Wednesday, December 31, 2008

In case I stand one little chance/Here comes the jackpot question in advance/What are you doing New Year's/New Year's Eve?

December 31, 2008. I know I often go on about the ridiculously fast passage of time, but COME ON! It's going to be 2009 in just a small bit of time. How is that possible?

It's been an interesting year. I've learned a great deal about myself and I've discovered a heretofore unknown world of carnal pleasures. How bad can that be? I quit a shit job and have had some weeks off to recoup. Again, that's a good thing. I made new friends this year whom I hope to have with me for a very long time. Who could complain about that? In Steve I have a wonderful husband who truly gets me. That's an ideal situation, no? All in all, 2008 has been very kind to me and I send my thanks to the universe for whatever alignment of the stars brought the people I love to me and kept them there in my life.

So, while I'm not necessarily sad to see 2008 end, I'm certainly not in a particular hurry for it to go.

Yesterday evening I stepped out onto the deck and looked up to see a gorgeously bright crescent moon and star in the darkening sky. I ran to get my camera even though I knew I could never really capture the bright, sharp lines of the moon. Instead I got this study in beautiful, deep blues and what looks to me like two little jack rabbits hopping across the sky.

So, Happy New Year, everyone.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

All my daydreams are disasters/She's the one I think I love/Rivers burn and then run backwards/For her, that's enough

Gah. Post-Christmas blues blow. Is that what I have? Or do I have end-of-the-year-and-what-do-I-have-to-show-for-it assessment blues?

If I'm to be completely honest with myself, I will admit that I have the oh-shit-I-have-to-find-a-job-and-I-have-no-idea-what-I-can-do blues. It doesn't help that I'm going to be job searching at a time and in a city that has thousands of recently laid off folks in the employee pool. And seriously, I don't even know what I can do anymore. I feel like this almost three year absence from the office environment has left me woefully behind in the skills I might need. Not to mention the panic I feel at being restricted to that Monday through Friday, 9-5 work schedule. But can I bear a retail environment again? There has to be a better option than the strain and stress of my Big Espresso experience, right? Surely a privately owned business would be better, nurturing even. Now, to just find one of these lovely nurturing environments that will hire me.

Why hasn't the universe handed me an opportunity yet? Do you mean to say I'm going to have to actually make an effort? I'm kidding, of course. But only slightly. Hey, Universe? Waiting for that perfect job. Any day now, all right?

So, today I've been moping, whether about the job situation or not, I'm really not sure. Don't you just have days where nearly everyone you encounter fails, somehow, to live up to what you want and/or need from them? The question then becomes, is it you or is it them? And does it matter when the result is the same unsettled dissatisfaction? The only good part? It's usually short-lived, that feeling of wrongness.

At any rate, perhaps a night of sleep will cure what ails me. And as I have to get up and maintain a certain amount of cheer to entertain two or three people on the radio, I should probably not add to my blue mood by not getting enough sleep.

Perhaps tomorrow I'll be a bundle of joy and I'll post some happy thoughts and cute photos. Perhaps.

Friday, December 26, 2008

...Numb into number/they put the cute into cutie/they put the slum into slumber and the boot into beauty/but from this day everyday will be boxing day

Happy Boxing Day! According to a tiny bit of research (and by 'research' I, of course, mean Wikipedia), in Britain Boxing Day has changed into not much more than a post-Christmas shopping day rather than a tribute to St. Stephen, or a day where you buy all your servants (or those pesky lower social class folks you might have the misfortune of encountering) gifts. Leave it to the U.S. to skip all the pretend piety and go right to consumerism and shopping. Today is a day for bargains, for trading in the dud gifts you were given the day before, for cashing in all those many heartless gift certificates given in moments of desperation.

Or is it? For me today is a day of recovery from copious amounts of chianti yesterday, vain prayer that the tips of my first two fingers on my left hand will regain feeling despite abusing them for far too long playing my first games of Guitar Hero (my older sister kicked my ass, by the way), and preparation (minor) for DJing at the Royale tonight. Mostly I just want a nap.

The day after Christmas is always a bit of a bittersweet day. It's nice to have all the preparations overs, but it always feels a little sad that everything is over. At least I still have lots of leftover cookies and candy to console me. Here's what I'm consoling myself with, the sum of all my cookie baking and candy making of the last couple weeks.

Mark Early mentioned scourtins on Facebook a week or so ago and I knew that I had to make some for myself. They are a French concoction, basically a shortbread with a little bit of olive oil replacing some of the butter and the addition of French oil-cured black olives. It's an interesting sweet and salty combo and they go particularly well with wine.

And now I think I will stretch out on the couch, admire one pair of my new boots and attempt a nap.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Now, I've had enough, my box is clean/You know what I'm sayin' and you know what I mean/Odds and ends, odds and ends/Lost time is not found again

It's been ages and I can almost say I have plenty of excuses since it is that time of year. I seriously think we've been sent through some time warp. How is it possibly the week of Christmas already? It's gotten to the point where I swear I can see life whizzing by in my peripheral vision. Slow down already, wouldja?

First of all, I spent most of the writing energy of the last week or so writing my best of 2008 list for the KDHX blog. I encourage you to read it and comment. Discuss, argue with me, agree with me. Whatev. The most curious thing is that this year, for maybe the first time, I was pretty sure I had a favorite record that was going to be hitting all the other hipster/magazine/website lists. But no, my most beloved record this year, Cold War Kids Loyalty to Loyalty, was nowhere to be found on any of the lists I checked. And here I thought I had jumped on some racing CWK bandwagon. And so all is well and normal in the world - I champion a band that very few people care about. It's a thankless job, but someone has to do it. On the other hand, Elbow, who were very narrowly edged out by CWK, were all over the lists this year. Go figure.

Second, I've spent most of my time making cookies and candy for Christmas. I'm not sure why I make so much, but it's a habit and frankly, one of my favorite things about December are cookie and candy breakfasts. I'm only slightly ashamed to admit that.

Third, I've spent an inordinate amount of time goofing off on the Internet and just hanging out with the other half (and oftentimes doing both at the same time). Facebook seems to have simultaneously become an obsession amongst my friends and acquaintances so it is a fantastic (horrific?) time waster. And then, of course, there's my Scottish Correspondent who keeps me hopping.

Fourthly, it's almost Christmas, yo! List making, shopping, gift making, wrapping -- it all takes more time than you think it's going to. And if you have your laptop open beside you and stop to chat, answer emails and compulsively read Facebook status updates, well, it takes even more time.

I've posted a bunch of photos on Facebook but I throw some on here too, just to round this out. First, a couple of batches of cookies - really delicious molasses cookies and very adorable but not so tasty cat's paw cookies.

I never tire of taking photos of my cats. Yeah, it's a cliche, but they're all so fucking cute, what do you want me to do? So, here's Olive looking particularly regal. I wish I could say that look was for me, but she was gazing adoringly at Steve as he descended the staircase behind me.

I revived the crocheted wire jewelry idea to make earrings and a necklace for my mom for Christmas. I love these dark red and smooth garnet chunks and I wish I could remember what the hell that center stone is. Probably some sort of agate.

I decided that since I was in the mood to crochet wire and beads, I'd make a little something for myself. I adore the tiny Japanese glass beads in this one. They really look much more like actual turquoise than glass. The center pendant is a coin Dana brought me from China ages ago and that's been sitting in my stash, waiting for inspiration.

A couple weeks ago I decided to clean up my yarn stash that was taking up residence in a corner of the living room for no real reason other than sheer laziness on my part. So, I sorted through it to keep a few balls out for immediate projects and stored in a manageable caddy. In the meantime, here's what the sorting mess looked liked. If you look close, Olive is at the end of the couch, nearly buried in yarn. She seemed to enjoy the process.

This is nothing but a photo of pretty clouds taken with my mobile phone last week. Depending on the lighting and setting, I can get some really interesting pictures of this little thing.

And last but not least, as I was driving home on Saturday from a lovely outing with Dana (finally!) I was going through the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood when I looked up and saw scores of crows! So many and it made me so happy to see them returning in such numbers, finally, after the scourge of West Nile virus. I stopped in the middle of Chouteau to take some photos and this is a case where the limitations of the mobile camera are woefully apparent. Nonetheless, I got to document the numbers, if not the details, of the many crows. All of the birds (which show up as black dots) are magnificent, big black crows. Click on the photo and I swear you will see the dots, in the foreground tree and in all those trees at the other end of the lot!

And now, I need a job. Who's got one for me?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The seasons evolve to a freeze/Putting hearts in the balance here/It's up to your knees/And it's shifting degrees/And it's choking your atmosphere

I'm fighting illness and not liking it one little bit. My head feels like it's stuffed with oddly heavy cotton wool. This morning when I first got out of bed, I lurched around like a drunken sailor because I was so woozy and dizzy. It has turned into a weird headache and it's annoying.

However, it didn't stop me from meeting Allison at an estate sale (the online photos of items for sale had some real promise) and getting my thrift on. I can't show photos of everything I got, because, well, that would spoil some surprises. But there are some cool things I can show.

These have to to be the four prettiest handkerchiefs I've ever seen. I wish the dark brown with the tan and robin's egg stripes was a piece of clothing I could wear. They are also made of fine, fine cotton that feels so amazing.

There was a closet. In this closet were many clothes made of very bad polyester. There were, however, two absolutely amazing metallic brocade gowns that were sorely tempting. I didn't let myself buy either of them (maybe tomorrow on the half price day!), but I did get this awesome red wool coat (by Penguin!). How did the universe know I needed a casual winter coat? How? How? The same way the universe knew Allison needed a roasting pan complete with rack, I guess. At any rate, I love the bright gold buttons and the lumberjacky plaid lining. Oooh and there are zippered slits on either side for sitting! A true car coat.

I love vintage tablecloths and it's always nice to find ones in good shape and without stains. This one has such lovely colors.

And finally, I have a grave weakness for embroidered pillowcases and this white on white pair (with hearts!) was irresistible.

And now, I have to tear myself away from terrible reality TV ("Stylista" no less) and head to the kitchen to make fudge and truffles.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

All mixed up in the wash/hot water bleeding our colors

In the medium wee hours of the morning today I half woke up; it was night time dark outside and I was lying on my back. Mr. Baby was snuggled into the crook of my arm and he was extra cuddly and, apparently, had picked up some song writing skills. Yes, I was in one of those weird half asleep, half awake states where you are certain everything is really happening.

In this case, Mr. Baby and I were writing a song to go on the current release by the Cold War Kids Loyalty to Loyalty. Now, I have been obsessed with this record for the last couple of weeks, listening to little else, so I assume my repeated listenings during the the week was the catalyst.

If I remember correctly, Mr. Baby was helping with lyrics and he was singing, all while letting me pet his ears. I love the dream state that allowed me to happily accept that the ginger cat curled up next to me in bed was writing and singing a Cold War Kids song with me.

I've been dreaming a lot lately, more than I have in months. Not coincidentally, I've been sleeping a lot better, rarely waking up in the middle of the night (and last night wasn't an exception as I think it's pretty safe to say I wasn't really awake when I thought I was) and sleeping until after 7:00am every day. Don't feel sorry for me, late sleepers; previous to this I was waking every morning anywhere from 4:30am-6:00am and was unable to go back to sleep. Now I'm sleeping at least seven hours (seven hours!) and dreaming I'm starring on a TV show, hanging out with Madonna, encountering a whole caboodle of bloody mayhem (thanks "Fringe...) and writing and singing songs with my boy cat.

I wonder if the L-Theanine (which I'm still calling a brilliant and very good thing) has anything to do with the crazy dreams? I wonder if it's also responsible for my happy, but unproductive state? I have managed to regain a little ground on the creative front, successfully completing a few Christmas gift projects. Apparently a weekend full moon is supposed to be causing some explosion of inspiration and productivity. We shall see.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Well, every story is not the gospel, babe/Let me put it in another way/Every valley is not a lake

On Friday I had a tarot reading with Deb in which she told me I had this really fantastic creative energy around me and that now was the time to just let myself go, don't think about the potential monetary value of anything, and just make art, big art (literally or figuratively, I'm not quite sure). This was great news, of course. But, since the moment I got home from the reading, it's almost as if (no, it is as if) I'm afraid to try anything. Because if I fail at an attempt now, it's not just myself I'm disappointing; it's the fucking cosmos, the universe, the world at large.

I'm frozen. I'm surprised I can write this because aside from the occasional email, chat (which doesn't really count because it's just written conversation), and Facebook status updates (with which I'm a little obsessed lately), I haven't been able to write anything. I need to work on my Top Whatever essay for the KDHX blog but so far I've only been able to compile a list of what I want to put in it. I'm working on a long poem but I've only been able to delete some stuff, not write anything new.

My drawing pencils and my sketch pad sit near me every day. Yesterday I placed the pad rightnext to me on the couch, intending to get to it just as soon as I finished...something else. That something turned into another something turned into another something. I guiltily eyed the sketch pad several times, but always found something else as an excuse to look away and ignore it.

And then there's this: I'm really content with my life right now; I'm quite happy. I'm having a very simple existence these days, simplified to, basically, food, art and sex (cooking/music, writing, painting/love and affection). Is being content a detriment to creativity? Do I need to want something/some things/someone to shift my brain?

Tomorrow I swear to try, no matter what I'm feel Maybe a little force i necessary.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Something is not right with me/something is not right with me/something is not right with me/how was I supposed to know?

It's been ages since Steve and I have had the time and inclination to head to the coffeehouse for a bit of laptop assholery, but today is the day. I haven't been motivated to do much other than write some emails, chat a little, work on a long poem, obsessively check Facebook and listen to Cold War Kids Loyalty to Loyalty on repeat. Oh, and drink a couple lattes.

After the gloom and rain of yesterday, the sharp cold of today is tempered by the brilliance of the sun and the bright blue of the sky. I have a seat looking out a big window and I've just realized that the trees are mostly devoid of leaves (when did that happen) and I'm digging their skeletal silhouettes against the sky. I constantly wonder how people survive in the daily gloom of the Pacific Northwest. Just one day of darkness yesterday and I was thrown into a pit of despair. All the caffeine and fresh salmon in the world can't combat the lack of sunshine, as far as I'm concerned.

Yesterday I seriously failed at a crafting, artistic endeavor and it made me feel like shit. Today I may be unable to get the right words for the poem, but the sunshine makes up for it.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Blow you a kiss/it will reach you tomorrow/as it flies from/the other side of the world

It's hard to believe Thanksgiving has come and gone already. I had a lovely and boisterous day with my family, with lots of food, plenty of drink and a rather drunken and jovial game of Mexican Train (trust me, I was disappointed to find out it wasn't a naughty game - you use dominos). The members of my family actually living in St. Louis seems to be dwindling every year and it makes these holidays even more special.

I sat around in a post-holiday mope yesterday for some reason. Perhaps it was just a low-level hang over. At any, I didn't do a whole lot with my day; I certainly did not go shopping and take part that which is known as Black Friday.

This morning, however, I awoke with great anticipation about doing my absolute favorite shopping of the year. Craft Alliance in University City has an annual pottery sale the weekend after Thanksgiving every year. I've gone for years, buying gifts for my family and many things for myself as well. Considering that I normally go for the streamlined, modern design of the mid-century, it continually surprises me that I love the organic earthiness of handmade pottery. I swear that things taste better when eaten or drunk out of my pieces. It's always freezing cold on the front patio of Craft Alliance, but I think that helps me get into the Christmas spirit as it's generally the first holiday shopping I've done. Dana met me this morning and I introduced her to my $10 and under method of shopping. There are so many gorgeous things in that range that I rarely need to spend more for an individual piece. Without further ado, here's what I got.

Also this weekend was the Rock 'n Roll Craft Show. Last year it depressed me that I didn't participate. This year I felt invigorated and inspired and I will submit to be included next year. I won't let myself down again and I'm resolved to start compiling inventory as soon as I can. I only got a couple of things at the show; the thing is that I can resist most items at RnRCS because, I tell myself, I could make them myself. Not that I will, but I could (and not everything, of course). What I find curious is that while I love pottery, I really have no desire to make it myself so I'm happy buying the work of other artists. At any rate, I did get a couple things - a handbound book made from an vintage book, and a lovely pair of earrings with teeny peridot and peachy briolettes.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Estate sale-in'

We went to an estate sale in Affton yesterday and it turned out to be a fairly good one. It took me a very long time to go through all the costume jewelry. Unfortunately, though the jewelry gave me the idea that the house would hold much goodness in the area of accessories, purses and shoes, the jewelry was just about the only thing that interested me. There was even a surprising lack of good kitchen stuff. But I did gorge a little on the jewelry so I'm not complaining.

I had to be judicious when confronted with a box full of really cute and unusual shot glasses. I wanted them all -- had no use, nor any room, for any of them but these three were irresistible.

I wish this had a lid, but I had to have it regardless. A bulldog head teapot. Bet you never said those words together before.

My favorite kind of recipe booklet, vintage and focused. Many of the meat recipes call for the addition of lard. How great is that?

A bin full of playing cards yielded these beauties.

And this, a Ladies Home Journal from July, 1965 featuring an article by Kingsley Amis (!!!) entitled "Does James Bond Really Hate Women?" (For the record, my answer to that question is "Fuck yeah, he does.")

Now, on to the jewelry. First is this weird spinning bubble thing. I believe that's some kind of sacred heart of Jesus image on one side. I'm not sure what's on the other. Anyone have the facts on something like this?

I'm not sure of the age of this funny little brass bird and nest pendant. It looks pretty modern.

I will put this funny little ball pendant (about as big around as a quarter) on a long gold chain.

I'm not sure what to think of this odd snail pin. I think it might be fairly good quality as the little open portion is actually wire wrapped rather than molded. I can't find any markings on it though.

I love these earrings and I hope a dip in Coca-Cola will bring back their lustre. Yes, real Coke is like a miracle when used to clean mucky jewelry.

And this, a very unusual piece of jewelry. A chunky chain bracelet with a little (relatively) music box attached. The music box is not little when compared to most things that hang off of bracelets, just as compared to music boxes. I haven't gotten it to work enough to discern the tune, unfortunately. (I just took some time to get it to play the full tune and sadly I don't recognize it. It's lovely though, in that macabre, music box way.) There were once stones mounted in the center of that starburst, but they've long since fallen out. I think it's pretty without them.

How lucky was it to find a Scorpio signet ring?

Another religious piece. Until I looked at this very closely, I thought it was just a pin with a turquoise coloured enamel center. Then I realized it was some kind of Mary thing. Again, anyone have any insight?

Last but not least, this long gold chain with little amber and gold disks hanging from it.

And finally, I must get my hands on this book.

Friday, November 21, 2008

You know that I could be in love with almost everyone/I think that people are/The greatest fun/And I will be alone again tonight my dear

Before I get to posting the paintings I've done, I'm going to rant just a bit over my former employer, Big Fucking Espresso. My last day of work was September 26. As of today, November 21, my separation has not been processed and I have not received my two weeks of vacation pay (I did not take one single day off during my 18+ months of employment except for jury duty and the death of my brother-in-law), nor has my insurance been sorted out as they think I'm still employed. A lesser person might have been using my employee numbers to receive discounts and get my free pound of coffee every week. Or maybe a smarter person. Frankly, I can't really stand to step foot inside one of those green prisons so I'm not sure it's because I'm noble or because I'm stupid. I had to speak to my full of vitriol district manager ten days ago and she made a host of empty excuses as to why the separation hadn't been processed and claimed to be doing it again as we spoke. But now ten days later, nope, not a sign. And her excuse, when the 800 line people called her as I waited today, is that she's had issues with her laptop. She's a fucking lying, evil little woman. They suggested I go one step further and speak to a different level of management. I did and this person did not like the way things had been handled and she promised to call that district manager immediately and take care of it. We shall see what happens.

Okay, deep breath.

I painted, finally. And here's what I ended up with.

C. Pick, "Alone Again Or #1" 2008, watercolor on paper, 4"x5.5"

C. Pick, "Alone Again Or #2" 2008, watercolor on paper, 5.5"x4"

C. Pick, "Alone Again Or #3" 2008, watercolor on paper, 4"x5.5"

C. Pick, "Alone Again Or #4" 2008, watercolor on paper, 5.5"x4"