Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year


One of my all time favorite proposal scenes.

And it's from the movie "Leap Year".

Apropro for today.


~~~~~~~~~~


It also has a great wedding toast:


"May you never steal, lie or cheat.
But if you must steal, then steal away my sorrows.
And if you must lie, lie with me all the nights of my life.
And if you must cheat, then please cheat death, because I couldn't live a day without you."


~~~~~~~~~~


*Sigh.

Monday, February 27, 2012

All Bound Up



Look what came in the mail today...

My blog book!

Er, blog books. There are three of them. The first year of my blog had to be put into two volumes. Evidently I was quite prolific that first year, as M says. There's a five-star word, or at least an SAT word, if ever I heard one.

I digress.

I've been wanting to print my blog for a long time. I finally decided I should print it before I blogged too many more years. I knew I wanted to have them bound a year at a time so waiting too many more years would have been mucho dinero. For Pete's sake, I've already accumulated three books worth of words and pictures.

I'm so glad I did this. I hope it gets passed down through the family and future generations will have an idea of what life was like in the early 21st century. I know how much I enjoy reading the diaries that the Man's grandfather wrote around the turn of the 20th century. I'm hoping these journals will do the same. 

Because that's how I treat my blog. It's a place for me to journal my life, my kid's life, the life of my family and friends, my little corner of the world. So while these books may not have "My Diary" written across them with a lock and key to keep people out, they very much are my diaries.
M and I had spent the evening talking and knitting. Then she pulled out all her jewels. That's when we got all girly, oohing and aahing over the pretty bling she's collected through thrifting and tagging. She's collecting them for a couple projects she has in mind.

I love paste jewelry. Each piece has to have a story - whether it was worn for someone's wedding, or graduation, or when the wearer went off to work in the big city - it has a story. 

I'm starting my own collection. And I think I'll write stories about the pieces I find.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Great Prom Dress Debacle, or how to dress like a chicken



Yup. It's that time again.

The girls are on the hunt for the big game. 

The perfect prom dress.

An elusive creature, hiding in corners and shoved behind other dresses.

Stuffed into airtight, watertight, lightproof, can't-get-them-out-of-these plastic bags.
We spotted a few today but they were very e-x-c-l-u-s-i-v-e and only hung out with other e-x-c-l-u-s-i-v-e- dresses. 

We needed much more firepower to own these dresses, like an extra $500 worth of firepower. That's what we get for traveling to a store much closer to a way-big city than I normally go to. 

I told K and her friend S that maybe we need to look in a less e-x-c-l-u-s-i-v-e area, like Idaho. 

Or Montana.


And this would be the point when I thought my daughter looked like a chicken.

Or Lady Gaga.

I cannot tell you how happy I am that she was NOT serious about this dress. It made her giggle when she saw it on the rack and wanted to try it on for kicks.

Whew.

I was uncertain how to tell her the chicken look really wasn't working for her.
I had a horrible time taking pictures in this shop. The dressing rooms were too small and I couldn't get a good angle for a whole shot.

Forget trying to get her to go outside the dressing room. It was like running a gauntlet.

Lots of other young ladies were lined up outside the dressing rooms, waiting their turn at trying on their six dresses.

Six dresses. 

Then you had to get back in line and wait for another bazillion minutes to try on six more. All the while you're in line, you get to watch all the other young ladies come out to stand on the central pedestal where EVERYONE can see them. And comment on their choices. And how good the dress looks. 

Or not.

Can you say "intimidating"? So K and I stayed in the dressing room. I faced the corner to give her some privacy. She would let me know when I could turn around to zip her up. 

Or not. 

Some of the dresses had to be sized wrong by crazy-dress-makers-who-don't-know-how-to-size-dresses. She was trying on dresses two sizes larger than anything she has ever bought and I couldn't get the hook closed. Huh?

We left empty-handed. 

The chicken dress returned to the rack for the next girl who needs a giggle.

~~~~~~~~~~

My 400th post. And it's about chickens.



Friday, February 24, 2012

i{not}Thinking

I just finished a book today, Distracted, by Maggie Jackson. I want to say it was a good book. It was very well thought out and articulately written.

But it was also troubling.

It focuses on our lack of attention in everyday situations, especially when technology gets involved in our lives. How that technology fools us into thinking we are "multitasking" when in reality we are retraining our brains to stop focusing on one thing and instead buzz about trying to give attention to three, four, five things.

"Depending too heavily on multitasking to navigate a complex environment and on technology as our guide carries a final risk: the derailing of the painstaking work of adding to our storehouses of knowledge. That's because anything that we want to learn must be ordered into our long-term memory stores, cognitive work that can take days and even months to accomplish. Attention helps us understand and make sense of the world and is crucial as a first step to creating memory...Building these stores of memory takes time and will. When we divide our attention while trying to encode or retrieve memories, we do so about as well as if we were drunk or sleep deprived."

~~~~~~~~~~

It's about how that lack of attention is leading to a society of shallow "sound bite" kinds of people. People who don't have time to pay attention. Or rather, don't take time to pay attention.

"Grazing, browsing, surfing, hoteling, hot-desking, travel-soccer, dashboard dining - the very vocabulary of our daily lives denotes an adoration of motion. We scorn the idea of stopping, equating the local and the immobile with "social deprivation and degradation" writes sociologist Zygmunt Bauman....A culture of constant movement, in part fueled by a love of instant gratification, cannot bear the mystery and unpredictability inherent in the idea of pause. "For the sake of speed, in the interest of not wasting time, we sacrifice the sensuous richness of the not-yet," writes Noelle Oxenhandler in her essay "The Lost While." We live in a culture of "becoming" but never arriving."
Perhaps because I work as a librarian, I found the following story distressing.

"Geoffrey Nunberg was shocked to see that the "highly sophisticated" grad students he was teaching at Berkeley's School of Information Management and Systems had difficulty evaluating simple, unfamiliar information on the Web. A librarian converted English professor Lorie Roth to the cause by showing her printouts of student searches culled from the garbage. "As I sat there, surrounded by the detritus from the trash cans, paging through these print-outs, I tried to reconstruct what kind of thought processes these students were using," says Roth, now vice chancellor of the massive California Statue University system. "I finally arrived at the conclusion, in fact, there was no process; that there was no logical, clear, systematic inquiry."

~~~~~~~~~~

"Study after study at top and lesser schools reveal similar conclusions: students-including seniors- "display a particularly narrow field of vision" in searching, use "quick and dirty" ways of finishing the task, "often opt for convenience over quality," and give up easily. To find the borders of the former Yugoslavia, 35 percent of four hundred and fifty undergrads at UCLA said they'd consult the Atlas of American History or the Encyclopedia of Associations."

I have to repeat that. To find the borders of the former Yugoslavia, one in three students said they'd look in the Atlas of American History or the Encyclopedia of Associations

"If you want to have an educated citizenry, you've got to wrestle with complex ideas,... said Elliot, "or you will end up with people who will only do the shallowest things."

Wrestle with complex ideas when they can't find the borders of Yugoslavia?

How did we let this happen? 

"Heads down, we are allowing ourselves to be ever-more entranced by the unsifted trivia of life. With splintered focus, we're cultivating a culture of distraction and detachment. We are eroding attention - the  most crucial building block of wisdom, memory, and ultimately the key to societal progress."

~~~~~~~~~~

She ends the book on a positive note. We can reverse this "skimming" through life. And learn to make paying attention a priority.

Teachers are working with families, training them to show younger kids, ages three through seven, how to pay attention by getting them to reconnect over block stacking, card matching, and word games that bolster attention and memory.

"Kids are always told to pay attention, but they don't know what that means...One of the most critical elements is giving them a common language for what it means to pay attention." A language of attention. Only when we speak this language can we bestow on others the irreplaceable gift of our attention."

And she's right. Attention is a gift.

When I'm talking with a friend, or one of my children, I don't want them checking their phone every few moments. Or plugged in to their iPods. 

When they do that, they're telling me I'm not important. Or at least, not as important as whoever is on their phone, or the song they can't stop playing. 

~~~~~~~~~~

It took me a little while to read this book. I wanted to pay attention to what it was saying. And that took some time.

It was a worthy read.

I'll leave you with one last quote.

"But when we give another person our attention, we're giving away that portion of our life. We don't get it back. We're giving our attention to what seems worthy of our life from moment to moment. Attention, the cultivation of attention, is absolutely core."







Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sweet Heart

What a sweet heart.


I love my old man dog. Although he's not a very good model.


He refuses to look at me when I have a camera in front of my face.


He looks left, he looks right, he walks away and shows me his backside. 


He's very u.n.c.o.o.p.e.r.a.t.i.v.e.


See? He makes a pretty heart with his legs and won't look at me to take a pretty picture.


Pooh.
He purposely looks everywhere else but at me.

I think he spotted a bug flitting around and got very interested in it. Just as I was trying to take his picture.

Two seconds before this shot, he was looking me right in the eye.

~~~~~~~~~~

I love the way the wind was blowing the hair on his ear. It's so graceful looking. And fancy.

He looks like he gets highlights.

I promise you I do NOT highlight my old man dog's hair.
Ah. Finally.

A full-on face shot.

I had to trick him. I held the camera above my head and pointed down.

He'll look at me as long as the camera isn't there. I tried to bring the camera back down and snap a few more and he was gone.

Trotting off into the house, full-on shot of his backside.

I think J and K have been talking to him.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thrifty Wednesday, Revisited

Sissy and I were out thrifting today.


We found lots and lots of treasures.


A gorgeous sky blue Pyrex dish, just the perfect size for vegetables.


Some Glasbake custard cups.


And two pieces of Fire King serveware.  Which is not very easy to find. So this was a banner day of thrifting.
I do not know who made this or where it came from. It's probably not valuable. 

But I like it.

It's green. It's perfect for St. Patrick's Day.

It was cheap.
A milk glass hobnail vase. 

Can't wait to see some pink roses in this fancy-schmancy v-a-h-z.

I'm still collecting wooden shoes to spray paint.

Now I need to start collecting cans of spray paint.

Ha.
We found some sweet postcards from the 1930s, with notes written on the back. 

Little slices of history.

The two on the right are linen cards, made in Germany. They are teeny tiny pieces of art.

Love them.
A milk glass dish. Now filled with lots and lots of kisses.


Well, actually not so many now. Maybe about half are still there. 


Maybe.


~~~~~~~~~~


Sissy and I were meandering through a thrift store, poking around the shelves, picking up this and that to examine the markings. Dropping things. Clanking things. Making spectacles of ourselves.


We forget we are out in public. And that there are other people around. People that might be listening to  us.


So we were in this thrift store, chatting back and forth, and before we knew it, our arms were full. We had found lots of treasures in this one store.


Sissy says, I'm starting to feel like a hoarder.


I say, We're not hoarders. We're collectors.


She says, But I have a lot of stuff now. And the house is getting full.


I say, Well, as long as we have very w-i-d-e paths between our stuff, we're not hoarders. Those people can't walk through their paths.


A burst of laughter from the woman standing next to us. Sorry, she says, but you guys are FUNNY.


Then she followed us around the store for a bit, finally asking our opinion on a soup tureen she liked. Only she didn't know it was a soup tureen. We told her that. She didn't really think she was fancy enough for a soup tureen but she liked it anyway. I said, Pretend it's a giant candy bowl.


She liked that.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Barnstorming

We are a looooong way away from using these in the garden. They're hibernating out in the barn.


Where I was wandering around this afternoon, a little bit restless and needing to get outside and find some fresh air.


The Man does not like to see me out in the barn, especially when I say things like, Maybe I'll just straighten up a bit out here.


That brings him running every time.


Which is just what I planned. I begged him to take me for a ride, anywhere, just to get out and about. I had a serious case of cabin fever this weekend. And I wanted to go somewhere and shoot. I'm starving for subjects.
Saw this little guy as I was exiting the barn. He looked like he was trying to say something to me.

Like, Help, I'm bored! Take me out!

Not yet, little gnome. It's too cold.
The Man and I meandered all over back country roads this afternoon on our Sunday Monday afternoon drive.

The Man kept pointing out pretty things for me to shoot.

As he whizzed by them. 

Er, kind of hard to shoot when you are going by at 40 mph.

It's a good thing we live in a farming community. There are lots of barns around. Nicely set further back from the road, almost like they know someone is going to be taking their picture from a moving vehicle.

Of course.
J went to visit P this weekend. She's been away at school and they haven't seen each other since Christmas break.

That's quite a bit of time, especially during the long, cold winter months.

Judging from the pictures I saw on facebook, they both enjoyed the weekend a lot. They did a little shopping, went out to eat, walked by the water, and watched some movies. They sent me a picture of a puzzle they did together on Saturday night.

I love that. The two of them doing a puzzle together. They are the sweetest young couple I know.
Hmmm. I wonder what that ladder is doing up there?
There were actually four barns lined up on this stretch of road.

But we went by them so fast,  I missed one of them.
No barn looks just like another one. 

Boards are missing, graffiti is written, shingles are askew.

They each have their own quirks.

Their own personality.

I think that barn with the green roof is quite flashy, a little bit of a show-off with that colored roof. While the plain lady behind him just sits and ages, doing her job, housing whatever it is she shelters from the weather. 

~~~~~~~~~~

I want a good man for you. A brave one.  The Earl of Grantham, Downton Abbey

Sigh. Sniff.







Friday, February 17, 2012

Happy Abbey Viewer


I can't stop watching this show.

Over the course of the last few weeks, almost everywhere I have gone, people have been talking about "Downton Abbey".

On facebook.

At work.

At knitting.

Friends.

Everywhere.

~~~~~~~~~~

So last Sunday, after my nieces went home, I sat in my soft, cozy chair with my warm, red, fuzzy blanket, and a pillow, and a cup of tea and started watching from the beginning.

That was at 2:30 p.m.

At 12:45 a.m. I forced myself to go to bed. 

~~~~~~~~~~

I don't know what happened between those hours. I was sucked right into 1912-1916 England and stayed there for a very.long.time.

I don't remember eating.

I don't remember getting up from my chair. At all.

I'm amazed at how much I'm enjoying this show. And how real the characters seem to me. The casting people deserve huge raises for doing such a magnificent job.

Truly.

Go watch this show. But pack a lunch, and a dinner, because you won't be moving anytime soon.

~~~~~~~~~~


Take a moment to watch this short clip of some witty lines.

Great writing. 









Joyful Heart(s)

K shows such patience with me when I want to try something.

For about five minutes.

My creative juices have five minutes to flow, so they better flow fast.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've been a bit obsessed with blowing glitter. And the logical progression on Valentine's Day?

Blowing hearts.
I love the whimsical way the hearts blow around, fluttering upside down and sideways. Some of them cluster together and others twitter all around by themselves.

They are obviously divas, needing center stage.
These photos make me think about how casually hearts are treated sometimes. Like objects you can blow away without a care for what will happen to them.

Because sometimes we give our hearts to people who don't treat them very nicely, don't we?

Especially when we're young.

I want K to guard her heart and not give it away so freely. 

Easier said than done. I think we all know that.

But as I keep reminding her - she is the daughter of a King and the man worthy of her will treat her as such.
My gift to the Man for Valentine's day. 

It took me about ten minutes to come up with fifty-two reasons why I love this man. I could have come up with more but there's only so many cards in a deck.

~~~~~~~~~~

He didn't know what to do with it. He thought he was supposed to read one a week for a whole year.

What?

When we were discussing this at dinner that night, I asked him how he could limit himself like that. 

If he wrote down fifty-two reasons why he loved me, I would have read those in about two minutes flat.

I want to savor them, he said.

Hmmm...I want to gobble them up. 
Just an idea I saw on Pinterest.

I'll use it for something someday

I have a lot of someday photos.

I love my new mug. And it was perfect for Valentine's day.

Coffee tastes better in a pretty mug, don't you think?
Centerpiece on my dining room table right now. 

Red flowers. My favorite.

~~~~~~~~~~

One of my favorite romantic movie quotes is from "Hope Floats" :

"Dancing is just a conversation between two people. Talk to me."



Monday, February 13, 2012

Pretty in Pink, or Sprinkles on my Pancakes


Oh.

Yeah.

I'm not sure sissy is going to like these pictures but....

c'est. la. vie.

At auntie's house, all bets are off and we have whipped cream and sprinkles for breakfast.
After breakfast, we made stuffed owls. Or rather, D and I made stuffed owls. She asked if we could make three owls: one for her, one for her teacher, and one for E.

What a sweet heart she has, that one.

E decided she want to play basketball. She was outside with the Man.

Her and the Man came running in to tell us something.very.important.

Auntie! Auntie! I got a basket! I got a basket! AND IT SWISHED! ALL NET!

Her sissy looked up, "Shhhh! I'm sewing, E!"

Evidently it takes a lot of quiet and concentration when you're dealing with fast moving needles.
Later in the afternoon we had a "Chopped" contest. I teamed up with E for the appetizer round and with D for the dessert round.

My team won both times.

I'm a ringer.

~~~~~~~~~~

J used a wee bit too much hot sauce, or three, in his appetizer. He called them "Azteca Ruins".

Judge D needed lots of water to cool her mouth. That's why me and E won that round.

For dessert, K and E teamed up and D and I teamed up. The Man and J were judges. Our secret ingredient? Cottage cheese. Along with chocolate bits, strawberry jelly and crunchy granola bars. K and E made chocolate bars and did not use the cottage cheese.

Uh-oh, the judges aren't going to like that.

D and I made mini cheesecakes. Granola bottom, cheesecake middle, strawberry jam on top. D insisted we put a candle on it.

Judge J liked that. Said it was fancy. That's why me and D won that round.

"Chopped" is so much fun.
My mantel for St. Valentine's Day. 

Pretty in pink, I say.

~~~~~~~~~~

Talking to Sissy today, I discovered something. 

D is the older sister. E is the younger sister.

D does the crafting for her younger sissy. E flits around, playing with other things.

Huh.

That's a familiar song in our family.

I have to chat with D.