Saturday, March 26, 2011

I Need A Wall Like That.

I am on my fourth tracing.  Some day, I will actually finish this STUPID TUNIC.
It.  Will.  Happen.
Even if I have to resort to some form of supernatural power.
Preferably not involving Mexican radio.    I have a low Mexican radio tolerance.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Howdy Ho, children! It's Saint Patrick's Day!

No wait. That's Mr. Hanky. Maybe it's Mr. Hanky on Saint Patrick's Day.

We did our SPD celebrations last Saturday night at what was, to quote The Husband, "The World's Smallest Saint Patrick's Day Celebration, EVER."  Having grown up and lived in a place that takes it's Irish roots pretty seriously (rumor has it that Saint Paul, MN was at one point the number two contributing US donor to the IRA, second only to Boston... that's right. They gave more money than New York, people. That's alotta of money. Jeez. WTH?), let's just say I'm used to a little more... shenanigans in my SPD celebrations. This one consisted of about 300 people, mostly really drunk college girls dressed for trouble and really drunk college boys who were absolutely thrilled at the trouble they were finding. Whoo. Hoo. Let the good times roll.

Otherwise, we got to hear the Killdares play, who always rock.  I mean, they have a bagpipe player who, again in the immortal words of The Husband, "Plays to the audience like he's in K.I.S.S. or something. Cooool."  Actually, it is pretty cool.

This SPD I'm on my own. No soda bread. No cabbage. No Dreaded Corned Beef.  Everyone (but me) went up to OKC to go to the zoo (it's spring break for the Evil Monkeys and The Husband has today off so I sort of subtly suggested they all Get. Out. Of. Town. -ahem-  It was subtle.)

Anyway, Happy Saint Patrick's Day, people! Try not to throw up too much green beer. (Wait. Does that only happen in Saint Paul... and, uh... Boston... and, uh... New York?)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Always Be Prepared. No wait. That’s the Boy Scouts.

Do you have an Emergency Preparedness Kit?  I do not.

Now, you might think this is a new thought in my mind based on the recent devastating earthquake activity along the western Pacific rim.  But it's not.  Emergency Preparedness is something that has been in my mind for a very very long time.  I know I should have water and food and plastic sheeting and rope stashed away in my garage.  I don't.  I know that we should keep shoes suitable for walking over debris in our storm closet and spare clothes in a plastic bag and emergency medication.  I don't.

(Ok, fine.  I keep the shoes in the closet.  I am not allowing my children to walk for blocks over broken glass and splintered wood in bare feet.  We have a lot of tornados here.  Usually at night. Having to walk through broken glass and splintered wood isn't remotely beyond possibility.)

A few days ago a reporter commented on how well-trained Japanese children are for a vast variety of types of natural disasters, beginning at a very young age.  It made me think of the types of disaster training I received as a child.  And the types I didn't.

I spent my junior and senior high school years in North Dakota during the early- to mid-80's.  It was the height of the Cold War and, while it seems almost unbelievable now, nuclear tensions were high.  The running joke was that if North Dakota were to secede from the Union, we would be the largest nuclear superpower in the world.  We had a big target on our backs that said, "Russians: shoot here."  And we knew it.  Because we were reminded all the time. 

The other running joke was, "Well, it's a good thing we live 150 miles from Grand Forks AFB.  That's totally in the blast zone.  We'll die instantly.  Those poor bastards in the Twin Cities are screwed."  Neato.  That is so what you want to be thinking when you're 14.  And by the way, we knew where the blast zone and the primary radiation zone and the secondary radiation zone and the tertiary radiation zone was, because they told us in school.  With graphics and charts.  And statistics and stuff.  Double-neato. 

No "duck and cover" for us.  We were "You'll have less than two minutes.  Hope that you're not gonna know what hit you."

Why do I mention this?  Not sure.  Other than I’m amazed at how things have changed in the past thirty years.  I'm definitely amazed at our ability now to bring such vivid and instantaneous pictures of horrifying destruction into our homes.  And I've come to the conclusion that natural disasters are heart-breaking beyond belief, but there's something steadying in knowing that they are beyond our control and that having to tell 14-year-olds they should hope to get incinerated is not.   Now, if I could just think of a way to control the uncontrollable....

I'm still not putting food and water in my garage.  I'll probably be sorry some day.

What's in your kit?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


So apparently the most interesting thing about me to date is an apartment I once lived in twenty years ago.  I'm not sure how I feel about that, to be honest. 

Anyway, to appease the masses, here's what happened:

I attended a small private art college.  One year, I agreed to become a Resident Assistant in one of the student housing apartment buildings owned by said college.  The building I was assigned to was a two-up/two-down apartment building, built circa 1900 -- in other words, absolutely typically of the neighborhood in general.  Basically I had to oversee 10 upperclassman students who mostly kept themselves to themselves and pretty much expected nothing of me in return except to buy them expensive snacks with the activity money we got every quarter from the school.  (Well, I don't know that they expected that, exactly.  I was required to spend the money and since none of them wanted to do any activities I figured they could all have snacks, operating under the theory that everyone likes snacks, especially when they're free.)

Now, as was our wont, my roommate and I did not own any living room furniture.  The bedrooms were furnished with, you know, beds and stuff.  The dining room housed the studio stuff.  The living room?  It's sole occupants were an answering machine, a small pile of misshapen pillows and an exercise bike.  Needless to say, we spent a minimal amount of time in this room. 

Strangely enough, every time I rode the exercise bike (not a very frequent occurrence), I got the distinct impression that someone was watching me from one corner of the ceiling.  It was a pretty persistent feeling and also pretty strong.

Also, all our aluminum mixing bowls and foil kept going missing.

One day I went upstairs to discuss something with one of the girls in the apartment above us (her roommate's boyfriend had beaten the crap out of her roommate after finding out she'd used all his heroin and this girl was understandably pissed off with them both-- and yes, that's the kind of thing an RA had to mediate at our school.)  We were walking through the living room towards the roommate's bedroom when she made a strange detour towards the middle of the room and said, "Oh, I don't walk in that spot."

"Um?"  I stood and looked at the spot on the floor she was staring at.

"It's a bad spot.

I wanted to scoff, except... it was a bad spot.  It also happened to correspond exactly to the spot in my living room ceiling where I felt something watching me.

Turns out not only did she think it was "a bad spot" but her third roommate (not the junkie) thought so too.  Also, the guys in the apartment next door admitted that they thought one of their rooms was "not quite right".   The guys in the lower apartment admitted they thought their back room was haunted, but they hadn’t wanted to say anything.

They also kept having to replace their missing can opener.

Oh.  I forgot to mention that we all had really really really strange dreams.  That part we only figured out at the end of the year when we got together for our End Of The Year Expensive Snack Party. 

There's more, but this is already pretty long and boring.  Mostly, it was a perfectly normal place to live.  Other than the aluminum going missing all the time.  And the strange manifestation of a single insect sitting perfectly still in the middle of the room every time I woke from a particularly vivid dream.   Frankly, the most annoying part about it was, you know, the insects.  As you know, Beangirl doesn't do vermin.


Also, to answer another question: my mother makes peanut-butter-and-pickle sandwiches, so that’s where I learned about them.  I have absolutely no idea where she learned about them.  They are, however, tasty.  But you have to use sweetened peanut butter and non-kosher dills or it’s a disaster.  Kosher dills have garlic in them.  It’s not a good thing.  Not with peanut butter, anyway.

EDIT: Ooooo, so you should go read Oonabaloona’s ghost story.  It’s quite a bit freakier than mine.  And as for the “spot” it really was just sort of a… spot.  A place.  A presence in that particular locale.  It was a little freaky.  Also, I have no flippin’ clue what was up with the aluminum.  It was very mysterious.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

AWARD: your name here

The disgustingly lanky Tanit-Isis recently named yours truly as one of her nominated recipients of the Stylish Blogger Award.  To which I say, “Thanks!”


Now, I find Tanit-Isis (despite her disgusting lankiness) to be a charming and humorous person.  She applies herself industriously to making interesting clothes for both herself and her children and she clearly doesn't take herself too seriously (always admirable in my book).  She's insightful (did you read her fabulous interview with her mother?) and intelligent and pleasant (what a charmingly unusual combination in the world of academia).  However, based on this latest action on her part, I can only wonder if she isn't, you know, a bit... shall we say, challenged?  Because frankly I find no other explanation for someone nominating me as a stylish anything.

Case in point.

However, upon further rumination, it occurs to me that "stylish blogger" could mean several things. Perhaps my blog is stylish.  Or perhaps the term refers to my stylish, uh, personality.  Whatever that would be.  I don't know.  Of course, the main purpose of a blog award is to get people to write about themselves and then to link to other people, thus spreading the virtual contagion-- er, I mean, expanding the network.  Which is well and good.

I mostly just like talking about myself.

The Stylish Blogger Recipient is supposed to disclose seven things you would not guess about themselves and then infect seven other victim-- er, nominate seven winners.  Now, I've done this before with no less than ten things you wouldn't guess about me.  I question whether I can think of seven more.  I'm just not that inscrutable.

Let's see:

1) I only have three tattoos.

2) I once lived in a haunted house.

3) I'm afraid of dogs.  And mice.  And horses.  And cows.  And iguanas.  And, basically, any animal that isn't a cat.  I love cats and have no fear whatsoever of them.  This is sort of perverse, since I've never once been injured by a dog, mouse, horse, cow or iguana and have suffered many a scar-inducing scratch from a cat.

4) I can pick things up with my toes.  Apparently this is genetic, as TLo can do this as well.  The Big One must take after her dad with her stubby little non-prehensile toes.

5) I am very afraid of heights.  And small spaces.  Ok, I just gave myself vertigo thinking about standing on a small walkway on top of the Sears Tower.  Seriously.  I think I might pass out now.

6) I don't believe in reincarnation, yet suffer under the persistent suspicion that I was once the daughter of a famous pre-Raphaelite painter.  There's a long, multi-faceted story about why I believe this, but it's totally stupid.

7) One of my favorite sandwiches is peanut-butter-and-dill-pickle.


And now the seven winners are:

Little El (Uta)

21 Wale (Joy)

Sew There Tammy (Tammy)

The Surly Seamstress (Sandra)

G Marie (Gaylen)

Li’l Miss Muffett (Heather)

Everything Just Sew (Judy)

Why them?  Because they all read my blog (and make comments) and they all have fewer than 100 followers.  I guess we unpopular girls have to stick together.  I could have added a few other bloggers meeting those criteria, but the rules said seven.  I’m such a stickler for rules.

If your name is on the list, consider yourself nominated.  Blather away, ladies.  Enquiring minds want to know.  Well, I do at any rate.  And I think we all know, it’s all about me.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sunshine On My Shoulders Makes Me Happy. I mean, “…productive”.

Some people like to think of prioritization as some sort of systematic ladder or flow chart: everything has it's place relative to it's importance and once each thing is in it's place it's merely a matter of starting at the top and working your way down.  I, on the other hand, operate under the "crazy old gold miner standing in a stream with a sieve" theory:  I put all my projects and chores and obligations into one big pan and shake it until there's nothing left but whatever's randomly left on top.  Everything else is left to fend for itself in the mud.  I'd like to blithely say "this works for me", but of course that's completely ridiculous.  This is not a system that "works".  It's merely a system that exists.  It does not lend itself to productivity of any kind (it does, however, lend itself to owning the messiest and dirtiest house on the block.  There are some perks.)

Apropos of that little anecdote, over the past weeks I have in fact created several items in my lovely newly arranged studio.  I have not, however, taken any photos of these items.  And I do not, even more importantly, have anything particularly witty or amusing to say about them (we'll just ignore all of you who are now muttering to yourselves, "She's normally witty and amusing?").  I made TLo a ruffle-y corduroy tunic for school.  I also made her a little knit jacket with a faux bow on the front.  I added mod ruffles to her Ruffle-less Mod Uniform Dress.  I made a muslin of a knit duster for myself.  And so forth and so on.  I just can't seem to be bothered taking photos or writing about it all. 


And apropos of that testimonial to ennui: Guess what I decided I'm getting for my birthday? Uh, three months early...? A sun lamp.  I don't mean one of those things raisin-like women from the 1970's baked themselves to a dark, leathery brown under.  I mean a full-spectrum light box, for the reduction of S.A.D., from which I suffer something fierce (as my mother said last week, “You are so SAD.”  I’m just assuming she meant Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Right?  Right?)

I'm hoping it will help with the focusing and prioritizing and energizing and whatnot.  Or at least I'll be really, really tan.  And leathery.  That's a look that goes with "crazy old miner" right?

If I buy this, will my kitchen suddenly be that clean?  That would be super-fab. 

Perhaps I’m asking too much of a box with light bulbs in it.