Sunday, January 31, 2010

Weeeee!kend Productivity

Wowzers, I had a really successful weekend. I guess I've started taking my TO DO LISTs seriously. This is how my blogging will go, I suppose. I'll do a trillion +1 things on the weekend, and then I will post my activity throughout the week. Anyway, I am one of those behind-the-times freaks that doesn't have the internet at home. It's actually really refreshing. You should try it. With that, throw your television out the window, says the person who watched nearly half the first season of House in a day.

[Rough] Weekend To Do List:

Besides, I can't seem to accomplish anything, but blog posts during my work week. Even my blog posts leave me feeling guilty about the way I spend my time at work. According to some of my (ex)superiors, I should have my nose up the asses of every Participant onsite at all times. And this is supposed to be their transition into reality? If I had someone's nose up my ass 24-7, I'd probably lose my mind ... and my lunch. Thus, I have sufficiently rationalized spending my lunch (plus some) on my writing. I am the model of productivity and supporter of all things creative! I am comfortable with this role, even at work. Last week, I helped one of the guys write a song ... about God ... being the truth. Okay, so, the subject matter of the song is really not my forté, but I helped him find the perfect Bible verse and write a basic outline for the song. It was pretty amazing.

Posts to which you can look forward i.e. TEASER:

Recipe involving tomatillos

Wall art with yarn

Biodegradable Plastic...?

Finally and unrelatedly, I must express that I am terribly and unbearably missing some people who live in far away places, including, but not limited to Caitlin and Amanda. I think about these two daily. The night before they left for Las Cruces, New Mexico, my friends and I had a "Favorite Caitlin and Amanda Moments" walk to our favorite local bar. You can bet that I've had those memories on repeat in my head ever since. Furthermore, I am the worst long distance friend in the universe.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Dalí Box

You've been acquainted with Pandora, no? You know, the one with the box of nastiness? Really, it was a jar of nastiness, but the word was lost when the story was translated from Greek to Latin. Anyway, in case you haven't heard the story, here's the general idea: Some dude pisses off Zeus by stealing the secret of fire and Zeus orders some other jackass to create the first woman to get his revenge. So, of course, a bunch of gifts are showered on Ms. Pandora, as she's just come into the world, including the gift of curiosity and the infamous jar. What a pair of gifts! Surprise, surprise, Pandora opens the damn thing because she just can't help herself and out comes the worst kinds of evils, ills, and diseases you can think of. Oh, but to sugar coat it, hope was at the bottom of the jar. Yes, Pandora managed to close the jar before hope escaped. Hope? Gee, thanks, Zeus, at least I can hope to erase all the terror and suffering from the world. Does the misogyny sound a little familiar to you? Think Garden of Eden. Hesoid's just another man writing a story about a woman who ruins the world. How original.

Really, I was just using this myth to segway into the topic of my post today. About a box. A box that is not at all like Pandora's Jar. A box full of wonders and magic! A box that contains all sorts of new and old craft supplies! Hooray! As I am fairly new to crafting, I've recently had to invest in a ton of supplies.
Not all of which can be contained in my box. Creates quite an empty pocket feeling. I digress, back to the box! I've noticed that many-a-craft-blogger truly enjoy removing the contents of various containers for show-and-tell. I will continue the tradition because it's just fun. I call it my
Dalí Box.
It's kind of purdy, right? I cut up a 2006 Dalí calandar I'd stored away and Mod Podged the pieces on the box. I'm still working on the sides. I want the insides to remain a secret to all outside observers. I don't mean to imply that there could possibly be any observers from the inside. You know, like the Indian in the Cupboard?
From top left to bottom right:

- one circle template for rosette making
- one rotary cutter, not be be confused with pizza roller
- collection of embroidery floss of a different color, like the horse from Emerald City
- old pair of all purpose scissors, you don't want to know where they've been
- new pair of fabric scissors, to make pretty dresses
- new pair of embroirdery scissors, to snip, snip

From top left to bottom right:

- six fabric markers, to write "Kick Me" on the back of all your shirts
- one crochet hook I used to finish the woven scarf
- one pair of needle nose plyers that I recently used to remove the bottle of Fix-A-Flat from my car tire
- two exacto knives with extra blades, for at home emergency surgery, you know, cheaper than scalpels
- seven baby blue paintbrushes, different strokes for different folks
- ten Crayola markers, for doodlin'
- seven hand needles called sock darners that I will probably never use on actual socks
- two lengths of elastic for a soon-to-be-realized project
- Bindis! I bought them on a volunteer trip to India a few years ago and actually have no idea what they're doing in my craft box
- one tube of super glue with which I am inevitably forced to make the okay sign with my hand
- three erasers that I never use, but tell myself I will
- hectagon template to make beehive embellishments

Well, kiddies. Stay out of trouble(not)!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fantastical Goal of 2010 #1:
Buy enough books to construct indoor fort. Example:

Realistic Goal of 2010 #1:
Read all unread books from my personal library totalling 100+.

Probable Reason for Not Reaching Realistic Goal of 2010 #1:
Addiction to purchasing new and used books, as well as unbearable urge to enter all book stores in path.

My obsession with neurological case studies wins again! While browsing the Bargain Books section of Border's this weekend, I found a copy of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks for a mere $5.99 (cheap, cheap goes the bird eating the book worm).
Unfortunately, this is not the dust cover of the book I purchased. Instead, I am posting this one because it oh-so cleverly represents the first case study from which the title comes. Clearly a take on Magritte's painting, "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" (This is not a pipe), this cover uses a hat also common in Magritte's art to make the point "Ceci est ma femme" (This is my wife). The case study of Dr. P tells the story of a zealous musician with visual agnosia. The general definition of visual agnosia goes like this: the inability of the brain to make sense of or make use of some part of otherwise normal visual stimulus. In particular, Dr. P is unable to recognize faces, including the familiar faces of his students, family, and even his own. Dr. Sacks includes anecdotes from his experience with Dr. P, which are simultaneously saddenning and hilarious.

I must have looked aghast, but he seemed to think he had done rather well. There was a hint of a smile on his face. He also appeared to have decided that the examination was over and started to look around for his hat. He reached out his hand and took hold of his wife's head, tried to lift it off, and put it on. He had apparently mistaken his wife for a hat! His wife looked as if she was used to such things (p. 11).

I take well to morbidly comical stories, how about you? Actually, I have an anecdote of my own about my post-stroke grandmother. At the time it was quite unsettling, but before her death, she and I were able to giggle about it together. After my grandmother had her stroke, she suffered most obviously from apraxia (the loss of the ability to execute or carry out learned purposeful movements, despite having the desire and the physical ability to perform the movements) and visual agnosia. As a result, my grandfather became excessively protective of any movement my grandmother made, following her around the house and the yard, where she spent most of her time. There was one instance when my grandmother managed to get out of the house undetected, to walk the path that led to the garage where she intended to meet me. I witnessed, in slow motion, my grandmother go clumsily flying off the sidewalk into a flower bed. While struggling to get up, my grandmother's only wailing response was, "Don't tell your grandfather!" Besides a few bruises, she was fine, but neither of us could resist telling my grandfather (much later, of course). I think it's laughing at the things which hurt us that makes us most resilient. It was my grandmother who taught me this the most.

Mary Christina Brown


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Girl, where'd you get your weave?



I'd like to think that the scarf conjures up thoughts of beauty and success with or without the props. But, they are so lovely, are they not? Check out that baby blue polyester. Check out those 1970's collars. The twinkle in their eyes. My mother is the older and wiser one on the right. Interesting how this fact has remained true throughout their lives (my now long lost aunt was rather daft the last time we met). I do not feign familial love and connection.

Anyhow, anywho, anyway, it was my first go at weaving anything so I didn't create a picture tutorial throughout the process, as I was unsure if it would turn out the way I imagined. I didn't want to combine several small woven pieces of fabric so I warped the loom front and back to create one long piece of fabric. This was just a test. I did not read any tutorials about using this technique, but I did use this tutorial for the basics:
Once I finished weaving, I crocheted the ends of the scarf closed and added tassels. Some sections of the weave could be tighter, but I am quite proud of how it turned out! Hoorah!


As you can see, I cut the slits off of one end to release the fabric from the loom when I finished. I must say, weaving around the edge of the loom was a pain in my ass, but I managed to keep my patience and perseverance in tact!


"Here's lookin' at you, kid."


Mi Casa en el Barrio Pilsen

Hola! Bienvenidos! I am happy to share my cozy commorancy with you! Actually, I am down a roommate, if you're interested... but that's a longer and saddening story that I will tell you later. Perhaps, we'll have a seat and chat awhile? The tour, you say? Of course! But, first, let me introduce you to my pet.

Say cuckoo to mi pájaro Cú. From what I've gathered, the Mexican folktale of Cú tells the story of a bird with no feathers and a serious inferiority complex. Luckily for Cú, a generous member of the bird council, the barn owl, convinced each bird board member to offer Cú one of their feathers in exchange for Cú's services as a messenger. With plumage from the bird council, Cú was gorgeously transformed. Like Narcissus, Cú became so entranced in the reflection of itself that it could not perform its duties as messenger, which caused an outrage within the bird council. The bird council promised to teach both Cú and barn owl a lesson, thus both went into hiding.

Cú has acquired a bit of an attitude since its exile. Watch out! Unless you're always aware of Cú ... unless you give Cú (and its plumage) your full attention ... it will fly into your hair and peck your head! My terribly clumsy boyfriend has fallen victim to Cú's wrath more times than I can count! Keep your eye on Cú when you walk through my kitchen!

How about that ceiling? Isn't it beautiful?

View from my front door. I quite like my checkered tile, but it's a little excessive in the middle, wouldn't you say? A table and chairs is in order, I think. One on which to craft, eat, (have sex), etc.? Mmm, yes. Are you hungry? Do you want a snack? You'll find mostly produce in my refrigerator, maybe some hummus, soyrizo, tortillas, popsicles. In my cabinets, grains of all sorts, rice, quinoa, cous cous. Granola bar? Vegetable herb crackers? A drip of soy sauce? A dab of Sriracha? No? Well, at least have some tea? I have quite a collection. NO?! Juice? I have all sorts. Well, okay, if you're absolutely content, we'll move on.

Are you house broken? Whenever necessary, do use the bathroom to relieve yourself. It's just awful cleaning up the waste of others. But, please, if it's yellow (reference bathroom color in case you're unsure), let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down.

Oh, the grief of being unable to jump on the bed. One hard knee into the mattress and the planks are bound to break. Believe me, I know from experience. But, I've got a number of stories due to my loft bed. Once, it taught two cats how to climb a ladder on lonely nights. And, ha! To have witnessed my boyfriend and I assembling the damn thing! We were bonking each other on the head with pieces one minute, strangling each other the next, quitting after that, and coming back giggling. Surely, we slept well that night.

Ahhh, where I spend most of my time: the living room. There have been some changes, so you know. It must be hard on you to have traveled from the future, huh? Oh, hmm, you're wondering how I know the future? Family secret, don't be offended. Anyway, that wall on the right is painted green now. My couch is a little bit dented in the middle, I'm sure, on account of my Star Trek (and X-Files) addiction. And nearly every available surface is covered in craft supplies. How about a little nap? Yaawwwn. Do you see how dark it is outside? Let's get horizontal.

Buenos días! Before you leave, take a look out of my bay windows. The sky is bluer than on a typical Chicago winter day! Wait, close your eyes, I'll lead you to the window. Think of the Mary Poppins roof scene with the chimney sweeps. Okay now, open your eyes! It's only an illusion! We're not actually on the roof, although that might be pleasant? I have a fire escape if you want to go out. Too cold for you? Fine, then. Do you see that building looming in the distance? Yes, that's the Sears ... I mean, Willis Tower, a name with which I will never become comfortable.

Well, it was a lovely sleepover, no? But, alas, it is time for us to part. You're not nearly out the door and I already miss you. What is that you ask? What a silly question! Of course you can return! You're apart of this place now. Just think, you've left skin cells behind. I will think of them when I am alone.