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How are you all? I am behind in wishing you a happy 2019 and restarting my weekly posts, but for the moment, can I offer you two things that might make you happy?

1) Pumpkin bread (recipe) )

2) A bulldog looking for a moment of peace away from his nine pups (video) )

I'll be back this weekend to catch up with your posts and write a full update.
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Fromage-related Five with a side of sociological musing... )

What's your cheese story, flist?

On a related (gastronomical) note, I haven't forgotten my promise to post my pumpkin bread recipe here, and I'll finally have some time to type it up tomorrow. It's been a week and half these past few days. Hurrah for Fridays!
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[community profile] hp_halloween has been delightful, as always. I was especially lucky, receiving a charming and thoughtful ficlet about Arabella Figg's relationship with the wizarding world from [personal profile] shadowycat: Forever In-between, Arabella Figg and Mr Tibbles, G, : Mrs Figg prepares for Hallowe'en. (Thank you, SC! You probably don't know it, but she was one of the first minor characters I wrote and grew to love.) My own gift was for [personal profile] kelly_chambliss: The Two Faces of Power, Dolores Umbridge, G, Sometimes Halloween is a season for masks. Sometimes it isn’t.
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1. With Halloween coming this next week, do you have any seasonal activities you're planning on doing for the holiday? The better half and I had a Halloween happy hour last night, costumes encouraged. Fun, fun, fun, plus lots of food and pumpkin bread, which is my absolute favorite. (Hm. I should pass on the recipe, it's that good. Will come back to this.) Due to school, I'm unfortunately missing out on Friend A's invitation to hand out candy on Wednesday (she has an actual house with a door, where we live in an apartment). ETA: I'll also be reading [community profile] hp_halloween ficlets! How could I forget those bite-size treats?

2. What is your favorite Halloween or dress up party costume you've had? R adores Halloween, so we do something every year. Last year we were Amazon Prime--R in an Amazon warrior costume with headband and sword, and me in all black with prime numbers all over. Apart from the inadvertent advertising for a corporation that does not deserve it, it was fun to watch people guess. The best costume yesterday involved a sateen sash and a loaf of bread (breadwinner--clever, clever).

3. Which do you like better, apple cider or pumpkin spice flavoring? Pumpkin spice! Although having had unpasteurized cider in northern New England, I can understand why people like apple cider so much. It's so subtle and delicious it makes the supermarket stuff taste like apple juice.

4. What is your favorite scary movie and why? *sheepish* I can't watch any scary movies. They're all bad to me. The last one I watched was Poltergeist in, oh, 1982. I couldn't sleep for months.

5. What traditionally "scary" monster or fear do you think is the most overrated and why? Again, they're all scary! (I have a low tolerance for scary things.) Although I do have to say I love cemeteries. There's something lovely about seeing so many individual lives honored in one place. They've never struck me as scary. ETA: Plus I love black cats. Surely they've never brought anyone bad luck?

As always, I'd love to see you complete [community profile] thefridayfive yourself (and thanks to the good folks over there for keep us chatting). But if you're only up for chatting in comments and not a full post, tell me: what's the best Halloween costume that you've created or that you've seen?
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There's slightly Too Much Real Life going on right now, folks. A close friend just got married in an amazing three-day extravaganza (R officiated), and I just met a big deadline at work. While I'm very, very happy about both, I need to say that I was not cut out for this one-thing-after-another lifestyle. I need more tea and downtime than this!

So rather than a full Friday Five this week, I just want to note that [community profile] small_gifts is back for its 13th year! Sign ups should go up tomorrow, and claiming will take place on Sunday, October 28th. Mark your calendars!

We're just shy of the twentieth anniversary of the introduction of Remus Lupin and Sirius Black, now that I think about it. Together? I think so.

And, in the spirit of starting some discussion every week, here's a question for you: what's something you've changed your mind about?
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birthday soup

A belated but very warm "happy birthday!" to you, [personal profile] therealsnape! Have a bowl of R's roasted acorn squash soup to celebrate the new season?
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Thinking of those facing down Florence and Mangkhut tonight.

1. Have you ever experienced a hurricane firsthand? No, luckily.

2. Have you ever experienced outside heat over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celcius)? Often when I was young; I grew up on the edge of the high desert. But 100F / 38C and dry is ten times better than 80F / 27C and muggy. My worst moment was just arriving in Hong Kong, passing out for a moment in the heat, and falling at the end of an escalator. I was a sweaty, dizzy mess with a skinned knee and a sprained ankle. Not my best moment.

3. When and where was the coldest temperature you have ever experienced? Objectively? Probably in January in northern New England, where the temperatures sometimes fell to close to 0F / -17C. Subjectively: the weekend I found myself in St. Andrews, Scotland, in mid March with insufficient clothing and/or backbone. I actually had to turn around and get back on the train and head to London, I was that miserable and unprepared. (These were the days before this California girl had discovered wool. That was a bit of a revelation.)

4. Is your household prepared for a possible power outage of two to seven days? No.

5. Do you have a go bag? No. Hm. I'm starting to think there may be a lesson here.

Textbox below (you can link back to thefridayfive), or just stop by and leave a comment: When and where were you your hottest and coldest, flist?


And on a completely different and much happier note: a very happy birthday to the incorrigible [personal profile] lash_larue! I spotted this months ago and thought of you....

Your kind of cat... )

Hope you've all had a great week, flist!
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I went to a pop-up wedding* this weekend, so let's take a thematically appropriate set of questions from [community profile] thefridayfive archive:

1) Do you want to get married? Already did. We did everything backward--became friends first and then started dating, moved in together and then started thinking long-term, celebrated multiple anniversaries and then decided to have a big party.

I'm not sure I ever made a conscious decision about marriage, especially since it wasn't legal for same-sex couples at the beginning of our relationship. There was no big question about love and forever-ness, only a number of logistical hurdles to overcome. We got a domestic partnership certificate from my partner's work early on (specifically in order to get health insurance), another certificate a few years later from the town we lived in (also to support a health insurance application and, less crucially, to get a library card), and a marriage license from our state when it became legal there (largely to safeguard our meager assets for the other in case of disaster, since we have hostile families). (Coincidentally, that was on 09/09/09, nine years ago yesterday.) Finally, we had a party because the better half is the type of person who didn't want to miss the opportunity for a very large, very fun party with everyone she knows.

2) Where would you like to get married? As it turned out, we had the party in our backyard, the one and only time in my life I've lived somewhere with a backyard. (Very convenient.) We put up a white tent, rented some chairs and tables, got a local Chinese Malaysian restaurant to cater a banquet, and made a dozen cakes ourselves, the night beforehand.

3) If you were getting married in a week, who would be in your wedding party? Hm. The same folks who showed up and helped out eight years ago, probably. A few high school friends, a few college friends, and a few more recent friends. We have one very close friend in town right now--who's planning her own second marriage for next month, coincidentally--but by and large the people we each know are scattered across the country (and in some cases have moved abroad).

4) What would your wedding colours be? We used purple, because the purple-loving better half cared and I didn't.

5) Does marriage mean to you 'til death do us part?' Not necessarily. People grow apart. I'm doing everything I can to keep this relationship working, but I recognize that even the best intentions and hardest work can't always keep two people together forever.

* Pop-up: my term, not the couples'. The decision to marry was made on a Sunday, e-mail invites were mailed out on Monday, and the guests were instructed to bring potluck items. It took place on a Saturday morning in the couple's basement apartment (tidied up and decorated with flowers) and was over by noon. So lovely and so simple! It made me happy to see how happy they were.

How are you doing, flist? Want to share wedding fantasies or stories?

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Sorry! Didn't mean to post and then disappear last week. Every time, I forget what a big push the beginning of the semester is. (You'd think I get the hang of this after so many years, but no.)

Catching up with last week's Friday Five, all about food:

1. What is your favourite food? Any fresh baked good: croissants, bread, cake, baos, cookies.
2. What is your favourite food preparation method? Stir fry! It's the only thing I do, really, other than eggs and some breakfast foods.
3. What is your favourite cuisine or style of cooking? This is really difficult question: the one I like most of the time? The one I want right now? The one I'm most excited to eat when I have the chance? Mexican, because it's what I grew up eating at local restaurants, and it's always appealing to me, no matter the mood or situation. Malaysian, because it's a successful blending of two of the world's great cuisines, Indian and Chinese, with some amazing Malay spices and dishes thrown in. Ethiopian for vegetarian dishes. Vietnamese for soup. American for syrupy breakfasts and chocolatey desserts. Cantonese for dim sum, one the world's great cultural contributions.
4. Do you have any dietary restrictions and if so what are they? Not really. I'm very lucky this way.
5. If you could introduce the whole world to one ingredient to improve their culinary experience, what would that be and why? Hm....not sure I'm in a position to suggest anything to anyone--all of my food knowledge is a subset of someone else's. A basic ingredient I couldn't do without? Onions. Sometimes when I follow a delicious smell out to the kitchen and ask the better half what she's making, she's only started to brown the onions.

Also: my 2018 fall pledge: Every week when I post, I'm going to mention something lovely about fall, which has always elicited an unnecessary sense of dread in me. (Winter is bad, yes, but it doesn't really start until January here--there's no reason why I shouldn't enjoy September to December.) This week: I can continue to wear sandals well into September! The warm weather lasts weeks into the school year, and my toes can be free and happy for a long while yet.

And last but perhaps most important of all: happy birthday, [personal profile] minervas_eule! For you: a gorgeous 19c library that my students always say "reminds them of Harry Potter." (Not a music performance space, unfortunately, but an important music library locally.)

library interior

Sorry I'm so slow on comments, everyone! I'll catch up with last week's over the next day or two. Hope your September is off to a good start.
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The school year (and my commute) are starting again this week, so let's answer a relevant Friday Five from the archives this week:

1. What is your current main mode of transportation? e.g. car, bike, subway, walking etc.
Ideally, walking; I do as much in our neighborhood as I possibly can. But I take the bus to get downtown and the metro and the commuter rail to get to work.

2. Are you satisfied with your current main mode of transportation (answer to question 1)? Why? Yes! I love being able to walk. It's one of the joyous discoveries of adulthood, that you don't actually need to own a car. (Other joyous discoveries of adulthood: you don't actually need to live in a single family house, and you don't need to date men. :) We selected our apartment and neighborhood primarily for their proximity to grocery stores, transit, stores, and restaurants. And we've been especially lucky because the neighborhood's added quite a few options even in the time we've lived here.

3. Do you think you'll change your means of transit soon? e.g. buy a car, get rid of your car, walk more etc.? If so why?
One day I may decide I can't handle the mega-commute to Neighboring City to get to my job, and we'll move there--a move that will probably entail buying a car, since Neighboring City's not as walkable. But at the moment I'm happy where I am and feel as if the trade off (lots of things within walking distance and no need to own a car vs. long commute to work) are worth it.

4. If time distance and money were not factors how do you prefer to get from point A to point B?
Mm. That's a hard one. Ideally, Apparating? Bullet train? Given the current constraints of my Muggle life, I'd take a taxi more often to eliminate the frustrating metro portion of my commute. Or I might take a taxi at odd hours when the bus or metro headways are especially long. I have transit impatience.

5. What was your worst transit experience? Being in car accidents as a child, hands down. Nothing that's happened on bus, train, metro or plane ever since has been as destabilizing. (And I've never even been in a serious accident that left someone injured.)

How are you all doing, flist? Are you celebrating or mourning the end of summer?
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1. What bad habits [of your own] bother you the most? My tendency toward occasional over-eating/emotional eating. It always seems so logical and necessary at the time, and in retrospect seems like automatic, mindless idiocy. Or the advent of my period, which is always preceded by two days of ravenousness and crankiness and catches me by surprise every time.

2. What good habits do you most admire [in others]? Regular exercise and regular writing. I can do both, but I need to work myself up to it, every time.

3. What unusual habits do you observe in your family members? Do they bother you? Knee-bouncing. I can't imagine having that much extra energy!

4. Which bad habit do you think would be the most difficult to get rid of? Why? Anything emotional or tied to childhood attitudes or fears. Speech patterns or verbal or physical tics. (I still, like, sound like girl raised in the 80s, you guys.)

5. Which good habit do you think would be the most difficult to develop? Why? Well, habits I don't actually want to develop (like skipping dessert) are difficult for obvious reasons, even when I'm in in a self-improvement mode. A lot of the habits I really do want to acquire but can't seem to develop properly (going to bed earlier, for example) are in conflict with other things going on my life.


In other news, I bought the neighbor's wardrobe! Thanks for the encouragement, flist. Right now it's a really expensive vacuum closet, but soon I'll figure out how to make better use of it (and, honestly, I really wanted to put that vacuum away, so that at least makes me happy). We have a walk in closet in the bedroom but no other storage in the apartment, so as you can imagine there are a number of living-and-dining-room-related items which can probably go in there. And we still have three unpacked boxes from the 2015 move, so perhaps we'll finally be able to put those away. Tidy apartment = happy me.

We saw Crazy Rich Asians yesterday. Actually quite fun, all things considered.* (R's read the book(s), I haven't, so I wasn't sure what to expect.) And while there's a lot of talk about Asian and Asian American representation in Hollywood, which is wonderful and important, YAY!, it's also a movie with some really fabulous roles for women, which hasn't been discussed the same way. Michelle Yeoh was excellent, of course, but Constance Wu was, too. And Awkwafina! Hope you get to enjoy these fabulous women soon.

Pre-semester meetings this week, class start next. Summer 2018 is on the wane.

* There are some big caveats that need to come with this movie--see my comments to TRS below.
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Whoops! I somehow missed a week there. How have you all been?

* I'm just back from a long weekend in Denver, where my partner had some work meetings and I was able to catch up with my college roommate, whom I hadn't seen for an extended length of time since the 90s. I'd been thinking about her a lot recently because she was the one who convinced me to do a semester in London with her when we were in college and then pushed me to travel with her once we were there. We did so much on a modest budget: dozens of places in London, maybe six or eight overnight trips to locations in England, Scotland, and Ireland. I've often explained our slightly Odd Couple relationship by saying that she's both a homebody and a traveler like me, but before her I was really just a homebody; she's the one who showed me I could travel. We were both in London for a few days earlier this summer, and it was so good to share our love of the city and remember how we got started on this path.

* I've just finished my first babysitting gig with the sweet little bulldog ) we've been walking at noon on weekdays. His humans have arranged for housekeepers to come clean the apartment occasionally and wanted to know if we could take care of him in the apartment for an hour or so while the housekeepers were working. No problem! I said. But he really was a bit anxious, even after introducing him to our apartment several times last week. (We live two doors down, on the same hallway.) Pet aunt-ing is difficult! But he seemed to be fine in the end, after a lot of treats and lot of petting. Dogs aren't so different: new situations are stressful, and positive reinforcement, food, and lots of attention go a long way for both of us.

* I might buy a used Ikea Hemnes wardrobe from a neighbor tomorrow. Would this be too big in a medium-sized room? We have so few closets in this apartment I'm inclined to get it. Surely more storage space will help make the apartment more tidy?

* I have the end-of-the-summer blues. Only two more weeks before classes. I'm treasuring every last moment and writing like a madwoman. If any of you have ever lived on an academic schedule, you'll appreciate this cartoon:

Perception of summer cartoon

Friday five: On journaling )

* Last but not least: A very happy birthday to fandomer extraordinaire (and RL superwoman) [personal profile] alisanne! Here's a happy image ) to celebrate the day. (Source.)
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I'm currently playing hooky from not one but two parties I thought I'd have to go to this evening. Our current house guest is off at one, my partner is at the other, and I'm all alone in the apartment, sipping tea, listening to the radio, and feeling gloriously alone.

To counter the mid-year lull 'round these parts, have an interactive meme! Thanks to both [community profile] thefridayfive and [personal profile] therealsnape for contributing some of the questions, and to [personal profile] therealsnape for encouraging memeage more generally.

How to play? Well, first, read through the questions and leave me the number of the question(s) you'd like me to answer. (Please, ask away! I'd love to chat.) If you're up for answering questions yourself, paste them at your journal so we can ask you, too. Text box with questions below!

Twenty seasonal questions...

1) What season are you currently experiencing in your part of the world? Has the weather been typical of that season recently?

2) Apart from the weather, how can you tell what season it is? What about your life or local life changes with the seasons?

3) What's the best thing about the current season? The most annoying?

4) Does the current season affect your mood or your daily habits?

5) Are there activities, events, or traditions that accompany this season in your part of the world?

6) Are there local foods that are only available or that are more available this season?

7) Are there memories you associate with this season?

8) Do have plans or goals for this season? For other seasons?

9) If you could live perpetually in one season, which would it be? Is that the same as your favorite season?

10) Do the conventional designations (i.e., summer, winter, etc.) describe the changing seasons in your part of the world? If you could rename your local seasons, what would you call them, and how would you describe them?

11) Are you sensing the effects of climate change where you live?

12) Do you have different clothes for different seasons? Do you prefer one wardrobe to another?

13) Do you use heat, fans, or air conditioning? Do you and your family or housemates agree on how to regulate the heat, fan, or air conditioning?

14) Do some seasons seem to last longer than others, to you? Has that changed as you age?

15) Do you decorate your house or change your environment in any way to mark the change of the seasons?

16) During what season are you most likely to want to get away from the weather, and where would you go if you could?

17) Are there any idioms or sayings about the current season where you live? Any local wisdom?

18) Imagine the depths of winter where you live. Would you rather have 1) less precipitation, 2) warmer temperatures, or 3) more light/longer days?

19) Imagine the peak of summer where you live. What would make it more bearable?

20) What's a book, film, or tv show you associate with the current season?
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We've been doing some dog-sitting and cat-sitting again, flist. They are darlings, all of them.

Meet our four-legged clients. (Warning: large photos because I'm that besotted.) )

Every year I forget how quiet it gets on social media at this time of year. Happy mid-July, everyone!
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1. Is there a smell that will immediately sicken you? Hm. Not really. Though it might be important to point out here that I have a really terrible sense of smell generally, and there aren't many things that smell good to me, either.
2. When you want quiet, where do you go? I *always* want quiet, so I look for it everywhere. But the quiet that's nicest is the quiet of being by yourself in public, at a coffeeshop or walking in the street, when others are chatting in the background but you're very much alone.
3. Do you need/prefer total darkness when you sleep? Ideally. More so as I get older and sleeping well becomes harder.
4. What is your least favorite taste? Fish sauce. Blue cheese. The errant tomato in my sandwich. (I'm not a big fan of raw tomatoes.)
5. How heavily do you rely upon your sense of touch? Not heavily. I'm a bit touch-averse, actually. Everything is in the head or on the screen for me...except books, where the feel of the page is everything.
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In the past nine days, I've finished my last week of classes, attended final reviews, flown across the country, attended a wedding, finished grading, and closed the books on the semester. Whew! Too much going on. Haven't travelled home yet, so the excitement's not quite over, but things should be a lot more relaxed from here on out.

A tiny meme to keep up my weekly posting habit, courtesy of [personal profile] splix. Note that I'm staying in the playroom of an old high school friend's house about 3000 miles from home, which should spice things up a bit.

5 Things You’ll Find in My Bag: Swimsuit (overly optimistic; they haven't started cleaning the pool for the summer months yet), about sixty final essays from students (my bag weighs a ton), a mother's day card that need to be posted tomorrow if it has any chance of timeliness, a new book, and a light sweater (which hasn't been sufficient for the cool days in the Bay Area)

5 Things You’ll Find in My Room: An unused treadmill; NFL logo sheets; Star War plush toys, including a soft and squishy X-wing fighter; bunk beds; an unused big screen tv

5 of My Favorite Things [about California]: 99 Ranch Market, See's Candy, fake Spanish architecture, fresh and beautiful fruits and veggies, SUNSHINE!

5 Things I’m Currently Into: toy cars, board books, reading out loud (can you tell our friends have twin toddlers?), upscale strip malls, sitting around outside. ETA: Sandals! How could I forget about sandals?

5 Things On My To-Do List: Relax, relax, relax, relax, relax. And reply to last week's comments, posts, and e-mail.

How's your May been so far, flist? Want to play along? Text box below.

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1. What was your favorite toy as a child? A doll house made by my grandfather in the 1960s. It was long and low, a one-story, five-room ranch house with garage and patio out front, study enough to sit on. (Which I did, of course; the hallmark of childhood is unforgiving, rough love.) I spent hours with it when I was very small and made furniture and miniature household items in my spare time. (Those of you were children in the late 70s and early 80s will recognize two of the items I attempted to miniaturize: a PeeChee folder and a Rubic's cube.) It inspired me to assemble three more doll houses myself, one in cardboard as a very small child, then two in wood (one that looks very much like this one, although I made it half-timber, and an earlier model of this house, which took me most of my high school years to complete).
2. What did you name it? N/A
3. Who gave it to you? My father's father, who died before I was born and about whom I know almost nothing. (My father is very quiet about his childhood.) Apparently he was a barber and woodworker and constructed the doll house for his first granddaughter, who wasn't born until the early 1970s.
4. Do you still have it? No.
5. If not, what happened to it? I think my parents gave the original doll house, the 60s ranch house, to the young daughters of a very good family friend. There was a long period when my parents and I weren't in contact, but recently I discovered the ones I constructed are gone, too--my parents stored them in the attic, and the heat ruined the glue that held them together. They sent along the furniture I'd made, which I gave to the daughter of my college roommate, another doll house fanatic, and I saved for myself a handful of the tiny items I'd made or bought, PeeChee folder and Rubic's cube included.

I'd be curious to hear about your childhood toys! Thanks to [community profile] thefridayfive for the prompt.

In fannish news, I have my Holmestice assignment, which looks eminently workable, and watched the first episode of Miss Sherlock, which premiered on Friday. (I'll admit I lost some of the threads of the plot, but gender-swapped Holmes and Watson is SO very much my thing I didn't care.) Also, [personal profile] splix's The Search for the Lost Sword has recently updated, which tickles me to no end.

I'm done cat-sitting for the time being, which means I have no excuse for lying on the floor in the cats' apartment taking cat photos ) and batting mouse toys around and instead probably need to finish my last few classes and start grading. Onward and upward! Signing off. Have a great week, folks!
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1. Do you suffer from Spring Fever?

Hm. Never heard it called that, but yes, I guess. The more light and the more warmth we get, the better I feel. (Psychologically--physically, I'm sneezing and rubbing my eyes.) Also, by about April I'm counting down the hours until the end of the semester.

2. Have you ever been twitterpated (infatuated or obsessed. In a state of nervous excitement)?

More or less constantly during my teens, and thank goodness that's over, let me tell you. It was all Too Much, those constant waves of emotion.

3. What does Spring taste like to you?

I think I mentioned my discounted after-Easter candy last week. Delicious!

4. When was the last time you visited an ice cream truck?

Decades ago. I'm not sure I've even seen one since the eighties. That said, food trucks are all the rage here, and although I don't visit as often as I'd like, I got some excellent bibimbap at The Green Bowl a few weeks ago. (I have never been to the other regular visitor, Kommie Pig, but the name always make me laugh-wince. First tragedy, then farce.)

5. Do you know what song your ice cream truck plays?

This sounds like the kind of childhood memory that should still be with me, but it's not. Advertising jingles, yes, TV theme songs, yes, even movie themes, but no ice cream truck melody.
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1) Has the weather where you are finally started acting like spring is here?

Well, considering we had daytime highs near 80F/27C in February, temps around 30F/-1C in March, and no real snow to speak of between early December and late March, I've given up all expectations for seasonally appropriate weather. The weather's been slightly warmer lately, but I'm not going to count on consistently mild weather anytime soon.

Hm. Now that I write that down, I realize that "the weather's been slightly warmer lately, but I'm not going to count on consistently mild weather anytime soon" is actually probably the very definition of springtime weather here on the US East Coast. It's never the definitive shift to consistently warmer weather that I expect--just more and more not-terrible days until suddenly it's late May and getting hot, and you realize you missed spring.

2) Do you have any special spring activities or outings planned?

I took a lovely long walk through the neighborhood north of us last weekend to see the cherry blossoms. Pictures below the cut )

3) Have you started wearing different clothing appropriate to spring?

As soon as it's even vaguely appropriate, I break out my sandals. In an ideal world, my toes would be free and happy all the time.

4) What signs of spring are manifesting around you?

A marked drop in attendance in my classes. Lots of requests for extensions. Invitations to final reviews and exhibitions.

5) Are there special foods you enjoy preparing and/or eating in the spring?

If I were a more healthy person, I'm sure I'd have a local fruit or vegetable here. Instead, I'm going to say: discounted after-Easter Easter candy! I've already eaten two entire chocolate bunnies and have no regrets.
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Big thanks to [personal profile] write_out who plumbed [community profile] thefridayfive for some questions from their archives. I'll put a textbox at the end if you'd like to play along. I'd love to read your replies!

1. Have you ever done something awful to your hair? What happened?

When I was about 12, my mother (who always wanted me better dressed and better made-up) bullied me into getting feathered bangs for a few years (bad 80s moment), but otherwise, I haven't ever done much with my hair. On a good day, my hair's clean and relatively tidy. I try not to have too many bad days.

2. Conversely, at what time in your life have you looked your best?

Summers! Because I'm warm and happy and (I know I shouldn't feel this way, but I do) not so pale. And days when I wear my favorite geometric pattern shirts. I really like geometric patterns.

3. Do you have a favorite article of clothing? Tell us what and why.

Many years ago I spent a magical day wandering around Providence, Rhode Island, buying Italian pastries and stopping in bookstores. Late in the day, books and pastries in hand, I ran across a yard sale and saw two long-sleeved men's athletic shirts, one grey, one sage green, with "Rhode Island School of Design" written across the front. They tickled my sense of humor, because RISD is an independent art and design school with no athletic program to speak of and relatively few gym bunnies, so who exactly was the intended market for these athletic shirts? Students' families, when they came to visit? But while I was looking at them and puzzling over this problem, the very friendly man running the yard sale came over and asked, "Do you want to buy them? Only fifty cents each." Who was I to say no to these quirky shirts that cost only a fraction of the price of a cannoli? I've had them for about fifteen years now, and they've kept me warm during during countless chilly runs and on many lazy Saturdays.

4. Confess the worst fashion trend you ever succumbed to.

I'm not very trendy, but I'm sure I've committed many terrible fashion missteps. Hm.... Aha! I had to wear a fancy dress to my brother's wedding (I'm not big on dresses) and so I turned to a friend for advice on the occasion. She approved my choice, but later when she saw photos of the wedding, she groaned. "Those shoes were totally inappropriate!" I looked. I'd been wearing the only pair of sandals I owned at the time, dug out of a box when I realized, on the morning of the wedding, I hadn't thought about what shoes to wear. "What should I have worn?" I asked. She told me. "So after spending all that money on a dress I was never going to wear again, I needed to spend more money on shoes I was never going to wear again?" "Exactly," she said. "I can't believe I needed to tell you that." "No one was looking at my feet," I said. She rolled her eyes.

5. Are there any clothing/fashion trends today that you simply don't understand?

I honestly don't know how jeans are supposed to work. (Or pants/trousers, for that matter, but mostly I wear jeans.) Nothing seems designed to fit actual bodies! I have several pairs, each of which fits me well in one specific way (long enough, wide enough at the hips, tight enough at the waist, generous enough in the thigh), but sadly none satisfies all the relevant criteria.


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January 2019

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