Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Discworld Audiotherapy

It is literally therapy. I can be listening to a different audiobook on the hour and a half drive to work. I park, turn off the engine, the audiobook playing through the Bluetooth connection is silent. I collect my things. To get the energy needed to open the car door, grab my stuff, and walk into the office to begin my workday, I turn on a Discworld audiobook.
Other people are talking or looking at their cellphones. I walk into the building listening to Stephen Briggs's narration. I need to always have one checked out of the library (via Overdrive or Hoopla) so that there will be an audiobook for me to play on my smartphone. 
If the day's going badly but the weather is nice outside, I can eat my lunch at the picnic table with Discworld playing, and feel better about going inside for the afternoon. Hearing Discworld gives me stability, a sense that something is right with humanity, a reassurance of the existence of humor and wisdom.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Rental Values

Once there was a poor man who was an immigrant to this country. He and his wife had seven children. They needed a place to live, but no one would rent to a family with so many kids.
So he told some of his children to hide. With only a few children, they were able to rent an apartment. Whenever the landlord came by, the “extra” children hid.
The man fixed whatever broke in the apartment. His wife cleaned the hallway of the building so that it sparkled.
One day all of the children were playing outside in the yard. The landlord came by. He asked each child, “Where do you live?” Each one answered, pointing, telling the truth.
The landlord knocked on the door. “How many are living here?” The father admitted, “Yes. They’re all mine. They all live here.”
The landlord sighed. He looked around at the sparkling clean hallway and into the well-maintained apartment. He listened to the children playing outside.
“It’s all right,” he said.
Years passed. Two of the children--two brothers--went into business together. They prospered, and even purchased their own apartment buildings.
Sometimes other landlords ask them: Why do you rent to the new immigrants–with their large families, and so many relatives crowding in with them?
Then each brother silently asks himself: Where would I be, had our father’s landlord kicked us out?
They tell the other landlords: “These are hard-working people. They deserve a place to live.”

The crime against nature that is pre-ripped jeans

Pre-ripped jeans are exceedingly silly.
Would you buy shoes with pre-worn-out soles?
New jeans should protect your skin from cruel brambles.
Old holes are earned trophies from rambling and fun.

Remember the miners with pockets all torn?
Jeans were invented to save sweaty gold.
If you make a garment whose purpose is strength,
But ravage its nature, defying its nascence,
You puncture integrity--
The jeans' and your own.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Fall in love with Leslie Howard

I just left this review for "Petrified Forest" on Alibris:

OK, I haven't seen it for a while, but I remember it as one of my favorites.

This is the movie that gave me a crush on Leslie Howard when I was 14 years old. Ditto for my aunt at similar age, when the film was released. Because of this crush, I cringed to see Leslie later in "Gone With The Wind", or actually, in color. He is still gorgeous in Black and White.

This is the movie that made Bogart a star.

Movie had originally been a play, and it still seems like a good play. Would not be expensive to produce.  I remembered it as desperado Bogart and intellectual Leslie Howard talking for most of it, as they sat in cafĂ© with Bogart's gang holding everyone at gunpoint--but when I saw it more recently, it actually didn't take up as much of the movie as I had remembered.

Historically important line: "Tipping is un-American."

Its theme of people not living up to what they wanted to be in their lives is not restricted to the principal characters. This is a good historical movie with still-relevant situations and dialogue.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Annals of Serendipitous Parenting

Monday morning. Sleepy.

Driving out, a few blocks from home. Quiet rural roads.

Hungry. Where did I put that toast-and-jam? I look at the passenger seat.

The car swerves to the right.

I catch the goof, swerve left, I am back to driving straight.

I explain to the kid in the back seat what happened. "I guess it's dangerous to drive hungry," I quip.

She does not laugh.

I glance back, notice her scared wide eyes.


I believe I've motivated her to catch the school bus from now on.

Friday, June 24, 2016

24-June-2016 dream before alarm went off

In my dream the Ku Klux Klan had a rally in my town's center.

There was a counter-protest worship service nearby, outside a synagogue I'd never seen before.
(I wondered why we were members of a synagogue the next town over instead of this one, and concluded that this one must be Reform instead of Conservative.)

The rabbi had wheelie sneakers; she glided around the front of the congregation. There were empty chairs, but no extra prayer books. I tried to find a chair with a prayer-book so I could join in, but the service ended before I found one.

The synagogue was packed up into a tent to be driven away

So that's why I'd never seen it before: it was temporary and mobile.

Later, inside some building in town, I was with people I didn't know, but chatting in a friendly way. I quoted lines from a country music song--Miranda Lambert's one about being ready to shoot her abusive man when he got home. The old guy I quoted it to smiled. But there was something in his eyes that made me wonder if I shouldn't have quoted something so feminist.

A little boy from the hate group came in and spouted words meant to provoke one of us into fighting him. He gave me the impression he was used to beatings from his own group. I said, "Even murderers raise their children to be good and kind to everybody until they turn 14 or so & then they say it's time to kill people." I put my arms around him and gave him a hug.

Later, I walked over to another group of children at a table. They were reading comic books left by the hate group. I asked one of the children about it. He explained why Jews were bad. I attempted Socratic method to convince him otherwise, asking questions. He brought up circumcision. I defended how I had seen it practiced. "The baby gets a sip of wine before and then goes to his mother after. He is OK." The discussion escalated, I don't remember most of the words. I just remember my last words were a declaration that ended in "...Jews like me."

At those words, everyone in the room--children and adults--stood up and looked at me with hard hostile stares that told me to leave.

The clock radio went off.

It was 6am.
National Public Radio announced that Britain had voted to leave the European Union.


Thursday, June 09, 2016

Pure Wow's 15-piece capsule wardrobe - no

According to a website called Pure Wow! Here listed are

The Only 15 Items You Need to Build the Perfect Wardrobe

with my comments:
  1. The perfect white tee
    • No, nothing white, I always get it stained.
    • A few neutral colored tee shirts that don't have anything written on them would work.
    • Gray, Charcoal Gray, Tan, Heather Blue
  2. A navy blazer that's not part of a Pantsuit
    • OK, but preferably a loose cotton machine-washable one
    • Linen is nice in the summer too
  3. An A-Line Midi Skirt that highlights your shape
    • Hah! No. No skirts. My shape is the problem
    • Skirts are very sensitive to expansion and contraction of waistline
    • A plain dress of some sort is acceptable.
    • Although I avoid dresses because they create complications with shoes and socks
  4. Dark wash flared jeans that elongate your legs
    • OK, a pair of jeans. Two pairs. Black and blue. 
    • Lightweight blue for summer.
  5.  A white button-down that's not your boyfriends
    • White again. Danger. Only if you need it for a job interview
    • Otherwise, fine, some kind of blouse.
  6. A classic trench coat that makes you feel elegant.
    • Yes.
  7.  Tailored black pants you can dress up or down
    • OK
  8. A silky black camisole you can layer or not.
    • Not. Not with my fat arms. Substitute one of the neutral-colored t-shirt
  9. A good ole denim jacket
    • Maybe. But other cloth jackets are often better-looking
    • Denim jackets can be styled rather weird and look outdated soon
  10. A not-stuffy pencil skirt
    • No skirts.
  11. A striped shirt that makes you look French.
    • Horizontal stripes. Hahaha. I learned that was a no-no in 9th grade. Only for the thin & fit.
  12. White pants you can wear any time of the year.
    • White. On pants. Just never sit down anywhere. Yeah, forget it.
  13. A little black dress you'll wear forever.
    • Sure. My eternal quest.
    • There was once this perfect looking dress in a Victoria's Secret catalog. 
      • Decades ago, perhaps. 
      • I wish I'd bought it. 
      • No. I wish I'd saved the photo.
  14. A Showstopping dress for special occasions
    • Wait for the occasion before buying the dress
  15. A basic sweater to throw over anything
    • I have a nice black cotton sweater from the long-defunct Tweeds Catalog.
    • I miss getting clothes from the Tweeds Catalog
    • I wish J.Crew would revive it, with decent clothes.
    • I have that nice black cotton sweater, and a very nice embroidered? jackard? greyish button-down shirt that I wear over plain t-shirts in the summer. 
    • Something happened to textiles between the 1980's and now. 
      • Clothes purchased in the past 10 years or so will develop holes much sooner than they ought to. 
      • Something is very wrong.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Crochet Hat May 1-8, Lion Homespun Lagoon

Soft acrylic nubby yarn. You have to be a Ravelry member to access project on Ravelry, so transposing description here:

homespun was $6/skein, but used 40% coupon.
Started with 8 or 9 mm largest crochet hook I had, since I got confused by hook number on skein package, but switched to 6mm once realized it was actually requesting number 9, which is 6.5mm. 
My set of hooks has 6 & 7, not 6.5.
Started with magic loop, otherwise I started by trying to follow I didn’t understand the set of stitches, parentheses with no numbers to indicate repeated pattern and how it was all supposed to add up to the specified number of stitches for that row. 
So I just made circular rows with uneven occurrences of fpdc and dc, incrementing, then decrementing as it got ruffly. 
When near maximum width, did a circular row of simple dc, then all fdpc. 
Continued decrementing with fdpc until at head width. 
Then made some rows of regular hdc’s until nice margin to fold over. 
There’s a bit of yarn left--perhaps enough for fingerless mitt or 2.