Tuesday, November 13, 2007

into the wild

For children are innocent and love justice, while most of us are wicked and naturally prefer mercy.

- G.K. Chesterton (beginning of Chapter 12)


I got my names for the ornament swap today, it got me all in a Christmassy mood, singing songs around the office and brainstorming on what my ornaments should be. It was like I got new friends in the email! I can't wait to see what everyone makes!

Monday, November 5, 2007

point of view

I spent part of my weekend helping a friend create a stained glass appliqué window for a church her dad was building. I didn't do much except show them how to cut glass, but there were two little girls there, one was 3 and one was 6. They wanted to help so bad, but weren't allowed with all the glass, so I gave them my camera and told them they could document the event. When I finally got my camera back they had taken over 200 pictures mostly silly faces of each other, but I am enjoying all the portraits of me, this is how I look to a three-year-old.

IF: Hats

My new hat makes me look like a teddy bear, a rather sad teddy bear, oh well. This is my first Illustration Friday submission. I'm trying to do more of my own work, hopefully this exercise will keep me going!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

my photos: spanish hillside

death of a house gecko

Just now I let the dogs outside before going to bed, I found them at the front door, excitedly pawing at something that I assumed was a big katydid or praying mantis that had been attracted to the porch light. When I looked closer it was a little house gecko. I picked it up to save it, but realized it was beyond repair, it's little belly was torn open and it's guts were exposed. In my disgust I flung it off the porch and came back in. I realized it was still alive, but had no chance of living. It would just lay out there until something came and ate it or it died of exposure or however tiny wounded lizards die. I was sad. I decided it would be kinder to put it out of its pain and kill it. I put on the headlamp and found it laying in the dirt where it landed, still alive. I crushed him with a hammer, hoping that would be the quickest most decisive death I could deliver. I buried him and came back in. I know some people would say I'm ridiculous, maybe even a lot of people, but it makes me sad to end even this small life.

new word: fika

Fika is a Swedish verb that roughly means "to take a coffee break".

Fika is a social institution in Sweden: it means taking a break from work or other activities and having a coffee with one's colleagues, friends, or family. This practice of taking a break for a coffee and a light snack (some biscuits, cookies, or a sandwich) between more substantial meals like lunch and dinner is central to Swedish life, Swedes being among the heaviest consumers of coffee in the world.

Since the word implies drinking coffee, just having a sandwich would not really be fika, although these days tea instead of coffee is becoming more frequent. In recent years, too, fika has also come to mean simply going to a café and having a coffee with someone, though this technically deviates from the strict "taking a break" meaning.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Monday, September 17, 2007

embracing my mess

I am a mess. I have been on a quest to embrace my messiness for a little over a month now and it has been very liberating. I wear my green shoes to work even if the outfit would generally be worn with dress shoes. I refused to brush my hair one day waking up with a bed head full of waves I sort of scrunched them about and walked out the door. I stopped worrying about the house, about unfinished projects, about my handwriting, about my tendencies to misplace things. I figure if I have tried to fix these things for the last 28 years, maybe they ain't never gonna be fixed. Maybe they don't have to. Keri Smith has a blog entry today about her messy life and it made me smile. I decided to do this little exercise. Here are a list of things that are on my floor right now:

enough hairballs to create a new dog :: a nickel :: a button :: a gold foil candy wrapper :: a dead wasp :: a screw :: a handmade tile in the shape of a leaf :: squares of muted colored paper :: a euro :: dirty socks :: a chewed up toilet paper roll :: a yellow gel pen :: pomegranate seeds :: an orange towel :: a bottle cap :: a solitary earring :: a piece of fused glass :: dirt :: a pencil :: a mint tea wrapper :: a piece of linen paper that I wrote, "I'm doing OK." on :: stuffing from a dead dog toy :: a granola bar wrapper :: a peach pit :: and a receipt

eat, pray, love

Il bel far niente means "the beauty of doing nothing." .... The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life's achievement. (Italy)

"It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection." (The Bhagavad Gita, India)

"You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be." (Richard from Texas, India)

"Why they always look so serious in Yoga? You make serious face like this, you scare away good energy. To meditate, only you must smile. Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clean away dirty energy. Even smile in your liver." (Ketut Liyer, Indonesia)

They say that the oak tree is brought into creation by two forces at the same time. Obviously, there is the acorn from which it all begins, the seed which holds all the promise and potential, which grows into the tree. Everybody can see that. But few can recognize that there is another force operating here as well - the future tree itself, which wants so badly to exist that it pulls the acorn into being, drawing the seedling forth with longing out of the void, guiding the evolution from nothingness to maturity. In this respect, says the Zens, it is the oak tree that creates the very acorn from which it was born. (the last mala bead)

- Elizabeth Gilbert, eat, pray, love

Sunday, September 16, 2007

my photos: supersonic sonic

a whole lot of happiness

This weekend is a three and a half day weekend for me. I took of Friday to have a two day shopping extravaganza with my Mom. We went to the outlet malls in San Marcos. I got so many new cute tops, and four pairs of pants, and two pairs of new shoes, and a cute little wallet, and lotion that smell like you just brushed against a tomato plant in your garden, and spicy ginger perfume, and a cute little necklace with acorn charms on it, and I am completely and totally shopped out. I don't usually get so much stuff but it was Mom's treat and everything was super cheap! It was tons of fun. I got to eat at Freebirds for the first time and made a veggie and black bean burrito with lime juice. We got pedicures and I got my toenails painting an orangy color called Naples Syrup mostly because I have been reading about Italy, they also had Sicilian Vermilion but Sicily sounded so depressing that I didn't want my toenails that color. We had dinner at this cool pub in San Marcos right on the river, we watched kayakers and swimmers play in the water as the sun set.

My second accomplishment of the weekend (the first being spending someone else's money on tons of cute shit for me) was that I finally got up the gumption to ride my bike to work. I have thought that it would be an interesting experiment to ride my bike to work everyday, but I wasn't sure I could make it, or how long it would take. It takes me just over and hour, and I can make it, but I betcha my muscles will be complaining tomorrow. I like riding my bike. It is so much more experiential than traveling in my car. I smell everything I ride by, from that just mowed country lawn smell (totally different from the just mowed suburban lawn smell) to the sickly sweet scent of decaying roadkill. I see everything too. I see little yellow butterflies skipping across the purple bindweed, the lonely child's shoe that I can only imagine got chunked out an open window, little churches recessed from the road I never saw before, decorated mailboxes, parakeets hung in a little cage on a front porch, I see all this that I could have seen thousands of times before if I had just slowed down long enough to look. Another thing I become acutely aware of is gravity. It is my best friend and worst enemy. I feel it dragging me backwards as I defy it pedaling up the hill gasping for my next breath, and I feel it pull me forward in a rush of wind and joy as I speed downward. I don't think I am ready to make this trip everyday yet, but the fear is gone. I know I can ride my bike alone down a highway and not be scared.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

my photos: flower bud

new word: aquamanile

a medieval ewer, often made in grotesque animal forms

strong and confident

I walked into the room for the interview and looked down on the desk. "Strong and Confident" was what was scrawled across the top of my resume. That was the impression she had of me after one phone call. It made me feel good to see that, but then it is just an illusion, inside I am a puddle of diffidence.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

factory girl?

I went to Cafe Express for lunch today and had a veggie chef salad and peppermint tea (YUM!) The weird thing was that the girl making my tea turned around and asked, "Have you seen that movie, Factory Girl?" And I said, "no." I could tell by the look on her face that she was expecting me to say yes that there was more. Instead she handed me my tea and said, "well, it's about Andy Warhol and that girl, whatshername?" It was a weird moment, I wanted to know what prompted her to ask that question, was she bored, did something remind her of that movie, me? the tea? Did I just look like the type of person who would watch the film? Now I will have to watch it. I have a feeling that I will never know what connected this movie that girl and me.

Monday, September 10, 2007

finding balance

I've been feeling a little off kilter in a couple of ways. I am having trouble balancing what my mind wants with what my body wants. I want to read and learn new software and draw and make websites and soak in the hot bath with a cup of peppermint tea and just let my mind wander from an idea to a daydream to a peaceful bit of nothingness. I also want to go for hikes and ride my bike and take the kayak out and do yoga on the back porch and learn to do a handstand and stretch and sweat and take the dogs into the woods and see how many push ups I can do and swim and just move. I always fall into doing one or the other. I have to find balance. I need both. I need to allow myself to do both and not get so wrapped up in one or the other. I also need balance at work. I have no place where I can just be. I always happy or sad, relaxed or tense, I need to find a middle ground a place where I can just work. Really, I need my own space, and I have needed that for a really long time. So heres my new resolution. I must give time to both my body and mind, to stretch my brain and my hamstrings to be a happy and balanced person.

My Stuff:

I finished reading the His Dark Materials trilogy and have move on to Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I just started it but I already like the author simply because she doesn't use any one religion to define God just like me, which is really, really hard to find (as in, I have never, ever found it before).

I am getting so excited about the Maker Faire I know it's still over a month away but I think it's going to be so fun. I love makers!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

impromptu guerilla art

I've recently got The Guerilla Art Kit by Keri Smith. I like the idea of public art, or individual interaction with public space and we came across this on the way out of the art museum. I'm not sure I would have even noticed it because my head was elsewhere, but my entire family noticed it and all took off their MFAH stickers and added them to the post. I added mine last and smiled while my family checked out all the different stickers. My brother thought that the one on the head of the crosswalk guy was the coolest. I wondered who was the first one to add their sticker to the pole, and if the City of Houston would concern themselves with it enough to clean it up. I wondered if I came back in a year if a years worth of stickers would be there. It is really just a tiny colored circle for each person who walked past after visiting the museum. An anonymous history of passers by, but we enjoyed our participation in this impromptu collaborative guerrilla art light post.

le petit prince

Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters. They never ask: "What does his voice sound like?" "What games does he like best?" "Does he collect butterflies?". They ask: "How old is he?" "How many brothers does he have?" "How much does he weigh?" "How much money does his father make?" Only then do they think they know him.

- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

the great dog piss caper

It all started out so innocently. I had to trim down some mat board and the easiest place to do it is on the big paper cutter at work. As I was getting ready to leave two pairs of big watery brown eyes stared up expectantly. I decided that they could come along it would be a fun ride for them, so me and my two pugs got in the car and headed off for town. Now the press was a new place for them full of weird smells and since it's a little more like a garage than a house or maybe just because they are bad boys, one of them decided to lift their leg on the large stack of newly printed letterhead for the president. (oh shit.) Luckily they are small dogs and the pee didn't soak the whole stack so I removed the damp pieces, wiped down the dolly, and restacked the still white letterhead. The offended letterhead has been stowed away in a box in the trunk of my car. I took the dogs home and in a fit of paranoia I went back to the scene of the crime (I would never make a very good criminal.) I acquired an accomplice who shall remain nameless (Craig) to help me look for any additional piss. We also dusted powder on the dolly I had previously wiped down to make it match the others. Thus ends the dog piss caper. I think I will confess at the first possible chance.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

red hot asian art and australopithecus afarensis

Today was a family excursion day. we went down to Houston. First, we went to Rice Village and had tapas for lunch at Mi Luna. I love food, especially good food. We shared seven different tapas between us. I had hot cinnamon chai tea. We had Croquetas de Patatas, Pollo Relleno, Patatas Verdes, Plato de Salmon Ahumado, Pizza de Mariscos, Salmon a Noso Estilo, and B'Stilla, which was maybe my favorite. It is a Moroccan chicken pie with cinnamon almonds wrapped in phyllo dough. I thought it was interesting that the Moroccan culture has so infused Spain that a Moroccan dish would show up in a Spanish tapas resturant in Houston. I like this picture of Mom and Dad, even though it's a little out of focus you can feel how enjoyable the moment was.

After lunch we went to Texas Artist Supply. I got a portfolio to put samples in for my interview on Wednesday, and the Communication Arts Photography Annual. I have been spending a lot of time with the camera recently. Photography is a powerful medium. People, as skeptical as they are, will believe a photo. It is accepted as truth and that is powerful.

Then we went to the Museum of Natural Science in Houston to see Lucy. A lot of the exhibit was about Ethiopia. It was interesting. I never really think of Ethiopia as a country rich with culture and history, really the cradle of all humanity. I always think of hunger and political strife and poverty. I wasn't quite sure if they were leaving out the nasty parts because of some agreement with the country since they loaned us one of the greatest treasures of paleoarcheology or if they were honestly trying to show the depth of culture and history of the country. Lucy was small, like a child; fossilized fragments of a being over 3 million years old. She walked upright, but I wonder how much she was really like us. I wonder if she was aware of herself. I am always unexpectedly moved by things. I know there are a lot of people and groups against Lucy being here at all because of her importance and fragility, so I am glad I got to see her, it was probably my only chance.

Our last stop was the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. We went to the Red Hot Asian Art exhibit. It was a fun exhibit. The work was an eclectic mix of candy colored sculptures, video installations, huge colorful paintings, and thoughtfully disturbing photos. I think I was drawn most to the painting by Chinatsu Ban. One of her paintings is displayed here, but it is not the one at the exhibit. I'm not yet sure why I like them, but I saw postcards of more of her work and was drawn to them before I knew it was the same artist. So there is something there, for me at least.

Friday, September 7, 2007

new word: sojourn

stay or dwell for a time


I like listening to this song on the way to work, but it makes me a little sad because it seems the train just won't breakdown.

"I hope this old train breaks down then I could take a walk around and see what there is to see and time is just a melody. All the people in the street walk as fast as their feet can take them. I just roll through town. And though my windows got a view the frame im looking through seems to have no concern for now. So for now I need this here old train to breakdown. Oh please, just let me please breakdown. This engine screams out loud. Centipede gunna crawl westbound. So I don't even make a sound, cause it's gunna sting me when I leave this town. All the people in the street that i'll never get to meet if these tracks don't bend somehow. And I got no time that I got to get to where I don't need to be."

- Jack Johnson, Breakdown lyrics

the bell jar

There must be quite a few things a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them. Whenever I'm sad I'm going to die, or so nervous I can't sleep, or in love with somebody I won't be seeing for a week, I slump down just so far and then I say: "I'll go take a hot bath."

-Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Thursday, September 6, 2007

suddenly anxious

I got an unexpected call just now and suddenly I'm a little bit scared. There is a little pocket of air flittering about nervously in my chest. I have a choice, Steve says that is what makes people anxious. Funny really, I always think of choice as a good thing, but it's scary too. Anyway the call was from Anusara, Inc. I applied for a Graphic Design position there a few weeks ago and now they have called for an interview. It's not like I really have a choice yet, just the possibility of a choice. It's weird to think I might not be doing what I thought I was going to be doing in the next couple of months and then I could be doing exactly what I'm doing and if I'm unhappy about it, it would be all my fault, because I had a choice, and I chose this. I sometimes feel that at my current job I am on the cusp of contentment. I will probably have my own space before Christmas. Most of the campus respects my talent and seeks my services. I have friends. I know people. I am just starting to get comfy. I don't want to be too comfy though. I look at the people around me that have been there forever, and I know I don't want to be them. This is all they will ever be, they will never grow or stretch or learn more or expand their vision beyond what the see now, what they have always seen.

Ok, moving on to distract myself and calm my nerves a bit, happy news: I might just have a new friend. Jill, I like her. I have found things about us that are similar and so now I think I am searching them out. (She has inspired me to take up blogging again.) She and I both want to hike the Appalachian Trail, not just want to but maybe even need to. We both carry tea in our bags. We are both visual artist. We both connect with nature. Today I wanted to ask her what her middle name was because if it starts with an M then our initials would have been the same before I got married, but that's just a little too much like obsessive stalky weirdness to actually say out loud. Anyway, time will tell if she become a true friend or just something interesting that flits through this moment in life.

I'm reading His Dark Materials trilogy. I'm on the last book, The Amber Spyglass. I like them. I have decided something about fantasy novels: I only really like them if they exist in my world. It seems that if they create the possibility of magic here, in the world I live in then I can live in that world too. That's what pulls me into the Harry Potter books or these books more than books like The Lord of the Rings, which I loved, but takes place in a world that will never really exist to me no matter how well the author creates it, because I don't experience it. I know I can never go to Isengard, but I know that if I go to London and find Platform 9 3/4 that I can take a train to Hogwarts, that just behind the veil of my known world is another one.

My stuff:

I am in love with the artist/illustrator Jen Corace right now. (Her image up top.) I can't get her out of my head. I saw the image of the fox and the cardinals and didn't realize it was going to stick to me so I didn't think to remember the artist's name or bookmark the site and then days later I was scrambling though sites trying to retrace my steps and find it. I finally did.

I love listening to the RadioLab podcasts.

I also just finished a lynda.com training on Photoshop CS3: Creative Techniques for Photographers with Chris Orwig. I love being able to sit a home with a pug in my lap and a cup of tea and have access to such good in-depth training. I really liked this particular training title, and I think it was mostly because of the trainers ability to teach. I didn't get weary listening to him. I felt his passion for photography and learning and it made me want to do more.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

the curious incident of the dog in the night-time

"And when you look at the sky you know you are looking at stars which are hundreds and thousands of light-years away from you. And some of the stars don't even exist anymore because their light has taken so long to get to us that they are already dead, or they have exploded and collapsed into red dwarfs. And that makes you seem very small, and if you have difficult things in your life it is nice to think that they are what is called, negligible which means that they are so small you don't have to take them into account when you are calculating something."

- Mark Haddon, the curious incident of the dog in the night-time