Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Photo Friday: Circle

Thanks to Marc for the challenge!

circle mailbox
Circle mailbox

bright balloons on a gloomy day
balloon flags (kinda circles, right??)

dandelion puff
dandelion puff from earlier this Spring

green globe closeup
green globe flower

Olive Garden wrought-iron umbrella stand
umbrella stand

Ten on Tuesday

...via meme chose.

10 things I hate doing:

  1. washing dishes
  2. cleaning animal cages
  3. arguing (debating is something else entirely)
  4. answering the phone
  5. exercising
  6. nagging
  7. taking out the garbage
  8. folding laundry
  9. dealing with people who just. won't. listen.
  10. paying bills

Accountability: The Tuesday List

  1. Help Bear organize her shelf bins
  2. Tackle-it Tuesday: the storage container shelves
  3. 2 loads laundry
  4. blog Tuesday Twosome
  5. organize coupons
  6. bake chocolate casserole
  7. watch Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  8. L&OSVU
  9. read 1 chapter in The Known World
  10. clean sheets on the Bears and my beds
  11. Blog WordPlay
  12. refill scrips

Monday, August 28, 2006

Unconscious Mutterings: Week 186

I say...and you think...

  1. Visit :: trip
  2. Cake :: ice cream
  3. Period :: end
  4. Triumphant :: victory
  5. Screen :: gems
  6. Neglect :: abuse
  7. Guitar :: music
  8. Loathe :: hate
  9. Sugar :: spice
  10. Montage :: pictures
see more mutterings here.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Accountability: The Monday List

Being listless (literally and emotionally) the last few days has been vaguely comforting in its indulgence, but hasn't gotten me much closer to my goals. So, we try again.

  1. Go to the library; drop off books and pick up reserves DONE
  2. change the sheets on my and Bear's beds
  3. finish cataloging books DONE
  4. dust and sweep living room
  5. find homes for all the books I moved off the shelves DONE
  6. read 1 chapter in The Known World
  7. watch Lifeboat (watched Cat on a Hot Tin Roof instead)
  8. pick up wedding card for D&B DONE
  9. tidy and sweep balcony
  10. pull 20 weeds DONE
  11. 2 loads of laundry
  12. retrieve the books that fell behind my desk DONE
  13. put out Freecycle stuff DONE
  14. blog Wordplay
  15. blog book review: Face-down DONE

Sunday Scribblings: The Monster

Tori schlubbed to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. It was barely 9:00 on a Sunday morning, so she could technically say she'd slept in, though she knew there were some lucky people who were still tucked in their beds. Then again, the early-risers of the world would be on their second or third cup by now, and church-goers would be bowed in their pews. She much preferred the luxury of sleeping until she woke up without the alarm. That's what Sundays were for, after all.

The coffee maker burbled, and Tori took it as a greeting. A liquid "good morning." The scent wafted up as she poured the dark brown coffee into the thick white mug. She was more awake already. She took a first greedy sip, scalding her tongue. Nearly coherent, now, she thought as she carried the steaming mug to the porch.

It was overcast, she noted as she stepped outdoors. Might rain later. There was a slight chill to the mid-September air that helped wake her and made her look forward to the coming Fall. It was early enough that the neighbors wouldn't be outside to see her thick gray terrycloth robe and matching slippers, she figured. And if they were outside, they'd probably be similarly attired. Maybe she could have dragged a brush through her blonde bed-hair, but that would have required more coordination than she had before her first cup of coffee.

Settling down on one white plastic deck chair, and propping her feet on another, she sipped and looked out on the garden of the house behind her own. Mrs. Kupiak's been hard at it, Tori decided as she buried her nose in coffee steam and sipped. Sometime yesterday the old woman had put in mums in burnt orange, deep red and yellow in anticipation of the change in season. The trees were already showing their colors.

It was a lazy day. Tori had already made her mind up about that. No chores, no work. Just her, the television, maybe a book. She wouldn't even read the paper. If she wanted to, she'd even take a nap. Yes, it was just the perfect day for that.

She drained the mug and let her feet drop to the deck, standing up lazily and shaking gold-blonde hair down her back. Blue eyes once more scanned the yard, taking in the blurry greens and shades of yellow and brown. With a contented sigh, she went back inside to refill her cup.

Her laptop lay on the kitchen table, beckoning. "Remember me?" it seemed to say. "You have reports to write. Forecasts to make. Accounting wants those numbers by Wednesday!"

Tori ignored it, refilling her cup and taking it into the living room. With her feet on the coffee table, a blanket on her lap and the coffee cup in her hand, she flipped on the TV. Godzilla was stomping and smashing his way through Tokyo. She snuggled deeper into the cushions. She'd avoided the real monster.

view more scribblings here

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Favorite Things Saturday


All sizes, shapes and colors...

For years, I didn't carry a purse. After lugging around a diaper bag, purse, briefcase and children, I'd had quite enough, thank you. It was time to travel light. Wallet and phone in my pockets, what else did I need?

But slowly, surely, purses wormed their way back into my life. I collect, cull, buy more, get rid of a few. It seems I've always got at least six. Probably, that's five more than I need.

purse booth - Bartlett IL Summerfest - 08132006
Purses at a local street fair

More purses - Bartlett IL Summerfest - 08132006
Different booth - same street fair

My favorites

see other favorite things here.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Movie Review: Dances with Wolves

Another western, and culture study. John Denham distinguishes himself for bravery in the Civil War, and is rewarded with the military commission of his choice. He chooses the West, having always wanted to see it.

Arriving at his new post, he finds the small bunker deserted, and like Robinson Crusoe, himself alone with more than enough provisions, but no company.

Until the Lakota arrive, that is. Gradually, he makes friends with them, beginning by introducing them to coffee and sugar and eventually learning their language and befriending many of the tribe.

It was interesting to watch, but not something I'd feel like I had to watch again.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Back to school!

Today was the Bear's first day back to school. She was so excited! Full of resolutions about perfect attendance and doing her homework on time.

Happy school, Bear!

Bear off to school 08232006

There she goes...

Bear on her way to the first day of school 08232006

Round Robin Photo Challenge: Transportation

Joe Cool in his zippycar, taken from my not-quite-so-zippycar.

If you know what kind of car this is, please say so. I have no idea.

Yes, I really do keep a camera on the dashboard for just such occasions. No, I don't take photos while I'm driving. This is taken from a parking lot.

See more transportation photos here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Who was I in a past life?

In a Past Life...

You Were: A Lazy Philosopher.

Where You Lived: Burma.

How You Died: Hanged for treason.

The Ugly Lamp - A True Story

This is the story of the Ugly Lamp. I swear it's all true.

One of my fondest flea market memories is that of the Ugly Lamp.

I didn't have my camera, and I've never seen its like again. But this was easily the ugliest lamp in all the world.

It was a table lamp, about 2' high. A heavy, ornate brass base with lots of leaves and fruit held up a spindly brass pole, deeply etched from top to bottom in vertical lines. The shade, a rectangular brass affair, looked far too long and narrow for the base. In fact, it looked like a windowbox inverted over a candle in a tacky candlestick.

The lamp must have weighed thirty pounds, and I'm convinced that 15 of it was in the shade. It wasn't a solid brass rectangle, though. Here's where the Ugly Lamp got interesting. It was set with colored stones that refracted the light that might otherwise have been doused by the brass. The stones were in various shapes and colors, randomly placed without rhyme, reason or pattern. None of it matched. None of it made any sense. It was just a plane of brass, randomly inserted with pieces of faceted glass.

I went back to the lamp repeatedly throughout the day. It was like an interior lighting train wreck. Finally I couldn't stand it any more. I wanted to take it home, as a conversation piece. To laugh at. To feed my well-honed sense of the ridiculous. A lamp with a story, even if it didn't actually give off light.

I'm not a haggler, but I went in armed. I would pay as much as $30 to take that monstrosity home. Realistically, it might be worth that much in scrap, but from an aesthetic standpoint, the seller should have thanked me profusely for a nickel. I asked the price of the lamp

Three. Thousand. Dollars.

I couldn't help myself. I laughed right in the vendor's face.

"It's an antique," he informed me indignantly. "And it's in excellent condition."

Of course it was in excellent condition. This was probably its first day out of the box since some much-resented relative gave it as a Christmas present. It was the Victorian version of the Singing Fish or the Farting Santa. It was awful.

I choked out a "No thank you," and went on my way, still trying to contain my shocked giggles.

It's been at least three or four years since I saw the Ugly Lamp. Since then, I've regretted that it didn't cost $30. I would have brought it home, to be the source of mirth for generations to come.

Instead, I've decided I must make my own Ugly Lamp. I don't know how, but it's on my list of 101 Things, so I'd better figure it out.

When it's done I'll take pictures. Nobody will believe it otherwise.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Creativity Prompt: What is YOUR meaning of life?

Knee jerk answer? To live.

But how to live and give life meaning? By giving while living.

My daughter would like us to volunteer at a living history museum. I love living history museums. I would work at one full-time, if I could support my family at it. I consider these to be a form of art, and I love art in all its forms.

We currently volunteer at a food pantry. Not very artistic, but necessary.

Art feeds the soul. I'm a firm believer in feeding the soul. I believe it's absolutely necessary in order to have any quality of life. We need art of some kind or other. Even if it's just watching a sunset or drawing in the mud with a stick or humming.

I also believe that as important as it is to feed the soul, it's more important to keep body and soul together. Whatever comes after, the soul will either be richly fed or not need feeding at all.

This is why I hesitate at the request to volunteer at the museum. Maybe I should put that time into volunteering more hours at the food pantry.

Lifehacker rocks Foreign Languages

Once again, Lifehacker's come up with an emminently useable post: Learn a Foreign Language from the Foreign Service Institute.

When I've completed my 101 things, I may start again and add learning Irish Gaelic and German to the list. Maybe by then the site will have Irish Gaelic available.

Another free Irish Gaelic lesson site.

Photo Friday: Friend

friendly sheep - Kline Creek Farm - 08192006

Late again... but these two little guys were worth it...all snuggled up together in their stall, they looked like best buddies.

View more friends here.

One good thing...

The Bear and I are going to meet her teacher today!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: The Inner Life of Pets

This prompt calls for a photoshow.

Three pets
Meet Frank the rababbit, Reggie the hedgie and Billy.

They took their first trip outdoors together today, outside to the yard, in a large enclosed pen.

Curiosity and caution 2
Curiosity and Caution

Frank> Have we met?
Reggie> You're bigger than me. No sniffing.

What was that noiseThere it is again

Reggie> Did you hear that?
Billy> Sounds like it came from over there...
Reggie> No, wait. I think it was over there.
Billy> Maybe you're right. I'm starting to get a little worried.


Frank> What is that?
Reggie> to the camera> What the *?!@ is that crazy rabbit doing? And can I play too?


Billy> You haven't taken nearly enough pictures of me. Maybe if I put on my cutest face...

Curious Reggie
Reggie> Whatcha got there?

Frank> This is my good side
Reggie> Hey, mine too.

Curious Billy Oblivious Reggie
Reggie> Enough pictures. I'm outta here.
Billy> You know...I skipped lunch, and you're looking awfully tasty...

Unconscious Mutterings: Week 195

I say...and you think...

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Cruel :: joke
  2. Jive :: talkin'
  3. Weak :: tea
  4. Understand :: comprehend
  5. Bum :: drag
  6. Stairs :: steps
  7. Tone :: of voice
  8. Quickly :: move
  9. Moment :: time
  10. Beating :: hurt
See other Unconscious Mutterings here

Favorite Things Saturday: The Bear

Bear at Kline Creek Farm - 08192006
The Bear, at the bridge over our oft-visited Kline Creek.

(Note that the Bear is only one of my five glorious children, who are all my favorite things)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Fun, busy day

The Bear and I put in a couple of hours' volunteer time at our local food pantry. It was busy today, with very few slow times between guests. We distributed meat, cheese and laundry soap. Local farmers had brought in fresh vegetables - corn, eggplant, greens, herbs. It kept us moving and made the time go by quickly.

Food pantry - farmers vegetables - 08192006

After zipping to the library and hitting a few yard sales, we were off to Kline Creek Farm. This is a working farm and living history museum, a place where you can spend a day or an hour. We go several times a year for their seasonal programs.

Right now, it's Threshing Season.

Threshers2 - Kline Creek Farm - 08192006
Threshers at work

Kline Creek farmhouse  - 08192006

finishing touches - Kline Creek Farm - 08192006
blacksmithing demonstration

Bear at Kline Creek Farm - 08192006
Bear at the Creek

Creativity Prompt: My 10 favorite scents or smells

  1. Ocean breezes... the scent of salt water carried on the wind, with a hint of coconut and palm oils from suntan lotion.
  2. Lemon...the fresh, clean scent of a freshly cleaned kitchen or bath, the zesty zing of lemon-wine sauce over chicken, the sweet, sharp scent of lemonade on a hot summer day.
  3. Vanilla... cookies baking, candles burning: a warm, comforting scent.
  4. Cinnamon...a sharp, hot holiday scent, both energizing and comforting at the same time.
  5. After the rain...the smell of earth and grass that rises up after a cooling summer rain.
  6. Orchids...heady, thick and sweet.
  7. Lavender...heavy but soothing.
  8. Bread baking...nothing smells more like home.
  9. Daffodils...they really smell like springtime.
  10. Chocolate...mmm....

MSNBC: The Week in Pictures August 10-17

MSNBC sends these out every week. Of course, some collections are better than others, but this week's "Week in Pictures" is one of the first collections where I like every single photo.

Studio Friday: Dessert Island

So imagine that you are still on the island and are getting hungry. The beautiful thing is that it is a paradise island and you can make your wish for your favorite desserts!!! Yummy!! Which ones will you wish for?

photo from Betty Crocker

Somewhere on the island, near the crystal clear waterfall, which is just outside the cool, comfortable cave and a stone's throw from the Diet Dr. Pepper spring, is a raspberry bush.

With my "How to Survive on a Desert Island (complete with recipes) book in hand, I'd make my way to the bush and pick those berries, wash them in the waterfall and while they drained, scale the nearby cacao tree. In mere hours, after milking the goat and shaking some pecans off the tree, I'd pull from my hearthstone oven the luscious dessert pictured above.

Cream cheese brownies with rasperry topping. Or without. Save the raspberries for the fresh goat-cream. Just as soon as I harvest the sugar.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Creativity Prompt: Who do you envy and why?

I don't know if I really envy anybody. Though I want what some people have, I don't have any desire to deprive them.

Looking at it as "I want it, but I'm glad you have it," I envy talent. I'd love to have the ability to imagine, and then make my imagination take physical shape. I'd love to paint or draw. I appreciate my ability to, with time and effort, paint word-pictures... but a picture's worth 1000, as they say. If I'm explaining what's in my mind, the room for error and misinterpretation is much greater with a verbal or written description.

I envy people who are happily in love. Gunshy? Maybe. So far, I haven't had a lot of success, but I'm optimistic. I believe in love. I believe I deserve love. I believe I have a lot of love to give.

I envy people with a sense of style, who seem to have that "pulled together" look come so easily. You know the ones. They put on a t-shirt and jeans, and more polished than most of us do in suits. Maybe it's poise, maybe it's body shape, maybe it's flair. I don't know, but I want some. Come to think of it, it's probably because I don't know what it is, that I don't have it.

Accountability: The Weekend List

  1. Volunteer at food pantry DONE
  2. 10 minutes in each room DONE
  3. 2 loads of laundry DONE
  4. blog 100 words each day DONE
  5. visit Kline Creek Farm DONE
  6. game Sunday (CANCELED)
  7. purge tupperware
  8. cook for the week
  9. set up lunches for the week
  10. clean animal cages DONE
  11. go to library DONE

Accountability: The Friday List

Let's try to get at least half of these done today:

  1. Finish editing and uploading photos from the Riverwalk DONE
  2. 10 minute clean-up in each room (put off til Saturday due to others' plans)
  3. Dinner with the fam (put off til Saturday due to others' plans)
  4. Blog 100 words DONE
  5. Studio Friday DONE
  6. Photo Friday: Friend

100 quick words

I looked up in a panic and realized it's 11:40 and I haven't even started my 100-word-per-day challenge. I need to think of something - quick.

And there's my idea. Shamelessly swiping yet another idea from 101 Things in 1001 Days, here's a decorated version of some synonyms for quick:

fast adroit rapid snappy immediate hurried swift sudden prompt nimble vigorous hasty double-time makeshift impulsive precipitous rapid lively purposeful persevering rushed spry zealous sharp spur-of-the-moment stopgap QUICK perspicacious fleet cursory energetic posthaste express headlong impetuous perfunctory instantaneous swift winged breakneck speedy blistering rocketing hastening pronto

And there we have it. 104 words today. Phew.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Accountability: The Thursday List

Late, but not too late, here we go...

  1. Drive the Dude out to pick up his buddy DONE
  2. Grocery list (for real) DONE
  3. Dishes
  4. Pull 10 weeds
  5. Grocery shop(?) DONE
  6. Blog 100 words
  7. Watch Going My Way

A day on the Riverwalk

One of my 101 Things is to visit the Riverwalk in all four seasons of the year and take pictures. Today was our Summer visit.

The sun was out, the sky clear, the breeze warm.

When we arrived at the Depot Museum, we discovered an added bonus - an art show was going on inside. We were lucky to arrive just 15 minutes before closing (it's a very tiny museum and only open two hours per day, three days per week), and luckier still that the staff didn't mind when we stayed a little after-hours. Checking museum hours hadn't even occurred to me, but we couldn't have gotten there any earlier.

Between the museum and the Riverwalk, I took over 100 pictures. The stained-glass gazebo, the river, the open gazebo over the water. The old factory near the dam. The baby starlings playing by the water's edge. The Dude and the Bear had a good time, following the trails around and watching fishermen. The Dude braved the high point of the crumbling dam to get a picture of the cataracts rushing over and down to the lower part of the river.

Although the Bear and I have been to the Riverwalk a couple of times before, the Dude hadn't gone with us before. It had been two years since our last trip, though we found it mostly unchanged.

Coming around the Town Government building (converted from an old windmill factory around which the town seems to have grown), we found another open-air art display. It looks like the medium was rebar and fire hoses, and there were several interesting pieces.

One of our favorites - and one of which I'll have to get a photo in each season - is the floral kaleidoscope. It looks like a large brushed-chrome microscope, the pan of which is a flowerpot. When you look through the eyepiece, you see the flowers refracted. Then...you spin the flowerpot. Deliberately planted in a variety of colors, it makes an amazing array of colors and shapes. I can just imagine it with Fall mums and leaves, winter evergreens and spring buds.

We were hot by the end of our day, but with a happy kind of tired, with great memories and several good photos. I'll post them tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Accountability: The Wednesday List

Hope springs eternal.

  1. Eyebrows DONE
  2. Library DONE
  3. Trip to Riverwalk DONE
  4. Empty Bear's suitcase
  5. Clean out under kitchen sink
  6. Pull 10 weeds
  7. Blog 100 words DONE
  8. Appointment at 7pm DONE
  9. Watch "Going my way"
  10. 10 pages in Year of Wonders
  11. Color hair

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Monday Photo Shoot: Still Life

...or "What's wrong with this picture?"

peacock still life
Peacock Still Life

I love these vases. I love the peacock feathers in these vases. I'm not 100% sure I love the peacock feathers to be in the vases, but I really don't love this photo. The lighting is terrible, there's glare off the metallic vase that obscures the etching, everything looks hyperlit and stark. Very 70's, which is not what I was going for. And this is the best of a half-dozen I shot. I'd be better to try daytime photos, perhaps outdoors, maybe of a more easily-photographed subject.

Lesson learned.

One good thing... August 15, 2006

I get to go out and meet a few new people at a Meetup tonight!

Accountability: The Tuesday List

Semi-success yesterday leads to a second attempt today:

Pull 10 weeds in garden DONE
Load of laundry DONE
Water plants DONE
Clean up clippings from trimming hedge
RP meetup
Dinner with fam DONE
Get gas and smokes DONE
Re-frame and hang living room pictures
Read 10 pages in Year of Wonders DONE
Blog 100 words (not including this post)
Clean under kitchen sink
Mail teacup swap DONE
Photograph a Still Life DONE
Plant sage

More as I think of it...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Accountability: The Monday list

Here we go. It works (mostly) for my weekends, so now we'll try for the weekday version.

Pick up Freecycle donations DONE
10 pages in Year of Wonders (must be read on porch for my 101 Things.)
Grocery list
Transfer 10 items to the new calendar DONE
Clean out under the kitchen sink
Pull 10 weeds in the garden DONE
Water plants
Go the bank DONE
Load of laundry DONE
Pitch all my outdated meds and cosmetics DONE

More, if I can...

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Our town had a summerfest this weekend, and since the Bear arrived home from her East Coast whirlwind tour on Saturday, we took the afternoon to wander the fair on Sunday.

It was smaller than I'd expected, and it looked like some of the vendors and gamesmen had already packed up by the time we arrived. The pony rides we'd looked forward to were already gone, but we did wander the Bazaar and Craft Fair awhile.

We found:

Purse jumble - Bartlett IL Summerfest - 08132006

Carved-stone animals from Mexico...
stone carved animals - Bartlett IL Summerfest - 08132006

stone bird paid closeup - Bartlett IL Summerfest - 08132006
(Closeup of stone birds)

LOTS of jewelry...
waves of jewelry - Bartlett IL Summerfest - 08132006

gourmet sauces - Bartlett IL Summerfest - 08132006

quilts - Bartlett IL Summerfest - 08132006

polarfleece - Bartlett IL Summerfest - 08132006

and lots more, that you can see here.

Lolo Schpadora: Fudgy deliciousness!

Lolo Schpadora: Fudgy deliciousness!

The brilliant Laura at Lolo Schpadora has presented a fascinating idea: Chocolate Casserol.

Must. Make. This.

It will be my new recipe for August.

Unconscious Mutterings: Week 184

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Kim :: berly
  2. Designate :: Assign
  3. Liner :: note
  4. Weed :: wacker
  5. Infusion :: vinegar
  6. Nutritious :: granola
  7. Favorites :: Internet Explorer
  8. Transform :: combine
  9. 42 :: nd Street
  10. Sunday afternoon :: blogging

Round Robin Challenge: Summer Gardens

This week's challenge is "Summer Gardens."

Sentinel Daisies
This is my wild, untended garden at night, when the mosquitos hunt and the daisies stand sentinel.

Stoop where thou wilt, thy careless hand Some random bud will meet; Thou canst not tread, but thou wilt find The daisy at thy feet.
-Thomas Hood

pink wildflower
daylight closeup

wildflower garden 2
May all your weeds be wildflowers

outside the garden gate - garden of beaux arts - Chicago - 07222006
Through the gate at the Chicago beaux arts garden.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Sunday Scribblings #20: Who Else Can I Still Be?

Good question. Playing the averages, I have a considerable chunk of future still ahead of me, although I'm no ingenue by any means.

Who else can I still be? Begin with the obvious. I'll be a mother forever. Long after I'm gone, and even if I should outlive my children, I'll be their mother.

Come December, I'll be a grandmother for the first time. Once I am, I will be always. That's what I will be.

Who else can I still be? Sky's the limit. I can still be the writer in the stone cottage on the New England shore. I can still be the woman wandering Paris with a laptop and a camera. I can still be (eventually) a Red Hat Lady. I don't know if I'd want to, but I could.

I can still be a journalist. Or an attorney.

I can still be the person I am, with a strong sense of self, and dreams of places to go, things to see and people to know, but no desire to change materially.

I can be the kind of person who doesn't take any crap, and finds that delicate balance between forgiveness and gullibility. I can be more insightful. I can be the kind of person that cultivates and relies on intuition.

I can still be wise. I can cultivate wise friends and acquaintances.

I can still be a loving partner.

I can be quiet, and listen rather than talk. I can still engage.

I can still write powerful, moving words.

I can be private. I can be open.

I can choose.

Studio Friday: DESERT ISLAND

If I were stuck on a desert island, the three things I'd most like to have with me (assuming plenty of food and water are already there) would be:

  1. My cell phone (hope of rescue springs eternal)
  2. A pen. Ball point, with black ink, fine point. Better, 100 pens.
  3. A book on how to survive on a desert island, full of practical tips on how to start a fire, tell poisonous foods from nonpoisonous, hunt the wild game on the island, suggestions for cooking utensils and how to build a shelter, how to make clothing out of native plant fibers. A whole recipe section on thirty different ways to prepare mangoes, or whatever native fruit I'd encounter. I'd want this to be a great, big, thick spiral-bound book that I could reference time and again. I'd write a journal of my adventures in the margins until I figured out how to make my own paper.
Perhaps these are too practical. My first instinct was to want my family, but there's no way I'd wish them stuck on a desert island, so.

My romantic side would wish for a handsome, studly man - with survival skills, of course - who'd naturally fall in love with me, and I with him. Of course, he'd have to speak English, but having him be fluent in another language would be a plus, too.

I'd want my camera (or maybe I can trade in my phone for a camera phone before the shipwreck), but that would have to pale in comparison to the other items.

A laptop with a live wi-fi signal would be useful... maybe a boat...working transmitter...GPS system... I miss Lost.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Creativity prompt: Do you believe in love at first sight?

The woman on the checkout line in the supermarket was arguing about the price of frozen carrots. Two carts behind her, a toddler wailed for the candy placed temptingly on the end-cap. Stuck between them, was Lucy.

Lucy didn’t need a cart. The half-dozen frozen dinners and quart of ice cream she was purchasing barely filled the dull gray plastic basket. She sighed and tried not to look impatient while the cashier and the customer haggled in thick Brooklyn accents. She was half-tempted to offer the woman the twenty cents, just to shut her up. Normally, this kind of minor interruption wouldn’t bother her, but she was hot and tired.

Another long day stocking sporting goods ended in a half-hour bus ride, a three block walk through the gray-slushed New York winter streets and into this overheated, understocked, overpriced mini-grocery. She’d pull the wool cap off her hair, if she wasn’t afraid she’d look even worse. The jeans, shapeless sweater, ratty jacket she wore – perfect for “dock day” at the store – weren’t exactly flattering. Her dark eyes were tired, her face pale, and her nose pink from the cold that was trying to get the better of her. Unleashing mousy brown staticky hat-hair would probably scare the little kid behind her. Who was kinda cute, now that he’d stopped crying.

The next line was moving faster, of course. Wasn’t that always the way? At last, carrot-lady moved on, hauling her groceries with her. Lucy unloaded her purchases onto the conveyor and gave the ice cream a gentle, testing squeeze to see if it had melted beyond redemption while she’d been waiting. Still solid. Things were looking up.

Her own transaction lasted only a couple of minutes, and she was back out in the winter’s freezing rain. Lucy lowered her head against the wind and ice blowing into her face and started for home. Only two blocks to go.

Her progress was cut short when she collided with a barrier, solid, but with a little give to it. In fact, it grunted. She looked up, startled and apologetic, into the grayest eyes she’d ever seen in her life. This afternoon’s rainy, wintry sky had nothing on these eyes. “Excuse me,” she managed.

“Sorry,” the man’s voice rumbled distractedly as he put a hand on her shoulder to steady her. They both stood for a few moments too long.



Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Unconscious Mutterings: Week 183

Once again, from Unconscious Mutterings, this time via Meme Chose...

  1. Affair :: lust
  2. Package :: china
  3. Warner :: Brothers
  4. Drop :: roll
  5. Balance :: scales
  6. Shore :: sea
  7. Confirmation :: letter
  8. Nose :: ring
  9. Talking :: back
  10. Bend :: over

The Book List

So here we go with another list (compulsive list-maker that I am). As a start on one of the 101 Things, I'm making a list of the 43 books I want to read in 1001 days. Subject to change without notice.
  1. March, Geraldine Brooks
  2. Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks
  3. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion
  4. The Hollow, Nora Roberts
  5. Dance of the Gods, Nora Roberts
  6. One for the Money, Janet Evanovich
  7. Valley of Silence, Nora Roberts
  8. Suite Francaise, Irene Nemirovsky
  9. Thunderstruck, Erik Larson
  10. Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin
  11. Unafraid, Francine Rivers
  12. Face-Down in the Marrow Bone Pie, Kathy Lynn Emerson
  13. The Year of Living Biblically, A.J. Jacobs
  14. A Virtuous Woman, Kaye Gibbons
  15. The Gashleycrumb Tinies, Edward Gorey
  16. Y: The Last Man - Unmanned, Brian K. Vaughan
  17. The Book of God, Walter Wangerin, Jr. (own)
  18. An Arsonist's Guide to the Writers' Homes of New England,
  19. Incognegro, Mat Johnson
  20. The Wordy Shipmates, Sarah Vowell
  21. Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Gilbert
  22. The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
  23. The Annotated Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum (BPL)
  24. Dorcas Good: The Diary of a Salem Witch, Rose Earhart
  25. What Jesus Meant, Garry Wills
  26. Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
  27. The Age of Lincoln, Orville Vernon Burton
  28. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
  29. Helen Keller, A Life, Dorothy Hermann
  30. The Shunning, Beverly Lewis
  31. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King
  32. The 9/11 Report graphic novel
  33. Rough Crossings, Simon Schama
  34. Innocent in Death, J. D. Robb
  35. Running with Scissors, Augusten Burroughs
  36. The Evil That Men Do, Stephen G. Michaud
  37. High Noon, Nora Roberts
  38. The Age of Lincoln, Orville Vernon Burton
  39. The Gettysburg Gospel, Gabor Boritt
  40. Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life, Steve Martin
  41. The World Without Us, Alan Weisman
  42. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, Barbara Kingsolver
  43. Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself, Alan Alda

Best Pictures List

Only 79 of these... and some are probably on the AFI list.


* 1927/28 - Wings

* 1927/28 - Sunrise

* 1928/29 - The Broadway Melody


* 1929/30 - All Quiet on the Western Front

* 1930/31 - Cimarron

* 1921/32 - Grand Hotel

* 1932/33 - Cavalcade

* 1934 - It Happened One Night

* 1935 - Mutiny on the Bounty

* 1936 - The Great Ziegfeld

* 1937 - The Life of Emile Zola

* 1938 - You Can't Take It With You

* 1939 - Gone With the Wind


* 1940 - Rebecca

* 1941 - How Green Was My Valley

* 1942 - Mrs. Miniver

* 1943 - Casablanca

* 1944 - Going My Way

* 1945 - The Lost Weekend

* 1946 - The Best Years of Our Lives

* 1947 - Gentleman's Agreement

* 1948 - Hamlet

* 1949 - All the King's Men


* 1950 - All About Eve

* 1951 - An American in Paris

* 1952 - The Greatest Show on Earth

* 1953 - From Here to Eternity

* 1954 - On the Waterfront

* 1955 - Marty

* 1956 - Around the World in 80 Days

* 1957 - The Bridge on the River Kwai

* 1958 - Gigi

* 1959 - Ben-Hur


* 1960 - The Apartment

* 1961 - West Side Story

* 1962 - Lawrence of Arabia

* 1963 - Tom Jones

* 1964 - My Fair Lady

* 1965 - The Sound of Music

* 1966 - A Man For All Seasons

* 1967 - In the Heat of the Night

* 1968 - Oliver!

* 1969 - Midnight Cowboy


* 1970 - Patton

* 1971 - The French Connection

* 1972 - The Godfather

* 1973 - The Sting

* 1974 - The Godfather Part II

* 1975 - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

* 1976 - Rocky

* 1977 - Annie Hall

* 1978 - The Deer Hunter

* 1979 - Kramer vs. Kramer


* 1980 - Ordinary People

* 1981 - Chariots of Fire

* 1982 - Gandhi

* 1983 - Terms of Endearment (Bloomingdale)

* 1984 - Amadeus

* 1985 - Out of Africa

* 1986 - Platoon

* 1987 - The Last Emperor

* 1988 - Rain Man (own)

* 1989 - Driving Miss Daisy (own)


* 1990 - Dances With Wolves

* 1991 - The Silence of the Lambs

* 1992 - Unforgiven

* 1993 - Schindler's List

* 1994 - Forrest Gump

* 1995 - Braveheart

* 1996 - The English Patient

* 1997 - Titanic

* 1998 - Shakespeare in Love (Bloomingdale)

* 1999 - American Beauty


* 2000 - Gladiator (Poplar Creek, Bloomingdale)

* 2001 - A Beautiful Mind

* 2002 – Chicago

* 2003 - The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

* 2004 - Million Dollar Baby

* 2005 – Crash

*2006 - The Departed

*2007 - No Country for Old Men

*2008 - Slumdog Millionaire

AFI's 100 Years, 100 Movies

I can't very well decide whether I agree with AFI's list until I've seen all of the movies. To keep in context, and because I have 1001 days, I'm going to re-watch the ones I've already seen, too.

So, here they are, in reverse order, which is the order in which I'll watch them.

98 UNFORGIVEN (1992)
95 PULP FICTION (1994)
94 GOODFELLAS (1990)
92 A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951)
91 MY FAIR LADY (1964) (RM)
89 PATTON (1970)
88 EASY RIDER (1969)
85 DUCK SOUP (1933)
84 FARGO (1996)
83 PLATOON (1986)
82 GIANT (1956)
81 MODERN TIMES (1936)
80 THE WILD BUNCH (1969)
78 ROCKY (1976)
76 CITY LIGHTS (1931)
74 THE GOLD RUSH (1925)
72 BEN-HUR (1959)
71 FORREST GUMP (1994)
69 SHANE (1953)
66 NETWORK (1976)
63 STAGECOACH (1939)
62 TOOTSIE (1982)
61 VERTIGO (1958)
58 FANTASIA (1940)
57 THE THIRD MAN (1949)
56 M*A*S*H (1970)
53 AMADEUS (1984)
48 JAWS (1975)
47 TAXI DRIVER (1976)
43 KING KONG (1933)
42 REAR WINDOW (1954)
33 HIGH NOON (1952)
31 ANNIE HALL (1977)
24 RAGING BULL (1980)
22 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968)
19 CHINATOWN (1974)
18 PSYCHO (1960)
16 ALL ABOUT EVE (1950)
15 STAR WARS (1977)
14 SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959)

101 Things in 1001 Days

I've been reading about and considering this project for months. Of course, the first thing one must do is to create the list of 101 things. It took MUCH longer than I thought it would.

Here, at last, is the list (subject to nearly constant change).

End date: May 6, 2009

  1. do the refurbishing on the little "mobile island." DONE
  2. find an apartment DONE
  3. clean out the garage DONE 10/12/06
  4. paint the bathroom DONE
  5. furnish apartment DONE
  6. move - again DONE
  7. frame and display collection of family portraits DONE
  8. repaint Bear's room DONE
  9. fix broken floor tile DONE
  10. fix air conditioner in car DONE
  11. paint the living room DONE
  12. build drawer shelves
  13. sell the house DONE
  14. fix kitchen cabinet door. DONE


  1. try one food I’ve decided I won’t like without even tasting it (DONE: alligator! 11/20/06)
  2. volunteer 100 hours DONE
  3. read 43 books
  4. make a list of books to read 8/9/06
  5. take an online course and finish it DONE
  6. try twelve new recipes
  7. read a book on the balcony (any book, however long it takes, as long as every page is read on the balcony) DONE 9/3/06 - Year of Wonders
  8. write on the beach
  9. make 10 new friends DONE
  10. take 10 days off, just for me. DONE
  11. take a nap in a meadow DONE 9/2/2006
  12. change my name
  13. kiss a man not related to me DONE 9/4/2006
  14. watch 43 sunsets (8/25/06, 8/29/06, 9/14/06, 9/15/06, 10/5/06, 10/6/06, 4/9/07, 6/9/07, 7/31/07, 8/23/07 TEN! 9/5/07, 9/7/07, 11/14/08, )
  15. pray daily for a month
  16. go for a 100 mile drive to nowhere, then turn around and come back. Take pictures and write about it. DONE
  17. find one good thing that happened and write it down - 101 times (8/6/06 , 8/15/06, 8/21/06, 9/1/06, 9/5/2006, 9/15/06, 9/23/06, 10/2/06, 4/13/07, 5/31/07.TEN!, 9/2/07, 9/15/07, 11/4/07(1), 11/4/07(2), 11/16/07, 11/30/06, 8/15/08, 10/8/08, 10/15/08, 1/19/09, TWENTY! 2/11/09 (1), 2/11/09 (2), 2/27/09, 3/25/09, 4/7/09)

  1. start a photoblog DONE (and undone and redone)
  2. write a minimum 100 words a day for 2 weeks straight (try for every day)
  3. get a better digital camera DONE
  4. get a new computer DONE
  5. make the Ugly Lamp
  6. blog daily for 1 month DONE
  7. learn CMS DONE
  8. purchase my own web domain DONE
  9. choose a resolution for Hannah DONE
  10. choose a resolution for Maxcy DONE
  11. take 50 sunset photos for blog (8/25/2006, 8/29/06, 9/14/06, 9/15/06, 10/5/06, 10/6/06, 4/9/07)
  12. write reviews of the books I read
  13. write reviews of the movies I see


  1. lose 30 pounds
  2. buy a bicycle DONE 8/5/06
  3. add 1 piece of fruit per day into my diet (must last at least one month)
  4. fix up the bicycle so it’s rideable DONE 8/23/2006
  5. go for a minimum 2 mile walk, daily for 1 month
  6. add 1 daily serving of dairy to my diet (must last at least one month)
  7. quit smoking DONE and undone and DONE and undone and...

  1. watch the AFI's top 100 films
  2. watch all Best Picture Oscar winners
  3. see the King Tut exhibit DONE
  4. see a live play DONE Wicked
  5. see one movie in the theater every 6 months DONE
  6. see Star Wars exhibit at museum DONE
  7. visit Art Institute DONE
  8. visit Science and Industry DONE
  9. visit Field museum DONE
  10. find a new gallery to check out DONE
  11. visit the Rhode Island State House DONE
  12. visit the RISD museum DONE
  13. visit Salem, Mass. DONE


  1. become a grandmother DONE - TWICE!
  2. go horseback riding with Bear
  3. create a collection of family portraits to frame and display DONE
  4. visit my parents DONE
  5. visit my grandmother DONE
  6. visit Salem, Mass. DONE
  7. call my grandmother once every two weeks
  8. visit New York at Christmas time DONE
  9. go to Disney World DONE
  10. visit the Riverwalk in each season of the year and take pictures DONE
  11. see New England in the autumn DONE
  12. see The Arcade before it closes DONE
  13. visit Newport, RI DONE
  14. visit Plymouth, Mass.
  15. take Bear to Boston for a photojourney
  16. Move to Rhode Island DONE
  17. Start a family history record DONE


  1. pay off 25% of my big loan ($7,000) DONE
  2. close out all my book and movie club accounts -- BOMC (DONE), Crafter's Choice (DONE), Literary Guild (DONE), SRR, AOL (DONE), Blockbuster (DONE),Time-Life (DONE), BMG1 (DONE), BMG2 (DONE), Paperback, DIS (DONE) DONE
  3. save $1,000
  4. sell 20 things on ebay DONE
  5. start a budget and stick to it for 1 year
  6. sell one piece of writing DONE
  7. start investing 8/15/06 DONE
  8. one month, only dine out once
  9. bring my lunch to work every day for two weeks DONE
  10. find a new job DONE
  11. sell one photograph DONE