thursdaybook - reading fiend edition

For today I am,

Seeing... Our back lawn is filled with tiny flowers. We've made tiny bouquets with them. And now, we even have a dedicated Tiny Bouquet Vase (and old mini nail polish bottle).  These are new ones. Purple puffballs that, if the lawn guys didn't whack them to bits every week, would grow into something resembling a miniature foxglove. Yard guys come tomorrow, so they are at their peak today. I plopped myself in a patch of them for morning tea and sunshine.

Hearing... Kinda quiet today. The doves, finches, starlings, and other small birds are rather quiet today. Instead its noisy crows squawking and dogs barking... MM is working from home today, so I hear his click click, tap taping... The whir of computer drives... Ah. There are the little birds. Hello, you crazy things.

Tasting... Bacon and cantaloupe. Yum. I went to a wedding once that served an appetizer of cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto, and ever since I've been a big fan of salty meat paired with super ripe melon. Deee-lish!... For lunch, we have a spinach and basil salad with cantaloupe, inspired by my trip home from Trader Joes yesterday. I'd bought a basil plant and a cantaloupe, and by the time I got home, my car smelled amazing. What a combo. So. Lunch salad. Woot!

Working... Finished up a small drawing project for my siblings. And am plunging next into a book design for MM. And we've got a family blog that's long-neglected. Oh, and I still have updates to make to MM's site. And my art project is still percolating in my head... feels good to create again. Rusty gears are starting to crank again.

Reading... I am a book-reading fiend! I blasted through my stack of library books and brought home four more yesterday. The best of the lot was Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, which I believe was made into a movie by the author. I may try to add it to the Netflix Queue.

It was a sad story, but I enjoyed it much better than my beach read. Gah! Blerg! Barf! It was written by a Hollywood insider, and as I read it right after Melissa Gilbert's memoir, I have every reason to believe it's representative. Depressing. I'm sure there are a lot of healthy, well-adjusted Hollywoodites, living fulfilling, abundant lives. But not these chicks. Empty. Empty. Empty. People always freak out and complain about all the sex and violence and bad morals, but honestly, the real problem is the black, aching emptiness.

Here's what's currently on deck:
In the Bathroom -  Pain Free by Pete Egoscue
In the Bookbag - The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant - I try to read a little in this every day. Learning about Francis Bacon now
On the Nightstand - The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis - Almost done!
With MM
   - Anne of Ingleside by LM Montgomery - Almost done!
   - The West is Still Wild by Harry Carr
   - Changes that Heal by Henry Cloud
   - Hearing God by Dallas Willard
In the stack
   - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows - This thing has been reccommended to me a zillion times, and I'm finally just now getting to it. Yay!
   - Birthright: The True Story That Inspired Kidnapped - Saw this while trolling for biographies (Summer is my memoir/biography reading season) and thought it might be fun. MM suggests reading Kidnapped afterwards. Jolly Good Idea, I say!
   - The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It - This was another troll find. Women leaders! Champagne! MM wants to read this too, and suggests that when we're done, we buy a bottle of this bubbly (assuming its not a gazillion dollars) to celebrate. Jolly Good Idea, I say!
   - Strapless: John Singer Sarget and the Fall of Madame X by Deborah Davis - This one had lots of buzz too, and MM and I remember reading articles about it. This is another one that he wants to read too.

Learning... I think that between my new books and fiddling with new-to-me software, I'll be learning lots.

Creating... Oh, I guess I covered this in working. Art! Design! Writing! Amen!

Dreaming... Oh! Dreaming! Of a hometown fourth of july. Of hiking. And camping. And a weekend at a lake. And another weekend at the ocean. And a night at the drive-ins. And another at the ball game. And a day of bbq and agua polloing around a pond. And a reunion with my high school girlfriends... And further off, of traveling in Europe and Africa and India with my man! Of Canada (after all these books we HAVE to go to Prince Edward Island.) Of music to make and stories to tell and gardens to grow... Of houses and homes and our future selves.

Pondering... The more immediate future. We are entering a new season, MM and I, and we've got lots of decisions to make. It is good to be moving forward, and to be a team, and to feel growth and healing and strength returning.

Thankful for... Tiny flowers and giant hydrangeas... bacon and cantaloupe, and tea in the garden... sketch books and library books and checkbooks that balance... my new shampoo that I get to try today... bluejeans rolled up into capris... the deep, gasping breath of air after a loooong time underwater.


Thankful Tuesday: European Hot Chocolate Edition

It's Thankful Tuesday at Mama Monk's. Check it out!

 - For piles of books on hot summer afternoons. My reading mojo is back, baby. I BLASTED through my library stack, and tomorrow, I'll get more. Booyah!

 - For hydrangea blossoms (bigger than my head!) in all shades of purple and pink. Lush and full and vibrant in the Mystery Garden. The daylilies are spent. The roses continue, but only a blossom or two here and there. The butterfly bush seems to be going strong. But its the Giant Hydrangeas that win the show, for sure. And not just with me. The things are covered with bees and butterflies and hummingbirds and dragon flies.

 - For a man who wants to make sure I feel safe and valued and heard. He is so, so gentle with my wounded heart.

 - For a man who invents FREAKING DELICIOUS desserts. Last night's was:

4 squares of Trader Joes Fair Trade Dark Chocolate (73%)
1/4 c of Thai coconut milk (from a can)
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1 juicy orange, peeled and diced

Heat the milk on the stove. Melt the chocolate into it. Add the spices. And then dump the whole thing over the orange.

Woah. Nelly. Olsen.

This is good. Real good. I would actually, leave the orange pieces on the side next time and just use the juice. Because! This thing equated to a European Hot Chocolate with orange! I know, right?? SO FREAKING DELICIOUS! Like a liquid version of the chocolate oranges they sell at Christmastime. We've been dreaming up other versions of it ever since.

 - For items crossed off the lists! For emails processed! For laundry folded! And put away! For clean floors and watered plants and a mostly clean desk!

- For hope. Fragile and fickle and precious and rare. Oh, it has been a long time. Welcome, Friend. Stay awhile?


mondaybook - pitcher of daisies edition

For today I am,

Seeing... A cheerful bouquet of yellow daisies and white and green mums from my MM. I put them in a little white pitcher my mother-in-law gave me. I keep hauling them from room to room, or out on the porch, so I can have them with me wherever I am. Just now they sit all sweet and simple and homey on the plain wood of the dining table. There's something Little House on the Prairie-ish about a white pitcher of daisies on a wooden table.

Hearing... The Worldbeat Pandora station, which just now is skewed towards Tango and French Jazz. Love it. Was the perfect accompaniment for my morning of chasing dustbunnies around my floors. The Vintage French Pop CD currently on rotation at my local Starbucks got me in the mood for the French stuff. And MM has a fantastic Asian Groove CD in the car right now. Lots of modern Indian dance stuff. Sexy, dancey, and relaxing all at once, with just a touch of Bollywood. I foresee a multicultural summer this year.

Tasting... My little summer cocktail of cranberry juice and sparkly orange water.

Working... Doing a bit of sketching for a logo, and maybe some template design for a book MM is editing - if my hands hold out. Also, the aforementioned floor cleaning and other housework.

Reading... Well - since I last did one of these, I blasted through a bunch of books, including all MM's trades of Astro City (fantastic). We are at the end of his run, so we'll need to hit the comic shop to pick up the rest of the series. Here's what's currently in my stack:

Bathroom -  Pain Free by Pete Egoscue

Bookbag - The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant

Nightstand - The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis - I re-read these almost every year. The sweet reminders of God's love and friendship make me smile.

With MM - Anne of Ingleside by LM Montgomery - MM keeps renaming the books (Anne's House of Dreams became "Anne's House of Horrors," because of all the sad stories; Anne of Windy Poplars was "Anne and the Completely Dysfunctional Town") and this one is "Anne's Children are All Idiots." LOL.

I LOVE reading this series with him. We've had a lot of great conversations stemming from this. There are three more books in this series, but I don't own them. MM wants to get them and continue, even though I've told him it will be mostly about the Idiot Children. :) Good times ahead. Thank you Blythe Family and Lucy Maud.

   - The West is Still Wild by Harry Carr - we are loving this book and want to see if we can find more by this out of print author. I'll write more later on this.

   - Changes that Heal by Henry Cloud

   - Hearing God by Dallas Willard

Desk - Bossypants by Tina Fey - her funny memoire of growing up weird and ending up running a great show with low ratings. I like reading memoires and biographies in the summer, and this one was all over the place last year. There are actually some gems in this little book. I'm liking it.

   - Prairie Tale by Melissa Gilbert - her sordid tale of fame and disfunction and healing and whatnot. Meh. It's a memoire, and was on the same shelf as Bossypants.

   - The Cigarette Girl by Carol Wolper - beach read, something something, hollywood romance, something something - we'll see. Basically, this is just keeping me busy til the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society comes in at the library.

   - Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie - described as "A funny, touching, sly, and altogether delightful novel about the power of art to enlarge our imaginations." Summer books should be sweet too. So, we'll try this one.

Learning... To relax.

Creating... I use composition books for my journals. And since a row of black composition books is boring, I decorate them with collages and fancy papers. Last week I started cutting out things for my new journal, and it morphed into me "finding" a poem. Something that speaks to my hopes for this season I'm coming into. I spent three days finding words in magazines, clipping, arranging, and thinking about what they meant. It was... cleansing. Felt good to make art again. It's been a long time.

I'm not sure what this will end up, but right now I'm playing around with a video with spoken word and MM's music for one version, and then some kind of mixed media thing for the other. A canvas? An object? Something. Covered with the words and the image that goes with them.

Dreaming... Of Europe and a future with a bit more breathing room.

Pondering... How on earth to cook the ribs I pulled out for dinner. I'm glad its cooler today, b/c these babies may go in the oven.

Thankful for... A pitcher of daisies, clean hardwood floors, and French jazz... A husband who listens to me, seeks to know my heart, and wants to learn to Tango with me... A stack of library books, a sparkly drink, and a summer breeze... The release of making art and glimmers of hope. And that Jimmy Fallon consistently gets The Roots to do goofy musical stuff with him.

Happy Monday.


random stuff about some things

Do people other than me have a problem with the new Costco toilet paper? It's supposed to be awesome Jumbo Tron-sized with plushy velvet or something. What it is is a badly plied, too-soft paper, in rolls too big for our TP holder. Lame. I get irritated every time I go to the bathroom and when I go to Costco. The pallet-sized packs of individually paper-wrapped rolls was a big reason I joined Costco. Our membership is up for renewal in July. I just don't know.

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A tale of two hairdos:
While running errands in local Yuppyville, I stopped at Starbucks for a rest. As I sat and people watched, I was treated to a casually-dressed gentleman in his 70s, meeting his wife for coffee, talking on his cell phone to his broker, and sporting a red, white, and blue mohawk. Clothes, dialog, car, wife, etc. all matched Yuppyville septuagenarian stereotypes. But the hair... Metal (punk?) hands to you, sir.

Then on the way home, I saw a classy-looking lady of the same age zipping along in a tiny, red sports car. So tiny, that her giant boufant hairdo (the kind that ladies get done once a week at the beauty parlor) was squished on top, giving her an unfortunate Bozoesque appearance. She must have some kind of system to un-Bozo her hair when she gets out of the car.

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The other day, I was wearing my vintage Duran Duran, "Seven and the Ragged Tiger" Tshirt. (Yes. I am so old that clothes from my teens are vintage.) Anyway, other than a vague notion of Andy Taylor the guitarist, MM doesn't know who those guys are. He was pointing to various ones and asking who they were and what they played, when he said:

MM - "Who's the guy with the eyeliner?"
Me - "This one?" (pointing to Nick Rhodes, cuz, I mean, come on.)
MM - "No that one." (pointing to John Taylor)
Me - "John Taylor. Bassist."
MM - "Huh. (pause. drily,) I'm so glad his gloves match his sash."

*This is only funny if you know about Duran Duran, and their fashion stuff, and 80's Brittish pop, and the like. And also, that my man is a jeans and black Tshirt rock/metal guitarist who doesn't go in for the big hair, costumes, fashion, and makup scene.

**So maybe its only funny to me?

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Our mourning dove is cooing sweetly.
Yesterday, we were talking with friends about the crazy birds in our neighborhood. I mentioned that I like the dove better because he starts in around 9 or so. MM posited that, "He's really more of a Late Mourning Dove." :D

See? He's funny. :D

Oh! And it turns out that the crazy birds actually start up around midnight. We got home from the theater last night (Wicked! MM's first musical, and he loved it. Wooo!) and had to open the windows just so we could sleep. Those birds were at it! All night! What do nightingales sound like? Maybe we have nightingales?

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So, after reading up at Skin Deep last year, I switched us to Badger Sunscreen. Which is better for us and works great, and all that stuff. But. I miss the smell of Coppertone. That scent holds the memories of a thousand summers for me. (OK, I'm not THAT old, but you know what I mean.) Coppertone, bugspray, and BBQ/campfire smoke blend into the heady fragrance of summer happiness. Badger just doesn't come close. I need someone to invent a perfume for summer that has a touch of that Coppertone scent.

Hey, Bobbi Brown apparently actually made Kramer's idea work!

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And that's about enough out of me today, folks. Have a fab weekend!