In any case, the store keeps me busy. I also am a part time counselor and also do mediations for the local county courts. My counseling has to be part time if I am to be almost 6 days a week. Plus, counseling was destined to always be part time- just not enough clientele... although I'm sure there are quite a few that could benefit from a bit of counseling:) Needless to say (so I'm saying it anyways!) tax time is a bit of a nightmare. That's okay, I have a wonderful accountant who bears up patiently with me, as I deposit all sorts of odds and ends at her feet... I always get the 10 questions... the ones that make me have to search around for the latest statement, receipt, bill, etc. But the good news- I'm getting better every year at keeping track of the right stuff. And I also consider it a lucky day when something appears magically on my desk or in the folder it is supposed to be in... Little things make me happy.
And I'm already planning on my next January vacation, which is a lot of fun.
I've got a lot of new puzzles which seem to fly off the shelves.... I just ordered 2 large stuffed elephants from the same company that I got the penquin and pug from, Melissa and Doug. The elephants are fairly large, maybe like the size of a 5 or 6 year old so we'll see where I put them.... Kites are selling daily, as is Farkel. I just got in the little white Farkel cases that say Overboard, Manzanita on them, which Olga used to sell. I found a site on-line which sells "retro candy." Rock candy, candy necklaces, and dots...And my to-do list includes getting the e-mailing list going. I may ask my son to type in the names for me.
Three weeks ago we had snow, about an inch rested on my roof. Yesterday was close to 70! And who knows about today, and it is slightly cooler. Well, that's about it! Tobi....
So I am selling the shop on Wednesday...
It is sort of bitter-sweet for me, I really liked what I did, and it felt great to be good at it :) But I am looking forward to going to Portland to see friends, shows and shops, doing as much yoga as my body can take, and hopefully, writing more quality material for my personal blog, where I hope to see you soon!
My dear friend and an awesome person - Angelina - is writing a play! Yuppy!
Apparently, she doesn't care if the play gets totally wrecked by my starring in it :)
So, since I am to play a Russian, I have compiled a list of my favorite Russian books for her to read and get into the mood.
First of all, here is what I meant by INTELLIGENTSIA - described as well as I ever could in wikipedia.
It is a notion that is central and crucial to my understanding of what distinguishes ex-soviet people from Americans as a group. I hate stereotyping, and I will not do it here. Not all (by far not all) Russians strive to be "intelligentsia", and I do perceive many Americans as such.
But the whole fact that the word does not exist in English, and needs long explanations, speaks for itself.
Now, let me brush on a pet peeve of mine just a bit - may I note that the nation that prides itself on its mysterious soul, ancient culture and spirituality, literacy level and high (seriously, REALLY high) quality education, the nation that feels superiority over the "dumb" counterparts - is also the nation that tolerates treating women as second-class, does not give a damn about littering, nation that all but feels pride because of how wide spread alcoholism is, nation intolerant of gay rights, xenophobic, patriarchal, and , once again, drunk, drunk, drunk!
How is that for not stereotyping? I guess I just can't understand how one can be so well-read and puke in your own building's hallway. Or admire Verlaine's poetry and call your woman "slit" [as in vagina slit - щелка]
Examples taken from what my actual boyfriends have done.
Anyway, here are the authors to read, in no particular order.
M. Bulgakov - If I had to pick, he is my favorite author, and the following is my favorite book:
Master and Margarita [Master and Margaret] - no review will do it justice, although you will find tons of stellar ones. The book blew my mind when I was 16, and I must have read it over a dozen times in Russian, as well as three times in English and 4 times in French. I don't know what I needed the translations for, because nothing will ever come close to the ecstasy that Bulgakov's style, his virtuosity with the Russian language gives me. Mirra Ginsburg's translation is the best, IMO.
*R_E_A_D * I_T !!!!!!!!!!*
Heart of a dog - this one deals a lot with intelligentsia vs. proletarians. One of the rare instances where I like the movie more. I'll do a list of favorite movies too some day.
S. Dovlatov - a lot of his works have been translated, since he had immigrated to the USA. I love everything he'd written, but "soviet" period more then american.
Compromise is a compilation of short stories about his experience as a journalist. Here is one of Amazon reviews:
Captures the emptiness and ironies of late Communism.,
|Reviewer:||Honest Mind "K" (Philadelphia, PA)|
From Library Journal
This work consists of eight stories, the titles of which represent items the author brought with him when he emigrated; together they form an account of his life in Leningrad in the Sixties. He moves in bohemian circles, with journalists, actors, black marketeers--all dedicated drinkers--whom he describes with a keen sense of the comic and absurd. The funniest story is about a prison camp convoy in which the crazy prisoner emerges more sane and responsible than his two drunken guards. It is very entertaining, though, and good for laughs.
- Ulla Sweedler, Univ. of California Lib., San Diego
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
L. Ulitskaya - I can not put down her books once I get them! Here is the whole list [of what's on Amazon]
My favorites in order of loving it are:
Medea and her children
Kasus Kukotskogo (I don't know if it's translated)
But I like them all. The funeral party is a great sneak peek at the life (or rather, death and what accompanied it) of a Russian immigrant in NY
No time for more, but this will give Angelina enough to read for the next 4-5 years :)
Many of my favorites are not translated, as far as I can tell.
As a side note, I'm still waiting for myself to "get" Dostoevsky - I know I can, maybe I need to get a bit more depressed.
It is a must to at least try to read Tolstoy's War and Peace. I skipped through most of the war, as did most of my girl friends.
Gogol's "Dead Souls" is a true masterpiece, but I have a feeling you have to have grown up in Russia (or Ukraine) to enjoy it. The Overcoat is a very touching classic story, too.
I have found some translations of Daniil Harms (Kharms sometimes) online, but not published. Worth hunting for! An absurd, brain-bending literature, mostly extra-sorts. Shocking if taken seriouslly. The best way I can discribe it is: "Freakishly amusing" http://www.lib.ru/HARMS/xarms_engl.txt
So we have this gorgeous floor in the shop, made of myrtlewood *
We bought it when we built the house - in winter of 2004/05, and everything was great, people adore the floor so much, I have to tell them : "Get your eyes off the floor, I'm selling games here!" LOL
Anyway, a couple of months ago I saw tiny mounds of powdery wood shavings on one of the boards (on top of where there was obvious bug activity in the tree)
All right, so we got the fumigators to come and look at it, and the diagnosis was - powder post beetles! **
So every morning I would come into the shop, and look at the floor, and see the new tiny holes, with powder around them in the most perfect minuscule mountains, like yellow volcanoes - and I would sit there and worry about how fast they spread, and look in, trying to see the beetle inside. Sometimes they would peek out, but not ever crawl out. I swept up the "volcanoes", and then the next morning there would be new ones to look at :)
And then the floor guy came, pulled up the boards and put in the new ones. They do not have the finish on them yet, so it looks like a big light brown island in the vast myrtlewood ocean. The carpenter took the old ones away, along with the beetles. Just put them in a black garbage bag and carried away.
So the next morning, and the next, and every morning for the last week, I come to the light brown island and stare at it. It takes me a while to remember, that my beetles have gone in a black plastic bag....
They were my pests,
And who knows, they may have left me some eggs, or larvae, or something else equally romantic, and I may see them again, my dear beetles...
* Myrtlewood trees only grow in two places on Earth - Oregon and Israel.
The tree can vary from a low shrub in the higher elevation with poor soil to 70 feet in groves along rich river bottoms. Generally, the trees will be 1 foot to 3 feet in diameter for each 100 years of age. When cut, the Myrtlewood yields some of the most varied colors and grain patterns to be found in a single species. Colors range from light straw to chocolate brown, mixed with lemon yellow to deep ruddy red and streaks of nearly black. This vivid color range can even appear in a single section of wood. [Also appearing in a section of wood - powder post beetles! - OO ] Some of the wood fibers twist and curl to form patterns known as burl, with thousands of tiny eyes; fiddle back which looks like waves undulating in the ocean, all tied together with random swirls of fibers. Myrtle is arguably the most beautiful wood native to the USA. This remarkable wood is exceptionally dense and strong, and finishes wonderfully. Myrtlewood is recognized for its beauty and strength in this area and has been used by craftsmen since the early nineteen hundreds. It’s made into bowls, goblets, musical instruments, flooring, moldings, window & door trim and everything in-between. There is no waste with Myrtlewood - what’s left over makes some of the best long burning firewood you can imagine. Taken from here
Our floor was made of logging salvage wood, so it is environmentally friendly. The wood is very hard, good for high traffic areas, and drop-dead gorgeous! It looks like oak, it looks like birch, it looks like maple, pine and even cherry. Every board is unique in pattern and color.
The larvae of powder post beetles reduce timbers to a mass of very fine, powder-like substance. You can easily recognize the work of powder post beetles. When the adults emerge, usually in June, some species leave small holes about the size of a pin in the
surface of the wood; others make holes the size of pencil lead. From these holes, a fine, powder like brood of larvae carry on their destructive feeding. Normally, these insects have a 1-year life cycle; this means that the adults will appear only once each year. And because of this habit the larvae have a feeding period of many months.
I have been away from the blog, if not from the computer, for a while, and lack of news is not to blame, I am just a kind of person who is "unto" one thing today and another tomorrow.
For today, it's
But I have just been reminded of great fun that blogging is by Kathleen Bauer, author of GOOD STUFF NW
She took my picture holding my dear Malfi doll, and will probably put my link into her Manzanita report :)
So, I thought, I MUST write something in here !
What's new? Melissa and Doug is a brand I should have carried from day one! The quality of their wooden chunky puzzles for smaller kids is superb, the magnetic/dry erase boards sold in a flash, but this guy:
Is just precious!so huggable! So soft :)))))))))))))
So, I guess, I am officially in toy business now.
Overboard will be 2 years old on May 6th, 07. When we started, the focus was on family board games, and more serious "gamer" games, like, oh, I don't know... Puerto Rico [which I still carry].
But it became clear that my shoppers were mostly vacationing families looking for something quick and fun, and easy. Thus, more games for age 6+, less for 12+
More card and board games, no role playing.
You live - you learn. I actually like my shop more now, I still only buy the ones that are award winners and well-reviewed on http://www.boardgamegeek.com/ , but the focus has shifted.
Then another epiphany was: Since day one I was referred to in the community as " the toy shop lady", no matter how blue my face got correcting them : "Game store, G_A_M_E store!"
Why fight it?
I got toys now.
I guess I just feel like games are so much better for the child [then toys]
My son is 4, and we are finally mastering the Candyland. I did try to start straight with Hsss , but he's not ready yet. They all learn at a different speed, don't they?
But I literally can see his mind at work when we play, concentrating, thinking.
And cars, trains, bears - that's all fine, and imaginative pretend play is important, but how many cars does one boy need???!!??
Anyway, I digress. Fighting the demand is really not the wisest business decision. If the Customer wants toys - toys I do have. At least I know I will chose the best quality I can find. And I keep my promise to myself of
-No electronic noises
-No bright plastic items
But I did get the Automoblox cars - I can't put them down myself :) And I can take them completely apart and re-assemble, which is sort of like a puzzle, so fits in with my shop. The wood they are made of is really hard, smooth and looks great, too. And when the parts snap together, they make the most satisfying "click!"
I think they are from now on my favorite product. For the record, it used to be Gobblet, and before that - Killer Bunnies
OK, I hope it was fun for you to read!
Surf over here http://www.looneylabs.com/Academy/index.html for a guide on how to use Fluxx and other Looney Games in education!
I actually don't know who you guys are (my readers), but if you are a retailer, you can use this as a selling point, and if you are a game player - you could check some of these out, if you haven't already.
The pictures of games are noy posting for some reason
DO YOU HAVE ANY...
SMART GAMES (Gift guide)
It might not be the ultimate measure, but in my opinion, MENSA – the High IQ people’s society selects the best mind challenging games. Below are some of their award’s past winners and my personal favorites:
battle the water and each other to collect gems along the riverbank. Of course, the most valuable gems are close to the waterfall… Age 8+
BLOKUS & Travel-BLOKUS
Mensa-Best-Mind-Game-2003 Easy enough for a 5 y.old, definitely challenging enough for adults. The rules take less than a minute to
learn. Players take turns placing pieces onto the board. The goal is to cover as much of it as possible. Block your opponents while expanding your own territory! 5+
Sudoku! The Sudoku mania is sweeping the nation! There's no math involved. The grid has numbers, but nothing has to add up. You solve the puzzle with reasoning and
logic. It's fun. It's challenging, it’s addictive! All levels available, as well as kids’ 5x5 and electronic Sudoku.
conversation! Everyone gets a turn to make hilarious comparisons. Fast moving and refreshing, Apples to Apples is perfect for any get together with family and friends!
you have to do to win! Random AND smart! Age 8+
your car out through the exit opening by shifting all blocking. Beginner level to Expert. Age 8+
More then just for having fun – this game (like many others in my store) has a strong educational value. Put on your poker face, then draw, swap, and sneak a peek to
get rid of rats and collect cats. The player with the lowest score wins
different or the same in all 3. Age is no advantage in this game, which makes it a great family pastime! 6y+
The game of unspeakable fun - Get your team to guess the word “birthday”, but do not say “candles” or “happy”. More than 1,000 words to guess. Age 12+
Will Shortz Puzzlemaster Decks These decks are packed with 75 brainteasers and mindbenders, each designed to challenge puzzlers of all stripes. A perfect gift for puzzle enthusiasts of all ages who want to test their brainpower.