Monday, January 28, 2013

Hat Trick

In that last couple of years, I have developed a hat collection.  Many of these hats have come via Miss Myrna.  Others have been purchased for me by The Husband, who likes me in hats.  Now that my hair is shorter, I feel more like wearing hats.  I have a goodly collection now, wool hats and straw hats.  Two hat boxes in the closet and one in the attic (where my Top hat resides.)

I want a black man's top hat, so I can attach a little veiling to it and feel very 19th century.

Now, here's the hard part.  Where do I wear these hats?  I haven't worked out a method for wearing hats on a daily basis.  Once upon a time a hat was just a part of the clothing one wore, like shoes or a shirt.  You wore something on your head all the time.  Then hats became something you wore because you were going into the public eye.  Gradually they became special occasion wear, then they vanished pretty much completely except for old ladies in church and the fashionably eccentric.   They became markers of certain cultural/social niches.  They took on new meanings.

I just like to wear hats.  I don't always look good in a hat, but I think a hat always looks good. (I need more hat pins, too.)

My car is not hat friendly, though.  Wearing a hat while driving is a problem because it bumps the headrest or rubs the ceiling.  Of course, wearing my hair in a bun or a ponytail creates similar problems.

My birthday is coming up and we are planning a dinner with friends at one of my favorite restaurants.  I am planning to wear a hat.  I have a Miss Myrna original, a beautiful, bright red straw hat with satin roses and feathers.  It's Quite A Hat, and I plan to wear it.  I may declare it a Hat Party.

In my early teens I wore a baseball cap most of the time, usually because I had my long hair tucked into it.  At some point I gave up my boy impersonation and the hat went away.  Now I want to wear hats to be as female as I can manage.

Oh, and today I have metallic green fingernails.  They entertain me.

I guess the trick to wearing a hat is to put it on your head and leave the house.  Still, it seems more complicated than that.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bitchin' and knittin' and typin'

Forth freaking day of rain here, and the temp is dropping -- low of 34 expected tonight, 32 tomorrow night and even colder by Monday.  Practically like...winter.  Won't be so bad in the daytime but we could get some ice out of this.  Bleah, like I need more help in falling down and busting my ass.

Got the first rows of my latest knitting project on the needles.  My fingers ache and now I wish I HAD found circular needles for this project -- good gravy it is easy to tell when I am using cheap needles.  I don't have a lot of expensive ones, but there is a distinct difference between $3 needles and $7 needles.  I'll need more yarn for this vest so I know I'll have to go to Greenville at A.C. Moore to get it.  We've sworn off Hobby Lobby, Michael's here has limited yarn choices, Wal-Mart is only for emergencies and certain yarns, so that leaves A.C. Moore -- which would be first choice if it wasn't an hour away.  And while I love the little craft store near us, they are high end with luxury yarns, not the stuff I'm using.

In fact, my whole body aches this morning, probably from digging around in the attic yesterday.  OH, and I think I have a clue on the constant headaches -- the "acid reflux diet" eliminates caffeine.  Even though I don't drink nearly as much caffeinated stuff as I once did, I do drink a bit almost every day (equivalent to between 1/2 and 1 1/2 cups of coffee).  Going off completely has caused, as I should have expected, headaches which, combined with the stupid weather and a stiff neck, makes for pain even Aleve won't touch. So I am adding a touch of caffeine back in and tapering off more slowly.

Lesseee, what else can I bitch about?  Hmm, weather, body aches, headaches, stupid diet where I can't eat anything delicious because it might have fats, acids, chocolate, or caffeine  (what is the point of a baked potato without butter or sour cream or bacon bits?) no onions (unless they are really cooked well, which seems to be ok).  Feh.

Actually, I have something good to mention.  Some months ago I saw a notice on G+ for +Em Dash Lit Mag calling for submissions, so I worked up some courage (and got a cheering section with +Rob Pearson and +Sarah Pinsker ) and submitted.  When I got an email back a few weeks later, I had myself a little freak fest and could not open it -- rejection or acceptance, my Crazy made both choices look equally awful in that way my Crazy can do.  So I didn't open the email and eventually forgot about it.  Then, this week, they sent out an email apologizing for delays in publication and, being half awake, I opened it.  I saw the words at the top "Dear Contributor".  I got curious.  I checked that old email.  I'd placed the story.  I'm going to be published -- again, in a digital publication, which means it could have the same end as the other two stories I've placed in digital media (aka, VANISHED).

Still, it's a publication.  The other two stories are mine again now, so I might try to place them again (Hotel Room needs tweaking, I think).  And, who knows, I might even write something NEW, although right now I'm thinking about old stories I never placed that might be better with a little fix here and there.  That seems like all the effort I can make at the moment and if I can even do that much, it will be a step forward.

I need some steps forward, especially when my back and shoulders ache like they do today.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Photographic Evidence (Lotsa photos)

(2012 -- I found this as a draft in my posts, and I never published it.  I'm guessing it's from 2007 or before.  Historical interest, I guess.)

For those who are curious, here are my books, pretty much the way you might see them if you were in my house (which is not currently suitable for visitors, being in the midst of de-Christmasing). We start from the entry, go through the living room and kitchen, peek into my office, head into the back room, then (finally) end in the library. And don't be fooled -- any empty shelf you see is only waiting for me to stack something on it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What's It About?

"What's it about?"

That's a question I find as big as a mountain, especially when someone asks it about my writing.  But I don't find it much easier to answer when discussing something I'm reading, some other writer's work.  Someone is asking me to reduce, to encapsulate, to condense, and the subject matter rarely lends itself to such.  It's hard to pack an elephant in a carry on bag.  You'll have to leave something important out.

I've just read through a few of my book reviews.  I should really call them book reactions, since that's what I'm describing.  I suppose that's a kind of review, but...not really.  How does one review a country?  That's what a good story is -- a country, a world, even a universe.  All I can tell a person is what my thoughts and feelings were at the time and what my reflections are today.

I rarely have a good handle on what it is about.

Well, sometimes I can tell, but that's most often for a story or a book that is about something.  Some books and stories are confined and precise, shallow and clear and easy to see through.  Or I see them that way.

What's it about?  What is it reasonably close to, what is it in the immediate neighborhood of?  Is it out of bed?  What is the approximation of this story?

I think it's better to just read it.


 adverb \ə-ˈbat\

Definition of ABOUT

a : reasonably close to (about a year ago)
b : almost (about starved)
c : on the verge of —usually used with be and a following infinitive (about
 to join the army); —used with a negative to express intention or determination (about to quit)
: on all sides : around
a : in rotation
b : around the outside
: in the vicinity : near
: in the opposite direction about
Origin of ABOUT
Middle English, from Old English abūtan, from 1a- + būtanoutside — more at but
First Known Use: before 12th century

Related to ABOUT

Synonyms: aroundround
Antonyms: exactlyprecisely



Definition of ABOUT

: in a circle around : on every side of : around
a : in the immediate neighborhood of : near
b : on or near the person of
c : in the makeup of about
d : at the command of about him>
: engaged in about
 — T. S. Matthews>
a : with regard to : concerning about
 his past>
b : concerned with
c : fundamentally concerned with or directed toward  (about
 money — David Mamet)
: over or in different parts of
before 12th century



Definition of ABOUT

: moving from place to place; specifically : being out of bed
: around 2

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Best Laid Plans and All That

Was supposed to get up bright eyed and chipper this morning, finish the last load of laundry, write in my journal, do some other writing, clean up the kitchen, start on the soup, and head to the doctor for a check up on the throat/acid reflux thing.

Instead, I woke up around 4:30, couldn't go back to sleep for about 2 hours, then dropped into a deep sleep that was interrupted by critter needs (must go pee!  must eat!).  Upon waking, I realized that my head ached, so I returned to bed to snuggle with fed critters who didn't need to pee anymore.  It's now almost 11 and I finally got up, got dressed, and made it as far as the computer.  I should go downstairs, take pills, eat something, and try to remove some of the schmutz from the kitchen. (There's nothing like Yiddish for succinct expression.  My time among so many fine Jewish people was not wasted.)

Bitch, bitch, bitch, that's my mood today.  Nothing is really wrong -- The Husband returns from his trip tonight, the weather is a bit grey and dull but not particularly wet or cold.

Perhaps it's the email I just read, that a lady at church who has been very kind to me, who I like very much, may be dying right now.  I haven't shown her as much attention as I would have liked, just the distractions of life putting her in the back of my mind, as our connection isn't long standing and was mostly intention rather than anything more durable, but still...I find myself feeling a bit dragged down by the thought, a bit sad, hoping that she will recover and come back to church so I can sing for her again.

However, I suspect she would be a bit upset I had cut my hair.  She really loved my long hair.

People pass out of our lives and I've yet to understand it.  I know it happens, I know it is inevitable, I know all those things, and yet I don't understand it.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Adventures in Self Administered Concussions

Spent Friday roaming the wonderful Biltmore with The Husband and some friends.  Free passes, some coupons, and a special tour offering started off a fun day that peaked with a delicious meal at Cedric's Tavern.  When a restaurant and bar is named after a St. Bernard, it's either going to be good or be full of doghair.  We got good.

We wandered and looked and shivered because it was windy and chilly on Friday, and it's impossible to dress for being both outside and inside without carrying a lot of clothing.  So I just went with being cold, as it's a lot easier for me than being too warm.

We'd gone back to Cedric's to purchase some of their signature Brown Ale, which The Husband and Friend 1 had taken a liking to.  While Friend 2 and I found a place to sit with Zeus, she began to tell me True Dog Stories about her Chinese Crested.  The menfolk returned and we settled down at one of the outdoor tables.  Friend 2 started a particular dog anecdote, I laughed, and while laughing threw back my head (it was very funny).  My head chimed against the metal support pole directly behind me.

Ow.  In fact, Ow twice.  And other words, although I was too stunned to actually utter the collection of profanity that tried to spring into my dizzy brain.  Both friends jumped and The Husband rolled his eyes, got up, and massaged my neck and shoulders, since I'd obviously whiplashed myself.  Friend 1 had sympathy shudders.  Yes, I made noise.  But as I didn't lose consciousness and after a few minutes the Ow wore off, I had nothing to show but a small lump.

I often suspect my gift for giving myself whacks on the head has been the deciding factor in most of my mental disorders.  It's just not healthy to rattle one's brain around like that.  One day I might get curious and go for medical testing to determine just how battered my poor cranium is -- not that anything can be done, but just for bragging rights.

Review: The Stepsister Scheme

The Stepsister Scheme
The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just a lot of fun. Full review to come. Must get the rest of the series now.

Ok, a good night's sleep later, I'm ready to talk about this book. For the sake of my OCD completionist soul, I must say I started this book via the audio version, but finished it in the print version. This is not a knock on the audio -- the read was excellent and my husband finished it via audio. I just felt the need to switch to print (especially since I had BOUGHT it already) because tension is easier for me to handle in text.


I enjoyed this smash up-mash up of fairy tale princesses kicking ass and taking names. I'll admit it, I think I liked it better than [a:Mercedes Lackey|8685|Mercedes Lackey|]'s [b:The Fairy Godmother|13982|The Fairy Godmother (Five Hundred Kingdoms, #1)|Mercedes Lackey||16082], which is saying something since I recommend that book highly. It shares qualities with Lacky's book but the humor, the attitude, and the general atmosphere is more adventure and less love story (although it certainly has a love story). There were also a lot of out-loud laughs, which I don't get from many books.

I also enjoyed the humanness of the main characters and the way they built relationships with each other, which was a nice touch. Nobody is perfect, and even the villains have motives that make sense (because a good villain does not think he/she is a villain, but deserving of the things he/she wants, and justified in his/her methods of getting them.) That's a nice trick when it's played right, and I think +Jim Hines  plays all the right cards.

But, best of best, I think Hines did his research. I'm a fan of the fairy tale, both in original forms and in refashioned/retold versions. The originals were a long cry from the Disneyfied versions many of us know, full of violence, sex, cruelty and other stuff from deep in the human psyche. This is the place Hines goes to get his versions of classic fairy tale princesses. These women aren't saccharine lace paper cut outs tossing in the winds of fate, but women who have ridden the tides of trauma and carry the scars. I not only enjoy how he used the original sources, but I respect it. Good job, sir.

Now to get on with the rest of the series :)

View all my reviews