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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Epic fail

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So the yurting was an epic fail all the way around. Though one of the attempts, valiantly made by my friend S, nearly came close to what the bird yurt was supposed to look like, in the end she (and we) had to call it a miss.

Friend T came in second with her heroic if lumpy and misshapen efforts.

Me? Not even in the ballpark. I ended up with a bagful of wet, semi-felted wool.

The verdict? Not doing that again, but out of the ashes of abject defeat arose the Craft Disaster Alliance, dedicated to all manner of ill-advised and foolhardy crafting fiascoes.

Finally, a use for all those popsicle sticks I’ve been hoarding . . .

Freeplay Friday

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I have a thing for yurts. I don’t know when or how or why it started, but it was one of those crazy things that caught my attention and rooted itself in my mind. I’ve never seen a real one, much less been in one or slept in one, though I’d so love to.

My years of longing will be met tonight,  if only in a tiny way.

Tonight, we make the yurts. Bird yurts, that is. They start out with a wad of roving that looks something like this and after heat, moisture, sometimes soap, and agitation, they end up looking something like this. Kinda cool, right?

It is Freeplay Friday, but try as I might, I couldn’t find any songs about yurts. (That could be a lie, because I Googled it and would you believe there are songs about yurts? because there are). But, there are also plenty of songs about birds, and don’t you know the bird is the word?

Other me

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Can I confess something? Which is rhetorical, because it’s my blog and I can do whatever I darn please with it.

I have an alter ego and it’s her birthday today.

She’s one of my more useful fictions who came into being some years ago when I was doing a lot of online dating stuff and was leery of putting my real name out there.  She had a whole life and history of her own, though there was a lot of cross-over with my own. We looked amazingly alike, too. Imagine that. Charged with vetting prospects and then, if they passed muster, breaking the news to them that she wasn’t really the girl they were interested in, she was my Cyrano without the lovelorn agonies and the big honking nose. She had some unique experiences, quite a lot of fun, and she did it all without complaint at being shoved aside from time to time.

Though my online dating days are over, she’s still around and still providing me with some useful services. I applaud her tireless and unquestioning work on my behalf. I think I’ll keep her.

So, happy birthday, other me! Hope it’s a good one.

Not anywhere near wordless Wednesday

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I don’t often cry for joy. I teared up when I first met a friend I’d known only online for years, and when we finally met in person, I was overwhelmed a little. I cried for joy when I met Mr. F, and the three times he gave me the lovely pieces of jewelry that will not be worn again but are safely tucked away with my treasures. I cried the two times he gave me flowers, even if I did have to cajole him into it the second time.

I’ve cried a lot for other reasons these last few months. Necessary tears, for sure, but also worrisome–I’m not really a crier. Then a friend on Facebook posted a new video of Matt, of Where the Hell is Matt fame.

Get out your hankies.

It started with this:

It’s cute and sweet, but not quite tear-worthy yet.

Then there was this:

which I cannot watch without bawling like a baby. Such joy.

And now, there’s this:

My friend who posted this had these comments on the video:

“I suspect that Matt (with the help of his camera crew and other supporters) has done more to produce, promote and enable world peace and good feeling in the past five years than the entire UN in its entire existence. ”

Well said, and what it’s all about. We are not meant to be alone or constantly at odds with one another. May as well dance.


What it’s all about

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Every once in a while there’s a moment of clarity, when you realize “this is what it’s all about.” I’ve been lucky enough to have a couple of those moments lately.

See, it’s not about stuff or what kind of house you live in or what you drive. It’s not about your  smart phone–and by the way, mine’s dumb but lovable–or the labels in your clothes or your credit limit (or your credit debt. Mine is zero, just for the record, and yes, I’m kind of proud of that).

I had one of those moments last week while watching Lark Rise to Candleford. If you’re in a hurry, scroll ahead to about 4:00 in this clip.

That’s what it’s about–a community, whether that’s made up of two or three people or much broader,  coming together to celebrate milestones, to share in joys, to help in sorrows, and to work out the in-between. The simple things, the small joys and celebrations and sharing of the best of what we have and are–those are the things that matter. We are not meant to be alone.

Reviewing reviews

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So my friend D told me about this book he’s reading–Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story. I normally like post-apocalyptic kinds of books, because that kind of thing could really happen and it’s good to be prepared. I’m not saying I have a room full of canned goods, a la Y2K (remember that?), or that I have an arsenal of weapons for when the zombies attack, or even that I’ve brushed up on my necessary survival skills recently. I just find stories of a complete reversal of normalcy and imagined responses to cataclysmic events interesting. One of the best I’ve read in this genre is Stephen King’s The Stand, and even though the woo-woo factor comes into play, it’s a really good read.

So D tells me the title of this book and I’m all “I’m pretty much living that, so ya know. Not sure I need to read about it.” Which is true, I am living my own super sad true love story, with as much dignity and hope as I can muster–and that’s admittedly not a whole lot sometimes–but I was curious enough to look the title up on Amazon.

I won’t be reading the book, but I do love reading the reviews. Harriet Klausner aside–and it’s kind of sad that she’s no longer gushing about every single book ever published, even if she did make me feel kind of queasy about it–book reviews are sometimes better than the book itself.

How can you not love the reviewer who says the work is “constipated with irony”? Or “beguiling . . . then kinda dull”? One reviewer found it a “delightful discovery,” while a few reviews later, the work is called “a mixture of dog excrement and some good food.” Yum.

My favorite review in recent weeks, however, was for that book of the moment, 50 Shades of Grey. Here’s another book I won’t be reading, because why read crap when there’s good stuff out there? I don’t have anything in particular against erotica, other than it’s just–well, boring after a while. The vocabulary is so very limited and the feverish efforts to maintain arousal become laughable. Check out pretty much anything within the genre if you don’t believe me. But! the reviews. Ah–those  are interesting, and in all the book reviews I’ve read over the years, this has got to be one of the very best:

An older man on truckling

First, a disclaimer. I am a male senior citizen, a semi-retired gynecologist whose customary literary fare is spy novels and military techno-thrillers. I have never read a romance before, except perhaps for junior high’s “A Tale of Two Cities” (or was that a classic?) But after the recent hullabaloo over James’ “Fifty Shades,” I opted to give the genre a glance.

The book’s protagonist is college student Anastasia, who has never had sex or even “touched herself.” I had to suspend disbelief at the social and sexual naivete of this twenty-one year-old, but I guess this implied vulnerability makes her more attractive as a romantic heroine. Yet it doesn’t take her long to rectify this situation, and soon she is having orgasm after orgasm at the behest of her “dominant” partner, Mr. Grey. At my age, my arthritis flared up just reading about Ana’s sexual gymnastics. And for some reason, I kept thinking about her contracting genital warts. Soon, however, Ana’s endless pyrotechnic climaxes resembled repetitively watching porn: after a while, it leaves me bored and yawning. That said, there was a definite infectiousness to the plot; and taking Viagra to stiffen my resolve, I persevered.

James’ strong suit is her ability to elicit sympathy in the protagonist. I wanted to find out what happened to Anastasia, and that lent the story a compelling, page-turning quality. James is a polished novelist. Her dialogue is crisp, her prose poised, and her paragraphs well-parsed. The author’s considerable skills notwithstanding, would I pick up an erotic romance like this again? Probably not.

But that’s just me.

That’s good reading!


Weekend review

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Meh. Not such a great week. Two potlucks in two days was too much for me and I’m feeling kind of bloated as a result.

I finally pulled the trigger and stepped down from a lead role with one of my knitting groups. This has been a long time in coming and I feel good about my decision, despite some second-guessing this weekend. My choice is directly tied to the participation of two individuals. It’s a shame when a good group is tainted by one or two interlopers who contribute little to nothing while sucking the life out of the body. Or maybe it’s just me who feels that way. In any case, I’m less and less inclined to voluntarily spend my free time with people I find vexing and toxic, and while my involvement with this group may be less, I do intend to maintain my contact with those of the group whose company is enjoyable.

I have some other thoughts rumbling around in my head but I’m somewhat reluctant to voice them publicly just now–fear of karma or whatever–but I will say I’m pretty sure I’m ready for the next thing, whatever that is. My life could use a little shake-up right about now.

Better days ahead, people. Better days.

Freeplay Friday

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Let me say up front that I am not the crazy cat lady. I have one cat and one is enough for me. I do not love all cats; I do, however, love the one I have. She’s a little spoiled and I miss her when I’m away, but she is not my “fur baby,” (and what a gawd-awful phrase that is) and I’m clear on the fact that I’m the human and she’s the cat.

That said, I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time the last couple of days watching itty bitty kitties online, just being itty bitty kitties, staggering around on their tiny little unsteady legs, piling up on each other to sleep, stretching and yawning, having little kitty dreams, wee legs and ears and tails twitching, and fighting for a station when mama comes along to feed them.There is something so life-affirming about itty bitty kitties.

They are so stinking cute.

They make me smile.

Itty bitty kitties.
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What books can do

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Books can make you sick.

My work partner and I have been in the bowels of the library for the last few days, in a room that houses Iowa-specific works. A lot of them are old and manky and they made both of us sick. That wasn’t so much fun.

What was fun, though, was seeing and touching books that few ever see. I held a book that was published in 1865, and which was, for its age, in surprisingly good condition. For a book lover, that’s kind of a thrill.

Also thrilling was finding a bound edition of the local newspaper’s special centennial edition from 1964, and finding an ad my own dad had placed, offering congratulations to the city on its 100th anniversary. The ad was simple, direct, and no-nonsense, just like my dad often was.

Sometimes I miss my dad an awful lot, and yesterday was one of those days. He’s been gone for almost 22 years, and I still think of him daily. I still miss him, and the pangs of loss are sometimes still very strong. Real love never dies.

Books can make you a little heartsick, too.

Lyrical Wednesday

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Here’s a little something to go along with the photo from yesterday’s post, because I do love me a back road.