Thursday, January 29, 2015

batman and his teddy bear

we've had weird weather of minute beautiful and practically springlike and the next sleeting down small balls of ice (too small to really be hail) between cracks of thunder. but nothing stops the 365 photographer and especially nothing stops batman. especially when he's with his teddy bear.

too much

one bright spot in today.
an A+ from my high school english teacher
she probably doesn't know about my lack of caps on this blog.
the barrel she's talking about is here.

i know i've written fondly before of the liminal space, but i have to say that right now, it pretty much sucks. waiting is never easy, especially when you're waiting to know whether you're bought or sold. or just confined to the scrap heap as the case may be.

on top of it, i learned today that a beloved aunt, who has always been this amazing, steadfast presence of goodness, kindness and general interest in life at the center of our rather chaotic, otherwise presenting a pretty good image of having been raised by wolves family, has cancer and is declining treatment. i can appreciate her decision because she has had a long and amazing life and i can completely appreciate that she doesn't want an undignified ending. but it all seems a little bit unfair in light of losing dad so recently and not being over that (will i ever be over that? i don't think so.).

but really, how much more can we take? and by we, i mean me. it's just too much.

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oh dear, sarah palin is back at it again.
what she's doing to the language and politics in general is a criminal act.

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thoughts on what changes when you move abroad.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

R.I.P. Frederik

frederik served very well all summer as summertime's trusty companion. we borrowed him from a neighbor so that summer didn't have to be by herself, which she would have hated. he was an older pony and had a rather serious and incurable asthma problem. he got along pretty well during the summer when the air was warm and dry, but with our rainy winter, the air has been cold and heavy and hard on his lungs. there wasn't anything that could be done about it except to give him warm mash when he came in at night and not put him out on the coldest days.

we live about ten minutes from a zoo. a lion park, actually, where you drive through and see the lions for part of your visit to the zoo. you can donate your horse to the zoo to feed the lions if, like frederik, you know that he would be better off being put down, but that the horse isn't so sick that you can't wait for your turn. we signed frederik up some months ago. it seems weird and a little bit cruel to sign a horse up for its death, but we knew that it would be a worthy end for him. he wouldn't suffer anymore with his bad lungs and the lions would have fresh meat, so we decided it was the right thing to do.

on monday, we loaded him up and husband drove him to the zoo (i'll admit, it saddened me enough that i couldn't bear to go along). they very humanely put him down and he is no longer suffering with his weak lungs in the cold, wet weather. i think it's a pretty unique situation to be able to contribute to a wild animal's well-being in captivity and also do what's right by your horse, so that he doesn't have to battle for each breath against the cold. he was a gentle and sweet pony and a very good companion for summer (she has a new companion, betty blue, so don't worry, she's not alone). thank you, sweet frederik for being her friend when she needed one. i hope you are frolicking in greener pastures now. may you rest in peace.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

how is she already 14?

13 was a pretty awesome year. it will be great to see what 14 brings. happy birthday, pooka. it's a pleasure to see you growing up into an amazing person with your own style, opinions and thoughts. i am ever in awe.

Friday, January 23, 2015

a case of friday arbness

my head is full of all sorts of random things, so in the interest of clearing it out so i can get on with some important work on a big project, i thought i'd share them with all of you...

~ there was a little dog with an underbite that was always in front of our main street grocery store when i was a kid. i hated that dog. he was terrifying. i think he belonged to one of the checkout ladies. to this day, when we want to indicate displeasure around here, we stick out our bottom teeth and do the "mean dog" face.

~ discussing ideas is probably my favorite thing to do in the whole world. it helps me think things through and get lots more clarity on the ideas. sometimes, i have so many, they jumble up in my head until i write about them or discuss them with others. i'm super lucky to have a variety of people that i can call on when i need to think things through. husband being the main one of them, but there are others. and they know who they are.

~ i got such a chuckle out of reading this tongue-in-cheek review of the new super heroes set with wonder woman and her invisible jet. in the comments you'll see that some of the other readers weren't quite so charmed. to them i say, relax and don't take things so seriously.

~ speaking of LEGO, this new blog is shaping up to have some intelligent views on our favorite plastic brick. ok, so there are only two posts so far, but both were well-argued and obviously carefully researched.

~ i'm so enjoying my kerosene fragrance sample tin. it's fun trying a new scent every day! i'm wearing copper skies today which, despite its lush description of amber and tobacco, is definitely not me. it starts off with a dusty, powdery toilet paper kind of vibe and deepens into the kind of sickly sweet scent of a chennai slum. i will allow that it probably smells great on someone else with very different chemistry than me. and less memories of sickly sweet chennai slums. kind of amazing how scent can call up memories quite unbidden.

~ our friends at #stuckinplastic reported on some troubling take down notices received by some legographers on red bubble this week. i wonder what the implications of this are on the enormous community of people out there taking photos of minifigs? once we buy them, can't we play with them however we wish?

~ i realized today (yes, i'm a bit slow) that facebook bores the shit out of me.

~ we had this amazing frost all day today (see above photo of of the unicorn sparkle fairy - hey, i made a MOC!). :-) it's the kind of frost that comes from a freezing fog. and it's the first time this winter of ours has had any beauty in it whatsoever. it was a welcome change.

~ it's the child's birthday on sunday. and she's off on a one-day ski trip to sweden at midnight tonight, but will be home to have cake on sunday. i can't believe she's nearly 14.

i think that will about do it, so i shall wish you all an awesome weekend. remember to stop and photograph the frost, will you? and always carry a minifig in your pocket.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

legography lately

i've been making an effort to get outdoors with a few minifigs in my pocket and camera in hand. i carry around an old pillow that we use on the garden furniture and use it to kneel in the wet grass. the cats often tag along and since they can't really see any sense in what i'm doing, they think i'm there to play with them. they often blunder through my shots, messing with the focus and knocking over the minifigs that i just got all set up.

i was trying to get a shot of the rather oddly stunted snowdrops through her magnifying glass, but instead caught a bit of her reflection. i love how sometimes you don't see such things at the moment of the photo, but only when you get it downloaded and on the big screen.

this forest maiden looks so tough that i'm pretty sure she'd be willing to take out that sweet little deer. i love the deer's reflection, tho'. with the coming theme of reflections for our local art group's spring exhibition, i'm going for reflections quite a lot lately. but there's also an excess of water in which one can find them. *sigh* i will be glad when this grey january is over.

the unicorns are my favorite members of the latest series of minifigs. i borrowed one of unikitty's blue horns just so there would be a difference between them. i like it. and i love the cute expression on their faces.

they had to go for a little paddle as well. everyone is getting in that boat these days. i fear i dropped one of the paddles somewhere on my walk, so i only have one now. oh well, we'll have to make do.

this morning, there were the most amazing beard frost formations around the garden. it seems these bits of sticks were giving off moisture and it froze in hair-like formations as the temps cooled. they were very cool, but very delicate and gone when i got home, so they didn't last long.

Monday, January 19, 2015


things are a bit blurry these days, but i'm hoping for clarity soon. just a few moments of perfect clarity would be most welcome.

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this flickr stream by dagmar franolic totally speaks to me right now.

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murakami is answering questions on a temporary website.
i sure wish i read japanese.
happily he is answering in english to those who ask in english.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

cat person

you've probably noticed that i'm a cat person. cats have the sort of personalities that appeal to me. they don't necessarily come when they're called. they can take ages to reveal their names to you. they think for themselves. they never ingratiate themselves. when they relax, they are truly relaxed. they play hard and then they take a nap. and in nyc, there's now a cat café for those who can't have a cat (or two or ten) in their lives. i wish i'd thought of that. it would be fun to run a cat café. hmm...what's stopping me from doing exactly that? i have cats and make a pretty mean dessert to go with a cup of coffee. it could be a calling...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

now is the winter of our discontent

quite frankly, the chunky monkey cat looks pretty content.
these dark january days are a bit like being down a well. not really, but i wanted to bring up murakami and when i think of him, i always think of spending time down a well. i'm thinking that a good way to get through this, the longest, darkest, most dreary month, would be to go on a murakami reading binge. i think i'll start with this and then dig out my murakami library.

what gets you through the darkest moments of winter's discontent?

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nice piece in fast company on LEGO's future lab.

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loving that i was invited to contribute to this storystarter pinterest board.
it makes me want to start some stories myself.

Monday, January 12, 2015

seeking comfort

events of the past week. the past few months for that matter. four days of gusty winds, driving rain and sleet. general uncertainty. it all has me wanting to hunker down. light candles. stir up a real batch of cooked oatmeal - like the kind that you have to cook for 15-20 minutes (jamie tells you how here.) - and top it with blueberries (don't ask about the food miles), butter, real maple syrup and a drizzle of cream. seeking comfort. finding it. and also having it find me in unexpected forms that i only realized were needed after they arrived. life is like that sometimes.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

the alien rowing team

the alien trooper from series 13 seems to have replicated himself around here. i was rather disappointed at first (i'd much rather have multiple unicorns), but then i decided that a whole group of them could easily take the canoe out for a spin, like they're a rowing team. our weather has been absolutely horrible this weekend - rain, sleet and hurricane force gales, even as far inland as we are. but for a few glorious minutes late in the afternoon, the sun came out and the aliens went for a little row.

husband pointed out that they were going to row in circles. he should know, he's an old rower from way back. but i liked how their little ray guns looked all lined up on the one side of the boat too much to switch one paddle to the other side. pretty cool that they're all lefties, eh?

the theme for this year's creagive (the local art group i'm part of) spring exhibition is "reflections," so i find myself drawn to water. with all of the rain we've had of late, there's a lot of puddles around, so i have no shortage of reflections to explore. i have to find shallow puddles, tho', because that little canoe doesn't float all that well.

* * *

can LEGO be art?
and if so, when?

Friday, January 09, 2015

windows of new york

in light of today's events in france (the shooting of the suspects), i have a need to look at things that feel beautiful and inspiring and aspirational instead of dwelling of the fear and the pain and the terror and yes, the disappointment that they don't have to answer for their actions. because some part of me wants answers - why did they do this? what possessed them? if we could just understand we could do something and these things would end, right? and no one would have to go around in fear. right?

oh well, just look at the pretty windows, will you?

a little assemblage of thoughts on the tragic events in paris

the tragic events in paris at charlie hebdo are on my mind, like they surely are for you as well. i'd frankly never heard of the magazine before, but my french is pretty weak, so it's no wonder. i have great affection for biting satire that forces you to think deeper and from what i've seen and read, they produce a newspaper in that vein. it is a horrible tragedy that they were slaughtered for doing so by people who didn't agree with their views and methods. it's so horrible that i think on some level i can't even really fathom it. it seems quite unreal, even in the face of graphic videos shot by bystanders. so it's taken me a few days to begin to collect my thoughts enough to write something about it. but i have been reading a lot of articles about it in a variety of places, from the nytimes to the guardian to danish newspapers to a friend's blog. that blog is probably the best, most sensible piece i've read.

i find it exceptionally disheartening what the tragedy seems to have done to people. i see it in my facebook feed, but i'm also reading it in the various opinion pieces online. it's not only the blood and gore of it, but how it has turned on a hatred of an entire religion, based on the actions of a few fanatics. my facebook feed is full of people calling for closing denmark's borders and sending home syrian refugees, calls to withdraw all resources from programs which help people in need who happen to be muslim. there is a mass reaction that is very black & white, very unnuanced and which, in my view, contains as much hate as those men with the guns must have felt on wednesday. it's a similar kind of reactionary fanaticism.  and it's tinged with more than a little racism and xenophobia. and to me, it means that the terrorists have won beyond their wildest imagination. if they can make us fear and hate at the same level as they do, they have reduced us.

i am heartened to see pockets of rationality and sense here and there. twitter is our barometer these days and like in australia, where a supportive hashtag surfaced, saying #illridewithyou, after the lunatic held all those hostages in the lindt café, there seems to be a groundswell of folks rallying around the policeman they so brutally shot, saying #jesuisahmed, rather than #jusuischarlie, which carries with it a more radical connotation.

it is hard to see what good can possibly come of this, but i do hope that we are able to take up a discussion which allows us to discuss the nuances and actually begin to address the problems that underlie these the imbalance of resources in this world, the imperialist notions of those in the west, so sure of our own superiority, like getting education to women and the young populations of the muslim countries, so that they can see that they have options other than violence. rather than saying we need to send all of the foreigners home, maybe we should make them more welcome around here. it's much harder for people to hate and kill when they are your friends.

Monday, January 05, 2015

the thrill is gone

i'll admit it, having access to a whole box of fresh series 13 minifigs and just cutting them all open with a scissors and collecting the whole set immediately, while a great privilege, does not fill me with the excitement i felt when i first discovered collectible minifigures at the grocery store back in the summer of 2013. of course, i am pleased to have the whole collection and i do delight in the details in the same way as i did then - the little paleontologist has a cute bone and a little round fossil and the roller skate-wearing groovy singer is so cute, but the thrill of the hunt is gone. that feeling of excitement of not really being sure which ones you got - of opening each package and squealing in delight or groaning because it's another lady cyclops. the pull of going back for more because there's still one more that you just have to have. i miss that.

it leads me to think that a great deal of the pleasure of collecting must actually be in the search - whether it's minifigs or catherine holm enamelware or antique locks or whatever it may be. the pleasure lies less in the having than in the search. i suspect there's a life lesson for me in this.

* * *

thinking so much about spilling ink's gratitude post

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withknown looks pretty interesting.

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it's quite obvious that i need a sous vide kitchen machine.
and it's all amy's fault.

* * *

yes, i am continuing to take a photo every day.
for the 5th (or is 6th?) year running.
you can see them here.

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now this wind turbine tree is quite possibly the coolest thing ever!

* * *

fascinating historical photos of titanic survivors taken with a brownie camera.
and more of world war I, also taken with a brownie.
is the brownie the most important camera ever made?

Saturday, January 03, 2015

sometimes you have to get your knees muddy to get the right shot

bacon & eggs decided to go for a little sail today.

they were rather surprised to see a couple of mermaids lurking in the shallows.

we've had a lot of rain of late, but we've never seen mermaids in a cornfield before!

lessons learned:
1.) sometimes you have to be willing to get a bit muddy if you want just the right angle.
2.) a grown woman crouching in a muddy cornfield, photographing lego is totally normal behavior.
despite what those people driving by may have thought.
and who cares what they thought.

that little lego canoe isn't particularly seaworthy.
luckily, i was able to find some shallow puddles.

getting muddy is fun.
the mud will wash right off.
and eggs looks like she had a fine time!

Friday, January 02, 2015

i resolve not to resolve

with the dawning of a new year, i always ponder whether or not to make resolutions. i'm not so good at them, you see. and so i was thinking that this year i'd make some that i can drink more wine, watch more netflix, eat more and exercise less, never dust, buy more stuff. those would be pretty easy. but is that what i really want? i could throw in a harder one, like "start smoking," which would be a bit of a challenge for me, since i really have no desire to do that. but i wonder if those are actually resolutions at all.

but still, the blank slate of the new year beckons new thinking.

we could spend the summer as vikings, dressing the part, going from one of those viking festivals to the next, cooking over open fires and learning to dye wool with nothing but pee and wildflowers. husband wasn't that keen on this idea, since he's got a new saw of which he's rather enamored and was thinking he'd need an awfully big trailer and a pretty long extension cord to haul it around to the viking festivals.

we could volunteer to help with the ebola epidemic in africa. but alas, we have no medical training and who would feed the horses and provide the service level the cats have come to expect while we're away?

i think about going on a writer's retreat and getting serious about that book. sadly, i fear it's already been done (tho' i wouldn't have made up some crap about "disney sex" if i'd written it).

maybe i just need one of those silent getaways where you don't speak for a week.

or perhaps i just need to reread my own manifesto and leave it at that.