Tuesday, March 31, 2009

it's a mad, mad world

evidence that the world has gone mad:

apparently miss universe recently visited guantanamo bay naval base. and loved it. read more here. i can't bring myself to quote any more of it. but she's from venezuela. methinks hugo's not gonna like that.

150 people kill themselves in front of a train in the moscow metro every year. they call it the metro blues. although many stations of the moscow metro are really beautiful, apparently overcrowding and bad air quality are taking their toll. read more here (also from the independent, tho' i read it in my danish newspaper, information.)

politeness remains the norm in the departure email, even in trying times. i admit i'd like to read some really juicy stuff about really honest departure emails. anybody out there got anything good?

meghan mccain, daughter of the 600-year-old GOP presidential candidate blogs. i have a vague recollection of knowing this fact during last autumn's election, but i think i  blocked it out.

todd palin in esquire magazine. hello people, it's over with the palins! their 15 seconds are up.

bushy eyebrows are back. (tho' i admit to not knowing who half the people in those pictures are.) that's like, so 80s. and if you already lived once through the 80s, you don't wanna go back.

perfume review: brasil dream

husband is in brazil this week in a place called montes claros, which according to him is the titoveles of brazil (we met in macedonia, so we compare most places to there, doesn't everyone do that?). if you read the wiki link, you'll find a clue as to what husband is doing in brazil. (hint: it's in the "economy" section of the entry.) but, i digress. since he's in brazil, the time seemed right for a review of my newest perfume, estee lauder's brasil dream.

i picked this one up because i was hankering for a transition to the summer perfumes and i wanted a new scent for a new job. there are a couple of others in this series--emerald dream and bali dream--neither of which ever appealed (read: went desperately wrong on me), so i was pleasantly surprised at how much i liked brasil dream. and happy it didn't go wrong.

it's the perfect seasonal transition scent. not too summery and light, but with just the right overtones of summery and light...a bit of lemon, some bergamot. it will give you glimpses of summer without the direct heat of the sun. underneath, there's still some interesting darker patchouli and neroli going on. it's the perfect scent for this changeable time of year--cold and blustery one day, sunny and springlike the next. i don't really know what that has to do with brazil, not having been there, but admit that from the name, i expected it to be a bit more flamboyant, suntanned and well, half-naked with a feather headdress.  so i find it rather misnamed, tho' i don't really have an alternative in mind.

i did a bit of research and learned that this scent is a "travel exclusive," which means you'll only find it in the duty free of your favorite international airport and possibly in some onboard sales catalogs, not at your local estee lauder counter.  that explains as well the packaging, which is a nice flat bottle that tucks perfectly into your makeup bag. that was another selling point for me, since i travel a lot.

the perfume has a brightness i needed at the close of winter, but still has a heavier presence that lasts. i don't think i'll wear it into the summer.  it has a powdery fade that will seem too heavy then, but i really like it for now. and embarking on something new (like a new job) always requires a new scent. that's like a rule, right?

EDIT:  i should have noted that this is a really new perfume. it was just released in february.

the eyes have it

once you start looking, you find that eyeballs are everywhere...

by the side of the road
on the beach
on the birch trees
and sometimes they even follow you home.

Monday, March 30, 2009

evidence of creativity update (25-37)

in all the excitement over my kitchen becoming famous, and the subsequent sitting by the phone, waiting for martha stewart (i would totally have done her time for her) to call (alas, she did not, tho' i still retain a small spark of hope), i kinda forgot about counting my creative output. i left you last with #24, that nest that turned into a bowl of apples embroidery.

so, i hereby give you #25 - an avocado shake of my own invention (inspired by ones i've had in the philippines and singapore). recipe here.

#26 - my eyeball "i" pillow. one of a kind, totally unique and still available here.

#27 - arranged objects. you may question this is as evidence of creativity, but, inspired (as ever) by margie from resurrection fern and her beautiful groupings of objects, i felt i needed to try it. there is an art to it and it takes time and creative thinking, so i'm allowing it to be #27, although i'll count the several i've done only as one. there's something about doing these that exercises your artistic eye.

28 & 29 - two small canvases featuring acrylics and a bit of felt with stitching and my first attempt at embroidery and moo cards--all in my favored palette.

30 - driftwood + eyeball artwork

31 - self-portraits (so much time spent and much learned about the camera, so this counts.)

32 - one fairy costume (made wings as well, but child refused to wear them on the grounds that none of the others had wings). she also refused to wear the top i made, so we decorated a white gap t-shirt at the last minute.

33 & 34 - my own version of margie's wonderful crocheted stones. and yes, there is a kind of an eyeball thing going on with them.

35 - set of six quilted coasters as a gift for my friend maj. very cool turquoise cotton with chocolate-colored coffee and teacups from here.

36 - hand-stamped ribbon for wrapping the above gift. sabin actually carved the little owl stamp from an eraser and i did the stamping.

37 - something for my mom, of which i won't show all, since she hasn't received it yet.

that's all for now. where are the things for the winners of my 50 follower prize, you ask? well i'd better get out there and get on those...i should have promised them sooner than christmas. :-)

regarding the x factor

denmark has just wrapped up their second run of x-factor, the amateur talent show. it ends up being all about singing, and there's no evidence of other talents (not that much evidence of talent in the singing, if we're honest), so i don't know why they don't just bill it as a song contest. we didn't really watch the first time around last year, but now that sabin, at 8, has a strong will of her own and a more overt need to have a conversation around the playground equivalent of the watercooler, we've watched the last 4-5 episodes, down to the final. here's a video with the 9 finalists that competed over those weeks, just to give you a taste of the level we're talking about here:

in (no doubt contractural) obligation to the concept, they have the nice lady judge (lina) who is enthusiastic about everything, the nice producer judge (remee) who is nice to everyone and the evil judge (thomas blackman), who is nasty to all (and therefore the most entertaining).  and a bunch of happy amateurs (4000) who put themselves forward for the challenge. in the end, each judge had one contestant left (they chose them in sort of teams)--a 15-year-old boy of "other ethnic background than danish" (as we put it when we're being politically correct) (his name is mohamed, if you're looking for a clue to that other ethnic b/g), a group of talentless young people who never did learn to sing together and only one of which could actually sing and a 35-year-old single mother from the farøe islands.

i know what you're thinking--it sounds like a nightmare.

mohamed could actually sing a bit, in a derivative michael jackson in the jackson 5 days kind of way and he has a super cute smile and some glimmer of what i suppose the whole show is named for. alien beat club, the group, sang as four individuals of varying (not high) degrees of talent and never got the group thing together (thankfully, blackman actually got that shot in during his final critique). linda, the single mother, has a good, mature voice, but frankly, she's fat and a bit of a diva (not in an attractive way).  the whole thing was decided by SMS voting and mohamed was booted out and the awful "ABC" and linda sang a song that was written for them by the talented søren rasted of aqua fame (yes, the barbie girl  people).  and linda won in a squeaker by 2% of the votes. which only shows that there is a slight margin of reason at work in this country (but only slight).

at our house, we have a lot of mobile phones, but thankfully, did not contribute to the voting. i was fortunate enough not to get home from norway until the very end, so i only saw the last song, which was more than enough.

my take on the whole thing is that this whole reality t.v./song contest thing has run its course (perhaps i'm just wishful thinking). there have been a number of these programs run in denmark under various names and frankly, the talent pool isn't deep enough--the country is after all, only 5 million people and 27 million pigs and as far as i can tell, they've largely (but not completely) kept the pigs from showing up for the auditions. people who can really sing already have record contracts and so you're left with a bunch of happy amateurs, which could potentially be charming if they didn't think they were the next britney spears just waiting to happen. there is a reason you weren't already singing for a living, people.

thirty or is it now forty years ago, andy warhol talked about everyone wanting their 15 minutes of fame. i'm sure he would be appalled to see what's happened today (or perhaps he'd be intrigued). he would surely revise his famous statement to 15 seconds of fame, because that's what's happened in this democratization of fame. these talent shows where the people vote are supposedly so democratic, right?

didn't people used to "vote" by buying someone's record or not buying it? isn't that market force of the vote a better indicator of talent?  what happened to that? i realize that to an extent it's still there. martin, the winner of the first round of DR's x factor has faded from the scene nearly as quickly as he came onto it. i saw recently that he was going to do a mall appearance--i remember way back when when tiffany and debbie gibson did those, but that was at the beginning of their careers, not the end.

this morning on the radio, i heard linda, the winner, idealistically talking about how much control she was going to exert over her coming album. she said she wasn't a 16-year-old boy who could be pushed around like martin was. yeah, right, linda. i think you've got a rude awakening before you. when they're finished with you, you won't be eating comfort flødeboller before bed every night anymore and they'll have sucked out that spare tire you've got around your waist. she already underwent a huge transformation in appearance hairstyle-wise during the couple of months it took to do the show. i don't know what makes her think she will have any say whatsoever, just because she is a 35-year-old single mom. i've already heard the over-produced, synthesized britney-ized version of her rendition of the winning song on the radio and it's a far cry from how she actually sang it on friday night. i wonder what makes her think the album will be any different.

at least linda can sing a bit--here's her rendition of abba's money, money, money:

we simply must work on the child to upgrade her taste in television. maybe by getting rid of the t.v. altogether.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

glorious weekend

it was a glorious weekend. sunshine and definite scent of spring in the air. time spent with an old friend i hadn't seen in ages. freshly-baked bread for dinner. a major clean-up/air-out of the studio. gathered a whole lot of stones on the beach (some of the ones below we had before, so not ALL of those in one go), but plenty of new materials/inspiration.

why yes, that is a metal basket full of rocks hanging out conveniently just outside my studio door.

do you think it's possible to fall madly in love with a rusty old pickup that's sitting by the side of the road?

gorgeous polish embroidery found at det blå marked in haslev. major treasure!

evidence of sunshine in my studio today. it looks so beautiful shining on my sari. i had the sari out, looking at and wondering if i should just have a bollywood party or turn it into something else...

and these, the coolest (and starting to be biggest) 8-year-old feet on the block. she's so hip with her red converse all-stars.

and the first report of brazil just in from husband: "so far, brazil looks like the balkans in the jungle."
i found that hilarious beyond belief. 
if you've been to the balkans, you would too.

more tomorrow. our time changed today, so i'm going to try to adjust.
so far, it's been great, but i'll be sorry tomorrow morning.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


seen over the past week:

crisis? what crisis?
(window of a shoe shop)
you have to love a shop called 1000 chairs (molly, i mean  you)
and i'm especially intrigued by the little murakami-esque horns on the shelf in the back
lamps are colorful at the moment
i think people want to bring something cheery into their homes
in the face of all the gloom & doom
this was the le klint shop
this colorful chandelier was in jackpot clothing.
love the mix of old and new.
there's a definite retro thing going on
check out those hairdryers.
this from the window of illum, the posh dept. store
also from the window of illum
what strikes me is that it's all new
but it looks really vintage
esprit is keeping it traditional
and more horns and furry skins at pilgrim
in the copenhagen airport
LOVE the empty black frames against the black wall.

what trends have you spotted of late?

Friday, March 27, 2009

keeping you busy while i'm working

because i'm on the road all day today, i give you friday link love:

  • check out the top ten "geek" hotels in the world--for the gadget lover in you. and because you can never really get enough of cool boutique hotels. or little pods in tokyo.
  • because your pictures look SOOO awesome here. go, download this immediately, it's free, it's awesome, you won't be sorry.
  • because i'm reading it and you should be too if you haven't already. the enchantress of florence. be prepared to be enchanted.
  • because they're beautiful and you know you want some:
  • worn--because it's about fashion and it's a 'zine.
  • because this is some seriously rockin' ribbon and you always wanted to learn german.
  • you are so gonna wanna try to make some of these, honeybees.
  • we could all use a little uzbek pillow in our lives.
  • they have a sale going on, but really, i go there just to read the descriptions. my dream job (other than being a stewardess) would be to write for them.
  • because going here will never, ever fail to inspire.
  • and neither will here. where else can concrete buildings and a glass of ice water make your heart sing?
that should keep you busy while i'm away. catch ya on the weekend, when i'm going to collect smooth stones on a beach near a very good friend's house.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

short-term thinking has long-term consequences

here we are at number 600 and it seems like just yesterday that i did no. 500! that's a lotta posts written in about two and half months. i'll admit i've felt a bit lately like i haven't really had anything of substance to say. maybe it's because my mind is on x-bows and ice-class tankers and ships that run on LNG and it seems like with all the crafty stuff i usually share here, that's not really the stuff for this forum. but there's some shipping stuff on my heart and on my mind that i just have to write about today in this, my 600th post. because it feels like those round numbers shouldn't be wasted.

* * *
last week, there was some hubbub in the news when one of the tabloids reported that the former minister of commerce, who recently stepped down from his post and from the leadership of the conservative party (of his own accord, by the way), had been on a whole lot of golf outings and hunting trips with the glittering heads of the danish business community. i'll admit that doesn't really surprise me all that much. it's called lobbying. companies do it. politicians partake. and influence is won, influence which actually goes both ways. it's how business is transacted. where's the scandal?

one of his big causes, no doubt as a result of these golf games and hunting trips, was something called "det blå danmark," which led a rather significant campaign to keep denmark among the main seafaring nations in the merchant fleet of the world. a big part of it is/was a drive to get young people to choose seafaring and shipping in general as a career. it wasn't the most effective campaign in the world, as far fewer are seeking admission to the officers' education than are needed. however, i'm not convinced that it was the wrong campaign, but more that going off to sea isn't really as appealing as a career anymore.
there are a variety of reason for this, as i see them:

  1. young danish women expect their man to take part in household duties on an equal basis. if there are kids, the men are in there changing diapers. if you're out sailing half the year, it's a bit tough for this to be equal.
  2. young danish men, while largely very attractive, are, to put it bluntly, afraid of the young danish women and their expectations. on other words, they're pussy whipped (to put it even more bluntly). this is bad for the officers' education (which although open to girls, is still overwhelmingly populated by boys). (clarification: this renders the boys too scared to choose this career.)
  3. people can't imagine being out of touch--they expect internet, SMSing, email. not all ships have this onboard, as satellite broadband solutions are still very expensive. ships generally have email, but it's pushed to the satellite by the captain a couple of times a day. young people (and i would count myself here), can't imagine being without their twitter and facebook and blog and what have you. do we exist if we're not online these days?
  4. seafaring is no longer a way to see the world. port stays are short and people are working their fannies off with loading and offloading cargo during the entire stay. there's very little time for shore leave.
  5. people these days no longer feel "married" to a particular career. we try a variety of things and have different jobs in different industries. people don't go to work for one company at 20 and retire from the same company at 65. 
  6. in denmark, the education to be a finished senior officer, including sailing time, takes 7 years. if people want to take a 7-year education, they become a doctor. those fiddling with this education have misunderstood their audience--people who want a long education aren't interested in being seafarers and people who are interested in being seafarers are not interested in a long education. (i'm generalizing, but it holds up pretty well.)

there needs to be a revolution in the way ships are crewed if this is going to become an appealing career choice. perhaps treating it more like the airlines do. when the ship "lands" in a port, a new crew could take over the offloading and loading, while the sailing crew gets some time off ashore--thereby getting to see a bit of the world. of course, this only works for cargo vessels, the whole offshore support vessel world is another story--and they've already made adjustments--wherein people are on shorter rotations (2 weeks on, 2 weeks off in some cases). 

there are great things about sailing as your job. if you're northern european, you're probably home for half the year and out sailing the other half. not a lot of jobs can boast of 6 months paid vacation. it's less for people from other countries (e.g. the philippines, which provides 25% of the world's seafarers)--they are generally out for 9-10 months and home only 2-3 months a year. it depends on what conditions you're culturally willing to accept and it depends on how good your unions are. northern europeans have had strong unions, so the conditions are pretty good. 

but, back to that commerce minister...i wonder what will happen now that he's gone? the young, smart, up-and-coming young lady who replaced him doesn't appear to be the golf course/hunting schmoozing type. and she' seems a bit fancy for det blå danmark, so she'll no doubt have another pet cause. but it seems to me that it's important for denmark on a geopolitical stage to be a seafaring nation. when you're pretty much entirely dependent on trade because you don't really have that many natural resources (a bit of oil in the danish sector of the north sea), having a role in international merchant shipping seems important. if there's no one in the government with the ear of the shipowners, reflagging ships to flags of convenience (marshall islands, liberia and the like) and getting those sailing personnel elsewhere (read: at lower costs) and moving ship/crewing management to places like singapore just might start to look very appealing to the bottom line. especially in these times where no stone of savings is left unturned. denmark's geopolitical position aside, what will it mean for the several thousand danes who are sailing in the merchant fleet today? and where will the danish shipowners get their experienced seagoing personnel for key positions ashore if no one goes to sea anymore?

i fear a time of short-term thinking and solutions is on the horizon and that they will have long-term consequences. i wish those good old boys would get back out on the golf course and sort this out.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

random wednesday

i love the rainbow-colored S-train. it makes me happy just to see it. they're usually just plain old red, but a few of them are rainbows. almost makes you like the public transport. and speaking of public transport, i started off my first week of birthday resolutions by speaking to a stranger on the train. in denmark if people speak to someone they don't know in public, they are either drunk or mentally...ahem, shall we say...diminished...in some way. true to form, the woman who spoke to me, while high functioning, was clearly not all there. but, it still counts. even tho' she initiated the conversation.

* * *

gerber daisies were 3 bunches for 50 kroner (that's less than $10!) at magasin. it made it feel like spring or even summer, even if the wind was pretty biting today, despite the sunshine. they look perfect in my ktichen, tho' they got a bit droopy on the long train ride home (made longer by some signal problems that meant we sat between the main train station and dybbølsbro for an inordinately long time):

* * *
i ordered some acrylic waterfast inks from dick blick art supplies in the US the other day, a big whopping $20 worth and they sent a quote on the shipping today (thank goodness they actually sent it for approval). they have the skills of a fence post in finding reasonable shipping. their offers were $38.08 for fed ex or $29.75 for the slow boat USPS (2-3 weeks, they said). all for something which can't weigh more than a few ounces. are they completely mental? do they think they can just take advantage of stupid foreigners who don't know any better? who are they trying to fool here? i'm positive that it wouldn't take more than $10-12 to ship to me and it could be here in a week to ten days with regular international mail.  i think it is a really crappy way to do business, making up what are perhaps too-low prices on the actual items on shipping costs. madness. i'll harvest some squid myself, thanks. 
* * *
sabin's big (half)sister has been hanging out here all week. normally she comes only every other weekend. she's 17 and you'd think it was a pain in the patootie to have a teenager in the house, but with husband in north carolina, it's pretty good having her around. she's made dinners and snacks because she wanted lessons in making The Pasta dish, hummus, and spanish omelette. so lessons she got. easy peasy for me. and she's a sensible, good kid. i hope sabin's this easy when the time comes. 
* * *
that's all i got today, folks. turns out this going to work on the train and sitting in an office all day is kinda tiring. hope your wednesday was less random than mine.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

spring colors

i love the flickr toys at big huge labs. i like to occasionally make a mosaic of my favorites, just to see the trends, because as you go along, you don't necessarily realize that there is a kind of harmony to the photos you're favoriting (is that a verb now too?). usually, my mosaics are heavy on the turquoise/teals and there is a little of that in this one, but i was surprised to see more brightness and more variety to the palette at the moment. it must be spring--i'm clearly attracted to orange, yellow, light blue and green. they must be the colors of right now. they're just so cheerful and lively. for the photo credits on all of these, go here. it's also interesting to make these mosaics of your own sets, because you can definitely see trends there as well--here's that teal/turquoise thing i was talking about:

i spotted another trend in my faves and among my own pictures. it seems i have a thing with sticks and stones at the moment. who am i kidding, i've always had this:

you can see that many of these belong to the lovely margie of resurrection fern and speaking of stones, you should go check out her latest stone diary post, because it features the stones i sent her! she's doing such inspiring work combining nature and craft. and i just read her profile and realized she's a family physician as well! i wonder how she finds the time for everything!?! people amaze me sometimes.

and on that note, i'll get to work so that i can earn my time to play.

Monday, March 23, 2009

a monday kind of a day

i love this picture. it looks like a creature of some kind. he's got green moss hair on his head and a large eye and some kind of a trunk-like appendage, along with that arm-like branch sticking up. i love the wrinkles under his chin. i don't really know what i'm going to do with him, but he speaks to me somehow. there's some glimmer of something there. it's one of those moments of intuitive inspiration. i don't know what's going to happen with it, but i'm sure that something will. and no, i'm not going off about inspiration again.

* * *

i made sabin and karoline turn the channel to house at 6 p.m., just like i do nearly every weekday. you see, i need my fix of house. he's so deliciously mean. sabin had my laptop in her lap and announced, "i'll just go to you tube and type hannah montana and watch it there." when did the child learn about you tube? i think i've got to keep a better eye on her.

* * *

this morning, we braved THIS traffic (thank goodness i normally fly to my job) to go in and get husband some vaccinations at the only place we knew for sure would have a yellow fever jab available at 9 a.m. on a monday. mom asked me if i had to twitch him or ear him down for the vaccination, like we used to do with the horses, but i don't actually know if that was necessary, because i was running around frantically trying to find an ATM to get some cash to pay for the damn shots because their stupid card machine was broken. and let me tell you, there was no cash machine within a reasonable walking distance in any direction (reminder to self: do not try to find cash in the area of the royal palace, apparently they have no need for cash). finally, it dawned on me that there was an ATM on the 4th floor of my old workplace, right across the street from the doctor and so i asked a good friend who is still on the inside (if that sounds like prison, i do mean it to a little bit) to help me out with some cash. naturally, during this frantic run, i managed to find time to grab not one, but two double lattes. and by the time i got back, not only was husband vaccinated against yellow fever, but also against hepatitis B AND their stupid card machine was back up and running, so they didn't need my hard-earned cash (tho' i am very grateful for irene's help!). it was a monday kind of thing.

and then i set this guy off at the airport so he could head off to north carolina (no yellow fever there) and then onwards to brazil (possibility of yellow fever there). i'm a bit envious of brazil. south america is one of my missing continents (Oz is the other one). then i high-tailed it for home, where the feverish child had been left on her own (with big sis when we left) and where research into these called. so much for being a resourcestærke parent, leaving the child home alone sick. but it was deemed better than dragging around in the car to get carsick at the moment of leaving. i wish we'd all been headed off for brazil. i already had yellow fever. the vaccine. or was it japanese encephalitis? or maybe typhoid fever. i never remember.

in lieu of going to brazil, perhaps i'll just have to watch the movie:

hope your monday was fabulous.

tagging along

i got tagged by kristina. and even allowed myself to copy her snappy title. :-)  here are the rules:
1. Respond and rework. Answer the questions on your blog, replace one question you dislike with a question of your own invention; add a question of your own.
2. Tag eight other un-tagged people.
3.  it can be an idea to post the answers together with several completely unrelated pictures. :-)

What is your current obsession? i think we all know that it's eyeballs.
Good fika place? cafe le zinc right here in frederikssund, tho' kaffepikene in sandvika storsenter (oslo) is pretty good too.
Do you nap a lot? i don't nap nearly enough. and i'm generally in need of a nap because i stay up late.
Who was the last person you hugged? my daughter got a goodnight hug.
If you were a tree, what tree would you be? a birch tree, because i have a russian soul.
Have you ever had an altercation with the police? only once. in bulgaria. it didn't go well.
What was the last thing you bought? a fabulous dinner at dragsholm slot.
What are you listening to right now? tanya davis' "art" song.
What is your favourite weather? 70 degrees, sunshine, a light breeze. did i mention sunshine? but i also love really hot weather, as long as it's not humid.
What’s on your bedside table? a stack of books--mine and sabin's, a clay bowl made and painted by sabin and which contains a set of earplugs from SAS, 4 pony-tail holders, a pair of earrings, two sparkly bobby pins, a container of ricola cough drops, my iPhone, lip stuff, a 20-pack of staedler fineliners and a package of kleenex.
Say something to the person/s who tagged you. hi kristina, now that i know about fika we must get together sometime, since you're just across the sound, and you can show me the real thing! :-)
If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you want it to be?
cape town. hands down.
Favourite vacation spot? somewhere out-of-the way, not overrun with tourists. i'm pretty partial to turkey, especially the west coast.
Name the things you can’t live without. my camera, my iMac, my macbook pro, my iPhone,
What would you like to have in your hands right now? knitting needles and some really excellent yarn.
What is your favourite tea flavour? chai.
What would you like to get rid of? the junk in the attic.
If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? vanuatu for a bowl of kava.
What did you want to become as a child? an archaeologist. i wanted to discover a new type of dinosaur.
What do you like better, e-mail or telephone calls? email, hands down. i actually really dislike telephone calls.
What do you do when you get time alone?  read, write, blog, sing alanis at the top of my lungs.

8 people seems like a lot to tag, but tag i shall. however it’s perfectly voluntary - only do it if you want to! but i'd like to see what jules, amanda, molly, christina, char, starlene, beth and heidi have to say.  anyone else who might feel like doing this when you're otherwise uninspired, you are MOST welcome. :-)