Monday, July 9, 2012

Meter Monday: William Wordsworth

Dear Fantastic Spatula,
Lucy, Clara and S. Kemp have decided to take a summer vacation from posting. They are going to go do some much needed magic making. But don't worry, they'll start posting again on September 1, 2012. Then they'll be all refreshed and shiny. They hope that all of their dear readers enjoy their summer and make much magic. Here is a poem about daffodils and wandering.

"I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud"

I wandered lonely a a cloud
Daffodils tossing their heads
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed -and gazed- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

-William Wordsworth

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fantastic Sunday

Here is some music for your Sunday. All the songs have to do with Sunday. And the playlist is in really bright, neon, annoying, Sunday colors. Enjoy!

Fantastic Sunday by Shannon on Grooveshark

Thursday, June 28, 2012

TiLT: Top Five Edition

Do you remember those top five lists John Cusack’s character made in the movie High Fidelity? Top five songs about death, top five breakups, top five things you’d do if time and history and salary were no object. Well, this Thursday I’d like to make a top five list. A “Top Five Things of Almost Summer”. Almost summer, because it’s not quite summer here in Missoula. Well, it is technically summer, the weather is in the 80’s (I think it’s been in the 90’s one day so far), but I’ve not been in the water and, as a girl reared in Eastern North Carolina, being in the water is a big part of summer. I won’t be able to get in the water here (read: float in a tube down the river) until July-ish, maybe August. So, until then it’s almost summer. Here are my Top Five Things of Almost Summer. What would you pick?

Make a blazer then take a road trip! Two birds.
1. Dresses: I love being able to wear dresses and skirts. I love that I can wear them now without tights or stockings or wool underwear. I think they are pretty, bright, colorful, and fun. Also, they are easy to make. Have you ever wanted to make summer clothes? Skirts might just be one of the things that get you sewing this summer. Try looking through the patterns at Some of their skirt patterns are free, some are not. Burdastyle also ranks their patters by technical skills needed to make something from beginner to master. 

2. Lemonade: Tart, sweet, cool, and with a little bit of mint leaves muddled in the mix, there’s nothing quite like it. Except maybe a mojito. Lemonade has to be my summer drink of choice. Well, OK, it’s right up there with homemade sweet iced tea (pro tip: mix sugar or sweetener into warm tea before adding ice). Have you tried adding raspberries or strawberries to homemade lemonade? Spatulans, this drink is shiny.

3. Picnics: Grabbing a blanket, a basket of lunch or breakfast or dinner supplies, and someone you like hanging out with (including yourself), picnics are the best.  When I was a young’n my mom would make tuna salad sandwiches and sweet tea for me, my brother, and my sister. We’d eat lunch in the back yard under the live oak tree-its branches twining like tentacles over the brown Newport River. The dappled light and background music of cicadas and seagulls made for a perfect day. Picnics don’t have to be expensive and they don’t have to be fancy. Have breakfast with a friend in the nearest park. Try out a new recipe like the carrot salad over at My New Roots. What are your favorite things to take on a picnic? Where are your favorite picnic spots?

Lemonade Love by Sarah Hamm.
4. Being Warm: I love warm weather. Almost summer is not too hot during the day and cool at night and, I think I’ve mentioned this before, I’m not a fan of being cold. I’m not going so far as saying almost summer is my top favorite season but I am saying I like the weather. I love watching the summer thunderstorms and being comfortable during outdoor events. What do you like to do outside during the summer?

5. Day Trips: When was the last time you said to yourself or a friend, “Hey, let’s go here!” and get in the car and go? This is the perfect time to do that. Pick a weekend where you have no obligations, pick a destination, and go. If you like driving, pick a direction and go. Drive down the roads you pass on the way to work but have never been down. If you like seeing new places, find a museum or gallery near you, see if it costs money, and go. Be sure to pack a picnic (see #3), a friend, a camera, and some cash. If you could go anywhere for a weekend if time and history and salary were no object where would you go?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Whimsy Wednesday: Make Something

Make breakfast and art with someone.
This Wednesday make something for someone (or for a few someones). Or, if you can't make something today for someone, sit down and plan on making something this weekend for someone - write out a list of friends and things that they like and supplies you'd need to make that thing for that person. You can also write a letter to someone you miss. Put it in an envelope, stamp it, and send it on it's way today. You could also plan an "art date" to make something this weekend with someone so you get to see the person and get to make something with them. Plan out a simple breakfast (or lunch) and a project to work on together. 

Some project ideas: Make something scrumptious and take it to your friend (like this spiced strawberry sauce), make some homemade magnets, make some friendship bracelets, make a necklace out of old buttons, make someone a home cooked meal, make a bird feeder out of a pine cone, peanut butter and bird seed.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Meter Monday: Rainer Maria Rilke

Here is an old copy of the book.
This isn't a poem, but it's a letter written by a poet. So it counts for Meter Monday. My parents gave me Rainer Maria Rilke's "Letters To A Young Poet" in high school when I declared I was going to be a writer. When I first opened the book this particular excerpt stood out to me. Today, when I opened the book years later, the same paragraph caught my attention. I'm going to share it with you. I'd also like to know:
are there are any poets, writers, artists, musicians, potters, mathematicians, or scientists whose words or works stand out to you? Is there a specific piece or book that made you think, "Yes. This is how I feel and I know I must continue."?

"Go within. Search for the cause, find the impetus that bids you write. Put it to this test: Does it stretch out its roots in the deepest place of your heart? Can you avow that you would die if you were forbidden to write? Above all, in the most silent hour of your night, ask yourself this: "Must I write?" Dig deep into yourself for a true answer. And if it should ring its assent, if you can confidently meet this serious question with a simple, "I must," then build your life upon it. It has become your necessity. Your life, in even the most mundane and least significant hour, must become a sign,  testimony to this urge."
- Rainer Maria Rilke, "Letter To A Young Poet," from The First Letter.

Do you agree or disagree with this sentiment?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Things I Love Thursday: Little Boxes!

I have a box of... random things specifically so you can play "I spy".

I love little boxes. I love little things and putting little things in little boxes. This week I've been cleaning out some boxes and making things with little things I found in little boxes and laughing at how ridiculous it all sounds (but, just little laughs... HAHA just kidding... I'm a big laugher...). I found boxes of buttons and tins of pins, boxes of beads and containers of things I collected, found, and made (I made hot glue animals once). I have a milk crate box full of boxes. It's all organized and everything in the boxes has a use and a place. I just love little boxes full of little things.

What are some things that you love? What little things have made you happy this week?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Whimsy Wednesday: Childhood Daydreams

Short-but-sweet post. Just a simple question. Did you ever have a dream of being someone (or something) imaginary, mythical, or wondrous when you were young? Do you still have whimsical daydreams like you did back then? When I was a little sprout of a girl, I wanted to be a woodland nymph, or a water nymph, or a traveling elf warrior... or somehow all of them combined in some awesome way in which I could communicate with the plants and animals in the forrest that surrounded my house. I still have daydreams, but now I'm able to indulge and dress up as an elf (or as one of my favorite characters from my favorite anime). This makes me happy and makes me laugh.

Left to Right: Haruhara Haruko, S.Kemp pretending to be Haruhara Haruko

Who do (or did) you daydream about being?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Meter Monday: Tim Burton

Happy Monday, Spatulans. I hope your weekends were all Magical. Let's start this week with a poem from Tim Burton's slightly macabre "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories". While each character is bizarre and each tale a bit melancholy, which is the fun of a Tim Burton poetry collection, every poem is also illustrated, which makes this poetry collection even more fun. I'd encourage you to find this book and devour it, if you haven't already.

Staring Girl

I once knew a girl 
who would just stand there and stare.
At anything, 
she seemed not to care.

She'd stare at the ground,

She'd stare at the sky.

She'd stare at you for hours,
and you'd never know why.

But after winning the local staring contest,
she finally gave her eyes
a well-deserved rest.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fiction Friday: Forgotten Photographs

Left to Right: Frank and Bill

Frank didn’t have any children. He was also a widower. He married his high school sweet heart Regma and they tried to have children. Regma wanted to be a mother. She wanted to sew lace onto the hems of small dresses and mend holes in baby jodhpurs. Frank wanted to be a father. He wanted to teach counting numbers and read stories aloud. They never knew why they couldn’t have children. Then Frank didn't know why he had no wife and no children. 

Frank used the money he had saved to raise a family to travel by train. To anywhere. He went to Mississippi, Montanta, Chicago, Seatle, Texas. He took photos of everything during these trips. During one train ride he met a young man named Bill. The two talked the whole time. Frank never remembered where he was going or from whence he came when he met Bill, but when they got to their desitnation Frank got another passenger to take a photograph of the them together. 

The men exchanged addresses and for years wrote letters – letters of missing family, of regret, of love and longing, of money. They wrote letters about the weather, planting seasons, new authors and music, about God and heaven and hell and politicians running for office. Frank read about Bill’s new wife and then the new baby. Frank sent photographs he took during his train travels and became a grandfather of sorts, sending wooden toys and books on birthdays. 

Years went by and Frank became a very old man. He died in April on a spring morning when the sun was just shining pink through the new apple blossoms outside his bedroom window. The coroner came two days after he died and found Frank’s last will and testament among a huge stack of letters from “Bill, North Bonner Mill Road, Bonner MT”. During the coroner’s lifetime he was never able to find the man that Frank left everything to.  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

"TiLT S.Kemp Book Edition" or "BiLT"

Hooray Books!

Instead of TiLT (Things I Love Thursday) this should be called BiLT (Books I Love Thursday). I've been reading a few new books and a few not-so-new books and I'd like to share.

The Best American Short Stories 2011, Geraldine Brooks, editor. I had to read one of these collections  for an English class in college. I remember neither the stories I was supposed to have read nor the year in which I was supposed to have read them (I was sometimes... oblivious back then... I even chose to teach, with a fellow friend, an Edgar Allen Poe fiction story to my creative nonfiction class... yeah...). Now, I'm enjoying being a slightly more "aware" "adult" and re-reading some of the books I only halfheartedly read during college. The Best American Short Stories collections are some of those books. The 2011 collection has been wonderful. So many genres are packed into this collection (there's a science fiction short in here!), so many emotions, so may vivid descriptions of life and places I've never been.

About Writing, by Samuel R. Delany. I've read a lot of books about writing and how to write and how to free my inner artist. I love all of them. They seem to calm and encourage parts of my inner artist/writer/worrier. However, there are only a few books I take as serious, no nonsense, no fluff advice for writers. About Writing is one such book. I read this quote from the book on Neil Gaiman's journal a while ago...

Writers are people who write. By and large, they are not happy people. They're not good at relationships. Often they're drunks. And writing -- good writing -- does not get easier and easier with practice. It gets harder and harder -- so eventually the writer must stall out into silence.The silence that waits for every writer and that, inevitably, if only with death (if we're lucky the two may happen at the same time: but they are still two, and their coincidence is rare), the writer must fall into is angst-ridden and terrifying - and often drives us mad. (In a letter to Allen Tate, the poet Hart Crane once described writing as "dancing on dynamite.") So if you're not a writer, consider yourself fortunate. 

I found it interesting. So, I bought the book. Seven essays, four letters, and five interviews later I have not been disappointed.

Essex County Collected, by Jeff Lemire. This is a comic book. A series of three comics collected in one place. You can always use more comics. Especially these comics. Canadian author Jeff Lemire tells the story of a farm family through the game of hockey, the telling of ghost stories, and the eyes of the county nurse who tries to help one dying family member. The stories are well crafted and the images make your heart burn with regret and loss. It's heart breaking to watch two brothers who trust each other completely win fame and fortune playing hockey then sever all ties completely. It's gut wrenching to watch a young boy struggle with the world that just crumbled beneath him. But there is hope, isn't there, at the end of everything there is still family. A friend who borrowed this book just returned it to me. I'm reading it again.

The People Look Like Flowers At Last, by Charles Bukowski. I've read Bukowski's older works and I really enjoy Tales of Ordinary Madness. It's like trudging in muck and booze through a dark tunnel. You're heading toward this strange light at the end that grows sharper and more beautiful the closer you get. You know you're crazy for going into that tunnel in the first place but you just can't help your self. The People Look Like Flowers At Last is a collection of new poems. These poems are not quiet as mad - they are sitting and noticing poems. They're poems of remembering and regretting and, well, I'm not finished reading this yet, I only got my hands on it Monday, but I've been taking it everywhere.

dogs and angels are not very far apart. I often go to this little place about 2:30 in the afternoon because all the people there are completely sane, glad to be simply alive and eating their food near a plate glass window which welcomes the sun but doesn't let the cars and the sidewalks come inside.
-from "near a plate glass window" by Charles Bukowski

I Lock My Door Upon Myself, by Joyce Carol Oates. Oh, man. Oh, buddy. This book. The way you feel about the character's actions - their why and how and what. You are grossed out and intrigued, you empathize and scorn. The way this woman writes is stunning. It's captivating. I mean, two characters can just row a boat right over a waterfall, straight to their doom, knowingly, and you. just. can't. look. away. You have to know what happens. You have to keep reading. 

In the Company of Crows and Ravens, by John M. Marzluff and Tony Angell. One of the characters I'm writing about is a raven. He's pretty great. His name is Rook. I wanted to learn more about my character so I picked up this book from the library and it's really interesting. I'm learning all sorts of cool stuff about the Common Raven (corvus corax... corax from the Greek "korax" which means croaker... and ravens "croak" while crows "kaw") and the 46 different species known as "crows". The book includes histories and myths, research showing how ecological changes affect crows, descriptions of eating and nesting habits, and pictures of physical differences. This book is awesome if you want to learn how crows and ravens really are different.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"Tag! You're It!" or "Time Out Tuesday with S.Kemp"

Remember running around with your friends during a summer day playing tag or red rover or kick the can? Have you ever had to watch (or baby sit) someone's child and the first thing out of the whippersnapper's mouth is "Lets play" and play involves running around saving imaginary people or fighting imaginary monsters?

These Italian children showed me that "let's play" can also
mean "run around and chase pigeons".
 A couple of weeks ago I went to a friends house for a cook out. Their granddaughter came over a little later and the first thing she said after she met me was, "You be the sparkle ninja and I'm the rainbow unicorn pegasus. We can change into any animal but we gotta save the people but first we gotta fight each other". I kid you not. I knew it was going to be the start of a beautiful friendship.

It turns out, I'm not as fit as a seven year old. I don't just run around the yard for fun any more. (OK, look. I don't have a yard to run around in anymore.) I was out of breath after 15 minutes of changing into dragons, tigers, sea monsters, rainbow sparkle unicorns and the like. I called a time out. It's a magical phrase.

A time out can be called when you need to catch your breath, when you've been running around with someone 21 years younger than you and you need some water, or when you're about to be tagged "It" but you don't really want to be tagged so you pretend you're out of breath just before the "It" person tags you, so when the "It" person stops running you call "Time in!" and run away. (Apparently, this tactic is only allowed if you are between the ages of three and seven and the "It" person is, like, 28 years old.)

I know it's only Tuesday and Friday seems like a distant star in the glimmering weekend universe, but call a time out, catch your breath, and check out these links before you go running off to something important... like fighting off rainbow sparkle unicorns.

Cutie egg tarts! Yummy source here.
I just love cupcakes. If you do too check out this photo series called "cupcake wars". Cute "edible" things made out of yarn.

I really want to read "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" by Ransom Riggs. Children with extraordinary abilities, old photographs, and a mystery... yeah. Check out this teaser video for the book.

Fan of BBC comedy? Me too. Watch this trailer for the movie "In The Loop". If you think this is funny I'm told you'll also laugh hysterically at the BBC series called "The Thick Of It".

Love writing and you've always wanted to submit something to a contest but don't know where to start? Check out Poets&Writers Magazine's list of contests. It's tidy and sorted by application fee and application deadline.

This link is for Lucy. Fast cars and motorcycles. The Selvedge Yard has some pretty fun photos and links. (The film "Shutter Speed" has a lady motorcycle rider, Lucy! But watching parts of it made me sea sick...)

I love taking photographs of my daily activities as boring or pretty as they come. I also really enjoy looking through photos taken by others to see what their life is like. Aan de dijk is a collection of bright photos taken during everyday Dutch life. (Check out the list of photography links in the "some info" section.)

The art work of Johan Potma. Whimsical cartoonish pantings and sketches. Check them out.

Also. If you haven't seen this yet it's a video of Neil Gaiman when he addresses the University of the Arts Class of 2012. It's an inspiring piece for anyone who wants to write or make good art.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Meter Monday: David E. Thomas

When I first moved to Missoula, MT there were a few places I liked because they felt familiar. One place was The Oxford Cafe. You walked in and poker was played by men in driver caps and cowboy hats to your left. The long bar to your right went back past the pool players and the 2 a.m. drunks siting at the tables in the dining area. Another bar stretched in front of the grill where greasy wonderful food was cooked in front of you. This was where I went to eat cheese fries after drinking too much with new found friends. It reminded me of The Royal James bar in Beaufort, NC where I'd eat cheese fries after drinking too much with the news paper crew. There, I'd sit at the bar after putting money in the juke box and watch the pool players in drivers caps and cowboy hats.

Missoula had a lot of free events I liked going to when I first moved. My favorite was the poetry and prose readings at Shakespeare & Co. Book Store, a book store on the ground floor of my apartment building. One day I ran into a neighbor who told me another neighbor, Dave Thomas, was reading from his newest book of poetry, "Waterworks Hill", that night. Since I'd moved into the apartment building I'd seen Mr. Thomas, Dave, walking to the library during the day and sitting in a bar called Charlie B's, sipping a beer at night. I'd also seen him cleaning the four community bathrooms in the apartment building. He reminded me of my uncles Drake and Butch who lived in Easton, Maryland. They all had huge beards.

I went to the reading that night. The poems felt honest and dirty like I'd been working in the mountains all day and bathed in the river running through town that night. The people he wrote about felt familiar like I'd had a drink with them back home. He wrote about a Missoula I'd come too late to know but could picture through his words. Today I bought a book of his poetry called "Buck's Last Wreck". I found a poem about The Oxford Cafe.

Historical Eggs In The Oxford Cafe

There was a time
     when women
would enter
on a dare
     a sorority gal's
meat and potatoes
     a greasy grill
bleary faces move
well lit smoke
wooden counter chairs
with decades of hungry

Thursday, May 24, 2012

TiLT(ing) with S.Kemp

Moms and Sisters

photo credit Grace "Mamma" Kemp
Dads and Brothers

Silly Cats in Bags

Getting phone calls from my sister and mom and dad and getting a photo sent to my phone from my brother <3 Watching Scully cat climb into a brown paper bag and curl up <3 showing photos to The Bear while drinking vanilla orange tea <3 Drawing silly photos on post-it notes <3 making lists <3 finding love notes <3 less than 3 looks like... an ice cream cone? a bird beak? <3 getting ingredients to make homemade ice cream <3 finding "And The Story is Happening" by Sabrina Ward Harrison in a book/gift store in Missoula, MT <3 Charlotte Moore and Allan Maule made this <3 Carteret Community Theater in Morehead City, North Carolina (word to my home town!) performs "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" <3 I Lock My Door Upon Myself by Joyce Carol Oates <3 Poached eggs on cheese rice <3

 Also... A Fabric Sale in an underground thrift store next to two old gentlemen playing pool.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Whimsy Wednesday: Tinkerbell Brand Cosmetics

Does anyone else remember Tinkerbell brand makeup? One of the women on the cleaning crew at work was wearing some perfume that yoinked me all the way back into the 80's, (who needs a Daloreon, amiright?), and to the Tinkerbell perfume I used to have. 

I didn't think to ask the lady what she was wearing. Considering the brand went out of business more than a decade ago, I'm pretty sure it wasn't Tinkerbell. 

This drove me into a frenzy. Ever have one of those frenzied Google searches that somehow comes up empty handed? 

Oddly enough I've had the most luck on Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's discussion forum. I'll be trying out some of their potions to see how they compare. ;) 

How about you guys? What scents take you back? 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Time Out Tuesday With Lucy

Have some links and pretty things to help you through the week! 

& Rock and Roll Bride talks about Self-Confidence.
& In a similar vein, here's Joy Junkie's list of boosting your Self-Love.
& After reading Imagine by Jonah Lehrer I can tell you that the man knows a thing or two about Creativity. Have a look for yourself by reading this interview he did with Barnes & Noble.
& Why the words Suffering and Artist don't belong in the same sentence.
& Gala Darling isn't Sorry, and neither should you be.
& Damn good writing advice from Dear Sugar 
& Kate Beaton's Mother's Day comic will make you seriously happy. Especially if you've ever been let down by a hero in your field. Or just have really cool parents.

Have a good one!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Meter Monday: Minchin Edition

Hello. It's been a while, huh? Sorry about that; I've got no excuse. I've just been out of it for a while. But a rejuvenating weekend has put me back on course. I figured I'd ease back into posting by taking advantage of Meter Monday and showcasing one of my favorite poets, the wonder of Tim Minchin.

Yes. I know. I've featured him before, and with good reason. This man is a wordsmith of true greatness. And he is funny to boot, truly talented. Not only is he a brilliant pianist and song writer, but his beat poetry is remarkable.

(Now, I feel I need to issue another disclaimer. Tim Minchin is not for the faint of heart. He likes profanity, but he uses it well. He is also not for those of the closed minded persuassion or those whose own view points bruise easily. So, you've been warned.)

Here are my favorite bits of Tim's poetry; absurdly funny, ridiculously apt, and irreverantly perfect. Ladies and gentlemen, Tim Minchin!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Things I Love Thursday in Photos

Sisters!   People Watching   Aunts With Story Book Hair   Sleepy Dogs   Little Streets   Sleepy Cats   Meeting New People   Wine Cellars   Dimly Lit Stairways   Wine  Making Things By Hand   Artichokes

Also: Zoh My Gawd! Cookies! (Note: If you have a fear of seeing the word vagina in print, get over it and read this blog. If you can't get over it then don't read this blog. If you like witty, crude, sometimes obscene humor click that link, Baby Cakes.) Stephanie Karampelas is a sweet, honest, lady blogger. Read her here.  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Things I Love Thursday in Italy

This is where I am. La Meridiana. This is a photo credit.
& Being in Italy & being in Italy with my grandmother, sister, mom, aunt, and grandmother's goddaughter & olive  oil from the olive grove next door & olive oil with salt and bread (try it. sprinkle some salt on a plate, pour some olive oil on the salt, dip your bread in this. you will never want to eat bread and oil any other way.) & gelato & people who speak three different languages & talking and laughing with people who speak no English while you can't speak their native language & learning to make things out of clay & learning to make porcelain clay in different colors & learning to make ceramics in Italy (yes, I am saying Italy a lot because, come on, you would too if you were in Italy.) & getting to know my grand mother's goddaughter & dancing with Lise (pronounced Leez) from Canada to the "13 Going On 30" Soundtrack & The Golden Light of 5 p.m. (This light used to make me sad. When I was in grade school and the summer was coming to an end, meaning I was going to have to go to school again, I would start crying around 5 p.m. When the golden light made everything beautiful and I was sad I was not going to be able to lounge around being painted by that light. Now, I have a new and happy respect for this light. Thanks, Italy.) & Olive Oil Tasting (You've heard of wine tastings... olive oil tastings are the same thing. Only, I never knew so many flavors could be found in Olive Oil.) & finding little things for friends & making little pieces of jewelry for people (it you would like a piece of something I make in Italy post a comment and email the Fantastic Spatula with your mailing address. I'm serious. Until I run out of little things. Then I'm not serious any more.) & Curtis Benzle and Martha and Antonella (OK. Curtis is my teacher, Martha [pronounced Marta] sits at my table and we laugh and make things together, and Antonella is another student in the class. These people are amazing artists and I can't even begin to tell you how amazing it has been to be in the same ROOM and them.)  Taking Pictures of Italy & meeting my bosses daughter in Florence for a wine and bread and olive oil & Italian Food & Two Hour Lunches & Siestas & laughing all night with my grand mother and cohorts about what we did when we were babies & so. many. things. & all of you. & I can't wait to show you pictures from my trip & everything online being in Italian &

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday Whimsy: Scotland on my Mind

There is something about today; little things keep bringing Scotland to mind. Well, this isn't entirely surprising I suppose. Anyone who knows me is well aware that I am infatuated with the place, not to mention the accent. But it seems that today, every time I turn around, there is something Scottish.

Scottish actors keep popping up on my internets; I keep seeing references to thistles, the national flower of Scotland; and I swear by Hiddles that I just had a Gene Kelly in "Brigadoon" moment. I was just sitting here and suddenly I heard bagpipes in the distance. Any moment now I expect to hear a chorus singing to me softly, calling me across the misty moors to my true home in an enchanted Scottish village.

This happens everyday in Scotland, in my mind.

Maybe it is a sign that I will meet a handsome Scottish lad at my brother's wedding. (His soon to be mum-in-law is Scottish, so it is a distinct possibility.) (Well, I can dream, can't I?)

Or maybe it has something to do with the awesome new trailer for Pixar's "Brave." Don't quote me on this, but I may actually die while watching this movie, from an overload of Scottish accents.

So, I am spending all my whimsy this evening daydreaming about charming rogues in kilts and planning a future among the heathered hills.

For serious, yo!
(It's downloadable. Have fun. Pass it on.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Time Out Tuesday

Adam "Foxy" Levine. Totes not his nickname, but it should be.

How's it going out there? Y'all having yourselves a good week so far? My Tuesday's looking a little lackluster- but at least there's nifty things on the interwebs! Here, let me show you-

& Let's start this off properly with an article about the talented Mr. Levine. (Phwar!)

& I betcha there's at least one of these 5 Gender Stereotypes that you'd never heard of before. Neat, huh?

& Feeling a little stuck and need to know where to start? Anne Lamott has a few things to say on the subject.

& Strikingly beautiful pictures of New York City when it does, actually, sleep.

& Fiction writers using crazy grammar? Really? Who knew? Grammar Girl, that's who.

& How to stop buying into the BS and how sometimes no choice is the best choice.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Meter Monday: Jewel

Jewel has been one of my favorite musicians since I first heard "You Were Meant for Me". Yes, it was the line about making a smiley face with the eggs that hooked me. 

When I was fifteen I bought "A Night Without Armor" as a Christmas present to myself. A lot of the poems it contained went right over my lovely, innocent head. But over the years I figured out what the darker content actually meant, and also appreciated the beautiful, triumphant ones even more. 

Tonight I picked up the dog-eared, love worn book and opened it to the first bookmarked page. 

Certain Girls

I am fascinated by
those certain girls
     you know the ones
the women that are always girls
their tiny bodies like
neglected willow trees
     controlled and contorted
which may blow away with
the slightest dissappointment 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Soundtrack For the Spatula

When I was younger I didn't understand the difference between Movie Soundtrack and Film Score. Both relate to music, right? So, why two separate things? Now, I take "Soundtrack" to mean "Individual Songs With or Without Lyrics for Different Scenes" and "Score" to mean "The Background". You can Google or Wikipedia or Library-It-Up for a legit difference.

But what about for life, can you have a life/day soundtrack or score? I think so. Sometimes a particular song pops into my head during a particular part of my day. I'm not talking about a song that gets stuck in my head and plays ad nauseam through out. I mean a particular song for a particular event. When I'm driving, puffs of white cloud suspended in bright blue sky, sun warming the left arm hanging out of the driver side car window, the song "Today" by the Smashing Pumpkins plays in my head as loud as if it were coming from factory issue speakers. Other times, when I'm in a certain kind of mood, a feeling theme if you will, songs seem discordant with my body. Those are the times when only a specific type of music, no lyrics, no words, just a steady background to my day, will do.

How about for the Fantastic Spatula, is there a theme music you would play for someone reading the blog? Do you listen to a particular song or band when reading particular FS writers? Do you associate songs with the blog?

If you gave Fantastic Spatula a soundtrack what songs would you include? If you created a "Fantastic Spatula Blog Score" would it sound playful and whimsical or airy and steady? If I were to create a Blog Score for the FS I would use non-traditional instruments. I would use squeaking rubber ducks, shivering saws, buzzing blenders, a clanging metal rhythm from trash can lids, combs with paper to vibrate a tune, and marbles in metal bowls (because I'm a fan of Sxip Shiery). If I were to choose 22 songs for a Sunday 22 April 2012 Spatula Soundtrack these are the songs I would pick:

22 Songs by Shannon on Grooveshark

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fiction Friday From the Depths of Forgotten Photos

 Franklin always ate his cooked broccoli and carrots that his mother put beside the fried chicken on his dinner plate. He answered, "Yes, mamma" when she asked him to put away his wooden blocks and corn husk dolls after he was finished playing. After dinner, the two would cuddle on the faded sofa, teal with gold flowers on the cushions, threads poking out of the worn arm rests showing what the inside looked like. His mamma would tell the best stories of magic men coming out of tea pots in a burst of smoke and giving wishes and thieves guarding treasure. After his Mamma went to bed, Franklin would pluck out the gold threads that itched his bare elbows on the arm rests. He would fold them neatly up and place them in his treasure basket along with three silver buttons with anchors, a chicken wish bone, a piece of broken shell, a bit of lace from the hem of a slip, his Mamma's pink broach in the shape of little roses with gold stems, and a black rock with a white line running through the middle. On Sundays, dressed in his best, Franklin would take his basket outside to the back yard and climb under the Magnolia tree with the branches that hung low and kissed the ground. There he had found a teapot and he would discuss with the man in the smoke how to keep his treasure safe.

Soon Coming: One of Two. Pick One of the Two images and I'll write a blip.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

TILT: Finally

This is short and sweet, because I am still trying to recapture my sanity after it escaped last week. Here are my things I love for this gray Thursday.

  • Finally being through with tax season. Never again! (And you can quote me on that.)

  • Finally having the time and energy to get back to my reading list. Currently on tap "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" by John le Carrè. I'm only a little ways in, but so far it is excellent.

  • Finally, my birthday! As quickly as the year has gone by so far, it seemed like my well earned day of celebration would never get here. A quiet day spent with my family, my cats, and my pink cake.

  • Finally, having a release date for Diablo III; am I right, fellow warriors?

  • And, most importantly, FINALLY being able to post again! I missed posting, but I really was in no shape mentally to be writing anything. Really, it was hard enough to just get up and move around, much less think coherently. But now I will be able to dedicate more time to writing, daydreaming, and making magic.