Saturday, August 7, 2010

Let’s Hear It for…Emmi and the Wall!


Over on Facebook, some bears and other stuffies are participating in a human celebrity look-alike contest for a package of surprises in the mail. Several of my new friends had apparently thought the idea a good one, so they tried their paws at posing (some more convincingly than others) in the likeness of someone famous. While I don’t consider myself particularly up on who’s currently trending in the biped world, I thankfully have inherited Kath’s music savvy and share many of her tastes concerning the indie and alternative scenes. When I expressed interest in the contest (who wouldn’t love a fun surprise package?!), she helped me rack my brain for a group the crew and I resembled.

Because there were only five of us (excluding Elinor, who’s working and running errands all day), my favorite 10-piece mega-group – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros – were immediately out of the question. It wasn’t long before the light bulb began to flicker for Kath, who suggested we all do a bit of research on Tilly and the Wall – a group she’d known about for a while, but has only started listening to regularly. We went along with it and soon stumbled upon this shot of the fivesome that we thought imitable, and pose we did.

It’s pretty much impossible to say anything about Tilly and the Wall without alluding to the fact that one of the frontwomen, Jamie Pressnall, is an acclaimed tap-dancer and supplies (along with bandmates Neely Jenkins and Kianna Alarid) the group’s percussion through her fancy footwork. That’s something we all found quite impressive, and it made us curious as to exactly how those hoofbeats were put to use in a song. Kath pointed us toward this video of the group’s relatively recent appearance on Sesame Street singing the alphabet song, and we were amazed! We thought that if a more simplified children’s song and routine were any indication, they must really be able to let loose during live performances!

All in all, we unanimously thought our comparison shot turned out quite well, and we could all pick out the resemblances. Here’s how I broke it down on Facebook: Rhett and Nick both rock the studious, shy-guy look; Bean and Kianna are the masters of ditz; Prudence and Neely are both tallish and level-headed; Jamie and I have the sensible brunette thing down; and Miles and Derek share the same lovably dazed expression. Not bad, not bad at all.

So if any of you would be up for a change of pace in your listening habits, take it from the aspiring Tilly look-alikes and give the albums Bottoms of Barrels or Wild Like Children a listen. If your tastes are anything like ours, you’ll hopefully be glad you did!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Baxley & Aura’s: Service With a Smile


If you’ll recall from a couple of weeks ago, Prudence has begun using her spare time to volunteer at a stuffie-owned bed-and-breakfast and soup kitchen that recently opened up in town. I was at first a bit leery of what she was getting herself into, as I can’t help but be concerned when a friend mingles with complete strangers, but we finally agreed that I’d be more at ease if she took me by to give the place my okay. It seemed a good day to get out, so we wandered over a few blocks around noon for her to show me.


Prudence had been telling me that Baxley and Aura, the canine siblings who own and operate the establishment, were kind beyond words and would open their doors to even the most destitute stuffies. She said they even worked closely with local rescue missions and toy drives to aid in bringing together new human and plush partners. I honestly didn’t think I had even read of anyone who seemed more saintly.



I asked our good friends Chalcie and Aeson if they’d care to meet us at the place, and they seemed more than happy to oblige. They live with Kath’s friend Jeeda in a different part of town, so they were especially curious to check out something away from their typical haunts.



The place wasn’t far from Parsnip at all, which took away some of my concern in itself. The exterior seemed very well-kept, and we had to admire the quaint floral arrangements Aura had supposedly spent long hours putting out.



Extra precautions had even been taken to deter those species who eat flowers from doing so. This lighthearted sign stood by the porch, reminding guests that the real meal was inside.


We opened the door to find a flustered-looking Baxley scrambling to get a family’s plates to their table. Prudence immediately stepped in to help, and we watched with baited breath as she kept one person’s meal from splattering onto the floor. Baxley apologized for the somewhat rough welcome and offered us each his paw, explaining that lunch hour was naturally their busiest time.



On entering, we knew right away that this was no ordinary soup kitchen. Little touches like a service bell and donation box added to the place’s hospitable charm.



The sitting area of the soup kitchen had been fixed up quite nicely, and the guests seemed to be enjoying their meals and each other’s company. The radio had thankfully been tuned to something other than obnoxious pop (which, as I’m sure you all know, can say a lot about an establishment), and fans were running to keep everyone cool.



I hadn’t realized how fortunate we really are at Parsnip until I glanced over a portion of the lunch crowd. Several of these stuffies looked as though they’d definitely seen better days or were otherwise depressed (not unlike Will’s recent acquaintance, Grendel). I was glad that at least they were being well-cared-for here, and I might have offered Kath’s name to the homeless ones were she still actively rehabbing.




We all stayed and chatted in the soup kitchen for a while before we saw Aura emerge from one of the back rooms in the lodging part. She pleasantly introduced herself and told me that Prudence had become an asset to the job since she started coming. I finally felt honored to know that my roommate, who could seem a bit in the way at times, was doing such good for the community. Love her or hate her, you can’t deny that her heart’s in the right place.


Chalcie and Aeson happened to oversee a group of kids playing dominoes in the corner and decided to join in for a few minutes. I’ll always admire Chalcie’s way with the younger stuffies, as I’m certain it would be a great skill to have in life. She helped the kids match up their tiles and showed them how to stack them to make them topple, and it was fun to see Aeson pretending he needed her help too.



Remembering how Prudence had raved about the quality and variety of the food, I asked Baxley if it would be too imposing to request a quick bite all around before we left. He laughed and said that Aura was way ahead of us in the kitchen with a piping bowl of soup for each of us. It was then that I finally told myself, “Yes, Emmi, there are good plush people in the world!”



The meal was unlike any we’ve had before: hearty Minestrone garnished with extra carrots for Prudence and me and served with a side fillet of chicken for the leopards. When we offered our compliments to the chefs, they cited in unison their mantra that “love is the stuff inside”, though I’m relatively convinced that there may have been a little more to it.


A bunny full of delicious soup is a happy bunny indeed!

We thanked our new friends profusely on the way out. At the door, I noticed an empty corkboard and asked Aura what it was for (stuffie community announcements). I decided to pass along the name of Rhett’s party planning enterprise, and we attached a makeshift flyer to the board. If many people see it, it just might give him the break he’s been wanting!


Back at home, I apologized to Prudence for ever being skeptical about what she had been doing out. Right now, I’m just glad that the local wayward plush have a place to relax, and that two special dogs – and one special bunny – are getting the appreciation and fulfillment they deserve.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Another No-Good-Reason Party

February Napa Sonoma Trip 258

(Califia, I hope you won’t mind my borrowing this great picture of you just for today’s post! I only wanted to let others know about your site and adventures who don’t already. If for whatever reason you’d like me to switch out the picture, just let me know!)

Within the last week or so, I’ve had the delight of re-establishing contact with Califia, a traveling bear from California (she’s named for their legendary patron queen) who until recently had taken a bit of a hiatus from blogging. Kath and I had been frequent lurkers at her blog when she was regularly updating it, and her picturesque adventures (she’s been to Disneyland, San Francisco, and several national forests, among others) had really inspired us to have more of our own. We’re now good friends with Califia and her mom Alycia over Facebook, and now that they’re back in the blogosphere, we’re looking forward to seeing and hearing a lot more news from the Golden State.

A regular feature on Califia’s blog in years past has been her acute recognition and celebration of minor or obscure “national” holidays. We’ve decided that she has usually managed to celebrate quite accordingly – particularly on the holidays linked to various edibles, like the “national” days for donuts and iced tea (the first Friday in June and June 10th, respectively). After commenting on how sharp she was for even knowing of such days, I was led to discover this site, an absolute volume on the minor or downright “unconventional” celebrations happening every day across the country and the world.

Califia and I were talking about how much she enjoyed celebrating life’s little pleasures whenever she could, and I had the idea that for fun, I should nose around the site a bit, pick a few holidays that strike my fancy, and celebrate accordingly. Since it’s still summer and the “domino effect” fall and winter holidays are still a way off (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Rhett’s and my birthdays, Christmas, and New Year’s), I figured I’d give it a go.

My game-plan is to find one special day to celebrate every two weeks from now and, if possible, to get at least one friend or family member in on the act each time. I think that by doing this, I really might start feeling less pessimistic about the passing days and assure myself that there’s always something in life worth celebrating.

Here’s my bi-monthly calendar for August and September:

Sunday, August 1st – International Friendship Day (man, I missed it! It would’ve been as good a place to start as any!)

Sunday, August 8th – Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day (Kath starts school the next day, but we’ll still try to pull it off! Look out, Chalcie and Aeson!)

Friday, August 13th – Blame Someone Else Day (a little naughty, but it’s the first “Friday the 13th” this year)

Saturday, August 22nd – Be an Angel Day (this could double as Bean’s appreciation day, because she’s been hinting that she wanted one)

Monday, September 6th – Fight Procrastination Day (this might be best spent with Rhett at his office, where distractions are minimal)

Sunday, September 12th – National Video Games Day (will we ever get that coveted Wii at Parsnip?!)

Sunday, September 19th – International Talk Like a Pirate Day (this one seems to be picking up in popularity in recent years, so why not?)

Sunday, September 26th – International Rabbit Day (an absolute must at our house!)

I really hope I’ll be able to find something clever or original to do each day and report back to you guys. As I go off to start dreaming up plans, I leave you with this quite-apropos music video from the children’s program “Jack’s Big Music Show”, courtesy of rising “kindie” stars The Dirty Sock Funtime Band! Rock on!