Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Best Name of a Literary Journal: Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens

Best Title of a Book Nels Checked Out at the School Library (with bonus awesome author name): Bladderworts: Trapdoors to Oblivion by Victor Gentle

Best Out-of-the-Ordinary Things I Am Going to Do In the Near Future: take a family trip to Southern California, go to this writing conference

Best Way to Start My Day: walking by Willem's room and hearing him reading Where the Wild Things Are aloud to himself in bed. I presume he was getting himself in the right frame of mind to face the day.

Your bests welcomed in the comments.

Friday, February 18, 2011

If You Say So...

Yesterday Willem and I were watching Antiques Roadshow while I folded some laundry. A man brought in a first edition of Cormac McCarthy's The Orchard Keepers that he'd gotten from a relative's estate. The book was in a plastic cover, so he'd figured it might be of some value.

The appraiser was a rather dry, academic fellow, who used the opportunity to educate the viewers on the collecting of modern first editions. Almost all of the book's value is in the dust jacket. In this case, the dust jacket was in excellent condition, but it was a substitute. The book was worth about $125; with the correct jacket it would have been worth much more. The man took this news very cheerfully; the book was free to him after all, and he was quite content with the outcome.

Part-way through their subdued conversation (No Keno brothers here), Willem said, "That could be you and Daddy at dinner."

"You mean--those two men talking--that's what Daddy and I sound like when we're talking at dinner?"


Well, that's funny. Because if you'd asked me what I sound like when I'm talking at dinner, I would say it was more like please stop tipping your chair back/what are you DOING with your water?/scoot your plate closer to you/that's DISGUSTING/please sit on your chair/you just dipped your sleeve in your sour cream/PLEASE STOP TIPPING YOUR CHAIR BACK!

Today Willem and I were listening to the radio in the car while running some errands. Terry Gross was interviewing James Franco on Fresh Air.

"That sounds like you and Daddy."


So--if you ever wonder what we're REALLY like at home, when there's no one else around--just tune in to National Public Media. I guess.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

A little Larry Norman for the holiday; because you ain't nuthin' without love. (And not the kind that Hallmark is peddling.)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

This and That

1. We are well into the school year, and I have not once forgotten to send a lunch to school with Nels. If that doesn't sound like a big deal, just ask my mom whether it is or not.

2. I love that Runyan's Jewelers has been in downtown Camas forever. I took my watch and a ring in to them for repair.

"Would you like a loaner?" the lady helping me asked when I handed in my watch. I said no at first, then thought, what the heck, I should take a look, and asked if I could see what they had.

"I never heard of getting a loaner," I said, as she fetched the tray and set it on the counter.

"Well, we have your watch..." she said. "People usually end up bringing these back."

Indeed. The selection was dismal. She was sympathetic.

"Just see if there's something you think you might be able to stand wearing for a few weeks." (Their watch guy was on vacation.) It turned out there wasn't. I thought I might go for a forgettable Anne Klein watch with a brown leather strap, but it had the name of a company blazoned across the face. Probably a commemorative gift for putting in five years.

I turned down a joking suggestion to take a Three Little Pigs watch the size of a silver dollar and left without any watch at all, a decision I regret now that I've found myself checking my empty wrist several times a day for the past two weeks.

The ring I had fixed was a 50's-vintage cocktail ring from my Grandma Toni. It originally had two pearls set on barely visible posts at a diagonal, with a tiny spray of diamonds in between. The ring had been missing a pearl since I'd played with it as a girl, and I had always wanted to have it fixed. Had I known a new (real) 10 mm pearl would only cost $25, I would have done it a long time ago. Of course, the post had broken off too; it was white gold and about 1/6th the size of a tic tac. That cost $30 to replace.

Anyhow, the new pearl is whiter and smoother than the gorgeous older one, but the ring still turned out pretty snazzy.

3. One of my great estate-sale finds last year was the anthology Modern American Short Stories, published in 1945 and edited by Random House co-founder Bennett Cerf. You can see the list of included stories and authors here. The stories are intentionally all over the place, and it is great to read them all juxtaposed against each other.

Before each story there are biographical notes and an explanation of why that particular piece was chosen, and these alone make the book worth reading. Most of the writers were still living and writing at the time the book was published, so you get to read things like "For the past few years William Faulkner (1897- ) has been fitting, more or less, into the Hollywood scene, and the fiction world has been catching up to him, copying some of his technique and mannerisms, dealing with the same weird and underprivileged people of the South." Good fun.

4. Willem has taken to following me around the house when it's just the two of us at home. Up the stairs, down the stairs. Up, down. He even waits outside the bathroom door for me to come out. This morning I got up extra early for some alone time. You'll never guess who popped into the office to stand at my shoulder at 6:45. I know that this phase will soon pass, and before I know it I'll wish he wanted to spend time with me. But, for now, the constant companionship is rough on my inner introvert.

5. I'm taking a break from my weekly writing group. It's time to change things up a little.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

It's The Little Things

I finally found someone to cut my hair! The first few times I got my hair cut "here," it was in Seattle. Then I went to a stylist at a salon in Beaverton. That was a lot closer, but it still required a dreaded weekday drive through Portland.

Now I've found a salon that's ten minutes away, where a haircut costs only seventeen dollars. That's the good news. The bad news is that the salon is called "Lil' Snippers" and the one "grown-up" chair in the place is situated next to a diminutive bubble-gum pink Jeep. Each of Lil' Snippers li'l customers selects both a vehicle to sit in and a movie to watch at top volume while getting his hair cut. Spa-like it is not.

At Lil' Snippers my hair does not get washed and my scalp does not get massaged (I do love a good scalp massage), but my hair looks downright decent when Kara is done with me. And now that I have reconciled myself to the fact that no haircut in the world has the magic to make me look like I've lost ten pounds, well, some nice layers and something I don't have to blow-dry before going out in the world makes me plenty happy.