Saturday, June 30, 2007

Plants and flowers and jobs and costume jewelry, oh my

Ah, my first day off in six days. You must realize that even before I was a bum for a year, I was a M-F/9-5 kinda gal for my entire work life. Thus, even working until 6 or 7pm is kind of weird. Working on weekend days is still rather hard to grasp. At any rate, I'm off today and it is kind of blissful, particularly since Steve is off too. First off we headed to an estate sale in the county, with a stop for a misto and a visit with an occasional co-worker. The sale was in a -century modern subdivision that was even better than usual -- it was quite hilly so the houses were seldom on the same level as their neighbors, affording each more privacy. There wasn't a whole lot of interest in the house, but I did get a handful of costume jewelry, a funny photo and the cutest mini TV tray. Here's all the loot on the tray. Should I paint/decorate the tray or leave it in its 'shabby chic' (I really hate that term but it's all I got) state?

Here are close ups of some of the jewelry. I probably wouldn't ever wear these leaf motif earrings, but I was thinking they might each make a cool pendant. The triple blue stone earrings are quite pretty and seem to be good quality. The sword is a swanky cool tie bar. I'm gonna have to think of a cute way to wear it with a scarf or something.

The glorious rain of the past few days has made all my plants very, very happy since I'm not the best waterer in the world. It is a flowery time at our house and I couldn't be happier. I took a bunch of pictures this afternoon, so you get to see 'em. Remember the wee coleus babies? They're growing up into such lovely adolescents!

Even though the rose of sharon births hundreds of annoying volunteer plants every year, I still fall in love with its flowers when they appear. So pretty and tropical.

Combine it with a vibrant orange tiger lily and it's almost too much beauty at one time.

Speaking of the tiger lilies, check out this one:

My blue bellflowers are almost spent as the brown-eyed susans are just beginning.

The hearty hibiscus bush is about six feet tall this year and loaded with buds. Each of these buds will produce a giant, dessert plate-sized hot pink flower. When our iguana, Mitch, was alive, he loved nothing better than to gulp down these flowers. It was his favorite treat.

And last but not least, the herbs continue to grow (I tucked a little coleus seedling in that herb pot and it finally has started to grow!). It is time to pluck a bunch of that basil and freeze some pesto.

So how is work going, you ask? Pretty good. In basically my fourth week of work I've been promoted and gotten a raise, so I don't have much to complain about. It's going to be a totally new experience supervising people, but it seems to be coming rather naturally. We'll see! I just hope I can do it in a way that helps people like and respect me. I know it's possible because I've had those kind of supervisors already. But I've also had another kind that I'd rather not be. It's a delicate balance, I guess. Tomorrow I start work at 5:30am! Is that crazy talk or what?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Allison sent me a photo of my tomato plant growing in her garden. Why is Allison growing "my" tomatoes? Because she was kind enough to offer her plentiful sunshine and green thumb to the service of homegrown tomatoes (one of the best foods ever, by the way). So check out this monster of a plant. It is loaded with green fruit. I can only hold my breath till they turn green (and pray that Maggie the dog chases away all the evil squirrels).

In other news, the job is going okay -- there's just so much of it. To be thrown into full time labor after a year of loafing is kind of shocking to my system. All of my other functions are shutting down for the time being. I'm feeling kind of overwhelmed and unfocused towards anything else so I have a sub for my radio show this week and I decided to bail on selling at the Tower Grove Farmers Market this Saturday. Saturday is my one day off in eight days -- even when I worked full time I never worked that many days in a row -- so I need a break and a day with no responsibilities.

Monday, June 25, 2007

What a difference a day (or two) makes

Yesterday was my first shift at my temporary (until October) work home and I was nervous, of course. The store (open only for its fifth day) was super busy inside and on the drive through. The manager barely had time to say anything other than "Hi! Can you bar for me?" and for the next hour and a half I didn't stop making drinks for more than a minute or two at a time. The store manager was totally supportive and encouraging, telling me how glad she was to have me and how great I was doing. Whew, it was nice not to be the 'new moron' any more. Best of all, most everyone else working thought I was a veteran and even deferred to me a few times about how to make stuff! So, all my stress about doing things right and all my sleepness night hours worrying about how many shots and pumps the various drinks have has paid off. This is such a weight off my shoulders. I suppose I have to thank my coaches who hovered, making sure I was doing things right, no matter how much it bugged me while it was happening.

Of course, I don't get to rest on my [meager] laurels for long. Tomorrow I start training to be a shift manager and once again I'm at the bottom of the learning curve.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

And it doesn’t really matter if I’m wrong I’m right/Where I belong I’m right/Where I belong

Two things worth noting today (I actually first typed "Two things worth nothing today" -- Freudian slip? ).

First, I was certified as an official barista yesterday so all espresso drinks I serve are now for reals. Ha! to all you suckers who got my "trainee" drinks. I also found out that I will be moving to a University City location until my store is built and open (which will not be until October, unfortunately). I can live with this, particularly since this UCity store just opened a couple days ago -- I won't be much newer than anyone else and I'm not coming in as a trainee, thank goodness. So no hazing by passive-agressive co-workers and I'm staying long enough for people to bother to get to know me. If you're in the area and need some caffeine, come see me at the intersection of North & South and Delmar sometime!

Second, I got an email yesterday from Subterranean Books telling me what I've sold there so far. I put some items on consignment after the last Rock & Roll Craft Show and hadn't really thought much more of it. It's my only retail location but I kind of neglected what I was doing there. Anyway, it turns out I've sold about $115 worth of stuff which netted me around $70. The coolest thing is that Kelly, who masterminds the indie crafts there (plus much else, I'm thinking) told me that out of town bands wandering down Delmar from the Pageant have bought a bunch of my paper cut-out guitar cards. How incredibly cool is that? I totally thought musicians would like them, but they hadn't gone over that great at the fairs.

My point is that, well, a little encouragement (in the form of people actually buying my stuff) goes a long way towards making me feel like I should keep this business up. Not that I don't get emotional satisfaction from creating things, because I certainly do, but I kind of need the financial reward in order to keep sinking a lot of time and effort into the process. So, I'm not done yet.

Friday, June 22, 2007

So tired, tired of waiting, tired of waiting for yooooouuuu

While my working conditions improved tenfold as the week progressed, I'm still quite unsure of where I'll be after my hours today. I have nothing scheduled, nor do I know in what location I might be working. It has been proposed that I stay where I am and start training to be a shift manager. I'm all for this advancement, but it sure would be nice to just exist a bit, post-training, and assert myself in the store so that I'm perceived as something else than a trainee to kick around. I have definitely been at the mercy of the whims of a few co-workers this week and, yeah, I could do without that for just a bit. But I guess I have to take an opportunity when it's offered. At least I've finally gotten paid.

What else is going on? In my misery of last Monday I neglected to mention the fun birthday party for Matt R. last Saturday. We stayed out until almost 3:00 a.m. -- that hasn't happened in months. It was so nice to be able to hang with our friend Amanda, who we don't see nearly often enough these days, plus everyone else there. And Allison, as always, is the most amusing drunk. "Hell yeah, I'm having another gin and tonic!"

Am I using the existence of a job as an excuse to ignore my crafty/entrepreneurial life? Or am I legitimately preoccupied? It's hard to say. I have a show coming up on June 30 but I haven't done a thing new for it. Part of that is that I have just about EVERYTHING I frantically made for Gypsy Caravan so I don't need more inventory. It's also partly that I'm just not feeling creative. Now, if someone wanted to cut endless strips of fabric for me, I'd love to keep making rag rugs. Since the process of cutting the strips is way longer than the process of crocheting the actual rugs, I sort of burnt out on that pretty fast. I do not often enjoy projects that require a lot of preparation. Am I going to use working as an excuse to give it all up? I feel there's the potential for that happening, but I suppose since I'm aware of it, a part of me doesn't want to give it up completely. We'll see if I'm able to get my shit together enough to decide if I want to be part of a show in August. That might be the litmus test.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I'm taking what they're giving 'cause I'm working for a livin'

I thought yesterday would be bad because I went to work with a bit of a hangover and not enough sleep. Surprisingly, things went pretty smoothly even though I was tired. I thought today would be cake. I was wrong. The fact that I'm training at a store I'm not going to end up in has something to do with it, I think, because no one there really cares as they won't have to deal with me after a certain time. Today it wasn't clear who was my coach nor did I have a clue who was working as the floor manager since everyone on the floor except for a trainee works in that position at one time or another. Because I don't know who the boss is today, I'm a little befuddled right from the start. Then the person who (for the moment anyway) is helping me, is hovering nervously, commenting on nearly every movement I make. Which makes me do stuff wrong, slow or both. Then another person (who has been my boss the last couple of shifts) asks me to get something for her that's not specifically what I'm training on. I have the time so I do it. When I'm done the person who is apparently the floor manager today gives me a little lecture about how I wasn't supposed to leave my station. Are you fucking kidding me?

On top of everything else, it's pretty clear that there's something going on that has everyone on edge. I really don't know what it is, but it involves cutting hours and staffing and who knows what else. So, there's a tension in the air. Unhappily, I am very sensitive to the currents of unrest and tension so I pick up on it and I'm doubly stressed. For about the millionth time in my life, I fervently wish I was not such an empath. While it can come in handy in my personal life, in the workplace it's nothing but a gigantic pain in the ass. I'm trying to do my job and mostly everyone is fine, but these waves of pissed off feelings are in the air and I'm fighting back tears because I'm feeling so overwhelmed. Unfortunately for me, once the tears come to the forefront, my face turns red, even if I can hold back the tears. No one said anything though, so perhaps no one noticed.

Then I find out that I don't even know where I'm going to be next week. Let me tell you, I am NOT cut out for meeting whole new crews of people every couple weeks. This is taking just about every bit of energy I have. I feel like I can never get into any kind of a rhythm and I'll always be the new girl/interloper who's not hanging around to be worth getting to know.

And to top everything off, I haven't even gotten a fucking check yet. Haven't even seen a financial reward for all this mess.

I need a lottery ticket. Let me clarify: A winning lottery ticket.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I'm talkin' about a bag of chips youknowhatI'msayin' dog? I don't think you do

On my way home from work I decided to stop by the library. Because I'm totally lazy and because we have piles and piles of books in our house stacked in no particular order, I wanted to check "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" out of the library to re-read because I didn't want to take the time to find my own copy. Alas, all the Carpenter Branch copies were checked out (which actually made me happy that they're all being read). Stymied in my search for Harry Potter, I headed over to the SciFi section and pulled out a couple of Philip K. Dick novels I haven't read yet (Galactic Pot-Healer and The Crack in Space, fyi) instead. I am currently reading Memoirs of a Geisha but, and I apologize to you Allison, I'm really kind of hating it. Anyway, I wanted books that I know I would enjoy. I will finish Memoirs, but I needed something else for the time being.

After the library I thought I'd stop at Jay's for some dinner ingredients. It occurred to me that cold peanut-sesame noodles would be really good for dinner tonight, particularly since dinner will be after 9:30p when Steve gets home. I could make them in advance and they'd be ready to go when I wanted 'em. Plus, they taste really good. I got the fresh noodles and some green onions and lime for the sauce and went searching for a snack. I wanted something crunchy and salty and Jay's has a good number of things in that category. However, many many many of these things have fish in them (e.g. prawn chips and fish crackers) and I'm just not down with that. I briefly considered the Latin chicharrones (pork rinds) but decided that was kind of gross, even though they had that weird resurgence when Atkins was so huge and they were considered a good carb-free snack. I spotted a bag of honey-coated banana chips but that seemed way more sweet than my craving desired. I then saw a stack of bright green bags labelel "Tropical Chips." A closer look revealed that they were crispy, salted plaintain chips. I thought I'd like them but I did not anticipate just how delicious they were!

Thin and quite crisp with just the teeeeeeeensiest hint of that banana flavor plaintains have, these chips are fantastic. Like great potato chips, but slightly sweeter and with a different texture much like sweet potato chips. Highly recommended!

Oh, and Lydia the tortie avidly ate piece after piece of chip, a rather unusual thing. So they're a cat treat too!

New Shoes!

It's pretty sad when my shoe buying hiatus has been so prolonged that I'm excited about a couple of pairs of shoes I had to buy for work. C'est la vie -- I'll take my excitement where I can get it, I suppose. As I had to drive right past the Creve Coeur Skechers store (and stop at the Trader Joe's right next door) for a work-related training, it seemed silly to not take a look, at least. Perusing the selection in the front of the store did not convince me I wanted to spend even $30 on these shoes. I just didn't like any of them. The "work safe" selection was and expensive. I made my way back to the clearance shelves and found a couple of pairs that I actually liked. Not only that, but they were marked $19.97. Score! Then, I noticed the sign saying all these shoes were 50% off the last marked price. Double score! Two pairs of leather Skechers that I don't hate for $21 and change. So perhaps I'm happier at the bargain I got rather than the shoes themselves. Whatever. They're comfy and have nice arch support. Here they are. And it seems that Olive would like her own blog as she keeps inserting herself into my pictures.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Another Old Picture

Back in the day, the gang I ran with took lots of photographs. Whether for school or art or both, it seemed like someone always had a camera. This picture was taken by our friend Bob Chekoudjian in a studio space somewhere off of Page around 170, I think. That's my first husband, Tony Renner, there in front of me. Lying naked on the ground in the corner of the photo is my current husband, Steve. Of course, you can only see an upper quadrant of him, so you wouldn't know he was naked unless I told you. Did I mention that during these many photography sessions, nudity was often the order of the day? We were young, it was the '80s, and it was art! Anyway, later in this session Tony and I were naked too. I'm pretty sure this was taken some time in 1983. Man, glass squares and foam fingers. It was art, I tell you!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Rag Rug, Part Deux

It seems that the pets love the rag rug. If it's on the ground for more than a minute, there's an animal on it. Makes sense, I guess. Here's Olive enjoying a nap with the rug at its almost finished stage.

And here it is, finished, giving Foxy Brown a place to sit. I may still add some kind of fringe, but I haven't decided yet.

25 Years Ago????

This picture was taken 25 years ago, in May of 1982. Holy shit, where has the time gone? It was spring break of my senior year of high school and I had been staying at my oldest sister's house after a bit of a row with my mom. All of my friends were in college and somehow I got myself invited along on a road trip to Daytona Beach with seven guys from SLU and Parks College. My boyfriend at the time, who hung out with all these guys, had to go home to New Jersey and couldn't make the trip. I was feeling adventurous, and I'd never been to Florida, so why the hell not? It was a disparate group, but they were all pretty decent guys and not too party crazy.

The picture was taken after our first full day on the beach. I laid in the sun for around eight hours. When I stood up to go back to the hotel room, I fell to my knees and passed out in the sand. At this point I'm sure the boys were lamenting bringing a high school girl along. Anyway, I woke up, they got me a big cup of ice water and we went to sit in that cool, shady underpass where the picture was taken. Beside me is James, one of the most beautiful men I've ever seen, as you can clearly see. He was from Boston, was terribly vain, and said "idear" in the cutest way.

I managed to make it out to dinner that night -- I think we discovered an all-you-can-eat spaghetti place that accomodated our very limited budgets, but after that I was pretty much confined to the hotel room; burnt to a crisp, swollen, and sickly. I was kept company with one of the boys who suffered the same fate as me. At one point I was staring at my swollen, burnt arm and it looked exactly like a hot dog about to split open.

The drive home was pretty miserable as it was my backside that was the most burnt, plus we had some car problems. When I finally got back to my sister's (she knew where I had gone) we decided I needed to go to the hospital. Since for insurance purposes I had to go the hospital that my mom worked at, we had to think of a lie to tell about the circumstances of my sunburn. I said that I had gone to Kansas City with girlfriends and had fallen asleep under a sun lamp. Who knows if the doctor believed me, but I KNEW that if I told the truth, my mom would find out, confidentiality rules be damned. So I was diagnosed with a UTI and first degree burns and sent home to pick layers and layers of skin off my back, arms and legs. My sister had to vacuum daily around me to pick up all the skin. It was pretty gross.

But anyway, that's one of my favorite photos ever. James is posing, as always, dyed black, new wave spiky hair is documented and we look like we're in some exotic third world country, not just mundane Daytona Beach.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


Out of some sort of nervous energy (job related and I'll get to it in a moment) I got the notion yesterday afternoon that I should make a rag rug. I've never made a rag rug, but I have lots of clothes that can be torn up and it didn't seem hard. And I was originally thinking of braiding strips of fabric and then winding them up, sewing as I went along. Luckily, a quick check of the Intarweb revealed that an even easier rag rug can be made by a simple single crochet pattern. You still start with strips, but you don't have to do anything more complicated to 'em than a single crochet stitch. The mostly mindless process is just exactly what I was looking for as I've become a bit of a nervous wreck over this job business.

First off, let me say that I'm 99.8% certain that I'm going to love my job. Eventually. Right now I'm in the training phase, at a company that takes training really seriously. I'm not good at not immediately knowing everything about everything at a new job. I don't like the learning curve. I don't like being the person who can't do something (at least not the proper, corporate-approved way). So, I've had a rather high anxiety level the last couple of weeks. So high that a couple of fever blisters popped out on my chin. Oh boy! I always get fever blisters when I'm stressed out to my maximum. Funny thing is, I didn't actually feel stressed when I got them last weekend. This week, though, my stress was not taking a back seat. In just a week I really got used to the people at the store I was working at and now the plan is to ship me off to another store full of strangers and I'm freaking out. Then I'm freaking out further because the manager of the store full of strangers hasn't called me to schedule any hours next week and that's just not going to work. Not only do I need to work to continue my training and learn the frakking job, but I need the money! I really hope it will work out. The idea of juggling possibly two part time jobs is going to cause another fever blister to break out on me and I'd just rather not deal with that.

I put down my rag rug for a moment earlier, to pace, to fret, to cry a little and to call my manager to see what's what and today's TM blog star, Olive, decided it was the best bed ever. So far I've used three dresses and one skirt. How big will I make it? I have the fabric to keep going for quite some time...

Yard Sale-ing

Not a fantastic set of yard sales today, but I did find perhaps the Best Frisbee (or Flying Disc to be more generic) Ever. Yes, you are seeing it correctly: this is a rubber chicken-coated flying disc. Add a little dog slobber to this thing and that rubbery skin will feel like the real thing. Foxy Brown loves her Frisbees more than anything else and I can't wait to throw this one around the back yard. In the house she's a little wary of the Chicken, but outside whe was in chicken heaven. She loved it. It was hard at first for her to get hold of it (it's HEAVY), but once she got the trick, she was in love. She even made a couple of airborne saves, which had to hurt.

Some fabric, a tangle of gold and silver chains and a couple of books made up the rest of my small booty today. But isn't that Saki cover fantastic?

Thanks to Olive for serving as my photo backdrop today!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The 19th Day

So, I'm checking the calendar to see if I am at the Everybody Hates Me point in my cycle or if, indeed, everybody does hate me. I am at that point in my cycle, but perhaps I've become less loveable as well? It's certainly a viable argument. A new job takes a lot of my available social energy (and even on a good day I don't have that much of it lately) and I suppose I' have retreated so I shouldn't be surprised that I feel a bit cut off. I probably shouldn't have this internal conversation at this particular point in my cycle, but alas, since I am at this point in my cycle, it's unavoidable as I am often included in the "everybody" of the everybody hates me time. The most important observation is that I have not taken my Maca Root for a week or so because I thought it was upsetting my stomach. When I take the Maca Root I do not have EHM days. I think I'm gonna go take some Maca Root.

Missed photo opportunity of the week: a teeny, tiny baby preying mantis sitting on a brick on the railing of our deck. The cutest wee thing was sadly gone by the time I came back with my camera. I don't remember ever seeing a grown mantis in the yard, but I have seen an egg pouch hatch once; scores of even teenier newborns pouring out of that thing. So scary and cute at the same time.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Last night, she said: "Oh, baby, I feel so down. See, it turns me off, when I feel left out"

I don't even like the Strokes, but that song just popped into my head whilst thinking about a title for this entry. And as far as Strokes songs go, that's not a terrible one.

So, speaking of last night, we had a good time during and after spinning CDs at the Royale. Probably more fun than we've had in a long while, really. It was so nice to be outside on the patio even though a threatened storm scared almost everyone inside for a bit. They could still hear us, we just couldn't see the absolute joy on their faces when we made perfect segues. Ha! Who am I kidding? I think we do a fine job, but we rarely see much reaction from the patrons. I was happy to see the waitresses doing little dances throughout the evening because I am happy most when we entertain the staff.

We had lots of friends around and that always makes it more fun. So thanks to Heather, Dana and Roy, Allison and Matt, and Laurene and Dan for coming and hanging out. We stayed until nearly 12:30a, a rare occasion as of late as we have been ducking out as soon as we're done at 10p. The weather was so gorgeous after the storm passed over that sitting outside was irresistible. And may I suggest that if you are in the company of Allison at an appropriate location, give her a mint julep. Amusements will ensue! Myself, I ushered in the summer with the superb Subcontinentals of the Royale. Best summer drink ever; comprised of freshly juiced cucumber, gin, Cointreau, simple syrup and lime. And perhaps the most beautiful, with it's lovely green hue. When the Royale first opened, I was so taken with the Subcontinental that I went out and bought myself a juicer so that I could have Subcontinentals whenever I pleased, without leaving the house. I remember one night when I had consumed several while sitting at the bar; we had to leave to go to Frederick's but I had just gotten a fresh one; the lovely bartender popped it into a go cup and I happily snuck it into Frederick's (I must say they didn't really care) where I offered everyone I knew a taste. That might have been the same very hot night that I was photographed lovingly hugging a metal pail full of ice. That pail of ice was my best friend.

Today I have to search for practical (but probably ugly) shoes for work.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Movie Idea

I have no ideas for a plot or even a genre, but these three actors should really be in a movie together, playing brothers. Maybe a Farelly style comedy? Or a Coen black-humored drama?

I mean, really, they're practically the same guy. I wonder if they compete for the same roles? And if you don't know, pictured is Mark Valley (Boston Legal), Joel Gretsch (The 4400) and Colin Ferguson (Eureka).

Separated At Birth?

Is it just me, or do Jacqueline McKenzie (of The 4400) and Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty) look like siblings?

I found this photo and I just couldn't resist. Do you suppose it's a still or real life? If it's real life, definitely pre-Ugly Betty.

If it's the First Friday of the Month this Must Be the Royale

Why I can only manage to convert this file to a jpg in greyscale is beyond m computer skills. Sigh.