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September 28, 2008
four candles, five things
I've never been the kind of person who responds to chain letters, and have in the past threatened to block loved ones from sending me e-mails unless they stop forwarding me those dismal messages penned by failed greeting card copywriters promising good luck within X number of hours of spamming everyone you know. But using twitter these last few months has got me thinking in 140-character blurbs and feeling too lazy to string whole sentences together, whole groups of thoughts into something worth writing here. It's like what Sesame Street did to the attention spans of children of my generation, priming us for a lifetime of 30-second-commercial watching. Add to that a general feeling of lethargy that's been hard to shake and it means that dear old diary here isn't getting much action.
So, Mildred sent me a little chain letter the other day, one of these "write six random facts about yourself" things, and given my lack of interest lately in making the effort to write something meaningful here, I'm happy to comply. Except, since I love to break rules, I'm only going to give y'all five little tidbits today. "Four candles, six things" just didn't sound as good. Also I'm pretty sure I've done one of these things in the past, and folks, I'm just not all that interesting. Five things is plenty, trust me.
Mildred, by the way, is someone I met at the Southern Graphics Council conference last spring. She approached me at a gallery opening and said, "hi Jodi, I read your blog" and it pretty much made my night in the same sort of awesome hey, worlds collide! way as that time at a fibre festival when someone recognized me by my dress (from my thesis project). Maybe I told that story already, I forget. And I'm not going back and checking either. Deal with it, my dears.
Ahem. 1. I love yogurt, and I love dill, and I like cucumbers a lot too, but tzatziki makes me want to barf. Just the thought of any savoury flavour blended with yogurt grosses me out. Coffee flavoured yogurt? Yuck. I think it's because I'm allergic to dairy, and while yogurt is the one dairy food that I'm able to safely eat, if it's savoury it reminds me of things made with sour cream, from which my body wants to recoil so fiercely that I don't even like to pass the sour cream container at the supper table or move it around in the fridge. That dip that everyone loves to bring to parties, with the sour cream and mushroom soup mix? Ew, ew, ew.
2. The town I grew up in was a decommissioned Royal Canadian Air Force station, and when I was a kid the old air raid siren would go off at noon every day to signal lunch time to the factories. Every day in school we'd leap from our desks at the siren's call and run home to lunch. To this day the sound of an air raid siren makes me hungry, and knowing all about Pavlov and his dog doesn't make a damned bit of difference. So if you ever invite me to a movie about the Blitz you'd better be prepared to buy me some popcorn.
3. I think way too long and hard about my neuroses (see #s 1 and 2 above). Also, many of my neuroses have to do with food.
4. I love to crack my joints, and pretty much never go to sleep at night without first cracking all of my toes multiple times, which I'm sure just delights anyone who ever has to sleep with me (although Peter has rarely complained about it, he's a trouper). I would give just about anything for someone to teach me an easy and safe way to crack my spine at that spot right between the shoulder blades. Don't tell me this is bad for me, I do not even want to hear it. No, really.
5. I have a bad habit of starting something and being completely obsessed with it and nothing else for a while, usually until it's almost finished, then dropping it like a hot potato. Witness my February Lady sweater, which would have been completed in a week if I hadn't lost steam a third of the way into that second sleeve. It's sitting in a heap next to me now, waiting to be knitted, but I'm bored with it. The same thing happened with countless sweaters. With those thistles in the back yard that I was all pumped to cut down and kill and instead I just cut the tops off them and now they're two metres tall and take up an area of ground roughly the size of our deck. And with this weblog (four years old today), which has become just like all those sketchbooks I draw in until they're half filled and then stop, and upon finding them months or years later am unable to throw them out but no longer have any interest in filling those empty pages. I found a roll of drawings upstairs from four years ago, large half finished figure drawings that I now have no idea what to do with (recycling bin?). This paragraph, on the other hand, I should have quit ages ago now.
Here's something I did see through to the end today. Peter and I are working on a project, cataloguing all of our records. Pete created a database and I went through the shelves and wrote down every record we had and then entered them all. Now we can sort them by release date, and soon we're going to start listening to them all in chronological order and liveblogging our listening experience. I've been plugging away for the last week or so at entering artists and albums into the database and researching release dates, and this was the last record on my list, number 565 in the database:
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.
June 21, 2008
Writing on the weblog is like e-mail correspondence, like exercising, like showering, like writing a paper: if you put it off it's harder to make yourself do it and then suddenly you're hopelessly behind and don't even know where to start. I have been busy and I have been doing nothing. Being at home is good. I'm trying to bring some sort of structure into my now mostly structureless life, with middling success thus far. I'm working on some exciting new things for the shop but can't seem to bring any of them to completion. I printed up a bunch of fabric this week though, so that's a start. And I have some lovely vintage aprons I'll be putting up in the shop on Monday to tide me over until I get some work done. And I promise, really truly promise, that on Monday I will have a new wee baby sock pattern for y'all, hastily scrawled down this morning off an existing pair of socks that will go home with the mama-to-be this afternoon.
Today we're heading up to beautiful Exeter, Ontario for a picnic in the park to celebrate the 40th anniversary of my family's arrival in Canada. Last night I baked scones for the first time in my life. With raisins, just like the ones we had when I was a kid (my very English grandma called them "flies", trying to get us to believe that's what was in there).
And finally, thank you all for the red hot love on my new tattoo post. Sorry I didn't reply to anyone but now that my comments are being moderated they're not showing up in my e-mail anymore. That'll be fixed soon, but not just yet. Anyway, I'm glad you all love the map; I'm pretty happy with it myself. It wasn't an original idea, though: I caught a glimpse of a shoulder tattoo of the Great Lakes, in silhouette, once in a photo of Joni from The Whoreshoes and it's nagged at me ever since, the only time I've even seen a tattoo on someone else that I would want for my own. When the time came to journey home and I wanted a way to commemorate that, it was the perfect time. I'm still not sure what, if anything, I'll add, but for now I'm happy with it the way it is.
June 08, 2008
Marta at Addictive Tattooing and Piercing did this for me.
Yes, my tank top is on inside out (deal with it). Also, don't worry, I'm going to ask her to use a different kind of tape to stick the bandages on next time. Clearly my skin doesn't like the tape too much.
June 07, 2008
dear shoulder blades,
I'm buying you a present today! Hope you like it. I'll try not to let it cover up that sweet little constellation of freckles I never knew you had until just now.
May 14, 2008
someone else to catch this drift
file under: chicken shit
Thank you all so much for your encouragement, your congratulations, your pats on the back and best wishes; they're a firm yet soft cushion at my back as I sit riveted in this chair gazing terrified at my new life of unemployment. I'm sorry that I'm too big a schmuck right now to reply individually to each and every one. No, wait. I'm too busy schlepping the boxes that contain the last three years of my life up to the musty third floor for storage. Actually, I'm a schmuck AND busy schlepping. And I'm going to kvetch about it too, if only because all those jumbled piles of clashing consonants turn me on so. BABY!
Okay, seriously. I'm scared shitless here. The ink is drying on my master's degree, I'm back home and I am not applying for jobs, because there aren't really all that many jobs available to me in this town that wouldn't be a proof of failure (I'm not going to be the woman with the MFA who is serving you coffee, and I am NOT going back to the party store, thank you). On Friday I'm going down to the Printmaker's Forum to pay for studio rental and then I'll be printing there a couple of days a week. I'm going to set up a work space in the house where I can draw, sew, knit and bind books. I'm going to work my arse off and make things that can bring in some money while I start my next big research-type project; I'm going to apply for shows, look for opportunities and learn how to schmooze better (and not only to satisfy my consonantal lust). Now that I've been back in my own house for a few days, sleeping next to my beloved again and easing back into my space here, I can't really just slip back into my old life, because I am a different person now. But nor is this a totally new life. I have to work to build something in between and even though I have some sort of vague plan in my head about that, I'm really at a loss for what to actually DO in order to get that building started (other than keep schlepping those boxes and try to clear some space in the room I hope to soon be working in). I'm not even sure how to write about how scared I am right now, because I'm not looking to garner a bunch of sympathy and more back-pats; I know I'm lucky to have the luxury not to need to look for a real job for a little while, to take the time to see if I can't build a career out of mostly nothing. But if anybody out there wants to give me a show or invite me to come teach a workshop somewhere or commission a sweater or anything else that might help me to start paying off my student loan, I'm all ears.
file under: this is party time
The main reason the last three years of my life must be relegated to the attic for the time being is not for the sanity of my family who have to live here, but because we're throwing a party this Saturday. A party for which I created a facebook event page, sent to most of my friends there, and then promptly forgot about, not actually inviting anyone outside of facebook (ugh, I know). So if you actually know us in person or live in Windsor or otherwise feel you should have been invited, consider yourself invited, and as long as you're not a creepy stalker you can e-mail me for our address and I'll give it to you, or you can just look us up in the phone book. Saturday, the 17th, seven-ish. It's a sort of combination May two-four/graduation/glad to be home thing. We'll be serving up a mess of Southern food, I tell you what. And we brought home a two-four of Terrapin (the local Athens beer) and a frighteningly huge bottle of Makers Mark which I was going to hog all to myself until Peter mentioned bourbon aplenty in the short-notice party invitation he sent out yesterday, so, what the hell. Learning to make a perfect whiskey sour is on my Überlist for this year, so making that this party's theme drink will give me lots of practice and, I hope, leave our kitchen less sticky than the last few parties' theme drinks. Whiskey sours all around! Y'all oughta come.
file under: nobody gets my jokes
Way back when we were talking about the Midge Ure thing (no link, because I know y'all really don't want to be reminded) I said, the thirty somethings would be going "wha?" and the younguns would be all like "who?". And I thought that was so funny, because remember when we were kids and it was always "he goes, she goes then I go. . . " in the same way that kids now are "all like, and I'm like, then he's like. . . " when recounting conversations? Then when I complained to Peter that nobody got my joke he said (went) "yeah, that one was too subtle for me, too". Frak. (yes, weeks later I still think about this shit. I'm unemployed now, what else have I got to do but obsess about stuff?).
file under: more wastes of time
So that I can keep track of how I spend my time now that I'm unemployed (I'm going to have to train myself to say "self employed". TCB!) I signed up on twitter. And put it in my sidebar so y'all can keep an eye on me and make sure I'm working. Because I know that people have nothing better to do. Actually, the twitter thing may (or may not, I might just be deluded or lying to y'all outright) have something to do with a project I'm going to start working on soon. Maybe. We'll see. Right now I have a lot of ideas and not a lot of focus. Could you tell?
Oh. Also. I've switched to moderating my comments for a while to save myself the ongoing agony of being constantly and totally slammed with spam comments. I think I set it up right but I'm not sure, so please let me know if you experience any difficulty with it. I had Peter send me a test comment hours ago and still haven't received e-mail notification to approve it, so I'm not sure I'm going to end up liking how this works. I'm trying to avoid having to upgrade my Movable Type, which is scary to me only because I still allow technology to flummox me. But still.
April 14, 2008
randomly assembled fragments
file under: firsts
Peter and I drove to Savannah for a much-needed weekend away from Athens (and all things grad school), and I finally popped my coastal cherry. My first ever trip to the ocean (any ocean) was all I imagined it would be and less: very large, very blue, very cold, very wet and the beach was completely free of dead fish, something I was very, very apprehensive about on the way there. Most of y'all probably know about my ichthyophobia (and for those who don't, please don't even ask, just look up "phobia" and laugh to yourselves if you must but before offering any advice about facing my fear, go re-read the part about unreasonable fear and then just don't say it). Anyway. It's only the third time in my adult life that I've even gone to any beach at all, having had a bit of a bad experience at Ipperwash when I was twenty that put me off the lakes pretty much for good (see above re: fish phobia) so it's nice that the time of year or the tides or the ocean deity or whatever made it all nice and clean and not-scary for me. I licked my foot back at the hotel later and to my childish delight, it tasted like salt.
The complete flickr set of our trip is right here (beware: it's mostly brick walls).
file under: home stretch
There are only two more weeks of school left, which means two weeks until my thesis (or rather, "written report", which while being more accurate also sounds far less scary) is due. Two. Weeks. Peter is leaving here on Wednesday and this will be the last time, ever, that he will leave me alone here. In two weeks he'll come back, this time with the kids and with a trailer hitch attached to the car, and we'll leave together. And the skies will open up and the birds will sing and the mice will prance around in adorable little waistcoats and the butterflies will tie ribbons in my hair (wait, that might be the birds) and all the kitties in the world will flop over in unison for belly rubs. Cue the children's choir.
file under: dreams you don't want to come true
Last night I dreamed that I was at the studio having sexual relations with a certain aging mostly forgotten former pop star. Doesn't matter who, it's not someone you younguns have ever heard of and certainly not someone I've really ever thought of at all, either as a sex object or as someone with a band worth listening to. As dream sex goes it wasn't in any way pleasurable but there's one distinct image that won't leave my mind: his penis was long and thin and even though it was fairly erect the foreskin still went pretty much all the way to the tip, and it was sparsely covered in lustrous brown hairs about three centimetres long that swooped down towards his body and curved out slightly at the end, sort of like little kids' drawings of pine trees, if you can picture that. I know, ugh, right? But I can't stop seeing it. Incidentally, the rest of his hair was silver and very long and thick, even though the last time I saw a picture of the guy (which was from more than twenty years ago) he was balding. And not gray, and he certainly didn't seem the sort to have any kind of remarkable foreskin.
file under: vanity
Speaking of gray hair, though: last Friday before the opening I went out and got my first ever fifty dollar haircut (Chala at Republic, whom I highly recommend if you're naturally curly and living in Athens, GA). I wanted to train my hair to part on the side instead of in the middle so she gave me a nice part on the right. Two days later I moved it to the left because that's where my little gray patch is, and I want it to show because I have it in my head that it's a streak even though it's really just about thirty or so gray hairs clustered. I'd appreciate it if y'all would just humour me and pretend it's turning into a streak, because I'm convinced that this streak, when it finally appears for real, is going to miraculously transform me into one of those sultry middle-aged women who get respect and also lots of boyfriends.
April 11, 2008
great lakes basin baby
Thanks, everybody, for all of the kind words about my work. It's been a week of decompressing as best I can in amongst teaching class, cobbling together a first draft of a thesis, getting the studio ready to move into the new School of Art building and a day of events with a candidate for the position we're hiring in printmaking. Peter and I are off to Savannah GA this weekend and I don't plan to think about work or school for a single second. I'm going to be too busy walking around gaping like a tourist at mossy trees, fusty old graves and ALL the WATER because in all of my thirty-six years I have never, ever seen an ocean. Seriously.
Last night I wrote to Cari that it certainly won't be like any ocean experience I could have back home in Canada. And then I dreamed about Newfoundland (to which I've obviously never been, it being quite difficult to avoid ocean there); at least I think it was Newfoundland, the waves were rough and cold and I was standing on rock. Fortunately for me there were no hordes of capelin beaching themselves at my feet (something I heard about on CBC radio once and became convinced was unavoidable if one found oneself on the shore in Newfoundland). That would have been a nightmare.
Speaking of nightmares: I had a real doozy the other afternoon, napping after having fallen asleep working on my thesis. It wasn't scary, just horrible, involving a terrible person torturing a calf that I had befriended, and although it was actually kind of dumb in retrospect (leading up to the final horrible scene there was even a swell of melodramatic music that somehow reminded me of Michael Landon's wobbly chin whenever he cried) it had me sobbing out loud as I left the bed, throwing myself into Peter's lap and weeping, "that fucking asshole! that fucking asshole!" (about the guy who did evil deeds to my calf). Clearly I need a vacation, and BAD.
I finally posted photos of the graduation dress, which actually has printing on it although you couldn't really tell in the modelled photos. You can see it here, on the thesis blog. Because I know that most of y'all care more about the knitty stuff than the other, here's the wrap:
It's woodblock-printed Tokuatsu (a machine made paper of pure kozo fibre), cut into strips, spun on a wheel (thanks, Darilee, for the loaner) and knit on 6.5mm needles, six rows of garter and one row of drop stitch with a triple wraparound. I was afraid to wash it before the show and have it not dry in time, but I expect it'll soften up a lot when I do get around to wetting it. As it is, it's actually remarkably warm (although some of that warmth doubtless came from the thousand or so people who crammed into our opening).
Okay, leaving for Savannah in minutes and I'm not packed. Story of my life.
January 04, 2008
january brought jane, but jane's so full of pain. . .
The cold that brewed steadily through the last days of December became a croaking, creaking pain by New Year's Eve, and a fun party-time evening with friends old and new was spent alternately coughing and slowly sipping scotch, hoping for some relief for my throat. My throat responded by dumping a thick pile of crud onto my vocal cords, where it has sat until today, when I spoke my first words of 2008 (unless you count stage whispers and hand gestures). I sound like a June bullfrog, that is when I can get any sound to come out at all. But it's starting to look like I may have enough voice in me to teach my class on Tuesday after all.
November 25, 2007
he's back on the highway, i'm still here
Peter and I have passed a major hurdle: this last separation, stretching from Canadian Thanksgiving to a week before American Thanksgiving, was the last, longest stretch; we will never in our lives have to be apart from each other for that long again. He's several hours away from me up the highway now, but in only seventeen days from today I'll be flying home. And after the winter break, for my last four months here in Athens, our times together will be longer and our times apart shorter. It's going to be glorious.
Autumn comes to Georgia after all; I just had to be more patient. I ought to have known by now, my third autumn here, to expect it about a month later than I'm used to. But somehow this year I noticed more. There are a lot more trees where I live now, what with these woods right next door. It's safer to walk through them in the dark now, because with all the leaves that have fallen, the lights of the engineering building and the family housing penetrate far enough to just about meet in the middle. Just a week ago I nearly wandered off the path because it was too dark to see it.
Today I'm listening to my new favourite local radio station, AM 880, the one with the shed on Broad St and the sign that says "home of gospel". It's the only local station that doesn't suck, and even the commercials aren't bad (radio commercials make me utterly mental, which is why I pretty much can't listen to commercial radio at all). Peter and I listened to it in the car all week and I'm already familiar with the strange diction of the church announcements guy. This morning they scared me for a moment by playing a xmas song, but immediately went back to the Jesus is the rock/I never should have cheated on my wife (but the flesh gets weak, y'all) stuff that I love. I wish I had discovered this gem in Athens two and a half years ago.
August 12, 2007
here we go again
Peter left this morning. As soon as he was out of the driveway I walked over to the studio (three minutes away, now!) and spent the next three hours schlepping my entire studio contents over to a new space on the other side of our building (so that I don't have to listen to the Hollander beaters anymore, or endure people starting up the pressure washer outside my door when I'm in the middle of a critique with one of my professors). I figured out a while ago that it's better not to stay home after seeing him off, that working in the studio for a while doesn't just push the hurting off until later but diffuses it a little as well, distracting me from the worst part, thinking about him on the highway and wondering where he is, is he out of Georgia yet? Is he through Tennesee? and waiting all day for him to call even though I know he won't be home to do so until late. Still, as I turned from the driveway and climbed the stairs to lock the apartment door before heading to studio, my limbs ached with that familiar heaviness. But this time apart will be short, just four weeks; I've sworn, after last winter, that we will never be apart for eight weeks at a time again. Ever.
I left my new studio in a shambles, too distracted to put anything away once I'd moved it over there, and came home to knit and watch back to back episodes of The Sopranos instead. Tomorrow I've got printing to do, finishing the litho I started last week when Peter was working in studio with me. Then the next day the interminable every day meetings and obligations start up again, Thursday I teach my first litho class, and it's into the home stretch. Eight more months and I'm outta here.
July 25, 2007
I'm having a lot of trouble with motivation of late. I can't commit to any projects, can't get anything done, at times can't even lift myself from my seat to do something that I know needs doing, that I very much want to do, even. I haven't been drawing in my sketchbook, haven't touched the printing I brought home with me (should have known), have been staring at the same pile of half-sewn skirts for a week now. And that's just my school work, never mind the things I wanted to accomplish around the house this month. And now I'm facing the prospect of leaving those projects untouched for another year while I go back to school. Gah. And my website is terribly out of date, and I've got weeks' worth of photos to share, and recipes to post, and. . . and. . . I dreamed the other night that I hadn't blogged in so long that I was no longer the number one Jodi Green in a Google search, AND I was reading about it in the New York Times. Pathetic.
We're having a little party this Friday before leaving for Athens, and I've been too sidelined by migraines the past two days to do any cleaning, menu planning, or finding places to put all of the boxes of stuff that fill the living room. Now that there are only a few days left, I have to lift my sorry carcass from my fainting sofa and get down to work (because everybody knows that having a party is just an excuse to get the house clean). Here are the things I need to accomplish today:
-wash out roll-top desk and new bookshelf
-bring boxes of glasses and china up from basement, unpack, wash and put in bookshelf
-move the echinacea to the other side of the garden (I can already see this one getting shunted off to tomorrow)
-sew zippers into three skirts
-move drawing boards to basement
-pack school stuff
Am I setting myself up for failure? Wouldn't be the first time. The dishes part and packing the school stuff are both pretty big jobs, but I'll attack them in dribs and drabs throughout the day (which is probably a hint as to why it's so hard for me to finish things, eh?).
In lieu of anything more interesting than my self-absorbed whine, here's a picture of last night's supper at Terra Cotta, Windsor-Detroit's best pizza:
June 08, 2007
I don't know why the weblog gets such short shrift of late, it's not like I'm not sitting on my arse all day every day staring at the laptop screen with things to say. It seems always to get pushed aside until the last minute, and today is no exception. We're leaving in half an hour or so, to London for the weekend. For those of you in and around beautiful London Ontario this weekend, I'll be showing/selling my art down at Art in the Village (you can find me on somebody's front lawn on the northwest corner of Wortley and Bruce, 10 until 4; be there or be. . . not there, I guess. But if you're there you can hang out and knit with me for a while, won't that be fun? And bring down your amazing finished knits to show off so that I can take your picture. Here's someone I just found on Ravelry (the site that's got everyone abuzz, whose awesomeness I'll talk about later, soon) who will also be showing art there. We'll be the crazies sitting out in the sun knitting when it's too hot to even touch fabric.
Peter and I have a lovely aimless afternoon ahead of us, taking our sweet time meandering to London, perhaps by way of Port Stanley (I've never been there despite living pretty darned close to it all my life), and having a picnic of sandwiches and pies from our favourite Lebanese bakery. While our relationship really has no beginning and no end, today is an anniversary of sorts for us, a day to acknowledge quietly, a day I like for us to do something special together if we can. We haven't had a lot of time alone together since I came home because of kids and family stuff, but today there are no obligations, and we have no plans other than to be together.
Orangina is all over but the weaving-in, which I've been putting off for two days now because there are about a jillion ends. My goal is to wear it to my mom's on Sunday. The red cardigan is a button-band away, the blue cardigan just needs a hem and some sleeves. The cardiganized Wicked is blocked, and while searching the attic for my big bag of hanging hardware that I use to hang my art on the gridwall for outdoor shows (didn't find it) I found a little bag of buttons that I think will be perfect for it. I love how that happens, except for the not having any s-hooks to hang my art part. Pray for no wind, friends, because I'm relying on packing tape and zip ties tomorrow.
May 15, 2007
the monkey house
Our visit to Milwaukee and Chicago was relaxing and uneventful, just what I needed, and I miss my friends already now that we've left them and come back home. I spent much of the trip in a cold-addled fog, but that too is passing. It's going to storm this afternoon but for now the breeze is warm and I'm barefoot on my porch, spying on the people doing yard work across the street while the little neighbour children dance up and down my porch steps and make up silly songs. I can so easily get sucked into just sitting out here and experiencing the summer days and let all my work slip away, but I'm trying hard to remain motivated and set tasks. I've done some yard work of my own today, cutting down a few weedy trees and digging up all the giant thistles. I'll have some work to show soon, but for now there's an empty teapot needs filling and these children require attention.
April 22, 2007
Who needs Pennsic?
When you've got Viking Week at the frat house.
This picture was taken after the party, and I really wanted to show y'all what a mess it was beyond the plastic sheet wall, but I felt too weird sticking my camera into private property like that, even at 7:30 on a Sunday morning. You'll just have to think back to those high school bush parties (that's like a kegger out in the woods, for my American friends), add in some very Southern tall-backed rocking chairs and the pissiest of American beers, and use your imagination.
Vlad's the morning after the Slave Auction never looked that gross.
*Ahem. Speaking of my favourite summer dorkfest, I have some sad news for members of a certain geeky subculture who will be expecting to see me at Pennsic: Edmund and I can't make it this year. I will be moving house in Athens on August first, and we can't justify paying full price for the whole event to stay for just two days. Next year, I promise. We will still drink whiskey and drunk dial everybody at the appointed time.
The disappointments don't stop there, friends. For those of you belonging to a geeky subculture who will expect to see me at Maryland Sheep and Wool, well, that ain't happening either. My final exam slot with the class I teach is Friday May 4th in the afternoon, Peter will be here waiting to take off to the Great White North, and we're going to take our sweet time driving, stopping at whatever cheesy roadside attractions catch our eye and rocking motel beds throughout Kentucky and Tennessee. Then, as a consolation prize for having to back out on our vacation, we'll swing out of our way a bit to see some dear friends. Perhaps we'll sit outside in the early morning cold and drink tea in our pyjamas with our bare feet in the wet grass, just to get that proper vacation feeling.
April 17, 2007
a fine day, mostly
Buoyed by the knowledge that while Peter has left again he'll be back here in less than three weeks to take me home with him for the summer, I headed back into the studio today and got next to nothing accomplished, instead helping other people with bookbinding and papermaking projects, and chatting for a while with a friend who's having some tough times. Everyone is reeling from yesterday's tragedy and I couldn't concentrate long enough to do much actual work. In the afternoon I walked over to the Family and Graduate Housing office and signed a contract on my new apartment. Here it is:
While I didn't ask for it specifically, this was the building I was hoping to get into, the shortest walk to my studio. Today they offered me the apartment on the corner, the closest apartment to my studio in the whole complex. Score! I move in on August first.
I'm excited to be moving. It will take me five minutes to walk to studio from here, which means I can go home for lunch and can work as late as I want without having to worry about biking home in the dark. I can work on game days without having to ride down Milledge Avenue through all of the parties and craziness and "you honk, we drink" nonsense. I will have my own space again (it didn't take me long to remember why I swore long ago to never again live with roommates) and never have to wait for the bathroom or listen to someone else's loud television while I'm trying to sleep, and will have four working stove burners all to myself instead of the two burners I currently share with two other people. I can keep the heat where I like it (down) instead of waking up at four every morning sweating because the furnace has been left blasting. When Peter visits we can engage in censored activities without worrying about other people in the house. No more having to bike to the laundromat. And this will be my morning walk to the studio:
This will make my last year away from home so much more bearable.
April 10, 2007
want to be singing at the end of the day
Yesterday my beloved turned 41, and we spent it in all the best ways, doing lots of not much: lounging on coffeeshop couches, me drawing, him reading blogs; cooking supper together; propped up in bed watching the Trailer Park Boys movie; drinking wine; retiring early (say no more). I've been taking it easy since he got here, avoiding the studio, lying in bed longer, avoiding reading the news, drawing in my sketchbook. Peter brought me a 24 pack of Laurentiens, my favourite coloured pencils, from home, so that now I can colour on my printed book pages with more than just Sharpie markers.
There are pictures to upload, projects to write about, but I can't be arsed to do it while Peter is here. My hands, always so nervous and active, would just as soon be still right now, holding his.
March 14, 2007
Sadness and worry kept me from sleeping last night, and what sleep I did manage was peppered with troubling dreams, thinking about a beloved friend, hoping she's okay and knowing that she isn't. Morning found me in a cold sweat with a migraine teasing at my forehead, demanding to be let in. I tried to go to studio but that was a bust, and after sitting on the loading dock for a while with the puppy and a cup of tea, listlessly drawing tree branches in my book while waiting for the migraine drugs to kick in, I gave up and came back to the apartment. Felt a bit better for a while in the afternoon, sitting on the patio with the dog, did a few more little drawings. I thought I might sit at the computer and work on updating the portfolio pages on my website (fuck you, migraine, I'll stare at that light if I want to) but instead fell asleep in the bath. I'm conducting a little experiment to find out just how much tea my body can hold.
Last night I stayed up late cleaning out my inbox, and in the end managed to reduce it from a horrifying 1510 messages to 54. It was a dismal experience, finding all of those things I should have responded to and didn't, realizing just what an ass I am, how lazy and inconsiderate. If you have e-mailed me in the last year for something important or something unimportant, to ask me for advice or help or to tell me how awesome I am and you never heard back from me, I'm sorry. I am not awesome. Please e-mail me again, for I am sincere in my desire to change my ways, to develop good correspondence habits and to treat people's queries and praise with more respect, to try to shed some of this constant stress, take back the time I devote to that stress and spend it paying attention to my friends instead.
I was going to write more today about my big project with the fabric and the clothes, to tell you just what I'm doing and why, but I'll leave that for now; this project is an important and exciting step forward for me and I want to talk about it when I'm feeling good. Perhaps tomorrow. For now I've got the last eighteen episodes of Naruto to watch, and an empty tea mug that needs refilling.
About the shirt thing: I may have given some the wrong impression, that I was worried what people would think about me drawing on my clothes. I was only worried what people would think about my apparent lack of concern for good hygeine if I wore the same shirt for four days in a row. But of course I'm going to do it.
February 27, 2007
February 25, 2007
Week in review.
I have pictures to show from the studio today, and might even get around to uploading them tonight. But for now, I'm exhausted, and all I can muster is a list with bullet points. It's been a rough few weeks (but it's about to get much, much better).
~ I'm having trouble this semester with keeping motivated to teach my class. I've pretty much felt crappy about teaching this Drawing II class ever since learning that the budget for nude models was blown last fall and there is no money to hire models for Drawing II. I was excited to teach figure drawing, it's something I'm good at and passionate about and I feel I have a lot I can give to my students in that area, and my students are getting screwed by not having that in their curriculum at this level. I think they'll be at a disadvantage later on for not having the groundwork laid this early in working with the human form. Blech. I've been trying some things to make the class fun and exciting, and my students are doing okay and seem to be enjoying themselves and learning something, but I can't shake this dread, three days a week: I don't want to teach today. I don't want to teach today. I really need to find a way to turn this negative mantra into a positive one.
~ I took my navel piercing out this week, after six years of it never really healing properly (Mom: don't get too excited, I still have more piercings now, even without it, than I did when you got pissed at me for getting this one) (everyone else: yes, I'm thirty five years old and still catch hell from my mom every time I put ink or metal in or through my skin; so what?). I have to tell you, it feels really good to have this piercing out; I never switched up the original barbell to a smaller one, and it was constantly catching on everything, more than I realized. Since taking it out I notice it all the time, every time I don't catch it on my shirt or don't have to move it out of the way when I bend over. I just hope it doesn't heal up too funny-looking.
~ there is nothing on my laptop keyboard with which to make a proper bullet point.
~ I feel like I got off easy because I only had three critiques in two days this week; a few of my colleagues had four or five. My critiques all went well, but still, that's hard work.
~ I don't know how I'm going to be able to bear it when I have to give my loaner spinning wheel back to its owner. If anybody wants to help me finance one by buying six hundred dollars worth of art, give me a shout.
~ on Tuesday morning the printmaking grads had critiques with visiting artist Lesley Dill; she was brought in by the painting and drawing department but I requested that we be able to have a studio visit from her as well (because, ever since I came to UGA, every single faculty member and visiting artist who has come into my studio has mentioned her name in the first three minutes), and it was a really good experience. She said some things that really resonated with me, and was a calming and reassuring presence that I think may have had something to do with the sudden positive attitude around Green Street this week, as the atmosphere thus far in the semester has often been negative.
~ if I eat a whole pound of tofu for supper, will I gain a whole pound? Just wondering.
~ I don't know how a man gets to be thirty five years old without somewhere along the line learning that it's not very polite to leave the toilet unflushed, every night, when there are other people in the house*.
~ don't people in pharmacy school have to learn about chemicals and stuff? Because when I asked a pharmacist today, "what do you recommend for this chemical burn on my hands? It's caused by mineral spirits, and liquid asphaltum. Which also contains mineral spirits", I was met with a blank stare. Then she asked, "does that have any detrimental effects?" (um, isn't it her job to answer that?), to which I replied "well, it did give me this chemical burn, so I'd say yes, it does".
~ to be fair, the aloe gel she recommended feels very, very good. I'm probably using too much of it, but whatever. This is the first time in over a week that my hands haven't burned or stung or itched. I may just fill some rubber gloves with aloe gel and wear them all the time.
~ Peter will be here tomorrow! one more sleep! and just in time, I've developed this lovely chemical burn all over the backs of both my hands. Hubba hubba, I feel sexy.
*EDIT: on re-reading this, I realized that some of you might get the wrong idea here and think I was referring to my beloved: I wasn't. He is perfectly considerate and wonderful (and, did I mention, coming here tomorrow?!) and also, well over thirty five.
January 21, 2007
a good day
This morning I got up early and made bran muffins, only scarfing down one with breakfast instead of the three or four I'm usually tempted to eat when they're hot from the oven. Because I spilled water all over the slip of paper the recipe's scrawled on, and inspired by Peter (who has begun archiving on his blog all of the things we like to cook whose recipes, no matter how many times we write them out and stick them on the fridge door, always go missing), I'm posting it here for next time. It's essentially the same bran muffins my mom always made when I was a kid, but of course I've tinkered with it a bit:
3/4 cup oil
2 cups soy milk
3/4 cup sugar (the original recipe called for a cup, but I prefer less; today I used turbinado sugar as I'm trying to quit the white stuff)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bran
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
flax seed: I usually grind up a handful, probably between two and three tablespoons, then also add two tablespoons of seeds whole just because they look pretty. Today I left the flax out as my pantry was less than adequately prepared for muffin-making.
Mix up all the dry together and all the wet together,throw one into the other and don't mix any more than is necessary. Fill buttered muffin tins about 2/3 full and bake at 350F for 15 to 20 minutes.
In my opinion, these are best enjoyed one of two ways: straight out of the oven when they're almost too hot to eat, slathered with about twice as much butter as is healthy, or later during a break in your morning work, alongside a cup of tea brewed in a new little teapot sent by a kind and thoughtful friend:
If any natural light ever makes it into this house I'll show you all of the contents of the sweet little care package Bonnie sent: this pot, some lovely teas for me to try, some wee notes, cute little soy sauce squirty bottles for my lunch box, one of Cara's beautiful note cards, and cup ramen! (yup, it's all Naruto all the time around here, folks).
Other things that made this a good day:
-On my way out the door I discovered that in wrangling my bike in and out of Jessica's car last night, the chain came sort of half-off and got wedged very tightly into a terrible spot. Even though I know next to nothing about bikes (okay, who am I fooling? I know nothing about bikes, nothing at all) I didn't panic and I didn't cry. I examined it carefully, figured out where it needed to go, loosened some things, and fixed it. Myself. And then rode to studio feeling stupidly proud for managing such a small job. But, listen! If that had happened at home I would have cried and then made Peter fix it. So, I'm almost like a real cyclist now! I did almost cry though, just for a second.
-I made good prints today, just in time to meet my first deadline for the editioning challenge. Pictures at eleven.
-Sarah Harmer's You Were Here. I love that record so much. Yes, I want to marry it.
-I rode my bike home in the cold rain and got completely soaked. Again, I felt like a real cyclist (instead of someone who bikes when the weather's okay and cadges a lift when it's not, or when she's just too big a baby to ride home in the dark at night, like what happened last night).
-Because my trousers were drenched when I arrived at the house, I got to put my pyjama pants on at 4:30 in the afternoon, so now I'm all cozy and coddled-feeling. Hooray for kittycat flannel pants!
-While waiting for my supper to I got to talk to StephVW on Skype! I really only use Skype to talk with Peter, and don't talk on the phone much with anyone from home because it's so much more expensive than e-mailing, so it was great to chat with a friend about silly stuff and to hear an accent kinda like mine. I always say Steph's name in my head as "Steph fow vay", like Volkswagen.
-Oven fries and edamame for supper. Only half healthy but totally delicious.
-Exclamation points! I can use as many as I want!!
-Skype date with Peter tonight. Those are the best nights. Well, the best nights when I'm in Athens and Peter is not, but y'all know what I mean; the best nights are the red hot nobody else is in the house so let's make some noise nights, but I'm not letting myself think about when we'll have another one of those. It might spoil my otherwise good day.
December 31, 2006
another day, another Tim Hortons
It's not that I've forgotten about this little journal, it's just that I haven't felt much like talking. Everywhere I go people keep asking me when I'm heading back to Georgia when all I really want to do is live for the moment and savour my time here with Peter before I have to get back on a plane and start counting the days all over again. We've been doing a lot of not-very-much, going out to coffee shops, watching many, many episodes of Naruto, sleeping, and just quietly enjoying each other's company.
Tonight, though, we're breaking out of our little asocial bubble to serve a midnight supper to eight friends. And, because I've been far too lazy this week to write up the lace scarf pattern I was planning to post here, let me instead give you these, which I just took out of the oven:
The Only Shortbread Worth Making
1 pound butter (I think you're supposed to use unsalted butter, but last week I forgot and used salted for the xmas batch and they were wonderful)
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 cups flour
Blend the butter and sugar then add the flour in two or three stages. Dump it out on a floured board, shape into a 1/2 cm thick rectangle with your hands and cut it into 3 cm by 3 cm squares with a knife (I prefer not to tart up my cookies, but rather to let the exquisite taste make up for the rustic appearance). Bake at 325 F for 20 minutes or so, et voila! Now gorge yourself while they're hot; you can afford to, since this recipe makes about sixty cookies.
December 16, 2006
glass half full
Good morning everybody. I've not much time to write today; we're driving to Toronto to spend some time with friends we haven't seen in a while, and as it's the only day this month when we'll get the chance, we're stopping in London on the way to pay a visit to my most favourite shopping establishment in the world: the Horton Street Goodwill with the dollar a pound sale in the back room. Yeah!
I really just wanted to place a little marker here, as today marks the halfway point in two important journeys for me. I am a year and a half through my three-year separation from my beloved, halfway through my terminal degree. Just eighteen months to go until I will never have to go to sleep alone again, never have to talk to Peter over the computer night after night when all I want is to touch him. But today is only a symbolic marker of that, and really I'm celebrating that halfway point this whole month while I'm home with him. The halfway point you can check on the calendar is this one: I am thirty-five years through my life. Friends, this morning I woke up middle-aged. And even though my back hurts a lot more than it used to, I think I'm going to like it here.
December 08, 2006
Jessica's going to think I'm a complete tool for still being mad about this.
Yesterday I went down to the P.O. to mail some packages, one of which was a piece of art sandwiched between two rigid sheets of bookbinder's board. I asked to purchase insurance for the amount that I am being paid for the print, and the post office lady gave me a huge argument about how if anything happens to my package the USPS won't actually cough up that amount, but only the amount it would cost "to remake it".
What the fuck?
So she says, it's like, say you have a set of blueprints and you insure them for five hundred dollars. If they get lost or damaged, we'll only cover what it would cost to have them printed again.
Is that the way insurance is supposed to work? So I said to the lady, that's like saying that if you have a hundred thousand dollars life insurance and you die, the insurance company can say, well, it only costs fifty thousand to raise another child so we'll just give you that, it's the replacement value. No, you get the amount you insure yourself for. That's how insurance works.
Anyway. I know I obsess about this sort of shit too much and I should just let it go now that my package is on its way, and insured for the full amount. But what pisses me off is this: in comparing my work to blueprints, what she's saying is that the replacement value they would be willing to cover on my art is the cost of materials. If your blueprints get ruined and you have to go down to Kinko's to have them reprinted, you are paying a fee to Kinko's that included not only cost of materials but also labour, overhead and profit. If they ruin my art, do you think they are going to pay me a replacement value that includes profit? You bet your ass not. As it is, this piece was sold to a friend, at a friend price, and if I were to add up all of the time in this print including cutting the woodblock and sitting in the computer lab waiting for the Epson to print and multiply that by minimum wage, I could easily justify the amount I insured the piece for. (Of course, woodblock-cutting time is divided between all of the prints made from that block and I make many, many prints from each block, but that's not something I'd be telling the USPS, because they're assholes). It just seems to be another way in which artists get screwed.
Okay. Now I'm going to let that go. Deep breath. And centre myself.
See, I don't have anything more to stress about right now, so I've got to find something. Monday night, after collecting my students' portfolios and staying at school very late to get them all graded, I went to bed and dreamed all night about the students and their drawings. My students are all in their first semester of university and have to go through a portfolio review process to prove they're good enough to be in the fine art major (this review happened on Thursday morning, which is why I was grading portfolios before the last day of classes; I wanted them to have everything back in time for Thursday). So Tuesday night I dreamed that my students had all sorts of reading they were going to be tested on as part of their review, they were behind on it and really stressed out and I was trying to help them to figure out how best to budget their time and feeling terribly guilty because we'd been concentrating on drawing and not on the readings and I felt that I'd let them down. And the stuff they had to read was just awful, James Joyce and all sorts of other horrible crap. Ugh.
Up until last night when I was relaying this dream to Sandy, I thought I was just stressing for the students because of their review. But when I actually said the "I felt like I let them down" part out loud, I realized that the stress was actually about my meeting with my supervisor on Wednesday, because not only was I expecting to get in big trouble for a rule that I broke (I didn't get in too much trouble, and just have to, uh, not break that rule again) but he hadn't seen anything out of my class all semester and I was worried that he would think their work wasn't good enough. So, I thought that I was only thinking of my students but in reality it was all about me. Typical. (The meeting went fine. He was pleased with our work.)
But. All I have to worry about today is not getting to the airport on time, losing my bags, somebody crushing my big roll of Japanese paper that I'm (perhaps foolishly) flying with. None of which will happen, of course, and soon I'll be on a plane, worry-free, and on my way home to my beloved for almost a whole beautiful, blissful month.
Okay. Too many words and not enough pictures. I keep forgetting that the blog people are not all flickr people, and I do believe I forgot to show y'all this:
There are a lot of problems with this piece and the craftsmanship definitely falls well below my standards, but as it's really just a test piece, I'm okay with that. This isn't a piece that I will actually exhibit, but it has really helped me to figure out where to go from here, what my work wants to be about at this point in my career, and what I need to be concentrating on as I head into the home stretch towards my thesis exhibition. Expect to see more of these little rectangles, as I made about five times more than I needed.
Oh, and. I'm knitting a new sweater. It's going to be awesome.
November 29, 2006
it's a grave mistake, and i'm wide awake
Thank you all, so much, for both the congratulations and the condolences. It's not been the free and easy week of slouching and slacking that I thought it would be; I haven't really begun to pay off any of my crushing pile of sleep debt, although I have made a tiny stab at the interest. I've been dreaming about Benny a lot. I'm having trouble concentrating, having trouble caring, and can think of little else but Friday next, when my good friends at airtran will be escorting me home to my family. I'm so grateful that my students, rather than just scraping by and showing the signs of late-in-the-semester stress in their work, are instead knocking my socks off with fantastic drawings and leaping improvements. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to muster the enthusiasm I need to finish out this last week and a half, and blowing off my teaching would be a very bad thing to do. I will show you some of those drawings soon; I hope to photograph them over the weekend.
Now that I've got a bit of time to pick up the sticks and knit something for myself, I can't focus on anything and instead am working in fits and starts (or rather, starting a lot of things and tossing them aside once it's apparent they're not going to fit). I wouldn't be able to finish anything were it not for Larissa and her amazing Meathead pattern, the Fastest Hat Ever(tm). When I sat down to start my first one in green Lamb's Pride Bulky, after first having to undo a horrible snarl after following Larissa's suggestion to work the doubled strands from either end of the ball (I'm a little too inept to manipulate such things without making a huge mess), I wound it up in a centre-pull ball and then wound half of that off into a new centre-pull ball, leaving the two conjoined in the middle and naming the one on the left Chang and the one on the right Eng. I was going to take a picture of Chang and Eng for y'all, seeing as they were so darned cute sitting there joined by a string, but I cast on first and then before I knew it Chang and Eng were gone and I had a hat in my hands, only it seemed a bit small so I unravelled it and knit it in the larger size and I swear the cup of tea I had sitting there when I started all this was still warm by the end. And I had a cute, warm hat.
A few days later I wound up a new pair of twins, this time in brown (um, Ang and Cheng). I cast on. I went to the kitchen, stuffed a sliced onion into a potato and threw it in the oven. Before I knew it I had a delicious, golden baked potato. . . and a new hat.
Part of the deal-i-o* in being in the meatheadalong is that you have to embellish the hat over the left ear any way you like (rather than the usual cow-ear-tag, which I love). I wanted my embellisments to be interchangeable, so for now this one is wearing a few of my "knit" and "stitch" buttons.
Yeah, those are scraps from the dress. I don't throw anything away. I'm going to use buttons on the green hat too, but I'm waiting for some buttons I ordered from Kate at obsessive consumption to arrive; I got 20 so I can change them every day if I want.
I'll tell you a secret, I'm totally in love with this hat. I thought it would look dorky on me with its pointy, smurfy top, but it's very cute. I also made one in a smaller yarn for an infant, and I'm scouring my stash for anything else I can use to make more, more, more! I left a bunch of hot pink bulky wool in my filing cabinet at home, and it's not the fact that everyone whose name I drew for xmess is male that stops me from making them all pink meatheads, but the fact that I don't think pink would be a good colour on any of them. Actually, that might not stop me.
*I only use words like this because I know it pisses Peter off. Does that make me an asshole?
November 06, 2006
While cleaning out some folders I came across this photo of a corner in our dining room, and it made me homesick. Peter swiped this statue from the trash when a Catholic school he worked for was demolished.
(we really need to paint that wall)
I wake up restless these days and can't lie still; I've been getting up earlier and earlier every day, biking to the studio with frost still on the ground, bundled in an assortment of ragged knits and scraps (cut-off knee socks to warm my arms, cut-off sweater-sleeve legwarmers) that make me look like a boxcar-hopping hobo from an old movie. The alarm is set for six, but today I had to pee so badly at 5:40 that I couldn't hold out, and rather than get back into bed for twenty minutes I just got in the shower. Now I'm finding things to do, to force myself to at least not leave the house before seven. That's just crazy.
It has come to my attention that I've been a bit neglectful of some of my friends in the e-mail department. I'm so distracted right now that I just scan my messages in the morning and leave them to answer later, a system that's only as reliable as my own memory, clearly not a very reliable system at all. If you're waiting to hear from me about something, please send me a gentle reminder, and I promise that after the 20th I'll be more attentive, more present and a little less fuzzy around the edges. Pinky swear.
October 23, 2006
Those of you who know me in real life will be surprised to hear that I have not worn any of my bracelets since July. For those of you who do not know me in real life: for more than ten years now I've worn a collection of silver (okay, silver-coloured mostly) bangles and black jelly bracelets on my left wrist that I never take off except to make paper, to make bread, or during those periods when I injured my wrist enough to need to wrap it up. And when I got this tattoo. I initially started wearing them because Peter has silver bangles on HIS left wrist, and I thought it was cool and the sound they made was beautiful and I wanted to be like him. Neither of us takes them off to sleep, and the soft tinkling as one or both of us flops over in the night is always a comfort: it's the sound of my body, and the sound of my beloved.
July was unbearably, gut-wrenchingly hot; having returned home from Georgia I should have been able to handle it, but we don't use air conditioning and there were nights where I thought that the solid mass of heat in our bedroom would press on my chest until it had stopped my breathing completely. When I was wiping the mixture of rust and sweat off my arm three times a day and finding a rash developing beneath, I realized that the bracelets had to go for a while. I'd intended to put them back on when the weather cooled off, but it didn't, and then I had to come back to Georgia and, well, it's Georgia. Too hot. For the first month I felt terribly off balance, like the left side of my body was too light, too flimsy. It's been four months and sometimes I still feel that way, especially when working with my hands, printing, knitting and sewing. And in bed, every time I roll over and that familiar sound isn't there.
So yesterday I put one of my bracelets back on. I'll add them slowly, just one or two a week, to give myself some time to get used to the feel again. I've started with the largest and heaviest bracelet I have: it's stainless steel and was made by a blacksmith I know, a child of the steppes who now lives in the hills of West Virginia, named Lucianne (pronounced "Le-Shawn"). She made two of them and I bought them right off her arm, one for me and one for Peter. Peter's is smaller and more delicate; mine is heavy and clunky. The "his" version, I suppose.
And just two short nights from now, Peter and I will be together again and I'll be comforted by the gentle clank of his arm in the night for a few precious sleeps.
I've cross posted this from my flickr page, because I'm a lazy slag that way.
October 13, 2006
meet tab, boy electrician. fixes fuse boxes in a single bound.
I feel I'm becoming intellectually lazy, and I bore even myself with the endless "look what I made" and "I hate the weather". Creatively I'm thriving, working my arse off and loving it. But I feel I have little to say here other than show-and-tell, and can't muster up the energy most days to make the effort to write anything worthwhile when I could be letting my mind wander and doing something else, something more productive, with my hands. I've been hanging around on flickr a lot instead, and find the casual back-and-forth banter there much easier; more like a conversation and less like an essay. And it's so much less effort to just post a picture and say little.
So. I'm not abandoning this space. But until some of this crushing load of work lifts off my shoulders I might be scarce here; if you can't live without daily updates on every little thing I'm doing (and I know so many of you can't) then come on over to my flickr page and join in the conversation.
October 08, 2006
I should be less ungrateful. I don't have to live on the street. I am healthy, as are most of the people I care about. I have found someone who loves me enough to encourage me to leave him and go 1200 km away in order to get a better education than I could get at home. My time here is almost half over. I finally feel like I'm good enough to be in grad school, and am making work I'm happy with for the first time in a long time. This afternoon I will phone my family, and then maybe I won't feel so alone, for a while.
And, at least I'm not completely blind without my glasses, which just now, as I typed, leapt off my face in two pieces that ran off in opposite directions, citing irreconcilable differences. That loose arm has already been spotted making the rounds of the singles bars; the lenses are inconsolable.
September 25, 2006
I don't know why but when we're apart something makes me want to start setting fires and kicking down doors
I've been out of town for the last five days attending the Mid America Print Council's conference in Athens Ohio. Okay, actually I attended the first two days of the conference, then on Friday night my beloved came down to meet me there and I blew off the last day of the conference so I could lie around in a hotel bed, hold hands and wander from coffeeshop to coffeeshop with him for a too-short two night, one day visit. Now I'm fired up to get into the studio and make prints, and buoyed by the fact that the next separation from Peter will be a shorter one: only four and a half weeks this time. I told Pete that I'm going to finish a print today. Think I can do it? Just watch.
August 27, 2006
going to bed alone is the easy part
It's getting out of bed alone in the morning that's the hardest. Walking into a kitchen that isn't mine, going through the motions of making breakfast, sustaining myself, speaking to no-one, there is an emptiness in me that is more vast than I ever thought possible.
August 21, 2006
Obviously I spoke too fucking soon.
WARNING: old-lady-style kvetching ahead.
So one minute I was sitting at the computer, hitting "publish" on a blog post in which I whined about being sick and said I was feeling better, and the next I was flat on my back, dizzy and hallucinating. Here's a quick recap of the rest of my Sunday:
1. high, high fever
2. the sound of a train rushing through my head
3. strange hallucinations caused (I think) by the spinning blades of the ceiling fan
4. the certainty that my brain was swelling and that it would be days before my roommate thought to look in my room and find my swollen corpse
5. more sweat than you can ever imagine
6. umm, some vomit (yes, I have a COLD, what gives?)
7. the birds outside my window? They never, ever shut up.
8. a hypochondriachal freakout in which I repeatedly reassured myself (possibly aloud?) that I'm too old for meningitis, too young for a stroke (I was lying about the stroke part, but managed to convince myself at the time)
9. a blessed afternoon thunderstorm during which I opened the window and lay with my face right in it for about an hour and got soaked, because I'd become convinced I couldn't breathe in my room and that it was the fault of the central air unit
10. a Skype conversation with Peter conducted flat on my back in the sickbed while back home he was flat on his back on the couch, and I told him about my fever and vomit and he told me about messing up his back playing hockey. Because we are pathetic, and also old.
Ugh. I still had a slight fever this afternoon when I dragged my ass in to teach my class. If I hadn't told them to keep their distance the students might not have even noticed, because I'm totally fucking manic in the classroom on a good day, and apparently I'm pretty manic in the classroom with a fever, too. Some of them made some pretty decent drawings today, so I wasn't a total failure.
Okay. NO MORE WHINING.
I also wanted to say something about the sorority girls: I didn't mean to imply that I think all sorority girls are vapid and brainless, or slutty. I do think some of them are a bit silly but that could have as much to do with their youth as with anything else, and y'all ought to know by now that I don't see anything wrong with being slutty and in fact champion sluts every chance I get. What struck me about that gathering of girls, and the reason I went back to take a picture in the first place, was the sound they made: it was exactly like the thousands of starlings that gather in the girders beneath the Ambassador Bridge every evening back home, a massive chirpy rumbling that seems to hit your ears from all directions at once. In fact when we went by on our bikes Peter assumed that the sound WAS birds, and only realized it was the girls when I insisted on going back to take pictures. And yes, the sight of all those identical knee-length A-line skirts totally amazed me. When I saw some of the comments I had to go back and look at my post again to see if I'd said anything mean-spirited myself. While these girls do sometimes get on my nerves, I have to remind myself that they're just children, some of them young enough to be my daughters (although like all feminists I hope that my daughters would not be quite so girly). Perhaps when the first home football game rolls around I will feel less charitable towards them, who knows? But right now when I see them I also see my thirty-fifth birthday close on the horizon, and I remember that when my mother was the age I am now I was seventeen, and slutty, and undoubtedly an irritating little brat.
August 20, 2006
I'm not sure why we compare our sick selves to dogs. Have you ever seen a dog produce this much snot?
No studio yesterday or today, no bike riding, no printing. Also, no long rambling run-on sentence in which I mention things so embarrassing that I then have to apologize to my mom, because while I may still be feverish enough to write that stuff, fortunately I'm not feverish enough to publish it. I think I'm getting better, but I need to take it easy so that I'm not too sick to teach my class tomorrow.
Last night I was up late with a fever and I think I may have written some silly comments on the MySpace pages of people who don't even know me, which I guess is the internet version of drunk dialing. Gah.
So I will watch more old episodes of Trailer Park Boys today, and do some knitting (I've got a deadline fast approaching, but for once I'm right on target to meet it), and maybe work on some more of these drawings:
And that's all.
August 19, 2006
Let me tell you something
I am a bad -alonger.
I joined the trek-along with the best of intentions: it's summer! I'm unemployed! I love walking! and I just bought this awesome orange Trekking XXL at MDS$W, count me in! (in retrospect my intentions may have been a tad too emphatic and possibly manic, judging by all those !!s).
But let's face it: I like to go for walks, but I am a city girl without a driver's license, and you need to drive to get to a real hiking trail from where I live. There was just no way I was going to be able to be a valid trek-along participant without making someone else take time off work to drive me somewhere for a photo-op, and with Pete's new department head position and a limited number of vacation days (that have to last us all year when we're living 1200 km apart from each other, so they need to be doled out stingily and carefully spaced), it just wasn't happening. So at the very end of June I squeaked in with a cop-out photo of my trekking sock down at the Windsor riverfront, which is a park path, not a hiking trail (although we walk it many, many evenings in the summer to get downtown for coffee and back, and shouldn't that count a little, for city-dwellers?).
July crept by in a haze of sweltering dampness, and I barely lifted my carcass off the front porch long enough to walk inside to the tea kettle and back. I worked on my trekking sock a bit and then let it slip aside in favour of summer tops and my gramma's birthday scarf.
Then August came, and time to return to Georgia for school. On a whim, exhausted by the hour-long gridlock in the blazing sun in the middle of Nowhere, Kentucky, we decided to cut off the interstate and take our favourite route through Great Smoky Mountains National Park (we were desperate for some cool altitude and some shade to drive through). We stopped at the summit to eat our supper, and afterwards I puttered along the edge of the jagged slope, marveling at how all of the wildflowers and weeds were so familiar to me (because the part of Ontario we grew up in is a tiny pocket of Carolinean Forest nestled in the vast expanse of Boreal Forest that is the rest of Canada, so the flora of the Carolinas is exactly the same as home). Had my trekking socks not been safely packed away in a box somewhere in the trunk of the car, I could have dug them out and faked a really good trail photo. The sign was right there, on the way to the rest rooms, Appalachian Trail, it would have been so easy to just lay the sock down there and fake it, no hiking required, no purchase necessary. But I didn't. Maybe because I'd be embarassed to fake it, or maybe because I was too lazy to unpack half the car to find the sock. Or possibly because I might not have actually even thought of it until the next morning when we were far from the mountains, back in the city. But anyway, there you have it.
So. Instead I offer you this. Here I am in Athens Georgia, riding my new bike to school every day. This might not sound so remarkable, but listen: I have not ridden a bike regularly in sixteen years. I grew up in a tiny, tiny town (of maybe a thousand people), and I used to ride my bike out on country roads, where I could ride on any side I wanted until a car came along. When I was 18 I moved to London, and after three or four terrifying trips down Wharncliffe Road to get to my then-boyfriend's house (plus that one time I agreed to ride with him to a party way out in Byron even though it was dark and I had no lights on my bike; what a goddam ordeal that was, poor guy, I must have driven him crazy with my fearful whining and y'all, it was a long, long ride), I gave up riding in the city; I was just too scared. Twice I rode from my place to my dad's farmhouse north of the city, and both times I was absolutely terrified until I got outside the city and onto roads that seemed familiar and safe to me (even though I had never biked those particular roads before). I haven't ridden since. I gave my beloved old Triumph ten-speed to Peter, and when it came time to replace the tubes and we discovered that the wheels on my old bike were no longer considered a standard size and the right tubes couldn't be found, Peter bought himself a new bike and I sadly placed my old Triumph out by the side of the road (this story doesn't end sadly, though: somebody took it, and I even saw him riding it past our house one time, which made me really, really happy).
This spring, my colleague Jenn gave me a bike. I took it home and in the middle of July Peter and I rode from our house to the Yacht Club and back, then I started riding along with him to work every day on the riverfront bike path; it took me a little while to not be afraid of crossing Riverside Drive to get from our neighbourhood to the bike path, but I got over that. We brought both our bikes to Athens and rode downtown together every afternoon, then on the last day Peter was here we tried out the ride to the studio. And since he left I've been riding to school every day, even going on big, busy streets, using left turn lanes and everything. The only drawback is that unlike walking, for this I need to use my hands. And we all know what that means.
Sorry Norma and Margene, but I should have known better; knitalongs always tend to kill my enthusiasm for a project, and that added to the fact that I don't actually ever hike anywhere should have made it obvious to me from the beginning that I would fail. But I do have a beautiful almost-finished sock, and am slowly getting back in shape with the biking. So maybe next time we spend time in the Smokies, I will hike part of that trail.
I can, however, trek-along vicariously through my friends a bit: Wednesday night we had our first Hot Corner knit night of the 2006/07 school year; I drank tea and knitted the night away with Jenn, who has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, and Sam, whom I helped to kitchener her newly finished Trekking XXL socks. Do I get any kind of loser consolation prize for that?
August 14, 2006
that empty feeling
July 26, 2006
the communists have been shut out of the summer house, for now
Warning: this post is about menstruation. And some old-lady kvetching about my health. If you can't handle that, go away and come back tomorrow when I promise I'll have some pretty pictures of knitting and embroidery and flowers and stuff.
In the ongoing quest for fewer migraines, I'm trying something new: continuous birth control.
I have mixed feelings about it. The migraines are caused by dropping levels of estrogen, and when I tried to go off the pill back in the spring I was pretty much in agony every day until I gave in and started taking the pills again. I'm not overly concerned about the whole "natural vs unnatural" debate, because I've been on the pill for most of my adult life and thus have never really had a natural cycle anyway (although I have to admit that I was naively shocked when the doctor told me that women routinely mess around with their pills in order to ensure that they don't bleed on their wedding day, or on vacation. I swear I had no idea, and Peter can attest to how many times I've bled while on vacation).
I'm a little concerned about the lack of evidence that taking birth control continuously isn't harmful in the long term. But more than that I'm worried about giving up my period, which has always seemed to me to be not so much an inconvenience but a beautiful thing (except for the migraines that have been coming along with it for the last five years or so). I like the little reminder every month that I'm not pregnant (however remote the possibility may be). And I don't want anyone to think that I'm doing this because I'm buying in to any stupid idea about menstruation being dirty or shameful or, for crying out loud, obsolete. I hate that marketers try to convince us (and so many buy it!) that having a period is disgusting or abnormal, that PMS symptoms are something funny or pitiful, or that women should not be sexual while they're menstruating, or not be brides or whatever. That's all bullshit. I just want my head to stop hurting, and this might be a way to make it stop.
So I'm going to try this for three consecutive packs of pills (63 days), then take a week off (during which time I hope I will still bleed), then start another round of three consecutive packs. I'm going to keep careful track of when the migraines occur and how severe they are in order to evaluate whether this is working. I'm not really interested in getting into a debate here about whether it's a good idea or not, and certainly taking extra hormones that my body already produces is less harmful than all of the drugs I take to treat the migraines. I'm also not interested in opening up my comments for people to talk about how much they hate their period, because that's not what this is about and I heartily disagree with that position. So, know that I love y'all, but please keep the blood-bashing to yourselves.
This week is the first week; yesterday I started a new pack of pills hot on the heels of the old one. It feels strange: I should have my period today, but I do not. I should have a migraine today, but I do not. I'll let you know later whether it's worth it.
July 24, 2006
Tales of interrupted sleep
Thursday night: shortly after midnight, approximately umpteen fire trucks come clanging down our street and gather around a house a few doors down. After some terror-stricken scrambling downstairs I reassure myself that none of our neighbours are in fact on fire (it's not the first time there's been a false alarm at that house) and climb back into bed as the trucks begin to depart. Then we hear a beep-beep-beep outside our window, followed by the sound of a truck speeding around the corner and heading off in the direction of the station, then another beep-beep-beep. Muttering and swearing, I look out the window and sure enough: rather than drive the extra block down our one way street to the next corner, the trucks are backing up, the wrong way on a one way street, to our corner. Because this is Windsor, and that is how people in Windsor drive, and I guess as long as the vehicle is facing in the right direction you can get away with it. Even when people are in bed and your vehicle is BEEPING.
Friday night: at 3:58 am we're awakened by the squealing of tires and a STUNCH! sound, then another squeal, another sound of impact, and more squealing; Peter made it to the window just in time to see a dark car speeding off down our street (in the right direction, at least). In the morning I looked around but couldn't figure out what had been hit; we later discovered it was the front end of our neighbour's pickup truck. Thanks to the eagle eye of a neighbourhood insomniac the culprit has been identified and accused and intends to pony up for the repairs. No word on whether he intends to stop driving around our neighbourhood pissed out of his skull.
Saturday morning: not our sleep being disturbed this time, but that of our beloved Pickle. When I went outside to begin what was going to be a full day of weeding the backyard, I noticed a hole in the ground alarmingly close to the stone we've used to mark Fat Boy's grave (and the future site of a flowering crab we're going to plant to keep him shaded and draped in blossoms). An animal, probably one of the large extended family of skunks that moved into our neighbourhood this summer, was trying to dig down to him and had made it down so far that bits of shredded plastic bag (that Animal Control had advised Dylan to bury him in) were visible in the bottom of the burrow. I became hysterical, of course, and we decided we had to move him into a deeper hole. I'm not going to describe the heart-wrenching ordeal that followed, except to say that a new, very large hole was dug and much of the earth over his grave was skimmed away before we realized that there was no way we could move him either logistically or emotionally. So we came up with another solution that we think will keep him protected and undisturbed, filled the holes back in and quit for the day.
Sunday night: while falling asleep, we thought we could hear a faint, high pitched squeal coming in the window. When I awoke around 3:30 needing to pee, it seemed to be louder, and I wondered if it might be the street light outside. Walking to the bathroom, the whine seemed to be a lot louder in Claire's room than in ours, and after a bit of bumbling around the source was found: the Tamagotchi she left here almost a month ago. I ripped out its heart with a pair of tweezers and I'm pretty sure the thing is dead now.
Tonight: I'm thinking of buying some earplugs. And possibly also some sleeping pills.
June 08, 2006
I keep forgetting. . .
I can't seem to get a good picture of this haircut, and it's three weeks grown out now. It's pretty much as messy as ever, just messy and curly instead of messy and fried. In the photo it looks the same as last year, but it's really a lot longer, especially in the back. Martina started to make it a bit layered and asymmetrical, but it won't really show until it's longer and we've trimmed it a few more times. I'll go back to her again before I go back to Athens and hopefully I'll be looking like an 80s rock star soon.
May 16, 2006
My first year of grad school is over.
We celebrated this fact with a mug of America's finest. Which actually isn't really all that fine, but it wouldn't be the first time I've opted for style over truthfulness (be warned).
Maryland Sheep and Wool was a blast, and a well-needed (if poorly timed) break from the end of the semester scramble. Taking those three days off meant I had to come home and pull an edition of 15 prints and an art history exam out of my arse in one day, and I didn't really do a stellar job on either of them, but it was worth it. I met a whole pile of new people, both total strangers that I've already come to think of as friends through the crazy intimacy of the internet and also some fabulous completely-new-to-me people. The social whirl was completely overwhelming; I'm trying to trace my weekend in order of events so as to come up with the most complete list I can muster of all the people I met. All the weekend's good stories have already been told by others, so I'll just give a boring link-fest of everyone I can remember: Jane, Mouse, Norma, Nipper Jenn, the elusive Rock Chick, Booga J (who showed me a prototype for a new bag design that is really, really cool, Kirsti you're going to love it), the Keyboard Biologist, Claudia, Silvia, Wendy (who I may have offended with a foot-in-mouth comment made with no ill intent but sort of snarky-sounding nonetheless), Cassie, Juno, Cara, Chris, June, this Sarah, that Sarah, Lara (possibly the most gorgeously photogenic person I have ever met), Lauren, Jenna, Frecklegirl Jessica, Jody with a "y", Jen, Kate, Amy, Coleen, Mama E, my countrywoman Rachel H who has no blog, Nanc, Isel of the beautiful Orangina, and probably a lot more that I've missed.
I came away from the weekend completely exhausted, pushed through the last few days of school and then slouched around Athens with Peter for a few days before heading home, where so far I've been a total slackass even though I brought more than three months worth of work with me. Oh, and I got my cheesy 1985 haircut this morning, but you'll have to wait to see a picture of that, I'm using shared internet now and my turn is over. Ciao!
May 07, 2006
Hotel bathroom, farmer tan
The only bodily damage I suffered at MS$W.
May 04, 2006
Ain't much room in a discount tomb
This morning I realized that I've pretty much reached the point where I can no longer function properly unless I start getting more sleep. I've begun dozing off during the afternoons, which is fine when you're at home on a lazy day with nothing to do but lounge on the couch with a cat on your chest, but not so appropriate in school, say for instance during a studio critique. It only lasted a few seconds though, and I don't think my professor noticed.
Last night was a rare evening off: my brother Kela and his girlfriend Liesl came down for a short visit and stayed overnight at my place, and we gorged ourselves in a disgusting manner at The Grit, then stayed up much, much too late. And got up early, of course (story of my life). But it was nice for a change to deprive myself of sleep in order to spend good time with family, rather than the usual working late into the night and rising early to work.
Soon, very soon now, I'll be able to lie around at home with a cat on my chest. But not quite yet.
April 27, 2006
Okay. OKAY! I won't get a perm. Jeez.
Well. The mob sure has spoken. Peter pointed out that it's a habit of mine to solicit advice and then to ignore it and do what I want, so just to prove him wrong this once I've tallied up the votes from the other day and am letting you guys decide the fate of my rat's nest. I took a vote around the shack on whether to spend the time to make a fancy vote-tallying graphic, but luckily the only one here to vote was me, so we're going the lazy way (it was unanimous). The results:
Keep growing/cut layers garnered a whopping eighteen votes. Eighteen (and I LIKE it)!
Getting it by the short and curlies put on a pathetic showing at only six votes. I'm choosing to ignore the fact that the only two people in my family (other than Peter) who offered an opinion both chose this option. They, of course, have seen me with long, long, incredibly long hair. Mom, I promise, it's not going to be like that. This time, it'll be styled! Michael Hutchence! Oh yeah.
Three people thought I should spend the money on an expensive stylist; y'all are crazy. Martina's pretty good, actually. She once cut my very curly hair into a style that I demanded based on a photo found on the internet of a model with a cute spiky VERY straight style. And it looked amazing, which never ever happens when you foolishly get your heart set on a style that you don't really have the right hair for. So, although it's really tempting to fly to LA just to see Aharon, I'll save that for another time, I think. Plus Martina is right around the corner from the fifty cent samosa place, which makes it even more worth the trip.
Two people (not including Peter) were noncommittal or didn't give a rat's ass either way, and Norma, Pete wants to know how you know me so well already. It's because you two ganged up on me that I'm going to follow the crowd and get the layers and keep growing. For now.
And with that, I hereby pledge to not waste my valuable server space talking about my goddam hair anymore.
So. My last class was tonight and now I just have a few more obligations before I'm free to skip town and go home and just hang out and make art on my own terms and mess around in the garden and -gasp- knit something for myself. Tomorrow I'm going to spend the day printing like I used to: spending ten or so hours busting my arse making tons and tons of prints and going home exhausted, then coming back in the morning to take stock and see if I have anything good. Then I need to spend the next few days finishing this:
A close up:
And just for kicks and because I haven't given you anything funny to look at in a long, long time, here's a picture of my wanker late 80s haircut. Feel free to laugh, but not too hard, because you know you looked like a wanker too. In fact, I dare you all to go find YOUR old school i.d. and post it. Double dare ya.
Ooh, that sexy teenage scowl, how it drove the boys wild and made them all want to chow down on my neck. I have no idea who gave me those hickeys, but I can tell you who gave me that haircut: it was my friend Deb, and she told me she was cutting "layers" but it turned out to be one big short layer on top and one longish layer on bottom. This was the last time I had my hair cut until June 2000, and by then I was tucking the ends into my jeans pockets.
So yeah, check it out. Black t-shirt, gray hoodie sweater (with my previous high school's total-beaver-canoe-ripoff logo on it), jean jacket, mullet, hickey, scowl. Fucken A, man. Also, that button on my jacket is from a band of a guy I used to babysit for and it says Kick Ass With Class. Oh yeah.
April 24, 2006
This right here is about as self-indulgent and vain as it gets
But people, I need advice. So I'm making a cliche of myself yet again and writing about my haircut on the internet. Please be kind and don't mock me too much when I tell you my plan. Here is a picture of what my hair looks like right now, today:
It's pretty bad. I've been growing it out for almost a year now (here's how it looked last year, all short and curly and cute). The bleaching looked superduperhot for oh, about a week, and in the fall I gave in and dyed it brown. Then I dyed it again when the first coat faded, and the combination of bleach and two boxes of dye has made a lot of my curl disappear.
So. My hair's pretty thick, and it's starting to look a weird kind of puffy that's not at all to my liking, although it's finally at the length that I can (just barely) get it up into a teeny tiny topknot with lots of pieces falling out all over, which is sort of cute I guess. But here's the thing. I'm going to have to get it cut or styled somehow soon, because from here it's only going to get more stupid-looking as it gets longer. It's time for me to fess up what was in my mind when I started letting it grow last year, even though it's embarrassing. When my hair gets longer, this is how I want it to look:
Omigod please stop laughing. Shut up! I want it to look like Michael Hutchence at Live Aid. No really, stop laughing. I want it to look like that, minus the goofy longish bits straggling down the back which you can't really see in this picture anyway. And also minus the sideburn-ey action. But still: side part, sort of shortish/long bang-ish on top, so that it's layered and not too heavy, because as soon as my hair gets too long and heavy the curl gets pulled out anyway. Don't say it will look like a mullet, because that won't influence my decision. I don't fear the mullet, or the mockery that usually goes along with it (it's not like I've never had one before. Shut up! You had a mullet too in 1987, and you know what? They don't all look bad. 1987 ones did, though).
My question is this: I can get our fabulous twelve dollar stylist Martina to thin my hair out a bit and cut it in layers like this so that it'll grow out into something resembling the style I want, but a little more than half the hair on my head right now is the stuff that's damaged from the dyeing. The new stuff that's growing out is a lot healthier though, and seems like it'll curl up again given the chance. Should I just get it cut in layers and let it look stupid until it's long enough that I can cut off all the damaged goods from the bottom? Or should I get a perm so that it'll look curly until it grows out long enough to cut off the crap, which will mean that the three inches or so of healthy new hair growth that I have now will also end up damaged and eventually have to get chopped? And, who gets perms anymore besides old ladies? Will Martina laugh at me if I ask for one, or should I do it at home? Home bleaching and dyeing is what caused this mess, so home perming sort of scares me, although I'm more of a DIY girl than one who pays for such things. Or, should I just forget about Michael and chop my hair back to where it was last year, which I could do myself right this minute with the sewing scissors and have it look sexy and amazing? That seems the easy way out, and a total failure of the growing-out test.
Also, the one and only time I ever permed my naturally curly hair was at 18 when I was forced by my mom, because I had to look good for a certain "event" and my position was somewhat weakened by some big trouble I'd gotten into so I couldn't really fight it. And the kids at school called me "Jermaine" until the perm grew out, which is sort of scarring and not so easy to recover from, you know? So. Help.
For those readers (most, perhaps?) who don't really give a rat's ass either way, I offer you this highly entertaining and very important trivia question instead: who do you think is more tense, Carrieoke or me? Bonus points to the first person who can guess which of us bent her needles knitting this.
April 01, 2006
No studio today
My favourite dress, and one that I rarely wear because I barely fit into it. The MFA grad show reception is tonight, so I thought I'd pull this out.
I woke up with a migraine and had to drug myself and sleep it off. Jenn and Jeffrey were moving today (out of the house I'll soon be moving into, woo hoo!) and the day was warm and damp and the warm soft breeze just made it feel like a day off. So I ended up pitching in with the moving instead of going in to the studio. It felt good to have a day off from any of the work that's pressing on me, but I can't have another one now until the end of the semester. Even my time back home next week will be spent writing patterns and finishing up samples. But in three more sleeps I'll be with Peter, for six glorious nights and days.
March 16, 2006
Well, it didn't take me long to fail that test, eh?
I'm about to become an old lady and drone on about my bodily ailments. Consider yourself warned. I do promise not to stand in front of you at the grocery store and dump all my change out on the counter and slowly count out each coin aloud.
Now is not the time to go off birth control. I'm under too much stress right now, I'm behind on all my work and this week has been sheer hell. Ultra-sheer hell, in fact, with control top and reinforced toes and a huge fat run going all the way up the back of the leg.
Thanks for all the encouragement, and I really do want to stop taking the pill for a while, but since the weekend I've been getting migraines every day and it's just too crazy a time for me to be able to cope with that. I have a limited amount of my (very, very expensive) migraine medication, and my drug plan won't pay for any more for six months. The only thing I can think to do is to get my estrogen levels back up to where my body is used to them being, and wait until I'm home in May to discuss it with my doctor.
Also, I should clear something up in case anybody misunderstood, most importantly my parents: I am not going off birth control in order to become pregnant. Not in a million years, and especially not during the first year of a three year MFA in printmaking (the amount of solvents I breathed just this afternoon would likely be enough to damage a foetus) which I'm doing in a country without socialized health care, and twelve hundred kilometres away from my spouse. I'm not that crazy.
I am, however, crazy enough to knit all day and all night and then all day again (literally; Tuesday night I went to bed at four a.m. and set the alarm for seven, but ended up getting up at six anyway, and picking up the needles). And let me just say that I heartily endorse this product:
I mostly used these on my back, but my nearly 29-hour straight knitting binge the other day(s) required this as well:
Do. Not. Knit for 29 hours. Before you comment and give me all sorts of advice, let me say that I do exercises, I take breaks, and generally take care of myself. But I had to get the knitting done, and I didn't take as many breaks as I normally would. There was a way crazier patchwork on my other hand, because I was pretty much just cutting off pieces and slapping them on wherever it hurt. But don't worry. I'm not doing any knitting today, nor any at four tomorrow morning. I've gotta save up all my RSI coupons for printing all weekend. Repetitive stress injury, your free gift with purchase of any yarn that needs the really little needles. Gah.
March 12, 2006
Let's try this for a while
Today is the day I stop taking birth control. I've been on the pill for a little more than fifteen of the last nineteen years, and because I started taking it when I was fifteen, I'm not sure I've ever had a normal, unregulated menstrual cycle. It's about time I got off estrogen therapy for a while to give myself a bit of a break before menopause hits and I have to go back on it again, don't you think?
March 08, 2006
Q, in a few minutes (perhaps this very minute) you'll leave my life forever. The truth is, I won't miss you that much, not nearly as much as I once thought I would. Next week will mark my first week free of the spectre of you, and I am going to make you a little book. Then, we'll say goodbye.
*Friends, I've closed comments on this entry because it's something private that I'm not going to talk about. Don't worry, everything's okay, I just wanted to commemorate this moment, and get some old ghosts out of my system.
March 04, 2006
There's holes in all the bottles and my lungs hurt. . . *
Have you ever had a wonderful toy that you loved more than anything and took everywhere with you, even to bed, even on those long car trips when your mom said, oh leave that filthy thing at home won't you, and you screeeeeeaaamed that you had to bring it with you EVERYWHERE and your snot got all over it when she gave in and thrust it into your arms (doubtless she made that huffy frustrated sound, you know the one) and you buried your weepy, grateful face in its softness? And then somehow, how does it happen? something distracts you and you do other things and one day you come across your old favourite toy and wonder, how long has it been? How could I forget my beloved toy?
I sort of feel that way about this blog today.
Peter and his mom left here after lunch today, and I'm sitting here feeling lonesome again and listening to some cds that Pete brought me from home (Sarah Harmer, at the moment). It's less than five weeks until I'll see him again but it seems months away right now. Tonight I'll be sleeping alone again except for my smelly old stuffed frog.
Peter and I didn't have a lot of time to spend together this week; he was writing a paper and school made a lot of demands on my time. But that was kind of nice in a way; since I've come here, our visits together have been holiday-time, where we spend as much time as we can together, and that's like a sort of fake-life. Our real life together, where we work and are busy and come home to each other, is something that seems gone, in the past. So to have a week where we have something like our normal life (only in Athens) was probably good for us. But I still feel like I didn't get to see him enough.
My beloved is headed back towards winter but here it's full-on spring. Things are flowering everywhere, daffodils (although not mine, too shady I guess), trees, even the Siberian irises out front of the shack have buds coming up already. Here's my little yellow crocus underneath the pecan tree that still drops the occasional nut on my roof (seasons collide in this place).
Peter and I did some letterpress printing yesterday:
I decided not to bother smudging out our address, since stalkers could find out where we live pretty easily anyway. Y'all are invited, as long as you're not stalkers. I'll be flying home in time to clean the house and whip up some of my famous hors d'oevres.
Exciting things are afoot in the knit design department (which I'll tell you all about later), and also, guess what? I'm moving again. But don't worry, I'm not leaving the cute little shack compound. Just taking over one of the little houses behind mine, which is the same price but a better place: it has two bedrooms, a porch, a screen door, bamboo all around, and a shower! And no noisy road, and no electric guitar next door. I could throw a pecan from the front door of the old house and hit the new house. Well, I couldn't. But someone who can throw could.
*just in case you're the gub-mint checking up on me, this is just a line from a Sarah Harmer song, I'm on a student visa here, do you think I'm crazy? You can come on over and check my bottles, and my pee.
February 10, 2006
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and centre yourself.
Today was my first stress-free day in three weeks. I've been working my arse off, meeting deadlines and finishing projects and getting ready for an exhibition we only found out about at the last minute and then installing it and staying up all night and attending lectures and trying to keep up with the readings for my two night classes. And in the middle of all that, the loss of my Fat Boy was a terrible blow, right when I was least equipped to handle it. I wanted to write back and individually thank everyone who left me a comforting comment about losing Pickle, but I can't; this is the first chance I've had to spend the time to do it and it turns out it's just too emotionally draining. But I want you all to know that it did give me comfort; thank you.
It was a real shock for me, not only because there didn't seem to be anything wrong with him, but because I had been mentally bracing myself to lose his sister Benny (aka Fat Girl). Despite our efforts to help her lose weight she's only become more obese, so much so that it's sometimes difficult for her to go up and down the stairs (she goes down them with her back feet hopping together like a rabbit's would, rather than one after the other like a cat's normally do). So I was not expecting her to live until I'm finished school, and was worrying about how he would cope with her loss. Instead, she's having to cope with his, but it's for the best, I think; Fat Girl's much more independant and I think she'll get by alone better than Fat Boy would have. Peter says she seems okay.
I had a surprise in the mail this week that was excellently timed: Anna sent me some fabric she knew I liked
and some wool:
I have a thing for little boys' underpants (not THAT kind of thing!), the fabrics are always so cute, and I wish I could get them in my size. This is stretch jersey with little cars all over it and the message "are we there yet?". I'm going to make myself some underpants and a matching bra with it, and it's going to be supercute. I already have some ideas for what to do with the yarn as well, but for now I'll be setting it aside until the paying knitting jobs are all done.
Anna also included some little worry dolls because I am so obviously uberstressed right now. Thanks Anna! Your gift cheered me up right when I needed it, on a really, really bad day.
The weekend is definitely looking up. Today I had no obligations, and I slept for a whopping ten hours (minus the hour or so that I always lie awake around 4 am, something that happens even at times in my life when I'm not a giant walking ball of stress). I've got a lot of sleep debt to pay off, and expect I'll be making a few more payments in the next couple of nights. Tomorrow I'm going out to Hockey Mom's place, where I'm going to sit on my arse on a comfy couch and work on my Knitting Olympics entry, eat and drink and socialize and NOT worry and NOT scramble to get something done and NOT deprive myself of sleep in order to read stuff that is going in one ear and out the other right now anyway. Then Sunday we're going to a hockey game and having a little birthday party afterwards. And getting out of Athens for a night is going to feel SO good.
Spotted while going out for food between classes yesterday:
The merchandising of this university's logo goes way, way too far.
January 07, 2006
Studio Saturday: swatching for my supper
I've been putting together a submission package of design ideas all this week, and my work space has been the kitchen table, the bed, across a coffeeshop table from Peter, the passenger seat of the car, and the folding table I use as a computer desk. I had to have it all finished for this morning, so that Peter could take it home with him and ship it from there, since it's going to an address in Canada. Now that that's done, I can seam up my Must Have and move on to finishing up the Urban Aran, then maybe start something new.
I'm looking forward to getting back into the studio; last semester I had a lot of trouble settling in, but I need to put that behind me and get down to work. My productivity always seems to follow the same seasonal pattern: I always experience a slump in the fall, followed by renewed energy after the new year and a smoking, productive spring. It's time to stop moping around and start doing the work I came here to do. Tomorrow I'll go in to the studio and do some cleaning up, and get the shop ready for the new semester. And then get to work.
Peter left this morning, and is probably somewhere in North Carolina by now. I'm hoping he'll be back sometime in February but that's not set in stone. He says it'll be easier for us to be apart this time, since we both know what to expect and we've already survived one term apart (one down, five to go!). But after he drove away this morning I still cried a little, then wandered around the shack feeling lost, not knowing what to do with myself. I took a bath, read my book, caught up on blogs and tried to feel normal again, but just now one of the Neil Young songs that Peter likes to play on his guitar came on, and there go the floodgates again, wide open. Gah.
Thankfully we had beautiful weather for our week in Athens, for a change. Until now it's been cold and rainy pretty much every time Peter came here. But this week was like late spring, warm and sunny (two days in a row that felt like about eighteen celcius!). We walked downtown every day, feeling the air and marveling, is it really December 31st today? Is it really January 3rd? Eight hundred miles south make a huge difference, the sun is much higher in the sky here than it is at home. And while it makes my body feel messed up, like I've gone to sleep and awakened in the wrong season, it felt wonderful to go for walks with Peter, shedding jackets and sweaters, relaxing shoulder and neck muscles that become habitually tensed from the cold. Now I can see the benefits of moving south. If I could feel like this and still have snow, life here would be perfect.
December 16, 2005
girl, frog and st. john river
On the morning of my sixth birthday I woke up early, excited for my party. My parents weren't out of bed yet but I wanted to party down NOW! I laid out my plastic tea set and set up Blue Baby and Joey and various other characters at the table, but the scene just didn't seem appropriately festive with nothing to fill the little cups and teapot and plates with. I looked around my room for something to make pretend tea and cake out of and noticed a small hole in the seam of my pillow; a tiny fluff of stuffing peeked out. There was so much stuffing in that pillow that the tiny plastic tea set was soon overflowing, so I put my shoes up on the table and filled those too, then also filled whatever else I could find in the room. Blue Baby and Joey and I sipped and chatted pleasantly, enjoying the finest in pretend birthday cake, until my mom came in and broke up the party with a dismayed shout.
She yelled and made a big fuss and probably called me all kinds of bad, and said that she wasn't going to buy me a new pillow and I was damn well going to have to do without for a while.
Later that afternoon at my real party, my best pals Jeannie and Ricky gave me a huge stuffed frog, the kind whose bottom lip and belly are a big pocket for your pyjamas. Froggee appeared in my life right when I needed him, and I used him as a pillow for what seemed like months and months but was probably really only a couple of weeks.
Froggee's old and stinky now, his stuffing is coming out a bit (I would never, never take it out and make pretend tea with it, though), and today is our 28th anniversary. He still lies atop the head of my bed, giving Peter the creeps with his droopy plastic eyes and occasionally jumping down on our heads at (ahem) inopportune times.
Happy anniversary Froggee. I'm sorry I squished you so tight in the suitcase for the flight home from Athens, but I was afraid that if the customs people saw you they would think you were hiding drugs and pull all your stuffing out to check. I don't think they would have been having a tea party with it.
December 15, 2005
Not as much progress as I'd hoped on the Gift for Someone Very Special. It's actually really hard to knit, too tight, brutal on my poor soft fingers and also made of Red Heart, which means it squeaks like a little baby banshee on the cheap needles I'm using. But that's okay, Someone Very Special won't mind if it's not ready for any certain date that's not my holiday anyway. Especially when there are so many important things to do right now, snow to be shoveled, friends to be visited, tea to be drunk, kitties to be petted, doodles to be. . . doodled (doos to be dled?).
If any of you smarty-pantses out there think you can guess what the Gift is, please do me a favour and don't leave a guess in the comments. I want Someone Very Special to be surprised.
Not much else is getting accomplished, other than the aforementioned doodling and tea-drinking. I promised Sandy that I would finish at least one of the cardigans I brought home with me (that would be the Must Have, of course, since it's the closest to being done), but now I have some design swatching to be done on a really short deadline, so I'm not to be held responsible if there's still no Must Have come January. Trying to find a way to pay the rent on the Athens shack I'll be paying for all summer even though I may not be living there and won't be getting paid is more important, and that means swatching and designing. More news on that as it breaks.
Today I shoveled my way out of the house and slogged my arse many, many blocks (okay, only about four, actually) through the rude wind's wild lament and the bitter weather to visit Mita, who's housebound with a brand new baby. And finally, finally! I got to meet beautiful Mats, who is an absolute doll (of course). He pretty much slept on me the whole time I was there, which was really nice because babies usually hate me. And his head smells so good.
Today is the Rob-and-Jodi birthday limbo day; Rob is two years and two days older than me so in the past we've averaged our ages and had a joint party. Today RobandJodi is 35 (which means, in case you miss my dumbass logic, that yesterday Rob turned 36). Since it's too late to say happy birthday, go wish him a happy RobandJodiday instead, and tell him to get off his arse and start posting on the blog again. Oh, and happy birthday sweetie, sorry it's a day late but I'm a slackass that way. You can get me back for it tomorrow.
December 12, 2005
Sweet, sweet home
It's so good to be back in the snow and cold. I even got to go out and shovel on my first day home! The novelty of that will no doubt wear off quickly, but for now I'm happy.
The trip was pretty uneventful despite my apprehension. I wasn't afraid of the actual flying, just afraid of the airport; I'm always paranoid and prone to panic in places like that, and convinced that I'm going to get lost or walk into the wrong place and never find my way out again and it will all end in tears and possibly starvation in some janitor's closet or disused stairwell that I went into thinking it was the bathroom and the door locked behind me and when they find my body it will be all dry and crackly and the only way they'll know it's me is because I'm the only dried-up decomposed skeleton with three wisdom teeth. Fortunately Sandy is very tolerant and understanding and she held my hand all the way to the security area, and despite the fact that I almost gave birth to my entire digestive system in the parking lot when I found out I had to actually ride a TRAIN from the airport to the terminal, it wasn't that hard. It helps that they herd you like cattle and there's really no way to get lost. As for the flight itself, it wasn't all that exciting. I sort of expected the plane to be, you know, really big; instead it was the same width as a city bus, and not really anything like the movies (that's right, I'm such a hick that I thought flying in an airplane was going to be just like in the movies). But you know the part when you get up past the clouds and into the sun and then they tell you you're at 35000 feet and it's hot and unbelievably bright and you're looking down at a soft, wet white tundra, way down below? I sort of wanted to stay there. Forever. Except I'd rather not stay there with the actual people who were on that plane with me, especially the cell phone lady.
My plane got in at suppertime so we went straight to my favourite restaurant to gorge ourselves on Ethiopian food.
I really, really missed this. Then Saturday I got to have my grape leaf sandwich, so now my belly is well stuffed with the foods I can't get in Athens. I wonder how well those sandwiches would freeze if I brought ten or so back to Georgia with me?
As promised, here are the finished graduation socks, photographed right here in my own home on my great-great-grandmother's sewing chair, with a fat (and apparently itchy) kitty in the background for a little extra stripeyness (have I mentioned how happy I am to be here?). The specs: Lion Brand Magic Stripes yarn; at first I used the Pom Squad pattern, but my novice attempts at short-row heels came out so holey, messy and weird-fitting that I unraveled the whole lot and did them according to my bog-standard sock formula instead, top-down with a reinforced heel flap. The fit is perfect, with just the right amount of ankle cleavage showing.
Here's my progress on the back of the Patons Urban Aran:
It started out as this cardigan, which I realized later just wasn't going to look good at all, since I'd had to block the ribbing so roughly to fit me. I had originally thought that I didn't have enough of the red to make a whole sweater but then I found an extra stash of it, so I'm pretty sure there's enough for the Urban Aran. I'm going to do the front in two pieces to make it a zip cardigan, and not do the collar so long.
See those lovely centre-pull balls at the top? Wonderful Sandy gave me a ball winder as an early birthday gift. Makes me wish I'd brought more yarn with me so I could wind it all up. Whee!
Today's project is a gift for Someone Very Special, which I hope to have ready to give by Wednesday or so. You can see I have a lot done already.
December 08, 2005
No wonder my head hurts
Yesterday I found this great drawing of an old 70s sedan crashing into a tree, on the ground near my house. It looks like there's someone's head flying out the back along with all that gasoline or blood or whatever it is.
All of my deadlines have been met, studio visits have been had, I handed in my sample syllabus for my teaching practicum and met with all my professors. All that's left is to grade the portfolios for my practicum class and tidy up the print shop before I take off to the Great White North. Two more sleeps! By suppertime on Saturday I'll be sitting in our house, in beautiful, beautiful Canada, with my one true love and my fat felines and snow outside and a glorious grape leaves sandwich from my favourite Lebanese sandwich place in my hand. I've been jonesing for one of those sandwiches like you wouldn't believe.
November 28, 2005
something rotten in the state of Denmark
Today I had a wisdom tooth extracted. All four came in about ten years ago, and I mostly had room in my mouth for them; according to Peter that makes me some kind of evolutionary throwback (my word, not his). This one (top row, far right in the picture, the one that's only half there) was kind of falling apart, though, so out she goes. I would have had them all out but my insurance will only cover removing "impacted" wisdom teeth and not "erupted" ones, which really just means that they've moved into place alongside my regular teeth and broken through the gum and are acting as functioning teeth just like all the others, but has a delightfully violent sound, like four tiny Mt. St. Helenses inside my mouth.
For those who asked, more on the Bauhaus show: AMAZING. Musically they were in top form. The venue was tiny, and the crowd pretty polite, so we were able to get right up front maybe three or four people deep away from the stage. Bob and Sandy seemed a little disappointed at the stage presence, but really I don't think I would have been very happy if the band had been jumping around and having a good time. There were moments when David J. would stand completely motionless except for his fingers, and it was perfect. Peter Murphy would let his hand holding the microphone drop to his side and stand back, looking from side to side at the others with a bored expression, and the perfect amount of aloofness and disdain.
On the way in I saw an old guy in some kind of boy scout uniform walking down the sidewalk and joked that he must be going where we were going (because he was the only person on the street near the venue that wasn't all gothed up). Near the end of the show he suddenly appeared behind me, and every time I tried to move away from him he would move closer, until he was brushing against me a little. Totally creepy. But hey, I was right!
I'm going to go suck on a wet teabag now. Send pudding!
November 17, 2005
Everybody say it with me, just like Pingu: Wah-wah.
My biological calendar is all messed up. My body wants it to be cold outside, and this warm, lovely weather is wearing on me. I know I shouldn't complain, and I'll admit I did some bitching during that cold snap in October. But I was just so freaked out then by how much my little Shack holds in the cold even after it's warmed up outside. Since then it has been beautiful, cool in the mornings and fairly hot in the afternoons, and sunny. I just don't know how to handle this, I keep telling myself it's November and putting on too many layers of clothing, then shedding them later. I really just want the November I'm used to.
Yesterday it rained (but was still too warm for a sweater), and last night it finally got cold. This morning when I woke up it was 2 Celcius outside, and couldn't have been more than 12 inside the Shack. It feels good now, to be cold. I want it to stay like this.
They tell me it won't likely snow here, and I'm a little surprised at how terrible that makes me feel. I want the sky to be grey and stormy, I want the wind to tear at my clothes, I want the geese to fly over. I want to wear my hat.
November 10, 2005
Are those real?
I went with some of my school chums to a swanky reception last night, looking like a complete bum in my school clothes with my chubby knees showing.
A very charming, and very ageing, southern belle came over to me and said, "can I ask you a question? We're having a contest over there about your leg". "You're having a contest about my leg?" I said, just like the straight man in a lame comedy routine. They were debating whether my tattoo was real, and the lady who approached me was the one who was arguing for the "yes" side. There wasn't actually any money involved, so I didn't end up getting my cut.
She told me that she had been in Key West and had gone to a place that sold temporary tattoos, and that she had wanted to get one on her biceps so she could wear her short sleeves and shock everyone by being a "tattooed old lady". In the end she chickened out because she was afraid they would trick her and the tattoo would end up being a real one, and never come off.
See? Having visible tattoos is your in to every single crowd; not just hipsters and bikers and the guys who hang around beside the beer store looking for change, but the wealthy philanthropist crowd too. Who knew?
October 27, 2005
On wankers and stupid people
(the wanker is my next-door neighbour; the stupid person is me). But first, new hat!
This was finished two days ago but it took me that long to get a decent enough picture. Okay, almost finished. It still needs some pompoms on the ends of the strings, just as soon as I can remember how to make them.
It's the Kittyville hat from Stitch 'n Bitch, worked on size 4.5mm needles in Lamb's Pride worsted. I think I'll block it a bit bigger so my massive hair fits under it better, but other than that I'm pretty happy with it. And I'm suddenly obsessed with making hats, when just last week I said I looked dorky in them. I guess dorky can sometimes be kind of cute too, I just needed to find the perfectly cute amount of dorkness.
Speaking of kitties, last night I dreamed of a tearful and rather stressful reunion with the Fats. Tearful, of course, because I miss them terribly, and stressful because they were afraid of me and trying to run away. Fat girl in particular acted like she had never seen me before, like I couldn't possibly be the person whose bed she was born in and who fed her fat ass for eleven years, and she scratched my boob and it bled. The scratching part wasn't that unusual, she does that all the time. But, I really want to go home. And see if those fatties even remember who I am.
so here's the stupid part
Let me tell you a story about what a techno-dumbass I am (Norma, you are not the only one! My microwave has a dial on it too, and I can't even operate a tv remote). So the other day I was using my laptop in the computer lab at school (I bring my laptop because I am terrified of the Macs the school has) and I needed to print something. I e-mailed the document to my Yahoo address, unplugged the network cable from my laptop and stuck it back into the Mac I stole it from, logged in to the Mac, opened up my document and hit "print". When it only printed one page I thought maybe the printer was out of paper, so I asked the undergrad guy who's the lab monitor how to put paper in it (that's right, because I can't figure out for myself how to open up a drawer and stick paper in, okay?). Anyway, that wasn't the problem. So we futzed around for a while trying to get it to print, until finally it told us it wasn't connecting to the printer.
Because, I started printing the document and then immediately unplugged the network cable and put it back in my laptop.
(we will pause a moment, while the laughter dies down)
Norma, I think I have you beat. I am that stupid. That poor boy probably breathes a thankful sigh of relief every time he comes in for his shift and I am NOT here.
the wanker part
Did I tell you guys that my neighbour has an electric guitar? And he plays nothing but wanker music. Seriously wanker music, like Smoke on the Water and Crazy Train. Sometimes he gets up and plays his wanker guitar music at four in the morning, and it's like sleeping next to a twelve year old Eddie van Halen. Argh. Actually, I'm betting that Eddie van Halen was a better guitar player at twelve than this guy is; he's probably some kind of wanker prodigy, don't you think? Thank goodness I didn't make the room right next to his apartment my bedroom; in the next room over it's quiet enough that sometimes it doesn't wake me up, although I do hear it in my sleep. Ew.
In case you're thinking that I'm just being mean about the guy's guitar playing and he's really not that much of a wanker, here's a story that Jenn told me (she lives in one of the little shacks behind mine). The only time Jenn ever talked to my wanker neighbour was one night when he knocked on her door, after trying all the other shacks and being turned down, and tried to sell her and her roommate a package of meat for five dollars so he could buy cigarettes. A package of meat that had been in his fridge for the gods know how long, and then carried around outside for a while, maybe getting all warm and soft in his hand as he tried to convince the other shack-dwellers what a great deal they were getting. So now I'm studiously avoiding my neighbour's eye any time I see him outside, lest he try to get me to buy some gross old meat, or something worse.
October 19, 2005
Today's breakfast made me homesick
Because this was yesterday's breakfast, and that was the last of the Astro yogurts from home that Peter brought me (see, he really does love me). Now I have to go back to eating shitty American yogurt, but not today. Because I have to take a bus somewhere in order to get any that is gelatin-free. Ugh.
Tonight I'm going to Atlanta with Hockey Mom to verify that another blog friend is indeed flesh and blood: Steph is in town for a conference. I'm so excited just to get to hear an accent from home all night, so Steph, you'd better be up to a lot of talking!
October 11, 2005
Self portrait tuesday - alone again
Peter left this morning, and is getting farther and farther away from me every minute. I don't feel quite as empty as I did the last time he left; I guess because this time I know that I can make it through the intervening time until I see him again. For the first week or so after he left me here in August I really didn't think I could. The Shack feels more like a home now since he's been there with me, but it'll be harder to sleep alone there than it was before he came.
We had a pretty good weekend, just hanging around town and not doing much. On Thursday we had supper with Bob and Sandy and then killed a bottle of wine back at the Shack. Friday we were all going to go see Gang of Four but Bob and Sandy pooped out so we did too, and just went for pints instead. Saturday we saw an awesome show, and the rest of our time was spent slouching around, going to the coffeeshop, hiking up and down the ginormous hill between the Shack and downtown, and taking afternoon naps. And also doing stuff I can't talk about because my parents read this; use your imagination, y'all know we're dirty dogs.
For those of you looking for the knitting and who are sick to death of hearing about lithography and my sex life and my self pity, I've got a finished cardigan body to show you soon (I've been totally holding out on you, I know). I'm also knitting Arisaig along with Anna, but she's way ahead of me; I only have a few inches done on one sleeve. I need to catch up! I've also started the other Anna's supercute Sgt. Pepper jacket, but haven't gotten too far because the black yarn turns my hands black. Pictures of all this tomorrow, if I feel like it.
October 05, 2005
(nudge nudge, wink wink)
It's going to be a little quiet around here for the next 5 days or so. Peter will be here, and I'll be busy. We'll be away camping for the weekend without internet access, hanging around with pagans and freaks and spending as much time as we can in the truck, having sex.
Do I have to tell you how badly I don't want to go to class today? I'll be totally distracted and antsy, and it's my stressful class, and an hour after it ends, Peter will arrive. Of course, if I cut class and go home I'll just be sitting there watching the clock, so I guess I'll go. Hopefully class won't be as bad as the last two weeks, otherwise I might just lose it and cry or something.
Five more hours. And then I can take this piece of string off my arm.
September 13, 2005
Self portrait tuesday - same shit, different pile
September 06, 2005
Self portrait tuesday - fixation
It all starts with my belly. Of course.
August 28, 2005
Personality crisis, you got it while it was hot
Some people are still under the delusion that this weblog is about knitting. Just so I don't lose any more Bloglines subscribers with all my self-pity and moaning and lack of knitting content, here's a picture of something I finished last night.
Get a load of the glare on my shiny white belly: sex-ay! And those waistband creases, va va voom.
It's Stefanie's tube skirt from SnB Nation. I finished it up before leaving home but I had to redo the ribbing a little tighter. The truth is I've been working on nothing but Peter's sweater, since I'm on a deadline for it (I wanted to have it finished by now, of course), and can't show the progress on that to you just yet. But last night I pulled this skirt out and redid the ribbing so it would look like I'm still doing some knitting that isn't a secret.
The yarn is a cotton that I recycled from an old sweater. That should go without saying by now, eh? Y'all know exactly how cheap I am when it comes to buying yarn, but hey, if I've got some money to spend I'd rather buy paper for printmaking ('cause nobody's giving me a master's degree for knitting). And besides, there are so many lovely yarns out there in the thrift stores, just begging to be liberated from the ugly sweaters they've found themselves in. Think of it as a charitable action: save the yarn!
I made a few modifications: since I'll be wearing this exclusively as a skirt and not a shoulder thingy, I put ribbing at the top instead of the garter stitch edge that rolls. Because, as you can see in the photo, there are enough rolls around that area already. I also did a simple chevron lace pattern in the hem band instead of the bobbles on the original. Let's face it, bobbles are for skinnier girls than me. And my yarn was fatter than the yarn called for in the pattern, so I had to rejig the gauge in a big way.
imaginary friends made flesh
Last night Jenny organised a potluck at our place for me to meet some of her friends; Anne Marie came, and so did Carrie and Jacob. It was so strange seeing people walk in the door that I recognized from looking at pictures of them all the time on their blogs. Are they strangers? Or do I know them already? A bit of both, and a weird feeling. We had a blast, but I didn't take any photos to show. Some photos were taken by other people, but the best ones were not really the kind you want to put on the internet. All I'll say is that Carrie can put her whole fist in her mouth, and that those were among the worst pictures I have ever seen.
Well, okay. They weren't actually even close to the worst pictures I have ever seen. They're not even the worst pictures I've seen this week, because I've been doing a little bit of research on spider bites, just to put my mind at ease that these bites all over my right leg are nothing to worry about. I have two groups of bites behind my knee, one above (twelve days old) and one below (thirteen days old) as well as a smattering of individual bites across my thigh (eleven days old). The ones behind my knee are big and red, dried out and itchy. But it's okay. I looked at some pictures of brown recluse bites the other day (don't. don't ever look at pictures of that, if you can help it. I'm warning you) and now I'm not at all worried. Just itchy.
down with the past!
The blotting out of old images continues apace: yesterday I went in to the studio and covered up the rest of my old lithos with white ink, and put a second coat on those that I felt hadn't been sufficiently covered the first time. Now I'm ready to start printing on top of them. I also laid down some white ink on a couple of the cutout prints:
I have five of these that I printed on a tea-stained Japanese paper and never did anything with. I don't know what I'll put on top of them just yet, but I'm thinking of printing a layer of map-like lines, maybe in a green or blue so it will look like all those varicose veins I discovered on my legs one day at Pennsic when it was hot and I had nothing else to do but look at my own legs. I drove Pete, Miguel and Merouda crazy insisting that they look at all the little patches of spidery lines, and "look! there's more over here! Hey, there's a huge swath on this thigh too! On my ankle too! Look!". I was pretty excited to be getting old lady skin. Later when we went to a party where i.d. was being checked at the door, and Miguel and I had to walk all the way back to camp to get ours, I really wanted to show them my thighs instead. But it was too dark to fully appreciate the beauty of those fine little blue and purple cracks. But man, they're pretty.
Here are some more photos I took in the studio yesterday. In honour of a new school, new print shop and new beginnings for my work, I decided to retire my old printing apron and start fresh with a new one.
I found this one at Value Village, and it't just the thing, especially since I feel like I need to wear a Canadian flag on my forehead in order not to blend in with the infidels here in the U.S. Sing with me: I love Habitant, Habitant pea soup! Okay, not really. Ew, don't they put pork in there?
Here are my studio guardians: four cicada carapaces that I've found near Green Street. The two in the middle are bigger than any I've ever seen before. I have seven more back at the apartment that I picked up at Pennsic, including three found on the first day that spent the week lined up on the dashboard of our van, guarding and protecting my belongings as the van sat fully loaded in the parking lot. And it worked, too: Peter accidentally left the driver's door unlocked for two nights and nothing was stolen (he didn't tell me about this until we were in the hotel on our way to Athens, because he knew that I would freak out; my laptop was in there, and my stereo, and my art).
One more picture:
This image is from "The Historie of Foure-Footed Beastes" by Edward Topsell, printed in London in 1607 by William Iaggard. It's going to be my "Canadian" tattoo, and I think I'll put it on the inside of my right leg, a few inches above the ankle. Just as soon as I change it to a girl beaver. Because, sorry if this is TMI, but my beaver's a girl.
August 26, 2005
Rich (f.k.a. Cornelius) and Amanda have been talking about friendships (specifically what makes them end), and they've got me thinking about it too. So I'll follow Rich's lead and put my thoughts down here rather than leaving long-winded comments in other people's space. Maybe it's just my homesickness that's making me think about these things right now; maybe it's finding myself alone in a new place where I don't know anyone, but I feel like I know a bunch of people already because I read their blogs.
I was dumped by a friend this past year, possibly because of something I did or said although I haven't been able to figure out what it is that I did. I got the sense that it was related to my weblog somehow, but I didn't write anything there that would potentially lead to dumpage. I was busy with my studio work and wasn't seeing this person as often as I had been. She left some nasty, abusive comments on my blog and stopped speaking to me. After I heard that she had shit-talked me to a few friends, I dropped it and stopped trying to figure out what was bugging her, because it just felt too much like high school--I'm old enough to be the mother of a child in high school, and don't wish to act like one. But I miss her, and I wish we were still friends.
Other friendships have drifted away over the years, not from one party deliberately walking away, but from both of us just letting the other slip away. Some of those people I miss, others not so much. I've never been the kind of person who has a lot of close friends, and many of my personal relationships have been the kind that it is easy to let slip. And yet some of my closest relationships are with people that I rarely see; this year was the first time I have ever spent time with Merouda away from Pennsic, but I love her more dearly than many people in my life.
Rich and Amanda say that they have never walked away from a friendship; they have always been the dumpee. I have been the dumper, once, when I thought it was necessary for my own self-preservation. When I moved away from my hometown it was to save myself from the drunken loser drop-out lifestyle I had fallen into; I hated my high school and was ready to quit (partly because most of my friends were older, and had dropped out of school). Instead I moved away, screened my calls to avoid all my old friends (most notably D, who had been my closest chum) and started a new life. I felt that in order to not give up my future like I felt my friends had done, I had to cut off all contact. It's been seventeen years, and I've only started to talk to D again in the last six months or so.
I've been thinking about the difference between real life relationships and those we establish on the internet. Since I started my weblog last September, I've met a remarkable number of great people all over the world, some of whom I think of as real friends even though I've never met them. Of course, some of those online relationships will carry over into real life; Sandy and Bob are "real" friends now, to both me and Peter, and I'll be having lunch with Carrieoke on Monday. But why do I feel like it's easier to maintain relationships on the internet, when I can't be arsed to send an e-mail to my real life friends as often as I should? Perhaps it's just safer; we don't have to share any more of ourselves than we want to, and it's easier to walk away. Still, I get the sense that some of the people out there that I may never meet in the flesh would not unceremoniously dump me like my "real" friend did.
August 24, 2005
I'm thinking about maps today, and distances. Specifically, one thousand, two hundred and forty-nine kilometres (776 miles). I'm putting together a little collection of road maps and historical maps from the internet, of the place I left, the place I've arrived in, and the places I passed through in between; now I'm stalled because the papers I want to print them on are in my studio, and I'm at the apartment. Actually, I've been trolling around for maps for a little while, for a book arts project (just a little brain seed right now, I'm just collecting maps and other papers for now and letting ideas ferment a little; it's not a project I'm in any hurry on). But I want to get all my stuff for free, and I've discovered that not too many places give out free road maps that are actually good, not glossy and full of photos of people at amusement parks; I'm wishing I'd held onto some of the more ripped-up maps from the car, but Peter needed them to get home. Of all the states we've driven through this summer, only Tennessee had good free maps. Being the queen of stealing paper, I took a big pile (you should see how many sanitary napkin disposal bags I stole from the U of Windsor bathrooms. I could bring my lunch in those bags every day for the next 3 years and not run out).
So yeah, maps. And distance. And also I'm thinking a lot about measurements of time. About three years, each one divided into three parts. Each third made up of about 120 parts, each of which is an eternity, something to be gotten through. At night, I keep dreaming that I'm waking up in my own bed, that I can hear breathing next to me, that it's my own cat scratching at the door instead of someone else's.
Exactly six weeks from today, I will see Peter.
August 20, 2005
So I managed to haul my arse in to the studio to do some work and get my mind off the thought of Peter driving down the interstate, farther and farther away from me every minute. Mostly only because I knew he would be disappointed in me if I just stayed home to mope. I did some puttering around in my new space, artfully arranging all my grubby ink cans on the shelves and sorting through the five-inch high stack of journal articles I have to read. Then I dug into the big folder of half-finished prints I brought down with me, all of what was still in my print drawer in Windsor when I graduated. I pulled out one of the Green Lady of Hay Swamp prints to keep (for now) and stapled it onto the wall, then ripped up some truly terrible ones to recycle into new paper and started doing this with the rest:
Don't adjust your monitor. I know it looks like muck. I mixed up a transparent white and rolled it all over the prints with a small brayer to cover them up. I always prefer to work on top of old images, on paper that has a history and that I've already established a relationship with. I hate printing on a new, clean sheet of paper, and have to force myself to print a few of each press run I do on new paper just to keep from running out of surfaces to work on. But I decided that I didn't want to just bring all of my Windsor work here and continue printing on top of all those old images; there's too much baggage in those bright colours, those shreds of knitting and glassy bird eyes. I needed to push them back, into the past. Now they're ghosts, and I can start building new life on top of them. It felt good to cover up all that stuff. Good riddance to bad rubbish, as they say.
Some more things about Athens: it isn't flat. I thought that if I chose the University of Wisconsin-Madison I would wind up with better legs because of all the hills and stair-climbing. How could I have neglected to notice the hills in Athens? After Windsor, Ontario's little pocket of prairieland, I'm not used to all the up and down. Hopefully my calves won't get too big for all my favourite trousers (that's what happened six years ago when I started working out. I've since stopped working on my legs, because they were freaking HUGE).
Speaking of environment-induced body mods: I'm really looking forward to all the weight I'm sure to lose from all this SWEATING. My god. Waiting for the bus this afternoon, I looked down and realized that I had never been this sweaty in my life. Really. I'm not talking armpits and inner thighs and upper lip here; every inch of my skin was sweating. My ankles. My cheeks. The backs of my fingers. All covered with a shiny layer of sweat. And on top of that, big extra beads of sweat in other areas I don't think I've ever sweated from before, like the backs of my wrists. My t-shirt had a six-inch wide band of wetness all the way around under my boobs, and let me assure you that my boobs are nowhere near big enough to sweat like that normally. Is this too much information? Sorry.
Anyway, this place is just that little bit closer to the sun than I'm used to, and I'm not sure I can hack it. Maybe I could get used to the heat if these crazy Southerners didn't crank up the AC so damned high. They just hold their breath and swim from air-conditioned environment to air-conditioned environment. I'm lucky, my roommate Jenny doesn't keep the apartment too cold, not like everyone else here. But still, I'm wearing work socks right now. On what I'm pretty sure was the hottest day of my fucking life.
Those memories of apartment living are starting to come back to me now, and I remember why we bought a house. Someone above us is very thumpy. Actually, that's the only thing really wrong with the place other than the absurdly long hike to the bus stop with no sidewalks. The apartment is lovely, there's lots of light coming in so I don't feel oppressed, Jenny is great and at least one of her cats likes me enough already to follow me around and curl up and go to sleep next to me, although she's not so big on the letting me pet her. The other cat watches me warily and doesn't get too close, which is a pity because she's got the funniest tongue, it's constantly hanging out, and I'm dying to touch it and see if it dries out. Ah well, all in good time, I'm sure she'll warm to me.
Already I miss Peter like crazy. We've been doing nothing with our evenings all week, sitting entwined together on the couch in front of the tv (we don't have one, remember? It's because we're reformed addicts, so when we're in a room with one it's easy for us to get sucked in, for hours) and going to bed early. I skipped knit night to be with him instead, even though I'm dying to meet all the other cool knitty Athens chicks. I figured that could wait one more week. I'm sitting by the phone right now, anxiously waiting for Peter to call. If he stops at a hotel tonight he should call soon. If he decides to push on and drive all the way home tonight it might be much, much later, but I'll be waiting. Already I'm desperately homesick.
July 22, 2005
Forget grad school. Why don't I just go join some shake-a-rock and roll band?
Warning: long rant ahead. Lots of tiny frustrations, all snowballing. A snowball this size is liable to crush me.
In order to be able to register for my courses, I have to prove that I've been immunized against measles-mumps-rubella, tetanus and chicken pox. I knew that I'd had the MMR as a child and the tetanus five years ago, and I've had chicken pox, so I started calling around to find my immunization records, which turned out to be an almost complete waste of time. My mom managed to find an old record from 1973 that I'd had a shot for measles and rubella, but not mumps; the receptionist at my old doctor's office, where I had my most recent tetanus shot, pretty much refused to give me my records. And I couldn't prove I'd had chicken pox, since nobody goes to the doctor for that, so I had to get a blood test.
Since it's impossible to get a family doctor in this town I've been relying on the university health centre for the last four years, and now that I've graduated, they have cut me off. So I went to a walk-in clinic near where I live to have the blood test ordered. Apparently I chose the wrong clinic, because when I got to the blood lab and handed over my form, they all looked at it and started rolling their eyes and sighing and saying they'd had nothing but problems with this clinic. . . the doctor didn't fill out the request properly AND they couldn't read his writing, and where he had meant to write "tetanus" it clearly did not say tetanus. Of course, the clinic wasn't answering their phone, so the lab drew my blood anyway but had to wait for confirmation from the doctor before sending it away, delaying my test by several days. And, of course, now I'm stuck having to rely on the crappy unprofessional nothing-but-trouble clinic to get my results, because the lab won't just send them to me or forward them to a different doctor.
That was a month ago, and the MMR is the only test for which I've seen any results. The others are things they don't often test for, and one was sent to Toronto and one to Hamilton, apparently by bicycle courier or possibly pony express. Because, hello? I could have taken all of my blood to Toronto in four hours. It has been four weeks. And I have been panicking because there's a special course I want to take that I was convinced would be really popular, and I really don't want to be shut out of it.
I called the clinic about a week and a half ago and was told my results were in, so I walked over, and found that only the rubella was back (my levels were just on the borderline). The doctor was able to call the lab and find out that I had tested immune to measles but not to mumps, so he went ahead and gave me the shot. I asked him to just give me all the shots but he refused and told me to wait another week for the lab results (he said they don't give a chicken pox shot to people who have had it, but the test was going to take a long time because they don't often test for it, so how the hell else are people supposed to get proof of immunity, for fucksake?). So I waited. And when I called back in a week the clinic was moving to their new location and the phones were not working.
After trying to reach them for three days, finally yesterday I stormed down there, and was told that the tetanus and chicken pox were still not in and that their phone was down but they would call the lab as soon as it was fixed, or I could call the lab myself. I said, but the tests were sent to Toronto and Hamilton, and she said, the lab in town will have the results. So I went home and called the lab, knowing full well that the results would go directly from Toronto to the clinic, not to the local blood lab. And I was right. Just for fun I asked the woman at the lab, do you think the people at this clinic are assholes? would I be better off never going back there, and just getting the shots at some other clinic? and she said, uh, maybe?
In the meantime, I thought I'd better call the school and make sure that this was indeed the last hoop I had to jump through before I could register, and after having to dial the admissions office and go through the labyrinth of recorded options six times, I finally reached a human being who was able to tell me that my transcript had arrived and that restriction had been lifted, but the art school hadn't processed my advising form thing yet (the thing I did in early June when I visited the school). Because apparently the art school can't clear me to register until graduate admissions does, it all has to be done in a particular order, you see.
Finally, in a complete tizzy by now, I called Andra at the art school, and can I just say, Andra? My favourite person. She took care of the advising thing, helped clear up a few other things regarding course registration and my assistantship job, and also checked on the class I'm worrying about and told me there's still room in it for me. I wonder if the school has already flagged me as high-maintenance? There's probably a note in my file, this is the girl who was so stupid she had to come all the way down from Canada to get help filling out forms. File under "high-strung". Shit.
So last night I went to the after hours walk-in clinic to get immunized. After a (remarkably short for health-care deficient Windsor) 40 minute wait, the doctor told me that he could give me the tetanus but chicken pox isn't something they normally give to adults, and hadn't I ever had it? I said, yes, but I need proof and I can't get proof so just give me the damned shot, please. He asked me why I needed proof and I told him, and he reached for a blood test request form. And I FREAKED. I seriously freaked. So the guy gingerly put the form back, leaning away from me a little, and wrote me a prescription to take to the pharmacy next door. And assured me that when I came back I wouldn't have to sit in the waiting room again.
Well. My drug plan doesn't cover the chicken pox vaccine. I had to pay eighty dollars to be immunized against a disease I have had. And I'll tell you this: if the clinic calls today to tell me that my blood test results are in, I am going to go down there and smash their window. I'm that high strung.
But all restrictions have been lifted, and I'm cleared to register. As soon as the fucking online system decides to play nice and allow me into my classes; the only one it will let me into is the one I was afraid of being shut out of, but it won't actually put me down in the class until I've selected a full course load of classes, and it keeps saying I still don't have the department's permission to take the teaching practicum (I do so) and that printmaking is full (AS IF I can be shut out of printmaking. As if). Gah. So now I'm calling Andra again ("hi, Andra? It's me again, the moron. Can you hold my hand?")
Oh, and I woke up with some intense throat pain this morning, after sitting for 40 minutes last night in a waiting room next to a woman who had some kind of infection in her throat and sinuses. So, back to the clinic (a different one, as if I'm going back to the asshole place, no way!). The doc says maybe it's just a virus but gave me an antibiotic anyway, and I'm just going to take it. Fuck it.
July 19, 2005
Cruising on fumes
It's too hot to do anything but this right now. By the time this heat wave is over, I'll be moving to Georgia. I've always had crappy timing.
I'm thinking about starting an anonymous blog. Actually, maybe Pete and I will start an anonymous blog together. Because sometimes there are stories to tell that just can't be told here, and then because I can't tell those stories and have nothing else to write about, I just wank about something frivolous instead, and that's boring and no fun for anyone. But hey, my dad reads this sometimes, and I'm sure you'll all agree that my dad does not need to know about things like what size padlock some guy I met at a party can put through his Prince Albert. So it's best if we don't even discuss it, okay?
Actually we've met a few circus-freak types lately. And on an unrelated note (honest!) I went out to Royal Oak to hang with the knitdetroit group last night, and it was a blast(no freaks there, except for me, but I think I hid it well). Kirsti was working on a gorgeous project, but I think it might be a secret so I won't talk about that either. It was almost done, so maybe she'll unveil it soon.
Pete drove over with me to hang out and have supper with Kirsti and I at the Mexican place near where the group meets, and it was people-who-look-under-thirty day at the border, or tattooed-person day or long-haired-guy day or something, so for one of those reasons we got hauled in and had our car searched. But it wasn't too big a deal and didn't take long, since we're law-abiding geeks with nothing but hockey sticks and stuffed animals in the car; we don't provide very much excitement in the boring day of a customs officer. Thank goodness. I did look like a moron, telling the car-searching guys that the van's sliding door is kind of hard to open because the inside panel is falling off, and when they said "you open it for us, then" it opened no problem, even though I know it was jamming up on the kids all the time. Apparently Peter fixed it and didn't tell me, so the Customs guys were no doubt thinking I was making some kind of lame attempt to cover up the fact that I couldn't get the panel back on properly after I was finished hiding all the crack cocaine in there (hi, dad, JUST KIDDING).
I have finally got all of my immigration stuff figured out, but they sure don't make it easy. Yesterday I was almost in tears because the 800 numbers they give out on the Homeland Security website don't work if you're calling from Canada. So finally (almost in despair; really, I've got to try not to be such a drama queen sometimes) I called the U.S. Consulate in Toronto, and while they weren't willing to help me either, through an elaborate rigamarole I finally managed to find a phone number that was answered by a real human being (a real human being I had to pay two dollars and twenty five cents per minute to talk to, but by that time I was willing to pay anything; that's the trick, I guess, they break you down with a series of recordings and option menus that don't include anything remotely close to what you need, so that you're weak and defenseless when they finally tell you it's going to cost you money, and you give in and pay just to hear a human voice that might have an answer for your questions). And I found out that I don't have to do anything until I'm ready to cross the border with my van load of stuff.
So, the United States requires proof that I am going to return to Canada and not try to stay in the US once I've weaseled my way in on a student visa. I said to the lady, I can show them the deed to the house I own in Canada, is that enough? and she said it would be good if I could get letters from my family saying that I'll come back. Because, yeah, that's official. Can't fake a letter from Gramma. I said, my common-law spouse will be driving me down but he's not moving with me, so if I show the deed to my house and they can see that I also have a spouse in Canada, is that enough? and she said he needs to bring proof that he has reasons to come back to Canada too, like for example proof of employment. Okay, I said, I'll bring the deed to our house, my spouse will bring his salary letter which outlines his recent promotion and pay raise, is that enough? and she said, it would be good if he had letters from his family too. Then she said, they probably won't want to look that deeply into it, but just in case. Because, apparently a bunch of letters that could be written by anybody and signed "Jodi's mom" are going to convince them if they don't think the official proof that I (hello) own a house with my spouse who is remaining in Canada where he has a respectable job with a good salary and, oh yes, he has children here too is enough. Whatever. The letters thing just seems stupid to me. I'll bring the deed, the salary letter, maybe a bank statement. Pictures of Pete's kids, for crying out loud. I'm tempted to just show them my OHIP card; really, the fact that health care is free here should be proof enough that I'll be coming back to Canada.
July 11, 2005
Disregard my nervousness (please, ignore my vacant stare)
I've been in a profound funk the last little while; I'm finding it hard to motivate myself to do anything productive, and just generally feeling sorry for myself. Little things upset me more than they should, and it's as if every day is the Thursday before my period, when I'm liable to either freak out and maim somebody or cry over nothing.
I haven't really talked about this too much here, but when I go away to Athens for school in August, Peter is not going with me. We're going to be living in different countries, umpteen-however-many thousand miles apart, for the next three years. Of course I'll have lots of time off, and we'll be able to visit fairly often, but, still. The next five weeks before I go loom darkly.
So. I cannot bring myself to do any of the things I need to do that are connected with my going away. Like packing. Like putting everything I'm not taking with me into some kind of order so that Pete doesn't have to live in a pile of my crap. Like, making art. I have plenty of work I could be doing, but I can't force myself to touch it. Even though I feel a pang of longing when I walk past cellulose sponges in the grocery store (they're an essential tool for lithography, and since I graduated I haven't been able to do any printing), the wood for the woodcuts I wanted to start still sits upstairs, untouched. If it's something I'm taking away with me, I don't even want to look at it.
I haven't really felt like posting here either, mainly because I knew I would just whine about my plight. Like I just did. There are lots of other things I want to write about, but, you know. That motivation thing. Maybe tomorrow; for now here are some pictures of some of the things I've been doing to while away the time.
Bonus sexy armpit shot! Rrrrowwwr.
I'd been plugging away on this Tivoli and stopped to try it on. Whoa! Off the needles she went, postehaste. I'm using a heavy recycled cotton yarn, and had to rejig the pattern to fit my gauge. The resulting top is too loose and too thick, a big no-no on a short chubby torso like mine. It's not the pattern's fault, I love this pattern and intend to make at least three. But this isn't the right yarn for it. This yarn will have a much better and more attractive life as Stefanie's lace tube skirt from SnB Nation:
Evening Diamonds is finished and enjoyed her first night out on Saturday. Here's an arty wanker-type picture.
For anyone who's counting, this would be the 5.5th time I've knitted a top out of this yarn. It's a mystery cotton with a rayon slub, bought at the Hudson's Bay Company way back in the long ago time when they still had a yarn section. I made the same cabled racerback tank three times before figuring out that no matter how many times I reknit it, it still wasn't going to fit or look good. It then spent many dark years in a box before being dyed blue and unravelled last summer, and knit into a too-big Evening Diamonds halter. So I unravelled it one last time and knit it on a smaller needle, but when I was almost done the neck decreases I ran out of yarn. After tearing my house apart and flinging obscenities at an innocent man and a few cats, I unravelled the top half and changed the pattern enough to get a finished top out of the amount of yarn I had.
The yarn has a tendency to stretch out and lose its shape, which is the cause of at least half of my previous problems with it. If it stretches out too big again, I'm just going to put grommets up the back and lace it tight. Either that or have a ritual burning.
Here's a closeup of the beaded trim:
After the top was finished and the crochet trim on, I found this in my gym bag:
A very kind lady from Freecycle gave me an old Spirograph set from the seventies, and I made some more shrink plastic stuff:
and these little pieces to make into bracelets. I am addicted to watching the things shrink, and the only thing keeping me from running up a huge hydro bill using the oven all day is the fact that we're having a heat wave.
Peter is working on a new and improved version of my website, and unlike when they changed the recipe for your favourite breakfast cereal and raised the price at the same time, my new site is actually going to be better than the old one. We're hoping to be able to launch it by the end of the week, with an online shop going up soon after. Soon!
[To those of you waiting for t-shirts, I haven't forgotten or just slacked off; I've decided to wait until I've moved to order shirts. I am working on some designs though, and will post them as soon as they're ready.]
Claudia sent me this gorgeous skein of handspun cashmere:
My new pet. I can't stop stroking it. Thanks, Claudia!
The Sexie halter is this close (imagine fingers held soooo close, almost together) to being finished, but I still need to get some contrasting ribbon for the edging and lacing. It's been sitting on a stitch holder for three weeks, just waiting. Camocleo is similarly pining away, waiting for two measly seams and some i-cord. Motivation. Problem.
The OSW, however, is a quick little breeze to finish, so I did.
It is a wonder, all right. It's like a little boob lift, without the cutting.
So. After identifying my problem, do you think I made any steps to overcome it? Did I pack a box of stuff, or start my woodcut?
No way, baby. I went to Franco and Jelena's place and showed them how to pickle garlic. Isn't it pretty?
In the interest of getting me moving on the cleaning up my crap and putting it in boxes front, we've invited people to a going-away party for me on the 23rd of July. If you didn't get an invitation and want to come, send me an e-mail, and as long as you're not a creepy stalker I'll give you our address. The more people show up, the more crap I have to clean out of the way. There won't be any pickled garlic there, since it needs to sit for six weeks. But you'll forget all about that when you taste my amazing chutney, I promise.
June 30, 2005
I'm just mad about Saffron
And she's just mad about me.
June 23, 2005
I probably think this song is about me (don't I?)
When I'm a dried-up old woman, I am NOT going to be the lonely lady down the block with the 200 cats and dogs, sobbing pathetically while trying to protect my giant silver dildo from the glare of the news cameras. Rather, I expect I'll be more like the crass old skank that Flea described today, brandishing my silver dildo with pride and regaling everyone with detailed descriptions of all the deeply dirty things I used to do back in the day, when I was in my thirties and leaving that stuff out of the weblog because I considered this a family website (what? you don't think this a family website? just because your kids came here and had to read about my beaver? well, fuck you!).
Boys and girls, it's time to discuss my hair. Because we all know that there is nothing in the world more self-absorbed than writing about your hairstyle on the internet and expecting people to care (and I'm nothing if not self-absorbed). As you may recall, I'm growing my hair out from short right now, and it's just starting to get into the really, really ugly stage (which, if I remember correctly from the last time I grew my hair out, lasts at least a year. That's my best excuse for how I looked in 1987). Here's what it looks like today.
Now, before you go saying it's not all that bad yet, you should know that it takes a huge handful of gloppy product to keep it this tame and normal-looking. I've also taken to hiding it under kerchiefs, which looks pretty cute until bedtime when I take the kerchief off and all the hair is flattened. I think this is hilarious beyond belief, but Peter seems to have become tired of my hair's comedic value already--the other night when I was eyeing him meaningfully while preparing to whip the kerchief off with a flourish, he kind of got mad and said it wasn't funny. He was equally unimpressed a few nights earlier when I stood in front of the bathroom mirror for about ten minutes laughing at myself and saying, "you poor thing! you have to have SEX with me with this hair! better keep your eyes shut!" (have I mentioned I'm 33 going on twelve? act immature and you'll stay young forever, it's working for me so far).
So. The plan is to grow it out past my shoulders and then dye the front part blue again, like it used to be a couple of years ago:
I need some advice. Now that my hair's getting almost long enough that I will be able to stick objects in it and have them stay, but too long to force it to look decent, should I dye it, just to keep myself from getting bored with the ugliness and buzzing it off? I was thinking of using a permanent dye, not like the blue. Maybe a deep red, or copper? Or is this going to make me look like I should be putting on a yellow clown suit and shilling for some hamburger chain? I was thinking of something like one of these
What do you guys think? Will it just look worse later when the hair is still in the ugly-growing-out stage but now has four inch red ends? Will I be sorry when I try to bleach out the front later to add blue? These are burning questions, and I need answers.
Bonus! Here's a story:
See how in the first photo my lips are parted on one side and closed on the other? See how they're kind of. . . uneven? I don't know if I was born with wobbly lips but I have a theory about why they are like that. I think it has something to do with the time, oh, around 1973, when I was watching my dad work under the hood of his Volkswagen Beetle and I thought the foamy stuff built up on the outside of the car battery was yummy frosting, so I tasted it. I don't really remember this happening, but my cousin Chris told me that I scooped up a big fingerful of the stuff and raised it to my lips and started whining, and that the acid was on my lip for a little while because my dad just said "be quiet" without looking up. Because I was kind of a loudmouth kid (shocking, I know), and so he was used to it. I'm not sure if this is a real memory or something I made up later but in my mind I can see the battery with a perfectly piped-on baby blue frosting all around the top edge, like a lovely birthday cake. Mmm.
June 12, 2005
Every handful is a whole new snack
Here's a little cuff I whipped up this morning for today's 30th birthday boy. Party's this afternoon.
Most of the people I hung out with yesterday morning will be there this afternoon but this time none of us have to wear stuffy polyester robes. I pity the fools who have to graduate today, because they're wearing those exact same gowns we wore yesterday and they haven't been washed. We pay twenty-five dollars to rent the things and the bastards don't even clean them between uses.
Check out all the blooms on my valerian.
Last week I was going to dig up those roses in the background and get rid of them, but now that they're in flower they look so good I kind of want to keep them. Those seven or eight trees that are mixed in with them have to go, though, and I'm afraid that in order to get all the tree roots out we might end up losing the roses anyway. I'll wait until they're finished blooming, at least. In the middle ground you can see my very important grass-killing project in progress (looks like trash on the ground but it's not!).
I went up into the attic and started sweeping up the 90-year-old cedar debris the other day. It's brutally hot up there, and by the time I had one garbage can filled with crap I had to quit. There's huge amounts of Barbage (the junk left behind by the house's former owner, Barb, and her kids) to throw out.
In this picture, taken from the stairs at floor level, you may or may not be able to see the following:
-the filthy insulation that is spread around the outer edges of the entire attic, right where it's not supposed to be, blocking the soffit vents. I have to throw it all away.
-plastic bags. and lots of 'em.
-pieces of styrofoam packaging from electronics
-at least one formerly white sports sock is visible in the picture, but there are many, many more than just one in this attic. Teenagers really make me puke sometimes.
-used Christmas paper and bows
-birthday cards, mostly the dirty joke kind
-a secret, dirt-covered lair that contains one Sweet Valley High book, one Archie comic book, Balderdash cards, photos, homework, a hockey puck, and a Canada 125 McPassport.
I was going to post one of the photographs I found up there but the technology got the better of me. The new computer won't recognize the scanner, so I have to scan everything with my pieceofshit old computer. But the old computer no longer has a floppy drive because we put it in the new computer, which didn't come with one. So the only way to get an image off the old computer and onto the new one is to unravel the long phone cord across the hall to the jack in the other room, use the dialup and either a) have Peter log into his chat with Trillian while I do the same downstairs on our real computer and send it, or b) use Yahoo to e-mail the image to myself. Since Peter isn't here and I don't know his password I had to use option b. Except that the old computer has old browsers that have to use an old version of Yahoo and for some reason today it won't let me send attachments. And the old computer has a habit of emitting a high pitched squeal when it gets too hot, which happens pretty much any time you use it for more than 20 minutes in the summer. By the time it started squealing I'd pretty much had it and just gave up. The picture wasn't really worth it.
June 11, 2005
Are you here for an affair, sir?
Purely by accident, the sock I brought to work on matched the BFA hood.
So I went to my convocation this morning. It wasn't so bad. I mean it was stiflingly hot and long and boring and my hood kept slipping off and because I was a medalist I had to sit with the other medalists in the front instead of at the back with the rest of my class, but still it wasn't as dreadful as I'd feared; I absolutely hate pomp, which is why I didn't want to go in the first place. I was right in front of the lectern, best seat in the house. When I went up and shook hands with the chancellor of the university he said "so you're the knitter eh". I said, yeah, today I'm observing World Wide Knit in Public Day.
Here's four weirdos who can't keep their hoods on straight for more than two minutes. Joe, me, qpaukl and Jesse. Where's the rest of our class? Probably outside getting their pictures taken somewhere nicer. That dumbass rope around my neck is what I got to wear for graduating with distinction, and they were generous enough to let us keep the ropes. Scholarships would have been nicer, I'm thinking. But I guess I can think of a few things to do with some nice soft rope.
I didn't get too much done on the sock, what with all the stand-up-sit-down-applaud.
On beauty (from the comments): Mandy, I also never never set out making a piece of art with any sort of conceptual plan. There are things that I'm always thinking about at some level, and I just go to the press or the sewing machine or whatever and work intuitively and those things come across. Sometimes I will make decisions that I think are arbitrary and then realize later what they mean and why they are important. I'm not trying to say "the art makes itself" or "it comes from somewhere outside of me" or any such bullshit; those are lame-ass excuses used by people who aren't smart enough to think and talk critically about their own work. But when you are totally immersed in what you're doing and why you're doing it the conceptual part doesn't always happen on the top level of your consciousness. I know that statement would have a lot of artists I know spitting and snarling, but when you've thought out and planned a piece to death before you lift your hand to begin it, well, that's worse than bad, that's boring. Who can stand to actually make the work if there are no surprises?
Chantal: I also have met a lot of BFA students who plan to complete a Bachelor of Ed. afterwards, and while some of them genuinely want to be teachers, I think a lot just don't have a clue what else they can do with the BFA, and will go to teachers college just in order to be qualified for SOME job. Hm, a lack of creative thinking perhaps?
When I say craftsmanship I don't necessarily mean that it's bad to sometimes not wipe the edges of your plate or to use ink straight out of the can. I do those things on occasion. But there is a great difference between intentional messiness and carelessness, and it's the carelessness I'd like to eradicate (I think that carelessness is what you're talking about too). My work can be very, very messy, but when you look at the work it doesn't look like the work of a bad or careless printer. I know how to print well, and so I have the freedom to roll up my litho stone too full or not full enough, or force the ink to smear, or shift a print so it's mis-registered, or not fully erase dark pencil lines; these are things which are always very tightly controlled. As long as people are taught to do things "right", they should have the freedom not to. When it's time for me to put these opinions into practice, I'll want students to show me that they can do things the "right" way before they are free to do it the "wrong" way. And I'll try not to let them use ink straight out of the can, at least at first.
You also mentioned drawing skill, and that's something I'll talk about another day; you may have noticed I can be long-winded at times, and that's a topic on which I have a lot to say. Later.
On elevators, especially those filled with creepy woodcut people: Thanks to everyone who expressed interest in the t-shirts. I am planning to put up a shop on the website soon (tentative launch date July 1) and will be making some shirts. They'll be printed a little better than the ones you guys saw, of course.
June 10, 2005
He believes in beauty
Professor D. is a poet and art lover. I went to see him yesterday, and we talked a little bit about beauty. He is not a big fan of conceptual art (he said he has a friend who is a conceptual artist and "produces almost no work", indicating that to Prof. D. "product" should be of primary importance in art-making). Prof. D. also said that any time he mentions the word "beauty" to anyone in the visual arts, which I took to mean faculty members in the School of Visual Arts, they recoil in horror.
Here are my thoughts on beauty. I think beauty in art is important, more important now than it has been in quite a while. Because ugly is sometimes a kind of beauty too, I prefer to use the word craft instead, but by this I don't necessarily mean domestic craft (although that's becoming more important as well) but rather craftsmanship. I see a pendulum swing back towards craft(smanship) happening in the visual arts, and I think that pretty soon it will no longer be good enough to hang a brick from the ceiling and stand back and pat yourself on the back for being so profound.
This is not to say that ideas are not equally important. We don't make art for decoration; we make it to communicate ideas. If I was any good at communicating in words I would be a poet but I communicate better visually, so I am an artist.
The first time I went to art school, in the late 1980s, it was at Bealart, where we were given a very strong foundation in tradition and technique, which I found invaluable, but on the conceptual side our education was a little light. Several years later when I began my undergrad studies at Western, I experienced the exact opposite: first year students were not being taught basic skills like, for instance, how to paint, and instruction was instead heavily weighted towards theory. I remember sitting in a lecture hall while MFA students and graduating BFA students talked to the first year studio classes about their own work, and having one of them show us slides of very sloppily put together soft sculpture and telling us that craftsmanship didn't matter, only the concept was important (of course I wouldn't be as scornful of this if she hadn't then proceeded to discuss her thesis work in a way that made it clear that while she was concentrating on creating a certain sensory experience in the gallery with her piece, there were things going on conceptually in the work about which she was totally unaware, thus completely negating her previous claim that concept is the only thing that matters).
Of course, art that is lovely and devoid of meaning is, as my advisor Daniel would say, worse than bad: it's boring (I'm so thankful that I was never on the receiving end of that phrase being bellowed across the table in a group critique). That's why craft and concept need to work together in an equal partnership, although when I said this to Prof. D. he disagreed and said that beauty is more important and that the partnership should not be equal. I think perhaps I need to delve into his poetry a bit, because thus far I've only been exposed to it in public readings, and I suspect that I could use his work to further my argument. After all, the rules should be the same in my field as in his, I think. I don't mean to imply that Prof. D. and I argued, because it was really just a discussion, but we had differing views and I'm the competitive sort who likes to turn every discussion into an argument. . .
So. Beauty. I think maybe part of the reason that those art professors recoil from the word is that they conflate it with pretty, and when I said this to Prof. D. he reacted as if a cartoon lightbulb had appeared over his head. When Peter and I discussed this over supper last night he said that perhaps they feel that to apply the word beauty diminishes what they do. And even I get nervous when someone talks to me about my work in terms of aesthetics alone, even though it is very important to me that my work be beautiful. About two years ago, during a time when I was experiencing a profound shift in the way I thought about what I was doing as an artist, I slumped onto the couch in Daniel's office and confessed a fear that had been plaguing me: that the things I was thinking about and trying to communicate through my work were not coming across, and that I was wasting my time just making pretty pictures. Daniel, bless him, said "Jodi, your work's not all that pretty", a critique that has made me more happy than any other.
Consider this: two artists produce work that addresses the same concerns, but one of them cares deeply about craft while the other does not. Which piece is going to hold a viewer's attention long enough for that viewer to engage meaningfully with the work, the one that is well crafted and has beauty, or the poorly executed one made by someone who considers the concept to be the only important element?
Too cool for school
Convocation is tomorrow, and I've decided (at the very last minute) that I'm going to go. I had intended to skip it, because it's not all that important to me to sit around for hours sweating in this heat in a rented polyester gown just to go up and have someone stick a hot polyester hood on my head. But when we got home from Athens there was a letter waiting here telling me that I'm receiving a medal (I think it's for high marks), and that made me feel guilty for not attending.
And besides, this will be the first time I've graduated from anything since oh, about 1985. It's a little known fact that I didn't graduate from high school. I spent three years in my local small town dickwater school before making a break for it and transferring to Beal, where I was able to pretty much do art all day every day. I finished the three year fine art programme and stayed for three more years as a part-time adult student, just wanking around in the intaglio shop and making prints. I wasn't too concerned with finishing up my academics at the time, so I left Beal with about twenty more credits than I needed (most of them in art) but one English course short of a diploma. Or so I thought until six years later when I requested my transcript in order to apply to university as a mature student, and discovered that in fact I was only a measly half an English credit away. The irony is that during my time out from school I was living with Peter, who was at that time an adult ed. teacher, and although he never got to teach it, his specialty was English. Sheesh.
So anyway I broke down and rented the gown, but not before making sure that qpaukl was going too. How much knitting will it take to get through one convocation ceremony? I think this Pom Squad sock, made with the Magic Stripes yarn that Hockey Mom gave me, should suffice.
June 06, 2005
Love, baby, that's where it's at
We're back from Athens, and I have a place to live! I'm going to move in with Jenny [insert link to Jenny's blog here, just as soon as I can find it], who's a friend of Carrieoke's (thanks, Carrie, for hooking me up). It's a little farther from campus than I'd like, but the place is very cute and the rent is cheap, and I won't need to buy a lot of furniture, and I'll have a knitting roommate, which I'm quite excited about.
We had an amazingly fun time with Sandy and Bob, who were kind enough to give us a place to crash on Thursday even though they were leaving for their vacation in the wee hours the next night. They are very cool people, and we found out we have some interests in common besides knitting. We ate at a great Mexican place and drank god knows how many pitchers of sangria while our very talkative young waiter told us his five year plan, and why he's okay with not having a girlfriend, and plenty of redneck jokes. The best part was when he said that he had eaten at another Mexican restaurant and felt like he was cheating (Peter told him to have a talk with his manager about an open relationship, that maybe they should both try seeing other restaurants for a while).
Here's me and Sandy the next morning, both looking a little sleep-deprived and giddy, although not nearly as giddy as in all the pictures from the night before, which I'm far too vain to show. This one is proof enough that these internet people really exist, and don't just want to chop you up and put you in the freezer. Sandy's way too nice for that.
Some observations from the trip:
-people in the South are friendlier and more open than people in Canada, at least the part of Canada I've lived in all my life, and also more than people in other parts of the States I've been to. Right away we felt like we'd known Sandy and Bob for a while, and I know it was the same way when I met my Atlanta friends too; I only see Kerri and PJ once a year but when I do see them I feel so close to them. Maybe because they call me "baby".
-Georgia is the place where old gas stations go to die.
-it's just not worth it to order tea in a restaurant in the South. I already knew that I had to ask for "hot tea", or wind up with sweet tea, which is a truly awful substance (I've made that mistake before). What I learned on this trip is that when they bring your tea to the table in a teapot, you needn't bother to let it steep.
Because they don't actually put any tea in it. I wonder if they just take their unsweetened iced tea mix and heat it up?
-The American buffet restaurant is a powerful illustration of the terrible imbalance of wealth on this planet. So many people seem driven to take more and more, even though they don't need it, even though it's killing them. Over there, people are starving to death, and over here they have a strange compulsion to eat themselves to death. Of course it's not just food that people are driven to consume, but it's a problem with American society that just seems easier to see when you're standing at the buffet counter. This is something I'll probably talk about a lot more later; for now just thinking about buffet makes me queasy.
Some pictures from Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
When we went through on Thursday it was cold and rainy. At Newfound Gap, halfway through the park and right on the state line, there's this sign
which usually shows visitors an example of the perfect photo to take from this vantage point so that they can all go home with the exact same memories, since we all know that it's not about the experience, it's about the photo op (I'm surprised they don't mark out on the ground the ideal place to stand while taking the photo). That day the perfect view picture was missing. And here is what the view looked like:
Our van, peering into the void.
All around us was perfectly white. Standing way up on a mountain and staring into this nothingness made me want so badly to leap (just like Carlos Castaneda, except that since that was all a hoax and he never really jumped, probably I would not have survived the fall so well as he did. And that's pretty much why I didn't do it).
Coming home on Saturday the sky was a lot clearer so we took the side road up to Clingman's Dome, which I think is as high as you can get in the Smokies unless you live there. By the time we got to the top we were in the clouds again.
Way down there, the sun is shining.
April 12, 2005
Call me jDoi
I have an uncanny ability to not only never type my name properly, but to type it incorrectly exactly the same way almost every time; if I didn't check my e-mails carefully for spelling, I would sign nearly every single one like this: jDoi.
Another uncanny ability I've noticed recently, and this one is creeping me out a little: when I am using the computer I leave Mozilla Thunderbird open all the time so it tells me with a little two-note sound when it has downloaded a new e-mail from my server. Very often (seriously, nearly every time) I will "hear" that sound, seemingly at a distance, in my head, and seconds later I will hear it for real and there will be a message. My brain is imagining the little noise before the message is downloaded. Creepy, no? What's worse is that twice yesterday I got up to use the bathroom and while I was in there I "heard" the little noise, and when I came back to the computer there was no mail (proving that I didn't just hear it from upstairs) but when I clicked on "get mail" a message came down. Both times.
I think it's time I spent some time away from the computer, don't you?
In other news, my little pressure tactic worked, and Rob now has a blog! So everybody go say hi to Rob and tell him I sent you.
I had a feeling I had missed somebody in the interviews, and indeed I did. I still need to interview crumpart, but as I have two more days of school and some things to finish up that are due tomorrow, it will have to wait until Thursday.
Hmph. It seems I also have an uncanny ability to use the blog as a procrastination tool when I have more important writing to do. So I'd best buckle down and finish my paper, and I'll see y'all on Thursday (see, I'm practising talking southern. I haven't been able to figure out how to work "all y'all" into a sentence yet though. At least not in a way that doesn't sound absurd).
April 08, 2005
It was just a little "ow". If it had really hurt a lot, rest assured I would have whined like crazy.
Thanks to everyone who commented and e-mailed me about Hot Tamale; I'm glad people like it. Wasn't that a hilarious picture of me? I swear we took 70 shots and could not get a single one where I didn't make a weird face or look like a total goofball.
Here's what I made today:
This would be the least exciting knitting I have ever done if I had never knitted dishrags. These little stockinette triangles are going to cover up my growing-out hair while it's in the awful ugly stages. I know the colours are really BORING, but I don't plan on making one of these for every outfit so they have to be neutral. I think I'll make a red one next though, maybe lace. The camo-looking one on top is the green from the top-down raglan that didn't work, mixed with a strand of black; I said I was going to make the t-shirt with it but as soon as I had a little triangle of it like this I couldn't stop thinking of Cleo. So even though I would likely get more wear out of the t-shirt, I might just do a camocleo instead.
Thanks also for all the concern about my pain, but I guess I misled you guys a little; it didn't really hurt much at all. I've found that areas where there isn't much fat feel pretty good to tattoo, it's the fatty parts that are a bitch. It must be subjective, because I've heard a lot of people say that the areas that hurt the most to tattoo are right over bone, and that hasn't been the case for me. The absolute worst spot I've had tattooed is my belly; it hurt for more than two weeks.
Jae, if you can handle the tat you just got you can get one on the inside of your wrist; trust me, it's not bad at all. This one took less than an hour.
Grace, you asked about red ink: this tat is actually brown, but the lighting wasn't so good when I took the picture so it's hard to tell. I do have red dots in my first three tattoos, and one wee little solid area. I didn't have any problem with the red except that the dots were raised for a few years, which I really liked; sadly, they've gone down. My friend Tamara (qpaukl's wife) has lots of huge red areas and they seem fine too, although she says that every once in a while, usually in summer, the red areas swell a little.
Diana asked in the comments: "okay, I've seen other people with star tattoos on their wrists. Does it have some sort of implied meaning that I am not getting?". I sure hope there isn't. If anyone finds out and it's something bad please don't tell me. I have this t-shirt that I really like, it's red with the number 88 and inside the number is the Union Jack. Last week I read that 88 is some kind of shorthand for a certain Nazi salute that I won't write here because I don't want asshole hater-types to find me by googling it, but it starts with h and h. I bought my shirt secondhand and I'm sure it just came from some store like Zellers, but now I have mixed feelings about wearing it again; I certainly don't want the hater assholes to think I'm like them.
Yesterday I was telling qpaulk and Tam this t-shirt story while I got my new tat, and qpaukl started joking that I'm a closet white supremacist, the proof being the white laces in my boots (they are PACMAN laces, for fucksake, that's not the same). See?
So anyway. I don't know if a star on the wrist means anything to anyone else, but I'll tell you why I did it. It's actually for a class I'm taking, Ecopoetic Readings in Canadian Literature. We are all giving presentations based on one of the course readings, but we can only spend five minutes, so I thought instead of trying to cram something fun and interactive into five minutes, I would just do a show and tell. Yes, I'm serious, I put a mark on me that I will carry around forever for a five minute presentation in a class that isn't even required for my degree. Any excuse to get a little ink fix, eh?
The book is Lewis De Soto's A Blade of Grass. The story is set in 1970s South Africa. In it, there's a scene where the white farmer's wife, Marit, puts on the same type of clothes her black maid wears and goes barefoot, and the two of them walk into town together. Of course when her white neighbours see her like this, she gets a taste of what kind of treatment the black farm workers endure. So I was thinking that if we could all put on each other's skin for a while, we might not feel so different from one another. I know, I KNOW that's totally naive and hokey. So what? So I changed a little patch of my body to a different skin tone. The star is because of a story that carries some symbolism in the book, that the Bushmen never got lost because the stars always knew where they were (of course, it also suits my personal aesthetic, but hey, I have to wear this forever!). Also the story opens with Tembi planting five seeds, and they grow and bear fruit and the fruit is eaten and in the end everyone is dead except for Tembi and there are five seeds from one of the five fruits. So the five points reaching out are like the seeds, growing the little brown patch outward into my skin.
Why I think Norma is cooler than you guys are
Anybody who has received an e-mail from me may or may not have noticed the signature at the bottom:
Girls go to college to get more knowledge,
Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider.
Our friend Donny is five. Last summer he told Peter "I have a song about college" and Peter said "about college?" and Donny launched into this song, which is more of a chant but sounded so damned funny because of his Chicago accent. So I made it my e-mail signature, and I thought it was so hilarious to identify it as an Irish proverb, because you always see that on self-help daily affirmation type posters, mugs, plaques and crap like that, it's always attributed to the Irish. Like they are the geniuses of stupid cliche, when we know that it's really Americans who make that stuff up. Anyway, I've had this thing on every e-mail I've sent since August, and nobody has ever mentioned it. Not once.
But just now, while writing this endlessly long post, I did a bit of e-mailing back and forth with Norma and she mentioned that she liked the proverb. See, she figured out it was a joke, when everyone else was secretly embarrassed for me ("poor Jodi, she really thinks that's an Irish proverb!") and didn't want to hurt me by mentioning it. Either that or Norma thought I meant it too, and was trying to embarrass me.
April 07, 2005
Enough about me
Today is a miserable cold day. Yesterday it was 24 C and sunny, and I wore nothing but a little skirt and t-shirt and sneakers to school. And did a little lying around on the back deck in the sunshine. Today I was hoping to do so again, but it's gone back down to sweater + jacket temperature again, and it's raining. And this cotton pony that kicked me in the back all day long yesterday has decided to gnaw on my tummy instead today, so a little lie down in the sun would have been really nice.
Ah well. The birds seem to like it; two robins have been pigging out in the backyard for more than an hour now. Aren't they full yet?
Bitch, leave those worms alone! I need them for my plants.
See that purple mound to the left of the bird? That's my valerian that I brought here from my old garden in London. Whee! I get so thrilled when things grow back, I always kind of expect plants to die on me. Lots do, of course, and I shower love upon those who choose to stay with me and thrive. Hopefully that love makes up for not watering them enough.
Okay! Interview time; these are the last four.
1. Are you planning to add anything new to your garden this year? Anything from last year that you don't want back?
2. Tell me about why you're a vegan. Is it for health reasons, or cruelty? How hard is it to raise a vegan baby?
3. You've got 5 WIP in your sidebar. Do you have any more that you're not telling us about? Any old dogs you're embarrassed to show and will never finish, but can't bring yourself to frog yet?
4. I hope to visit England some day, to check out the places where my dad grew up and maybe meet some of my family there. If I were to visit you, what would be the first thing in your town that you would want to show me (keeping in mind that I'm a total weirdo, easily pleased by stuff nobody else cares about, and not so much into the touristy thing)?
5. Now that you've been blogging for almost a year, do you think your blog has found its "voice"? How would you like you blog to evolve? And how will you celebrate your blogiversary?
1. Tell me about how/when you started knitting. Who taught you? What was your first project, and do you still have it?
2. I know you are working on a dissertation, but I couldn't find anything in your archives about what you're studying. Enlighten me!
3. Sorry to give you the same question as I gave Anna, but I really do plan on imposing on you all someday. So when I come for a visit, what one thing will you show me?
4. When I visit, I'll also expect you to take a whole day off and take me for a nice long ride on your motorcycle (no, I'm not too demanding!). Tell me about where we'll go, what we'll see, and where we'll stop for a pint along the way.
5. And here's the inevitable stash question: lion or lamb? Can you contain it in one room? Does it behave, or does it scratch at the door at night waiting to be let out?
1. How is the joint blogging working out for you? Do you ever wish for your own space, or do you prefer the communal aspect of sharing?
2. I know you're in California but I'm a little confused about where exactly (and my grasp of geography is not good). I have a chance to spend a week or so in San Diego in July with my girlfriend's business. How close are you to there? What is the one San Diego experience I should not miss? (nothing fish-related, please). Where are the good yarn shops?
3. Are you and Jen planning anything special for your one year blog anniversary? Will there be cake, and if so, what kind?
4. What's the butt-ugliest thing you ever knitted, and can I see it? Preferably on.
5. Does it ever snow where you live? Do you ever actually have to knit warm sweaters? Do you have a winter coat?
1. What are you planning to bring to Whiskey Cellphone Night this year? (hint: anything with the word Bushmill's in it is the wrong answer). Were you mad when we poured your Bushmill's in the fire last year, or were you too drunk to be mad?
2. Those knitted dresses you showed me were quite impressive but, um, really ugly. Would you wear one? If I show you how to knit, will you make one? I might pay to see it.
3. How many works in progress do YOU have? Which one has been hanging around the longest? Any ghawazee coats in there?
4. IHOP or Waffle House?
5. If I take you to the P.O. Lunch in August, will you eat the Pittsburgh Salad? Do you think we could get Thorvald to eat it? With what kind of dressing?
Whew! I'm done doing interviews. If you asked for an interview and I missed you, let me know but otherwise, I am taking a BREAK from that--it's hard work!
Now I have to get out of the house, I have a date with qpaukl to touch up my dpn tat. And maybe. . .
Goodbye, empty skin.
April 06, 2005
Don't fear the beaver
And you guys all thought I was going to lay off talking about my beaver for a while. Hah! As if.
Actually, it's not so much my beaver I want to talk about but just the whole experience of getting paid to be naked in front of people. For the last three and a half years or so I have worked part time as a nude model for drawing classes. This is in the same art department that I just graduated from, so the people I model for are my classmates and friends.
(No, I don't really show them the beaver. At least I try not to, but you know, the beav is right there in the middle of the body and sometimes it's just going to show a little. These students are young and uptight and they can't really handle that; I know one model who is not at all shy about giving the beaver shot, she gives it all the time and there are some kids in the school who are totally freaked out by her. I guess because it's not Brazil waxed and airbrushed like the ones they see on tv, they just can't even bring themselves to look at it. Hopefully they'll grow up and learn to love the beav like I do, but if not, well it's their loss, isn't it?)
The modeling is important to me for a number of reasons. I first started doing it because it's fifty dollars for a three hour class; that's nothing to sneeze at when you're a poor student. But it's a lot more than just the money. When I started modeling, it really got me thinking about what the female body means in art, and the complex power relationship between artist and model. It was a weird feeling to be on the other side, to be the object instead of the objectifier. Because I model in the same place that I study and make my art, I would do my three hour stint, then put my clothes back on and go to my studio, switching roles at will. At the same time I was starting to model I was starting to bring my own naked body into my work; before that I had been doing work like this:
(see the knitting?)
You can see that the work was always about the body, even when mostly nonrepresentational (go read my statement if you want to know more). Getting naked for other people made me want to stop avoiding the figure in my own work; I was always trying to find ways to speak about the body without explicitly showing it, and sort of had it in my head that the image of a female body carried too much "baggage", that for a feminist artist to depict a nude female would be a betrayal, an act of objectifying oneself. Now I think maybe objectifying myself is the point; I need to reconcile being an artist with being an object, and disembowel that power relationship slowly and then see what's left. I think I have a long way to go. The stuff I'm doing now is more like this:
contemplating my beaver, as usual (hey, what's that crawling out of it?)
The other impact that modeling has had is on my teaching philosophy. I have discovered that I love to teach drawing, and modeling has given me a chance to be a voyeur in other people's classrooms. I believe that in order to teach someone how to draw you first have to teach them how to see; I like to go around the classroom and look at what the students have drawn, and that has given me a great insight into how people see the human figure, and how much they don't see. I can take these observations straight back to my studio and apply them to my own work, but I can also squirrel this information away for the next time I have a chance to teach drawing. Students make a lot of assumptions about the body, and because they live in one and look at it in the mirror every day they think they know it, and know what it looks like. When they draw, often they are drawing based on these assumptions rather than on what is in front of them; the challenge is to make them forget what they think they know and actually see the body they are looking at.
Another thing I find fascinating is the way in which students will project their own body image anxieties onto the body of a model. I am five foot four and weigh a hundred and fifty pounds. I've noticed that young girls will often draw me much skinnier than I am, and much more stacked; it's like they fear fat so much they can't even draw it and prefer to pretend it's not there. The boys, on the other hand, often draw me fatter than I really am--I guess they look at me and see a chick who's kind of old and not their idea of hot, and they emphasize that. The people who tend to draw me the most accurately are the mature students (of both sexes). I haven't really got this whole phenomenon figured out yet but I'm working on it.
Whew! I wanted to get some of these thoughts down, since it's something that's so important to me and to my work. I'll probably talk about it a lot more, so be forewarned. Blah blah blah. I guess it's better than talking about my beaver all the time, eh?
The hazards of knitting in public
So yesterday morning I got on the bus and sat down and started to knit and the guy next to me started giving me a hard time, saying that knitting isn't really an activity for the twenty first century and nobody does it anymore. I said a lot of people do it. He said he bets there aren't even a thousand in North America. I said I know maybe three hundred, and he says "well that's not a thousand, is it?" as if the fact that I don't personally know a thousand knitters somehow proves his point. I said those are just the ones I know, there are millions of people I don't know (in my most derisive voice).
Then he said that more people go to Blockbuster Video than to the library. I said "that's their loss". And left it at that. But what I really wanted to say: what the fuck does that have to do with my knitting on the bus? Are you saying that knitters probably prefer the library, and are therefore smarter than those other people? Or that they're just more interesting? Or maybe he was just throwing stuff out there, not worrying about whether there was any connection.
Later that afternoon, sitting with my knitting and my tea in the library coffeeshop, I got my favourite kind of knitting in public comment, the one where someone asks what you're knitting but has absolutely no interest in your answer. One of the coffeeshop employees came over and said "what are you knitting?" and I said just some samples to see what this yarn looks like knitted up (I was making lace swatches for an article on dyeing that I wrote for Take Back the Knit 2). She grabs a finished swatch off the table in front of me and says "pretty. samples eh? someone give this to you?" and I said no, I knitted that. Oh, she says, are you making a sweater? NO, I said, I'm just making these little pieces. "Oh, how nice" she says, tossing the swatch onto the table and walking away.
Then today coming home on the bus a lady asked "are you knitting and purling?". I said yes (I really was knitting AND purling, on the Must Have sleeve). "Oh," she said, "I used to do that a lot but it gave me arthritis. But you're young, you don't have to worry about that yet, I'm 53".
W.T. Fuck? As if knitting gives you arthritis. I don't believe it, especially since I had just heard her telling someone else that she got a viral infection from being caught out in the rain. Oh yeah, then she said she doesn't like to heat her house in the winter because the last time she had the heat on her candles melted in a drawer (so the solution for turning your heat on way too fucking high is to turn it off completely? how hot do you think a house has to be to melt candles??).
A note from the comments: Alison asked about photos. I didn't post photos of the finished projects because I already posted pics when I finished those things, but I will post a photo of me wearing the skirt, just as soon as I get the belt loops on. As for the hair, it's actually still looking kind of cute right now, so I thought I'd wait until it was really bad looking and funny and then show a picture. But what the hell, here's what it looks like now, with the long blue bangs cut off:
I was also reluctant to post a picture because I know there's a certain segment of the blog world that poopoos things like blogging about your haircut. But hey, all bloggers are totally self absorbed, otherwise why would we be doing this? So suck it up, people.
Okay, that's quite enough talking about myself for one day, I think. I know I said I'd ask questions tonight but sorry, tonight it's all about me. I promise that tomorrow morning it will be all about you guys, and I'll finish up my interviews.
March 31, 2005
I don't really like peaches any more than I like cheese. But at least I'm not allergic to peaches.
Which is to say, I think I'm going to move to Georgia. NOT because Carrie went outside in a bikini top in Athens the other day, although that's a pretty good reason too; I bet those guys in Wisconsin are still pulling fish up out of the ice (eeew).
The reason, of course, is money. UGA is offering me an assistantship, which comes with a stipend and a tuition waiver, and they want an answer in the next few days. UWM is offering nothing, and I know that there are only a few department jobs there, and really I'm only qualified for (maybe) two of them. The deadline to apply for those jobs isn't even for another month, and if I wait that long I'll lose my place at UGA. So the decision is easy after all.
Georgia was my number one school all along, and any time I indulged in fantasies about grad school, I was picturing myself there. But then when I got accepted at Wisconsin (a month before my Georgia application was even due) I thought for sure there was no way I'd get into both schools, and started to shift my thinking, and imagine myself in Madison. Then I visited Madison and it's (of course) amazing, and there are certainly some things I like better there than at Georgia, but to be honest most of those things have to do with the town and the campus, not the programme or the people. I'll be happy in Georgia. I'm going to put that acceptance form in the mail tomorrow and have done with this indecision.
So! On to more interviews.
Cece, here are your questions:
1. I've seen a remarkable number of ponchos in your archives. How many ponchos have you knitted, and which is your favourite?
2. How do you feel about the nasty backlash against ponchos that's going around the blog world right now? Does it bug you that the bitches couldn't give the poncho knitters one more freaking year to enjoy their ponchos before declaring them passe? How many knitbloggers do you reckon there are publicly declaring they'll never knit a poncho while secretly frogging the one they never finished last fall?
3. I see you make a lot of quilts. Do you have a huge stash of unfinished quilts? Do you have boxes of quilts in progress that have moved to more than one residence with you? Have you ever sewn an entire quilt top by hand, or do you think that's a dumbass waste of time? (read: should I just break down and use a machine, or let that one moulder in its box forever?)
4. You're turning 30 soon. . . how do you feel about that? Are you ready to kiss your 20s goodbye or do you want to hang on?
5. Someone I love dearly (except for his gross, unhealthy obsession with fish) used to breed crazy ornamental goldfish, and loves to freak me out by telling me how he would gently coax the eggs out of the fish BY HAND. Do you love fish this much? Could you ever milk a goldfish of its eggs with your fingers? Isn't it disgusting?
And for Rachel:
1. You talk a lot about historical costuming on your blog, but the stuff you do doesn't seem to always be from the same period/culture. Are you some kind of reenactor? What kind of reenactor are you?
2. Have you ever made a sarafan? How about a ghawazee coat? And would it be any cooler to walk around in the summer in a ghawazee coat than a sarafan (keeping in mind that I have lots of one and none of the other, so your answer could make work for me).
3. What kind of cake did you get for your birthday? Is it all gone yet?
4. Which do you like better, peaches or cheese, and why? Which would you rather have on your Pittsburgh Salad, assuming you'd eat one?
5. Do your feet hurt when you run? Do your boobs? What kind of shoes do you wear, and how often do they need to be replaced?
1. Over in your sidebar you have one project on the needles. Do you really have only one? Seriously? Aren't you addicted yet?
2. What inspired you to start a blog? Now that you've been at it for a few months, are you settling in, or is it still hard to find your blog voice? Is it taking over your life yet?
3. Who gave you that Christmas present sweater you unravelled? Aren't you afraid that person might find out?
4. I know someone who went down to Weight Watchers and told them that she had signed up as a member online and just wanted to buy a copy of the book, just so that she could get the book without having to join and pay for a membership. Would you do anything this dishonest? Had you thought of it already?
5. Is it true that Kansas is flatter than a pancake? Do people make jokes to you all the time about not being in Kansas anymore, and does it drive you nuts? Which band would you rather listen to, Kansas or Toto?
March 30, 2005
Don't touch that thing. I think it's still alive.
When I am an old woman, I shall regale the blog world with the gritty details of my ailments; I'll tell you all about fevers, body fluids, couch sleeping, nagging coughs, pill-taking regimens, side effects and what kind of sandwich not to buy when the thought of food makes you want to throw up even though you haven't eaten in days.
But for now I still have some dignity and even a wee bit of propriety, so I will just tell you that I am almost better.
To the people still waiting to be interviewed: thank you for being patient. I think I'll be able to get to some of the questions tomorrow; today I feel well enough to go to class, so I need to go catch up on my readings.
March 23, 2005
Misery loves company (or, not the most exciting post ever)
To the people waiting to be interviewed: soon. I promise. I'm just too fucking sick right now. After days and days of the worst cold ever getting worse, and still worse, and two long nights of coughing and sweating and feverish dreams in which I alternately fought bitterly with Peter and recoiled from fishes on platters (yes, they scare me, and I have nightmares about them, okay?), I went to the doctor. I have a throat infection.
Yesterday it was a beautiful, sunny, almost spring day and I spent it sleeping on the couch, pinned down by a really fat cat who seemed to get heavier every time I went off on a coughing jag. Today, I don't feel any better but at least I'm awake, and this is my front porch.
March 21, 2005
Even the Spanish Inquisitors needed a day off once in a while
I still have several more people to interview, but I'm taking a break to talk about other stuff for a bit. The next round of questions will be up tomorrow.
When I was a kid I had gloriously long hair that was a completely wild and unmanageable mess (well, it's still unmanageable, but short now). I hated having it brushed, and one time when my mom was yanking great handfuls out of my skull in an attempt to torture the knots and curls into submission, I tearfully asked her why she had to be so rough and she told me that she couldn't help it, it was because she had been an Inquisitor in Spain in a former life.
I asked my dad if that was true (thinking for some reason that my dad was the definitive authority not only on reincarnation, but on whether it had happened to my mom) and he said "oh yeah, she mentioned that once before. It must be true".
Huh. Why was I talking about that? Oh yeah, the interviews. It's hard work to think up good questions for so many people at once.
My first RAOK
Look what came in the mail today, from Danielle:
40 packs of Kool Aid! Thanks, Danielle! She popped this in the mail for me after I bitched about not being able to find the varieties that other people were using. There are several kinds here that I haven't been able to find locally, including Wild Watermelon Kiwi, Raspberry Reaction and Jamaica. I'm mildly curious to find out what exactly Jamaica tastes like, but don't think I could actually bring myself to drink the stuff after seeing how well it dyes wool. I'm going to have fun with all this, though. I love that on the American Kool Aid packages, they list all the colours, so you can figure out what colour you will get before you try it. The Canadian packages don't have that.
My excitement at receiving a big package of Kool Aid was almost enough to offset my pissiness at the fuckers at the National Student Loans Centre, who have decided after a year and a half that when I was six days late in informing them that I was still in school (thus continuing my interest-free status on my outstanding student loan) that they should have charged me interest for the six month grace period. So they've added two hundred dollars to the amount I owe, in addition to requesting that I pay them a whopping six dollars right now. Fuckers. Do I look like I have six dollars?
March 15, 2005
A getting-to-know-you game
Just like when the teacher used to make us stand up in front of the class on the first day of school and say something about ourselves (my name is Jodi, on my summer vacation I played Dukes of Hazzard every day at Dougie's house because he has a car up on blocks in his yard. . . ). Except more fun.
So here are the rules if you want to play:
1. Leave me a comment saying “interview me.”
2. I will respond by asking you five questions here. They will be different questions than the ones below.
3. You will update YOUR blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
And here are the questions posed to me by La, and my answers:
1. I think it’s safe to say that Mariah! is a big hit. Will you be publishing more designs in the future? If so, what? If not, why?
I will definitely be publishing more designs. I have a new design that will be in the spring Knitty, but sorry, I can't tell you about it. It's very different from Mariah, and might not appeal to the same kind of crowd. Think rockabilly, and bowling. I like to think it's the kind of thing Rizzo would knit. I'll also have a design in Jillian Moreno and Amy Singer's book Big Girl Knits, coming out some time next year. I'd like to do a few designs later in the spring to publish for free on my website, but I don't do as well with the deadlines when they're self imposed.
2. Regarding your art: What inspires you? What is your favorite medium? Which is your favorite creation?
This is a hard question, even though I'm getting pretty used to talking about my art. I'm not sure it's a question of inspiration (although like Hulk Hogan said, "a true artiste has inspiration, not perspiration odour"); it's just what I'm compelled to do. I think the best way to answer this is to cop out and give you a link to my artist's statement, which pretty much sums up what I'm doing right now, and why. I'm primarily a printmaker, and work mostly in lithography, relief and intaglio. I also use a lot of knitting, embroidery and quilting, usually combined with printmaking but sometimes on their own.
3. I LOVE ink! How many tattoos do you have, and what are they?
I love ink too. My mom won't want to hear this, but now that I've begun to put tattoos in places that actually show, I'm quite eager to cross the line between tattooed and heavily tattooed. I've got a long way to go though; I have 5 tattoos right now (but will be getting at least one more, maybe two, before the end of April). Here is a picture of my first one, on the small of my back:
The next one I got on my belly, and I won't show a photo because it descends into my bush, and I just don't want my parents to think I'm showing my bush to everybody. You can pretty much see it in all of my prints though; here's a detail from "dmc 666" a print on canvas with embroidery:
It looks kind of blobby in the prints, but the diamond is hatched lines just like the one on my back, and the black spiral bits are sharper.
My third was my armband, which you can see here. Then a band of stars around my calf, shown here. And number five, my first knitty tat, you can see back here.
The next one I was supposed to get on my birthday but my plans went awry. I'm just waiting for qpaukl to get his new needles sterilized and this is going on the nape of my neck:
This is the first one I didn't design myself; I ripped it off out of the Book of Kells. And since we're already pretty picture-heavy here, what's one more?
This image is from an old Punch cartoon from World War One. I'm going to do some work on it, cleaning it up so that it's less pen-and-ink looking and a little easier to read. Then I'm going to put her on my left upper arm. I like the idea of a knitting pinup that's not slutty looking, and I love the way she's clenched over the knitting in a kind of fury.
4. How long have you been knitting and what was your first project? do you still have it?
One or both of my grandmothers tried to teach me when I was about 8, but didn't show me how to cast on or off or how to fix mistakes, so I got frustrated pretty quickly and stopped. I had a spool knitting set and used to make lots of Barbie tube dresses (I was never really into playing Barbies, but always like sewing clothes for them. Then she would go out in her fabulous outfits and have terrible mishaps, like slipping on the ice and bending her knees backwards, or slipping while climbing Victrola mountain and getting her neck caught in her rope and hanging there off the side of the Victrola for days, dead but dressed to the nines).
I finally learned to knit when I was 18 and in art school, from my art history teacher, Marg Blackie. She gave a sock knitting workshop and I was the only one of the bunch who kept knitting. So my first finished object was a pair of acrylic socks, and one was purple and teal and the other was teal and yellow. I don't have them anymore, as I always had problems with the dpn join line down the bottom of the foot wearing out. They fell apart (yes, even though they were butt ugly and HOT acrylic, I wore them until they fell apart).
5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it by and why?
I haven't really travelled a lot so I can't say oh, definitely Berlin or Soweto or Dublin or Addis Ababa or a New Zealand sheep ranch (although I'm sure those would all be great places). So how about this: I'll describe my ideal place to live and if you ever find it you can let me know and I'll move there. I'd like to live in a lovely old house close enough to walk downtown, in a liberal town with a diverse ethnic mix and a good university with a fabulous library and art department that wishes to employ both Peter and me. Ideally there will be a nice old lady next door who likes babysitting cats, a bunch of guys who play pickup ball hockey nearby (for Pete, not me) and a YMCA within walking distance. There is also a fabulous job in this wonderful town for Peter's ex, so that we can be close to her and the kids. In our neighbourhood there is a yarn store, a thrift store, an Ethiopian restaurant and a good pub where I can drink Guinness and not have to listen to too much tweedle-dee-dee music. I can tell you that this place will likely not be in the United States (bad governance), Saudi Arabia (like the US but more overtly misogynist), or any coastal or island nation where the main source of food is fish (or worse, fish and pork).
March 13, 2005
. . . I gotta wear shades
Yesterday I promised some exciting news and then like the teasing skank I am, almost forgot to follow through. I've been accepted to the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia for a printmaking MFA. Since it's all about me here, I'll risk pissing off my harassing stalker commenter (who hates the blog but for some inexplicable reason still continues to read it) to tell you that they are only accepting three people. Somebody get a pin! and pop my swollen head.
I pretty much had my heart set on Georgia the whole time I was putting together my applications, partly because I had been to visit the campus in October of 2003, and it's a strong, well-respected art department on a beautiful campus in a very cool town, and the printmaking area has great facilities and talented, friendly people. Then I got accepted to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and visited there and guess what? --it's a strong, well-respected art department on a beautiful campus in a very cool town, and the printmaking area has great facilities and talented, friendly people. Aaack. It's nice to have Options, but I want this decision to be easy and it's not going to be.
It's been a year and a half since my visit to UGA, so I think I'll need to go back again to refresh my memory and hopefully meet some more people; then I can be sure the decision I make is the right one for me. I'm not sure that Peter will be able to take any more time off work to drive me down though, so it might be difficult, since I don't drive. I've taken the Greyhound from Detroit to Atlanta once before and it is a long and painful trip. I may need to appeal to the knitblogging community in Athens to give me a place to shower in between the bus trip and visiting the school!
Of course, money is going to have to be a big factor in my decision. I don't have the money to pay my own way, and won't be able to work legally in the States except for within the school I'm attending. So I pretty much need to have an assistantship or I'm not going anywhere. I have a (Canadian) friend who was accepted to UWM for a printmaking MFA and they were not forthcoming with an offer of money, so she ended up going to another (American) school and it was a crappy experience for her there. Peter thinks that I may have to take a chance and accept, hoping the money will come, but I don't want to make a commitment and end up being screwed. Ah well. I'm applying for assistantships, so we'll see. So far it looks like the procedure is a lot easier at UGA; I've submitted an assistantship application but wasn't asked to apply for any specific job, so I guess you must get approved first and then apply for the available positions. At UWM it seems that I'm required to apply separately for every assistantship position I want to be considered for and hope for the best, and I can't figure out where I'm supposed to find the information I need to do this. The university's website is hard to navigate, and all roads seem to end up in the same useless places.
In knitty news, only three more to go! I've finished this, although ends still need to be woven in:
And for your viewing pleasure, you also get a nice look at my ueber-sexy underarm hair. I think hairy armpits are hot hott hottt on girls, and haven't shaved since I was about twenty. In fact, all through my twenties I had hairy legs too, but last year I decided that as feminist statements go, it wasn't that meaningful to me anymore and besides, it pokes out of the fishnets and that looks stupid. Hairy legs feel a lot softer and silkier that waxed legs though, and sometimes I regret getting rid of it.
Okay, project specs on the top: it's the Girl from Auntie funnel top, super easy and quick to make provided you don't knit 8 inches and then throw it in a drawer for six months like I did. It's worked on 5.5 mm needles in Stahl Portofino, a super soft cotton blend that I like so much I bought a tonne more in blue at the same time. It's the kind of cotton that you can wear without a bra and not chafe your nipples off. I did mine in two colours because while I love the lime green, the lime green is not so fond of me; I keep relative peace in my relationship with the lime green by following a few rules, like not forcing it to hang out too close to my face.
I also did a little more Kool Aid dyeing this weekend, with less than stellar results.
The top skein is Icelandic Lopi and the other two are more of the "Emerald Irish Knit" stuff. The only one I like is the green/purple one; I'm not sure why I even use purple so much since it's about my least favourite colour, but what I'm hating here even more than the purple is the turquoise. Blue Moon Berry, never never again. In the green and purple one, there is one tiny spot of the most gorgeous, cobalt-y blue. I'm going to do some mixing with the colours I used and see if I can find it again. Actually these skeins all look a lot prettier wound up into balls, but I'm not going to swatch any of them until after my WIP deadline. So expect to see an extremely swatch-heavy post coming in the first week of April. Admit it, you want to see it as much as I do, we're all geeks here.
March 12, 2005
The bachelor life
Peter's away with his kids for the weekend, which means I pretty much spend every night sitting on my arse in front of the computer with my knitting and my Irish Breakfast tea. Because he's not here, there's no motivation for me to make a real meal: last night I ate a whole pound of tofu for supper, baked in the oven in a really tasty marinade. Usually I crumble it into a salad with quinoa, but last night I couldn't be bothered. I just wanted to get back on the heating pad; I've got this pain in my back and I'm not sure if it's from modelling two days in a row or this cotton pony I've been riding, but it's interfering with my knitting so it has to go.
It's so bright outside right now, I wish I didn't have to leave for work in ten minutes. I'd rather sit here and drink tea all day than blow up balloons. These March mornings are my favourite mornings of the year; it's so much easier to get out of bed early when for the first time in months the sun is up with you. I have this glorious feeling that I'm snatching extra time from the day, extra sunny morning hours to spend doing something other than lying in bed wishing it wasn't so damned cold. Then the clocks change and everything is ruined, and I go back to my slothful ways. Before I went back to school I used to have time to do things in the mornings, and I can remember once putting up a batch of pickles before walking to work to open the store up at ten a.m. Those days are gone.
The Girl from Auntie funnel top is nearing completion, and I'll have a picture for you tomorrow. It would have been finished already but I miscounted a row down near the bottom and had to frog about eight inches. I'll also have some exciting news tomorrow, but there's no time to write about it now--I'm about to miss my bus.
March 10, 2005
Paedophiles I have known
I've been thinking about a discussion we had in my CanLit class a little while ago; we were talking about the short story "Evening in Paris" by Blanche Howard* and it raised some questions for me that I'd like to hear what others have to say about. The narrator in this story recounts her experience with a neighbourhood paedophile and looking back on her childhood, is surprised at her own apparent lack of innocence, that at age five she "knew peril when [she] met it, even then, even though it appeared in such affable guise" (293), that of a trusted adult acquaintance. Mr. B., the paedophile in the story, is someone that all the kids know about and avoid.
What baffles me is not so much the worldliness of the children but the innocence of the parents: if children are so savvy, why are parents so oblivious? For as long as there have been humans, and sexual urges, there have been adults who act out those urges on children. Our parents were no more sheltered than we were, and surely for all of them there must have been some adult that the kids "all knew about" (296). How could growing up and becoming parents make them forget about this danger of childhood? In Howard's story, when the adult narrator tells her mother about Mr. B., her mother is shocked, unable to believe that no-one ever told. But perhaps their blindness to the truth made the parents seem complicit somehow; by failing to recognize this man's behaviour they were, in a sense, condoning it. If it seemed that way, would you tell?
There was an old man at our family camp whom I'll call Grandpa Smith, because that was his name (I don't think I need to protect a man who diddled kids and who has been dead since the seventies). He was NOT my grandfather. He really was the grandpa of some of the kids at camp, but all of us called him that, and we all loved him. He would tell us stories, and give us quarters for the jukebox in the games room (you could get three songs for a quarter back then). When we were in our mid-twenties, my girlfriend Shar asked me if I remembered Grandpa Smith ever doing anything strange, and instantly a memory surfaced of sitting on his lap in the cool shade of the pavilion on a hot afternoon, Grandpa Smith speaking softly in my ear, telling me a story while his hand moved gently inside the front of my shorts. I must have been six or seven. I think this was the only time it happened, but I guess I can't be sure. I don't remember ever thinking that it was wrong or bad, and when Grandpa Smith was dying in hospital, all the kids made paper tulips in little pots to fill his room with, and much love was put into them. None of us ever told our parents, and I'm not sure if I told mine after Shar and I had our talk, either. They'll probably find out when they read this.
Grandpa Smith had worked in nickel mining, or smelting, and gave me this little blob of nickel slag. My dad put my initials on the back, and a hole through the little baby blob so I could wear it as a necklace.
So I guess this story does nothing to further my point or make this essay in any way cohesive, since we all trusted and loved this guy. Oh well. Let me tell you about the other one, and maybe that will get me back on track.
The other paedophile I knew lived directly across the street from us; I don't remember his name. He lived alone, and would invite all the little girls in the neighbourhood to come into his house to play in the basement. He had Pop Shoppe pop for them to drink, and a little cart on wheels that he would let them play on. That summer I was too busy playing with the boys (Dukes of Hazzard, and I got to be Daisy!) to care much what the girls were doing, and the old guy gave me a really creepy vibe so I stayed away. I only went there once; a few of the other girls talked me into going in, took me down the basement and showed me the wheely-cart and the many red crates of pop. I had only been there a few minutes when the old guy beckoned me upstairs and into the first floor bedroom and instructed me to sit on the bed. He then picked up an object from the chest of drawers and showed it to me--it was a salt-and-pepper set shaped like a man and a woman, and he demonstrated how they fit perfectly together. I jumped off the bed, hightailed it out of there and never went back.
I can kind of understand the parents not knowing about Grandpa Smith; we were in a privately owned campground, so there wasn't any perceived danger in letting the kids run around all day, and there were lots of places that were fairly private. And in the seventies people weren't afraid to let their kids out of their sight like they are now. But how could the parents on our street fail to realize that there was something weird about an old man who let little girls play in his house all day, every day? (I don't want to sound like I'm blaming my own parents for any wrongdoing here, or any lack of protection. We lived in a very small town and knew everyone; it should have been safe).
I wonder, if I had a child, would I be any more aware of the dangers than our parents were? It's true that people are a lot more paranoid than they used to be, and don't really allow children the freedom to run around and get lost and hurt and engage in any kind of imaginative play away from grownups. But I think maybe that has more to do with a fear of harm coming to kids from strangers. These people were our neighbours.
*Howard, Blanche. "Evening in Paris." Fresh Tracks, Writing the Western Landscape. Ed. Pamela Banting. Victoria, BC: Polestar, 1998. 292-299.
February 27, 2005
Clap on, Clap off
One down, eight to go.
Behold Clapotis. Of course, the last thing started is the first thing finished; this won't make the rest of my challenge easier.
I finished Clapotis in the car on the way to Madison, and also finished the back of the Must Have and got a little past the armhole on the left front. Clapotis hasn't been blocked yet because I've decided I hate the colour, and I think I'll dye the whole thing blue so it will match my hair. But not Blue Moon Berry Kool Aid blue:
Eeeew. Looks more like my blue hair when I let it fade to a horrible teal (like it is right now). Fortunately I got smart for once and did a test before throwing the whole shawl into that ugly dyebath.
So. We're home from our trip to Wisconsin, and exhausted from the drive back. Poor Peter had to work today; I on the other hand get to sit on my arse at home. The trip was fun--we got to visit with some friends that we otherwise only see once a year, when we all camp together in Pennsylvania in August. Some highlights:
I was working on Clapotis and Ghita's son Donny asked me if I was knitting, I said yes and he said "are you making a baby?".
Hah! Not on your life, kid.
Michael and Elyse took us to International Exports in Milwaukee. I can't talk about what went on there, though. But I can tell you this: there are no spies in Canada (honest!).
We got to meet Elyse's lovely daughter Angelique and adorable two-year-old grandson Kiernan. Kiernan is an absolute doll; after he got into the purple gouache paint and smeared it all over the workroom floor, he came up to me and put one purple hand on the couch and one on my leg and said "come see my mess!" with a big, gorgeous you-know-I'm-too-adorable-to-be-mad-at smile.
I think the paint will wash out.
On the highway between Milwaukee and Chicago there is a place called the "University of Lawsology". This is where you learn Natural Law. It looks like a classy place too; the barn is hardly falling down at all. I wonder if Doug Henning teaches there?
On the same highway we saw a sign that's a good reason not only to take your digital camera everywhere, but to keep it on, draining battery power but poised and ready to shoot all the time: Bong Recreation Area. (It's also a good reason to get a driver's licence, because if you're relying on someone else to drive you all the way to Wisconsin and back then you really don't have a lot of choice about whether to stop at the Bong Recreation Area or not. Peter's choice was not.)
I wonder if they rent out bongs for those who forget to bring theirs?
[a note to any U.S. Immigration officials who may be checking up on me before giving me a student visa: I don't own a bong. I don't know how to use a bong. We didn't even have that kind of technology where I grew up. And I don't know anything about spies in Canada either.]
Peter just e-mailed to tell me that Madison isn't farther north than my hometown after all: Madison, 43deg 4' 45" N, Huron Park, 43deg 16' 59" N. Windsor 42deg 17' 59" N. Huh. Geography has never been my strong point, no matter how much I think in pictures and love maps.
Wait a second: does that mean that my hometown is only twelve feet farther north than Madison? I think I can handle Madison, then.
I did get one good picture on the highway:
Although not as plentiful as in Canada, apparently the northern States have moose hatcheries too! Maybe it isn't such a foreign country after all.
*added later: woops! I forgot to add links and while rectifying that I found out that Doug Henning is not teaching at the University of Lawtology, because he's dead. Who knew.
February 23, 2005
Bitch took my money and she went to Chicago
So we're leaving in about twenty minutes to drive down to Chicago to crash with our friends Ghita and Tom, then tomorrow we're going to Madison to visit the school. We're bringing the camera and a borrowed laptop, so I might be able to blog from the road (what? take time off? as if).
Just a little note to the person who got here by searching "blowjob London Ontario": good luck. Most people in London are way too uptight to give blowjobs. Well, I'm not, but I don't live there anymore. But if you write me a 1500 word essay on why you think you deserve one, then maybe we'll talk.
February 21, 2005
I've been blogcrastinating
I guess you know the novelty has worn off when you spend days putting off making a blog post.
So what's new? Well, Korin is in for the WIP challenge. As is my non-knitting friend Elyse/Merouda, who has many, many unfinished projects languishing in her house (and I will get to see them all when I crash at her place later this week as part of my visit to the University of Wisconsin!).
I got my Knitty submission done, and photographed. I took the damned thing with me everywhere this week, class and work of course, but also to dinner on Thursday when we went over to Troy Michigan to hang out with our dear friends Kerri and PJ from Atlanta, who were in Detroit for a conference this weekend. I finished it in the bowling alley on Saturday, just in the nick of time; so we got to do a photo shoot with bowling shoes. My piece looks pretty good, and I definitely bowled better while wearing it (it also helped my bowling a lot when the others called me Rizzo).
Today I got a surprise in the mail: my 2005 Year of the Smartass date book from Disgruntled Housewife arrived, along with a couple of free towels. Go and check out her website, it's a riot (even if she doesn't update her blog enough for my liking).
Here's a pic of the calendar and towels:
I'm very excited to finally have this, as I can't really function without a calendar to carry around. Since the new year started I've been using the free calendar that came in the mail from our Member of Parliament, and it's just not good enough:
But look, my new one has colouring book pages, and stickers!
I'm a huge geek to be this excited about the book, eh?
So while we were at Kerri and PJ's hotel waiting for them to be finished working so we could go out for supper, Peter and I watched some Fox news (we don't have a tv, remember?) and I have to confess that it made me cry. Because they are such assholes, and their attempts to manipulate the public are so obvious and so filled with contempt. And I'm not sure that I'm ready to go and live in that country. Yes, I have a lot of American friends that I love, and Pete says that more people watch the Daily Show than watch Fox news, but still. Wal-Mart. Snacking cakes in every aisle of the grocery store. The whole Bush family. No universal health care, no Cancon regulations. It just scares the crap out of me.
I might be blowing it all out of proportion though; I'll be gone three years and when I get home Canada will be the same as the States. Last night on the way back into Windsor I saw a brand new Chuck E. Cheese's. In Canada. Oy.
February 14, 2005
The Magic 8 ball says. . .
I've been accepted to the printmaking MFA programme at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I've known about it for a little while, but have been holding out on you guys until I had it in writing, on letterhead. So now it's official, and I can tell.
Since I've never been to Madison before, I'll be visiting the campus on the 24th to meet people and see if it's the right school for me, but won't be making any decisions until I hear from the other schools; I seriously doubt that NSCAD will accept me (their programme is tiny) and Georgia's deadline hasn't even passed yet, so I won't likely know what I'm doing for a while yet.
If I wind up living in Madison, I will be only an hour or so from these fabulous friends:
Michael, Elyse and Sock Monkey. (don't worry, I know it looks like Sock Monkey is being cricified on the Shenango Bowl-a-way sign, but really he's just climbing it; he's a crazy daredevil)
Speaking of monkeys, here is the valentine I sent Peter in honour of Monkey Love Day:
And here's what he sent me back:
And that's about as mushyromantic as we're likely to get.
February 11, 2005
Now's the part where you learn how seriously not-cool I am, if you hadn't figured it out already
First, go check out Leah's finished Mariah. She got rid of the square neckline and added a cable edge on the hood, and it's really cute.
Mandy has slapped me with that music questionnaire/chain letter thingy that's been making the rounds of the blogs. So here are my answers:
1. Total amount of music on your computer:
This is a shared computer, so some of the music is Peter's, but there are 1701 songs right now, not counting the ones that Peter hasn't filed in the library thing yet. Is that a lot?
2. The last cd you bought:
I honestly can't remember. We still buy more vinyl than cds, and the latest new records I've bought are Sonic Youth (Sonic Nurse) and Le Tigre (This Island). I just looked through our cds and couldn't even find one I'd bought any time recently, except for a used copy of REM's Life's Rich Pageant, which I already had on vinyl.
3. The last song you listened to before being tagged:
The Boomtown Rats, Mary of the 4th Form. On the computer.
4. Five favourite songs or songs that mean a lot to you:
This is impossible to answer; my answers would be different every day. Years ago when I worked in a mall, I used to walk over to the craft store once a week and buy five skeins of embroidery floss, just picking the five colours that suited my whim or mood that day. Only once in more than a year did I come home and find that I had chosen the exact combination of colours as I had on another day.
What was I talking about? Oh yeah, the music. . . okay, the 5 songs that appeal to me most off the top of my head right now:
New Order, Blue Monday
Violent Femmes, Add it up
The Rheostatics, Ballad of Wendell Clark (bam, bam, digga digga dam!)
Spirit of the West, Home for a rest. The official song of leaving Pennsic.
Joan Jett, Bad reputation. Because I don't give a damn about mine, either. (Jeez, am I stuck in the 80s? I need to go out and buy some new records.)
Even though I've already got five, I'm going to add I don't like Mondays to my list too, just because it's been playing in constant rotation in my mental jukebox for six weeks, an incredibly long time for one song to remain stuck in your head. And because I've been on a bit of a Boomtown Rats kick lately.
I'm not going to pass this on to anyone, because I just can't bring myself to send a chain letter.
Since my shout out to knitters in the Madison WI area worked so well, is there anybody out there living in or near Athens GA, besides Carrie? By the way, Alexandra, I'm so happy to hear that there's a town close to Madison with the word Beaver in its name; I don't want to move to the States and leave my Castor Canadensis behind! You don't know how sad I was that there's no good printmaking MFA anywhere near Shy Beaver, PA. I'm guessing there aren't any beavers in Georgia, though.
February 09, 2005
Getting ready for my shower show
I was going to wow you all by having that red skirt done today, since it's so damned close, but alas, I cast off and tried it on and it's still not long enough. But I did make a new shower curtain for our scary basement bathroom:
Yes, it's a leftover panel from an art piece. But hey, it's a nekkid picture of me in the shower, how cool is that?
Down the side of the shower stall there you can see that the bathroom used to be emergency orange, before someone painted it mint green. I would have preferred the orange.
I had to get rid of the old shower curtain because we are billeting a couple of out of town artists this week for the Media City film festival, and the old one was too yucky for houseguests to see. The only time this house ever gets cleaned is when people are coming over (hey, I'm busy!). This is how lazy we are: the old shower curtain was Barbage, here when we bought the house a year and a half ago. It was way past time for it to go. But the new one was a cinch to make, and took about ten minutes if you don't count the month of cutting out the life sized lino block and printing it. It's got grommets, so the holes won't rip out like the Barbage kind.
Tara asked in the comments about the pattern for the red skirt: I made it up, but it's really easy. The bottom panel is crocheted sideways until it fits around your butt, then joined into a tube. Then you just pick up stitches around the top edge and knit, decreasing from the hips to the waist as much as you need to, then 2 x 2 ribbing at the top. I'll go look for the crochet pattern I used and try to post it tomorrow.
February 07, 2005
Second thoughts about desperate men in cars
Peter, like Elabeth and Alison, thinks that the lunch guy probably just sincerely wanted to have lunch with me and wasn't mistaking me for a prostitute. Maybe you guys are right. I'm just so used to being taken for a whore around here that I assumed that was it. Just so you guys know, I wasn't MEAN to the guy or anything, okay?
I really did look like a pig though, and it was 3:30 in the afternoon, a little late for lunch. Maybe he just wanted someone to go watch the American football match with, but if he did then I'm afraid he still picked the wrong girl.
Now THESE girls,
they look like the kind of girls you'd pick up on the street and take for "lunch", don't they? She's got her thumb out and everything.
I'm kind of sweet on the red pantsuit in the middle, but I think it would be nicer if the jumper and pants cuffs were plaid, like the Bay City Rollers.
February 06, 2005
I might LOOK like a whore, but. . .
Everything I do is done for love, not for money.
Before I tell you the story of what happened to me walking home today, I should say hello to everyone wandering by here from the RAOK group, which I just joined, and also to all of my new Bloglines subscribers (I'm assuming that my recent surge in Bloglines subscribers has something to do with joining RAOK). At any rate, welcome! I hope I don't drive you all away with my trashy stories and bad language. Because there's some of that coming up.
So. Walking home. You have to picture it: I was wearing jeans (okay, they were tight, but not really enough to offset the frumpiness of the rest of my look), tan coloured sneakers, a thick black sweater with an unflattering kangaroo pocket and one of those black fake ski jackets with the thick ribbing on the cuffs. And carrying my knitting and the Globe and Mail in a plastic bag. I did not even style my hair today, let alone wash it--just sprayed some water to soften up yesterday's gel and moved some hair over to cover the flat spot I slept on (oh, baby, you gotta love the way I tart myself up to go blow up balloons for a living). Plus my long blue bangs, which stick out because I'm lazy and can't be arsed to force them straight, make me look like one of those expensive little dogs.
So here I am walking home, and this car pulls out of a side street, right in front of me, and sits there blocking the sidewalk, and the driver (a good looking guy) puts down his cellphone and stares at me. I give him a dirty look for blocking my way and go to walk around the front of his car, and he says "can I ask you a question?".
"What?" god, I'm charming.
"Tell me you don't have a boyfriend" he says. WTF?
"Why?" I say, giving him my best ninth-grade "you're a stupid shit" look.
And he says "Because I'd like to ask you to lunch".
So I said, "no, I can't" and he said "okay" and drove off.
Um, did you want to fuck me first and then eat, or buy lunch first?
Actually, what pissed me off was not the assumption that I was a whore, that happens all the time. I live on G. street, in a nice friendly neighbourhood with lots of happy children and families, very wholesome and normal. But just one block away (about the length of two regular city blocks) where our street intersects with W. street, is a major pickup corner for street whores. There are two bus stops here, one I use to get to school and one I use to get to work, and I have been mistaken for a whore many times while waiting for the bus. At the W. street bus stop (a busier street), the guys usually just pull up to the bus stop and wait and if you ignore them they go away. Around the corner on G. street is the major ho stop, with an alley right alongside it, and they come around the corner off W. street, cruise by the bus stop and turn into the alley and wait. Sometimes when they do this and I ignore them, they will call out the window "working?". Dude, do whores knit while they wait for clients? Do they wear party store shirts? Jeez. Except for the party store shirt thing, it's kind of understandable for someone to mistake any woman standing at the ho stop for a prostitute, because around here they don't dress up like in the movies; most of the regular prostitutes I see here wear jeans, sometimes even sweat pants, hoodies, frumpy winter coats. So that when the police give them a hard time they can pretend they were just waiting for a bus.
No, what really pissed me off was partly the boyfriend thing, and partly the offer of lunch. First of all, lots of prostitutes have boyfriends; does having a man to protect me make me off limits? If I want to get in a car with someone and go for a drive, have lunch or have sex or whatever, I will do so, boyfriend or no boyfriend. But I certainly will not get in a car with someone who doesn't even have the courage to just say "I want to pay you for sex". Man, I've been waiting all day to have lunch with a wimp like that.
January 28, 2005
I've never made a drawing of Jesus
I am addicted to checking my server stats, especially the search query part. Look at the breakdown from yesterday:
It's nice to know that I come up in so many masturbation searches, but how come nobody has ever found my site while spelling masturbation correctly? See, Farrah, you're not alone. (note to the person who did the search at the top: I hope you were very, very disappointed with the results of your search, you sick fuck). I think we need to keep our masturbation stories private for a while and talk about something different, to throw these losers off our scent.
Here's something funny: if you search Google with "how to install a toilet seat" in quotations, mine is the only site that comes up. Rest assured, you are not going to learn how to install a toilet seat here (although I do know how).
I know you're all dying to know what happened to Rogue. I'm still weaving in ends, my least favourite part. There are more ends than usual because I used a recycled yarn. I'm putting the sleeves on before I block, because it's not brand new wool, it's not going to block out that much anyway. Soon, you'll see her. Maybe tomorrow.
For Nancy, who likes the Star Wars sheets: that is a Star Wars comforter, the only one I have ever found. I used to buy a lot of those sheets in thrift stores (and other ones too; A-Team, Dukes of Hazzard) and would make stuff out of them. I had a great dress that I made from a sheet from the first Star Wars movie that was a different pattern than the one you saw yesterday--light blue with head shots of the characters--but I can't find it, I must have given it away. (Emer, do you have it? if so, send a pic!) But here's a picture of Miss Polly modelling a parti-colour cotehardie that I made about ten years ago (to piss people off at an SCA event); one half is Star Wars and the other half is Empire Strikes Back.
This is possibly the geekiest garment I have ever made. No, I don't wear it.
*edited to add: Look over here! A finished Mariah!
January 27, 2005
Secret identity revealed!
Meet Mr. BooHoo. My pesky commenter was none other than my beautiful and dear friend Farrah (who knows all about the joys of masturbation, even if she can't spell it), playing a trick to bug me. The bitch. I think posting this picture of her getting drunk at my grad show is probably punishment enough, so please don't offer to pee on any of her belongings for me, okay?
She really pissed me off, though.
The papermaking classes on Monday went swimmingly, and I'm going back a week from Friday to do a more in depth, hands on session just with the students who are interested. I took the camera along and was going to take lots of really exciting pictures to show you all (the Hollander beater, a wet sheet of paper, maybe some pulp in buckets, riveting stuff) but I was so busy I forgot. Next time (you can't wait, I know).
I also made some great new friends, the professor of the native studies class and her partner, who took me to their house and fed me dinner, so I got to drink wine and have good conversation with some cool people instead of sitting in the Greyhound station for three hours waiting for my bus. It was splendid.
The only knitting I took along was the back of the Must Have, and only got a few inches done on it; it's just past the armhole decreases now. I had someone beside me on the bus ride down, so every stitch that makes my right hand needle jut out dangerously (k2tog tbl, and any cable cross, since I don't use a cable needle) had to be done p-a-i-n-f-u-l-l-y s-l-o-w-l-y so that I didn't wake my sleepy seatmate up with a POKE! I should have brought a circ along for it, but ah well.
I think I promised not to post boring progress pictures of the Must Have, but since I just joined the Must Have Too Knitalong I figured I'd show where I am.
I promise not to show any more partial pieces, but if you don't know what a slutty promise-breaker I am by now, it sucks to be you.
January 22, 2005
Please allow me to masturbate for a moment
First of all, this morning I Googled "slap the beaver" and my blog was the only site that came up. But now there are two more! Damn. Oh, and someone found me by searching "smarmy bastard". Funny, I don't remember talking about N--- G--- here.
Okay, let's get down to the meat and potatoes of this post (or how about just potatoes; I'm vegetarian). Today I received my very first nasty, insulting comment on the blog, and in a fit of pique I stupidly deleted it, which I am very sorry for. So I'll just tell you what it said:
"Well I just glanced through the past few months of your rambling on, I must say boo hoo to you. your hands should be tired and bruised from masterbating, not knitting. I will let you know when my masterbation blog starts up, call it an independant orgy if you will. I promise to have pictures, as you are my inspiration. Love your friend in "building hand strength", BooHoo"
Okay, first of all, dipshit, your barbs would sting a little more if they were spelled correctly. Second, this is a PERSONAL BLOG. That means it is about ME. Sorry if it seems like masturbation to you (note correct spelling for next time, please) but what exactly do you expect people to write about in their personal blog? If you don't like what I have to say, don't read it, simple as that. Third, I see from your ip address that you and I attend the same university. So next time you see me on campus, please introduce yourself so I can tell you what a lameass you are to your face. Fourth, did you go to the trouble of creating that firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail address just for the sake of telling me off, or is that the address you always use when you're too cowardly to give your real name? Feh. Fifth, masturbation is a pleasurable and therapeutic activity which in no way damages the hands. You should try it sometime.
Oh, and thank you for your concern about my wrist, Mr. BooHoo. It's feeling much better.
January 21, 2005
I don't usually post twice in one day, but. . .
So: the 3 items I can't live without:
1. my knitting needle gauge ruler thingy
2. ink. absolutely my favourite substance to have smeared up past my elbows.
3. castor canadensis (if you thought I could get through a day without mentioning my castor canadensis, you were so wrong)
The first 3 people I kissed:
1. Liane L, my little next-door neighbour. I was eight and she was six.
2. a boy named Chris, my summer "boyfriend" at Windmill Trailer Park. He gave me a necklace that was a tiny plastic Coca-Cola can on a piece of plastic gimp, we kissed behind the pavilion during the movies, and when he dumped me the cheap little prick asked for the necklace back. I was eight or nine.
3. Todd P, my grade seven boyfriend; he moved to our tiny town from London and introduced me to The Clash. I think he was considered something of a catch because he was the paperboy and thus had money; for me he was my first real contact with life outside my hometown, my first inkling that there were people in the world that I could fit in with, they were just somewhere else. The kiss: we grappled furiously for three embarrassed minutes on the floor between the coffee table and the couch, then went back to doing our homework. Very romantic.
3 things I swear I'll never do:
1. get married. Never, ever, ever, unless for immigration purposes.
2. move back to Huron Park, Ontario. Especially now that I'm way too old to mess around with hockey school boys.
3. eat a salad with french fries on top of it. Sorry, everyone.
Stepping on children's heads
I have a crush on this artist: Felieke van der Leest. I found her through a link on MK's blog, and her kooky knitted jewellery is hilarious and lovely. Some favourites: cockroaches in sweaters, stripey little bangle creatures and tampon socks (look! one of them is Pippi Longstocking). She's talented, beautiful and kind of a nutcase, my favourite kind of person. I just want to hold her hand and leap fences and skip across the Kinderkoppe, and go lie in a meadow in the soft focus sunshine, like in the movies, watching little animals leap off the ends of her tiny, tiny double pointed needles.
Have you ever had a dream where your brain played a silly joke on you that you didn't figure out until you'd been awake for a while? (no, I didn't dream about Felieke van der Leest, it's not that big a crush). Last summer, after my mom wrenched her ankle on the cobblestones in Paris, my grandma told me that in Holland they call cobblestones "Kinderkoppe"; literally, children's heads.
Well. After that I had a dream that I was walking across a field that someone had told me was a First Nations burial ground (hah! maybe it was down by the river here in Windsor, where the city doesn't even have the decency to not put a park overtop of people's bones), and I was stepping over stones that were sticking out of the earth, all of them carved to look like the tops of heads. These spirits were not at rest: the heads were twisted and straining, and from time to time I would catch a glimpse of a furrowed brow, the curve of a cheek, eyes squeezed tightly shut; in places a hand stuck out of the ground, fingers grasping at nothing. When I reached the other side of this creepy field I rested in a little ruined building with my companion (Krista, I think) and I told her about the Kinderkoppe, except in the dream the word I used wasn't Kinderkoppe, but Kopfschmerzen. Which, of course, means headache in German. I guess people walking on your head all day would be somewhat Kopfschmerzen bereitend, eh?
Hey, look over in the sidebar there: I figured out how to put buttons on! Soon, maybe today, I'll put some links to my friends and my favourite blogs, just like everyone else has. That will be a good thing to do while I'm procrastinating with these grad school applications. So far I've only sent one out (to the University of Wisconsin-Madison), and actually getting the written part of the package together for the rest won't be that much work but I still don't have the rest of my slides taped and labelled. Doing these applications has sent me into a slough of self doubt; last month my ego was all puffed up, thanks to all the nice praise I was getting after having my grad exhibition and being published in Knitty at the same time. But now all of my hard work, and everything about me, is reduced to this one plastic sleeve of 20 slides, which total strangers will look at and then decide my future. And suddenly I'm terrified that my slides are crap, that my work doesn't look very impressive, that the lovely subtleties of layers of ink on paper don't translate well enough on a screen.
Ugh. I know, I just need to shut up and get over it. They'll either want me or they won't, and life will go on.
January 20, 2005
Slap the beaver
So I come up number one now if you Google search "beaver jodi".
Small pleasures, folks.
In other news, my wrist feels much better; I've been taking some time off from knitting and going to bed every night with this castor oil poultice my dad told me about, which feels really good. I've also started lifting weights again.
Because of the time off I've been giving my wrist, I haven't had anything to show (hence the recycling of old stories). I have done some work on the printmaking front, but so far it's all just naked pictures (of me) on the computer, and sorry, you're not seeing those. I hope to get in to the shop and work on something tomorrow, though.
Rogue is still not quite put together (the sleeves still need to be put in, that's it!) but I finally got the hundreds of ends woven in on my Cathode and wore it to class yesterday.
Now I'm off to Google "slap the beaver" and see what happens. God, I'm a geek.
January 18, 2005
Why I eat at the P.O.
Well, because of my hand, I haven't been knitting or printing, and I don't really have much to show. But I did exchange some e-mails with Christiane this morning about the big party I attend each year in Pennsylvania, and that brought to mind this vacation story.
This past summer, Peter, Claire (that's Mariah Claire, the sweater's namesake) and I went for lunch at the P.O. Diner in beautiful downtown New Castle PA. We picked it just because of its name, of course; we're big Eudora Welty fans around here. So we're ordering our food, and I have to be a freak and ask how many fryers they have, because I can't (won't) eat anything that's been fried in the same grease as fish (incidentally, the only place I've ever found that cooks their fish in a separate fryer is Bill's Sandwich Shop, also in New Castle). So after learning that they have only one fryer, I order a salad.
After a minute the waitress comes back and says "I guess you don't want the fries on your salad, then?". A salad comes with fries on the side? No, she says, the fries are on the salad.
Fries ON the salad? Like, where salad dressing will get on them?
The waitress says "you're not from around here, are you?", and proceeds to tell me that every place around here does it, and she even went to Florida last year and they had fries on the salad there, too.
Is this true? Has anybody ever heard of this? I've eaten in plenty of places in this area of Pennsylvania, and I've never before heard of fries on the salad. I mean, come on, it's gross.
Here's Claire and I looking at the waitress in utter disbelief; I think this may be the moment where I was saying "you put salad dressing on them?".
I bet she was making it up, just fooling around with the foreigners; it's all some kind of plot, and next year I'll go to the P.O. and ask for my salad without the fries and they'll think I'm crazy.
By the way, since I just can't believe that nobody wanted to know what the Amish guys had in their suitcase, I'll tell you: Wonderbread. The suitcase was jammed full with Wonderbread.
January 17, 2005
Because I can't just skip the blog thing for one goddam day
Today I'm coddling my left wrist to try to alleviate the pain of the repetitive strain injury I'm giving myself with too much computer-work and knitting. The only knitting related work I'm allowing myself today is seaming up Rogue. (don't worry, Dad, I'm going to try that poultice tonight).
Since I don't really want to type much either, I'll just give you a little cut-and-paste today. I've often wanted to put a tape recorder in my bedroom to capture the absurd conversations Peter and I have in bed. But I'm afraid that our awareness of its presence will change what we say, and it will end up like the time I was making casts of my first steps out of bed each day; because I knew I had to step into the moulding material, it changed my routine and ceased to be a pure recording of that routine.
So anyway, here's an excerpt of an online chat I had with Pete the other day (minus anything incriminating). Just because I feel the need to post, I thought it was funny, and I don't have to type it. Also, it's an excuse to use the word "beaver" again, since I discovered that someone found my site by Google searching "beaver jodi", but when I tried that my page didn't come up. So maybe now it will.
J: my dad was alarmed at the "Popeye-ish" appearance of my forearm in last night's post, he sent me a crazy home remedy for forearm and wrist pain
P: that's one big-ass forearm
J: well, my wrist is turned and I have tiny wrists, also my forearm was working, it doesn't bulge like that at rest
J: castor oil poultice
P: you know where they get castor oil....
J: why don't I just soak my arm in my own vaginal juices?
J: are you serious about the beaver
P: no... but "castor" is french for beaver
J: oh... duh
P: it actually comes from the seeds of Ricinus communis or Palma Christi (family Euphorbiaceæ)
P: thank you
J: palma christi? like the palms on the ground when he came into Jerusalem?
P: yeah, I guess so
J: that's okay then
J: I told my dad I'll try anything as long as it doesn't come from fish
P: you had to tell him that?
J: yeah, why not?
P: he should know by now
J: well I guess I wouldn't try anything from beaver either
J: I don't want to hurt a beaver
P: me neither... except, in rare occasions, where the beaver really wants to be hurt
J: slap it baby!
P: but if the slapping is too loud, all the other beavers run away
P: and rightfully so
J: can't have that
J: I don't have anything to write about today, can I just cut and paste this whole convesation onto my blog?
P: nope... confidentiality
P: and spelling
J: I especially wanted to put in the part about pigs flying out N----'s arse
P: that's be especially one of the parts to leave out
J: the record clearly states that I said it, not you
J: well I could edit a few things out
P: just skip the blog thing for one goddam day
J: wah wah
J: that was a Pingu wah wah sound, not a crying baby sound
P: don't cry, baby, you can do it
Peter clearly doesn't understand the burning need to blog. every. day.
January 15, 2005
A Bill Bixby moment
I was about twenty-six years old when I figured out that Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno were not the same person (okay, I didn't really figure it out. Someone had to tell me). I mean, I knew who they both were, but somehow I thought that when Dr. Banner turned into The Hulk, that was just Bill Bixby in makeup. It just never occurred to me to wonder how they got him to look so much bigger.
Have you ever had one of those moments where something you really should have known all along suddenly becomes clear? I had two Bill Bixby moments today:
I was chatting online with my cousin this afternoon and she mentioned in passing that our family used to be Mennonite. I said "what! you're making that up" and she said "Pennsylvania Dutch". Well. I thought Pennsylvania Dutch just meant German. Okay, I knew they were Mennonite. But I guess because our family was Lutheran, I thought that some Pennsylvania Dutch were Mennonite and some were Lutheran. Well, I was wrong. Not that anyone's religious beliefs really matter that much to me, except for mockery purposes (but I'm trying my best to quit that, lest some higher being decides to break my blog again for spite). So I won't even talk about what horrible things Amish men who take the Greyhound to Bowling Green, KY carry in their suitcases. That could get me into trouble.
The other Bill Bixby moment happened in the pub, where instead of the usual crappy tweedle-dee-dee music they had the Detroit classic rock station on: I never understood why you always heard Queen's We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions together. Pete said they are the same song, and I laughed and laughed, and probably called him a mean name. Well. They are the same song.
In other news, we've had a fairly successful graft:
You can see the graft, but I think that only a knitter would really notice. Actually, I know a lot of knitters who probably wouldn't notice (not you guys though, you guys are hawks). Now that I feel like I'm racing, I've got the hood done and one sleeve sewn up. But, true to form, halfway through seaming I started something new.
I bought this sweater secondhand; it's cheap acrylic, but I liked the mix of red, black and white, and there's a cable in it that you can't see in the picture (a boring rope cable though, don't get too excited). When I tried it on it made me look like a middle aged former football player--huge shoulders, beer gut. So I cut it off, and I'm making a skirt. I'm not even sure I'll like it as a skirt, but we'll see.
January 12, 2005
Back to the grind
This here is one of my favourite tools. If I ever become a professional wrestler (and you know it's a possibility) I would base my wrestling persona on this tool: THE LEVIGATOR. Say it with me in your best pro wrestling voice and hear how tough it sounds. What kind of special grappling skills does The Levigator possess? Well, she's heavy. And abrasive. And she spins like a banshee (I know, don't write and tell me that banshees scream, not spin, okay? because I think that anything worth doing with gusto can be done like a banshee).
Just picture it: I slam my great heavy roundness against my opponent, knocking him sprawling on the mat. I sprinkle carborundum, heretofore concealed in my spandex shorts, all over him ("ladies and gentlemen, there's a foreign object in the ring!") and flop! down, belly first, spinning on top of him with gusto. My opponent is flattened, and smooth as a baby's bum.
Oh, yeah. Move over, Chyna.
So my litho stone had a spa day today; after all the times I've left her crusted with thick layers of ink and cobalt dryer in the last year, she deserved a little pampering. She had her edges filed down and everything. Remember those butt-ugly prints I was working on? The ones with the nasty colours and silly frou-frou bullshit? That image is gone, daddy, gone. A victim of The Levigator.
January 10, 2005
Gackak-uk-ugh cough-guh-guh. Ugh.
We've been a little sick around here. Peter has been home from work since last Wednesday with a cold virus, and we've pretty much done nothing but sit around arguing over who gets to use the computer, drinking tea and watching the Live Aid dvd (my season-of-getting gift from my brother, who is quick to pick up on subtle hints like "I want this but Pete says it's too cheesy to hint that I want it on the blog so how's anyone going to know that I want it?"). And old South Park episodes. Guh. It's times like this I'm glad we don't have a tv set, or you know we'd just be lying in front of it in our pyjamas, turning into zombies. (since I'm always eager to plug my friends, can I just say that we have been thinking about getting a tv, but I want to save up for one of these ones).
I've also been trying to get my grad school applications in order, but I started feeling sick on Friday, and spent the whole weekend trying to write but feeling too crappy. But it's all done now, almost. It's my own stupid fault for leaving it to the last minute, as usual, but I only seem to be able to pull good writing out of my arse when the heat is on.
And hey, I didn't mention this last week because it wasn't a sure thing and I didn't want to jinx it, but I got a job teaching some papermaking workshops at Western this semester. It'll only be three, maybe four days and I'll have to go up to London on the Greyhound, but it's good experience and I really like their papermaking shop, it's clean and well-lit (unlike ours) and I made some really good paper there, back in the day. And it's a paying job! It's so nice when a little bit of cv-padding drops in your lap like that, right when you have to send your cv out to people. Mwah.
I fixed Cathode up, re-knitting the neck ribbing with more stitches so that it lies flat and lengthening the bottom ribbing so it's not too short anymore. Hah! It wouldn't have been too short if I hadn't made it a size too small for my chub, but then I wouldn't have had enough yarn for the body part. And as you might already know, I like it skin tight. Look, it's better now, eh?
Looks pretty sexy with the kittycat pyjama bottoms, doesn't it? I had to cut out my sick head; trust me, you didn't want to see it. You can see up around the neck opening there that I still have some serious ends to weave in; the whole inside of the sweater is still full of them and I'll probably wear it like that anyway, it's just the kind of careless slag I am.
Gackak-uk-ugh cough-guh-guh. Ugh.
We've been a little sick around here. Peter has been home from work since last Wednesday with a cold virus, and we've pretty much done nothing but sit around arguing over who gets to use the computer, drinking tea and watching the Live Aid dvd (my season-of-getting gift from my brother, who is quick to pick up on subtle hints like "I want this but Pete says it's too cheesy to hint that I want it on the blog so how's anyone going to know that I want it?"). And old South Park episodes. Guh. It's times like this I'm glad we don't have a tv set, or you know we'd just be lying in front of it in our pyjamas, turning into zombies. (since I'm always eager to plug my friends, can I just say that we have been thinking about getting a tv, but I want to save up for one of these ones).
I've also been trying to get my grad school applications in order, but I started feeling sick on Friday, and spent the whole weekend trying to write but feeling too crappy. But it's all done now, almost. It's my own stupid fault for leaving it to the last minute, as usual, but I only seem to be able to pull good writing out of my arse when the heat is on.
And hey, I didn't mention this last week because it wasn't a sure thing and I didn't want to jinx it, but I got a job teaching some papermaking workshops at Western this semester. It'll only be three, maybe four days and I'll have to go up to London on the Greyhound, but it's good experience and I really like their papermaking shop, it's clean and well-lit (unlike ours) and I made some really good paper there, back in the day. And it's a paying job! It's so nice when a little bit of cv-padding drops in your lap like that, right when you have to send your cv out to people. Mwah.
I fixed Cathode up, re-knitting the neck ribbing with more stitches so that it lies flat and lengthening the bottom ribbing so it's not too short anymore. Hah! It wouldn't have been too short if I hadn't made it a size too small for my chub, but then I wouldn't have had enough yarn for the body part. And as you might already know, I like it skin tight. Look, it's better now, eh?
Looks pretty sexy with the kittycat pyjama bottoms, doesn't it? I had to cut out my sick head; trust me, you didn't want to see it. You can see up around the neck opening there that I still have some serious ends to weave in; the whole inside of the sweater is still full of them and I'll probably wear it like that anyway, it's just the kind of careless slag I am.
January 01, 2005
Some things I learned in 2004
I learned how to cable without a cable needle. I taught myself to do it while on vacation, and it's so easy and fast that I can't believe everyone isn't doing it.
I learned that in order to be a real activist, you have to be able to devote yourself to activism full time. There is no time for jobs, or school.
I learned that although I am not the kind of person who can be a full-time activist, when I need to I can arm myself with enough knowledge and enough help to wage a fierce battle, and to win.
I learned that good whiskey is not cheap, and cheap whiskey is not good.
I learned that you should always check your dye lots.
I learned that writing a knitting pattern is a lot harder than it looks.
I learned that I can't really do math after I've been drinking.
I learned that when a beautiful stranger asks if she can scratch your itch, that's a come on.
I learned that blogging will take over your life.
I learned that it's easier to teach a child to knit than it is to teach an adult to draw.
I learned that sometimes losing can be a godsend.
December 30, 2004
Come on, Santa, light my fire
Why did they put the wick THERE? (is Santa just happy to see me?)
These are the things you do to amuse yourself when you work in a party store. Look at these fabulous novelty items we sell, and the directions for use:
It takes a whole paragraph to explain how to frighten people with a fake mouse on a string (it's important to remember to keep this trick a secret, because that way people will never figure out that you have a wire attached to the mouse).
Apparently everyone already knows how to install a toilet seat squirter, so no explanation is needed.
Just in case you were wondering, there aren't any directions provided for the fake rubber cat puke. I'll spare you the picture.
Christiane asked for a closeup of my armband tattoo, and I'm happy to oblige.
The design is mine, and the work was done by Trevor at Addictive in London, Ontario, in the summer of 2003.
December 28, 2004
Chapter 37, in which our heroine savours her triumph and is threatened by an enemy well-known to her
Here you go. To prove that I did indeed have Cathode finished in time for Christmas Day, here I am wearing it in front of the water tower in beautiful downtown Huron Park, Ontario (YES, I grew up in an industrial park. Let's not discuss it).
Here are the details: Stefanie Japel's Cathode pattern from Winter 2004 Knitty, worked with recycled (mostly acrylic) boucle yarn (with two strands held together throughout) on a 9mm circular. The ribbing is worked in Dalegarn "Daletta" on 3.75mm needles. I had to make the collar four inches shorter than the pattern called for in order not to run out of yarn; I'm not happy with the way the neck bunches up as a result, but I think if I redo the ribbing along the edge with more stitches it will lie a lot flatter. I also think the whole sweater still looks a little short, so I'll probably add an extra inch or two to the bottom ribbing (I probably should have made the next size up; I think it looks shorter than it is because it's a little tightish and is riding up on my chub). So expect to see some pictures soon of this sweater improved and looking better.
I had to put Rogue on hold for a bit in order to make some socks for my mom; I'm just starting the second sleeve now, and still have the hood to do. I worked on it as much as I could while fulfilling the family holiday obligations, but there's a heavy workload of card-playing expected by my mom's family, and present-opening expected by the others, so it was hard to get a lot done.
I'll leave you with my favourite picture from our holiday visits; here's my little cousin Justine trying to scare me with a very ugly doll.
This doll used to belong to my mother and her sister. It has always been in my grandma's house, and the kids of my generation were all afraid of it. Just look at her abnormally bulbous forehead, and the way her evil eyes bore into you like a maniacal drill bent on destruction. And the way her disgusting hair comes out of her skull in clumps. I always knew that she was waiting for the perfect opportunity to sink her little plastic teeth into my throat.
Well, the next generation of kids in this family love this doll. They have no fear. I suspect they may be biding their time, planning to unleash the fury of the doll on their parents and grown-up cousins when we're least expecting it, lulled into a false sense of security by the narcotic effects of Christmas turkey. But in the meantime, Justine takes every opportunity to stick the nasty little thing in my face, just to watch me jump and get some cheap thrills. It always works.
December 16, 2004
Thirty-three and sexier than ever
If I do say so myself.
In honour of my 33rd birthday, I'm wearing my sweet sixteen underpants today. That's right, I'm wearing underpants I've had since I was sixteen years old. Sorry, no picture, my parents read this blog sometimes. They're cute pants, black with flowers, but they're a little threadbare and don't quite cover as much arse as they used to. But hey, it's a long way from 16 to 33, at least they still fit.
I should have been under the needle right now, but the birthday tattoo has had to be postponed, because qpaukl messed up his back so badly that he can't sit bent over me for that long without collapsing. Hopefully we'll be able to do it next week. So instead I'm working on Cathode, putting the ribbed edging on the neck. Then tonight, I'll be pigging out on Ethiopian food at my favourite restaurant (I won't be wearing a new sweater, though). I might take one of Rogue's sleeves to work on while we wait for our food, depending on how pissy that makes Peter. We have an ongoing argument about knitting in public; he thinks it's antisocial. Obviously, I disagree.
Here's a picture of my neck decreases:
December 10, 2004
First of all, let me just say that this
has totally made my week. Thanks to Eklectika for starting this, and for making such a great button for it (and since I'm always happy to plug my friends, the ubercute skull 'n' bones hair clip comes from pixie fashions; tell her I sent you!). And thanks so much to everyone who wrote to me about the sweater; getting published for the first time was pretty exciting, but deep down I kind of didn't expect that people would really want to knit one (my life is a constant battleground between low self-esteem and raging egomania, although the egomania *usually* comes out slightly ahead). What with the grad show last week and then Knitty coming out right after, I've been getting the ego-stroking of my life, and I like it too much.
If I wasn't such a two-timing slut, Rogue might be keeping me warm right now (but as it is, she's only been keeping my lap warm). I've been working on Cathode and Rogue at the same time, while taking breaks once in a while to work a few rounds of ribbing on the skirt.
Cathode is a really quick knit, but I had a little setback last night and had to rip: I had reached the end of the raglan shaping and put the whole thing on waste yarn to try it on, only to find that while it was wide enough to fit around my body, the yoke didn't reach all the way down to my armpits! My row gauge was off by about a third; shame on me for being a half-arsed swatcher. So I've ripped back to the collar and now I'll have to do my increases every third round instead of every second. Here's a picture of her collar:
It's four different boucle yarns, worked with two strands together and alternating the colours. The only drawback to using this yarn: can you see all the little ends sticking out all over the place? This yarn was given to me about ten years ago, the leftovers from a blanket that a co-worker of mine wove. I made it into a striped t-shirt, then didn't like the fit, ripped it out, and made the boxy striped pullover you saw in pieces on the floor a few days ago. So this is the second time it's been ripped, and there were tons of short pieces from all those stripes; it's covered in knots! I want to have this finished to wear out to dinner for my birthday next week, and getting the sweater done will be no problem, but I don't know how long it will take me to weave in all those ends. Eeek.
I think the colours are going to look great though, so hopefully dealing with the knots will be worth it. They're not colours I normally wear, but with the black borders to set it off, it will look fabulous on me, I'm sure.
Rogue's back is finished, and I'm just about to start the cabling for the front of the neck. This one is a quick knit too, so I expect to be wearing both sweaters home for the (insert chosen religious festival here) break.
I haven't been able to bring myself to work in the studio since the grad show; I've really felt like I needed a bit of a break from it (also, I'm not doing any more printing until the intro print students have had their final crits, because there aren't many presses and I don't want to take away any of their printing time). Adele, one of my advisers, asked me the other day if I was feeling down at all, now that it's over. I said it was a kind of euphoric depression; a mix of relief and regret. Anyway, it's only an undergraduate degree, and I'm eager to get on to the next thing. I'm a little sad, though, to be having my last meetings with Daniel and Adele next week.
And just because I like to show lots of pictures, here's another.
This is going to be my birthday tattoo, which if all goes as planned I will be getting next Thursday. It's from folio 124 recto of the Book of Kells, the same page from which I adapted the pattern for Mariah's sleeves.
November 17, 2004
I got a new tattitude
Mom, if it bothers you, just don't LOOK.
KNITTY NEW TAT!
It's joining in the round. Nothing like wearing your geekness
sticking out your sleeve.
October 13, 2004
Tonight I went to qpaukl and Tamara's place, where qpaukl filled my star tattoo with green. Here is what it looks like right now, bloody bits and all:
I'm hoping the green will lighten up a bit as it heals; it should be lime. It's already a lot lighter than it was when we started, so I think it'll be all right. I got smart this time too, and we did the stars on the back of my leg first. . .because they hurt the most, ow!
Don't ask what contortions I had to perform to get the plants in the background like that. Those are the water hyacinths that Daniel gave me, and I'm going to try keeping them alive indoors all winter. They've been flowering like crazy, but it's just now starting to get cold at night, so we'll see.