Archive for the ‘Assorted and Sundry’ Category

I know, I know, it serves me right

July 17, 2018 @ 11:50 am | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry, Books, These People Crack Me Up

Eight years ago I was far too discreet to name the book that caused Scott to threaten me with the worst possible revenge.

And now I have no idea what book it was.

How I’m navigating this

July 17, 2018 @ 8:28 am | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry, Current Affairs

Taking a breath
Calling my electeds
Watering my flowers
Swirling some paint
Scribbling some words
Choosing a readaloud
Catching some Pokemon
Drinking some water
Hugging a kid
Taking another breath

It’s too hot to take a walk so I shall blog

July 12, 2018 @ 5:32 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry

San Diego Comic-Con is a week away. Eek. It’s our first time attending as out-of-towners and BOY does that change the equation. Scott can’t hide at home until I call and say head over soon, we’re having dinner with so-and-so…And I will have to make painful decisions about which shoes to bring.

(Whichever they are, they will be Dansko. Dansko soles are the only way my feet can survive Comic-Con.)

(Somewhere, somewhere in this blog’s archives I have a pic of a drawing I made of my swoony red Dansko shoes. I went looking for it—in vain. Whatever I titled the image, it didn’t include the words “Dansko,” “red,” or “shoes.” But in my quest I did happen upon this post from 2012…and I’ve been sitting here laughing for ten minutes. Okay, y’all, THIS is why I blog. Remind me of this when I drop the ball again. This stuff is golden and I would NEVER have remembered.)


Keyword: red.

As I was writing the above, I heard a great outcry from the living room as all six of my offspring—and their father—yelled out at once. I dashed out of my studio to see what was happening. “OH NO, MOM’S HERE!” someone shouted. No, it’s not that I caught them (all seven) in some mischief. Turns out they were watching American Ninja Warrior…rooting hard for the guy on screen…and, well, my family does not tend to be superstitious, except where Ninja Warrior is concerned. It seems I’m a Ninja Warrior jinx. They all aver that if I enter the room, the person they’re rooting for gets knocked out of the race. I can tell you right now your “correlation not causation” arguments won’t faze them a bit. I’ve tried. Nope: apparently it’s all me—my mere presence in the room causes the person to fall off the giant twirly climby thing…at a taping some months in the past. THAT’S what kind of mojo I have.

Now if only I could muster this superpower on purpose…

For your amusement

July 2, 2018 @ 8:32 am | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry, History

Highlights from a 1900 Ladies Home Journal article with predictions of what life would be like a hundred years later:

• “The American will be taller by from one to two inches. His increase of stature will result from better health, due to vast reforms in medicine, sanitation, food and athletics. He will live fifty years instead of thirty-five as at present – for he will reside in the suburbs. The city house will practically be no more. Building in blocks will be illegal. The trip from suburban home to office will require a few minutes only. A penny will pay the fare.”

• “There will be No C, X or Q in our every-day alphabet. They will be abandoned because unnecessary. Spelling by sound will have been adopted, first by the newspapers. English will be a language of condensed words expressing condensed ideas, and will be more extensively spoken than any other. Russian will rank second.”

• “There will be no wild animals except in menageries. Rats and mice will have been exterminated. The horse will have become practically extinct. A few of high breed will be kept by the rich for racing, hunting and exercise. The automobile will have driven out the horse. Cattle and sheep will have no horns. They will be unable to run faster than the fattened hog of today. A century ago the wild hog could outrun a horse. Food animals will be bred to expend practically all of their life energy in producing meat, milk, wool and other by-products. Horns, bones, muscles and lungs will have been neglected.”

• “Man will see around the world. Persons and things of all kinds will be brought within focus of cameras connected electrically with screens at opposite ends of circuits, thousands of miles at a span. American audiences in their theatres will view upon huge curtains before them the coronations of kings in Europe or the progress of battles in the Orient. The instrument bringing these distant scenes to the very doors of people will be connected with a giant telephone apparatus transmitting each incidental sound in its appropriate place. Thus the guns of a distant battle will be heard to boom when seen to blaze, and thus the lips of a remote actor or singer will be heard to utter words or music when seen to move.”

• “There Will Be No Street Cars in Our Large Cities. All hurry traffic will be below or high above ground when brought within city limits. In most cities it will be confined to broad subways or tunnels, well lighted and well ventilated, or to high trestles with “moving-sidewalk” stairways leading to the top. These underground or overhead streets will teem with capacious automobile passenger coaches and freight with cushioned wheels. Subways or trestles will be reserved for express trains. Cities, therefore, will be free from all noises.”

• “Photographs will be telegraphed from any distance. If there be a battle in China a hundred years hence snapshots of its most striking events will be published in the newspapers an hour later. Even to-day photographs are being telegraphed over short distances. Photographs will reproduce all of Nature’s colors.”

• “Hot and Cold Air from Spigots. Hot or cold air will be turned on from spigots to regulate the temperature of a house as we now turn on hot or cold water from spigots to regulate the temperature of the bath. Central plants will supply this cool air and heat to city houses in the same way as now our gas or electricity is furnished. Rising early to build the furnace fire will be a task of the olden times. Homes will have no chimneys, because no smoke will be created within their walls.”

• “Store Purchases by Tube. Pneumatic tubes, instead of store wagons, will deliver packages and bundles. These tubes will collect, deliver and transport mail over certain distances, perhaps for hundreds of miles. They will at first connect with the private houses of the wealthy; then with all homes. Great business establishments will extend them to stations, similar to our branch post-offices of today, whence fast automobile vehicles will distribute purchases from house to house.”

• “Ready-cooked meals will be bought from establishments similar to our bakeries of today. They will purchase materials in tremendous wholesale quantities and sell the cooked foods at a price much lower than the cost of individual cooking. Food will be served hot or cold to private houses in pneumatic tubes or automobile wagons. The meal being over, the dishes used will be packed and returned to the cooking establishments where they will be washed. Such wholesale cookery will be done in electric laboratories rather than in kitchens.”

And in the Isn’t It Pretty to Think So department:

• “A university education will be free to every man and woman. Several great national universities will have been established. Children will study a simple English grammar adapted to simplified English, and not copied after the Latin. Time will be saved by grouping like studies. Poor students will be given free board, free clothing and free books if ambitious and actually unable to meet their school and college expenses. Medical inspectors regularly visiting the public schools will furnish poor children free eyeglasses, free dentistry and free medical attention of every kind. The very poor will, when necessary, get free rides to and from school and free lunches between sessions. In vacation time poor children will be taken on trips to various parts of the world. Etiquette and housekeeping will be important studies in the public schools.”

Full article here.
Transcription here.

There is a crack in everything

July 1, 2018 @ 9:31 am | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry

I can run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud
but they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
a thundercloud
and they’re going to hear from me

—Leonard Cohen, Anthem

(my favorite version)

Things I’m doing for fun these days

June 28, 2018 @ 5:54 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry, Fun Learning Stuff

1.

You know about the long, flower-drunk photo walks that carried me through the long, flower- Portland spring. I enjoy going through my photos later and marking a few to share on Instagram. I don’t like to do heavy edits but I do usually bump up the contrast a little bit and adjust exposure if necessary. And I nearly always nudge greens just a tad bit bluer. Sometimes I try out filters in VSCO but most filters seem to tone down the rich, saturated color I seek out when I’m taking pictures. I enjoy looking at other people’s soft, pastels and filtered light, but I’m a color junkie and my own photos are a reflection of that.


(Greens bumped toward blue here but the orange and pink are straight from Mother Nature.)

2.

The Index Card a Day Challenge. Every day, splashes of color on a simple index card. Low pressure, high fun.

3.

Reading The Penderwicks to my kids. We’re just about to finish the first book, which got as many giggles and belly laughs as it did the first time around, when I read it to my older set. (Nope, I haven’t read the new one yet! It’s on the list, of course.)

 

Chit and chat

June 25, 2018 @ 5:43 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry

In the comments of the previous post I was reminiscing about the (quite long-ago now) shift from early text-only blogs to posts spotlighting gorgeous images, and how grumpy I was about that shift at the time. What’s the matter with a nice wall of text? LOL. But I gradually got on board, and then I started growing milkweed and documenting monarch butterfly life cycles…and bit by bit, photos won me over. Also, cute babies.

But my WORRRRRDSSSS MATTTTTERRRRR banner-flying makes it particularly funny that I went all gung-ho Instagram when it took off.

Anyhoo. Here is it a Monday in late June (ye gods, how can it possibly be late June already?) and I’ve done my day’s work, both on the novel and the advocacy gig, and I’m sitting in my favorite pub watching the couple next to me share a cherry custard float I didn’t know was on the menu (it’s a chalkboard special today), and I have about an hour before Scott pings me to say the meatloaf is ready, so here you are, a real live blog post.

(crickets chirping in my brain)

It’s not that I have nothing to say, it’s that I have TOO much to say. But lucky for you, I’ve said it on Facebook. Hey future Lissa, when you dip back into these archives, know that you were advocating hard for compassionate treatment of immigrants today, okay?

What should I blog about?? I need an assignment, y’all. I mean, it’s big doings here in Bonny Glen PDX: Jane graduated from Cal Poly last weekend and is home with us now for a few weeks at least, and Wonderboy (about whom I would write much more if I could just decide on a more age-appropriate blog nickname for the kid) graduated from 8th grade this month. HIGH SCHOOL, my dears. I mean. And lots of antics and adventures swirling around the other four kids too.

And Scott has a big Batman miniseries launching in August, about which I’m very excited. Illustrated by Kelley Jones, who is both brilliantly talented and a total sweetheart. OH YOU GUYS—I wish you could hear the conversations between these two stay-at-home comic-book-creator dads. This project has been years in the making and in our old house Scott used to pace on the patio outside my window during his frequent phone calls with Kelley. Of course I could only hear one side, but it was clear they spent a lot of time chatting about dad stuff and swapping chicken recipes. I mean, total melt-my-heart stuff. I keep telling them they need to do a podcast. Spend five minutes talking about comics, sure, and then get to the recipes and laundry stories!

Last week I went to a community singalong in Southeast Portland called (fabulously) OK Chorale. 70 people crammed into a bar at Revolution Hall singing—get this—a Duran Duran medley. (Duran Duran Medley Medley, said the songsheet. I’m still grinning.) It was my absolute ideal of a social event. Happens twice a month and I freely admit that my resolution to get up early and get my novel-writing done before breakfast was given a tremendous boost by the desire to free up my evenings.

A year ago today I was in the middle of a whirlwind trip to Portland to look at the house we’re now living in, and to meet with Wonderboy’s school principal and special ed administrator, and a suddenly-squeezed-in consult with a breast surgeon about a four-day-old diagnosis. I just looked at my calendar from that week and it’s just bananas. Genetic testing, Ron’s birthday party, flight home, movers’ estimate, MRI. All in the space of a week. And I was teaching a Bravewriter class that started that week, too. Oh plus the kids’ piano recital the day before I got on the plane to come here. BANANAS. How my hair didn’t go fully gray that week is beyond me.

(It’s on the way, though.)

Meatloaf’s ready. Gotta run. How’s that for some old-school Bonny Glen blather, eh? 😉

Sumer Is Icumen In

June 5, 2018 @ 5:23 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry


Helen Holmes, The Hazards of Helen — my inspiration photo this week*

*hahaha, I started this post almost a week ago! Photo still applies, though.

This incredible Portland spring seems to have been going on for at least four months, and yet I find myself absolutely gobsmacked to hear people talking about summer like it’s imminent. Oh sure, I’m aware Wonderboy’s last day of school is around the corner and Jane’s Cal Poly graduation is the week after that. I’m making our SDCC plans and paying June bills and harvesting a strawberry a day from the hanging basket…BUT STILL. Summer? Seriously?

We’ll stay in high tide for most of June because we’re having so much fun with our current slate of studies. So I don’t have that end-of-term winding-down feeling I’m seeing so many of my homeschooling pals express. I’ll probably be firmly settled into summer mode about the time everyone else is gearing up for fall. Being out of sync with the crowd is more or less a way of life for me, though, so no worries. 🙂

It hit me recently that we’ve been here almost a year now and I’m going to have to stop talking about Portland as if I’m newly arrived. It’s been such a fast year, though! And everything is still so new! Every week: a new wave of bloom, a new slant of light. So much we haven’t done yet! Sauvie Island, the Columbia River Gorge, the zoo, the rose garden. (I’ve been to the latter on a previous visit, but not with the family.) And yet…in some ways I’m more rooted than anyplace I’ve ever lived. Or rooted differently, I guess? Because of the advocacy job, I regularly attend the coffee hours and town halls of state legislators. Some of them know me by name now. I drive to Salem at least once a month. I’ve manned tables at community events. Perennials I planted last summer are blooming once again. How is it already JUNE?

Wednesday

May 21, 2018 @ 6:23 am | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry

I think this is my favorite photo of the hundreds (thousands? eek) I’ve taken since we moved to Portland. I posted it on Instagram with a riff on the much-beloved William Carlos Williams poem:

so much depends
upon

a red garage
door

glazed with rain
water

beside the pink
dogwood

And while I’ve appreciated “The Red Wheelbarrow” for many years, I feel like I get it in a deeper way now. There’s a feeling I get when I look at gray-blue clouds piled over a blue mountain, or sunlight shining through black tree branches, or the evening sky shot through with light and shadows—a feeling like Emily Starr’s flash, you know?

I started writing this post last week (thus the title) and didn’t have a chance to come back and finish until now. It’s Monday morning, early, kids still in bed, sky like mother-of-pearl. I’ve been awake since before dawn, dunno why. The enthusiastic birds outside my window, probably. I contemplated getting up and taking my walk early—I usually go in the evening, during golden hour if I can possibly manage it—but I opted to lie in bed and watch the walls turn from gray to blue. Got up around six and slipped out to the back yard to smile over our little garden like a proud mother. We have radishes coming up in the garden, and my first strawberry is very-nearly-almost ripe.

Anyone remember my big long strawberry-rhapsody post from a million years ago?

Eighteen dollars: less than four times the amount we paid for last night’s gone-in-a-flash berry feast. And now I get a steady stream of berries from June to September. Like the wantons they are, the plants have multiplied with abandon: we must have hundreds of individual strawberry plants now, each fertile and heavy with fruit in its season. I am a neglectful gardener (just ask my neighbors) and I do nothing to baby these plants. I ignore them. I don’t do chemicals and I can’t be bothered with fertilizer or compost. We have terrible soil: thick red Virginia clay that is not at all disposed to encourage root growth. The kids’ caterpillar farm (fennel and rue) springs up right from the middle of the strawberry bed. The strawberries don’t care. They thrive on adversity. They scoff at the miserable growing conditions; they sneer at the crabgrass; they launch themselves over the retaining wall and bloom in mid-air. They send exploratory runners into the lawn, and Scott mows right over them. For this callous treatment, they reward us with a riotous, bountiful harvest. You can’t beat us down, they proclaim. You only encourage us to flaunt our fertility. We will, we must, reproduce! We will fill the world! Let those fat, bland, expensive greenhouse-grown excuses for berries beware! We are sun-warmed and sweet. We will make you weep for joy.

There is no modesty in strawberries.

And there was no brevity in 2005 me, apparently. 😉 Oh for the days of big long text-heavy posts!