The Alphabet Julen: S

The Scream

I used to have an inflated The Scream sitting on my desktop at work; If you don't completely fill him with air, you can bend his arms and make him do the Macarena. For a while there, he had a wide assortment of faces that could be scotch-taped over his shrieking maw.


Several years ago, I took a step back and looked at my beverage consumption habits. I was appalled. So I cut back on the sugary sodas (I don't drink Coffee; when I worked for Lockheed, I got in the habit of dropping a can of Dr Pepper in five minutes. This was at 6:30 a.m, and it helped me perk right up. Seltzer Water is my solution (when I remember): all the pop and fizz, with none of the sugar, carbohydrates, or fat.


One of the ways I used support myself after my first retirement was by buying and selling antiques. It often was like a treasure hunt with a puzzle often strapped to the back; I like working out the provenance and history, seeing if I got fooled, celebrating when my instincts have led me to a big score. I was smart enough to buy things I like so that when they don't sell, I don't feel too bad; I am also dumb enough to buy things I like so that when they don't sell, I don't feel too bad. In any case, the Vintage and the Antique has some pictures of my finds.


The only thing worse than being sick is being sick when you are on vacation. The only thing worse than being sick on vacation is getting the call that you have to work while you are sick and on vacation. Blech. I'm not a good sick person. I tend to work right through it which means I'm sick for twice as long, and miserable to boot. I managed to avoid Covid (that I know of!), but I did get RSV in 2023 when some idiot got on a plane while contagious, without a mask, and leaned his chair back into my lap while continously coughing up into the air, creating a fountain of germs that got me but good. I was sick for a month. A MONTH.


I received an old-fashioned metal slinky as a reward for being a frequent guest at my favorite Chicago hotel, and it was a good thing, too. The green plastic slinky at the Chicago office was always getting removed from my desk. The classic metal slinky was classic in all respects! - well, except for the edge bands they added so you can't poke your eye out. For years, my slinky at work acted like a rolodex; chunks of paper huddled between the loops waiting for my attention.

Smith College

My beloved alma mater, where I learned to set type, saw the most beautiful piece of pottery that I have ever seen, and gave my life over to the newspaper. I loved Smith, and the people I met there, but remain peeved they decided to discontinue Art 100 - one of the best intro to art history courses in the nation, and certainly more comprehensive and informative than most.

I used to be the secretary for the Smith Club of Charlottesville (which really is all of western Virginia from Orange on West). There are some really fabulous women around here.


There have been many variations on weblogs posted to this site in its history, many of which withered on the vine during long stretches of 100 hour work-weeks and general life upheaval. It was never a form I found passionate so much as occasionally useful. In any case, over the past decade or so, they've lived at the shapshot - a place devoid of images, and currently dominated by a variety of lists.


I am frequently snarky, but for several years there, I tamped it down. Prolonged exposure to snark can dull your ability to know when it is appropriate to wield. So I've stepped back and took a good look, and tried to deploy the snark more responsibly.

Snow Days

The worst part about being an adult was that for me, snow days were no fun for a long time. I would go ahead and dig out and go to work and work all day and drive home and watch people skid and spin. I don't even have enough snow to build a snowman. Snow days were entirely different when I was a kid.

Spy Novels

I love a good spy novel, whether it is labyrinthine or direct, vintage or modern, standalone or linked. I can trace it back to finding a Helen MacInnes novel in my grandparent's bookcase, but as an adult, my favorite quickly became Alan Furst.


I've always made things. As a kid, I'd spread out my drawings on the floor, constructing floor plans for houses, mazes, and pictures of the world. I always wanted to know how people made that painting, this bowl, those windows, these shirts. I was incredibly lucky that I went to a school with a fabulous art teacher and freedom to make my own independent study classes in art after I exhausted other options. I went to a college where I could talk my way into a letterpress class with an amazing artist and into helping out the folks in sculpture 2 while they were making their bronzes.

I always knew that I'd have an art room when I got older - a space for all the tools and materials and inspiration I needed. I periodically update here what I am doing In The Studio. The big problem is, of course, I want to do all the art. I sometimes wish I could have part-time cloning; one clone could be painting, one printing, one mosaicing, one making books ... and at the end of the day we'd all combine and I'd have all of those memories and experiences fused into me. I think this would be awesome in theory. It might be creepy in practice, though.


Mmm. Sushi. I especially like the tentacled sushi, but I'll try just about anything. I miss having a local sushi joint where I was a regular and they'd try out new dishes on me and make me special off-menu creations. Of all the places where I've been a regular, I think they were my favorite, and not just for the glory of that octopus salad that inexplicably never made it on the menu.


Swimming is my preferred form of exercise. I am a water person in general, but swimming just feels more fun than any other exercise. As an adult, I've perfected my breast stroke, but I'm still strongest with the crawl. My backstroke is utter rubbish, and I will never even attempt to develop any skill whatsoever with the sidestroke.


Words I Like

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