Saturday, December 31, 2005

Knock Three Times On the Ceiling if You Read This

(Twice on the pipes means you don't want to know.) I'm determined to make my last post of 2005 partially quilt-related but you have to wait until the end to see what I mean. Until then, I feel the need to blather about a couple of other things. We Are Family My family has been trying to get together all in one place for weeks now and someone is always sick or out of town or busy or whatever, but yesterday we managed it. Yay! We all met at Royal Taj in Cincinnati and talked and laughed and ate Indian food (except for Josh, AKA Mr. Picky, who was unimpressed with his first exposure to Indian food...sorry Josh!) Clockwise from the left: Josh, me, Johnny, Merle, Dad, Andy, Sandy, Mark, Amber Amber is the family's next generation artist and does some wonderful drawings. (I'll have to see if she'll let me post some here sometime.) One of the things she does is draw "tattoos" on herself and her brother with magic markers when she gets bored. Here's what she was sporting on her arm yesterday: Amber's Celtic cross Honey I'm Still Free..."Take a Chance on Me" Ok, I may be cheap, but I'm not free. And actually, J might argue the cheap thing. But how could I resist continuing the '70's music-inspired sub-headers? When I posted my list of favorite books yesterday, I mentioned that I expected to finish one more before the year ended and I did. Last night I finished "Take a Chance on Me" by Susan Donovan and I loved it! It would SO have made my list if I'd waited one more day. Screwball romantic comedy and one of the main characters is a Chinese Crested hairless dog named Hairy. Too TOO funny. Fill my Eyes with that Double Vision (Here's where the quilt content comes in!) Remember a while back when I said I would award a prize to the 33,333rd visitor to RSR? And remember it turned out to be Caity? Well Caity's prize quilt is finished! Yay! Pic is below and clickable of you want to see it larger, but I'll put in a spoiler space in case Caity doesn't want to see it before it arrives at her house. S P O I L E R S P A C E "In Search of the Perfect Bra" (15" x 12") by DebR Hope you like it, Caity!

New Year's Resolutions: Chosen by Computer! Yeah, Baby!

I must admit, I'm not normally one to make New Year's Resolutions. I actually do have one of sorts this year, but more on that tomorrow. In the meantime, somewhere I ran across yet another silly computer quiz, this one supposed to tell you what your New Year's Resolutions should be. You know I can't resist a quiz, so off I went to try it. Here's my answer:
Your New Year's Resolutions
1) Get a pet chihuahua 2) Eat more nuts 3) Travel to China 4) Study forensics 5) Get in shape with capoeira
I've just got to say, I find this a leeeetle eerie. I know the answers are supposed to be silly, BUT... 1. I really want a lapdog. I can't believe I'm saying that. When it comes to dogs, I've always been a Big Dog person, but I've fallen hard for my Dad's stepdog, Teddy, who is a Pomeranian/Chihuahua cross and I find myself wanting a Teddy II. So far I'm resisting, but hhhmmm... 2. I should eat more nuts! I'm not much of a nut person (Hey! No smartass comments from the back row!) but they're a good snack if you don't go overboard on them. They'd be a heck of a lot better for me than the sweets I'm so addicted to. 3. Ok! I'd love to see China. Now if the quiz maker-upper would just spring for a ticket! 4. Cue Twilight Zone music: If I was 18 again, and knew what I know now, I would seriously look into the field of forensic artistry - someone who takes bones and uses a combination of scientific measurements and intuitive artistry to try to recreate what a person looked like in order to help put an identity to anonymous victims. I think that sounds fascinating. Not something I want to do enough to go back to school at this point, but it's very definitely one of my Roads Not Taken. 5. Never heard of it! So I looked it up. Sounds like it would be great if I was remotely athletic, which I'm SO not. I wonder if it counts if I watch someone else do it? [grin]

Friday, December 30, 2005

My Favorite Reads of 2005

In looking back over my ongoing log of the books I've read, I see that I've read almost 100 books this year (93 to be exact, although I expect to finish one more before tomorrow night). No wonder I didn't finish very many quilts. Heh. Oh well, never mind. Anyway, I decided to look over my list and choose my favorite ten novels I finished in the past year. Don't expect a lot of "serious literature" here. I like funny. I like great dialogue. I like believable characters. (I barely even care if the situation is believable as long as the characters are.) I like intrigue. I like stories that can make me forget what's going on around me for a little while. If you're looking for books that are the darlings of the literary critics, then keep on looking. You won't find many of those here. But if you like the things I mentioned above, you might find this list interesting. So here they are, in alphabetical order by author, not order of preference because I don't want to think that hard: DebR's Favorite Novels from 2005 "Bet Me", Jennifer Crusie - A screwball romantic comedy and one of my favorite Crusie novels; and that's saying something since I love the way she writes. It was a very close call whether I'd call this one my favorite or "Faking It", but in the end I had to go with "Bet Me". "Derik's Bane", MaryJanice Davidson - Another screwball romantic comedy, this one about a werewolf with aspirations to be a chef and a nice woman who just happens to be the reincarnation of Morgan Le Fay. I was already hooked on MJD from her "Undead" series, but I think if anything I may like the Wyndham Werewolf characters even more than Betsy and co. Maybe. "The Blue Girl", Charles deLint - An urban fantasy novel that's listed as a young adult book, but I think anyone who likes deLint's work would enjoy it. And if you don't know if you like deLint or not, what the heck are you waiting for?? "Eleven on Top", Janet Evanovich - The latest in the series of books about Stephanie Plum, klutzy and hilarious sometimes-bounty hunter. This is not my favorite in the series, but even an "ok" Plum story is better than a lot of other stories. "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe", Fannie Flagg - I'd seen the movie several times, but this year is the first time I ever read the book, believe it or not. I found it a little rough going at first, as the jumping around in time could be a bit confusing. But once I got into the rhythm of it I devoured it, and when I was done, I loved it. My only complaint: I no longer like the movie as much as I used to, because the book was so much better. "Smoke and Mirrors", Tanya Huff - I'm not even sure how I'd categorize this one. Horror fantasy? Supernatural mystery? Good old-fashioned ghost story? Whatever, I liked it! A couple of characters in this are carry-overs from her Vickie Nelson "Blood..." series, but you don't have to have read those to get this one, or the first in this new series, "Smoke and Shadows". "gods in Alabama", Joshilyn Jackson - A southern mystery populated with fabulous characters and sprinkled with humor. I've already read this one twice since it was released this past spring. It's that good. "Frankenstein: Prodigal Son", Dean Koontz - I'd actually include the follow-up volume, "Frankenstein: City of the Night" in this. They are parts one and two of a trilogy I can't wait to finish. I think Dean Koontz is so underestimated as a writer. "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal", Christopher Moore - This is another one I had trouble getting into at first. It seemed to me to start a bit on the slow side, but once I got the feel for the pace of the writing I thought it was wonderful. "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", J.K. Rowling - I know, I over-exposed and over-hyped, but I can't help myself. I think when it comes to Harry and the gang you either love 'em or you hate 'em. I love 'em. And finally I have to mention a bonus non-fiction book I highly recommend: "PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives", Frank Warren - Anyone who has been reading RSR for a while knows how fascinating I find the PostSecret project and this is a book featuring photos of dozens of the postcards. Hope some of you find some old favorites and new treasures in this list.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Cover Copy Caper ReCap

Update: The winners have been posted and my name isn't there. But it was still fun to play! A few days ago I mentioned the SBTB Spam Cover Copy Contest. I'd hoped they'd post the winners by this morning (although I do not have high hopes of my name making the list!), but I just checked and alas, no joy. BUT, even though the winners aren't posted yet, the voting deadline has passed, so I will now come clean about which anonymous entry is mine, since no one who tried in comments ever guessed it. I wrote entry #10: "Sweet Shining Daemon". The Spam phrases that I was inspired by and/or incorporated into my entry were: "savage be abstinent on damnation", "be talk of shining daemon", and "venial sylph" (that last one being from my own inbox rather than part of the supplied list of Spam phrases). To refresh your memory (or for those who weren't brave enough to go look in the first place! HA!) here's what I wrote. (Keep in mind the contest was to write a parody of the back cover copy of a romance novel!):
"Sweet Shining Daemon" Ravishingly beautiful Virginia Vickers, the innocent daughter of Vicar Victor Vickers, was untouched until the night she walked into a moonlit glade and lost her heart to a man like none she'd ever seen before. His name was Damon. Half-human, half-daemon, he had the face of an angel and a body made for sin. He fit into neither the world of men, nor of daemons, and he thought he would never know love until he looked into Virginia's shining eyes and knew she could be his salvation. They shared one passionate kiss, and as Virginia felt their hearts beat as one, she was ready to sacrifice her innocence upon the altar of his mighty thews. Then suddenly he disappeared from her arms, sucked into the depths of hell, where only the magic of Virginia's virginity can save him from his daemon father's curse. Will he fall under the spell of a venial sylph in the pits of hell, betraying Virginia and utterly destroying their chance for happiness? Or will her savage be abstinent on damnation, allowing Virginia to raise him to rapturous heights and forever make him her Sweet Shining Daemon?
Doesn't that just make you want to weep? Heh. I just wanted to mention that one person did, in fact, immediately guess correctly which one I wrote - my sister, Sandy! (Who is feeling much better. Yay!) Here's the email I got from her this past Monday: OK, is yours #10 "Sweet Shining Daemon"”? Me: YES!! You are the ONLY person to have guessed correctly!! Her: I knew it!! I read them all and that was the only one that sounded like you!! ; ) Very Buffy! And it was a perfect parody of the back of a romance novel. Down to ending the last sentence with the title of the book! Perfect touch!! That made me smile because she picked up on exactly what I was trying for - even the Touch o' Buffy-ness. (Anyone who knows me well knows I'm obsessed with all things Whedon.) The alliteration was a clue too. I loves me some alliteration. So there you go. It was possible to pick out which one I wrote without names on them. It just turns out that to do so, it's very helpful if we share some genetic material and have known each other for 36+ years. [grin]

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Big Red Flower and Big Blonde Hair

Check out what arrived in my mailbox yesterday afternoon: "Red Amaryllis" by Frances Caple Frances already showed a pic on her blog, but I thought I'd share one anyway in case anyone is stopping by here that didn't see it there. This is the quilt I received in trade for the little angry hooker shoe quilt I made. Thank you, Frances! It's loverly! And now for a totally unrelated (and somewhat less loverly) topic, a couple of days ago Laurie, AKA Crazy Aunt Purl, was talking about '80's hair and clothes and shared some of her pics from high school. She was talking in particular about '80's Big Hair. The 1980's weren't high school years for me. They were college years, early working years, partying with the gal pals years. After seeing Laurie's photos I had a look through some of my photo albums and couldn't find a lot of bad outfits. That doesn't mean I didn't HAVE bad outfits, mind you. I have vivid memories of some of them. But somehow I seem to have had the good sense to not be photographed in all that many of them. But the hair. Omigawd, the HAIR. I remember my mid-'80's cut. I LOVED that cut. The basic shape wasn't all that different from what I have now - a sort of shoulder length blunt cut. the '80's version I had bangs. VeryVery LARGE bangs. And I was blonde. And I used a big vent brush, and a blow dryer, and mousse, and lots of hairspray to put volume in that hair. No, that's not quite right. I didn't put volume in it, I put VOLUME in it. See for yourself (and please, Sandy, don't kill me for including you in my didn't look as bad as I did!): The Keeton sisters, Deb and Sandy, 1987 Note the arrows showing the difference in height between my head and my hair. Hey, by 1987 standards, I was HOT. That was some Good Hair! And note the semi-matching, virginal pink and white outfits. I think that's a nice touch, don't you? I hear the '80's look could be on it's way back in, but I hope it isn't true. It's been 20 years and I don't think I'm strong enough to hold up that much hair anymore.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Self-Portrait Tuesday: Reflections, Week 4

For the final week of the Reflections theme, I'm sharing photos that are about Nesting I'm snug at home, surrounded by memories. Peering into the mirror of a yard sale find dresser, my mother's antique lamp in front of me and one of my childhood photos over my shoulder. EDKSky wants to see what I'm doing. As I look into a mantle inherited from J's "second mom", I see a portrait of my great-grandparents. People tell me I look like her. (That's a glimpse of one of my paintings at the bottom of the photo.) My reflection in a bathroom mirror, feeling blue... ...but all wrapped up for freshness! (Technical note: I put blue plastic wrap - deliberately somewhat wrinkled - over the mirror for those last two shots.) This has been a fun SPT month. Looking forward to hearing what the theme is for January!

Monday, December 26, 2005

That's Liff!

Did y'all have a good weekend? I did. Wanna hear all the boring details? Good! I knew you did! When last we left our heroine (that would be me, because it's my blog and if I can't be the heroine on my own blog, where can I be it?...her?...uh...the heroine?), we'd just learned that Li'l Sis, who had volunteered to host the fambly get-together this year had been felled by a vicious woman-eating virus. (Feel better, Sandy!) So there I was on Christmas Eve Day, with a big, ugly rum cake and no place to go. I did a quick food-supply check and decided that I could, in fact, pull together a last minute meal for a few extra people. So I called my dad and brother and asked if they and theirs wanted to come to my house instead. It's quite a bit further away for them than Sandy's house, but hey, I was offering to feed them! Plus they'd been planning to take stuff to Sandy's too, so Dad and Merle had a giant tossed salad and Mark and the kids had a pile of garlic bread, but nobody really had anything to go with anything else if they stayed home. So they said yes. I ran in, threw together a 500-pound pan of lasagna and tossed it in the oven, and while it was baking I tried to corral the most vicious of the dust bunnies so they wouldn't hurt anyone. (Every time I've mentioned that lasagna it's gotten heavier in my mind. It's like a fish tale about the one that got away. Only, you know...not.) I also had to put a bunch of coats away because there were at least a half-dozen draped over the backs of the bar stools that sit at the counter between the kitchen and dining areas. If I may digress for a moment (and really, who is going to stop me?) the coat on the barstool thing baffles me, despite the fact that I am one of the people who continues to do it. In our last house, we didn't have a coat closet, so coats, in theory, got hung in the regular clothes closet. Only of course, human nature being what it is, they usually didn't unless we were cleaning up for company. That house had a counter separating the living area and dining/kitchen area and that counter was immediately to your left as you walked in the door. So people took off coats, flung them over the back of a bar stool, and they stayed there for days, weeks, whatever. I actually understood that. But in this house, I thought things would be different. Here there's a coat closet to the immediate left as soon as you walk in the door, very cleverly placed in exactly in the same position as where the counter and stools were in the last house. The counter and stools in this house, on the other hand, are clear across the room. So that should mean that coats get put in the coat closet, right? WRONG! WrongWrongWRONG!! J and I BOTH walk across the room, take off our coats and throw them in the frickin' bar stools until there's a huge pile of them there and I get tired of looking of them and grab a staggering mass of them and carry them BACK across the room to the front door and hang them in the coat closet. I don't know if it's a hopelessly ingrained habit from the last house or if we're both brain damaged or what, but there it is. We continually walk 15 feet AWAY from the closet where the coats should go to throw them someplace else. For some inexplicable reason it feels faster and easier than hanging them up right by the door. We've both tried to stop and we both eventually absent-mindedly slide back into that habit. Go. Figure. But anyway, back to getting ready for the family unit to arrive... I was inordinately proud of myself that I figured out where some vaguely matchy, seasonally festive looking table linens were so the table looked pretty. I would show a photo except I forgot to take one. I didn't take any photos that day. Very unlike me! And I can't seem to stop saying words like "inordinately" because I've spent the last two nights watching the 1995 mini-series of "Pride and Prejudice" on DVD. Aaaaahhh....I love that show. But whenever I see it, or any other movie based on a Jane Austen book, or read Austen, I have this bizarre tendency to slip into talking like I think I'm in Regency England, only with a "y'alls" and "damns" scattered here and there. But I digress. Again. Where was I? Oh yeah...ok, family arrived, kids opened gifts, we all ate lots of food. It was fun! Everyone liked the lasagna and most people liked the ugly cake. Josh and Merle were neither ones huge fans, but that was ok because Mark brought along homemade peanut butter fudge. Yum! We mostly just hung out talking for a while (although J gave Josh a lesson in running a backhoe) and then Dad and Merle headed for home around mid-afternoon, while Mark and the kids stayed later and we all watched "A Mighty Wind". I've seen it several times, but it was the first time for them and they all liked it. And now, along with saying "inordinately" a lot, I keep finding myself singing "..I'm the cabin boy, call me Jim. His name's Jim...". I guess it's better than "Jingle Bells". Christmas day was just a nice quiet day at home for J and me. We exchanged gifts, I cooked a roast and some veggies for supper. We went for a walk in the afternoon. Very calm and relaxed. And so far there are no coats back on the bar stools. Heh. Speaking of gifts, let me show you a few of photos. Deirdre did what I had intended to do - made some fabric postcards to send out as holiday cards. I never got a Round Tuit, but Deirdre rocked 'em out and here's what she sent me: Thanks Deirdre! My friend Morven had sent me a package from New Zealand weeks ago but I saved the packages for Christmas Day. There were several fun things, including some fabric and a copy of "The Meaning of Liff" by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd, but here's a photo of some yummy yarn and a very cool book clip thingy for marking or holding open the pages of cookbooks: Thanks Morven! And on Christmas Eve Day, I got a super-nice surprise package from the Delightful Dee: Fuzzy socks in yummy colors, fabric, and a really interesting-sounding book by an author I haven't read yet. Thanks Dee! I will also mention that J was a good Santa this year. He bought me jewelry, including a really pretty necklace and watch, and he got me something I'd been wanting for a while but had never bought for myself - a portable DVD player so I can take movies on trips with me if I want. Thanks Johnny! Ok, this has gone on long enough I think. Hey! Wake up in the back! Yeah, you! Wipe the drool off your chin and get your stuff together! The show is over. Well, at least for today. Hope you all had a really wonderful weekend and that this coming week is good too.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Holiday Wish

DebR - December, 1962 I'll say Merry Christmas to you all, since that's what we celebrate here at the Richardson household, albeit more out of a sense of tradition than of religious conviction. No matter which holiday you celebrate this month, I wish for you all a warm and wonderful time, spent with the people you love, doing things you love. Or spent with the things you love, doing the person you love, if that works out better for you. Ahem. (Sorry, I couldn't resist that. Really. Y'all know I can't be serious for long.)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

SuperFantastic Double-Chocolate Raspberry Rum Cake (YUM!)

In case anyone hasn't eaten enough sugar yet this year (heh), I'm going to share the recipe for my SuperFantastic Double-Chocolate Raspberry Rum Cake. I'm taking one to my sister's house for our family get-together later today. Uh oh! Change of plans! Sandy is feverish and throwing up. (Feel better soon, Sandy!) Family is coming to my house today while we reschedule with Sandy for another day. Um...did I mention I didn't decorate for Christmas this year? And the house is kind of a wreck? Heh. Please note that I strongly recommend against trying to tint some of the extra white glaze and use it to decorate unless you know a lot more about what you're doing than I do, otherwise you could end up with something that looks like it came from a badly illustrated cookbook circa 1965. See below: Oh well, it'll still taste good! All you Martha-types, don't be put off by the fact that this starts with a cake mix. By the time you tart it up with all the extra stuff, it totally tastes home-made, but is still super-easy and sooooo yummy. SuperFantastic Double-Chocolate Raspberry Rum Cake 1 pkg chocolate cake mix with pudding in the mix* 1 cup Dark Rum, divided (I prefer Bacardi Black Label when I can find it, but any good quality dark rum will do) 3/4 cup water 1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use Canola oil) 3 eggs 1 pkg (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided 1 jar (10 - 12 oz) seedless raspberry preserves 2 Tbs. vegetable shortening 1 square (1 oz) white chocolate or vanilla baking bar 1 tsp. water Preheat oven to 350F. Combine cake mix, eggs, oil, 1/2 cup rum, and 3/4 cup water in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, blend on low speed until moistened, then beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the chocolate chips, then pour batter into a greased and floured 12-cup Bundt pan or a 10" tube pan. Bake 50 - 60 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pan 15 minutes, then remove from pan and cool to room temp. on a rack. In a small saucepan, heat raspberry preserves and the remaining 1/2 cup rum, stirring until warm and smooth. Place cake on a serving plate and prick all over with a long-tined fork. Brush the raspberry/rum mixture slowly and evenly over the cake, allowing the cake time to absorb the glaze. Repeat until all the raspberry glaze is absorbed. Combine the remaining chocolate chips and the shortening in a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl. Nuke 'em on High 1 minute, or until melted. Stir until smooth, then spoon over cake. Let stand 10 minutes. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the white chocolate or vanilla baking bar and 1 tsp. water. Nuke 30 seconds, stir until smooth, and drizzle on top of chocolate icing. Eat and enjoy! *If you end up having to buy a cake mix that doesn't contain pudding, then change the oil from 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup, and the eggs from 3 to 4, and add in one pkg. (3 3/4 oz) instant chocolate pudding mix.

Friday, December 23, 2005


This'll be brief today as I have a bunch of stuff to get done, but thanks to those who read the writing contest entries. So far no one has guessed mine! (Sorry, Amy. That's ok though. Hehehe.) I wanted to show y'all what arrived in my mailbox yesterday from Gerrie: You can't really tell in the photo, but under all that feathery fluff, the toe of the shoe is not only red, but also glittery and sparkly. I want a full-size pair of these!! (Although I have NO CLUE where I'd wear them, as I don't generally lead a sparkly feather-trimmed red high-heeled mule sort of life. But still. Yum!) Thanks Gerrie!! And for Sarah and Jen, who wanted to see more of the quilt I flashed at you in my little video clip a couple of days ago, I took the photo of the shoe ornament on the quilt. There ya go! [grin] Ok, ok, that was mean of me. I know that wasn't what you had in mind. I'll share more pics of the quilt soon, honest, but this isn't a wallhanging I can just pin to the design cloth and snap a photo quickly. This puppy is destined for my queen-size bed when it's finished, so it's BIG. Think Mastiff, not Chihuahua. (Not sure how I got onto the puppy analogy, but might as well go with it!) So don't expect much in the way of pics until it IS finished because setting up to photo a quilt that large is a PITA. And I don't mean pocket-bread.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Project Runway

Usual Spoiler Alerts Apply! Ok, ok, I wasn't sure I was going to dish on PR today, but just for Deborah...well, not JUST for Deborah, the rest of you can read it too if you's my take on last night's epi of PR. What the bloody hell were the designers thinking??? I thought the so-called lingerie was ugly right across the board except for Daniel V's, who won. His wasn't really ugly, it was just boring. It looked like stuff that was already out there available for sale. Go to Wal-Mart, buy a black teddy. Swing through the men's dept. for a striped tie. Cut the collar and cuffs off one of your hubby's shirts and TaaDaaa! Designer lingerie. Diana's looked like it should be on the cover of a soft-core porn novel. I actually kind of wish she'd won. Hers was ugly and looked uncomfortable, but at least it was ugly and uncomfortable in an original sort of way. Tim was right on the money when he said Daniel F's line looked like something Joan Collins would wear. Poor Daniel. I actually think he has potential, but this was not a good venue for him. I wish he'd listened more to Tim and to his team, who all really tried to warn him. And Santino? Sweet merciful Zeus. Santino's line looked like they should be costumes for the new Broadway musical "Heidi the Crack Whore". Not Heidi Klum. Heidi the sweet little Swiss mountain girl who helped Clara the little crippled rich girl find the will to walk again, only in this version Heidi was hopelessly corrupted by her time in the Big City and grew up to lead a life of sad, delusional depravity, selling her struedel on the street to any man, woman, or goat with enough money for a bag of magic feel-good powder. I really thought that based on JUST last night's challenge, Santino should have been the one to go. I thought his designs were by far the worst and he acted like a real jerk. But I knew it would be Daniel, because Santino has done so well in previous competition and because his horrible, obnoxious personality makes for such dramatic TV. Bleah. If Santino wins in the end, I will not be amused. I hope Daniel can turn this into an opportunity to do something with his designs where they let him take the time to get them right. But I hope that opportunity is not in the field of designing lingerie.

Pirate Power and a Cover Copy Caper

Pirate Power! Speaking of Deirdre (well, I was yesterday), look what arrived in the mail from her: Pirate in a Bottle I felt sorry for him, so I had to get him out of there. Thanks Deirdre! He's hanging out on 'puter desk now, near my mermaid and he seems happy. And she seems quite impressed with his broadsword. Ahem. Vote for Deb! Maybe. Anyone who has read RSR for a while knows I have trouble resisting writing contests. Well, I've done it again. Over at Smart Bitches Trashy Books, Candy and Sarah issued a challenge to write back cover copy for a non-existent romance novel inspired by one or more SPAM subject lines that have appeared in their inboxes in the past few weeks. The winner gets an Amazon gift certificate, among other things. Well, hello!....Write something silly? A chance to win Amazon bucks? I'm in! There were 13 entries, all fairly brief as one of the rules was to keep entries to less than 250 words. All entries are posted anonymously and winner is based on viewer vote over the next week (until the 28th). So since I'm sure no one has anything important to do this week [SNORT!] I thought I'd post the link in case y'all want to read them. I thought all the entries were pretty funny. I am, of course, hoping that any RSR readers who check them out will like mine best and vote for it, but I'm going to play fair and not tell you which one is mine. I'll just trust that its wonderful, magnificent cleverness will shine through and win your heart. Or something. Heh. Interested? Click here: SBTB Spam and Cover Copy Contest Vote early. Vote often! Vote for ME!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bad Santas, Good Friends, and Lame-O Video

For a little joy of the season (ahem) take a look at this website shared with me by Mad Wench Babs: Season's Screamings. The Chicago Tribune asked readers to send in their favorite "Scared of Santa" photos and that's where the results are posted. My reaction was that a) some of the photos are quite funny; while b) others are rather pitiful. Also c) some of the Santas look really nice - just like I imagine Santa should look; but d) many of those Santas look very, VERY wrong. I'd have screamed and run away too, and I don't just mean when I was a child. I spent most of Monday in Lexington having a little holiday Girly Lunch and Shopping Day with my friends Bev and Nancy. We had a fabulous time and I would normally have posted a little about it yesterday, but since I did the Self-Portrait Tuesday thing yesterday, I saved it for today. At one point we were in a store (I don't even remember the name of it!) and having Too Much Fun in the purse department, as we rummaged among this season's beads and sequins and metallic leathers, finding stuff we liked and stuff we just thought was over-the-top hilarious. Naturally I had to whip out my camera, which seems to be permanently attached to my hand lately. Deb, Nan, Bev I didn't aim very well, but you can tell we were having fun, yes? Eventually we got tired and relaxed for a while on one of their furniture displays. Believe it or not, we eventually left voluntarily, not because we were asked to. And I left behind the most fabulous embellished shoes that were calling my name so loud and long and so very, very persistently that it's a wonder I didn't dash myself against a submerged rock as I struggled to reach them. But being as I have pretty much spent any and all discretionary funds for the moment, I left them there like a good little grown-up. Dammit. And finally, last but not...well..actually maybe last AND least, thanks to Deirdre who Knows Someone With Skills, my lame little 20 second video clip is now edited down to a manageable size. Yay! Thank you Deirdre and Deirdre's Friend! This is probably a one-shot deal for me, because I can't imagine going through this again unless and until the technology becomes much easier for mere geek-wannabes and more file-size-friendly for those on dial-up. But if you want to see it, click below and it'll play in a new window. It's a .wmv file, so if your 'puter makes you choose how to open it rather than doing it for you, you need to choose Windows Media Viewer. The file size is around 1.4 MB, so not bad for those with a fast connection and not tooooo horrendous for those on dial-up if you want to go get a cup of coffee or something while it loads. Please don't laugh too hard at how pathetic it is!! At least not to my face!! [grin] DebR Moves AND Speaks! Badly! Yeah, Baby!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Self-Portrait Tuesday: Reflections, Week 3

I've been on the outside, looking in. I've been on the inside, looking out. This week is simply about being: Out and About Shall we drive a car? A truck? Or maybe take a train... except the train isn't stopping here anymore. Finally, I'll leave you with some Words of Travel Wisdom: When you're out and about, you never know when you'll get the chance for your next bathroom break, so take 'em when you can. It's as clear as black and white.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Winner Found, JigZone Victory, and King Kong Review

Holy Chirping Crickets, Batman! The silence from the lack of comments about yesterday's posts is deafening! Thank you, Karoda, for letting me know I didn't slip into some alternate dimension or something where no one can see me. Whew! Ok, I wrote the above paragraph last night and when I woke up this morning there were comments from Caity and Amy too so I feel better. [grin] And big Congrats to Caity to being the mystery Aussie visitor #33333! I'll be sending you something soon, Caity. Speaking of yesterday, LookeeLookee what I did: Picture me doing an obnoxious victory dance around the room! HA! King Kong Review: Spoilers ahead if you don't know the story from seeing either this one or the original!! I went to see a matinee of King Kong yesterday afternoon. Well, actually it started just before noon, which turned out to be a great time to see it. I wasn't alone in the theater, but it wasn't nearly as crowded as it was when I've been to see other movies lately. So, what did I think of it? It turns out that's a tough one to answer. I liked it - sort of. If you'd asked me if I liked it the second the film was finished, my answer would have been a resounding "yes, great movie!". But then the lights came up and I had time to think. On the plus side, it definitely held my interest. It was a three-hour movie but didn't feel that long to me and lots of parts had me really caught up in the actions and emotions. There were some truly wonderful scenes. Special effects were stunning, as I figured they would be. The actors all did a terrific job and were perfectly cast for their roles. Naomi Watts has very pretty hair. (I assume that was important to notice as they made a big production of it billowing around in the breeze in nearly every scene she was in.) If I could have just taken this movie as a straightforward action-adventure movie - a mindlessly entertaining way to spend a Sunday afternoon - I'd have really liked it, despite the inevitably sad ending. But it turned out to be impossible for me to do that. Just in case I didn't "get" that there was supposed to be an underlying message to the film, the writers and director hammered it home with brick-upside-the-head subtlety. They made a big deal about one character reading the story "The Heart of Darkness" (a story I heartily detested, BTW...pun intended. har!) on the boat journey to the island. Then at one point, when the situation on the island was just about to get really hairy (har!), this character looked up from the book and said to another character, "This isn't just an adventure story, is it, Mr. Haynes?". And Mr. Haynes replied, "No, Jimmy, it isn't". Well. All righty then, brick duly noted. They chose to end the movie with the classic line from the original, when the character Carl Denham says, "It wasn't the airplanes; it was Beauty killed the Beast". That's a great movie line - one of those ones that gives you shivers as you sit in a dark theater, caught up in the story. But then the lights come on. And you start to think. Or at least I did. And if you're me, you think waaaaait just a minute there, Bud! "Beauty killed the Beast"?? I don't think so. What led to Kong's tragic end was the fact that your fat, greedy ass couldn't leave him where you found him to live the life he was meant to live. Instead you chose to capture him, chain him up, take him to a strange land where he didn't fit into the existing pattern or know the rules, and exploit him for your own gain. Then when he rebelled, as any sane and rational being would do, he was put down like a rabid dog for being a "danger to society". And ok, yes, once he was on the loose in New York City, he was a danger to society. He as a 25-foot tall gorilla, ferpetessake. I wouldn't have wanted to be a blonde-haired woman who wasn't Ann Darrow in NYC that night. But the point was that he shouldn't have been in this society to start with. He should have been left where he was found to live the life he was born to live. So to my mind a less poetic, but way more accurate closing line would have been, "It wasn't the airplanes; it was Greed, Stupidity, Arrogance, and Inhumanity killed the Beast." This isn't just an adventure story. I get that. And the message we are to take away? The message I took away was that Man is his own worst enemy and the most human character in the story was the Beast. Merry Christmas. In the end, I'm glad I saw it. But will I want to watch it again? I'm not sure. I'll have to give that some thought.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

In Search Of Lucky Number 33,333

I've seen other people do it - offer prizes for being the 10,00th or 20,000th or whatever number visitor to their blog. I thought it sounded like a fun idea. But I could never seem to catch the right number on my stats. I figured, oh well, it wouldn't be like me to choose a "normal" number anyway and one of these days the right number would come up. Well, ladies and gentlemen, that day has arrived. Yay! Sometime in the wee hours of the morning (my time) Red Shoe Ramblings hosted its 33,333rd visitor. Well, 33,333rd since I started keeping track of stats anyway, which will just have to be close enough. Soooooo....if I can figure out who this person is, and if said person is willing to email me with their snail mail addy, I will award them a prize for being Lucky Visitor #33,333! Here are your clues:
  • This person logged on from Australia
  • The visit happened about 2:30 AM my time, which - if I'm figuring this correctly!!* - would be around either 5:30 or 6:30 PM on 18 December, OzTime, depending on what time zone you're in (I can't tell which part of the country it is from my stats, just that it's Australia).
  • This person is a RSR regular, not a first-timer. Stats show multiple return visits.
  • Whoever it is logged on here via a Bloglines subscription
So if this sounds like you - an Aussie RSR "regular" who logged on late yesterday afternoon your time via a Bloglines subscription, wave your hands and jump up and down, and shout so I know who you are. I'll be gone most of today, so don't worry if I don't get back to you immediately. *When I checked my stats this morning it was just after 9 AM my time. I then checked the World Clock page (which I should turn into a link but I'm not gonna 'cuz I need to get out of here and am running tight on my time!) and at that point is was just after midnight on the 19th in Brisbane and just after 1 AM in Sydney. So I think that means that 2:30 AM my time would be 5:30 or 6:30 PM OzTime, but someone please tell me if I'm wrong because my math skills suck rocks! And if there's more than two time zones in Australia, someone tell me that too, because my geography skills are nearly as bad as my math skills. If I've left out one or more time zones, the winner is entitled to one free crack about arrogant, ignorant Americans. Ahem.

Not Ready For Prime Time

I had something in mind to post today that I thought would be pretty nifty but I'm afraid I'm having a little trouble with the technical details. My camera, like many other digital cameras out there, has the ability to record a few seconds of audio and video and I had a light-bulb moment yesterday. I thought "Hey! That would be fun - I'll turn it on and say hi to everyone and it'll be a little like the audio blogger thing only the link would go to a video instead of just a sound clip." So I tried it and it works fine. It would be simple enough to set up the link. BUT...(you knew there was a "but" coming, right?) little 20 second video clip turned out to be a 5+ MB file!! That's a LOT of bytes for a few seconds of seeing and hearing me say a half-dozen sentences. It would take a few minutes to download on even a speedy connection and would be just ridiculous for those on dial-up. Hell, I wouldn't wait that long to see and hear me talk! So for now I'm putting the idea on hold. I still have the video clip saved to my files, and still like the idea of it, but there's no way I'm going to bother unless I can figure out how to compress it down to less than 2 MB, and ideally I'd like to get it down to closer to 1 MB. If anyone out there has any experience with this stuff and would like to throw some helpful hints my way, I'm listening! Until then I guess I'll just keep on typing. It may be just as well. I didn't do anything special with the lighting and my hair looked very, very red while my skin looked very, VERY white. I think I looked a bit like a really lame and dorky vampire. I might have frightened small children...or made them laugh until they wet themselves. Ahem. Even if I get this figured out one of these days I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for someone to ask me to be on TV!!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Spotted Horse Spotted

I had a visitor yesterday afternoon. Take a look: (Sorry for the lousy photo quality. I was taking the picture through the window by the sewing machine - screen and all!) This is my sort-of neighbor's* horse and he's quite the escape artist, and when he escapes he always seems to come here. Sometimes I think I see more of this horse than his "mom" does! Ironically enough, his name is "Traveler". This time he brought a friend with him, but I didn't get the friend's photo or name. He (She? Hhmm...really didn't check!) was smaller than Traveler and splotchy-coated, like the horse Little Joe used to ride on Bonanza. I thought (s)he was kind of cute, but my dogs were unimpressed. Yesterday I mentioned the way the posts, beams, and supports of our raggedy old barn are all joined with wooden pegs instead of nails. Here's a photo to try to show you what I mean: The sharp pointy thing is one end of the peg; the other side that doesn't show in the photo is flat and flush against the wood. The old log cabin that was on our property when we bought it (which we reluctantly took down because it had been neglected so long it was no longer safe) had those same sort of wooden peg joints in the oldest section. And finally, here's a photo I took from inside the barn, with the light shining through the boards. The photo isn't that good in and of itself, but much like the tomato cage pic from yesterday I see design possibilities in the lines of this one. Hhmmm... I took a few other photos in the barn yesterday afternoon too, but I'll save those for another time. Don't get too excited now! [snort!] *"sort-of" neighbor meaning that if you go by the roads she lives several miles away, but if you go overland, through fields and woods, our properties back up to each other, so she probably lives no more than a mile away as the crow flies, if that.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Crazy Lady Takes Snow Pics in PJs (news at 11)

I woke up to snow this morning. Not a lot, maybe an inch or so - just enough to cover the ground - and it's already starting to melt, which is fine with me. I don't mind a little snow now and then, but all in all I'm not a fan of the stuff. Too cold, too wet, too slippery, too likely to trap me here on my middle-of-nowhere hillside. But of course I had to immediately grab the camera and run outside for some photo ops before it started to melt. I did the entire photo shoot in my PJs, fuzzy robe, and a quickly pulled-on pair of shoes. There are some advantages to living in the middle of nowhere! I posted my choice for this week's Photo Friday topic in its own little post, but here are three other shots I liked a lot. All are clickable if you want to see them larger in a new window. Barn and holly I can never remember what type of holly bush this is. It isn't the type I think of as "typical" Christmas holly, with the very jaggedy leaves, but it is holly, nevertheless. Some years it's loaded down with berries, but this year not so much. One of these days I need to take some photos inside our barn. The outside is ratty-looking but the inside, well, actually it's ratty-looking too, but cool. It's very old and has these massive posts and beams that are all held together with wooden pegs - no nails! Tomato cages on a cart Sometimes being a slob and not getting things put away where they belong can be a Good Thing. Or at least it can turn into interesting photo. Tomato cages close-up I'm actually feeling inspired to perhaps do something quilty based on this one. I love the lines.

Photo Friday: Depth of Field

Photo Friday Dec. 16 - 22 Depth of Field Snowy Oak, December, 2005 (click to see a larger image in a new window)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Quilting Talk with a Side of Runway Snark

Let's talk about quilting a little today. Oh, I do SO talk about quilting sometimes. Shut up! I did a little bit yesterday. Quilting, that is. Don't get excited, nothing artsy-fartsy, but remember a while back I basted one of my stack of traditional-ish UFO bed quilts? Only that didn't go so well, so I've been ignoring it ever since. And the problem still isn't solved, but in my typical "forge ahead and have faith that it'll all work itself out in the end" manner, I decided to start quilting it anyway. I figure if I start in the middle, then by the time I get to the problem areas on the edges I'll have figured something out. Ahem. I had what I thought was a very cool idea about how to quilt part of it and thought perhaps I'd have a photo to share. But that was until I tried my "very cool idea" and decided it looked like a steaming pile of dog excrement and spent a nice long time frog stitching. Rippppit, Rippppit. So then I went to Plan B. I'm not so sure I'm loving Plan B either, but it doesn't make me want to gouge out my eyes, so I'm going with it for now. No photos yet though. Really, really nothing photo-worthy to share about it yet. But since I'd planned to show a photo today, I'll show you something else. Not quilty, but hey, no big shock, right? I got a box in the mail from my friend Morven (mentioned in yesterday's post) and it had wrapped prezzies inside for Christmas, except that two of those little packages had things written on them in shiny silver letters. They said "Open me now. Yes, really." and "Open me now. You know you want to.", which was a teeensy bit scary because it seemed very "Through the Looking Glass" to me and I wondered if I opened them would I suddenly grow to 10 feet tall or shrink to mouse size? But no, instead I found these: ...which I'm sure are meant to be ornaments for a Christmas tree, but since a) my (fake) Christmas tree is still in the basement, under the stairs, wrapped in a shroud and likely to stay that way at least another year, and b) I want to see these all year 'round, not just for a few days in December, I'm not hanging them on any steeenkin' tree. I put them right here on my puter desk, near Marlena, where I can see them every day. Thanks Morven! Project Runway: spoilers ahead....go away if you're a TiVo addict I think the decisions last night about who won and who left were spot on. I don't often agree with the judges quite so completely, but last night I did. I loved the winning outfit and thought the losing one looked like something made by a disinterested 14-year-old in a beginner's Home Ec. class. (Do they still call those classes "Home Ec"? I think not. I think I should be calling that something else, but I can't think what, so never mind. I'm sure most of you know what I mean.) Santino is annoying. He'd be annoying with his little god complex even if he didn't remind me of one of J's brothers, and NOT one of my favorite of his brothers but one I have been heard to refer to in my more vicious moments as "a waste of skin". Since he does remind me of J's brother, I pretty much detest him already. The man has talent - Santino, that is, not J's brother - but geeze louise, get over yourself already, Bud! Coming in second is not "losing", at least not until the final show! I was disappointed in how quiet and dull Zulema was last night. She's been pegged as this year's "Wendy" but last night both she and the outfit she designed were quite boringly mundane. What the hell was Andrae thinking with that pumpkin-butt skirt??? I mean come on. Just what every woman wants is to look like she has a giant orange ass, right? NOT. But as ugly as I thought the dress was, one thing I disagreed with the judges about was their insistence that he should have put the long, bleached-blonde wig on his dark-skinned model. Aren't Barbies supposed to be a bit more diverse looking these days?? Kara is living in some other dimension or something. She's just not all there. That's all I can think of that stood out to me, for now. I'm sure I'll dish more in future weeks. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

To Sleep, (or NOT!), Perchance to Dream...of Sports??

Does anyone else out there have a problem with Full Moon Insomnia? Some people laugh when I tell them I can barely sleep during the days surrounding a full moon, but it's true. It's not a problem with the light. Even if I'm in a really dark room it's like I can feel it pulling at me...calling to me. I love the full moon, really I do. When the weather is warm I love to sleep outside on a full moon night. Well, what little I sleep on those nights, that is. Heh. When it's winter I love to walk outside under the moonlight, especially when there's snow on the ground. And that's saying something, since I generally don't like snow! But as much as I love the full moon, I wish she'd ease up on me a little. I need to get some sleep. But speaking of sleep (and smooooooth segues), the little bit of time I did sleep night before last I had a really fun dream about a game - or I guess I should say a sport, really. Those who know me well are probably going "huh???" because I. Don't. Do. Sports. Seriously. I adore games - cards, dominoes, board games, etc. But sports? UhUh. Don't play, don't watch, don't care. I did a little of that sort of thing in high school because the school I attended was tiny and boys outnumbered girls, so any girl who had the grades to make the team was practically bludgeoned into playing whether they were any good or not. So I did my time - one year of volleyball and one year of basketball. I sucked rocks at both. And I spent three years as a cheerleader for the boys basketball team. That wasn't so bad, mostly because I can yell really loud when I want to and our school was too small to get into the competetive gymnastics stuff. But for my Physical Education elective in college I took a Folk Dancing class. Seriously. I was actually pretty good at the folk dancing. I was! Anyway, I dreamed I was playing a Team Sport (gasp!) and it was fun! In the dream we were calling this game basketball, but it wasn't. Instead of two baskets there was only one, with both teams trying to score points on the same basket. Whoever touched the ball last before it went in, their team got the point. Plus there were two balls instead of one and they were both in play all the time, so you could either try to get possession of both and make double points, or you could try to use one to knock an opponents ball away from the goal. I don't remember how it all turned out and I have no clue where my brain came up with this idea, but I want to see someone really play it! In a totally unrelated note, I got something in the mail today from my friend Morven, who lives in New Zealand and it had the prettiest stamp on it! It was a "Narnia" stamp, showing Lucy and Aslan. There are photos on the NZ postal service website if you want to see.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Photo Friday: Weight

Yes, I know I'm not posting this photo on a Friday. But with this particular Photo Friday group, which I found through Becky's blog, the deal is that they post a new topic each Friday and you can post your photo for that topic anytime in the next week. The topic for the week of Dec. 9 - 15 is Weight. I immediately thought of a photo I took nearly three years ago, when my normally-upright curly willow tree was weeping under the Weight of a coating of ice. Ice Storm Aftermath, February, 2003 (clicking on the photo will show a larger version in a new window)

Self-Portrait Tuesday: Reflections, Week 2

Self-Portrait Tuesday time again. Last week I showed images about being On The Outside, Looking In, so this week let's look at being... On the Inside, Looking Out I'm looking... Out my back door... Out my library window, dirty screen and all, a comforting wall of books at my back... Inside myself, while reflected in the door of an old china cabinet that now holds fabric waiting to be transformed into art... And out a window at my little corner of the world while the fabric still patiently waits.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Random Items from the Junk Drawer of my Mind #3

1a. I went to see "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" on Saturday and highly recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy stories and/or sumptuous visuals. I would watch it again if only to see the visions Lucy sees in the fire when Mr. Tumnus plays the pipes. I read the books so many years ago that I can't really compare the details for those who are true fans, but it seemed to me that they were very true to the spirit of the stories. I know that as I watched, things I thought I'd forgotten kept coming back to me. I think this is one I'm going to want to own on DVD when it becomes available. (That list just keeps getting longer, and longer, and longer, and longer...) 1b. People in the cinema were still too damn noisy and restless though. If I am ever overcome with a plague of money I will build a screening room with full-size wide screen, and big comfy seats, and an old-fashioned popcorn machine, and will pay megabucks to see the new movies there and will only let people see them with me who swear on pain of death that they will sit still and shut up for the duration of the movie. HA! 1c. Considering my vehemently expressed movie pet peeves, this passage from the book "Forever Odd" by Dean Koontz made me laugh out loud: "...she smiled and said, 'We were at the movies once, and this dork took two phone calls during the film. Later we followed him, and Andre broke both his legs with a baseball bat.' This proved that even the most evil people could occasionally have a socially responsible impulse." Have I mentioned before that I Heart Dean Koontz?? 2. The Elegantly Exciting Elena saw these earrings: and decided I had to have them because they would match my hair. And they do and I love them! They are very, very Me - totally something I would have chosen if I'd seen them in a store. Thank you, Elena! 3. And the Ravishingly Rambunctious Rachel sent one of her custom mix CDs with this fabu cover art (the pink fabric and black/white strip were the wrapping...yum!): Rachel is so good at making these CDs and arranging the music to tell a story. I still have another one she sent a year or two ago that was based on our mutual love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in general and the character of Spike in particular, and it's still one of my favorite CDs. Thank you, Rachel! (I haven't gotten to listen to the new one yet because J is home this weekend and has had the TV on constantly and I can't stand having the TV and music on at the same time. But as soon as he goes back to work I'll be listening!) 4. Speaking of Rachel, she and Anne Copeland have started a project for 2006 called "Daily Devotions - 365 Days in a Life". The goal is for members of the project to make at least one small artwork of any kind every day for a year starting January, 2006, and to exhibit the results of the experiment at various venues after the year is over. If you think it sounds interesting, you can click on the link above to find out more. I, fool that I am, have signed up. Yep, that's right, DebR - Ms. Procrastination, the Queen of Denial, Empress of Evasion - is going to try to do some little bit of art every single day next year, without fail. We'll see how it goes. Ahem. 5. And finally, I want you to take a look at something my friend Laura MacCary, weaver-extraordinaire, just finished because I just think it is SO darn cool. Laura posted this photo to a list we're both on, and I was so impressed by what she made that I asked if I could share the photo with all you RSR readers and she kindly gave her permission. Naturally, me being me, I wrote on her photo before I posted it. [grin] Laura based the entire color scheme and weaving pattern on the coat of her cat, Buddy. Isn't that fabulous? There's proof, if any of us need it (and I sometimes do!) that a person can find inspiration everywhere, if you're willing to look at things in a different way. Here's what she had to say about this woven piece: "The technique is doubleweave on 8 shafts, I am basically weaving 2 plaid fabrics at once, and interlocking them in various ways to make each part of the surface of the fabric show one fabric or the other. I used wool, cotton, and some synthetics, and then washed it in the washer to get the wool to felt to make the bubbly surface." (Laura, is this something you made to keep, or to exhibit and/or sell? I'm just being nosy. Heh.) Anyway, Yay Laura, for taking inspiration from an unexpected source and turning it into something unique and lovely. You rock!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

December Bliss List

Inspired by Michelle, who was inspired by Oprah, I'd like to share with you a small Bliss List. From Merriam-Webster: Main Entry: bliss Pronunciation: 'blis Function: noun Etymology: Middle English blisse, from Old English bliss; akin to Old English blIthe blithe 1 : complete happiness The idea isn't to come up with some grand list of things that would make you live "happily ever after" - especially since I don't believe in "HEA" outside of movies and books. Does that surprise some of you who know what a relentless optimist I am? But even so, there it is. What I believe in is more like "making the best you can of each day, and hoping for contentedness most of the time, while knowing that contentedness will be interspersed with times of extreme joy and sorrow". But that isn't nearly as catchy as "happily ever after" so I'm not surprised it hasn't caught on. [grin] Anyway, the idea of the Bliss List is to come up with a list of things that give you moments of bliss - little pockets of complete happiness - and to look at that list and remember those things when you're feeling down. I thought this might be a cool thing to do once a month or so. If I can remember. Heh. So here is a list of some of the little things that are making me feel Blissful in December:
  • A crackling fire on a cold day
  • Curling up in my favorite corner of the couch and reading a good book
  • That last one can be even more blissful if J is stretched out on the couch with his head on my lap
  • And while we're at it, let's add something hot to drink in my favorite blue pottery mug
  • Good chocolate melting on my tongue
  • A glorious winter sunset
  • Peppermint ice cream
  • A soft, warm, fuzzy sweater against my skin
  • Surprises (both given and received) wrapped in bright shiny paper or ribbons
  • Eggnog
  • Watching "White Christmas" for the gazillionth time and singing along
  • Listening to Emmylou Harris sing her a cappella version of "The First Noel"
So what's giving you Moments of Bliss this month?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Woodsy Winter Walk

Yesterday afternoon, instead of doing our usual more-or-less "civilized" walk, J and I decided to take a little hike back through the fields and down around through the woods along the border of our property. It was, perhaps, not a super-smart move for someone who had been sick the past couple of days, but the air felt so crisp and clean and I was going stir-crazy inside, so I did it. I choose to believe it'll make me feel better, not worse. HA! I took the camera along, looking for interesting shapes and textures in the woods. Wanna see what I found? Good! Take a look... Wild grape vines and a small oak tree Inside a hollow tree trunk (I really like this one) Trees along the creek Leaves in ice Weird creepy face in a tree Do you see it? How about now? Or do you think it looks more like a frog that's gone "splat" against the trunk? Or do you think I need therapy? Don't answer that. I also had a package from Deb Lacativa arrive in the Big Brown Truck yesterday. When I saw the price on her remaining Velvet Lash scarves I couldn't resist. This one is called "Caribbean": Ok, maybe I look like a recovering plague zombie, but doesn't the scarf look pretty? Hey, I just noticed before I logged off last night that my Weather Pixie (in the blog sidebar) now has a decorated Christmas tree. Yay Weather Pixie! It's more than I've done for seasonal decorating. Heh.