Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bernard Pivot's Ten Questions

These 10 questions originally came from a French series, "Bouillon de Culture" hosted by Bernard Pivot. It is probably more familiar to many as the question James Lipton asks at the end of "Inside the Actor's Studio."

1. What is your favorite word? Yes.

2. What is your least favorite word? Can't.

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Possibilities.

4. What turns you off? Rant Radio.

5. What is your favorite curse word/phrase? "Oh, for unlawful carnal knowledge!"

6. What sound or noise do you love? Rain falling.

7. What sound or noise do you hate? Babies/Children screaming/crying.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Orchestral conductor.

9. What profession would you not like to do? Dentist.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? "I'm so glad to see you!"

Happy Hallowe'en

People have been sending emails of pets in a variety of costumes. This is one of my favorites:

I took off yesterday from my full-time job in order to run some errands and have a little date with my husband. Ever since we'd met, one of our favorite dates is going out for breakfast. Anyway, the next few months are going to have both of us crazy on account of it being the beginning of retail hell (a.k.a., Christmas shopping season), so it was nice to have a little quiet time together. I also got my annual car registration taken care of, got the car cleaned inside and out, and mailed some packages.

The wind came up sharp and strong yesterday. What started out as a warm day ended up cold and windy — typical for the end of October in this part of the USA, and just in time to make Hallowe'en a little creepier.

I'm having misgivings about doing NaNoWriMo starting tomorrow, but I'll do it if for no other reason than to get more exercise in letting go of perfectionism. I remember a high-school English composition teacher, as we started a section on writing, told us that the first stuff we'd write would be crap, and that after we'd finished writing about teddy bears and toddlers and such like we'd start writing some really good stuff. Well, maybe this is just a way to get some of the crap out of me.

Last night's workout at the gym was magnificent. I think it was partly because I didn't wear myself out with housework over the weekend. And I think it was also because I'm still happy for my friends.

Really happy.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

I Believe in Love

They were true love, written in stone;
They were never alone,
They were never that far apart.

— James Taylor, "Never Die Young"

A couple of friends are falling in love with each other and I'm so happy about it that I can hardly sit still.

I believe in love. I believe in good things happening to people. I believe these things need to be encouraged and celebrated at every opportunity. I believe we need to help these things happen whenever we can, especially because it often costs very little to bring someone a little happiness.

The Christmas season is coming up. It's my favorite season for so many reasons, not the least of which is that people are generally a little bit kinder to one another as they go about their business. In a time when the weather is turning colder and arriving safely — by car or by foot — is a crap shoot when everything is icy, this little bit more kindness helps all of us get through.

And those people who are in love are the best of all: They are so optimistic that even a snowstorm is just another opportunity to snuggle up together.

My husband and I are long past the "new love" stage, but we're still in love. We don't always feel it — real life gets in the way and it's hard to feel particularly romantic when you're changing the cat litter or shoveling snow or dealing with the overflowing garbage bin — but feeling it isn't always necessary when you know it's still there, just like drawing breath. When you know it's there, you don't worry about when you'll feel it next.

For all of my friends, married and not married, I pray for such great love in their lives that they never before imagined they could be so happy. And I pray it lasts forever.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

No Housework Today

After four straight weekends of intensive cleaning, I've taken a much-needed break. I ran some errands, did some knitting, and took a huge nap because I was so knackered. I also worked on getting Christmas cards done.

Tomorrow I'll walk with Richard, then work at the stationery shop. And then I have to clean the cat litter and .... maybe I'll do a little bit of laundry, we'll see.

NaNoWriMo starts in just a few days. I've had some good ideas, but I've not started sketching characters yet. We'll see what I can do. It's going to be an extra challenge because (1) it's a busy season for retail workers and (2) I don't have the story as firmly in mind as I did the last one.

Well, that's fine. It's not about being perfect. It's about writing.

Monday, October 23, 2006

48 Things You Might Already Know About Me

1. FIRST NAME? Judith

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Not that I'm aware of. My birth name is actually Judy and I think there was a time people said I was named for Judy Garland (the Wizard of Oz film came out the year I was born, I think), but that's never been verified.

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? Um.....I think it was a couple of weekends ago when I was feeling sorry for myself.




7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Only if the blog counts.



10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Honey-nut Cheerios.


12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? I know I am strong.


14. SHOE SIZE? US 9 1/2 Wide

15. RED OR PINK? Red


17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? Roger & Caroline in England.


19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Slate blue mock-T, light blue cotton sweater, cotton slacks that incorporate both of those colors in a micro-weave, and dark brown shoes.

20. LAST THING YOU ATE? A Lean Cuisine Panini (Chicken, Mushroom, Spinach)

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? People in my office talking.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? I would be a magical crayon that turns whatever color I feel like at the moment.

23. FAVORITE SMELL? My husband's cooking.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? Louise at the stationery shop.


26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON YOU GOT THIS FROM? I lifted it from Jen's blog, so, yes, I do.

27. FAVORITE DRINK? Usually anything cold.

28. FAVORITE SPORT? I like watching women's gymnastics and figure skating.

29. EYE COLOR? Green/Brown gradient.

30. HAT SIZE? I don't know.

32. FAVORITE FOOD? Just about anything that isn't good for me.




37. FAVORITE DESSERT? Apple pie.


40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? You Just Don't Understand by Deborah Tannen, London: A Biography by Peter Ackroyd.



43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? Thunderstorms, music I like, the sound of a friend's voice on the phone, my black cat purring, and sometimes I like how quiet it is after a snowstorm.


45. THE FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME? London, Edinburgh, or Paris -- which is further east of here?

46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? I leg press 540 lbs.

47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Denison, Iowa

48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Borrowed from Jen's blog.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My Personal DNA

Unfortunately, the code for this didn't post so I had to screenprint the image and upload it. I don't think it's a particularly accurate portrait of my personality, but it'll do for now.

If you want to take the assessment yourself, go to Personal DNA.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

4 Things

Thanks to Titanium Rose for putting this one up. It'll make a fun post for today.

Four jobs I’ve had:
1. Cashier at a restaurant
2. Secretary
3. Traffic Assistant (referring to a job at an ad agency, not Dept. of Roads)
4. Graphic Artist

Four movies I can watch over and over:
1. Sense & Sensibility
2. Little Women
3. Pride & Prejudice (mini-series)
4. Casasblanca

Four places I have lived:
1. Defiance, Iowa
2. London, England
3. Olympia, Washington
4. Omaha, Nebraska

Four television shows I love to watch:
1. CSI - the original one
2. House
3. Studio 60 on Sunset Strip
4. Law & Order - the original one

Four places I have been on vacation:
1. Dublin, Ireland
2. Santa Fe, New Mexico
3. Spring Green, Wisconsin
4. Seattle, Washington

Four of my favorite dishes:
1. Flat-Iron Steak
2. Texas Beef Brisket from Famous Dave's
3. Vegetable Samosas
4. Nearly anything deep fried, or with dark chocolate, or with apples, or .... you get the idea.

Four websites I visit daily:
1. HPANA.com
2. GreatDayGames.com
3. USAToday.com
4. My friends' blogs

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. England
2. In bed
3. Santa Fe
4. Wherever my friends are.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Another Random Name

Your Elf Name Is...

Dixie Tinsel Toes

Housework is a Pain

My sister Marcy came over again to help me clean house this weekend. Actually, what we're doing is taking a concentrated approach to certain areas that have been too long neglected. This past weekend I asked her to sort out and rearrange a corner display cupboard (something that was built into the dining room with the rest of the house), a place where I'd always placed pretty things I didn't use often but never really arranged so that the items inside were pleasing to view. Marcy, of course, did it magnificently. She washed all of the items, polished silver, and rearranged it all so that it looks beautiful.

I cleaned out the bottom of the china hutch Ed built, rearranged all of the items in the buffet he built, and redistributed items from an older buffet (it's sitting in the entry way of the house at the moment) to those items Ed built that are now in the kitchen/dining area. I also finished up work on the guest room closet. And that doesn't count having cleaned up all of the dishes (and got the dishwasher running again) and sweeping the floors prior to Marcy's arrival.

All of the Christmas gifts (I start shopping early) are stacked in one closet and are waiting to be wrapped. We separated out some boxes of Ed's stuff that are now moved downstairs to where his big desk is. I still need to straighten up the items remaining in the guest room so that it actually looks like a guest room instead of another storage facility.

It's exhausting work, the constant twisting, turning, moving, lifting up, bringing down, refolding, reshuffling, rethinking. Last weekend was all about throwing things away (we did a little this weekend, too, but not as much as last weekend). This weekend was about polishing and rearranging.

And there's still a lot to do. We haven't even gotten to the downstairs yet.

Good heavens, I ache still.

I did laundry yesterday in addition to taking a walk with my friend Richard at Zorinsky Lake (90 minutes). I also worked on some knitting, but it was more of pulling things apart than of putting them together.

Even if it doesn't all get done, I'm glad for what's being done. The knitting is a welcome respite from doing the housework. And Marcy is a great help in all of it. She is funny and resourceful and full of energy. I can appreciate that.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

City of Dreams

I had a dream early this morning in which my husband and I were in London. We were on some sort of tour because we were with a group of people and being told where to be at what time, etc., so that we didn't miss out on the events planned. Ed had taken up with a kindred soul, so he and his friend were out on the streets and looking at any number of things. I remember passing them in a store that sold soaps and cleansers -- the posh kind where you pay $5 for a simple bar of soap. My friend Miriam was there. She and I went to a bakery and tried a few samples of things, then she disappeared to a lower level.

As I was walking around this ancient and modern city in my dreams, I was thinking that I had a few days left so I'd really like to just put in a call to my friends Roger and Caroline in Ivinghoe and spend the next few days with them.

Even away from home, I prefer the company of friends who greet you warmly as if you're family.

And then I woke up because my husband was snoring. Oh well.....

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Another No-brainer for Me

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

Inertia - It's a Killer

If I stand still too long in one place I run the risk of growing roots and becoming a tree. Which wouldn't be so bad, really, when you think about how much trees give to us by merely being. (They neither sow nor spin, if you know what I mean.) They provide shade, a place for birds to nest, and oxygen for the all of us. When they pass from this present life, they can be carved up into wood for building, and the pulp can be used for making paper; what's left over can be turned into mulch to help other trees grow.

People, on the other hand, become worm food.

For some of them, it happens before they die.

I've got several projects going, and not just the ones on my knitting needles. One of the biggest projects is myself, and I can't seem to make a lot of headway on that one. I struggle with my attitude about dieting, and in the struggle is the inertia.

Well, I suppose the mental/emotional grappling could be called some sort of movement, but I seem to cover the same ground every time, and it feels like I'm standing still. When I've got the energy and/or will to move forward, something comes up that knocks me off the path. Somehow it seems unimportant to worry about food intake when my husband is depressed or the water heater is threatening to die or the cat litter needs to be changed or whatever else comes up.

I'm overwhelmed with responsibilities and commitments, yet getting rid of some of them is frightening because I'm afraid I'll become inert.

Or maybe I'll just be left with myself, and that's what's really scaring me.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Tired Girl

It has been a crazy week -- busy, busy, busy, and then a few curve-balls were thrown. My sister Marcy came over today and helped me with some cleaning. She's utterly amazing at that stuff. Also, a work colleague came by and took possession of the sailboat Ed made many years ago. I'm so glad we finally have that thing out of the house!

But I'm pooped. In fact, I'm ready to go to bed again.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I've done it now! I've signed up for the National Novel Writing Month for November 2006. I'm out of my mind, I know, but it must be done.

Now, as for what I'll write? Oh, I don't know. I think it should involve flying monkeys, though.

I think that was supposed to be "Sumo" ...

Your Japanese Name Is...

Sumi Yamada

I'm not speeding. I'm qualifying.

You Should Try Adventure Racing

Not only do you have the extreme attitude
You've the extreme endurance for an adventure race!

Monday, October 02, 2006

First Monday in October

Happy birthday to my wonderful husband, Ed!

Happy birthday, also, to my wonderful new sister-in-law, Deb!

I won't reveal their ages, but I can reveal that both are young and vibrant! (OK, Deb is more vibrant than Ed, but he's working on it, OK?)

Thanks today to my sister Marcy who helped me to muck out the back room where the cats hang out. She even brought the haz-mat gloves and masks!

Cats around the globe are singing our praises.

Leaves are beginning to turn, although the trees are still mostly green. I saw a bit of red on the sugar maples on our street. It was cool yesterday morning for my weekly walk with Richard, but this morning was quite warm. It's going to be a wild ride, weather-wise, as usual. It's Autumn, lovely autumn, my favorite season for color!

50th Street, near Blondo, in Omaha
(29 Oct 2004)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

For the Record...

I'd posted this on a thread in the Lime & Violet bulletin board. It was deleted because, in their opinion, it was launching a personal attack. If you read all of the posts in that particular thread (the ones aimed at me especially), then you'll see that they didn't delete the posts that were a personal attack on me or my character.

For the Record: I am not now, nor have I ever been an employee of String of Purls.

For the Record: My posts were not at the behest of the String of Purls management; rather, they were my own views and motivated by a desire to challenge actions and perceptions.

For the Record: I did not create an account on the LnV BB for the purpose of "starting a fight" (as I was accused via email of doing). I did it for the purpose of challenging actions and perceptions.

For the Record: I have not been able to post anything further on that BB. I don't know why, but my account has been disabled. It has not been deleted, because that would have removed all of my posts, and Eliza said that she felt my point of view was "valuable." I have emailed Eliza to ask why my account has been disabled, but I haven't had a response yet; however, I can't get to that email account until Monday, so it's possible there is a response that I just haven't been able to get to.

10/02/2006 Update: I received an email from Eliza on Friday after I'd left the office. Poor thing has a severe injury which required serious medication, so all she could do was give a short reply. Here's wishing her a speedy recovery!

For the Record, here is my original post on that site:

I've read this [thread] from page one and it's distressing in so many ways.

First of all, if there was a problem with the people in the shop, why didn't you address the problem with those people? I mean, I can understand being upset and not being able to talk about it right away, but the fact of the matter is that problems don't get resolved until you deal directly with the people involved.

Second, I've shown up in that yarn shop in all manner of clothing (good and bad), no makeup, and my hair looking like its been through a blender. The only time I noticed slow service was when the people working in the shop were busy with other customers. In all the time I've been in that shop I've never seen anyone treated disrespectfully no matter how he/she was dressed, no matter how many children he/she brought along, and no matter how much or how little he/she purchased. From my own experience, I seriously doubt anyone had a problem with the mother being tattooed.

Third, I have worked in retail shops and I do a lot of shopping in all manner of stores. Here's a few things I've observed about parents and their children:

1. Nearly all parents believe their children aren't a bother.

2. Most parents have no clue what their children are doing, and worse ...

3. Most parents don't seem to care that their children are running around like the place is a playground, molesting the inventory, or screaming for attention.

Just because you didn't think the baby was a bother that night doesn't mean other people in the store (other paying customers, too) didn't have their teeth on edge. Just because you as a mother or a friend wrote it off as a little bit of fussing doesn't mean everyone else should take it that way.

And I'm saying this as someone who has been around a LOT of children and shopping in a lot of places. (Get yourself stuck on a five-hour airplane ride with just one fussy baby in a seat near you and then see how well your family values hold up.)

I understand that there are times when the parent must bring the child along. It's good for the children to get out and learn appropriate behavior for any number of environments. But the parent bears the responsibility for the child's behavior. More than likely the baby needed to be in a quiet environment in order to sleep, so being around a bunch of noisy knitters wasn't the best solution.

I hope the locals are willing to engage in a dialog with the owner to work out their conflict. It would be a shame if the Thursday night group disbanded over a huge misunderstanding of intentions and perceptions. Ideally, you all would get this resolved AND there would be a way for some of the local spinners to sell their items through that store. I can't think of a better partnership than for a good yarn shop to get together with the spinners in that area.