Previous month:
September 2012
Next month:
November 2012

October 2012

Just a Little . . . Psycho!


I'm not a fan of today's "scary movies."  Even at Halloween.  Just don't like 'em.  I do, though, like Alfred Hitchcock movies!  (I can remember, as a girl, being scared out of my wits by The Birds.  Just terrified!)

Today, Carole has us thinking about our favorite Alfred Hitchcock films.  Before I get started on my list, enjoy this quickie-version of The Birds . . . in 1 minute, 40 seconds.


My Ten Favorite Alfred Hitchcock Films:

  1. Rear Window
  2. Vertigo
  3. The Birds
  4. Psycho
  5. North by Northwest
  6. Dial M for Murder
  7. To Catch a Thief
  8. Notorious
  9. Spellbound
  10. Rebecca

And how about YOU?  What's your favorite Alfred Hitchcock film?


Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here.

Right Now . . . October

Here's what's going on in my life  . . . RIGHT NOW.


Watching . . . Outside, I'm watching the leaves fall.  Fast.  Most of the loveliness is gone now.  Just the dull oak leaves, bare branches, and a few colorfull hangers-on remain.  Inside, I'm watching Upstairs Downstairs on PBS. 

Reading . . . In Sunlight and In Shadow by Mark Helprin (which is delicious . . . if you like lyrical language and poetry; which . . . I do.)  Also still slogging through this biography of Catherine the Great.  It's good, and I like it. . . but I can put it down and not lose the thread.  Y'know?

Knitting . . . I am working on this cardigan, and using this yarn.  Frankly, I don't see what all the fuss is about this yarn, but it is beginning to grow on me.  I'm also working on my Leftie, with many more little leaf-blobs complete, now, than when you last saw it.

Humming . . . Pilot of the Air Waves.  Really.  Where do these things come from?


Thinking about . . . how to bring LIGHT into my ever-darker days.

Listening to . . . my phone ring.  And ring.  And ring.  But not answering.  Because I can't bear one more election-related robo-call.

Dreading . . . Jenny's upcoming X-ray procedure (and the aftermath, which might be surgery).  Jenny has likely torn a ligament -- all that dock-jumping, I'm afraid -- and has been limping lately.  She has to have an X-ray to confirm the diagnosis, but must be put under anesthesia first. . . because dogs don't cooperate with X-rays.  This isn't for another week; I hate having her in pain -- but I also hate having to put her through this procedure.

Planning . . . my plan-of-attack on the holidays.


Excited about . . . finally checking out the recipes in this double issue!  I look forward to the November issue of Cooking Light more than I look forward to the September issue of Vogue.  (Yeah.  True confessions.)

Drinking . . . Yes.  (And let's just leave it at that.)

Itching to . . . peel wallpaper from my upstairs bathroom, but will hold off until after the holidays.  Because I don't need any MORE projects.  (And that one wasn't on my list.)

Needing to . . . deal with the fact that my iMac's hard drive has been "recalled."  Although Apple is going to make it right, it's still a pain in the ass.  For many reasons.

Organizing . . . closets.  Always.  Forever.  Until the end of time.

Inspired by . . .progress!


Delighted by. . . my new knitting bag.  Perfect; absolutely perfect.  (And, best of all, I got it with an unused WEBS gift card I found while cleaning out my closet!!!!)

How about YOU?  What's going on for YOU . . . right now?

Nothing Gold Can Stay

The leaves are falling fast now.  It's only a matter of days before the trees are bare and the landscape is bleak.  Enjoy some poetry . . . for a late fall day.

Nature's first green is gold


Her hardest hue to hold


Her early leaf's a flower


But only so an hour


Then leaf subsides to leaf.


So Eden sank to grief.


So dawn goes down to day.


Nothing gold can stay.

-- Robert Frost

Closing a Chapter

The summer before Erin started high school, we made a sudden and unexpected move (thanks to a large pharmaceutical company who will remain nameless. . . ) from our comfortable home in a Grand Rapids suburb . . . to (then unknown) Kalamazoo.

What do you do . . . for your 14-year-old kid who is looking forward to starting high school . . . with her friends. . . in a familiar place. . . with her friends . . . where she wants to be . . . with her friends?

Why, you tell her she can decorate her new room ANY WAY SHE WANTS!

And, then. . . you don't bat an eye when she chooses THIS:


Yeah.  It was pretty hideous.  Bright yellow walls, sponge painted with neon purple and bright teal (which, I seem to remember may have been called "Lagoon Blue").

But, heck.  We had fun together, sponge painting those bright splotches all over the wall.  We both have happy memories of creating this . . . masterpiece. . . together.  (Even though it looked like, well, clown-barf.)

And, as it turned out, our new life in Kalamazoo was pretty darn good.  Erin had a great high school experience.  She made new friends, did some pretty amazing things, and made it through her high school years in fine form.

Erin with ducks
One of Erin's senior picture proofs; the photographer, Jeff Mitchell, took several shots in her room. Great idea; great way to remember her space! Because. . . things change.

And the walls in her room didn't look so bad, either.  Erin's personal style (at that time) was to cover the walls with pictures and posters and mementoes and do-dads.  You could hardly even SEE the  loud walls for all the . . . stuff. . . she had tacked on top of them!

But, then. . . she was gone.

Those walls, once they were empty of the do-dads and photos and posters; once they were bare . . . just screamed!


UGLY!  We are UGLY!  (Hideous, some would say.) We look like CLOWN-BARF!!!!

And yet . . .

I couldn't quite bring myself to cover them.  It wasn't so much that I didn't want to tackle the project (although, well, there was that). . . but I just wasn't quite ready to let go of that last piece of . . . Erin!

And so, I used the room as a storage "place."  I closed the door.  And walked away.

Until this summer.  I got itchy  to create a space for me to do my work.  I was feeling a strong need to separate my "home office" from my "work office."  I knew I could be more efficient if I could keep my two computers* on different desks. 

It was time.  I needed to tackle the walls in Erin's old room.  (Because, really.  The clown-barf walls just don't work for me.)

It's been a long time coming.  There was the Thinking About It; there was the Finding Time For It; there was the Deciding On The Color; there was the Wall Preparation (and, trust me, it takes a long, long time to locate, and then fill, hundreds upon hundreds of nail and tack holes in clown-barf colored walls); and, finally, there was the Actually Doing It. 



Now that it's done,


it's been totally worth it!  I'm pleased.

(Jenny is Not Pleased because I made her get off the bed for the photos.  She is quite thrilled with her new available sleeping options, and didn't like having to move.)

I even painted the closets (biggest pain in the ass ever).


And here's that bookcase. . .


I still have some finishing to do. . . pictures on the walls, a valance over the window blind, that kind of thing.  (The fun parts, actually.)  It feels good to have a pretty, functional, "new" space in my house.  And, it feels good to let the old walls go. 


Although I must admit that when I came to the last square foot of clown-barf wall, I paused for a few moments with my paint roller in hand.  I took a minute to remember sponge painting the walls with my 14-year-old daughter; how we giggled and gossiped together, how wonderful it was to share that experience.  Happy memories.

And then. . . I painted right over it!

The memories remain.  The clown-barf does not.


* My personal computer is an iMac; my work computer is an HP Windows laptop.  It gets complicated.



Trick-or-Treat. . . Smell-my-Feet


This week, Carole has us thinking about the treats in our Trick-or-Treat bags.

As for me, I try to avoid Halloween candy.  It's so tempting this time of year. . . to grab a bag (or two!) of your favorite "Miniatures."  For the Trick-or-Treaters, you say.  Sure, I say.

I tend to buy my treats rather at the last moment.  (So I don't eat them first.)  And I tend to buy candies I don't really like.  (So I don't eat them at all.)

But. . . where's the fun in that?

So, today, I decided to take you on a little trip in the Way Back Machine.  Back to the 1960s.  Back to when I really DID have a Trick-or-Treat bag!


Halloween 1961
Me, a bunny, in 1961. . . bossing around my not-much-younger cousins!


Back in the 60s, "miniature" candy bars hadn't been invented yet.  I never got a Snickers or a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in my Trick-or-Treat bag.  (If I had, I'd have thought I hit the jackpot!)  Yet, my bag was always full!

What DID I get in my Trick-or-Treat bag. . . back in the 1960s?

  1. Atomic Fireballs (so hot!)
  2. Banana Split Taffy Chews (one of my favorites!)
  3. Bazooka Bubble Gum (WITH comic strips!  bonus!)
  4. Turkish Taffy (these were bigger treats, so all the more coveted)
  5. Candy Cigarettes (Ooooo!  Forbidden Fruit!)
  6. Candy Buttons (pure Sugar "dots" . . . on long, narrow sheets of paper; great for sharing on the playground)
  7. Chicklets (tiny little two-to-a-package gumlets!)
  8. Mary Janes (chewy peanut butter and molasses!  mmmmm!)
  9. Milk Duds (two-to-a-box!)
  10. Tootsie Rolls (another of my favorites)
  11. Malted Milk Balls (the best!)

How about YOU?  What's in YOUR Trick-or-Treat bag (either now . . . or then)?


Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here.



Beginnings . . . OR . . . Finding the Linchpin

As I wrote on Friday, I've got a lot of "projects" going on.  These aren't life-and-death kinds of projects.  Just things I want to (or need to) do so I can function more efficiently in the world.  And feel better about my surroundings.  And, shoot. . . just so I can find things when I need them!

And so.

I dug in.

First, I made a list - "brainstorm" style - of all the various "projects" in my mind.


(I often think this way.  Just sort of free-form, topical lists where I can "think" on paper, and draw and highlight as the mood strikes.)

Right away, I could see that some of my "projects" (organizing my sewing/crafting room, for example) are really independent of all the other "projects", and can be completed on their own.  Some of the "projects", though, are totally dependent on other "projects," and require my completing pre-requistites  . . . first. 

For example, I want to finish setting up my newly-painted guest room/small office (formerly known as Erin's room). 

But, to do that, I need to move a bookcase (housed in Brian's room) into the new room. 

And to do that, I need to empty the bookcase. 

And to do that, I need to find a place for the emptied items.

And that . . .  dovetails into another "project":  Going through the "leavings" from Erin and Brian; sorting and re-packing the "savers", and readying those items for storage.

Which actually bumps up against another entire "project":  Re-organizing that portion of my house that we lovingly call "TinyTown." **

Clearly, it's a total Give-a-Mouse-a-Cookie situation. . .


I needed to identify the linchpin in my project plan.  I needed to figure out where to begin. . . so that everything else could start sliding into place.

And when I started studying my list . . . I could see where I needed to start.  And I amost cried . . . just sat down on the stairs and cried . . . when I realized that my  linchpin . . . was BRIAN'S ROOM!!!


Any of you readers who have/have had college-age boys know the depths of my despair.  And those of you who don't have college-age boys . . . well . . . their rooms-at-home are a frightening place.  They are, in fact, everything you might imagine/fear them to be.

Sure, their rooms-at-home only contain the Things-They-Left-Behind.  You know. . . the high school detritus; the childish items and random toys; the collections they can't bear to part with; that sort of thing.  (And, really, how tough is that?)

But there is also . . . other stuff.  Crusty . . . things.  Stains of unknown origin.  A summer's worth of empty Gatorade bottles tossed casually under the bed.  Hidden (ahem) magazine stashes.  Old teeth.  (Yes.)  Things you would rather not have to deal with.  But, because you are a Mother, you just do.

And so.  I did.



Not pretty.  But clean.  And tidy.  And dusted.

It's a start!  (And the bookcase got moved as well!)


** I'll tell you about TinyTown some other day.  (I'm sure you can hardly wait. . . )



Charge of the Light Brigade

I have a lot of . . . projects . . . going on.

And I don't mean knitting projects.  (Although there are those, too.)

Just a lot of . . . things, around home and work . . . to take care of.  Or deal with.  Or put to rest.  Or tend to.  Or set to rights.

The other day, as I was trying to develop my Strategy for Project Success, I was reminded of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade.

Half a league, half a league, half a league onward.

Which, of course, immediately got me thinking about Alfalfa, and his ill-fated classroom recitation.


PROJECTS to left of me! (Cue: pyrotechnic explosion)

PROJECTS to the right of me!  (Cue: pyrotechnic explosion)

Into the valley of Control . . . Rode the Intrepid Organizer!

(You know what I'll be up to this weekend. . . )

Half a league, half a league
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns,' he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

-- Alfred, Lord Tennyson





Sky on Fire

The other day, as the sun rose, I glanced out my kitchen window . . . and it looked like the sky was on fire.


But it was just my neighbor's tree, shining in the sunrise and glowing over my backyard!


And from my front porch, I could see this view:


Glowing trees.


Sky on fire!**



** The colors here in lower, Western Michigan are at their peak right now.  But yesterday, the wind and the rains came and stayed.  And that's NOT a winning combination.