Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Good ol' Days

There was a request to hear my "Mrs. Miller Story" back when my girl friends visited. Mrs. Miller was our middle school gym teacher who must have been at least 90 years old. I wonder if she's still terrorizing young girls? Lar and Les and I were in the same gym class, and, as you might imagine, I was one of the least athletically motivated persons in the class. So, I didn't take it all that seriously. My friends were on some kind of team or other, so they had a special part of the locker room with big lockers, and the rest of us rabble were stuffed into this other part of the locker room. And, of course, I wanted to be with my friends so I would always hang out in their section. And, of course, I wanted to avoid gym class, so we stayed in the locker room as long as we could. I could actually squeeze myself into one of these bigger lockers, and everyone thought it was really funny. And I liked getting in there because it made me feel small, and in middle school at 5'7" I felt like an absolute ogre most of the time. (Les and Lar were even taller than me but they were much more confident.) As a joke, one of them would shut the door for a second, and I would pretend to get scared, and we'd all laugh. We did that like, every day. So, one day I crawl in the locker, and Les pretended to lock me in there, and I pretended to get scared, and then Mrs. Miller came running in and yelling at all of us, primarily me, and she sent me to detention (for three days!). Les and Lar told her it was their fault and that they'd locked the locker but she wouldn't listen to them. But I was happy as a clam because I didn't have to go to gym class for three days.

She seemed like a very unhappy woman. Although, there can't be any creature worse than a middle schooler, so who can blame her?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Crrrrrafting Presents

Last night I made this adorable little owl for my brother's as-yet unborn spawn. The little nipper's due in less than a month. I'm fairly positive S. is unaware of my blog and wouldn't read it even if he were, so it'll still be a surprise. Wait, it's not for him anyway. I just felted a sweater I found at the thrift store, cut it into an owl shape and embroidered the eyes and beak on (after M. accused me of actually wanting to kill my unborn niece or nephew with button eyes), sewed it, stuffed it, and voila!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Recap

Our Thanksgiving was a day of decadent pleasures - rich food, good friends, a bacchanalia of beverages and homemade pies. We also entertained ourselves with Apples to Apples, Guitar Hero, and even a toss of the ol' pigskin (or nerfskin, as it were) - you'll notice we're wearing our school colors (Yale, Sarah Lawrence...)
I went on an apron-making binge before the party!
Sporty, aren't we?
Full bellies - how will we eat dessert?!?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I'm Thankful (in pictures)

Sam, Lyna, and the unborn, too!
I wish I had a picture of ALL my friends - you know who you are, I love you all!
(my favorite painting at the AIC, Paul Klee, In the Magic Mirror, 1934)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Take the good with the bad

My NaNoWriMo novel has been giving me a lot of agida, and I keep having to remind myself that I started the damn thing to have fun. Now it's feeling burdensome. What was supposed to have been a mad-cap adventure in writing has turned into one more failure of 2007: The Year that Nearly Killed Me.

Lately I've been thinking it's all a matter of perspective. I mean, the NaNoWriMo thing forced me to get many words down on paper (on hard-drive, that is) and even if I don't complete the 50,000 words, who cares, right? It's a start, and, as any writer knows, it's actually sitting down and starting that's the hardest part. And, in 2007 a lot of really lame things happened, and a lot of really great things happened too. I guess that's just how life goes. (Yes, many Life Lessons are coming to me late in life, I know.) Like, my grandpa dies just a few months before my first nephew is born. We buy a house, but I'm sick and have back pain all year. You gotta take the good with the bad.

Did somebody say crrrrafting?
Here are a couple of things I've made recently. This was made specifically to deal with the aforementioned stress and muscle aches - it's filled with whole buckwheat (you can buy it in bulk at Whole Foods) and a bit of lavender. Very simple, just a long tube of cotton and the stuffing. Put it in the microwave for about two minutes, apply to sore muscles and relax.

I made this reversible apron for my young 2 year old friend. The neck strap is adjustable (so hopefully she'll be able to wear it for more than 6 months) - there are buttons on both sides of the bib bit. This was the first time I've made button holes and it went so well I want to sew buttons on everything I make now.


I found this old cross-stitch I started literally over 10 years ago. It was just about done except for the phrase, which was "When the Lord closes a door, he always opens a window." (To which M said, "Why doesn't he just leave the door open?!") It's a sentiment that doesn't really do anything for me, but this this one does:
I'm rather pleased with the way it came out. Can't wait to stitch some more. (I really like these.) I'm pretty inspired to make most if not all of my Christmas presents this year, so I've got a lot of crrrrrafting to do.

Speaking of "crafting", there was a cool post on How about Orange last week that caused an onslaught of comments. She was writing about how she doesn't like the word "craft" because it often calls up an image of lame, ruffled and be-hearted do-dads that say things like, well, "When the Lord closes a door..." I have the same problem with the word, but I'm trying to reclaim it. I think the semantic issue comes from a history of belittling the work of women, as if the beautiful and/or useful things handmade by women are merely things to occupy our febrile minds. There are some great women crafters out there right now reclaiming the word and remaking it to suit their own views (politics, the environment, feminism...) Check out this post on Radical Cross Stitch about the long history of the connection between activism and crafting.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Yesterday M. and I saw No Country for Old Men, the new Coen bros. movie. I'm a long time fan of the Coen Bos., but lately they're not wowing me. I didn't even SEE The Ladykillers and I thought Intolerable Cruelty blew. But, an extremely high Tomato Rating drew us to the theatre anywho. It's in the vein of Fargo and Blood Simple, although with a much higher body count, including animals, if that bugs you (as it does me. Well, something beyond "bugs"). If anything, you'll learn an important lesson about what to do if you find a bag full of money: Just walk away, people, that bag's nothin' but trouble. Also you'll learn how to rather easily rob a pharmacy.

Sure there a couple of good lines of dialogue and the Coen Brothers' eye for detail captures Texas interiors circa 1970 perhaps as no one has before, but, consider this: If you're thinking about going to see No Country for Old Men, why not just ask a good friend to punch you right in the face? You'll feel the same, and you'll save nine bucks.

Not too long ago I said I wasn't going to watch any more movies with only one woman in them, and if I'd followed my own rule I wouldn't have gone. There's something sincerely creepy happening in movies right now, there are hardly any women. I guess it should come as no surprise that the president of Warner Bros. said they'll no longer be making movies with women in the lead! Women compose half the population and we're being excluded from inclusion in popular culture. It's a really bizarre representation of the world.

Now, for my money, the movie to see right now is Lars and the Real Girl, which features a number of terrific actresses and one lifeless one. Lars (Ryan Gosling) is a slightly troubled young man living in some small, far northern town who orders a Real Doll, introducing her as his shy girlfriend to friends and family. Because they love him, everyone plays along, even helping to create a busy social life for "Bianca". What's most interesting is how the film is not really about sex at all, but about companionship and strong relationships. In fact, Lars never has sex with his doll/girlfriend (she's very religious, see?)It's a beautiful film with strong performances by Emily Mortimer and Patricia Clarkson (if you haven't seen All the Real Girls with Clarkson and Paul Schneider, check it out) that I think speaks to how most of us find ways to make life more bearable, even if it sounds crazy.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

How Ya Feelin'?

M. totally blew my mind over the weekend - we were at a restaurant with white paper on the table and a couple of crayons, so we were scribbling all over the place, and M. tells us that in Japan, they don't make emoticons like we do. Did you all know that? So, we write (: and they type




(they're not sideways). Here's a sad face


awwww... Here are a few more...



o_O (my favorite).

Monday, November 05, 2007

Save a tree (lots of them!)

Ever since we've moved, our junk mail quotient has gone crazy - we're on the mailing list of every mortgage, insurance, lawn care, outdoor furniture, window "treatment", Dean and Deluca mailing list out there. For some reason, catalog companies are under the impression that we have money. We just bought a house! We're totally broke! I've been trying to cut down the mail down to the essentials, which, to me, is any bill I can't pay online and the occasional card from somebody who loves us.

How excited was I when I found this website, Catalog Choice, where they'll take care of canceling all your catalogs for you!?! Just canceling gd mailings from Comcast required half an hour on their website and two phone calls DURING business hours. With this Catalog Choice, all you have to do is create an account and check off all the catalogs you no longer want (it's helpful to save up a big pile and just do them all at once). And, obviously, they don't sell your info or use your address for nefarious purposes.


Had a great weekend with My Girls. We had a terrific time staying up late and drinking a lot of wine and talking, nice long breakfasts and a trip downtown... Here are a few favorite shots:
These gals are great because I know I can always count on them, and even if a (terribly!) long time passes between visits, whenever we see each other, it's just like old times. I love you, gals!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Girls' Weekend!

I'm super excited because this weekend some of my best girlfriends in the world are coming to visit, and it's going to be so fun being together again (we all met in middle school!) and catching up.

I made these gift (shopping) bags and stuffed them with a few goodies. They're effing adorable, if I do say so myself, and I was pretty happy the way the different fabrics look together. I'll put up a tutorial later if anyone's interested.
The craft blogs are all a-buzz re: the upcoming holidays and urging crafters (I guess that'd be me!) to get a-sewin' and a-craftin' (Catchphrase? Yes! Handmade Holidays!). Sew, Mama, Sew! is posting tutorials every day for the month of November - I'm definitely going to try out a few!

Dia de los Muertos

Today is Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday), although it's celebrated for a longer span of time. A lot of people put up ofrendas (dedications, or "alters") to their deceased loved ones. I made one last year for my grandpa after he died.

Check it out: a review I wrote of the Dia de los Muertos show at the National Museum of Mexican Art was published in New City Magazine!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Last night I had the full suburban experience as Trick-or-Treater after Trick-or-Treater rang the door bell. Just about every one cracked me up. I decided to let them grab their own candy, and it was so hilarious to observe either the self-regulation or unmitigated joy at the candy free-for-all. A lot of shouts from parents from the side walk: What do you say!?! and Thank you!!!! and once We're over here! when I asked two particularly young Trick-or-Treaters where their parents were. A lot of kids would say "How many can I have?" and when I started to run low on candy, I threw in some other stuff - plastic duckies, spider rings - some kids would pick these things up and then through them back in when they realized they weren't candy. A tiny fireman nearly fell down my stairs and then turned around and said, "I'm wearing my boots so I don't get hurt!" Very chatting little kid. Told me all about his adventures. Loved him. Mike and I had to turn out the lights and sneak out the back door for dinner when we ran out of candy. I figure about 50 kids came by.

BTW, today's the first day of NaNoWriMo, and I've posted, for your reading pleasure, my first chapter on my book blog!