Monthly Archives: May 2012

5 Reasons Why My Relatives Should Expect Digital Gifts and Thank-You Notes From Now On

Or, 5 Reasons Why Somewhere, At This Very Moment, the Postmaster General Is Shedding a Silent Tear

1. I live in Michigan.

And y’all live waaaaay down there. I’m not used to all this distance. It depresses me, going to the post office and hearing it could take a week for this stuff to get to your dang house. Pssssh. Forget that.

Come visit me! It’s only 13+ hours in the car.

2. I can spend more cash on your present if I save on shipping.

It’s simple. You can get an annoyingly over-taped box on your doorstep three days late, or you can get some extra dollars’ worth of goodness in your inbox bright and early on whatever particular day we’re celebrating. Warning: This does mean you should probably expect a lot of gift cards (though the array of cool digital gift options is expanding every day). I try to be creative as possible within that framework, but if you think it’s boring, you’re just going to have to deal. Go spend your cash and quit whining, gah.

I’ve broken it down for you here in a highly technical chart.

3. I can make thank-you notes less boring.

Isn’t it more fun to see me enjoying your gift rather than reading the same old conventional words on paper about how much I love it? I mean, I do love it, but it’s hard to convey my true enthusiasm in a notecard. Photos and videos are much more entertaining for both of us.

Here I am with Monkey. We’re both luxuriating in my new Forever Lazy, which is like a fleecy hug. Thanks, mother-in-law! And before anyone asks: No, photo/video thank-yous are NOT a thinly disguised ploy to make you view even more pictures of my cats. All cat appearances are purely incidental. I swear.

4. It’s better for the environment.

No cards, envelopes, boxes, and wrapping paper going to a landfill. No giant truck burning tons of fuel and sending exhaust fumes into the air. Is anyone else feeling increasingly guilty about their carbon footprint lately?

This polar bear judges you whenever you send unnecessary mail.

5. Get with the times, people.

Look, we visit on Skype, we share pictures on Facebook, we talk by email and text. I probably know more about your day-to-day existence now than I did five years ago. Half our lives are lived online—it’s time for our occasion-celebration rituals to join the digital world too. I’m a librarian, for heaven’s sake. I’m morally obliged to make you embrace technology.

The future is now. And all that.

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5 Reasons Why My House (Or, Technically, Condo) Is Almost Put Together But Not Quite

Or, 5 Reasons Why I Continue to Experience Facial Tics Whenever I Stroll About My Domain*

1. The living room wall is bare.

Pictures of my house always end up looking like the cat version of Where’s Waldo?

Y’all, this wall is huuuuuuge. It really needs something special to draw the eye, and though I finally came up with something, I haven’t found the time or (let’s be real) the courage to put it together. Here’s my idea for a three-canvas hand-painted mural large enough to span most of the width of the couch:

Imagine a few inches of space between each canvas where those black lines are. It’s the height of elegant yet folky self-aware nerdiness, no?

I spent a couple hours designing this and I’ve got the canvases primed and ready, but I haven’t yet busted out the brushes and smock. Artoo really deserves to look his best, so the dork in me feels a lot of pressure to get this perfect, and I’m no artist so the whole thing is kind of intimidating. I’m thinking of finally tackling it this weekend. For the right effect, I should probably, you know, get a beret. And set up an easel by a south-facing window. And turn on French accordion music. And possibly contract tuberculosis. Really get that artisty vibe going, if you feel me.

2. The front entry needs furnishing.

All that’s missing are some weeds and a rusty old hubcap.

What I’d really like here is a non-pile-of-junk. As you can see, I have the opposite right now. I’ve been scouring Craigslist for a small buffet or sofa table or even baker’s rack that might serve as a nice decorative piece and also functional landing strip for the front door entry—but no dice. I guess for now I’ll have to live with a giant cardboard box, a folding tray, and a heap of shoes instead. Welcome to our home! ::massages temples::

3. The bar/buffet is lackluster. 

Thank you, Trader Joe’s, for making it possible for us to buy an entire case of wine without going bankrupt. #livingthedream

I painted this brown a couple years ago when it was against a light wall in a room with a bright sofa and chairs. But now it looks blah next to the taupe walls and dark cherry-ish stain of the other furniture in the area. I’m thinking I should paint it a sort of medium slate blue, perhaps? I’m feeling like there’s not enough blue in my life right now. However, the last time I painted something in our garage I nearly killed us (I didn’t realize high-gloss spray paint fumes were that toxic, gah), so I feel kind of reluctant to haul out the drop cloth once more. But seriously, this thing is so boring it makes me grind my teeth.

4. The nightstands look grouty.

Ick. The edges look like they’re coated in dried crumbly toothpaste.

Grouty is too a word. Shush. So I tiled the tops of these black end tables before we moved with a pretty coppery glass mosaic (don’t you just lurrrrves it?) and they turned out beautifully, except for the fact that I couldn’t be bothered to put a little wood strip as a border. Mistake. The light-colored grout around the edges looks grainy and messy and unprofessional and I just want to SCREAM. I was thinking I could get some black caulk and smooth it over the edges? What do you think? Is black caulk even a thing?

5. The craft/storage area is wonky.

Yarn, yarn ball winder, craft paints, brushes, sponges, glue gun, glue sticks, software, music CDs, headphones, chargers, device accessories, Irish tin whistles, recorders, guitar, photos, wedding videos, memorabilia, sewing machine, pins, scissors, thread, notions, fabric, stationary, checks, post-its, notebooks, pens, pencils, markers, printer paper, coupons, file box, manuals/warranties, extension cords, tote bags, throw pillow covers, candlesticks, candles, knick-knacks, and seasonal decor.

Help me, Craiglist—you’re my only hope. I seriously need a giant but cheap entertainment center or armoire in which to stash all this stuff. I’m obsessively organized, yes, so it’s at least neatly arranged and contained. But it still looks junky and cluttered and I want it to disappear behind some cabinet doors STAT. Lately, since my Craiglist search has been unsuccessful, I’ve been considering building something out of plywood and MDF and using cute fabric panels instead of doors to hide everything. But for that I’d need a Dremel (drrooolll), and believe me, I don’t need to be giving myself an excuse to buy power tools right now.

*I am omitting “The light carpet is a godawful hideous dingy disgusting disaster that never EVER looks clean no matter what I do” from this list because we are just renters and a girl only has so much control over these things, ok? ::crazy eyes:: 

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4 Reasons Why I Had the Best Anniversary Weekend Ever

Or, 4 Reasons Why, If You Live in the Detroit Metro Area and Frequent Zoos or Used Bookstores, You May Have Witnessed Some Weird Girl Seriously Geeking Out

1. My OED dream came true.

For years I’ve fantasized about owning my very own copy of the world’s most amazing dictionary. What’s so amazing, you ask? (Shhh. We’re pretending you did actually ask.) Well, for starters, let’s look at this quote from the preface of the 1933 edition:

“The aim of this Dictionary is to present in alphabetical series the words that have formed the English vocabulary from the time of the earliest records [ca. AD740] down to the present day, with all the relevant facts concerning their form, sense-history, pronunciation, and etymology. It embraces not only the standard language of literature and conversation, whether current at the moment, or obsolete, or archaic, but also the main technical vocabulary, and a large measure of dialectal usage and slang.”

In other words, let’s define every single word ever used in the English language and then, because that’s not awesome enough, let’s also track its history and usage in meticulous detail and illustrate with examples from literature so that entries for words like “red” require eight whole pages. There is only one response to that, and it is ::SWOON::. (If you’d like to read more about the fascinating history of the dictionary’s creation, which required decades to complete, I enthusiastically recommend The Professor and the Mad Man by Simon Winchester.) So anywho, I’ve been salivating over the OED for ages but I’ve never had a freaking fortune to spend on one. I’ve just been yearning from afar until Friday when I found a used compact 1991 edition in beautiful condition at John K. King Used and Rare Books in downtown Detroit. And—brace yourself—it was only $45. Seriously, y’all. I am not even joking. Of course it didn’t come with its original slipcase and magnifying glass, but who needs that? I picked up a $20 4x dome magnifier at Barnes & Noble and I’m set. For $65 I have what Amazon is selling for $360. If I had a trumpet, I’d be playing fanfares in your face right now.

This compact edition is a micrographic reproduction of the original 20-volume set, meaning there are 9 tiny pages on each large page which must be read using a magnifier. It’s ideal for people with empty wallets and full bookshelves (i.e., me).

2. I enjoyed The Avengers so much I think I have to nominate it for “Best Movie Autumn Has Seen In, Like, A Long Time.”

I saw Thor, which was only ok, and I was also disappointed in the lackluster Iron Man 2, so I never even bothered to see Captain America after it got mediocre reviews. Thus my expectations for The Avengers were pretty low. Wow, did I get my socks knocked off. The action sequences were after a girl’s own Die-Hard-loving-heart, the characters were so artfully developed that my English major soul was leaping for joy, and the constant injections of humor kept the whole thing beautifully balanced between tension, poignancy, and fun. In fact, it was so good that we saw it twice, and we caught the 3D show for the second time around—even more awesomeness. The graphics are just stunning. Go see it right now!

3. I saw a red panda at the Detroit Zoo.

This animal is so cute it makes me want to die. And if you don’t know what a red panda is, check out these pictures first. Then watch the video below. Say goodbye to your reason and prepare to hyperventilate from all the awwww-ing.

And I actually saw one in the flesh! Walking around on its widdle furry paws wiv its widdle fuzzy face and fwuffy stripey tail ANNNNHHH ::blackout::

omgomgomgomg

4. I did it all with the husband.

I feel sorry for everyone who didn’t marry him. He’s my favorite person on the planet and all the things I want to do and see in this big wide world would be completely blah if he weren’t there too. Look at us. Aren’t we presh? Five years, people. #winning

Our pictures together are a constant (painful) reminder of my dwarfishness.


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