Friday, December 31, 2010

A trip down memory lane

I've been feeling wildly nostalgic lately, no doubt due to the season. I find myself missing random things: bridges and fog and oysters and waterfront farmer's markets, wide open roads and diners serving biscuits and gravy, mountain ranges and soaring skies and pine trees...and I don't know, sunglasses.

So forgive me while I roll in it for a while in the form of old road trip photos. Which reminds me...I'm long overdue for a post on fact, that will be my New Year's Resolution: finish Moonpies. Feel free to flagellate me if I don't. (No, really. I may need it.)

But in the meantime, some pictures of places that bring me back...

I know, right? Gets you right there. 

Big hugs and love, and may your 2011 be full of quiet (and some noisy) grandeur,

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I feel smarter already

I'll be the first to admit that my local library system isn't the greatest in the world. The book selection--council-wide--is poor, the books themselves are in pretty rough and grubby condition, and half the staff seems to be on a day loan from some sort of insane asylum. 

But today they officially won me over. Do you know what they're doing for the months of December and January? A 'lucky dip' loaner! If you are willing to check out a book without knowing what it is--there is a box full of books wrapped in paper--you get a DVD voucher! I'd go for this even WITHOUT the voucher. What a fun idea! A mystery book! They say it is to get people to branch out of their usual reading and try something new. I think this is fantastic--it's creative, it's unconventional--it's all things a good library should be. I couldn't jump into that blue plastic bin fast enough.

And after much fondling and shaking and weight-testing my dozen options, I picked out lucky number 29.

I got home with my paper-wrapped book, eager to see what the Islington library thought would be a good out-of-the-ordinary read.

Um...alarming start, but maybe The Handmaid's Tale has undergone a recent reprinting or something! After all, the library surely wouldn't be encouraging people to read new books that wouldn't benefit our literary souls? 

I kid you not.

I can't wait to do it again.

Monday, December 6, 2010

On Advent Calendars, Kerouac, and little else

a small village in Scotland, photos taken a week ago

I've been on an advent calendar kick lately. It was sparked by a certain wonderful KatyKatyKaty who has sent The Care Package Beyond All Care Packages. It was chock full of hard-to-get American goodies like bisquick  and cornbread mix and ohhhhhhhhhhh sweet macaroni and cheese and trader joe's your pumpkin bread mix makes me want to die inside of happy and in the midst of all this euphoria--that I have spread out all over the place because it thrills me to look at it and putting it away would be like hiding it under a bushel (no!)--was a super fun TJ's advent calendar full of yummy chocolate buttons. As soon as I saw it I was transported back to my childhood advent calendar, a colorful cloth one that hung right outside the kitchen door, with little pockets and wonderful treats inside, and how much it thrilled my sister and me to open a little door or pocket every night to get the goodie inside. I also loved counting it over and over to see if Christmas was getting any closer--only 22 days left! 20! 12! Still 12! STILL 12! 10! 3! ACK! HYPEROVERLOADIT'SALMOSTCHRISTMASDAY!

So now (thank you, Katy) advent calendars are on my accidental-radar, and I just saw this beautiful one from Portland crafter Shim + Sons that she made for her family (not for sale, alas how I suffer), and she's put activities ('make a gingerbread house,' 'go iceskating,' 'hot chocolate and peppermint sticks') in various slots along with the small trinkets or candies you typically see and I don't know why this has blown my mind but it has. It's such a great idea.

Just now for kicks I typed 'Martha Stewart advent calendar' into google, and roughly FORTY FIVE BILLION crafty advent calendars popped up. I had no idea you could do so much with baby socks and matchboxes. Awesome, Martha.

Schoolwork is still crazy. They continue to trust us to self-guide our workload, which means I piddle around until Go Time and then whip out a ton of really ridiculous work. You should see what I can do with white-out and graph paper now. I also made the mistake of taking a mental break after turning in my mid-term sketchbook while the homework itself did no such thing. Now it's like a fire-breathing dragon lurking behind me and I know my only hope this late in the game is to maim rather than destroy. Luckily I'm getting better at accepting mediocrity. (Progress?)

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a Day Six chocolate elf to eat and some graph paper to destroy. I leave you with these (non-traditional, before you syllable-counters lose control) haiku by Jack Kerouac, sent to me by dear Okie. He says not to bother with most of Kerouac's poetry, but his haiku are magical. If this is anything to go on, I agree.

Big hugs,

In my medicine cabinet,
the winter fly
has died of old age.

Drunk as a hoot owl,
writing letters
by thunderstorm.

No telegram today
only more leaves