Rory, Octo

Playtime is Now!

The thought escapes me...and shows up here

Halloween Memory!
Smart Rory
Just about to go to bed; successful Halloween at the new house (except I didn't get a chance to finish my planned costume.  Sigh.)

Remember those little boxes of Junior Mints & Milk Duds, etc?  I used to make them into little tiny furniture & books (little bookcases, chairs & tables)...I think it was a 70s thing; the Sunshine Family dolls always came with instructions for making strawberry baskets into picnic tables & things of that nature.  I'm sure my taped-and-glued things were beauteous to behold!

I hope everyone who wanted to got to OD on sugar and/or alcohol in honor of the holiday!

Happy All-Saints' Day!  I will wear all white tomorrow & be all angelic & stuff! (just as usual!)

Love, me.

"She fell off her ass in a deadly swoon"
Rory, Octo
[from "Una & the Red Cross Knight" from Andrew Lang]

Yes, I am a complete juvenile.  That cracks me up!

Just found out today, after getting Part 1 of Root Canal procedure, that my 2-week temp assignment has ended, only 1 week early!  Ah, well; it leaves more time for packing.

If all goes as planned, 2 weeks from Thursday, we'll have a house!  We're so excited!  But that *does* mean that 10 years of accumulated books, fabric, toys & random assorted junk must be sorted and packed.  I've already thrown out several pieces of dumpster-derived furniture, brought 7 or so grocery bags full of things to Goodwill, and sold 2 boxes of books to Half Price Books (and only bought 1 dvd & 1 book...I think it might be a record!)

Strangely, somehow, there's not a lot of room to move in the apartment right now.  Hmm. Dunno why!

Just threw out 2 old universal TV remotes.  And we still have 2.  It is a sad, sad life we lead!

Ah, Spring!
At Dinner
No, no flowers in Minneapolis yet, although the sunny days are encouraging!

Something my friend John said in Facebook made me think of my springtime play rituals as a child growing up in Sacramento.

The yard at my mom's house had an abundance of flowers and fruit; there was a loquat tree (they're nothing whatever like kumquats; they look a little bit like small pears, with a golden yellow skin, oval shape, and super-juicy fruit with very large smooth seeds;  Wikipedia has pictures of this very Asian fruit...

There were many, many big fleshy pink camellias (not my favorite), and droopy trumpet-shaped red/orange flowers that attract hummingbirds; I didn't play with those much.

I did, however play with (or eat!), petite peach-&-white colored honeysuckles (I was convinced, as a child, that they were different flavors), Azalea in fuschia and white, ivory gardenias (Mom's favorite), a bright magenta crape myrtle tree in the front yard, some sunshiny little yellow flowers, calla lilies, strawberries, and a huge bush that I called a snowball bush because of its boughs covered in fluffy white bunches of small flowers.

I spent a lot of time by myself outside, creating tiny animal communities, occasional gardening, or just reading in the crape myrtle tree.  My favorite thing for a while was to pick a long flowering branch of the "snowball bush", tie the ends together to make a wreath to wear on my head after picking all the other flowers I liked and weaving them in.  I would wear it for awhile, pretending to be either the Queen of the Forest or a fairy of some other kind (yes, I was one of *those* children. It was, after all, the early 80s), then I would "offer" it to the local deity.

Sadly, it broke and is long gone, but the back yard, when we moved into the house in the 70s, featured a little house-shaped shrine on a carved wooden pole, with a primitive clay figure in it.  In my ignorance, I assumed it was the Virgin Mary, the only woman I knew of in Christian tradition, because she wore a long robe with a hood, bangs and a peaceful expression, and held a dove in one hand.  Naturally, as most of you have probably figured out, it turned out to be St. Francis, his tonsure hidden by the hood, and the figure too rude to clearly denote gender.  Ah, well.  I didn't figure that out until much, much later!

So yes, little pagan springtime rituals dedicated to St. Francis as a nature goddess.

Happy Spring, everybody!

Suburban Nightmare Dolls!!!
Rory, Octo
So we had to go out shopping today, for Kevin's birthday.  Our shopping trajectory was Toys R Us, Once Upon a Child, Goodwill, Target, Costco and home.

OK, the Once Upon a Child is just for me to look at used Barbie dolls, & the Goodwill is so I can look at clothes and used Barbie Dolls. Bryan is very, very tolerant.

Ridgedale Toys R Us is currently going through a Remodeling clearance. Uh-oh.  Bryan got some new Rock Band guitars for cheap, so that was nice, & I got a couple of dolls.

Then I ran over to Once Upon a Child, & scanned the toy shelves for baggies with Barbies in them.  AND SAW THE FIRST SUBURBAN NIGHTMARE DOLLS!  It was a swarthy male adult Ken doll (seriously; he was blond, but very tan), packaged in a baggie with white, teen  Mary-Kate & Ashley dolls.  No, I did not get them.  That would be wrong.  And besides, I could never take them out of the baggie, so where's the fun in that? Anyway, I told the clerk about it when I bought a $1.50 Eden Starling Barbie in her pretty red dress & faux-pearl necklace.

Then we went to Goodwill, where I proceeded to buy a pair of ankle boots, a pair of blue brocade pants to cut up, & proceeded to the toy section.  I saw the legs of a Ken doll, & picked him up.

He'd appeared to be naked when I first saw him, but someone (the original owner, presumably a doll?  Maybe a disaffected Goodwill sorter?) had put a shirt on him (clearly intended for a smaller doll), which, stretched across his chest like a cropped tank, read:
.  Yes.  Pantsless man in a tight half-shirt.  euwwww. No, I did not buy him. But I kinda wanted to.

Target was mostly uneventful; we successfully purchased Kevin's present & Bryan kept me from buying a cupcake-shaped cupcake baker.  I'd rather have an EasyBake oven, anyhow.

Costco was even less eventful.  Onion purchasing, & a sample of potato-soup mix.  Bryan resisted my arguments that because we'd bought toys at EVERY other store we'd been to, that I should get a toy here.  Or, failing that, candy.  He is mean.  I resisted *so* many temptations today!

Now, we're home, he's "testing" his new guitars, and I have a few toys to open.  I am so deprived.

Day of Projects!
Rory, Octo
The holidays & the bulk of the thank-you notes are done at last!  Unapologetically unemployed for at least a little while! Gaming at our house was last night, so another 3 weeks of freedom before I have to clean again! (in unrelated news, I wore my stripy green sari last night, and remember how much I like wearing saris, and also how much I suck at proper pleating techniques!)

Today is the Day for Projects for others!

I have family birthdays to prepare for, among other things, and I'm trying very hard to finish up various projects that I got the materials for and was never able to get to or finish, or media projects in which I am woefully behind.

Plus, I really want to do Valentines again this year!  While doing thank-you notes, I had to handle many of the materials I use to make Valentines. 

But first, my (almost?)daily hour of aerobic, while I monitor a transfer of 1959's Solomon & Sheba for my Great Videotape Transfer, starring Yul Brunner & Gina Lollabrigida.

I will not be distracted by my new(old) copy of _Medieval Costume & Life_, which discussing at Twelfth Night inspired me to locate and purchase, along with other research books (which should arrive soon).  I will not be distracted by my various mending and altering projects for my own personal adornment.  I will not be distracted by the various home repair projects I need to do.  Not today.  Cross fingers!

Maybe I can host a Choli Day in the next month, wherein I trick a bunch of people to come over to my house & inspire me to finish the dozen or so cholis that I need to finish!  but NOT TODAY!!!

And by Special Request...
Rory, Octo
Old Twelvey Night in Nordskogen was grand; pretty to look at, extremely well-organized, great food & many much-beloved people!  I missed the ones who couldn't come for all the various reasons (economics, stormy weather, date conflicts, etc.), but it was still a lot of fun.

I made an effort to write down the various requests that people made of me this year, as I often end up remembering the request, but having no idea to whom to give it! 

One such was for Jocelyn Wirth, who asked that I tell her about a little tiny book about European Medieval costume, printed in 1931, that is small, but has really clear & basic patterns for period clothes, shows what they look like in paintings and on modern people, & includes some categories that are scarce in many other sources (ill people, children).  I couldn't remember the author or the title at the event, so I promised to post it here:

That book is Medieval Costume & Life by Dorothy Hartley.  I made a photocopy of the larger part of the book from the Minneapolis Central Library, but I was also feeling covetous & ended up ordering a used copy today on AbeBooks...

I bought a couple of other medieval research books, targeting other countries...used book websites are a dangerous place for me to be.  And we're not even talking about the list of books I put on the "save for later" list...

Anyhow, back to thank-you notes & watching things off the DVR hard drive, and maybe a little mending.  It was a nice quiet day after a very busy holiday weekend!

Nerd Fail, Dumpster Dive Fail/Win
Rory, Octo
So I'm making dvds of episodes of The Banana Splits.  Don't ask me why.  All I can say is Danger Island.  They've been playing on Boomerang, mostly in order. 

I remember most of the tacky cartoons, the dear-to-my-heart cheesy Arabian Knights, in their 1960's style Arab-influenced space costumes, the Musketeers, with it's annoying boy sidekick...but I did NOT remember Micro Ventures, the story of a scientist and [his?] two teens [or whatever] who get in a dune buggy, shrink themselves down to bug-size, and 

So one episode of Micro Ventures, "The Backyard Jungle" involves the girl being late with her entomology report.  Which kinda cracks me up.  So her dad (?) suggests they go to the backyard to do the requisite research.  They shrink down, drive the buggy around, and have a venture that ends, as it always does, with them rushing back to the shrink-ray in terror of their lives to get back to normal size. 

But she's totally going to fail her class, because the insects portrayed in the cartoon are AWFUL!!!  The artist did not seem to use any reference material, and/or was trying to avoid drawing mandibles AT ALL COSTS.  The spider had a beak.  Like a big falcon.

Another episode, where it appears the writers had to crack a book to get information on ants, depicted the ants more accurately (with appropriate mouth-parts).

Then I went to the dumpster to retrieve a cool ironing board, and discovered some plastic bins that I wanted.  I got them, some hangers, some books, and saw one more bin, but was just about to give up on it when my bracelet fell into the dumpster.  So I *had* to get it back. And get that other bin.

The bins will help with my current reorganization of all my stuff.  Yay, bins!

Now I'm recording The Centurions (unrelated to the Banana Splits); they go to a Renaissance festival.  I had to.  Don't judge me.

I got Man's Birthright for $1.00
Rory, Octo
I was looking for a book for a friend, and had hit 2 Barnes & Nobles, the Laurie Bookseller & BookSmart, and got to Magers & Quinn.  Always a dangerous proposition.  I'd already bought a couple of books for myself at BookSmart, and I was REEEEEELY going to look ONLY for the Bronte book I was seeking...

But, see, they have clearance books outside for $1...and I HAD to look!

First I saw The Little Book [of color healing] CALM; if you don't know why that's funny, you need to see the first episode of the British series "Black Books".  I mean, right now.

Then, I saw Man's Birthright.  All it says on the cover is "Man's Birthright     Clark(the author, of course)".  On the title page, it says, "Man's Birthright, or The Higher Law of Property".  I couldn't resist it.  It was published in 1885, and is, of course, a treatise on the rightness of the capitalist system.

My favorite part is that the Publisher's note reads, in part, "In associating their imprint with an essay dealing with such 'burning question,' the publishers think it proper to say that they do not find themselves in accord with certain of the conclusions arrived at by the author."

I love it!

Oh, and I did find the book I was looking for.  And I found 3 other books I had to buy, and I remembered 3 other things I was looking for, but did not find.

Bookstores is dangerous places!!!

The Phantom Smell of Tomatoes
Rory, Octo
I was taking the walking/biking paths home from the post office today, and stopped suddenly...It smelled like tomato plants, but there was nothing that looked like one in view!  It took me back to picking worms...oh, never mind!  My iPod was being very helpful & coming up with happy andante music that I could sing along to (although I don't remember all the lyrics to "Jaane Kyon" from _Dil Chahta Hai_ anymore)

IFC is currently showing _Bride & Prejudice_, and while it is not really a good movie, having watched the first dance number again, all I can think is, "If Naveen Andrews had done a few more dance numbers, this would have been the BEST MOVIE EVER" spite of the not-so-great English-language songs (I also have the Hindi version of this film, & the songs are greatly improved by not being in English...).

I'm trying to go through my belongings to try to pare down a bit.  So was it good or bad that I came home today with a wooden barstool & a cheap bookcase?  Um.  Still thinking about that.  I *am* taking 4 grocery bags of stuff to Goodwill today (Those people who would like to point out that some of that stuff came from local dumpsters are poopy-heads. That is all.)

I'm also digitizing my videotapes this week.  It is a scary, scary process, & probably won't be finished this year...I'm trying to put related items together (all Bollywood actor interviews & movie reviews on one disc, for instance)...

And I think I may be a GIANT GEEK.  

PS. "Johnny Wickham".  Feh.

Willow Pillow
I spent a good portion of the morning transferring an audio cassette to cd for my mom; it came from the man who became her 2nd husband.

Having lost both fathers within the last year, one much beloved, and one pitied and occasional despised (when I was younger), has set me thinking. 

Of course there was a fair amount of bitterness during my teen years.  That seems natural.  The fantasies of our parents getting back together (although, strangely, I never associated myself with _The Parent Trap_, even when I was young...maybe because my sister & I look nothing like Hayley Mills!), resentment at the remarriages of our parents, etc.

I like to think it didn't leave me with many of the marks that characterize "the children of divorce"; no fear of abandonment, or any inability to have a healthy relationship (so far as I can tell!).  Just a faint distaste for marriage as an institution (never for others; I'm as happy as anyone when lovely people marry one another!), and perhaps a certain impatience with wilful blindness about a bad relationship.

All of the regular things about a "blended family" are true for me; my larger family has shaped me, and each of its members is truly a part of my identity.  My brother wouldn't have existed without the divorce & remarriage; I can trace mannerisms and habits picked up from all four parents and two siblings; there are great memories that go hand-in-hand with all the awkwardness and misunderstandings, funny things like as a 3rd-grader completely forgetting the term "step-father" and therefore introducing my mom's husband innocently as "my false-father".  Oopsie.

What really struck me today, though, was the thought that I really couldn't even imagine (and I have a marvelously overactive imagination) what my nuclear family would have been like, had it stayed together.  I'd have to backtrack so far, and erase so much, that it would just become a complete work of fiction.  And I don't even want that fiction; I'm not sure I've wanted that fiction since I was a pre-teen, although I'm sure I said things to the contrary when I was upset with one parent or other!

It doesn't take away the sorrow that my parents' breakup caused, or the suffering that led up to it.  No matter how necessary, justified, or desired a divorce is, it is never, ever fun.  So, you know.  Avoid it if you can!  But if you can't, you can't.  And life goes on.

You would never think that transferring a 1970s recording of Gene Autry singing "Blueberry Hill" would dredge all that up, would you?


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