on the to-do list

and inspired by the Comodore’s school, where they are required to send handwritten letters to people they admire, I’m going to start sending letters to famous and accomplished people I like.

…Why? you ask. Well, why not?

It would be awfully fun to get a personalized letter back in return, written by a real, live famous person, no?

For example: The Commodore sent a fan letter to Ray Bradbury and got a very sweet and personal note back from him. Cool, huh? Rockinrolla sent a fan letter to GW a few years ago and got a very nice personalized letter and signed picture back from him, and the Commodore sent Obama one and got… well, a generic and fairly bland letter back from his office. Which kind of makes me scratch my head and not think too hard on that one.

Anyway! This will be a fun experiment. I’m thinking that if I send one a week, maybe I’ll get a response every couple of months? It’ll make going to the post office exciting!

If you’d like to join in the fun, this database is a good one.

For starters, I’m thinking Susan Sarandon. I adore her, and it’s kind of hard to say why. I guess it started with The Witches of Eastwick, and of course Thelma and Louise, and Rocky Horror. It’s kind of less about the movies, though, and more about that I just think she’s awesome. I love her and Tim Robbins (although – are they broken up now? sheesh, what kind of fan AM I?) and have always thought they were a super-cool and artsy and fun-looking couple. And, as Daddy J can attest, I used to DREAM about Susan Sarandon, in a admiring/jealous sort of way. We’d be at the same celebrity bash, and I’d be there with her old boyfriend, and we’d do a lot of glaring at each other. Or we’d show up to an Event in the Same Dress! and glare at each other some more, and sort of congratulate each other on looking great, while preening and trying to look better than the other one.

Anyway! Probably more than I needed to share! But I do love Susan Sarandon, and maybe my writing her will spark a beautiful friendship and she and Tim and Daddy J and I can all go off somewhere fancy and beachy together and drink mojitos and play Scrabble and charades. Or maybe she’ll send me a signed glossy pic and I can frame it and hang it by my bathroom vanity.

I’ll let you know if she writes back.

book order

So, I got my book order from Amazon yesterday. Yay, new books!

I self-gifted three Barbara Kingsolver books based on your very helpful recommendations: Pigs in Heaven, Animal Dreams. and The Bean Tree. I’m currently sucked into a Dan Brown book, The Lost Symbol, but when it releases me from its grip I’ll move on to Ms. Kingsolver.

Rainbow got four new books, too. A replacement Tails, which he loves as passionately as the first and is equally committed to destroying. I’m trying to teach him to actually move the flaps and tabs instead of yanking the tails out of the book, but he’s not buying it. A copy of Richard Scarry’s Best Mother Goose Ever, of which I have fond memories from when the big boys were but wee. Also the companion book to his favorite Mother Goose book, which he adores with a fiery passion, rivaled only by Goodnight Moon. At the moment he fails to find any merit in it whatsoever, but I think he’ll come around.

AND a book that Daddy J and I loved from our own ankle-biting days, as well as enjoyed sharing with the big boys before the house burned: Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever.

In fact, we both even loved the same story in that volume best of all: Pierre Bear.

So, I was all excited about having it back and gettting to read it to Rainbow and being all nostalgic.

However: it seems that the PC Police have deemed ol’ Pierre politically incorrect and have swapped him out for some other bearish story. Which really bites, because Pierre Bear was the WHOLE POINT.

I guess I kind of get it – if you’re going to get uptight about reading certain stories to your child, you might get uptight about this one. In it, Pierre lives in the Great Northwest and hunts the Terrible Moose and other furry things. He gets lonely and gets a bride to keep him company. She snuggles under the furs he provides and he plays guitar for her. She makes lots of moose meat products with which to stock the larder. Predictably, they are soon blessed with a Baby Bear. They love, love, love Baby Bear. When Baby gets old enough, Pierre takes him hunting and they bring down a Great Seal together. Pierre skins it and then Mama Bear makes them all matching sealskin coats.

Which: FINE. Evil, evil wearing of fur. Also, hunting and killing innocent creatures with glee. FINE. Except, Good Grief, it’s the GREAT NORTHWEST and it’s COLD and I’m pretty sure this took place before Polartec and soy products. If you were going to live there, hunting for meat and fur was kind of a given, right?

And, of course, it’s not the end of the world. They have the “vintage” books on ebay that have the subsersive Pierre Bear story in them for, like, five bucks, so I’ll just get one of those.

What’s interesting to me, though, is the last year that Pierre was included in the volume.

Guess!!

Guess!!

You’ll never guess!!

Did you guess?

It was:

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1973

at the risk of redundancy

Here are some more pics of another wintertime day hike. This time, Daddy J, Rockinrolla, and Wolfric came with the Commodore and me. It was a big doggy day there; I bet we saw ten other dogs hiking the trails with their owners. It was a perfect, brisk and slightly overcast day.

We learned about the Ridge Trail (I don’t think I’ve ever been on it before.) You scramble up this enormous boulder/knoll type thing and the trail continues from there, atop this high natural backbone with steep dropoffs on either side, through the woods. It goes by the river and Wolfric got to swim and fetch in the water, and the boys did some impressive rock skipping. And then it scooped down in bowls in the landscape, back by the river forks, and back up to the rocky knoll thing.

I think it’s my new favorite place.

(MY job on these excursions, by the way, is to occasionally dash ahead to take oncoming pics of people, but mostly to lag behind, snapping pics of the gorgeousness and family fun and testing the patience of my men.)

(I take it quite seriously.)

Rainbow: photographic evidence

I took some pics with my iPhone while Rainbow and I were out on a walk the other day. There’s an area very close to us that actually on the school campus ropes course, a wee little woods with a path through it. There was a really cool horizontal tree trunk covered in ivy that I hope to finagle a family pic in front of.

In case you’d forgotten the squishy face:

squish, squish, squish

And here’s a series of rainbow Rainbow shots. I think it’s so cool how my phone camera has been picking up the rainbows with him.

wading out

Rockinrolla and I were talking about the whole time-flying-when-you’re-having-fun thing the other day and he was noting how strange and true it is. And wondering why.

I mused away and let it percolate and now am wondering if time flies by when you’re happy because that’s your natural state.

You’re supposed to be happy, you’re supposed to be at peace with your surroundings and with what you’re doing and be around people you love, who are nice to you. And that when we’re in that state, we’re most like what we’ll be like when we graduate from this world: in a state of perfect happiness and joy, when time isn’t the same as it is here. It flies, in all directions.

The converse of that, of course, is the “Hell” state.

(In quotes because my notion of Hell is maybe not the same as everyone else’s. I don’t think it’s a permanent place that bad people are cast into, to languish in torment for eternity. I just don’t. I think we all end up back with God, even horribly confused people who do heinous crimes, even the atheists, even the Satanists, even everyone. It might take more time for some of us to be ready to get close to God, more lifetimes, more spins around the old block, and there might be some wandering about in a dark and awful place in the interim, but I think we’re all destined to make it back Home, working our way closer and closer to that golden center all the time.)

However: I can see that, after having crossed over, if you’re whipped up with rage or loaded down with guilt or envy or bitterness or feelings of unworthiness, and you turn your back on God and refuse to go Home for awhile, it would feel like an eternity of torment, because time crawls when things are sucky, no?

And perhaps even: Time crawls for us here when things aren’t as they should be so that we have the opportunity to make a course correction. When it’s awful, a drudgery, a daily grind, and every day lasts forever, are we meant to take it as a wake-up slap and figure out how to get closer to the Natural State?

(And no, my mind isn’t big enough to wrap around the suffering of those in Haiti and third-world countries, or the desperate poor in our own country – I can’t understand why it has to be so hard for them. It’s too hard for me to understand what they could do differently, to help themselves and feed their children. I’m only talking about the life I know here, because of my own ignorance of what it’s like to live another one.)

sparkly

Habitat Ball planning is coming right along.

Once again, we are draping the room in shimmery plasticky fabric, but this time with a silver instead of the gold. With borrowed torchiere floor lamps and icicle white lights (accumalated from committee members) tacked in where crown molding would go, over the fabric sheeting. I’m most excited about these things in the glitter color. They are in sets of five (we bought four sets) but they snap together, so we can hang groups of three or five or seven or a random single one from the ceiling, and I think it will be super cool. Also I think we are getting several sets of these to hang behind the bars, these stars to form a walkway, and some small stars to scatter about on the black tablecloths and bid tables. And we should have some white light stars to put outside for people to walk by as they enter. Cute, huh?

The table decoration lady said she has black and silver candleabras, and I’m slightly nervous that they are more of a traditional look that the contemporary disco look I was drawn to, but, whatever. We do what we can, and I was drawn to the sparkles.

+++++

I’ve mentioned before how I love my Habitat ladies, but it’s worth repeating:

I LOVE my Habitat ladies.

It’s this really spicy salad of personalities, funny and bright and quirky. I love getting to know these women from the county seat town, because I wouldn’t have much chance to otherwise. And they inspire me so much.

One of them stepped up to pay for the decorations out of her own pocket because (and yes, I’m paraphrasing), “my husband and I got a bonus [from their self-owned company] that we haven’t been able to give ourselves or our employees for the last few years, and I was so excited! I immediately started figuring out how much I could give to all my favorite charities with it, so – no arguments ladies! – I want to pay for this.”

+++++

I am also so deep-down happy because someone I care very much about is getting a Habitat house this year. I didn’t know she had even applied until she was selected, and now they have only 3 sweat equity hours left. I am so, so excited for her and her family and the path that they are on. I talked to her on the phone a couple of days ago and it’s just an enormous blessing to know her and to have had our lives intersect.

what it is

There’s this delicious smell to Rainbow’s room. It literally makes me salivate when I walk in: it’s crunchy-topped warm creme brulee, coconut mousse with hot caramel sauce, bread pudding without the gross raisins. It makes me smile and hustle on in so that I can breathe in its tantalizing yumminess. And hang out with a laughing Rainbow, of course.

Its nature eluded me, though, until the other day, when I was kissing his toes.

It’s baby sweat.

mmm-mmmmmmm…

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