Thursday, October 29, 2009

I.F. -- Frozen

I know, this is almost 2 weeks late, but here is my art for "Frozen"! My idea was to illustrate some of the colder places I've been, where I felt really frozen! (Click for larger image)

I had a grander scheme, but ended up doing these 2 pieces:

This first picture is me, Arvonn, and Marel in Santa Fe, NM, last Christmas. It was cold the day we visited (in the teens), but that was the coldest I'd experienced pretty much all year, now that I live in the Northwest where it doesn't get cold (and I am, sadly, never frozen). We got a few coffees to warm up over the course of the day!


My old apartment in Pittsburgh was plenty cold due to single-pane drafty windows and a hit-or-miss heating system. My cheapness also made me reluctant to turn the heat up too high even when it did work. The front sun porch was coldest of all, even with the plastic sheeting we put over the windows each winter. I wore a hat indoors -- sometimes coat and gloves, too. Here I am at my old desk, frozen! I sure do miss snow.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

a little MG story

This morning it was drizzling, about 52 degrees, gray. I did my breakfast routine, walked the dog, set off for the master gardener greenhouse in my zippy li'l Mazda. I like going up there on the highway because it's quick and I don't have to merge -- the ramp becomes exit-only for my exit.

I get there, people greet me enthusiastically, I talk a bit with Al about the NEW upcoming cookbook project I've volunteered for. There was a hosta to divide, so I found a serrated . . . machete? . . . and started sawing away. Potted up the clumps, talked with Bret and Toni, Nancy told me she loooooves my art, which was so nice to hear! (hmm, this involves the secret project which I'll talk about another day.) Nancy had brought in a jug of Vietnamese coffee, we all took some and joked around that we were soooo busy!

Potted up more hosta, moved on to pink yarrow, borrowed clippers, identified pulmonaria, talked about everything from my hair to learning German (with the Swiss lady) to mini-golf. Kept quiet when the conversation turned to being older than 50. Drank more coffee. Untangled the euonymus and started potting and clipping. Got my spare hosta clump (yay!) and walked back to my car.

As I drove home, I realized that the master gardener crowd makes me love being here. Sure, all that stuff I mentioned before about being homesick and ornery is true from time to time. But really, if I'm feeling mopey about it in the future, I'm just going to go hang with the MG's! I have so much fun!

Dear anyone who likes gardening: become a Master Gardener! You'll love it!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Excitement!

OK, so first, I realize it is past 2am. What of it? My crazy, ever-changing artistic exploration adventures cannot be contained to "reasonable hours".

So!

I signed up for NaNoWriMo 2009!! No, no -- not Nanaimo bars -- though I'd gladly welcome and consume (in tiny bites) a Nanaimo bar (or 5) at any time of any day. NaNoWriMo is this writers' motivational collective challenge where basically I will write a novel -- at least 50,000 words -- during the month of November. Conveniently, I've had . . . get ready . . . novel ideas for a novel for at least the past year and a half!

I guess I should say the convenience really lies in NaNoWriMo itself, because it will give me a fun reason to ACTUALLY write that novel (well, a first draft anyway), and not spend too much time on it if it turns out to be crap. Up till now I've just been thinking about it every now and then and

a) not really knowing how any of my ideas will go together, or
b) when I'd take the time to write them out in novel form, or
c) if I want it to be a novel at all, or perhaps rather a serial comic book, which
d) means that I was hemming and hawing over the whole project and
e) just basically doing nothing and feeling overwhelmed and sad and never starting it properly.

However, I have peppered a few notebooks with ideas over all this time, so I have something to go on. And the whole point is quantity over quality and punching out that rough draft, which is exactly what I need right now! Thank you, meandering internet trail that stemmed from an Etsy newsletter, thank you people/blogs I remembered mentioning the event in the past, and thank you, NaNoWriMo! Anyone want to participate with me? :D

Friday, October 2, 2009

Illustration Friday: Germs


Inspired by a picture of salmonella that Arvonn found for me, where they looked just like beached manatees!

Friday, September 25, 2009

annoying/fun

annoying:

* flaky people
* people who pronounce "garage", "garadge"
* furniture that doesn't fit the layout of my house
* weeds in the garden
* traffic shenanigans on my corner (u-turns, stopping where there's no stop, NOT stopping where there IS a stop, bicyclists shouting their conversations as if no one else can hear . . .)
* not enough hours in a day
* my own reliance on schedule, routine, and lists, and how inept I feel without them or when plans change

fun:

* a calming certainty that my life is fantastic, despite minor annoyances
* this random relaxing music playing on some Chinese garden website in a background tab, looping over and over and soothing me
* AUTUMNAL WEATHER
* and gardening in it
* this cup of coffee
* and the salsa I will be making this evening
* and whatever movie we may go see tonight
* and working on a million arty things next week

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Trip to Chicago: the food portion

Chocolate milkshake, Superdawg, crab soup, lemongrass beef on apple salad, salt and pepper squid, rare tuna, mango ice cream with a fresh lychee nut!

cereal, milk, grapes grapes grapes, coffee, White Castles, onion rings, Dr. Pepper, bread and butter, carrots, salad with blue cheese dressing, cheese raviolis in meat sauce, tiramisu, bites of cookie sundae and bread pudding!

cereal, milk, grapes grape grapes, coffee, steak, bratwurst, Bean Stuff, potato salad, diet Mountain Dew, enormous homemade cream cheese pierogies, enormous homemade ham and cheese pierogie, thin crust cheese pizza, beer, deep dish pizza, spinach pizza!

triple latte, blueberry muffin, DIM SUM involving shumai, Chinese broccoli, shrimp dumplings, shrimp and chive dumplings, shrimp and tofu, beef spareribs, BBQ pork ribs, pork ribs, duck with supercrispy skin, slippery shrimp noodle envelopes, meat and rice packet, pork bao, crispy pork pastry, and an egg custard! Coffee, bread and olive oil, raspberry mojitos, beans with bacon, asparagus in Speck, curried halibut, tempura okra, chocolate lava cake with raspberry.

coffee, crispy hash browns, scrambled eggs, fruit plate, oatmeal with brown sugar, nuts, and dried fruit, orange juice, bite of sausage, turkey bagel sandwich, coffee, piece of cookie,
[on airplanes or in Dallas:] Sprite, coffee, fried chicken, cajun fries, biscuit, coffee, Sprite, Sprite,
[and at home:] homemade bread, toasted with butter.

Gained only 2 pounds, not too bad!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

also

Can't wait for Fall!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's still hot out today, but the leaves are a-turnin' (slowly) and I am excited to be cold and wear all my cute long-sleeved shirts and just get in gear. There is just something about Fall that makes me ACTIVATE and feel awesome. I think the refreshing renewal of each new school year never left me, even after I got out of school. I just feel like my life can pick back up again with lazy old sweaty old summer over. And the momentum of Fall transitions nicely into the "focus and stay alive" coldness of winter . . . although not so much where I live now. But "they" say this winter is supposed to be cold (for here), and I say bring it on!!

pros and cons

I had some crappy stuff listed here, but I'd rather focus on the good stuff!!

yummy roasted veggies
Marel visiting
Mario Kart (and Rosalina appearing -- with a Luma!)
Wii Fit
Dairy Queen
pets
my rearranged bedroom
upcoming trip to Chicago
homemade jam
"the Big Bang Theory" (thanks, Joleen!) Sheldon is my hero . . .

Sunday, August 23, 2009

oh sigh

Don't you hate those times when you're enjoying a beautiful evening and you want to call and chat with the various people you care about the most, only to remember that they're all asleep because they magically live in the future, 3 hours ahead of you, at all times?

It really grates on me.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

more adventures

I got a huge box of free veggies at the greenhouse this week (or should I say the farm, since we're harvesting in the fields now)! Most of this haul was tomatoes and jalapenos, so I made my first-ever batch of salsa! It was tasty but my methods need adjustment. I froze a lot of it.

I went to window-shop (more like field-shop) at Linda's Dahlias in Washougal and got all inspired to plant a ton of dahlia varieties! With money I don't have! Oh well, some day. For now, I'm learning the secret code of dahlia classification as an unintended bonus. sweet!

In other news, don't think that I have turned into a total Northwesterner now because let me tell you, I was feeling very East Coast the other day as I attempted to get things done. Just get things done! It is a concept that people here are utterly unfamiliar with, it seems, and it still drives me bonkers. Just, oh my goodness, learning that the idiot you're talking to IS the manager. Not having anyone know what they are talking about. People getting all flustered and cowering at your inquiries. Wishing you were back East so competent people can just handle what you need done in an effective, effiecient, and intelligent manner. Ugh. Maybe I am snobby and demanding but these are simple tasks, people, and my snobbery and demands must be accomodated!! Sigh. Just feeling like a fish out of water again lately. Like my thought processes do not match up with other accepted modes of being (both business and personal), and I just don't understand!

Cycling back to the bright side, the people at the greenhouse are really nice, and I love volunteering there! So there's that at least.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Keeping busy and happy!

What have I been up to lately? A ton of activities!!

* Visited the family in Boston, went to Dominic and Sara's wedding, helped train Moka, my parents' puppy for a few days, saw "the slideshow" again, finally made it to the Ice Cream Smith (best ever ever ever), met the neighbor's giant fiberglass cow with Sam Adams painted on the side (HA!), just enjoyed the Bostony goodness of home without setting foot on the T or doing any other "home tourism". Lazy couch trip all the way!

* Rebuilt our patio roof/cover! It took almost a full week. Now instead of the murky green glow of decaying fiberglass, we have fresh new clear panels to see the sun and stars, white and cream to match the house, and general FANTASTICISM. I want to spend all my time out there. I want to buy many plants and pots and a rug and build a planter and a bench and this is the new outlet for my domestic creativity.

* Our clothes dryer failed, so we're getting a new washer/dryer pair on Thursday! (May as well get the washer replacement over with now as well, since surely it would have failed soon, too. They're only circa 1969 after all!) In fact, in moving the washer, the brittle old hose cracked so we can't use it anyhow. This on top of the new water heater (see last post) and the (of course overbudget, when are house projects not?) patio has me feeling rather broke at the moment, but life goes on!

* Lured by an email notice of peaches on special, I went peach, blueberry, and corn picking, then froze my 8.5 pounds of blueberries, blanched, cut, and froze my 2 dozen ears of corn, and canned 11 jars of peaches ALL BY MYSELF! Tiring but worth it!

* Oh, and I made 2 peach pies, with A's help :)

* And speaking of all this food, I want to give a shout-out to Boppin' Bo's Diner in the Vancouver Plaza (by Target) for having AMAZING sundaes. Amazing. I should not have eaten the whole thing, but I did!! Go there for a sundae.

* I've been studiously (I love the word studious, don't you?) working away at arty Etsy goodness and feel quite motivated and excited. These results take a while to appear, however, so I thank you, my internet audience, for your patience. Actually my book has been selling briskly so get your copy now if you want it! Only 4 left!

* I'm hosting book club this week, so I'm preparing for that. Delicious addictive bubble bread ahoy! And getting out the nice plates, and vacuuming, and etc.

*I've been reading books like crazy, finishing them, and enjoying it! I'm back in the habit, I guess. Thank you book club! I feel sort of hermit-like but I think hermit-like periods are sometimes necessary in life. Actually, when A. goes on his next trip, I'm going to give myself sort of a personal "retreat" and do lots of yoga, get up early, work on creative stuff, develop some healthy habits, get super-inspired (hopefully) etc. so we'll see how that goes.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Let it go

I think (no, wait, I feel) that logic hides a lot more emotion than people would expect. Sometimes my worst moods come from analyzing the various uncertainties of life. If I could manage to drop that futile exercise more often and just meditate/be spontaneous/enjoy and explore, I think (No! FEEL!) that I could pretty much level up in life. If there are hidden emotions behind my thinking, then conversely, emoting more often should uncover hidden thinking and secret answers to all my problems! See, I've noticed that when I'm dreaming, answers of all sorts just flow directly to me and buoyant happiness makes me act on them. So how do you turn down the ever-present, eyebrow-knitting logic a bit?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Happiness moments

* It may get to 105 degrees tomorrow (really??), but I am nice and cool inside because we put in a heat pump last fall! It's your heating system and cooling system in one! The wonders of modern technology.

* Our circa 1980 water heater finally gave out yesterday, but we just got a new one installed today so that problem is done, done, and done! No more 0.4% worrying in the back of my brain about when it will break. (the water heater, not my brain)

* Namaste Indian buffet . . . the shahi paneer was super good last night!

* Those moments when I just love A. a little bit extra . . . like how he keeps bags of tortilla chips closed with a pair of hard drive magnets. I mean . . . how nerdy is that? Sorry ladies, he's MINE! ha ha

* Despite the heat, I'm crazy and I'm digging out a portion of the sidewalk strip today to put in a hedge of lavender. It's gonna ROCK!

* Ooh, Robert convinced us to activate our sprinkler system (yeah, we've had that all along) and convert it to drip irrigation. The first experiment of that project was a major success, so I am EXCITED to continue!

* I'm more than slightly obsessed with playing Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii. Even with its frustrating moments, I absolutely love that game. It's like Mario plus Myst plus cute plus teamwork and wonderment. And it's great that we've been playing for weeks and we're still barely halfway through all the levels. And whenever we finish, there will be Super Mario Galaxy TWO.

Sometimes summer can just be a big stretch of hot depressing ennui, but if I ignore that part, I can find lots of good moments!

Monday, June 29, 2009

San Francisco

To get the comics rolling, here is a trip we took back in April! I will get us all up-to-date over the next few weeks! Remember to CLICK ON EACH IMAGE for a BIGGER VIEW!










the backyard scene . . .




Monday, June 22, 2009

Carrots!

I just picked the first carrots from my yard! Well, they were the "thinnings", a few that were growing too close to some others so had to be picked so the others wouldn't turn out all pretzel-shaped. True baby carrots! I was sad at first because they tasted pretty crappy and bitter raw, but I cut and cooked them (we're talking about maybe 1/2 cup of carrots total, here) and they were really good. Put a little butter on there, and YUM! Not the greatest in the world, but not bad for a few bucks' worth of seed packets! The rest are staying in the ground to get big big big!

Some people don't like cooked carrots, but I do NOT understand how this can be. They are so much sweeter and better than raw ones. They're like a dessert! Take my poll on cooked carrots so I can get data on their acceptance!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Asparagus Salad of Splendor

People, I am pigging out on salad. SALAD. Amazing!!

I posted a recipe for salad dressing on June 10th last year (I don't care to figure out how to link to it at this time), and this new salad has many of the same components! Here is what I did:

1. Gathered lettuce from my yard. Yes, my yard! Woot!
2. Gathered mint, cilantro, basil, parsley, also from yard.
3. Went inside! Washed and sort of tore up the above a bit, put it in a bowl.

4. Prepped some asparagus my neighbor gave me yesterday and fried it up!
4a. I put olive oil in a pan.
4b. I sauteed a couple garlic cloves (thanks, Roberto!)
4c. I dumped in the asparagus, snapped in half or thirds
4d. I splashed in some white whine (isn't "splash" such a snooty verb for a recipe? ha!)
4e. I added salt and pepper, and agitated everything.
4f. When it was juuuuust right, I QUICKLY got it out of the pan to cool on, uh, some random (clean!) tupperware dish that was lying around.

5. I added the asparagus to the salad greens along with dried cranberries, shredded parmesan cheese, and my trusty Nakano red-pepper-seasoned rice vinegar.

6. I stirred it up and CAN'T STOP EATING IT! It's kind of my dinner, actually. Till I get hungry again later I guess.

If anyone ever makes this (or my other random recipes), let me know!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

A little Moxie story


Moxie is over a year old now! This means that she has graduated from puppy food to adult food. As she was finishing up her last bag of chicken-y puppy food, A. went out and got her some "Vegetarian" adult food, "as an experiment". (I guess his dog growing up was a big fan of vegetarian dog food.)

Well, we fed her the new food, and the first day she ate it and seemed to like it alright. But over the next few days, she didn't eat very much, and we'd keep putting down the same uneaten portion the next day. She was pretty much eating half of what she usually did. But it was a dutiful sort of eating, a dejected "well, I guess I have to stay alive" sort of eating. We tried sprinkling some olive oil on the food so it'd be more exciting, which helped a bit. After a few days of this continually shrinking appetite, a day passed where she ate nothing at all! It's a big deal for a dog to not EAT!

So we determined this vegetarian dog food was not cutting it; she obviously didn't like it. We went to get a different adult food, a lamb sort of thing. (A clerk at the store suggested Moxie might have worms, and we decided that if she didn't eat the new food, we'd get a dewormer.)

We brought the new lamb food home, poured out a full serving, and she ate the entire thing within 3 minutes. The next morning, put lamb food down, Moxie eats her usual exact half the bowl, and the other half at dinnertime. Now she is back on track!!

So the moral of the story is that our dog is NOT a vegetarian, and I don't blame her! (This may be weird, but I even tried a piece of each dog food myself! The veggie one tasted like a really sorry cardboard excuse for a cracker. The lamb one, while gross, at least had FLAVOR -- sort of a rosemary plus lamb plus fishy dogfood aftertaste.)

If I can swing it, here is a picture of Moxie (out at the coast in Feb.), which is the first photo on my blog!


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Feeling great!

* Made peach muffins last night at around 10:30pm (Night Owl 4-Eva!)
* Drew comics all day and stayed on track using timers and persistence (woot!)
* Comics are pretty great (extra woot!)
* You will see them soon, as long as my old web program still works on this computer and I don't have to re-learn everything in a new one and re-do my website, which would certainly take a while . . . or I guess there's this blog . . .
* Just walked with the neighbors, had fun! Got coffee! Mood brightens even more with coffee!
* Doing the usual Tuesday Night Sushi and Finances tonight -- I'm really craving sushi so I'm extra happy. The sushi is a pre-reward, then we go home and log receipts, pay bills, etc. for about an hour or till done for that week. We've been doing it for a couple months, and not only are we always caught up on finances (=less work each time), having a designated restaurant night helps us eat out less overall! I recommend this routine for anyone looking for more consistent control of their finances, with less drudgery!
* Muesli is purring on my lap. He is such a love!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

I love the greenhouse!!!

I really do!  I just brought back 15 plants of all sizes, for $32.00 total.  One of the perks of volunteering there is CHEAPNESS of PLANT MATERIAL!  Next up this afternoon is to plant them all around the yard.  You see, Spring sort of Sprung while I was in Boston (more on that later) and now I'm totally in gardening mode, hence there's been no Etsy activity.  Oh well!

I was thinking on the way home, that I would LOVE to just work in a greenhouse/botanical garden/plants-related type of thing, as in, for a living.  I already do it for no pay and love it, so I dunno . . . how can I do some origami on my career path and just garden all the time?!  I'm kind of obsessed, here, and I have seemingly endless energy for it.  Hmm.

I love all my pals over there (we were really yucking it up today), and the freebies (marigolds!) and cheapies (let's see, today I got: an Edgeworthia TREE, omphalodes, fringe cup, asclepias, lavender, hydrangea, bird's foot violet, catananche, veronica peduncularis "Georgia Blue"!), and just learning so much -- today a passionate potato person came in from Everett, and I ended up with an October Blue purple potato to plant, WHICH has as much nutritional goodness in one li'l tuber as a whole pint of blueberries!  Amazing!

I think I'm going to start volunteering on Tuesdays at the Fort Vancouver Period Garden (many of the same buddies do that, too).  I was holding back so gardening didn't take over my life too much, but I think I'm almost already at that point so I may as well let it!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Great things from today!

* I took a class on mason bees with Joleen! Very informative and fun, and now we have our little kits to build them a bee condo out of PVC pipe and parchment paper. And to make the other type of dwelling, I went to Salvation Army afterwards, got a knife block, and we'll drill it full of 5/16" holes and put it on a post tomorrow! Yay pollination!

* My latest creation got featured in an Etsy treasury today! Take a look before it expires on Monday! This is the *second* time I've been in a treasury, and I think it's awesome that folks like my stuff (and all the stuff with it is always really cool, too!)

* Dinner was homemade Hyderabad chicken (from a packet), vegetable bajji (not from a packet!), and rice. YUM. And yes the house smells like frying Indian food, but that's allowed . . . for now.

* Last night I internet-zombied a bazillion recipes for the mysterious lemon cream cheese almond muffin, and narrowed my findings down to 9 recipes (each unique in some way!). Now I'm entering into MUFFINQUEST, whereby I will systematically make all these recipes, freeze portions, taste test, and no doubt blog all about it to give you something to fall asleep to. Ha!

Monday, February 23, 2009

my dark secret!

So I know I'm all artsy, and I don't like working in offices all day long doing stupid crap like filing and making powerpoints and just generally being a glorified intern. BUT, I was at Staples yesterday looking for a business card holder (because yes, I do have business cards for my Etsy shop, duh!) and I had a little realization.

I was looking over the day planners and "pad-folios" and the sort of briefcase thingies, leather "note-jotters", accordian files and other assorted organization tools for the busy, on-the-go executive. I was intrigued as usual, especially wanting a "padfolio", though I have no real use for one. And I realized, "Dorothy, you just WISH you needed one of these. You want to put all your important papers in here, hop on the subway to your meeting, impress people, smile and shake hands and be a successful professional."

And the truth is, that's the truth. Sometimes. I do wish I had places to go, people to see, ideas to share, tasks to work on, and actual money to make. But not just in the form of office busywork or being somebody's organized little helper. I'd only really be happy doing that if it revolved around my ideas, done my way, run by me. Which is what I'm doing now, only with a completely different vibe, minus the padfolio and the income.

So I'm sort of not there yet, I guess. Or maybe I never will be, and I'll just keep working from home amongst the dog's shredded toys, seeing if I can coax A. away for a coffee break, keeping myself mentally on-task for the day, checking on my seedlings now and then, starting dinner in the afternoon, wondering what the rest of humanity is doing outside of this house. Hey, it's not so bad! Well, I have to just keep beliveing that what I'm doing will lead to my ultimate goal as stated above: the need for a padfolio!

I never did get a business card holder at Staples. They had a serviceable black leather one, but I think I'm going to shop around, see if there is something more fun, like maybe a zipped neoprene camera/cell phone case . . . .

Honestly I don't need a padfolio, I need to make a travelling paper/pen/pencil/art kit of some sort. I'll let that idea simmer on the back burner for a bit.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Indianventory

So I realized after a couple photos that Indian food does not photograph very well. So I will not burden the internet with more photos of gross-looking food. It looked delicious in real life!! But I will list here what I've made so far this month!

Mashed green gram dal (Payatham Paruppa Masial)
Beef with Green Beans (??)
Masala Channa (aka ghughni, aka chickpea yum)
Spicy Grilled Chicken (??)
Lemon Rice (Elumichampazha Sadam)
Potato Masala (Potato Paliya)
Potato Dosai (Urulaikizhangu Dosai)
Coconut Chutney (Thengai Chutney)
Tandoori Chicken

and as a wee cheat, I made these things shortly before starting this official Indian-food-adventure:

Kidney Bean curry (rajma)
Cucumber Raita

To make tonight to go with leftovers . . .
Masala Beans Poriyal
maaaaaybe some lentil dal thing . . .

There are so many awesome-looking recipes in these cookbooks, I may have to keep this up into March! I just went to an Indian grocery (finally!) and got all kinds of proper ingredients! JOY!

Friday, February 13, 2009

plant life

Even though snow is forecast for today, bulbs are coming up, Spring is starting to spring, and now that I'm so into gardening, I'm afraid that I could never leave the Northwest! What does this mean?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

One of "those" people

Oh no, oh no no no, I think it's begun . . . I am becoming a SPICY FOOD ADDICT! I think I've already reported that when I first started using my jar of chili sate paste, a half-teaspoon could season a whole dish. These days I'm at about a 1-2 tablespoon level, which previously would have just about knocked me dead!!

But today I knew I was headed down the slippery slope when I tasted my modded bowl of ramen noodles/pork loin/peas (hey, it's what I eat when I feel a cold coming on), and I thought, "Hmm, needs heat!" and then added a nice big pinch of cayenne pepper.

Am I doomed? Will I have tastebuds left? Or am I doing my body a favor by setting off those "feel-good" chemicals? All I can say is OM NOM NOM!!

Related: Sometime in my past I had declared that for the month of February, I'd only make Indian food for dinner. (This was to try out a bunch of recipes in some cookbooks I have!) Well, it's started out quite well, and I even have some lovely photos that may become the first photos on this blog!! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

joyous pizza

The toppings placed atop the homemade pizza from the previous post:

(from the crust up)
* Homemade alfredo sauce (yes, I'm fancy -- but it only has 4 ingredients)
* Basil
* Crumbly sausage
* Prosciutto
* Ricotta cheese
* Red pepper and onion
* Mozzarella cheese

yum yum yum!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

two days: analysis

I had a particularly crappy day yesterday! By evening time I felt woeful, frustrated, angry, etc. etc. -- for no reason, really. Today I'm having a great day!! So let us pick apart these two (nearly identical, so far) days and see if we can learn what my problem was, and learn from it. Or something.

First, the factors that were the same in both days:

* Got up late, skipped yoga
* Had plenty of coffee
* Worked on my Etsy site in some way or another
* Didn't walk the dog enough

Icky things from yesterday:
* A. had a sick day, rested, and obviously was not as great a team-mate as usual. I felt like I was doing EVERYTHING by myself, didn't like it. Low on empathy. High on guilt related to lack of empathy. General annoyance at self.
* Etsy research turned more businessy; sent my brain into future-spiral of too much planning and worrying and obsessing. Never good.
* Again, Etsy research brought on a bout of perfectionism and a fruitless internet search for items I don't need yet. Frustration!
* Online storefronts = frustration!
* Lots of feeling like nobody thinks like me and the world would be WAY better off if I just ran it, thank you very much. Not a helpful attitude. (although I'd be the coolest dictator you've ever had, promise!)
* Did too much internetting, past the point in the evening when the dog should have been walked and dinner should have been thought about. Hunger ensues.
* Plan to get pre-made pizza at Winco FAILS when there is no pre-made pizza to be found at Winco. Dorothy at Winco by herself, hungry = very bad idea indeed. Sense of my world falling apart, not unlike those people who lose it when their schedules and plans are shaken up. Annoyance at self for being this way.
* Also got into terrible hateful mood behind the wheel of car. I don't hate driving, I hate everyone else who's driving at the same time I am.
* Stayed up way too late, ensuring a late wake-up today. Gloom over the realization that I was messing up tomorrow for myself.

Good things from yesterday:
* Managed to make very good pizza from homemade ingredients and crust-dough-in-a-bag! yum yum.
* Many hugs.
* Watched Pee Wee's Big Adventure, which magically fixed pretty much everything. Note to self: when in bad mood, watch happy comfort movie.

Good things from today!
*It snowed about 3 inches, and kept snowing all morning! Snow is always welcome.
* Walked the dog with Anita and Joleen. Yay friends! Yay winter wonderland!
* Hung out at Marcell's, bantered with people there. Yes everyone, I need to socialize to be happy. Guess I'm truly extroverted.
* Did Etsy research, but didn't go into painstaking detail. Also turned off the "you need to consider all these things and anticipate, adjust, incorporate, figure them all out RIGHT NOW THIS VERY SECOND or you will FAIL" part of my brain. So, smooth sailing on research. "La la la, I can't hear you" skim-the-material and mentally-file-with-a-light-heart-and-smile-on-my-face style of research. Because it's not life or death, here. It's art, it's fun!
* Called the Master Gardener answer clinic and set up some volunteer hours! Sense of accomplishment for crossing this off.
* A. is back at work, so the routine can carry on. Whew!

Lessons learned:
* There is a difference between TRULY being "productive" on things like research and work, and just going through the motions of "productivity" while being generally pissed off or having some other sort of attitudinal issues. Just because you kept doing it through the dinner hour does not mean you should have, or you actually accomplished anything GOOD during that time. I dunno, it's hard to articulate. I'm finding that real productivity only arises when I'm in a good mood. It's like some nirvana flow state that cannot be entered while pissed and/or mopey. If I'm plowing through some task while I'm all upset, I need to STEP BACK and reevaluate.

* I'm about to set an hour timer and do some concrete tasks. I know this will work in my favor. There is nothing better than ACCOMPLISHMENT and crossing off the list! Whereas opening a million tabs with business tips and poring over them for hours is really just acting on some subconscious fear of failure, and makes it worse. Blah! Dear self, try to ignore the secret fear of failure, or at the very least switch gears to something unrelated when it arises. Bake a loaf of bread or something. Then the original task can be done whilst basking in the glow of success! Ooh, I like this tip. I'm awesome.

* Eat when hungry. No really, drop everything and EAT!
* If the dog doesn't get walked at x o'clock, she can always get walked at y o'clock. Or let out in the yard to zoom around, with a big make-up walk tomorrow.
* Essentially it all boils down to "it's not the end of the world" and "nobody's perfect" and "for crap's sake, take a deep breath and chill out". Hug the hubby, pet the pets, and if all else fails, go to bed and start over tomorrow.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Truly Happier New Year

As you all know, my birthday week is almost upon us. What, you didn't know?! Well get with the program! Anyway, I'm turning 30, which really isn't a big deal in terms of dreading this new number in the 10's column or anything, but it does have me looking towards my next decade. ("Decade?" you exclaim. "Who thinks of their life in decade chunks, that's crazy talk!?" Capricorns do, my friend.) Really, I don't typically plan my life a decade at a time, but I do want to end up a brilliant, thoughtful, successful member of society and not some loser who has lost all her art skills and, like, blogs all day and as discussed last night, spends her time flitting about with no direction. Oh, and still hasn't earned her credits for social security, and can't put the max into her Roth IRA. No, sir!!!

This year I have some plots and plans. And instead of being all elusive like a few posts ago, I will clarify them here so everyone can yell at me later if I'm not doing them. 2009 is the year of art experimentation! I'm giving myself this entire year to see what happens media-wise, because apparently I'm pretty bad at picking something and sticking with it. So this year, the pressure's off! I have book ideas. Little 3D critter ideas. Painting ideas (why yes, I plan to hone my nonexistent watercolor skills ASAP, and use them). I just signed up on Etsy. I will offer my wares there. And not be (too) bothered if they sit there forever, but be overjoyed if they get sold. Because yeah, it's time to get with my own program. Wait, I have no program. Oh okay then, it's time to make whatever the hell I feel like making and share it with people, and get this "career" part of life back on track. Because really, if I look back at 40 and see a decade of what I've been doing recently, I'll be pissed. So I'm planning ahead, people! What better motivation than your own future ire?

Oh and I already re-self-published Ev and Art in a snazzy new way, and I just have to wait for my test copy to come in the mail, then it's all yours for the buying! Save your pennies kids.

Next year, if none of this has led to personal fulfillment and a small wad of bonus cash, I'll reconfigure.