Feeling pretty

February 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

I miss my days at Anthropologie.  I miss picking out that perfect piece for that someone. If I could pick an outfit for you, blog reader, this is what I would suggest for your spring wardrobe.

Wear this dress solo or with a navy cardigan.

The little details of this blouse are so whimsical - pair it with some skinny jeans.

A definite cozy Saturday morning sweatshirt for the early farmer's market.

An artsy skirt looks great with a fitted top and wedge heels.

A classic swimsuit to compliment your curves.

What do you long to wear once winter is gone?

In the Quiet

February 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

Today I worked from home while Pakou recovered from pulled wisdom teeth (and considered if laughing gas was worth joining the forces of comedic outlaws). She put on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and promptly fell asleep.

It was a movie I’ve only seen in bits and pieces, but sitting across the room, I was struck by how heavy and dark the story is. I didn’t see what was happening and I couldn’t hear much of the dialogue, but the tones, the music, the lengthy pauses between speakers reminded me again of the Nazi-like oppression that descends on Hogwarts and the magic world. This is the point in the series where survival becomes questionable and the resistance grimly emerges.

All this revealed through pauses and music.

It reminds me of Valentin Spirik’s rendition of His Girl Friday (on a much lighter note), where he strings together every moment without dialogue in a fast-talking comedy. Reduced to 8 minutes, you can still clearly follow the story:

Pakou mentioned Invisible Children earlier, and we heard today they’re planning an event on April 25 called Speak Out Without Speaking, 25 hours of silence to raise awareness of the plight of child soldiers (this may count as Pakou’s 25 1/2 post).

Selah. For the weekend at least, we’ll pause here.

Teacher by day, Protester by night

February 22, 2011 § 2 Comments

Wisconsin has the attention of the whole nation.  Matt Wisniewski shares his lens of Wisconsin’s tumultous time:

WI Budget Repair Bill Protest #1

WI Budget Repair Bill Protest #2

In solidarity.

Literary BFFs

February 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

It might as well be sooner than later that one of us mentions our love for Kate DiCamillo, author of The Tale of Despereaux, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and The Magician’s Elephant (just to mention our favs). She’s the type of author where you finish reading a sentence, look up at whoever is in the room, and expressively utter, “Oh!” with your hand over your heart. It’s a very moving experience.

A few weeks ago, when we considered the MN twin cities for a weekend adventure, we wrote a sensible, fan-gushing letter to Kate, asking if we could meet her for coffee while we were there. We said we weren’t crazy people, but there may have been a drawing of an irresistible mouse on the envelope.

We didn’t hear from her. And we didn’t end up traveling. But today, the mail brought us this:

We're friends! And we'll overlook her awful handwriting because that's what friends do.

Front of postcard. Doesn't her picture just scream, "My sentences will move you emotionally!"

Oh Kate! We’re sorry we missed you too. Even if missing us was intentional on your part.

At least now, as I talk with people, I get to say things like, “Yeah, when Kate and I were exchanging letters, we were always discussing the power of stories in people’s lives,” and “I was going to stop believing in reading, but Kate told me not to, and she just speaks into my life the way no other friend does.”

Go read her beautiful, beautiful stories.

Twenty-five (part 1)

February 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

In five months I will be teaching in Gulu, Uganda through the teacher exchange program with Invisible Children. In Uganda, this year marks the 25th year of Africa’s longest running war. In March, SXSW will celebrate their 25th anniversary. To mark a quarter century of turmoil in Africa and a momentous year in music festivals, SXSW and Invisible Children have partnered to present the Silver Series. The line up includes:

Maps & Atlases

Catilin Rose

Vandaveer

Look forward to part 2.

It Takes Two (or Three)

February 17, 2011 § 1 Comment

It’s so satisfying when your favorite things meet up and produce more greatness. Such was the grouping of Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers, and Bob Dylan stomping it out together at the 2011 Grammys. What a perfect medley of musicians!

Here are a few more perfect pairings that make my day:

1. Old School writers and the Millennial generation

I'm sure I'd pump out Ray Bradbury-esque brilliance if only I had a typewriter with spellcheck!

The USB typewriter is described as “a groundbreaking innovation in the field of obsolescence.” Yes, please.

2. Chocolate and fruit in scones

I’ve made this recipe twice. I use frozen cranberries and white chocolate chips, and I add half whole wheat flour. They are GOOD! I don’t understand people who don’t like scones.

I'm still learning how to take food pictures.

3. Mixtapes and literary characters

I love the idea of Mr. Darcy jamming to “The Shape of My Heart” by Noah and the Whale (If there’s any love in me, don’t let it show). Hamlet is given “Ghostbusters” and Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son.” And of course little Alice gets “Free Falling” and Dylan’s “You’re a Big Girl Now.” Go and listen.

4. Sci-fi and the 1800s

Connie Willis’ funny novel, To Say Nothing of the Dog, pairs cat people and dog people, time travel and poetry. As she writes, it’s “a Grand Design involving the entire course of history and all of time and space that, for some unfathomable reason, chose to work out its designs with cats and croquet mallets and penwipers, to say nothing of the dog. And a hideous piece of Victorian artwork.” It’s a hoot.

5. Billy Collins’ poetry and three-year-olds

Defeated

February 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

What do you do when you try  your best: research, plan, execute the plan with the right materials, try again with a new idea, and it still doesn’t work out the way you want things to work out? And when I say “try your best,” I mean putting energy, thought, and feeling into one purpose. What do you do when you feel defeated? Blog family, I cry and give up. This weekend I was defeated – defeated by a hammer and nails.

It has been 6 months since I moved to my first apartment and I’m finally putting things on my bare white walls. It was my plan to put a collection of pictures up on my wall. Here is my vision for that to be accomplished:

However, after 3 hours of planning, researching, gathering, and failed, attempts I ended up with a white wall with little tiny empty nail holes and pencil eraser marks. Defeated. I was defeated by a hammer and nails.

I am in need of encouragement. Although my wall continues to be bare (I’ll update if that changes), I will leave you all with what brings me some optimism and solace to begin the week:

A mantra I should say about my house:

A Monday morning song start up for the week:

Aung San Suu Kyi, the hope of Burma, is an inspiration to me.

Where Am I?

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