Jul 29, 2008

Jul 26, 2008

Mark and Jenn came for the weekend with their byoooteous baby Anna, who graciously modelled for the following photos when she wasn't busy feeding ducks and listening to jazz and practicing my accordion and being assaulted by 5000 Asian waitresses at the local buffet.

So last night Barb and I had a hot date at one of my new favorite places, the Millbrook Playhouse in Mill Hall, Pennsylvania. It's about half an hour away, in this little town you get to after driving through much country and many many farms and a spare buggy or two... and it's this totally homespun theater in an old barn, where you sit at these long wood tables and watch this stage spread out in front of you, and you can eat and drink and you see whole piles of people coming in lugging picnic baskets and tupperware and big bowls with saran wrap on top. And people bring feasts! I get totally jealous watching these country women unpacking these carefully put together baskets filled with delights, putting on a full spread. I want to make casserole type things to put in tupperware!! My new hairdresser told me she and her girlfriends stop by Dairy Queen for soft ice cream and bring Kahlua to pour on top. I have never heard of anything more lushly! The last two times I went, with my parents and Courtney and Duncan -- WHO DRESSED HIMSELF IN A WHITE SPORTS COAT FOR THE OCCASIONS -- we brought take-out fried chicken and apple pie and vino, then last night Barb made us two very delectable and nutritious spinach salads and I generously and classily brought a jug of red wine. Oh, and the theater is completely first rate. All three plays I've seen were hilarious and awesome and last night's was about a man who gets a dog he's madly in love with and how his wife is so jealous it almost wrecks their marriage. WE LAUGHED, WE CRIED. Our deepest animal loving hearts were pierced clean through and Barb spent the whole drive back to her house in Bellefonte telling me about her cats.

Speaking of Barb and me crying, our bellydancing teacher Alexa is ROODLY MOVING AWAY. We only have two more weeks of classes with her and our hearts are done broke. She is referring us to a new teacher but I secretly suspect this new teacher is a FRAUD!!!

Here is another thing I am totally jealous of: my new hairdresser, who dyed my hair last week on a rainy weekday afternoon, thus making me feel totally like a LADY WHO LUNCHES just without the lunch -- oh and the next day I went and worked out with my personal trainer and then went over to the grocery store to shop, in the middle of the day, and suddenly felt like a total SOCCER MOM, just without the soccer or the kids -- told me not only about the Kahlua atrocities but about the fact that she is turning 50 tomorrow and is having a VICTORIAN TEA PARTY to celebrate. Her friend, the beauty salon manager who also writes historical romance novels and has a CAKE DECORATING BUSINESS ON THE SIDE, is throwing it for her in Boalsburg. I was very jealous and tried telepathically to lure her into inviting me, but SHE ROODLY DID NOT.

I couldn't have gone anyway, as my Philadelphia friends Mark and Jenn and their baby Anna are driving to State College AS WE SPEAK to spend the weekend here. We might go to the jazz festival a town over, we might see bellydancers bellydancing to a DIXIELAND BAND at a business school, we might just share our hopes and dreams and/or we might even play us some BALDERDASH. Really, anything could happen. That is how totally wild we are.

The end.

Jul 23, 2008

Right now it is raining raining raining and all night there was thunder and rumbling and my room is so nice and I have so much writing to do and a brand new glittering monitor to look at AND I REALLY DO NOT WANT TO GET UP AND GO MEET MY PERSONAL TRAINER AT 11. The awesome thing about a personal trainer however is that no matter how much you rack your brain for an excuse.. there aint no gettin out of it. After my introductory three sessions I paid for 20 more, and once I'm done with these I'm paying for 20 more, I think, because there is NO WAY I'd do this otherwise and surely today at 11 I would be lying glamorously in my bed eating bon bons a la JEAN HARLOW rather than draping myself over pink balls in extremely unflattering not to mention unladylike manners.

In other news, I can now play Three Blind Mice on my accordion. I am practicing out of an old yellowed-paged book that includes many inspirational photos like this one:

I know.

I can also do an electric shimmy now, and will spend at least ten minutes this afternoon practicing -- or, more precisely, UNDULATING against my wall.

Also: I am totalllllly smitten.

Jul 20, 2008

My glorious mug, pre-baking.

The rim and inside are all black except for, on the bottom of the cup, one thought-provoking word, written in pale green:


Obviously, I am now switching careers.
My 16-year-old cousin Frankie's been here all weekend, and yesterday she, my parents, Courtney, Duncan and I all went out to the horse farm. Then we went to paint clay and I made a giant red cup with pale blue polka dots. The evidence is below.

The end.

Jul 17, 2008

I forgot to mention that I now own the coolest shirt ever that very aptly and succinctly states my philosophy on life. Here I am wearing it in a most badass, yet elegant, manner:

I just wanted to write down how last night I took a night time walk with Courtney and Duncan through this park near where we all live.. The sun was just setting, the sky was this dark clear blue, there was a giant yellow moon hanging over this field of wildflowers we were circling, fireflies were glimmering out from every direction like little stars, Duncan was racing ahead of us and making lines and circles in the dirt, a bird dropped from a branch and pretended to be wounded, then led us away from her babies, squawking all the while, and she hopped up on this tree branch so she and the tree were black against the sky, and we took this tree-lined path to where the two horses are, fireflies sparking on either side, and the two of them were nuzzling each other, their big heads were swaying back and forth, and as we were walking, too, we kept passing little bunnies standing stock still amongst the flowers, and basically it was the witchiest, most magical night EVER.

In other news, my trainer keeps making me do the most horrible things, like lying backwards on a pink ball and crunching up to catch a small black ball he tosses to me, or squatting with cords under my feet and hooked to a bar I'm carrying across my shoulders, crab-walking sideways across the floor. I am seeing him three times a week now and he just stands there with his angel face saying "You're doing great Carolyn!" while sweat pours off me in rivers and I cryyyyyyyyyyyy from pain. I am starting to like it tho, to my great horror.

This weekend my 16-year-old cousin Frankie is coming to visit, and we shall be going to horse farms and making pottery and belly dancing and seeing movies and shopping and eating macaroni and cheese.

The end.

Jul 16, 2008

So a few weeks ago my friend Michelle's friend Rob, who teaches photography at Penn State, took a whole morning and showed me how a dark room works and how to process film and make a print and so on, and he also showed me old-timey techniques like wet slide collodion and cyanotyping (I think) -- all this for noir research -- and it was AMAZING, and very generous of him, and then Monday this guy Cody came and demonstrated the wet plate collodion process, which was invented in 1855 mind you, for Rob and me. It is so so cool, and Cody first did one of me, using a piece of red glass that he coated with collodion and then immersed in silver nitrate, then taking that glass and inserting it into a plate holder and then a very old large format camera, then exposing it and taking the image, and then developing it with developer and stopwash and fixer.. and then drying it over an oil lamp and varnishing the sides. It was SO COOL watching this all happen, like magic as the image emerged on the glass... and as, over the oil lamp, it became more and more crisp.. And then Cody let me do one myself.

Here is some of Cody's work using this process. LOOK HOW COOL IT IS: http://goddard.smugmug.com/gallery/5251254_a7djc#319367250_uh9T2

And here's the one he did of me, tho a crappy photo of it using mah cell phone.

I may look 50000 years old and like I'm about to kill you, and that glass may very well now hold a bit of my soul, but isn't it cool?


In other news, that night I had my first accordion lesson. I drove over 5000 mountains to get to Phillipsburg, where my teacher Clarice lives, a self-identified redneck who fell in love with the accordion as a kid and didn't care that all the other kids thought it was freaky -- her husband, she told me, also hates it.. she said she played it for him once when they were dating and he told her to never play it around him again! -- and she's this wonderful funny bubbly blond woman who snatched up my gorgeous accordion and then took it all apart and took out the packing stuff and fixed it all up and then taught me to hold it and make it play. AND IT SOUNDS SO BEAUTIFUL EVEN WHEN YOURE JUST PRESSING RANDOM KEYS. Then, to my great sadness, we put it away and for the next while it's just me learning the damn keyboard and how to read music. Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge. Appalling!

Here is Clarice and my accordion:

And in other news, last week Barb drove Joi and me all around the countryside and we went to this Amish store in Madisonburg where I bought my best friend AOIFE the coolest baby cowboy boots:

Oh! And yesterday Barb and I bought tickets to Seattle, where we are going to the two-day The Bad Things CD Release Extravaganza, as they are the best band ever. I emailed said band to make sure the event would indeed be extravagant. They assured me it would be.

Here is what the website says. Admit you want to go!

First Night! Saturday, September 6th
An Evening of Drunken Revelry with the incredible Miss Mamie Lavona and her White Boy Band and, all the way from Los Angeles, The Peculiar Pretzelmen. Plus aeiral performance by the amazing Michele Frances and more to be announced!
Second Night! Sunday, September 7th The Bad Things present the best in Subterranean Cabaret! Acts to be announced!

Jul 13, 2008

So I've been doing lots of lovely things lately... including twice-weekly private bellydancing lessons with Barb -- and once this past week with Joi as well -- and our amazing teacher Alexa who is teaching us in her sweet little home studio that overlooks a damn field. I mean really. Yesterday as part of the People's Choice Festival -- this alternative to the Arts Festival that takes over these parts for a few days every July -- Alexa was in this bellydancing demonstration that I attended with my parents and my true loves Courtney and Duncan -- otherwise known as my paramour and his son. Look at how cute they are:

Anyway, as I was saying, Alexa is extremely awesome. I mean look:


It was very spectacular.

The People's Choice Festival also involved many wondrous, charming crafts, like whole booths devoted to BIRDHOUSES:

I honestly do not know what is cooler than to devote onself to making cool Tim Burton lookin houses for birds (other than juggling whilst bellydancing). Oh, speaking of cool houses, I had a funny moment with Courtney and Duncan when we drove past the COOLEST HOUSE EVER which was some weird log house that was chocolate brown and white striped with PINK SHUTTERS (a house I was obviously meant to live in) and I incisively and profoundly commented that it was a house that should be on stick for you to lick like a lollipop, only to be told by a ten year old that that is a "strange thing to say about a house." Which gave me pause. And led to much self reflection.

More importantly, however, we also went to a very sweet and idyllic picnic and ate pulled pork and turtle brownies whilst watching children BLOWING BUBBLES IN FRONT OF A WHEAT FIELD.

I mean honestly.

Also: my accordion came and tomorrow I have my first lesson. Which is good as right now I do not even know how to hold it. It came Thursday and Barb and Joi were with me as I ripped open the box and opened the case and revealed its gleaming contents... and then we all stared at it and it just stared back, not even blinking. Not even blinking!! I think I'm going to have to do a lottttt of sweet talkin to win that thing over. Sigh.
I've started in on a bunch of mermaid research today... and LOOK AT THIS NERUDA POEM! I think it's unbelievably stunning.

Fable of the Mermaid and the Drunks

All these fellows were there inside
when she entered, utterly naked.
They had been drinking, and began to spit at her.
Recently come from the river, she understood nothing.
She was a mermaid who had lost her way.
The taunts flowed over her glistening flesh.
Obscenities drenched her golden breasts.
A stranger to tears, she did not weep.
A stranger to clothes, she did not dress.
They pocked her with cigarette ends and with burnt corks,
and rolled on the tavern floor in raucous laughter.
She did not speak, since speech was unknown to her.
Her eyes were the colour of faraway love,
her arms were matching topazes.
Her lips moved soundlessly in coral light,
and ultimately, she left by that door.
Hardly had she entered the river than she was cleansed,
gleaming once more like a white stone in the rain;
and without a backward look, she swam once more,
swan towards nothingness, swam to her dying.

Jul 11, 2008

So Joi came down here on Wednesday to visit, and yesterday was the first reunion of the most cool girl band in existence, THE BULIMICS, in over a year.

Among other things, we had a delightful and ladylike lunch in Bellefonte:

We also elegantly posed in gardens:

And in between said glamorous activities, we sucked on ribs:

The end.

Jul 3, 2008

I am excited today because:

1. I am going to get a big tattoo on my left arm of Daphne turning into a laurel tree, and Joi's tattoo artist -- who has done such completely beautiful work on her for the past months -- is going to do it for me in Mucha/nouveau style... Not until the fall, I don't think, but she's gonna start working on it now..

2. I saw The Happening last night and I loved it even tho I could totally see why you'd think it was awful. But I have ALWAYS KNOWN that plants and trees are purely evil and always always always up to no good!!!! They're the devil!

3. I had a long talk with a very inspirational book editor from London and now I have ideas for 50000 new books and would get started on one RIGHT NOW if it weren't for the MASSAGE and HAIR CUT and MANICURE PEDICURE I must go get. Sigh. It is imperative also that I get BRIGHT RED fingernails because with what other color could one play that ravishing new accordion that is winging its way to me as we speak?? Bright red with glitter.

4. My sister is coming for a long weekend that involves fireworks, another play at the very very charming Millbrook Playhouse cabaret (where you sit at long tables and eat and drink whilst watching), and a lovely Sunday picnic at a dam with many horse farm workers plus my sister plus MY NEW HOMETOWN PARAMOUR with whom I am much infatuated. And his genius son.

5. I am almost done reading through Joi's new novel, and it is FUCKING GORGEOUS.

The end.