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30 in 31: day 30: me, myself and I

Today I moved a lot of poetry and short stories to the adjacent space to this one, which I haven't used in ages. And I made a new banner, chose new colors, etc. I'm going to update the look of this page, as well, and the domestic arts one. A new start for 2016.

In honor of crowding all that stuff together, here are five very short fictional pieces which are not, in fact, wholly fiction, or much fiction at all. Click on the previews to read them. It'll be the 2015 send-off, or send toward, as the case very well might be.

Oh, New York

Oh, Bill

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Oh, teenagers
This is the middle section of a very silly story I started as a joke. And this section is pretty much from a memory. The rest of it isn't. And you don't actually need to read the prologue unless you plan to also read chapter two.
Oh, you know
Only about 425 words...


30 in 31: day 29: best intentions

First, here are the remaining items on the list I composed at the beginning of the month to use for this project. But actually, I was fairly busy most days, and most of these things would require more effort than I felt I could give them at this time.

    1.    compilations
    2.    fake movie titles
√ 3.    movies I enjoyed this year TV/theater
    4.    important things I learned this year
    5.    best garnishes
    6.    beauty products
    7.    best garden photos
    8.    best G+ posts this year
    9.    favorite YouTube videos currently
    10.  nicest news stories I saw this year
    11.   actors the internet has at various times paired me with
 √12.   favorite screenshots this year
    13.   agent coulson
    14.   things I plan to learn next year
    15.   movies I plan to watch next year
    16.    books I plan to read next year
 √17.    nice places I visited this year 

Next, I think it was a good move to restart this blog in an adjacent space to the old one. But I'm dissatisfied with the style and layout. I ended up with it because the ones I prefer didn't allow me to show plusses and likes as I think they should be. I might look again, though, for a better view. I plan to do more writing because I plan to have more about which to write. It's still always going to be seasonal or cyclical; sometimes more focused on gardening, sometimes more on music or cooking or dead guys in suits. This list thing was an experiment that only partially succeeded. I can establish a regimen. But if it's too rigid, it won't be dynamic or interesting all of the time.


These posts are always honest, always really me, but as ever, not always as open as they could be, not as much me as they might be. This is partially because of the mild need to play to an audience. And partially because, while it's still in style to champion "weird" on the internet, actual eccentricity tends to make people pull down the shades.

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Finally (for the moment,) I have noticed that when I share a link to a post here, it will have some number of page views from a pleasant to pleasing number, but few people come back to it later, or look around, or click on more than one thing. This is mostly, I am aware, related to how people use the web these days. A miscellaneous personal blog is very passé. It's the reason there are rarely comments anymore, although no sign-in is required. There's an "other" nature to it, when at a social media site which is continually interactive, everyone is part of everything. A blog like this is no one's daily destination unless it is a consistent daily source of inspiration or amusement, and even then, only if it isn't a bother to get to. (Cue the "I miss Vox" music.)

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It is still a journal, though; an archive of me through my share of the 21st century, and as such, will have some kind of value, even if ultimately ephemeral, for whomever wants to come along later and rediscover Mother or Grandmother, or The Woman Whose Eyebrows Never Quite Matched. I'd say "girl in school whose," however, nearly twenty years of being almost anonymous on the web has put paid to my being rediscovered as someone who turned out to be interesting or at least not so very off-putting after all.

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Now to go back and insert images to keep the eye moving down the page.

30 in 31: day 27: 5-7-5

I feel quite lazy. I wrote a haiku, and thought I'd write a few more, then changed my mind and dug up some from the past couple of years. So tonight's list is one new haiku and five old ones. I'm not saying they're good ones.

ice beneath bare feet
endless rain has dulled recall
winter springs a leak

Careworn vessel
crafted with purpose in mind
Yet seeks to be filled

Cloudless afternoon
Summer breeze meets Autumn light
Flowers in my tea

White shoes in summer
sipping iced tea on the lawn
time to play croquet

False compass reading
Magnetic inclination
looping endlessly

Biscotto my love
your crunchy almond goodness
makes me hum and sigh

30 in 31: day 26: cocktail hour

Here are three sites to enjoy while thinking of making cocktails. Of course there are others. This is three.

First, About Cocktails. Don't you just love About.com sites? The best ones from ages ago are still really good. People have invested a lot of time and effort into them. Colleen Graham writes this one, and I enjoy keeping up with her additions. Here's a direct link to martinis and other classic cocktails you should know how to prepare.

Second, good old time cocktails at the kitchn to impress others with, plus if you look around the site, lots more to appreciate. The Aviation, my favorite cocktail, is listed here.

Finally, Difford's Guide. To pretty much everything you'd want to know, contemporary cocktail-wise. And some of it is video, which I know a lot of people who aren't me do enjoy.

30 in 31: day 25: a bit of fanciful fancy

Three things Darcy never said aloud between Pemberley and Lambton. You may call it a wee bit of fan fiction, if you must. It's merely a reading between a few lines.

I do not have the words to properly express how her scathing view of me has awakened my understanding of my own damnable reserve. I will never have my friend’s open temperament, but I must and will conquer the hidebound conceit I have developed in the name of pride.

At the same time, I will not be convinced our previous exchanges were all one-sided. She does not know her own mind as well as she seems to know everyone else’s. I must believe I still have a chance with her. If she but looks truthfully into her own heart, she will find me there.

My regard for her was never allayed, it is now unreserved and unqualified; would that I could tell her so to ease her cares. However, I make certain it would serve only myself at this time, and add to, rather than diminish, her present concerns. Let my actions serve her, instead; I will do what I can to protect her family from extortion, and from ruinous gossip if at all possible. I will fix this for her sake, though she need never know of it. I will love her for her sake rather than purely my own.


I reread Pride and Prejudice yesterday. I mean all the words of the actual book. But I will suggest what I always do if you haven't read it in awhile; listen to an audiobook of it. There are plenty and they can be had inexpensively. Good readers enhance a story immensely.

Unlike in the movies, the book makes it clear that Elizabeth is earnestly searching her heart from May through September, and that she is aware Darcy's feelings for her remain, but she doesn't understand why, nor how to interpret her reaction to them. And the good movie does a pretty good job of showing us his heart, but leaves a lot out in showing it to her. We will not regard the pig movie at all.

Except now I must have another say about that...

A. "And is this all?" cried Elizabeth. "I expected at least that the pigs were got into the garden, and here is nothing but Lady Catherine and her daughter!" Do you imagine a girl who thinks people are excited because pigs have gotten into the garden lives in a home in which they can actually be found running through the kitchen?

B. "They returned, therefore, in good spirits to Longbourn, the village where they lived and of which they were the principle inhabitants." Their father owns the estate; though he does not have a great deal of cash to hand, they do not live in squalor or run through fields in their semi-transparent nightrails. And they do not wander through life never having tidied their hair.

Back to the thing. The book is rich in demonstrating Elizabeth's curiosity over Darcy's feelings during her time at Lambton and afterwards back at Longbourn. Her prejudice does not allow her to see how she can be the object of desire for a man who could have any object he desired. But it helps that he is seven years older than her, on his end. Because he cannot stop wanting what he wants, he first justifies it and then later figures out what really matters about it.

And, by the way, that's one difference between him and Mr Knightley, who is ten years Darcy's senior. Knightley does not have pride of place to overcome, true, but he also has grown comfortable loving someone who will continue to both agitate and inspire him. It's how we as readers are made to believe it will last.

30 in 31: day 24: a day for Dino

Dean Martin died twenty years ago today, Christmas, 1995.

I love a zillion of his songs, from every decade and style in which he sang. So first up, here are three of a kind...and if you've never heard the third one, do give it a listen.




Next, a straight of Dean Martin quotations. An important thing to remember is that a lot of the jokes attributed to these guys came first from Joe E. Lewis and also Joey Bishop. They stole from each other like mad, and made a joke of that, too. So I picked some that only he said.

"When Frank Sinatra dies, they're giving his zipper to the Smithsonian."

"Motivation is a lot of crap."

"I once shook hands with Pat Boone and my whole right side sobered up."

"You wanna hear it straight, buy the album."

"Shirley (MacLaine) I love her, but her oars aren't touching the water these days."

Finally, a full house with two videos and three photos.

Here's a low quality but watchable video of the Dean Martin Christmas Show featuring the Sinatra family. It's worth looking at if you're interested in them. And yes, the truth is, Sinatra drank a whole lot, while with Martin it was mainly an act. Dean liked to go to bed early and hit the golf course in the morning when Frank was probably just hitting the sack.

And here's the Dean Martin Celebrity Roast of Dean Martin. It's a gasser.




30 in 31: day 23: keeping Christmas

These are five favorite Christmas posts that are still relevant in some way. This means you'd have to click on five separate things to enjoy this post, but I'd feel pretty good about it if you did.

First, my thoughts on why we celebrate, why it's okay to be reverant as it suits you. This one falls into the 2009 gap when I was transferring from Vox to Typepad, so the formatting is different and an important link is dead. If I can clean it up later today, I will, because it's important to me.

Next, three from 2010. I was just getting over a long bout with bronchitis, and making the most of it.

  1. I read this essay at the Daily Mail in which this woman was whining about how Christmas wasn't awesome anymore because it was no longer gold-plated in her life, and so I set about responding to her various points.
  2. I made a Christmas song playlist for my dad, and all the songs are downloadable, if for some crazy reason you should want them.
  3.  A Christmas greeting from Kairos, who was with us for about two more years after this.

Finally, from last year, Deconstructing "Baby, It's Cold Outside" Correctly. I think this was my most popular post ever. It has music in it as well as a lot of words.




30 in 31: day twenty-two: places that are other

When I went looking for my artsy concrete and poles and things, I ran across some pictures I always enjoy reviewing because they're from New York, Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Kansas City, and Southwest Michigan; places I'll always love visiting. Here are just a few of them. I didn't travel past Louisville this year, but have a couple trips in mind for next year.






These two were taken with my first camera phone but it made me happy to include them.