January 19, 2009

looking at history

While tomorrow guarantees to be an historic event, I am talking about history of a more personal nature. Right now, I am having a little staycation. I really needed a break from work to get caught up on some things and have some me time. Somewhere along the line, I decided that it would be a good time for me to finally take a little road trip I have long talked about to see where my relatives are from. My great-grandparents came over some time ago, and settled in a town about three hours away from where I live now. I've never been, so I will be heading out there this week to see if I can see any sights relating to them, and to stop at the local history research center to see what I can find.

In the meantime, I dug up the family tree info I had so far to insure I was looking for the right stuff. A while back, I was trying to work on my genealogy, but it sort of fell to the wayside after hitting some blocks. I did some searches tonight, and found more info on my family. The best part? Someone I am assuming is a cousin once or twice removed (possibly a second cousin once or twice removed), has entered a chunk of family tree stuff on a genealogy website. Not only that, but he loaded pictures! So, I just spent quite a while looking at photos of my great-grandparents, and my great-grandmother's parents and siblings. I can't even begin to explain how that felt. I literally had tears in my eyes. I'd only ever seen one picture of my great-grandparents, and it was a family photo taken when they were a bit older, and my grandfather was wee. So, it was nice to see some younger photos, as well as what some more of the family looks like.

I am hopeful I will find even more info on Thursday. I know that my grandfather was very involved in the town, and there were newspaper write-ups and things about him, so I am hoping I will be able to get some copies of that sort of thing, as well as see the church he helped build and the cemetery where they are buried.

This is among the many reasons I am feeling so much positive energy from this week. It is amazing. I hope you are finding much positivity this week, as well!!!

Posted by raven at 09:54 PM | Comments (0)

January 17, 2009

sucked in...

As anyone who knows me knows, I have a thing for (almost) all things vampire. I say (almost) because there are certain interpretations of the lore that leave me cold, such as Buffy and Angel. Thus, with all the Twilight hullabaloo, I tried to keep my distance. I mean, teenage girls everywhere were shrieking and weeping and forming lines at four a.m. at shopping malls in an attempt to score a glimpse of the actors doing their press junket thing. My anti-Twilight sentiment only grew once I read some things about the author around the time Breaking Dawn was released. She is a Mormon, who said she didn't really know much about vampires and didn't really research them before she wrote the books. Ummmm...no. As someone who is very specific about certain aspects of the lore, this was not going to fly. It was much the same as when Harry Potter came out, and I realized it sounded like a total rip-off of a series of books I read growing up.

However, we all know how that Harry Potter thing turned out for me, so I suppose my change of heart regarding Twilight was also inevitable. A friend saw the film, and was telling me about it at work one day. She recommended I see it, she said it was fun in a teenage romance sort of way, and that it was every teen girls dream. It captured that time of life very well. I told her I might check it out when the DVD came out, but not to hold her breath. Then, another friend started reading the book. She passed it along to the friend who saw the film. Their excitement was contagious, and I figured, what the hell? I can't really knock something I haven't tried, so I agreed to read it. Once I started, I couldn't stop. I flew through the book, and while we were in Northern Minnesota over Christmas, I needed the second book immediately. Let me tell you, bookstores are not a staple in remote parts. We finally found a bookstore, and G kindly ran in and picked up New Moon. I polished that off, too, and the hunt was on for Eclipse. After a couple of bookstore stops near home, I procured it, and devoured it. Finally, we were on to the finale. I was hesitant...I mean, the journey would be over. I didn't know if I was ready! I was attached to these characters. However, just as quickly as the others, I obtained my copy and devoured it. Just like any crack fiend...I needed more. I heard there was talk of a new version of Twilight, as told from Edward's perspective. I went to the trusty internets. Sure enough, on Stephenie Meyer's website she talked of this novel, Midnight Sun. Unfortunately, some chump leaked the book on the same internets, and she was in no mood to finish it as a result. However, she said that if the portion of the book that existed were going to be made available, she would rather it be on her terms. So, I then proceeded to devour the available portion of Midnight Sun. I tried to avoid it, I did...but I needed it! I read every deleted scene from the books. Though this seems like it is all coming out very easily, it is not. It is difficult for a woman of a certain age to admit she was caught up in teen fiction. I do want to clarify that these books are by no means high literature. However, they are enjoyable. Stephenie Meyer very accurately captures that time of life, where every option awaits you in the real world and first love hits so hard, you can't fathom anything else could be the same. She also has some interesting takes on the lore. Outside of one thing I still can't wrap my head around logistically, I can get behind it.

I even conceded to seeing the film. I think that, like my previously mentioned friend, I had viewed it prior to reading the books I would have enjoyed it more. It was a mediocre film to begin with. Now, I understand that in adaptations of books, things need to be cut, combined, etc. However, in the case of Twilight , there were things that made absolutely no sense to change. For instance, Bella and her father eating every meal in the diner. Really, she couldn't make him dinner at home, as she did in the book? Really? I wouldn't care so much if it weren't sort of important to establishing Bella as the caretaker in her relationship with her parents. Which is kind of important to the way the other three books play out. Also, the costume designer for the film should not be allowed to work again. Bad, bad, bad. Costume is just as important to film as any other element to establish character, time, emotional state, etc. I think she was a little too focused on how slovenly teens dress at the mall, rather than the actual content of the film. Any tension that existed in the original text was gone. I am optimistic for New Moon, though. I think Chris Weitz is a much stronger director, and assuming Stephenie Meyer stands up for her content a bit more, I think we'll be in business.

G says I am obsessed. I reminded him that I went through The Vampire Chronicles just as quickly, and proceeded to realize that he was totally the pot calling the kettle. I mean, he has an Interview with the Vampire tee, as well as a signed copy of the book. So there.

Speaking of all things vampire, the same weekend I took in Twilight, I also took in a vampire flick of a different ilk, Let the Right One In. Another novel to screen adaptation (though I haven't read the book yet), though rather different. The film is Swedish, taking place just outside of Stockholm in the early 1980s. The film is lovely. The children in the lead roles are pretty fantastic, due in part to the content they were given. I appreciate how foreign films tend to treat kids more realistically, acknowledging that they are people who have the same feelings as adults, but are learning about themselves and trying to deal with the situations they are in with what experience they have, and that is a very difficult thing. This film has a more traditional approach to the mythology surrounding vampires and deals with it effectively. Some of the effects are a little jarring due to their quality in comparison to the utter realism of the film. However, I highly recommend it. I look forward to reading the book very much (c'mon Proptart...hurry up!).

I am also looking forward to Underworld: Rise of the Lycans very much. Whilst I am much more of a vampire girl than a shapeshifter/lycan one...I loved the Underworld films thus far. Plus, this one appears to be chock full of Bill Nighy in delicious form. I will be out at midnight for that one fo sho.

In a similar vein, thanks to the Headmistress over at Gothic Charm School, I have discovered yet another favorite blog, Haute Macabre. I love to peruse all of their new finds each day, and drool and bookmark and make wish lists. Some favorites from the site so far would be Coffin Couches, a site that sells sofas made from recycled coffins (WANT!!!) and this Squirrel Heart Pendant which I would shriek like a little schoolgirl should I receive it for Valentine's Day. IJS.

BTW, to see how ridiculously into this whole Twilight thing I really am...check out my Flickr pool in the lower right corner. Team Edward, baby!!!

Posted by raven at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2009

happy (belated) birthday to me

So, in perusing my blogroll a couple of days ago, I noticed my archives go back *drumroll* FIVE YEARS! Five years ago, yesterday, I started up this here squirrel...and believe it or not, i am still at it! It is fun to look at my old posts and see where I was then, where I thought I would be now, how productive I was, etcetera.

So, here's hoping I'm still around in another five years!

Posted by raven at 04:05 PM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2009

carousel of progress

How is it only 11 days into the year? With how many things I've been doing, it feels like much farther. I hope that feeling continues, and the year doesn't just fly by as the last few have.

I've actually been making progress on my previously mentioned goals! I am excited about this. I must keep this momentum throughout the year. I don't want any of these to take years, as the running five miles in one shot goal did.

#14: Do Flickr's 365 days. I started today! It was a lame in-the-mirror shot, but I hope that this will force me to learn how to use all the features of our nice camera, and get me in the habit of taking photos. I am hoping that there will be a marked improvement in the photos as the year progresses, and that my fitness habits will show as the year goes on as well.

#15 Make at least one post a week in Wardrobe Remix. I posted two pics today, one with outerwear, and one without. As with the 365, I hope the quality of the photos improves as the year progresses. I am also hopeful that this will help me edit my wardrobe. I will have a gauge of what works and doesn't, as well as what is "me" versus what isn't. I am also hoping that this will keep me creative in my clothing choices. I have always had a love of fashion and textiles...and wearing a uniform to work has somewhat cramped this creativity. I go home and put on lounge clothes. I am often so wiped out at the end of a workday, that I don't care what I am wearing as long as it doesn't smell. That is not the purpose of clothing!! This shall renew my spirit!

#16 Post at least once a week in each of my blogs. Well, I'm here, aren't I? I just posted over at Procraftynation, as well. I have at least the next two posts lined up, which is exciting. I also have at least two more posts lined up here! I may even manage to post about my life while it is relevant! It is such a simple act...I think I can manage it. Also, with my newfangled phone, I can blog while I am out and about. So, I've got no excuses!

#19 Get my three tattoos. I have an appointment scheduled for my first, deposit down and everything! My second is contingent on me reaching my goal weight, so that is in the works. Then, it will be my main one, which I need a little time to set some extra cash aside. I think that #3 (get Etsy store up and running) will be very helpful for the dollars.

#18 Host three non-birthday gatherings at my house. I have a plan for at least one of these. Question: How likely would you be to attend an Academy Awards Party at my house? We have a good sound system, a decent sized telly, a fully stocked bar, and I can make some mean hors d'oeuvres. Please note in the comments if you think you would attend. I do have ideas for others, plus some fab birthday ideas.

Only semi-related: I just loaded over 200 photos on to my Flickr account. I titled, described, and tagged each one, as well as sorting them into relevant sets. I have learned my lesson, and will now load as I go...another reason to stick with 365 and Wardrobe Remix.

I am adding some things to my list, as well:
21) participate in NaNoWriMo. I have an idea...it may be rubbish, but I will not know if I don't try...and what a fantastic excuse!
22) Go to the town where my great-grandparents settled when they arrived from Belgium. (I already have this one in the works. I am so excited!)
23) Keep my uterus empty. For serious.
24) Ski at least two more times in the remainder of the '08/'09 season. Note to self: No migraines or knee twisting allowed!


That's all I've got for now. Stay tuned for my next installment in which I discuss my obsession with all things vampirical, and how I've jumped on some bandwagons recently.

Posted by raven at 11:20 PM | Comments (0)

January 03, 2009

onward and upward!!

Since I never got around to sharing my birthday goals, and it is the traditional time for sharing one's aspirations for the new year, and since everything I have been reading/seeing has been pointing me toward getting off my ass and getting my life in gear...here are the things I am going to accomplish this year (in no particular order)

1) Enter CONvergence masquerade 2009 (this includes building at least two costumes for the entry I have planned)
2) Construct amazing Goth Prom dress
3) Get Etsy store up and running
4) Participate in at least one local craft show
5) Finish installing paver walk in the backyard
6) Redo porch pavers and screen in front porch
7) Have enough dollars in my savings account to redo both bathrooms (Main bath will be a a complete demo and remodel--including new studs, the other is mostly cosmetic)
8) Clean out the garage and make into a funtional parking and workspace
9) Run Disney Princess Half Marathon
10) After completion of HM, run 15-20 miles per week
11) Hit goal weight and lower body fat percentage to 18%
12) Take a ballet class (which reminds me, I really should tell the story of ballet class as a child)
13) Take a tap class
14) Do Flickr's 365 days
15) Make at least one post a week in Wardrobe Remix
16) Post at least once a week in each of my blogs
17) Go out dancing at least once a month, preferably twice (Event nights, such as Rubberball or Goth Prom don't count toward this total)
18) Host three non-birthday gatherings at our home
19) Get my three tattoos
20) Have a big honking garage sale to purge all the unnecessary stuff we've accumulated and have whatever didn't sell loaded onto a truck and hauled to charity immediately


There it is...I may add to this later, but those are the main things I need to happen this year. I can do it, because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!

Posted by raven at 02:30 PM | Comments (0)

January 01, 2009

auld lang syne

Whew, another year down. A decent one, all things considered. I actually made much progress toward many of my goals, if not reaching them completely. I finally followed through with becoming a runner, and conquered being able to run five miles continuously. I am well on my way to being able to complete a half marathon. I finally did something about the pounds that crept back on...not all the way to my goal, but nearly there! Made progress on getting back into sewing and crafting. Reconnected with some old friends, and made some healthy progress on recovering from past mistakes. I did lose a couple of loved ones, and that's hard though part of the process of living.

I did have a pretty fantastic end of 2008. Got sucked into and read the entire Twilight series, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Spent some time with the in-laws over the holiday and got some nice down time at the cabin. Santa and my loved ones were very kind to me this year. After more than twenty years, I finally have a Samantha doll!! To sweeten the deal, I also have Kit. Giggling like a schoolgirl, I am (thanks, Mom and Dad!). Got the appropriate reservations in place to head to Florida in the early spring for my half marathon (thanks, love!). Finally have a fancy phone, for the first time ever (Thanks Kaiser and NicJoy for the subsidising!)! Got some fantastic bling (thanks other Mom and Dad!)! I was also able to present myself with the last of my needed winter running gear, which I loves. I was very lucky to celebrate a birthday with a dear friend in the northern parts of the state, and skiied myself pretty close to 2009. Did a little twisting of my knee, thus causing me to take a break from my running schedule, but no real injury and the skiing was enough of a blast that it was worth it!

G had to work his way from one year to the next, at the Chatterbox. However, some lovely friends were kind enough to join us, and it was a very festive celebration and I felt very loved. We ate nummy food, drank delicious wine, and sang lots of rockin' tunes. I admit, I felt totally out of touch when seeing some of the acts on the New Year shows....I had no idea who the bulk of the performers were!

So here I am in 2009. I plan to make it a fantastic year. I have some lofty goals to achieve, but I know I can do it.
Happy New Year, and best of luck with all of your lofty goals!!

Posted by raven at 08:24 PM | Comments (0)