Archive for May, 2011

The end of the world, part I

King (photo by Sarah Perrott Photography)

I don’t even know where to start. It’s been a crazy week or so since I last posted; when things get hectic I find it hard to be consistent. Plus, I am down a computer and a digital camera, so blogging is a little harder these days. So now it’s Sunday at 7 am, and I have sneaked downstairs to use Adam’s computer while he sleeps a bit. It was a 100+ hour work week for him again, but he doesn’t complain. I love him so much & I’m so proud of him.

It’s also been a sad week, because my dog boyfriend, King, was hit by a car and killed on Bay Road here in Amherst. I try to keep it light on the blog, but you guys. I am so sad. He was the nicest, dumbest, most lovable pup I know– wild to the bone and unafraid of any kind of adventure. (Except the life-sized cardboard Han Solo cutout Sare has at her house. He hated that thing.) I remember going with Sare and the dogs to her aunt’s riverside property, and how we marveled over how strong he was, pushing himself (most comically, I assure you) almost all the way out of the water with every stroke as he swam. Michael Phelps’ breaststroke had nothing on Kingy’s. I used to crack up, because he’d do things he wasn’t supposed to (like eat tomatoes straight off the vine, or bring home partially decomposed woodland creatures for his humans) and look so effing pleased with himself you couldn’t be upset.

 

Kingy both loved, and was entirely puzzled by, the garden sprinkler. Photo by Sarah.

I can’t imagine how Sarah’s feeling right now. If I couldn’t sleep over it, I don’t imagine she can either. Nothing can make something this sad feel better but time. I’ve got Radar with me on the couch; there will definitely be much cat-appreciation of him and his sister Dixie today and in the future. You just never know.

 

Starred this week– the better late than never edition

I love this living room so much! (via pinterest)

Oh, hi! I found some pretty cool stuff from across these here internets this week. Hope you enjoy!

  • Our Brimfield trip was postponed until Sunday (boooooo), so there are no pictures yet. For your flea market fix, please enjoy the Brimfield roundup from the ladies of Design*Sponge: Brimfield 2011- Leather, Brimfield 2011 lighting, Brimfield 2011- What We Brought Home. My own pics will follow next week!
  • “Grrl” and “Thang” are now viable words in Scrabble! (via Jezebel). I may hate the new Gawker format (Groupthink is incomprehensible now) but the articles are just as amusing as ever. From a teaching perspective, I don’t know. I guess making room in my favorite game for common vernacular is a viable way to keep new & younger generations interested. From a Scrabble fanatic’s perspective, I like that I have two new ways to kick your butt. Muahaha! :)
  • Speaking of Scrabble, here’s an oldie but a goody– Craziest, a short story by Liz Dubleman. This was sent my way 5 or 6 years ago by Amanda, and I think of it nearly every time I play. Is Scrabble really the Oracle? You decide.
  • True Blood is back in June, and HBO recently released a new promo. You’re welcome! (via Perez Hilton)
  • I laughed out loud reading this post from Anna of Door Sixteen. Crazy tangents are kind of my downfall in terms of getting work done, so when she describes mentally rearranging her priorities so that it’s UBER important to rearrange the canned goods right now, I can so relate. Adam often comments on the neatness of our pantry  relative to my mania, or lack thereof. :)
  • There’s a blog dedicated entirely to Etsy giveaways! I haven’t entered any yet, but there are some good ones. Upwards of 8 posts daily! You should check it out.
  • And to conclude, two from The Kitchn. It’s True! Farmers Markets are Cheaper than Supermarkets!This is something that many people can’t agree on. When you factor in how far food has to travel to be put on supermarket shelves, along with the energy costs associated with lighting, heating, cooling, etc, in a giant chain, this one is a no-brainer. We’re so glad to have a CSA membership (hi Ryan!) and a farmer’s market right here in Amherst every weekend.
  • Help! Compulsive Hosts Won’t Let Us Invite them Over! The comments on this one run the gamut from reasonable (they could be allergic to your cats) to snarky (well, squelch the friendship). I love having people over for dinner parties, as I’ve mentioned before. This kind of weirdness about allowing others to host is something that we who like company deal with often. One time, I was asked to cook dinner… And bring it to another home! I felt like that was a little rude, but I guess that kind of thing isn’t as uncommon as I thought. Insightful!

That’s all for today! Hope everyone had a lovely week. XO

Things I love Thursday: flea markets, flowers, and, predictably, cats

morning glories (via pinterest)

Today’s the day! We’re off to Brimfield in a few to look at old junk, take lots of pictures, and probably eat hand-cut french fries. (Maybe it will be just me eating fries… It’s getting to be a ‘thing’ for me. I just effing love french fries. See? Things I love Thursday.) After that we’re off to celebrate a belated Mother’s day with Adam’s family (it’s his parents’ anniversary today! Happy 27th anniversary, in-laws. I love you guys!)

On the short list of things I love today: morning glories! They’re one of my favorites. I love the climbing vines, how tenacious they are when creeping up the side of the house, how even when they’re wilting in the afternoon sun, they still open again the next morning. It’s a good metaphor when you’re having a bad day. Keep climbing, and try again in the morning.

Cats! Mt cats are just hilarious, and they make me happy every day. I also like this cat, who is the cutest thing I’ve seen on the internets all week. And that includes the child who was SO EXCITED to find a dead squirrel in the yard that she held it and loved on it like a puppy. (Maybe that was more weird than cute? I’m a poor judge.)

Okay, I have to give Adam his computer back now. Happy Thursday! I’ll take pics at Brimfield and share later this week,

Catastrophes, disasters, and the fate of the console radio

via pinterest

Maybe your grandparents had one, too: a console radio, with its infinite hidden mysteries. As a small girl, I was fascinated with the vertical sliding doors, the dozen dusty plugs in the back, the slow automatic arm on the turntable, the programmable switches so unlike  modern push-button radio dials. The fabric on the speakers was a thick, fraying brocade, and the only record that remained of my grandparents collection was a random Simon and Garfunkel album. I used to do headstands in the room referred to (still) as “the parlor” while listening to Irish AM radio. Sometimes the strangest dusty memories are the happiest.

As I mentioned last week, the Brimfield Fair opened Monday– and this is what Adam and I are looking for this year. We have this grand plan to find a vintage radio (not necessarily in working condition– that part is negotiable as long as the aesthetic fits) and refurbish it with more modern electronics. I’ve been searching for the bookmark (which is probably on my dead laptop, womp womp) of a similar project that I’m pretty sure I found on Design*Sponge a year or so back. The couple who completed the project recovered the speakers in some lively Amy Butler fabric and yanked the non-working radio parts, replacing them with an internal computer. They then hung their TV over it, and connected the TV to the computer to create a modern media center with a vintage shell. Is that not awesome?!

Here are some examples of radios we like, in terms of look– I’m up early, stealing Adam’s MacBook Air, so please excuse the lack of actual pictures– I can’t figure out how to use the pinterest widget in this thing, since there’s no boomarks bar. Zentith console with angled panels and Sears Silvertone console stereo.

(Speaking of widgets, I fixed the comment issue– Captcha wasn’t allowing ANY comments through! I can tell it’s fixed because I am getting spammed again. Yay! Now leave me some love, folks. I’ve missed ya.)

 

Technical difficulties

via pinterest

Well, I’ve been updating regularly for two weeks now. Go figure my laptop would die as soon as we fixed it. I’m going to do my best to update from the desktop, but since my files are elsewhere it may be spotty. I’m sad. The end.

 

Etsy two for Tuesday: 1920s-inspired accessories

 

    1.  Vintage diamond leather t-strap sandals from Marie’s Vintage.
    2. Cloche straw hat with beaded hatpin by Katarina Couture

For when you need a little Daisy Buchanan in your wardrobe. It can be fun to dress like a beautiful little fool, so long as you don’t let it seep too far into your subconscious. Happy Tuesday! (And happy 20th birthday to my baby brother! Love you, buddy. Thanks for letting me sit on your Harley.)

Attempting curls, one vain and impractical method at a time.

My hair on my wedding day, about 15 seconds after Christine finished with her Chi. I walked by the window to get zipped up, and POOF. There went the neighborhood. Photo by Steph Stevens.

So, I’m sick of my hair. It’s thick, heavy, baby-fine and completely stick straight. First world problems, right? Well, we’re all entitled to a little vanity. I mean, I love it, of course. It’s never messy or frizzy, and if I felt like it I could go a few days sans wash and no one would be the wiser. (I don’t, though.)

Generally, I have 2 options. Up, or down. There is no pretty braided updo, no beachy waves, no prom curls. In fact, my prom updo’s curls lasted less time than it took to get home from the salon. Curls from the wedding? Until I *walked by* the open window. I just want some options!  (And my hairdresser patently refused to treat it chemically in any way. Ha!)

One method I’ve never tried (or, at least since I was small and had massive knots that required cutting bits out) is rag curls. Recently, Esme of Esme and the Laneway fame gave a how-to on rag curls that I am attempting tonight. (That will be last night, by the time you read this.) From everything she described, we have very similar hair in terms of texture, length and cooperativeness. And her rag curls are so beautiful and long-lasting, I’ve always thought she *straightened* her hair, not the other way around. It was a ray of hope in my sartorial existential crisis.

The concept is pretty simple, but from what I remember, there can be ends at wonky angles and more than a bit of frizz involved. Now that I’m smart enough to know that not curlers nor irons nor wrath can keep curls in for me, I’m willing to try this old fashioned (but tried and true!) method to get a curl or two. If it looks dumb I can always hop in the shower and wash it out.

Lucy Hale of Pretty Little Liars (shut up, that show is amazing.)

I am hoping the end result looks something like this:

If it works out, I’ll post a pic. If not… Well, we’ll just pretend it didn’t happen. Have a great week & happy Mother’s Day if I didn’t catch you on the 8th. XO

Starred this week (& super-wanderlust)

via Audrey Hepburn Complex

I’ll do shoes for the lady who lunches, but it would be, like, a really nasty lunch, talking about men.”Christian Louboutin
Here are some things found around ye olde internets this week. Some are funny, some are serious, and some are just plain pretty. (Gratuitous pictures of Paris, I’m lookin’ at you.)

My Post-College Survival Story via Yes & Yes.  Alex seems to have treated college life much the same as I did, so I appreciate her candor in this interview. For me, college wasn’t about locking myself away in some ivory tower: it was about gaining experiences, meeting new people, and reading some awesome books. We’re all still sort of navigating how to be ourselves in a world we never pictured. I like reading Yes & Yes ’cause Ms Sarah Von understands that it’s not always easy.

I don’t want children! Am I a freak? Why won’t everyone leave me alone?! via Gala Darling. Preach, sister. A thoughtful, only-a-little-snarky commentary on how to handle people constantly asking when you’re gonna start popping out babies. Me? I like babies. OTHER people’s babies. I fully & wholeheartedly believe that you should 100% want to start a family when you do. Not ruling it out for myself, but it’s not happening anytime soon. My favorite response? “How’s YOUR sex life?”

Out of the death of a terrorist, two mis-attributed quotes. (Via NPR.org) When we woke up on Monday morning to the news of OBL’s death, one of the first things I saw was the mis-attributed ”Mark Twain” quote. I thought it sounded fishy– turns out, I was right.

And now for some eye candy:

Hampshire, England

 

 

Paris

Mont Saint Michel, France

Paris, in the fog

La tour Eiffel, par nuit

(all images via Pinterest)

The Best of All Possible Worlds: A Story of Philosophers, God and Evil

(I need to stipulate before commencing writing that I haven’t actually finished reading this book yet. It’s a subject I studied in some depth while an undergrad at the University of Massachusetts, and not something that many of my peers share much of an interest in. One area of study I focused in was Enlightenment philosophy– in the vein of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Voltaire– specifically with a feminist slant. I like this book specifically because it fills in the gaps in understanding for me surrounding  Leibnizian optimism, which my area of study, while not laughing directly in its face, did not take at all seriously.)

The book begins with a short biographical overview of Leibniz’s life & works, from his brown-nosing of the Academie Francaise to his mathematical discoveries, none of which I understand. It uses a lyrical, almost-novel-like tone as it weaves together the history of his contributions to math, science, and metaphysics. Essentially, his argument attempts to answer this question: If God is good and all-powerful, what is the root of human suffering? His theory, which is much more complicated than I am willing to take time explaining (since you’re probably already screeching inwardly, TL! DR!) is that God, in his perfection, allowed human free will to be flawed so that we may learn from our mistakes. CONVENIENT. This view inherently accepts the idea of a external world, though created by God, independent of Him, unlike humans. I’m paraphrasing like a mofo right now. Leibniz believed that our world is the best one possible, because God… Is playing God? I find the whole thing quite circular, but again, paraphrasing.

So, during Leibniz’s time, as we know, there was much… How shall we put this? Religious contention. Catholicism vs Calvinism/Protestantism, the Holy Roman Empire vs Everywhere Else, etc. Leibniz’s work centered around using his theory of the best of all possible worlds to unite the two sides of the schism under common Christian beliefs. Enter Nicolas Malebranche, who believed that  all ideas (and therefore perception, and therefore what we (and Descartes, and Leibniz) view as the external world) belong to God, and without God’s ideas transferred to us, we would be no different from animals. Also joining the party is Baruch Spinoza, who had a different philosophy than either of the other men. He disbelieved in the idea of the mind and body as separate entities, and he believed that feeling situations to be less than ideal was a flaw in human perception, not in the world. In Spinoza’s view, God made the world perfect. He must have slept so soundly at night!

That is, in a nutshell, what the book is about. I am super interested to counteract the arguments made in some of the texts I studied more closely, although those authors tended to be more deists than true religious believers. I think the main difference in which “camp” makes more sense to a person, when reading it all for the first time, is their own perception of God and His relationship to humanity.

And that is it for my nerd post. I wish I could go back to school, sometimes.

 

Fresh flowers, restful afternoon

Before, when Saturday and Sunday meant time together, Adam and I would go go go go all day one of the days– shopping, family events, museums, cleaning– and relax for one full day. In a world where two consecutive days off are now uncommon, I find it 100% necessary to unwind a little bit on each day.

I spent some of yesterday being a grown up– we grocery shopped, attacked a few cleaning projects (ironing, how I do dislike thee) and otherwise took care of big-kid things. Then, I farted around on the internet, read some of The Best of All Possible Worlds (more on this in a day or so) and arranged some flowers. (I also queued up a few posts! Wow.) The bead & gem show is in Marlborough this Sunday, and the Brimfield Fair is next week, May 10-15. Holy cow! It’s May! Time for violets and fields of antiques! I do love looking at old junk, and collecting strange & lovely treasures.

Speaking of violets, the above picture is one I took yesterday afternoon with my blackberry. I tried to edit the colors and exposure a bit, but the photo isn’t really that good. My digital camera is broken (?!) and won’t even turn on. Oh, well. It’s almost time to upgrade to a new phone, I’m looking into ones that have built-in camera functions that are a little nicer than the 2008 blackberry cameras are. :)