Monday, December 28, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Ahhhhh, Christmas.

Zoe and I rocked the Christmas socks at 4am for the annual Christmas concert via webcam. It was so much fun!

And I finally managed to make properly heart-shaped pancakes!

I hope everyone had a wonderfully merry Christmas. I'm off to London for Dean's birthday celebrations, then home to Portland for 10 days (I can't even begin to explain how excited I my little godchild Erin would say, Portland is my home sweet home).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Of White Christmases and Holiday Inns

I was watching Holiday Inn while I got ready for work this morning, and it put me in a Christmas-y mood (especially as I'm not working tomorrow - oh how I wanted to sleep in today!). Don't be deceived by my photo - that's last year on the farm. There's snow all over the rest of the country, but at the moment Oxford is determined to produce only



Dean and I wrapped presents last night for his family. We used my new gift tags, and brown craft paper, and it was lovely. Tonight is more wrapping, printing, tree-trimming, holiday-movie-watching, perhaps popcorn or cookie eating loveliness.

Tomorrow Zoe comes - we're getting up at 4am to watch our best friends' annual Christmas concert via Skype. Speaking of Christmas traditions...this is the best one.


It all started 10 years ago with a penniless college those students are professional musicians of some pretty high calibers (Andrew Oliver, of Sextet, Kora Band, etc. fame, Scott Kennedy, of Bridgetown Sextet and others, and a few other people always thrown in for good measure and more fun - last year we had an organ in the instrument line-up!). The concert is a gig for friends and families, in someone's living room (usually barely containing everyone), and with lots of food and drink. It's the best thing ever, and I HATE missing it. Last year we drove three hours through snow to get there.

I love my friends.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The first rough production from my printing press - Dean's idea, actually! We had to do it on the kitchen table instead of in my shed (TOO COLD - hasn't passed about 34 in days and it's supposed to snow again tonight), and it was all very cozy and fun. My Adanas don't have rollers yet, so we did the whole press-the-ink-pad-up-to-the-type thing...I taught Dean about leading and spacing, and he told me to relax about the rough printing :).

I do love Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's Tuesday!

So. Tuesday's not usually an especially amazing day, but it marks the almost end of a crazy work month...from here til Christmas things will be a lot more relaxed. You wouldn't beLIEVE how hard it is to think of funny Christmas jokes.

I heard Philip Pullman read tonight at the Bodleian, as part of a the A Outrance book launch (more here - it's a charity publication from Oak Tree Fine Press, and it involves woodcuts and designer bookbinders and it's cool). Pullman was reading bits from the bear fight in the Dark Materials trilogy, and he is an AMAZING reader. He ROARED like a bear. Seriously good.

In other notes, I had the best cheesy heart-killing pasta with Will tonight and received my first Christmas present before baking gingerbread and listening to Bing Crosby's Christmas music...

By the way, above picture is from The Rabbits, written by John Marsden and illustrated by Shaun Tan. It's an award-winning kids' book from Australia, a sort of allegory on colonisation, and the illustration is SO GOOD. Lots of words and image play, and so witty (while remaining quite's a serious subject...).

image from Shaun Tan's website

Monday, December 14, 2009

Doing the happy (sleepy) dance

So. Clearly I have been remiss in my up-to-date-ness here, but things have been rather busy (but exciting. I photographed PD James. I did a very important work thing. I will photograph Roy Strong. I am not a photographer, but I am learning.)


I have BIG news.

I got not one...but TWO (two!!!) printing presses. Thanks to the eagle eyes of a friend, we came away with an ebay lot that equalled an entire vanload for...£130 EACH!!!

Unfortunately my focus has been on sleep, Dean, and Christmas presents more than printing recently, but I have had time to go ooooh and aaaah. Huzzah!

In other news, old friends have been to visit, I've hit about a kazillion Christmas parties (more to go!) and I can't wait for the libraries to close so I can sleep. But I am very happy with myself!

PS. Christmas is so soon....I love Christmas.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Best Thanksgiving Ever

(Zoe and I after a successful afternoon of cooking)

(Yes, that ivy is from the park. And it was free. Woohoo!
But we do need matching plates...)

(this isn't even everything...yum)

Ok, I did miss my family (a LOT), but I had Dean and Zoe! And Zoe and I successfully stole greenery, roasted 15 pounds of chicken, and coordinated seating and LOTS of food for 10 people. It was much much fun (and was made even more so by Thanksgiving Part Two on Sunday at Kim's).

all pics courtesy of Zoe

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tube love

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving full of pie! Exciting things (hint...printing press progress and Thanksgiving pics) coming soon, but in the meantime, join me in my love of old maps and London stuff. I'm always amazed at how early London actually had an Underground! As the maps are now changing (even more than in previous years - the maps actually change a little bit every year), the Guardian did a little piece on the history of the Tube map - enjoy it here!

Image from The Guardian

Monday, November 23, 2009

Typography loves

I've been holding back on (who I am kidding, I've been forgetting to post) some typographical/printing happenings of recent here goes!

One: If you run across Sinister Bird press, it's cool. It's run by two girls from Dartington Art College who basically spent two-three months living out the back of a little van and driving around the country, staying with friends of friends or sleeping in the van and printing a page on an Adana in the van in just about every place they stayed. Coolio.

Two: Even Dean thought this was cool. And he's learning more about printing! PS. If anyone wants to get me this book for Christmas, go for it. I'll be hurt but I'll understand if you only get me the mass market edition.

Pictorial Webster's: Inspiration to Completion from John Carrera on Vimeo.

Three: Check out this article on typography, courtesy of Paul Nash (world's coolest printer and wearer-of-the-Bodleian-printer's-hat) via the NYTimes. Best line: “I think sometimes that being overly type-sensitive is like an allergy.” Well said.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ughs and Yays

Things that do NOT rock:
The flu
Tough days at work
Creepy guys

Things that definitely DO:
Seeing old friends
Little kids looking up to you
Working on Christmas cards and presents
Finishing grad school applications (AGAIN)
Fiances rushing back from work because you're ill (even when they can't do anything but be there. There's a reason I'm marrying this man)

Also. A plea: I am theoretically working on a blog for one of my jobs...this blog will be to market and highlight items from a political archive. I'm researching various blogs, but what I really DO NOT want this blog to be is an oh...well...look we got this thing today...sigh...boring. Anyone seen any really snazzy library/archive blogs? Anyone have any advice?

Friday, November 13, 2009

And more books...

From Emily Dickinson-

There is no Frigate like a Book (1286)

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul –

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Library Routes

Since it kept cropping up in various places (a comment here, an article there, and then I profiled it for our staff newsletter), I decided it was finally time to write my own post for the Library Routes Project.

A bit by way of explanation: The Library Routes Project is trying to encourage librarians, or those in the library and information sector, to write about their ‘library roots’ and ‘library routes’ – how they got into the profession and why they’re there. If you haven’t had a look and you’re in or interested in the profession, please go visit! I’ve spoken to the creators, and they’re so excited about the project and way it’s taken off.

So. Off we go…I’ll take a cue from Ned Potter’s post and do a roots/route thing…

My family loves books. Seriously. You have no idea. Our attic (where we put all the books that don’t fit on our shelves downstairs) is causing the whole house’s roof to sag, because there are too many books in it. We took “adventures” to Powell’s when I was little, because we loved it. Books were important because they were beautiful, but also because of what they contained – words were important.

When I arrived at Scripps for college, I popped into the library with my family. Within five minutes, my father had charmed the librarian into giving us a tour of the rare book room, and I’d applied for a job. I didn’t realize it until much later, but it was that job that did it for me. Not only was I working in a beautiful library, helping people find what they needed, but I got to spend one day a week working in special collections. I catalogued two archives (one related to a former dance professor with seriously deep ties everything that was going on in modern dance), and I discovered artists’ books.

I left for Oxford to do a Master’s in English, with plans to go on to journalism/academia. But we had to take a bibliography class, and I got to take a letterpress class, and I did more research into artists’ books. Then I happened to meet someone in conservation who was so excited about library work that he got me thinking. THEN I met a member of special collections at a dessert, and he told me about trainee opportunities in the Bodleian.

That’s when it suddenly clicked – although I loved journalism, and I loved academia, I loved libraries more (And what am I doing now? Helping academics, researching book history, and writing for a library-based newsletter. Funny how things work out). I began speaking to more people in the Bodleian about their jobs, and I started volunteering in Rare Books. I applied for and was offered a trainee job at the Bodleian, and spent the year working in all of its departments (very whirlwind, very amazing). I knew from the beginning that I wanted to be in special collections, but I realised what I hadn’t really grasped before – that I loved (LOVED) helping readers.

At the moment, I work in a number of positions for the Bodleian – in a political archive, in the communications department, in the reading rooms on the weekend, and in other capacities on my own time (I’m doing some work with 17th-century library records and bindings and learning Latin for it). It gets a bit hectic going from job to job, but I’m extremely happy doing it. I’m combining the best of all my worlds. The library world is changing, and rare books/special collections may seem like the “old” kind of thing, but they actually offer so many opportunities to find new ways of presenting material. And who am I fooling…they’re just cool (OK, keep in mind I’m the kind of person that has been known to jump up and down because she bought some type for printing by hand or touched an amazing binding).

Anyway, the gist of that is that you have to keep your eye open for opportunities these days, but they’re there…you can be involved in libraries in so many different ways, whether you’re interested in computers or books or people!

Image of Ulris Library Stacks via eflon's Flickr

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The oh-so-continuing obsession with card catalogues part 1 billion, plus an amazing chandelier and my new favorite outfit

Whew. What a title.

As for the card catalogue - I was watching The Big Bang Theory last night and noticed that Leonard and Sheldon (TV's geekiest pair) HAVE A CARD CATALOGUE IN THEIR APARTMENT. If I don't get one soon I might...I might...I don't know, but it will be scary.

I need to get a printing press soon as well. If anyone knows a of a cheap Adana or the like, let me know.

Now for the chandelier:

Nole of Oh So Beautiful Paper posted this chandelier from Pottery Barn. A little out of my price range, given our rented house and lack of desire for rewiring anything, but I could do something with it that didn't require any actual wires, couldn't I? Because I kind of love it.

Also, I do so love this outfit. I found it on i am a greedy girl. Enough said.

Photo of dress from Nadinoo via i am a greedy girl. Photo of amazing chandelier from Oh So Beautiful Paper, originally from Pottery Barn (links above)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween and Hargreaves

Isn't Dean's pumpkin cool? We just put it up in the front window. We're not expecting many trick or treaters (it's the UK...they've been a bit slow on the Halloween uptake), but I insist on having treats and decorations!

On to other things...a most productive day including bulb planting and Christmas baking (for the freezer). On the continuing subject of my family rocks, my mother makes things grow from nothing and knows how to plant anything at any time. I don't. Argh. (Other things she can do that I did NOT inherit: sewing things that require spatial awareness and striking up conversations with total strangers).

And as I mentioned at some point, I won Frank Baker's Miss Hargreaves in a giveaway on Simon's blog. He's reviewed it, as have many others, but I'll say again that the book is a quick read and especially sweet. 'Droll' may be a bit of an old-fashioned word, but it suits.

Norman and Henry are on holiday in Northern Ireland and are trying to get into the village church. When the vicar proves dull and rather un-encouraging, they invent Miss Constance Hargreaves - an old woman they claim as a common acquaintance (Surely you know Miss Hargreaves?). Their little joke continues as they invent her cockatoo, her lap dog, and her bathtub. For kicks, they write to her at her hotel and invite her to visit.

The 'Spur of the Moment' (I appreciated the books judicious use of capital letters), however, is a dangerous thing, and Miss Hargreaves herself arrives to see Norman shortly after his return from holiday. He can't get rid of her without turning the whole town against him, but she just won't go away...

Thanks very much to Simon for the book, and I recommend it for a quick read or a Christmas present!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Oh yes.

It's amazing. AMAZING. I'm actually not sure if I'd hand it it too over the top? But still AMAZING. And clearly suitable for my industry. It's designed by Eric Stevens of Tower of Babel, who I now believe rocks.

Image from simple + pretty (and courtesy of eric stevens; tower of babel design)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My family rocks

If any of you ever read the comments on my posts, you'll have seen that my Dad mentioned he may get to visit the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. Why is this cool, you ask? Well. TINTIN. Enough said.

My dad is also travelling the world based on certain famous anthropologists. Accidentally, maybe, but that doesn't matter.

Also, my uncle sent my sister an email from his cat. It was amazing. So is she. She's Woofing in Chile. And my brother is working for the SW Conservation Corps in the Arizona desert. Argh it's cool.

Image from Raffles website

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Explain to me again why I'm not there?

AND they have a card catalogue as shelves. Remember that obsession? Yeah.

Even though it would be kinda silly to get a hotel when I go home when I have my mom's beautiful farm to go to (plus a billion friends' houses), I really want to stay at the Ace Hotel. It's just that cool.

Going to get my ring sized today.....!!!!

Image of the Ace Hotel from SFgirlbythebay via gruber

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I'm engaged. Yup. I'm doing a little engaged-person dance right now (it's kind of funny and would probably make Dean reconsider. But hey).

We were out at Dean's students' end of year deal, with all the staff and our friends as well. And he gave a big speech to the students about how they have done well, what they should do to keep doing well...and then said that they needed a 'me,' and loads of lovely sweet things about us. And then he proposed.

It was so cool. I am the luckiest girl ever.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Read All Day

I'm torn...part of me says, "How cool is this woman?" She's Nina Shankovitch, and she's reading book a day for a year. She gets to spend all year doing what is one my absolute favorite things in the world, just because. She will emerge after 365 days with so much more understanding, although maybe some eyestrain as well. And she's clearly doing something right with her kids as well; according to this New York Times article, "Peter, her 16-year-old, is reading Pynchon; the 14-year-old, Michael, reads Ayn Rand and political screeds like those by Al Franken; and asked what kind of books he likes to read, George, the 11-year-old, replied, 'Long books.'"

At the same time though...she's having to give up just about everything else in order to accomplish her goal - by her own words, "the garden, The New Yorker, wasting time online, ambitious cooking, clothes shopping, coffee with friends" (from the above article). No friends? And as far as I can tell, no job? No baking cookies? Hmmmmmmm.

I would LOVE to have more reading time, and I read pretty quickly, but I think even I would find myself frustrated with trying to finish a book a day. And although I'm pretty sure reading is one of the most enriching things in life, there are other things it would be a shame to miss...

That's my take anyhow. Regardless, it's still cool. And she's got some pretty interesting choices. Check it out!

Image from Iguana Joe made available under a Creative Commons licence

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Random Find: Eye-Pod

So. Will and I were sitting on the front steps of the Clarendon Building having lunch, and all of a sudden about 30 steampunk-ish dressed people came wandering by. Steampunk is not really a typical Oxford thing (somewhat would fit quite well), so we were both a bit bemused.

Five minutes later, I was walking down Broad Street, and realised that they had all come from the Museum of the History of Science, which is hosting a Steampunk art exhibition. Somehow I missed this (was there press? I didn't see it!), but I had a quick wander through and really enjoyed it. It's not particularly large (I spent about 15 minutes there, and even a sloooow wander would probably only take about half an hour), but it's curated well. I don't know a lot about the steampunk scene, although it theoretically combines things about which I get very excited (fashion? science? Victorians? yes, please); even if you're not into it so much, the artwork is amazing. My particular favorite was the Eye-Pod, by Dr. Grymm, which got me Googling...needless to say, there's a lot of incredibly talented stuff out there, and I would really like this clock by Eric Freitas:

The lineup of events surrounding the exhibition sounds great (lectures on Science and History of Fashion, learning about clockwork, craft days, and film nights -- see the Museum's page for details). If you're in Oxford, have a look!

Eye-Pod image courtesy of Dr. Grymm's blog, clock image from MHS Steampunk blog

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Excuse the rubbish picture, but PhotoBooth seemed far easier than camera right now! Last night, when I should have been going to sleep to be ready for work today, Dean read my mind and asked if I would "pleeeease bake something." The staff canteen at work had these new lemon muffins yesterday, and I kept staring at them and thinking of the jar of lemon curd in my fridge...and then Dean asked...of course, I had to make them. Lemon muffins with lemony cream cheese frosting. They made a great breakfast!

Anyhow, in other news:
my Dad had breakfast with koalas today
a high school trio of friends reunites tomorrow morning
I got a new (half) a job (my other half stays the same)
and I will be posting soon on this Noble Peace Prize business...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I acknowledge it's sappiness, it's possible misogyny, and all other flaws. But I still LOVED The Time Traveller's Wife (although not so much the film). It might have something to do with the fact that it pulls at all the right heart-strings, or that it was a present from my best friend, or that Henry is a rare books librarian, or that Audrey Niffenegger already rocks because she's a book artist (yes she is. She is COOL).

So I've been waiting patiently for her new book to come out, something I don't usually do quite so expectantly. And it came. To me. Yesterday. I started it this morning, while munching on blueberry-muffiny goodness. And although I can't say much yet, I can tell you it's off to a good start. One character is (was) a rare books dealer. Another gives tours in Highgate Cemetery and writes on Victorian death rituals. I am so excited.

Review to come. Plus my take on Miss Hargreaves...

PS. My sister is spending six months in Chile working on organic farms. How cool is that?

image from

Monday, October 5, 2009

Words for the Day

I went searching for a quotation I think of from time to time, and decided it was posting it here...

stay together
learn the flowers
go light

-Gary Snyder, from Turtle Island
1974, New Directions

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Card Catalogues

So. As Dean knows, I've been lusting after a card catalogue/apothecary table for the house. It wouldn't aaaaactually fit anywhere. But I still want it. And Uppercase read my mind. Sigh.

Other things I'm thinking about:

-getting over this stupid flu
-seeing Zoe tomorrow for the Chiswick Boot Sale
-seeing Dean's family for the first time in what seems like aaages!
-finishing the latest Holmes/Mary Russell book!

photo from Uppercase

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ahhh, cheese

Great day. Great weekend. Great visit with Zoe all week, in fact. Highlights of weekend:

-Motown karaoke with a five piece band (well, we watched). Getting back from London on the Oxford Tube at 6am. Making breakfast, then going to bed.

-Lunch in the sun on the grass by the river in the Botanic Gardens (whew! prepositions galore)

-Lots and lots of catching up with Zoe


-8am. Yummy omelettes with Zoe. Tea.
-8.30am. Walk over the river to Will's house. Mist rising, ducks swimming, silly rowers rowing.
-9am. Will's house. Get in the Peug.
-9.40am. Try to stop at Halfords. Not open yet. Employees...drinking...outside.
-10-12.53. Car Talk. Rest stops. Amazing bridges. Wales. Cardiff!!!
-1pm. Planning meeting. Decide cider is a must. Enter cheese line.
-1.20-2pm. EAT CHEESE. ALL KINDS. Favorite: Blacksticks Blue
-2.10pm. Eat amazing chickpea burger. Lay on grass in sun. Amazing.
-2.30pm. CHEESE MASTERCLASS. Sample more cheese. Get loads for home. FREE.
-4.00pm. Buy cheese. Watch cheese tossing contest. Lay on grass.
-5-8pm. Drive home. Play Cheddar Gorge with cheese theme in car.
-Rest of night. Eat soup. Snuggle. Contented cheese exhaustion.

Friday, September 25, 2009


According to WW's horoscopes, I "currently have a certain resemblence to a vacuum cleaner or a hungry baby or a mini black hole." Woohoo.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Things About Which I Am Very Excited

ZOE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TOMORROW!!!! (one of my closest friends is moving to London, which means we will at long last live in the same country)

Kids who don't know how hair changes colour (3 year olds who say, "how did you DO that?")
My sister, who is going to work on a farm project in Chile
The bottle of champagne that may get opened to welcome Zoe tomorrow
Nina Simone (constantly recently)
Chili chocolate from Hotel Chocolat
The doily garland/pennant thing that is now hanging in my room
Last but not new hair. Well, I am still deciding whether it really excites me, but it definitely does something. The pic makes me look slightly scary, but Dean's been working too hard to take any more and I'm not so hot in the self portrait department.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


So. I am, once again, writing grad school application statements. For another Master's. People look at me skeptically when I say that. And it's amazing how much you forget about school apps in one year off... And I have to write about how my WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE is one big happy ball of diversity. Pretty much, anyhow. When all I really want to write about is how much I love library work. I know I can make them come together, but while I (pretend to) think about it, I'm doing things like making the above card and downloading the 500 Days of Summer playlist onto my Spotify. And drinking tea out of my new teapot (yay!). And anticipating reading Miss Hargreaves, thanks to Simon of Stuck In a Book!

PS. My hair is now red. Dark red. Will post a picture later, since Dean has promised to take some nice ones.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happy Smile!

I love libraries.

image from Lis News

Monday, September 7, 2009

This Makes me SO MAD

Argh. Seriously. I was shaking with disbelief after watching this. I am not trying to offend anyone, but I simply cannot believe that at some point it stopped being ok for our President to encourage children to work at school and have a little awe of the work of our politicians. And how can they possibly claim that this is the first time a president has ever addressed schoolchildren? I'm hesitant to have even embedded it here, but....splutter...argh...grrrrrrrr:

But then I did laugh after reading the Guardian's take on it here.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

We all live in ... a great big ship?

My Dad rocks. After a full law career and a few years teaching locally (he taught law stuff, history, ethics, literature, writing, and even Spanish to college students), he's off on THIS SHIP to Asia as a part of the Naval College Program for Afloat College Education (NCPACE). He's teaching history and seeing amazing things. Dad is always one for meeting people, so he's been touring with local college students, having intelligence officers give special presentations to his classes, and helping with immigration cases. A VERY different experience, but pretty cool.

Picture from wiki

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I'm supposed to be saving money, but...

I had to buy this because it ROCKS. Please check out Catherine Deeson's other work, because it's pretty amazing!

I know that spending money isn't supposed to make me happy, but this did. It was only £2!

Other things that are making me happy:
-the homemade jam I made!
-a long run
-my new job
-Zoe coming SO soon!

Image from Catherine Deeson's website

Monday, August 24, 2009


Mad Hatter (copyright Su Blackwell)
The Story of Peter Pan: The Pirate Ship (copyright Su Blackwell)

Knowing my tastes in book art and beautiful things (and sharing them herself), a friend sent me a link to Su Blackwell's work. Seriously lovely. And the fact that she uses books like Peter Pan and Alice...even better!

Friday, August 21, 2009


This is why I love him. I called Dean to say, "What should we have for dinner tonight because I've just had cocktails and looked at rare books and don't feel like the dinner I had planned?" He said, "Let's make our own In-n-Out burgers. Veggie-style. With animal fries." And we did. THEN he made milkshakes to go with them. Although I feel about a million pounds heavier, it was soooo good.

PS. Do you like my new tablecloth? I think it rocks. It's all a part of my new obsession with Cowley's retro shop.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Triffid Love

Ok. I'm really tired, and have had a busy two weeks, and I'm struggling just to finish work and living things, so blog posting will be short. More to come, because I'm super excited about what my Dad is doing right now. But as a short in-betweener, I'll say that I just finished John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids. In addition to all the brilliant Soviet-hating, oil-crisis-fearing, civilisation-is-bringing-horrible-things-upon-itself (including satellite warfare and biological terrorism), look-we-can-rebuild-humanity-but-even-better stuff going on, it's just an entertaining science fiction read. The type you know makes a great cheesy 60s/70s sci-fi film (and it did...). AND it had a great book cover.

Image via Wikipedia

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And the cat came back...

While sifting through and cataloguing soap advertisements today (some of them highly amusing), I found what I think might top a whole year's worth of such things: An ad for Johnsons' Dyers and Dry Cleaners from the 1920s, cut into the shape of a black cat, sporting tears, bandages, and in particular a cloth bandage over one eye. The cat was supposedly injured trying to leave Johnsons' for another drycleaners (gasp!), and the back warns other customers to take note, or face a similar fate.

Don't you think the customers thought it was a bit odd....??

Image from here

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Health Care Fun

Right. Maybe I'm missing something? Except I don't really think so. I've been absolutely shocked by the vehemence, rudeness, and violence with which many Americans are greeting Obama's healthcare proposals. Although the proposals themselves haven't had much press over here, the violence has (see the Times here, and the BBC here (a little more out there), and the Guardian here). And it's generating what has become a concerted movement by the UK government, who feel they now have to defend the NHS against American criticism, both to the US and to UK citizens themselves (see Will's blog entries here and here for commentary and links to media reactions). There's even a "we love the nhs" twitter campaign.

So. I know that free healthcare is not perfect. I live in the UK. I use the NHS. It takes two weeks to get x-rays back. It takes a week to get the results of mono test (what if it had been mono? um...well, oops). But. It's free. FREEEEE. And although it's slow and has lots of things wrong with it, I'd argue that it's no more messed up than the US system (although I did love Kaiser...sigh...30 minutes for blood test results) -- just different and wider-reaching in a wonderful way. If you're interested in what I feel is a well-written quick account of an American's experience with the NHS -- that is, decent and adequate but not always perfect -- see here.

I suppose that I'm puzzled here not by the particulars of the new health care proposals (which could probably use some work -- although what many people are failing to realise is that there are many points in the bill that have bipartisan support), but by the insane shouting match that's followed. Since when has opposing the right to basic health care, whether provided by the government or otherwise, become a matter of patriotism and nation-bashing? As the NYT put it, "Many Republicans view fighting the president as a smart political strategy, turning a potentially wonkish debate over Medicare reimbursement rates and subsidies for the uninsured into an ideological battle over the government’s role in health care."

So this clearly isn't about health care, at least not for the people who are brawling at town hall meetings. They forget that the government already spends quite a lot of money on their health care, especially if they're retired, a veteran, or disabled. This has descended into what I hate to say is the worst of America, although perhaps it's the worst of many countries -- a fear of change causing violence and a determined ignorance blocking conversation. I'm not saying everything about this plan is great. We should be having lots of heated discussions about it, so that it eventually becomes better and better, in whichever direction is best. But punching matches and anti-NHS? Not cool, and downright stupid.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lovely By Surprise and Flann O'Brien

Ok, I haven't actually seen the film yet (more later when I do), but it seems intriguingly like my favorite favorite book, At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O'Brien (if you link to Wiki please don't believe absolutely everything it says. Well. It's literary criticism and I happen to differ from certain critics' opinions). In AS2B, writer writes about student who is writing about a novelist whose characters decide it's 'undemocratic' to be forced to fill their roles. They rebel, put novelist on trial, etc. (I. Love. This. Book. I wrote my Master's dissertation on it and still love it. It rocks).

So, from what I can gather about Lovely By Surprise (a Kirt Gunn film), the author is writing about fictional characters whose connections to reality become so real that they begin to influence her actions. I suppose there are other books/ideas that may have influenced the film, but of course I like to believe in O'Brien :). I want to see it. If anyone has/does, please let me know!

Friday, August 7, 2009


Someone did a typography tour of Portland. They rock.

A note to my two cities:

Oxford, I do like you. You're pretty cool, and when it comes to typography you can hold your own. Plus, Dean's in you.

But Portland, I think you have my heart.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

An ugh followed by a yay

I love my friends. I'm sick at home today and really annoyed because I've only got three weeks left of this job, I really like it, and I don't want to miss any (plus I've got things to do!). A few minutes ago, the doorbell rang, and the mailman handed me a belated birthday present from my good friend Meagan in NYC. She sent me not only a beautiful card, but Kusmi tea!!!!! I think it was Meagan who first gave me Kusmi to try (she's always been much more savvy about tea than me), but it really only clicked last summer when Arathi and I were in Paris and tried the most fantastic green tea ever. It's pretty hard to get over here, so I'm so pleased that now I can minister to my sore throat with the best! Thanks Meagan!

Picture from

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I'm Baaaaaaaaack!

I'm back from Berlin!!! And it was such an amazing city. Pictures to follow (Dean usually likes to vet which ones I use so I make his photography look good!), but here were some highlights:

-baby animals at the zoo!
-architecture. simply amazing. I was expecting far more ugly cement, but even the ugly cement was covered in interesting graffiti (parts of East Berlin were very entirely different atmosphere)
-sun. more sun.
-the beer garden in the Tiergarten
-going out in Fredrichshain (the coolest club an old factory site, with two indoor floors, one with a foosball table and a college common room vibe, outdoor seating in the trees and between interesting old factory buildings covered in some really beautiful graffiti, food stand with great barbecue, a climbing wall, abandoned buildings to explore, a skate goes on. It was cool.)
-spending time with Dean without either of us stressed about work
-spending time with Dean in general :)
-Karoline came to visit!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


picture via Retro to Go

Sorry for the posting delay. Things will be slow for the next week as well (unless I find lots of free wifi in Berlin, which is possible. Then again, I might be busy relaxing in the city with Dean, yay!).

Cathy just left today (saaaadness), but we had a wonderful, wonderful time. Because both of us have spent a good bit of time in London, we got to do some things that were more off-the-beaten-path-ish. Highlights:

*Fashion and Textile Museum's underwear exhibit (Cathy did her thesis on women's underwear and I just like looking at corsets)
*Wine and cheese from Borough Market
*Whole Foods Thirsty Thursday (£5, 5 wines, 5 canapes. Fantastic)
*Laughing. A lot.
*Getting a private tour of Sangorski and Sutcliffe's bindery and seeing their new Ian Fleming collections!!!!!!!!! (ok, this might actually belong above everything else except laughing)
*Harry Potter :)
*Late night Friday at the V & A (ok, been there a billion times, but it's still my favorite museum in the WHOLE WORLD)

Plus, I'd always wanted to live/stay close enough to Hyde Park to go running by the Serpentine every morning. I never knew that many people went for early morning swims at the Lido! It was an absolutely fantastic trip, complete with lots of time with a good friend, many glasses of wine, and just the right amount of chocolate!

Monday, July 20, 2009


So, while spending a few hours on a little project I have in mind, I returned to the Scripps College Press web pages and am dazzled by the quality of the student productions. Why did I not realise this was going on while I was there?!!!!! I worked on the library's artists' books and helped sort out all the broadsides the press ever did, but somehow this never clicked. Grrrr. I know I'm pretty lucky where I am, and I've learned a LOT about printing and design over the past few years, but still...

Following on that, I was alerted to this recent event on Simple + Lovely. Portland now has a Book Arts Center, Em-Space (looove the name too!). I do miss my city.....

I would so be there.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


image from The Letter

Book Seer
I love it: Tell it what you just read, and it tells you what to read next.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Oh yes, thoughts needed!

Cathy and I will be in London some of next week...I've got some plans (I never run out of things to do in London, even after living there!), but does anyone want to suggest any beloved haunts or fun things going on next week? We like art, markets, green things, shopping, cheese, wine, coffee,, just about anything!!!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Space, yo

I attended Catweazle again last night to hear the fantastic Faceometer (and other such talented beings as The Mountain Parade and an amazing Middle Eastern band)...Will did his space shanty in honor of the very very very exciting 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 and the moon landing!!!!

And...did you know you can listen to the radio transmissions live (well, with a 40 year delay)? They are going to land on the moon on Monday! And we can hear it!

Cathy gets here Sunday!

(I am excited. Can you tell?)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I'm tired. This is kind of what I feel like doing. Maybe the other cat could be Dean and we could turn it into a snuggle sprawl.

I have half of a new job! And I two weeks off work after Friday! And my very very very amazingest friend Cathy is coming Sunday for a week! And then I go to Berlin with my Dean!

I'm still tired though.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Manuscript (c. 1791, c. 1800) of Jane Austen's dramatic adaptation of Samuel Richardson's novel The history of Sir Charles Grandison (1753-1754). From the Chawton House Library.

Guess what? Yesterday I saw and touched the first book Jane Austen's Juvenilia -- the manuscript!!!! It's one of only a few surviving Austen manuscripts, and we're lucky enough to have it at the library. She called it Volume The First (the British Library has two and three), and it's pretty much amazing. There's a brief post on it here, following a lecture the Bod put on (a conservator in conjuction with an Austen scholar/bibliographer. Fantastic). Also, see how times have changed...we bought it for about £50 in the 30s, and the other ones sold for hundreds of thousands later in the 80s.

Plus, I have an interview for an amazing job today. And check out the pillows over on Made Sweet! It's going to be a good Friday!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Color and Space

posts from Design Sponge

I think these rooms are perfect. I would gladly call them mine...