Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Total books read: 128 (oh my.)
Nonfiction: 53 (This includes 5 crafty books though thatI'm not sure I would call "read" - more browsed through and dabbled in.)
Of all that fiction, here's a further breakdown:
Short story collections: 13
Graphic novels: 4
Kids books: 3
Books not finished: 6 godawfully unreadable books.
Favorite finds of the year:
Farewell I'm Bound to Leave You by Fred Chappell
The Kid by Dan Savage
Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
The Orphan's Tales (both books!) by Catherynne M. Valente
Plans for 2009? More classics and poetry. More educational nonfiction cause I'm a bit heavy on the fun memoirs. More short stories. More of everything really. I'm such a glutton for books.
"For It All" - Emma Bull
Fantasies of violence, breaking bottles on the wall
Hungry for the motion, for the action, for it all.
Road noise on the night street, see the taillights through the blinds
Out there where your dreams slide toward the night side, for it all.
For it all, for it all, what you’re aching for
When the magic’s real and like a fire in the sky
When the deal calls for a sacrifice and you know you cannot die
For the edge the best ones live on, for it all.
You want to be a hero, with the ax about to fall
You’d buy it for the love and for the glory, for it all.
You want to dress in black and lose your heart beyond recall
Hunt a dream through rain and thunder, on your honor, for it all.
In your head, no car is fast enough
In your heart, no love is true
Would it ruin all your solitary fancies
If I tell you that it isn’t only you?
Keep your ankles off the tailpipe, keep your bootheels off the street
We’ll hit the throttle, we’ll hit the redline
We’ll find the edge
We’ll make it sweet
We’ll go for it all.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
What I'm listening to: Selected Shorts
What I'm wishing for: This planter.
What I'm working on: a freezer paper stenciled shirt for the boy. (Pictures to come).
What's up next: A newspaper wreath
My hometown is also home to thouasands upon thousands of crows that star year round flitting from field to riverside and back again. I've always had an affinity for the clever things and I love catching them in the morning or at dusk on their rgular commute.
1. Prettify the house! I mean it dammit. I love color and art and interesting things. So why are most of my rooms still beige even after living here since May. This shit's gonna change. I got a head start on it and sanded and painted a window casing and bought a super cool print with the gift card from my workplace. I've also started replacing switch plate covers before I relized I wanted to change out the switches too. Super progress coming on this whole thing. This place is gonna start looking a whole lot more like us.
2. Feel more comfortable in my own skin. This is a two pronged approach. The first part is the cliched get more healthy already deal-io cause that needs to happen. But the second part is to shed some more self-conciousness. I don't have to be some unattainable wee size to look good. I just need to put some effort into my every day appearance.
3. Take some classes. Knitting, sewing, dance, history of Korea, whatever. Anything. I feel better when I'm learning new things.
4. Change the world (no small feat there). I'm so fricking inspired by our president elect. Anything is possible right now and I want to be part of it so bad. I plan on adding more do-goodness to my everyday life. Starting with four world-changing things a month! This can be writing letters, volunteering, giving money, speaking out, and really anything that helps make the world better.
So please keep me accountable folks.
Aug. 7, 2006 Dear Cary,
I am writing because I am so utterly heartbroken and lonely that I don't know if I can go on.
I am 29, and my boyfriend and true love of 3.5 years just dumped me on my ass. I always considered him my soul mate, my husband, my partner. I always thought he considered me in the same light. (He told me he did constantly throughout the years.) Our families were completely intertwined -- his siblings were like my siblings, and vice versa. We were beneficiaries on each other's life insurance policies. We owned a dog together, cosigned our lease together. Then, almost out of the blue, in bed one night while casually bringing up a topic we have talked about constantly over the years with mutual enthusiasm -- becoming domestic partners -- he mentioned that he didn't think it was a good idea. He then went on to say that he has been unhappy with our "lack of passion" for a while. (I am on libido-crushing Prozac and have a terrible body image problem, low self-esteem, etc.) After a desperate night of many tears, I said that I would work on it -- the very next day I called therapists, made appointments, bought books, talked to friends and started channeling my passion for him by having more sensual, playful sex with him.
Flash-forward: two weeks later. I bring up the topic of my progress with my self-improvement campaign. "How do you think I'm doing?" Basically, then, we start a talk that goes into the next morning, which concludes with the following: "It's too late. Problems that I've kept inside me for too long about our relationship have festered and overcome me, and now I realize that I have fallen out of love with you, and I will never love you again. I want to break up with you."
Everyone, everyone, was shocked. His closest family and friends (not to mention me) were all clueless as to any problems. Maybe twice in the past 3.5 years we had minor talks about our sex life -- he wanted more. I tried, but didn't deliver. I suppose that I should have taken that more seriously, even though I had no idea how serious an issue it would end up being. Otherwise, our relationship, I thought, was literally perfect. Every night we slept in each other's arms after laughing together all day long. Held hands, said "I love you," etc. So there wasn't enough sex, enough passion -- I was getting help.
I know I should probably feel like I deserve better than a man who didn't love me enough to put any work into our relationship, or to open up his mouth and communicate with me about our problems, which I deserved as his partner of so many years. But all I am is devastated, utterly hopeless, heartbroken, totally crushed. I have had no contact with him since. I moved in with my parents. Even though I desperately want him, want to see him, talk, get information ... what's the point? He looked me in the eyes and said, "I cannot love you." Good riddance, right?
After this tirade, my question: How the hell do I get over him? I know it's been done before: People get their hearts broken every day. At least there were no kids (neither of us wanted kids), but we had such a love (I thought), plans for a future together, a life to look forward to. He was "it" for me, absolutely and joyfully. Now I live in a tiny town where everyone knows everyone (I can't relocate because I own a store here), and cannot possibly conceive of ever getting over him, ever moving on, ever finding love again, ever being happy again.
I just need some advice -- what do I do with myself? I am now, ironically, in therapy with a great professional. But I need more. I need steps to take to help me get over my pain. I wish some days I had the guts to kill myself, but instead I soldier on, miserably. I feel like my entire life is shattered and destroyed. I love a man who just let me go, so easily, after so many years, with no warning and hardly an explanation.
Please write to me, say something wise, give me some hope. I am so desperately hopeless and abysmally sad.
OK. I will take this on. But I will not offer you hope because hope is a fragile thing, easily dashed. You might better reach for other qualities of more enduring purpose -- skepticism, anger, determination, knowledge of your situation. You need strength and protection. Where will that strength and protection come from? It won't come from hope. It will come from fierce determination never to be blindsided like this again.
Something died. That is what happened. Something died and everyone who loved what died is sad. What died is this thing that you and he had been keeping alive, this wonderful thing that was not you or he but a luminous third being, whose breath was your breath, whose blood was your blood, whose being was like filtered starlight that came through your bones, a twinkling thing that would catch your eye, a twinkling thing that came with a tune, like a tune you hear in a dream that seems to mean everything.
It was this that died. It died and now everyone who loved it is sad.
This thing died and everyone is sad and asking why. Why indeed do things die? Children ask this question. Why? Why do things die? But who is supposed to answer that question?
It would be comforting to have an answer. We could say love is a gift from the gods that is occasionally snatched back.
The truth seems too cruel to say.
So we go on talking just to calm your nerves, to make some music you can listen to as you grieve.
We don't say that the reason for your misfortune is that the gods are bitchy and full of shit, that they are crazy, sick motherfuckers, that the gods spit on us when they're drunk and curse us when they're mad. We don't mention what is actually known to be true, that although sometimes in some places the gods intervene on our behalf, just as often they get lost and don't show up, that they fight among themselves instead of attending to our wishes, that they look at us with interest and sometimes with lust but only rarely with pity, that instead of offering us protection they scheme to have us for themselves no matter what havoc it causes down here! They couldn't care less! They are gods!
We tend to think only of the good gods, the ones that offer us bountiful harvests and invent intricate bees. It's a habit from childhood, when we were taught to think of one good god, when although we dreamed of monsters we were told that god was watching out for us, that there weren't really any monsters there in the closet, that they weren't really crawling around up there in the space between ceiling and roof. No responsible adult would have thought to teach us that among the gods are horrible nasty fucks that would just as soon sprinkle cancer seeds in a womb as devise a perfect delivery of a perfect little baby.
So we grew up with fairy tales, misunderstanding the nature of power, thinking power came with the good. Ha!
So these sick motherfuckers like to screw with us all, and they wait until we're pretty soft and trusting because it amuses them no end to see our horrified expressions when the things we love are crushed in impossibly strange ways, when our cells turn against us and buses lose their brakes, when sisters collapse in warm Hawaiian waters for apparently no reason, when strong minds go amok like frayed, sparking wires. They love it.
We live on the fragile edge of annihilation, imperfectly sheltered from the void, open to the sky and to the asshole motherfucker gods who fuck with us night and day for their own amusement. We pray to a kind and loving insurance god who sometimes provides coverage but who just as often excludes on technicalities the calamities that befall us, looking the other way when he should be watching out for us. And this too amuses the asshole motherfucker gods, who may be many things but are not stupid or naive.
It isn't even so much the dying that we can't handle, it's the surprise, the betrayal, the way you think you'll be OK until they yank the rug out and laugh.
So what do we do? We toughen up. We quit playing patty-cake patty-cake give a dog a bone, we season ourselves, we take the bit in our teeth, we flog ourselves with birch branches, we bitch and moan and howl at the moon and give up our illusions of a soft loving god who hears our prayers and answers them. We board the windows and doors. We wise up and face the fuckers, we quit lying down and taking it, we let go of our prettiness, we prepare for the battle ahead. We say never again will we be caught off guard, never again will we pretend, never again will we believe that this thing we have created cannot be poisoned in an instant by a shit-head god on a bender, fucking up our paradise for his shallow and grim amusement.
Never again will we believe in fairy tales.
We were taught a lot of silly things as kids. Only later would we learn what pleasure the gods take in disrupting our plans; only later would we learn how minuscule are our options, how puny our plans of defense; only later would we learn there's not a whole lot we can do except rub stone in our eyes, interrogate our lovers mercilessly, place fierce guards at entrances and exits.
That's no consolation, really, is it. It's just the truth. You're wiser now though black and blue, sobbing in the firelight, waiting for dawn.
Monday, December 29, 2008
I have a brief but immense question which I don't think you have addressed directly to date. It has been nagging at me for a while now, but it came back when I started rewatching "American Beauty" tonight. In fact, I paused the DVD 15 minutes into the movie to write you this e-mail.
My history isn't particularly relevant to this question, which I think is pretty universal. But just to be thorough: I am in my early 30s and was raised in households of High Drama (many parental fights, of the screaming, throwing-things, raising-bruises sort, between my mother and father, mother and her boyfriend, father and stepmother, etc., although never toward me).
Is there a way to keep the romantic dream alive?
My relationships (up until the current one) were similarly Dramatic and typically dysfunctional. At a certain point I realized that this wasn't what I wanted, so I took about five years off from all relationships to work on myself and clarify what I wanted. I am pleased to report that my current boyfriend and I have been living happily together for the last six months, after having been good friends for about a year and a half. He is an intelligent, kind, decent, funny and mentally stable man who's also had his share of bad relationships and is motivated to avoid falling into another one. When there's a problem, we are both able to take a break, then come back and work things out rationally. (Hooray!) He's my best friend, we do everything together, he makes me unbearably happy.
Now for the brief question. It seems like all relationships, over time, naturally degrade in either one of two ways: High Drama (as seen in my childhood), or complacent alienation (c.f., "American Beauty"). Surely there must be a third option? What is it, and how do I get there?
I know so many couples who started out just like us, young and happy, and 20 years down the road they wake up and realize they're trapped in a sterile, loveless marriage. They look back and think, "We were so happy back then in the beginning!"
What happens? And how best to avoid it? I have learned how to avoid High Drama, but how do I head off the "American Beauty" scenario? It terrifies me to think that one day I might look back at myself today and wonder, "What happened?"
Dear Needing Insight,
There are workshops where you can exercise your relationship to give it bigger muscles and more stamina, but my relationship tends to walk by those kinds of things and look in the window and go, ooh, that's scary what they're doing in there. My relationship is kind of shy about working on itself. So instead, each of us in the relationship tends to work on ourselves separately so that when we come together we're more interesting to each other than we would be otherwise. I don't know if that's what it says to do in the book. We didn't buy the book. I'm not even sure what book we're talking about. What I'm talking about is trying to have a rich and full relationship with another person by first being true to yourself.
Being true to yourself these days pretty much means joining the resistance. My wife and I belong to the resistance. We communicate with our friends by Morse code on old-fashioned crystal radio sets. We hide out in church basements and French farmhouses. That keeps us focused on what's important: overcoming the Nazis, fighting tyranny, finding good cheeses.
It's hard to remain independent and quirky. The Vichy regime has so many inducements: healthcare, vacations, cars and boats. But look at how you have to dress to have those things! The uniforms! Look at the way they talk in elevators! So you have to join the resistance. Otherwise they'll beat you down and your marriage will become loveless and sterile. You will look at your partner one day and you'll wonder if he isn't working for the Vichy.
So how do you stop loving someone? Do you just run out of person? Is a person like a jam jar and you finally get to the bottom? If we are like jam jars, then we have to keep filling ourselves up, so when they stick the knife in and start scraping around, there's something sweet to put on toast. You're never out of everything. Rummage around. You've always got something. You have to always be refilling yourself.
Don't assume you're enough as you are. Who could possibly be enough? Superman, maybe. The rest of us have to work at it.
Stay desperate. Make that your motto: We're desperate. Get used to it.
Stay one step ahead of the law. Don't ever get too clean. Disguise yourself when you visit the drugstore for a prescription. Live like a happy, contented spouse, and wait for your moment ... be mad but not out of control ... be contrary but not reflexive ... write incomprehensible verses deep in the night while everyone else is sleeping ... Take long walks by the river before they arise ... resist assimilation ... pass notes to strangers in the park ... remain obdurately convinced of the rightness of your most controversial beliefs ... occasionally be inconsolable ... refuse to name your sources ... stay silent under torture ...
... beware of existence fatigue ... do not believe anyone who calls himself a spokesman ... question yourself mercilessly about your recent whereabouts ... organize yourself for maximum speed ... refuse to use the cruise control ... neither fear nor trust your neighbors ... have a suitcase always packed ... keep your passport handy ... learn a little Arabic ... do not discuss John Ashcroft with anyone. Learn to operate the crystal radio set, and locate the finest cheeses.
In this manner you may survive, and avoid a loveless, sterile marriage.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Its a super cool new toy, but I need suggestions now. What's the coolest thing I can do with this baby? What application must I go right out and get? Do tell.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
It was amazingly depressing. The filmmakers went out of their way to show the worst of each side and all the prejudices they could. While I know that their are issues there, I also think that there are positives coming from the area as well. Definitely a big downer of a film.
Only 2 out of 10 on this one.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
I've never really shook the feeling, and I am kind of proud of that.
More painting. More roadming vintage shops for one of a kind finds. More making it our own.
Happy as something unimportant
and free as a thing unimportant.
As something no one prizes
and which does not prize itself.
As something mocked by all
which mocks at their mockery.
As laughter without serious reason.
As a yell able to outyell itself.
Happy as no matter what,
as any no matter what.
as a dog's tail.
Gosh I love that poem.
Here's numero uno:
I should pick a little known gem for number one, but instead I gotta go with not martha. I simply adore all her lists - from cooking to gift giving to crafting to tech stuff. I'm a true lover of lists and links and this one truly gives me my fix. Plus I love the clean look of the whole thing. Definitely one of my faves.
Friday, December 19, 2008
It always makes me feel a little lucky.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
My neighbor lady was out this frigid morning helping her aged collie back up the stairs. The poor old sweet thing.
(These two sweeties found on flickr. They are Toaster & Biscuit and are 15 years old. Adorable.)
These pretties lasted approximately 1.5 days before they were just a loose ribbon and cranberries all over the porch.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
1. Ina Garten - something about her is so comforting and soothing. I want her to adopt me as her long lost niece.
2. Nigella Lawson - she uses words like "squidgey" and who doesn't love that?
3. Alton Brown - he's adorable in his passion for food.
4. Tony Bourdain - also very passionate about food and I love his ultra opininated views.
I also must confess a deep affection for Lynne Rosetto Kasper of A Splendid Table. I adore her podcasts.
Admittedly though, cookies are my weak point. I'm dazzling at cakes and cupcakes though.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
The story is fascinating. Read or listen to all three parts - 1, 2 & 3.
I have such a crush on NPR!
First my own particular goals:
- Read the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
- Finish my 50 nonfiction books for my 101 list. (Currently with only 13 to go!).
- A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
- The Scarlet Pimpernel
- The Mitford Girls
Now for some challenges!
- A Striped Armchair's World Citizen Challenge. I find this extremely intimidating. Precisely why I'm doing it. This challenge requires reading the following categories but not about my own country:
1. A book on politics or foreign policy
4. Culture or Anthropology/Sociology
5. Worldwide Issues
This will take some serious research to pick the books I want to read.
- The Read Your Own Damn Books Challenge. For this I'm planning on reading:
1. The People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
3. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
4. The first three Anne Rice vampire books.
5. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
6. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
7. The first two Robert Jordan books
- Continue to participate in book groups. Two of which are Endicott Mythic Fiction & The Classics.
- Audio Books Challenge - listen to 12 audio books in 2009.
1. The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
Haven't decided on the others just yet.
- Start a mini book club with my husband. We've discussed both reading a nonfiction book a month. We'll take turns picking the book, and I'm expecting a heavy slant towards the history of American presidents.
- Political History Challenge
- A Hundred Shots of Short - planning on reading a hundred short stories.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
- Take a stab at this bird project.
- Cut out stockings & get started on them.
- Make more ice wreaths.
- Go make candles with my ladies club.
- Make some music mixes for presents.
- Clean up music on computer.
- Go get coffee before I fall asleep amdist all my crafting!
(I better get cracking. Making it all so much more challenging is the pup who comes over every 5 minutes, and jumps up to show me a new piece she's torn of her newest toy. Destructo-dog)
I watched The Fountain on dvd the other night. The story is layer upon layer like a beautiful beautiful onion. It vears into the rather odd now and then, but the story is so romantic and wrenching. One of the prettiest films I've seen in a while.
I'm rating this a solid 7.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
The movie is all about longterm residents at a hotel, each dealing with painful loneliness. As the story progresses, many characters find ways to reach out to eachother, but not in the modern sappy romantic comedy style of many of today's movies. There's a lot of real pain and flaws and issues here.
I've been pondering my lack of a rating system on here. Generally, my reviews are "I liked it!" or "Ugh." I'm completely inspired by Books I Done Read whose rating system I love. So in honor of that, all reviews are getting a 1 - 10 placement.
This movie gets a solid 6, mostly because the actress who plays the hotel keeper was amazing. Absolutely amazing.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Cause taking pictures of paintings is hard. But this was my creation for the week before Thanksgiving. The week of the holiday, an awful cold, family obligations, and busyness, kept me from creating anything.
I'm really fond of this lil guy though. Not sure if he'd be a good addition to my etsy shop though, but I'm pondering it.
- Bake up a storm and distribute to everyone.
- Sew something, anything.
- Create (at least) four new items.
- Participate in my etsy team's giveaway.
- Lose (at least) 5 lbs & then reward myself somehow (Thank you, Sparkpeople!)
- Make (at least) 2 etsy sales or swaps.
- Complete two 101 list items and make progress on 2 or 3 more.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
I'm supposed to share 6 random things about me. Hmmm....
* I got my first grey hair this August the day I turned 29. Figures!
* I get anxious if I don't have at least half a dozen library books on my night stand waiting to be read.
* I didn't learn to ride a bike until I was 24. I blame it on growing up in the country.
* I love to be barefoot and wear shoes as little as possible - even when its freezing out.
* Sunshine is vital to my mental health. I think our house was chosen primarily becaus eof all the windows.
* I took a fencing class in college and although I sucked at it, I had terrible lots of fun playing Highlander with my friend and chasing eachother along the bike paths with swords.
Hmmm...I shall tag:
Jen at Persephone's Awakiening
Lisa at Happily Ever After in Seattle
And anyone else who wants to play along.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I managed to go and watch Quantum of Solace yesterday despite my awful head cold. Perhaps it was the vast quantities of snot impeding my enjoyment, but I liked the previous one better.
However, I enjoy anything with Daniel Craig in it. Look at the man!
On the way out, my husband and I were discussing how he needs some new threads and I decided that Mr. Bond's style should have some influence on his puchases. He laughed at that.
That's the new goal anyway! Perhaps another goal needs to be improve my photography skills cause this photo of it stinks. Anyway, I've managed to create something brand new to the world for two weeks in a row. Here's the first. It's a mixed media picture. I'll post the second week's creation as soon as I can do it some justice in taking its picture.