Tuesday, November 23, 2010

stochastic thoughts

So.  Two websites that I found this week which are now on my favorites list: from Alastair via Bona Fide Betty, OneWord, which is like doing NaNo in 60 seconds (except you only write about 100 words, and it's not a whole novel, and you don't lose any sleep, and it's only 60 seconds, but other than that, it's just like NaNo).  And the other, which I found on the weekly roundup of writer posts here, is the visual thesaurus at Visuwords, which is utterly cool.  Try a word, any word, like dry or ugly, and it will create a branching web of synonyms. You can drag it around if it doesn't all fit in your window.  It's how I came up with today's title, since I know we're not using "random" anymore but I couldn't think of anything else to call it.

And snow.  We've got it.  It's too early.  In the past week, we've gotten somewhere around 6 inches of snow, which we usually don't get until after Christmas.  You wouldn't believe the number of brown Christmases we've had in the 18 years we've lived here.  Usually this time of year we get sleet and slush and freezing fog and rain mixed with snow, but nothing that actually collects on the ground and looks white.  We've got it now.  It even enabled me to skip classes today, since as bad as it is here, it was much worse in UTown.  They were supposed to get 6-10 inches of snow today, compared to our measly 1-2" (the rest of ours came last week, when UTown got only rain).  And tonight our low is supposed to be 17 below.  That's not wind chill, that's the actual temperature.  Am even more thankful than usual for a warm house.

And Bookstores.  I live in a small town.  Not teeny, but small--about 20,000.  Not only is it small, it's rural--it's the largest town in a 100-mile radius, by a considerable amount.   if you drive two+ hours, you can get to a town of about 100,000, if you drive five hours, you can get to a "city" of 500,000, but you've got to drive eight hours or more to get to a real city.  And I am a book addict.  This is a problem.  The library is small, the bookstores are limited.  Bookstores are part of my lifeblood.  I love independent booksellers and I understand how important they are, but sometimes you just want to walk into a vast space filled with books, where you know that you could browse for hours and not see everything there is to see.  So you will understand why, when our Borders opened about three years ago, I felt like a little piece of heaven had come right here.  When I get twitchy and shrewish, my spouse will say, as tactfully as he possibly can under the circumstances, "Why don't you go hang out at Borders for awhile?"  And I will go, order a decaf latte' at the coffee counter, wander around for an hour and a half or so, and come home happy and peaceful.  Tonight, I had a 33% off coupon and $10 in "Borders Bucks" and I got exactly the three paperbacks I wanted, $7.99 each, for $11 and change total.  I am so happy.  It just makes my cheap little book-loving heart sing.

On to tchotchkes.  When we were first married, when we went on trips, I would buy a souvenir mug.  But before long, the mug cabinet was full to the bursting point.  So I started to collect keychains.  There are rules. They have to have the name of the place on them.  They have to cost less than $8 (it used to be $5, until inflation made it impossible to get a good keychain within the rules).  I have to buy it while we are at the place (under duress I occasionally have allowed myself to buy it at the airport, but usually, it has to come from a tacky souvenir store).  I have a great collection.  At some point, while browsing the tacky souvenir shops, I branched out into tchotchkes (yes, I googled that to figure out how to spell it).  I don't always buy one.  It has to be something that especially strikes my fancy.  I have a snow globe from Seattle, a ceramic mug with the handle in the shape of an alligator's tail from Florida, etc.  So you will understand how thrilled I was to find a bobble-head Statue of Liberty while we were in NYC last week.  O. M. G.  The guy at the counter must have understood, because he very carefully wrapped it in one brown paper bag, taped it shut, wrapped it in another brown paper bag, taped it shut, and then put the whole thing in a small plastic shopping bag, which I reverently stowed in between several layers of dirty clothes in my suitcase.  (It's all of about 4" tall.)  Fab-u-lous.

And New York.  It was amazing.  The last time I was there I was pregnant with Nell, so it was more than twenty years ago.  We went to Wicked.  (I tried, I really did, to get tickets to see Pacino as Shylock in Merchant of Venice, but apparently everyone else wanted to see it just as badly as I did.).  We went to the Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and South Street Seaport and Times Square and kicked through the leaves in Central Park and had a drink at the revolving restaurant at the top of the Marriott and just about all the tourist-y things that you could possibly do in three days.  The weather wasn't great, but it was a hell of a lot better than the weather we came home to.  ('scuse dangling preposition)

Anything else?  Can't think of anything at the moment.  Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.  Tomorrow is pie baking day.  I think I'm doing five, maybe six.  Fortunately my friend the amazing cook is doing the turkey and trimmings.  I'm thankful.


  1. What a great spouse, go spend some time in a book store. Fabulous.

  2. yes, absolutely! he is one of the things I am most thankful for at the moment.

  3. When my mall time is over (I think of it as a paid prison mandate) I want to go play that one word writing game. Love your collections too!
    My husband "sends" me places as well, funny how they know what we need sometimes.