Friday, October 9, 2015

Think Like an Astronaut

I've been reading astronaut Chris Hadfield's memoir An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything.
His advice for Humans on Earth is to be prepared for anything,
 . . . and enjoy it.

This goes counter to the way I was raised, which was to be somewhat passive. 
Passivity is such a dead-end; it's like painting yourself into a corner. Of course it's easier to take action now we have the Internet. You can the resources of so many well-meaning humans at your fingertips. 

I love the well-meaning humans, and this is my little testament to them.

The Dirty Ones Visit the Hospital

In Which I Thankgod for My Cathexis

"In psychoanalysis, cathexis is defined as the process of investment of mental or emotional energy in a person, object, or idea."

I am well aware that my Stuffed Needy Animal Rescue Project (SNARP) is a cathexis, a projection of my emotional energy (especially giving and receiving tender mercies) into these inanimate objects.

And that's great!

Religions and ideologies that seek to strip icons and trinkets from their practice (in the name of purity) are woefully mistaken about human nature, which is not given to purity and which, if deprived of sacred toys, will construct for itself less savory substitutes. 
(A golden calf? We've made far worse.)

Anyway, I am this morning sitting in a coffee shop in Madison, where I grew up, having come down with my sister two days ago to see our father who went into the hospital for tests.

We hear today (supposedly...) if he has the Big C or simply suffers the outrageous lumps and bumps of age.

Meanwhile, I am grateful I grabbed my sewing bag on the way out of the house, as well as the Dirty Ones which were still a tiny bit damp from their bath.

The very first evening, I made a hospital gown for the Koala >
which my father named Larson. 

Then I put a needle and thread in my father's hands, which I have never seen hold such things, and he stitched a nametag:
Dr Larson.

The Bear is named Steegh.

Both names come from "Stieg Larsson", the Swedish mystery writer who wrote the Lisbeth Salander [Girl with the Dragon Tattoo] Millenium series my father likes).

The hospital staff all comment favorable on Dr Larson [so cyooot!],
and none has yet asked where the material for its gown came from. [I suppose they figure I cut up one of my father's hospital gowns, which is correct.]

II. Busman's Holiday

Yesterday morning I took a couple hours off for a Busman's Holiday: 
I went to the St V de P Thrift Store, the same one I used to go to as a child--the ur-shop of my love of Thrift.

There I bought a 70s-ish India print shirt to cut up for the next project: outfitting a piglet I had as a child.

Sister took these Before and Almost-After photos:

Piglet thinks it looks like Hutch ^.

I'd chosen the Piglet from my father's closet the night before, after he'd told me I could have one ("only one!") of the ancient stuffed animals he has stored there, unbeknownst to me.

[I've almost never visited my father's house in the almost-forty years since I left at sixteen.]
I removed its wonderful wool stuffing--this time washing and saving it--washed everything, and also stitched new eyes and a nose to replaced worn-off felt ones.

I am so glad my father said "only one" because I would otherwise be overwhelmed: 
there are about forty dirty, mouse-chewed toys in there.

And here's where it's helpful not to get tooooo caught up in the-thing-that-is-cathexed [? I imagine there's a term for this?]:
I need not feel pity for them.
They are not Beings,
these are things: fibers arranged by humans into recognizable forms.
They do not suffer.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Snarled Up

This past weekend felt a little snarly (as in tangled, not growly), and when I sat down to stitch last night, the thread was snarly too. It's thirty-year-old crochet thread that belonged to my Sicilian grandmother---perhaps the problem is its age? (Thread does deteriorate with age.)

Rather than switch, I decided to sew on, letting the thread twist and knot. It reflected how I felt anyway, and since I wasn't making anything in particular, I couldn't go wrong. 
In fact, it was kind of fun, and I ended up liking how it looks like a crazy map:

Maybe I'll keep going with it, though hopefully my week will be smoother.

I got my snarled up over several little things, but what's bothering me most is the unthinking race and gender biases I consistently run into as an editor. 
I'd forgotten how ever-present these are--they're so tightly stitched into the fabric of our thinking, they're hard to remove. 

The authors are all well-educated liberal arts types who should know better, but over and over again, they write sentences such as, 
He was the son of George Smith and his wife Harriet, 
as if the mother is just an appendage. 

And over and over, I change this to He was the son of George and Harriet Smith [or, Harriet and George Smith].

Race biases are much harder to fix, because they mostly show up as an absence. 
Or as an afterthought: 
Also, there were some black people [who shall remain unnamed]. 

You can see the author thinking, "Must be inclusive", but they don't enter into it with any liveliness, any real interest... any sense of adventure.
I wish the authors would think as if they were writing for the young Sherman Alexie, say, or Alice Walker as a teenager. Wouldn't that be fun?

It's wearying, and it's disheartening, not even because it's racist or sexist, but because it's so unthinking,
so unimaginative, so dull, so normal.

It's The Humans; we tend toward that.

Ah, well. I'll keep my heart up and keep trying to add a little spark of interest.

 Photo of young Sherman Alexie from his Twitter account.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Dirty Ones

To start at the very beginning of a toy rescue project,
here are two yucky stuffed animals I brought home from the Thrift Store yesterday--a bear and a koala [not a bear]--
not nauseating, just too dirty and matted to sell, but the dirty will wash off, and the drier will fluff their fur up.

I'm house sitting just a few blocks from the lake path where the marathon runners are going to pass this morning---I'm heading off---the speediest of the front runners will be there in a few minutes--so all for now!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Eight Years, Two Thousand Posts: Doing the Math

I.  I Attempt to Do Math

This is l'astronave's 2,000th post! And its 8th birthday (close enough, anyway). And it recently passed its 500,000th page view.
So... I should crunch those numbers, right?

Let's see... 
8 years x 365 days = 2,920 days ÷ 2,000 posts = 1.46 posts/day.
Donald Glover* in The Martian says, "Your math is wrong."

Ha! Right. My math is crap. It's the other way around: 
2,000 posts ÷ 2,920 days = an average of .68 posts/day.

Yeah, there we go. 

It wasn't like that though---per my archive, I averaged more than one post a day some years, but barely one per month one year.
(Also, like half those views were people looking for "that poem from Lives of Others".)

II. The Martian: "Do Your Science Shit"
Speaking of math,
I went to see The Martian (links to trailer; 2015, dir. Ridley Scott) last night--it's about an astronaut (Matt Damon) stranded on Mars, and Earth's efforts to rescue him. 

It's a Robinson Crusoe–like tale, so that's fun; and it's also about "the human instinct to help each other out", so that's uplifting;
but overall the movie felt like one loooooong public service message for STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics):
Waking up after an accident to find himself alone on Mars, the astronaut says, 
"I'm left with only one option: 
I'm going to have to science the shit out of this."

Come on, American kids! Do your science homework!
Or, maybe more to the point? Come on, American politicians, fund this science shit! 

It is very cool to watch him do science--there's real shit (toilets in space!), and stuff blows up--  cool for a while, anyway:
at 2 hrs, 21 min, I'd say it was 51 minutes too long.
And I did enjoy the movie. 
But it was all very surfacey–– the astronaut never has anything like a Dark Night of the Soul. 

That may be accurate, of course. NASA chooses scientists who are not prone to despair, but its absence doesn't make for a great human-interest story.

Also, Mars was awfully noisy...  
US movies are too often like radio, disallowing silence for even one second. 
The astronaut talks almost incessantly, mostly in a jokey tone that gets old quickly, like avocado-colored kitchen appliances--
 and when he doesn't, we hear schlocky movie music or he listens to songs from the Seventies. [Watched Guardians of the Galaxy, did you, Ripley?]

The movie met the Director of Inclusivity's** standards, for men anyway––but bafflingly, all the women were white (even mostly blondish), including Kristin Wiig who has absolutely nothing to do but stand around looking concerned. Very odd. 

Of course, if you're a woman who talks in a movie, you're already a minority. * * *

III. The Ten-Dollar Woman

Speaking of representations of women, I hear the US is going to replace Alexander Hamilton with a woman on the ten-dollar bill.

I'm fine with replacing some guy, but working on Andrew Jackson lately, I'd definitely choose to replace him over Hamilton. You could say Jackson inherited a no-win situation with white settlers vs. American Indians, but his response was a kind of mismanaged ethnic cleansing [can it be well-managed?].

A-ha! I see the Business Insider agrees with me about Jackson being the better choice to get rid of. They also explain that the woman will appear along with Hamilton, which seems kinda goofy.

Anyway, what woman would you like to see on the $10 bill?

I choose Sally Ride!
First US woman in space, in 1983––twenty years after Soviet Valentina Tereshhkova––and the first LGBT astronaut in space too.

How cool would this look on currency:

* I thought Donald Glover was new to me, and delightful as a star-dusty-child scientist who comes up with a Star Trekish plan (slingshot around the sun!), but he wrote for 30 Rock, so I do know his work.

**The Director of Inclusivity is a title I got from a much snappier media production---W1A, a BBC TV show sending up working for the BBC---applies equally well to almost any workplace involving humans.

Marketing Evil Genius(?) Siobhan Sharp (Jessica Hynes) tells it like it is to BBC Head of Values, Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville):

 *** Washington Post, Feb. 2015: "Study: There are fewer women in lead roles in top films than there were in 2002"

The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film found that females comprised 12% of protagonists in the top-grossing films of 2014.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Stationary Flâneur

I.  Here's what I was working on at Craft-n-Chat-n-Snack [Sewing] Group last night: 
my usual, sewing things on other things. 

These are quite small---each about 2 inches square.

The squares aren't for anything, and I don't plan them, per se; I just cut up some fabric and start sewing.
Of course I choose everything about them, so that's not random at all: 
I am the organizing principle [there must be a name for that role], and they come out looking like me, same as handwriting does.

They're how I see life, I suppose: 
patterns emerge––just try and stop them–– and there's some pleasure in playing with that. 
(Unless they're cancerous or something--though Augustine said even a rotting body is beautiful, if you can see it dispassionately,  (manifesting as it does the organizing principle of God, as he would name it, and I know what he means, though I would name it nature.)

II. The Room

It's been a month since Marz moved out, and it's been a little weird, but pretty much OK. The sadness and shock came before, I guess. I'm even feeding myself real food again (not just fast food). Marz had brought me some nice groceries from her workplace, which helped jump start that.

This morning I'm sitting in her old room. It took a month, but it's finally done. It's nice, especially in the morning sun and uncluttered as it is--something that will disappear the moment I start sewing in it. (Hm... maybe I won't--I could keep sewing in the kitchen.)
 (Btw, I'm taking photos with my broken camera---the only part that's actually broken is the view screen, but I'm finding if I shoot from several different angles, it usually gets what I want.)

I did not envision the yellow-brown-orange colors for this room at all. I was thinking blue. The organizing principle here is not my choice of colors but of friends. 

Once I swore I would never talk about furniture, but....
The brown rug's from Laura, and my home-owner pal painted the walls years ago.   
While I was in Milwaukee, Jill dropped off the desk and narrow chest of drawers (for sewing supplies), and my auntie gave me an old orange-y rag rug of hers (from Pier 1)--you can just see it along the bottom.

All I chose was the white window paint.
Well, I also found the Ikea chair in the alley years ago.

This is the first time in the thirteen years I've lived in this house that I've had a room facing the street instead of the alley and yard next door. 
I love it. 

It's noisy outside--as I write this, a woman is walking past talking so loudly on her phone I can hear her conversation through the closed windows-- but the raging druggy neighbors are long gone, so it's mostly the jumble of humanity I like to be able to see outside my window. 

It's the lazy person's flânerie: instead of strolling idly, I can sit idly in place and watch the patterns form as the world strolls by me. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Back (Rabbit, After)

I'm back from Milwaukee, where my auntie knitted a green back for the Rabbit's waistcoat.
I finally have my first completed Before–During–After sequence:

I've been s-l-o-w to catch onto the power of Doing Things with people, considering Sitting-and-Talking the perfect activity. 
But it's not, for a lot of people, and my auntie is a Do-er. 

Belatedly I started planning activities for us--like she used to do when I was little--and it's been brilliant. 

And she & bink got me out of reading in bed to see the lunar eclipse, which was wild.  Did you all see it? 
I like to think of so many people looking up at the Moon at once.

Back to work: Lincoln is getting its final once-over, and this week I'm on to Andrew Jackson.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bear 'Bye

Bear waves good-bye:  we are off to Milwaukee with bink to see my beloved auntie, my standard bearer of practical good cheer.

I love this bear. Can you see? it looks perpetually amazed.

Stuffed animal repair tip: 10 minutes in a mesh bag in the dryer (on low) fluffs up matted fur.

I biked to the Thrift Store for a bag of polyfill (handy thing about sorting donations---you know where stuff is) to restuff the bear yesterday.

Looking online at stuffing options, I might go for wool again (though then the toy's not deep-washable, but surface cleaning should suffice for toys that aren't mauled by babies or pets), 
or some of the organic options, like corn- or bamboo-fiber fluff, 
but they are expensive. . .
like, $12–20 for enough to stuff this bear.
Bear itself is some artificial fabric.

This fabric + fiber rescue is strictly a nickle-and-dime operation. 

Off we go on the road trip.
Have a great weekend everybody!

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Bare Room

The windows in my new room won't be done until the homeowner finishes glazing them, but I'm done with my scraping and painting (so shiny, so new), so I'm ready to move in. 
And Jill is giving me a desk for my sewing machine!

But right now the room's just a drying room for this bearskin:

Cleaning used stuffed animals is key, and I'm experimenting...
The ones I've picked up so far are mostly from the '90s, filled with synthetics that wash & dry well,
but inside this older bear was shredded, felt-like wool: 
in soapy water, it became a sodden lump.

The humidity has been relentless this month (87 % this morning);
this leaden bear was never going to dry. 

My time has come for Lessons in Bear Repair.
I opened this one up and took out the stuffing, and I'm researching what's best to replace it with.

Update:  A good overview of Toy Stuffing

A commenter notes:
Polyester fiberfill is listed in the US Toxic Substances Control Act as a toxic material whose toxicity is considered “inert” unless swallowed or breathed in – even just a few fibers. 
Babies and pets chew and suck on polyfil toys all the time, and once toys are torn open or seams ripped, the tiny fibers get in lungs and stomachs very quickly. " 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Spinning Space Monkey

E. finished spinning her wool on a spindle into this pile of yarn (below, on her knee). She said the widths vary so much it's hard to knit, but the results at last night's Sewing look terrific.

 The space monkey's astronaut outfit proceeds, and, with the help of the Sewing Group, monkey now has a name: 
Lieutenant Monkey Tom Portay. 
(Much remains to be done, however, to make Lt. Portay space-safe.)

Happy Fall Equinox! 
You can see the elm tree outside the window is starting to change color, and this morning I saw a flock of Canada geese flying south.
Fall is my favorite season, so I'm fine with that.

It's also still Yom Kippur until sunset today, which, though I'm not Jewish, I like a lot:
 a block of time to practice forgiveness.
It's like the  Catholic sacrament of reconciliation (aka confession), but more active---maybe more like Steps 3 and 9 of the 12 steps programs: 
"Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves", and
"Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others".

And your reward, besides a fresh start, is... noodle kugel!
So, tonite's the night I'm finally going to make Crow's rice pudding, which is basically sweet noodle kugel, US Southern style.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Excelsior: Working with What Is

I. Half a Million Views: Thank you! 

I was trying to catch when the stats counter ticked over to 500,000 "pageviews all time history", but I missed it, and today l'astronave  registers 500,275 pageviews. Still. Cool!

I don't think that counts this blog's first years---blog turns eight in a couple weeks. And it definitely doesn't accurately reflect the number of readers:
to begin with, at least half those views must be the result of me thinking, "I can't believe I wrote that word, must sign in and change it NOW."

Still, it's a neat number, and it pleases me. 
It's also a marker of how the times change: 
I'd never have been so blasé about anywhere near HALF A MILLION views before 2003, the year Google bought Blogger and I started my first blog, the now defunct Flightless Parrots
 Now we're used to these enormous numbers on the Internet, eh?

But I am not blasé about saying thank you! to everyone here, past, present, and future. 
I love communicating this way, it means a lot to me, and I especially appreciate you all who let me know, one way or another, that you're out there, here, as it were.

II.  Negativity as Fuel

I might get therapy-ish here for a while, since I've started my midlife tune-up...
I've been thinking more about what it means to be the daughter of a narcissistic mother (that is, someone who couldn't see other people, which caused a lot of pain and confusion for her and for the other people, including me) . . . and where I go from here.

I figure, if a person's got scars from life (and who doesn't?), then they (I, we) just do--that's our landscape.
What I want, what I need, isn't a way to remove the lumps and bumps, it's a road map around and through that landscape. 

You've got to work with who you are, right?

A movie I find comfort and support in is Silver Linings Playbook because it's about working with what is the case, not what you wish were the case.

The main character Pat (Bradley Cooper) trying to put his fucked-up life back together after a bipolar explosion of his. 
His motto is excelsior. *
I found this misspelled quote of his, explaining what excelsior means to him, and I thought it'd be fitting if I just fixed it up rather than making a new perfect one:

[Link to a favorite scene.

Pat's dance partner Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) turns Pat's father's logic on him--she reasons with him on his terms--funny, and another example of how to be effective by working with the landscape you find yourself in, whether you like it or not.]

III. Find Your Peculiar Satisfaction

Temple Grandin is another cheering (to me) and useful example and teacher. 
I think of her advice to parents of kids who have autism, like she does, which is to focus on the kid's strengths not their deficits, and to accept that the kid might never get satisfaction from neuro-normative things you want them to, like hugging you, but that doesn't mean that kid won't find satisfaction in life: 
it's about finding the right, the fitting, satisfying thing.

I appreciate her blunt honesty. For instance, a mother told her that it seemed as if her son would miss his computer more than he would miss her.
And Grandin said, yes, that's right, he would: the computer is a far better avenue to his satisfaction.**

So--finding the map to one's satisfaction---that reminds me of the Cicero quote I posted a while ago:
Hold fast your peculiarity [but do no harm].

For me, just lately, that's sewing clothes for stuffed animals. I felt a little foolish, childish, about that, but I figure, so what? 
It gives me comfort, it challenges my brain (like squaring a circle), and it's fun, and maybe through that, it could even be useful. 

Tonite is my sewing group, and I'm taking my space monkey and some silvery material I just got to work on its astronaut suit.

*Checking excelsior's etymology,  I find a funny tie-in to sewing and fabric and stuff: 
Excelsior's also a trade name for "thin shavings of soft wood used for stuffing cushions, etc.," first recorded 1868, American English.

Also called wood wool, it was a common teddy-bear stuffing

**I paraphrased Grandin above, but she writes a little bit about such things here, on her website, that also includes "1950’s Methods For Teaching Social Skills That Worked for Me".

Monday, September 21, 2015

Why are you important to take care of?

That's my counseling assignment. The counselor said, 
"Go home and write about why I'm important to take care of."

I told her I needed her to write that in the form of a doctor's order so I felt I really should do it, and also that I had permission to do it. 
I have it on a piece of paper with her signature.

One of the main reasons I'd decided to try counseling, I told her, was just to practice asking for help. I grew up taking care of my mother and not myself, and not even asking for help for myself. 
I also told her that recently I'd gone to the grocery store and just could not figure out what to buy to feed myself, and I had turned around and walked out without buying any food at all, now that I'm just cooking [or not] for me alone again.

"Why don't you deserve to be fed too?" she asked.

These simple, obvious, therapy-style questions can just flummox me. 
Why didn't she ask instead why I thought Lincoln didn't let the South secede? I have a lot to say about that, and it doesn't leave me feeling like a stuffed animal with the stuffing knocked out.

Still, I do secretly like those sort of therapy questions, and they give me hope that I can and will take care of myself better. 

sleeping on a stone couch

I love this picture bink took of me napping yesterday near the mini-golf sculpture course. My hair color matches the stone!

I might take it to my first counseling session this morning (though I'd have to take this laptop to show her).

If the psychologist were to be at all Jungian-y, we could talk about what happens in fairy tales when people fall asleep on magic stone furniture....

But I expect she is more about life skills, DBT, and that sort of modern approach, which is probably what I need;
I don't need more metaphors, which I can spin myself all day long, I need some traction.

Actually, I'm in a bit of that pre-first-appointment panic:
Why again am I'm doing this?

I said "midlife tuneup", and that's the general idea, . . . but what a lot this vehicle has been through at midlife. 
On the surface, I'm worried about the dings and dents of job hunting -- needing to find work, after I'm done editing the president books at Christmastime. I need practical help, career counseling for people with gray hair.

But under the hood---wow, what a tangle of wires wrapped in electrical tape. Like, you know, I suppose I might just mention my mother's suicide? Stuff like that.

I have gathered Show and Tell, because that's my favorite way to present myself. 
I'm taking the watercolors I did of my mother's life a couple years ago that I had to stop doing because I couldn't breathe; 
a b&w photo of me as a little kid drawing with total concentration at the kitchen table; 
the picture of Capt. Kirk that hangs in my bathroom;
the rescue rabbit in the samurai waistcoat I made this weekend. What is this rescue and recovery of discarded wounded treasure, my own and others', about? Is the stone couch a portal to someplace? Where?

I must go now.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Soft Samurai (Rabbit, During)

Today is bink's birthday, and we're going the the country to play mini-golf at a course hand-made by an artist and sculptor,
so this is brief, 
but I'm soooo excited to show you the rabbit's evolving outfit, made from a crewel embroidery cushion-cover from the Thrift Store [shown in previous post].

I cut out the crewelwork grapes and their surrounding foliage and fruits (a pomegrante!), and last evening I stitched (for hours) pink edges all the way round:

It has instantly become my favorite creation ever (of the moment), even undone. You can see the waistcoat's only pinned together, and it needs a back, but that will be relatively simple .

It looks to me like samurai armor. (Hm, almost everything I do lately turns into decorative, soft armor.)

This sort of thing, c. 1880s.  Via

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Rabbit, Before

Since I regretted not taking "before" photos of the stuffed terriers in the post below, this morning I took a "before" photo of this rabbit & the hand-embroidered pillowcase (does that look '70sish to you?) that I'm going to turn into a waistcoat, I think, to adorn it. (I'm eyeing the green and purple bunches of grapes.)

Both were rescued from the Thrift Store. The rabbit is a nicely made toy with articulated limbs, but it was filthy: 
I had to scrub gunk off its face with a toothbrush.
 And the photo doesn't show it clearly, but someone had already repaired it: you can just see the scar running up its right leg [photo left].
These weathered animals especially interest me.

I'd written a while ago about bringing home some unwanted old household embroidery scraps, and now I'm extra inspired to use them because I've discovered the astonishing sewn creations of Mr. Finch [links to his FB, with lots of photos]. He made these  butterflies from a vintage tablecloth:

He seems too English [which he is] to be Finnish, but I was not surprised to read Mr Finch said in an interview (published just yesterday), 
"I’m re-reading all the Moomin books again as an adult and realising how beautifully bittersweet and correct they are."

Rescue Terriers

[If you're looking to rescue or rehome a real fox terrier in the USA, I recommend the Wire Fox Terrier Rescue Midwest.]
I wish I'd taken before-and-after photos of this stuffed-animal rescue project of mine. 
Both of these stuffed dogs were thrift-store rejects: 
so beat up no one had bought them, and they were due to be thrown out.

 I brought them home and, first thing, washed them.

The smaller dog on the right was supposed to be a bulldog, but with an ugly bulbous nose. It looked like it'd rather be a fox terrier (a smooth-coated one). 
I performed rhinoplasty, sewed on a black felt saddle marking, tied on a bow tie, . . . and it's a dapper terrier, eh?

The dog on the left was definitely a wire-haired fox terrier, but with a most unterrier-like downhearted look. 
The addition of a pink felt tongue, a perked-up ear [with the help of a pipe cleaner], and a sweater vest [made from a cuff + buttons] restored its natural cheer.

I get a lot of comfort from doing this, being a little downhearted myself just lately, but if I keep it up, I don't know what I'm going to do with the toy animals I rescue. 
It might be fun to attach tags explaining their make-overs, and give them back to the Thrift Store to sell? Maybe for double their normal asking price of 25 cents?

This pair, though, I might just know of a terrier-loving home for.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Toy Space Monkey

I  wanted a toy space monkey real bad when I posted this photo of Polish sci-fi author Stanislaw Lem with his, five years ago. (I assume it was his?) 
[from "Chance and Order", The New Yorker, January 30, 1984.]

 But I forgot about it until I found this monkey at the Thrift Store, and it clearly wanted to be an astronaut. 
This is only the very beginning of its space suit, made so far from bits of different silver fabrics and pipe cleaners.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Life in 3-D (Outfitting the Star Trek Bear)

Sewing clothes is architectural, I'm discovering: 
I'm building structures, but using soft materials.

My auntie showed me how to sew 40 years ago, so it's not an entirely alien technology, but it's pretty foreign.  
 Puzzling over how to design a Star Trek uniform for this little plump bear (from the Thrift Store, of course), I realized how much I'm enjoying working on physical problems, and what a nice change it is from my usual wordy material.

Anyway, here's the Star Trek bear, with and without its headband. It's 4 inches (10 cm) tall.

Do you like the headband? (It's removable.) I put it there because, take your choice:

1. The bear wants to be the Karate Kid.

2.   "      "       "      "   "  David Foster Wallace.

3. Steffi Graf?

4. It has a crush on Capt. Kirk and sneaked into the laundry room and snipped a little strip off his uniform to wear in private, and when in public it tucks it in its waistband.

5. I thought its head looked a little bare.

bink just dropped by and said the gold band works best as a scarf.

It's sitting on my newly painted windowsill.
Those of you who are more familiar with physical properties may have wondered, "Does F. knows what a pain it is to paint white paint on white primer?"

"I did not. I wish I'd had the store tint one of the other a different shade, because I can't tell where I've painted, even though the paint is semi-gloss. Oh well, it looks good---I just have to go back in and patch.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


I primed the ugly green windowsills in my new room this morning; the semi-gloss top coat will be white too. I'm getting close to having a sewing room.

Then I went to the Thrift Store and bought eight stuffed animals (25 cents each) to sew outfits for, with the idea of giving them away. 

They have already taken up residence. They're about to get a bath...

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I got a referral to a psychologist who looks like Maria Bamford!

Maria Bamford! hahahahahaha! 


I just got home from my annual check-up, which I've only done annually since I got state health care (yay!), so that's... twice (thank you, Obama and Minnesota)
and I actually saw the same doctor for the second time, which I think hasn't happened since I was a child.

I love this doc---she's my age, and when I said I wanted a referral to a counselor for a midlife tune up, she laughed merrily and said she knew a good one for me.

"Someone smart and kind?" I said.

"And funny!" she said.

OMG, smart, kind, and funny? Maybe we could date.

When I got home I googled this psychologist (PhD, much older than a child), and, as I said, she looks kinda like Maria Bamford, if MB liked outdoor winter sports. 

You know this comic? 
She does a hilarious mini–sit-com about living in her mother's basement--in Duluth (like Hutch!)-- because she's too... something-or-other to function. (Anxious? and other things.)  

So. I shall see. Next week, already!

I also got a referral to a nutritionist [re post below]... but not for a month. You know I heard that as "one more month to live on ice-cream and beer".

Other than that stuff, I seem to be healthy and well, for which I am immensely grateful. 
Really, immensely. Every day I wake up with no pain. This is so great, I hope I remember that I knew how great it was when it's no longer the case.

[ Hello, future self! Yes, I KNOW I'm lucky.]

My friend Krista took this photo ^ in a 12th century abbey Ireland this summer: