Paper Jam


8 Random Things

I've been tagged, and since I can't seem to think of anything else coherent to write about lately, I'll submit. I can't ever say no Beth anyway, because I adore her and she is helping me hang onto the few strands of sanity I have left. (Note: This meme should not be confused with Mad Snippets from a Deranged Optimist, of which there were only five anyway.)

1. I was a voracious reader as a child, and when I wasn't reading, I'd narrate my own life to myself in my head in the third person. "She trudged up the concrete steps and heaved open the heavy wooden door..." Yeah, pretty weird. Now I compose blog posts to you guys in my head. Not that I've been writing them down or anything. But it means I think about you a lot. (I wonder if this indicates I should be going back to therapy in the near future?)

2. My new favorite band is The Weakerthans. If you go here you can listen to a few of their songs. Plea from a Cat Named Virtue is the reason I fell in love with them. Aside is also a really great song, and their new single, Night Windows, is pure poetry. (You have to go to their myspace page to hear that last one, but it's worth it, because there Virtue the Cat Explains Her Departure as well. In song, of course.)

3. I'm nine. I've noticed that when most people lie about their age it ends in a 9, so I'm just going with plain old nine. It's a nice number, and if you turn it upside-down it's six. Which is also a cool number.

4. I love crossword puzzles. They seem like the most enormous waste of time to me, but they obsess me to the point that my brain stops its incessant rattling and that is very refreshing. Mostly I like the New York Times (Independent Lens featured the NYT Crossword on PBS recently, and that was fascinating) but by Friday-Saturday they get frustrating and far less enjoyable. Also the Wall Street Journal has a good weekend one, and the NY Daily News Sunday.

5. Another band I've developed a fondness for is Motion City Soundtrack, but this is mostly because of the song Everything is Alright. This song cheers me up. But more apropos at the moment might be Gary Jules' Mad World. Turns out it's a Tears for Fears song from 1982--no wonder I knew all the words to it. If I were smart enough to embed audio links here, I would...but oh well. It would just depress you anyway. (It's also weird how much this Gary Jules guy sounds like Michael Stipe. And there's an eerie Tori Amos-esque piano thing going on. It works, though.)

6. You really should go watch that Tears for Fears video because a) I love that song; b) you may have forgotten how utterly gorgeous (and sorrowfully sadly mealancholily gorgeous) Curt Smith was; and c) I think I still dance like that. Except it was cool to dance like that in 1982. (It's probably good I don't get out more often.)

7. Yes, I had big 80s hair, but now it's off to the barber for a crew cut or I want to stick pins in my eyes. I can't bear dealing with hair. If I have to do more than towel it dry, I'm freaking out. Why does it have to keep growing? It's so annoying. Like cleaning and a lot of other things that you should only ever have to do once--dust, vacuum, do laundry, put gas in the car...you no sooner do it than you're going to have to do it again. This seems to me the very definition of pointlessness.

8. However, along these lines: I have discovered the solution to break-outs if, like me, you have oily skin. (Those of you with lovely normal/normal-to-dry skin, you can stop reading here.) Okay, now that only those of us with an abundance of natural oils remain, we can congratulate ourselves that when we're 60+ we won't have wrinkles like all those poor normal-skinned folks. (Honest, you should see my mom. Over 60 and virtually wrinkle-free.)

I have terrible--okay, I'll re-phrase and call it challenging--skin and tried everything, even that expensive Proactiv stuff--I mean everything, both prescription and non-prescription. (It's amazing what they can sell you when you're self-conscious, isn't it?) So now I'll tell you the thing that my years of diligent research revealed and that no cosmetic/soap/cream/acne solution company will tell you. Stop washing your face. Really. It's that simple.

I confirmed this with an Aveda-trained friend and it's true. Stop washing all those natural oils away. (And for goodness sakes don't put anything oily or greasy or "age-defying" or "replenishing" or anything that contains oils, grease, petroleum, butter, bacon, Crisco, or lotions on even near your skin. EVER. You have plenty of that stuff naturally. So--yay! Make sure you choose oil-free make-up and sunscreen ONLY.)

I use a hand-knit cotton washcloth (a washcloth being a professional make-up artist friend's recommended "exfoliant") and a mild hand-made soap about once a week on my face. Yes, I know it sounds gross, but honestly my face isn't greasy like all the commercials and ads would lead you to believe and break-outs are almost non-existent now. I think the trick is that cutting out all the washing (and scrubbing and masks and toners) allows your skin to re-balance itself. And it's cheaper. And far less work.

And you know me--I heartily believe that Less Work is More. Waaaaay more.


Green Eggs, Black Cats, and Blue Girls

If anyone wonders how I'm doing, just check the frequency of my posts. Generally, the more posts, the better I feel. When I'm not feeling great, I don't post so often. So you might gather from the dearth of posts over the past couple weeks that my mood has been less than stellar. Well, I was pretty busy at first, then my mood began sliding downward.

That's the curse of bipolar--you feel okay for awhile...then, not so okay.

But rather than drag you down, I really wanted to show you these:

Yep, the May pullets are laying and some of Odo's offspring prove to have the Ameraucana "Easter Egg" laying genes. I'm tickled as can be.

I took a whole slew of bird pictures the other day because I'm so fascinated by the crosses we got out of Odo and his many hens. So stay tuned.

Meanwhile, here is Isis on one of her odd little adventures in Mr. O'Kitten's room. She is stalking a ball of twine...

...then thought she'd have more success by sneaking up on it from the cover of a tissue box, sticking her huge paw out rather stealthily through the tissue slot. Apparently balls of twine can't see you when you're disguised as tissue boxes.

Despite these lovely amusements and distractions, I remain blue this evening, as Mr. O'Kitten returned to the hospital today. However, I did receive a most beautiful surprise today from none other than bellamoden, of which I will soon (promise promise) post pictures. She totally rules, especially timing this glorious package to coincide with the day that Mr. O'Kitten went back to hospital. Hand-dyed yarn porn and much-needed fibery goodness. And needles galore! She is a goddess.


Smashing Pumpkins (and Gourds)

Okay, no one actually smashed them. Some got carved and painted and others were fed to chickens and sheep. (But does anyone else remember when there were several bands all named after varieties of squash?)

Last week my beloved cousin and her 15-year-old daughter were here to visit us and my grandma (who, incidentally, will be 90 next month, in case I haven't mentioned it recently). We had a fantastic time, and they are largely responsible for keeping me from the computer (although this week it's the Spinning Loft's fault).

Tonya and Rachel

Here are just a few photos of some of our adventures. I only wish I had taken pictures of all the baking (fresh apple pie, sour cherry pie, potato pie, apple crisp...) and good home-cooking that went on...

Our pumpkin patch produced a few nice squash this season despite the drought, but I myself didn't participate in the elaborate pumpkin-carving ceremony. (Way too much effort and elbow grease is required, if you ask me.) This is Rachel's work.

Mr. O'Kitten produced Batman.

Then there were the gourds. Dozens and dozens of them. My mom had planted a "variety" of decorative gourds which, to her discouragement and aggravation, not only took over a huge swath of her garden, but all turned out to be yellow. Yep, every single one. Dozens upon dozens of identical yellowy-white gourds. So we began to paint.

Rachel painted these. The one on the right is Tyr, whom I think she fell in love with. I asked her to take him home, but she thought their backyard in Minneapolis would be too small for a sheep.

This is my Grandma a little over two years ago. She and my mom made hand-sewn teddy bears. She is endlessly creative. (Not to mention that she's the one who wanted to learn to spin in the first place, so my mom and I took spinning classes with her two years ago.)

Here's Tonya knitting with some of my handspun merino on the knifty knitter. (She is also very creative--and an amazing cook!)

Tonya and me



What did I tell you?

Now I'm off for an afternoon at the Spinning Loft!



Just wanted to let y'all know I'm okay, and thanks again for all the well-wishes. Mr. O'Kitten is somewhere in Week 3; I am on Day 8 (again) but that's okay. I didn't kill anyone and this week went much more smoothly than the previous (during which I became horribly depressed and...well, I needn't bore you with the gory details but let's just say I feel much better now, thank you very much).

Jesse - I don't have your blog addy but I did email Elyse (at least I don't think my computer ate the email, tho I'm very sleepy) to tell her those cats sound perfect IF she can figure out some way to get them here from Brooklyn. But...maybe someone will feel like making a road trip with some cats in desperate need of a home? Hopefully she'll find a solution that's closer to NY but if not...I don't see why a little cat colony (all fixed and rabies-vaccinated, no less) couldn't be relocated to our big cozy barn and 20 acres (well, far more than that with all the surrounding woods and pastureland) just teeming with rodents and rabbits and ground hogs and all sorts of lovely things to chase throughout all the seasons of the year. Assuming someone can just get them here. Or at least to somewhere at least as nice. I shudder to think of them being poisoned simply for being...you know...cats.

In other news, it has been an unheard-of 80-some degrees here for the past few days. And humid. And muggy. But hey, there's no such thing as global warming.

Last October, it was snowing and I took this picture, which is what I'd much rather it be doing right about now.

I'll be at the Spinning Loft for much of the week so I'm not sure how much I'll be online; sorry I still haven't caught after my email and such.

I'll just leave you with a tasmanian devil for company. (Sure, it's cute now, but just you wait...)