Tuesday, September 30, 2008

how did people stay home sick before the internets?

Have just discovered xkcd, which is excellent news, as I've run out of BBC miniseries, dayquil, and Spore levels.

Friday, September 26, 2008

bulbous bouffant

My family's loved this dialogue for years--and I just found this perfect animation for it.

Hooray for gaberdine! And have a terrific weekend!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

you stylish traveler, you

In two weeks, I'm going on a glorious Middle Eastern tour with extended family, and I'm so excited I can barely stand it. I was thinking about it so fixedly this morning, that I caught myself trying to shave my legs with a toothbrush. Oy.

There's much to do before I leave for happy hummus lands. I should probably fold the laundry that's been heaped on the floor since August, and I ought to finally figure out how to unclog the second sink in our bathroom, and I definitely need to find appropriately adorable travel accouterments. Like iPod cases, baggage tags and passport holders.

I've been checking out the passport holders, at least, and am so amazed by all the adorable options out there that I can't believe I've gone this long without one. And if you're already stressing about Christmas gifting like I am, may I suggest a passport holder is an excellent gift option for the have-everything kind of recipient. They're affordable, cheap to ship, and a perfect blend of practicalness and whimsy.

Here's one from duct tape -- nice and urban.

I love the selection at buyolympia, which includes the crash position one above. They've also got a great pirate n' octopus fight on one of their passport holders; I imagine it would be very comforting to travel with. If you were afflicted by food poisoning, or an amorous taxi driver (ah, how I love the Middle East), or construction outside your hotel you could at least take out your passport holder and realize life could be much, much worse: you could, after all, be a pirate monkey being throttled by an angry octopus.

I ended up going with a passport holder that's slightly less twelve-year-old-boy: this great thrush one from buyolympia is my fave.

More fun passport holders can be found here, here, and here. Nothing says, Security! I'm a innocuous! like a passport covered in skulls.

Enjoy. I'm off to go clean Peter's toothbrush--hope he hasn't noticed yet. Turns out, he may not miss me at ALL.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"i do not want people to be agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them." - jane austen

I'm on one of those obsessive knitting jags where I can barely set my yarn down long enough to brush my teeth, so I'm watching a lot of movies to be background noise to my agonized screams and nearly-swears.  (Knitting lace is pretty much my version of a hair shirt.)  Autumn makes me feel cozy and domestic and in need of beautiful new clothing; naturally, then, I'm watching loads of Jane Austen movies.

Except of course the thing about Austen is, she's not that cozy.  I just read the superlatively excellent Searching for Jane Austen by Emily Auerbach, and am now chock-full of Austen trivia.  Did you know, for example, how hard her biographer-brother worked to edit her image after she died?  He censored her letters before publishing them; he whitewashed her rowdy juvenilia; he even gussied up her only portrait so that she'd seem more compliant and sweet. Here's the original, painted by her sister:
Discontented expression, clenched arms, plain clothes, penetrating eyes.  

Now here's the pretty-pretty version published by her brother:
There's more frills on the bonnet and dress; mouth is softer, eyes are calmer.  Her arms are now genteelly clasped, and even her hair has been tamed

Which woman do YOU think would be more likely to quip, "I was as civil to them as their bad breath would allow"?  Which woman would suggest, of a critic, "Kill poor Mrs Sclater if you like"?  

And which woman would be more fun to invite to dinner?

All right.  Mini-rant's over.  I'm going back to my yarn.   

(Hey.  Feminists are knitters too.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

to everything there is a season

Fall is the BEST.  I could breathe nothing but fall for a year and still want more.  I love the way everything gets golden; I love that fall smell(what IS that, anyway?); I love apples.

And I love it when ilee's releases next year's calendar.  It's letter-pressed perfection, and happily much more affordable than ilee's (equally mouthwatering) custom-made invitations.

And it went on sale today.  I won't tell you how long I spent this morning hitting refresh, waiting for it to -- finally! -- be posted.

Now I need just need to figure out what to do with my 2008 ilee calendar.  It's waaaay too pretty to sit in a landfill somewhere.  Anyone have any suggestions?

Friday, September 19, 2008

yo-ho is a jubilant and pleasant greeting

So I've been a bit incommunicado this week. I blame it on 1) new books from Robin McKinley AND Elizabeth Peters, talk about holy embarass de richesse, 2) Spore, and 3) my co-teacher's horrifically imploding marriage, which means that I'm doing her job as well as mine while she tries to pick up the pieces of her shattered life.

And she's so unhappy that I feel a beast for wishing she thought work would help. She just told me she plans to be out for another 2 weeks. Argh and avast.

At least it's Talk Like a Pirate Day! What a fabulous way to start off the weekend!

If you're not a natural at pirate speak--hey, we all have different gifts--check out this incredibly informative video. (I find the music particularly soothing.)

Monday, September 15, 2008


(click to embiggen)

I've recently found Robin McKinley's wacky, footnoted blog (she rings bells! and tends roses!), and she linked to this awesome comic.

That is sooo me and Peter. Our townhome has a second bedroom which holds: one elliptical machine; seven pieces of Middle Eastern art that, to preserve our marriage, have been banished to the upstairs; and five thousand, two hundred and seventy-three books.

About seventeen of those books are Peter's.

Sigh. I see his point, but-- you can't throw away BOOKS! What if next Thursday or next April or next year I need to read this fascinating book on Eastern Shore seagulls? What if my future children need to read this 1950s copy of Black Beauty? What if some neighbor needs to borrow this book on the Balfour Declaration?

Next townhome we're getting three bedrooms--one for Peter's elliptical, and one for my books.

Friday, September 12, 2008


just wanted to say...

I love this t-shirt.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

baby blocks

I've got a friend's baby shower coming up, and I am stumped on what to get.  I think these cheerful wooden blocks would be a lovely gift--if they weren't $11 each.   

Or what about these hand-crocheted alphabet blocks for $130?  (Wow!)

Actually, my all-time favorite blocks are these Arabic alphabet ones.  I love the retro graphics and the colors.

(Yes. I read waaaay too many mommy blogs.)

Monday, September 8, 2008

roller coasters, mariokart, and hurricanes

We had family in town last week, including the M&M nephews, who whupped my sorry self in MarioKart.  And this despite the fact that their combined age is 20.  (Obviously, I need to practice more!)

Somehow, we were able to tear ourselves away from the Wii long enough to weekend in Williamsburg, which is a lovely place, and would have been lovelier without Tropical Storm Hanna.  We knew we would only have a day of good weather; we knew Williamsburg is a historic treasure trove, with Yorktown and Jamestown only minutes away; we knew we would have to prioritize.

We spent all day at Busch Gardens.

Thanks to impending Hanna and, perhaps, to other travelers' keener sense of history, we were just about the only people at the park.   It was glorious, and we rode the Griffon till we couldn't see straight.  It's pretty much my idea of heaven: after a 205 foot climb, you're suspended face-down (just a leeetle too long) over a drop that DISAPPEARS BENEATH YOU.  Harps of gold have nothing on that.

We did forsake the glories of Busch long enough to enjoy a fantastic meal in Colonial Williamsburg. The food was good enough, but the setting was enchanting.

Deciding to ride out the hurricane in our hotel, we made emergency trips to the store to stock up on cookie dough, baby food, the basics.  We frolicked in the outdoor pool while we waited for Hanna to hit.  It was rainy but not distractingly so.   

We kept waiting for the storm, kept bracing ourselves, kept wondering if our cars were parked far away enough from tall trees.  And nothing ever happened.  It turns out we'd played Sharks and Minnows all the way through Dread Hanna.

Thank goodness for Busch Gardens.  At least we got SOME thrills.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


And the nie nie cupcakes go to... Patrick!  He outbid everyone, including, generously, his own self. 

Thanks very much indeed for participating here and elsewhere!  If you're not done yet, there's still some auctions going on, and a great promotion from fantastic photographer Jonathan Canlas.  I chose our wedding photographer because she'd studied with him (but was, uh, a better budget fit).  If you're thinking about getting family photos done this month, check out his super kind offer.

We've got family visiting so I'll probably be posting more heavily next week.

Happy end of summer!