Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday Winston: frightful freaks

In honor of the living dead, I give you...


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday Winston: The ultimate threat

This is something Winston does often but has been almost impossible to catch on film. We think it's his way of showing his dominance-- a pose that, seemingly to him, threatens immediate danger. I don't love it because he looks scary, however. 
I love it because he just looks stupid.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I saw this on Design Mom and was instantly filled with joy.

Apparently, just this past week National Geographic created a real floating house with 300 brightly colored weather balloons. It flew 10,000 feet high for about an hour.

 I have never soared through the sky in a small yellow house, but I imagine I would not be anywhere near a window. 
I would be on my knees, begging for a safe landing.

It cheers me to think that the most scientific minds can also be the most fantastical.
It also cheers me that my house stays on the ground.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mondegreen Madness

It was close to midnight.
I sat in the back seat of my parent's car, my head leaning against the window. The bright lights of Salt Lake City whizzed past- a perpetual blur of reds and distant yellows. The stately capital building. The luxurious Grande America Hotel. The darkness closed in around me and I felt a little sleepy. Softly, from the radio I heard Elton John sing,
...Ballerina, you must have seen her dancing in the sand...
Across the seat was Koseli. She was wide awake, tapping her fingers on the door and humming the tune.
I smiled.
Koseli has an incredible disregard for lyrics. We're not sure how it happens, but she can listen to a song hundreds of times and still never know what the artist is saying. When she sings, it comes out as an indistinguishable mesh of words, in which she usually catches the tail-end of the syllable.
"hmm...hmmm----ina.....hmmmmmm..... ahhnnnnd."
This is something for which I have always ruthlessly teased Koseli. How? How could  she NOT know the lyrics to a song we've both heard so many times? I have always prided myself on my supreme ability to memorize all things, worthwhile or not. When I was young, I memorized an audio tape my family owned recounting the tales of Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves and Sinbad the Sailor. My mom would tell any stranger who sat still long enough that I was great at memorizing words, and, unlike the stranger, I was always deeply impressed with myself. 
I laughed. She scowled.
""Well, at least I'm not getting the words wrong," she said. "I knew someone who thought Elton John was saying Tony Danza!"
This delighted me incredibly, and we rejoined for the chorus, changing the words to

"Hold me closer Tony Danza... and count the headlights on the highway..."
Chuckling to myself and feeling infinitely superior to the fool who had thought Elton John was feeling romantic inclinations toward the star of Taxi, I settled back into my seat. But it wasn't long before I began to think of my own lyrical shortcomings.
With a tinge of embarrassment, I pictured myself, several years earlier, watching Mrs. Doubtfire at a friend's house. There's a scene in this movie that features Aerosmith's "Dude Looks Like a Lady." For years, I thought the song said "do it like a lady."
An honest mistake, I thought.
Then my mind quickly jumped to the misheard songs from my newly acquired Beatles craze. There was "Get Back," in which I thought the first line was "Jo Jo was a man before he was a woman" when in fact the proper lyric is "who thought he was a loner." Once again, I was lucky not to be caught singing this before I had looked the lyrics up on the internet. Unfortunately, this Beatle's song brought up another mondegreen in my mind. "When I'm Sixty-Four" begins, "When I get older, losing my hair" but for almost a full year I sang this "head." My friend corrected me, but then admitted that she had a similar problem distinguishing these two words. In the end, we decided both lyrics made sense, and so were basically interchangeable. Even from this experience, I still have no idea what is being said in "Michelle" and "Sun King" and the worst part is that I have looked up the lyrics multiple times. I just sing them as they sound, hoping that if anyone happens to be present they won't notice. "Michelle, my belle, someday monkeys four trays bean on song, trays bean on song!" I sing joyfully in the shower. Or, "Here comes the sun….. Scoobie-doobie..." Or even worse, "I get high" in the chorus of "I Want to Hold Your Hand." I would interchange this with the real lyric, "I can't hide" but for years I was honestly unsure which one was correct, considering the reputation of the '60's.
As I thought, I quickly began to realize that perhaps my memorization skills weren't so fantastic. Maybe I just memorize sounds instead of actual logical thought. I suppose I just always assume that if it's music, it doesn't have to make sense.
In middle school, if someone had walked into my lonely room while I listened to Sarah McLaughlan, they might have heard me say, "You are pulled from the pillage by your silent referee..." Or to Radiohead's "Creep," "When you're on the phone... I can look you in the eye." Most of the misheard and wrongly-memorized song lyrics in my repertoire aren't even identifiable in English. They consist, like Koseli, of muttering vowels and consonants that sound like words but really aren't. I might consider these embarrassing confessions, but everybody has some. These were the most comforting to me.
  • "'Scuse me while I kiss this guy" (from a lyric in the song "Purple Haze", by Jimi Hendrix: "'Scuse me while I kiss the sky").
  • "Oh Mandy, well you came and you're gay and that's faking" (from Barry Manilow's "Mandy": "Well you came and you gave without taking").
  • "My Cherie Amour, pretty little wombat I adore, you're the only one my heart beats for..."(Stevie Wonder's My Cherie Amour-- an absolute classic. The real lyrics read "My Cherie Amour, pretty little one that I adore, you're the only girl my heart beats for...").
There's something beautiful about misheard song lyrics. I like to imagine that the singers and song writers have a greater sense of humor than they probably actually have. With my cheek pressed against the window, I pictured  Jimi Hendrix,  his guitar raised high above his head, ready to smash it-- and then turning to give the drummer a quick peck on the cheek. Then I distinctly saw a train of monkeys carrying bean-laden trays to a stately woman. As I felt myself drifting into sleep, my last and most wonderful vision of all featured Stevie Wonder, singing passionately to a small furry rodent wearing a red beret, stationed on the top of his black piano.




Wednesday Winston: Natural Stockin's

Winston's legs are my favorite.
Here's why.

He is always wearing socks and stockings.
He's fashion forward-- the natural way.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring break wrap-up

I drove to school today under a light, misty rain.

Yesterday was glorious.

Spring is coming. I can feel it. Smell it. Taste it.

I can't wait.

My weeklong break has brought me many things, some good and some bad.
I had time to arrange things.

I had time to make glorious cake plates and felt crafty for the first time in my life.

I had time to spend with Jason.

Time to read The Book Thief. Time to take Winston on a walk, and paint the mirror in my bedroom. Time to fix a roast. Time to visit my parents.
Time, time time.

But I also had time to get a cold-- a terrible cold-- the kind that wracks your body with violent coughing in the middle of the night, makes the outside of your nostrils bleed  from incessant nose blowing, and forces the victim to carry toilet paper around everywhere. For the last four and a half days, I've been appalling strangers with my mind-blowing sneezes and the subsequent honking noise that comes from my nose. No one seems too keen on getting close to me these days, but it's okay. Thanks to spring break, I slept when my head hurt. And if I didn't want to be seen in my red nose and paint-splattered pajamas, I could stay in because I had nowhere to go and no obligations.
Most significantly, I ate a whole pot of soup all by myself.
Conversely, Winston's recent surgery didn't seem to slow him down too much. In fact, though still loopy and unable to maintain his balance, he was nearly bouncing off the walls only an hour or so after we brought him home.
I was sorely disappointed.
Despite this, Winston is an excellent napping buddy. Once we get him to settle down (usually by putting him in what Jason lovingly refers to as "the cave"-- which consists of one or both of us piling blankets on his head and then lying on top of him) he can sleep soundly for hours on end. It begins as a struggle; a mad tangle of hands holding him down and loud purring. It ends with the entirely limp body of a cat occassionally punctuated with twitches-- a sure sign that he is sleeping and not smothered to death.
After spring break it might be appropriate for most people to say that they are returning to the grindstone of school, but, as my one class can hardly constitute as such, I will say "dang it!" to the end of the break in traditional form, but not really. The curse is only halfhearted. I may not be quite as lazy this week as I was last, but Winston and I will continue to take naps when my head hurts; after the struggle, our arms interlocked in an eternal embrace.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Break Heartbreak.

News and photos of spring break will be coming soon, but in the meantime I am sad, sad sad for Japan.
It is devastating. Even with technology so many lives are lost.
Who are we against mother nature?
This is just one way we can help.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Winston's big day

The shriek of the alarm pierced the early morning with incessant savagery.
I rolled out of bed and proceeded to haphazardly dress myself. Winston was awake and alert, inquiring with his bright green eyes and a chirping meow if he would soon be receiving his breakfast. With a slight heaviness of heart, I picked him up and put him in his carrier.
My day of glory was liquefying before my eyes; through a mist of tears, I patted Winston on the head.
I was betraying him.
"It's okay little kitty," I told him.
Jason and I got in the car and drove silently to the Cache Humane Society. The enormous woman at the front desk continued to refer to him as "Quantos." His homeless name.
"And Quantos is male, needing a neuter?" she asked.
"Yes!" Jason and I said together, with equal exuberance and guilt.
"Winston needs a neutering," I quickly corrected myself, feeling slightly protective.
As we filled out the necessary paperwork, I reflected on the past few months. In my mind's eye, I saw Winston, claws out, ears back, swinging from the curtains. Winston, trailing through the soil of my newly potted plants. Winston on his back legs, body tensed, scratching ruthlessly at the couch. Winston, perched precariously on the edge of the toilet, drinking. Winston, with dilated pupils, fangs bared, ready to strike at my outstretched hand. I eyed the scratches on Jason's arms and then looked at my own. I could just barely perceive the faintest pale pink markings of scars.
My melting heart hardened.
The woman  lifted Winston's small cage in her large, doughy hands and placed it on the top of a towering pile of identical containers; it was a mountain, an endless plethora of meowing cats. I only caught a flashing glimpse of green eyes from within the cage before Jason and I left the building, got into the car, and drove away, laughing.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Spring Break: Uncensored

Spring break is next week. Though the cold wind still blows through Logan with a bitterness I feel I do not deserve, I was comforted last night to hear the sound of rain softly pattering against my window. It is the time of renewal, freshness and clean hope. And the best part?
It wasn't cold enough to snow.
Spring break, here we come! It's time to party, Barton style.
We are not going to Cancun, nor are we going anywhere that will be warmer than roughly 33 degrees. This is agreeable to me, however, as I have never done anything especially extraordinary during spring breaks past;  I have almost always been too preoccupied in March by my desperate desire to deep-clean my oven and arrange flowers. Because of this, I am proud to say that I have married a person who has similar spring break ambitions. This year we are staying in Logan, and it is going to be fabulous.
When Jason and I have a "party," our festivities usually include just the two of us, either an enormous bowl of homemade seven-layer dip or ice cream, and an electric sander. Since our marriage, it seems we enjoy immersing ourselves in projects-- usually ones that involve a good deal of semi-gloss paint and back breaking labor. I feel certain that I have inherited my insatiable work ethic from my parents, who are infamous for trimming bushes and staining decks while on vacation. Oh, I do know how to relax. I know the value of a good nap. But there's something about hard work that is extremely fun, or maybe it's just the fact that I'm in love. Either way, work is always reconciled by Harry Potter, and I always make sure I have plenty of Jim Dale on hand to entertain us as we drudge away.

This Spring break we have big party plans.

After being inspired by Koseli, I decided to paper my china cabinet, perhaps a chic neutral like this.

Or mint green, like this:

A nice floral print is always acceptable in my book as well.

Or maybe something a bit brighter and bolder, like this:

Or this.

What I truly love is this avarian cabinet from Anthropologie...
...but I've already overwhelmed our apartment with songbirds and gaudy plumage, so for the time being I'll shy away. 

Even if my papering dreams don't come true, I do plan on definitely making these adorable cakestands and displaying them everywhere.

Read the tutorial here if you would like to join me.

Happy spring to you! It may look cold and gray outside, but I can feel the flowers and birds just waiting to make their glorious debut very soon. In the meantime, I am going to make my home as cheery as any day in spring. 
Party up!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

I've been reading...

 "I knew that I had come face to face with someone whose mere personality was so fascinating that, if I allowed it to do so, it would absorb my whole nature, my whole soul, my very art itself."

Last night I finished one of the most intriguing books I have ever had the delight to read: The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. This is a book that I have always had the intention of reading, but never got around to. When Jason presented me with this gorgeous Penguin Clothbound Classic version of the story, however, I could not resist.
I mean, could you?

While I quickly tired of Lord Henry Wotton's indulgent hedonism, I was captivated by the story itself.  I was astonished by the lightning fast wit of his characters' conversations. Actually, I'll be the first to admit that I often had to go back to make sure I understood everything they said. The book is fresh without being offensive, mystical without being unreal. Oscar Wilde is a fascinating man. Next to Jane Austen and Ghandi, he would be my first choice for a posthumous lunch. As his brilliant life culminated in an ultimately tragic demise, we can only speculate what other fantastic work he could have given the world had he only lived a little longer.

Before I started to learn of Dorian's infamous portrait, I read another well-intended and long awaited novel-- Tess of the D'urbervilles. This book was capital. Capital! Given, Thomas Hardy can be a bit ridiculous (melodramatic, verbose, unrealistic) but all I can say is this: !!
What a fantastic book.
It had enough power over me to make me mad at Jason for things he has never done, nor would ever do. Alec D'urberville's lechery and Angel's treachery had a most profound effect on me. As a newly married person, I felt Tess's pain quite acutely, and hugged my husband extra tight each time I finished a chapter. Thank goodness for good books, and thank heaven for even better men.
The last item on my book review is Julia Alvarez's Something to Declare. I love young adult literature. I love Latin culture. Therefore, I love Julia Alvarez. After reading Yo! and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents  I was hooked. She expresses the idiosyncrasies, beauties, and trials of the latin-American culture so poignantly it feels real; after I read her experiences I feel like I know enough to pass as an emigrant from the Dominican Republic (or, as I lovingly refer to it in my mind, the DR), I think in English punctuated with italicized words in Espanol and my palest of white skin seems to reflect a deep summer tan. Never has the confusion of biculturalism been so captivating. Now, in Something to Declare, not only do we get Julia Alvarez's personal experiences (without exaggeration?) as a Latina teenager in America, but we receive a steady stream of encouragement for young writers. Considering all Ms. Alvarez had to go through to finally receive recognition for her writing, I feel like even I could publish a book-- if I worked hard enough.
Inspiration for us all.

Wednesday Winston: A proper scare

When our boredom is almost unbearable, Jason and I both know scaring Winston is infallibly entertaining.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Where Children Sleep

If you're like me and find yourself with a great deal of free time, take a look at this book by James Mollison that you can read online here. The author takes pictures of children's bedrooms all over the world and tells their stories. Simultaneously fascinating and, at times, heartbreaking, I was captivated by the photographs-- especially of the children. Truly a work of art.