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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Flashback: Marz & Alfie

Alfie and Marz nap on bink & Maura's front porch, summer 2012


Friday, July 29, 2016

Red Bear in Her Summer Frock; Alfie r.i.p.

Marz dropped by as I was sewing Red Bear a dress this afternoon.
"Are you doing that because your life's feeling a little disordered?" she asked.

Maybe partly. Also because it's fun and it's mine to do.



Red Bear's dress is reversible--the soft blue denim back can be the front too. But I think the flower print is always going to win out.
_____________________
Alfie, r.i.p.

bink & Maura's dear dog Alfie died five days ago, after a short and sudden illness. 
He was a gentle and dapper dog––a rescue dog, so his exact age was unknown--probably at least fourteen years old. Old, but it was a shock that he went so fast.

I spent the morning helping dig a grave for him in their backyard. It felt good to do something real and hard and useful in the face of death. 

Here's bink with Alfie & her friend Dale who was officiating at the Blessing of the Animals on Saint Francis's feast day, 2014.

What's Up?

What's up?
Me!

I woke up feeling happy, and so energetic I washed the shower curtain––and the bathroom walls. 
Not everyday normal.

I often feel this way in this season, like the astrological sign we've just entered: leapy Leo, the sunshine sign. Abundance! Amber waves of grain. Fruited plains are ripening, here in the US-of-A. 

(Fruity-toon politics too, but I'm not going to go into that, beyond saying that we have a president candidate whose personality matches his hair color, Papaya Whip.) 

Consolation? or Desolation?

I'm also feeling energized because I'm proud of how I handled the contract negotiations. To begin with, I'm simply proud I asked for more, which jangles my nerves.

[I kept telling myself, "What you feel is excitement. This is an adventure," which actually helped me get through the anxiety of waiting and conflict.]

I'm proud I walked away from what felt like an insulting offer.
And now I'm proud I'm willing to reconsider.

What happened was, after I'd blogged about it three days ago, I did indeed turn down My Publisher's offer and pulled my proposal for the fandom book.

A senior pro then stepped in, wrote me a diplomatic email explaining This and That [including pointing out–– without shaming me–– that my facts were wrong in one matter I had stamped my feet about], tweaking their offer a little bit (they will, after all, provide comp copies for my interviewees--yes!), and politely asking if I might reconsider?

My brain was flooded with annoyance, I knew I'd need time; I said I'd reconsider and let them know this coming week.

I tell ya. 
Numbers count, yeah, but the feel of human interactions count more for me:
Does this offer make me hum zip a dee doo dah? 
or does it feel like condemnation to a dirty, windowless room?

This second negotiator treated me like a smart human being instead of something to be milked, and that makes a huge difference.

I think of other times I've raised serious issues at a workplace-- 
most recently, the Memory Care unit where I led activities, and the Thrift Store where I volunteered.
In both cases, I pushed against a wall, asking for more resources (pay! pop!), but no magic door opened---the wall just tightened up.

What if, instead, there'd been a little creative softness in the managements' reply...? Or if I'd been willing and able to hang in there. (Though as it turned out, I'm glad I quit both places, I can imagine it differently.)

This time a door opened. I'm going to sit next to it until I know how I want to proceed.
I'll probably accept the publisher's offer ––not because it's the best deal ever, but because I know myself:
much as I love the romantic image of genius me working away in my garrett, fanning my creative flames, the truth is, I am like water that seeks the easiest path:
I am much more likely to become a puddle on the floor.

I work better to assignment, and I doubt I'd write this book on my own--especially because I've already spent five months exploring the topic and have used up much of my enthusiasm to keep working hard on it.

Too Wet to Obsess

Actually, that's not true that I always work better to a deadline.

I work best when I'm in love---I never created more or better than when I was blogging and vidding about Star Trek
and I kick myself when I remember that back then, I actually stopped myself from writing more because I thought I was overdoing it... [????]

Whose stupid voice was that?
Not mine. It's definitely an illegal alien.
I hear it every so often:
just last month an acquaintance told me I had problems with obsession. They gave as an example, "You used to blog all the time."

Used to?
Break my heart. My "problem with obsession" is that I talk myself out of it.
I wish I'd always protected and harnessed my obsessions--(which mostly have only been passionate interests)--instead of letting them get damp, like firecrackers stored in a basement.

Um, so, I think it would be good to type up all my fandom research into a book, and then do something else. 

Meanwhile, I have yet to stitch Red Bear a summer dress as planned!
That's my project for the weekend.

If Virgo Were a Movie Poster

VIRGO: practical yet idealistic, loyal mates and friends, problem solvers, can work well in obscurity, clean & clear edges, love feisty dogs, and look great in hats



Thursday, July 28, 2016

If Pisces & Aries Were Movie Posters

Marz went to see The Last Wave, (Australia, 1977, dir. Peter Weir [my blog review]) on the big screen the other night. 
I'm sorry I missed it (I didn't know it was playing)--it's one of my favorite movies & I haven't seen it in a theater since it came out. Marz said it was great, and also the most Pisces movie she's ever seen.

I'm a Pisces (water sign), and Marz is an Aries (fire sign). 
I'm no astrologer, but I'd say we're like our signs, which are quite different (but not necessarily incompatible). 

In super simple terms:

I'm like wandery water, always trying to connect different things, like,
How would this Minnesotan pine cone like to float down to New Orleans?

Marz is a smoke-jumper, like, 
Let me leap into this forest fire and then helicopter OUT.

Anyway, Marz said she'd like to choose a movie for each sign. 
Me too! I'll have to give it some thought. 
Suggestions welcome!

To start off with, I collaged The Last Wave for Pisces, 
and The Fast and the Furious for Aries (plus Aries-like Mad Max & Starsky). I've never seen Fast & Furious, but that's an Aries title.





Tuesday, July 26, 2016

WINNER IS YOU (Starsky & Hutch Toaster)


Below: I made this toaster as a prize for a friend who watched all 92 episodes of Starsky & Hutch in 28 days. (Not a real toaster, just a photo manip. Alas.)

True Confession: I only watched a dozen episodes before the show's seventies brand of sexism did me in. 
Still, these guys had something together.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Rose Smush



Adventures of Red Bear: The Flying Pancake Alien

A friend gave me a SCOBY for making kombucha (fermented tea). This disc that forms on top of old tea (a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) looks like one of the flying rubber-pancake aliens on the Star Trek: TOS episode, "Operation: Annihilate!" one of which attacks Mr. Spock in a scene which Red Bear reenacted on my back porch. Motel plays Capt. Kirk:



I used the SCOBY afterward, and it worked just fine.
Super easy--don't even need a recipe:
 you just plunk it into room-temperature black or green tea w/sugar, cover it with a cloth (to keep out bugs), and let it sit for a week or so. It'll start to smell vinegary. You can add fresh ginger and the like after it's fermented, if you want, and let sit a little longer for flavor. I like it plain just fine. 
It does become slightly alcoholic, if that's a concern. (Not sure how much... I don't notice it myself.)

A new SCOBY forms---save them both with a little of the kombucha for the next batches. Soon you will have a colony to share with your friends or make sci-fi movies with.

[another FB transfer]

Wisconsin Roadside

A couple diptychs from a trip to see my auntie this spring.

"PROPERTY OF MILWAUKEE"

Friday, July 15, 2016

Red Bear on Towel Day


Lately I've been deleting my old FB posts as I post new ones--it's pointless to store them there, with no index or any way to find them again. And FB is a mix of boring and Big Brotherish. (Many people no longer post original personal stuff there--and who can blame them?)

I'm going to transfer a few keepable things here.
Like Red Bear's Towel Day outing. This day, from Douglas Adams's Hitchhikers' Guide, is May 25.

The Uses of a Towel, by Red Bear
1. Panic-Reduction Neckerchief, for transit to house-sitting gig
2. Rain Hat (light drizzle only)
3. Bum Protection, for Surprise Sand Castle–Building on the Way
4. Ice-cream Bib, Upon Safe Arrival


What I'm Reading

I'm way behind in recording what I'm reading this year---largely because most of what I'm reading is all over the place, online. 

Here're some books I've read recently:



My favorite:
A Sense of Direction: Pilgrimage for the Restless and Hopeful, Gideon Lewis -Kraus (2012)
Maybe the best thing I've read on the reality of walking the Camino: "hunting for clarity while nursing blistered feet."

Thanks, Susan, for sending this to me!
---------
Read a bunch of YA novels, including The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Clockwork Angel. They are OK, but tend to sound all the same. I am not, of course, the intended audience. 

I think I'd have liked them when I was a young teenager--I'd have wanted to read "it gets better" stories. After all, I liked gothic romances at that age too, which are kind of the same: plain, powerless, but plucky girl survives damp castle.
--------
The Narrow Door: A Memoir of Frienship, by Paul Lisicky, on the other hand, reaches too hard for originality. 
Description of dinner from page 1:
"Our feet are warm. Our faces shine. The room is getting dark, the night coming a little sooner these days...
The chicken stew on the trivet. The moist leaves in the hard black bowl. The macaroni and cheese still bubbling..."

It sounds ominous, like a group of people about to break out in buboes...

(Moist leaves?)
-----------

Young Merlin by Jane Yolen stood out for its original but unintrusive writing. I'd have liked the YA novels, but I'd have loved this kids' book.

Jane Gardam is one of my favorite novelists--Bilgewater is not her best though. I recommend Crusoe's Daughter and the ickily named but excellent Old Filth series. (FILTH = Failed In London, Try Hong Kong)

World War Z was a re-read, and better on second reading because I wasn't rushing to see what happens.

Red Bear read it on the sly. She had been warned!


Geek Feminist Revolution and Caped Crusader: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture are books I picked up for fandom research and loved so much I bought copies of them. 

Lou Costello Pisces-Appreciation Spam, by Marz

Lou Costello was born the day after me.

Marz, a Costello fan, uses him to illustrate the sign of Pisces:

Pisces love food and tend to be on the plumper side

But they're also unselfish and eager to share

Pisces can be shy....

Sad, blue fish

Could use steadying hands

Pisces dream date: Costello was excited to go on the Love Boat ride because "when it's dark and no one's watching us....we can...take off our shoes and put our feet in the water". 

THEY REALLY CARE ABOUT YOU

Do not be mean to them! Of all the signs to be mean to, it's worst to be mean to a Pisces because they're so nice. They like to help people with their moods, but unkindness is very bad for them.

Some pisces do well with a more domineering partner. [Fresca says--"a partner who is more of a leader"]
(Abbott is actually very fond of Costello and they have sweet times too; also keep in mind that Costello would probably be a darling homeless addict without him)

Pisces live with a pronounced duality between the physical and the non-physical; they might plug their nose while jumping out of a plane

Sunday, July 3, 2016

What's on my desktop? 2. Tumblr Talk

Part 2 of the Round Up of Stuff I Have Randomly Saved in the Last Month

Tumblr and fandom have their own vocabularies, which are constantly evolving--and supre quickly.
There's also this phenomenon of people excitedly sharing new discoveries––as if for the first time–– such as, "Guys! guys! language evolves!" WHICH I LOVE.
(I feel the same when I stumble onto something amazing--it may be well known to some, but it's new to me.)

For instance, this "cinnamon roll too good too pure" meme.
(I couldn't find an example I liked quickly, so I just made this one of Scully, from the X-Files):


And a fan's explanation of its source (sources quickly get lost on Tumblr--its from an Onion headline), from dork-larue.tumblr:

What's on my desktop? 1. Women in Hats


Good morning, bloggers!
I've been gone for a month---mostly I've been over on Tumblr (zowie!) and Facebook (zzzzz). I want to catch up here... feel sort of overwhelmed so I'll just start to plop down here some of the stuff I have lying around.

Let's see what's in this pile... 

1. WOMEN IN HATS

Below: Katharine Hepburn on the set of Sylvia Scarlett (in which she disguises herself as a boy), USA, 1935, dir. George Cukor.
(Alas, not a very good movie--I read that it pulled its punches because it was post-Code--and it shows. Rather lame.)

below: Julie Andrews, from Life magazine. I can't find the date. Tumblr users neglect source notes, which annoys me, but it's a different world: it mostly happens on people's phones, which changes people's ability or desire to do any research, I think.


below: "What We Love This Week #10" from Wool and Cotton Co, the knitting store where my auntie shops and attends drop-in knitting groups