Thursday, May 31, 2007

Banana Sammiches!!!

Just over something or other viral that felt an awful lot like strep throat. Also, just started production on the summer musical and I've been busily pimping myself with new and improved resumes and applications online. I've been busy, and I just haven't been so chatty.

That is, until now.

I just read Evil Science Chick's latest on banana sammiches. I hope that link works, but I can't check because The Man thinks that's an adult site and therefore not able to be viewed on my computer (hence the reason I never get to comment- sorry ESC! I read every post and laugh!). Damn Watchdog Software. I can still get all her posts via bloglines, so I'm not sure what it protects me or my coworkers from, but I digress. She was discussing the proper condiments on a banana sandwich. Her husband puts mayo on his. I THOUGHT MY FAMILY WAS THE ONLY ONE! I love love LOVE banana and mayonaise sandwiches! And then I remembered- she's in Georgia (and I think her hubby is from the south?). My mother is from Georgia, and that is who introduced me to the lovely, almost sweet and sour flavor of the banana-mayo sammich (I've got to stop saying sammich- last week I actually ordered a portobello "sammich" in a restaurant). Personally, I think it has to be REAL mayo, not light and definitely not miracle whip.

I haven't had one in years. Probably because my Sleepy-Voiced Husband thinks that mayonaise, specifically commercial mayo, is the most repulsive disgusting thing in the world. I may have mentioned that I like to eat banana-mayo sandwiches in the past, but I think if he actually SAW me eat one it might cause a serious rift in our relationship. I bought bananas for the week he was gone, but I ended up eating them in my cereal. Too many bananas in one day can plug you up, and since that's already one of the common side effects of being pg, I didn't go for more than one in a day.

Still, I've been thinking about them a lot lately. Toasted bread, mayo, lovely firm banana... perhaps I'll have to eat one stealthily so I don't totally gross out the SVH. By the way, thanks ESC, for the banana slicing tip. My mom always sliced them into rounds and slippage was a problem. Cutting the banana length-wise makes much more sense. SVH would probably have helped me come up with that same idea (he's of German descent, you know), if I only could admit my deep dark craving...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It ain't over 'til the fat lady putts

Oh my brothers and sisters, I played golf yesterday after work. We walked. We only made it through about 6 holes because we're terribly slow (I play with a few beginners) and because, with all my extra blood, the mosquitoes thought I was a tasty burger.

I've played golf since I was a little kid; my Mother was born in Augusta, GA- it was a requirement! I'm not all that good. In fact, I'm downright rusty compared to my high school golf team days, but I have some clubs and some enthusiastic friends, so I usually get out a handful of times per summer.

I may have overdone it a bit. I'm exhausted today. I opened the warehouse-sized garage door in our headhouse just now and had to sit down and catch my breath. I know the cute parasite puts a strain on my system, but I was careful to play and walk at a slower pace (we usually let anyone behind us play through- we're painfully slow), and to stay well hydrated. It was a gorgeous afternoon and it felt good to get out and do something summery. But this new body of mine takes a lot of getting used to. Just like I have learned I have to begin yoga breathing when approaching a flight of stairs, I'll figure out how much I can do and then work accordingly. It's hard to realize my limitations, but I don't really have a choice.

I gotta tell you, though, that extra 20 pounds has given me more power! My belly acts as a counterbalance, so I was getting more distance on most of my shots. There are bizarre compensations.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Seduced by the Dark Side

I am hearing the siren call of the crochet. Seriously, I am. I'm bravely fighting the persistent whisper of the loom, and so far the sewing and the spinning haven't beckoned to me, but the fact that I taught myself to crochet back in high school and I already have some hooks lying around is making it so much easier to consider.

The reason, first and foremost, is the Babette Blanket that everyone and her blog are working on these days. I'd been thinking about blankets, and the prospect of knitting a blanket seemed a bit slow. I remember crochet as being a little quicker. Plus, when you see this and this, how can you resist? It's positively Klimtian!

Then, while perusing the new Crochet Queen Thread at the Lime and Violet message boards, I followed a thread to the Stitch Diva Crochet Tutorials and discovered Tunisian Crochet! I must have it! I love love LOVE the fabric it makes! It's like weaving, knitting and crochet all in one. I'm infatuated with the pattern of it, especially with the multiple colors. I just want to stare at the fabric. I'm totally thrilled by it.

Do I really need another hobby? The knitting is slow enough, and I want to make everything in the world. I still haven't learned batik. I'm still fighting the weaving impulse. I have a full time job, an art career to launch and a baby on the way. I still have to move across the country and find another full time job. I'm lacking focus these days. But those pictures are so inspiring, aren't they?

Of course I'm going to play with crochet. I'll probably even pick up a Tunisian Crochet hook and learn it. Because I've learned when I'm making things I find exciting, I'm inspired to make even more things. The more I do, the more I do. As long as the creative juices are flowing, it's good.

By the way, is there a wealthy person out there who'd like to be my benefactor? I can make you all manner of crazy things. Your castle would have tapestries and tiles, paintings and warm blankets, murals and mosaics, and your body would be draped in lovely garments and handmade jewelry. You just have to, you know, support me (and my family) financially. Any takers?

Friday, May 18, 2007

More on beauty (and moron beauty?)

I didn't read this entry properly on Monday, so I'm directing you there a bit late. Jane Brocket, who authors the lovely blog Yarnstorm, wrote a bit about beauty, youth obsession and knitting. I love her blog- she takes such gorgeous photos where she uses color to it's utmost advantage. I imagine walking through her kitchen is a magnificent sensory overload, with the delicious cakes she makes and the colors she uses to frost and decorate them, and the plates and linens she sets them out on. It's a short post and well put.

Then, you need to simply scroll through her previous entries and swim in all the amazing color.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


The sleepy-voiced husband just got off the phone with his best friend from home. He's so happy. I love to see him like that.


It's a week late, since I'm already 25 weeks, but I'm only just now getting around to posting. We took this picture on Mother's Day.
The tummy sleeve is doing it's job. There would be a lot of bare belly in this shot without it!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Yoga stress

I've been coordinating yoga classes at work once a week. See, I'm at an experiment station, which are great places to do ag research, but you don't have the advantage of being on campus with the rest of the university programs. The station has an agreement with a local college for Academic employees (grad students, post-docs, faculty) to use their facilities and fitness programs free of charge. Once I left grad school, I no longer had access to the yoga classes that I had been taking since 2003. A couple of summers ago, a clever post-doc got permission and a location so the teachers we had at the college could teach summer classes on our premises. It seemed this past year that there was enough interest from non-academic staff to keep the classes going over the winter.

Right now, these classes are one of the most stressful things in my life!

The teachers get a set fee, regardless of how many students show up and how much those students pay. The instructors get paid up front, which means they get paid through me, and then I collect money from everyone else. I have not made any money off these classes. I have paid for my attendace myself- whatever they pay, I pay, too. And now? I'm about $50 in the hole. Excellent.

The academic staff who normally take the classes for free were supposed to start showing up this month, since the college doesn't hold classes over the summer. But they haven't. And, of course, now they don't want to pay the full 4-week session fee when it's half over. I don't blame them, I guess. But I think the policy of a standard fee and paying up front, whether you show or not is pretty much the norm, right? I'm just annoyed. I had to raise the prices per 4 week session (which, incidentally, is still obnoxiously inexpensive. Anyone else out there getting 4 yoga classes for $25? From a fully certified teacher?), and I still can't manage to get myself out of the hole.

I realize this is a lame problem, and I feel like a whiny little wimp. I had a hard time getting to the point where I could say you pay the full fee or you don't. I'm always wanting to make exceptions, and I'd love to be able to offer a per class drop-in fee. But I don't have the wiggle room in my own finances to be waiting around for money to trickle in. I feel like I'm turning people away with this draconian payment plan (which it really isn't). If I were more flexible (which got me into this situation) I could probably get further out of the hole.

What really bothers me is that this situation reminds me that I'm not a natural business woman. I'm concerned about this, because being independently employed in various artistic pursuits one day will mean I need to figure this stuff out. I need to be able to represent myself well and be confident in charging whatever it is I charge. I hate feeling cheated and I hate feeling taken advantage of. But I'm not always very good at standing up when it comes to money. My inclination is always to undervalue my talents and services, at least financially. I don't know why. Perhaps that's why I've had financial problems in my life. I have a dysfunctional relationship with money. Maybe I need to read more Suze Orman so she can give me the courage to be wealthy or whatever. Plbbbbbbbbbt.

I've thought about my issue more since my browser froze and didn't let me publish right away.

I'm contemplating the following:
  1. Charging a 1/2 month fee for those people who want to start late (even though they were notified at the beginning of the session and it was for their own personal reasons they did not attend) to recoup more of my losses.
  2. Handing off the reigns to someone else. If no one else will take it over, then we simply won't have yoga this summer.
  3. Recommending to the next person to charge a fixed fee for the sessions and to hang on to any extra money for the lean winter months when attendance is spotty rather than refunding any extra, as was done last summer.
  4. Educating myself on the business of art so I don't run into these issues when it's my livelihood at stake in the future.

Does that sound like a good plan? Does anyone have any suggestions?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Slippery Slope

I'm sliding. Oh baby.

I decided to join the chumfest at my favorite pushers of yarn pr0n, Lime and Violet's new shop. I have always ALWAYS wanted to support indie dyers, but I just never had the cash. So I decided I would try to snare this lovely skein of hand-dyed sock yarn that was going to be on sale at their first ever store update. It had purple and yellow, which are the colors I've been using to knit for our baby as of late, so they make me smile a lot. I cleared it with the CFO of our household (SVH has been in charge of our finances, and I'm so happy. It's been so good for us. He has patience. I am impulsive. Yin and Yang.) and managed to snare 480 yds of Reg Barclay. I'm not a Trekkie, but I managed to catch that this series was named after characters from the various series. I think. But isn't it pretty? And more than that, I supported not only my favorite podcast, but an indie artist. I felt really really good. Such a splurge! Such indulgence!

Today, on my walk I went to our LYS to pick up another skein of the orange Encore to finish my baby sweater. That was all I was going to buy, unless something lovely on the clearance rack caught my eye. Do I even need to tell you what happened? How about a picture instead?

It's Schaefer Helene in the perfect Susan colors! It's 50/50 silk and wool! It's like lipstick- smooth and in my favorite colors. I am in such mad love with this skein. I live about 20 miles from where Schaefer Yarns are made. None of the stores I go to can keep this stuff in stock. And this was on CLEARANCE! It was 50% off! Cue the Hallelujah chorus! It was hidden under some other stuff, but I found it and it is mine and I am totally in love with it. In fact, I think this is the yarn I had a crush on last year (only it wasn't in these perfect colors). I'm telling you, it was fate.

But now that is twice IN ONE WEEK that I have bought yarn. Specifically yarn that I didn't need for a project (that 5$ Encore doesn't count) AND is definitely luxury yarn. I've never been a stasher, but here I am with a bunch of yarn I bought just because it was pretty. I'd say it was nesting, but other than the Encore, none of this is for the baby. It's for me me me.

Speaking of knitting for the baby, I finished this sock and it's so cute I could just die. It's so wee! It is Dale Baby Ull leftover from the square I knitted for Miss Violet's afghan last fall. The pattern is Baby Keep Your Socks On by the multi-talented Amy Boogie. It needs a mate, but it won't take too long.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Ah, the creative urge is taking over again. I'm feeling more like myself. I'm even feeling motivated! I've found myself scouring motivational creativity sites and reading the blogs of prolific artists to keep myself going during the drudgery of the work day. Ideas are flowing. It feels good.

One of my ideas is to use this daily planner that my grandma couldn't bear to get rid of, despite the fact that it was April and the year was already 1/4 over. I brought it home so she didn't have to think about it anymore and decided this should be my first foray into book altering/creative journaling. It's a nice solid book, it has big pages, a bookmark AND a lovely gold edging on the pages. It's mighty impressive. Oh, and that bit of pink? My belly. Can't seem to keep it out of the way.

Has anyone reading this done this kind of thing before? I'm assuming I need to use gesso or something like it to prep the pages. Let me know if you have some suggestions. I'll also check out the myriad of altered book instructional pages out there. Somebody has to have some non-toxic ways to prep pages. It might be a fun chance to try some new things, like I did during my September 2006 Art Project. I won Claudine Hellmuth's Collage Discovery Workshop: Beyond the Basics from the CraftSanity podcast last fall, and I want to go through and try some of the techniques.

I might also dig out the Artist's Way again, to keep me in the right frame of mind. I followed it pretty faithfully for most of the weeks I did it, but there was a point where I stopped. I think it would be a completely different experience now.

Oh, yeah. Here's a picture of my current (and soon-to-be retired) apron at work. I'm laughing because SVH was so frustrated with me. I kept talking during the previous 3 shots so I looked like an idiot. Maybe the kid is right.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Sleepless in Geneva

I woke up in the middle of the night on Saturday night and couldn't get back to sleep for the worrying. You know that feeling? I used to have it a lot worse. When I was still in grad school or in the process of leaving, I had such problems being able to get back to sleep when I woke up. I've had very little trouble with it since I a) left school, b) got a little pharmaceutical help with the anxiety and c) started my new life as a host organism to a really cute parasite (see photo). In fact, I'm sleeping more than I have since I was a child. So this inability to get back to sleep was unusual.

I was worrying a little about the summer show that I'm doing, but that's relatively minor. It has actually begun to make me feel creative again, and getting my sketch pads and pastels out has lit that creative fire that I've been missing for the past few months.

I was worrying more about where we're headed. I've been blathering on for a year now about how I want to move back to MN. I mean, excuse the expression, but shit or get off the pot, right? You can only whine about something so long. But there are a lot of factors. I was feeling guilty for being slow about job hunting. We're really far away, and I feel like that's been a liability thus far. Also, I'm getting closer and closer to needing to take time off, and I feel like that makes it less and less likely that I'll be able to get a job. I know that it is illegal for me to be discriminated against because of my "condition," but at the same time, it does limit some of the jobs for which I might apply. I could look for a summer appointment in some sort of greenhouse or nursery, but I'm not really up to a lot of the physical requirements of these jobs. The summer camp gardening teaching positions I've looked at need a guarantee that you can finish out the term, which usually ends about a week before my due date. It probably won't be a problem, but what if I get put on bed rest? Can I honestly apply for that job when the job description clearly states "Applicants must seriously consider their ability to complete the entire appointment."

Or am I just making excuses? While the camp ones sound kind of fun, I don't really want to be in science anymore. Another thing I've been whining about for a year. I'm looking for a job to get us back. To give me benefits so I can have a baby without having to pay exhorbitant health insurance premiums through Cobra for too long. I need to suck it up, and in my head, I'm mostly ok with getting a job to get us moved. It's temporary. It isn't very motivating, though.

I'm also concerned about money. Who isn't? It's always a factor. We're in big time debt repayment mode. We're making progress and we don't want to interrupt it. Right now, I'm wondering if it's best for us to use our savings so I can take a longer maternity leave (or any maternity leave, depending on my employment situation?), or do we use it for a downpayment so we can have a place to live when we move, or will it be necessary for other things I'm not even thinking of? Or do we need it to cover living expenses when we move if we don't have jobs. It's not a bottomless account. In fact, I can see the bottom quite clearly! [Fortunately, moving expenses are covered- thank God for eager parents who want their next grandchild to live in the same state!]

These are the things I was sitting there at 5 am thinking through and feeling scared. The one thing that is certain in my life right now is that the baby is coming at the end of the summer, regardless of what else is going on. Finally, my cat came over, curled up near me, and purred. I'm an extroverted person, and I've had great success with talk therapy, so I started talking. To my cat. And he sat there, looking at me the whole time and purring. Almost made me cry. But what was the most useful to me was hearing things said out loud (even though I was whispering because SVH was asleep in the next room). I said, "In 2 years, our financial situation is going to look so different! We'll be in so much better shape, we'll be able to afford more house, and live a bit more comfortably. I might not even need to work full time!"

And I began to contemplate staying in our little 1 bedroom apartment with the litterbox in the closet and the annoying lack of space while adding a baby to the mix. And I contemplated staying in my current job, which really offers very little in the way of advancement. And Carl staying in his current job, which offers absolutely nothing in the way of advancement. And I thought of how bored we are with our work. And I thought about continuing to live in a town I don't like, working in a job that doesn't interest me, living in a too small apartment (or heaven forbid moving to yet ANOTHER temporary home) and dealing with a husband who is even more unhappy with it all than I am. I said to my purring, furry shrink, "But the answer isn't to stay here."

Rarely in my life has settling for the known ever gotten me where I wanted to go. Staying here would only keep us, at best, in the same situation and going at the same pace we are currently going. There is no possible chance to make progress. By staying here, aside from being unhappy, we could be missing out on so many opportunities. Out of fear. We'd still need more space. So if we're going to move, we might as well make the big move. I'm a pretty adventurous girl. I'm willing to take risks. You should play cards with me. This is no time to get cold feet. Not when we're about to bring another person into our family. There are certain conditions we need that simply are not available here and now. Period.

The cat decided he didn't want to snuggle with me once I laid down to go back to sleep on the couch. In fact, he looked quite put out that I moved him from his spot. The magic spell had been broken. But I felt so much better. I still have that scared little voice in the back of my mind. I still have this fear that I should somehow become the uberstable mother and make all decisions based on absolute security. But I know moving on is the right thing to do. Even though I'm slow about it. Even though it might be scary and tough. And I've not had any trouble sleeping since.

Friday, May 04, 2007

An Ode to Caffeine

Hi! How are you? You're looking lovely today! Have you been exercising? You've got such a healthy glow about you. Really, you look sensational. Hi!

I'm drinking my first cup of caffeinated coffee since January! HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!

It's so lovely. It's so good. Just this morning, I was telling the Sleepy-Voiced Husband, "You know, I miss the intelligence that comes with drinking coffee." It's that feeling of clarity and alertness. I don't miss the caffeine addiction- oh, trust me, I was a huge junkie- but I love that burst of, "Ah yes, I understand both quantum physics AND how to work doorknobs now that I've had my fix. I am unstoppable!"

This morning, leaving for work, I needed to grab a spoon and a knife for my lunch. At break, SVH asked if I had a knife. I said, "Why yes, I do!" I reached into my bag and pulled out a fork. Yes, people, I grabbed the wrong utensil. Forks are useful for eating things, especially things like salad and cake, but they are not so good for cutting bagels and spreading peanut butter. This is what happens without coffee. And also maybe when a lot of your blood flow is diverted from your brain to your belly. Just saying.

My downside is that I talk CONSTANTLY when I'm on a real caffeine high. I stopped my coworker, Deb, to tell her I had saved her a piece of cake, and I talked to her, rapid-fire, for 20 minutes! It can be funny. It can also be twitchy and jittery and a little bit scary and you may wonder if I don't need to breathe anymore or something because I'm not really stopping to take a breath and shouldn't I also blink sometimes? Such joy, though. SUCH JOY!!!!!!

I want to paint cups of coffee for coffee shop decor. I think I could put such love and adoration for the coffee into these works, business would TRIPLE! Actually, I think I promised Dave from Chub Creek a painting once upon a time, and I wanted it to involve coffee. I really should get on that, because Dave is great. You know, funny podcast, good music, all that. Really, I love everyone right now. Wow. I don't think there's much hope in my staying off of caffeine (and coffee, specifically. COFFEE!) once the baby is born. I enjoy it far too much.

Real quick, because this coffee high will end sometime and I may not get here tomorrow, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOMORROW, JENNY! She's my knitting friend in Minnesota, and she doesn't like birthdays, but I LOVE them and I also have had some coffee so I'm saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY, you little Cinco de Mayo Baby, you!