Friday, April 28, 2006

Sometimes The Best Stuff Is Right At Home

My sister left this in my bedroom when I was home last weekend. Think she knows me much?
The Mt. Pleasant house, over 150 years old and lived in by my grandparents for almost sixty years and currently owned by my dad and stepmom, has been updated and cleaned out over the years, and yet, there are always treasures to be found. I've found stuff in the barn from the original owners, and I've laid claim to my grandmother's sewing drawer, where there is always one more good button to bring home, or a fine package of bias tape or some such.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


This photo does not do even a little justice to what I picked up at a garage sale in Mt. Pleasant this weekend. For five bucks I got dozens and dozens of more or less brand-new embroidery floss in absolutely lovely colors, every tiny variation in shade. I will pretty much not ever have to buy any more ever again, except pink. There's very little pink here. I also got a sweet fifties lamp for 2$, miscellaneous trim for less than a buck altogether, and a clock for 25 cents.


This little giftie was one among several from the brilliant Lisa Gerstein, she of Flounce Vintage in Echo Park. Shop there, and love her.
BTW? I did the beading on the sweater myself.

I Love My Family

I was in Iowa this weekend for a memorial gathering for my Aunt Barby, who died about a month ago after a few years of suffering from the dreaded c-word. My Uncle Al, cousin Ann and her kids Dana (the one who visited me last summer) and her brother Jack came from New York, and my folks hosted a luncheon and then we buried her at the Crane plot, where I’d never actually been but where a couple of hundred years worth of Cranes are buried. It’s a nice spot, right across from Old Threshers, and there’s one of those big old obelisks marking the area. It was sad, but the weekend overall was joyful, and I am very fond of Ann and her offspring. Jack seems to be taking after his big sister with a talent for drama, appearing recently in The Crucible! The redbuds were in bloom – there are about a hundred on the property but I always seem to miss the short window during which they’re blooming, and it’s something to see – also the lilac bushes smelled heavenly. We all played Frisbee golf and our other new favorite family game, Lie-brary, and laughed a lot. We’re a funny bunch. No really.

And guess what I saw from the window of the train on the banks of the Mississippi? A huge, regal, CRANE. I don’t think I’d ever seen one before.

I Am A Bad Blogger

I have so much on my vintage dishware right now that it’s been impossible to find a minute to blog about it and I probably should be doing any number of other things right now but I’m doing this.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Wide Open … Ahem

My friend Ian Belknap is remounting his excellent solo show, “Wide Open Beaver Shot of My Heart, A Comedy With a Body Count” which I strongly recommend if you’re at all human.

Where: Neo Futurists in Andersonville. (nice bit on him in last week’s Time Out, featuring a good photo of his handsome mug)

What: This season's only true-crime, unsolved murder/suicide comedy. To my knowledge.

When: Thu, Fri, Sat, Apr 27 - May 6, 7:30pm

How much: $15, pay-what-you-can on Thursday

Where: Neo-Futurarium 5153 N. Ashland (just shy of Foster)

How: 773/275.5255 or

Why: Cause there are those of us that seek a deeper source for our comedy than the
"Jack-overhears-Janet-and-Chrissy-misinterprets-their-intent-(hopefully-in-some-double entendre-type-way)-predictable-hilarity-ensues" model we've received from our forebears. I hate them. Those forebear bastards.


Reading tonight at Quimby’s with Me, Megan, Ken Foster, Mojo and Furry Friends.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Reading Monday – Now With Doggies!

Monday night the 24th at Quimby’s, 7:00 pm., 1854 W. North Avenue, Chicago!

Ken Foster, reading from his new book, The Dogs Who Found Me
Megan Stielstra (with Mojo)
and some
Furry Friends
for you to take home and love up.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

What Our Week Was Like

Orders of business on the agenda today:

1) Ben and I had a nice Easter weekend in NJ. We ate a lot, walked around a little, went to my mom’s church – there was a really nice service about – well what I took away were some thoughts about how we’re all connected on the earth – things I think about a lot anyway. She also talked about how nothing created ever truly dies – which is interesting to think about but almost too much for my brain. Anyway one of the things I like best whenever I hear her speak is that in some way she always acknowledges that doubt is an integral part of faith. She never says THIS IS THE TRUTH. She just says This is what I believe and this is what this means to me.

2) There’s a new issue of Other Voices out with a story of mine (linky on the side), What Our Week Was Like, and also a ginormous interview with me and Steve Almond that we did last year. It’s pretty interesting, if I do say so myself.

3) Speaking of days of the week, Nina and I had a funny conversation recently. She mentioned that she doesn’t love weekends and although I like them much better now than I used to, I totally understood. I hesitated to say that part of it was that TV sucks on the weekend until she brought it up – we cracked up about that. Nina doesn’t even watch as much as I do. But just as much it’s sort of about – you work all week and there’s so much pressure to both relax and get stuff done on the weekend, and it’s kind of not possible. We also talked about how each day has a different feeling to it, which is such a weird thing but it’s something I’ve always been conscious of. I’ll get into the particulars of it later, but for now I’ll leave you with this – yesterday, probably because Ben isn’t usually off on Mondays and because we flew back and got home pretty early, it not just didn’t feel like a Monday to me, it felt like no day. A lot of this is about being a creature of habit – if I’m not on some vaguely regular routine – it just feels weird.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Found in My Mailbox!

You know, we writers don’t tend to get 30,000 dollar gift bags, but one of the perks for those of us with a couple of books and a blog with a half-dozen trusted readers, is that every once in the while the mailman delivers something that isn’t a bill, which today includes a picture of our friend’s very cute new baby in a monkey blanket we sent him (okay, this has nothing to do with being a writer) and a copy of the new Found Magazine compilation. I’m sure most of you have seen Found at this point, but if you haven’t, it’s a magazine of, um, stuff people find. Check out their tour schedule over on their site- their exhibit of stuff was here last year and it was pretty great.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Weird Baby Names I Was Unaware Of

With the birth of little Apple’s new brother, Moses Martin, perhaps a loaded but nevertheless pretty cute-sounding name, I think, the reporters are once again talking about weird baby names, and I learned of two that need to be known, and pondered:

Penn Jillette has a kid named Moxie Crimefighter.


Even better than that, in my opinion, is Jermaine Jackson’s kid Jermajesty.

Take as much time as you need.

Should Ben and I consider bringing a little Bermajesty into the world?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

standbybertshop is open for business!

Check out standbybertshop on, a wonderful site for arts and crafts Right now there are a bunch of embroideries that I made of Ben’s drawings. Most of them are stretched, but not framed. Soon there will be other stuff too.

Good prices! Get ‘em while they’re hot! Can you tell I’m not a salesman! I think you can!

Minority Wha?

My honey came home last night around six-thirty not feeling well and said he was going to take a nap which I correctly guessed meant he was going to bed which means that I was left to watch network TV last night (you know, cuz I couldn’t have like, read a book or anything) and what I watched was Minority Report which may have made the least sense to me of any movie I’ve ever seen. My synopsis: Okay so there’s Tom Cruise and he’s fifty years in the future, right, where they have ugly cars that go sideways and newspapers with changing headlines (um, we have that now? it’s called the internet?) and other stupid stuff but they still have the Gap only now it talks to you in your head, as if we don’t have enough troubles, and so Tom Cruise is a cop who works in the precrime department which catches murderers before they murder by way of three floating psychics who are hooked up to this computer on a giant window that sees into their minds, and who were like, abandoned children of drug addicts or something which explains their psychic abilities? And then when the psychics see the killer it spits out their name on a wooden ball for some reason that is supposedly explained but is beyond a stretch and so then but and the psychic floaters see Tom Cruise shooting some dude which causes a wooden ball to come out of the chute which says TOM CRUISE which is supposed to be spooky I guess and which causes Tom Cruise to go on the run because he has no plans to shoot some dude and he believes it to be a setup and so he goes to see Lois Smith in a creepy old garden of plants she’s cross-bred that are half-human or something and she tells him he needs to go get the minority report out of the floating psychic’s head but because of the worldwide eye scanning identification he can’t go anywhere until he gets an illegal eye replacement from a creepy doctor who he once sent to jail and so he has to carry around his old eyeballs in a plastic bag so he can get back into the precrime unit to go rescue Samantha Morton, the psychic floater who in my opinion has seriously wandered off some quiet indie tragedy and into the wrong movie, because she pretty much only has to look out into the world to show us her entire inner life which contrasts against Tom Cruise’s face which betrays no inner life whatsoever even though his whole purpose in life is avenging his dead kid. Then finally he figures out that this old dude who’s being all celebrated for inventing precrime and ending all murder invented it by murdering someone himself and then when that dude has to decide between going to jail (which in this future universe involves wearing an embroidered wrestling outfit inside of a tube for all eternity) or shooting Tom Cruise he chooses for some reason to shoot himself and then Tom Cruise gets back his ex-wife who left him because he looked like the dead kid and that’s the end oh except all the criminals in tubes get pardoned and let out of their tubes.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Button Bear, Walking

Button Bear

This may be in my top five favorite things I ever made. He's covered with buttons I've inherited from my mom and my two grandmoms - I have many more but I never knew what to do with such large numbers of them until I saw one in a store like this - now I get to look at them all the time. My favorite thing about him is his weight. It feels like something in your hand.

Do you not totally love the way it looks like he's walking? You do, right?

What should I name him?

Is It Just Me?

Have I written about the perception of time thing? The phenomenon whereby as you age throughout you life, time speeds up and up and up and up to the point of it seeming like a giant snowball that you’re in the middle of and have no control over? Like that? You know how when you’re a kid, the school year seems unfathomably long, ‘soon’ seems incomprehensible, whatever it is you want seems like it will never come ever? Even back when I was working in an office fifteen years ago, those days seemed like they would never end. Now? This is what my days seem like:
Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed. Get up, go to bed.

Which is not to say there aren’t many enjoyable things in between. Recently, a typical day includes most or all of these things not necessarily in this order, but kind of sometimes:
taking a shower
brushing teeth
eating cereal
drinking coffee
looking at the paper
looking at the news
looking at blogs
writing/answering email
writing/revising, or both
taking a nap
working on one or more craft projects
talking to Nina
washing dishes
“making dinner”
“exercising” (this is new, it may not last)
reading two or three different books
reading two or three different magazines
watching TV &/or a movie w/Ben
chilling with Ben
brushing teeth again
and/or not everyday but often
grocery shopping
paying bills

There’s more I’m sure, but that’s all I can think of without more coffee, the point is, that seems like a lot to me, and yet I can’t quite understand how it all goes so fast. For another time: What is anyone’s purpose in life, and how does it relate to all this?

Monday, April 03, 2006

My Sexy Situation

I had to coopt this awesome quote from angry chicken:

"It moisturizes my situation and it preserves my sexy."-P. Diddy.
(Proactiv skincare infomercial)

Damn. I better get some of that. I don't want to have a dry situation and I sure as hell don't want to lose my sexy.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Minor Federliniana Plus

Not much in the way of delicious Federline news these days (well, there was that weird sculpture, you should definitely check that out by way of Go Fug Yourself, who has the best discussion about it from Britney ‘in her own words’, but, there was an amusing article in the Times Style section today about the misuse of Chinese characters in tattoos that referred to this this website, which said that reportedly Britney got a tattoo that she thought meant “mysterious” but really means “strange.”

I also loved the “bracketolotics”
on the op-ed page of the Times today. I totally predict Oprah to win in a tense match against the Iraq insurgency at the Superdome.