Wednesday, April 14, 2010

caged yellow birds (etc).

Listening To: Everywhere I Go by LissieLine Obsession: "The magazine had a picture of a human heart on the cover, looking like nothing more than a big ball of watermelon threaded through with pale roots; I thought that picture made a person's heart look like a fragile, fragile thing rather than the powerful muscle I'd learned it to be in school. I looked at Bobbi then, and realized that she might just be the same way-- tough and soft at the same time." - from Savvy by Ingrid Law

(This tree belongs to my neighbors. I want it.)

Happy Wednesday, ye bevy of beautiful blog readers (and you fourish handsome blokes who check in from time to time). Today's post comes to you from the rocking chair on my back porch. The perimeter of my backyard is made up of pear trees which, as you know, have big white blooms in Spring. The wind has been howling for a few days, blowing through the trees, sending all those little, papery petals down like springtime snow. It is enchanting. I've tried to take a few pictures so I could show you, but none of them really capture how pretty it looks. Here's the best shot I got:
All those little white specs on the grass are flower petals. It's like I'm caught in a confetti downpour. And, between us, there is a distinct possibility Biscuit and I went outside yesterday, while listening to Eisley sing "Marvelous Things" on the iPod, just so I could twirl around in the flower frenzy. (Sometimes you have to make your own fun.) (My neighbors love me, btw.) Biscuit tried to eat the petals, but that's beside the point.

I also threw a blanket down on the ground and read some
Fablehaven - which is quite enchanting as well. Seth and Kendra remind me of me and my brother more than any other literary sibling duo I've come across. I'm not so involved that I'll have to gobble up the whole series immediately, but I think I'll have fun gradually following this story to its end. (However, if Fablehaven and 100 Cupboards were in a cage-fight, I would root for Henry). I have a new working theory: if Brandon Dorman illustrates a series, I'm bound to like it. Much like I'm prone to go bananas over any book edited by Julie Straus-Gabel. (It is quite possibly a new level of dork when you follow the work of authors and illustrators and editors.) Aside from reading and dancing around in the back yard, this week has been great for several reasons. Among them:

* I bought two bunches of African Daisies. Here's a fun fact: a few years ago, when I was dealing with bad insomnia, I started painting. And while I will never, ever, display my work in public ... it was a pretty fun hobby. I painted flowers on everything that year. If my family held still long enough, I would run at them with a loaded paint brush. And sometimes I went outside trying to find new flowers to paint. To this day, when I walk through Lowe's (or any other such flower place), I always think about what brush I would use to paint the flowers I see. It's like I can feel the way I would have held that brush in my hand.

I don't know diddly-squat about gardening so I tend to pick flowers because 1.) I think they would be fun to paint (even though I don't paint anymore) or 2.) because they're pretty. Just because I think they're pretty doesn't mean they are, of course. I recently sent my mom a cell phone pic of a flower in the yard and said, "What's this? I want more of them!" And she texted back and said, "Those are weeds." (Bright side: it should be easy to cultivate those!) :) I'm hopeless. But these African Daisies? They're pretty enough to paint.*

The petals are white but the centers are inky-blue, almost purple. I like to think they're sweet but still wild at heart. (Picture coming as soon as I figure out how to turn off the auto-focus on my camera. I've only had it a year now.)

* I'm going to see Sara Watkins with my bffSarah! Before the concert, we're going to eat at this restaurant which Sarah likes to fangirl because they put truffle oil on their fries. Mmmm. (Sounds so Top Chef, doesn't it?) Sara Watkins used to be 1/3 of my favorite band EVER, which would be Nickel Creek. Every few months, I write about Nickel Creek and how I wish they would get back together (even though they're solo projects have all been really good). I miss you Nickel Creek. I'll wait for you forever ... *Le Sigh*.

* I watched Pride & Prejudice (The Keira Knightly version). (If I had a running total for how often I've watched both P&P movies ... it would be embarrassing.) Though I'm partial to the BBC version of the film, I can't think of a prettier movie than the new P&P. The colors in that film? Oh my word! So gorgeous. Every frame in that movie is beautiful. The rain, the lighting, the long, tapered candles, the girls waiting in the sitting room, the chipped paint, the dresses, Pemberly. It's like every scene is art you could frame and hang on your wall. Especially the scene in the end, when Mr. Darcy is walking through the field just before the sun rises. Maybe I could put him on the Great Wall of Nothing. ; )

* I got some sweet emails. Do you remember Ashley, who graciously allowed me to interview her regarding her advocacy for To Write Love on Her Arms? (Here's the original post, in case you need a refresher.) Ashley emailed to let me know her dad is about to be deployed for 400 days. She asked if I would pray for him and I said YES and asked if I could get you sweet peeps in on the action too. Before you click away today, if you could pray for Ashley and her fam, that would be so awesome. And if you have a friend or family member serving, don't hesitate to brag (or just share a story) in the comments. I have an especially special place in my heart for people in the armed forces too. My dad just retired from the Navy last year. When I was a little kid, Desert Storm was happening and Dad was, obviously, active duty at the time. There were a few close calls but he never went to the Middle East (during that time at least). It seemed like he went on so many trips overseas (some longer than others). I remember one year mom and I had a countdown on the fridge for the day he came home. I got to leave school early to go with her and pick him up at the airport. It was near Halloween, because I remember I made a paper vampire (with strings connecting the legs) during art. I remember giving it to him when he got off the plane (some people give roses ... some people give vampires ...). Isn't it funny the things you remember like that?

It's weird, to be so completely proud and (if you're me, at least) so afraid too. I remember having so many nightmares back then. Men and women brave enough to put their lives on the line like that
amaze me. I'm also bowled over by how brave their families are. Big huge hugs to those of you praying a loved one through.

* Part one of the season finale of Project Runway is coming! Jumpy claps! Were you surprised that Maya left? I sort of was (even though Dad predicted she would leave ... my dad is eerily good at predicting various television/celebrity things) (Not that dad watches Project Runway, or anything). My first guess was that it would be Jonathan who quit. Michael Kors was unnecessarily mean about Jonathan's golden jacket** and I figured maybe Jonathan decided to blow them all off and and vamoose. But! Then I found this blog, which says Maya (whom I called Mia in the last blog ... I really thought that was her name) is the only designer that didn't show at Bryant Park. So that was my big hint that dad was right.

However, now I'm confused. Did they let all the designers show so the winner wouldn't leak? Or was it just like the last six or seven designers that got to show? Is that typical, that all the designers get to strut their stuff and we don't see it? Confusion becomes me.

I think Mila will make it over Jay. However, I'm kind of neutral at this point. Last year I was pulling for Carol Hannah (even though I figured that other chick would win). This year, my girl Amy got booted way too early. Then I picked Jonathan and he went home. I feel like I'm jinxing these people so I won't predict again. (*whispers* I think Emilio will win ... if he's able to fit his ego into the building...)

* It's Library Appreciation Week. I'm pretty sure I frequent my library branch so much they wonder if I have a life. So I'm making a big box of chocolate/peanut butter pretzels for my librarians. They're an awesome bunch of ladies - smart and savvy and so creative. My mom took me to the library in my hometown when I was a kid but, (and I'm sure things have changed now) it was nothing like the libraries I discovered as an adult. At my library, there are constantly events going for teens and kids. They show indy films every Saturday, and then have discussions. They have book clubs. They have programs for senior citizens. They have classes on ancestry (and on how to fill out a FAFSA, and on where to look for jobs ...). I get gushy when I talk about libraries because I think they embody some of the best parts of our nation: freedom to speak, freedom to think independently, freedom to discover. I can't believe libraries are free. I'm so grateful for my librarians. I'm also grateful for my favorite online librarian, Sarah, alias The Green Bean Teen Queen. Jenny B. Jones introduced to me to her blog last year and I've been smitten ever since. If you're wondering whether or not a book is worth purchasing or putting on your hold list at the library, you'll love her blog to bits.

* I remembered April is national poetry month. If I don't forget, I'll stick one of my favorite poems on the end of the next few posts. I like this one because it reminds me of my grandparents.

Wind and Window Flower by Robert Frost

Lovers, forget your love,
And list to the love of these,
She a window flower,
And he a winter breeze.

When the frosty window veil
Was melted down at noon,
And the caged yellow bird,
Hung over her in tune,

He marked her through the pane,
He could not help but mark,
And only passed her by
To come again at dark.

He was a winter wind,
Concerned with ice and snow,
Dead weeds and unmated birds,
And little of love could know.

But he signed upon the sill,
He gave the sash a shake,
As witness all within
Who lay that night awake.

Perchance he half prevailed
To win her for the flight
From the firelight looking-glass
And warm stove-window night.

But the flower leaned aside
And thought of naught to say,
And morning found the breeze
A hundred miles away.

* Also, I came to the very true realization that my friend, Krishana Kraft, is a rockstar. (Seriously ... how chic does she look?! Remember when Natalie Portman shaved her head? Krish looks every bit that gorgeous. It's out of control :)
I would love to hear from you in the comments. Hope you're having a happy week.

* I would use the wide, flat brush loaded with white, then turn it side ways and push/pull against the page. Then I would use the short,
spikey brush for the center.
** This makes me want to burst into song from the first Willy
Wonka movie, "I've got a golden ticket! It's ours, Charlie!"


  1. I love to hear someone else gush about the 2005 "Pride and Prejudice." =) It is, after all, my favorite movie of all time. I agree that it is completely beautiful. And I can't think of anything better to put on your wall than Mr. Darcy. As handsome as Colin Firth was (and still is...I keep wondering if he's ever going to look old), Matthew Macfayden is the perfect Darcy. And that scene where he really smiles for the first time (when Lizzie meets Georgiana) makes my heart melt and gives me the chills. Okay, deep breath. I didn't mean to turn this into another P&P rave.

    I don't watch Project Runway, but my dad (who watches really no TV except "Survivor") also has a strange talent- for predicting scores on "Dancing With the Stars."


  2. If you think the colors of the Kiera Knightley "Pride and Prejudice" are pretty, you should watch the new BBC "Emma". It is an oil painting! So rich, and warm, and sunny; makes me happy just looking at it. (I have already wtched the four hour mini-series 4 times this week, and yes, one of those times was without sound.)

    Also, I highly suggest, slash, stongly-encourage-just-short-of-demanding that you bring the chocolate/peanut butter pretzels to the library I work at instead or as well. We may not be as cool as your library (no indy films. sad.) but we do appreciate yummy treats! :) All we got were three balloons (which deflated the next day) and a box of cookies (gone before the end of the day).

  3. Oh, PB and I just love Pride and Prejudice, mainly for that reason, it's crazy beautiful, PB wants to be in the film industry so she just eats that movie up. LOL, I like the idea of Darcy on your wall:) Ah...Robert Frost he's one of my favorite poets. Shel Silverstein's my fave, kind of lame since he writes for little kids and I'm 15 but I still love his simple style and what he writes about.
    Hey, you seem pretty smart and creative (I'm not trying to be a kiss up) I have to give an oral report with a visual aid on Modern Christian Martyrs and I'm stuck. I can't make a video. Got any ideas?
    P.S. I've searched everywhere for Paperdoll, where can I find it?
    I love reading your blog.

  4. Kristin, my dad watches dancing with the stars too! Ha :) Gush about P&P all you want! I would probably never stop looking at my wall if I put Darcy there ... the guy in the new one is great. I started out thinking I would like him and by the end he was perfect (which is exactly how it is with Colin Firth too). I think the beauty of that movie is that you fall for him as Elizabeth does .. know what I mean?

    Janae, I would so bring pretzels to your library if I could! :) I don't blame you for swooning over Emma. That movie was beautiful. I started reading Emma, and discussing it on here, but then I sort of fell off the wagon :) I did finish the movie though and it was spectacular. The colors are so BEAUTIFUL. I don't blame you for watching it soundless. It's probably like walking through a really gorgeous museum when you do that.

    Little Fairy, are candles allowed? I went to Canterbury Cathedral in college and saw a place they had dedicated to modern day martyrs. They had little tea-light candles devoted to each person and a book with some pictures (I remember MLK Jr being in the book). Maybe print out a pic and have a candle underneath? Or maybe not since that's a fire hazzard waiting to happen? I'll have to ponder this one a bit. Hmmm.

    About Paperdoll - if you go in your local bookstore and can't find it (which stinks), they should be able to order it for you at no extra charge. If you're able to order it online (or have someone do it for you), then you can also find it at Amazon or B&N. But I know it sucks ordering offline ... I would ask someone behind the counter when they could order it for you. I've seen it at the LifeWay here ... but that's pretty much it. Thanks for looking anyway! :)

  5. So Fablehaven is awesome, hmmm? Yeesh like I need another book on my TBR pile! ;-)

    I need to rewatch the 2005 P& it. You are so right, every scene is a work of art. And I think Darcy would be fantastic on the great wall of nothing. :)

  6. I love any version of Pride and Prejudice. The BBC version is so much more accurate according to the book, and I love the way they incorporate taking walks and the various parties that the KK one doesn't. However, I agree that the picture and the scenery in the new one is so beautiful. I love the scene where Elizabeth is standing on the edge of the cliffs looking out. And the soundtrack is WONDERFUL!

    Also, I love Robert Frost. He ranks in my top favorite poets. His poem "A Hillside Thaw" is simply beautiful.

  7. I must say I love the Kiera Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice. The scenery and all of it really was absolutely stunning! I quite envy some of their dresses...
    And let me just say (and I mean this in a very good way!)I'm glad I'm not the only silly library loving girl out there! When I go to the library, it's like one of the highlights of my week!!! :) I especially love when I find a really big library! LOL I get the stupidest grin on my face, but it's oh so worth it...

  8. I love Bradford pear trees! Seeing the petals fly around at the beginning of spring is one of my favorite things. My college campus used to have tons of them and wherever you would walk, it would seem like some gorgeous wedding.

    I'm a little jealous about Sara Watkins. Nickel Creek is one of my all-time favorites, too.

    Oh, and I completely agree about the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice--it's absolutely beautiful. Love it.

  9. Ruth, Fablehaven is really good. I liked 100 Cupboards better (they remind me of each other just a smidge) but it's such a GOOD idea for a novel. I wish I'd had it in middle school especially. I wish we lived closer so we could have P&P marathons (when I lived in Dallas, my friend Jill used to come over and we would watch both versions back to back ... it was kind of sad in an awesome way ;)

    Samantha, that scene on the hill - oh my gooooosh so pretty :) It gives me chills. I like the other Lizzy B. better than KK's version, but she did a good job too. I wish I could combine the two - have the colors and scenery of the new one with the Lizzy and Darcy in the BBC version.

    Ashley, you are most definitely not alone in your library love! :) If I ever get to actually go to NYC, #1 on my list of touristy things to do is to see the lions at the library. I'm nuts about my little library too though - I love getting books and I love to see the look on a kid's face when they slap their books down (excitedly) on the counter. Libraries are magical places. I'm convinced.

    Brittany, that sounds like a gorgeous campus! The flowers flying through the air really are the best. One of my favorite trees was a cherry tree near a cake factory where I live. When the petals start blowing, and I smell donuts, I feel like I'm in a Roald Dahl novel. :) (Not quite as exciting when the pollen blows ... but still.) I'm glad I'm not the only one anxiously awaiting Nickel Creek's return ...

  10. Natalie, I love reading your blog posts! I always get so excited when I see that you have a new post. I love how you can make such simple things sound so fun and interesting!

    Your pear trees sound amazing and so does twirling around in flower petals! sounds like the perfect spring day! :)


  11. I love the new version of Pride and Prejudice!! :) I have watched it like five times.It is a very beautiful movie, scenic-wise. The place they filmed it is so pretty.

    SARAH WATKINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh you'll have to let me know how that goes. I miss Nickel Creek. :( I have however, bought a few songs from their individual projects, so that's cool, I guess. But I miss them together.

    Btw, I will be trying the iced vanilla mocha tomorrow. I'll let you know how it turns out!!

    Have a good weekend!

  12. It takes a special lover of books to even follow editors!

    And of course, the spikey brush...! ;)

  13. I love the weed story Natalie - We have wild violets (or so I call them) in our yard, and they're definitely mass producing!! :). And chives too, but we can't eat them because Dad fertilizes the yard, so they're more of a pain...
    Thanks for writing! <3

  14. OH WOW!! I just LOVE P&P! Its onwe of my three favorite movies EVER!! (A Walk to Remember JUST beat it and The Dark Knight is behind P&P)

    I also love peotry! Wrote a new poem today about how girls seem themselves in the mirror.. gonna see if anyone will publish it! LOL

    i also got some awesome emails! Everyday this week so far my buddy Alyssa has been on at the SAME TIME! We've sent over 200 emails every day this week so far!! IKR?! Daddy's getting mad that I wont delete them all LOL =]

  15. BTW... I use to take my mom some weeds that I thought were flowers.. but I was 6 so it didnt count! LOL =]

  16. Thanks, so much, for including the prayer request, it means a whole lot :) && I must admit, I too, adore libraries. We are actually studying poetry in English right now, and while poets seem to be a depressed bunch of people, their lives and works are quite interesting :)

  17. Oh Project Runway. Did you catch the first part of the finale?!? My favorite scene of the entire SEASON was Tim Gunn getting on Seth Aaron's trampoline, and Seth Aaron commenting "Papa Gunn's on the tramp!" Ahh, love it!

  18. Um I looooove the Keira Knightely pride and prejudice. More than the BBC version. It IS beautiful! And the music is perfection :) That scene at the end when Mr. Darcy is walking to Lizzy's house during the sunrise... I was watching the movie and when it got to that part, I knew I wanted to own this movie :)

  19. Leah, it is THE scene to end all scenes. I think I melted in the theater when I saw it :) What I love most about it is that it could have been cliche - hero walks toward a girl in the sunrise with his cape fluttering in the wind. But it didn't come off that way at all. I think there was a collective gasp from every female in the room. What an ending ... *sigh* :)