Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Golden girl

Golden girl, originally uploaded by marj k.

Epic. The only word. Awesome, too.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Coolest Octopus Ever

Not strictly true. Every octopus is the coolest octopus ever. But this is pretty cool.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Happy Easter!

When They Were Ankle-Biters

Happy Easter to all! To those who belong to the Christian tradition, He Is Risen! (Okay, now you're supposed to shout back, "He Is Risen, Indeed!")

I would insert a rant here on the order of No Bunnies, No Colored Eggs, No Rafts of Plastic Grass, Quit With The Commercialism, but I'm not going to go there.

Enjoy your Easter holiday, with or without chocolate and all the trimmings. Has anyone seen a butter lamb lately? I miss the butter lamb.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Art made by my kids, and my fabulous tripod

 I decorate not with Monet but with Child. As in kids. The wolf eye is my daughter's, the mice by my son, and the triple wolves again by daughter. I am so proud I could just burst.

Oh, and my tripod. We're high-tech around here. ;-)

Friday, January 22, 2010

thought for the day

Honesty and tact are not mutually exclusive.

Friday, January 01, 2010

new year

New Year resolutions, of course.

"Live in the present" is so cliched that I'm not sure I've ever thought about it more than a moment. Which is the crux, isn't it? The moment moves. I want to reach back to some of them, and erase others, like a living video machine. (With editing software. Okay, this metaphor is officially way over.)

Why does this moment seldom seem as good as my memory of ones gone by? Probably because I've edited and enhanced those over time. I doubt they were as good as they seem to me now, but "that way madness lies; let me shun that; No more of that" as a troubled man once said.

Some of those retreating moments aren't even mine. The picture I form for the word "happiness" is usually a retro photograph I remember seeing in a magazine, of the sun streaming down on the blonde hair of a young woman who is obviously delighted with her life in the Alps. It's not the blonde hair, as attractive as it is: a light, bright gold, perfectly styled in what is surely a wind-touched scene. It isn't the woman, particularly; she is generic enough to be a representation of whatever personality we want her to be. And the Alpine scene is perfect enough to be the subject of a paint-by-number masterpiece, with every color carefully chosen and placed.

It's the light. Sunlight streams onto her hair and face, her vivid red scarf (it contrasts so beautifully in the foreground of the photograph with the greens and blues in the background), so bright and encompassing that I don't remember what she is doing in the picture or how she is posed, beyond that face tipped towards the sun. Perhaps she's stopped during a glorious ski run. Or maybe she's just parked her automobile, brand new and gleaming in the sun, at just the right vantage point to admire the mountains. I don't remember.

Was the sun that much stronger back then, in the mid-twentieth century? I saw it in a photograph, a real picture of a real person in a real landscape. The photographer could have manipulated the image, brightening the colors or increasing the exposure. But in the fifties, before Photoshop, just how much magic could he work with his chemicals in the darkroom?

And I don't think it's the longing I feel, the desire to reach back to the sunshine and feel it streaming over my own hair, that makes the picture capture the light so strongly. I remember the photograph, its presence on a glossy page, and my wonderment at the sun's strength in the Bavarian mountains. There must be so much more sunlight on the other side of the world.

It is perhaps not coincidental that I'm thinking about this at the winter solstice, when the sun is at its lowest and weakest and the light barely trickles through the bare branches of the trees. But it isn't my brilliant sunshine I'm remembering. It's a picture of it, somewhere else in some other time. The closest I got to that moment of glorious light was looking at it in a picture in a magazine.

Maybe I should glory in the softness of my own winter sunlight. Sure, it looks different at this time of year and in this place. But it is the same sun, after all. And this pale sunbeam is shining on me now, in this moment, not in some imaginary, or even real, past.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Give Me the Damn Remote.

photo by stevendepolo on flickr under a Creative Commons license

I feel like I have no control over my life. If I try to complete a simple task, I can't find the tools to do it. The job reaches a level of complexity, of twists and turns so byzantine, that my annoyance turns to wonder.  How in the world can every single step have an obstacle?

Let's take an example. I have three freezers. (Don't even ask.) Food gets stuck in them willy-nilly. Whenever I try to organize them ("Look, guys, this is the meat shelf. There's meat on it. Nothing else. Keep it that way.") the order disintegrates within days. Boy wants a pot pie? Rummage, rummage, stuff all over. Husband picks up some frozen vegetables and ice cream on his way home from work? Let's see, it'll fit here . . . and here . . . and some over there . . . and that's why the ice cream is in two different freezers on four different shelves. Meanwhile, where's the spinach? I have no idea.

And what happens to the peas? I buy them every time I go to the grocery store. On any given night we are more likely than not to have peas on the menu because they're nutritious, quick to prepare, and inoffensive to all family members. Usually I can only find them if I dig deep to the back of the freezer (behind everything else, probably on the meat shelf) and realize that those little snowballs are not, in fact, snowballs, but frost-encrusted peas. And when I need corn? You guessed it. No corn, but an avalanche of peas.

One day I got the brilliant idea to make labels for the freezer shelves. Okay, this should be easy. Ready?

1. Mention casually to husband that I'm going to make freezer labels. The response is negative: that's too much work, it won't solve the problem (what problem?), they'll never stick to the shelves so they won't even be there when you want them. Deflate a bit at this barrage of reasoning. I have such stupid ideas.

2. Months go by. I can't find anything in the freezer. Decide to make freezer labels and damn the torpedoes. Type up some large, clear labels on my trusty Mac.

3. My computer is not connected to the printer. (See, our two printers are in the computer room so my kids can use them for schoolwork with their own computers. My computer is on my craft table in the play room. Well, it used to be. But I couldn't monitor the puppy from that end of the house so my computer is currently on a little cabinet in the living room.) Technically I should be able to do this from my computer over our home network. It doesn't always work, so I use a workaround. It's simple. First, send the file to the computer attached to the printer. Wait, that one's a PC so I  convert the file to a different format, then try to send it. It doesn't work.

4. Go into other room and turn on the PC. Play three hands of solitaire while it loads Windows. Go back to my computer. Hit Send. Return to PC. Try Print. Nope.

5. Turn the printer off, wait five seconds, and turn it back on. (It's fussy.) Go back to PC. Hit Print. Nope.

6. Un-install the printer from my computer. Install it again. Find and re-install the proper driver. Hit Print. Success!

7. I intended to print the labels on sturdy card stock, but the printer doesn't easily take heavy paper like that without jamming, so I've printed the labels on regular office paper which I will then attach to the card stock. Find my own private stash of card stock (there isn't any in the paper drawer labeled "card stock") and feel smug. This is going to work.

8. Now I need scissors to cut apart the labels and card-stock backing. Ha ha, the gremlin chuckles, this one is too easy. The scissors are not in the scissors drawer. Search house for scissors. We must have fifteen pairs of scissors. I can't find any of them. Sigh and get my sewing scissors which are Never To Be Used On Paper. They're a bit dull anyway because the kids co-opt them when they can't find paper scissors. Cut the labels apart. Almost done.

9. Now I'm going to tape the labels to the card stock and fake-laminate them by covering them with packing tape. You know where this is going. The tape. Junk drawer? Nope. Battery drawer? (It's possible. Don't ask.) Nope. Kitchen counter? Computer room? Any horizontal surface in the house? Nope. E-mail husband at work to ask where the tape is. He thinks he saw it in a drawer somewhere. Search again. No dice.

10. Remember that I stashed away a roll of packing tape for just this eventuality. Go to secret stash. Like the Egyptian tombs, it's been raided.

11. Go to Wal-Mart and buy more packing tape. (Side note: there are single rolls and double rolls of packing tape on the shelf. Single rolls are $5.44. Double-rolls are $5.44. Point this out to cashier, who rolls her eyes, and buy the double-roll.) Go home.

12. The puppy needs to go out. Decide (I must have a death wish) to try his new walking collar on him so we can go for a walk later, when I've finished the labels. Cannot find new walking collar. Tear out some hair. Here's some luck; I find the box for the walking-collar. It's empty.

13. But wait! Victory! I find the collar in the bathroom! Quickly gather up puppy, who is crossing his legs.

14. Run to get puppy treats to bribe puppy into his new collar. All together now: Can't Find the Puppy Treats.

15. Admit defeat. Take puppy outside sans collar. Bring puppy back in.

And now, finally, there's nothing in my way. I have the tape and the labels. I look at them. And I just can't do it. What began as a simple idea has become a mountainous task, and I just can't make it up that last little bit to the top.

Decide to watch TV. Where's the remote? We have six of them . . .