Category Archives: Uncategorized

Including the Kitchen Sink

Let’s talk about Pinterest. Sometimes I will forget it exists for weeks, and then sometimes I’ll go on a binge in which I flood my followers’ feeds with pictures of quilts (sorry, Lauren!), forget to eat because I’ve read too many recipes, and view an inordinate number of cat photos (which I mostly don’t repin, of course. That would just get embarassing).

Here’s what I learned from Pinterest this week:

  1. If you look at the bottom of a bell pepper, you can find out its gender. Four bumps = female, which are best for eating fresh/raw. Three bumps = male, which are best for cooking. I tested this out and it appears to be true.
  2. If you yell “Andy’s coming!” in front of the Toy Story characters at Disney, they will stop what they’re doing and drop. Brilliant.
  3. Elephants are awesome. Also turtles. And this dog.
  4. People do funny things for the sake of beauty. Cases in point: a pore-cleanser that involves applying glue to one’s face, and a self-tanner that involves rubbing oneself with coffee grounds. Hmm.
  5. Somebody made a dachshund out of a banana. I’m pretty glad this exists in the world.

Now get off Pinterest and go do something in real life. Not the glue-on-face thing, though. I don’t endorse that.

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The Zoo, but Mostly Pandas

Last week I was in San Diego for a conference. The first day we were there, we went to the San Diego Zoo (which is also a botanical garden and wildlife conservancy!). Here’s what you need to know about the zoo:

There are pandas. There is a panda baby.

You can watch the pandas live on the panda cam. PANDA CAM, you guys.

The Galapagos tortoises were also quite charming.

But seriously. Panda cam.

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Love and Physics

My lovely friend Jess posted this on her Facebook the other day. I loved it, and I especially loved that it is a bit of wisdom straight from her father! Here it is:

There is no conservation law for love. It can be created in ever-increasing amounts.

(If anyone is curious, the law of conservation of energy is one of the laws of physics. It states that the total energy in an isolated system will always remain constant. Energy can move or change form within the system, but cannot be created or destroyed. Thank goodness that people are not isolated systems–however we may sometimes try to be–and that love defies science!)

This morning I was still rolling these words around in my head, so I got out my sketchbook and began, as Mina would say, “taking a line for a walk.” I’m going to do a scary (for me) thing now and show you my scribbles:

I was playing around with the idea of a little machine that walks around creating love where it’s needed. So, here’s where the lines went:

Thanks to Jess and to her dad for the inspiration!

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Dinosaur Giveaway Winner!

By the ultra-scientific paper-pulled-from-a-hat method, Rachael is the lucky winner of a golden dinosaur!
He says “rawr!” That means “I love you already!” in dinosaur.
Here’s her comment:

Di-no-saurs are di-no-mite and covered in glitter they’re such a delight!!


I want to especially thank Colt (we’ll call him the runner up?) for representing my male readership with his comment:

I don’t know why I want one or where I would put it but they are strangely interesting to look at!

The answer to “why” is the glitter. The answer is always the glitter!
Thanks to everyone who entered!

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Dinosaurs and a Giveaway

This evening I thought, “I should do something.” So, I started looking through a little box of crafty-type objects and turned up a few of these guys:

I think I picked them up at a dollar store intending to make them into some kind of silly thing one day.
It turned out that today was the day, because I remembered these glittered Christmas deer.
I think you can guess what happened next.


One of these guys is going to go live with my friend Heather, who always needs more dinosaurs in her life.
Another one is going to come live with one of you, dear readers! All you have to do is leave me a dinosaur- or glitter-related comment. Isn’t that fun!?
I’ll pick a winner at random on Wednesday. Rachael is the lucky winner. Thanks for playing!

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A Rose is a Rose

One day, when I have my own house, I’d like to have a cutting garden.
A cutting garden is a garden grown for the purpose of cutting flowers (or herbs, or ornamental vegetables) for indoor use.

In the meantime, I buy myself flowers.
These beauties came from the clearance bin at the grocery store, so this is not a huge extravagance, by any means.

If you don’t have anyone who buys you flowers, you should buy them for yourself. It is a very happy-making thing.

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A Little Backstory

Dear friend,

Have you ever tried to choose a blog name? If you have, you know how difficult it is to find one that hasn’t been taken. I went through many good and not-so-good (actually, really bad) ideas before I came up with My Name is Allison, and now I’d like to tell you a little bit about the name that stuck.

My inspiration was a book written by the lovely David Almond. I met Mr. Almond last summer while I was in England. His books are magical and inspiring, and I was so pleased to find that Mr. Almond matches his work in kindness and in generosity (one thing I learned this summer, while meeting a fair number of writers, was that this is not always the case!).

Here is Mr. Almond with me and my beautiful traveling companions from this summer.

The book is My Name is Mina, a recently published prequel to Mr. Almond’s first young adult novel, Skellig. Both books are completely wonderful, and you should read them (but read Skellig first!).

The beautiful books!

Here is an excerpt from the beginning of My Name is Mina:

My name is Mina and I love the night. Anything seems possible at night when the rest of the world has gone to sleep. It’s dark and silent in the house, but if I listen close, I hear the beat beat beat of my heart. I hear the creak and crack of the house. I hear my mum breathing gently in her sleep in the room next door.

I slip out of bed and sit at the table by the window. I tug the curtain open. There’s a full moon in the middle of the sky. It bathes the world in its silvery light. It shines on Falconer Road and on the houses and the streets beyond, and on the city roofs and spires and on the distant mountains and moors. It shines into the room and on to me.


There’s an empty notebook lying on the table in the moonlight. It’s been there for an age. I keep on saying that I’ll write a journal. So I’ll start right here, right now. I open the book and write the very first words:


Then what shall I write? I can’t just write that this happened then this happened then this happened to boring infinitum. I’ll let my journal grow just like the mind does, just like a tree or a beast does, just like life does. Why should a book tell a tale in a dull straight line?

(I can still hear Mr. Almond’s voice in my head, reading this passage to us.)

I hope that Mr. Almond wouldn’t mind my use of his title; I hope that my blog will live up to its inspiration. For me, this means sharing the light and love in the world. It means finding beauty and wonder, and it sometimes also means letting in the night. It means making the little details that turn ordinary life into something special.

Mina says, “BE BRAVE!” so this blog is my first tiny brave step towards these things which may seem intangible and idealistic, but which to me are very solid and real. These things are my promise to you, dear reader. I hope you will be inspired.

With love and light,


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Merry Christmas!

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Death, Thou Shalt Die

For Elliana Rose Freeman,
October 22, 2011-December 13, 2011

DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

– John Donne

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The Secret to a Happy Life

I always say that the secret to a happy life is achievable goals. Here are my goals for this week on the island:

  1. Eat a crabcake. (Done and done!)
  2. Visit the local toy shop. (Check!)
  3. Fly a kite.
  4. Visit the lighthouse.
  5. Get some saltwater taffy.

Totally doable.

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