fledge capable of flying, from Middle English flegge, from Old English -flycge; akin to Old High German flucki capable of flying,
Old English flEogan to fly -- more at FLY
intransitive verb, of a young bird : to acquire the feathers necessary for flight or independent activity

Saturday, March 31, 2007


Blue is ocean and the sky, however you cannot hold the blue of either in your hand. That is why the future is usually blue. The Earth looks blue from far away.

Got friendship

Your comments about losing contact with old friends were very touching. And inspiring: I got a fledgling idea. I'm going to try and figure out exactly how it should work with an artist friend.

It's something that you can do. Maybe you'd like to participate. Give me a couple of weeks.

To bee or not to bee

“And I’m going to get James. And he’s going to hit you with his crutches. He hit a kid in the nuts with his crutches. And I’m going to get Sasha and her sister, because they know karate. And I’m going to get Isabelle and her bees and they’re going to sting you!”

If you upset my little five-year-old, she'll likely threaten you with the above. "Isabelle and her bees and they're going to sting you": I love that one. Isabelle’s grandfather has a farm and keeps bees. At any rate, I can learn this from my little one: I should get somebody to help if somebody upsets me.

Why am I mad? Folks have been stealing from me. Folks, who I am sure, would not walk into my house and steal from me. Folks, who I am sure, would not walk into their local sewing shop and stuff a sewing pattern into their bag without paying. Folks, who I am sure, think they are just being clever, maybe even helpful and not deceitful.

Just to make this clear: Unlawful copying of the patterns is stealing.
Unlawful copying of copyrighted work is stealing.
Unlawful instructions on how to circumvent purchasing a copyrighted work is stealing.
Manufacturing copyrighted designs and infringing on trade dress is stealing.

I'm not talking to you, the five or six people who actually read this blog. But maybe one of them will read this.

One more thing: When stealing is easy and you think nobody is looking, that doesn’t make stealing not stealing. Look: I would love to play some other MP3s on this blog. Who would ever find out? And if they did, what would they really do? But I don’t play stuff I haven't attained the rights to play. I surf around for free music. I understand what is at stake.

If a person figures out a studioTANTRUM pattern all on their own just by looking at the pictures or reading how to do it on the Internet and decides to publish instructions and pattern pieces, that is stealing. I cannot walk over to a piano, figure out the notes to play Yellow Submarine and think I can own that tune. Admittedly, music is treated a little differently, a little more stringently, but I hope the analogy is clear. You know my designs. Love them or hate them, you must admit they are different. They are not standard clothing items. They are different. That is what I do. Understand, I'm not talking about the people who just figure out a pattern and make it for themselves: That doesn't upset me anymore than I think Paul McCartney would be if I plunked out Yellow Submarine in my own house. I'm talking about reproduction for sale and publication of instructions, whether for sale or freely given away.

The theft of the intellectual property – if you have ever had anything precious stolen—feels like any other theft, a real personal violation. In addition, however, if I find out about the theft, you force my hand. I have to make you stop. I have to go get Isabelle and her bees. Otherwise, the argument could be made that I’m not interested in protecting my copyright. My lax attitude could be interpreted as a release of ownership. But that’s not the case. I don’t want to give up my ownership. I worked for it. I invested in the design and risked financial loss and public embarrassment. I want to keep what is mine. But that is a lot of work in itself.

I haven’t been sewing very much lately. I have a sketchbook of smokin’ designs, but I’m not getting around to making them. I have several patterns selling well in Europe that I would like to offer in the United States, but I’m very hesitant. I want to invest in a rockin’ Web site and better quality patterns. But all that will not happen while I spend my time and money on attorneys.

The way it’s going, I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. I either spend my time and money on lawyers hunting down the thieves and go out of business that way. Or I let these folks continue to walk in and rob the store until I have nothing left to sell and go out of business that way. Either way, I lose.

I’m letting you decide. Do you want to see what is in my sketchbook? Do you want a chance to sew this stuff yourself? Do you have any appreciation for the work and imagination it took to make Hermosa, Zuma, Solana, Cardiff, Tuolumne …? Maybe I will come up with something else. I’d be happy to come up with designs that I only share with fifty or so sewing friends. Works for me. I can go back spending my time creating. There’s no money in that, of course. But it’s also a zero sum gain, when all my profits from selling to the general public go straight to some guys on Wilshire Blvd. who know how to write nasty letters. Furthermore, if I just stop, I won’t have to mess around with things like complicated tax filings for my inc. just for the pleasure of doing business to pay the lawyers to keep the business to pay for the lawyers to keep the business to pay the lawyers to keep the business ...

The truth of the matter is, there is really just a handful of seamstresses, whose recognition means the world to me and for whom--in addition to my little girl--I do this. They probably don't even know who they are. These women push me ahead in terms of design; their enthusiasm encourages me to experiment. And it's fun. I want to keep going.

You decide. Do you really want me to go get Isabelle and her bees?

Friday, March 30, 2007

Sins of omission

I forget birthdays. I don't say "thank you" enough. I take the most important people in my life for granted. I lose touch with my friends.

I received this stack of Christmas cards back. These people have moved. Moved on. I've moved on. Mostly: My life is very full, very busy, and yet, in my heart there are little holes in the shapes of Susanne, Kate, Melynda, Melissa, Catherine ...

Oh sure, I've got this Internet thing down pretty good. I can google a name and can find out sometimes where my old friends' lives have headed since we last brunched all day or listened to flamenco all night or woke up on a beach one morning. Before now. Before the kids and the mortgage and the Tax Franchise Board Form 100 and the change in tier in health insurance and the soccer snack duty and the five-twenty-nine and the Roth four-oh-one-kay and the index fund and the somebody else's hair in the sink. But many times, I just don't know where my friends are and what happens and happened to them. I've heard that life is not about acquiring things; it's about giving up things. As a mom, I have to give up my children a little bit everyday. I say goodbye a little to my little children everyday. I get to say hello to the young people they are becoming, everyday, as well. And that fills me with joy. But there's still those tiny holes in my heart.

Maybe these old friends will find my blog. I kind of hope they do. The Welcome mat is there. That's probably part of what a blog is: "Hello, Kate! I'm here. I'm glad you're here. I got older. But it happened faster than I thought it would and I miss you."

Susanne, I did google your name this morning. You have created such beauty. I'm so proud to have known you.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

My excuse and a confession

In case you wanted to know why
- the laundry is not folded.
- the paperwork is not done.
- the spreadsheets are not updated.
- the files are not translated.
- the homework is not checked.
- the errands weren't run.
- the emails were left unanswered.

I made this dress instead: Summer poplin happens.

Too much tulle? You can tell me; be honest.

It's probably obvious, but I'll fess up anyway: I was thinking "What would Diba do?" while making this dress. Can you blame me?


Blog Bounce or Flickring?

I don't know. What do you think? I'm having fun blog bouncing with the Kitsch. I've seen Diana's faux rodents and Simone's tea set (that read like a real catharsis). But if that Flickr thing works, I'm good with that, too. At any rate, don't miss this fuzzy pink deer trophy, purple gnome baking thing and sparkly deers. The girl also snagged that awesome skirt from Nic's DaWanda shop before I was even awake. A hex on Silke. And Sabine wrote and told me about a ship in a bottle--the bottle being an I.V. bottle: Yeah, as in "intravenous", those hospital bottle things--at her home. I don't need a picture. I've got enough of a picture in my head.

Ich weiss nicht: Was meint Ihr? Das Blogbummeln zum Kitsch macht mir Spass. Ich habe bereits Diana's Ersatznagetiere und Simones Teeservie (das las wie ein Kitschkarthese) gesehen. Anderseits, wenn wir alle Flickr'n, auch prima. Doch auf gar keinen Fall dieses rosa-roten Hirschgeweih, den lila-farbenen, zwergförmigen Backform und die glitzernde Rehe verpassen. Silke hat auch den g*ilen Rock aus Nic's DaWanda-Shop ergattert, bevor ich noch wach würde. (Böser Blick nach Silke gerichtet). Und Sabine erzählte mir von Büddelschiffen in Infusionsflaschen ?!? Ich brauche kein Bild.

To flickr or not to flickr: Good question. KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid), sage ich nur.

Liebe Grüsse an alle, Nancy


Pink. Like Kitsch: Face it and embrace it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"Feel so good today"

Ich habe so mitbekommen, dass ein paar meiner Internet-Bekanntinnen einen leichten Moralischen haben. Für Euch ein Happy Song.

Dieses Lied ist “legal, free-of-charge download for unlimited private reproduction and use”mit freundlicher Genehmigung von Mercedes Benz.

Yes, it's mine.

Ein ganz labbriger Anfang, aber ein wahrer Gegenstand aus dem Tantrumium. Warum ich dieses Glöckchen habe? Besser ist ohne Erklärung. Die mooi hoor (Diana) hat eine öffentliche Flickr-Forum aufgesetzt (everybody, stand up from your chairs and start the "Wave" for Ms. Diana! Und wer immer etwas an Barbie loswerden wollte sollte vorbeiklicken). Also zum Flickr mit dem Kitsch, wenn nicht gleich auf den Wohnzimmerehrenplatz bzw. die Müllkipppe.


Dort sind auch die Regel. Aber meine Güte, ich sitze vorm Berg von Steuersachen, die nur aus verkorksten Regeln bestehen. Also, mehr Regeln in diesem Monat und ich drehe durch. Ganz ehrlich. Inspirirend und zum Am-Kopf-Kratzen soll der Kitsch sein. Ich wollte fast zu den Regeln hinzufügen, dass wenn japanische Teenager den Kitsch schon entdeckt hatten, wäre das fast möglen. Anderseits, alles her was happy macht.

Komm', kitsch mit!

Oh, and, um, Diana hat geschreiben, dass es einen "price" geben wird. Nun ein Gewinn wird's eventuell geben ("prize"), aber kein Gebühr ("price"). Nur so nebenbei ...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Es wird nicht so heiss gegessen wie gekocht wird.

Wenn's überhaupt gegessen wird.

Wer hat den absoluten Erfolgsrezept? Bitte schnell soll's sein, denn "Kitchen" trifft zu.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

No fun without "u"

Okay-dokey! Let's kitsch.

Mal schauen was wir so finden, abstauben, bestaunen, zugeben und angeben. Nun die Frage wie das blogistisch zu regeln wäre (Wikipedia aufgepasst: Web Log + Logistics = "Blogistics" -- stammt von mir, gell'?). Ich stelle ein paar Sachen ein, Ihr stellt Sachen auf Eueren Blogs ein? Keine Ahnung. Ich finde das Gespräch aber lustig. Und vorab doch ein Nichtwettbewerb-Wettbewerb. Obwohl ein Wanderpokal fände ich nach wie vor eine witzige Idee.

No fun without "u"! Ich freue mich auf Euere Teilnahme.

Diana's bringing on her A-game. She's enlisted the help of real celebrity power.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Kitschst du mit?

“Böser Zeitfresser”. So nannte Sabine, mein Schnittmusterflugkapitain, wegen des Englischen dieses Blog. Nehme ich erstmals als Kompliment. Aber da Sabine wirklich eine Menge anderes zu tun hat, als sich mit meinem sehr gewöhnungsbedürftigen Englisch herumzuschlagen, hier eine gewöhnungsbedürftige Übersetzung (sinngemäss) zu einem möglichen Kitschwettbewerbs (Vorschlag von mooi hoor).

Nun frage ich mich, ob der Wettbewerb lediglich ein Waldorfschule/ich-mag-dich-du-magst-mich/Lass’-uns-alle-die-Hände -halten-und-in-einen -Ring-tanzen-denn-wir-scheuen-jeglichen-Wettbewerb-Wettbewerb sein soll. Oder doch ein richtiger Testosterone-beladener Wettbewerb, denn in dem Fall, können wir eine Trophäe haben. Denn Trophäen sind kitschig.

Nun ja zu den Regeln (müssen sein). Wie soll “Kitsch” definiert werden? Ich sage, der Kitsch soll massenprodiziert, hyper-real, komsumeristisch, -- (was habe ich noch gesagt?), ach ja – weder bewusst ironisch noch subkulturell ikonisch (das “subkulturelll’ kommt von mooi hoor), und soll irgendwo in irgend jemands Pop Culture herumschweben. (leo.org gibt mir keine Treffer für Pop Culture: Wie wär’s mit “Schlagerkultur”?). Darüber hinaus schlägt mooi hoor vor, dass dies keine Werbung sein soll, denn es könnte einigen den kulturellischen Zusammenhang fehlen. Von mir aus. Wobei ich es persönlich mag, wenn der Zusammenhang fehlt. Yatta!) Darüber hinaus soll der Kitsch sofortig viszeral ansprechend und doch angesichts unseres besserens Urteilsvermögens Abscheu erregend sein (keine Panik: auf Englisch klang’s auch nicht besser). Und besserwisserisch möchte ich nicht sein, denn Kitsch ist eigentlich da, um glücklich zu machen. Und das, meines Erachtens, ist Existenzgrund genug. Der Kitsch soll von solchem guten Geschmack sein, dass es schlecht ist, bzw. so schlecht, dass es wieder gut ist. Was meinst du? Wie kitschst du?

Und billig soll’s auch sein. (Und dann kam ein besserwisserische Wortschwall zu “Alesse” … blah, blah, blah …). Ausnahme zum “Muss billig sein” wäre, wenn der Gegenstand als Luxusgegenstand zu verstehen wäre.

Gegen verschiedene Katagorien hätte ich nichts, Wobei Good Kitsch und Bad Kitsch zwei Seiten einer Münze sind, Yin und Yang … von daher vielleicht doch nur “der eine Kitsch”, álá “Der eine Kitsch, ein Kitsch sie zu knechten, Sie alle zu finden, Ins Dunkel zu treiben und ewig zu binden, etc. etc. etc. …”

D. h. der eine Kitsch, den wir für unseren Eigenen haben wollen werden, doch diesen müssen wir höchstwahrscheinlich in den Feuern von Mount Doom vernichten. Sowas.

Ein Gegenstand soll’s sein, Keine Filme, Musik u.d.g. wobei es mir wirklich jede Kraft kostet, dieses YouTube DmnOfVTd5Ow und auch dieses s8AArN1NQVE nicht einzustellen. Aber dieses Blog soll doch einen aesthetischen Pfad finden. Vielleicht nachdem ich diesen ganz schrecklichen Rock für eine Freundin fertiggestellt habe (das mit dem “ich kann nähen” doch lieber keinem so erzählen). Danach hoffe ich mit Projekten meiner Wahl Schönheit anzustreben.

Aber zurück zum Kitschwettbewerb: Wer hat Lust mitzukitschen?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

One Kitsch to Rule Them All: Wanna play?

Mooi hoor (Diana) suggested a Kitsch Contest. (Hello Diana, you're not going to call me out on that "I'm so famous in Holland" thing, are you?). I'd be up for a contest. Maybe it should be a Waldorf School/ I'm Okay-You're Okay / Let's-all-hold-hands-and-run-under-the-parachute-together- because-we-eschew-competition contest with no announced winners. But I'd be up for a real testosterone-laden contest, too, because then we could have a trophy, because, yeah, trophies are kitschy. I think it would also be a good idea, because, if we find the next best kitsch, mark my words, we'll have found a trend.

Contests mean rules (no getting around that). So I guess we need to define the kitsch we are talking about. I think it should be mass produced, hyperreal, consumerist, neither intentionally ironic nor iconic and floating around somewhere in somebody's popular culture. It should be immediately viscerally appealing and yet repulsive to our better judgment. This may come off a little hipper-than-thou, but I want to honor kitsch. It generally is there to make us happy, after all. There's no other reason for it. And that's a good enough reason for me. It should be of such good taste, it's bad; or so bad, it's good. What do you think? How do you kitsch?

Another thing: The kitsch needs to be cheap. Alessi, for example, is silly, in my opinion--and not silly in a good way. A $20 little post-Modern monster to clip toenails? ("I'm so droll. My corkscrew looks like a little person and was made in Italy by craftsmen." Makes me think somebody is covering up a deep, unfulfilled need for puffy paint sweatshirts.) Alessi makes great stuff, don't get me wrong. And if my house was burning, I would run and get my Alessi milk jugs -- except I wouldn't have to, because they'd survive the fire. And the way this nutty Internet works, I'll bet Alessi will come up with a garlic press with our Kitsch Contest Winning Item as it's inspiration.

Well, now that I think of it, there is an exception to the It's Gotta Be Cheap rule: The item may be on the expensive end of the scale if it is meant to be an item of luxury. Swarovski lead crystal figurines come to mind.

I'm open to defining Categories of Kitsch. However, Good and Bad Kitsch wax and wane, two sides of the same coin, Yin and Yang ... so maybe we should just have One Kitsch to Rule Them All. Something that ultimately everybody will want for their own and we'll have to destroy in the Fires of Mount Doom. There's only one Miss America, so there should only be one Kitschkaiser.

And we probably need to wait a little while and see if I get more visitors: Otherwise it's just Diana and I. And Diana will win, because otherwise she will call me out on that whole "I'm so famous in Holland".

Oh, and I will translate the above: I just don't know if I can translate "immediately viscerally appealing and yet repulsive to our better judgment" without chipping a tooth.

Some SoCal vibe

Manche Bilder schon etwas älter. Und ich sowieso etwas älter. Eingestellt mit lieben Gruss an C.F.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Emerging on the other side of the Atlantic with the verb in my mouth

Diese Graphik finde ich lustig: Ein Hauch English for Runaways. Ich habe von 1988 in der Tat vom Goethe Institut ein Zertifikat und dies behauptet, dass mein Deutsch mit "Ausgezeichnet" zu bewerten ist. Ich bin nicht ganz der Auffassung (z.B. "behaupten" Zertifikate überhaupt? Oder "lauten" sie eher? Oder "zertifizieren" sie bloss?). Auf jeden Fall wird meine German Wordmanship stets "original" und "not plagiarism" sein. Ich werde mich sicherlich weder ganz korrekt noch ganz verständlich oder gar gewollt ausdrucken (siehste? Was heisst "oder gar gewollt ausdrucken"?). Aber deutsche Beiträge füge ich auch ein. Nur diese bitte nicht an das Goethe Institut weiterleiten. Sonst wird mir mein schönes Zertifikat mit folgender Bemerkung entzogen.

"Nothing is worse than active ignorance."

Yeah, well ... "Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him until he emerges on the other side of his atlantic with his verb in his mouth." (Mark Twain)

So there.

Passengers are arriving ...

Hi. Um. I didn't expect you so early. I wasn't finished vacuuming. Well, welcome aboard.

Flight rules:

1. Remain seated and keep your sense of humor in the upright position.
2. If we encounter turbulence, haters will be sent back into economy class between two screaming babies, not their own, and their comments deleted.
3. In case of a water landing, your cushion may be used a flotation device. Take that and most everything else on this blog with a grain of salt.
4. You don't have to say you love me. Please just stay around. I won't make you stay forever... Dusty, please explain for me:

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Alpenglühen vs. Blythe Doll

Good Kitsch: Alpenglühen. Screams, or rather, yodels "New Adventures of Heidi"*. But is not a "joke". Full disclosure: I know Nic. Know "of" her. Well, we hang out at klickundblick. Couple of emails, whatever. Still, if I didn't know her, I would really admire her mix of kitsch.

Bad Kitsch: Blythe Doll. Too late. Tries too hard. $80? Nope, not buying it. Not on any level.

*1978 with Burl Ives and Katy Kurtzman. A very intolerable movie. Yeah, that Burl Ives and the little blind girl from Little House on the Prarie singing alllll the time about her home in the Swiss Alps. There's even a crazy mountain man and Christmas shopping in New York. If you think you need a Blythe doll for some kitsch creds, get this movie instead.

The major lift

I'm going to really stick my neck out here and say what I think is good design. I'm not a designer. I make things and maybe they are design. Good design is good, no matter what you do to it. It has joy in it. It inspires. Really, what's it to you?

Despite the lip sync. Despite the Mainz-Lerchenberger Gesangverein e.V. Despite the socially progressive, ethnically interesting set dressing with Asylbewerber. Despite the best production elements ZDF with all that Rundfunksteuer (defies translation) could afford ... Leonard Cohen brings art. Enough art to keep indy musicians touring for decades.

Trust me, you'll be singing "Goes like this. The fourth. The fifth ..."

Jeff Buckley's live version on Grace EPS lifts me.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Are we neighbors?

I'm new in Blogtown. I'm sort of moved in and so I thought I'd go meet the neighbors ("Hi, I'm Nancy. I just moved in next door ..."). I'm all about neighborhood. So I click on the "Next Blog" button and I see ...


Seems like a hip dude. Gotta love Barcelona. Or is that Bar-Celona (*snort*). If we stay neighbors for very long, I may have to help him through rehab and recovery.

Oh, look: The neighbors change (see, I was thinking that these blogs were all lined up like books on a shelf or houses on a street). Now it's Big Shot Bob in Texas. He likes golf. He's reminding me that it has been four years since the start of the Iraq War. Yes, this is something to think about. Thank you, Bob in Texas.


Big Shot Bob, have you met ...


... have you met 1 of the People?

That was, in fact, the very next "Next Blog". What now?

Time to fledge. Early attempts at flight by man usually included strapping some things to the would-be aviator or aviatrix's arms and then stretching those arms out in hopes of achieving lift. Those folks usually injured themselves terribly. But they tried. They hoped and they tried. And they learned and they tried again. And some died. And some achieved. And each of them inspired.

As I picked up my little girl from school today, I watched lots of people stretching their arms out wide. Moms and dads and grandfathers ... and then, over there, their running children would stretch out their arms out wide, too. Stretching your arms is also what you do to hug someone. The children would see those outstretched arms of their moms or dads and run, run, run to gain speed and then be lifted high into the air with love.

That's all I can think of to do. Love.

Do roses fly?

Sure. With enough thrust anything will fly. This is the Avalon jacket. I printed this poem by e e cummings with paint onto appliquéd strips. The poem reminds me of my little girl.

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands
e e cummings
US poet (1894 - 1962)

Will it fly?

Here is a fledgling idea. The sewing pattern Cardiff debuted in Europe not too long ago. We'll just have to wait and see if it flies. I like these photos. The car belongs to a friend.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Good Kitsch, Bad Kitsch

Another thing I will explore is Kitsch. Occasionally, I will post Good Kitsch, Bad Kitsch examples. Good Kitsch is lowbrow stuff you love. Bad Kitsch is lowbrow stuff you love to hate. In other words, Bad Kitsch is what your five year-old daughter likes and Good Kitsch is what you would like your five year-old daughter to like. Bad Kitsch automatically becomes Good Kitsch when removed from its native homeland, for example, Japanese graphic novels and animé, Christmas pyramids
or anything made in the Black Forest, Hong Kong action films, and Rocky Maricano posters. Good Kitsch automatically becomes Bad Kitsch, when it shows up at in the set design of a Pottery Barn catalogue. Bad Kitsch, with few exceptions, becomes Good Kitsch when you acquire it at the same or younger age than your mother did when she was hip. That's tricky, but it works sometimes.

Extremely rare are the things, which are both Bad and Good Kitsch. Those things are very special. Most things Hello Kitty fall into this category (look at that, citizens of Blogland! I've already photographed the toaster. I should make a No Cupcakes pledge right here and now). As do 1970s bathrooms. Or anything manufactured, worn, watched on television and/or listened to in that decade. As soon as the clock strikes 1980, however, most anything
manufactured, worn, watched on television and/or listened to is just Bad Kitsch (except Preppy: Preppy is always Good and Bad Kitsch). Fear not, we see signs that the 1980s are approaching irony and that will certainly help that decade in its Kitsch grading. Rubik's cubes are white hot. The t-shirt is Ground Zero for irony. If "tubular" and "867-5309" can make it past the t-shirt, you might be able to keep anything with silk flowers and the color dusty rose out of the yard sale.

Bad Kitsch is that "C A P A B L E O F F L Y I N G" in this blog's header. All caps and extra leading: Just so last Millenium. I can't figure out how to get around that. But I will. We live with so much Bad Kitsch. Please bear with that for a few more days.

Determining what constitutes Good Kitsch and Bad Kitsch may seem subjective, however, please be comforted in the knowledge that I'm right. I just am. Watch:

Good Kitsch: Henry Mancini
Bad Kitsch: David Sanborn

See? I can do this.

Will it fly?

That is one of my favorite questions. This is my little one and one of her first flying machines. She has fashioned an airfoil from typing paper and used masking tape to mount it to the propulsion unit (read inflated blue balloon). Will it fly? Yes. Not far and not well. But it will fly. I like the way she is thinking.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Fluff and fold and fade to black

The washing machine has been broken for about six months (Wait! Keep reading: There's a possible celebrity in this). I think a diatribe on the whole washing machine thing in this house as a metaphor for my state of hausfraudom in 2007 may be worth exploring, but for now, it’s just about the Laundromat. Or laundrymat. I don’t know which is the correct word. I willfully do not want to know the correct word, anymore than I want to understand the mechanisms of trailer hook-ups, do-it-yourself dentistry, automobile repossession or which of Dante’s rings await people with credit scores below 600.


Again, Microsoft Word shatters my illusions. Above, Microsoft Word has automatically capitalized “Laundromat” (there: did it again!) and underlined with a squiggly red line the word “laundrymat”. (Yes, I write these in Word first). No going back. Now I know: “Laundromat” is a proper noun and “laundrymat” is not a word. No longer upper-middle class. Just like that, I want to compensate for a youth misspent with hair accessories and deep frying.

At any rate, if you can’t afford an exotic getaway, the Laundromat is a pretty good adventure. As in a foreign country, you will avoid eye contact, you will be wary of disease, you will seek refuge in an expensive hotel (this metaphor is a bit stretched, but here I mean the stainless steel three- and four-load washers. The yearning huddled masses, surely, cannot afford to toss their tempest in the four-load washers). In the Laundromat--yes, in the Laundromat--your sense of awareness will be heightened. At least until the spin cycle.

Look at this: This bright yellow gum ball dispenser chained to the wall. It says "Skittles". It looks like it would skittle away if it weren't for the chain. I think it is tired and resentful of having to stand on this corner, saying “Hey, Mister, want a gumball? Only $.25, I’ll give you what you want.” Only to have it’s sugar daddy come and take away all the money it’s earned and give it to the smug change machine.

While I am struggling to find parallels between this yellow thing and the oldest profession and even money laundering (just too tempting), here come in two fools. One clearly is or wants to be a filmmaker. He comes complete with army jacket and pony tail. The other clearly is or wants to be Christopher Masterson. At least he is a dead ringer for the man. Maybe he is Christopher Masterson. This is Los Angeles. Just like any strange light in the New Mexico desert night sky could be a Close Encounter, anybody who looks like a sit com celebrity could very well be a sit com celebrity. If this person is not Christopher Masterson, then he should probably go ahead and study for his real estate license. We already have Christopher Masterson. That whole face, that hair, that smirk—dude, all taken. Sorry, pal.

So this “filmmaker” and this “Christopher Masterson” have this whole little scene they are filming not three feet away from a transient woman with arms folded and head tilted sleeping in a plastic chair. “Christopher Masterson”, in this contribution to modern cinema, is clearly frustrated. His frustration is somehow connected to a toy owl. He tosses the stuffed animal owl into a dryer (the toy is dry, by the way) and slams the door, which completely startles the transient woman in the plastic chair from her calm sleep. Yeah, like that: The old woman has that whole eyes-popping-out-of-her-head look. (Um, is “stuffed animal” still politically correct? I think the more correct term is “plush toy”? Names have power. Was it animals or toys who protested the terminology?).

Just as the transient woman (not an actor) settles back into her tiny bit of bliss of sleep, “Christoph Masterson” digs deep into his Method acting and improvises by grabbing an abandoned newspaper, tearing it to shreds, and slamming the scraps on the counter--again shocking the elderly woman from her rest (seriously, can't just you move your Sturm und Drang to the other wall of dryers?). All of this, to me, is much more tragic comic than anything the “filmmaker” is trying to capture while he is filming footage of the dry plush toy going ‘round and ‘round and ‘round in the dryer. Fade to black.

fledge: capable of flying

capable of flying, from Middle English flegge, from Old English -flycge; akin to Old High German flucki capable of flying, Old English flEogan to fly -- more at FLY
intransitive verb, of a young bird : to acquire the feathers necessary for flight or independent activity

There are four interdependent elements of flight: Lift, thrust, drag and weight. I will categorize each entry in this flight log/blog according to each of these elements of flight. Many things, for example, will end up in the Weight category. While Weight may seem the antithesis of flight, it is usually the things making up the weight--the passengers or payload--that make the reason for initiating flight. Therefore, no Weight, no flight. Thrust will be the things that inspire and propel me and us higher and farther. Drag will be the things that slow me and us down. And Lift will be those magic moments when we leave the earth and soar.

I’m Nancy. I'm having my 15 minutes of fame. Or maybe I’ve already had them. I don’t know exactly, because my fame is supposedly happening in Holland. Yeah, the tulips and windmills and orange-clad soccer fans and coffee houses where the people don’t go for the coffee … Yeah, that place. And maybe Germany, too. And I'm only famous among people who sew. And only famous among those people who sew for their kids. Admittedly, this is not a lot of fame, but it's mine. Because I don’t think fame is necessarily a good thing, it’s fine with me if my fame is going on over there and not here. Here’s the thing: I make sewing patterns for children’s clothes. I’m not the best at it, but occasionally I’ll have a novel idea, an idea with enough innovation to be popular in Holland. (The Dutch, as I understand it, like to sew more than other people. And, according to the United Nations, the Dutch also like children more than other people in 21 of the most economically advanced countries).

Let it suffice that my sewing patterns are onpraktisch and mooi and afgeleidt. If I have had enough red wine to help my translation skills, I understand that to mean pretty, impractical and complicated. Maybe it doesn't. But I'm going with pretty, impractical and complicated. There is a good chance that if you sought out this blog, it is because you may expect some discussion of my crafting. That may happen. However, it may not happen for two reasons: First, there are great crafting blogs out there and mine, I am convinced, will not compare. My world is by no stretch of the imagination sublime objects silhouetted against pastel walls. While I seek order, beauty and novelty, I often end up stumbling. I make mistakes. And that is where I strive to find humor and insight. The second reason is that I like to write. And a blog is a chance for me, having several unused liberal arts degrees, to write skill and talent notwithstanding. There is also an off chance that a few of the people I have met over this medium will stop by and smile, laugh and/or scratch their heads at whatever I am trying to say, just like the people in my real life. I may also write a thing or two in German, because I speak German. But not Dutch. Which is too bad, because, you see, I might be famous in Holland. As the name of this blog suggests, I’m peering temerariously over the edge of my comfortable world, ready to try something new. I may land on my face. I may soar. This will be my flight log. Let’s stow our thoughts in the overhead compartment and get blogging.


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