July 28, 2008
insert clever title here
I'm taking a little vacation until August 10. I'll keep twittering a bit from the road (not too much though; it costs money!) and hope to check in here on the old 'blog a time or two but who knows if we'll be able to find any wireless out in the middle of Nowhere, PA.
Some things you can look forward to when I return:
*that baby socks pattern I've been promising, finally;
*people in fancy hats;
*pictures of a beautiful set of handmade knitting needles given to me by someone special (and the stockings I'm knitting for her on the needles she made);
*the smell of woodsmoke permeating clothing;
*a whole whackload of awesome new dresses going up for sale in my etsy shop;
*harrowing tales of greasy Pittsburgh salads;
*excellent Scotch and drunk-dialing on cell phones (some of you may receive a call if you're foolish enough to ever have given me your number);
*muskrats, know-it-alls, floods, tornadoes and political intrigue;
*sweaty men in furry loincloths;
*much, much more!
July 27, 2008
okay, i've learned my lesson: check your sources.
Folks, I don't actually ever read comments on youtube videos, because they're usually puerile and not worth the time. Y'all are right, the Guinness ad wasn't real. Good thing, too: now I can go back to drinking Guinness, participating in threesomes and fulminating against anti-feminist misogyny, without feeling like I'm part of the problem.
July 25, 2008
I used to be a Guinness drinker.
Just to be clear, I don't really have a problem with what the people in this ad are doing. I do have a problem with one of those people being placed in a position of inferiority to the others, a position worthy of disrespect and ownership, and that person being the one person in the ad who represents me. If the makers of what for a long time has been my favourite beer hate me this much, well, there are other beers.
*edit: okay, it's not a real ad. Back to drinking Guinness and participating in threesomes with abandon. Whew!
July 24, 2008
a tour of our backyard garden
Norma, don't look.
It's clearly a work in progress. That space in the middle that's all tall weeds and meadow flowers is where the patio will be. The asphalt roofing tiles held down by a cinderblock mark the graves of my two kitties, and one day the patio will curve in a kidney shape to cover and protect this spot. Right now it's all a horrendous disaster, but the butterflies and kitties like it just fine.
July 23, 2008
help me, i'm blogging about my haircut for a second time in a row. an intervention may be necessary. divine, if possible.
Seriously though, an intervention from Divine would be freaking awesome, wouldn't it?
So, I'm settling in to this half-mullet thing and it's kind of fun. It feels as if the me of twenty years ago has been clumsily superimposed over the left side of my head:
Whoops, that was me twenty years ago. Here's me now:
One summer when I was about seventeen or eighteen, my dad came downstairs and stood displaying his newly shaven profile and said, what would you think if I shaved off my moustache? When I said, yeah, it's okay he turned to face me so I could see that he'd in fact only shaved off half, to be funny. He later got distracted and drove into town to run errands, completely forgetting that he still had half a moustache, probably looking like a total goof. I'm a lot like my dad, can you tell?
Anyway, the much-maligned mullet is a noble and ancient hairdo. The half-mullet? I probably didn't make that one up either. I've been trying to get Peter to admit that it's like having sex with one of the Thompson Twins but the truth is I need a lot more volume before that's a possibility. Do they still make Aqua-Net?
In local art news, I'd like to remind y'all that I'll be performing "study for a remnant factory" again this weekend (and the many other Visual Fringe exhibitions will be on display around downtown), Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to six at 32 University Avenue East, Windsor Ontario (and that Artcite's monthly stitch 'n bitch will be happening right there in my space on Saturday from one to six). Be there or be elsewhere, but there is better. Also if you're in Windsor tonight you should join us at Milk to hear Garth Rennie making fabulous sounds. Garth is the guy who made my sound recording for the speaker wire dress (seems like years ago now).
July 20, 2008
mileage may vary
Story #1: Two days ago I was standing at the corner of University and Pelissier talking with Leesa Bringas (of Artcite, Inc.)and Sara Elliott (of CBC radio Windsor) when two little kids approached us holding Rubbermaid totes filled with miniature flags. As they rattled off their rehearsed spiel, we're selling these international flags to help send underprivileged kids to camp any size donation please help us aren't we cute I thought about how they must have carefully arranged the kids in these perfect pairs, one boy and one girl, one caucasian and one visible minority, one older and one so cute and little.
Leesa asked, what organization is this? The girl said, families for something-or-other-and-values (hmm). What kind of camp? A camp where they teach us stuff (uh-oh). What kind of stuff? Family values (GIANT ALARM BELLS). What kind of family values, I asked, not really wanting to know, clutching my satchel a little tighter lest any of my precious coins might find their way, through insidious cuteness of little kids, into the hands of the evil family values sector.
Their answer, sadly, is predictable. Values like fidelity within marriage, abstinence until marriage. . . we stopped them there. Sorry kids, see ya. Sara said to us, holy crap you guys with the questions! But this is how living in a place like Georgia changes you, I guess: you hear the phrase "family values" and you start sweating and your ears start clanging and the skin on the back of your neck crawls.
And, how stupid are these people, thinking that a good time to send kids out begging change for family values is during Pride weekend and the Fringe Festival, when downtown is crawling with people like me, people whose values most likely include everyone's freedom to marry whomever they love, women's rights to reproductive freedom and young people's rights to adequate sex education and pregnancy/STD protection? All the things the so-called family values brigade hate. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Way to send your little children into a shitstorm, people.
Story #2: Last night, walking home in a muggy drizzle from eating our supper by the river, I decided I was just too hot and too gross and it's too damned July here right now to have long hair and so I was going to give in to the temptation to cut my hair off short again. Once I'd made up my mind I had to do it immediately, in the fifteen minutes or so that we had before going out to meet friends at the pub. After goading Peter into agreeing to help me shave the back, I grabbed a handful of hair on the left side, twisted it up good and tight and chopped it. Then I chopped a second handful. Then I looked in the mirror and said, this isn't too bad right here! How about if I wear it like this for a while? Totally joking.
Peter said, do you want people to call you Sheena?
You totally just sold me on this haircut, dude. For now.
July 18, 2008
study for a remnant factory
Friday, Saturday and Sunday July 18, 19 & 20
Friday, Saturday and Sunday July 25, 26 & 27
Noon until six p.m.
32 University Street East, Windsor, Ontario
July 16, 2008
one would think i would have learned this lesson by now
The Noro Kureyon sock, once again ripped back to the beginning and started again. Or rather, ripped back to the ribbing, which fit just fine, being much more stretchy than stockinette and all. I have come to the realization that I must have startlingly large calves, and that after the ribbing I will have to add far more stitches than I ever thought possible in order to cover them comfortably. I blame it on the fact that the two of them are always sneaking around behind me, never giving me a good look to see just what size they are. I think after this most recent try-on (when the sock was, I thought, ready to have its heel flap made; I know, heartbreaking isn't it?) I'll have it right. I'm almost positive.
July 15, 2008
if you're just here for the art stuff then skip ahead to paragraph four
I'd like to begin today's discussion with some clarification of my bitchy rant about the neighbours (for the three or so people who care). I didn't want to imply that I have a problem with poor people living within my line of sight, or that I have a problem with people who live on social assistance. It's not something I talk about much but I have been on social assistance myself in the past, and so have several other people I know, people who have gone on to do things like earn masters degrees or to become university employees or members of the armed forces or of the clergy. It's something that I happily pay taxes to fund (or did, and will again just as soon as I start actually making an income in my own country once more) and something that I wish didn't have such a stigma attached to it.
My complaint is really mostly about one particular man who lives in one of the two adjacent rental houses, a man who sits on his porch shouting things that make my blood boil. I've heard him gender-bashing the kids, mocking a little boy and calling him a wimp while he's "getting beaten up by a girl" (disempowering for both the boy and the girl, and what about telling both kids it's not okay to hit?). I've heard him showing the children that it's funny to be rude and swear at people for no reason. And the other day when four men wearing salwar and kameez came and knocked on the door of the nice elderly couple directly across from me (the ones who are moving away after 35 years here), I heard him making jokes about "men in dresses" (sexist and racist and yes, it was right in front of the kids). And of course I can't say anything because it will just start a fight and create bad blood with people who live close enough to make us miserable if they want to and anyway, you can't go and undermine someone in front of their children no matter how big an arsehole they are.
So, it's frustrating. But, as Andrew pointed out in the comments, Windsor's housing market being in the toilet is part of the problem. In fact, the crappy market is part of why we were even able to buy this house. And of course, those two houses are owned by an absentee landlord who doesn't give a rat's ass about the tenants, so the properties get run down to shit and then only the poorest most desperate people will move in and they don't care about keeping the place nice either because they hate their landlord and it's just a vicious cycle. And I'm going to try to stop bitching about it for now and just hope that somebody nice buys the place across the street. At least we can rest assured that they'll want more for their house than that absentee landlord will want to spend, so no chance of his empire expanding.
Let's talk about something different, because I have a show coming up that I'm pretty excited about. It's part of the Visual Fringe Festival, a series of off-site installations that Artcite is mounting in conjunction with the Windsor International Fringe Festival. For the next two weekends, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to six p.m. I'll be doing a dressmaking performance at 34 University Avenue E, which for you locals is the space where the tanning salon used to be in the little building next to the former Greyhound station and across from the former Armouries (sad how much of our city is "former", although that could be true of every city). It's going to be tons of fun and you should all come. As well, Artcite's going to host a stitchnbitch on Saturday the 26th right in my installation space so y'all can come down and bring your knitting and spinning and hang out and chitchat while I sew dress after dress. Sound like fun? Hell yeah!
Speaking of fun. Peter and I have been working on a project together which I won't talk about right now except to say that it has to do with music and all those things I really love like rules and lists and dates and the internet and cataloguing and rules. Peter gets to be the library geek and I get to make all sorts of rules and also our record collection is in a period of rapid expansion. Anybody out there who's got a box of records in the closet and nothing to play them on, drop me a line if you think you might have something I'm interested in and feel like doing some swapping.
Here's the sort of obsessive pursuit that I love and that makes Peter mental: a hundred versions of the same song. I could totally listen to the same song all day just as long as there's no Rod Stewart version.
July 12, 2008
thank you for allowing us to be ourselves
Last night we went down to the blues festival by the river and saw Richie Havens give an incredible performance with just himself on guitar, another guy on guitar (both acoustic) and a woman on cello. The night before we saw Taj Mahal, who had so much more energy and power on stage than the last time we saw him (about six years ago, across the river at Chene Park) that I went away convinced that he'd grown a foot taller since we saw him last. This was our first time attending the Windsor Bluesfest, however, and it's unlikely that we'll go back again. I'm sure this will come off sounding totally snobbish but we really just didn't dig the crowd; putting aside the total crime on the eyes of pairing golf shirts with straw cowboy hats, they just wouldn't shut the hell up while performers were on stage and, you know, I thought a blues festival crowd would be more about hearing the music and less about socializing loudly with people who are probably their coworkers that they talk to every single day. So. We'll be waiting for our chance to see Richie Havens again in some other venue where people aren't yapping in our ears.
In little old lady who spies on the neighbours* news, the next-door neighbours (the ones with the two adorable little girls who just happen to be related to a certain famous-for-being-adorable person to whom little girls are often compared) filled me in this morning on some neighbourhood drama. The nice quiet elderly couple across from us are selling their house, and apparently it's because they can no longer stand living next to two divey rental houses full of assholes. It's been a mess of people calling CAS and the police on other people out of spite and people getting up in other people's faces on their doorsteps and hooboy am I thrilled to have those jackasses tainting all of my precious front porch time now that I know that if you look at them wrong they'll invent some reason to complain to the police about you. Nobody stays in either of those houses more than five months anyway so they'll likely be gone soon, but still. Again, I feel like I come off as a classist bitch for complaining because I was a penniless renter for more than a decade and now that we're homeowners we resent having those two rental houses within our porchsitting line of sight, but really. All I want is neighbours who aren't jerks.
In knitting news, I had to unravel the Noro sock and start again after finally admitting to myself that it was going to be too tight (okay, after putting it on waste yarn again and not being able to get it on my leg). I'd done this last Saturday as well and my friends tried to convince me it was too tight. I of course said that the firmness of the sock would help it stay up and that as long as there wasn't a giant pooch of knee fat folding over the top then the sock must be perfect. I quickly made and washed and measured a swatch and then soldiered on in my foolish endeavour.
My friends, being the best kind of friends, could see I was still in denial and didn't push me but instead sat back in silence in order to allow me to progress at my own pace to the learning-from-my-own-stupid-mistakes stage of sock knitting.
And so here's my sock now, a couple of inches shorter (and about an inch wider) than it was when we last saw it in a Michigan highway rest stop:
My knee fat is breathing a sigh of relief just looking at it.
*by this, of course, I mean me.
July 09, 2008
license to shill
I know, those titles are only getting lamer. Cut me some slack.
So, in a multitasking effort to figure out what to do with all of the art I've currently got stored in Claire's bedroom, now that she'll need that bedroom full-time for the first time since she's soon going to be moving in with us (have I mentioned that?) and to drag myself out of the WorkFromHome Vacuum (a phrase that I totally stole from Kim Werker, but a phenomenon well known to many of us), I'm listing a whole whackload of older work on etsy at awesomely low prices. I'm ready to say goodbye to all of my undergrad work and much of my grad school work as well. I'm even going to break up the thirteen girls and venus prodigiosa pieces and offer the panels for sale separately, since I'm not likely to be showing that work again. Over the next day or two I'll be adding lots more stuff, just as soon as my camera batteries are recharged (grrr). I'm going to be selling off most of my vintage apron collection as well, so stay tuned!
July 07, 2008
well, hello there.
For those who only come here for the hot sticks-on-string action who may be about to quit me for lack of a fix, here's proof I do still partake occasionally:
Half a Noro Kureyon knee sock, the product of a lazy Saturday spent with good friends and a few hours of car travel on Sunday. This Noro sock yarn is the last yarn I bought, pre-ordered in early December and delivered to me in February. I didn't ever get around to writing about it in much depth here, but I decided to knit from stash in 2008 and not buy any yarn or spinning fibre at all this year. It's been rather easy, as I've had to take a lot of time off to rest my wrist and recover from the damage I inflicted on myself in the frenzy that was the end of grad school. I think I'm ready to dive back in though. My stash isn't all that extensive compared to some people's and I got rid of a lot before moving back from school, but I've still got more than enough to keep the ol' RSI busy. I haven't attached a bunch of complex conditions or exemptions to my knit-from-stash guideline, I'm just not buying yarn, period. Yesterday I bought a secondhand sweater to unravel (if you ever find yourself in Arlington Heights, Illinois, there's a pretty good Goodwill there) but even that was the first time all year I've done so.
Speaking of the end of grad school, we arrived home from a 4th-of-July trip to visit friends in Illinois to find this in the mailbox:
Here's something funny and frightening that we saw on the weekend, at the Naperville Ribfest. This advertising image is not what it appears to be at first glance:
Do you see it?
Also, I don't know what the "exchange club" is but somehow I always thought exchange club was more about spouses than kids, and that it didn't really get going until after the kids were in bed.
July 02, 2008
By request, a recipe for English Cream Scones. This is from A Guide to Good Cooking, an old Canadian standby published by Five Roses Flour. I have a lot more to say about the Five Roses cookbook, but for now I want to put this down quickly and go get some quality front porch time in before the thunderstorm begins.
English Cream Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup butter or shortening (I never use shortening or lard for anything, but always butter. I've begun keeping butter in the freezer for this purpose and I just grate it in)
1/3 cup milk or thin cream (making these for myself I would use soy milk, but since I'm home with Peter now and he drinks regular old cow milk, I used that)
Stir together dry ingredients, then cut in butter. Reserve a little of the egg white for glazing and beat the rest until light; stir in milk. Make a well in dry ingredients and add liquid slowly to make a soft dough. Stir vigourously until the dough comes away freely from the side of the bowl. Pat to 1.5 cm thickness and cut into triangles. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with a little granulated sugar. Bake on an ungreased sheet at 450F for 12 to 15 minutes.
To make plain scones into flies, add 1/2 cup raisins. The book also says to add 4 more tablespoons of sugar but I didn't bother, as I'm not all that fond of sweets.
Enjoy! And if any get a little overcooked on the edges, save them for me. Those are my favourites.
July 01, 2008
my promises are clearly not worth the ether they're written on
I know, I made some kind of promise and disappeared. Y'all are going to have to deal with it. Let me tell you, briefly, about my last two weeks: I wasn't feeling well for a few days and had to miss a local blogger meetup and also a stitch 'n' bitch in order to lie pathetically on the couch; it's fruit canning season and in the last week I've made strawberry jam, mango salsa, pickled garlic (not a fruit, I know, but still in season and cheap right now), mango chutney and then today a second batch of mango salsa; Pete's ex-wife moved on the weekend and we helped out with that and fetched our giant California job case cabinet that we'd been storing in her garage and also moved Pete's daughter's stuff to our place because she's moving in with us (!); and then on Saturday night after the move, while I was showering and Peter was returning our rented trailer, the basement flooded. So the rest of the weekend (after the plumber left) and up until today has been spent doing the work we've been wanting to do but never getting around to in the basement, namely getting rid of all the crap we don't need and building a storage island in the middle of the room to both hold all of our stuff and also sit beneath the ducts we're always hitting our heads on so that we can't walk into them anymore. A conveniently timed statutory holiday has meant that as of this evening we have a vast expanse of empty basement floor, a clever and sturdy storage island with shelving, space to stack totes and a raised channel in which to slide all the long poles and tent bits. We have extra tool drawers within easy reach of the workbench and they're all organized and labelled. We have a secondary pantry space within easy reach of the kitchen. And we figured out that the "dead" fluorescent fixture above the workbench actually works, we just needed to jiggle the bulbs a little. So now we have light right where we need it to do things like not cut off our fingers with the mitre saw! I'll take some pictures but they won't have the same impact without any before shots (although we did take some of the flood that will be suitably gross).
I saw the Canada House Guy out building something new on his property last week (as he does every June in preparation for Canada Day) but have been too busy dealing with water and wet stuff to go down and take pictures, so instead I offer you a lovely Canadaversary cake:
From last week's picnic celebration of the 40th anniversary of my dad's family's arrival in Canada. Happy Canadaversary to us! And happy Canada Day to y'all.