I ran to this today and oooooh, yeah. this is my new jam.
my mom pointed out that i hadn't been blogging. yeah, yeah. i know. i had big plans to start blogging again. and then... stuff, life, editing my book and a serious need for sleep happened. but i'm feeling caught up so this week will be the week. i've actually got a bunch to share so i should do that. this week. seriously. until then, i dare you to not dance to this song. i triple dog dare ya.
here's a bit of what's been going on around these parts:
1. wizard world portland. shawn was asked to peddle his pixelparty wares at the first wizard world in portland, sort of last minute. we thought it could be fun and potentially profitable so we busted ass and did it. lots of hours spent building up inventory, working on display and getting ready for a totally fun, not so profitable show. we made a little money, which is always nice and we have a lot of inventory so shawn can now just concentrate on making new things, which is awesome. plus, really, so fun.
2. making crazy new things. like the necklace below. i keep seeing mass produced things and reimagining them with yoyos. i have to say, its fun and i'm totally loving the what i'm making.
3. editing the book. back in november, i just wrote. sat down at my computer everyday and wrote. tried not to use the backspace key, never reread what i'd just written. there were days i knew what i'd written was going to need some serious work. i also came to a point when i was writing when i knew that something i'd done in an earlier chapter was going to need to be completely rewritten and that i was going to need to add a chapter or two. the writing program i use, scrivener, is really nifty and let's you leave notes for yourself. i left a lot of notes. so, i'm going through, chapter by chapter, fixing typos here, run on sentences there. my goal is to make it readable. i was working on a chapter the other day that was an embarrassing hot mess. its took me 5 or 6 reads to figure out just what i was trying to say. its hard work but i'm sort of enjoyng it. well, i'm enjoying the story i've written. that seems like a good sign.
4. tap dance. still at it. there are many things that i enjoy doing that i'm always working at - making things, writing, baking. then there's tap dancing. i've been thinking a lot about malcolm gladwell's 10,000 hour rule and realized i wouldn't mind spending 10,000 hours tap dancing. not one bit. mastering something simply because it makes me deliriously happy seems like an excellent idea. i'm actually going to start taking two classes every week and setting aside time every day to practice. because, well, how else do you get this good?
5. hanging out with kateri. having her here in portland is fantastic. she's moved into her own adorable place now but she's still only 2 miles away and twice now she's stopped by and ended up staying for dinner. yeah, pretty awesome.
i loved this book. the main character, wren, survives a car accident in which her boyfriend dies. she struggles with how to move on and retreats to her father's house deep in the woods of the northeast to try to get a grip. its a quiet book, much like the forest in winter, but packs a punch.
occasionally, my inner 13 year old forces me to read a true crime novel. they are almost entirely unsatisfying. when i first read about people who eat darkness, i was certain this book was different. it was. a page turner from the introduction on, it tells the story of lucie blackman, a young woman who disappears in tokyo in 2000. i don't know that i can recommend it just because true crime really isn't for everyone but i definitely enjoyed it (but was glad when the book was over.)
flappers, the supernatural, speakeasies, murders, and the museum of creepy crawlies. i loved this book. kind of a lot.
i started this last night and stayed up way too late reading. 20 years after tara martin disappears, she knocks on her parents door on christmas day, looking barely a day older than when she left. those she left behind, particularly her brother and her ex-boyfriend, wrestle with her story that she rode off on a white horse and all the accompanying emotions her reappearance creates. i really can't wait to see how this ends.
i watched this last week, told shawn to watch it and then watched it again. i kept meaning to post about it but you know, didn't. in the meantime, its made the rounds - showing up on a few of my favorite blogs. its a good way to spend 14 minutes. watch it:
i wasn't happy when i began reading jess walter's beautiful ruins. It's set in Italy, near cinque terre. i have been suffering from some serious wanderlust the past month or so, daydreaming about trips we've taken, trips we'd like to take. so, cinque terre has already been on my mind and now i was aching for it.
the mere mention of monterosso al mare early in the book and I was there in my head, holding hands with shawn while running down the train platform to meet friends from chicago. before we said hello we told them we were going swimming. Immediately. and we did. we'd been there a few days before our friends' arrival and had found a totally deserted beach just a quick, steep hike down from the town center in cornigila. we'd swam every day since. it was paradise.
i remember eating swordfish cooked in lemon and tossing the bones to a nearby clowder of cats trying desperately to make sure that everyone knew the drill. we did and so they ate good that night.
the alleys smelled like rotting grapes. that sounds gross but it really wasn't. It was mid-harvest and everywhere we looked, grapes were strung up in doorways and between buildings, and piled high in buckets and tubs. i loved walking through town around 5:00 pm, the setting sun would hit the hung grapes, intensifying their smell and making them glow.
i remember drinking jug after jug of blood orange juice because shawn discovered there was such a thing as blood orange juice and that it was quite tasty. blood orange juice, bread and cheese. every single day.
so, i wasn't happy. because although we will be taking a Trip this year it probably won't be to cinque terre. so, heartache. then, i remembered that week we spent there ten years ago and i was happy. blissfully so.
also, the book is good and that always makes me happy.
years ago, i watched this scene from gilmore girls. oy with the poodles already. that phrase comes up a few more times over the course of the show. oy with the poodles already. it usually meant "ENOUGH already!" it stuck with me, like funny things involving words often do. its a frequently heard sentence around our house when we're both feeling like there's too much to do.
so, last week we said it a lot. shawn was planning his trip back to chicago for johnny's memorial service and our old friend dave mentioned a retro gaming expo in milwaukee the weekend after the memorial. shawn is always game but would it be crazy to do it? is that too long to spend in chicago right now? can we pull this off? well, it is, we don't know yet and we did. with a lot of work.
oy with the mother fucking poodles already.
then, the day before he left i decided to start writing the first chapter of a new book. granted, its been bouncing around in my brain almost as long as the book i wrote in november and i knew someday i'd write it. i didn't think it would be before i finished editing the first book. i was excited, freaked out, exhausted and for my sanity's sake I am ignoring it for the time being. i wrote a chapter; i'll take notes as they occur to me; and someday, someday i will finish writing it.
seriously poodles, buzz off.
in order to tame the poodles a bit, i've been taking it a little easy since shawn left. a couple of outings, some tv, a lot of reading, making things, a long run today - its been nice. tomorrow the poodles will start again. my list is ready and after a good night's sleep, i will be too.
after a perfectly lovely, perfectly normal day, my sweet girl had a massive stroke last night and died in my arms while i was on the phone with the vet. everyone knows how much i love her. most of you love her too. i often told her the internet had a crush on her but she just looked at me quizzically and wagged her tail. she had a few months of awful in the beginning, underfed and left by the side of the road. then she came into our lives. we loved her and squeezed her and called her monkey. she had ten good years with us and she deserves more than this short paragraph but it is about all i have in me at the moment.
things got ugly on the internet this week. ugly and mean. the steubenville verdict was announced and things went a little bat shit crazy. trolls EVERYWHERE. i spent a bunch of time yelling at my computer screen on monday. sometime that afternoon i decided to take an internet break because otherwise i was going to lose all faith in humanity. i did my shop update and then vanished. i made things, did some cleaning, hung out with monkey. it was good. all that time i was thinking about writing a blog post about it. i spoke to monkey about it at great length. (shush. shawn's out of town and anyone who works at home knows that talking to your pets is totally normal behavior.) then, she died.
i started getting messages in all the ways one can send messages these days. old friends, new friends, family, former co-workers... someone from just about every part of my life appeared to say how very sorry they were, sincerely. a friend sent flowers. another friend dropped off flowers and cards her daughters made. so very nice. tonight there was a knock at the door. it was mars from lovebomb gogo, the marching band shawn is in. he hugged me and handed me a bouquet of flowers from the band.
why am i telling you all of this, universe? well, i'm deeply humbled. the universe is actually a really nice place filled with really kind people. no matter how shitty this week was, i appreciate the reminder. things are still hard but it has made it a great deal easier.
shana is a wearer of knee socks, lover of pie, horror movies and shiny things. she writes about horror and other things, makes pie and shiny things in portland, oregon, where she lives with her husband, shawn (aka shampton). she is the vintage jewelry and yoyo obsessed woman behind the cookoorikoo curtain. email me at email@example.com.