of things rather than a deep knowledge about one or a few. I keep telling myself I'm a Renaissance woman. Ahem. Ken (Grimwood) - A favorite writer of mine. Sadly, he died before he could get many books published, but one of his books, "Replay" would make my "What books would you take to a deserted island?" list. Kay (Hooper) - Another favorite writer. Her books are fairly fluffy I suppose, but I really like them. Karaoke - I've neverever done it in public (at least so far!) but I sure love doing it at private parties. Kings Island - An amusement park in Southern Ohio where I went every summer when I was a teenager. I especially loved the roller coasters and the water rides. Now you'd almost have to pay me to go to an amusement park - they're way too hot and crowded! - but it still makes my list as an indelible part of my past. Kaleidoscopes, Kites - Fun K-toys. The first time I went to Epcot Center in Disney World, my dad had to practically drag me kicking and screaming from the Journey Into Imagination building where they had a bunch of humongous kaleidoscopes to play with. Kinky, Kick-ass - K-words I say with some frequency. "K is for..." (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Self-Portrait Challenge: Introduce Yourself, Week 5

The Story of Deb Four weeks ago, on The Story of Deb: Episode One - The First Ten Years, I began my introduction for this month's Self-Portrait Challenge. Three weeks ago, I continued the story with Episode Two - The Teen Decade. Two weeks ago it was all about Episode Three - The Roaring Twenties. And last week we made it through Episode Four - Thirty Little Secrets. Now, to continue my (unbelievably long, but finally about to end!) introduction, Red Shoe Ramblings is pleased to present: Episode Five - Forties Fun Way back in the very first paragraph of this epic, I mentioned learning the concept of cake as a major food group. It only seems appropriate then that I start out this final chapter with, yep, you guessed it - cake! I know it's hard to see beyond the glow of all those candles, but there really WAS a cake under there. A coconut cake, to be exact, made by my friend Morven. She's the cute blonde lighting the candles in the center pic below, along with the lovely Bev. That's fabulous Nancy looking over my shoulders as I then blow the candles out before the smoke detectors start shrieking. Nice look I've got going with the whole puffy-cheek thing, eh? (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window) I know people who think of the forties as a scary age, but I've loved this decade so far. I think the older I get the more ME I feel, if that makes sense. Plus J and I have done some really fun things the past few years, in particular we've traveled to some places I hadn't been before. We've moved around a lot in the time we've been together because of his job, but so far in this decade we've also been doing some traveling just for FUN. A few weeks after my 40th birthday we went to Hawaii. It was the first time I'd been but I'd love to go again! We did all kinds of very cool stuff there, like walk through a tunnel created by lava, drove to the top of a volcano, went deep sea fishing (I caught a 35 lb. fish with teeth!...I mean the fish had teeth, not that I used my teeth to catch it. Heh.), and we went on a helicopter ride where we saw stuff like this: (I don't know the real name of that waterfall, but it was part of the scenery in the film Jurassic Park, so that's what I call it.) A couple of years after that we went to Belize and climbed to the top of an ancient Mayan pyramid. This is a photo I took from the top: And last year we went to Grand Cayman and Mexico, although I can't find a decent photo with me in it except one from dinner one night. Woohoo! So even though my life has continued in pretty much the same path I started in my 30's, I feel like I'm trying new things and having a great time. I count my blog as one of the New Things of my forties. When I first heard about blogs I couldn't imagine why anyone wrote one or read them, and neverEVER pictured doing so myself. But here I am! I started RSR a little more than a year ago and I'm having a blast writing it. (I hope you're having fun reading it too.) It makes me wonder what other new things might be out there waiting for me to see them, try them, experience them! Oh yeah, and I guess you'll have figured it out from the photo, but another New Thing I tried after I turned 40 was red hair. I'd wanted red hair for years but had been too chicken to try it becauase I was afraid it would look stupid on me. But a couple of years ago I woke up one day and thought "Sheesh, so what if it looks stupid? It's hair! It'll grow!" and I went out that day and bought hair color and changed it. And I love it! The older I get the more I appreciate the idea that I can make even ordinary days at home something special if I try. I may not be able to get away to a tropical beach right now, but I can find a few minutes now and then to put on a satin robe, paint my toenails pink, and sip a frosty beverage while I watch an adventure unfold in front of me. "Classic" (This is today's Daily Art Thang too...clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window) I hope you've enjoyed reading The Story of Deb. I don't know what happens next, but I'm looking forward to finding out! This time next week we'll be starting a new Self-Portrait Challenge: Pop Art. I think that one has the potential to be a lot of fun!

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Saga of a Soggy Saturday

Yesterday I mentioned that J and I encountered some problems around the house this weekend. I'm not sure if they're yet to the point of "amusing anecdote", but let's find out, shall we? Gather round, kiddies, if you dare, and listen to our tale of woe. It all started innocently enough. We went to bed Friday night and slept peacefully (well except for the part where J was being a total Blanket Hog and I kept waking up with my ass exposed and freezing, and I therefore almost had to smother him with a pillow, but other than that it was a peaceful and lovely night). We were blissfully unaware of what was happening Deep in the Heart of the Basement. (Damn, this would be so much more effective if I could cue some "Jaws" music right about there.) Here's the thing. We get our water through the county water system, but because we live way on top of a big ol' hill - a hill which is, in fact, as tall as the hill where the water tower sits - by the time the water gets to us, we have no pressure. So we have a pump in the basement. Gravity gets the water to the pump and the pump gets the water to the rest of the house with enough pressure and volume to be usable. UNLESS, that is, a hose blows off the pump. If that happens, oh let's say late on a Friday night maybe, just as a wild, off-the-cuff example, maybe when the water is last used for the night and the inhabitants of the house go drifting off to dreamland in sweet, sweet ignorance. THEN, there is no water pressure or volume in the morning. THEN there is a cold trickle of water upstairs and a couple of inches of water on the floor of the basement. Sigh. So Saturday morning was spent mopping and figuring out what we needed for repairs (WE, in this case being J, since I know nothing about water pumps, and was, at this point, reallyREALLY glad I had let him live the night before). Then we drove the 10 miles to town and while we were there we had a nice, artery-clogging breakfast, 'cause hey...why the hell not! We went to the plumbing supply place, bought some hose and clamps and glue and Stuff and came home and we fixed the whole shebang (WE, in this case STILL meaning J...I mopped up extra water and made encouraging noises and repented my homicidal thoughts). J got everything hooked back up, and plugged back in and it all worked. YAY! All done! is that dripping sound coming from the OTHER end of the basement? We walk down to check. We see a stream of water dripping enthusiastically from the floor above. WTF??? We run back up to the main floor to investigate. We find a flooded laundry room. It seems that while we were in town that morning, elevating our cholesterol and buying parts to fix the water pump, our hot water heater decided that would be the PERFECT moment to rust through and die. THUNK. We said some Bad Words. We said SEVERAL Bad Words. While J started shutting off water and power to the old heater and dragging in a garden hose to let it finish draining somewhere OTHER than the laundry room floor, I made some calls to find out where we could get another one. Then it was BACK to town, to the exact same store, to buy a new water heater and yet more fittings and things, while we both tried very hard not to think of all the other ways we'd rather have been spending that money and time. So we then spent the afternoon installing the new water heater. Fun times! (I assume by now you know who I mean by "we." I mopped.) Happy ending, right? Um, yeah, not so fast. Remember when I posted about this time yesterday I said things weren't quite done? That would be because a) one of the connections on top of the heater was leaking just a tiny bit, so J had to re-do it (fingers crossed that it's finally fixed!) and b) as we were getting the old water heater out of the house, we dropped it and broke away one of the steps leading to our deck. THUD! At that point we threw up our hands and said "screw it", but yesterday was another day and we seem to be all functional again here at Casa Richardson, although I'm almost afraid to say that out loud in case I jinx us. At the moment though - water pump working? check; hot water heater working? check; stair replaced? check. We spent a nice big hunk of yesterday afternoon hanging out on the deck and doing Absolutely Nothing. We felt like we'd earned it. For today's Daily Art Thang (don't get whiplash from that abrupt change of subject, 'k?) I'm revisiting the rhubarb and chickenwire pic once again: "Rhubarb and Chickenwire as a Make-Believe Painting"

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Why Am I thinking of Roseanne Rosanna Danna?

Ok, know how Saturday was supposed to be a "hanging out with Jose on the deck" sort of day? Yeah, um...not so much! Through no fault of our own, J and I (that would be Johnny and I, not Jose and I) ended up spending a lot of time fixing things, one of which things still isn't exactly fixed and we're going to have to spend at least part of today messing with it too, and we are stressed and saying Bad Words. SO, not a lot of time to blog at the moment. I'll try to tell you more tomorrow, at which point it will hopefully be ALL BETTER and will just be an amusing anecdote to share. Gaaah! (I know, I know...hard to stand the suspense, yes?) So, in fellowship with those of you who are spending your holiday weekend doing Fun Things, like seeing "X-Men 3", I'll post this silly bit of fluff:
You Are Jean Grey
Although your fate is often unknown, you always seem to survive (even after death). Your mind is your greatest weapon, literally! Powers: telepathy and telekinesis, the ability to project thoughts into the mind of others, communication with animals
Did you hear that, Universe? Jean Grey!! If things don't get a bit more fun and relaxing for J and me for the rest of this so-called holiday weekend, I may have to go all Dark Phoenix on you. I'm just sayin'... Today's Daily Art Thang is another messed-with version of the beautimous rhubarb plant: "Rhubarb and Chickenwire - Revisited" Back to Real Life now. And all will be well, And all will be well, And all manner of things will be well.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Saturday Snippets

Recently someone (wish I could remember who...oops!) told me about this site where you can see animated representations of how the muscles of the face work to create various expressions. I thought it was pretty cool. And hey, it's educational too, unlike the Build a Better Bush site, which isn't educational at all, but is kind of fun. I don't have much to say today and I bet a lot of people aren't reading anyway, as it's a holiday weekend here in the US., so I'll keep this short-ish and just mention that: a) I sewed yesterday. Don't get excited, it wasn't much and I can't share photos at the moment, but still... I. Sewed. HA! b) I'm 3/4 through a book by an author I haven't read before and so far I'm really liking it. Maybe I'll have more to say about that soon. c) I bought the stuff to make margaritas. Did I mention it's a holiday weekend? And it's supposed to be HOT here by Sunday - temps in the low '90's. (For those who don't live in the US, the converter thingy I found online says that's around 33 C.) Picture me hanging in the shade with my buddy Jose. d) Today's DAT is an exercise in texture. It's a photo of a rhubarb plant, both normal: "Rhubarb and Chicken Wire" and altered: "Rhubarb and Chicken Wire Again" Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend, whether it's a holiday where you live or not! Now...where did I put the salt?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Some Flowers and a Day at the Movies

First of all, I want to share a bouquet from my garden with all of you: Isn't it pretty? That's one thing I love about peonies - they're so lush that 5 flowers make a sumptuous bouquet. They smell great too! On to movies... A couple of days ago I went to see "The Da Vinci Code." I figured I'd take in a mid-week matinee. My reasoning was that by waiting until after opening weekend, but going before the holiday weekend, the movie theater wouldn't be too crowded. Well, I was right about that. I was the ONLY person who bought a ticket to that showing. Yep...had the entire theater to myself as I sat there with my bad popcorn, watching the story unfold on a big screen with not one other soul in the room, chewing or whispering or hopping up and down to go to the bathroom. It was rather surreal. I resisted reading that book for soooo long because of all the hype, but when I finally got around to it, I actually enjoyed it quite a lot more than I expected to. So I hoped they'd do a good job with the movie. My verdict? I liked it. I didn't love it, but I liked it. I thought it was a bit heavy on exposition, which tended to make it somewhat draggy in spots, but I'm honestly not sure how they could have fixed that, as all the explanations of the historical back-story were necessary to make the modern part make sense. Tom Hanks' strange thinning-on-top, but overlong-slicked-back hair didn't bother me as much as I thought it would from the commercials. Audrey Tautou made a good Sophie, although every time they showed a full-length shot of her I had the urge to ask her to sit down and have a sandwich and maybe a cookie or two. It was cool to see some of the scenery and artwork in Paris. My main quarrel was with something they changed about the story. I can't be specific without writing a spoiler, which I don't want to do, but let's just say that they changed something toward the end that I didn't think should have been changed. The story still worked the way they did it, but it worked better the way it was done in the book. And I couldn't see the logic of the change - it wasn't anything that would have made the movie shorter, or cheaper to produce. Very odd! So there you go....the movie was ok, but the book was better. First time I've ever said that - NOT! I was trying to remember after the show if there's ever been a time when I liked a movie based on a book better than the book itself and I kind of think it may have happened once or twice, but at the moment I can't bring to mind a single example. 99% of the time I prefer the book and this wasn't one of the exceptions. Today's Daily Art Thang is a nature photo. I was too busy to mess with much! "Sage Blossoms" (clickable if you want to see it larger)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Poetry Thursday: Eve and Medusa

I love the optional prompt for Poetry Thursday this week - love it! But I didn't do it. The idea that Liz Elayne and Lynn had was for each participant to choose one line of a poem written by a fellow-participant and use that line as a jumping off point to write an original poem of his or her own. The thing is, I'm only newly discovering an appreciation of poetry written by others, never mind writing it myself. (I figure I can't count the smart-aleck limericks and haiku things I've been doing for years. Heh.) I'm intrigued by the idea of writing poetry, and no doubt in the coming months I'll find the courage to inflict some horrid newbie original poetry on you all (sorry in advance!) but I don't want to use a line from someone else's GOOD poem to start it off. It'd be like telling someone you want to make their life story into a movie, and they'd have visions of this fabulous, artistic creation with Meryl Streep, only to tune in and find Anna Nicole Smith lurching across the screen. NOT a pretty picture. So I'm going to file this prompt away in the back of my mind to possibly revisit in the future and share something else this week instead. The poem I've chosen to share this week is a bit off-beat, which is part of why I love it. I find it fascinating to think of a meeting between Eve and Medusa and to contemplate the idea that Eve might find Medusa someone to be admired rather than feared - that she might see Medusa's curse as a source of power...power she herself feels she lacks. Hhhmmm... "Eve Meets Medusa" Medusa. Sit down. Take the weight off your snakes. We have a lot in common. Snakes, I mean. Tell me, can you really turn men to stone with a look? Do you think, if I had a perm --- maybe not. Don't you think Perseus was a bit of a coward? not even to look you in the face you were beautiful when you were a moon goddess, before Athene changed your looks through jealousy I can't see what's wrong with making love in a temple, even if it was her temple it's a good mask; you must feel safe and loving behind it you must feel very powerful tell me, what conditioner do you use? ~~~Michelene Wandor "Eve Meets Medusa" PS...Did y'all see that poetry was mentioned in yesterday's Garfield strip? I thought it was funny! PPS...A couple of people have asked about the image above. It's a digital collage I did using Photoshop Elements. I did an image search for sculptures meant to represent Eve and Medusa, chose two of my favorites, and then I used small portions of them and messed with them - changing size, color, texture, in one case flipping the image to look the other way, all in an effort to make it look like they were inhabiting the same world - the same frame. I don't think I was entirely successful in that, but pretty close. Then of course I added the other things, like the light and the background and frames. So basically the image is my idea of a photo of how a sculptor might have represented the meeting between Eve and Medusa.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

J 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. This is an interesting week for me because I hardly have any things, or activities, and no places on my J-list, but I have lots of people - both people I know and love and people I don't know personally, but admire. Now here we go... J is for... Johnny - My beloved husband, most often referred to on this blog as "J" (because that's 5 letters less than "Johnny" and I'm a lazy typist!). We met nearly 20 years ago on a blind date and have been married since 1989. We're as different as night and day, but even though we hardly like any of the same things, we DO like, love, and respect each other, so it works for us. My former Marine Sgt., now EngineerGuy is way more romantic than I am, although he'd scoff if he heard me say that. And he can still surprise me after all this time. Oh yeah, and I'm not being cutesy when I call him Johnny. That's his for-real, on-his-birth-certificate name. Johnny - NOT John. You'll see why that's a Good Thing as you continue down the J-list. John Reid - My beloved dad. Whether by nature or nurture, he's largely responsible for my allergies and my eye color; my obsessive-compulsive tendencies and my love of puns; my dislike of numbers and LOVE of words and the way lining them up in various ways can make stories and pictures unfold inside your head. I'd give up the allergies if I could, but overall I think he did good. Thanks, Dad! John Mark - My beloved younger brother, who tends to be so quiet when you first meet him that a lot of people don't get how very smart and funny he is until they've known him a while. He and his daughter are perhaps even more into movies than I am (and that's saying something!). I always have a blast when I get together with him. Josh - My beloved (and waaaay cooler than me!) nephew. He's smart and cute and he makes me laugh. I'm really looking forward to seeing what sort of adult he'll be someday. Joss (Whedon) - A god. "Not THE God, but A god." (Name that movie!) Ok, y'all know I'm teasing when I say he's a god, right? I'm not trying to be blasphemous, I'm just being my usual smartass self. While I don't literally think Joss Whedon is a god, I DO think he's a ridiculously talented writer and director. Jane (Austen) - A goddess. (See above about the teasing thing.) When a person can write about everyday interactions between ordinary people in such a way that others still want to read those words 200 years later, that's pretty powerful. Jennifer (Crusie) - One of my favorite writers. Love her characters and the way she writes dialogues and relationships. Janet (Evanovich) - Another favorite writer. She makes me laugh. Joshilyn (Jackson) - And another favorite writer. I first "met" Joss (online, that is) on an email list years before her first book came out and when I didn't have time to read any other posts, I'd read hers because they were so original and funny. So YAY that she's now getting novels published so I can have her writing on my bookshelves! She also somehow finds time to write one of my favorite blogs. Jack (Finney) - And yet another favorite writer! (J first names are obviously a Good Thing for anyone who wants to be a writer, or at least a writer who appears with frequency on my shelves! I wonder if I'd suddenly be a superfantastic Jammin' writer if I changed my first name to Jeborah?) Jigsaw Puzzles - Love them! I like both the hands-on cardboard type and the online type you find at sites like Jigzone (one of my regular morning stops over coffee). Jewelry - Love it! It's one of my favorite girly things. I especially have a major Jones for earrings and rings. Jasmine - A J-flower I like, although I don't have a bit of luck growing it. I think the fragrance is almost edible. If I lived in a gardening zone where I could grow it outside I might have better luck with it, but I don't - it won't overwinter here. So I've tried to grow it as a houseplant a few times, but I've never managed to keep one alive more than 6 months or so. But the one (and only!) time I ever got one to bloom indoors, that scent....oh MY! :::swoooooon::: Jaffas, Jambalaya, Jamocha Almond Fudge ice cream, Juice (esp. orange and grape), Jam (esp. blackberry and apricot) - Some of my favorite J-foods (and drinks). Jose (Cuervo) - Margaritas just wouldn't be the same without him. Thanks, Jose! Jubilant, Jumpin', Jeez, Joy (or Joyful) - J-words I like! "J is for..." (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Something Quilted This Way Comes

For today's Daily Art Thang, I want to share a little something I made yesterday just to prove to myself that I do in fact remember both the location and proper operation of my sewing machine, even if I haven't felt much like using it lately. Most often when I take photos or do sketches, that's it for me - they're a finished Thang all on their own and even if someone says they'd make a good quilt I tend to think "yeah, maybe, but what's the point...that would feel like a re-do to me." (For quilts, I usually do only very rough, unfinished sketches and improvise from there.) But occasionally one of the more complete-feeling ones does call out to me to see what it would look like in fabric. One of those was this doodle, which inspired this: "Spiral Dance 4: Sunlight" (6" x 8") It's small, but HEY - I sewed. Yay! Maybe it will inspire bigger things. I don't want anyone holding their breath or anything, but....maybe.

Self-Portrait Challenge: Introduce Yourself, Week 4

The Story of Deb Three weeks ago, on The Story of Deb: Episode One - The First Ten Years, I began my introduction for this month's Self-Portrait Challenge. Two weeks ago, I continued the story with Episode Two - The Teen Decade. And last week, found the exciting story of Episode Three - The Roaring Twenties. Now, to continue my (increasingly extended) introduction, Red Shoe Ramblings is pleased to present: Episode Four - Thirty Little Secrets (Ok, honestly there are probably NO secrets below, never mind 30 of them, but if I have to have this song stuck in my head, then you do too!) When we left The Story of Deb last week, J and I had just purchased a "unique fixer-upper opportunity" (name that movie!) and remodeled it completely. (Someday I really must tell that whole story - but not today.) We lived in that house for five years while doing homey, nesting sorts of things like acquiring pets and planting gardens. It was during this time also (in my early 30's) when I spent a few years working as a receptionist for a group of Veterinarians. I ran into some interesting characters in that job. And sometimes the pets could be strange too. But when I was 34, two things happened at pretty much the same time that caused us to make a big life change. J decided we lived too far away from the area where his job was based and wanted to be closer to that part of the state without actually living in the city, and my mom was diagnosed with cancer and I decided I wanted to live closer to her so I could spend more time with her. So we ultimately made the move from extreme southern Kentucky (near the Tennessee border) to northeastern Kentucky (near the Ohio border). We decided that if possible we wanted to build, so we went on a search for land. Eventually we found the land we were looking for and made the move to the spot where we now live, somewhere between Middle-Of-Nowhere and Holy-Crap-Are-You-Kiddin'-Me, Kentucky. We rented an old, run-down trailer, pulled it onto the property, and lived there for six months while we watched the house being built - and in some cases helped build it. One great thing about having gone through a remodel was that it told us exactly what we were willing to do again in order to cut the cost with some sweat equity and which things we absolutely were willing to pay someone else to do. (For the record: I will gladly wire phone jacks, but I don't do drywall.) (It seems strange to me to see that last photo now, because we've made changes since then, but that's pretty much what it looked like on move-in day.) While I had started making quilts a few years before this, it was during my 30's that I really got into it in a big way, including making friends who were quilters. I also ventured into Cyberspace for the first time in my 30's, which is how I met one of my best friends, Morven (who is now back in New Zealand, land of her birth...sob!). Oh yeah, and after spending most of my life with hair that was anywhere from shoulder length to waist length, it was during this decade that I had it all chopped off and went short for a while! That last pic is me with my friend Marge's daughter, Amy, wearing construction paper hats we made together. To be honest, I can't remember why I pulled that pic to share. Sometimes my thought processes mystify me. I'm sure I had a very good reason. Heh. I got my wish of being able to spend more time with Mom, as I visited almost every week during her last 5 years. She died when she was 62 and I was 39 - way too soon. I still miss her. Looking back, somehow my 30's seem to have been both rather quiet and full of change. Life can be weird. I hate to end this chapter on such a down note, but really, that's how my 30's ended....on a down note. But things got better again, just wait and see... To Be Continued Please join me next week for "The Story of Deb: Episode Five - Forties Fun!" (Photos above are clickable if you want to see them larger in a new window.)

Monday, May 22, 2006

May Bliss List

It's Bliss List time again! Here are some things that have been making me feel Blissful in May:
  • May flowers, like irises, pinks, and peonies - so lush!
  • The wonderful fragrance of lilacs and wild honey locust blossoms in the air
  • A new floor in my bedroom!
  • "The Time Traveler's Wife" - After resisting for a long time, I finally read it and I'm glad I did. It stays on my shelf of Keeper books.
  • Rediscovering the joys of poetry (thanks to Poetry Thursday), after years of thinking I couldn't "get it" without an English prof. walking me through it
  • Winning a beautiful pewter miniature for writing a haiku - thanks, Joshilyn!
  • Singing silly songs with people I love
  • Getting word that the quilt I donated to the FFAC Reverse Auction has sold, raising $238 for the American Cancer Society - Yay!
"May Bliss" (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window) What's making you feel blissful this month?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Snafu and Blue and a Pair of Pears Too

It will probably come as no great surprise to anyone who has spent any time hanging out at RSR to discover that I have my own personal, probably-rather-odd method of keeping track of emails - which ones I need to save for a while, which ones I want or need to respond to but haven't had time to answer. Well yesterday I somehow - I still have NO idea how! - managed to unmark everything in my Inbox that I'd had marked as "things I need to answer." Oh goody. That might not be a big deal if I wasn't such an Email PackRat, but I AM an Email PackRat and don't delete old messages nearly as quickly as I should. So that means that my Inbox currently has around 650 messages in there (I can't believe I'm admitting this, but there it is) and that's JUST the Inbox....not any of my various email folders. And at this point I have no idea which of those 650 messages need a response and it'll obviously take a weeeee bit of time to figure out. Ahem. So if you're reading this and you've sent me an email in the past week or so that is the sort of email you might reasonably expect me to answer and you haven't heard back, you might want to shoot me another quick note saying something like "um, Deb, I think the email I sent Thursday is one of the ones that got lost in your so-called 'system', so could you check on that please-and-thank you?" I'm just sayin'... I think it was back in March that one of the stupid quizzes I'm so fond of doing was "What shade of green are you?" Well I just took one that is "What shade of blue are you?" and I liked the answer because it turns out I'm my own favorite shade of blue! Isn't that nice?
You Are Periwinkle
You're very intuitive and sensitive. You often know other people better than they know themselves. You're also quite optimistic, and you think well of yourself and others. You know your dreams will come true.
Daily Art Thang: Yet another take on the Pear photo, similar to yesterday's effort, but not. I think this one has a very quilty look, although I doubt I'll make it in fabric. "A Pair of Pears: Take Three"

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Tagged: 5 Things

I got tagged by Cate and since I loooves me some lists and memes, here we go: 5 Things 5 items in my fridge: 1. Kalamata olives 2. feta cheese 3. strawberries 4. sugar nectar (for the hummingbirds) 5. nightcrawlers (J likes to fish) 5 items in my closet: 1. 50+ pairs of shoes and boots (haven't counted for a while, so I don't know an exact number) 2. several pairs of house shoes, including puffy penguin slippers just like Whoopi wore in Jumpin' Jack Flash 3. several pillows (I'm on an eternal quest for THE pillow, but can't bear to throw away the almost-but-not-quite pillows I buy. At least I always have extra for guests!) 4. a stack of mid-rise boot-cut jeans 5. many t-shirts, both long-sleeved and short-sleeved, mostly bright colors, all hanging on color-coordinated hangers 5 items in my car: 1. a Rand-McNally North American atlas 2. an extra pair of sunglasses 3. untold numbers of in-case-of-emergency napkins saved from carry-out bags 4. wet wipes (for when the napkins alone won't do it!) 5. a flashlight 5 items in my purse: 1. two pairs of sunglasses (one regular, one magnetic pair that fits my regular glasses...are we sensing a sort of sunglasses fetish here??) 2. a variety of restaurant coupons I rarely remember to use 3. a list of books I want to buy 4. two ink pens, one plain practical dark gray pen with black ink, and one cool-looking partly-see-through neon chartreuse pen (although the ink is still black) 5. a good old-fashioned paper-and-print address book (The above was the whole meme from Cate, but the somewhat OCD part of my brain insists that there should be 5 sections to any quiz entitled 5 Things, so I'm adding the list below.) 5 items in my Desk: 1. Shipping/package tape 2. blank recordable CDs 3. digital camera accessories (connection cables, battery charger, mini-tripod, etc.) 4. AA batteries (for my cordless mouse that eats them like candy) 5. Emergency chocolate stash (speaking of candy) I've seen this one around a few places, so there may not be anyone reading my blog who wants to do it and hasn't already, but if there is, then the first 5 people to say so in comments can consider themselves officially tagged! Today's Daily Art Thang: "A Pair of Pears: Take Two"

Friday, May 19, 2006

Random Items from the Junk Drawer of my Mind #18

1. Thanks for all the comments yesterday! It's very cool to find a poem that speaks to me and then find that it speaks to so many other people too. I've responded to some of the comments in individually and will respond to more soon, but I just wanted to say a general thank you here. I also plan to visit the blogs of eveyone who commented. Again, I visited some yesterday, but didn't quite get to them all, because... (see #2) 2. I'm sick and I don't like it. Ever since I got home from Cincinnati I've been feeling a little off and since Tuesday I've been downright puny. So yesterday I went to a doctor and I HATE going to doctors. I really don't trust them. The diagnosis: bronchitis and infected lymph nodes in my throat. Bleah! It sounds as disgusting as it feels. So I gave the doctor's office and the pharmacy $100 that I'd have MUCH rather spent on something fun (and that's just the co-pay stuff with health insurance...if we didn't have insurance I'd just have to suffer through it...seriously). In return they gave me two shots in the ass and a teeny bag stuffed full of pills and potions. I am not amused, but hoping it helps. Breathing would be nice. 3. I'm tired of cold weather. We had a teaser of a spring and then went back to cold temps and lots of rain. What I'm really tired of more than the weather itself is my clothes for cold weather. Is that sad and vain? I liked most of these clothes months ago, but lately I loathe the sight of them. I want to wear short sleeves. I want to wear capris or light-weight flowing skirts. I want to paint my toenails pretty colors and show them off in sparkly sandals. I want to see the sun! 4. Continuing with the theme of "is this sad and vain?" I'm seriously considering giving up my contact lenses. I'm not happy about that either. (This is just turning into a day to bitch. Sorry, really...I'm tired, not feeling well, and y'all get to hear about it because it's My Blog, My Bitchin' Space. I'll be better tomorrow, honest!) I've loved my contacts since I first started wearing them 25 years ago. But lately middle age has taken its toll and there are more and frequent circumstances where I have to supplement the contacts with reading glasses in order to see properly. If I have to wear reading glasses that often, I'm thinking I might as well just go back to wearing glasses full-time...something I haven't done since I was 19. I have one pair that I already wear in the evenings, but they're kind of boring. They're the sort of "minimal" look - almost frameless and I mainly got them because they were my first pair of progressive lenses (aka no-line bifocals! choke!) and they had more lens space than some other pairs I looked at, which I thought might make me get used to them faster. Now I think I could manage fine with something smaller, say something like these: (they're some of my many reading glasses, but I really like them!) sunglasses the trend is obviously going toward the big bug-eye lenses that were so popular in the '80's. I wonder if the same is true for regular glasses. I'd hate to pick out something I think is fun and pay lotsa money for them (progressive lenses are NOT cheap!) only to find out that they're badly dated-looking in 6 months. Hhhmmm... 5. I know I've harped on this a few times, but I wanted to mention yet another time that the Fiberart For A Cure reverse auction is still going on and the prices have dropped drastically from the original prices posted for the Must Buy day. Some good stuff there - check it out! And don't forget that every penny of the money goes to The American Cancer Society. 6. For the Daily Art Thang, I'm starting with a pretty basic photo today of two baby pears on one of our pear trees. Over the next couple of days I'll share some digitally altered versions of it. So here's our starter photo: "A Pair of Pears"

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Poetry Thursday: I Said to Poetry

This was the optional prompt for this week's Poetry Thursday: "This week's idea is to visit your favorite bookstore or local library and get lost in the poetry section." I loved the idea, but our local library is tiny and doesn't have much in the way of poetry - or anything else for that matter. (Although they recently broke ground for a new building and I have hope that's when it's built we may have a better selection. Yay!) Still, the very lack of selection made me think about what the community is missing. I put that thought into a Haiku, so I suppose that's something. Tattered covers. Dust. Forgotten pages holding words that dance and soar. When I went to Cincinnati this past weekend I went to a couple of book stores and had a great time there. I loved looking through the books and deciding what needed to come home with me. I ended up with a couple of books of poetry, a couple of novels and one book about Tarot. Fun! For this week I want to share a poem that reminds me of the way nearly every creative person I know feels a bit burned out sometimes and feels like they just want to walk away from their passion and never create again. But for creative people, I don't think it's just something we do, it's something we are. Sooner or later we have to draw, paint, write, play music, make quilts, plant a garden, design jewelry, photograph things, dance, whatever...something that lets us express ourselves. We can try to push Creativity away, but eventually she catches up to us and reminds us why we love her. "I Said to Poetry" I said to Poetry: 'I'm finished with you.' Having to almost die before some weird light comes creeping through is no fun. 'No thank you, Creation, no muse need apply. I'm out for good times --- at the very least, some painless convention.' Poetry laid back and played dead until this morning. I wasn't sad or anything, only restless. Poetry said: 'You remember the desert, and how glad you were that you have an eye to see it with? You remember that, if ever so slightly?' I said: 'I didn't hear that. Besides, it's five o'clock in the a.m. I'm not getting up in the dark to talk to you.' Poetry said: 'But think about the time you saw the moon over that small canyon that you liked much better than the grand one --- and how surprised you were that the moonlight was green and you still had one good eye to see it with. Think of that!' 'I'll join the church!' I said, huffily, turning my face to the wall. 'I'll learn to pray again!' 'Let me ask you,' said Poetry. 'When you pray, what do you think you'll see?' Poetry had me. 'There's no paper in this room,' I said. 'And that new pen I bought makes a funny noise.' 'Bullshit,' said Poetry. 'Bullshit,' said I. ~~~Alice Walker "I Said..."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I 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... I is for... Itchy - The first cat J and I ever had together. I was the one who wanted a cat, but cats choose who they choose and as far as Itchy was concerned, J was very much HER person, although I was occasionally handy for things like filling food dishes, opening doors, and providing a lap to sit on. She died several years ago, but we both still miss her and I occasionally dream about her. Oh yeah, and if you wonder about the name, J named her after the punch line of an incredibly stupid joke. Her full name was ItchyPussy. Internet - My lifeline as I live here in a very beautiful area where I really don't fit in with anyone I've met. Irises - Flowers I like very much. They always make me think of J's Aunt Jean. Italy - One of the countries I'd most like to visit in the world. Ice Cream, Indian food, Italian food - I-foods I like. Impressionism - An Art movement I like. Imagination, Intelligence, Ingenuity, Intuition - Traits I admire and hope I have to some degree or another. Irritability, Insomnia - Things I don't admire so much and definitely have! Inspiration board - My name for the bulletin board that hangs next to the 'puter desk where I tuck assorted Stuff that I inspires me. Introvert - I think of an introvert not as someone who is shy (although that can be true too), but as someone who needs a lot of alone time and feels stressed if they don't get it. If we go with that definition, I'm most definitely an introvert. "It Happened One Night" and "I Love You To Death" - A couple of I- movies I love - one classic, one more recent, both comedies. Interesting, Ick - I-words I say a lot. Incandescent, Idiosyncratic, Illuminate, Iridescent - I words I really like! "I is for..." (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


PS... I almost forgot to post a Daily Art Thang for today. Here ya go: "Green and White" Also, don't forget that today is the first day of the Fiberart For A Cause reverse auction. Click on the link if you want to check it out. There are some lovely pieces for sale!

Self-Portrait Challenge: Introduce Yourself, Week 3

The Story of Deb Two weeks ago, on The Story of Deb: Episode One - The First Ten Years, I began my introduction for this month's Self-Portrait Challenge. Last week I continued the story with Episode Two - The Teen Decade. Now, to continue my (rather extended) introduction, Red Shoe Ramblings is pleased to present: Episode Three - The Roaring Twenties When we left The Story of Deb dangling at a not-so-scary precipice last week, I had just told you about some of the stuff that happened just before I turned twenty. Over the next year and a half I finished college, including having my senior art exhibit and doing a semester of student teaching - no photos of that, unfortunately. I taught high school art and it was actually rather fun even though I ultimately didn't pursue teaching. Then when I was 21, I graduated. WooHoo! At that point I really thought I was going to marry the guy I'd been dating for the past 3 1/2 years (that would be the one in last week's homecoming pics), but by the end of the summer he was telling me he "thought we should see other people" and we all know what THAT means. (Her name was Beth and he didn't marry her either. HA!) Over the next few years, I worked a couple of different jobs, including being an office manager for a small company, and being first a sales associate and later a display designer for a large department store. I remember those years as being a lot of fun - running around with friends, dancing at clubs, having a date here and there without being serious about anyone. I don't think I ever messed with a camera then though. I can't find any party evidence! Then when I was 24 I met Johnny. Anyone who stops by here often has heard of Johnny, although I usually refer to him simply as J because it's easier to type one letter than six. We met because I'd been complaining to a co-worker about a horrendous blind date I'd been on the weekend before and swore I'd never go on another one. She said "Oh! I know someone you should meet!" and I said "What part of 'never' wasn't clear?" I held out for weeks, but eventually she wore me down and talked me into coming to her house for dinner to meet this guy who worked with her husband. I tell people she threw us at each other and we stuck. We dated for two years, were engaged for two months, and got married a month before I turned 27. He was 33. Over the next few years we lived on the western side of Cincinnati, and in North Carolina and Wisconsin where we bought our own private jet. Ok, the last seven words of that sentence were a total lie. But someone named Richardson had a private jet up there so we grabbed a stranger and made them take our photo standing next to it. You know you'd have done it too! My brother was also nice enough to provide us with a niece and a nephew during this decade, something I still appreciate. Thanks, Mark! And finally, the year I was 29, we bought a house in southern Kentucky. No, that's not quite accurate. We bought some beautiful land in southern Kentucky that happened to have an old, run-down, thoroughly disgusting shack on it. We fully intended to tear that thing down, but ultimately ended up remodeling instead. That's a long story, so I won't go into it here, but maybe I'll write about it another day and share some photos. We did 90% of the work ourselves, and I'm still pretty darn proud of what we did with that place, even after all these years! (Before and After-ish) And THEN... To Be Continued Please join me next week for "The Story of Deb: Episode Four - Thirty Little Secrets." (Photos above are clickable if you want to see them larger in a new window.)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Random Items from the Junk Drawer of my Mind #17

Comments on Comments Thank you to everyone who commented about my ThursdayFromHell, including the compliments about the new floor. For those who were curious, it's a cherry finish and it's one of the floating laminate thingies rather than real hardwood. We originally wanted hardwood but after doing some research we decided that the Pergo-ish stuff would actually fit our lifestyle better. One of our deciding factors (believe it or not) is that it's the same stuff that our vet used in his lobby when he built a new clinic a few years ago and his still looks great. We figured if it looked that good with all the animals parading through there, it should be able to hold up to our 3 dogs, 1 cat, and us! We love the way it looks, so if it holds up for a decent number of years we'll be happy with the decision. The thing I wanted to photograph along our driveway was a honey locust tree in bloom and my mammogram is rescheduled for this week. Fingers crossed that the day goes better this time! My Weekend Visit We didn't get much sleep, but we had a great time! I love where I live in some ways - I mean I love the actual property we live on and I like our house. But sometimes I feel like I miss a lot by being the most far-flung member of my immediate family. My brother and sister live within 10 - 15 minutes of each other and my dad is only maybe 15 minutes farther away than that and here I am an hour an a half from any of them. So I don't get to see them as often as I'd like, but it's always fun when I do. Oh well, no whining, at least I'm within driving distance! Friday we had pizza and rather a lot of wine. I'm not much of a drinker, so when I have rather a lot of wine, I end up doing things like this: Yep, that's me, my brother, and my sister and we're singing karaoke. I'm sure we sounded great! Ahem. Saturday Sandy and Andy (her hubby) and I met a group of their friends for lunch and a movie. We went to see "Poseidon" which is pretty much exactly what you'd expect - a big bunch of action sequences and special effects strung together by something that almost resembles a story if you bite your lip, squint, and tilt your head a bit. It was surprisingly short and I wish they'd added a few more minutes to the beginning of the story so we'd get to know the characters a little more before they flung them headlong into disaster. The pre-disaster part of the "story" was so brief that they might as well have just skipped that part altogether and simply had them wear t-shirts saying "Overbearing Father", "Loner with a Heart of Gold", "Precocious and Somewhat Annoying Child", and so forth and so on, and we'd have known just about as much about them as we did from the first 10 or 15 minutes of the movie. But still, it was pretty suspenseful in several parts (and the parts that weren't were good for post-movie snarky commentary), so for a Saturday matinee, it was fun. Afterward Sandy and I went book shopping. Because I NEED more books. I DO. Shut up. I Do and I Don't It's a meme, courtesy of Misty. (This is what I was originally going to post Saturday but since I couldn't manage 'puter time, I'll include it here.) I do like to sing. I don't usually like to listen to the radio. I do love many "girly" things like shoes, make-up, jewelry, and pretty clothes. I don't like ruffles, lace, perfume, or the color pink (unless it's a flower). I do respond to email...eventually. I don't make phone calls if I can possibly avoid it. I do love the water. I don't swim. I do like coconut in sweets. I don't like coconut in savory foods. I do weigh more than society says I should. I don't really care as long as I feel good. (which I do!) I do walk every day. Even though... I don't like to exercise. I do love spending time with my extended family. I don't do that often enough. I do believe in more than I can see and touch, and that our souls go on in some form after we die. I don't participate in organized religion. I do love to laugh, even in times when it may not be the best response. I don't like to cry, even in times when it's probably a healthy release. I do love me some memes! I don't like to tag specific people. .....So if you'd like to post your own version of this, say so in comments and you can consider yourself "officially" tagged. Ye Olde Dailey Arte Thange Today's DAT is two different versions of a pale peony, just starting to open. One in color: "Unfolding" And one not: "Unfolding 2"

Fiberart For A Cure Auction Opening Day

I'll write more, actually technically I'll write more later today, but I'm getting ready to get some sleep and just in case I'm late getting back to the 'puter in the morning I wanted to remind anyone who is interested that the Fibarart For A Cure reverse auction kicks off tomorrow with the "Must Buy It Now" sale opening at 10 AM CST. Then for anything that doesn't sell tomorrow, the actual reverse auction starts at 10 AM CST tomorrow, May 16 and ends at 7 PM on the 23rd. So if you see something you want, tomorrow morning is your first chance to make a move! And if you don't know if there's anything you want, just click on the link above to find out! Later, y'all.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Saturday Photo on Sunday

I'm home from my sister's house and had a great time! I'd planned to publish a blog post from her house yesterday, but she's having 'puter problems and it didn't work out, so I'm going to save that for another day. But I did want to at least post a photo so that I'm keeping up with my Daily Art Thang. Since Lydia asked about what I wanted to photograph along my driveway on DayFromHell Thursday, I'll make one of those photos the one-day-late photo for Saturday. I was photographing a honey locust tree in bloom. In this shot, you really can't even tell it was raining that day: "Soft Locust" I'll no doubt share a little about my visit soon, but for now I have a gazillion things to catch up on around here. Hope you all had a great weekend!

Sunday Quickie Post

If it's Sunday, it must be Quiz Time! What fascinating insight can we discover today?
You Have A Type A- Personality
You are one of the most balanced people around Motivated and focused, you are good at getting what you want You rule at success, but success doesn't rule you. When it's playtime, you really know how to kick back Whether it's hanging out with friends or doing something you love! You live life to the fullest - incorporating the best of both worlds
Besides today being Mother's Day, tomorrow would have been the birthday of J's favorite aunt - the one he used to call his second mom. He's missing his aunt and his mom today and I'm missing my mom. Today's Daily Art Thang is something of a card to my mom who loved all flowers, and to J's mom who loved them too, and to Jean, who loved irises in particular. Mom, I wish you were still here so I could tell you Happy Mother's Day in person. And Jean, I wish I could tell you Happy Birthday. "Memories"

Friday, May 12, 2006

That Universe - What a Sense of Humor

Yesterday was One Of Those Days. No, I don't really mean a bad day. I mean a day where nothing quite went according to plan and then the Universe would throw some curve into the mix that would show me that the plan was probably better off revised. On the one hand, Yay for things working out for the best! On the other hand, hearing the Universe snickering at me behind my back all day got a little old after a while. For instance, I had an appointment for a mammogram scheduled for yesterday afternoon. Earlier in the day I'd spotted something I wanted to photograph along our driveway, so I thought ok, I'll take the camera with me and get the shot on my way out. When I got ready to go, it was pouring rain. So I thought ok, the photo could be interesting in the rain. I'll just roll down the passenger side window, use the zoom, and see what happens. I rolled down the window and took the photo and then the window wouldn't roll back up. I tried the controls on both sides of the car but that window was down and it was staying down. Did I mention the part where it was pouring rain? So I thought ok, I'll run back up to the house, stick the car in the garage and get J (who was luckily home) to take a look at it while I drive his truck to town for my appointment. Made the switch, getting a little wet in the process, but I didn't have time to change, so I took my damp, slightly annoyed self to town and signed in and got the stupid hospital-type bracelet taped around my wrist. I opened my book and read exactly one page and then got called back to radiology. There the nice young woman pointed out that I'd had my mammogram last year on May 15. I'm thinking I'm being praised for being so prompt, but no. She goes on to tell me that if our insurance is with the same company (and it is) that they won't pay unless one full year had passed since my last squishing. Evidently in InsuranceLand, 361 days is not "close enough". And evidently they could not tell me this before I drove 10 miles in the pouring rain to make the appointment. So I thought ok, well maybe this is for the best. When I booked the original appointment, I didn't bother to look at a calendar and hadn't realized that I had booked it for the week I'd be on my period. Mammogram - never exactly pleasant. Mammogram on the week when the girls are at their most sensitive - just stupid. But I would have done it had the Universe and the InsuranceGods not taken a hand. Hear the Universe giggling? So then I thought I'd be nice and put gas in J's truck. Only I couldn't get the gas tank cover off. I tried. And I tried again. I said some Bad Words and tried some more. I'm normally reasonably competent at most things, I swear, but I Could. Not. Do It. Finally I asked a stranger for help and the nice man got the stupid gas tank cover off for me (although he had to work at it a bit, which made me feel a little better). While I was spending a nice long time at the gas station, struggling with the tank cover, it occurred to me that since I was driving the truck (which I hardly ever do) and since the only store in town that sells the correct size air filter for our heat system (pretty much the only reason I ever go to that store) was right across the street from the gas station (a station where I almost never stop), that meant I could go in there and buy a whole case of the stupid filters (a case of them come in a box that wouldn't fit in my car) and I wouldn't have to buy any more for a year. And remember the reason I was in the truck in the first place? Yeah, because of the messed-up car window. Hear the Universe chortling? When I got home, one of the first things I did was ask J how he fixed the car window. His reply: "I started the car and pushed the window button and it rolled up." Hear the Universe roaring with laughter? Yeah. Me too. I'm tellin' ya...One of Those Days. We did get one BIG thing accomplished this week at Casa Richardson. We pulled up the 8-year old, nasty, stained, totally disgusting old carpet in our bedroom and J and I put down a new floor. Yay us!! Check it out: Now picture J and me and our sore legs, backs, and shoulders beaming with accomplishment. (I seem to have used muscles this week that my body had forgotten about!) We need to do the 'puter room too (which is also my workroom and our library) but we aren't quite ready to face that one yet. Just the thought of moving the books and fabric out and back in again, (never mind the furniture!) is just...well, daunting is the word that comes to mind. For today's Daily Art Thang, here's a rain photo where I was playing with focus. (No, this isn't the rain photo that was involved in the car window incident. That was another one.) This first version is one where all I really did to it was crop it a little and resize it for the 'net: "Layers" And this next version is one I fiddled with in Photoshop to try to really emphasize the different layers of the leaves: "Layers 2" I may be scarce this weekend, as I'm off to see my sister, but I'll catch up on emails, comments, and blog visits when I return!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Poetry Thursday: I Want

A possible prompt for Poetry Thursday this week is to post your favorite poem and/or something original inspired by your favorite poem. I don't have a favorite poem. That's not surprising though. I don't have a favorite book, or movie, or color, or flower, or ice cream flavor either. I could narrow it down, perhaps, to a group of favorites in any of those categories, but not A favorite. I posted one of that group of favorites a couple of weeks ago. Michelle posted another of my favorites that same week. And there are so many more. Like the poem by Ogden Nash where the title is longer than the poem: "Reflections on a Wicked World" Purity is obscurity. Gotta love it. I also thought of a poem that used to be a huge favorite of mine, but which has unfortunately been a bit ruined for me in the past few years. I'm talking about "Warning" by Jenny Joseph. You all know it. The one that starts out "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple..." I love the ideas expressed in that poem, but then it seems as if someone had the brilliant (heh) idea to take the first 2 or 3 lines of the poem literally, while evidently ignoring the entire rest of it, and said "Hey, I know! Let's celebrate a poem about women learning to accept themselves as they get older and not trying so hard to conform to society's expectations. We'll honor that by forming a club where we all dress alike and do lunch!" AAAaarrrrgggghhhh!!! Every time I see a passel of women running around in red hats and prim purple pantsuits my eye starts to twitch and I think evil thoughts. (If anyone reading this is a Red Hattie,'re welcome to rant about something I like in return, but that's how I feel.) Now every time I think of the poem I used to love, all I can see is those Stepford Senior Sorority Sisters. I thought about trying to write a sort of retaliation poem, but I was getting into my pissy little Ms. Ranty McRantPants mode and I started boring myself, so I didn't do it. Instead I'll just post a poem I discovered much more recently and like very much. It's called "I Want." I want to shove my clothes to one side of the closet, give you the bigger half. Quietly I'll hide most of my shoes, so you won't know I have this many. I will rearrange furniture to add more, find space on my shelves for your many books, nail up the placard that says poets do it, and redo it, and do it again. I want to share a laundry basket, get our clothes mixed up, wait for the yelling when my reds run wild into your whites turning them into a luscious pink, your favorite color of me. I will move my pillow to the other side of the bed, lay yours next to mine, your scent on the fabric always near me, even on nights you're away. I will buy a new bureau to hold your thousand and one black socks, find a place for all those work boots, the ones I refer to as big and ugly. I want more pots and pans to wash, piles of them leaning high from late night meals cooked naked and drunk, red wine pouring into a sauce of simmering tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil, kisses bitten between bites, and platefuls of our late hours, stacking up into dawn. I want to stock cupboards, closets, and pantry, fill the house with us. I want to gain weight with you because our love, our love makes me fat. ~~~Kim Konopka "Luscious Pink"

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

H 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... H is for... Hugs - I'm very "huggy" with people I know well and care about, but not so crazy about hugging - or being hugged by - people I'm not so close to. Home - I love mine. Not just the House, although I designed the one we live in now, so I do like it a lot. But what I love is the whole nesting thing, of having created a space that's uniquely about my Husband and me and is not exactly like anyplace else on earth. Hyacinths, Hosta, Hydrangea, Honeysuckle - some of my favorite H-plants. I love the scent of hyacinths and honeysuckle, although I know some people find them both overwhelming. And one of my favorite varieties of hosta (called the August Lily Hosta) has white blooms with a fragrance that reminds me very much of the scent of honeysuckle. And the hydrangeas are just pretty! (I won a big garden club prize with a hydrangea branch years ago!) Hats - I love hats. I rarely wear them, other than knit ones in the winter to keep my ears warm, but I love the glamor of them and think it's kind of a shame that it isn't still routinely "done" to wear hats every time we dress up and go out. Hawaii - One of my favorite spots I've visited. The one time I've been (so far!) I island-hopped, which was fascinating, but exhausting. If - no, make that when - I go back someday, I'd like to pick a single island and stay a few days. Haiku - Fun to write! I like the challenge of writing poems that require me to say something within a particular framework of lines or syllables - like haiku, limericks, sonnets. It's like both creating and solving a puzzle! Ham, Honey - H-foods I like. Hummingbirds - They can be a little freaky when they get aggressive, but they're still a lot of fun to watch. They're like the Top Gun squad of the bird kingdom! Horoscope - Sometimes I nod and say "yep", sometimes I roll my eyes and say "please", but either way they're fun to read. HA!, Heh, Hel-lo!, Hhhmmm, Hey! - H-words (or sounds) I say a lot and/or write a lot. Holiday - Most Americans use the word "vacation" for time off work and especially time spent traveling to someplace fun. Usually I do too, but I really prefer the word "holiday". It sounds so much more Happy and festive! Hearts - The card game, that is. I like to play. "Heckler" - A family nickname for me, based on my propensity for snarky commentary, especially about TV ads. Hair - I've had a love/hate/rejoice/despair sort of relationship with mine my whole life. At the moment I rather like my hair, although the superstitious part of me figures that by typing that I probably just jinxed myself to seven years of Bad Hair Luck. Also I've been feeling a little bored by the style lately and wondering if I want layers again. Hhhmmm... "His Girl Friday" - Great classic Cary Grant movie! And check out the Hat Rosalind Russell is wearing in the pic. Love it! Hope, Harmony, Happiness, Humor - H-words I like. "H is for..." (clickable if you want to see it larger in a new window)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Self-Portrait Challenge: Introduce Yourself, Week 2

The Story of Deb Last week, on The Story of Deb: Episode One - The First Ten Years, I began my introduction for this month's Self-Portrait Challenge. Now, to continue my introduction, Red Shoe Ramblings is pleased to present: Episode Two - The Teen Decade Warning: This post may contain graphic scenes of bad skin, bad hair, and questionable fashion choices. Viewer discretion is advised. During our first installment, I told you about the first ten years of my life and how I acquired a brother, a sister, and a love of cake. We'll now continue The Story of Deb with my exciting second decade! Yeah, baby! For a little while the second 10 years continued pretty much the same as the first, albeit without the arrival of any more siblings. There was still cake though, as you can see in this photo taken on my 13th birthday: You want to know what's really scary about that photo? I did NOT have a perm. That's just what my hair did when the stylist cut it into the circa 1975 "gypsy shag." Oy. It was also about this time that I started realizing that boys could sometimes be interesting and not-entirely-icky. (Which is still pretty much my position on that issue.) It's hard to find photographic evidence of that though, because at some point in my late teen years I went through one of many spells of teen angst and burned most of my pics of any and all ex-boyfriends. I don't even remember why anymore. I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time. Then there was at least one pic where I just cut the boy in question out of the photo. On the far left photo below, I've drawn a little stand-in where the boyfriend used to be. That was taken on "1950's Day" during our school's Spirit Week, which is why I'm wearing a skirt with petticoats that make my ass look as big as Cleveland. I promise I didn't normally dress like that. My regular, everyday bad clothes were entirely different! I thought all photos of my high school boyfriends were gone until I found a few in amongst my mom's things, like the center photo below. You can tell Mom took the pic by the interesting camera angle and the cut-off portion of The Boyfriend's head. That was Mom's signature photo-taking style. And speaking of style, the choice of which sweater to wear must've been really important since it got saved for posterity. I wonder what I decided. Hhhmmm... That's probably about all that needs to be shared about the high school years. I liked hanging with my friends, but hated the school itself and couldn't wait to get out of there! Luckily, the school I went to was non-traditional and the way the curriculum was set up made it easy to graduate early if that's what a person wanted to do. I wanted. So I did. About 2 months after my 17th birthday, I graduated from high school and around 3 months after that, I was off to college to major in art. I spent most of the first semester of college having a helluva good time as I went a little crazy with my first taste of being away from home for more than just a week at summer camp. But eventually I settled down (more-or-less), acquired a steady boyfriend and a core group of girlfriends, and started doing what needed to be done to pass the annoyingly necessary classes that regularly interrupted my schedule of gab sessions, dates, card games, and assorted spirited high jinks. About three months before I turned 20 I was a candidate for Homecoming Queen. No, I didn't win. Not even close. I was an ArtGeek, not one of the popular kids. So this is maybe not even much of a highlight, but these happen to be the last photos I found of me for the teen decade, so they got included. The parade gave me the chance to show the world (well, one small town anyway) the butt-ugly afghan I crocheted in high school - the only crochet project I ever finished. As I recall, the parade was kind of fun, but then my at-that-time-boyfriend and I obviously switched into our Walking Undead mode for the awards ceremony. Good times! What happened next was really exciting! I... To Be Continued Please join us next week for "The Story of Deb: The Roaring Twenties." (Some photos above are clickable if you want to see them larger, and with others what you see is what you get. If you want to see more, give 'em a try and see what happens!)