Saturday, June 29, 2013

My grape stem just made me a little wistful for Christmas.

Friday, June 28, 2013

'Wedding Thank You Notes Gig (Lakeview)' ...

Oh, this just sucks.

Promise me you'll never ask another person to write your thank-you notes, please. (By the way, thank-you notes are "stationery," not "stationary.")

But it would be awesome for someone to take this gig subversively, a la:

Dear Friends:

Thank you so much for the lovely fondue set. If only we liked you half as much as this kitschy retro gift! We shall enjoy it for years to come with many guests, none of whom will be you.

The Person Who Wrote This Note Because The Recipients Of Your Gift Couldn't Be Bothered

Really, Jayson? Really?: Sale Edition ...

Hi ho, bargain hunters!

Yesterday, Jayson landed in my inbox to tout its Floor Model + More Sale!

Let's take a look at some of the steals and deals, shall we?

If you had your eye on the castle doors but $9,990 was just a smidge out of your reach: Huzzah! Now you can grab a pair for a mere $3,998! Seriously, that's a lot of savings. Aren't you glad you waited? Aren't you glad they're still available? Is your crown polished and ready to go?

Antique Castle Door – $1,999 each, marked down from $4,995 each

Sure, this puppy is 99" wide. That's a lot of zinc-topped table. But it didn't move out the door at $11,995, so now it can be yours for only $5,999. That's right, kids: You'll save as much as you spend! Now rent a studio apartment to house this fabulous sucker!

Antique Zinc Top Work Table – $5,999

Is your home feeling a little light on Moroccan decor? It's OK. Don't feel ashamed. We all have our shortcomings. Happily, Jayson can guide you in your quest for overpriced-even-on-sale, questionably upholstered, quasi-exotic style. (This color isn't doing much for me.)

Marakesh Stool – $450, marked down from $750

And speaking of that part of the world, if you're still of a mind to buy into the pouf fad, but you were loathe to drop nearly $1,000 on what, at first glance, appears to be a giant metallic potato, but which, upon second glance, could also be a filthy bag of laundry, you're in luck! For only seven Benjamins (plus 10 Hamiltons if you buy it in the store because sales tax in Chicago is insane), you can have a Sultan Pouf. Is your turban laundered?

Sultan Pouf – $699, marked down from $995

And lastly, if you need a table at which to pull up your Marakesh Stool and Sultan Pouf, may I interest you in this antique round dining table? As with so many offerings from Jayson, it's from France. I'm sure that's why it was nearly $1,500 originally.

Antique Round Garden Table – $699, marked down from $1,495

Monday, June 24, 2013

Writerly ...

Never mind a LexisNexis search, here's my I'm-a-writer proof.

Thanks to Maura for creating this series. I'm always game to read thoughts from writers about their work and process, and I'm pleased to be a part of the group.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

'This Is How' ...

I have become so accustomed to reading so much on my laptop that the experience of reading a book has started to feel a bit strange. Which worries me. So I've been making a conscious effort to sit, with a book, laptop closed, and read. Some days, it is a struggle.

But yesterday, I flopped across my bed, under the breeze of my ceiling fan, my head positioned near a window, and read until the light had faded so much that I had to admit that it was time to turn on a lamp.

I rarely read so earnestly anymore.

But This Is How drew me in. Indeed, it gets more compelling by the page.

When I first learned of it – thank you, Patti – I thought I might just skip over some of the sections. I have no need for advice on how to quit drinking, for example.

But I was so taken with Burroughs's words that I wanted to read every one of them, and besides, I figured, it surely couldn't hurt to understand, in some way, what alcoholics might be going through as they try to give up drinking. We could all stand to add more compassion to our coping arsenals.

And while I don't want to divulge specific passages in the book because I want readers to discover his words for themselves and take away from those words what is most meaningful to them, I will mention that I laughed out loud, I cried, and I sat and stared at one particular phrase which was put so perfectly and so simply that for a moment, I was too awed to move on.

I can think of only two other instances in my life – no, three – when I have been stopped in my tracks by a phrase or sentence so perfect that I just stare at it for a while, admiring the author and wondering how he or she managed to combine words in a way that is so exquisite and so rare.

As I tweeted last night, I encourage folks to be curious beyond the subtitle. This is not a self-help book in the vein of self-help books that have earned self-help books a sad and sappy stigma.

Rather, it strips away the superficiality and it's-not-your-fault-ness of so many books and talks and presents ideas that are strikingly simple if not necessarily easy to employ.

I found myself nodding my head in agreement a lot.

I borrowed this book from the library, as I wanted to read it but not buy it given that I've recently purged so many books from my shelves and acknowledged that no, I do not read most books again.

But this book is worth the purchase. I can see myself reading sections from time to time to reinforce his ideas, to remind myself to not get mired in the muck of the past.

I heartily recommend it.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Yardening ...

I have written before about my lovely neighbors and their beautiful gardens and the unfortunate reality that they live next to me.

From a yard-maintenance perspective, I am quite the letdown on the neighborly scale. But I do bake cookies – and muffins and scones and bread and such – and share with them to atone for my horticultural sins.

Yesterday, with the overcast weather and the cool temps, I hauled out the mower so that I might return my lawn to a more respectable state.

I pop in earplugs when I mow – the squishy, florescent orange kind – as I would like to preserve my hearing for as long as possible, and I keep my eyes mostly trained on the lawn as I mow, trying to keep the rows straight, lest my lawn end up looking like it was cut by a staggering drunk.

But I looked up at one point to see one of my aforementioned neighbors pushing his mower over to my parkway.

I stopped mowing and plucked the ear plugs out of my ears.

"Are you bored?" I called over to him. We met at the midpoint of my sidewalk.

He said he needed to move as he'd gotten away from walking as much as he's been trying to walk, so he figured he'd come over and help.

I happily accept any and all mowing assistance. So he mowed and I mowed and in short order, we turned the front lawn into something damn near resembling a putting green.

I sat on my front stoop sipping some water and watched a robin hop around the newly shorn grass, pecking into the ground for bugs or worms or whatever it was finding.

And then I tackled the back yard, wondering why the hell the grass in my back yard always seems to be more of job to mow than the grass in the front, and then I realized:


My back yard gets far more sun throughout the day.

Especially since the storm a couple years ago that wiped out two of my trees and caused me to have a third cut down.

Yeah, I need to plant some trees.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How Can I Help You? ...

I am expanding my stable of clients for whom I write / edit / proofread.

Ping me before you send your menu to the printer!

Of course, I edit far more than menus, but wow, I spot a lot of mistakes on menus.

Monday, June 10, 2013

'Daring Greatly' ...

I've wavered on whether to write a post about Brené Brown's "Daring Greatly."

On the one hand, I believe it to be tremendously important, a paradigm-shifting book.

And on the other hand, I understand that every person who consumes it – and everyone should – will bring their own perspectives and struggles to it, so what I have to say really means nothing in terms of how anyone else will experience the book. And yet, it feels as though there are some things I should say. Share. If only because I'm grateful when I read things with which I can identify. I welcome the relief of knowing that I am not alone.

And then, as I begin to write (this is my third stab at a post), my psyche says, "No. It's too soon."

So, maybe someday I'll be able to write more. Maybe not. But as I tweeted last night:

Buy it. Borrow it. Read it. Ponder it. Share it. Discuss it. Embrace it. Begin to live it.

The world will be the better for it.

I'm certainly going to try.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

For The Walkers: A Compendium Of 3-Day Posts ...

Yesterday, as I walked to the grocery store, I thought about the 3-Day.

I'm no longer a participant, but I've written posts about the event in years past, and so I thought I'd do a quick round-up of them here, in advance of the season getting started, for walkers who may be in search of some tips and reassurance. (I walked seven events. This is a collection from 2010.)

So, walkers, you awesome, amazing, dedicated doers of good, if you're in search of more information about any of the following topics, perhaps you'll find something of value below.

If you're wondering whether it was wise to sign up for an event ...

If you're wondering if training is really necessary ...

If you're wondering if you're going to be able to meet your fundraising minimum ...

If you're wondering about what to expect during the event itself ...

If you're wondering if you should really go through with this, especially if you've signed up by yourself ...

If you're wondering about tips and tricks that you may not have yet learned ...

If you're wondering about how, exactly, walking 60 miles in three days goes down ...

If you're wondering what my last event was like, from start to finish ...

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Thursday, June 06, 2013

Thursday, June 6, 2013 As Metaphor ...

There was a chance of rain this morning and the day played its part, at one point, startlingly so.

I looked out the window of my dining room, through the trees to the patch of sky that shows me the weather.

Some days, it is blue.

Some days, it is worrisomely dark, dark grey.

But today, for an instant, it looked invisible.

It was such an unremarkable shade of pale grey that it looked like nothing at all.

Then again, really, it was entirely remarkable. Given that I am remarking upon it.

But such was the morning.


And it did indeed rain, but barely.

And the sun soon followed, and brought with it the most lovely day.

Deep blue sky, slight breeze, sun-dappled everything. Bird singing. And the most fascinating sense of calm.

It felt like the ideal of an early summer day from my childhood, the kind of day that would feel like it was lasting forever. Remember those? Notable for its simplicity. Even the light was perfect.

It made me wish for a front porch. It was very much a front-porch kind of day.

And now the breeze is a little more persistent. And as the sun sets, the temperature is dipping just to the point where the breeze makes you want to put on a sweater when you step outside. I love this temperature and that sense of warmth that wraps around me as I pull on something soft and worn and long-sleeved but still the cool air on my face.

There is a timeless quality to today, an appreciation for a day that can be so ideal.

*    *    *
I walked through my back yard with my camera. 
I like the clover coming up through this hosta, and the vibrant verdancy. And I like the painterly quality of the neighboring hosta, and the bit of color from the weed peeking through.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Good Times, June Edition ...

The June cookie installment for the angelo:HOME blog features Dark Chocolate Pretzel Bark Toffee Squares. I don't often compliment my baking, but holy hell, these are really fab!