Category Archives: Noodling

Color Wheel

The first color I remember having a decided preference for is turquoise. When I was in third grade I had a plaid jumper I adored because it had turquoise in it and I could wear a turquoise shirt underneath and also turquoise socks. It was my most favorite outfit in the world. Also I loved turquoise jewelry in any form (real or beads).

Two years later my favorite color was purple and my mom did my room all in violet with flowered wallpaper when we moved to New Jersey in 1970. It was gorgeous! I also had a purple leotard I wore with a lavender skirt and white go-go boots, and this was really cute, around 1973. That’s about the time we departed for Illinois, where the official color is forty below zero.

When I was 20 a Chicago coworker remarked that I wore a lot of blue and brown. I did. I’d just gone from being a college student to a full-time office worker and had a limited budget for shopping. Blues and browns seemed practical to mix-match and they all went with my sensible brown shoes and boots. Obviously I would layer over that with parkas and scarves and leg warmers, mittens, hats, yada. Still have two coats from my Chicago years because they were very well made and come in handy occasionally. One is blue, one a brownish pink.

Decades later my wardrobe expanded to all colors of the rainbow. I went through phases: sunflower yellow, lime green, candy pink, violet, and always turquoise with everything. I could wear any outrageous color combo when I was a young mom. I painted my own tee shirts and had tie-dyed leggings.

Then I returned to full-time office work and gradually began to ditch the crazy colors in favor of blues and browns again. Also, like most women, I discovered a love of black, which goes surprisingly well with some of my bright stuff, toning it down enough to be acceptable in an office. One of my favorite combos is black pants with a turquoise shirt and an ivory or beige sweater. Browns and pinks work nicely together too. I don’t wear much lime green or sunflower yellow these days. Still adore lavender and violet.

As I’ve mentioned I am simplifying my wardrobe as time goes by. New purchases are in solid colors for ease of matching. I shop more sensibly now rather than grabbing what catches my eye. Shopping online is good for this method, since you search for what you need (blue pants, forex) rather than wandering into a store and allowing yourself to be seduced by a sequined kitty sweatshirt.

One thing that’s funny though ~ through all this my cars were blue, brown, blue, brown, blue, brown. In order, just like that. The first car I owned was blue and the car I have now is brown. Yes, a constant in my life since my move to California has been my love for the colors of the earth and the sky, the sand and the ocean, from biscuit to chocolate, from ice to navy. I’ve moved from one coast to another, liked many things about Chicago, but never felt “at home” there and have never gone back to the midwest for even a visit. Although I don’t hang out at the beach much, I like knowing it’s nearby (wouldn’t want to live super close because of earthquake/tsunami, which is a win because of the price of oceanfront real estate).

Though I must say I recently heard of a writerly town in Montana that’s totally piqued my curiosity…

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The Daily Prompt: Constant

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All or Nothing

 

Hat

I’ve been getting email promos for Renaissance Faire tickets already ~ buy now, months in advance, for a significant discount. I don’t really like to do that because I don’t know which weekend I’ll want to go, or if I’ll feel like going at all. I haven’t even talked about it with friends yet. But I am reminded of when I used to put the RenFaire as an interest on my dating site profile back when and I’d either get men who were completely obsessed with it or who had zero interest whatsoever. It seems that this is the case for so many hobbies ~ all or nothing. There’s no such thing as a mild affection. You must be a total fanatic or absolutely cold. Love or hate. Our hobbies have become as polarized as our politics.

Part of the reason I like the RenFaire is because it’s fun to wear a costume. So, I also enjoy other types of costume parties, but it’s not that big of a deal and if I never go to another one my heart won’t break. But if I do get invited to one sometime, that would be cool too and I’d be all excited about planning the details. Either way is fine.

Years ago I was on OKCupid and began chatting with a man who also enjoyed going to RenFaires, but he was moving somewhere far away like Washington State within the next couple weeks, so I didn’t see any point in meeting him even though we had a lot in common and he was very cute. He thought we should meet anyway, start a long-distance romance, and then I could visit him, yada. Maybe I could move there, or he’d move back.

I passed.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Costume

Creature Features & Jigsaw Puzzles

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I have a clear memory of watching Creature Features with my mom in the basement of our townhouse in Illinois, which she had turned into a rec room with a ping-pong table, TV, stereo, etc. It was Illinois, if you missed that in the preceding sentence, 40 miles north of Lake Michigan, where it got so cold that if you dropped a record on the floor it would shatter like a dinner plate. (This actually happened.)

I’ve always said I remember putting giant jigsaw puzzles together with my mom while we watched scary movies, and generally, but I was trying to call up a specific memory of this and it’s not working. It actually doesn’t even make sense. The only table we had in the basement large enough for a 1000-2000 piece puzzle was on the side of the room that didn’t have the TV. The stairs were in the middle. Right in front of the stairs was a little storage type room my dad used as a darkroom for photography. On the right side was a TV, sofa, coffee table, etc. On the left side was an old dining room table, another sofa, and the stereo system. We would have had to use the old dining table for the puzzles. So how would we have been watching Creature Features at the same time? Memory fail.

Even though I enjoyed these campy horror movies at the time (because mommy was there), I’ve disliked horror since. Pretty much the entire horror film genre falls into the dislike pile, but I do reserve some exceptions for books, Stephen King in particular. It’s not because the movies themselves are all terrible; it’s because I don’t enjoy having my emotions manipulated to that extent. Now you’ll say I don’t mind the same thing when it happens in the romcoms. And I’ll just shrug. Because people are inconsistent, and I’m a people too. Shockeroo!

The two Creature Features that stayed with me all these years I dub “Coconut Sea Monster” and “Alpine Beheader.” The first was about guys on a military submarine who kept getting murdered brutally cuz one of them had morphed into a monster due to radiation exposure. We didn’t see the murderer until the end and he looked like he was covered in coconut. It was really freaky! The otter one was about peeps trapped in a ski resort during a blizzard and some snow vampire kept grabbing one at a time and ripping off their head. Icky!

You know, this could very well be why I dislike both sailing and skiing. A-ha!

Still love coconut though. Nothing comes between me and a coconut donut.

As far as jigsaw puzzles, still love doing those, but don’t have room for them in my current place, can’t isolate one from the kitty anyway, and they seem sort of time-wastey when I have so many otter projects I want to finish as far as writing and needlework and staring at the walls. Someday though… when I retire maybe, bring on the jigsaw puzzles again! Hey, I wonder if they have Creature Feature puzzles? That could be a thing.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Creature

Simplify

epiphany

One of my goals is to simplify, though it may not seem obvious. I think more carefully about how I spend my free time and money, not that I ever was wild and crazy, but the older I get, the more important both become. I’m cautious about which projects I start, mindful of the energy they may consume, and the same goes for invites I accept. Slowly, I’m switching my wardrobe to mainly solid colors, which are more practical to mix-match. New clothes/shoes are chosen primarily for comfort and durability, not sexiness. Those days are over ~ what a relief!

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Simplify

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Dukes…

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Jennifer Weiner has an interesting op-ed in the NYT celebrating sex ed via the romance novel. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never read any of Ms. Weiner’s novels and I want to change that soon. I’ve put her memoir Hungry Heart on my wish list and will be grabbing some of her older novels as well. But in the meantime I enjoyed her article in the NYT, even though I didn’t agree with all of it.

We’re on the same page with the idea that “what goes where” sex ed is necessary but not sufficient for young peeps and of course they will be curious for more information. They will search for it relentlessly. I definitely agree with Ms. Weiner that romance novels give a woman’s sexual satisfaction equal priority to a man’s. No fantasy duke or pirate or spy or CEO ever forgets to please his heroine in the bedroom (or wherever), multiple times. Ms. Weiner makes a good point that, unlike pr0n, romance novels describe complete scenes, including birth control (in contemporaries), various other awkward moments, and follow-up conversations.

Talking is important!

But romance novels, like so many forms of entertainment, focus mostly on fabulous looking characters with beautiful faces and perfect bodies. These are the kinds of people deserving of soul mates, true love, fantastic sex, and happily ever afters… this is the message insidiously drilled into our minds as soon as we’re able to read a book or watch a movie. Ms. Weiner quotes Jennifer Crusie in her article, and Ms. Crusie has given us plus-size heroines in several of her novels, but still they are gorgeous overweight women with great legs, lips, and hair, not the ordinary fat chicks you find shlumping around the supermarket. This is not to criticize ~ I lurve Ms. Crusie’s novels and they’re among my favorite romances. I am… JUST SAYING.

[I know some of you go into a peevey fit when peeps just say. Sorry about that.]

Point is, there’s a downside to young people (aka women let’s be honest cuz young men aren’t going to be reading Crusie et al) consuming the emotional content of their sex ed via romance novels. I should know. I was one.

On the bright side, people are still reading books.

Study Notes

test

I was a smart kid, but I attribute my great grades not to flashes of genius but to boringly steady work habits. I trudged home from school, literally a mile+ in the snow, and did my homework. Every day. I spent a lot of time studying and overstudying for tests. Though I had some fun times, I didn’t really goof off that much, not in high school and certainly not in college.

In college, I had a Psych class and got 100% on a test. The professor congratulated me when he handed back the results, which was a little embarrassing. After class, a few students came up to me to ask how I did it. I said I read the assigned chapters, twice, and studied the lecture notes several times. That’s not what they wanted to hear, I could tell. They thought I had a special trick. I did not. I just spent a lot of time doing the boring, boring studying.

It is true when I was very young I had a bit of eidetic memory, but that faded fast and didn’t help me much by the time high school rolled around. I was better than most at remembering phone numbers, which has become an unnecessary skill these days. Who even needs to know their friends’ numbers any longer?

More recently I took the Notary Public exam and did well. I was a bit worried about it, even though I’ve taken it several times before (in California you have to retake it every four years). It’s easy to forget many of the details between tests if you only notarize once in a while as I do. But I overstudied like a maniac. Turns out I do have some good habits!

In my opinion, doing well in school is mostly about good habits, not brilliance. Could this be true about most things in life?

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Study

That’s Entertainment

Entertain

Along with many other things, I’ve become extremely picky wrt movies as I’ve aged. It also helps to have an enormous variety from which to choose. I have several theaters nearby, access to Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBO Now, and my own library of DVDs. When I’m in the mood for a flick, I don’t have to settle for any old yawner.

The bottom line about a movie for me is entertainment. If I want to read about an event from history, I’ll look that up myself. I don’t want to see two hours of a long, dragged out battle or unrelenting gore. Gah. Of course there are exceptions, like if Brad Pitt is plotting to kill Hitler, I’m in. I don’t want to watch a bunch of robots, zombies, or Bruce Willis. I don’t like horror and mostly dislike science fiction, unless it’s really compelling and/or about human relationships primarily, not blasty laser battles. Forex, I liked The Martian, Arrival, and Blade Runner 2049.

I love a good romcom, which basically means one starring Meg Ryan. There are a few others in my fave list, such as 27 Dresses and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. But not many. Most are awful, unless they star Meg Ryan. Oh, Sandra Bullock did some good ones too, but now she mostly does those /who needs men anyway/ movies, which are even better. One is coming up later this year ~ Ocean’s 8 ~ and I’m totes seeing that (have to see the otter three Oceans first).

Love mob movies. One of my fave movies of all time is Goodfellas. Love spoofs of mob movies too ~ Analyze This! And of course The Sopranos on HBO rocked. (A bunch of series shows are fab ~ GOT, SFU, BB, G&F, etc.) Comedies generally? Depends. Some are great, some horrible.

I thought I would enjoy seeing old musicals on Prime, but I have to admit I don’t. They’re so boring. Guess I’m a newer musical lover only. Sound of Music, Chicago, Walk the Line, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof, Zorba the Greek, Grease, Hair, Mamma Mia! A sequel to Mamma Mia is coming this summer, yay! I just saw The Greatest Showman and liked it a lot.

Regular dramas? Hit or miss. It just depends on the specific movie and I can’t count on reviews at all. I don’t trust Rotten Tomatoes/critics because my opinion doesn’t gibe with the norm. Forex, I loved Collateral Beauty and it received crappy reviews; Baby Driver was raved about everywhere and I found it mediocre. Loved Lion, didn’t like Manchester by the Sea. Enjoyed The Accountant, and I think a sequel is coming. Other films I liked last year include Lady Bird, Kingsman, The Big Sick, Wonder Woman, and The Glass Castle.

I’m planning to see Molly’s Game and Phantom Thread at the theater soon. Those both look interesting via their trailers. I’ve completed S2 of my Game of Thrones rewatch and am enjoying it just as much (if not more) the second time around. My list of wanna-sees on Prime etc. is long and getting longer, almost as impossible as my list of books to read. But those are both nice “problems” to have, right? There is always some form of great entertainment around. What a wonderful luxury!

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Entertain

Funnel

Butterfly

 

I’m finding it very difficult to funnel my limited energy in my free time. There’s so much I want to do, but I’ve been (re)binge-watching Game of Thrones instead of accomplishing anything, and I probably should feel bad about that, though honestly I really don’t care. Since January 1st I have not exercised or begun a new needlework project or written a poem or comedy routine or even done boring paperwork I should do. We are 10 days in and those hours are gone now, that time lost forever. Creativity sparkles all around me like butterflies, each one so interesting…

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The Daily Prompt: Funnel

The Meta Conversation

Boston Creme

Or what we talk about when we talk about talking. [hat tip to Raymond Carver]

Some people dislike “small talk,” the meaningless howareyas, haveaniceweeekends, coldenoughforyas watercooler type of chitchat. I never minded it. To me, it’s part of the please and thank you polite currency that smoothes over the transactions of our workplace relationships. Are we merely pretending to care about each other? Maybe. Maybe not. Do we always care that deeply about the answers to all the questions we pose to our friends and family, or is some of that merely filler as well? I don’t even mind when strangers ~ cashiers, waiters, neighbors ~ say this stuff to me. So what?

Why is filler conversation bad? Filler can be delicious, like the custard in a donut (mmm donuts). I’m part of a group where the leaders ask many “meaningless” questions, some of which I skip over, and some of which I reply to. I read other people’s answers when I have time, and often they’re interesting ~ first jobs, favorite writers, hobbies ~ and occasionally one of those poasts inspires me to write a longer piece myself, such as this one, or even a pome later on. Some of the group questions aren’t filler, but too personal to answer and I ponder them silently. I admire the brave folks who do reply. If I can think of a joke or a response that isn’t too revealing, I’ll put that. It may appear as though I’m an open book, but perhaps that’s just sleight of hand. You’ll never know, will you?

I’ve told you everything you know about me, but I haven’t told you everything I know. [hat tip to General Boris Alexandroff ~ yabbut rando site says so]

Most convo though is like shadows on the cave wall. We create definitions of words so we can communicate (table, cat, apple), but the whole endeavor quickly gets so tricky (love, loyalty, patriotism) that we assume a shaky base of mutual understanding in order to proceed, and often our assumptions turn out to be false. Oh, that’s not what I meant by love. Hah, fooled you! Or people can say that’s not what they meant even if they did mean it, and this becomes a totally legit way of squirming out of something because we all know conversation is just like this, even when it isn’t.

How conveeenient!

Now we make a new friend, bonding over shared heartbreak. Two people who’ve been burned by others deliberately (or so it seems) misunderstanding definitions miserably commiserate. Isn’t that nice? But wait…

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The Daily Prompt: Conversation

The Overheard Confession

There are so many overused tropes in romance novels that if I see one in the blurb I’ll immediately lose interest in reading the book. Amnesia, mistaken ID, twins switching places, dukes pretending to be not-dukes, heiresses pretending to be not-heiresses, the jaded military man, the loner cowboy, the manic pixie dream girl, vampires, yada. One that you generally don’t get alerted to in the description but which sneaks in later is the overheard confession.

It goes like this. One of the protagonists, usually the heroine, will “confess” something, maybe her attraction to the hero, or something else incriminating, and he overhears it, or he hears part of it. He just so happens to walk past the room at the exact moment she says: “I poisoned my father so I wouldn’t have to marry my cousin Fenwick.” Naturally our hero misses the first part of what she says: “I can’t believe anyone would think I poisoned my father…”

This will propel the plot quite some distance before the protags sort it all out. Heroine won’t understand why hero is mistrustful of her when earlier he was so charming and attentive. He can’t understand why such a lovely girl, who cares for the orphans and the puppies, could have coldly killed her father. It’s such a dilemma! And yet he’s still madly attracted to her, which is so horrible for him that it puts him in a foul mood and he’s always snapping at the secondary characters. Naturally they avoid him and gravitate to our heroine, which makes him angrier. Why is she so popular? She’s a murderer, for heaven’s sake! Gah.

Idk if I’ve ever read that particular book, but I feel I have. It seems very real to me now that I wrote the paragraph. I believe it’s a parody/pastiche of various romnovs.

Sometimes it’s the hero who has the overheard confession. I read a romnov where the heroine believed she heard the hero say he never wanted children but in fact he said he didn’t want them with his first wife who would have been a bad mother since she was a drunken whore. Luckily she drowned, hurrah. And the protags solved some mystery and sorted out the baby making so all was well.

I think I’m over my burst of science fiction reading and back to romances, mysteries, and dramas. Of course I’m always up for a good book of pomes or a well-written aminal story (the non-fiction science type).

Goodreads says I read 28 books in 2017 (may finish another one this week). That doesn’t seem like very many, but four of them were A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) ~ in other words, enormous (around 1200 pages each). Lotta confessions going on in GOT, overheard and not.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Confess