Sunday, July 25, 2010

Here I was and here I go again!

I'm sorry for these silly quick updates. I have that promised book report in the works, as well as some fun escapades, BUT right now I'm taking advantage of a day off and writing and cleaning and hanging out with the kitteh.

Again with the weird moves
In the past week or so I have:
-Passed the written exam for a learner's permit. (Yayay! Now all I have to do is learn to try and then I can be a real independent-like American.)
-Watched a rather awesome HBO film, that I heartily recommend.
-Finished a rough draft on a script.
-Made stuff (to be presented here soon.)
-Started a business! (to be presented here in the next month or so)
-Had a midnight visit with friends.
-Read three books. These ones here.
-Gone to three birthday parties.
-Canoed with hubby after work.
-Eaten at least 10 pounds of cherries, 10 pounds of nectarines and 10 pounds of blueberries.
-Done three different jobs.
-Enjoyed the sunshine.
-Given up caffeine.
Thumbelina in the garden
So no wonder it's been little quiet here in this corner. Now that I actually look at that list, I feel slightly exhausted. I will however add that I have commemorated summer with these beautiful gifts from darling Heather and Missa and that I am still keeping tabs on what you guys are doing where you're at.
Sew Sew
Plant big me small
Garden Grows
But now I get to go hang out with my furry friends, my loves.
My Furry Friendlings
See you soon, big hugs to all you beauties.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A portrait of the artist as a young hypocrite

... or a future old cat lady.

Growing up, I never had a real pet. Sure I had Zebra Finches, which quickly multiplied from two to six, and two turtles that never did much of anything really, but not real cuddlesome dogs and cats and bunnies, or even fun farm-child barn animals like horses, or sheep, or chickens. Nada.

On the hypothetical level, along with ideas on the ilk of "Where (when) would you travel if you had a time machine?", or "What famous person, dead or alive, would you most want to have over for dinner?" I've always identified myself as a dog person.

Dog are genuinely happy to see you when you come home, they like to hike and are unnaturally grateful for having a ball thrown in their immediate vicinity. They're like four-legged Prozac in their mood-altering capacity. On the hypothetical level that is.

In my immediate, very real life, I've for years now thought of having a household pet (for me personally that is, this like all other personal matters is, just that; personal) as willingly fostering one more carnivore that will consume this planets resources. I was raised to believe that the personal is the political, and have a tendency to over-think all major life decisions, as well a minute ones, based on this belief. (Fun fact: I frequently fret over the amount of electricity my internet-life uses.)

I kid you not, the idea of having a tinned meat eating animal, in addition to a non-tinned meat eating husband and potentially a meat-eating child (just the one, another anguished moral decision strictly in the hypothetical realm), seemed as distant to me as immigrating to the Leisure Colonies Of Mars, in my golden years (circa 2093 AD). Until Saturday two weeks ago, that is.
I don't have a baby...
I blame Blake and Julie.
in fact she likes to sleep
A while back they brought their kitten, Tigger, over for dinner with them. I was charmed, but my hubby, well he was smitten. Rarely have I ever seen C. so happy than when the little critter chose him for its nap-surface.
you up when there's nothing wrong
After the dinner he mentioned having a cat periodically. I objected. There's another hitch, you see: I like cats fine, though hypothetically, as previously stated, I'm a dog person, BUT I love birds. The kings of the air, the jumpers and jitterers, the singers of heavenly grace. We live in a park, our life is a birdsong, from dusk 'till dawn. No way would I ever introduce an alien life-form who appears to be designed to kill these creatures. Never. (If you do not believe this is a serious concern, check out The World Without Us. Heck, check it out anyway, it's a fun thought experiment. )
You can leave it
(C:"I look like some sort of crazy mountain man in his cabin-schack!")

"So", I hear you ask "We get it, serious personal belief, Buddhism, self-righteousness, leave no trace, blah, blah, blah...BUT aren't you cuddling a freaking kitten in these pictures!?!?!!?!??!"
And thank GOD because
Well, in a word, yes. But I feel really bad about it. Well, okay, that's actually a lie. I love the kitten, which I got, somewhat on a whim, from a box infront of the bakery, one day after work. Partly, I will admit, because it was the last one left, and partly because we no longer have chickens, but mostly because I knew how happy it would make C.
in the car
(When kittens get kitten-colds they need their own Pendleton wool blankies and miniature hot-water-bottles. Scarves and mason jars, actually.)

So there you have it. I'm a hypocrite. Not like a tremendous hypocrite like our last president for instance, just your average, normal-sized eat-your-words-at-the-drop-of-a-hat-kind.
Also she won't keep
My only defence is that I did it for love. And I'm kind of a sucker for small, sad things.

when you go out to the bar...
For the lack of imagination we named her Kissa, which is Finnish for cat. C. absolutely adores her.
all day long
So anybody got any words of wisdom on how to teach your kitten that it's not acceptable to kill birds of any kind? Or on how to overcome personal failure to stick to ones guns in the face of cute animals galore?
...but I have a kitten.
Having a cat is awesome fun and she's very cute, though I still think that chicken is the perfect pet. It, after all, makes eggs out of its backside. But there's always next spring for that.

PS. Heather got a kitty too! They're like blog-kitten-cousins!
PPS. We will return to our normal programming shortly I promise. I've been busy. With other things besides kittens.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pushing Daisies...

...I am not! I'm alive! Alive! But I am wearing daisies, in the form of this dress thrifted from Portlandia.
I've been working too much and our internets are very sporadic, but hopefully I'll be able to catch up with all the wonderful things my electric sisters have been up to and share with you some very exciting events in the not too distant future (read: in the next few days).
'Till then I invite you admire my marvelous dress and my free Dump shoes. (Sometimes I feel so ridiculous about this whole posting-my-clothes-on-the-interwebs-thing...)
See you sooner rather than later!
Ps. Contrary to what one might think, I actually found said show to be to sickly cute-sy for my viewing pleasure. Just 'cos I like cute things doesn't mean I have to buy into the culture of cute. Plus, my enormous nerdness much dictates the few television shows I truly love.
Pps. In spite the above sour-puss statement I will be sharing something of in the afore mentioned future post.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The very first Book Report

I know I said I'd put this up yesterday, but what can I say, Miss, the dog ate my homework. Honestly though, this delay is actually due to a slightly more serious matter, a pinched nerve in my (good) left arm, that renders me slightly unable to do things, like type, lift, or chop, the two
latter making me have to take a day off work. And it's only July 2nd, the day the tourists ascend like locusts onto the Island. Happy, beer guzzling locusts. Anyways, I'm getting a massage later on tonight, and I hope that means I can work tomorrow morning. It's gonna be crazy.
The only chores I could do around the house were one-handed, which mostly meant taking up our garlic and peeling it and fixing hubby one-handed lunch. I might attempt some one-handed cleaning later on today. It has been perfect for lazing around reading though.
While I already told you about two of the themes I'd love to do a Book Report on, I'm actually gonna start on a slightly different tangent, though one that's very season appropriate: Summer Short Stories. Last summer was a particularly hectic one for us, and I ended up reading mostly short stories, instead of the usual heavy tomes that embody summer vacations (not that I'm ever gonna have a summer vacation again, America sucks that way).
Short stories are perfect for a busy time, because you can devour an entire one in a short time, and not be left hanging for a conclusion when other chores call. Having your breakfast on a picnic blanket in the sun, laying on your belly and polishing off a good short story, can almost lul you into thinking you don't have to go work, or weed the garden today. So that in mind here's my pick of the litter, some of which you may have heard about here already, still all perfect for the hazy, lazy days of summer:
(as you may know I kind of dislike the movie, but this cover is wonderfully pulp)

Way to start with the exception. Technically, Breakfast At Tiffany's itself is a novella, but at least the copy I have also features a three of his finest short stories, including my favorite The Diamond Guitar. House Of Flowers is also dih-va-ne, dahling. When it comes to this form, Capote is the master, turning out prose so eloquent it makes you weak in the knees.

Here it comes, the inevitable Lauren Groff-collection. No but seriously, while I find delicate, edible birds a little uneven, most of the stories are wonderful, unexpected and understated, and just sentimental and sincere enough that your hear will be broken. This collection contains the already classic Groff-stories Lucky Chow Fun, L Debard and Aliette, as well as my personal favorite, Watershed. In all honesty, I almost prefer her stories to her novel. She can be a little flowery, and the shorter form forces Groff to focus her considerable talent.
book cover of  Not the End of the World  by Kate Atkinson
Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson is, in my humble opinion, a near perfect collection of short stories, so close to perfect, in fact that it contains some of the finest (again, imho) short stories I personally have ever read. All the stories intertwine, but the two stories that end and begin the collection, are leave-you-breathless amazing, as is The Cat Lover. Read this collection and weep.
I have mentioned Julie Orringer's How To Breath Underwater here before, but I'd like to emphasize again, that if you have ever been an adolescent, this collection is pitch perfect exploration of many of the phases of that time in our lives. There's a story in it, Note To Sixth-Grade Self, that is so true that it's almost impossibly painful to read.
A lot of short stories of the resent years seem like the literary equivalent of mumblecore cinema (thank you New Yorker for explaining to us these microscopic cultural phenomenon that only effect the tiny island you hail from. And just to clarify things, no, it's not the centre of the Universe.), with it's emotional detachment, and preoccupation with the quirky, the personal, not the making sweeping universal statements at all. The main literary ambassadors of this style, which I have to say I much dislike both in film and books, are Miranda July (who's works I by definition loath, sorry) and (makes barf noises) Tao Lin. (I'm getting off topic here, aren't I. Barf noises and all...)

Joining these two over-appreciated mumblecore authors is a prodigious talent named Laura Van Der Berg, who's story collection, while obnoxiously vague in places, is also truly mesmerizing in others. Reading her story Where We Must Be one cannot help but wonder whether this is a generation unable to commit to anything, or anyone other than their ever shifting sense of self. Still there is a luminousness to these well-crafted tales that makes them well-worth reading, perhaps inspiring hope that some day soon, Ms. Van Der Berg will try her hand at portraying a world more tangible and less detached. What The World Will Look Like When All The Water Leaves us is a perfectly ethereal summer read, it is weightless as a cloud, and light as a warm breeze.
book cover of  The Summer Book  by Tove Jansson
From mumblecore to masterpiece, there is not a single flaw, or weak piece, in Tove Jansson's The Summer Book, and in spite the book's laconic tone, it is anything but disengaged. Great emotions are played out on Jansson's small stage, an island named Haru, in the Gulf of Finland.
Based on Jansson's mother and niece, just as Fair Play was based on herself and her partner, Jansson is a master of mundane, inserting every day events with magic and wonder. Short stories, or not, this is the one, true summer book for every summer.
Your intrepid reporter retires to read her book signed by the author, in her marvelous Missa-dress. Hope you get to do the same. And what are your book recommendations for this summer?