29 June 2008

it looked better in my imagination...

I swear, everything I have tried to make today has not worked out. I hope this is not a sign of the kind of week I'm going to have...

Have you ever thought of an idea late at night and thought to yourself, "Self? That's perfect! I'm such a creative genius!" So then you go to make it the next day and you think, "Self? What kind of crack were you smoking last night? This sucks."

That's about where I was today.

I spent lots of time at the needle felting machine today. I decided to try felting some things for some 6"x6" charity blocks I hoped to get finished today but honestly? They look like poo.

So then I started working on my block for Breaking Traditions and while it didn't look terrible, it wasn't what I was going for so I will need to switch gears on that.

So then I decided to work on a piece that I'm thinking about entering in a show that I've kind of been hemming and hawwing over about whether or not I wanted to enter it. Due date is coming up kind of soon so its time to get my bum in gear. I'd kind of like to post it for opinons but the show is strict and one of the major requirements is "no publishing, on blogs or websites."

Okay...but it kind of makes me feel like I'm working on a new version of the atom bomb or something. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh....don't look at it. I'll have to poke your eyes out with straight pins if you do. Move along, nothing to see here.

I gave up after three and a half hours of looking at what I was making and thinking "ick." (I can be a slow learner at times.)

So now I'm working on my website. Lots to do, much to update. I have to archive off last year's Breaking Traditions online catalog (which basically means shrinking the images and dropping off the artist statements so I don't exceed my storage space) and build the foundation page for this year's exhibit. I'm starting to go cross eyed off it so I think I may be done with it for tonight.

Tomorrow I will clean the studio and hopefully things will go more smoothly. I didn't plan much for tomorrow since little man is going to get his teeth cleaned. I'm a bit worried about him, but he'll be fine. I'm expecting he'll need a lot of cuddles once I fetch him home.

Where I Stand Sunday

The wind nudges swollen clouds around, casting a grey hue to the air. The rain is intermittent but deliberate as it throws itself over everything. The ground's inability to absorb any more moisture creates an imbalance and anxious pools of water swirl over my driveway. The summer season is continually suppressed by thunderstorms, each one leaving behind a surplus of humidity and weighted air.

Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

28 June 2008

meet the masters

Today's mail held an awesome surprise. I received a copy of Masters: Art Quilts by Martha Sielman. I opened it up, started reading it and quickly had to shut it again. I had plans to get some serious organizing done today and there was no way I was going to get to it if I sat down with this.

After the day's work, I came back to it. I can't tell you how drawn I am to it. I was really happy to see some of my all time favorite quilt artists in it like Pamela Allen, Linda Colsh and Hollis Chatelain. (That's not to say that I don't drool over the other artists in the book but these three in particular have always been in my top ten favorite quilt artists.)

But what I liked best about this book is that it introduced me to some artists I've not had a chance to study closely up until now. I'm particularly taken with the work from Cher Cartwright, Deidre Scherer, Charlotte Yde and Jeanette Gilks.

I'm not one for mushy reviews that pine away telling people how a book will change someone's life. But I have to tell you, this one is making me realize that I've come no where near close to finding my voice yet. The level of artistry here is unbelievable.

The book features forty artists, all deserving of the title of 'master.' Each one made me stop and stare, all wide eyed and gawky. Its got my wheels turning on different ways to twist up my own work into something new.

In fact, I think I'm going to go put some ideas down on paper before they go out of my head. Tomorrow is a studio day for sure.

Check out the book if you have the opportunity, its worth every penny.

26 June 2008

stocking the iPod

Okay, I'm coming to the collective wisdom here...

I have what is now called an iPod Classic (which means I am stubborn and refuse to buy the latest and greatest one because this one still works well and is no where near full) and I've decided to stock it to the hilt so I can entertain myself during my daily drive to and from the other side of the planet.

I've got a pretty diverse taste for music and I subscribe to a couple podcasts but I'd love some suggestions. I downloaded some George Carlin stuff tonight (I'm so bummed he died) so comedian suggestions are also welcome.

I may even be willing to listen to an audio book. I've not found one yet that doesn't creep me out (not sure why they have that effect on me, I'm always looking over my shoulder thinking there is someone behind me) but I'd be open to trying one if anyone knows of one they thought was stellar.

So help a girl out: what do you like to listen to for big chunks of time?

in which I attempt to organize my brain

I am once again in one of those phases where my mind is jittery with too many things at one time. I actually had to write myself a note yesterday to remember to go to the meeting for the fiber art group I belong to. I considered that a bad sign.

I’ve never been much of a morning person and I’m still unsure of what kind of psychotic spirit possessed me and made me think that I could pull off getting up at 5am everyday. So we’re skipping that, sleeping an extra forty minutes every morning and still making it to work in an hour. My anxiety level has dropped significantly and I’m a bit worried about myself that it took me a whole week’s worth of abuse to figure it out. (I am often described as being bright. Not so sure anymore.)

So since I’m not super cohesive at the moment, I’ve got a rambly list of thoughts for this post:

1. I get alllllllllll next week off work. They call it ‘shutdown’, I call it a mental health break. Its as close as I come to a summer vacation and while I would prefer three months instead of one week, I’ll take what I can get.

2. I plan to treat shutdown like I did my Christmas vacation – get some artwork done and try to get my life in order. This plan is somewhat questionable as I made a list of things I’d like to accomplish and it could be enough proof to have me committed to the looney bin. I have once again decided that I do not require any kind of rest, sleep, time to eat or a second to breathe. Don’t worry, my body is good at rebelling against my stupidity, I’ll slow down somewhere along the line.

3. I’m invading IKEA tonight for one of these. I already have two of its larger siblings in my bedroom but I am apparently a book whore and can’t stop buying them. (I blame amazon.com and their free shipping if you spend $25. Damn amazon.com, you are such an enabler.) Since I’ve chosen to put my moving plans on hold indefinitely, so I’m going to attack my bedroom and get it in order.

4. I’m a bit frightened of the dust army that has assembled in my bedroom. I’d love to call it the traditional cute “dust bunnies” but that would imply a little tuft and wisp here and there. These things are mutants and I’m going in armed.

5. Dooley is going to get his teeth cleaned on Monday. (This involves knocking him out.) I’m trying to convince my mom to drop him off as he is sure to hate whoever leaves him there to be tortured. So far she isn’t buying it.

6. A male friend of mine asked me to explain what the needle felting machine was. I told him and he responded with, “So you are violently stabbing sheep hair with barbed needles?” Um…yeah…although I now have visions of the shower scene from Psycho in my head and the wool roving screaming “Mother, no!” every time I sit down to the machine.

7. I came close to discovering a way around the needle guard on the needle felting machine. Allow me to impart my knowledge: don’t put your hand under whatever you are felting to help guide it. (Yes, you may now call me a stupidhead, I deserve it.)

8. If anyone has a suggestion for ways to get rid of mosquitoes that don’t involve spraying yourself down with toxic waste, I’m all ears. I am apparently a buffet for them and beginning to get annoyed with all the hot pink welts on me. (Maybe I should let myself burn a little, then it would all be the same color and blend nicely.)

9. There are three things in life I will never understand: 1) why people feel it is polite to talk on the phone while they are going to the bathroom (the fact that bathrooms are sectioned off for individual privacy should be a hint that its meant to be a solitary activity) ; 2) why I require all of these at work: voice mail, desk phone, email, instant message, net meeting and cell phone. Do people loose the ability to get up and walk once they are here?; 3) why people think mushrooms are good to eat. They are fungus people. Would you like me to discuss what kind of conditions they need to grow? Let’s just say it has much to do with what goes on in #1 of this sub-list.

10. I bought lime green and chocolate brown sock yarn the other day and it made me intensely happy. I think I need a twelve step.

I expect that with no work for a week, I will get into some kind of interesting trouble to blog about. I’m sure it will fly by, seems that I’m even busier when I’m home then when I’m at work. Odd, but true.

24 June 2008

#s 0660-0665

About a year and half ago, I submitted some artwork I had done in a journal for a book, 1000 Artist Journal Pages. The book was just released and my copy came in the mail today.

Mine are pages 0600-0665. They are on pages 206 and 207 of the book (all the images except for the upper left hand one):

Its an odd thing to me to be published in a paper art book. My work has always revolved around fiber but this? This is no where near it. I haven't done much journal work since this book but I think I'm going to start again. I spent some time looking through the work of the other artists and I gotta tell ya, there's some seriously good stuff in there.

I chose to submit less personal pages for the book. Only one page, #0062, has any journaling on it and that is written very small, in between the text of the book that I altered. I wanted to obscure it, make it hard to read, make it something that was forgotten as soon as I had it down on paper.

But other artists in the book were far more deliberate with what they wrote and its really inspiring. In fact, it reminds me of Post Secret, except they've attached their names to it and are willing to take the credit for whatever brain leak they had that day.

If you get a chance to look at the book, take a gander. Its really pretty wild what people come up with.

Speaking of art books, I'm participating in a fiber art book round robin. Everyone made blank pages, picked a theme and set it loose into the group they were assigned to.

Deb picked flowers and butterflies and I took a deep breath, dug deep into my soul and managed to go all girly for her. Here's what I did:

A lovely pink/mauve dyed lace butterfly and silk ribbon embroidery flowers. No, no, don't worry. Aliens have not abducted the real Lynn and replaced her with some froofy imposter. I started fiber arts doing crazy quilting and there's no way around that stuff. I still have things left from that time and it came in real handy for this instance.

Hooray for the froofy!

On a more ludicrous note, I made the incredibly daft decision to try driving a different route to work today. I've obviously lost my mind. Let's just say that I got a nice tour of several cities that I've never really driven through and began to become unreasonably annoyed at other people simply for having the nerve to be driving on the same road at the same time as me.

So I'm going back to the other route tomorrow. I've decided that I will just have to suffer with it. Everyone keeps telling me I'll adjust and get used to it. Mostly it just makes me want to scream and run in the other direction but I've decided to give it a month and see if they are right.

What if they are wrong?

Send me a huggy coat. I'll need one.

23 June 2008

Breaking Traditions Sneak Peek

Breaking Traditions is an open call art quilt exhibit that debuts at The American Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan in September. This year, the exhibit will travel to other venues during 2009. The theme this year, With One Voice, pays tribute to all the good that people do. We are also proud to team up with Virgina Spiegel's Fiberart for a Cause project to help raise money for the American Cancer Society! You can read all the details for participating in this year's exhibit here.

I'm proud to offer you a Sneak Peek of two of the quilts that will be in the exhibit this year:

Making the Mundane Beautiful
Beth Shibley

Artist statement: This quilt honors foster parents who care for children with understanding, patience and love.

Robin Remembers
Crane Johnson

Artist statement: The familiar song and sighting of the Robin is known all over as the first harbinger of spring. One morning a tree in our back yard filled with over 100 Robins. It was an amazing sight and sound. While I've always appreciated the role of birds in our ecosystem, this was a unique view into their social relationships. With One Voice they sang and with one community they hungrily ate insects off my trees. (photo and haiku by Don Jonhson)

I hope you will consider joining us for this year's exhibit and honoring those that do good in the world while raising money for the American Cancer Society.

Together we can make a huge difference in the world!!!

Every other Monday between today and August 1, one of the art quilts that has been sent in for Breaking Traditions 2008 will be featured here. Stay tuned for more Sneak Peeks!

22 June 2008

Where I Stand Sunday

The air has grown heavy and thick with heat. The summer season is official, the sun casting shadows at every turn, the relief of the halfway mark of the year lingering in the air. The temperature will not break from the upper limit for weeks, ticking off the days that will lead to the remainder of 2008.

Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

21 June 2008

the beginning of inferno season

Today is the official first day of summer and I'm sure I will get many funny looks by saying this, but it my least favorite season. To me, its only saving grace is that its one of the shortest.

I hate heat. I hate sun. I burn easy and I break out in freckles like pippi longstocking. I consider summer the devil.

There are few things that can drag me out into the sun during the day, usually I wait until evening so I don't have to worry about catching on fire. (I'm very fair, no amount of sunscreen helps, summertime is a cruel joke to me.)

But today I did go out to the Northville Art Fair. It was a pretty nice fair, although I was surprised at how small it is compared to the one in my town. I still managed to score some cool finds:

Day of the dead skullie in purple and orange from Folk Funk Whimsy. The artist is Tammi Floyd, she told me the etsy site is still being stocked and based on what she had in her booth, there's going to be some good stuff going up.

I also picked up these:

Leaf photos from Mike Moats Nature Photography. These photos are absolutely STUNNING! He had so many to pick from, it was hard to choose. I'm going to swing by IKEA and pick up some frames for these. I'm thinking of picking up a couple more (he's going to be at the Plymouth art fair as well) to do a grouping in my bedroom.

And what pray tell would drag me from the confines of the shade and cool air in my house? (Aside from art.) Here's why:

The talented Sidney had a booth at the fair this year. She makes really cool jewelry, here's some of her newer items:

Seriously good stuff. I'm hoping she doesn't melt before the day is over, she was hot too.

The stress of the week has caught up with me. I had a complete meltdown yesterday when I got home and was ready to quit my job I was so fed up with everything. I also started to feel sick, like I had the flu or something. I'm a better today but now that I've been out for a bit, I'm feeling like a nap again is a good idea.

I'm going to spend the afternoon and evening putzing around with fiber. I've got several projects that have deadlines that are about to whack me upside the head. It seems that I fall into the same trap each year: everything is due in the fall and after all, this is only summer, I've got plenty of time!

Yeah. Sure.

Its not worked out for me so far so that means dragging myself into the studio and finishing up all the stuff that is half done. I have a company shutdown coming up in a couple weeks and I think there will be much art done during that time frame.

Stay tuned, art content (made by me) coming soon.

18 June 2008


This is going to be a brief post because I don't really want to dwell on this issue but I feel compelled to comment on it.

I have been "advised" recently that I should use my blog for art purposes and leave my personal life out of it since "that's not the purpose of having a blog in the first place."

First let me clarify that I'm not angry about this email and, to be honest, its not the first one of its nature. Everyone is entitled to their opinon but I am not likely to change my blogging habits and here are a few reasons why:

1) I (unfortunately) am not a full time artist and therefore often have much to yak at you about that has absolutely nothing to do with art. In fact, I've even heard tell that full-time artists occasionally *gasp* don't make art and might have something else to talk about.

2) Its my blog. Enough said.

3) I don't believe I have ever threatened, coerced, bribed or otherwise forced anyone to read my blog. (Well, maybe Leann but she's easily swayable - all you need is beer to offer - so she doesn't count.) If you find me boring or repetitive or just generally uninteresting, you don't have to read it. Won't hurt my feelings.

4) I have come to view the blog as a socially acceptable means of talking to myself. I'm not really sure how many people are reading, I have some subscribers and for the most part, I will let my brain information leak about whatever happens to be on my mind. (Although I do tend to clean some thoughts up considerably prior to putting them here. Again, potty mouth is a side effect of working with all men.)

5) Life's too short to worry about this stuff.

So I'm not going to. I hope you all who read my blog find it amusing, and if you don't, that's okay too. There are about a billion blogs out there and its likely that you will find several that meet your needs if this one does not. This particular one will remain multi-functional and discuss whatever happens to be going on in my life - including art.

Happy blogging, everyone.

16 June 2008

only 4600 to go...

...the number of working days I have left until I can retire. I wonder if any of those blog widgets go that high?

Today was the first official work day at the new location. Much of it was spent cursing at the computers that refused to work and getting lost down hallways in search of restrooms. I'm not sure how long the 5am wake-up time will continue. I was a bit bleary eyed and bumped into a wall this morning. Not a good sign. But we'll see how things go as the week continues.

In the meantime, I'm fighting a new battle on the homefront.

My foe is approximately a quarter of an inch long, hairy, has wings and is severely starting to piss me off.

Is it wrong to declare war against a fly?

But, my friends, this is no ordinary fly. It refuses to die. I've even whacked it a few times. It just shakes the attack off, tosses me a dirty look with its beady little eyeballs and buzzes away. I'm beginning to suspect its wearing some kind of buggy armor.

Last night was the peak of the battle. The little SOB found his way into my bedroom. (Yes, I believe it is a boy. A girl fly would mind her own business and not torment me like this.) I could hear him bouncing along the lines of the ceiling. You know this is a mutant fly when you can audibly hear its body bouncing along things and the buzzing it makes sounds more like a battle cry then a bug noise.

So I got crafty. I turned off the big light, turned on the little lamp by my bedside, grabbed a shoe off the floor and sat down on the edge of my bed. I was prepared. I really couldn't see him but I had learned his little fly habits over the past couple days and knew he would gravitate toward the light.

I heard the buzzing, I tensed.

He landed on the bedside table. I drew back my weapon. And I struck!

And I...I...cracked my alarm clock. (Unfortunately the damn thing still worked this morning.)

Of course the fly is still alive. He is still buzzing about, he tortured Dooley this evening by flying circles around his head. Dooley tried to catch him and eat him.

Good dog.

I'm determined to smash this bug dead. Although I'm becoming impressed with how long he has managed to survive in the house. I didn't really think that flies had long life spans. Maybe I should google that, this could be a long fight...

15 June 2008

I found myself beneath that big tree this morning, walking barefoot among the shade's inhabitants. On this day, when fathers are honored, my heart reaches out to the things that remind me most of the man that helped to shape my life. The breeze pushed its way through the garden that he nurtured and began and my mind stilled, knowing he is there amongst the life that he helped create.

Where I Stand Sunday
is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

13 June 2008

both sides of the coin

Forgive my bluntness but there is only one way to sum up my week: it sucked.

My outlook on life lies in the middle of optimistic and pessimistic. I don't really believe in turning a blind eye to the outcome of any situation. And while I never hope or expect everything to go badly, I never rule it out either. I guess you could call me cautiously realistic since I believe its a good idea to look at both sides of the coin and make decisions that you can live with based on what would be ideal and what would be, well, sucky. Just seems like the smart thing to do.

So I've spent a lot of time hiding from the world this week. Mostly because it was stressful but also because I've given a lot of thought and consideration to stuff that has been going on. There are heavy things weighing, my friends, heavy things.

Here are a few:

The Good side: My job has relocated to a state of the art beautiful wonderful new building that is not full of asbestos, does not leak, does not smell like a dirty sock when it is humid outside and has no cockroaches or rats running about.

The Bad side: While the building I left was a pit, it was also the place that I made my footprint in a male dominated field. I was hired there before I even graduated, I received two promotions and took on work I would have never dreamed of tackling. It was hard to walk out on a place I've spent the last decade of my life.

The Good side: The new building is far away from where I live but thanks to Sid and her husband, I have found a very easy drive in that doesn't make me feel like I need a can of mace in the car with me. Its a long drive but not stressful and I feel like I can handle it.

The Bad side: Gas is approaching $20 a gallon and could make me consider walking the 43 miles to work.

The Good side: I live in an area that is not under eight feet of water.

The Bad side: Can't think of one.

The Good side: I am an automotive engineer working in a crappy economy and I still have a job.

The Bad side: I don't know for how long that will last. In the meantime I'm going to save money like a crack monkey. Extracurricular spending has now gone on an indefinite freeze. Moving is also on the back burner.

I'm worn out from thinking. My brain is close to leaking out of my head. I've been putzing around with fibery things to distract me. I've been obsessively stitching the hell out of this quilt:

I apparently won't be satisfied until I've used approximately 5,963 yards of embroidery thread on it. I've got a few more yards to go until I reach my goal.

There has also been sock knitting:

I started the cuff on the second sock of mom's frog socks. I was prepared to launch into the heel on the first one but decided against it. I've grown incredibly weary of this kind of cuff. Its boring. I bought this book and there are some neat socks in there that are calling to me. I showed mom one that has a ruffle cuff and mom whined at me that she wants that to be her next pair. So I figure its a good idea to start the second cuff and plow through that so I can get to the heel and then cruise through the foot.

Hmmmm...why do I have a feeling that I will almost always have a pair of socks on the needles for her? The woman is a sock fiend.

Okay, me and Dooley dog have a date with the sofa. I am going to knit until I forget all the stuff I've been thinking about and until it sinks in that the weekend is here and I do not need to face reality for two whole days.

Weekends rock.

08 June 2008

stabbin' stuff is fun

Its no Picasso, but it sure is fun. These are my first two trials with the new needle felting machine.

I like 'em both. There are a couple things I would do differently.

Like not use white felt as the base. That was a brain stall deciding to do that.

I have a bunch of really pretty wool roving that I had bought with the express purpose of creating abstract wool 'paintings' like this. Of course, after one session of felting by hand and having my wrist cuss at me on a daily basis for a week, it was apparent they were not going to happen.

But now I can stab wool roving to my hearts content.

The machine is super easy - after I got the correct power cord for it. When I opened the box yesterday I got confused. The power cord that came with it was a European cord. It had two prongs that were at a 45 degree angle to each other and the most bizarre shaped round head for them. One more trip to the store and with the right power cord and I was back ready to stab things.

I did manage to break one needle when I goofing around. No big deal. The viking machines let you change individual needles so it wasn't catastrophic.

I'm going to give some designs some thought and then go back to it. And the best part about it? My wrist isn't aching.

Where I Stand Sunday

The numbers in every column on the pump climb, showing no signs of hitting a ceiling. Frustration and anger take root as my mind swirls over the reasons why. Soon gas companies will report record profits while the average person adjusts lifestyles and makes choices in order to avoid feeding the machine.

Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.

07 June 2008

adding insult to injury

I've come to terms with a lot of things lately.

I've accepted that my drive to work will be quadrupled. (We're talking time wise, not distance wise. Although its disturbing all by itself that it will take me an hour to drive 31 miles but let's not go there.)

I've accepted that I lack the funds to move closer to my job.

I've also gotten to the point that I think it is humorous that the first day I report to the new location is on a Friday the 13th.

But the final kick in the teeth is when mapquest flat out lies to you about how to get there.

Dirty rotten filthy stinking pig of a website.

And don't go telling me that it can't be expected to know the nuances of every street in every state. I'm not buyin' it. The directions it gave me once I actually got into the city of the new location were so bass ackwards it wasn't even funny.

Add to it the fact that I am directionally impaired on top of it and it made for a somewhat freaky drive. I do, however, have two things going for me even though I can't find my way out of a paper bag: 1) I can recognize when I've obviously gone entirely too far and will turn around to retrace my steps and 2) I am not a man - I will stop and ask for directions.

Which is what I did. I found a lovely elderly gentleman running a shop and told him where I needed to go. The conversation hit a snag there because he had trouble grasping why a girl would be looking for an engineering facility (his words, by the way). *sigh* I finally convinced him to just tell me how to get to the street it was on and I would figure out the rest myself.

His directions were mostly right. Had to stop a second time, this time it was a diner where I met a very nice man who worked as a taxi driver. I jokingly (sort of) asked him if I could hire him full time to drive me back and forth to work but when I told him where I live, he declined saying the distance was too far. That didn't make me feel much better.

Eventually I did make it to the engineering grounds. Kind of. I made it to the complex but I don't know what building it is. I was just happy to be in the vicinity of it.

Obviously I need to find a different route since I have no clue whatsoever how to worm my way back there. Oh, any by the way? Street signs would be really freakin' helpful! At one point I had to roll down the window and shout to the car next to me to find out what road it was.

I'm not happy.


I'm going to go take my frustration out by using this to stab felt repeatedly.

I finally caved and got one. Of course, it helped that Jackie suggested shared custody of it. I picked it up on my way home today and I'm going to go fiddle with it now.

Damn mapquest...

05 June 2008

now enrolling

Have trouble relaxing? Can't seem to let go of daily aggravations? Have the pressures of work and home life wound you tighter then a rubber band ball?

Now there is a solution!

It is my pleasure to introduce you to the master guru of relaxation:

Observe Guru Dooley demonstrating his technique.

Guru Dooley will teach you how to relax every muscle of your body, and let any stress drain from you body in three easy lessons.

Lesson 1: Thoughtful contemplation of resting spot.
Ideally this should be somewhere soft and out of the way of foot traffic. A blankie is a bonus.

Lesson 2: Finding the correct posture.
Guru Dooley will demonstrate different relaxation postures that result in your appearance being so heart meltingly cute that no one will dare disturb you. This is especially important for prolonging relaxation sessions.

Lesson 3: Deep breathing
To the untrained tense person/animal, this may sound like snoring but do not be fooled. It is the true hallmark of a guru to be able to meditate so deeply through any disturbance surrounding him/her.

Do not delay, Guru Dooley is waiting to show you the enlightened path.

it never seems to change

Okay, I know I've addressed this issue before (I went looking for the post but couldn't find it, probably best anyway) but for the love of all things holy...when is the clothing industry going to realize that not all of us want to look like we work the 'special' night shift?

I have been tortured in the worst way because I needed a new outfit for a wedding coming up. And I wasn't looking for anything incredibly fancy, just a step nicer then the casual clothes I wear to work.

Hmph. Good luck.

I could easily have found something if I wanted it to be way too clingy, with a neckline down to my belly button, decorated with tons of sequins and beads and made of the most sheer fabric on the planet that is barely there. I've got nothing with looking appealing/sexy but come on, there have to be limits, right? And shouldn't there be options for those of us who don't want to dress that way? It looks like Britney Spear's closet exploded all over the place. And let's face it, how many average, normal working class schmoes really dress like that? Anyone? Raise your hands...

I am fairly modest (twelve years of Catholic school and a shy personality will do that to you) and had to resist the urge to flee the stores. (Yes, stores - plural. I checked more then one.) I guess I need to find my inner vixen and be comfortable with my hooties all on display but I'm just not there yet.

I did manage to find something but sheesh. It took way more effort then I really wanted to put into it.

And don't get me started on pants that are labeled 'petite' or 'short' lengths. Yeah, I'm 5'2" and I would have to chop at least five inches off any of those. Ironically, another brand labeled as 'average' length works just hunky dory.

I think its a conspiracy to drive us all mad. And its working. I've been beaten into submission. ack.

03 June 2008

darnit, darnit, darnit*

*This title was revised to a PG format since this is a PG blog. Insert appropriate versions where necessary.

So I had this plan to sit at the dining room table on saturday and knock off a few projects that have deadlines approaching hideously quickly. (I've decided the calendar is the devil. Its not nearly as nice to me as I would hope. I wish I had the power like Samantha from Bewitched. (The TV series, not the movie.) I would just wiggle my nose and time would stop and I could sit there and stitch on things until they were done.)

Looks like that might have to go on hold.

Every so often my wrist and forearm get sore and highly annoyed with me. Do not speak to me of carpal tunnel. I've looked into it, that's not it. (Plus I will run screaming from the computer and never return if there are tales of gruesome surgeries and zappy electronic tests popping up in my comments.) Its more likely its mild tendonitis. And its aggravating.

I can type okay (obviously, duh) but the kung fu grip I employ while stitching and knitting and crocheting (which is the culprit for the soreness) is out of the question.

Here's the dilema: I stitch/knit/crochet to relieve stress. The stress produces tension. Which then leads to me holding onto needles like I'm holding onto a cliff by my fingertips.

I need to work on this. I'm thinking a magarita before beginning work on something might help loosen the claws up. It might also make me more creative. More creative in a good way or bad way is questionable.

So what this all means is that I will have my wrist wrapped up like a freakin' gordita. (Yes, I love Tallegdega Nights, what's it to you?) No stitching. No sock knitting. No crochet doodles. (This has happened before. A few days of enforced rest fixes it.)

This is going to be torture. I don't sit still well. If you hear frustrated whining akin to the fit of a two-year-old who can't find their favorite toy, know that I'm still immobile.

02 June 2008

the queen mother of contradictions

You know, it could be because I get up for work at unholy-satanic-o’clock and have to drive with stupid people to work and this tends to draw out grumpiness (which luckily is battled back by large quantites of coffee).

It could also be because the stars are not properly aligned.

Perhaps the cause is that I was a truly evil evil person in my last life and I have more bad karma to work off then possible in one lifetime.

But the last time I checked, when a phone number is identified as a ‘Help Line’, it should be helpful, right?

Um. No. Apparently I missed the memo on that one.

My computer at work this morning decided to torture me in a way that made having my fingernails pulled out seem like a better option.

(I will say here and now that I am avid Macintosh user. My computer at home is a Mac, you can not convince me that PCs are better. And this is because a PC I owned promptly up and died and ate all my store records when I had my business – without warning, without an error message. Simply because it wanted to. I went out and bought a Mac and life has been quite pleasant since. Prreeeeeettttty Mac.

For the record, the computer at work is a devil PC.)

I work on really BIG files and sometimes its slow going. And computer crashes are not uncommon. I’ve gotten pretty handy at learning tricks to miraculously bring my PC back to life. Its kind of like having shockers at my desk and screaming “Clear!” while I zap the hell out of it.

No dice today, though. Had to do the last resort – had to call the ‘Help Line.’

Here’s how it went:

1) Sit on hold for 15 minutes. Get disconnected.

2) Call back. Sit on hold for 5 more minutes. Get kicked into endless hell loop of electronic menu choices for which none of them sound like the problem I’m having. (They need a “My computer is dead” choice.)

3) Decide to randomly pick an option knowing it isn’t right just to get to a human.

4) Human is ticked because its not her department that can help me. “Offers” to transfer me. I get disconnected. (I think it was on purpose. Devil human.)

5) Call back a third freakin’ time and again, finding no “My computer is dead” option, I pick a different department. This human is nicer. He transfers me and I actually make it.

6) Explain to new tech person that computer is dead. Have to endure twenty questions about why I think the computer is dead. (Because I randomly decided to call this phone number for entertainment purposes.) No, mouse won’t work. No, can’t type anything. No, the hard drive is not humming. No, no, no.

7) Next question from tech: what do you think is the problem? Me: Excuse me? He repeats previous question. I suddenly get a giggle fit. (If I knew what was wrong, would I have called? See the irony? Isn’t it hysterical? Come on, laugh along with me! HAHAHAHAH!)

8) Make tech nervous when I can’t stop laughing. He then suggests several helpful ‘fixes’ that, you know, might do the trick IF MY COMPUTER WAS WORKING!!!

9) Listen to tech type furiously on the keyboard. Am then told that he can’t help me (I was aghast with shock and awe) and that they will have to transfer the ticket to someone who works on site where I’m at. (Tech support now resides in some far away land, I’m thinking Pluto perhaps.)

10) Live tech person comes to visit me within the hour. Attempts to boot computer. Doesn’t succeed. Looks at me and actually says “Your computer is dead.” Um, yeah, thanks.

11) Before walking away, live tech person smacks the side of the CPU. It pops back awake. We look at each other. We look at the computer.

12) Live tech guy says, “Can I close the ticket?” Sure, I say.

New trick for fixing finiky work computer and avoiding the unhelpful Help Line?

Whacking it upside the head. (Ain't technology grand?)

01 June 2008

doodles - yay or nay?

Okay, so I fiddled last night with the crochet doodle thingies. I came up with these.

The idea behind this is that you grab some yarn, grab a crochet hook and then start plugging away. No pattern, no plans on where you are going to go with it. After you get several of these little random motifs, you attach them together to form a shawl or scarf or sweater or whatever you feel needs to be covered in oddly shaped crocheted splendor.

I kind of like it but I'm not sure if its a cool artistic thing or just a blobby mess. What do you think?

I am sure, however, that I like this guy:

He was created for a challenge for the doll group that I belong to. The theme of the challenge was games and one of my friends in the group (hi Emily!) scored me an Operation game at a garage sale (thanks Emily!). I've fallen for plushies lately so I went that route. I've named him Henry, the Ultimate Do-it-Yourselfer. He has read too much about surgery on the internet and has decided he is an expert.

In keeping with traditional psychotic Michigan weather, we are enjoying a cool breezy day. (The last two days have been much like living underwater, the humidity was a tad bit smothering.) Perfect for opening up the studio and cleaning. (What's that you say? I just cleaned it? Yeah well, I'm convinced Dooley goes up there during the day and just flings things about. It was messy again, had to clean it again, so shoosh.)

I snapped a couple pictures because well...the camera was set up for taking pictures of the Breaking Traditions blocks that were coming in and I'm still learning all the features on it. So I just sat there and goofed around with it. I am somewhat disturbed by these:

It makes the place look radioactive. The picture above being the creepiest since it features my Dia de los Muertos collection. Radioactive skullies...

No wonder Dooley gets fidgety when he comes to visit me. Speaking of which, he just stomped his feet at me and barked. I promised him a walk, need to go appease the westie or there will be no peace tonight.

Where I Stand Sunday

The sun burns high in the sky and its heat pushes down through the humidity. The stagnant water offers a mirror to the light in the sky, its reflection wrinkling on the surface. Occasionally the wind slides over every surface and all things organic breathe a sigh of relief for the moment of respite. Summer is staking its claim, auditioning its skills for the new season.

Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. The ground we tread on has its own stories to tell.