Sunday, July 30, 2006

My mother's home.

I was stunned by a news story I read today. It was on the AP wire, a national news story that I have since learned is international news.

A photographer, living in my mother's small hometown of Oxford, Iowa, took photographs of most every resident of the town in 1984. In 2005, he took photos of the same people who remained. He was surprised at how many actually did remain living there. He teamed up with a writer and University instructor, and the result is The Oxford Project.

It shows small town America, unadorned, hopeful, tragic, and otherwise the same as all of us. It is a stunning portrait of humanity.

It also showcases some of my relatives. Iowa Honn is my great-aunt; she was married to my grandfather's brother. Her son, John Honn, is also featured in the project. He's my dad's cousin.

Please take some time looking at the gallery of the site. I'm hoping and hoping for this project to be made into a book, so that I may keep it close forever. My mother has already started an even more important process: she's contacted the photographer to get a copy of the photograph he took of her mother, my grandmother, in 1984. She died in 1997, and therefore was not included in the final project.

It's just so wonderful for me to know that my family, and part of my childhood as far as that town is concerned, has made some interational history (Guardian Weekend is running an article in September, and Shanghai Morning Post is running an article soon).

For some reason, I'm proud. And I didn't have anything to do with it.

Photo Copyright Peter Feldstein. All rights reserved to him. Used with permission.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Vacation Log: Gettin' closer to the end

I'm starting to feel anxious for the end of my vacation, and feel like doing vacation-y things. Like last night, for instance, when I was making sugar scrubs, I had a beer.

I know, I know. Big freaking whoopity-doo. But I am a teetotaler. Usually. So this was a "new" thing for me. It was okay.

Last weekend was a very good one at the markets, which made me a bit nervous, because I now have to keep up with production. My sugar scrub debut went far better than I could have imagined. I sold all but 3 of them. I spent Sunday night making two more batches (20 jars of scrub), and have to develop a third scent. Your ideas are appreciated. Right now I have:

Lavender Orange (it sold out!)


Mystical Mint (combination of pink grapefruit, peppermint, and spearmint).

I'm talking online with a friend, who suggested I make a "fruit salad" one: Lime, orange, grapefuriut--and I could do lemon, too.

Okay, forget the suggestions...I'm doin' the fruit salad.

I can't believe that I have to go back to school in...24 days. Gaaah! This frightens me. I feel like I need to be vacationing harder. More fun will be had! More alcohol will be drunk! More days will be spent in leisure! I swear it!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Good reviews

I got a good review on a blog comment, which lead to someone reading it, which led to a soap sale. So, thanks, Sudiegirl! I appreciate the recommendation. You made me some money, today.

Which just goes to show you, the internet is, indeed, a wonderful place.

On now, to Deadwood.


You know I love a show when the whole episode is prep for the NEXT episode, and I still want to watch it twice in one night. Which someone can do, if that someone has digital cable and has both HBO-East and HBO-West channels. *big grin* If you are into grisly, violent fight scenes, you can see last week's right here. I'm warning, you, though. It is both violent and grisly. You have been warned. Repeatedly.

One more thing: if you don't watch the show, then you are cheering for Dan, in the fight. He's the one with the long hair and no hat. Okay, then.

Although, tonight, I don't think I'll watch the show again, as I'm tired from this weekend. Two markets in over 100 degree heat. I'm wiped out. So now, I have to go make soap, and sugar scrubs, and more soap. It's a good problem to have.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Fence update.

Looks like the city inspector was called in by the neighbors, who gave the fency-folks what-for. I don't know if they got fined or what, but when I came back from my errands today, the fence was half as short as before, but still not finished, and still ugly. The gossip is, these folks were also given their last warning about having their washer and dryer* sitting out on their front porch.

I do so love living in the ghetto.

*NOT an actual photo. Believe me. These are too perfect.

We are go for breakfast.

Go here for your daily chuckle.

Good fences make good neighbors.

Last night, as I was just finishing with our na-night routine, and getting my daughter a drink of water, a voice startled me at my front door.

"Hellloooooo," it crooned, scaring the shit out of me.

"Gah! T! You scared the shit out of me!"

"I'm sorry, Amy, I didn't mean to scare you."

"Is everything okay?" I asked, worried. Our neighbors don't come calling at night.

"Oh, it's fine, everything is okay. You just need to come over here and look at my new fence."

"Um...okay. I'll be over in a minute." I knew something amusing was happening. T's face was a mixture of bewilderment and resigned laughter.

I put the kiddo to bed, and trotted across the street. It was immediately apparent what the problem was. The neighbors next to T. had erected a chain-link fence in their front yard. Not only was it unsightly, it was bizarre; it was about 15 feet long, and 6 feet high, and that's it. Just one fence wall. No corners. It didn't seem to have post holes dug, or anything. The chain-link itself was sagging. It was the strangest thing.

About 5 of us stood around, discussing this monstrosity. It was right along their property line, so they had the right to erect a fence there. But it is so desperately unsightly. It's 6 feet tall! It's like having a deathmatch cage in your front yard. Plus, it's right next to their neighbor's yard, T's yard, which is the nicest in the whole neighborhood.

So this morning, as I'm sitting at my computer, drinking coffee and taking things slow, I noticed one of the folks from the deathmatch-cage house taking down the fence. Relieved, I went back to my work.

Then my dog started barking at the front door. I told her to zip it, and looked to see who was out there. The fence is going back up. They just took it down to start properly installing it, with post holes, corners, etc. If concrete is involved, things are going to get ugly. I know that in T's house, they are going to call the city inspectors, knowing that the neighbors have no permit to erect the fence. If they don't, they will have to tear it down.

Why doesn't T just talk to them, you ask? Because they don't speak English, that's why. Also, it's their right to erect a fence (with a permit) in their front yard. We aren't in a covenant-controlled community. It's just Denver.

So, they are going to have a 6-foot-tall chain-link fence surrounding their front yard. Oh, I've left out the best part. The reason for this fence, we all speculate with confidence, is because of their toddler. He's about 18 months old, I guess, and regularly escapes the house, sprinting down the street or sidewalk. Sprinting, I tell you. He knows something the other folks in that house don't: escaping this neighborhood is imperative! Look, there's an opening! The door's open, and they aren't watching me! Now's the time! Hit it! And off he goes.

Every day, I see an adult from that house sprinting down the street to catch the baby. Yesterday, when M. was backing out of his garage, T. had to put a body-block on the baby, because he was in full sprint, right toward their driveway. My husband has warned the people there that they need to watch that baby, because some cars come down our street rather fast, and something could happen. Well, after yesterday's almost-run-over-by-the-neighbors incident, their response is not heightened awareness of where their kid is, but a fence. A huge, cage-fence in their front yard. about locking the front door and keeping the kid inside? How about hanging out in the already-fenced backyard? How about using a bit of discipline to teach the kid what you want? I mean, seriously. A huge front-yard fence, for your kid?

It's going to get more and more interesting.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Time to get moving

I may have my husband almost convinced about moving to the country. It won't happen anytime soon, as we can't afford it, and I am under contract, etc. However, I found a great house on 5 acres, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 3 car garage plus workshop, finished basement, office, etc. etc. Supremely affordable, too.

We might have to start packing up, getting rid of things, etc. We move slowly around here, so maybe this could happen within a year. Do I think that house will still be available? No, but I bet I can find something nearly as good.

Of course, don't put too much stock in this move. We haven't even finished our basement here yet. Or our backyard plans. Or our front yard plans. We may never be able to move.