Friday, February 29, 2008

Good Bye Crate and Barrel

...and Garnet Hill, and J. Crew and Pottery Barn and Ross Simon and Williams Sonoma and FrontGate and West Elm and (this one hurts a little) Design Within Reach and, as they used to say at Herkimer High Football Games, a host of other players. There are too many to name each one.

Catalogs. They fill our mailbox every day and most of them go straight to the recycling bin. Even those I used to look at for sport, I no longer open. I rarely order anything from a catalog and I have many other more pressing things to look at, like the HBO series, In Treatment, which I will get to in a minute.

Today, I took a stack of catalogs and one by one, I called the 800 numbers listed on their covers and requested that they take me off of their mailing list. I felt so mighty. My friend Nan did this recently and inspired me. I also joined, an organization that is supposed to get me off junk mailing lists. I can't tell if it has worked, but the ten bucks joining fee (or maybe it is twenty, I can't remember) is small enough to at least try it. The acid test will be if I order anything from the website of a catalog that I cancelled. Will I get put back on their mailing list? Or if I purchase something at, say, a J. Crew, will I start getting their catalogs again? I am also interested to see whether I will now get catalogs addressed not to me or Chris but to "Current Resident", now that we personally are off the mailing list. If I think of it, I'll keep you posted. I should have a bit more time to write now that I won't be recycling as much.

My related dilemma is whether to continue to subscribe to magazines. I could just read them at the library, I suppose.  But, really, who am I kidding?  I don't get that many magazines anyway.  

In other news, your BloomingtonGirl has been chronically under the weather in one way or another for several weeks now.  I just can't seem to rid myself completely of this respiratory ickiness and today, I really feel awful.  My chest hurts, my throat hurts and even the inside of my mouth is uncomfortable.  I am going to see if I can do some sort of complete detox.  I don't know why, but that seems like it will help.  Of course, it is very easy to do a strict detoxification or even fasting regimen as long as one is doing it in the future.  Lying in bed, planning to do it tomorrow, it is a cinch.  Tomorrow will be a whole different story, believe me.

Okay, last but not least, I need to mention that I have been watching HBO's In Treatment.  I am ambivalent about it but that doesn't keep me from being riveted.  The premise is really interesting - five nights a week, a different patient in therapy every night for four nights and the therapist himself in therapy on the fifth night.  Gabriel Byrne is therapist, Paul Weston, the central character.  Frankly, I would pay to watch him read the phone book.  That said, I find the writing on the series a little over the top and sometimes, not true enough to life.  But, still, I have to keep watching.  

Well, off to read Babbitt.   

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Three Images and Some Comments

Greetings, Loyal Readers. It is 10:18 and I am having a bowl of cereal (one of the yummiest treats in the world, no?) after actually having forgotten to eat a proper dinner earlier this evening. And that was after forgetting to eat lunch until well after lunch time. This behavior is far outside the normal pattern for your food loving BloomingtonGirl. It is, frankly, rather stunning that I would actually forget to eat a meal.  The reason for my forgetfulness at lunch has to do with the (if I may say) stunning light fixture pictured here.  I ordered this chandelier about three months ago and finally got it in the mail early last week.  The electrician arrived at 11 to install it in our dining room.  He couldn't finish the installation - well, couldn't really begin the installation - because the old fixture left a hole in the ceiling that was too large for the new fixture to cover.  So, I need to get someone out here to patch it up first.  I am also going to have the dining room painted either navy or dark green and the ceiling some interesting and complimentary color.  I'll keep you posted on my creative endeavors in this realm.
The next picture, shown here at left, is a 1950's advertisement.  I have no idea what the product being advertised is and I am baffled about what exactly the picture represents.  What is going on here?  Who is getting the flowers and who simply gets to look on?  

The next picture, below is of a hat that is being sold on the Neiman Marcus website.  It is by some hot designer, the name of whom I cannot remember.  It is a new designer, one that I had not heard of.  The hat is being sold (on sale) for about $150.  Any beginning knitter could make this hat in about two hours, I think.  I wonder how many foolish people have purchased this Emperor's New Hat.

In other news, there isn't much.  I wrote several business letters for Cardinal today and still had time to work on my own project, which is coming along in a completely non-linear fashion.  I took a challenging and rewarding Pilates class this morning, picked up a whimsical and silly chair I purchased at an auction this past weekend benefiting Jack's school and went to the grocery store and didn't purchase the two essential items that we needed.  I also showered, applied make-up, put on a fun and casual outfit complete with funky fishnet stockings/tights.  That was about the extent of my day.

More writing tomorrow so stay tuned if you can take all the excitement.

Good Night my Dear Loyal Readers. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Pretty Picture and A Post

I can't recall whether I have posted this image before now. It is called "Chorus" and it is an oil painting by an artist whose work I like quite a bit. It is a jumble of hats and I am thinking of buying it for our living room.

Today was a quiet and good day in the life of your BloomingtonGirl. I spent much of the morning putting down my thoughts about the play I wish to write and am somewhat writing. I tried to freely write about what ideas I find most compelling. It always comes back to the idea of marriage - what makes a strong one, what makes one last, what makes one break get the idea. Marriage fascinates me and has ever since I got married. I want to explore this theme in some sort of drama. I just don't know yet how to unfold it all. Perhaps, it will unfold itself if I just allow myself to write freely. Here's hoping.

In other news, Jack had his head x-rayed so we could get a look at his adenoids and boy are they HUGE. We suspected that this would be the case based on his chronic symptoms but it was still a bit stunning to see how big they are. The poor kid barely has any room for air to pass, the adenoids are so large. He saw the ENT guy today and the decision was made to have the swollen masses out. I hope that it cures what has been ailing him. I am sort of freaked out about him having surgery, no matter how minor, but I'll deal with it.

In other other news, I swam a mile earlier today and it felt quite wonderful. I have been swimming very little this winter for a bunch of lousy reasons. I am going to try to get into the pool at least two times a week for a mile swim. I always feel so mighty afterward. Well, after I get back into my street clothes, that is. I have to admit that I am quite negative about my swimsuit body these days. I need to change that attitude. What's the point? Life is too short to worry about a little extra fat on an otherwise healthy body. There are real problems in the world and frankly, blubber around the mid-section does not rate as one.

I am off to practice my Minuet 1 and read Babbitt and maybe do some writing. I wish I had something more interesting to write but that's the way it goes. Even so, I am going to force myself to post every night for awhile to get back into the swing of things. If it is too boring for my Loyal Ones, you'll just have to find another blog to read. I must find my voice again. Otherwise, I might end up having a mid-life crisis and buying an inappropriate car.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Big Slump

Good Evening, Loyal Readers.  I am a bit surprised that some of you remain, actually.  I write seldom and I know that my words are not as witty or clever as they used to be.  Truth be told, I have run out of ideas.  Sadly, I have not run out of things to say.  The result is that I have no idea what I want to say.  Or something like that.

Perhaps it is the time of year, but I find myself in a slump.  Make that a SLUMP.  It isn't that I am unhappy.  For the most part, I am a pretty happy person.  My marriage is wonderful by anyone's standards, my kids are doing well, I need for nothing and my husband supports just about whatever I want to do, emotionally, financially and in all other ways.  How lucky am I ?  Incredibly lucky, I think.  

But, this wonderful life is presenting me with a big luxury problem lately.  What should I be doing with my life and my time and my creative energy?  Jack is in school full time and so I have that time on my hands.  We have a traditional marriage so I do have to keep the house and do the cooking...etc.  But, with one kid home and the other two grown up and on their own and a low maintenance husband, I still have time on my hands to use as I wish.    I've been working quite a bit for Cardinal but my one year board term will be up in May and I have to decide whether to continue with another term and  to spend my time and energy promoting other people's artistic work or to pull back and start doing some of my own artistic work.  I really want to do something that I feel proud of but I have no idea what that would be.  Chris and I also talked about me getting a real job, but then we decided that unless it was something I really wanted to do, it would negatively impact our family for me to be tied to a schedule and have very little vacation time.  That's okay with me because I have no burning desire to re-enter the work force in a traditional capacity.  I used to think that I could be a real writer and work on pieces for submission to magazines or the like.  But, lately, I can't seem to write anything that works.  Or finish writing anything for that matter.  I have started working on a play, but it is in the very early stages and I have no idea what I am doing.  Talk about humbling.  The problem is that every time I try to write something besides a funny piece for the blog, I get really hung up.  I lose complete faith in my writing ability and I start to think it is all a waste of time.  

Now, this is not said to elicit compliments or reassurances.  Really, it is not.  I just decided that I would write this all out and see where it took me.  And, here I am.  Wherever that is.

Where I physically am is in bed, wearing my orange flannel PJs and the NAP socks that my daughter's boyfriend (Phil) gave to me for Christmas.  They are the best socks in the universe, no kidding.  It is about 9:45.  Our bedroom, as it is all winter, is really chilly, but I am snugly tucked into our wonderful Tempurpedic bed.  Jack is asleep upstairs and Chris is brushing his teeth.  After I finish this post, I shall resume my reading of Babbitt.  

I watched some of In Treatment earlier.  For the most part, I enjoy it but there are parts that I find a bit out there.   I also practiced piano and I would like to report that I am sick to death of Minuet 1.  It sounds so simple but for some reason, I cannot get it down.  I play it over and over and over and over.  You get the idea.  I am determined to get it right before my lesson on Thursday.  

Well, that's all for now.  I know that this was a fairly boring post, but I am writing for the sake of writing to get myself back into the swing of things.   More later.  

Sunday, February 24, 2008


A few days ago I had one of those little experiences that shouldn't be surprising or stunning, yet it was. I was driving in my little car with Jack in the back. We had stopped at a light. When it turned green, we accelerated and crossed the intersection and proceeded forward. Very soon after that, I noticed a red recent model Jeep Cherokee behind me tailing me VERY closely.

I hate being tailed that way, in part because it simply irks me and also because I find it threatening, especially when the tailer is as close as he was on this particular day.  Rather than endure it,  I decided to just pull over and let him pass me.  In the interest of full disclosure, however, I have to say that before I pulled over, I did tap my breaks to send this guy a message to back off.
I pulled over and opened my window.  I am not sure why I opened it, but my guess is that I thought the driver would pull up and  would ask what the problem was.   I would then be able to say, politely but firmly, that he was following so closely I felt unsafe.  Hah.  How silly of me to think that we might have some sort of civil exchange.  Honestly, sometimes I am a complete dolt.

The car pulled up.  In the passenger seat was a young woman, perhaps a teenager, smoking a cigarette.  The driver was a clean cut young man.  He shouted, "You got a fucking problem, bitch?"  His passenger shouted "Don't!" to him.  I sat there with my mouth agape, sort of stunned by his, well, awfulness.  He quickly sped away, and I mean SPED away.  And, that was that.

Fortunately, Jack did not hear exactly what the guy said.  I collected myself and drove us home. First, I thought about how horribly rude, angry and disrespectful this young man was and how I would NEVER in a million years speak to an older person in such a way.  I felt so sad for the state of our society.  (I feel that way quite often, but things like this still surprise me oddly enough).  I do realize that there probably hasn't been a generation of people who don't lament the behavior of young people and that I can be no different.  But, as other generations of "older people" have no doubt believed, I believe that it is truly worse now than it has ever been.  Also, I realized that I should never mess with anyone on the road, no matter how dangerously or rudely they are driving.  You just never know how crazy someone might be.  But, what really stuck with me was the girl in the passenger seat yelling, "Don't!" to her boyfriend.  I was hoping that she wouldn't be sticking around to witness more of this guy's angry behavior.  It was so very ugly.  I imagined her life with him as being one long losing battle of managing this guy's rage.  

It's a good thing that not ever interaction in the world is like this one was and that there is ample beauty and love to balance all this rage that seems to be seeping out of people in the smallest of situations.  My next post will be all about that instead of this ugly kind of stuff.  But, right now, I am off to read some Babbitt and contemplate my current writing project.

Good Night and Happy Driving, Loyal Ones.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Jack's Poem

Jack and his classmates have been doing poetry work each Monday or Tuesday for the last several weeks.  Today, he was asked to write an apology poem.  Here it is:

I'm sorry that I ate your cupcakes.
You were probably saving them for dessert.
They were so delicious.

Stay tuned for more BloomingtonGirl news tomorrow.

I'm off to bed to read my latest book, Babbitt.  It is really wonderful and oddly timeless.  I might sneak in an episode of my latest guilty pleasure (HBO's In Treatment) first, though.

Good Night My Loyal Ones

Friday, February 15, 2008

Do Not Miss This

O Loyal Ones, I implore you to see the upcoming Cardinal Stage Company production of Glen Berger's O Lovely Glowworm.  It runs from February 22 through March 1 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.  For more info to to Cardinal Stage.

I am not just saying this because I am a Cardinal Board member.  No.  I have read this play not once, but two times, and it is simply marvelous.  It is very funny, quite moving and incredibly clever.   The cast is stellar and the production promises to be nothing short of fabulous.   

If you miss this - and I am sure that no Loyal Reader in driving distance will - you'll do so at your own peril.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

BloomingtonGirl Gets Ready to Make a Skirt

Loyal Readers, I am so excited! A friend of mine has graciously offered to help me make my very own skirt. She is going to make a skirt and I am going to make the same skirt in parallel and in doing so, I shall learn from her. I ordered the fabric at left from purlsoho and it arrived today. It is not a pattern that seems like "me" but I loved the colors and the whimsy of it. I think it will make a funky skirt. Paired with a crisp white shirt and a pair of lovely white sandals, I shall be all ready for the summer. YAHOO!

Well, I suppose the prudent thing to do is not to get too excited until I actually sew something...even if one seam. One seam is more than I have sold since seventh grade in home ec. I sewed a denim "tent" dress and it took me an entire semester. Wish I still had it. It could be held in reserve as part of my fat clothes. I searched on line for the pattern so I could post it here, but the search was in vain. The fashion police probably had it banned. Not a bad thing.

In other news, I am home for the second day with my coughing, sniffling kid. Poor little guy. I think we are going to have to say Uncle! and have his adenoids looked at. Good money says they are HUGE and should be extracted. Ugh.

More later from you BloomingtonGirl.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Hydrophobie

Loyal Readers, your BloomingtonGirl writes to you today under the weight of what my husband calls the Hydrophobie. No, I don’t have rabies, but I do have a touch of the dreaded PMS. It is remarkable how powerful mood is. My life is not materially different than it was two weeks or even two days ago. The general world around me is not materially different, either. So, why is it that one can wake up on a given day and see everything differently? Darker or lighter than it appeared to be just the day before? Must be hormones, yes? Powerful little chemicals they are. If they aren’t already, I think that the government should be developing a big hormonal chemical warfare arsenal. You could make an entire country too depressed to resist our imperialism. Just think of the lives that would be spared because nobody would put up a fight against us. We could go in and steal all their oil and resources of a target country while the citizens watched Lifetime TV for Women romantic movies and ate chocolate.

But, back in my little life, my mood is more irritable than depressed. On days like today, I simply cannot bear other people. I had to go to the walk in clinic for a quick strep test today (I am fastidious about strep throat because of Chris’s valve disease). I hate the walk in clinic. I find most waiting rooms (even when those waiting are not coughing up a lung or holding a vomit bowl) absolutely DREADFUL these days. MUST we have television blaring programming for the lowest denominator of society in every public venue? At least at the airport, I can seat myself in a place away from the TV monitor. Not an option in a smaller venue. Today’s forced feeding consisted of two programs. First up was the tail end of the mysteriously popular Tyra Banks show. This drivel was followed by the shockingly inane and offensive to anyone with an IQ over 40 Maury Pauvitch show. It might be funny to watch these circus performers ,if I knew it was all fake. The fact that the world is increasingly peopled by idiots with no manners makes even an exaggerated depiction of them completely unfunny. If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at the movie “Idiocracy” for a look at our future. Anyway, I found it increasingly difficult to bear sitting in that waiting room as time passed and my name was not called. During the Maury Pauvich torture, to make things worse, the man next to me began loudly discussing his symptoms with the woman across the room. I will not bore you with his vivid description of the color spectrum and consistency of his mucus. Fortunately, soon after that thrilling discourse, my name was called, my throat swabbed and I was freed from the petrie dish. My test was negative, just in case you are wondering.

That’s all for now. More when my hormones aren’t waging war on me. After all, I wouldn’t want any Loyal Readers thinking that BloomingtonGirl lacked the Midwestern charm.