Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Simply exCITing!

With a million thanks to Jennifer DeDonato of Colorfly Studio, I've discovered that my Kingdom of Imagination print is included in a post on affordable art for kids' rooms on Real Simple's Simply Stated blog.

(Insert my excited gasps here!)

It's about halfway down, right under some really cool paintings of PEZ dispensers, number four in that batch.

Real Simple is, like, only one of my favorite magazines. How simply wonderful!


In other simplicity news, I'm slowly moving all of my posts over from the RadioGirl Designs blog. This will be the main blog for now, until such time that I move everything again, I hope to my own website-to-be, but I hereby reserve the right to be indecisive. For now, I will leave some duplicate posts, so I can keep the comments.

Monday, March 17, 2008

My United States

It's a different story when you get to the U.S. Just so you don't have to count, I've visited 44 out of 50 states, plus D.C.

When I was a kid, I definitely counted states in which I'd only been to the airport (I used to know Denver Stapleton Airport better than the back of my hand, from flying across the country to see my dad, but I didn't actually visit Denver itself until 2001) as states I'd visited, because when you're a kid, well, everything counts, as long as you want it to, and if not, then it doesn't. Because the best thing about childhood is that sense of elastic reality.*

But I don't have to do that anymore, because every state above is a state I've actually visited, on the ground, even if I was just driving through on my way to another state. The only states I have left to visit for the first time are Alaska, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and Rhode Island. And I actually think I might have been in Rhode Island before, but I can't remember for sure.

My favorite states are, in no particular order, and based primarily on scenery: California, South Dakota, Washington, Oregon, Maine, New Mexico, Colorado, Kentucky, and Idaho. My favorite cities are Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans, Washington D.C., Portland, Austin, and Philadelphia. And I actually am quite fond of Orlando, but you will never catch me admitting that in public.

* If I had a band, I think I'd name it that. Elastic Reality. Chances are, I will never have a band. If you do, feel free to take the name, provided you thank me in the liner notes and send me a copy of every album you release.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Libro = Liebe: Clearly, a Linguistical Connection

"When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes" - Erasmus


I love books. Adore them. Dream about them. Get crushes on them, which I nurture by putting them on my wishlist, or when I get really infatuated, in the "save for later" part of my shopping cart, which I rearrange when I'm having a bad day because it makes me feel better. I own, at best guess, 1,400 books. I love looking at them, holding them, smelling them, thinking about them, buying them (my heartrate doubles in a bookstore and sometimes my palms get sweaty), talking about them (I don't actually talk to them, most of the time, but maybe I'd love that, too), and most of all, reading them.

I also like reading about them.

Here, I wrote about Goodreads, where you can list the books you've read, are reading or want to read; write reviews; and see what other people are reading.

And now, thanks to People Reading, you can actually see what people are reading, at least in San Francisco (one of my five favorite cities) and find out why they're reading it, what they think, and so on. Great site, via CabaCurl.

Speaking of books, I just got a new t-shirt from Threadless. I think it's a bit of an odd design for a t-shirt -- I'd expect to see this design more as an art print on Etsy -- and somewhat out of character for Threadless, I think -- but I'm not complaining, because I adore my new shirt (and it's these magnificent once-in-a-bunch treasures that keep me coming back to the site).

Today, I'll be working with a different kind of book, namely our checkbook, in preparation for our taxes, but I'll bribe myself with some good reading time, later, maybe with a cup of cocoa. I have a large stack of books waiting for me.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I'm not so well-traveled as I thought...

... although I can say some pretty naughty words, if nothing else, in a surprising number of languages.

Found this map generator at the World 66 World Travel Guide (via this Flickr user) and all of a sudden, I've really got this urge to go get that passport issue fixed (as in, I've never updated it with my married name, not to mention the fact that it's falling to pieces). Here I prided myself on my vast world travels, and in reality, there's not nearly as much red as I had imagined there would be (don't let all that red over in Asia fool you... I can't really think of myself as having been to China, even though I was in Hong Kong. If I thought I could get away with it, I would, on the other hand, put a little red dot in Japan, where I spent eleven hours in the airport even though I never actually saw any of the country. I think eleven hours is a pretty significant experience, no? As for Canada, I've been to Toronto and Sudbury, Ontario, but that hardly justifies half of the Arctic Circle turning red. On the other hand, I really have been to all four corners of the continental U.S., and a significant portion of the land in between*).

If I could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, with no worries about, you know, money, I think I'd be off to Australia (where I could say hi to CabaCurl) and New Zealand, just to balance things out a bit. Gonna have to find a way to make that happen. And then I'd be off to Sweden to say hello to some of my favorite bloggers... and then all over Europe to visit so many of my other favorite bloggers, who collectively bring incredible amounts of fun and joy into the world and generally make it a better place. (Along with quite a few bloggers here in the U.S., whom I haven't forgotten). And then I'd start exploring the rest of the world...

*I no longer call the midwest the "fly-over states," but the "drive-through states." Although, actually, there are a few of them where I'd gladly stay for a while, like South Dakota. Did I tell you how beautiful it is? It's beautiful.

Monday, March 03, 2008

It's Like Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake, Only Better

I am well on my way to recovery, and I thank you all for your kind wishes and much-appreciated notes.

Now, after what seems like years, but is really only three months or so, of topsy-turvy upheaved schedules, with two trips, one new job, two colds, one family surgery (not serious) and, let's not forget, way back at the beginning, the holiday season, it's time to slip life back into a nice, comfortable routine (I hope). Like putting on broken-in jeans and my favorite sweater. Although, at the moment, this routine is a little new and stiff, but I'm hoping it will break in quickly.

And now onto the delicious part: not that I'll have any spare time now, but it's always good to fill your spare time with the things you love passionately. In my case, that usually means chocolate (especially when it's part of the Cheesecake Factory's Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake), books and, of course, maps. And thanks to my father, stepmother and little sister, who know that the way to my heart is through bookstore gift cards, I can kill two of those birds with one stone. Or, rather, not a stone, really, but four books about maps.

This marvelously fun book and its author/mapmaker I found through the mysterious M. Ninehouser, who sent me an Etsy conversation loosely comparing my maps to those of Eric Chase Anderson. What a wonderful compliment. I thank him again for the tip, because this book is just terrific. Everything... people... boats... rooms... it's all mapped.


Maps: Finding Our Place in the World is the accompanying volume to the exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago, which will next be coming to a town near me. Well, sort of near me, anyway. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, relatively speaking, and all that. In American distances, and on small-scale maps, it's practically next door, actually.

And thanks to the anonymous Dean, and Anne of Prêt à Voyager, I'll be making that three-hour-one-way drive round-trip twice very soon for a mapmaking workshop hosted by MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art). Don't let my matter-of-fact tone fool you. As I mentioned before, I'm so excited, I can hardly breathe. Every time I think about the workshop and the exhibit, I feel like I'm going to jump out of my skin. And two days just doesn't seem even close to enough.


Ah... yes... how could I NOT buy a book with a title like this? Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer, by Peter Turchi, so far, is brilliant (I'm about halfway through). I hate writing book reviews because they so often sound pretentious, but I'll try to explain why I like this book so much: It's great. It's about maps. And it's about writing. And it has a lot of maps in it, like this one, which makes me laugh:

"The Silver Dog With the Golden Tail: Will the Tail Wag the Dog or the Dog Wag the Tail?,"
an 1896 advertisement for the Nuckolls Packing Company.


And this next book? I can't even think of the words to praise this book the way it deserves. It is packed with maps from front to back, with a few essays peppered throughout. The maps are of incredible variety in topic, age, color, style, and so on. A contour map of a face. A map of the Road to Success. Many maps about Love. Maps on tapestries, maps on canvas, embroidered maps. A map of the jack-o-lanterns in Raleigh, North Carolina, neighborhood. Stone maps found on an Arizona mountain.

It's like a candy store with every candy ever made. It's like cheesecake with whipped cream and a cappuccino. It's just amazing, all the way through.

A map of the journey to Paradise from a Japanese children's board game.

The Land of Matrimony, just one of a number of entertaining maps about love and relationships, all of which are quite unique, leaving lots of room for my own map of the Realm of Love. (Incidentally, these maps include one that's very clever but not necessarily work- or children-safe, so if you do come across this book, be sure to browse all the way through it before sharing it.)


Treasures, all of them. I am so grateful and so glad.

And the best thing about these books is that, as sweet and rich and incredible as they are, unlike chocolate cheesecake, I can indulge as much as I want.

P.S. My apologies for the appalling photographs. Bad lighting and lack of time to make accommodations. Excuses, excuses. I have no shame.