Tag Archives: blaugust

blaugust #25: #365kateris

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A few weeks ago I posted a bit of a rant about realizing I’ve been feeling uncomfortable with myself. On the heels of that, I decided to embark on a year-long daily self portrait project. I chose today to begin because it’s my birthday and that seems like the ideal time to begin a period of self-reflection. It’s also a good, unforgettable marker. I don’t have any rules for myself other than to post one a day. They may all be my face; they may not. For today, I decided to start by looking at my face in a place where I spend a lot of neutral time: waiting for a train. When I take pictures of myself, they’re always attempting to convey something. This time, I’ve tried to just look at my own face as other commuters probably see it. 42, waiting for the train after a pretty good day at work.

I’m curious to see where this leads me, and looking forward to seeing them pile up. I’m going to post these on Instagram, and they’ll be tagged #365kateris. The finished project will be collated on this website at the end of the year.

(This is the 25th day of the Blaugust daily blogging initiative.)

blaugust #24: home improvement.

2015-08-24 15.33.57I posted something earlier today, but as it’s a business post I’m not counting it for Blaugust. Which meant that this afternoon I looked up and realized I needed a plan for today’s entry. I turned to a project I’ve been meaning to do for months.

My bedside lamp is a beautiful, graceful bust of a woman atop a column. It’s a faintly greeny yellow, with slight crazing in the paint. It’s absolutely lovely, and it deserves a much nicer shade than the plain one I stuck on it when I bought it. There’s a fabric I’ve had in mind to use for covering it, in a modern geometric print that echoes the chartreuse of the base and adds punches of black and aqua. So that’s what I did this afternoon.

2015-08-24 16.18.01First, I measured the shade and cut a piece of fabric to fit. Then I used a spray adhesive to coat the shade, and rolled it onto the fabric, smoothing it as I went. A quick trim of the edges, and then I tacked them down over the top and bottom edges of the shade with a hot glue gun. I also folded the fabric over at the seam where it met, and then glued that down as well. Ta da, lampshade! Now that it’s done, I’m acutely aware that this shade isn’t big enough for the lamp, but it’s all I could find that had the old fashioned grip-wires that grab the bulb. I’m also not entirely sold on this particular fabric for this lamp, although I really like the contrast between old-fashioned base and modern shade. This was really easy to do, though, so I’ll live with it for a while and if I find a better shade I can do it again.

(This is my 24th daily post for Blaugust.)


blaugust #23: my, your scarf game is stronk today.

When I wrote my love letter to Murder, She Wrote, I fully intended to talk about Jessica Fletcher’s accessory wardrobe. It’s a regular feature of Murder She Drank to discuss her fierce scarf game, and I will not lie to you: scarves have been creeping into our fashion decisions since we started this thing. When it came down to it, though, I forgot that bit. But it’s ok! There is a whole week of Blaugust left to talk about JB’s scarves!

There are three main categories of scarf that Jessica employs. (Are you paying attention? There will be a quiz.) First, we have the casual, everyday scarf. It’s soft and feminine, generally tied loosely around the throat. It appears at home, while marketing down by the water in Cabot Cove, on a pleasant bike ride (during which we may discover a body, but that is no reason not to look our best), or when setting off on a holiday journey. Everyday Scarf:



Second, there is the Business Scarf. This is also sometimes a pussy bow (there is an awful lot of pussy bow in MSW, and not just on JB). It’s styled with more definition than Everyday Scarf, and appears in meetings with executives or interactions with police officials or politicians:

The third category is rare, but crucial: when you are a famous author, there are times you need to be able to go about your detecting business without being recognized. This is where the Scarf Disguise comes into play:

tumblr_n8ql1cio021r3g7qno1_1280Mark it well, reader, and perhaps start carrying a spare in your handbag for incognito emergencies.

There you have it, the three main categories of Scarf Game in Murder, She Wrote. You’re all set to spot them now if you join us tonight for Murder She Drank. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen.



I’ll leave you with this, which is just gratuitous, but it’s too good to miss. Smoke ’em if you got ’em.


(All images property of Universal Television, and found via Google Image Search.)

(This is day 23 of Blaugust.)

blaugust #22: wordswordswords.


“What exactly is he sniffing?” I asked, as Phil was uploading this fellow to Tumblr this morning. “Pocket lint,” he says, “All the pocket cruft from all the pockets in all the world.”

I saw stars for a minute. “Cruft?,” a stupid grin spreading over my face.

“Yeah, cruft.” He looked puzzled.



“I might be a little giddy. I’ve never heard that before.”

I was a little giddy. I love words. I love collecting them, I love learning about them, I love coming across my favorites in everyday use. I love hearing other people’s favorites. I have a column in Tweetdeck just for etymology tweeters. My favorites are archaic ones, like Haggard Hawks and Old English Wordhord. I also really love Wordnik, which is a site devoted to archiving, defining, and curating words. You can create your own lists of words, you can Adopt a Word, you can look up history and usage of words, and you can subscribe to the Word of the Day email. Words.

Here, in no particular order, are some words I like. Just a few, I don’t want to spoil you.

  • Salacious: adj. lascivious, bawdy, obscene, lewd.

It’s a word that does what it says on the tin. It’s just fun to say. Salaaaaaaaaacious.

  • Rundle: n. a moat with water in it; a small stream; a rung, a step; a ball.

This was a Word of the Day find, and it came with a usage example from Viviette that has stuck with me – “I should get to be a fright – a bundle of ones and a rundle of skin – and you’d be horrified – I couldn’t bear it.”

  • Nefarious: adj. wicked in the extreme; abominable; iniquitous; atrociously villainous; execrable; detestably vile.

I don’t know how this extremely grim word came to be associated with a lighter side of villainy for me, but it always calls up a sort of obvious, hokey baddie. Mustache and cloak. Hamburgler stuff. It’s also really fun to say, as are most of the words in its definition. Iniquitous. I like that one too.

  • Snood: n. a small netlike cap worn by women to keep the hair in place.

Oh my, long-time favorite. Possibly my first favorite word. Never used to better effect than in White Christmas when Bing Crosby asks Danny Kaye, “What did you do with it, leave it in your snood?”

  • Flosculation: (archaic) n. an embellishment or ornament in speech; to speak in flowery language.

Well, yeah. Another one that does what it says on the tin. Very unlikely to appear in ordinary conversation, but I would place bets on seeing it appear in a novel by China Mieville.

I could do this all day, but I don’t think you’d stick around for that. It’s Saturday. It’s probably nice out. You run along.

(This is day 22 of the Blaugust initiative.)

blaugust #21: murder she drank.

A while back, I was talking to my friend Kathy and she mentioned that she wanted to watch Murder, She Wrote all the way through from the beginning. I was in for that, and doubly in when she suggested that we make a game out of it. She’d found a drinking game for the show, and suggested that we modify it into bingo cards (to avoid the alcohol poisoning that would surely occur if we followed the list on the original game). Not one to sit around, she did that, and we made a Hangouts date with a few friends to watch the first episode. It was such a success that Kathy made a website for it, and it’s been a regular once a month event for us ever since. This Sunday, we’ll be finishing Season 1 and starting on Season 2.

I love Murder, She Wrote. It’s campy and hilarious, fun to watch on nostalgia merits or to mock the whole of the 1980’s. But it’s also groundbreaking television, and worth watching in its own rights. No one is ever going to claim that the mysteries were original or challenging, but the character of Jessica Fletcher certainly is. If it’s possible that there’s anyone alive who doesn’t know the premise of the show, here it is: a late middle-aged widow living in rural Maine write best-selling murder mysteries, and keeps running into real life mysteries in her small town and elsewhere. She, of course, helps the (absurdly open-handed and cooperative) police solve them. What’s unusual about this show is that Jessica Fletcher is single, has no children, and there is no love interest for her for the entire run of the series. The very first episode dallies with a romance for her, but very firmly shuts the door on it. She is a middle aged professional woman, portrayed as gracious but private, intellectually limber, and competent. The mysteries, she dispatches without fuss. The more trying challenges for her come from business relations – insulting radio hosts on book tours, or movie producers who completely rewrite her stories. She navigates these difficulties with grace and toughness. Yes, she’s officious. Yep, she’s a busybody. That’s what detectives are. It only seems overblown sometimes because it’s not what you expect from the woman who looks like a retired schoolteacher. Put Peter Graves in the exact same role with the exact same dialogue and I bet you a fin nothing about it would seem pushy. Furthermore, every single episode of Murder, She Wrote passes the Bechdel test. It’s been 20 years since the show was on the air, but that’s still not being achieved in most tv shows now. It’s impressive.

When not solving crime, JB enjoys relaxing with a video game. #MurderSheDrank

A photo posted by Kateri Morton (@katerimorton) on

So I’ve been delighted, although not really surprised, at the number of people who get excited when they hear about Murder She Drank. The show has a tremendous following, and people of all ages and backgrounds love it. Every month, we have more and more people participating on Twitter and Instagram, with the hashtag #murdershedrank.

A photo posted by Kateri Morton (@katerimorton) on

If you want to join in, our next event will be on Sunday, August 23 at 8 pm Central/6 pm Pacific. We typically watch two episodes in an evening, and Kathy posts the titles on the website ahead of time. Watch along with us, and if you’re tweeting or posting to Instagram, use the #murdershedrank hashtag. I keep a column open in Tweetdeck so I can keep an eye on the hilarity as it develops.

I’ve got my Sharpie picked out, my screenshot fingers at the ready, and a bottle of wine in the fridge. Maybe this week one of us will actually get bingo! (So far, that’s never happened, but it doesn’t stop us.)

A photo posted by Kateri Morton (@katerimorton) on

(This is my 21st post for the Blaugust initiative.)