Stephanie Burgis
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lost strudels and zen gardens
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Humor saved the day once again. I woke up on Saturday feeling sicker than I had for a long time and really depressed about it. Patrick asked if I wanted to go to Borders for breakfast, I umm'd and ahh'd and finally agreed even though I didn't feel up to it... and when we got there, along with a grande latte and a delicious ginger stem muffin, I found Nora Ephron's new book of essays, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman. I loved her novel Heartburn (and the movie), I loved When Harry Met Sally, I loved her essays from the 70s when I read them many years ago...and I love this new collection. Smart, funny, wry and perfect for cheering up. (With essay titles like "The Lost Strudel, or Le Strudel Perdu", how could this book go wrong? It was very much My Kind of Thing.) I finished it over the course of two café trips this weekend and felt much, much better for having read it.

(Afterwards, I discovered her very funny political blog at The Huffington Post, which is great in a completely different way. Her "The Secret: A Testimonial", from the perspective of, ah, a very familiar political figure, is hilarious.)

I also spent this weekend reading Jason Beaird's The Principles of Beautiful Web Design and thinking about possible concepts for a new webpage design. Patrick & I put together my current webpage almost 4 years ago, and although I still like it, I've learned a lot more about webpages in the last few years (especially in my job as a web editor, where I developed Many Strong Opinions that in fact don't really mesh with what's actually on my current page). Patrick and I spent yesterday afternoon looking through the designs in the archives of CSS Zengarden...ohhhh, so beautiful, some of them! Sadly, most of them way outstrip our actual combined artistic abilities, but they did give me a lot of ideas. Right now I'm trying to find (or work out how to create) a nice textured pattern to sit behind a deep burgundy color (not as background to the text, just to be in the banner and/or framing columns outside the text). Ideally, it would feel something like an eighteenth-century wallpaper- or I'm also trying to figure out how to replicate the look of old paper using Adobe Photoshop. Sadly, a google search came up with many examples of blurry yellow images that don't look much like old paper, and one beautifully done image with completely incomprehensible instructions.

We'll see how the website actually turns out in the end...but in the meantime, it's a fun project to think about, and one I can do from the couch (and my laptop), which is perfect.

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