Monday, January 31, 2011

More thinking about color

Now that I have a pretty re-done bathroom, my new project is the bedroom. I got inspired when the duvet needed washing and I discovered the comforter inside was white! Amazing! Forgot it was in there. So I gave the throw pillows new shams made from some of my brilliantly-colored scarves, in intense pink and bright blue and gold and a rather nifty one in white-and-mod-florals in jewel tones (Forever 21). I really like the exotic look with all our gray wintry January-ness.

What I want is for the room to be a cheerful conglomeration of bright jewel tones. I think that could even work with the red curtains. The problem is, bedroom linens are pretty pricey, not to mention hard to find in the right colors, and my scouring of the house sections at Target and suchlike hasn't turned up anything that looked promising. I tried painting a couple big canvases, but I've got my doubts. Also, the room isn't very big and it is full of dressers and bookshelves and Meg plays with anything within three feet of the floor, so a piece of (say) fascinating antique statuary probably isn't the best plan.

Readers, what do you recommend to add big, inexpensive color to a bedroom? I'm taking suggestions.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lars Walker on why the Vikings raided

Lars Walker over at Brandywine Books has proposed a new theory as to why the Vikings started raiding the British Isles when they did. Overpopulation? He thinks not. He backs himself up with names and dates and geography and everything.

In which I am horrified by an apostrophe

We're all fighting off colds, so while the immune system is busy, we seem to spend a lot of time staring into space. Even Meggie stared into space briefly today, and then let out a little series of Meggie-sized coughs. It was the saddest thing ever.

Just now as I was staring into space, I gradually started reading the text on the love bowl. This bowl was a wedding present, handmade by a lady I knew growing up, and it's called the "love" bowl because the text from I Corinthians 13 is painted in red around the inside. It's very pretty. Anyway, we'd eaten spaghetti out of it tonight, and I vaguely noticed the line: "Love does not insist on it's own way."

Wait a minute. I concentrated. "it's" - yes, there was definitely an apostrophe. I rallied the wandering neurons and applied the contraction test for which "its" to use: "Does not insist on it is" - nope, doesn't work - the apostrophe is wrong! The treasure of our house has a misplaced apostrophe! In fact, it's a bowl-o! NOOOO! How could we have had it two and a half years and I'd never noticed??

So I mentioned it to Jonathan, who was doing dishes. He was horrified too. He cleverly applied the dishwasher's test to the apostrophe: does it wipe off when you scrub at it?

THE APOSTROPHE WIPED OFF! It was only a bit of tomato! Yay!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cleaning, law heroes, and Castle

It's days like this when I am reminded that cleaning house is not my spiritual gift.


Yeah. Sigh.


Meanwhile, Jonathan is over there reading about Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and Learned Hand, and going "Squee!"


I've been of two minds whether or not to admit it on the blog, but we like the show Castle. There. That's out. Castle is fun because it's a cop show with a mystery author (Rick Castle played by Nathan Fillion) tagging along with the police detective (Kate Beckett played by Stana Katic), and it's got great writers, very funny dialogue, good plots, and very respectable side characters and guest stars. The main downside is that some episodes this season have been pretty dirty.

Rick Castle, the character, has been writing the Nikki Heat books, which are based on Kate Beckett, the detective. In a moment of sheer metaphysical awesomeness, ABC has released two books in real life purportedly written by Castle, and then writes episodes dealing with the books and the (so far purely fictitious) film version of them. Heat Wave actually made #26 on the New York Times bestseller list, which cracks me up. In a complex series of events involving three computers, two library systems, several reserves, and two real live librarians, I have procured copies of both of them. I was really excited.

Alas, the books are a good solid two notches dirtier than the show. So depressing. Because of it, I really can't recommend them.

Apart from the rampant immorality, Nikki Heat feels like a woman written by a man who doesn't actually know any women. He's always having her do things that men might consider hot, but no woman would actually do. Like, there was an odd scene where it was really warm out, so she took a bubble bath and didn't bother to dry off or dress, but just wandered around her apartment all slippery and decided to do some ironing. Um... excuse me? And that led directly into the fight scene with the thug who broke in, so it was just as well she was slippery and armed with a hot iron, but the author definitely failed.

The prose isn't that great, but it's a wonderful page-turning adventure. I want to be able to grab a reader like that.

My other main thought about the books has to do with the aforementioned sexual dysfunction that's all through them. It's in the show too, to a lesser extent. At her heart, Nikki doesn't appreciate or respect sex any more than the prostitutes she investigates. She has a no-strings, purely-physical, when-convenient relationship with one guy just to get her heart rate up occasionally. When the author comes bounding into her life and apartment (in a blackout, with tequila), she finds him so much better because at least he's playful and makes her play.

One of the suspects was a Swedish nanny. The dad had been taking her out to lunch and buying her things, so the detectives assumed they were having an affair, but when they asked her, she was shocked. "No! That would not be appropriate!" So I was sitting there applauding the nanny, because she was quite right. But the police station thought she must not be right in the head.

We have officially reached the point where not having sex is a sign something must be wrong with you, even if you're not enjoying it. So much for women's "liberation." Victorian heroines followed Victorian fashions, and modern heroines follow modern fashions.

In the show, Beckett and Castle haven't slept together yet, but it's just a matter of time. I'm kind of afraid of when they do get together, because then the writers will think the fun is over and have to stop writing. There isn't a single happily married couple in the entire show, though Castle has two ex-wives as recurring characters. Over and over again, the message is if the physical stuff is magic, then the relationship is good, but when it gets boring... meh. Why stick around? You should go find someone new.

I think I'll go hug my husband now. So freeing to know he won't divorce me, even if - gasp! - I get boring for a while. Not that I ever would, of course.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Going green... no, not like that

It looks like my color for the start of this year is green. This sounds very symbolic, but it wasn't really. I go on color sprees... last fall it was purple and gold, and for November and Advent it was rust and red. But somehow, now that it's January, I want most of those put away and I'm surrounding myself with green.

My houseplants were all kind of cranky and pale after two weeks of neglect from Kentucky, but when we got back and put away Christmas, I was able to rearrange them near windows they'd like better and they're all much happier. My Christmas cactus, hibernating peppermint, and scheffleras (remember Bertie Woozle from the dentist's office days? still thriving) are all sprouting new little growth everywhere, which is a cheerful sight in January, and even the two-year-old poinsettia is looking less scrawny than it might.

I have some nice new green things, too. Today Old Navy was having an extra-50%-off-clearance sale, and I came home with a green long-sleeve tee and a green sweater, among other things. Then for Christmas Mom gave me a set of green bathmats (thanks, Mom!), so I redid my bathroom from a lime green into a more wintry, foresty green with a white curtain.

AND... I'm still really excited about this... at the antique mall in Kentucky, I got a set of eight brilliantly green pressed-glass saucers and dipping bowls. They look incredibly graphic and snazzy with my black-and-white dishes. And before you ask, yes, I did fit them into my cabinets. :-) Actually, Jonathan did it. When he emptied the dishwasher, he just put them up in a convenient cabinet, and there they stayed. What I'm trying to figure out is how to set a pretty table using them, and what more kinds of foods go into tiny plates and bowls besides various dips. There must be some kind of cold soup, maybe? But is it good cold soup? Petit fours or dim sum or tapas would be adorable, but they look like a lot of work. Or we could just do like Lewis' dwarfs and eat a lot of servings off our small dishes, so that something was always being refilled for someone and at the end we'll draw straws for the unlucky one to do the washing-up. That seems unsatisfactory. As for setting the table, maybe there are really cool napkins out there incorporating green and black? I could imagine a neo-midcentury-mod design that would be pretty cute with the mix of graphic florals, pressed-glass, and Asian swirlies I've got going. Suggestions?

My other excitement for the week was a little pink and gray dress I sewed for Meg! Places are starting to put out spring dresses, but I haven't seen one we couldn't live without, so I actually sewed one for her! I'll post a picture soon. I did the thing properly, even, and ironed and hemmed everything I should have. It's got a pink eyelet bodice lined with pink satin, straps with lace, and gray-and-pink pinstripes for the skirt. It also sports pink rickrack on the bodice and around the hem. All the fabric and trim were pieces I had on hand, so that's always fun. But best of all - when shopping for the right buttons to finish it off, I found Beatrix Potter buttons featuring the mouse Hunca Munca in pink and gray. What could be more perfect?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Technology and the new generation, and seagulls

This morning, Meg found my laptop, removed the pile of stuff off it, opened it up, turned it on, and was busily hacking my password before I caught her.

As a mother, I'm incredibly proud of her enterprising skills. As the owner of the computer, I panic.

In other news, for the last two days there have been seagulls flying around Richmond. Meg likes them, but this is not normal. Maybe they're migrating or something? Is anybody wise in the ways of seagulls?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

That was random

Today I saw the awesomest roadside advertisement ever. You know how sometimes businesses will send out a guy in a sandwich board? Well, a local jeweler with a Scottish name had a bagpiper out on the corner of Broad Street, kilt, pipes, and all. It was pretty fabulous.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

C.S. Lewis on the press

"One wouldn't hang a dog on newspaper extracts." Breakpoint linked this older paper on Lewis and the press. Bluntly: they're trying to form public opinion, and they're not trustworthy, so why do we keep buying their product? The author also talked about how the character Mark Studdock typifies that from That Hideous Strength.

I had a conversation with the people at our housing office the other day on this very subject. He was telling me about a recent local news story they were in, where the reporter didn't even name the right development or actually interview anybody affected. I shared my story about when we were evacuated for the wildfire in 2000, and that little gem that reported "fires raged in the streets of [town actually burned] and [town the fire never reached]." Incidentally, those of us in the second town spent quite a while worrying about our houses for no reason, which was unkind of the journalist.

If even in good faith they get it wrong on subjects we know something about, why trust them on subjects we don't know about? Especially on subjects they have an agenda on? I do make exceptions in my general distrust for journalists I know personally, such as my mother. ;-) But as usual with Lewis, it's food for thought...

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Meg got a new dolly for Christmas. "Give the dolly a hug," I say. I put my arms around her and squeeze, then hand her to Meg. Meg gives her a squeeze too, then laughs and hands her back. It's a great game.

Today I hugged the doll, and instead of taking her, Meg launched herself into my arms and hugged me. What a sweetie!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Repelling monsters and finding time

This is seriously the cutest solution to monsters in the closet that I've ever heard. In fact, it's the cutest thing I've seen all day (except Meg, of course). We don't have monster problems in this house, but if we ever do, I'll have to remember about monster spray. Prudent Baby is my new happy blog.

Where do you find the time to read? "Say no. Smile. Read. Read even when you should be sleeping. That time counts double. I-95 is a gold mine, though you'll have to fight others for the time found there..."