25 November 2014

This post about my new rug features photos of an adorable cat.

I bought a rug for the living room. One of the Turkish Kilim rugs I wrote about a few months ago. After searching for a place that sells these in town, I gave up and searched the internet. Rug stores don't seem to display their stock on their websites, and the idea of driving around the metro area, going from store to store to flip through hideous, probably-mass-produced rugs, while fending off useless store clerks, did not appeal to me. eBay wasn't helpful, but I discovered that there are several sellers of Turkish Kilims on Etsy! So I perused all the Kilim rugs on Etsy. No seriously, all of them. It took hours. But this was a major purchase of a thing I couldn't see in person, so wanted to get it right.

After favoriting around 45 rugs, I suddenly got two "followers" on Etsy. (Which, really? Is Etsy supposed to be a social network now, too?) Then I started the process of narrowing them down by the following criteria: price, size, and colors. There were several beautiful rugs that didn't make the cut because they didn't include the colors I was aiming for in the living room. Finally I pared the list down to four rugs, and I made mini-collages of the options to email to MB, to ask him to help me decide.

Kilim Option 1
This one doesn't look as vibrant as the others, but the close-up photos amplify its loveliness, and the slightly-more muted tone of the colors make a gentler first impression.

Kilim Option 2
My main issue with this rug is that I was originally aiming for the multi-cat-eye pattern, whereas this rug features one cat-eye. Also I wasn't sure it was chromatically warm enough (oranges, pinks, red).

Kilim Option 3

Options 3 and 4 are mostly interchangeable, which made it difficult to choose between the two of them. These represent what I originally wanted in a Kilim rug.

Kilim Option 4

However, by the time I finished making the mini-collages and attaching them in an email to MB, I knew that Option 2 was my first preference. Even though it wasn't as pink or as loud as I thought I wanted, the more-basic design better complements our traditional-style furniture. And I like all the grey. So the email was more like "I think I'll get #2, sound good?"

Anyway, the cat likes it:

Cleo likes the new rug.

The arrival of the rug provided a good excuse to clean and rearrange the living room, and to finally hem the curtains. (I prefer the drapey curtain effect, but these curtains should be slightly longer and less stiff for it to really work. Plus, cat hair.)

I suddenly have the feeling that I'm being watched.
Mid-rearrangement / cleaning, while sitting at the computer on the table in the dining room,
I had the feeling that I was being watched.

Hemming the curtains and drinking Prosecco.

With the hemming (and de-cat-furring / ironing) project in full-swing: I was also listening to music and sipping Prosecco, while my cat lazed around in the sunlight, and feeling ridiculously peaceful and happy about my life and the afternoon.

Anyway, here's the finished product:

Living Room One

The room could use a matching console table, and another chair, to balance it out.

Living Room Two

But this will do for now!

Living Room Three

That cat really ties the room together.


My brother is funny.

07 November 2014

The Gilmore Girls Diet

Tonight, in the middle of a rendition of "Don't Cha," which I was singing to my cat as I cradled her in my arms and scanned the kitchen cupboard for all snacky food that I don't have in the house, I realized this was all the conversation I had today:
  • Informing the cat that she is so soft, the softest little kitty ever.
  • Asking the cat if she wanted belly scratches, while giving her belly scratches.
  • Informing the cat that she is a "pretty little girl."
  • Gently suggesting to the cat that she get off the counter while I stuffed Port Salut into slices of turkey lunch meat which I prepared to smear with fancy mustard. (The only snacking option in the house other than the bag of candy corn and candy corn varietals, from which I already consumed too much within this 24-hour period.)
  • Telling the cat that "I love my baby kitty! I love her so much!"
It wasn't a straight rendition of "Don't Cha." It involved other people wishing their kitty was as soft as Cleo. I started laughing and composing this blog post in the middle of it.

None of this is relevant to the main topic of the blog post. It's just an adorable prologue. We play fast and loose with titles and how long it takes to get around to validating them with a subject around here. Although, I was standing in the kitchen looking for snacks because I was watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix and those women are just constantly eating all the damn time. They talk about burgers and Chinese food a lot, and there are always gratuitous shots of luscious-looking pizza, in every episode. Every damned episode. While I sip wine in my workout clothes, craving snacks, and admonish myself for already eating dinner tonight. (Romaine salad with tomatoes and tuna.) Which was already sinful because I allowed into it to include Bleu cheese dressing rather than the usual "good girl" dressing-mixture of olive oil, pepper and Parmesan. (Even when I'm being good I include the cheese. Leave me alone.)

Gilmore Girls arrived on Netflix a month or so ago. Half my Twitter feed was watching it, commenting on various character's shittiness, mostly correctly. Jess is a pretentious shithead and a mistake that every smart girl needs to inevitably make. Gilmore Girls featured the best indie music years before The OC and Zach Braff's over-rated movie. (It was on the WB and it was about a niche segment of the population - women - so most people didn't notice.) Sookie is the best ever, followed closely by Sookie's dimples. Lane should've gotten an abortion. Anyway, I can only take so much of this before I'm tempted to re-live GG. So yeah. While eating, while chasing spiders, while editing photos, while fiercely climbing the cat tree, and while doing any other some such Internet flitting (some of these things are more Cleo-type activities, and some are more Amanda-type activities), Cleo and I enjoy fast-paced, jokey conversations, gratuitous shots of pepperoni pizza, and Sookie's dimples.

Holy crap, Melissa McCarthy's dimples. And they seem so much dimplier in Gilmore Girls than in everything I've ever seen her in. Last Friday - I was in Minneapolis last Friday - I was out for dinner with friends, and sometime in the middle of one of my whiskey-infused cocktails our many conversations, I rowdily hypothesized that it's impossible to be an evil person and have dimples at the same time. We tried to think of bad people, and whether they had dimples. Ted Bundy? Hitler? The only conclusion we reached was that Hitler's Dimples would make a great, only-locally-successful band name. (Or that might have been my own conclusion that I didn't say out loud, now that I think about it. It used to be a joke with my old roommates Monica and Mike, and Monica's BF Shane, to think of ridiculous band names and write them on the white board in the kitchen. I would list examples but they were all much more profane than Hitler's Dimples, and usually involved body parts more scandalous than dimples / bodily fluids. I enjoy writing - and saying! - swear words, but this isn't a Blue Blog.)

How is it that Dimple-Havers don't just completely rule the world? [Attempts to think of any world leaders who might have dimples.] I feel like Melissa McCarthy could make me do ANYTHING by flashing her fucking Sookie St. James dimples at me. Dimple-Havers, do you find that the world seems so much more difficult, according to other people? Do you find yourself noticing people obeying your every whim, particularly at times when you are smiling? I assumed that nice people have dimples because the world is good to them, and how can a person be evil to a world that has only ever expressed delight at their existence? But maybe Dimple-Havers are more in danger of becoming evil, because the hordes of people who wish to suck up the sweet nectar of sunlight exuding from their dimples has made them power-hungry and megalo-maniacal. Hitler's Dimples. (I Google-image searched Hitler, but he's glaring in almost every photo, and his Hitler 'Stache is very distracting.)

The dimple page in Wikipedia is sadly lacking in information about the psychological and sociological impacts of dimples.

Typical nap pose.
Cats don't have dimples because the universe was already good enough to give us cats.

Back to food. (I can't think of anything else to say about dimples.) I was certain that the issue of Gilmore Girls and junk food had been thoroughly covered on the Internet since the advent of lady journals and blogs and "Feminist thinkpieces," so after one particularly grueling shot of pizza, I did a quick search. I just needed to read someone saying "Okay so HAHA the Gilmore Girls don't cook and hate vegetables but let's all admit that this junk food theme plus the thin, attractive actresses was sort of bullshitty and sexist, right?!" And I found that. And it was! It plays into the Cool Girl trope of being thin and beautiful while somehow maintaining a constant diet of high fat, high sugar, low nutrition, crap food. Not that Gilmore Girls, or any show, has to be the television show equivalent of a Perfect Feminist, but it's an important trope to examine.

(Even though the trope is obnoxious, I appreciated one scene in which Lorelai and Rory are wolfing down pizza while Dean eats a salad. Nice, Gilmore Girls. In the scene, Dean is suggesting that the Donna Reed Traditional Housewife ideal wasn't always a bad thing. It's either a brilliant or a contradictory juxtaposition.)

So it was rather edifying to read, in a linked article in one of these blogs, an interview with Lauren Graham, in which she states that she's been on a diet "since I was born," and admits to being an exercise fanatic. (Exercise after spending the whole day skiing? What?) Not that I think it's great - or not great, since I don't know her life - that anyone feels that they have to eat like they are dieting for their entire life. But it helps to read the reality side of things. Being as thin and fit as Lorelai Gilmore clearly is in Gilmore Girls, while eating what she eats, is a fiction. The vast majority of 36-year old (and older) women have to work very, very hard to look how the actress who played her (still) looks. Graham eats brown rice and has a personal trainer. I wouldn't mind having a personal trainer, and exercise is important for every person, but I sure as hell will never be am eater of brown rice. Or wheat pasta. (Stop telling me to switch to wheat pasta, health gurus!) So I'm just going to have to deal with being healthy within reasonable bounds (wine and Port Salut and non-wheat pasta are included within these reasonable bounds) and not looking like actresses, by reading things about how the Gilmore Girls Diet is a fiction, and I will be fine.

This post makes it sound like I had some kind of food-related freak-out tonight, but that wasn't at all the case. (Just, snackiness.) These food thoughts are thoughts that most women have to think about every damn day. (Bleu cheese dressing? AND Port Salut and Candy Corn?!) My point is merely, that Gilmore Girls doesn't help with that situation!

But I'm enjoying it on Netflix!

And there is probably some pepperoni pizza in my not-too distant future.

23 October 2014

Browser/Tabs Check: 23 October 14 Edition


I'm working on a regular post (ie. with paragraphs), at the moment, about returning home from my trip to SE Asia. But in the meantime, I want to put my toes back in the water of this blogging thing that I used to do. Here's a variation of a list post. It's way less angsty than the last time I did one of these. *wink*

Browser/Tabs Today:
  • Yahoo Mail - naturally
  • Facebook - Good gravy, I love hating Facebook.
  • Flickr - In and out of my account on this site while editing SE Asia (!) photos for the last couple of days.
  • Wikipedia - Neanderthal entry - I randomly looked this up because I heard an American on the radio say "neandertal," and thought exasperatedly to myself, "REALLY? We have to pronounce it with a British "th" now??" It's spelled with either a "th" or just a "t," sez Wikipedia. Then the next American on the radio pronounced the word with the "th" as the English digraph (not the plain "t" sound). So I guess we're in HARassment/harASSment territory.
  • Feedly - news and blogs
  • The ToastWomen In Eagles Songs, In Order Of Trustworthiness
  • SoundCloud - Stars, "No One Is Lost" - There's a brand new Stars album! Yippee! This song is dance-y and upbeat and yet still characteristically fatalist and existential. ...Stars!
  • Zappos - ...maybe looking up some Frye boots...just for fun...
  • YouTube - 18+, "All The Time"
  • Slate - Dear Prudence again! In which Prudie finds a diplomatic way to say "You need to stop being a heartless piece of crap." The letter is so stereotypically "mean, rich person," I wondered whether it was actually real.
  • Blogger - Um, this blog post.
  • Brain Pickings - Ursula K. Le Guin on Being a Man
    That’s who I am. I am the generic he, as in, “If anybody needs an abortion he will have to go to another state,” or “A writer knows which side his bread is buttered on.” That’s me, the writer, him. I am a man. Not maybe a first-rate man. I’m perfectly willing to admit that I may be in fact a kind of second-rate or imitation man, a Pretend-a-Him. As a him, I am to a genuine male him as a microwaved fish stick is to a whole grilled Chinook salmon.
So THERE. Totally *not* ridiculously Feministy all the time.