Saturday, January 24, 2015

Rambling: Feelings of Dread in your Basement or Attic

You know that Seasonal Affective Disorder thing? I always assumed I didn't have that problem, because I wasn't depressed in winter. But I've realized this year that I do seem to be increasingly anxious as the winter rolls along. Has his happened every year? Is it SAD? Should I get one of those light therapy things? You know, like Walt in Northern Exposure? Did you ever watch Northern Exposure? Good show.


You can tell that this is one of those "write something!" posts, right? Right. Twenty-odd days since the last post. My verbal creativity seems to be largely nonexistent. And I'm not even daydreaming fiction. I usually daydream fiction. It feels sort of lonely not to have those characters ambling through my head.

Some sewing has been happening, so that's good. I fitted that skirt pattern, in two different lengths, and and made...did I make two? And a slip, with the same pattern. And a divided slip. And I feel like I've blogged all that before, but I don't see it in my past few posts.

I have three more of the skirt planned, one in red wool, one in a nice black and white houndstooth cotton that the bolt called "denim" though it's neither a denim color or a denim weave, and one in a cotton/linen fabric that is a denim color. The chances are respectable that the houndstooth skirt will be done by the end of the weekend.

Oh, and another one in a yellow silk/linen or silk/cotton or silk/something, and yet another one in a sage green rayon. That' skirts? Yep. Will it really happen? My goal--did I mention my goal?--is to eliminate pants from my wardrobe. Pants are Not Flattering on me, in the understatement sense of Not Flattering.

Oh, and I got a length of red silk with yellow-gold polka dots. Bwaha! Not sure yet what I'll do with it. My goal is a bathrobe, but I don't have a robe pattern I'm happy with yet.

I've been doing a surprising amount of hand-sewing on the skirts. Surprising for me. Slipstitching the hem and the inside of the waistband, and pick stitching the zipper. I kind of enjoy it. It's like I'm bonding with the garment.

I still miss all those characters in my head. Sometimes when I'm sewing or gardening or some such thing, I find Columbo wandering up to ask me friendly questions about what I'm doing, like I'm a murder suspect. Wandering up in my head. I don't actually see him. Or hear him. Don't schedule the commitment hearing, please. But he's not talking to me right now. This is sad.

Sometimes it's Quincy instead. Did I ever mention my crush on Jack Klugman? It's also sometimes seen as grounds for that commitment hearing.

Um. That is all.

Firehouse Image: By Phillip Ritz. Wikimedia Commons.
Wanderers Image: Wikimedia Commons.
Columbo Image: Wikimedia Commons.
Quincy Image: Wikimedia Commons

Monday, January 5, 2015

IttyBittyFictionScraps: Bus Stop

(This one was about the difference between summary and scene. This was scene.)

Raining. Of course it had to be raining, on the one day that the car was being serviced. Joe leaned on the post of the bus-stop sign, as if it could provide shelter. And why wasn't there shelter? He'd seen those little glass-walled things in other cities; why not this city? What, the locals weren't worth the money? Probably somebody hadn't filled out the grant application, that was it.

He snatched his phone out of his pocket and made a note: "Complain to City re bus shelters." Rain ran over the phone as he did so. Probably going to ruin it. That would be the city's fault, too.

"Excuse me, sir?"

"What?" Joe turned to glare at--glare down at--the face of the little woman standing next to him. Little woman in a rain coat and a rain hat, little woman looking contented and dry and bleeping friendly. He hated her, just looking at her little contented face and its curls of hair, dry hair, probably warm hair, under the hat. Stupid woman. Didn't she know that she should be angry about bus shelters?

"What do you want? I'm waiting for a bus here."

IttyBittyFictionScraps: Coffee Break

(A tiny sample scrap written elseweb for a discussion of whether you need italics to get into thoughts in third person.)

He sat, thinking, toying with the coffee cup. How to handle this? He could address it with Mom, but Mom was...well, Mom. Mom had that crying jag last Thanksgiving, just because the turkey sat for an extra fifteen minutes. Mom had the brains, but she couldn't handle stress. Sue was the opposite--Sue would have been unfazed by the cooling turkey, but she would have handled it by throwing it in the clothes dryer on High, or something.

It had to be Joe. Dammit.

He shoved the cup to the middle of the table and dumped a handful of change next to it as he stood. Better get the call over with.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Rambling: Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, folks!

I collapse after evening gluttony, which followed morning gluttony, which followed Christmas eve gluttony. And I write. Maybe.

Except first, failing to say Enough is Enough, I eat a chicken finger with onion dip. And eat a Russian tea cookie. (Without onion dip. My dietary transgressions have limits.)

There are a lot of picture-free posts down below. So I added the feline yawn over to the left. Think of the cat as representing my brain. Complete with yawn and fuzz.

I just set up my sewing machine and my serger. I can leave them up for another week and a half until I get back to work. So I might make several of the six-gore skirt mentioned in the previous post. Or I might just sleep a lot.

I bought a pair of little green boots. These are further motivation for creating the mentioned skirts, because  little boots with a long skirt that hits the boot-top seem less "too young" than little boots with a short skirt.

We watched the Doctor Who Christmas special. The Doctor Who Christmas special seems to be my grown-up festive equivalent of The Grinch or Charlie Brown. Not that I don't still like those.

Lammily arrived. The Barbie substitute with human proportions, that Lammily? There she is, relaxing with her shoes off, communing with my favorite Christmas perfume. (Bois 1920 Sushi Imperiale.)  I was going to make her a tiny Santa hat, but I got lazy.  But she does look like she needs some winter clothes. I've been wondering if photocopy-enlarging the little pattern-piece outlines on a pattern envelope might produce a usable pattern.

It does seem a little odd that I want to make doll clothes. I made 'em a lot as a kid for an adventuring Skipper (back when she was flat-chested) who travelled with a dog and an excessively large wardrobe. Lammily reminds me of her. I have a gorgeous piece of corn-yellow silk georgette that I keep imagining making into a doll dress,  even though the lost length would probably make it unusable for a garment for me.

I think that is all.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.
Second Image: Me.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Rambling: Time Off and Lazy Brain

So I've been off work for four days and haven't done any writing. What's with that? I thought that at the very least there'd be a blog post every day. Or something.


And, see, even the blog post writing isn't getting very far. I'm not sure if this is a sign that my brain is all frazzled from work and not yet recovered, or if it's a sign that my brain is getting very very relaxed and declining to actually do all that tiresome work of shuttling neurons around.

Wait, the neurons sit still and shuttle signals around, right?

Anyway. Lazy brain.

I was going to go back to the StoryADay stories. But.


Well, I haven't yet.

I was also going to do some sewing and gardening, and some of that has happened.  I started over with the six-gore skirt pattern that I had previously fitted and then re-fitted and didn't like the result of. The last time, I started with the short version of the skirt, lengthened it, and added width at the seam allowances. This time I started with the long version of the skirt, shortened it, and added width at the straight-of-grain lines. I hope that this way the important dimensions--length and the ability to fit over my hips--will be right and the side seams won't have that confusing thing where they don't quite match any more. Except that there was no "lengthen and shorten here" line, so I had to guess.

The goal is to have a bunch of longish washable skirts that I can wear in place of jeans. The flaw with that plan is that the skirts will need to be pressed. I don't like pressing things.


That is all.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Rambling: Rambling

The post lulls are getting longer. I need to write more.

Of course, Christmas vacation is coming up. I might write. I hope to write. I would say I plan to write, but I can see that plan being all weak and watery. I might even, y'know, write.  Like, toward someday maybe possibly getting something published. Rather than instantly throwing it on the blog. Or I might not.

I'm threatening to buy a bottle of perfume. I can't remember what it's called. That displays a certain lack of commitment, doesn't it?

Oh, yeah! Yosh White Flowers perfume oil. That's it. I keep thinking it's Kai, not Yosh. But it's so very powerful that I could probably make it my exclusive scent for months, based on one sample. So what would I do with a whole 8ml? I guess I could give some of it away. 

We were in Portland recently. I had fried chicken at Tilt, and fried chicken at The Imperial, and fried chicken at Pink Rose, and fried chicken skin from Nong's Khao Man Gai. We didn't get to Parish (fried chicken) or Screen Door (fried chicken) or The Original (fried chicken). But we probably will next time.

Yes, there are other things on the menus. Probably. I see them on other people's plates. Including Himself's. And sometimes I order a vegetable to add color to the plate.

Oh, and at Dime Store I had chicken salad. With greens. That was weird. It was also an error; the greens were mostly arugula and radicchio. I'll go back to the restaurant, but I think they should define it as "bitter greens", not just greens.

I didn't have any chicken wings. I might fry some.

The newlyish released movie Wild was partly filmed (OK, for one day) in Ashland. My town. Well, my town when I'm not bonding with Portland's fried chicken resources. I'll probably see it over Christmas break. Assuming it's still showing.

Himself started the first fire in the fireplace of the year. Yay!

A tree fell on our roof in the recent windstorm. Boo! At least it was a many-limbed vaselike tree, one that landed on the house in a spread-out, springy kind of way, rather than smashing through the roof. And it didn't break the stained glass window that was very close by in one direction, or the heat pump that was very close by in another direction, or any of the windows very close by in both directions. Really, we should be pleased. Relatively.


That is all.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Rambling: Bubble Realizations

I’ve been trying to spend more time writing fiction, and less time reading and posting on forums.

I’ve been unsuccessful. So far. But the process made me open to the realization that there’s a difference between what I want to write (or want to have written) and what I have to say. My fiction efforts have been focused on what I want to have written. My forum posts are what I have to say. And that’s why I keep pouring out the forum posts.

This is a new realization; my hair is still damp from the bubble bath in which I realized it. But it’s one of those realizations that is so obvious, once seen, that it’s impossible to remember what I was thinking before I realized it. How could I ever not realize that my fiction writing has to be about whatever it is that I have to say?

I suppose it's partly that I don’t like stories with conscious morals or themes. Or any intent to teach something. When that intent is detectable, I go “bleah.” When I think of fiction, I think of form and plot and characters, but not theme. I want whimsical, intricate worlds and characters, like my favorite children’s books. And I was under the mistaken impression that I could create that without actually having something to say.

But I was confusing myself. Rumer Godden’s work, for example, doesn’t have tidy little lessons. But all the same, every one of her stories speaks to me about the longing for a place in the world. I don’t think that she sat down and decided that she was going to present us with her opinions on that subject. I think it’s just that that subject was in her, and wanted to get out.

Even when the thoughts that drive a work aren’t thoughts that interest me, I suspect that they give the work a strength that it wouldn’t otherwise have. For example, the religious themes of The Chronicles of Narnia don’t speak to me at all, but all the same, the stories do.

So can I write whimsical, intricate stories about dysfunction and self-delusion and betrayal? Well, I suppose that description is not entirely a mismatch to The Princess and The Caffeine and Caveat Emptor. Maybe I can.

At least I have a clearer view to a goal.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Rambling: Rambling

If I'm going to just keep giving my posts that title, there's not much point in a title, is there? I suppose I could go with "Saturday rambling."

Have you seen the Barbie software engineer flap? Mattel produced a book, "I Can be a Computer Engineer", in which Barbie the engineer needs Steven and Brian's help not only to do her programming, but also to rescue her from a computer virus. She also has a pink heart-shaped flash drive that she wears on a necklace, because otherwise she'd be too forgetful to take backups.


While reading the stuff on various sites, such as Feminist Hacker Barbie, I also kept running into Lammily, a doll made with realistic dimensions for a 19 year old woman. She's more about body image than careers, but I think she looks like she'd write her own code, don't you? She's still a lot thinner than me, but she has room for her internal organs, which Barbie, apparently, doesn't.

One delightful detail is that apparently kids really, really like her. And it's not surprising; if you look at the photos on the website, she looks startlingly, delightfully, human. She reminded me of the fact that I always liked Skipper (back when Skipper was flat chested  and had a relatively wide waist) and the mother of the Sunshine Family better than I liked Barbie.

So I bought one. I'm weird that way.


That appears to be all.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Rambling: Rambling

So, not so much the writing. Lately. But it's Friday night, and a person should be able to write with a whole weekend in front of her, right?


Remember how I was going to give away Serge Lutens Bas de Soie? Well, it was on the shelf--waiting to be given away--and I grabbed it and sprayed some on just because, the way I do, and I fell in love. It wore it every day for three or four days. It appears that Bas de Soie is what I crave in that fall-to-winter temperature transition time when I dislike so many perfumes.

So I'm not giving it away.

I am giving other things away. Like perfume. Other perfume. I sent out a Stinky Giveaway email to a bunch of local friends, offering twenty-two bottles and eighteen decants and minis to the first takers. I'm hoping that this is just the start of an all-around mass decluttering. But whether it is or not, a dozen or so fragrances are already in Ziplocs waiting to go out the door, so it's a start.

The remaining perfume still doesn't fit in its allotted storage and display space, though.

Coke is tasting too sweet to me, the past several days. As is Thai iced tea and chocolate and hot chocolate. What's with that?

We went to Portland. I went to the new Josephine's--the fabric store that closed because the owner retired and then reopened under a new name and in a new location and under new owners.  They're good. Really good.

I'm reading Best of Food Writing 2014, edited by Holly Hughes. It's really good. Various pieces are raising various thoughts, but apparently my head hasn't cooked them enough to blog about them yet.

I bought a copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. I don't know what I think. I was most struck by her method of folding clothes, which is an odd thing to be struck by.

As I italicize the book titles above, I find myself wanting to italicize Bas de Soie, too, as if it's a story. But I refrain.

I've been wearing a little newsboy's-cap kind of hat, despite the fact that I think it looks wrong with my long hair. Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners, would tell me that I have to take off this hat indoors because it's a man-style hat, and the woman's privilege to wear hats indoors only applies to women's hats. I took a poll at lunch, and two out of three responders agree with Miss Manners, while one disagrees.

The show Mom is playing in front of me. It has Allison Janney as the Mom. You remember her from West Wing, right? She remains fabulous.

Italics again.

You notice how this blog post is going a little more free-associationish than usual. Yeah. It doesn't mean I've been drinking. Sober as a judge.  My only intoxicant is the jasmine from the bath oil from the bath that I just emerged from.

Dang. Mom is over.


OK, that's probably all. If not, I'll be back.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rambling: Fear and Glory and Music. (Oh, My?)

I'm not writing.


Well, except for some forums.

What's the deal?

I suspect that the deal is that when I write, that seems to open up my thoughts, and worrying thoughts might creep out. Or burst out, waving axes and torches. Wearing scary masks. And howling battle cries. You know. Right?



I'm less worried now, though I'm still nervously eyeing the cracks in my brain for anything planning an escape.

Yes, I realize that the best writing probably comes from those gangs of rampaging thoughts. But, well, I don't want 'em. I want to come up with brilliance without any discomfort.

But the rampaging thoughts remain.

And after seeing the Oregon Shakespeare Festival production of Into the Woods (three times?) the soundtrack for those thoughts is Miriam Laube singing "It's the last midnight."  Beautiful glorious song of doom. I want to hear it again. The production is over. Is she going with it when the show goes to Beverly Hills? I want that song available whenever I want to hear it, but I'm afraid that listening to any recording will wipe out the memory of Miriam singing it, and that's just not acceptable.

Why do I want to listen to a "song of doom" when I'm trying to flee from stress? I don't know.

Has OSF ever considered releasing soundtracks? I must ask.

It's interesting that the OSF productions that I most urgently long to see again are musicals. The Unfortunates will be showing at ACT in San Francisco in 2015, and we will be going. I don't much like San Francisco any more; my favorite restaurant in the world isn't enough to lure me there. But The Unfortunates are. Is.


That is all.