Monday Snax

Today, importantly, is Guion’s 24th birthday! I wish I could have just stayed home to celebrate with him all day long. I love that man very much and I think I love him more every day, as totally absurd and romantic as that sounds. He’s the best. I hope his unsurprising birthday present, Bon Iver’s LP, comes in the mail today… G., love you forever and always. Happy, happy birthday!

On Saturday, we went adventuring in the gorgeous wilderness of White Hall with a band of friends. We bought a wheel of gouda from a Trappist monastery and then went to a forbidden but wonderful swimming hole on the Moormans River.

Sam
Sam in the very green Moormans River.
Band of trespassers
The band of trespassers.

After we’d had our fun and settled down with some gouda and wine, we were discovered by a pair of old and understandably grumpy farmers, who kindly asked us to leave and stop trespassing on their land. We complied. Although we won’t be going back there again and felt bad about clearly violating their “no trespassing” signs, it was definitely worth it.

Snax with Trappist cheese and wine on a rock outcropping:

Catching the Bouquet. Here, Emma gives prime advice on how to catch the bouquet at any of the zillion summer weddings you’ve probably been invited to. Heed her wisdom, friends. She “caught” my bouquet and saved that moment from an otherwise awkward end. She’s a pro. (Take Two)

Finally in English: The World’s Best Type Reference Guide. Oh, want it. (The Atlantic)

Brooklyn Moms Now Need to Get High to Play with their Kids. This is sad and funny. I love the comparison in the last paragraph between a high mother and a toddler. (Daily Intel)

Gay Talese: What I Read. A day in the life of the Internet-free human. How nice! (The Atlantic Wire)

The Mind and Fog. So gorgeous and haunting. As you can probably tell by now, I’m a sucker for foggy field photos. Can you believe this woman lives here? Jealous. (La Porte Rouge)

Sebastien Galtier: Beautiful Friends. A collection of dark and dramatic photographs of modern ballerinas. Love. (The Ballet Bag)

Yann Gross. Fascinating photographs of high-fashion models with unusual animals. (Wolf Eyebrows)

Please Have a Seat. A collection of pretty place cards from calligrapher Barbara Kua. (Barbara Kua Calligraphy)

Stereotyping You By Your Favorite Rapper. I don’t know enough about rap to verify these generalizations, but it’s a funny catalog nonetheless. (Flavorwire)

Good News! I’ve reached the point where Etsy just makes me viscerally angry. This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. (Regretsy)

Dog and Orangutan BFFs Are Today’s Reason for Living. Um, yes, please. I can never get enough inter-species friends (we’re not kidding, mac!). The dour expression on this hound’s face in all of these photos is priceless. (Best Week Ever)

Friday thoughts

Our street at dusk
Our street at dusk, back when it was warm outside. My Flickr pro account expired. Boo.

Little things I am thinking about today:

  • My side business of calligraphy. I ordered my first set of business cards this afternoon and I feel very grown up about it. Thanks to the encouragement of Natalie, I’m going to drop by the downtown stationer, Rock Paper Scissors, and give them some samples.
  • Why my right hand is always freezing at work.
  • Kemp and Rose coming to visit next weekend and then our long-awaited trip to our old stomping grounds (a la Durham and Chapel Hill) the following weekend.
  • Lent, which is coming soon and which means that my consumption of sugar will have to end. Contemplating the desire to gorge myself on chocolate before it arrives. But I had a bowl of real oatmeal this morning with only raisins in it–no sugar at all!–and I felt very proud of myself. I think I can do it. I feel like my taste buds have been subtly prompted by my brain to reject overly sweet things lately, in preparation for this sugar fast. I thought the yogurt was going to kill me today it was so sweet. And that’s never happened before.
  • Getting a nice* camera. I wish the bank made it easier to create little folders in your savings account so I could start designating small chunks of money toward a camera fund. (*Canon DSLR)
  • Will I be the kind of old woman who hoards kitschy knickknacks? Is that a generational thing? Is it only indicative of women who grew up in the Great Depression? Or does that mean I’ll eventually fall into that category, having grown up in the Greatest Recession?
  • Grace, who is adjusting to her new life in Nepal now. She’s working with a documentary filmmaker for a month and then she’s off to the ashram/orphanage. Such a crazy girl. I miss her.
  • Throwing away even more clothes. I need to stop wearing things that are too small for me.
  • A weekend with Guion! He’s been busy with school stuff all week and I feel like I haven’t seen him much. I miss him. We’re going to go on dates around town and watch “Annie Hall,” maybe even finish “Lost” (at last!).

Happy Friday! Post for you on Sunday about my lifelong, tortured love affair with the Japanese language.

Monday Snax

I decided to send a few belated Valentines and used my copperplate nib so I could go all-out with the flourishes. Happy V-Day from the two of us!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Guion and I have enjoyed a particularly laissez-faire holiday and went out for dinner on Saturday and then tonight, he’s promised to make me filet mignon with fingerling potatoes. Who needs chocolates and roses when you have the best husband ever? That’s what I want to know.

And this week’s Angela quote, even though it’s not true about me:

(ALSO WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT MY LIFE-LIST? THERE ARE ONLY TWO THINGS ON IT (YOU INSPIRED ME TO MAKE ONE, BUT THINKING BACK ON IT, ALL OF YOUR ASPIRATIONS ARE LIKE ‘GET PUBLISHED IN THE NEW YORKER AND DONATE EARNINGS TO CHARITY’ WHILE MINE ARE LIKE ‘EAT 10 HOTDOGS IN ONE SITTING WITHOUT THROWING UP”)
–E-mail from Angela

That said, here are some Snax on a bed of red rose petals:

The Cheapskate’s Guide to Making Valentine’s Day Plans. Still don’t know what you’re doing yet with your lovebird? Let Mint’s sarcastic flowchart help you out. (Mint)

Google Art Project. If you use the Internet at all, then you already know about this, but I’m posting it here because it BLEW MY MIND. Google Art Project. OMG OMG.  I just went to the MoMA on my lunch break, and then I strolled around the Palace of Versailles before checking out a few paintings at the Met. Yes. This is basically Google Street View for art museums. It’s not without its drawbacks, but it really is an amazing prototype. Have fun! (Google)

Missing Summer. Sad about how cold it still is outside? Then these photos might make tears come to your eyes; they certainly made my eyes get misty (even though today we’re going to enjoy a high of 61!! This calls for a garish number of exclamation points!). (Clever Nettle)

Fly Me to the Moon. Danielle has a conversation with one of her students about what it is that astronauts actually do. Hilarious. I miss getting to hear these stories around the dinner table at 208. (Gallimaufry of a Girl)

Period Films! Um, yeah, I’ve probably seen all of these. At least three-quarters of them. And I’d watch them all again today. A collection of stills from period films, just because. (Where the Lovely Things Are)

John Stezaker. An artist who merges vintage photographs of people with vintage landscape postcards. Sounds dull, but the results are actually quite fascinating and beautiful. (Freckle Farm)

Princeton, 1969. Great photographs from a Life magazine feature from 1969, which was the year that women were admitted to Princeton. I loved the images of these young women and their fashion aesthetics, but it also made me think about how little college students have changed in 40 years. (Miss Moss)

Sadie North. Another gem Miss Moss found from the Life magazine archives. I hope I’ll be just like this woman when I’m her age. Look at her on that bicycle and mowing her lawn and snuggling that baby! Who says that old age has to slow you down? Not Sadie North. (Miss Moss)

Reviewers on Reviewing. Interesting and clever thoughts about the state of book reviewing today, considering Zadie Smith’s new post as the book critic for Harper’s. (The Book Bench)

Six Expressions that Hollywood Will Turn into #1 Movies. Because you know they will. (Best Week Ever)

Rifle Paper Co. 2011 Sneak Peek. Really love the palette and design for this stationery/notebook line. (Rifle Paper Co.)

Sights & Sounds: Sam Beam of Iron & Wine. Did you know that Sam Beam did all of the cover art for his albums except for “Creek Drank the Cradle”? I didn’t. That’s one talented, bearded, whispery musician, and here’s his interview with the ladies at Design Sponge about his artwork. (Design Sponge)

Monday Snax

My favorite photograph of Woolf, just shy of her nineteenth birthday. Just because.

Another full, enjoyable weekend, despite the weather. I am at the stage in which winter has become personally offensive to me. It is a terrible stage to be in. The first thing out of my mouth in every conversation is now: “Yeah, I’m fine. But WHEN DOES SPRING COME TO VIRGINIA??” I ask it very aggressively, too, as if it were my companion’s fault that sleet, hail, and snow were still on the not-too-distant horizon. I have had enough. Sometimes, if I feel like sinking myself even further into depression, I’ll look at the weather forecast for Davidson or Chapel Hill and a faint tear will form in my eye as I think, “Ah, balmy North Carolina. How I miss thee.”

Winter aside, Nettles (aka my husband, accompanied by other wonderful local musicians and friends) played a great shut-in show at The Garage on Friday night. He dazzled. You really should have been there, but you probably wouldn’t have fit, since The Garage can hold about 10 people inside it, instruments included. And on Friday night I think we had about 20. It was great.

Snax with fistfuls of kale, since kale is having The Best Year Ever, in the words of one J.Hecht:

59 Things You Didn’t Know About Virginia Woolf. I mean, OF COURSE I was going to talk about this. It was, after all, my all-time muse’s birthday last week. Some of these facts are kind of stupid, but some of them are quite interesting. For instance, did you know that Woolf was “a formidable bowler” as a child? Naturally. Anyway, happy belated birthday, Virginia. Thanks for being a constant fountain of inspiration in my life. (Flavorwire)

Living In: Howards End. I am leading our church classics book club on Howards End this week and so I was naturally delighted to see this feature on “Howards End,” the 1992 film with Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins, Vanessa Redgrave, and Helena Bonham-Carter, which is incredibly beautiful and perfect–much like the novel. (Design Sponge)

In Another Man’s Prayer Cap. Jonathan Pinckney–the son of one of our good family friends and husband to Grace’s mentor in India–undertook an interesting social experiment: He dressed as a conservative Muslim while flying home. His experience is graciously expressed and very eye-opening. Highly recommended. (On Islam)

Orhan Pamuk Attacks “Marginalization” of Non-English Writers. Guys, Pamuk is MAD. I think he makes a good point, though. And I think he’s an unbelievably wonderful writer. So, translators, thanks for bringing him to English eyes. But maybe we can bring over some other great writers, too, lest many more go undiscovered. (The Guardian)

Japanese Woman Is Best-Selling Poet at Age 99. You go, girl! I’d love to read her work. I highly doubt I’d recall enough Japanese to understand it now, but I’d love to get my hands on a copy. (The Guardian)

The 10 Greatest Child Geniuses in Child Literature. A fun list, because I’ve met most of these characters in my reading life. What do you think? Do you agree with the rankings? If not, who would you vote for as the most eerily brilliant child in fiction? (Flavorwire)

It Doesn’t Get Much Cuter Than This. I don’t know what crimes I have to commit to get a Japanese baby, but I DON’T EVEN CARE. I will do what I have to. Photographs by Kawashima Kotori. (Miss Moss)

FRANCES. The world’s most posh and gorgeous bunny has come home to live with Angela! I swear you won’t be able to get enough of her. I’ve had the privilege of a Skype conversation with Mme Francoise and I must say, she is the ultimate lady. (WXTCHOU)

Magazine Monday: Feng Shui at Work. Can we all just agree that we are totally jealous of Meredith’s gorgeous office and now–completely feng shui–desk? I’m in love! (And Unlimited)

Valentines and Some News. If I ever got a card or letter from famed calligrapher Betsy Dunlap, I think I’d frame it and put it on my wall forever. Such beautiful work. (Betsy Dunlap)

Portraits of Criminals. Haunting vintage photographs of an assortment of Sydney vagrants from the early 20th century. (Wolf Eyebrows)

Better Learning Through Handwriting. Recent study argues that writing by hand strengthens the memory, whereas typing on a keyboard may weaken it. I believe it. (Science Daily)

Am I Compatible With Dad? This is just amazing. And hilarious. And yet I feel like it’s something that would feature in a Franzen novel. (Postcards From Yo Momma)

Model Dude Looks Like a Model Lady. There’s a popular game show in Japan in which contestants have to guess, among a line-up of men in drag, which of them is actually a woman (there is always one woman among them). It’s always very hilarious, because very often, they cannot tell the difference between the men and the real woman. This guy would fool you EVERY TIME. Seriously. He is… upsettingly beautiful. In a thoroughly female way. (Best Week Ever)

Study: 89 Percent of Networking Nonconsensual. Recent college grad = understands how deeply true this is. Guilty! Thanks for being tolerant anyway, professors and former internship bosses. (The Onion)

Tuesday snax

Crazy, long, fun weekend. I even posted a few pictures on Flickr to demonstrate. We did so much this weekend: had Kelsey and Alex stay with us, threw the Belmontonia bash with our neighbors, met the nicest cop ever after setting off fireworks, went hiking on Humpback Rock, had a dinner party at the Blue House, watched “There Will Be Blood” and finished “Daniel Deronda.” Very full, very fun.

Also, for the curious, I have posted a new portfolio page on my calligraphy site from the job I just finished.

And now, for your special edition of Tuesday snax! A big dose. Apparently, there was a lot of really great stuff on the web this week.

Man Already Knows Everything He Needs to Know About Muslims. Funny, but also sad, because it’s true of so many. Probably myself included. We need to be challenged to higher levels of knowledge about others. (The Onion)

It’s Time to Play “Bush, Obama, or Imam?” In a similar vein… (The Daily Intel)

You and Everything You Own. Beautiful and stark photographs, especially the ones from China. Amazing, too. In my consumerist-American mindset, I look at some of these pictures and marvel: How on earth do they live with only those possessions? And then, What would my stuff look like in front of our house? And finally, What a huge pain for those families. (Mint)

Missed Connections. I hope Jonathan reads here occasionally, because he will just love this. Illustrator Sophie Blackall creates paintings from the “missed connections” section of Craigslist. Beautiful, haunting, sometimes creepy–as missed connections tend to be! (Modish)

“Paradactyl Kittens.” Hilarious. I love the mash-up graphic, too.  (You Suck at Craigslist)

The Impossibly Glamorous Black Fawn! Teehee. I don’t know why this is so funny to me, but it is. (Cute Overload)

Not-so-sweet somethings. These dogs hate their lives so much. (Blue Bird Official Vintage Blog)

Disney Releases Poster for Secretariat-Biscuit. Haha. Seriously! Step it up, Hollywood. (Best Week Ever)

Diva. “Someone did not get the Cheerios she had written into her contract for photo shoots…” Yes, it’s a blog about a mom in Utah, but it’s probably one of the best on the whole world wide Interwebs. I’ve been following Heather Armstrong and family for two years now, and I just love them more than ever.  (Dooce)

Kisses and Pigtails. So cute! The blog Like Mom, Like Dad lets people send in photos of themselves (and, possibly, their own children) imitating photos of themselves with their parents. This is one of my favorites I’ve seen. (Like Mom, Like Dad)

Un Petit Tour Chez Zid Zid Kids. Um, can I live here with these French kids? (Les Zigouis)

Looks Like Books Are Coming to an End. Aw, come on now, Harper Lee! Cheer up, some! (Letters of Note)

Ways Christians Have Messed Up with Sex. I think this is a really sincere and true perspective on the ways many of us Christians have distorted and perverted God’s message on sex. His point that “we write 10 books about lust for every one on sex” was also very resonant. (Stuff Christians Like)

Happy weekend

It’s finally here, kiddos! I’ll be home with my cute, now freshly bearded husband soon, and then he is going to generously accompany me to the DMV so I can get a new license with my new name and state on it. I’m dreading going, but it will be good to get it done. And swap out that awful picture for a hopefully* less awful one.

To keep AFP Calligraphy more fresh and interesting, I’ve instituted a new category that I’m calling My Letters. In it, I will attempt to ironically chronicle my handwritten correspondence with a handful of beautiful women. Just a way to show potential clients some of the ways I’ve been writing lately, I guess. And to brag on my friends, each of whom has her own completely lovely and independent style. So, if you write me a letter, you have been forewarned. Don’t worry, though: I won’t post your full address anywhere or the contents of your letter, or anything like that. Just a corner of your stationery or a sample of your handwriting. Capiche?

Thanks for the book suggestions, friends! I am still debating my choice, but will let you know what I pick. I started Death Comes for the Archbishop today. I am told by my own notes on the front page that I last read the book in January 2005. I remember thinking it was very dull then, so I was hoping that I would prove my 17-year-old self wrong by falling in love with it. But so far… it is very dull.

“For in him, all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell…” This might be my favorite verse in that entire letter. It is so beautiful and mysterious. I could think about it all day long. (Colossians 1:19)

I’ve had a lot of down time at work today. If you can’t tell. I revamped my reading pages up there. Because I could.

* I always think of my editing professor, Bill Cloud, when I use this word. He frequently reminded us that it’s often used improperly (e.g., it does not mean “I hope,” but rather, to do something in a spirit of anticipation; slight difference, but there is one). But then one of the editors at the Denver Post told me that everyone uses it the wrong way now, and so all we can do is accept it. So I have.

Two years ago

Chuzenjiko

Two years ago today, I was here: Chuzenjiko, a beautiful lake in the mountains of southern Japan. Diane and I stayed just across the street from here in a hostel run by an Indian/Japanese family. One of these days, I will get back here.

UPDATE: Unrelated note… I have updated AFP Calligraphy to include a page for my “portfolio.” I added Rose & Kemp’s invitations, which finally made it to Topsail!

Small things

Keisei Makuhari station, where I caught the train home every day. Tokyo, June 2009

1. Betsy Dunlap is one of my favorite calligraphers. Her work is so distinctive and beautiful in a funky way. You can scroll around her blog to get some ideas of what she does. She’s kind of like a superstar in the wedding blogosphere.

2. We had a minor flood in the kitchen last night. Guion went to answer his phone and forgot that he left the sink running. I was talking to Emily on the phone (which was unbelievably lovely; I miss her so much) and wasn’t paying attention. Our neighbor Hannah comes upstairs and is all, “Um, do you have water running? Because our ceiling is leaking.” Yeah. Not fun. But we got it under control. I’m glad we have a mop and at least four towels we don’t care about.

3. I can’t wait for my new Japanese pens to get here so I can start on Rose and Kemp‘s wedding invitations! I’m hoping they will come today.

4. I also can’t wait for Cristina and Eric’s wedding! And even though we can’t be there, Megan and Charles’s! Just a few more weeks!

5. I suppose I forgot how utterly dark and depraved Mishima’s fiction can be. “The Temple of the Golden Pavilion” is certainly interesting, but it’s hard to handle sometimes. Mishima, likely drawing from experience, preferred to focus on society’s rejects. But instead of giving them touching qualities (so as to creep into your latent store of compassion), he makes them extra-sad and dark. Still, reading this novel rushes me back to Tokyo in an instant. I read 12 novels by Japanese authors that summer, mostly in transit. Sometimes, when I get absorbed in this book, I feel like I’m back on the train, reading intently as I sway back and forth and listen to the announcer’s high voice calling out the stations…

Commencing: AFP Calligraphy

I just wanted to briefly announce the arrival of my now-official side business: AFP Calligraphy. I am excited about (hopefully!) beginning some work on other wedding invitations and such. Peruse the site; let me know what you think and if you think you see any glaring omissions. I covet your feedback.

I am hoping to teach myself copperplate script at some point in the next few months (once we’ve set aside a bit of money in our budget for hobbies). I would really love to master that style. I feel like I can’t call myself a calligrapher until I have.

So, take a look. Let me know what you think.

Kisses,
A.