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Posts Tagged ‘I have a fancy and it gets tickled’

 
|| November 27, 2013 || 1:05 pm || Comments (26) ||

ornexch13sm

Veterans: Let’s do the dang thang.

Newcomers: My friends have Big Personalities and this thing is a hoot. We have a lot of fun doing this; don’t be afraid. Sign up in the comments below (don’t forget to include your email address!) and wait for further instructions via email. To get more of a gist, you can refer to previous posts about the swap here.

I’m capping this year’s participation at fifty swappers. You have until Wednesday, December 4th to sign up; I’ll close the list and start pairing folks then. Yippee kai ay!

 
|| October 12, 2012 || 11:50 am || Comments (13) ||

I had to go to the doctor yesterday. I have been slogging through a personal health situation for the last several years, but in the last ten weeks I’ve been getting pounded on. I need a reprieve in a pretty big way. I’m not built for being infirm; it makes me too cranky, I have things to do. Time to get a handle on this business. I’ve made the concrete decision that I’d rather be in the hole financially for the sake of my health than in the hole physically and having no kind of life at all.

Up the road a piece between here and my (dipped in fabulous with an amazingly rad center) family practitioner’s office out there in the country there’s a big, well-manicured field with a tarp stretched out in it. Scattered on the yards-long tarp are pieces of broken china and pottery.

There is a strange and disconnected loveliness about it. I mean, it was obviously placed there by someone, but it also has the feel of Supposed To Be about it.

Something about it feels sacred. You know that air about something when you run all up on it, don’t you?

I like it. I also like the feeling of a big, out-in-the-open secret. Sometimes the passcode just doesn’t concern you. It’s enough that you know there’s a special door lying in wait.

I have a friend who, as it turns out, knows the story behind the tarp. She shared it with me earlier this year. There’s a farmer that lives on the back side of that property with his wife. He has a compulsion to not let good things fall by the wayside, so he spent many years gathering up pretties and geegaws. “Has a barn full of ‘em!” said Kris, when she was telling me all about the tarp runner.

A couple of years ago, around the time the tarp first appeared, the farmer started getting sick. His wife, in an attempt to stay on top of things, had started combing through his collections. The way I understand it, every few weeks she’ll take a few minutes and go out into the barn of fineries, inspecting the goods. She pulls the pieces with flaws a few at a time and throws them out there on that tarp.

I don’t know what she was hoping to accomplish with this. Could be that she wanted to respect her husband’s wishes and not see the things buried in a landfill. Could be that she, trusting in humanity’s innate nosiness curiosity, figured folks would come poking around, which is why the tarp starts so close to the county road it’s sitting near. Maybe she was issuing an open invitation: “I don’t have use of it, but if you do then have at it.”

That was the interpretation of Kris, at least, who does mosaic pieces and will stop from time to time to see what’s being offered up out there in the country by the farmer’s wife. She tells me that this has caught on with folks in the know: Someone needs bits for a windchime or an altar or a sculpture and they visit that tarp.

Normally it looks very crowded; yesterday it appeared picked over to me. No matter, I was there to observe. I have enough broken pieces of my own to sort and catalog; there is no wanting spot in my collections at present.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

After about four years of frustration and ten weeks of some pretty serious misery, I finally have a diagnosis: I have Meniere’s disease. It will never go away, but apparently once we get this major flare-up under control, there are things that I can do to manage it and keep serious attacks at bay.

The start of this entails getting rid of stress, caffeine and cheese, all of which I run on in turns so I don’t even know what the fuck, you people. Meniere’s is also heavily triggered by insomnia. It took me three tries to type that sentence because I am laughing hysterically.

Any number of things could have contributed to this being A Thing for me, ranging from genetic to environmental. I’ll talk more about it in time. It’s nice just having something to point to (finally) so that a plan can be established.

My doctor is the best. THE! BEST! I don’t know how, in a world of so many terrible ones, I got so fortunate to have him on my side where it comes to my care, but I’m infinitely thankful that I’m not having to slog through a pile of terrible docs in order to feel heard, partnered with, and attended to.

Also, it could have been a brain tumor, which was a very real thought for a minute there. Good Lord, brain tumors cost a lot. I would have chosen to be put down like an old cur had that been the case. But first I would have thrown a balls-out, expensive party and met all of you. There would have been lawn darts.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

This is my go-to feelgood song. It spoons out big dollops of hope all over everything just by its exuberance and intsy magic finger cymbal ting! sounds.

Every time I hear this it feels to me like Prince is throwing some sort of big cosmic party and this is his engraved invitation to all of us.

 
|| July 20, 2012 || 7:45 pm || Comments (9) ||

Guys with guitars will always get laid; it’s a law of the universe. If you’re not a musician? Easy: Be a passionate lover of music and come equipped with the right song. You’ll always get laid, too.

I first heard Half Moon Run’s ‘Full Circle’ a couple of weeks ago; it was one of those pulled-up-short moments where one minute I’m cruising down the road, hunting a picture or a bargain or some peace, take your pick. These days I’m happy with any one of the three.

Okay, then, back on track: That next minute consists of me being in the parking lot of the janky (but useful!) quarter car wash, scribbling lyrics as hard as I can because KAPOW this song has hit me in the guts and the brains and the past and the heart all at once and I’m immediately sucked in and possessed.

Some people are not moved by music, not at all, and when I hear this admission I feel like I could not be shocked or disturbed more if This Soulless Entity were to grow a third arm out of their forehead. That sounds overwrought and angsty, yeah? Well, it apologetically is. In fact, I’d probably feel more comfortable in the presence of Armed Forehead than in that of This Soulless Entity.

It’s that dramatic. It absolutely is. I stand by the term ‘possessed’.

So this song gets all inside me and it rattles around and I ask Uncle Google about Half Moon Run and their music, specifically ‘Full Circle’. And then, there is this video,

which is just so many ways enchanting and exactly right. The first time I saw it I was taken with the notion of the lead singer’s bottom lip and how I felt like it needed biting. For the record, I felt that way up through the fifth viewing, too. It was the fifth viewing that called up an additional notion that says I’m so voodoo-ed by the video because I’ve spent more than one afternoon rehearsing or listening to others kick some music around and that kind of thing is such a beautiful, intimate space to inhabit (even if there is someone in the band who’s prone to throwing things, and then it takes on a whole different vibe that is no less cool but potentially bloody). When you witness the birth of an amazing song there is this powerful moment that you’re locked into, whether or not that song stays there –in the room or the truckbed or the garage or laying in the bed of the creek it first floated across– with the few or spirals out and thirty ears hear it, a thousand, three-billion.

I imagine that this is one of those songs that, when it started pushing its way past vocal cords and fingertips, made itself known as something singularly great. I bet every hair stood at attention. I know this because I can’t stop singing it in my head or under my breath and it’s not driving me nuts to do so.

In the past week I’ve been enthusiastically pointing ‘Full Circle’ out to anyone who will listen, because I can’t possibly the only one who is knocked the fuck out by it. Also I would like the comfort of knowing that I’m not the only dirty old(er, AHEM) broad out there who’d take a tumble with two-thirds of this band if I weren’t spoken for. And hell, if the other guitar player would comb his hair, I’d be all over that, too.

(pee ess….leave me some knockout music in the comments;¬† what has you all fixated and squirrelly? doesn’t have to be new, just has to be amazing)

About four years ago I set out on a mission to get rid of every ugly coffee mug we own. Well, if they were the right shade of ugly (you know, like ugly-interesting) they could stay. If they were just sheerly ugly-ugly, they had to go, sport. Shut up, this is my logic and you maybe just need to take your opinions and/or household management style over to your OWN voyeurnal that you have carefully cultivated in literary mediocrity for fourteen years day before yesterday*), holla.

So, in short, I fucking failed. Failed!

This is because I have a husband who actually smuggles horrid mugs out of the donation box I’ve packed, lets them ride around in his car for a couple of months until he thinks I won’t notice, and then sneaks the dang things back into my cabinets. Please insert four years’-worth of manic mug-related cycling here.

Let’s address the inevitable FAQs here so that the comments aren’t cluttered with them:

READER: Jett. You’re showing marked restraint. Why don’t you just smash them and have done with it?
JETT: ……

READER: Why don’t you just take them to the thrift yourself?
JETT: a) THIS MARRIAGE IS A PARTNERSHIP and I’ve already done the hard part, which consists of bitching and putting some shit into a box and placing said box into my husband’s car, and b) I didn’t bring those fuckers into this joint and I shouldn’t have to wag them out of it.

A couple-three years back I made the very conscious decision to actively seek out mugs I deemed as cool and fold them into our cabinet, so that my eye would be drawn to something besides the annoying mugs and so that I would be More Overjoyed At Mundane Things In General.¬† I think this hunt, too, was triggered by the fact that the Chieftans mug that I’d won in a music store design contest had gone a-wanderin’. People, –so help me God– I love cash, but I loved that mug more that the prize money that accompanied it.

(aside: As I was typing, I remembered how when my insanely cool Chieftans mug disappeared I practically put that thing on the side of a milk carton because I missed it so badly, and then I thought I had let it go and made peace with it except that now I’m mad at Maxim because I know damn well he carted it off somewhere and lost it because that’s what he does with my awesome things that he ‘borrows’ in an ‘I don’t have permission but maybe it will be worth the rage?’ fashion. In fact, I just stopped typing for a minute to glare at him one more time and say, “Maxim. Whatever happened to my fabulous Chieftains mug that you disappeared AND YOU BETTER NOT EVEN PLAY DUMB ABOUT IT BECAUSE I’M WRITING MYSELF INTO A LATHER AGAIN.” The case is still cold. Maxim better do the rest of this day correctly because CHIEFTANS MUG.

The case is still cold, I said.)

Okay. So I started snagging mugs I deem cool. With every one I found, I made a polite-but-firm announcement:

“Family? Family. This is mommy’s new mug and she superfuckingduper likes it, please use one of the other eleventy-gazillion mugs in the cabinet instead of this one. Please. Please?”

And to date, I’ve bought five such irresistible mugs because their design or size charmed me. Also to date, each one of them has come up profoundly broken (bye, handle, you were so useful while we knew ye) or just plain ole chipped. Apparently the hideous mugs envied my affections for the Chosen Mugs, because they ended up mysteriously beaten up with no one –NOT A SINGLE SOUL– in my family having an active knowledge of how these chips and breaks were occurring. The ugly mugs are staging big rumbles when the cabinet doors are closed, is what I’m saying.

That’s not crazy at all, right? I mean, my family would tell me if they’re guilty of destroying my property, right?

There is only one thing I’m really concerned about figuring out, though: Are the Chosen Mugs getting chipped because they are the most-used and loved, or because of the fact that they are mine and mine is the only shit around here that ever gets broken (and not by me, is what I’m saying)? Hmmm, Muffinasses, just hmmmm.

I even bought a control mug with which to perform an experiment. I did the requisite announcement and mild fawning about how much I really dug this Monopoly mug that I’d picked up on thrift for seventy-nine cents. Only, my family didn’t know that I’d only spent seventy-nine cents. I left that part out. My logic is that the less I pay for it, the less of a magnet a coffee mug is going to be. I pulled the mug out of the cabinet once, twice, three times. It was on my fourth reach for it that I saw this:

chipped

AH-HA! Also, motherfucker. But mostly AH-HA!

….but not really, I realized, because there is no real way to sort the result into one of the two named categories. But still: These things are mine and these things end up broken.

One day I was out Spejunkin’ (spelunking for junk=Spejunkin’, in case you don’t follow me on Twitter**) and I came across a fifties stoneware mug. It was putty-colored and sported the name ‘George’ across it in this awesome, delft blue vintage script. George’s mug had gotten away from him through death or a change in tastes (kind of the same, really, when you consider that nineteen-eighties coke-loving me thought that black lacquer furniture was the very pinnacle of style and also taste, my hand to God) had ended up at the thrift for thirty-nine cents.

I immediately had a lightbulb moment. I would start collecting vintage mugs with the names of other people on them. There were only two rules to start: 1) Mugs carrying the names of people in my immediate family could not be collected, and 2) I have to find the mugs myself or be along for the ride when they are found; they cannot be purchased for me as a gift. Since then, I have added two more rules: 3) Tackiness is very much desirable but a mug cannot be terrible, horrible, no good or very bad. I know what these things are when I see them but not until then. 4) The mugs, no matter how old, have to be in like-new condition. BONUS POINTS: An obscure/unusual name, for example:

elfriede

There is a quiet brilliance behind my Collecting Other People’s Mugs project: I will gather these particular things to me because I won’t give a real shit about a mug if it’s actually someone else’s in theory, right? Riiiiiight. You can’t see me, but I am winking both conspiratorially and sarcastically at you and that’s called ‘foreshadowing’.

Plus there is the bonus benefit that I hadn’t anticipated: The name mugs are actually actively repelling my family through a clever combination of being significantly smaller than contemporary mugs and the fact that they have someone else’s name on them, thereby subconsciously casting blame when pulled out of the cabinet. The sad part is that these same exact factors have caused me not use them, as well, but yet I still look every time I go Spejunkin’. Because thirty-nine to fifty-nine cents, usually, that’s why….and sometimes even a quarter. A quarter!

I may also be a little addicted to this goofy-harmless activity, as well.

I’ve found about five so far, but my favorite is this one:

inez

I expect at some point I will fuck up and let someone within these four walls know that it’s my favorite. I am here to tell you, spirited reader, whosoever breaketh ‘Inez’ will be forced to move the fuck out of the house and only visit on Christmas and maybe the nights when I cook too much spaghetti and need to get it gone. If it turns out to be Maxim, then he can visit to satisfy conjugal interests.

Mine, not his. Of course. Are you thick or something?

UPDATE: I was going to include a picture of ‘George’ in this post, since it was the trailblazer in this accidental project. George is absolutely nowhere to be found and the family, upon cursory questioning, has no earthly idea what I’m talking about. But! George is the only name-mug that I announced with a flourish when I brought it home; I gloated over it while explaining my brilliance in this new and challenging (but cheap! oh so cheap!) undertaking.

I AM OFF TO STAGE AN INQUISITION ABOUT THE WHEREABOUTS OF GEORGE.

*some of whose archives are like playing dodgeball with horrible writing as the projectiles, forewarned
**
if you don’t, then I totally forgive you, go with God and such

 
|| November 21, 2011 || 12:07 pm || Comments (7) ||

ornexch

Just in case you don’t remember how it goes:

1) You leave a comment to the effect of “Oooh, me! Me, me, me, pick me!”
2) I add you to the swap list.
3) I e-mail everybody on the swap list.
4) I pair up everybody on the swap list and e-mail you your partner’s info.
5) You send your ornament ON TIME (you know who you are!), by the date I specify.
6) Commence Christmas Cheer!!1!

I’ll be looking for ideas on how to do a charity tie-in for next year’s swap, too. If anything dings you on your pretty noggin, please do let me know. The list closes Friday the 25th and I’ll pair you up the Sunday or Monday following.

Whoop-whoop!

pee ess….I’ve been really hot for bullet lists lately. I have no idea.

 
|| May 28, 2011 || 12:47 am || Comments (0) ||

Good ole Tootie, serving up the lulz: “Bonnnnng. Bonnnnnng. Bonnnnng.”

 
|| November 21, 2010 || 8:41 pm || Comments (31) ||

Alright all ye of the proud clan of Muffinassery, it’s time once again to slap a hook on something wondrous or heinous, call it a Christmas tree ornament, and send it to a complete stranger.

It’s pretty simple. You tell me you want to participate. You purchase or make an ornament. I pair you with a swap partner. You get your ornament in the post to your swap partner by the deadline (which, by the way, is a generous 11 December this year).

For those of you that are all, “I AM ANONYMOUS ON THESE HERE INTERNETS! I AIM TO STAY ANONYMOUS! (I never get to have any of the funs! pout-pout)” I say in return, “Nay children, thou must nottest worry thine delicately-scented little noggins.” This is because you have two options. Option The One says that I will not match your online persona to your realpersons name. The e-mail will say something along the lines of, ‘Your swap partner is Jeremiah Downtrodden. Here is his address.’ If Jeremiah Downtrodden wants to tell you that he actually goes by the name Dooce on the internet, that’s his privilege, but that information will not come from me. Option The Two says that you can just mail your ornament to me and I will remove all traces of your address from the packaging and forward it on to your swap partner with my address on it instead. I did both things last year; option one was just automatic, and option two was opt-in. A couple of people utilized it, and can tell you that they are still safely ensconced in their secret lairs and no one from the big ole messy internets has showed up to fuck up their day because of me.

Now for the fine print:

I’m limiting this year’s swap to no more than forty people. I will tell you that I put out the call on Twitter a couple weeks ago and about half those spots are already filled, so you need to speak up pretty quickly if you want to be included. I’m putting all the names in the hat next weekend sometime, so I’d like to close the call for participants this coming Wednesday night.

As stated above, you either make or buy your ornament. I myself prefer handmade ones because oh, I dunno, you may end up with something like velvet squids (!), which is what I got last year. Leading up to the velvet squids, however, I got a series of texts from the spouse of the velvet squid maker, and some of them went like this:
“Ummmm….Jenna wants to know if all the materials expended in the attempt can be counted toward the twenty dollars.”
“Hey, do you have a blind person that you can pair Jenna with?”
….which made said squids all the more awesome when I just so happened to draw Jenna’s name as my sender.

Whether handmade or purchased, your ornament must have a retail value of no less than seven dollars and no more than twenty dollars. This means that if you choose to make an ornament, you would charge at least seven dollars for it were you to sell it on the open market. I would never have thought to place a minimum value on this, except that one time I was involved in an ornament swap wherein I purchased this gorgeous enameled egg and made this elaborate padded storage box replete with delicate bird’s nest atop it because I was so excited at the notion of surprising a complete stranger. AND, (here is the part where I sound like an ungrateful git, but I give not a fuck, because it was completely janky of someone to do this to anyone, not just me) in return I got a regular old manila envelope with a ninety-seven cent stuffed snowman ornament from Wal-Mart (I know this because I had seen them there that year) that looked for all intents and purposes like a dog’s chew toy. WOE, all you folk, just WOE. So, to level the playing field: Seven to twenty bucks. The point, really, is just to bless someone, to hit them with the element of surprise between now and December 11th.

If you’re on the fence about wanting to jump into something like this, I need to point you to Bejewell’s furiously hilarious post about last year’s swap. That ornament exchange¬† was the test run, the one where I didn’t know if I’d make it an annual thing or not. Bejewell is a lot of the reason that I decided to do this thing again. This year, Beej and people like her are participating. There is no finer selling point for and an endeavor than to have spirited, silly persons involved. If you want to join us, then drop a brief message (“I’m in!!”) into the comments on this post. Don’t forget to fill in your e-mail addy. You’ll hear from me with specifics in the next week.