Friday, December 31, 2010

Figuratively Speaking

A couple of days ago my mind wandered off somewhere it shouldn’t but it seems to do that a lot these days. While it was off on its little junket, it kept singing Doll Parts by Hole. The line “I want to be the girl with the most cake” from the chorus really stuck.

girl_most_cake_smIt stuck so tenaciously, I felt compelled to make a collage. The song is sad, tragic, and I can certainly identify with her words. So while the song is full of pain, I can see a positive spin on the refrain. Being the girl with the most cake doesn’t have to be what Love meant. It can be anything I want it to be. I like the collage so much, I think I’m going to do another version on canvas to hang in my bathroom. That’s a damn good motivator to see first thing in the morning. For me anyway.

I posted a picture of the collage on my Facebook page. My ex-boyfriend latched onto the cake part. I brought him some donuts recently. He tried to give me one and I declined. He thought I was trying to be good – as in not eating junk. I’m getting quite chunky and I’m diabetic. Then some crusty sugar fell out of the folds of my cowled blouse. Busted! He left a comment about keeping the crumbs out of my clothing. I had to laugh, partly because of the donut incident and partly because didn’t realize the cake is metaphoric. He’s not exactly a fan of Hole so he gets a pass on that one.

Then the idea of actual cake got my brain to snickering. I made another collage on the same bent but with a different message. I think I’m going to put this one on the fridge. Oh wait, there’s never any food in there. And certainly no cake. I’m safe at home, it’s at work I have to worry about. We have donuts.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A New Planner with a Purpose

I’ve spent a lot of time lately trying to get my life back on track and headed in the direction I want to go. One of the things I’ve focused on and think I’ve been doing pretty well on is being happy. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Things are seldom as easy as they sound. I’ve always said being happy is a choice. Now I choose to live by my own words.

The other thing I’ve tried to work on is mindfulness. Yeah, another thing that sounds much simpler than it is. How often do we find ourselves going about our business not really paying attention or being “in the moment.” If you’re like most people, the answer is probably often. I joke that my ADD makes me too aware – it allows me to be distracted by every new shiny thought or . . Squirrel! . . what was I saying? I’m guilty of not paying full attention to what I am doing while I’m doing it. It may require a Herculean effort on my part to accomplish this but I’m giving it a shot. At this point in my life, I’d be happy with being mindful 50% of the time as it would be a vast improvement over where I am now.

I walked to my local Borders bookstore to buy a 2011 planner. I hated 99% of the ones I found. I finally found one that would work. It wasn’t anywhere near perfect but it was a close as I was going to get. I didn’t care for the cover and it was plastic-y so I wondered how I was going to recover it. It was also $17.99. I had a 40% off coupon but even so, I thought it was still overpriced. I wandered over to the clearance area (my own version of Kryptonite) to give it once over before checking out. There sat some fat little sketchbooks at rock bottom prices. I checked out the paper and decided they kind of sucked as a sketchbook, the paper is way too thin and slick. But – they would make awesome planners! I bought the 8”x8” and the 6”x6” because I couldn’t make up my mind which one I wanted to use. Later, I decided on the 8x8.


This is the sketchbook. The photo doesn’t quite capture the nonconducive to creativity color of the cover. It’s somewhere between ‘70’s Harvest Gold and the contents of a newborn’s diaper. Either way – ewwww. I sectioned the pages into groups for each month and a few extra sections I needed.


I made tabs for the months and the extra sections. I ran the tabs through the Xyron with the laminating/permanent adhesive cartridge in. I was rather whimsical in naming the extra sections. Evil Plans is stuff I really, really, need to pay attention to and work on. There’s also “Abracadabra” and “Hocus Pocus.”


Since the book is blank, I have to draw in everything. I like this idea better than using the standard planners. If I have to draw in the lines and write all the information myself, I will be more mindful of what I’m doing – while I’m doing it. Wow. Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Maybe it’s because . . Squirrel! . What was I saying?


Each month on the page before the month-at-a-glance view, I picked a theme for that month. January is Face. I’ve neglected taking care of my skin. It’s more than that though, the face I show the world. I often go around looking like I live under a bridge. This is not the image I want to project!


February is Love, not romantic love, it’s surrounding myself with the things I love. Adding and making time for enjoyable things with mindfulness to every day life boosts that happy factor big time. I stopped doing a lot of stuff I love because I felt other people in my life didn’t like it. Not anymore!


March is Body. Yeah, I’ve become fluffier than I’d like. I can’t squeeze my pudgy butt into half the clothes in my closet! The main thing is not my size, it’s my health. I’m diabetic and I feel better when I take care of myself. Eating healthy and exercising makes me feel better.


April (I forgot to put the word April on the page!) is Soul. I have strayed so far from where I used to be in this regard. I won’t bore you with my religion or philosophy. April’s focus will be feeding my soul and reconnecting. Since my sincere belief is that all things are connected, I suppose I never really left.


I’m not finished with the cover yet. It will be a collage of all sorts of wacky stuff that makes me happy. If the cover speaks to me, it will only add to the desire to pick it up and use it. Everyday. Mindfully. This just may turn out to be the best planner I’ve ever had.

I did start on the page for May but I didn’t take a photo yet. I don’t think I’ll go any further than that for now. One thing I was sure of is that I didn’t want to pick a theme for every month just yet. Life is on the fly, things change. I want to make sure I leave room for change, the endless possibilities that may be just around the corner. I felt like picking something now for say, August, would be like setting it in stone and who knows what might happen in June? Maybe it would alter my whole focus of where I am where I want to go. I welcome all possibilities.

Monday, February 8, 2010


When I first caught a glimpse of the news story regarding Chris Rock's documentary "Good Hair," I had to read it. The idea he said, was started when his daughter asked him why she doesn't have good hair. I've never met Chris Rock or his daughter but in that moment my heart went out to both of them. As a parent, how do you answer that question? I don't think I've ever wanted to hug a kid I don't know as bad as wanted to hug that little girl right then. Good hair. Yes indeed. I don't have good hair. Why do some people have hair that always behaves itself and other people are doomed to look like Sideshow Bob for all eternity?

I have fried my hair more times than I can even remember in failed attempts to tame my unruly mop. My hair is extremely curly and extremely fine. And I have lots of it. I put relaxers, straighteners, ironed and ironed some more. It would look fine until I went outside. Then it went POOF! I tried to wear it curly. None of the curls are the same size or go in the same direction. I'd slather on the Frizz Ease and again, it would be fine until I went outside. A month before Katrina, I paid $400 to get the Chi done on my hair. It was fabulous. My hair laughed at the humidity. I woke up, brushed my hair and walked out the door. Brushing my hair had never been an option before, unless I was trying for an afro. The Chi needs maintenance. I am a very low maintenance kind of girl but I was going to give it a shot. Then Katrina came along and blew my hair guy to another state. Soon after, my hair staged a mutiny. I found myself at the end of my rope with my hair.

In the Goth subculture almost every female has worn dreadfalls at one time or another, the brightly colored fake locks tied around your own hair, myself included. I knew a few white people with real dreadlocks in the past. One of them was so fussy about his hair it turned me off to the idea of ever doing it myself. When I moved to New Orleans, I was surprised to see how many white people are running around here with dreads. I'd had enough of my own hair and something drastic needed to happen. I was either going to give myself a buzz cut and buy a bunch of wigs or get my hair dreaded. I chose dreads. I only regret now that I let my best friend chop off 12 or 13 inches of my hair during Mardi Gras 2 years ago. It was burnt but it would have dreaded nicely and my hair would be much longer now. I like long hair but I like long hair that behaves.

I swear, SWEAR, if I had only known how much peace a hairstyle could bring to my life I would have done this years ago. Decades ago. Zen. I've never had that kind of feeling before EVAH. I'd like to be one of those Zen-like people but I'm not. I'm a high-strung overly emotional spastic monkey most of the time. And I used to be much, much worse. I'm tickled that I have one thing in my life, my hair, that gives me some peace. I've had my hair dreaded for a little over a year and a half now. I went with a more natural way to get them, no salons (high maintenance) and no waxes. My hair went through many changes and at times, they looked pretty bad. Be patient I told myself. This takes patience. No one thought it would last long because if there is one thing I definitely am not, it's patient. Peace and lessons in patience. Who knew?

In the process of dread locking my hair I discovered something. There is a serious lack of hair accessories for dreads for people who aren't Rasta wannabes. Sure, I can find tons of stuff with the Jamaican flag colors, pot leaves, rainbows, and other things that make me want to puke. Yeah, I have dreads but I'm not Rasta, not a fan of Reggae, don't smoke pot or do drugs, nor am I a neo-hippie. If I have to classify myself, it's Goth-Punk-Straightedge. I don't drink, do drugs, or 'ho around. So what's out there for me and people like me? Not a lot.

I keep my hair covered at work because I don't want to get dust and crap in my hair. So I make my own bandannas and headbands. Recently I was talking to several people who have (awesome) dreads and the need to cover your hair at work. One guy works in construction so keeping crap out of his hair is a priority and since his hair is so long, he's stuck using the Rasta hats. Two others work in the kitchen at a restaurant so keeping grease and food odors out of their hair is the main concern. Again, the options are limited. Since I get lots of comments on my own head gear, it started the wheels spinning. I quizzed some of my locked acquaintances about what they'd like to have. I started sketching out some ideas. Then working on some prototypes. So far, so good. I think I actually have too many ideas to start with and need to narrow it down some. Then I just need to convince some of the dreadheads to model for me.

I make a ton of really cool stuff but mostly for myself. I've been looking for something I could make and sell. I think I've found what I was looking for.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Shrine Box and Trying to Stay Warm

The cold snap around these parts has been rough. Our house is so old and huge, trying to keep all of it warm is next to impossible. Forget going out to the workshop! Even my craft room (where my computer lives) was even to cold to be in for any length of time.

My Beloved had to go out of town so he helped me bring some of my project stuff in the house. If he’s not home, I’m not cooking! So I set up a workshop in the kitchen. Everyone puts a scroll saw on the kitchen counter, right? I discovered that my Beloved used a piece of wood I’d been saving for a project. Crap. Move on to something else. I had some wood for another project but hadn’t touched it because I thought I needed to use the table saw. And I couldn’t get to the table saw. I decided to use the scroll saw and just be very, very careful.

box_001 I started building the shrine box that had been floating around in my head for quite some time. I cut out a heart with wings from a very thin piece of pressed wood, and a star, a sun, and a scalloped topper from MDF.

I painted the heart, the sun, and the star and glued them to the box. I stamped words and phrases to the front of the box.


I traced the shape of the winged heart of the front piece it’s not attached to and painted that area black. I stamped in words using white paint in that area. I masked it of before stamping and it reads, “While life is short, love is long.”

I painted the inside a mottled red and stamped lettering on the inside of the doors. My daughter’s boyfriend came up with an idea I really liked, to paint the inside like the chest cavity where the heart would be. While it would suit me just fine, I’m not sure I’m keeping this piece so I need to remember that not everyone thinks creepy is cool.


The inside doors read, “Those we loved live on in our hearts. Our memories keep them alive.This is the true meaning of immortality – Love.”

I like it!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Year - New Journal

I've spent the last few weeks thinking about the new year. The time everyone starts thinking about New Year's resolutions. I had the idea that I'd start November 1st with the new journal I made. I think of the year changing on October 31st but that's another story. The idea got tossed on the back burner so I guess I'll wait for January 1st instead. The focus I want to put on the journals is not so much resolutions but goals. Not the "I will go to the gym 3 times a week and lose a gazillon pounds" stuff that you know you aren't going to do when you wrote it down.

Sometimes when I start mulling things over, I'll see the topic popping up all over the place. I generally take this as good sign. While I was thinking about the things I missed in my life and the things I value, several of the podcasts I listen to regularly talked about defining your values. I went to Violette's blog after listening to Ricë's interview with her and there it was again. Sometimes the Universe gives subtle hints, other times it whomps you up side the head.

I have in the recent past allowed myself to be swayed from what I want to do by other people. This baffles the crap out of me. Why the hell do I do that? Why now? For the whole of my life until now, I haven't given a flying fig what other people think about pretty much anything. And I'd always had an iron will. Iron clad in titanium. Getting so far off track isn't sitting well with me. I need to change this. Pronto. I need to redefine the things that are important to me, the things I value and focus on putting those things in the forefront of my activities.

So, what are some of the things I value, things that are important to me? Having an "online" life is one of them. I used to enjoy meeting and talking to other creative people all the time. I got away from it for all the wrong reasons. I met a girl here who told me she loved reading all the stuff I posted in some of the forums were were both on. It made me feel good. I tend to look at my ideas as being out in left field most of the time and it was nice to hear positive feedback from someone. And even better to learn that I had inspired them.

Making things is important to me and that didn't stop. It slowed down to a crawl for a while though. Making things to sell - well, that part did stop. It is important to me and I need to quit talking myself out of it. My head says stuff like "Your ideas aren't generic enough for mass appeal." Yeah, so what? Or "The type people who love your stuff don't have any money." Again, so what? As a used car salesman I know always said, "There's an ass for every seat."

Another thing I need to address is my health. My weight has yo-yo'd and it dramatically affects my ability to control my blood sugar. I was a vegetarian for most of my life and I was healthy. I am questioning why I decided to eat meat again. I say it was because I'm lazy. It's very hard to be a vegetarian around these parts if you don't cook. Everything has meat in it. Yeah those green beans look innocent and untainted but trust me, they ain't vegetarian. Don't believe me? Ask the cook. I have to control my blood sugar levels, it really is a matter of life and death. The weight is secondary. It would be nice to have all the clothes in my closet fit consistently. Going up and down all the time is annoying.

Making more time for friends is also important. One of the factors in moving back into the city was to be closer to friends. I have done a terrible job at making it a reality so far. Yes, I've had friends over but not like I'd like to do. And certainly haven't done it regularly. Part of the problem is some sort of distorted sense of perfection. I think that when the house is done, just so, then it'll all be great. That's ridiculous. I don't know anyone who's house is just as they'd like it. This house is monstrous huge and many projects are in various stages of completion. It'll be done years from now. No sense in hiding away until it's perfect. I think I need to hire someone to help me clean before I can entertain. First of all, my friends aren't the fussy type. If they were, they wouldn't be my friends. Secondly, even on my bad days, our house isn't that dirty.

There's plenty of other things but that's enough for now. I have aprons to make! And I just had an idea for a new one. And a purse.

New Traditions

We have no Christmas traditions. There's a long list of why this is; differing religious and spiritual standpoints, not living near family and not having much family to begin with, and just simply not being "traditional" people. Christmas evening I was sitting at my sewing machine while my Beloved played on the computer. Earlier in the evening, my daughter had said something about gnomes or elves or something. I don't remember exactly what she said but it made me remember something else.

Last Christmas my Beloved had just returned from a long and drudging job he'd been on. The cupboards were bare. The grocery store isn't my favorite place and if he's not home, I don't cook. Since it was Christmas, everything was closed. The only thing open was the restaurant at the truck stop. So we went in. They had one cook and one waitress and a motley group of patrons. We waited what seemed an eternity for our food. The waitress apologized several times but seriously, what else did we have to do? At the counter was a man dressed like a cross-cultural gnome. He had a pointy gnome hat, Osh Kosh overalls, an ornately carved staff, and a bone pipe choker. Some of the other patrons looked like extras for Deliverance. The part that amused me the most was that they kept looking at us like we were the weirdoes. We are, but that's beside the point. The food finally arrived and wow - it was absolutely delicious. I rarely eat everything on my plate but I didn't leave a scrap that time. I just couldn't stop myself.

So this Christmas evening I brought up the lack of Christmas traditions and that we should make our own. I asked if he remembered the gnome. He laughed and said he'd forgotten all about it. As I talked about it, he remembered how good the food was and the silly fun we had. I asked if he wanted to go. Now. That would be our new Christmas tradition. We'll go to the truck stop, eat like pigs, enjoy the cast of characters, and with any luck the Gnome will show up. So off we went.

truckstop_xmas The place looked exactly the same, cheesy Mardi Gras posters still lined the walls but they had more staff and customer this time around. And I really was the weirdest looking person in the place this time too. A group of seniors sitting at the table nearby were discussing which area casinos had the best buffets and whether or not they needed to protect the water pipes at home. The waitress came over to get our orders and I ordered the same thing I got last time. Once again, it was awesomely delicious and I cleaned my plate. They had gumbo on the soup and salad bar. It was pretty good but couldn't hold a candle to my friend Marsha's gumbo. She is truly the reigning Queen of the Gumbo. Customers came and went but there was no sight of the Gnome. I giggled all through dinner.

We told the waitress why we were there. She thought the story was a hoot but instantly recognized the Gnome in the story. She said he always dresses like that and was a regular. I'd decided that if he had shown up, I would try to strike up a conversation with him. I wanted to know why he dresses like a Gnome. What do those pieces mean to him? I don't know how he would take being quizzed by someone dressed like a Pirate but there was a chance he'd think it was funny too. Maybe next time. As we were leaving the waitress called out, "See you next year!" Yes, yes you will!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Yule Greetings

Happy Solstice and Merry Yule!

I tried to find a link somewhere out there in internet land of this years Solstice at Stonehenge but no one has posted anything yet. Still celebrating I guess. Maybe tomorrow some new ones will turn up.

Meantime, here's a video of The Dolmen. The sculpture at 1:32 is amazing. I would love to have something like that in my yard. Wow, just WOW!