zombies and muffins and audrey hepburn's hair

Hello, friends.

I've been settling into new rhythms with MM this month. He started a new project with earlier hours and we are not morning people. So, it's taken us awhile to get our act together. We get up at 6 now, which may not seem like much to all you 5-5:30 people, but whatever. This is a big deal to us.

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Autumn always kicks my nesting instincts into high gear. I have an irrepressible urge to Craft! Bake! Decorate! Wear an apron! Sew an apron! Crochet!

You know how McDonald's puts chemicals in their food to make you want to eat them? (Oh. Those fries. What IS it? Good, Lord!) I think stores do that too. As soon as the school supplies are out, the haul up stuff that smells like cinnamon, vanilla, eucalyptus. Stuff is all sparkly and has pictures of pumpkins and fall leaves. It's hard to resist the sensory deluge. I become, like, an autumn zombie, shambling through the aisles at Michaels, "Craaaafts! Craaaafts!"

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To that end, I cleaned out the globs of sloshed fish juice (yum! who wants McDonald's fries?) from my oven, and today I'm going to attempt Paleo Banana muffins. Cinnamon and ginger and deliciousness awaits. Whoopie!

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A BFF surprised me last week, by bringing me a whole box of Mrs Meyers Clean Day products in a bunch of flavors! Too fun! I've been wanting to try them, but they are expensive in the grocery store, and I just bought a whole bunch of eco cleaners at Costco that I want to use up before spending more money.

I've tested a few out and do enjoy most of the scents. Honeysuckle or Geranium are getting my top vote right now. I've used the scrub on my bathtub and got good results. And the freshening spray has actually helped our linen closet, which usually smells like Cigarette Smoke and Old Man. #winning!

The only thing I'm not sure of is the liquid dish soap. It's quite perfume-y and the suds don't last as long as my regular eco brand. The dishwasher soap is great, though.

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I haven't been doing daybooks, so I'll just give a quick rundown. Finished:
The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexander Dumas - Bad title. Wasn't really about him. This is actually the third book in the Three Muskateers series. The second has an equally lame title, The Twenty Years After. Seriously, Dumas? Anyway. It was OK. I think it may have made more sense if I'd read all the books in order. But I read the first one 20 years ago and didn't know the second one existed til now. Meh. It's ok. I love the Count of Monte Christo, but these I can take or leave.

Evolving in Monkeytown by Rachel Held Evans - I enjoy her blog, and it's been a launch pad for me to learn a lot about issues that the Evangelical church is wrestling with lately. This is her memoir about keeping her faith in Jesus despite a huge shift in her worldview. It wasn't what I expected, but it was still a good read. Better than some other memoirs I've read recently.

One idea that really struck me is that people in the generation just after me, so folks in their 30s and younger, have a very different idea about "who is my neighbor". Because of the internet and the connectedness of media, they have friends all over the world. So global issues are their issues. It is not Us/Them for young people. Rachel's father put it this way, "When I was a kid, we were told to eat our food because the kids in Africa are starving. My children know those African kid's names."This global-connectedness changes everything.

Right now, I'm reading the philosophy book, still. It's just dense, and my brain has to be very awake and with-it to read it, so it's taking awhile. And I'm re-reading Little Big Man. MM had borrowed it, and enjoyed it, but it's hard for me to talk about it, b/c its been 20 years since I read it. Really well-written book. Will be fun to chat with my husband about it when I'm done.

Together, we are reading Simplicity and are in the home stretch of Pascquale's Nose.

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In movies we've watched:

Double Jeopardy - which was not as good as I'd remembered.

Trollhunter - Oh, man. This was great. MM watched this on a weekend when I was away, and wanted me to see it right away. It is one of the best "found footage" fake documentaries. Its Norweigian. Funny. And really well done. Even the FX, which you know they didn't have a big budget for, were great. I want to see it again.

Valhalla Rising - Wow. I don't even know how to explain it. Its kind of a viking movie. Set in Scotland first and then the New World after. The main character doesn't speak through the whole film, and doesn't have a real name. It is weird. Ethereal. Violent. Beautiful. And powerful. Gives a commentary on spirituality vs. religion in unexpected ways. Total trip. This was another one MM found the weekend I was out of town.

Breakfast at Tiffany's - MM had never seen this, and he'd had it on his list to see for a while. I'd seen it once before. (In San Francisco. In Union Square, just outside of Tiffany's. My neice had come out to visit me in California, and we stayed at The Mark Twain, had a delicious French breakfast at Cafe La Presse, tromped around China Town, and went to the movie in the park. It got cold, so we stopped in at Ross to buy blankets, and I swear all the fancy theater patrons we passed thought we were homeless people.)

Anyway. It is a beautiful film. Audrey Hepburn is gorgeous. And the characters have good chemistry. But ultimately, its a sad story, really. I mean anyone can see that this chick is a trainwreck. And the guy seems to be getting his act together, but the whole "I can help her" thing, just feels codependent to me. And, ok, she gets out in the rain and looks for the cat, but I just don't have hopeful feelings about their future. (She has great hair, though, doesn't she. And those clothes! Sigh.)

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I have rambled long enough. Have a lovely afternoon. I'm off to bake muffins. Rock on.


cheers to summer

Last night, at 8 pm, MM and I sat on a restaurant patio and raised a glass (primativo for me, malbec for him) to the end of summer. Who cares that the solstice is two weeks away. The light changed two weeks ago, and the nights are getting colder. We can feel the change coming. We've been cramming in last bits of summer goodness the last couple weekends. (Baseball game, fireworks, an afternoon paddling around a mountain lake, coffee in the front porch garden, games of dice, cheese...) I'm sad that we didn't get to everything on our summer list, but the lure of autumn is too strong to resist. So, we celebrate the turning of seasons and enjoy what is.


What is, is:

 - New routines and new attempts at old ones. Evening chores, bedtime rhythms, and morning tasks are all getting a reboot as MM starts a new gig that has him to the office an hour earlier than usual. We are a) not morning people and b) artists, so we reeeeeaaaaaaly need rhythms to keep us moving. Otherwise the trash piles up, we don't floss, and end up running around in the morning freaking out because we have no lunches or clean clothes. And so, we tweak and update and try to create rhythms that make sense in this new season.

 - Organizing and archiving and downsizing. We've taken several carloads to Goodwill in the last couple weeks, and I've got a pile of old papers to burn. We're set to scan photos and are researching ways to convert old videos and cassets to digital formats. Our goal is to move to a smaller place, and we'd like to not haul unneccessary things with us. So, we're doing a lot of talking about stuff. How much do we need and why? Etc. Etc. I'm thankful for fall sales on organizing stuff. Oh, how I love plastic bins!

 - Hunkering down. Two years in to our marriage, we have a much clearer vision for what we want and what it will take to get there. We've got a lot of work to do just to get to "baseline", so we're re-committing to the unglamorous, unsexy work of damage repair and foundation building. At the end of it all we will be lean, strong, and ready to blast off. But right now, its just the daily work of paying bills and doing pushups.


It is also:

 - Using the "fall" mugs for coffee and tea, and cinnamon apple bakes for breakfast

 - A new journal, decorated for autumn, ready for new ideas and a new season of growth and learning

 - A garden bursting with cosmos and zinnias, and mornings cool enough to sit on the porch and enjoy them

 - New books! We finally finished our read-alouds and are excited to start Richard Foster's Freedom of Simplicity. We also ordered books from B&N.com the other day, and shelved MM's Harvard Classics. I've renewed my reading of The Story of Philosophy, and have a plan to integrate those essays with works in MM's collection. It feels like school is starting.

 - New clothes. We're both losing weight and running out of suitable clothes, so we need to do some back-to-school shopping of our own.

 - New projects. MM starts a new project today. We've got a real deadline for a project we're working on together. And I've found a couple of job postings that look promising. We've also got ideas percolating for Christmas gifts, MM has a few woodworking projects, and I'm starting to long for textiles.

 - An autumn list filling up with ideas to make the most of this season's offerings. MM's hankering for mulled wine by the firepit. I'm getting the itch to see apple farms, pumpkin patches, and corn fields.


So - cheers to you, summer. And welcome, fall. You're my favorite.