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Are You Talking to Me?

17 Sep

When you call a business, do you sometimes continue to carry on side conversations after dialing the business?

If so, did you know that the person at the other end of the line can hear you clearly…and sometimes hear the others too? Especially when you are shouting?

This week at work, I answered a call with my usual professional greeting, and immediately the caller shouted, “Grab your underwear and put some lotion on!”

Then she began speaking to me as if nothing had happened.

Ah, to Be Young and Talented

1 Feb

I feel very inspired by this young makeup artist, Stephanie Fernandez, who uses her own face as a surface for her unique creativity.

Some of her work is dark–think zombie film–and some is more abstract or flowery…but all of it is stunning.

The Soundtrack Matters

14 Aug

Recently I watched a 2011 New Zealand film called Love Birds. Frankly, I had low expectations. The title was dumb and the summary was even dumber.

The star rating implied that it was better than it looked, so I gave it a chance.

The best thing about this film, aside from the duck (which, according to a bird expert in the film, isn’t technically a duck at all) is the soundtrack. Queen songs were used so frequently and affectionately that the band felt like a supporting character.

This is not intended to be a movie review, although it is beginning to sound suspiciously similar to one, I will admit.

I felt compelled to point to this film as an example of how much of a difference a soundtrack can make.

Music can ruin a film when it is poorly chosen, heavy-handed, manipulative, or disconnected.

When film scores and soundtracks win awards we don’t always pay much attention.

We should.

Sound matters in film.

The people who made this film understood that… and so, what could have been a silly, forgettable cliché of a film became something else: an endearing, uplifting, and flat-out FUN film. It left me grinning.

I might even watch it again someday.

Creatures, Great and Small

30 Jun
Since moving to a small city in Nebraska, I have enjoyed the open space, the flora and fauna. Especially the fauna.
A woodchuck (also known as a groundhog)
Four or five skunk-ettes, scampering nose-to-tail behind their mother, in the grass near my workplace, stripes perfectly aligned…if only I had my camera and wasn’t traveling at 40 miles per hour at the time of sighting!
Wild turkeys and deer, both plentiful and known for their automobile collisions
A badger — a dead one, sadly
Stealthy beavers — I can only see their homes, I confess
Rabbits and chipmunks
Herons and cardinals
Let us not forget the domesticated critters — the sheep, the horses, the ostriches, the goats, the chickens, the peacocks…
Lovely, all of them.
Then there are the excessively large animals. Godzilla, King Kong and their many inflatable friends…they migrate to this habitat every year, shortly before July 4th…


Photos of The Atomic Age

3 Apr

The atomic era exhibit at a local museum showed me some fascinating elements of the life of another generation.








Feathers, Sequins, and Sailor Hats, Oh My!

27 Jan

Sometimes you just need to laugh.

This gallery of absurdly bad “glam” photos show made my day!

(Click on the link below)

Rebel Without An Excuse Receives Blogger Awards

26 Jan

[Since beginning the writing of this post, I have moved halfway across the country and have begun a full-scale job hunt, so I now have an actual excuse! HA!]

Here’s the story:  A Clean Surface has been nominated for a whole bunch of blogger awards recently, courtesy of love letters to strangers and l0ve 0ut l0ud and jared blake dicroce and wish i were there 24/7. In exchange, I was supposed to follow all sorts of instructions. That didn’t happen. It still isn’t going to happen. I was busy, and am now even busier. So, I am making up my own rules. (You think I can’t do that, but just watch me!)

With thanks to my nominators, I will simply list some blogs I think deserve more attention, to spread the love.

accidental stepmom   ~Six stepchildren. This is a brave woman.

sh*t my 6 year old says   ~I get a lot of laughs from this smartypants kid.

an afternoon with   ~Inspiring photographs from inside the homes of some interesting, creative people.

district of chic   ~Classy clothes.

the byronicman   ~Mainly humor. Be sure to check out the burglar/crime fighter post.

the 16th bar   ~As a petite woman, I appreciate the fashion tips from Frankie Ortiz, a young designer who is launching a petite line in 2012. You can look it up it on Facebook, too.

something new please   ~Very short creative writings accompanying some weird photos.

all write   ~This one is new for me. I came to it through praise I read about his post on Elizabeth Taylor. I followed a link, agreed with the praise and subscribed immediately.

raising my rainbow   ~This is about “…the adventures in raising a slightly effeminate, possibly gay, totally fabulous son” as the author has put it… This is another new find for me, and I have enjoyed every bit I have read.

(I hope you check some of these out and enjoy them as much as I have.)

Thinking Thankful Thoughts, November 2011

16 Nov

Some Things I Feel Thankful For, in No Particular Order:

Hemmed slacks

Crisp sweet apples, especially the tiny ones

Intelligent writers who hold my attention and make me think

Quiet mornings when I can reflect on all manner of things

Sincere friends, supportive family and other fine folks (especially my husband)

Warm Fall breezes that make my skin tingle

Optimism (and the occasional delusion)

Cold filtered water at my fingertips

Being of sound mind and body

Flannel sheets and king size pillows

Nasal decongestants that actually work

A clean bathroom (especially one I didn’t clean myself)

Merino wool and cashmere sweaters

Living in a free country

A piece of music titled “Sheep May Safely Graze”

Nutrition labels

The french fries at Elephant Bar (forget the nutrition label on that one)

My blog readers


19 Oct

Recent events have led me to the rather obvious conclusion that I can reduce my stress level and even simplify my life to a great degree simply by focusing more of my energy on myself.

Shocking, isn’t it?

I often come across The Usual Free Advice about how to feel better and find inspiration by focusing on helping others through volunteer work or other selfless pursuits. This is excellent advice for those who have a natural inclination to focus too much on themselves.

On the other hand, those who have spent decades focused on the needs of others may realize, as I have, that too much outward focus eventually becomes detrimental, and the solution sometimes lies in the opposite direction.

I am taking a minimalist approach to stress. Less outward focus means more inward focus.

The Stress Festival

24 Aug

My life has recently evolved into such a stress festival that I have actually stopped having fun. Obviously, this is bad. There is no joy happening at all.

This lack of fun has really yanked the stopper out of the drain in the inspiration tub. Nothing is left in there but soap scum. The highlight of my day was visiting the grocery store. My feeble attempt at self-attention took the form of some chicken mango sausages and a container of tuna salad. No one else around here will eat these things; these are “selfish purchases”. Yes, it is true: when I am feeling down, I still eat healthy food. I am one of those people. Don’t hate me for it.

This stress festival is the worst festival I have ever attended, by far. There are no rides, no second-rate bands, no face painters, no overpriced foam lizards on wire leashes… not even an ugly and inexplicably green stuffed gorilla. Nothing but petty resentment on display here, and I had to bring my own tuna salad.

Whose idea was it to buy a ticket to this mess, anyway?! Probably mine, I will admit, but I am leaving just as soon as I can find my way to the parking lot, and no, I don’t want my hand stamped for re-entry.

I had more fun at this festival, although it may be hard to tell from my expression in the photo.