Requiem: Fan, CD player

After I graduated from high school, I went through all my things and discarded large swaths of my childhood. I donated a big box to my friend’s father’s favorite cause.  They had a fundraising garage sale every year.  I also renovated an antique trunk to store all my important childhood things in.  I prepared to leave home, but I don’t remember doing much to prepare myself for college.

My mother did a lot of that.  The college sent a list, and that summer I would come home from work to discover things had been purchased. I still have the stapler she bought me, and I probably haven’t yet gone through the box of staples that came with it.

One of the things that we did buy was a fan.  I was thinking this was bought in Boise, but it might have been one of the items we waited to purchase when we got to school.  If that was the case, it came from Walmart, which was the only shopping option in Nevada, Missouri.  If not, I think it came from K-Mart.

And this was my fan, for years and years afterward.  When the weather cooled off, I disassembled it and put it back in its original box.  It was mailed back to Boise when I finished up at Cottey, and I mailed it from Boise to Amherst when I went to UMass.  Then it traveled back across the country in the moving truck when I left Somerville.
I haven’t used it the last few years. Matt brought home an oscillating fan from work that is in better shape, so I haven’t gone through the ritual unboxing and assembling.   We were cleaning out one of the sheds and I decided it was time to let it go.  Thanks fan, for keeping me cool all those hot and humid summers.  And thanks, Mom, for making sure I had what I needed for college.

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I was very resistant to the compact disk.  I loved records, particularly loved 45s, and hated how CDs took over and the 45s disappeared from the stores.  I hated that they were more expensive than records or cassettes and it drove me crazy that everyone made the switch. They didn’t sound THAT much better.  I didn’t start buying CDs until 1997, when my college boyfriend was getting rid of his old boom box (we might have still been calling them ghetto blasters then?) and asked me if I wanted it.  I said yes, and bought a few CDS.  One of them was “Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Soundtrack Volume 1,” another was The Brian Setzer Orchestra, “Dirty Boogie.”To this day, I can’t listen to either of those CDs. I played them too often to ever hear them again.  (Though I still enjoy certain songs of Ella Fitzgerald’s from that album.)

I can’t say I loved this boom box, it was more of  a means to an end. But for the past decade I’ve felt warm feelings while looking at it, remembering the things I liked about the college boyfriend, remembering being young in the big city of Boston, cooking dinner and listening to my CDs.  There are so many things I don’t miss about that time in my life, but it was the time I was young, and I’m happy I got to be young, living in an old town, trying to figure my post-college life out.

There is an imagined parallel life that is running constantly in my mind. One where I got married and had kids when my mom did.  If I’d replicated her life, my daughter would be 12 now, and my son 10.  I remember being 12 and that things in my childhood that had always been there started to wear out and be replaced.  It felt weird to have new dishes when we’d always had the white ones that were wedding presents.  I think about how maybe that imaginary daughter would be astounded to see something leave that had always been there, something that she had spent her childhood playing CDs, before she discovered streaming.

Or maybe she wouldn’t have noticed.

Dead Relatives Tour 2017: snowball bush

The snowball bush didn’t do so well during the hard winter, it’s being propped up here and there. My grandmother loved snowballs, and when it’s in bloom and also Memorial Day, she gets a bunch on her gravestone.

We made the tour as usual this year, despite my Aunt Pat being under the weather.  Basil and Basiliki and George and Helen were visited, and then Matt met up with us at Verde Cocina for a delicious lunch.

Blanket for Baby L started. And finished.

Baby L is due to arrive in June.  That made it time to get out the standard baby blanket pattern, which, come to think of it, made its debut with soon-to-be Baby L’s older brother, who will be two in September.

I’ve made some changes since that first blanket.  I do not hand monogram any longer.  That is an exercise in patience I don’t need to undertake again.  Instead, I machine monogram in a fun color. (My monogramming method involves a zig-zag stitch, not a monogram machine.)

This was the first time I used satin blanket binding instead of making my own bias binding.  My mother reminded me how much my brother and I liked the satin blanket binding on our blankets when we were children.  I couldn’t disagree, so satin binding it was.

I love the colors of this blanket, which do not really come through in this photo.  The schema came to me in a dream (no kidding!)  I woke up and emailed my friend. “I want to find some material that has to do with space, or the galaxy!  And the backing should be a royal purple!”  And lo, we found purple-tinted space fabric.  Fabric Depot really is amazing.  I also like the green flannel backing, which nicely sets off the purple of space.  Picking out white as the binding color was the hardest part. We tried many colors, but white worked the best.  I’m sure it will be stained immediately, but such is life with children.

I also love the monogram, which is some odd font that utilizes a rectangle and a triangle to make the letter L.

The material was purchased a few months ago, washed and neatly folded.  I then made a step-by-step plan to complete this project.  I figured it would take me a few weeks once I got going, because that’s how it usually goes.

But it turns out that satin blanket binding is supposed to be zig-zag stitched on a sewing machine.  Previously, I would get everything cut to the right size and laid out, then attach one side of the bias binding to the edge, then press and spend a couple of hours invisible hemming the other side.

Not satin blanket binding.  It was a couple of hours of zigzag sititching. And then I was done.

I don’t love the look of the zigzag, partially because I didn’t have any extra material to test tension on, which meant I was trying to find the right tension as I went. I failed, so it’s not an even zigzag.

Also, it doesn’t line up on the backing.  There’s an edge I don’t like.

Still, I made this in a day.  And it looks really snazzy.  Overall, I’m pleased.

Three sentence movie reviews: Drugstore Cowboy

I love this movie, from Matt Dillon’s blank, yet compelling, performance to all the Portland sights, (many of which have changed dramatically, or disappeared.)  I love the bleakness of the story and how it still manages to be a lighthearted sad movie. It is not a glamorized portrayal of drug addition, and that is another thing I love about it.

Cost: $3.00
Where watched: Laurelhurst Theater with S. North.

Watching this, I realized I knew nothing about Matt Dillon, the person.  It seems odd, no?  He’s been around for a while, yet I couldn’t tell you anything other than what he’s be in.  Old school!

poster from: http://www.impawards.com/1989/drugstore_cowboy_ver2.html (fold marks!)

The Art of the Lego @OMSI

Free passes for this exhibit were available and so Matt and I spent a sunny Friday afternoon taking in the Art of the Brick.

Before we got started, we found out how tall we were in LEGO bricks.

Matt nearly reaches Albert Einstein’s 184 bricks.

I am a less-impressive 153 bricks.

Note that I am MUCH taller than a Minifig.

All of the LEGO art we are going to see was created by Nathan Sawaya, a former corporate lawyer who now is a full-time artist.  The first  part of the exhibit was Sawaya’s recreations of famous art works, in LEGO.  I liked this, because most of them were in a 1:1 scale, which let me get a sense of size that the internet does not allow.

This was my favorite creation, which is not a 1:1, but rather 1:6 scale.  I liked how they had it hanging so that you could see the light shining through the window.

Favorite part of this?  The use of minifigs.

The next portion of the exhibit was Sawaya’s original art.  You can see how he fashioned even the frames out of LEGOs.

I found much of Sawaya’s original creations, especially when paired with the artist statement of each piece, to be art that it would seem like a motivational speaker would create.  Matt pointed out that Sawaya is a motivational speaker.

I liked better this reproduction of a T-Rex.

Matt has a chat.

The third part of the exhibit had a mashup of photography that included LEGO figures, such as the tree in this photo.

You could see the tree in person.

I also enjoyed our PDX carpet corner of the exhibit.  Sawaya was raised in the area.

One of the last items were these hugging figures, which Sawaya leaves in parks in different cities.

Things that were missing from this exhibit?  Process.  How does Sawaya create his art?  Sketches? Computer modeling? Trial and error? Does he purchase his LEGOs, or are they supplied by the company?  Since the exhibits dates overlap, does he have multiples of each thing, or does each city get their own special items?  Does he have assistants?  How long does it take him to make things?  So many questions!

Dance recital 2017

The difficulty of balancing the baby and the phone-as-recording device:

Recital #3 happened.  The intermediate tap class of the Peninsula Park Community Center danced to “Time to Blow” which is an instrumental piece from That Thing You Do soundtrack.  I love the song and our dance fit perfectly with the music.

This dance recital suffered from my most hated thing: poor planning.  If you could open up that program to read it, you would not find a list of the numbers being performed in the proper order, you would find a hand-written list of every class and participant in the Peninsula Park Community Center’s dance program.

Was the order of performance going to be the same as the class listings?  Who knew?  Things grew more complicated when they begin calling people by number, and not by song title or class name.  “Number one, please go to the stage, number two, please meet to the left of the stage.”  What number were we?  If we were going in program order, that made us number 11.  But were we going in program order?

This isn’t my first time at this particular ranch, and I don’t understand why this dance recital was set up in this fashion when the previous two have followed the normal order of things.  I don’t understand why the program didn’t list the titles of the songs in order.  I don’t understand why they were calling people by number only, not song or class title.

It turned out we were number five, which we discovered when the woman said, “Number five is ‘Time to Blow'” Is there no one in the audience who is dancing to this number?

We were not ready.  We did not have our shoes on.  We did not know we were going.  Apparently, when people “checked in” (something that has not happened the previous two years) the woman wrote a number on people’s program.  But no one “checked me in” when I, or anyone else in the class, grabbed a program, so how were we to know?

I dislike participating in activities that I could have organized better.

Once we got on stage, it was a fine performance to a good song.

I’m hoping for better organization next year.

Three sentence movie reviews: Adult World

It’s a post-college transition movie with a female lead!*  She’s insufferable, which made this movie not much fun to watch.**  It was also odd, with many things that didn’t quite work,*** but I found Evan Peters’**** performance enjoyable, and again: post-college transition with a female lead.

Cost: Free from library
Where watched: at home.

*Win and win!  Post-college transitions are the mostly-unexplored time period in our landscape.
**Although I do feel for a character who, when frustrated, yells, “I got straight A’s!”  Yep.  Learning that good grades don’t necessarily get you anything is tough.
***Armando Riesco’s Rubia character, I either needed more of her story, or less.  What was there was frustrating.  Rat Billing’s ultimately mean move of publishing Amy’s poetry kind of came from left field.  Undeveloped female friendship between Amy and college friend.
****”…And I was wondering who he was, and he was in Kick-Ass and then played Quicksilver in X-Men” I told Matt as I was summing up the movie.
“Aaron Taylor-Johnson?”
“Um, I don’t think that’s his name.”
“He’s the guy in Kick-Ass and he played Quicksilver in the Avengers”
IMDB was consulted. It turns out Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Evan Peters were both in Kick-Ass and both played Quicksilver, one in X-Men, one in the Avengers.  Amazing! (More amazing than this movie.)

poster from: http://www.impawards.com/2014/adult_world.html

My 100 Days Post #8. Week 3 review, Week 4 plan

Here is the week 3 plan [and here is how I did]

5/15 Monday–Swim [Walked instead of swam.  Metronome @43]
5/16 Tuesday–Walk in the morning, tap dance [No walk, yes tap dance]
5/17 Wednesday–Swim, Square dance [Walked instead of swam. No square dance]
5/18 Thursday–Walk in the morning [yes, metronome 43]
5/19 Friday–Swim [nothing]
5/20 Saturday–AM yoga [nothing]
5/21 Sunday–walk to meet a friend for an event we have planned. [nothing]

Meditate:
According to the new plan and my calendar I should meditate in the morning on Monday, Thursday and Friday.  I should be able to meditate in the evening on Tuesday and Wednesday. Weekends I will meditate when I feel kind of exhausted.

[It turns out I don’t really feel comfortable meditating on the train.  So that won’t be a solution. Meditation was fairly successful this week, because I wasn’t doing much else]

Food habits:
I’m experimenting with getting 800 grams of produce per day.  Let’s see if that ends up to be triggering in any way.  Also I need to put my food books on hold at the library.  I can’t afford to buy my own copies right now.

[I did put the food books on hold.  There is a long wait.  The produce thing worked well on the weekend, when I’m eating all meals at home, but not so much on the weekdays, when I’m dragging my food around to work and such.]

Soooooooo.

What happened this week is that I got sick.  I lost my voice on Monday and Tuesday and I had a cough.  It wasn’t the kind of cough where I could swim. Then, instead of getting better as the week went on, I got worse.  I had pink eye on the weekend, and some stomach issues.  I write this from the end of week 4, when my cough became a killer cough and the stomach issues stuck around.

The Saturday and Sunday of Week 3 had me hanging out on the couch for most of the weekend.  I cancelled plans.  I put off going to the store.  This turned out to be a good thing, because I lost my appetite on Sunday and it didn’t come back for the rest of the week.

This gave me a lot of time to think.  I’ve been feeling overly busy in the last month or so, in a way I don’t like and don’t want to be sustainable.  I’m worried about the summer, when I’m taking an online class that supposedly will take me 13 hours of work per week.  I find that those estimates tend to be generous, but even at half the amount, that’s still 6.5 extra hours to find.

I looked for things to drop from my schedule.  I had the happy realization that on busy weeks, I don’t need to cook five or six separate and different meals.  I can make one or two things and eat them all week.  I don’t need new kinds of food every day.

And maybe, I thought, I need to ratchet back the blog. Maybe it needs to be book and movie reviews only this summer.  That seemed like a good plan.  The next day I remembered this project.

There was a time in my life when I would gut through with stuff like this.  I said I was going to do it, and by gum, it was going to get done, no matter how complicated my life was because of it.

But I’m older now, and I have left that tension behind me.  This is not going to be my 100 Days summer.  I’m setting aside this project for now, or possibly forever.  If I do pick it up again, I would rather do it in the cold and dark winter, than the glorious summer.  And I would like to come at it from an angle of motivation.  John Green must have partially been motivated by the fact that people with cameras were going to be at his gym, so he had better be there too.  I don’t have that particular motivation.  So how do I get myself going on days I don’t want to?

This has been a good trail month.  I’m glad I built it in.

Three sentence movie reviews: Kingsman The Secret Service

There were things I really liked about this movie: the style of the Kingsmen,* many of the action scenes were thrilling, the characters were compelling, and the villain’s evil plot sounded like a feasible evil villain’s plot.  There could have been a little more action for the women in the film.** Unfortunately, the violence in this film–both stylish and humorously rendered–left a bad taste in my mouth.

Cost: free from libarary
Where watched: at home with Matt

*Those training suits the potential Kingsmen wore were awesome! (picture clipped from here )  

**Gazelle does  a lot, it’s true, but Sophie Cookson’s character was wasted

(I watched this twice in one day.  I watched it on my own and then re-watched it with Matt.  I had a bad cold, and didn’t feel like moving from the couch.)
(This was also a pre-watch because Channing Tatum is in the sequel, and I felt I needed to catch up.)

poster from: http://www.impawards.com/2015/kingsman_the_secret_service.html
(I did not choose the other versions of the posters which feature a back view of Gazelle, legs spread wide framing Colin Firth/Samuel L. Jackson/Eggsy/the pug.  I get that they are an homage to the famous James Bond poster, but if that was the ass of Sofia Boutella then it had been digitally shrunk so small as to render it unrecognizable.  Homage to misogyny is still misogyny)

Three sentence movie reviews: The Age of Adeline

I enjoy movies about women, and thus I enjoyed this movie about Adaline, a woman who hasn’t aged since the 1930s, something that complicates her life.  How would it be to move through this world and not be able to establish any lasting relationships owing to the fact you must assume a new identity every decade, so as to avoid detection.  It’s a clever story, and one with a few good twists.

Cost: free from library
Where watched: at home while painting toes green.

poster from: http://www.impawards.com/2015/age_of_adaline.html
I love this poster, as did the peanut gallery on impawards.com