29 July 2007

Day of Reckoning

Having engaged in some quantification last Sunday makes today the day of reckoning. I will be bummed if I have not made a millimeter of progress.

I should be patient, right? Besides, even if there is no progress, it's entirely possible I staved off regression of which I was previously unaware. It's not like I assumed a hefty workout regimen or altered my eating habits. Ok, perspective, good.

One year ago at TTaT: Trip Prep, A beginning is a very delicate time
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27 July 2007

Sick of your martyrdom

When you say what you want, and I say what I want, and then you say you'll do what I want, you are not compromising even if you say you are. You're embracing frakking martyrdom, and it pisses me off.

You like that role though. There's no ammunition stockpiles to bolster if we both just do what we want separately. When I insisted that you should do what you wanted to do instead of "compromising," you got angry with me. Clearly, I am the bad guy.

One year ago at TTaT: Number 8
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26 July 2007

Je souhaite

Aside from the coffee,
I'd… wish that I'd never heard the word wish before. I'd wish that I could live my life moment by moment, … enjoying it for what it is instead of… instead of worrying about what it isn't. I'd sit down somewhere with a great cup of coffee and I'd watch the world go by. But then again, I'm not you so I doubt that's your wish. -Jenn, "Je Souhaite," The X files: season 7, episode 21
But then again... lately, I'm thinking I would wish for perfect health. Genies being the notorious tricksters that they are supposed to be has me considering just what "perfect health" means to me. No more sinus troubles, allergies, strained knees or shoulders. Not another cold ever. No stomach flus, food poisoning, depression. No viruses, diseases, mutations my body has yet to encounter or latent within. No acne, no moles or bumps that could be precursors to skin cancer (or hell, that I find distasteful).

Basically, impervious to all illnesses and injuries, free of flaws. But if that were so, would it make me immortal? No one dies of old age anymore, at least not in the US. I don't really want to live forever. Would I cease to age forced into a nomadic life like Duncan MacLeod? Would my genetics have to be altered to make perfect health possible and if so, how much like myself would I remain? I'm not looking to be indestructible; though it's tempting, I would feel burdened to use my powers for the greater good. Also, I wouldn't want to end up trapped in some lab while scientists fruitlessly study my perfect health. I reckon I want health perks without additional responsibilities.

And then, there are the flaws I kind of like: assorted freckles and my L scar. How would it be possible to phrase the wish to get what I actually want? Is it a vain and self-centered wish? Sure. The really grand wishes never seem to go over well in stories. If you assume three wishes, wish 1 surely ought to be something that would ensure the genie doesn't misinterpret your next wishes for kicks. Just a thought.

What would you wish for?

One year ago at TTaT: This could've been my first post
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25 July 2007

What do you mean, no more Wendy's?!

The day started out well enough: feeling good, ready to tackle some errands, but my energy and motivation vanished with a wave of nausea. Drainage, sinuses, weather, pollen, particulates: I curse thee all. Some slow breaths, a couple Pepto bismol chewables, some more mental concentration, and I felt past the risk of throwing up. Still didn't feel particularly well though.

I studied my stomach's moods to discern what I might feel like eating later. Wendy's chili with cheese and some crackers. Didn't sound great, but it was the only thing that sounded all right.

That's when mom informed me there was no more Wendy's.

"What?! No. Huh?"

"There's no more Wendy's."

"What do you mean no more Wendy's? What are you talking about?"

Apparently the guy who owns several franchises across the county was having serious financial problems. Instead of setting closing dates, he just waited for managers to call him and say they were running out of burgers and then just told them to close. No warning, not even for his employees. What a dick.

Two years ago at TTaT: tip of the week- typing; Inspector No.12, where were you?
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24 July 2007

Not always the best skill

Back in film school, Directing II included some acting exercises. In one, two people sat in chairs in front of the class, knee-to-knee. One person would make a present-tense observation about the other, and the other would repeat what the first had said verbatim.

"You're wearing jeans."
"You're wearing jeans."

"You're wearing a t-shirt."
"You're wearing a t-shirt."

"Your hair is brown."
"Your hair is brown."

It's more difficult to do than it sounds. A lot of people would switch the pronoun to I when they were repeating and others would drop the "You are..." or "Your" format when they got into details.

"You're wearing a t-shirt."
"I'm wearing a t-shirt."

"It's green."

It is as dull to watch other people doing as it seems unless you happen to be among friends, and they're screwing up and laughing.

When it was my turn to make observations, I sat across from O, our knees interlocked so we were each touching the edge of the other's chair.

"You're wearing a blue shirt."
"You're wearing a blue shirt."

"Your hair is black."
"Your hair is black."

"Your hair is short."
"Your hair is short."

Our professor altered the exercise so that O was supposed to change the yous to Is.

"You're wearing jeans."
"I'm wearing jeans."

"Your stubble is black."
"My stubble is black."

"You're smiling at me."
"I'm smiling at you."

"You're repeating everything I say."
"I'm repeating everything I, you say."

If I couldn't think of something, I had to repeat my last observation to preserve the rapid flow.

"You're repeating everything I say."
"I'm repeating everything you say."

"You're repeating everything I say."
O started messing around with his inflections, getting ever more grandiose. "I am repeating everything you say."

"You're repeating everything I say."
"I'm repeating everything you say."

"You're repeating everything I say."
"I'm repeating everything you say."

I started to laugh and my professor called for the next pair, but just then I got it:
"You're making fun of me."

O grinned. I looked over at my prof and he smiled. The whole point of the exercise was to recognize quickly what someone was really doing in the moment. For a director, this skill is crucial for ensuring she gets the performance she needs. In life, it helps elucidate people's subtext.

I am a literalist, so reading people's suppressed moods and ulterior motives is not my forte, but every now and then my brain clicks back to that repeating exercise and thinks, "What is she really saying?"

It's good to know the answer to that question, but when it comes to my mom, it's better not to call her on her subtext, particularly when she's unconsciously dissing my education because of her unwarranted low self-esteem from never finishing college. Note to self: stop setting off that booby trap.

"You and your father think I'm a monster."

"No, we don't." Oh man, this took a seriously wrong turn. I had pointed out that she was implying I shouldn't like cartoons based on my level of education. All this because I had recounted some silliness from an episode of Futurama.

Mom's eyes were watering and my desire to convince her that I was right plummeted. "I didn't mean to upset you."

"I'm not upset."

Your eyes are watering, I thought to myself, but I let it go.

22 July 2007

I often don't know what to say to him

but when we do get around to talking to one another, it doesn't matter much. No one ever had to coax my brother into sharing his opinions. That's cool and Sounds good suffice to fill most of his pauses.

One year ago at TTaT: Two no's, Summer of birthdays
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21 July 2007

Behind the Harry Potter lines: redux

The release of this latest Harry Potter tome takes me back to my firsthand experience of the craze in July 2000.
************************************

The store was dead when I arrived, but there was more staff on hand than I'd ever seen at once including staff meetings. Managers and staff from the other branch had joined us for the release of Harry Potter IV: Goblet of Fire.

Since our district manager and the regional vice president were due to show up sometime during the night, we were assigned SONICing. Straight, Organized, Neat, Impeccably Clean. I.e., arrange the books symmetrically tall to short while placing hardbacks face out favoring an aesthetic over alphabetical order.

To get out of the alpha-pretty initiative, I pointed out that I still had books to put out from that week's shipment. Since I had the weekend off, the books wouldn't get touched again until Monday; thankfully, my argument was persuasive, so I spent the next couple of hours productively.

Around 8:50, I was in the back putting away some overstocks when a manager suggested I stop shelving and help with crowd control. I walked back onto the floor now swarming with over a hundred people that seemed to have materialized instantaneously.

Kids in costumes, parents milling, and everyone with questions including the staff. With the bookstore’s usual bureaucracy, the directives I'd read merely said what was supposed to happen, not where or who or how; it was chaos.

I initially dodged face painting in favor of wizard hat making, but once I saw the supplies we had I had no more idea than the kids what we were expected to do with 8x11 pieces of construction paper in terms of making a hat. Dante and I set up some tables, covered them with paper, spread stuff out, and basically left each other hanging as we took turns wandering off until Dante decided it was a wizard hat design contest.

The company big-wigs arrived with the tv crew and added to the mayhem. The roar of conversation drowned out the store music and intercom as more people arrived.

Around ten, I ended up face painting to relieve Brandi so she could judge costumes. I'd never done it before, but once I realized that the expectations were low, and the kids and adults thought I was good, I had fun with it. Lightning bolts, leopards, cats, baseballs, rainbows, hearts, stars: I painted them all.

And then I was back in the fray.

My mistake was going back to customer service. We'd been taking reserves for the book up to the day before, but during the night the regional v.p. told people we'd keep taking reserves. We only had about 50 books beyond the existing list, so I started counting as we added names. Holding 'The List' was simply a bad idea. For 45 minutes, a steady stream of people asked me to add their names or to verify that they were already on The List. They asked about the procedure of getting books. (There wasn't one yet.) People started forming lines without provocation. One guy stood in front of customer service for a couple of hours saying he was just going to follow The List.

I got away and left The List behind to help some poor suckers who'd come in for regular shopping. They were very understanding as I stood in the aisles with a pronounced inability to concentrate.

Rockstar, our shipping and receiving clerk, wasn't working but stopped by to witness the mayhem. He commented that I looked stressed out and asked if I'd had a break yet; I hadn't. By then it was after 11 PM, I was losing my voice, and I was totally dehydrated. He kindly bought me a drink from the cafe and set it in the back room for me.

Finally a plan emerged (albeit a bad one) for distributing the books. Two separate lines: the reserved folk at customer service (that guy was smart to follow The List) and the unreserved at the front. Of course knowing we were going to be short copies, it was ill-advised to have both lines going simultaneously, but that was the directive of the regional v.p., and what she says, you do.

I hung to the back and started putting away all the magazines and books on the floor and benches. The store was a disaster, and the last thing I wanted to do was spend forever cleaning after everyone had gone.

After a while they ran out of copies for both lines; I was glad I didn't have to deal with the people who'd reserved books in advance and hadn't gotten them. Once most of the patrons had departed, a calm swept over the store. Our district manager bought us all drinks from the cafe, so I scored a second Snapple Rain, but that was little compensation for the fact that none of us had gotten dinner breaks.

After the refreshment, I finished cleaning up the magazine section by myself as the rest of the crew hoped and waited for the DM to leave. She didn't. She wasn't going to leave until she had all the numbers for the other stores in her district.

Regaining some motivation, Dante and I then picked up the most dreaded part of the store: the kids' section, while Brandi vacuumed obstinate piles of sparkles from the hat design area and everywhere else they were tracked. Our lurking patrons left, we locked the doors, and I clocked out at twenty to two.

At least I didn't have to be back in the morning like some other folks. Two days off in a row was going to be a real treat.

One year ago at TTaT: Paradise lost
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20 July 2007

Specifics

I was just reading a post about exercise over at Ririan Project, a site hard to pass up for list-lovers, when a familiar lesson appeared:
1. What is your Goal?

Amazingly, the average person never makes it successfully past this point because they think that they just want to “lose weight” or “be more healthy”. As with every other goal in your life, getting very specific is the necessary first step.

...by getting specific with your goal, you will give yourself a measurable target to aim for, which will help you immensely when it comes to staying focused.
With exercise, I go through phases in which I do and then I don't. I'd be hard pressed to describe a single, specific goal I've ever had for exercise. No wonder I always lose motivation; I've always hated tasks that I regard as maintenance. Without specificity, there's no way to measure accomplishment, nothing I can check off. If not for some old injuries, I'm sure I wouldn't even do the minimal stretching I do most every day.

I want to be stronger, my thighs to be slimmer like they used to be, my stomach to be a bit flatter, more endurance. I want my knees and shoulders to be more reliable/stronger- less the isolated joints of old injuries and more integrated with the rest of my body. Now I just have to figure out how to quantify these desires.

Then maybe I can incorporate some fucking goals into the rest of my life.

In the meantime, time to get back to playing DDR after a 4 week hiatus (Lego Star Wars 2- you slippery slope!).

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Maybe it's time to move

Doctors stress me out. Dentists somewhat surprisingly (considering how other people react to them) really don't bother me. Being able to keep my clothes on in front of strangers apparently keeps me reasonable.

Initially I was going to say that I don't like doctors, and that it's not personal, but that's not strictly true. It is personal in a couple cases. I miss my Florida PCP. She was cool although hard to get an appointment with within 3 months unless something was wrong. Seeing her at a vending machine staving off low blood sugar when I was on my way out after my first appointment made all the difference. Sigh.

Since my new health insurance plan has better coverage, I was going to be good and schedule a long overdue gyn appointment even though I loathe those exams. Turns out if I want a female ob/gyn in my area who accepts my plan, I have only two options. After forcing myself to research and actually make the call, it turns out she's not accepting new patients (although of course it says she is on the web). I don't think I have it in me to try calling the other one today.

One year ago at TTaT: Dude, something lighter
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19 July 2007

When a canvas presents itself, 2

(The making of can be seen here.)

moon and starsstars









Each star is actually the Egyptian hieroglyph for star. Together they comprise the following constellations: Orion, Ursas Minor and Major, and Cassiopeia. (Although each constellation is accurate within itself, they are not necessarily oriented correctly in relation to each other, and there are "extra" stars for the sake of balance in composition.)

tree
The chalk claims to glow in the dark, but I think there was too long a gap between having direct sun and darkness for it to really work. This is a dusk shot.

tiger glow
One year ago at TTaT: I, the Divine; A little love
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18 July 2007

When a canvas presents itself...


(run time 0:26)
A freshly sealed driveway was just too good to pass up.

chalk art
My photo-merging is not as clean as I'd hoped, but this should give you the gist. Closeups likely to come later --> here

(Other vlogs of TTaT)


One year ago at TTaT: Wtf, I didn't mean to, but I started a book
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16 July 2007

Teaser

chalk rigFun was had, oh yes. Whether or not it will glow in the dark will depend on the weather and must wait until tomorrow. Even so, there's tons of photos to sort through, up and downs to sort, and images to stitch. So many photos actually that I'm tempted to make a stop-motion film of them, but that'd likely be really time consuming, so we'll see.

Two years ago at TTaT: Behind the Harry Potter Lines

14 July 2007

Forget the shortcake

Melissa's Ready-to-Use Crepes: Yum!

I've been going with blueberries and whipped cream, but these crepes would be good for just about anything. Paper-thin too. I love being surprised by someone's ability to mass-market foodstuffs I never would've thought possible.

Remember when tv dinners meant salisbury steak or maybe meatloaf? Makes me ill just thinking about it. Huzzah for progress! (Yes, I know- better to cook fresh and all that, but it's still cool to have a no-fuss treat every now and again.)

One year ago at TTaT: Chair hazard
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13 July 2007

Damn weather

Yesterday or today would've been fine it turns out, but the forecast said otherwise. I just need two days without rain in a row. Just two, is that so much to ask?

That's all the creative project I really want to do requires.

You'll see... eventually. Looks like a significant chance of another round of thunderstorms on Sunday, and then again on Tuesday and Wednesday. Grr.

UPDATE (14/vii/07): I feel somewhat vindicated since it started to rain five minutes after I shut my computer off last night. Still too many scattered showers in the forecast though.

Creative space

I used to paint on an easel in the laundry/back room of our old house. Whacking brushes against an easel leg to dry them off always gave me great satisfaction. I had to be careful to get all the paint off, so I wouldn't spatter light colored spots on the floor and wall.

Now I don't have easy access to an easel and I'm not sure where to set up. Dining room? A card table somewhere else? The floor? Flat or propped up? The canvas that awaits has parameters imposing additional challenges. It's fairly small though, so I think I will work flat on my drop cloth somewhere.

I keep thinking about light, how I'd prefer to paint in daylight to artificial, but not many rooms are suited for it. Also, some rooms are more convenient for listening to music than others, and working with acrylics means I should try to do it all in one shot, which adds a time constraint.

Trying to sort out the where is doing more to prevent me from starting than the other limitations.

Two years ago at TTaT: Thwack!
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12 July 2007

HP #5

I give it a thumbs up, peeps. As I've said other places, I'm not all that impressed by the Harry Potter books, and I think the movies do a better job of story-telling overall. The Goblet of Fire movie had its story problems, but I found them to be more pronounced in the book rather than clarified.

That said, I really enjoyed The Order of the Phoenix this afternoon. I have not read this one, but I found the movie to be quite clear. The special effects just keep getting better, and the young cast is maturing into a good looking lot. I hate spoilers, so I'll refrain from sharing specifics.

On an unrelated note, what an awesome compilation this is: Diana Ross & The Supremes, The #1's. No wonder it took so long to get from the library. Upside down, boy you turn me, inside out, and round and round...

One year ago at TTaT: Exercise, Discipline, Affection: in that order!
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11 July 2007

Best of TTaT

2005:
  • The Dive at Machu Picchu

  • Phoenix Rising

  • What Not to Tell Me

  • One Year Ago

  • A Prelude to Bewitched

  • Question Mark, Jerk

  • Hamlet was my undoing: Part I

  • The Prom: Take Two (part 1)

  • Restraint

  • Goblets of Beer

  • Three Breaks

  • Tidbit

  • Beauty Parlor Nostalgia

  • Higher Altitude


  • 2006:
  • The Doctor is In

  • Either I've still got it, or I should be insulted

  • Night aerobics

  • The unconscious lie

  • Why wasn't it me?

  • Life at 16: The License Test

  • Little Creatures

  • Tacos and the bear

  • Good Friday Meets the Twilight Zone

  • PRSD

  • Blue gloves

  • I know that ass

  • The Screws of The Man

  • Heights, old and new

  • People are strange, myself included

  • I'm dreaming of a...



  • 2007:
  • Formalwear Claire

  • Pollocks in Nature

  • In the ground

  • Clash of the Foreign Tongues

  • Flashback: An Evening's Soiree Cycle

  • A follow-up of sorts

  • Talking 'bout the car wash

  • Trees fight back

  • Leaf density II

  • Let The Pictures Do The Talking: A Road Trip

  • When a canvas presents itself...

  • Behind the Harry Potter lines: redux

  • Not always the best skill

  • Defining References

  • Inadvisable, certainly

  • Clear sky at last

  • Ruins where I can get them

  • Only so much patience

  • retrovlog one: A Taste of the Jam

  • Remainders, 1 and 2

  • Once upon a time in San Francisco

  • Snowprints


  • 2008:
  • Thirty Year Old Jock-Thug

  • Claire's Bears

  • Fuzzy plant life

  • Additional tulips

  • Random Scan Sunday 1

  • Juicy Fruit: the survivalist's gum

  • Comic Book Guy's back room

  • Rhubarb!

  • To Be King Again

  • Humid!

  • Hibiscus

  • Cruise Night, round 1

  • Cruise Night, round 2

  • In motion

  • Art + Nature

  • Nap time

  • Autumn

  • Horizontal or vertical?

  • Milkweed

  • Fleeting

  • All but one


  • 2009:
  • Winter waters

  • Interrupted sky

  • Splitting headache

  • Almost time...

  • Near bust

  • Also this time of year

  • Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with D.H. Lawrence

  • Unintentional odds

  • I'll take a bear in my Easter basket any day.

  • The moment I've been waiting for

  • 20 self portraits from 1996, day 2

  • 20 self portraits from 1996, day 13

  • Making it official: coming out to my family

  • Haiku: Irony

  • It's short for Rococo. Obviously.

  • The unbuttoned twin, for Vahid

  • Before dinner...

  • After dinner...

  • Claire's Sublime Smoothies

  • Gettin' My Groove On... (vol. iv)

  • Gettin' My Groove On... (vol. xii)


  • 2010:
    Winter water drops

    Sketchbook, page 11

    BearWatch '10

    Sketchbook, page 13

    Final winter exhibits

    Pick me up flowers

    Light It Up, vol. 1

    5 years of TTaT!

    Sketchbook, page 17 + bonus sketch

    G BIV flora

    Gettin' My Groove On... (vol. xv)

    Interrupted Golf: j'accuse le printemps!

    Sketchbook, page 25

    Airstrip

    Sketchbook, page 29

    It's OK to Zag.

    4-H

    Lakeside Splash

    Trillium and self-portrait

    Favorite Semi Blurs

    Sketchbook, page 47: birthday edition

    Translucent Trillium

    Vinyl meets pollen

    Observations in my parents' kitchen

    Say "ah"

    Sketchbook, page 58: Self-portrait

    If you celebrate...


    2011:
    Icicle Branches

    Biggest Bear Yet

    Flame whoosh

    I am a relaxation ninja.

    Poppy profile

    Bona fide tower

    Would you like cheese on that?

    The Power of Water, part 2

    And then there was Wind...

    Splotchy autumn colors

    Wait!


    2012:
    Life of Art 2011: the year in review

    Like a Ninja

    Where Everybody Knows Your Name...

    Temporal Transportation

    The Pursuit of Moonrise

    Are you ready to Jummmbbbllleee?

    Note to self: vol. XVIII

    Inner Badass

    Super Moon

    Unexpected



    2013:
    Life of Art 2012: the year in review

    Blue Skies

    Fleeting Diner Love

    Fractional Storytelling #1

    Fractional Storytelling #9

    Fractional Storytelling #12

    Fractional Storytelling #14

    Longest haircut ever, part 1

    Longest haircut ever, part 2

    A Decade of Movies and Outings

    Out, damned spot!

    X-Ray Vision

    A Glimpse of Summer

    Flash, Crash, Rumble, Flash

    Window A/C Tips

    Left to my own devices...

    Autumn

    The Apex of Sociability


    2014:
    Life of Art 2013: the year in review

    On Dinner and Dying

    Favorite Fortune Ever

    Happy Pride!

    Rosco, I think his name's Rosco

    Evening Stride

    Evening Snack

    Random Act

    Japanese Painted Ferns

    Nature's Javelin

    Keep Your Head In The Game

    Canopy Roads

    Christmas Eve


    2015:
    Life of Art 2014: the year in review

    Best Part of Winter

    Things That Go Thump In The Night

    Winter's Work

    My First Haircut

    I'm like a little chipmunk

    Spring sighting?

    10 Years of TTaT!

    Triumphant Anxiety

    Tiny Sheep!

    Dusk Sighting

    Perseids

    Great Dane

    You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)

    Enthusiastic

    Home-grown Carrot Round-up

    Eye-catching Mid-autumn Sighting

    Unintentionally Perfect

    Thanksgiving Haiku VII


    2016:
    Klutzy Coordination

    Inverted Linguistics

    BearWatch is Go!

    19 Polar Bears

    Trigger Happy Startle Reflex

    Eleven

    Interrupted Art

    The Next Twilight Bear

    Sheep in Disguise

    How am I not myself?

    Tree Cutters' Haiku

    Why you should watch Wynonna Earp plus bits of real life

    A Recent Lottery Exchange

    Inspired by Wynonna Earp to Try Something New

    The Seen, The Heard, and The Unseen: a tale of Perseids

    A Recent Basement Discovery

    Rosco, officially

    Sights from a day

    Draw What's In Your Bag

    Blind Contour Self Portrait

    One of my happiest days this year
    Bacon Mysteries

    Today's Winter Sightings


    2017 (through April):
    Snow Oddity

    Snow Falling

    Winter Roof Ice

    Introvert Meets Extrovert

    Extrovert continued


    One year ago at TTaT: Wool

    10 July 2007

    Nove

    At Home With Kate: Growing Up In Katharine Hepburn's Household by Eileen Considine-Meara (4/5)

    The author's mother was Ms. Hepburn's cook and housekeeper for thirty years, and the author was often enlisted to help out. The book is full of short, straightforward anecdotes which give a sense of what Katharine Hepburn was like in daily life. Also included are many mementos from the movie star; photos of famous visitors, her East 49th Street NYC brownstone and Connecticut estate, Fenwick; and recipes for several of Hepburn's favorite dishes.

    I found it a thoroughly enjoyable read and an interesting take on a life of fame and privilege from the help's point of view. Hepburn was clearly a demanding employer but also a very generous one.

    Two years ago at TTaT: Enter deluge
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    09 July 2007

    Boom then Shine

    Boomshine: soothing and a little addictive. Good times.

    Now I must really go wash off the talc my hairdresser put on my neck before I get all sneezy.

    One year ago at TTaT: I know that ass
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    06 July 2007

    Not quite the help intended

    The summer traffic was a bit crazy when I drove into town, but I lucked out and got a diagonal space in front of the library. S, my boss from long ago, also a family friend, was behind the counter helping a young man. A swarm of twenty or so kids was waiting to check out with the other staff member.

    I gingerly placed the stack of books and CDs I was returning into the slot and waited for S to look up so I could say a quick hello before leaving. Further down, I noticed the side door open. Gravel entered and we exchanged waves.
    I've known Gravel for a long time too. About ten years younger than my parents, she was the right age to go to Woodstock (which she did) and be really into the 60s. Into them so much so that those years took a toll on her voice giving it a light gravelly sound. I also heard that she met her second husband via a plot much like Stakeout. When I first came back to town, she told me about her daughter and her daughter's girlfriend as if it was the most natural thing in the world. I've always liked Gravel.
    Next to me, the young man said, "Oh, I don't know what the street address is."

    S rattled it off for him, and I immediately knew he was a summer student getting a temporary library card.

    "Do you know what the zip code is?" S listed the digits as he'd barely finished asking.

    She looked up and said, "Oh, hey Claire. Do we have something for you?"

    "I don't think so."

    "We haven't had a chance to call yet today. Stay right there." She stepped into the office and came out with a book I'd requested. The young man was still filling out forms, so she said, "They'll be done in a minute," looking at the large posse of kids waiting at the other station.

    "Thanks." I took the book and headed deeper into the library taking a scenic route to reference upstairs where I knew I could also check out.

    I was part way up the stairs when I saw Gravel again. I waved again. She smiled, flashing her clear braces, took a few steps towards me and said, "Hey, Claire. Are you feeling strong?"

    I stopped my ascent and leaned on the rail. Circumspectly, I replied, "How strong?"

    She gestured at her thin frame and shrugged her shoulders as if to say "C'mon."

    "Oh, OK." I walked down and around to meet her in the reading room. As she led me to a long folding table, she told me about a children's event they'd just held that went great.

    I tucked my book under my arm when I reached the far end of the table. "Where do you want it?"

    "In the gallery."

    To get to the gallery, we needed to rotate the table 90 degrees and carry it between two long tables covered with magazines. There was a lot of space between the magazine tables but between them was an antique globe dividing the open space into two widths about the same as the table we were carrying.

    Gravel grunted as we lifted the table. I started walking backwards, and she said something I didn't quite catch, but I soon realized I was walking through the narrower side between the globe and other table. She gave me a look, sort of shaking her head at my choice, but we made it through without incident.

    As we entered the gallery, Gravel said, "I'm not even going to try to put this away. We can just set it down here."

    "OK."

    "Now we can move that one." Gravel gestured to an ornately carved wood desk. "It'll be lighter," she said, but I didn't believe her. Still, I was game, so I set my book down on the table we'd just moved and went to the desk.

    "Where are we going?"

    "Back by the stairs where it goes." To be fair, I did not recall where the desk usually resided. Since the renovation, there are still some changes to the building to which I'm not yet accustomed.

    Gravel groaned at the weight as we picked up the desk. I felt compelled to say, "This is heavier than that one." It was by a bit, but at least carrying it didn't cut into my hands.

    Again, I was walking backwards. I was also thinking of the stairs I'd just come from, so I moved to walk around the first magazine table.

    Gravel said, "What, are we taking the scenic route?"

    "Aren't we going to the stairs?"

    "Yeah, we need to center it where the table we just moved was."

    "Oh. We are taking the scenic route. Sorry."

    "Don't back up," Gravel said to a man looking at magazines.

    There were stairs: 3 twenty foot long stairs that used to lead up to fiction from the main reading room. Now there are glass doors which cordon off the expansion of the children's room. Since I've never seen the doors open and don't spend much time in that room, I'd forgotten about the 3 stairs.

    I'm sure Gravel thanked me for my help, but I keep dwelling on how flaky I must've seemed, so much so that I almost want to apologize again by email for misunderstanding and making the task more difficult. I'd like to chalk it up to feeling groggy from sinuses/allergies (which I was), but I think it was just a product of how my mind processed the information it received.

    Instead, next time I see her I may just say, "If you need anything moved by circuitous routes, you know who to ask."

    04 July 2007

    Let The Pictures Do The Talking: A Road Trip, iv

    Happy 4th, everyone! Photos from my other day in DC seemed fitting today.

    (Parts i, ii, iii)

    I actually typed out my journal entries this time around, but blogger freaked out (I think from all the photos or the spell check) and ditched all my typing and half my photos just as I was about to post. Don't have it in me to retype, so enjoy the photos.

    National Gallery of ArtClaire fountainbuilding columnslow angle buildingCapitolClaire in shark jaws scaffolds










    Male sculpture by Reagan buildingWhitehouseFBI building with tv poleFBI buildingMonuments
    Two years ago at TTaT: Something I love, tip of the week- fuel price finder
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    03 July 2007

    I miss audioblogger

    For a long time, my old audio posts didn't seem to be working, but today they are, so I just finished backing them all up. As much as I sometimes think those posts don't sound much like me, I would've been sad to lose them.

    There have been times recently when I wanted to call in a post and nostalgically remembered the good ole days of audioblogger. Anyone know of a similar free audioblog/podcast service that doesn't swamp your page with tons of ads?

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    My health insurance actually did something nice for me

    I'm stunned. With a new state law requiring everyone to have health insurance, my provider was offering a new slew of plans and advertised a "free gift" for signing up for one of them before May 31. I figured it'd be a stupid coffee mug or an ill-fitting, logo-covered baseball cap, so when a month went by and nothing showed up in the mail, I didn't worry about it.

    So often, dealing with health insurance has been a complete hassle, but today they sent me a thank you note with a $15 iTunes gift card. That's my kind of reward; I'll take it.

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    Damn your revisionist history, George Lucas!

    I made two trips to storage to dig through boxes and crates to find my pre-alterations VHS trilogy box set of Star Wars. When I found it, I felt satisfied knowing I hadn't given into The Man and his revisionist history.

    But then... I was dismayed to find my set was full screen instead of wide screen. And The Empire Strikes Back was a little glitchy in places and never fully tracked correctly.

    Best Buy has the limited edition Star Wars (episode IV: A New Hope) DVD with the original theatrical release version on sale this week for $6.99, so I picked it up. I'd seen all three DVDs a week or two ago at Costco for $9.99 each. Since I know they rotate their DVD stock fairly often, I succumbed to the limited edition ruse and picked up the other two films.

    The whole "limited edition" aspect ticks me off to no end. If I felt certain the original versions would be available down the line whenever HD or Blu-ray or something else wins the next media evolution, I'd have waited. It's also irritating that Lucas hasn't offered a restored original version. I'm all for 5.1 surround sound, cleaned up special effects and film. They had to do all that on the originals anyway for his revised special editions. Grr.

    One year ago at TTaT: Part of the family
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