Tuesday, December 30, 2014

#1 Post of 2014 is . . .

I was a little shocked that, looking back at 2014, the #1 post on The Silent Isle ended up being about my grandmother, my crafty children, a childhood icon, and the snow. But as eclectic as the post is, I am more shocked by the fact that this one came in 1st by over 1000 views. I guess some people out there either really like Rainbow Looms or loved (and mourned) Shirley Temple. Either way, I'm delighted this one made it to the top of the list.


I have stacks of work and writing to do. I have loads of cleaning to do. I have places to be and coffee creamer to buy. So I've made a command decision to echo the words of brilliant heroine Scarlet O'Hara, "I'll think about that tomorrow". Instead, I'm writing a blog post. Because that's far more fun. And, since I'm here, I thought I'd share with you an Item of Interest (I.O.I.) or two from my neck of the woods:

I.O.I. #1: My ECE (Critical Thesis for grad school) is done, submitted, and accepted. Boom! It was a nail-biter there for awhile, but we got there in the end. So now I'm in the process (and by "in the process" I mean it's been sitting in a pot on a back burner getting black and gloppy) of changing the MLA formatting over into Chicago-style formatting so I can start submitting it to different journals and magazines in the hopes of it finding a home for publication. Because if I spent that much brain-power, tears, hours, and tubs of Nutella writing the darn thing, I'm at least gonna push it out into the world and see what it's made of. The Wright brothers didn't build a flying machine just for it to sit in a field and look interesting. Let's let this baby do what it's been built for! (I'll let you know what happens.)

[ASIDE: anyone an expert in Chicago-style formatting that wants to format my essay? My brain is in the midst of at least its second implosion, and it's starting to get dark and scary in here.]

I.O.I. #2: It appears that Helen is hanging around for awhile longer because weather.com has announced the Snowpocalypse is coming. Which sounds to me like the best kind of -pocalypse. I know that many people, particularly in the North East, are tired of snow and ice and cold and all things winter. But I still get school-girl-giddy when when I hear a big ol' Nor'easter is coming down the pike. And apparently it's set to hit us late Wednesday night and carry on into Thursday. I got my firewood, Nutella, and toilet paper all stocked up, so snow me in Snowpocolypse of 2014. I'm ready.

I.O.I. #3: And speaking of being snowed in, I have finally gotten over my loathing of the Rainbow Loom. I got my two oldest girls these looms (that I found at Ollies for $5) on which you make bracelets and necklaces by weaving little rubber bands together. My kids are crafty--in all senses of the word, really--and I thought it'd be something to hold their interest and keep them busy while being home-bound, building something pretty rather than badgering each other to death. Well, the instructions in English that came with the loom were written by someone who does not actually speak English. So I had to go onto YouTube to find an instructional video. And apparently there's a billion different designs you can make with these bracelets. The design my kids wanted to do was termed "advanced." (That should have been a red flag. Unfortunately, red is my favorite color so this flag gave me no pause.) It was a starburst design that requires the patience of Job and the nimble fingers of Rumpelstiltskin. I have neither. So for two weeks we tried to master this bracelet--but it required the girls loading up their looms with the rubber bands (in the PERFECT order and sequence as advised by the 11-year-old who is doing the YouTube instructional video. urg.) and then I had to take the hook and do all the weaving because it was too hard for the little ones. And, to put it mildly, it didn't always work out. After hours of painful concentration and admonitions of "stop asking when I'll be done or I'll bury this loom out in the snow and you won't find it til Spring", we would end up with a shambles of a bracelet that may or may not stay together long enough for my daughter to put it around her wrist. To paint you a picture, we managed to make 3 bracelets in 2 weeks of arduous work. The cost-benefit ratio was way out of whack. Finally I had a brainstorm: find an easier design. Back to YouTube. Scoure all the How To's (all by 11-year-olds). And finally, success! Now my kids are delightfully occupied making bracelets they are able to do all by their big selves, which frees me to up to, I don't know, eat more Nutella and do more laundry. (Okay, I'm still rethinking my position on this whole thing.)

I.O.I. #4: Shirley Temple has just passed away. This is very sad. Not only was she an icon, I felt like she was also a friend. Her dancing and singing and throwing ashes all over the pernicious Lavinia in The Little Princess was an integral part of my childhood. I watched this movie on auto-repeat with my grandma when my sisters and I would sleep overnight at her house (We watched avidly both The Little Princess and The Apple Dumpling Gang--ah, good stuff). Although I guess back then there wasn't auto-repeat--we had to take the VHS tape out of the VCR, put it in the separate rewinder machine, listen to it whir, and wait for it to pop open so we could watch this magical movie all over again. (Now I feel old--like my parents must feel when they talk about 8 track tapes and their first ride in a horseless carriage.) So anytime I hear Shirley Temple mentioned I think of my grandma, and despite the sadness of Ms. Temple's passing, the thought of my grandma makes me smile. Because Grandma was hilarious. Because she could make a pouty face with her lower lip stuck out (which we called a "shippy") that looked exactly like Shirley's. Because she sang "Animal Crackers in My Soup"--which until today is a song that I thought my grandma had made up, because she tended to make up silly songs to make us laugh. Now I know that it originated with Shirley, which makes me feel an even stronger affinity for Ms. Temple. So, as I sit and smile and think on memories of Grandma (who I'm sure is in heaven keeping everyone entertained), I'll leave you to enjoy Shirley in an encore presentation of "Animal Crackers In My Soup".


Wishing you all a happy and hopeful New Year. See you in 2015!


PS: I still haven't formatted my critical thesis from MLA to Chicago Style - I guess I may as well add that to my resolution list . . . 


  1. That was a good post--I enjoyed it. I have no trouble imagining your girls "crafting" with their looms since I have the two crafty granddaughters and two crafty nieces. The grandsons always slop something together then run off to find sharp objects to poke one another with, but the girls are dedicated crafters from the get-go :)
    And...I miss my grandma every day, too. Our grannies have the ability to powerfully impact our lives.
    I hope 2015 is the best year ever for you, Anna, and good luck with that Chicago Style thang. I format all my stuff Okie style ;)

    1. Thanks, Danni! Indeed, Grannies are such a powerful force in a child's life (and an adult's life). And if ever there's a call for Okie style formatting, I'll be giving you a call :)


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