Happy Halloween

This is one of my happy holidays. Mostly I’m a curmudgeon. My family winces when the Thanksgiving planning begins because it is impossible for me to be anything but a snarley ball of grump. A similar effect for Christmas. Valentines Day and Halloween, though? I’m a fan.

I was inspired by the Bloggess’ post and copycatted her. Except I used my own face, not my daughter’s. Since, you know, I don’t have one. Also, I don’t have her level of patience or skill, so you get this. Spooked yet?

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The Fall of the Towers

Some books are full of those well-timed meetings of random characters to fuel the story along. In this, though, the connections worked. It wasn’t as if the author was inventing fiction and creating, but rather that he was recording an event he witnessed and was pointing out the important, relevant parts to the listener.

I love reading Delany, mostly because he’s everything I imagine the sixties had. He writes paragraphs that read like an acid trip and he has a 60s-based obsession with what happens after The Bomb, which is the best basis for a writer delving into post-apocalypse story telling. In my opinion. He’s even full of this beautiful and probably misplaced hope; that the recognition of humanity in others is the act that can save an individual, and therefore all of us. I read his book Dhalgren a while back, which is an entire story by itself, but that book was enough to make me want to poke further into his works. I’m so glad I wasn’t disappointed with The Fall of the Towers.

The only complaint I have is fairly petty, but it does tend to feel like a gaping literary weakness when you have your built-in narrator spell out a recap of the last third of the book when the reader is only a mere twenty pages from the end. That seems almost like a failure on the editor’s part, but it was still a bit of a fail.

Any other Delany fans out there? I’d love to know what you think of him! He’s definitely a fun read, but you have to be a bit invested. Nova is next on my list for him, and I’m pretty stoked. Also, small piece of trivia for the day? Him and I totally share a birthday. Woot April Fool babies!

The Fall of the Towers | Sam Delany | 9.18.12 – .9.28.12

Day of the Dead Skulls DIY

Ugh this is the last time I’m losing a stupid first paragraph! I have really no clue what I keep doing. Anyway, a while back Stephanie Marie posted about these awesome mini sugar skull boxes. I pretty much loved them to pieces, so when Kim asked me to help decorate for her & Kels’ Halloween party, my idea was a no brainer. I opted for the black paper version, and I figured I’d share my process with you guys.

They were fun to make and if it would be really easy to string up as a garland. We were in more of a “randomly stick them to walls” mode, so I didn’t, but it’d still be easy. And they’re easy to make!

I sketched out my templates and cut them out of the thickest paper I had on hand (don’t laugh, but it was paint samples). You can find a ton online, though, with a simple google search. Outline the skulls onto your black paper and cut them out. I used the x-acto knife to cut out the eyes and mouth holes before cutting out the skulls themselves. Seems silly, but it’s a lot easier to use an x-acto knife on biggger pieces of paper than the smaller skull sizes.

Then, for the best part, play with the designs! I think that’s why I like the sugar skull imagery so much–there’s an endless stream of designs for the subject matter, and it’s as bottomless as your imagination. Beautiful. You can look online for inspiration, like I did for some, or just let your imagination go wild, which I did for others.

Enjoy! And if you guys make things, you should totally share with the rest of the class. I wanna see!

Play Date

My mom and I had a play date the other day. I show off my outfit on my other blog, Moose in Chartreuse, but, you know, there was a lot more to that day than clothing. There were photos I took of motels just for the color palette, run down buildings with pegasus, Pilgrims with inappropriately dangling turkeys, a jar that would be perfect for the various things David and I tend to consider therapy, the cutest blue cow/ox ever who would have been my new best friend if it wasn’t for his poor little broken leg, and, of course, ice cream. Which is the way every play date should end. Ever.

An obvious metaphor

The metaphor was obvious. It paralleled that particular hour of the day perfectly. We were going to run errands. Lamesauce, but life. David agreed to take some outfit photos beforehand. We stepped outside and it was raining. Forget the photos, I told him. Forget the Target run. They weren’t things I needed.

It was raining, and I pouted. My mood just plummeted, and for no good reason. I watched the rain and sulked our entire errands. It wasn’t one of my proudest moments. We turned out of the parking lot of our last stop and I paused, noticing something. The rainbow breaking through the rain. It was a vibrant rainbow, almost doubling out on itself. It was beautiful, and I watched as the sunlight beat away the clouds and turned our day into a brighter, happier one. The weather blew my bad mood away, and I apologized to David for being a butt head. We went on to have a really nice evening.

Like I said, an obvious metaphor. Simplistic. Too predictable and tired of a writer’s cliche to be blog fodder, but the moment happened exactly like that. I’m only writing about it because the weather mirrored more than that moment–it was an accurate mirror of the past few weeks. Months?

It’s been rough. As my sister noted, my level of tolerance for poor decisions in others is at an all time low. I’m definitely being tested to my limits. There was a two week stint where I cried literally every single day. I’ve had a friend betray my trust with a poor decision. I’ve watched as strangers have been rude to me and take advantage of someone I love. I’ve been lonely, isolated, and stressed about not having a job. Stormy times, my friends. Stormy times.

But, in true spirit of my original metaphor, there is a rainbow. I can feel the clouds lifting, and while no problems are being immediately solved, I feel like I can finally breath again. Enough to handle everything that’s going on. In no small part it’s probably being my mom helped me finally unpack and set up my art studio. I’ve been painting. I’ve been doing silly little crafts. I’ve finally regained my space, and along with that, my sanity.

Boredom + Internet + Nail Polish

I was dicking around on the internet yesterday. Well, every day, really, because man oh man do I need a job, but anyway. I saw Buzzfeed’s 31 Insanely Easy & Clever DIY Projects. Few of them grabbed my attention, but I latched onto idea number 7 and went to town with my keys. Because here’s the thing, guys. I have a lot of keys.

Painting them with nail polish was a lot easier than I originally thought it would be. The only really obnoxious bit of trouble I ran into was holding three not-yet-dry keys and having to pee like a mofo. There is no good way to set down wet, polish-covered keys.

It was fun, though. All the different keys are coded specifically for their destination. Now I don’t have to keep them all segregated on different key rings! Woot! And hey, maybe I’ll even keep track of them this way!

Oh and funny story–the purple and yellow key? I completed forgot what its purpose was until this little crafting adventure.  My bike has this nifty locking feature on the back wheel and I keep a spare key on my ring just in case someone decides to be a dick or something. The back tire is unlocked as long as the key is inserted–removing it locks the wheel.

Seven Years

Man I’m way too good at destroying the introduction paragraphs to my posts. I think the fact that it’s happened three times now is a sign that I should start these posts in a word processor instead of directly into wordpress. Okay but here’s the thing–I’ve always been super impressed with 7 Year Pens. Kels and I have dorked out about them for a while, but I’ve never been brave enough for the investment. I mean, that’s a 7 year commitment! To a small piece of plastic! I’ve never even committed to a home for seven years, so a pen seems rather unlikely. Regardless, though, I like them. So back in late July, when I was picking up last minute supplies for my sister’s wedding guest book, I grabbed a seven year pen. I took the plunge. I slapped a tiny ball and chain to my writing hand. I rambled for much longer than I should in a make up intro paragraph.

Whatever. The point is, I bought a pen. It was really exciting. It was right before I went on vacation, so I packed it with me. And here is where you need to learn some backstory about the type of person I am.

I try really hard to be the kind of person who doesn’t hold grudges. I want to let things go, I really do. Be a forgiving person. Accepting. Embracing, even, of those who wrong me. I have a philosophy that you should greet someone the way they greet you. As in, when people treat you poorly, be aware of it and don’t let them in. But when those people are ready to greet you openly, be open in response. Don’t let the little hurts stick for too long.

But DAMN I just could NOT get over this seven year pen failing me! One month in! Like, seriously. WTF, pen, WTF. Seven years from now, I’ll be like NOW. NOW is when you could have failed.

“sustainable” my ass. There’s no way I wrote 14,300 feet in less than four weeks.

So I wallowed, yes, but then I wrote the company. I didn’t expect anything from it, mostly I was just grumpy. Still polite, though, as I tried to explain that I thought there was a bubble in the ink barrel or something. Turns out I spent way too much wallowing and not enough time writing the company. They were super nice, though, and emailed me back promptly-asking me where they could send a replacement ink barrel! Such nice folks.

Not long after, a really adorable and sweet package turns up in the mail. It has not one but two ink cartridges, making my pen a 14 year pen, but it had some other fun trinkets as well!

The only, and fairly ironic, problem? I couldn’t find the pen. Somehow in all the moving, the pen was misplaced. Go figure. It was another week until we went to my dad’s place for dinner and my stepmom mentioned that they had a bag of somethings we’d left there for me. The words “Is a white pen with a fork on it in there?” left my mouth before a much more polite and appropriate “thank you” could. It was awkward, especially since she said no, it wasn’t in there.

There is a happy ending to this ridiculously long story, though, because when she mentioned the pen to my dad, he remembered throwing it in their kitchen junk drawer. Reunited with both the pen and the new ink barrel, life is good again and my pen writes beautifully!

The Long Lost Rambling

I recently started reading Kalaeh Bee and loved her honest to blog posts. I actually wrote a complete stream of conscious post a few hours ago that started with talking about my lunch of cheese and crackers and then evolved into talking about the beautiful path behind my new home.  There was an entire anecdote tucked in there but then I tried to add a photo to make the post less boring and the entire thing disappeared.

So true story, I’m with one of the most patient creatures ever. David has this long standing habit of saying nothing whenever I push him for a character trait of mine that bugs him. This is probably due in large part to the fact that I’m ridiculously high maintenance and he likes avoiding fights, but still. There was only one time he admitted to it, and it was in the middle of a pretty rough fight. He told him (and this almost verbatim) that sometimes it was a little irritating the way I tend to forget my keys a lot. He said it in the mildest way possible, but it stuck. In fact, when it came back up (like a year later), he took the most typical of David responses–he denied it. He said it didn’t bother him at all when I lose my keys, that he thinks it’s funny. It’s something his mom does and he spent years watching his dad be the one who kept track of her random things, so he laughed at his inability to escape such a small little quirk.

That was the end of my year-long stint of working hard to keep track of my keys. The realization that his love for me is far from dependent on my ability to keep track of keys was a very reassuring one.

Now, though, whenever we leave the house, I am in a really good habit of asking him if he has his keys. He always does, which is good since I sure don’t!

Drowning on the pages

writing exercise from 2008

She’s drowning, except she’s sitting in a chair, anywhere. Could be the middle of the desert, for all it matters. It’s not water boarding, but closer to it than drowning. Her nose is blocked by pages, though, not water. Line after line of text is forcing its way in, keeping her from thinking about anything but those pages of writing, about anything but the witty dialogue and developing characters, about the captivating plot, about anything other than this.

For one second of her life, she just didn’t want to worry about anything other than what the author would do to rectify the plot hole she wad digging herself into. She didn’t want to think about any sex life apart from the secondary character she wasn’t even sure if she liked just yet, or any problem if they didn’t belong to the charming, handsome and one-sided hero of this book not worth the precious pages it was printed on. She didn’t even want to worry about the temperature of her tea, and if it was still to hot to drink. It didn’t matter. It would always burn, regardless. Better to just turn the pages as she turned over the plot defect after plot defect, fixing each crappy line in her head as she went along.

Better to drown in between black and white than in the real world where drowning means water and no air. If she kept turning pages and skimming transition after surprise plot twist, she wouldn’t have to get dressed into an outfit people would use to pinpoint her on some section of the social map, listen to music that would undoubtedly mark her as the sell-out she didn’t care she was, and, worst of all, deal with the complex workings of all the different social networks she’d managed to get stuck in—the same way you walk out of an attic covered in cobwebs you hadn’t noticed. Flashcards were required to keep it all straight—which friends you smile with, which friends you frown with, who were the ones you “shared your emotions” with, and, of course, the ones you needed to write their names on the palm of your hand. All of those not to be confused with the ones you actually liked, and actually cared about, but couldn’t say that to because, trust me, it’s not you it’s them, but they just don’t have that kind of emotional availability.

No, better if she just stays within the suffocating pages of crappy plot twisters, where all the characters are just like real life, only with wittier dialogue.

Oh and be careful. The tea is still too hot.

Button Button, Who’s Got the Button?

It’s a work in progress, but I’m trying to make a concerted effort to get all my favorite blogs on my sidebar. This also includes me developing a button for Moose In Chartreuse, but that’s a separate project for a different day. The project for this day is to lay out a few ground rules.

None of these blogs are sponsors, or have paid me any money.

I’m seriously just sharing because I like them. So go check them out if you think you would be into the things that I am into.

I’m not paying anyone to put my button up

In addition to right below this paragraph, it’s down there, at the bottom of the right handed side bar, but I’m not paying anyone to post it. If you like me, or the beginnings of me since this blog is still fairly new, then go ahead and share. If you want a different size, go ahead and ask.

Like A Small Fire
<div align="center"><a href="https://likeasmallfire.wordpress.com" title="Like A Small Fire"><img src="https://likeasmallfire.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/marci-button-test.jpg" alt="Like A Small Fire" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
Like A Small Fire
<div align="center"><a href="https://likeasmallfire.wordpress.com" title="Like A Small Fire"><img src="https://likeasmallfire.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/marci-button-rectangle.jpg" alt="Like A Small Fire" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Oh also, please please please note that this isn’t me judging others for their choices–I never said anywhere in here that I don’t approve of others paying for the button swapping action or anything like that. I’m just not doing it, is all. Seems like way too much work.