imagine_that: (Default)
( May. 3rd, 2017 09:52 am)
Random nerdy dream this early morning (coming off the end of a different dream)...

I walked outside eating a pastry, and I was on city streets (felt like NYC). I saw Sir Patrick Stewart very conspicuously walking a dog down the street with a small but growing crowd trailing behind him. So I head over, and get swept up in the crowd. A block away I see Sir Ian McKellen with his own small but growing crowd. Sir Patrick called out grandly, and we were off and running.

I get handed a folder of magazines to hold, and several others in the group around me get handed other objects. People are crowded around us recording on their phones, and I knew I would be all over the 'net soon. Sir Patrick makes a big show of giving Sir Ian lots of gifts, gently ribbing him with each one. We all had to hand over the gifts.

When it was over, the crowd dispersed, and my 6-yr-old daughter came running over to find out what had just happened. I tried to explain using Star Wars characters...and I don't know why, because she hasn't seen Star Wars. But every time I tried to start, my pairings didn't work because one actor had died. "So imagine if Luke wanted to give something to wait." Sir Ian was listening to this, and finding it very funny. He called Sir Patrick over and asked us to take a walk with them (after posing for a picture with my kid). I told them just a short walk because we had rehearsal!

So, we walked with them into a big department store, and lost sight of them in the lingerie department...

And then my 2-yr-old woke me up for real.

Deeply weird, nerdy, and yet way too realistic!
imagine_that: (book)
( Jan. 4th, 2015 05:50 pm)
And here's my annual list of the best "new-to-me" books I read last year.

This year's count is 28 (assuming I didn't lose track of any that I read...and I really might have this year - I've been very distracted). That means I hit my goal of finishing at least 26 books in a year, which is getting tougher and tougher as a stay-at-home mother of TWO kids now. My full list can be found here.

The best book of the year was probably the short story collection Happily Ever After edited by John Klima. Almost every story hit the mark for me, which is rare in a short story collection. (Of course all but one story in the anthology was a reprint, heavily sourced from the Datlow and Windling collections. So this anthology may be a heavy retread if you have read a lot from those collections.)

The best list can be found here.

Best "New" Reads 2014

Fiction - Adult

Happily Ever After Edited by John Klima
Memoirs of An Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin

Fiction - YA and Children's

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (Cinder, Scarlett, Cress)
The Cold Cereal Saga by Adam Rex (Cold Cereal, Unlucky Charms, Champions of Breakfast)
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green


Sandman vol. 6: Fables and Reflections by Neil Gaiman
imagine_that: (avatar 2)
( Oct. 12th, 2014 04:35 pm)
The last time I posted this meme in 2008, I got one taker and got to remember the time in my life when I first realized I was attracted to women as well as men. (I was thinking about that post after seeing some coming out stories yesterday for National Coming Out Day.)

Anyway, let's try again...

"Everyone has things they blog about.

Everyone has things they don't blog about.

Some of us rarely blog.

Challenge me out of my comfort zone by asking me about something I don't blog about, but you'd like to hear about, and I'll write a post about it. Ask for anything: latest movie watched, last book read, political leanings, thoughts on lima beans, favorite type of underwear, favorite classical artist, etc."

I will screen comments, but tell me if you don't mind my sharing that you made a request. With the baby coming soon, it might be a while until I get to a question, but it would be nice to have varied topics. And I took out the bits about reposting and about promising to answer publicly. Most of my posts these days are at least friends-locked, so I'm not going to make that promise. That said, I might post some things publicly if the topic seems suited to it! :)
Okay, so obviously there was a change to LJ today that changed a bunch of display stuff and some of the workings of the website.

I did not manage to hit the button in the pop-up box, and now cannot change it back. Also, I cannot see any of my own comments pages (I will be able to read comments in the general "manage comments section" currently the only place I can see my comments).

I can read the comments pages of other people who have different blog styles. I cannot read the comments pages of anyone who had the default style prior to this change.

I tried changing my blog style to see if it would help, but it did nothing to affect the comments page style, and the problem persists.

Thoughts? How to revert back if I missed the pop-up box? How to see comments pages?


Edit: Oooookay, the comments came back. So that's good. I'd still like to revert back if possible. But I can live with it if I can't.

Edit 2: The answer seems to be to click on the empty space in the icon boxes at the top (second from the right - left of the magnifying glass). That gets the pop-up box back.
It's that time again, the best new-to-me books that I read last year.

My book count improved for the year - 28 this time. Still being a stay-at-home mother, my aim is to hit 26 a year (roughly one every 2 weeks), so I surpassed that. Go me. :) My full list can be found, as always, on goodreads: 2013 list.

My absolute best book of the year was "Waiting" by Ha Jin.

Read it if you think it might appeal to you. There's a reason it's a National Book Award winner. And my best of the year rarely lines up with any major awards!

Full list of best book can be found here. (I've got reviews on about half the list this year.)

Best "New" Reads 2013

Waiting by Ha Jin
Birthmarked trilogy by Caragh O'Brien (mostly the first two: Birthmarked and Prized)

Graphic Novels
Superman: Birthright by Mark Waid
The Collected Strangers in Paradise vol 1 by Terry Moore (note this is collected in about 3 different ways, and I didn't like some of the other "vol 1s" nearly as much)

Mom: A Celebration of Mothers From StoryCorps edited by Dave Isay
imagine_that: (avatar 2)
( Oct. 31st, 2013 11:00 pm)
You know, I'm sure I won't do it every year...but I'm really proud of making my daughter's Halloween costume this year. We did a dry run a few weeks ago for the Lantern Parade, and just watching her do her happy dance and run around the house so proudly being a tiger made it all worth it. And then tonight when I saw only a small number of homemade costumes on the streets, and mine came together so well...I'm just so glad to have done it.

That is all. :)
imagine_that: (avatar)
( Oct. 17th, 2013 09:16 pm)
There's been a ton of "body image" posts coming through on my various feeds, communities, and just from my friends lately. Most (but not all) have been related to "Mom" bodies. The person who was miserable about her body 6 months post-birth. The person who idolized her mother until (at age 7) her mother loudly insisted that she was fat and ugly, and then the girl who always wanted to grow up to be her mother became scared she would do just that.

It goes on and on.

So I want to relate a wonderful experience I had the other day...

Now, I've got a decent sprinkling of moles on my body. Most are no more than slightly raised freckles, and those I've had since sometime in childhood. They are in fact, what would have been termed a "beauty mark" in an earlier era. I don't really think of them that way - I don't really think about them much at all. They are just a longstanding part of my appearance.

I've got one on my neck that appeared in my late 20s. It's the same size as the others, but it sticks out more. (Don't worry, I had it looked at by a doctor when it showed up and grew so fast - no one is concerned.)

Apparently it is enticing to small children. They want to pull on it. Last week, my 3-yr-old tried to pull it off my neck! (Ouch, btw.)

Maybe the rough treatment made it stand out more, but for whatever reason, the next day her little friend J (who is 2) noticed it and also started playing with it.

I explained that it was a mole, and then he noticed that I have one on my face. I let him touch my face for a few seconds, and then shifted him to one on my arm. (I didn't want him to go poking around my face, because that can end painfully!)

And then, it happened. A wonderful, unexpected moment.

J was rubbing my arm up and down. He was struggling to put words to a thought. "So much. So much..."

And I'm wondering "so much *what*?" I was expecting him to say hair, or freckles or something.

"So much... pretty."

And I was so surprised and choked up with emotion at hearing that. I don't know what about my arm was so pretty to him, but it is one of the most sincere and lovely compliments I've ever received.

My daughter has also given me lovely compliments at unexpected times. It is so wonderful to know that whatever I might think about myself on any given day, that I am beautiful in the minds of the children I most cherish - just by being me.
imagine_that: (book)
( Jan. 1st, 2013 05:38 pm)
Once again we come around to the time of year for "best lists." So here is my list of best "new" (to me - as I do not include rereads on my best list) books read in 2012.

I did a fairly lousy job keeping track this year. Somewhere along the way, I even stopped merely throwing titles into my calendar. So, I certainly didn't manage reviews on more than a few books. With that caveat, my reading list for the year stands at 22 books (unless or until I happen to recall one that I forgot to record). I don't include the millions of picture book readings to the toddler, but we did go through a fair number of full folk and fairytale collections together back when I would spend 20-30 minutes reading from books with few pictures as she listened and drifted to sleep. (That was fun - I miss that stage.)

Full list of 22 titles can be found on Goodreads. My overall best of the year is probably The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. But I might have to throw the "Color Trilogy" Kim Dong Hwa up as a contender for that title as well. What follows is my full best list, which can also be found here on Goodreads.

Best "New" Reads of 2012

Fiction - Adult
The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

"Color Trilogy" Color of Earth, Color of Water, Color of Heaven by Kim Dong Hwa
Castle Waiting Vol. 2 by Linda Medley

Fiction - YA
Entwined by Heather Dixon
(Reposting the text of an email I sent earlier today. If you are in the Greater Boston area, or know people here, please pass it on!)

I will be co-hosting and emceeing a Folk and Fairytale Slam for adults on Thursday November 15th at 7pm at the Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline Village.

Here is a link to all the information (including how to buy tickets):

Basically, people have 7 minutes to tell a story on the evening's theme - Feast and Famine - and then the audience picks the winner. There is also a featured teller who will perform for about 30 minutes.

It is a very fun night, and these are definitely not the stories you tell your kids! Here are links to the first and second place winners from last month ("Grimm and Twisted"), be warned, the first story is definitely dark and the second is quite funny:

"Based on The Robber Bridegroom"

"Red Riding Hood - From the mother's perspective"

Come be an audience member! (Tickets are a little cheaper when bought ahead of time)


Come put your name in the hat and tell a story! (Or submit a clip to be chosen ahead of time and get in free)

Also, we are looking for volunteers to sign people in, take tickets etc. If you want to volunteer, let me know, and you get in for free.

Hope to see you Thursday!
imagine_that: (avatar)
( Aug. 1st, 2012 10:08 pm)
Dan says I need a battle cry. What should it be?

(His seems to be "Ha! Ow!", and Raya's seems to vacillate between "Find Mama!" and "Towel!"... which is almost as good as "Spoon!" and very Douglas Adams...)
imagine_that: (avatar)
( Jul. 10th, 2012 05:51 pm)
Is anyone going to San Diego Comic Con this year, or know someone who is? I need a favor for my brother.

imagine_that: (avatar 2)
( May. 15th, 2012 05:00 pm)
I recently got reminded of Topsy Turvy dolls. I'm pretty sure I had one as a kid. I think mine was of the Caribbean woman type with a large colorful dress.

If you've not seen these dolls, they are reversible dolls with (at least) two heads. Flip the dress upside down and you've got a whole different character (or the same character in a different kind of outfit). I have some vague recollection that one of the big uses of these dolls were for little slave girls - one side was a white girl and one was a back girl. But I could be remembering that wrong. (Don't feel like looking it up, but I know I've seen that kind of reproduction rag doll out there.)

Anyway, I was thinking about the potential of these dolls as a storytelling prop. There are some mass-produced dolls out there that do this. One I kind of like is this Goldilocks and the 3 bears doll, though I'm not fond of the Baby Bear they've included. I would buy it anyway, since the price isn't bad (just missed a big sale, so I'm holding out). From the same company, I sort of like the Red Riding Hood doll but the wolf face is not as nice as the other two characters, and I wish there was a way to have the wolf in something other than Granny's dress for parts of the story. This design is a very common one, and it always looks like the wolf is an after thought.

What I really want is a handmade doll. It doesn't have to fit specific characters as long as it is an archetypical character doll. I've found two nice (and expensive) dolls on Etsy. The first is a knit Frog Princess doll, which is not a story I really tell yet. But it certainly could become one! The other is called a plain/fancy doll which would make an ideal Cinderella, and could likely fit plenty of other stories. An expensive prop, but boy do I love that doll. Tempting...tempting...

I've also found a cheaper topsy turvy doll that could be fun to buy for Raya (not for now but someday). It is more in the ragdoll style where one side is awake and the other asleep. I'm not posting that one, because I'm still mulling a purchase. :)

It's a shame that everything else I'm finding out there is either mass-produced or looks as cheaply made as they are. Or, you know...I'm just very picky about dolls. I really am for some reason.

It's tempting to learn to sew these myself. But I'm not convinced I could do any better with the faces.

Still, a nice new craft to think about... :)
imagine_that: (avatar 2)
( May. 3rd, 2012 03:09 pm)
Is anyone else having serious trouble posting comments here on LJ? The last day or two I've had to try at least three times before any comment will go through, and today is worse.

(Of course, I've asked you here about commenting, and you need to comment to answer...oy)
This coming Saturday, April 21st, is the First Annual Boston Storytelling Festival.

I will be performing in the Family Concert in the morning. The concert is from 10-12, and I will be on around 11am, and possibly again near the end if time allows.

I am also teaching a workshop for families with children 5 and up from 10-10:50. Registration for the workshop can be found here.

More information about the event (and there are concerts and workshops going on all day) can be found here.

imagine_that: (avatar)
( Apr. 9th, 2012 09:30 pm)
Okay, I've seen this meme go round many times over the years, but never played. But this time I'm playing. Here's the meme:

"Comment to this post and I will list seven things I want you to talk about. They might make sense or they might be totally random. Then post that list, with your commentary, to your journal. Other people can get lists from you, and the meme merrily perpetuates itself."

Note: I will not require you to play if you want to comment. Tell me if you are playing!

Here's the list I got from [ profile] spacehawk, and my thoughts:

Spirituality )

Family )

The future )

Bisexuality )

Cats )

Storytelling )

Books )
Passover will soon be upon us. I discovered that my family was not going to be hosting a 2nd night seder, and came up with the idea to host a "children's seder" for my daughter and some other families with toddlers and babies. As such I went looking for some resources...

Oh. Dear.

There was a thread about this topic on my local parenting listserv. Someone suggested this Haggadah, We Tell It To Our Children. They said their family loved it - it has puppets and songs, and a whole play to act out.

So I went to look. Many songs in the sample pages are terrible and hokey. But one song...oh that one song...

I swear this song is one of those "scar kids for life" kind of experiences.

It is verse 10 of their plague song. Maybe it's better if you can see the other 9 verses? Maybe?

Let me describe the page. On the left page, there is this Stalinist/Uncle Sam looking Moses character. He's a flat picture in a box, except for the creepy 3D-looking arm in the "I Want You" pose.

Then there is verse 10 of the plague song, to the tune of "She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain":

G-d will give you this last chance to let us go;
G-d will give you this last chance to let us go.
As midnight passes by-y,
All your firstborn sons will die-ie;
And your people will cry out if we can't go.

Now, I'm not the kind of Mom who hides all the scary or unpleasant things from her kids. The stories I tell my daughter go plenty dark. And I never planned to gloss over this aspect of the Passover story.


Cheerily singing about how all the boys are going to die? That's...special.

Just wow.

(Here's the sample page if you want to see it for yourself!)
imagine_that: (avatar)
( Mar. 14th, 2012 11:24 pm)
Had a long overdue night out tonight. It was to the story slam semi-finals, and I'm so glad I got to go!

They do a thing in between competitors where audience members can jump up and tell a one-minute story on the theme of the night (not polished, not judged). Since it was the semi-finals there were three themes in play tonight, and one of them was "Where I'm From."

I decided to jump up and tell a one-minute version of the wasp story from yesterday, focusing on the kindness of the other Moms on the playground. I have to say,doing a one-minute story is fricking hard. I thought I was being fairly tight, but when I got the 30 second warning I was nowhere near far enough along in the story!

Two ego boosts: First, when I jumped up to tell I heard several voices behind me say "Oh, it's Danielle!" in a very positive manner. (Still don't know who that was, because no one was sitting behind me that I thought I knew.) Second, when I got back to my table, one of my companions said, "I liked that story, you were very tight."

Also, I think that [ profile] usernamenumber was robbed. He should have been one of the 4 to advance to the finals. I don't say this as someone who knows him (as really we are barely acquaintances and I know many people who compete in these slams), but rather as one who has been in storytelling a while, and acted as a judge in these slams. I think what happened is that he got the only high score of 10 tonight (they announce the high score, not the real aggregate one so that the audience doesn't know who is winning, and the teller gets a nice boost from hearing their highest number), but somehow didn't make the top 3. And then he wasn't voted in as audience choice because everyone thought he'd make the top 3 and didn't vote for him. Shame really.

On to the Sharing the Fire conference this weekend, and possibly more semi-finals on Monday.

I love story energy!
imagine_that: (avatar)
( Feb. 29th, 2012 03:24 pm)
It was once again confirmed to me today that I should really hook Raya up with the local circus people whenever she is old enough. She's seriously acrobatic, and Dan has already taught her how to roll out of falls and other (extremely) basic safety stuff like that.

So now I'm left wondering what the minimum age is to begin learning circus skills? Does 3 make sense? Anyone know any people who teach circus skills to young children?
imagine_that: (avatar 2)
( Feb. 23rd, 2012 08:31 pm)
This morning (before some crazy family news), I was reminded of the power my words can have. It was good power this time, and brought a smile to my face.

I have many complex and interesting dreams, and I do not usually share them, as often one of the most boring things to hear are another person's dreams. But every now and then, one compels me to share.

Last week, I had a dream, and I woke up with a certainty that a particular friend of mine should hear about this dream. I believe my thought was, "It will make him smile."

In a nutshell, the dream involved me being asked to sing a song onstage at concert for a band where I know some of the members. I tried to demure (love the song, but my voice is for crap these days, plus I've only heard the song twice), but got talked into it anyway. Found myself onstage with a lyrics sheet, with my mike not working, but went for it anyway. And then I kept being handed lyrics sheets to songs I'd never heard, and just went with it the best I could.

(There was more to it, but that's the basics.)

This sounds like an anxiety dream, but really I was laughing the whole time because it was a hilarious situation. I was having a blast. And I woke up humming.

So I emailed my friend, who is a former member of that band IRL. Got back a text today:

"Thank you. I'm in a particularly stressful bit right now, and you helped remind me that the things I/we fear don't need to be so bad."

And it made me smile. I didn't know why I should tell him about that dream, only that I *should,* very powerfully.

Sometimes the universe moves in mysterious ways. :)
Went to see "The Princess Bride" on the big screen today with [ profile] mytheria and [ profile] trysha. So much fun to see it in a theater with an audience. I think I've only ever done that once before.

But I have to say, I noticed for the first time that Buttercup and Westley were a good deal younger than me. That was a bizarre feeling. Looked it up, and sure enough she was 20-ish during shooting and he was 25-ish.

It's odd to be older than your childhood classic love story characters...