Category Archives: Stuff I Dabble In


It’s Sunday, my day off (and technically my Saturday) so I get very excited when it arrives.   Right now Russ and I are both spending a lazy Sunday doing the things that we like to do, only his things are cool and mine are not.

I am currently typing this for you fine people, sprawled on the couch with a new book and a Mr. Pibb lined up beside me.  Bliss, but less than exciting.  Russ is outside in the garage working on his car.  He drives a 1983 Volkswagen Rabbit that refuses to give up, and whenever it suffers any injury, Russ is able to spend next to no money fixing it himself and loving every minute of it.  I admire so much that he has *real skills* that not everyone has, and in particular skills that are super super useful (hey he works on my car too).

Here's a sexy lil pic of his car.

I am without a talent.  Sure I have hobbies, things that I like to do, but none of them are special:  lots of people read books and work jigsaw puzzles.  These may be two of my favorite activities, but they are most definitely not remarkable.  No one will ever say to me, “Wow, I’m so impressed with the way you snap those puzzle pieces together.  Genius.”  I can remember having felt this way for a very long time.  I once came across My Old Journal (full of the angsty musings of a 13-year old = priceless shit) and found a entry wholly devoted to my lamenting the fact that my cousins each had a special talent and I did not.  I didn’t exactly want to be Horseback Riding Cousin, Acting Cousin, or Piano Playing Cousin, I just wanted my own *thing*.

Baton twirler? I was one for my second Halloween, so I might have a head start.

I took piano lessons when I was little, but my teacher was a scary bitch so that didn’t last.  I played violin for a year, then became eligible for band and switched to band with every other 5th grader to pursue the clarinet.  That lasted a few short years.  I was in an acting troupe as a Freshman in high school.  We did Shakespeare at nursing homes.  They once put us in the Alzheimer’s ward and all the old people had no idea what was going on so they would walk up on “stage” in the middle of a scene and make a cup of coffee or whatever and talk loudly to themselves.  Sad yes, and embarassing for a 14 year old.  Volleyball I loved best and did stick with–however, high school sports are no means of setting yourself out from the pack; in fact, a volleyball team is a whole *extra* pack to join.

I do think it’s very cool that I know a lot about the history of art, and that I’m becoming increasingly knowledgeable about geography.  But believe or not, asking someone to dare you to name all the countries in Africa from east to west, does not good bar chat make (I know, shocker).

You might have thought that I was working up to some sort of conclusion here, like this was all leading to my announcement that I’m going to pursue my pilot’s license, but sorry no.  I still don’t know what my special talent could be (the pilot thing was just for example, hello I don’t want to die) and remain talentless.

I think I will begin my quest for a Talent by doing a little self-exploration.  I’ve been wanting to since I first saw the list, and I think now I will actually go ahead and answer the 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind (  Wish me luck.

This doesn't have to do with anything. I'm just really excited to see Angie kick some ass in Salt.

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What up girlfraaan!

I’m very good at getting excited about a new project, devoting my attention to it for about 1 hour, and then forgetting about the project thereafter for months–sometimes indefinitely, actually.  Well a few MONTHS ago Russ spotted an old sewing machine in a cabinet by the dumpster behind our apartment and even though it had been rained on, I insisted we salvage the beast.  We brushed off some dirt and hauled it up to our (2nd floor) apartment.   I chipped a bit at the peeling veneer on Day 1, and then dragged it to the dining room where it has sat on newspaper ever since.  (Sometimes I wonder how many other cool things Russ has noticed but chosen NOT to tell me about, just so we don’t have to go through this again…)

Well the other day I got the notion to finally DO something with my cabinet.  So I got some proper tools and finished chipping off the veneer, and today I primed and painted it!  It’s here, drying next to me, a lovely muted blue-green.  I’m just tickled.  And the more I stare at it, I swear some part is just screaming to be decoupaged…but one step at a time.

I got a makeover!

ALSO, today on our way back from a late diner breakfast, we both sighted a luciously gaudy mirror by the side of the road in a garbage pile.  It’s cracked, put that’s easily fixed and then I plan to paint it a really fab color–like red, or bright white or something.  (I feel like I should note:  this mirror was not in, like, a garbage bag with banana peels and rancid bits draped all over it…someone was clearly moving or spring cleaning or whatever and ditched their busted mirror–so don’t judge me, I’m not some icko dumpster diver.)

Mirror, Mirror on the wall: I will spray paint you.

I feel wonderfully crafty today.  Martha would be so proud.  Now to really dazzle you, last night I picked up my Lithuanian mp3 lessons and dove back into my studying.  I’m so proactive!

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Filed under In Pursuit of Martha, Stuff I Dabble In, Uncategorized


Everyone needs a healthy dose of poetry now and then, right?  Though I read obsessively, I feel there is presently not enough poetry in the mix.  Okay, there isn’t any.  I’m fixing it.

I went to the library the other day and picked up The Portable Walt Whitman (I sort of feel like you have to read some Whitman if you’re trying to dabble in poetry–I take it he’s pretty much a superstar of poetic history.  Anyway, gotta love those Humanists.)  I also got Robert Lowell’s For the Union Dead (1956) because I was assigned to write about him in my sophomore-year English class.  I had a terrible time reading him back then; I’m hoping that simply by virtue of being 12 years older than I was at the time, reading Lowell now will be much easier, and therefore enjoyable.  I also happen to love Tortured Souls.  I think of Robert Lowell whenever I hear the phrase “chain-smoking.”

My third library selection is Willa Cather’s April Twilights (1903).  To be honest, I never knew Cather busied herself with poetry.  I love her novels–ohmygod if you haven’t read O, Pioneers! do so immediately, it is so juicy and wrenching and fantastic.  I’ve gotten a good start on April Twilights; I got very excited because when she says “The city, dreamlike, far away,–/ The island, stream and towers” she is talking about PARIS.

Willa Cather: saucy minx

I have two books of poetry here on the bookshelf that I bought some time ago and haven’t read, so I’ve pulled those out too: Charles Bukowski’s The People Look Like Flowers At Last (2007) and Sharon Olds’s The Unswept Room (2002).  I know both will be delicious.  I love Sharon Olds.  She’s so good at family drama.  Also, one of the poems in here is called “Diaphragm Aria.”  Yessssss.

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