Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #17

Thirteen Things our county library system provides (until they close their doors due to lack of funding April 7, barring a miracle)

1. Books. Fiction, Non-Fic. Juvenile, Young Adult. Large Print. Espanol.

2. Audio books for the visually impaired, pre-readers or just to listen while doing something else--driving, knitting, jogging, walking etc. available on cassette, CD or downloadable for MP3.

3. Movies for VCR or DVD.

4. Music on CD

5. Periodicals: Magazines and Newspapers

6. Reference collections--Dictionaries, Encyclopedias Almanacs and more for consulting on site.

7. Weekly storytimes for young children and summer reading programs for kids are among the ways our community libraries encourage literacy which is necesary for a thriving economy and healthy democracy..

8. Outreach for the homebound--delivery and pickup of materials to those unable to get to the library due to illness, age or disability.

9. Access to the internet.

10 Computer literacy classes

11. Access to online catalog of library collections and dozens of databases for a variety of research needs.

12. Resources for homeschooling.

13. One-on-one help--get questions answered from a live librarian on site or by phone or email.

Yes, I'm obsesseed. And will be for the foreseable future. Barring a miracle. Even then, I will never take library services for granted again. Do you? How much do you use your library? What would those services cost you elsewhere?

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. Di 2. Bubba 3. Susan 4. Kimo & Sabi 5. my 2 cents 6. scribbit 7. spyscribbler 8. Tink

(leave your link in comments, I'll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #16

Thirteen Things The Sound of Music means to me or The Power of Story to Impact a Life:

1. It was the first movie I ever saw on a big screen in a theater.
2. I was seven years old.
3. I wasn’t to see another until I was 16.
4. For several years afterward I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to be a nun or a governess. (Only until I could be married so I could be a mother, of course.)
5. But even then I identified most with Marta, the Captain’s daughter who had to be whistled for twice in the scene in which the children were being introduced to Maria. She walked to her position in line with a book in front of her face. I already had a reputation for that and continued the habit into young-adulthood. Walking and reading at the same time is something the RP has taken from me.
6. The experience also woke me to the sound of music which I can’t redeemer I ever much noticed before that. I began to vigorously participate in the song services at Sunday school and Bible study. But then as now I could carry a tune about as well as a duck with hiccups.
7. If it hadn’t been for this movie, I would never have missed the dancing that our religion denied us.
8. "The hills are alive with the sound of music.." that song as well as Climb Every Mountain could bring tears of joy to my eyes then and as I discovered Sunday night, they still can.
9. My Favorite Things, Do, Re, Mi, and ‘(What are we going to do about) Maria?' could give me a fit of giggles then. And still can. As can the word flibertygibbet which one of the nuns called Maria in that song.
10. This movie also gave me the idea of having a very large family. I kept hoping for more brothers and sisters after the sister that was born the previous year. None arrived. I also began talking about wanting seven kids of my own someday. A couple years later that became a dozen after I discovered the novel, Cheaper By the Dozen. It has been one of the biggest disappointments of my life that I never became a mother.
11. This movie also made me aware of the fact that some people lived in houses in which a single room could swallow up my family’s entire house and yard. This was the seeding of my consciousness of wealth and class and power.
12. Speaking of which. This movie gave me my first inkling that there was a power in this world that was so much bigger than my father it could require something from him that he could not refuse unless he was willing to flee with his family in the middle of the night, leaving everything they owned behind except the clothes on their backs. And concomitantly there are things powers in this world will require that must be refused at all costs--for submission to them would entail loss of something more precious than life itself.
13. From about the time I saw The Sound of Music my experience of reading stories was dramatically changed. I began to visualize the stories playing out in full color and motion as tho on a screen that allowed a global view with all the variety of camera shots--from long shots of glorious landscape to close-ups of a single tear falling from an eyelash. The same became true of the stories I began to create. There are probably many ways it impacted my sense of how a story is made, of which I am still unaware. It was within the following year--before I turned nine--that I began writing stories.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. amy 2. JohnH985 3. my 2 cents 4. Incog & Nito 5. Susan 6. Candy Minx 7. Tink 8. Jenny Ryan

(leave your link in comments, I'll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Best Bedtime Story Ever! NOT!

I closed last night's post with the announcement that I was about to watch Poltergeist.  it was just after one in the morning.  I figured I would get myself settled in bed first so that all I would have to do was close the DVD player and the laptop lid as the title hit.  I was due to be called before seven to get ready to go with my mother-in-law over to my husband's grandmother's to sit with her while my in-laws went grocery shoppign for both households.  I expected the movie to be over shortly after three, which would give me almost four hours of sleep. 

I knew little of the moive beforehand.  Only that iconic image of the angelic somambulant blond child approaching a TV screen ablaze with off-air white-noise and intoning "They're heeeere." If I had known (or remembered) that Stephen Spielberg was the director, I might have had an inkling of the potenial power of the special effects.  But even so, I doubt I could have reckoned on their after-effects.  I am a vetern scary movie watcher, tho seldom have I watched one all the way thru without commercial interruption.  Could that have made that much diference?

I've loved ghost stories since I could read.  I've read nearly every one of Stephen King's books.  I thought I was innured to them. That they could never do more than give me a frisson of virtual fear.  I even read them or watch them in the dark while home alone.  No big deal.

This time was different.  Maybe it was because I set it up so that there was no transition between the end of the movie and shutting my eyes to sleep.  Need I say that sleep did not come immediately?  Nor in fifteen minutes.  Nor in fifty.  Everytime I began to slide into the hypnogogic image stage of sleep, I had a major startle reaction as the images from the movie morphed and mashed in a kalaidascope lightshow behind my eyelids.  I wasn't scared.  I in no way bought into the story once it was over.  It was just that the antics of those images produced one startle reaction after another for the next hour or so.

Next time I plan to watch a scarey movie before bedtime, I will be sure to spend at least fifteen minutes afterwards looking at or doing something that will clear my mental cache and fill it with something safe to sleep on.  Say AFV of laughing babies or pet peccadillos.  Better yet, the first fifteen minutes of The Sound of Music.  If only I didn't have to send it back to the library this week.

But, I'm sure to have something of the sort on hand when i get my turn with Poltergeist II and III sometime in the next three to six weeks.  Especially if I continue to bring them home from the library at a similar rate with a similar range of mood and theme.  I mean, really, from The Sound of Music, to documentaries about the Constitution to Emma to Poltergeist inside 24 hours.  It's enough to make your head spin.


Weekend Movie Marathon

When I posted on Saturday, I mentioned that my goals for the long weekend were to watch twenty DVD's and finish the Nicholas Sparks novel, At first Sight.  It was already late afternon Saturday and I'd only watched one movie, The Petrified Forest and was half way through the novel.  I was already hopelessly behind and yet I posted the goal intact, thinking it would help me hold myself acountable. 

It may seem like a silly goal and a silly obsession with all the serious stuff going on in the world; in the nation; in my persoal life.  Seem like?  I'm sure it is.  And yet.  I'm not apologizing.  Some of these movies I've been waiting my turn for for months and with the libraries closing the first week of April, I may not get another chance for many many months if not years. 

No one knows how long the libraries will have to stay closed.  They are planning another ballot measure in May.  But I hold little hope of it passing.  Such measres in this valley seldom do.   Representatives, Weldon and DeFazio have introduced House Bill 17 to restore the sefty net monies, which had been partially funding the librarys among many other things.  But there is only moderate hope it will be enacted.  And even if it were, it would still only be a temporary solution.

So, yes, there are more important things going on in the world than my movie marathon.  But that is exactly part of the promblem.  I am worn out with worry.  My worry has added exactly zilch to any solutions.  I'm exahuasted with it.  And one of my resources for healing and stress release has always been stories. 

Then there is the fact that most of these movies, whether just years or many decades old, are first time views for me.  Because I was raised in a fundamentalist religious sect that discouraged going to movies I have a huge culture lacunae.  After discovering that my new laptop, bought a year ago last September, doubled as a DVD player and that our library system had a rapidly expanding collection of new and old movies and documentaries on DVD I started to attack that lacunae like a spider mending its torn web. 

I haven't written about it much here.  I'd been writing book reviews since grade school but I didn't have experience at reviewing films. I barely knew how to watch them--other than to just get lost in the story, which is still, and I hope always will be the main thing. It was that sense of intimidation though that kept me mostly silent about the dozens of movies I've watched in the past year.  Plus it is hard to pick up a movie and thumb thru the scenes to refresh my memory of facts--character's names, dates, locations, actor's names, director's names.  That info crowded onto the DVD cover is in such fine print most of the time I can't read it with a magnifying glass. 

When I set my goal to watch 20 DVDs this weekend, i was figuring on four nights starting with Friday.  But I watched only one Friday night.  And then spent several hours preparing that post Saturday afternoon.  Then I picked up the novel instead of starting a movie.  And I read until I wore out my eyes.  I was getting ready to start a documentarty Sunday morning when my neice arrived.  I spent the next several hours visiting with her about books and moves and music and school and.... It wasn't unil her grandma--my mother-in-law--went to bed Sunday night that we were able to start a DVD.  We watched The Sound of Music and Heidi.  Over five hours of story. 

I will have more to say about The Sound of Music in my Thursday Thirteen this week.  It is a very special movie to me.  One of the few I saw before age 21.  It was a wonderful experience to share it with my thirteen year old neice who was seeing it for the first time herself. 

It was fun to share Heidi with her as well.  I had never seen it either.  But I had read the book when I was in third or fourth grade and I had acted in a play of it in fifth or sixth grade.  I had played the nasty old governess of the invalid Claire.  I still remember that mostly because I got to stamp my feet and yell at the girls who were playing Heidi and Claire--girls who had tormented me for years.  Ah, the simple pleasures of an eleven year old.  Except that simple pleasure had garnered for me the requirement to chastise myself for having a mean spirit for months afterward.

It was four in the morning when Heidi finished.  So it was that I reached Monday morning with only three movies down and seventeen to go.  It wasn't until after my neice left around one Monday afternoon that I got serious.  I watched three documentaries about the Constitution in a row. They were from a series put out by Annenburg for use in classrooms.  I was surprised at how much I sitll didn't know.  I watched them reved up to 1.40 of novrmal speed.  So it took me about ninety minutes to watch two hours of film.

Next came Cold Comfort Farm.  A fun comedy of manners.  It's protagonist fancies herself a budding Jane Austen.  Her talents lie more in the way of manipulating the behavior of those around her and matchmaking--like Austen's Emma--than in writing though.  Ironically, I watched Emma, immediately after Cold Comfort Farm.  Also ironic was that Emma was played by the same actress as the heroine,Flora, of Cold Comfort Farm.

So that is eight.  I was popping Poltergeist into the drive when I decided to stop and write a post first.  I may not get another chance until Tuesday night.  I am watching my husband's grandmother Tuesday morning while my in-laws run errands. 

Sometime before Thursday morning I have to find time for eight more movies, writing and posting my Thursday Thirteen and paying my respects to other T13s.  And there are still the books.  This week there are more movies than books coming due but I have a huge batch of books coming due next week which is why I had hoped to get 20 movies out of the way over the weekend so that I could concentrate on those books I may not see again for a very long time.

I did finish the Sparks novel.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Twelve weeks and counting...

The date of closure has been announced for the 15 county library branches. Friday April 6 is the last day the doors will be open to the public. All items out will be due on that day. The previous day, Thursday the 5th will be the last day items can be checked out. By Saturday morning even remote (internet) access to the card catalog or patron accounts will be denied.

How many books can you read in 12 weeks? How many movies can you watch?

Since this is going to be a major focus for me over the next twelve weeks, I figured I might as well establish it as the main theme of my posting here for the duration. I’m going to have a hard time keeping my mind on other topics long enough to write about them or do the necessary research.

So this is my tentative plan: I’m going to try to post each day with some comment however brief and off the cuff about whichever books or movies I spent time with that day. No more waiting until I can find the time to do a formal review. No more waiting until I’ve actually finished a book before I write something about my encounter with it.

Over the next several weeks I will be doing a kind of catch and release of a number of books I have no hope of actually finishing. I have to start letting them go and in the process keep some kind of record of what they mean to me, how they fit into my various research projects. And that is just the non-fiction books. Novels will be another thing. I can only read one novel at a time. It is unlikely I can read more than twelve more. I’m going to have to make some ruthless choices about which ones to commit to.

I began the process of releasing books I haven’t finished with and don’t plan to send for again in the next three months yesterday. Here are some brief comments regarding two of them:

Savage Reprisals: Bleak House, Madame Bovary, Buddenbrooks
by Peter Gay
(c) 2002
W. W. Norton & Co.

The thesis challenges the assumption of many casual readers and serious scholars that the novels of the Realism movement of the late nineteenth century provide documentary evidence of the actual realities in the societies they depicted. Examining three novels written at the height of the movement, Peter Gay, contends that they are highly filtered through the biases of the unique psyches of their authors and therefore they hold up to society a mirror with a distorted reflection. This, Gay maintains, in no way implies there is no truth in them, just that they can not be treated by historians as objective representations of the era they depict.

Releasing this book after just a thorough pre-read in which I establish the author’s thesis and highlights of his argument, is the beginning of letting go of all literary criticism. It takes too much concentration plus to read it right, I also need to send for and read or re-read the novels in question. In this case, I’ve read Bleak House and Madame Bovary years ago but have never read Buddenbrooks.

The only exception to this guideline re lit crit will be material about Shakespeare as that relates to my research for my Fruits of the Spirit storyworld which is a project I intend to sink myself into beginning with the research now and the writing in April. I hope to make the weeks following the library closure an intense fiction writing time. A JoNoWriMo (Joy’s Novel Writing Months). I think it is the only project that has any hope of alleviating the pain of loosing my library access.  My Contribution to WriteStuff''s Creative Carnival this week, Kicking the Bucket,  was a vignette featuring one of the charachters from that storyworld.  You can meet a few more of the characters in my Thursday Thurteen #13

How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001
by Joy Harjo
(c) 2002
W. W. Norton & Co

Joy Harjo's poems weave word and image into scintillating stories drawn from the raw wounds of life and told with integrity of heart and fierceness of spirit.  They resonate in your soul and haunt your dreams.

Releasing this book before I’d read more than a dozen of the poems begins my release of one of the intended BIG projects for this year--reading more poetry and reading about the variety of forms and their history.  Along with learning and practicing technique.

I’ve been in the habit for a number of years--I can’t quite pin down how far back, but I think over a decade--to select one to three topics for intense focus over the coming year. This year trying to acquire some formal training in poetics was one of them. You can’t speed read poetry and I don’t want to devote the time right now to practicing the techniques revealed in books like these two which I will be releasing in the next couple of weeks:

The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms edited by Mark Strand and Evan Boland.

The Ode Less Traveled: Unlocking the Poet Within by Stephen Fry.


Meanwhile, this (long) weekend it is my intention to watch 20 DVDs and finish the light romance novel, At First Sight, by Nicholas Sparks--a sequel to his True Believer, which I read last October.  If you’ve either read the novels or seen the movies: The Notebook, A Walk to Remember or Message in a Bottle, you will have an idea of the kind of story this is. Sparks trademark seems to be inflicting a life-altering trauma on his protagonist which causes him or her to re-assess their life and rediscover hope and meaning in living. You know, the stories that rival colds and flu in keeping tissue manufacturers in business.

I’m a bit behind in my weekend movie marathon. I’d hoped to watch at least three last night. But I was too tired after the effort involved in getting to the library and back yesterday so I watched only one: The Petrified Forest, staring Bette Davis, Leslie Howard and Humphrey Bogart. I fell in love with Bogart in The Man Without a Face and Sabrina and started ordering everything Bogart on DVD at the library. I watched Casablanca last month. Lined up for this weekend are The Big Sleep and Key Largo. Possibly The Treasure of the Sierra Madre as well. But that one just came home with me yesterday and I need to put priority on the movies coming due in the next week.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #15

Thirteen movies I've watched recently. They were all DVDs checked out of the library. A privilege we in the Rogue Valley are about to loose the first week of April:

1. Spanglish.

2. Bernard Shaw's Heartbreak House

3. Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man

4. Close Encounters

5. Farenheit 451

6. Antoine Fischer

7. Sabrina

8. The Man Without a Face

9. Casablanca

10. Sunset Boulevard

11. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

12. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the recent remake starring Jonny Depp)

13. Good Night and Good Luck.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. Debbie 2. Gattina 3. Caylynn 4. Jane 5. Jamie 6. ChupieandJ'smama

(leave your link in comments, I'll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Kicking the Bucket

The following is my contribution to the WriteStuff Creative Carnival. The prompt was: A New Beginning.

Kicking the Bucket
by Joy Renee

The sky was beginning to lighten when Reggie pulled around a long curve and caught her first glimpse of the sea. She spotted a bench facing the ocean at the side of the road and pulled onto the gravel cut-out that provided parking space. As soon as she opened her car door, she regretted that she had left in such a rush the previous evening. She had no jacket and still wore the same tank top she’d worn in the sweltering packing sheds yesterday. Memories of that heat made the chill morning breeze off the water more refreshing than unpleasant and the chance to see, unobstructed, the view that had beckoned her across the coastal range was enough to draw her out of the car to brave the shivery gusts that whipped her hair about her face.

Only the prospect of a sunrise over the water would make this more perfect. It had been the thought of a Pacific Coast sunset that made her turn her steering wheel towards the west last evening. But there had been no hope of reaching here in time. She was determined, instead to watch the changing color of the sky and water and the early morning flocking of the sea birds as the sun rose behind her back. Could there be a better place for contemplating than a bench on the edge of the world as dawn scribbled the sky with the colors of hope and peace?

She was determined to figure things out if she had to sit here until the sun set as well. She could not go back until she knew what to do.

Reggie hugged her arms and rubbed them to generate heat. She might have to retreat to the car after all. There was no color in sky or landscape yet so sunrise was a solid half-hour off. The shadows among the dunes and rocks were still fathomless. Her eye snagged on a light near by. Not a football field’s length away. A campfire. Probably some local teens had partied all night. But minutes later she smelled brewing coffee. How many teens knew how to brew coffee over a campfire or had the foresight to bring the equipment to a Friday night keg party? Not her two. For sure.

"Brrrrrrrr!" Reggie finally sang out and jumped to her feet to jog in place, hoping to force her muscles to heat themselves. This just might work she thought after three minutes or so. Yet it was not conducive to a peaceful reassessment of her options. She looked toward the horizon and was startled to see movement of shadow on shadow just yards away.

"Yoo-hoo." A voice emanating from a blob of dark gray sliding against charcoal.
Reggie blinked her eyes trying to make sense of what approached across the sand, wondering if she was still asleep in the car at the rest-stop and dreaming this apparition.

"Yoo-hoo." Now accompanied by sounds of heavy breathing. "I have hot coffee. And a sweater."

Reggie was as surprised at her own impulse to trust this as a gift called up from the earth in response to her need as she was by the sight of a very large woman pushing a baby buggy. She was moving toward it before she fully realized she had decided to. And then the woman abandoned the buggy and moved to meet her, holding open a voluminous sweater in which she enfolded Reggie before pulling her inside her heavy cloak. "Honey! Whatever possessed you?"

Reggie laughed as much to quell the urge to cry like a child against her mother’s breast as in amusement. "It was over 100 degrees when I left home."

"Come sit by my fire. I’ll make hot cereal." They were already moving in tandem toward the buggy before Reggie nodded. The woman pulled a thermos from the buggy and poured a steaming stream into a mug saying, "Call me Mama Cat."

Minutes later Reggie was settling on a driftwood log in front of the fire. Mama Cat removed her cloak and slung it over Reggie’s back before pulling a handful of squirming fur out of the buggy. There was enough light now to identify this as two barely weaned kittens. "These guys’ll keep you warm. Oats or wheat?"

Neither spoke again until their cereal bowls were on the ground for the kittens now numbering four. "If my own kids would eat out of the same bowl like that, I probably would have slept in my own bed last night."

Mama Cat’s silence invited her to continue. "After I kicked the bucket, I thought I better get away to think what to do."

"Yes. Mama Cat chuckled. "Kicking the bucket does tend to make room for new beginnings."

"I passed out twice from the heat yesterday. Once while waiting on the pizza as I held the KFC bucket. Jay prefers pizza and Rae fried chicken, see.. Then again in the driveway at home. The kids were standing over me calling, ‘Mom! Mom! Where’s dinner?’ Must have been pure rage gave me strength to stand up and reach into the car. First for the pizza which I launched like a Frisbee, then…" She closed her eyes against the sight of seagulls flying against a clear blue sky and saw again the arc of the KFC bucket she had drop-kicked into the neighbor’s yard.

"How old are they?"

"Jay’s nineteen. I got him a job in the sheds. He quit at noon on his first payday. I smelled pot on him that night. Rae’s sixteen and dating Jay’s friend behind my back."

"Have you ever seen a mother cat defend her kittens?" At Reggie’s nod Mama Cat continued. "Have you ever watched a mother cat wean her kittens?" Another nod. "Then you know what to do."

Reggie sighed. "I know."


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Hey Diddle Diddle, The Cats and Weffriddle

I've been following with amusement the affect of certain of my posts on my stats.  As I'd hoped, my involvement with Thursday Thirteen gave a regular boost to my visits and page views every week since I began last October, and I wasn't too surprised to discover that the ones in which I discussed my two cats, Gremlin and Merlin, were the most popular of those since other mentions of 'cats' or 'pet' in a post or post title would bring in more than the usual visitors.  But I was flabbergasted at the response to my post, Nurlo!, the week before Christmas. It has more than tripled my weekly visitors because somehow that post has catapulted me to near the top of a Google Search page for that query.  Sometimes the query is just the one word, sometimes it is for a definition for the word and sometimes it is for the Nurlo T-Shirt proffered by the creator of Weffriddles.  I thought I might as well write a post that would direct those visitors to the best answer to their questions while simultaneously updating my progress with Weffriddles.  Not to mention giving another shot in the arm to my stat!  Hey, whatever works.

So.  Updating my progress on Weffriddles:   I solved the one I was agonizing over shortly after posting my wail.  It was while writing that post that I got the idea that led to the solution.  I'm not telling.  I don't do spoilers.  I kept meaning to update that post or post again to announce that but never got around to it.  I am now on level 39.  But I haven't played for over a week.  Although I am itching to return to the game, I am currently denying myself the pleasure because I spent over ten hours on it each of the three times I played and I don't want to succumb to that temptation again until after the local library locks it's doors at the end of March.

Looking for the definition of Nurlo?  The best one is found in The Urban Dictionary:

A vocalization of frustration, an interjection of one who is failing to understand, the groan of realization when one realizes he or she had been making something that is fairly easy way too hard.

I am still unclear as to whether this word was in use before the creation of Weffriddles or was coined by the riddle master or the players.  Can anyone enlighten me?

As for the T-Shirts:  The best place to find them is on the Weffriddle forum where the players and Weff Jebster himself hang out and discuss the levels of the game and of their frustrations.  Hints and nudges are available here too.  But don't try to find or deposit a spoiler.  Not cool.  Leaving a spoiler can get you banned from the forum.

I am so into the whole concept of Weffriddles that I am already thinking of starting a similar web site.  One in which the clues and answers are on themes that reflect my special interests.  I'm thinking that not only would that be fun but it would exercise my budding HTML skills while also taking advantage of the obvious interest in riddle solving evinced by the over 20,000 members of the Weffriddles forum.  One of the players posting there got impatient while waiting for a new batch of riddles to be prepared and started one of his own. I've bookmarked it but don't dare start to play.

Meanwhile, I've got twelve weeks left in which to finish up with as many of the books and movies and other library dependent projects as possible.  If only there were a way to eliminate the need for sleep!  My insomnia seems to have deserted me when I most need it.  It hasn't really returned since I had the flu during the first three weeks of December.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #14

Thirteen Things My Cats Gremlin and Merlin Do To Amuse or Annoy Me:

1. Gremlin jumps on my back whenever I bend over for any reason and then climbs up it to perch on my shoulder as I stand back up. This was amusing when she was a kitten. Now? Not so much.

2. Merlin chases balls vigorously enough to bonk into objects in his way.

3. Gremlin sits on my right knee as I type on the laptop positioned on a shoe box between my legs on the bed. This tends to put my leg to sleep, strain my knee and hip and leave numerous punctures where she grips to ride out any shifting of position. This completely negates the use of the shoe box to keep the weight of the laptop off my legs and leave them free to move.

4. Merlin shoots rubber bands by holding one end with a claw and the other with his teeth. When he miss-coordinates the release and gets smacked in the nose, he hisses. When they shoot across the floor he stalks them like a bizarre insect.

5. Gremlin hooks a claw on the rim of the food or water dishes to pull them closer when her leash is snagged. Often she tips them over.

6. Merlin is sometimes the one who 'snags' her leash by sitting on it. He will also tug on it to rile her up.

7. Gremlin is very vocal which is amusing when I am in the mood to converse with her but annoying when I'm trying to read, write or sleep.

8. Merlin does a fair imitation of a feline Houdini when he strips out of his harness in under twenty seconds by pulling the leash taut around the door jamb, tucking his chin against his chest, clawing at the section of harness at his throat until he loosens it, squirming one elbow out of the section that fastens under his belly then sliding out backwards as the whole thing turns wrong-side-out.

9 Gremlin, back in the days when we were in our own home and she could roam it freely, would climb into any open cupboard or drawer. I once found her asleep in a salad bowl on the second shelf up in the cabinet above the counter. Not so amusing once it sunk in that every dish on every shelf of that cabinet now needed to be re-washed. (hence the necessity of the leash here in my in-laws home)

10. Merlin knocks his balls under the door into the hallway and waits with his nose at the crack in expectation that someone will knock it back because occasionally someone will. He especially loves it when that someone keeps the back-and-forth going and will show his appreciation by reaching under to grab their foot.

11. Gremlin, at our homes in Longview and Sunnyvale, would climb up a door to perch on its top and then push against the closest wall to make the door move back and forth. Anyone walking through the door was fair game.

12. Merlin, disappeared from a closed up room during his 7 day quarantine after we brought him home from the pound in Sunnyvale. It was several hours before I discovered his exit had been the trailer house's heating vent in the floor under the bed. The metal grate had been laid atop the carpet and not screwed down. We feared he got stuck somewhere under the floor but he showed up on the front porch the next morning.

13. Gremlin clawed holes in every window screen at both the Longview and Sunnyvale houses. She would enlarge the holes until she could squeeze through them. One window was over the tub in the Sunnyvale trailer house. We could not figure out how she managed as it seemed impossible to either climb the slick tile wall or leap the eight feet up. Until the day I witnessed it that is. She jumped from floor to toilet tank to towel rack to shower curtain rod to window ledge in a quick series of moves without pauses.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. Raggedy 2. Sweet Kitty 3. Tink 4. Write From Karen 5. Caylynn 6. Chickadee 7. Janie Hickok Siess, Esq. 8. Jamie 9. my 2 cents 10. scribbit 11. Jennifer 12. Nichole

(leave your link in comments, I'll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It's easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

What's a Blog For After All?

I wish to say what I think and feel today, with the proviso that tomorrow perhaps I shall contradict it all.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I can't begin to count the number of posts I began and didn't post let alone the number I never began at all just because I suspected that something--more info, more sleep, mood shift--would cause me to repudiate my words or regret my hasty exposure of raw-naked emotions. Yet other posts were begun but never posted because I knew I needed facts or links to sources to back up my words and by the time I tracked them down--if I ever did--either the blogosphere or I had moved on.

With the understanding that all is in flux and that the very act of observation affects events from emotional reactions to particle trajectory and thus perfect certainty is unattainable, I wish to be less cautious, less constrained by fear of being factually contradicted or emotionally exposed. If I cannot acquire some modest level of comfort with having my words and myself subjected to scrutiny, I have no business blogging. Worse, I have no business being in the writing business. How could I continue to be me, if I were forced to relinquish a core passion that has been with me since before age nine?


Monday, January 01, 2007

May Your Year Be Filled With...











Yearnings fulfilled



Radiant joy


and so much more: love, hope, grace, gratitude, mercy, balance, courage, justice, liberty, truth, acceptance, beauty, wonder, awe, kindness, compassion, generosity, increase, empathy, fruitfulness, giving, humility, faith, empowerment, health, happiness, goodness, wealth, wholeness...

these are a few of what I think of as the Fruits of the Spirit.  My New Year's resolution is to spend more time reflecting on them so as to reflect them in my life and then incorporate those reflections in my Fruits of the Spirit storyworld, which I have referenced here several times--most recently in last week's Thursday Thirteen.

It follows that future posts will be reflecting this shift in attention.  If ever a week passes with no posts referencing these reflections or said storyworld, ask me why.


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