Curiosities // April 2020

Today we’re going to try a new kind of blog post: a roundup of things that have been making us happy and making us laugh, even now, in the depths of Week 7 of quarantine! (As we typed that sentence, in the theatre of our minds, we imagined chipper music being slowly drowned out by ominous music, and then turning into creepy carnival music? I think maybe we’ve been in our houses too long?)

This is meant to bring some laughter and enchantment into your day and also give you a little behind-the-scenes peek into the everyday magic of Carterhaugh. We were inspired to try this out by some of the cool blogs around who do this kind of thing (but also a bit by those old survey emails everyone sent to their friends circa like 1999?)

Basically, we’re each going to give you a brief glimpse into our (quarantined) (hyper-busy) (bizarre) (magical!) lives!

Brittany:

What I’m Reading: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – This is the latest Carterhaugh Book Club pick, and I haven’t read it yet! I just started and already I’m in love (as Sara predicted I would be.) No spoilers!!

What I’m Listening To: I went on another walk yesterday and danced around the whole time to Patrick Wolf’s music, particularly “Bluebells”!

I love love love Patrick Wolf. He’s such a fae soul (with SUCH a sexy voice… swoon!) Seeing him in concert is on my bucket list for sure.

What I’m Watching: I finally convinced my boyfriend Josh to try Brooklyn 99 (the vast majority of which I watched with my sister in several LONG binge sessions a while ago!) and he QUITE enjoys it (as I knew he would!) The humor is right up my alley (and I admit the folklorist nerd in me really enjoys the weird occupational folklore and community bonding that happens all the time throughout the show… and yes, this is how I’m justifying including it on a folklore blog!)

Something That Made Me Think: A little while ago I saw the episode of the amazing Marie Forleo’s MarieTV about “EFT tapping,” and I’ve been trying it. As someone who constantly struggles with various anxiety issues, I’d come across this technique before, but this was the first time that I heard about the science behind it and what makes it work. I was convinced to give it a try, so I’ve been experimenting. I have to say, I’ve seen some really great results! The tapping exercise that seems to work best for me so far is the free exercise on The Tapping Solution app called “Instant Boost of Happiness.” I really do come out of it feeling much happier and more productive! I haven’t paid for the full version of the app yet, as I’m still trying it out, but I think just that one exercise makes the app worth a download. I’ll continue to see how it goes!

Something That Made Me Laugh:

Josh showed me this earlier today, and I was so delighted that I squealed and laughed the entire way to work :P. AVOCATOS!

Sara:

What I’m Reading: I just finished The Prince and the Dressmaker, an incredibly charming graphic novel by Jen Wang. In a twist on “Cinderella,” the story is about a young prince named Sebastian who dresses up as the fabulous Lady Crystallia at night. His “fairy godmother” is an ambitious seamstress named Frances who loves creating fantasy gowns and longs to make her mark in the fashion world. It’s a story about confidence and acceptance, friendship and romance, and the entire thing was incredibly adorable! I also loved the bold, playful art style which really brought Sebastian and Frances’s tale to life! If you’re in the mood for a sweet, light fairy tale with lots of pictures of pretty dresses, I can’t recommend this enough! It made me smile from ear to ear. 

What I’m Listening To: Since I met Brittany back in 2009, she’s had a massive impact on my music library (and karaoke choices). She’s the one who introduced me to Florence + the Machine (there was life before Florence?!), Blackmore’s Night, Emilie Autumn… basically, she introduced me to all these gorgeous, moody, fairy-tale singers, and I got her addicted to all the emo-tastic bands I’d loved in high school, and now our car sing-alongs and karaoke sessions are something to behold.

Every few months, Brittany makes a new playlist for Carterhaugh, and I invariably spend days listening to them on repeat. This week, she made a playlist for our “Rapunzel’s Circle” course, and I’ve listened to it at least four times already. She curated the songs to tell a story that moves from fear and isolation to hope and determination, and it’s just perfect. One of my favorite songs from the playlist is Emilie Autumn’s gorgeous “Rapunzel,” a long-time favorite. And, of course, Loreena McKennitt’s beautiful recasting of Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shalott!”

What I’m Watching: On a whim, my husband and I started watching Crazy-Ex Girlfriend on Netflix because it was tagged as a musical. I cannot overstate how hilarious it is. I seriously laugh myself sick at least once per episode. It’s not overtly folklore-y, but the reason I’m justifying talking about it here is because of the way it uses stories. More specifically, how it plays with your expectations about how stories are supposed to work. All kinds of tropes, characters, conventions, and plot devices are exploded through epic musical numbers, in pitch perfect parodies of all kinds of genres and styles. If you want to get a taste of what I mean, check out “I’m the Villain in My Own Story,” in which the protagonist has a fleeting and very fairy-tale style epiphany about how her actions are actually super terrible.

Side note: if you like musicals and you like fairy tales and fantasy (i.e. you’re reading this blog post), do yourself a favor and watch Galavant. You’re welcome.

Something That Made Me Think: Our friend Gypsy Thornton at Once Upon a Blog wrote a fantastic, super relevant piece this week on the relationship between creativity and stress in Rumpelstiltskin tales.

“The truth, though, is that even a “good stressor” can ruin creativity if it happens in excess – something that is more likely to happen in a pandemic/ quarantine/ isolation/ social distancing situation than it would under normal circumstances because these stakes are high… and this is where it’s important to know what your limitations are. When to compromise, when to rest and when to accept help (even if it’s not ideal) are all very important strategies for both surviving and getting that creativity flowing. Like the heroine in Rumpelstiltskin, sometimes you are out of options and need to acknowledge this task is not something you can do – or at least something that requires irregular help.”

She highlights several lesser known versions of the story and includes tons of beautiful images, too, so definitely check it out!

Something That Made Me Laugh: Someone linked me to the tale of One Single Pancake Guy, and I laughed so hard that Jared came running from the other room to see why I was cackle-crying.

WHY. Why would you make One Pancake?! You’d have to measure out like 1/4 of an egg?!? Who is actually that passive aggressive?! I have so many questions and no answers.

Yay! So, what did you think of this new kind of blog post? Was it fun? What delightful “curiosities” have you been obsessed with lately? Let us know via e-mail or in the comments!

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