May 26, 1999
Geishas, Jedi Knights, and a computer geek in chest-waders
The real bonus, though is that it's tiny. I love tiny places to hold up in. As long as I have big rooms, too. But for reading, cubby holes are magnificent. The fact that the short exterior wall is completely taken up by two regular windows side by side forming one large window looking out on the back yard is an added bonus. Mark hung two of his wall hangings, a silver painting of a castle and another of a knight on a horse on black fabric above rounded triangles of burgundy fabric, on the remaining walls and it seems very much like the other secret lair I've wanted since childhood.
When it's cold or rainy, I curl up in there with a book, snuggling in my papasan with a fleecy lap blanket. On misty mornings, it looks like the entire world is green; soft, muted, cool, soothing green.
When I'm in here, it feels as if nothing else exists in the world but this room and the book I'm reading. I feel as if I've stepped out of time when I come in here, free to drink in an entire book without once thinking of things I ought to be doing on the computer or chores I've been meaning to get to around the house.
I recently read Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha for the first time, reading it all at once, unable to set it down to sleep. I think that of all the books I've read, it's the very best. I read it as slowly as possible, savoring each sentence, and still it was gone all too soon. The detail Golden put into it was incredible. Descriptive detail was layered upon intimate details of experience, and the way he weaves words together is breathtakingly beautiful.
I fell in love with Chiyo/Sayuri immediately, charmed and identifying with her as if she had really lived, had spoken her words out loud to me. I cried for her during the sad parts, and gratefully gave silent thanks to the author when he avoided the common pitfalls of hitting characters over and over again with more tragedies. And when it was over, I cried because it had been sad, and I cried for joy that she got her happy ending (although from the beginning of the book one knows this), and I cried because I felt I might never again read a book as good as this. If ever a book moved me, it was this one. It even prompted me to go out and get Liza Dalby's Geisha (non-fiction), which I'm reading now.
But of course I've been doing more than just reading, even more than just working at the computer. When the weather's been good, I've been outside, and I've planted three packets of morning glory seeds, one packet each of moonflowers, Iceland poppies, and California poppies. Just a few more packets til everything's been planted. I'm nervous as a hen about them, worried I'll have done something wrong or not well enough and none of them will grow. But the morning glories are sprouting in their little peat sprouting-dealies, so surely they'll continue to do well.
I also had a chance to test the waders out when the pool is full, a bit above my waist. My excuse was another of my crazy schemes, this time an experiment to see if dragging an old window screen gently along the bottom of the pool might get a lot of the remaining debris Mark hadn't been able to get out. But my real motivation was to play in my waders.
My chest-waders have become one of my very favorite toys. I think I must have this Walter Mitty sort of gene which lets me enjoy silly things like this even more than they might warrant; probably some part of me was having an African Queen sort of adventure while I mucked around in there.
I lowered a plastic lawn chair over the side of the pool to use as a step-stool and climbed in, feeling the water press the waders hard against me. It was a strange, constricting sensation, but I soon got used to it. The water came up to just above my waist, and just below my chest as I bent over a bit to carefully drag the tall screen along the bottom of the pool. It worked marvelously, and I got tons of junk (silt-like debris) out, working until my arms were too tired to do any more. It was great fun.
Naboo, scene from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
I also got to see Star Wars: The Phantom Menace recently. Very exciting. I was about five years old when the first Star Wars came out and I can still remember making blue milk to imitate alien drinks and having fights with toy light sabers. We all wanted to be Jedi knights and fighter pilots, preferably both. I think I most wanted to be Han Solo.
My only real complaint about this one was how a lot of things seemed geared towards kids. (The first wasn't, and we loved it when we were kids without having sickening Ewok-ish stuff added.) There were places where you could tell they were going for a laugh but no one in the theater laughed. But that was minor and to be expected after being tormented previously by Ewoks.
Well, I also didn't like the fact that a certain easy rescue wasn't planned for after the main action was taken care of. It would have been easy after having helped a certain queen out, and it would have went a long way towards mitigating the problems Yoda pointed out. I'm being vague on purpose so as not to turn this complaint into a spoiler. I know, things needed to be the way they were for the future stuff planned, but I thought it was sloppy that an easy out was ignored--surely there could have been some other way without making all Jedi look like total fools for not performing one simple little rescue when they had the time and resources. Just plain sloppy plotting, in my opinion.
The settings, costumes, and effects were spectacular. Naboo and the castle were so beautiful that it made one want to be able to pause the movie, step into it, and just explore for awhile. Queen Amidala's wardrobe was just stunning, opulent and full of Asian influences. I want to be able to collect pictures of all her outfits, with the incredibly elaborate hair styles which when with them.
My favorite characters were Qui Gon Jinn and the elaborately outfitted Queen Amidala with her incredible voice and presence.
There's not much else I feel like saying for fear of spoiling things, but I will say that there was one particular death scene in the movie which really touched me with its tenderness. Rarely do I find a death scene involving two males so well done and moving. Beautiful. Despite the fact that I want all the good characters to live forever.
Queen Amidala's costumes. The larger versions are here.
First off, I have a new snail mail address, so those of you who've already written down my address from the contact info page should change it. It's the old address, but written differently because the USPS has decided to be obnoxious about non-USPS PO boxes and wants the addresses written in a different format. Those lovely people are threatening to deliver no mail after October of this year unless it is written the way they want it written. Personally, I think they're just trying to make things rough on the competition (my box is at Mailboxes, Etc.). Anyway, here it is, just how it now needs to be written:
17125C W. Bluemound Rd.
Brookfield, WI 53005-5933 USA
(Btw, my birthday is August 10th, hint, hint. heh.)
Secondly, I have a new message boards system, and it's mighty spiffy. I've added lots of boards with topics ranging from books to gardening, and am hoping people will have fun with them. You can post feedback on journal entries, tell about things entries remind you of, discuss web design or plug your own sites, talk about science fiction or help plan this year's Halloween Ball. I'm planning to be much more involved with the boards now that I have such a nice system (much better than the old Bravenet forums) which is running on my own server. So come and talk to me!
rambling about the cats
This one starts right after she's heard her mother has but a few more weeks to live:
dripping down into the mud,
at low tide.