Wednesday, 31 October 2007

The New Boots Are Here

So my new boots from Sodhoppers have arrived! I am very excited and have spent the afternoon breaking them in. I had a very difficult time deciding what to order, because I usually wear inserts to help me with my plantar fasciitis, but after talking to other people who suffer from the same problem I was very unsure whether to measure my foot with or without the inserts. I decided to go for a less expensive (fewer button) pair until I have a chance to decide whether the inserts are a good idea or not. (Since the boots are measured precisely to one's own feet there is not enough space to insert anything additional if the foot is not measured with the insert.) I opted to try without the insert first. Of course for Halloween to day I wore some very uncomfortable shoes with my Goth costume, so I can't really tell from today whether my feet hurt from those other shoes I wore before I got my new shoes or whether I really need the inserts for the moccasins. So I will wear them around a bit and then order the calf length boots after i am certain about what is better.

Here they are in all their glory. I am happy to see that they don't look like bowling shoes. I like them quite a bit so far.

Wait Watching and Genes (Semi-rant)

I'm waiting and watching myself wait for a sensible article on genes. (Okay that's not quite true, but read on fearless reader and I'll explain).

As I've gotten older and my metabolism has slowed down, I've put on a few extra pounds and although I've tried to step up my activity, I also seem to be craving sweets in ways I never have before, (stress, no doubt) while living in a semi-immobile state at my desk where I handle papers over and over and over, like poor Franz Kafka at his desk in the bank or dyspeptic insurance adjuster Barton Keyes from the film Double Indemnity.

So I've joined a little web group to help keep me honest about that fourth chocolate chip cookie of the day and they send out helpful little tips about all kinds of things, most of which I find interesting, helpful or amusing. Well, today I was none of the above, I was incensed. Melissa Sperl (clearly a hardworking freelance writer and photographer, whom I bear no ill-will) penned a little recommendation for all of us heavy girls who have stopped wearing jeans. The sentiment of the article is good: Women tend to avoid buying jeans in proportion to their weight according to her statistics, so she offers this advice for larger women in the jean purchasing department:

Buy dark denim
Find the right fit
Balance the back pocket
Get a boot cut

(Okay, so far so good, but then she says...)

Buy stretch jeans
Go for a medium low-rise (just below the navel)
Consider cropped pants.

Holy Toledo, Batman (with Cleveland and Cinncinati thrown in as well!

Ahem, I think a lot of that advice is well, ill-advised. For some of us having a low cut jean means that flesh pops out over the top of the jean and personally,

I don't wish to reveal that part of my anatomy to just anyone and everyone except under carefully chosen circumstances!

I also think that shorter jeans (while they may display the ankle nicely as pointed out by Ms. Sperl) also cut the body line horizontally and emphasize body width. (I've been disguising my body for years, so I think I know what I'm writing about. It also makes short people (me) look even shorter and if they are heavy, even heavier!)

Stretch jeans! I hate stretch jeans, because they reveal bulges and are simply not as comfortable as good old cotton jeans. I know the chemicals used for growing cotton are bad for the environment, so what we need is good old-fashioned hemp and organic cotton jeans.(Just like the Levi brothers used to make) Is that asking too much?

If many women aren't wearing jeans anymore (especially in the larger sizes),it is because clothing makers are making jeans for the minority (the skinny) population and not listening to us "non-stylish" real women.

I don't buy jeans because I can't find high rise, wide in the hips, full length, boot cut jeans made out of cotton very easily. (Almost all boot cut jeans these days are low-rise. (Can you see the fumes rising from my brain!?)

Finally, while we all want to be thinner and healthier, I think we have a right to live without shame. Science shows how hard it is to lose weight and if we are the size we are, then we are and when we lose our weight we of course have a right to be proud, but we should not feel ashamed to wear the clothing we like regardless of our size!

So, there is vindication after all for Ms Sperl's recommendations, I guess, but still, if the point is to look thinner, then there is one set of advice, if it is to be free to wear what one likes then that is something altogether different and it boils down to the fact that merchants should consider their real market.

Advice for entrepreneurs: Build a good pair of jeans ant the world will beat a pathway to your door! Just one woman's humble opinion (with fumes.)

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Another Interesting Fungus

This is another of the intriguing fungi that have been popping up in my yard. It really looks almost like some kind of coral growth.

Here is a closer look:

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Fungus heaven

All the rain of late has led to an explosion of fungal growth. Here are a couple of pictures of some of the interesting mushrooms or toadstools that I have seen in our yard.

These were way up in a tree above my head. (Thank goodness for telephoto lenses!!)

This one is a bright color that I found quite appealing.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Fun Monday, Okay Tuesday!

Willowtree's fun Monday exercise was too much fun to pass up this week and although I am late, I decided to join in. I don't have time to search out my more artistic hand-batiked clothing right now - so instead you get something I wear almost
every single day - because I like the graphic so much. It is my zipper-front hoodie.Here it is in all its glory.

The back says:

In case you can't read it, it says, "If you kill the brain, you kill the ghoul!" and it is a reference to George Romero's Night of the Living Dead and zombies, that can best be killed by bashing in their brains. One day I had a very nice lady on a Christian retreat walk up to me and admire the saying. I looked at her with surprise (since she had introduced herself and identified her conservative religious affiliation (I was on my writer's retreat at the same place.)) "It is so true." she said, "If you kill the brain, you kill the soul." I backed away from her carefully so she wouldn't have a chance at a second reading. Same thing really, right?

Friday, 19 October 2007

Energy Supplements

Recently I've been eating these to increase my fruit intake and give me an added energy boost.

Of course it didn't hurt that I had heard that Madonna takes Goji berries everywhere to keep her going and even bloggers like ChrisB have been seen partaking of the Himalayan delicacy.

Well, today in my groggy pursuit of additional energy I actually took some of these instead:

Same little resealable pouch, similar color - You know what? I sprang to an advanced stage of alertness when I chomped down on those little babies. I wonder which I should buy on my next store trip!

Do you think the cat would eat the rest of my Goji berries?

Monday, 15 October 2007

Yoga update

There is a little blurb about the Sunday Zombie Yogathon here, but so far no pictures.

I'm in a rush this morning, so no time to embed the link. (Will do so later. I hope!!)

Evidently just over 100 zombies showed up, but Brooklyn enjoyed it!

Pictures at:

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Lear at the Guthrie

The theater event of the year is over now. We were fortunate that the Guthrie was chosen as one of three US locations for a Royal Shakespeare Company performance of The Seagull and King Lear. RSC has always been one of my favorite production companies and although I have not had more than four or so opportunities to see them on various trips to England, when I go, I always see as many of their plays as I can afford and fit into my schedule.

Originally Spousal Unit Don and I had hoped that we could make a big day of it, get a nice hotel room and eat at a fancy restaurant. Of course we hadn't counted on hunting season scaring our dog half to death and the dearth of hotels in the area. Although we had scheduled an evening performance of the Seagull and then Lear as a matinee the next day, we ultimately decided to drive back and forth to Minneapolis and check on the dog rather than spending hundreds of dollars on kenneling, hotels and such.

I had mixed feelings about the Seagull. I was sleepy and somewhat dismayed by the emotional quality of the characters in the Chekov play. The production was directed by Trevor Nunn a very dependable and in fact exciting director, but somehow the first part of the play in particular found me uninterested and dismayed. As the tragic net began to tighten things got better and I think the quality of the acting also became more nuanced. Voices warmed up and became louder and more understandable and by the end I felt I was watching the kind of production to which I had become accustomed from RSC. The pictures are links to the RTSC web site - the one above shows Nina, the "Seagull" of the title, after she has been caught and tormented by the writer Trigorin pictured below with his actress lover Arkadina.

Both Frances Barber and Gerald Kyd do a marvelous job, Barber as the overly-dramatic actress and Kyd as the jaded but young writer, who knows that the vampiric price of his temporary pleasure will be the destruction of the felicity and buoyancy of the young woman Nina who worships his celebrity and brilliance. Romola Garai's Nina semed to me to be a bit too evenly exuberant and unnuanced, but was energetically performed with the youthful joie de vivre required of the role.

Of course one of the high spots of the performance was Ian McKellen's Sorin. Here he is in all his aged glory looking somewhat like a disgruntled Donald Sutherland. Sorin's plaint throughout the play is that he has never really lived his life, Of course those around him strive to find happiness and succeed no more than he, while discovering a great more misery than joy in the world as conceived by Chekov.

Naturally, what I was really looking forward to was Lear, with McKellen playing the title role. Shakespeare is where RSC excels and I was not disappointed. McKellen does a remarkable job of portraying the poor foolish monarch who like his counterpart Sorin just wants to enjoy his life after years of government service and who, like so many of us, thinks that asking for people to speak their love will comfort us. Of course there is no life without responsibility as Lear soon discovers and no believing people whom one asks to speak their love, because they have only said so because they were asked and hope for some reward. For me Lear is the most painful and truthful of the Shakespeare plays with its message that we can only persist and hope to endure.

McKellen is powerful, but with nunace, as is his fool played by Sylvester McCoy. McCoy is very difficult to understand as he sings most of the Fool's songs. This is typical however and I almost always have difficulty understanding the Fool's words. I would like more pauses in the dialogue, but of course at 3 hours and 40 minutes it is already a lumbering mammoth of a play and needs some speeding up rather than additional slowing down.

Ben Meyjes does a creditable role as Edgar (seen above in his avatar of Poor Tom and although I was disappointed with the performance of Edmund the bastard son. I almost always am. Few seem to really understand how to have an evil twinkle when singing the praises of bastardy. The role almost always goes to a slick looking young man who needs just a little more ripening in terms of seeming to understand and believe the maliciousness of the ambitious elder son. Monica Dolan shines as Regan and Barber is a wonderfully cold and calculating Goneril. Kent played by Jonathan Hyde is the real center of the play and is strong enough to bear the weight of being the representative of moral goodness and duty upon his back. William Gaunt's Gloucester is also wonderful. He is decency and the echo of the foolishness of age, as he like Lear trusts the wrong child and pays for his blindness.

I always wonder that Edgar at the end can have so much respect for the older generation when both representatives Lear and Gloucester have been so foolish and incapable of sight. Edgar in the final lines of the play asks us to speak what we feel and not what we ought to say - Cordelia of course does this and it precipitates the tragedy. I don't know if Shakespeare is suggesting that telling people we love them would help prevent insecurities that cause disasters, but perhaps it is just a question of speaking truth to power. In either case I couldn't agree with him more and if it is simply fate that things will go wrong, then I guess we can fall back on those other truths of the play - learning to persist and endure.

Friday, 12 October 2007

And on a Different Foot (Thank Goodness)

Okay, This just in from my sister. New York City is having a Zombie Yogathon on the 14th of October. Specific place to be anounced. They are filming some kind of short film and want to make it cheap without paying extras (I guess). You get a free gift: Zen of the Zombie (sounds like a clever promotion ploy and like their short film might be a commercial, but whatever....)

Check it out at this site .

There is advice on How to Look Like A Zombie (see above website Jasonand How To Walk Like Zombie, How to Dress Like a Zombie and How to Make Scars with Bubblegum - It's all there and a whole lot more!!

Thursday, 11 October 2007

One Last Shoe Decision

Okay, because of all my foot issues (plantar fasciitis and high arches and pronation). I decided to try a smaller, less expensive pair of moccasin boots before going for the raven ones I have been designing.

I've chosen the color, I've chosen all the other stuff - the trim, the toe cap, the number of buttons, but now I'm stuck on the style of buttons.

Which looks better - the smaller silver (dime) buttons or the Celtic pattern ones?

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Strange Illness

Something must be wrong with me!! My family has a long tradition of giving gifts late! (No, don't identify - I mean REALLY late). In fact, in our household a gift is on time if it arrives within six months or so of the festive occasion!

So why have I already got all my Kwanzaa/ Chanukkah/ Christmas/ Solstice gifts purchased and ready for presentation?

Seriously! I don't think such a thingt has ever happened for me before - and certainly not before the day before stuff is supposed to be handed out! There can only be one conclusion!

I'm spending WAY too much time on Ebay!

Or... did I sleep through last K/C/C/S and I'm really running 9 months late?

Okay, I admit - what I said above, is not quite true. I've got all of my gifts but one. (And yes, it is YOURS , Min.)

Monday, 8 October 2007

Self Portrait

Friday, 5 October 2007

Something's In the Air

I've noticed this every evening as I start home from work lately.

Here is a closer view.

It's buzzards at least 50 of them all circling over this one area near the church. No sign of anything dead any where. When the church bells ring they move on. It is very strange.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Bad Day for the Dogs

Well, neither Bart, the dog, nor I had a very good day yesterday. I don't even want to go into it, but he was completely black with dirt when I came home, because there had been lots of thunder and lightning while I had been at work. Unfortunately you can't really see it in the picture, but you can see he is unhappy. I had grief from one of my students along with a litany of other minor unfortunate events which when added together made it a bit like one of those scenarios described by Dante. Today has to be better even though I relived yesterday the whole night and am dog tired today.