Saturday, January 13, 2007

Learning to feed the naked and clothe the hungry...wait, that's not right...

Despite what the January 13th comic strip "Luanne" (scroll down a bit when you get there to see the comic) said about plain girls hanging out in libraries, only the majority of us are plain.
I think we all try to be pretty, and sometimes we even reach the ravishingly beautiful mark.
When we feel up to it.

Yesterday I spent the day with all the librarians in our college district, wearing my nifty new grey hat (the air conditioning inside was brutal...a pant suit, cashmere sweater and scarf, still cold WITH felt hat! )

How thrilled I was to find myself in the company of another hat wearing librarian! Doesn't she look fabulous?

I attended a training session about RSS feed.

Most bloggers have it, use it and have yet no idea what it is.

Re: RSS: I'm overwhelmed, my hat wearing buddy chirped up with "Cool!"

In brief, you can sign up via RSS magic to be notified whenever there is new material in any newspaper, blog, list serv, etc etc that interest you.
For the information professional (OK, information junkie...) this is useful.
No more clicking through X number of blogs a day to see if anyone posted anything new.

I know I can do this, set up a RSS site for my favorite stuff that is, but my "set in my ways" self says it would prefer to just click and check my favorite blogs, websites and newspapers to see if anything new has been added.
This "set in my ways" thing crept up on me.
Suddenly I see the 20-something implementing tools and ideas while I am still looking skeptically and/or aghast.

In the above picture "I. Literate" is short for Information Literate.
As in able to get and use information.
This is an issue for someone who doesn't do well academically, and is either afraid or disinterested in learning in an academic setting.
It also is an issue for some of our elderly, although that wasn't discussed.

I had to laugh as one speaker talked about how students have to be interested in information in order to take it in.

As an example, she mentioned how much her sixteen year old son struggled to get through reading "Little Women."

He just did not care about Meg's lost glove.
Imagine that.

I say, her son should have been required to read "Brothers Karamazov", like I had to when I was sixteen.
That woulda shut him up.
My brain still has bleeds from the Brothers K. experience.

But it is true about interest.

Ask me to read materials that use football analogy, and oops, there goes my interest.

I'm not comfortable with the idea of teaching using only subjects of interest to the individual. I've got some thinking to do on that.
Tough topic. Lots to consider, lots to talk about.

Back to my closet...

I discovered that weeding clothes makes memories bloom.

I flashed back to when I wore an item, and why.

I remembered how during my young (and broke) mothering years, a group of us from church all had cranked out a few babies.
We all discovered that we now had hips, breasts and different body dimensions in general.

We cleared out our closets, then brought the discards to church, where we all swapped clothes and donated the rest.
It was such a delight to see a friend looking good in something that hadn't looked good anymore on me.
Today I have a friend who is a business woman.
She lives in a different state.
Twice a year she and her other high income friends clean out their closets, bring the clothes to someone's home where a meal is served, and everyone can pick through the clothes and grab items for themselves.
They have a girl time blast, and then the rest of the clothes are donated to a local woman's shelter.

It's so easy to do it that way.
Right now I am stumped.
Should I donate to the women's shelter, to the humane society thrift shop, send them overseas to Israel as part of the Joseph Storehouse project, consign, or eBay?

I'm giving myself 48 hours to decide.

While I was working, another memory came to me, about when Houston was clobbered by Tropical Storm Allison and New Orleans was hit with Hurricane Katrina.
The call went out for donations to clothe those who had lost their homes.
Houston women responded like champs.
MOUNTAINS of clothes overwhelmed donation centers as closets were righteously cleaned out.

The downside was hearing the donation coordinators trying to explain that people whose homes were destroyed and who were now living on cots in gymnasiums had extremely limited needs for old prom dresses and high heeled strappy sandals.

What? No Barbie Dream Evacuee Center wardrobe?
Oh come on...wouldn't this be the perfect time to slip into a fully sequined hot pink strapless gown while you stood in line for food and argued with your insurance claims adjuster?
Of course it would.
Some people have no sense of fun.

Update on that thought: Later the teens whose schools were ruined were able to get those fancy gowns to wear to their make-up proms.
See? All things have a way of working themselves out.

Anyway, back to my closet.
I discarded over a hundred items.

Weirdly, my closet doesn't look that much more empty.

I had another memory about donated clothes.

A friend's family had a beach cottage in Santa Cruz CA.

Her mom and her aunts would always do a get-away together each summer.
They would pack bras, panties, sleep shirt and swim suit.
When they arrived, they would go to the local thrift shop where clothes sold by weight, like 10 cents a pound.
Each of the women would buy clothes to wear while they goofed off and hung out together.
At the end of their time together they would donate the clothes back to the shop.

I went to that beach cottage with my friend once and we did that too.
I bought a week's wardrobe for something like a dollar seventy five.
It really was fun, and made the vacation even more relaxing.
No "what to pack, what will I wear, what if we go out to do..." worries.
With spare change jingling in our pockets, we bought whatever we needed, when we needed it.

What the heck, who was going to see us anyway?

Tiggie stayed with me the whole time I was weeding my closet.

As usual, he found the perfect backdrop to observe all the fuss.

He tried on a few items, but decided nothing really worked for him.

He's a "one look" kind of guy.

You know, the kind of guy with such a great sense of style, he never needs to update his wardrobe.

He's a classic, through and through.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Shout's of Joy!

Be sure your sound is up to hear the music in this video.

My blog is named "Jill's World of Research, Reaction and Millinery" I do a lot of research, but I rarely do I share my "Reaction" part.

In this post, I am reacting to this:

In his message to the nation Wednesday evening, President Bush said that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would depart for the Middle East on Friday. "She will continue the urgent diplomacy required to bring peace to the Middle East." One major stop on her trip will be Israel.

President Bush said, “We benefited from the thoughtful recommendations of the Iraq Study Group...” The Baker-Hamilton report points a finger at Israel as being the core problem, and in Recommendation 16, says: “...the Israelis should return the Golan Heights...” to Syria, a terrorist nation. Recommendation 17 includes, “Sustainable negotiations leading to a final peace settlement…which would address the key final status issues of borders, settlements, Jerusalem, the right of return, and the end of conflict.”

Syria is a terrorist nation, and Israel is nation that is surrounded by people dedicated to their destruction. This video is pretty political, and while I'm sure lots of my dearest friends will wince at this, I just want to say I don't favor giving anything to Syria until they stop doing what they do best: terrorize the world.

The person singing in this clip is Paul Wilbur, one of my favorite singers. In my profile I mention that I like Messianic music...this is an example of what that is. If you listen, you'll likely pick up a smattering of Hebrew.

Baruch HaShem.

Cat on ice

Cat on the Ice
Mom-Just click the little side ways arrow to see!
I couldn't get to sleep last night and was surfing the web. They are beta testing video upload to blogger. Just go to Google video, and you can search for stuff and/or upload your own videos.
This is a cute little clip!


The definition of narcissistic is (briefly stated) being concerned only with one's self.

So, to avoid that label being firmly attached to this blog, here's the one and only incomparable fabulous KATE!

Kate is modeling her next to newest hand felted hat.

Isn't it awesome!

She's the milliner/legal secretary/on-Broadway actress who was stuck with me in Bayou City (AKA Houston) for many years, unable to indulge her creative genius in felt.

When humidity reins, straw's the game.

Now she's in Switzerland, and creating with a new motto: Let the wool roving roll!

You can see her other marvelous creations here.

She is also my millinery instructor, and I miss her so much!

And speaking of me....
ahem, cough.

Narcissistic behavior can be controlled with medication.
Add to to-do list: Call doctor. Get prescription for narcissism for the entire blogging community!

I have been cracking the whip on myself to dutifully heed my to-do list.

Since summer I have promised I would weed my wardrobe. Specifically during winter break.

Texas is known for its bigness, and closets here are the same size as the bedroom my daughter grew up in.
8 foot by 8 foot walk-in closets are considered painfully small.

It is easy to hang on to stuff.

For the first 25 years of my married life I had a wall closet that was just under six feet long.

Of course I also had a job description of "Mom" and part time jobs that required only jeans and tee shirt. I also had a couple of Sunday School and Party dresses.

Since then I have changed cities three times, and jobs have ranged from Law Librarian for a major oil company, to a database trainer who instructed Senior Law partners around the SW USA. I bought clothes to fit the uptight legal settings.

Now I'm college based, and again, part time, in an environment that requires me to look professional, yet approachable, and comfortable, and able to withstand temperature variations ranging from finger numbing cold to sauna-wanna-my-swimsuit hot.
(Darn that building's temperature control issues!)

I have resolved to make my wardrobe sensible. EVERYTHING must
1. Feel good on.
2. Look good on.
Anything that makes me feel like it is just "OK" is out. Ditto anything that makes me fidget due to fitting issues.

The best way to edit a wardrobe is with a trusted friend.
Kate would have been perfect, but alas, that is not possible.

The next best thing is to take pictures of things that "work." In this case, I'm taking pictures of what scarves go with what shirts.

(I'm always trying to remember/find accessories at the last minute and tearing up my closet in the process. And making myself late because whatever I was aiming for *didn't work* )

The plan is to photo accessories with outfits.
Scarves seem to help give a professional punch to shirts I can wear with jeans the rest of the time.
Now I know which scarf goes with which sweater or shirt. Ta-da!
Print up a photo, slap in a book as a memory aid and maybe I will be better organized.

Mostly I am wrestling with the concept of "accent" verses "match."

Sometimes match makes sense. Like this aqua shirt and multi-aqua/blues scarf.

Other times match is dull. No pop-whiz-bang look.

It goes against my grain to match yellowish green with a plum color, yet that is exactly what is striking in the first picture.

Posted by Picasa Blah blouses work with great scarves.
And there are a lot of scarves on sale right now. Great silks by noted designers, for on-sale tee shirt prices.

My mom knitted this scarf.
Now I will remember it is an option with this sweater.
The best part of this scarf game is I can wear a simple cotton turtleneck, slip on a scarf that is knotted in the front... this, and weirdly, people turn to me and say how nicely I am dressed.

Imagine, getting compliments from people who don't even know me, for wearing a comfy plain old cotton turtleneck and slacks!

I could understand compliments from the folks around the house who usually see me in pj's or running suits most days.
They would have reason to comment on my tidy ensemble.

(And yes, pj's all day sometimes. Only around my DH, of course!)

I've dressed in Spring colors since the 1980's.
Yellow based, lots of lime green, corals, browns.

My hair has turned from golden blond to white blond, naturally, and my facial tones have faded as well.
Suddenly bright yellow and coral colors look not so good. Grey now works better than beige.

I've not had any grey in my wardrobe ever.
Now I kind of like it.

Posted by Picasa A grey hat. On sale...yes, I will take it, thank you very much!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

It is better to light a candle....

Slog, slog, slog. Such has been my life today.

The daily paper delivery guy continues to toss the paper smack dab in the middle of the wet lawn, where the paper can then be watered with the sprinkler system if I linger in bed too long.

As I have noted before, it irks me to have to walk across a wet lawn every morning.

It also irks me that while I could stand outside in my finest attire and NO ONE would drive by.
But...if I dash outside in my sleepwear, everyone in the neighborhood will drive by and wave.

The driveway is about six feet from where the paper is tossed every single morning.

I have asked the paper guy about this.

And I am told that the newspaper would become damp if it were to rest on the concrete.

I give up. Either I am really stupid or he is really stupid.

It can't be both of us. And since I still pay for this service, I have an idea who has need for remedial course work in Basic Life 101.

I'm finishing up dragging all the Christmas trimming into the guest bedroom.

I'll jig saw puzzle the boxes into the closet tomorrow.

My policy is that the guest room is kept clear of clutter at all times so that if any one is in need of shelter I can accomodate without undue preparations within the room.

Of course the room is strictly off-limits for the cats. You never know when a guest might be allergic to felines.

Posted by Picasa The Christmas dishes are returning to their boxes, switching places with my every day set.

I got the "April" stoneware when we moved to Dallas in 1998. The fact it had a matching tea kettle charmed me!

The kitchen in Dallas had whitewashed oak cabinets, with deep turquoise tile counters and a view of a really beautiful swimming pool with a waterfall right off the breakfast area.

It was time to get new everyday dishes (which really were for EVERYDAY, I owned no fine china at that point.) The April pattern was simply perfect for that kitchen.

We only lived in that house two years, then we moved to Houston.

I was mildly dismayed that my new everyday china didn't look quite so perfect with my new home's forest green kitchen.

Gal Pal Gail visited, and I mentioned my tiny regret, noting that had I but known, I would have picked out a different stoneware pattern.

I still remember how Gail looked at me.

"You MATCH your china to your home???"

She had never thought of such a thing, and in fact had served gracious and loving meals to family, friend and strangers on plain white non-breakable Corelle Corningware for almost thirty years.

Again, sometime I wonder about my need for remedial work.

I'm pretty sure she has feed angels unaware multiple times, with not a bit of fuss about how her dishes looked.

And she managed to always look more at what is going on with people than what is going on with passing trends. Just plain folk kind of caring. More about the people, less about the stuff.

Anyway, about lighting a candle:

Make it a scented one.

When we got back from vacation Houston smelled like cow manure. Eww. No cows anywhere to be seen, and the scent was pungent from the airport to our home, about 13 miles.

Nothing about it in the news. A complete mystery.

Inside my home it smelled like a house that had been closed up for 16 days with dried up Christmas trees that now smelled like old socks. More eww.

Then Bernie heads to NYC, and there is a horrible odor there too. I talked with him last night, and asked him about it.

In classical male/boy fashion, he quickly replied that "It wasn't me...I had nothing to do with it!"

(I think it is hilarious that I can tell if a blog was written by a man or a woman just based on having had a father, brother, husband and son in my life. Men ARE different from women. Can you imagine asking a girl friend about an odor in NY and having them declare they didn't do it?)

Then today I got a flood of emails from B.'s professional listserv, all about odor issues in business facilities. Bleech.

Blogger decided to do some major work today, and in typical West Coast fashion, they noted it would begin at 7:30. No time zone need if you live on the West Coast.

I thought that was funny.

Forty-eight years of life on the West Coast had hardwired me for that kind of thinking.
Life on the South Coast has enlarged my thinking; now I ask what time zone someone means.

My usual morning posting was delayed, and my favorite morning blogspots were mostly nonfunctioning.

Except for daughter LauraRN's blog.

She posted a truly gross writing about odors that only a fellow nurse could love. It may be "Good to be Her", but erp, for heaven sake, some of us have delicate stomachs.

Right now I have a green apple scented candle burning in the kitchen.

Sometimes it really is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness. Or the smell.

(Update: Tiggie was swiftly removed from the guest room, and treated to a bagpipe music CD. He hates bagpipes. Sounds like cats being killed. He promises he'll be good from now on, anything, just no more bagpipes!)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Changes: Let's give this a whirl

Whaddayah think?

A wintery look for sure.

I'm going to try a few of the bells and whistles available in the beta version of blogger.

Such as being able to recommend books. I'm a librarian, so, duh, I've got to have that feature.

I'd LOVE to be able to post video.

There's a cop in Houston who sometimes posts video of his beat. This was a post of a cat that was cute. So I know it can be done.

Meantime, I have sent a note to the Googleplex asking them to figure out why I can post pictures from Picasa to a non-beta version blog and a new beta version blog without a speck of trouble.

(That little exercise, creating two additional blogs, verified to me that it isn't any setting on my computer or security system that is at fault. Whew! Don't want to mess with that stuff.)

Feel free give me a thumb up or thumb down the colors. I'm not sure if this will be the final "Eureka!" but it's a start.

I'd really like to get fancy-schmazy and have custom headers and stuff like this or this.

On the other hand, I remember how I used to knock myself out on scrapbooking, and later found that most of the time, simple worked best for when using great pictures.

I've used one book to learn a tiny bit about blogging, but blogger went beta right after that and things changed. I wish there was a class here to learn all the cool tricks.

If I figure it all out on my own, I'm going to treat myself for something with the money I saved.

For sure.


I'm a list maker.

At one point in my life my lists were in a spiral bound note book, and there were segments for "Today" "House" "Garden" "Projects" etc etc.

It drove Bernie mad, as I could always add to the projects list faster than he was interested in completing the projects.

Years and years of the lists reflect mundane activities:

Change sheets
Pick up L. at 2:30 from field trip
Call Dentist


My projects were a bit more interesting. Lots of them were accomplished too.

Build hardscape into garden
Sew slip cover
Paint (what didn't I paint?)
Finish professional paper

As Barbara Bush said about motherhood:

"Long days, short years."

Its been years since I've had my lists in spiral bound. Now days I just grab a sheet off the printer and jot down my "memory prods" over my morning coffee.

Occasionally I make myself skip doing that, in order to follow whatever whimsical thing might interest me.

Today is "back to the grind stone" day.

Bernie is off to New York, leaving Tiggie in deep depression. I'm a little blue myself.

He'll be back Tuesday evening, so really, this response is totally over blown. It's just since we had most of December together, I miss him.

The grindstone is particularly dull, especially since it is sunny and clear outside. A perfect day to go ride my bike, or block a new hat with one of the six new hat blanks I got for Christmas from Laura.

So here's the dull as dishwater list.

1. Check my work email (I'm off until Jan. 18th...the perk of being a college adjunct.)

2. Figure out the details of tomorrow's professional development day (this is an event where I am assured I will be developed professionally, if not financially. Read: No pay, optional. I'm attending to just for the fun of it, and to catch up with my colleagues who will be there on the payroll, and purposefully to boot. I'm not at all clear where this event will be held, or what time either...)

3. Change the litter. ( least I don't have to shovel poop out in the cold)

4. Tidy my bathroom counter. (A never ending battle for me...the one place in the house that goes disaster ASAP. B. and I have separate vanities, otherwise I would have to be more diligent about this. I think it is reflective of some character flaw that my most private space is always the messiest)

5. Get in touch with Gayle. (A friend who had back surgery and unexpected abdominal surgery just about when we were leaving town. I'm a lousy friend for not dropping every thing to be with her, on the other hand, she grew up here and has family here too, so I trust her needs were met.)

6. Plant pansies. (We went to buy pansies on Saturday, and I was greatly dismayed that the selection was limited to yellow, white and purple at FOUR nurseries. Last year the violas and pansies came in a pastel rainbow of colors. And I am SURE we got them in January then too.)

7. Email Kate about flight/travel options. (We're planning to go to see her in Switzerland in June, but flexing on best prices and options for connections. Amsterdam has a really good price from Houston. Kate: We'll talk!)

8. Plant larkspur seeds. (My in-laws have tons of larkspur, and gave seeds to my folks, so they have tons of it too. The heavy clay soil in Houston makes seed planting problematic. I'll have to put down potting soil in the one area they might grow, but that area also needs to be mulched, so I have to do some thinking about how to best do this.)

9. Take $ over to Greg, the cat sitter. I though B. had paid him, he thought I had...ooops.

PLUS, for added bonus fun:

Make dental appt.
Make eye appt. (new glasses, and PLEASE, do something about the Bell's affected eye!)
Make mammogram appt.
Get tickets to Minnesota for end of January. (A wedding there...)

Then there are the tantalizing PROJECTS:

Weed wardrobe (this was going to be a lot more fun when I was six pounds lighter)

Put the 12 generations of family genealogy onto a new sheet, put in safe deposit box, and GET SERIOUS about putting all the stuff onto computer, (add pictures) and print out in book form.

Tidy computer files in light of acquiring a new machine soon.

Create a practice blog site. (I went beta earlier and blogger destroyed my site for a while. I still can not post directly from picasas. I am envious of everyone else's whizbang features and updated looks, but I am not about to risk tinkering with this site until I am sure I know that I (and blogger) knows what they are doing.

Edit my novel "Shepherds"

Make hats.

There you have it. The list.

Time to stop being a slacker and get cracking.

You too. I see you there, reading blogs when there's all kinds of boring stuff begging to be done.

Go get a least one boring thing done from your list too, and then we can sit down and enjoy a cup of tea together.



Sunday, January 07, 2007

Says it all

La Mesa, California, where flowers bloom year around, winter lasts but a few hours, and summer often lasts six months.

From my in-law's front garden, taken Christmas Eve.

Posted by Picasa