Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Tuesday Mash

What's on tonight? That's right, new episodes of Gilmore Girls and Supernatural. May they be so funny I almost pee my pants.
I have absolutely no interest in political posturing combined with rhetoric that says nothing, so I will be skipping the State of the Union, thank you. I don't say this often, but thank goodness for the WB.

In other news, the Mid-American Review fish, Mar-Mar Superstar, is not doing so hot. He was pretty feisty yesterday, but his fin rot and refusal to eat his color-enhancing food has made him look very glasslike. He's never been a big, voluminous betta, so he looks extra fragile. Also Karen thinks he may have eaten some of the medicine that's supposed to time-release into his water. Poor fishy.

I believe I have selected a digital camera; I think I will be going with the miniscule Canon ELPH SD450. The only problem: can't find it. Very few stores carry it in stock, preferring to carry the 400 and 500 with which most people are familiar. But the 500 has really more pixelage than I need (and thus is costlier) and the 400 is not as sleek. Meijer has the 450, but they only had the display sample left when I was looking, and I am not into a camera that a hundred strangers have handled. Other stores simply have it out of stock. I am reluctant to order a camera, with my past horrible luck with mailed fragiles.
It's not that I want things I can't have. It's that I always seem to want things that are hard to get.

Monday, January 30, 2006

This Weekend's Laughed-So-Hard-I-Cried Moment:

I have two words for you:
Jim Gaffigan.

And now a lot more words...Comedy Central showed stand-up comedy all Sunday, and so I saw the half hour Jim Gaffigan special from a few years ago, and then later his new one hour special.
Basically, this is what happened: Me, been grading all weekend. Sitting on the couch. Listening to the TV, and then hear something ridiculous about mayonnaise and completely skip chuckles and giggles and head straight into silent, shaking laughter. (When you don't drink, people always need to know why. "You don't drink, why?" This never happens with anything else. "You don't use mayonnaise, why? ... Are you addicted to mayonnaise? Is it okay if I use mayonnaise? I could go outside..." )
I don't know what happened. I even tried to laugh out loud and couldn't, because for some reason volume was impossible. I needed to just shake and let my eyes leak, I guess. The one-hour special was not *quite* as funny, but still pretty hilarious, especially when he was mimicking the reluctant audience member's reactions: "I don't know if you can tell, but both my parents were...white." I think one of them was a polar bear. That's why he dated a panda. I didn't know there were going to be bear jokes.

I heart funny Jim Gaffigan!

Now, I have a lot of work to do. Get off my porch.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Public Waits

Instead of making jello shots (sorry, Lisa, sorry, party), here is my Project Runway commentary:

1. Daniel V, you are amazing. I would not wear that top, but it was clearly couture special, you stuck to the challenge, and you created something we knew you were capable of.
2. I am so tired of that hackneyed big braided sash/trim thing the designers keep doing, as Andrae did, and as Santino has done. Kudos for the beading on Andrae's, and the way the garment moved, but that sash on the right (?) shoulder was passe and made the look sloppy to me. There had to be a way to introduce that color in a more exciting way. I admit, I'm into symmetry, but that's not what bothers me; those bulky, unfinished-looking braids look unflattering, and I can't imagine why women wear them. I am please that Andrae stepped it up, though.
3. I am in love with the top of Nick's otufit. I didn't really get to see the skirt, though I understand from Tim Gunn's blog that it was the fishtail style they see from him a lot. I grant you, his inspiration was a little challenging to follow, but I thought the execution of that top was fantastic. Sleek and exciting. Good for girls with little chests.
4.Chloe is Chloe. A pretty dress, not super-exciting, but it looked difficult to do, which counts for almost the same thing these days. Pretty coloration.
5. I pass over Kara and Zulema at this point, except to say that it always bugs me when they talk about construction issues, because with all the glossing over/lens/lightwork that they do for telly, I can't see what they're talking about. Sometimes airbrush is not a good thing. We can't see when fabric pulls badly, or when seams are crooked or unfinished looking.
6. Santino. This blog has lately been the site of much discussion involving Santino and his attitude. I think he's talented, but I think his confidence has taken a nosedive, and the work he's turned out lately has had a disconnect from his self. Last night's garment...well, I loved the way the skirt moved, but for once I agreed completely with all the judges that the waistline was a poor choice...it looked more like a babydoll negligee. I had completely forgotten the Austin Scarlett dress and its similarity, so sympathized when that was brought up. Sometimes an inspiration you get completely makes you forget about any other work that might be too much the same. This is wholly unlike the Marla situation in which that piece was right in front of her.
I liked this challenge quite a bit, and was glad the designers could get back into themselves a bit...this seems to be an important feature for next week's challenge, which looks to be crazy. I can't wait to see how Tim loves Santino's impressions of him, which really are magnifique.

P.S., from last week's challenge, was anyone else really embarrassed for Robert, and just want him to go away? That wasn't funny, and I've always found him annoyingly smarmy. You're out! Stay out!

Five Faves

Favorite song to lie on the floor to:
Delibes "Flower Duet"

Favorite word:

Favorite drink I have never been able to recreate:
It was called a Lady Dane, and it had strawberries, amaretto of some kind, and something creamy, and it was just the most gorgeous experience on the planet. It was at a restaurant called British Isles in Okemos, MI, which is now closed. The restaurant, not Okemos.

Favorite word sung by Johnny Cash:
Woman, in "Big River."

Favorite jammies:
Now that my Nick n Nora Cloud Nine jammies have been retired, the honor goes to jammies in pink, with little ballerinas on them, a la Eloise. They have been referred to as not sexy, but that's kind of not the point of jammies. I say, if you're not keeping me warm, you don't get to make comments on my pajama choice.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Things People Said That Made Me Laugh This Week

"It's like drinking a My Little Pony."
--Luke, in response to a "Rory," an extremely pink drink served at her 21st on the Gilmore Girls.

"Enter if you're sexy and you love Jesus!"
--The Vicar of Dibley, answering her doorbell.

"So who do you think is the hottest psychic: Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Love Hewitt, or you?"
--Dean, ribbing Sam, on Supernatural (bonus points because it hauls in two more shows on other networks)
"See that attitude right there? That's why I always got the extra cookie."
--Dean, ditto.

"No. .... Yeeeeessss."
--Patrick, when asked if he'd done something on purpose.

Ok, it's sad that four out of five of those are from TV, but I watch funny shows. Real people don't entertain me nearly as much.

In other news, I just took two Tylenol. TWO. If I am compelled to take pain med for any reason, which isn't often, usually one is it. Today, me and my head have some problems.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Origin of the Angel

My nicknames, and where they come from:
I'm always surprised no one asks me about this; everyone seems to think it's obviously some connection to my goody-goody behavior as a youth that largely continues today. Actually, it was a speedy and saving grace of a boy, who, as we were discussing a mutual friend, said, "She's a Hottie." I said, "And what am I, jerk?" And he said, quickly, "You're angel." Why? Starts with A. Then the Hottie and I took this boy shopping, and before we met up with him we found shirts with our new names on them. It took him a long time and us posing with our chests thrust out for him to notice. I still have that shirt; it's the black one with the silver Angel across the boobs.
So, I am Angel, and so are a growing proportion of my clothes, and my new watch. And my future children's book, and a current poetry character.
My favorite thing ever said about this nickname is from my friend Patrick, who said, "It's funny 'cause it's true." Smooth. Sweet. Saucy. Ah, boys.

of steel. Duh. I think Tracy Schmelzer might have been the first to pull out Abs. Also, I used to have fantastically firm ab muscles. I had a four pack. They're still pretty good, but they sure don't look the same. It still takes a lot of crunches for me to feel the burn.

Bless Natalie Smyka's heart. I danced with her, and she came up with this word, totally made up. It sounds like avaricious, but it isn't. It is its own entity and I have no idea what it means, but I love it. It's a lot like me; I also am my own entity and no one ever has any idea what I mean.

My secret codename for MAR...well, it was secret. Wait...come here a second. Just for a second!

Melanie Ordiway. 7th grade. I was an office assistant, and collected the attendance during my office period every day. Melanie, in 8th grade, used to say "Abster, the Abinator, collecting attendance." Very Rob Schneider.

Dear Doc, I'm sorry Amber, Sherry, and I pulled the tabs off our drawers in the chem lab. To be fair, they were falling off anyway. I still have mine, if you want it back. I was thinking of making it into a necklace like the ones the androids wear in "I, Mudd," that old Star Trek episode, but never got around to it. Maybe this year, 10 years later.

This name is no longer in use because I know so darn many Mikes. But here's how it happened: I left the dinner table to bus my dishes, and when I came back my Mom had her hand clapped over her mouth and my Dad was laughing. She told me that she had been trying to ask me to do something, but rather than saying "Sarah" like she normally does by accident (all parents mix up their children), she said, "Mike." Since no one in my family is named Mike, this was extraordinary. Rather like the time when, as the ladies of the house were talking, one asked, "Who?" and from the floor my Dad said "Sue who lives in the little gray house." Since he'd been sleeping peacefully up until that point, all we could do was laugh hysterically. Ah, non sequiturs.

One of my old personal faves, from the ol' yearbook editor-in-chief days.

Poor Brandon Dunlap. He tried to get this going, but it never caught on. So, it ended up being a sort of accidental pet name since he was the only one who called me that.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Dance with me. Here.

Dear You,
If you were here with me now, we'd dance. We'd do a gentle, crazy waltz. It would be to "Sitting in the Window of My Room." Alison Krauss would convince us that we should cry right now, but we should keep dancing. Everything will be okay if we keep up our lilting little waltz. You'd lift me up in swoops and twirl me in a circle. I'd cradle your head on my shoulder. Our eyes would meet twice. We think it will hurt too much to look, but the second time we won't be able to look away. Don't stop.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Blogging/meme-ing in 3s. Or maybe 4s. Whatever's lucky.

I am inexplicably sad today. So, instead:
2 Stolen Memes from Steve.
Notes to Self

Do's and Don'ts for my 10-Year-Old Self

  • Do listen to your mother and don't snap at her when she insists that you continue to take dance class. She knows something you don't.
  • Do sharpen your pencils and clean your desk. Otherwise, your teacher will dump all of your stuff all over the floor. She'll do it because she wants to help you, but you'll be mortified.
  • Don't be so mean to boys. P.S. You're in love with Gordon Kiewiet. Face up to the facts.
  • Don't bring your Sea-wees to church. They'll disappear.

Do's and Dont's for my 16-Year-Old Self

  • Listen, and this is important: Don't date any smokers.
  • Do go to more school dances. You'll confuse the heck out of everybody because, suddenly, you're awesome and you can shake your thing.
  • Come on. Do your hair now and then. Try a little hairspray.

Do's and Don'ts for my 20-Year-Old Self

  • Do spend as much time as you possibly can with your cats. They'll be gone within the year.
  • Do get used to needles--Your body's pretty wacky right now and no one will figure out why, including you. Eat a lot of starch and maybe throw some vitamins in there because God knows you won't be eating much this summer.
  • Do spend as much time as you can with your parents. One of them will be in the hospital soon and one of them will be unraveling dishcloths from fretting.
  • Don't give the Jaybird the satisfaction of bothering you, and for heaven's sake don't call him. Ever. He's full of it, he'll give you a cold, and he doesn't give a damn about you. But he will be useful for practicing back massage techniques.
  • Don't snap at your best girlfriends, because they miss you and you've been a jerk lately.
Five Weird Habits

The first player of this game starts with the topic "five weird habits" and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly.

  • I used to set my alarm clock exactly 28 minutes fast. All other clocks were as close to time as I could make them. (I have this year suspended this practice, because it was...dumb.)
  • I have a sick addiction to fabric. No matter how many projects I have stockpiled, I cannot resist buying yard after yard of satin, cottons,brocades, and patterns. I will not buy overly similiar patterns, generally, but I can feel myself starting to slip on that note.
  • I schedule out the time it will take me to do things to the nearest minute. Not the nearest five minutes, but the nearest minute. Example: It will take me another 36 minutes to get out of here, then four minutes to get home. It will then take me about 11 minutes to finish turning out the bustier strap I was working on, and 8 minutes to get them attached to my velvet bustier. If I finish that, I should read the rest of the summaries I have to read for school, which will take 43 minutes.
  • I enjoy walking around my apartment with as much skin showing as possible while still being "clothed." With the blinds up.
  • Dancer's favorite: No matter where I am, I will lift my leg up to stretch if it feels kinked up. If I do it in the middle of a conversation with you, please stop me.

Ok, those aren't very revealing. I'll try to observe myself and come up with something juicier.

I Remembered!

So, here's what happened the other day that made me want to blog. The other day I was watching the Classic Arts Channel and there was a ballet on, a rendition of the Waltz of the Flowers. I started remembering things, the good old days when I could count on each year bringing a few moments in which I, too, would be lifted by handsome boys into delicate positions that impressed all the mothers and fathers in the audience.
I'm so sad for those days.
it's not like I don't get picked up now and then by boys who seem to enjoy hugging me and simultaneously showing off their pipes by lifting me into the air. And I like it.
But it's not the same as striking a dramatic shape in the air with strong hands underneath you like you were just a little apple blossom being stretched into the breeze, and possibly grabbing your bum as a little something extra. It was totally worth being dropped a couple of times to come up with something really amazing. I wish I'd worked more at partnering in dance school, and worked more on my extensions so that my legs would look better in photographs of such moments. I also wish we'd been a little more adventurous when we had the choreographic reins...we did interesting stuff, but it wasn't always chosen with what would make us look awesome in mind.
One of my favorite dance moments ever was during Evita, when I got picked up by not one but five or six boys, who twirled me around in a circle before dropping me into the arms of the cutest one. How can you go wrong with that?

Friday, January 20, 2006


Don't you hate it when you have a good idea of something to blog about, and then you forget? You'd think with all the little notebooks I have lying around I'd have the sense to write something down now and then. You know, since my job involves creation and whatnot.
So, without further ado, a mish-mash:

Project Runway:
I must say, I was underwhelmed by the skating costumes created by our designers this week. I mean, seriously: Sasha Cohen! She's beautiful! She has a gorgeous figure; what more of a muse do you need? I grant you, stretchy fabrics are difficult and if you don't have experience with them, it's a bummer, but designwise, I just didn't see a lot of sense. No delicacy. That's what skating is. Is it a tough challenge? You bet--I agree with Tim Gunn wholeheartedly that this is the toughest. But I think a lot of them forgot about how the garment would look on the lovely Sasha. (As a side note, I was appalled that none of the designers knew what their costumes were until they got to the rink. Ballroom dancing? Are you serious? Do you even watch, say, the Olympics?)
I'm glad the winner was between Chloe and Zulema. That was a good choice. I was annoyed by some comments about the fringe on Kara's, as supposedly being inappropriate for a skater; difficult, perhaps, but many skaters have worn fringe in the past. I agreed with the overall assessment of her design, however, in terms of Sasha's look. I was also confused by some of the discussion of Andrae's design...some of it seemed innovative to me, but also parts were a little trashy. The shoulder plume was especially unbelievable in the context of Sasha. It was interesting, but not wearable for the client.
Santino...well, I will say that I've warmed a little to Santino as a person; his Russian fur hat on those ears, with that white shirt...he reminded me of nothing so much as Fievel the mouse. His vulnerability emerged more realistically this week, and it was he who pointed out the bonding experience of their skating together. But he depressed me because his concept, the phoenix, was (perhaps cliche but) realistic for a skating costume, but his design execution was awful. No waist silhouette, and no glamorous, exquisite tail...the tail was basically centered in the small of the back and sat there, poofy chickenlike, rather than ph0enixlike. Where is the delicacy? Adding, as Santino does, may have been a nice thing, had the adding gone somewhere, but it just sat there in a clump. What about a nice *delicately* pieced skirt with some color to it? Come on, pal. You can do better.
None of the designers really innovated anything that went below midhip. That was surprising to me, because if you look at some of the more common costumes, they're longer, reaching to midthigh, with perhaps a tail or a handkerchief hem. Most of Cohen's dresses are short, (hello, Anne Slowey) but it might have been interesting to see a little something extra. They all went safe this week. I'll be interested to hear Jay McCarroll's wake-up bitch-slap next week!
P.S. Tim Gunn on ice skates? Priceless.

Invasion of catalogs; or, how to ensure that I will not buy from you right now:
So, for some inexplicable reason, I received at least eight catalogs in my tiny mailbox yesterday. EIGHT. One of them was a Vicky's Secret V-day catalog that will probably get tossed immediately. Hey, Vicky--real tactful. Way to remind me I haven't had anyone on V-day for four years. What, do I buy myself a present? As if i don't do that all the darn time anyway?
The upside is that there was a new Victorian Trading Co. catalog, and a new catalog from a company I like and can't remember the name of, but similar to Delia*s. And a new La Redoute.


This picture bears a strange resemblance to an Edward Gorey picture from The Hapless Child, "When she could bear it no longer she fled from the school at dawn."
I grant you, at this point I'm climbing up the tree, but the feeling is the same.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Tiffany's doesn't work for me.

Things I've done to try to make myself feel better/snap out of a week's worth of the mean reds:
  • Baked about a dozen dozen cookies
  • Ate about twenty cookies
  • Called my mom to thank her for a rockstar sweet watch that is blue and sparkly and says "Angel"
  • Took a bath in purple water, made so by a Blackberry bath ballistic
  • Curled my hair
  • Ignored my work in favor of napping
  • Sang the entirety of Tori Amos' Little Earthquakes, most of it in the bath, and to heck with the neighbors
  • Read some Psalms
  • Wore jeans to teach two days in a row
  • Finished three art projects

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I Feel on the Verge of Going Pleasant.

I've had a depressing day, so I went to the Engrish.com website, and that was one of the recent discoveries.
I laughed.
And then adopted it as my life philosophy.

A Devotion to My Bed

Dear Bed,
I love you.
When I'm around you, I have to touch you, to be enfolded by you. I want to sink into you and be comforted.
On rainy mornings, I lie there in your warmth, in your cave, and I know that your weight will keep me grounded. We stay there, with the radiator blowing softly over us, and have strange, exotic dreams. I will tell you all my secrets.
I will always be faithful. Other beds might enter my life, brief friends, but I can't relax with them the way I can with you. They are not my heart outside my body. They will never see me at my most naked.
Listen, Bed, I've been on my knees by your side. You have seen the worst of me. No. You haven't. I haven't either. I have cried for you, in other places, cold and exhausted. I have needed your spirit. I have needed to be calm. You have needed my gentle movement, the twist of my hands, the sleepy way my hair drifts across your expanse, the way I oven in the middle of the night. This is what we mean to each other. This is us at our most essential functions. I trust you. I talk in my sleep.

Monday, January 16, 2006


I'm looking online to investigate the version of "My True Love's Eyes" from Legend's Jerry Goldsmith music sung by Mia Sara...and outside is this machinery sounding exactly like the humpback whale song used for the unicorns. 'Tis weird.

A funny thing happened on the way through my weekend...

I woke up Sunday (? it's all a blur) to the sound of yowling. It's a familiar sound. Many's the time when, as a youth, I had to get up in the dark before dawn to go outside and find the standoff between my cat and some other would-be usurper of territory. My male cat was fairly huge, so there was never any chance of a change in territory ownership, but the less bloodshed the better.
So imagine my surprise when, many years later, I am lying peacefully in my soft, warm bed in BG and I am suddenly hearing that sound something like the cross between a baby's cry and a screen door hinge. In fact, I tried to convince myself for about five minutes that it was, in fact, a baby...across the street, next door, somewhere upstairs, but none of my business. I spent another ten minutes pretending that the cats weren't in my yard, weren't close to me, weren't my business. Then, I spent another five thinking they might go away.
Wwwrrrrrroooowww. Yep, nope, definitely my business.
So I get up, and sure enough they are ON MY PORCH. Seriously. Of all the places in BG to have a turf war, why my front steps? I guess, in retrospect, I'm lucky they weren't throwing their voices the way my cats used to do. They had a knack for sounding like they were inside the house. Anyway, I reflected for a moment that they might be in the middle of Garfieldian wooing, and lacking a fence they'd chosen my steps, but as I opened the door the orange one hissed at me (I've "met" this cat before, and he's actually really gentle), and, really, who wants cats doing the deed on their porch anyway? I got the orange one off the porch via a complex "Git" + snapping hand motion, but the black one had wedged itself behind my flower pot in the corner, and there was really no way to get it off since my screen door and flower boxes sort of blocked an escape. I just prayed that it would be gone when I got up, which was successful.
Then I got back into my nice, warm niche and started giggling. I'm actually pretty good at reproducing the turf war sound and the extra-angry turf war sound, and it's amazing how quickly I knew, even from the depths of sleep, what was happening. It's nice to know that some things never change. And it made me a little more appreciative of the AKC Eukanuba dog show I've watched bits of this weekend (you go, Alaskan Malamute).

The Non-Adventure Adventure
So my adventure this weekend ended up being not to have one. Not coming in to the office Saturday or Sunday was quite a big leap for me. I finished the moth project and the shadowbox project, and nearly finished the frame project. The frame probably looks the best of the three. The shadowbox is fine, actually, also, but the moth didn't turn out exactly as planned. The structure and mache medium were perfect, the collaging less so, but interesting, and the paint...well, I'm not a painter. One color wasn't quite right, and besides that I went a little overboard on the first wing i did. Acrylic paint made into glaze is kind of unwieldy in terms of pigment consistency across a non-smooth surface. I wish I knew more about painting.
I often find that's true with my projects. I have small skill in a lot of areas, moderate skill in some areas, and expert skill in very few. I suppose that sounds normal said that way, but I think I have small skills in a lot more areas than most people, and less expert skill than most. In other words, my knowledge is spread out, and it's not always an advantage, especially when it comes to projects or activities I enjoy. I might be interested in too many things, and projects often don't turn out like I want. They don't have the delicacy of practice, knowledge, and control. There's a big difference between craft for fun and art, and I guess I wish they'd come closer together more often.
Take cooking for example. I love being in the kitchen and cooking or baking. In fact, I especially love baking, and my cookies are adequate for colleague and friend/family consumption. But I don't think I'd ever win a prize at it. I'm good with recipes, and what I cook is usually edible, and sometimes even delicious; but very few of my actual experiments knock my socks off. A notable exception was last night when I made pork ribs for the first time. I called my Mom for advice and sort of smushed her ideas with Betty Crocker's and came up with something that, to me, tasted amazing, and was actually pretty easy. I'd feed it to a boy. And that's actually a pretty big deal; boys will eat just about anything (at least the right kind of boy will), but I get very nervy about what I give them. The first time I made steak, for instance, was for a boy, and that was stupid. I needed to practice it. Now I make a great ribeye, as long as I remember not to overcook it. And even then it tastes good.
*sigh* Jane of all trades, master of none.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Let's sing:

"Rain... is what the thunder brings. For the first time...I can hear my heart sing...
Call me a fool, but I know I'm not..."

Ok, that's all. A little Madonna in the middle of the day never hurt anyone. I actually have a "cassingle" of that song...that's right, a cassette single...from when I was buying a ton of those to use in the dance studio. Gosh, that seems like a hundred years ago. Sometimes I put those in my car just for fun, but they're so short it's hard to do except on short hop trips, or you're constantly changing tapes.
Yeah, it's raining though. After yesterday, which was the most incredible January weather in my recent memory. It was warm, and luxuriously sunny. Almost like the way I always think April should be. I almost took a walk yesterday, that's how awesome the weather was, and I actually enjoyed my treks around campus to classes. The sky was blue, people. Blue.
I feel like taking a field trip this weekend. I don't know where, though. Last week was the Michael's of Perrysburg adventure. There are a couple of good things about field trips. First, they keep me out of the office. I have a tendency, when I have nothing else to do, to go to the office, and it sucks. In fact, I've done several necessary office-related tasks today, Friday, and am figuring out now how I can best use my time to get out of here within two hours. Second, field trips generally get me out of BG period. Frankly, I have too many townie tendencies. I'm trying to sort of back away from that and be more open to getting out of town. Third, field trips are often to places I enjoy, where I can get something fun like a picture frame, or a sweater, or a camera. Being someone who often is too busy to have real fun, these weeks when the workload is light must be used to their best advantage. So, I shall ponder.

Some thoughts on Project Runway:

  • The competition is intense this year, with several clearly skilled people on board. This week, the often gimmicky but sweet "dirty Diana" and the nice but often unconfident Marla were booted. This made sense from a "culling the herd" standpoint, though I hope both ladies learned enough to, in fact, use what they learned in their careers. Sometimes people learn, but they don't quite get over that hump of not really realizing change is in order.
  • On a related note, thank goodness the model named Cara was absent from the runway this week. This is tricky: She's very thin, and her neck-shoulders are awkward. In this way, she's actually a lot like me, and I have to respect that. But she also has a very ungainly walk and quite frankly looks very uncomfortable on the runway. She also had some sort of spiel about something being "inappropriate" a few weeks ago, and considering that it was a lingerie challenge I was sort of embarrassed for her. Now, it seems like she might be just starting out, and that's fine, but even her sample pictures on the website bio show very little imagination or depth. Several strong models have been booted while this gal has stayed on...there is something wrong, in my opinion, with the way the model contract prize is determined.
  • People, please...do something new with Grace's hair. In four of six challenges, her bangs have been exactly the same, and in another she wore a wig with...the same style bangs. Modeling is as much an art as fashion. Give your model something to work with, and it will make the garment rock even more.
  • Favorite outfits so far: Muslin--Emmett and Nick; clothes off your back--blah. Maybe Santino; Barbie--Diana, Chloe, Nick; Lingerie--Daniel V, all the way; Hilton--Daniel V! I love that dress! Also Kara's piece, and Chloe's. I liked Nick's, but I didn't think it was right on Tarah. Banana Republic--I would wear the top from Marla/Diana, skirt from Nick/Santino, the dress from Zulema/Kara, and I'm glad Daniel V/Andrae won. I was APPALLED by the Nick/Santino window. Now, note my faves are not necessarily in response to the challenge, but more in terms of what I'd wear. Eclectic, no? But Daniel V (who dances) and Chloe are emerging as my clear favorites, followed closely by Nick and then Emmett. I generally do not care for Zulema's work or Andrae's or Santino's. Kara has been spotty.
  • Santino makes me mad. Please, I beg you, stop relying on the cliche of "grasping at straws" to criticize your competition. Now, I will warrant that editing by the producers could be to blame, but since it appears in every episode, it makes me cringe, and points, in fact, to brashness as a cover for lack of confidence. If you're going to be an innovator, speak innovatively.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Sound off

OK. In typical Avacious fashion, once I have an idea, I'm going with it.
I am beginning my digital camera research, and it's time for you to tell me what kind of camera you have, what you like about it, and what you dislike about it, and whether you'd recommend it. Then we'll see how you lot synch up with Consumer Reports.

Now Hear This

So, The Cincinnati Review is printing two of my poems. Throw confetti and fetch me a drink.
I am trying to think of something fun to do to celebrate, but I've already done most of the things I think are fun recently. Maybe I'll go out to eat. Or order food in. Like, a calzone from Pisanello's. Or maybe I'll get some garlic or sesame chicken from a Chinese restaurant. Maybe I'll get something completely unhealthy but delicious to eat from the supermarket. Or something. Help me out here.
Maybe I'll rent a Dvd, too. For emphasis. And so that the extent of my celebration is not food. I'd buy something fun, but I'm sort of thinking maybe I should stop getting so many clothes, and my house has about as much craft whatnot as it can hold. What else do I buy? I already have a blender.
My camera is acting funny lately, and I've come to understand that perhaps the "cell phone or digital camera" choice is going to end up being an "and." But that's not really a suitable celebration for some poems being published. It's a little big. And I don't know what I want. I need to do some Consumer Reports research.
"And then, suddenly, the answer seemed obvious." OK, I still might get something delicious to eat, but I think I might get some LUSH bath products. I'm about halfway through my previous stash, and I've been eyeing a couple of products in the catalog, like a massage bar, and more bath melts. Ooh. Ooooooooh. I am a genius. A genius that smells good.
So, the basic picture of all this is, even though I received a recent rejection from Poetry Magazine, I have work out now in Southern Indiana Review, and work forthcoming in Paper Street and The Cincinnati Review. I am feeling pretty darn great about this and even greater that I actually got active this past fall in getting work submissions out there. And, TCR took one of my NEWest poems. This adds up to me needing to keep doing what I'm doing and respecting the choice I made as a working writer.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Editing the Tag. I can run pretty darn fast, you know.

Ok, so Steve changed his blog to tag me. Thanks, Steve. I'm still cheating
Game of Four...
4 jobs you've had in your life: nanny, Pier 1 Imports Sales associate, library assistant, writing instructor
4 movies you could watch over and over: yikes...I already do this with almost every movie I have. Jaws, The Village, Fantasia, and Star Wars 1-3 are movies I have in the past put on repeat. Wait...then there's Finding Nemo
4 places you've lived: Uhh...Bath, MI, East Lansing, MI, and Bowling Green, OH. I had two different dorm rooms in EL, does that count? I was even in the same building, so maybe not.
4 TV shows you love to watch: Charmed, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Gilmore Girls, and Project Runway
4 places you've been on vacation: Ludington, Crystal valley (MI), Italy, and Prince Edward Island
4 websites you visit daily: CNN, imdb, Steve's blog, my blog
4 of your favorite foods: Mom's french fries, strawberry milkshakes, olives, and Kraft Italian spaghetti (especially when served as a side to Mom's pork cutlets...me=drooling). Favorite drink? Dr. Pepper. I think we all knew that.
4 albums you can't live without: Most of my favorite albums are soundtracks (top four: Practical Magic, Chicago, Into the Woods, and Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?). If we're strictly talking albums, though, I'd go with Tori Amos' Little Earthquakes on top, Fiona Apple's Tidal, Madonna's Immaculate Collection, and either Shakira's Laundry Service or something Johnny Cash related. Of these, I own tapes of three and Cd's of three...I own both of Little Earthquakes, isn't that crazy? That's how much I love it.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Sensory assault.

Pet peeves:
  • Students wearing flip flops during the winter. They obviously have not learned the joys of putting away your summer clothes and pulling out a winter set, then putting those away and rejoicing in the return of the summer things. Nor have they realized the connection between their footwear and the plagues they carry long about midterm.
  • Kids who bathe in their cologne. If I can taste it in my mouth from twenty feet away, you've used too much.

In other news, I got a nasty blood blister yesterday when using some pliers, working on a wire project. It looks like I dipped my finger in ink, and it's not in a prime spot for typing.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Some things I like about church, in no particular order

  1. Children's moments. We have this every week back home at UUMC, but at FUM they only have them once in a while. This morning was a doozy...the leader, upon listening to a little girl chime in about every thirty seconds witha story, quipped that the pastor (her husband) would have to shorten his sermon.
  2. Anthems. My Dad always sang in the choir throughout my life (Mom did too, before they were married; that's how they met!), and I always love listening to our choir sing...when I was helping in Sunday School downstairs, I even used to sneak up to the stairway closest to the choir and listen when I knew they were doing something nice or special. The FUM choir is nice, too, smaller but well led. They often do some interesting or exciting pieces.
  3. Quippiness (related to #1). I don't know what it is about Methodists, but the two United Methodist churches I've attended regularly are such quipsters, ad libbing and joking around. They're not always funny outright, but they are definitely masters of quick one-liners. At UUMC Pastor Frank is both a funny guy and quippy.
  4. People who look like people. OK, so this isn't strictly about church, but as I was acquainting myself with FUM I was noticing people who looked familiar. One of the choir ladies could be related to GSW's former secretary, Connie. She sang a solo today during the anthem. I have nicknamed her "Connie lookalike," in homage to Steve's made-up stories about people at the gym.
  5. That feeling you get when you pray, or are listening to a prayer, where you feel as if you're a mile above the earth, as if your body has left the bench, or at the very least your head, and you're floating way up there, with your eyes closed. Usually, that feeling goes away as soon as your eyes open, but today, while the feeling was slow to get moving, it lasted long after I opened my eyes, and it was a little alarming because my senses weren't normal.
  6. Singing hymns, although I need to put a vote in here for The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Now, I know it isn't strictly a propos for these crazy times, but singing that song just makes you feel good and triumphant about God and life. It doesn't make me want to fight, it makes me want to live, which in some cases might come to the same thing. Anyway, hymns are great. Sometimes I botch them, as in one of today's, or a couple of the ones we sang at Christmas Eve...even my Dad struggled with one of those carols, and we were both sort of laughing about it because it was so hard. Basically, it's fun whether you get it or not.

That's about it for now. There are some other things I like about church, but those are the ones I think of often, really every week.

A monologue for raisin toast.

So I just did this face recognition thing from Cornshake's blog at MyHeritage. I would JUST like to point out that, among many faces that came up from the picture I used, Miss SHAKIRA was among the better matches. So take that! I also got Vivien Leigh and Andie MacDowell in two separate shots. You people who think I look like Nicole Kidman: Well, you're out of luck.

Some thoughts on raisin toast: When I was in college, from sophmore year onward, I had access to a toaster (most of the time...sometimes it disappeared) in our little building kitchenette, which was conveniently right down the hall from me on the singles floor. Via this toaster, I indulged my fondness for raisin toast, the Sunmaid kind, which comes in a red bag.
Let me explain something to you...I had a stressful life in college. Lots of activities, lots of classes, lots of work, lots of drama. I hate it when my students today complain about once a semester having three papers due in one week, because I'm going to say that happened at least once a month to me. Suck it up.
Mostly, I did suck it up, but I'm not going to deny that I occasionally went quietly nuts, pacing the hallways (in a figure-eight pattern, not like, pacing other people's hallways), even despite hours of dance classes a week, to get rid of pent up energy and distress, bitching out my friends, and generally being a pain to everyone. Dr. Pepper was there to calm me down, but then there was also raisin toast.
No matter how upset I was, or how sad a state my stomach was in, I could always eat raisin toast. I don't know why, probably that combination of delicious, neutral starch with a little nip of fruit with every bite. I often ate it plain, which I can't do so much with bagels, and just snarfed it down. I sometimes had six pieces at one go, and if the toaster was gone, I made them in the oven on a piece of foil. I didn't mess around. I think I only once got sick of eating raisin toast, and the hiatus was short.
Now, I haven't had raisin toast in a while. As a grad student, it was a luxury I could ill afford, and while I had raisin french toast and whatnot at restaurants, and certainly my share of raisin bagels (which I also love, spread with butter), it's been a while since that red bag with its cheery little maid came into my house. I looked for her last time I shopped, and did not see her anywhere. Boo.
So, now, let me tell you about yesterday. I woke up late, pondered the day ahead, and decided that I would go to Michael's up in Perrysburg/Rossford. I have a number of crazy art projects going on (I know, I know...more projects?), and I wanted to look at frame stuff for some family pictures. So I drove up there listening to one of my friend Mike's mix CDs, Longing for Something Polish, and arrived in good time at the Shangri-La of craft stores.
I spent two hours in there. Or more. I bought so much stuff, for many projects, only three of which are actually in process right now. For instance, I got a grey barnwood frame for my family pictures, and an entire sheet of matting so I can cut my own...how's that for DIY? This frame is special because my grandmother on that side of the family lives on a farm, with a barn. I also got stuff for a shadowbox of pictures of my Mom from Disneyworld, and stuff to experiment with for a wire frame/papier mache/decoupage/glazed moth project...both of which are coming along nicely.
So I buy all this, and am exhausted and ready to get some McDonald's and head back home to create. But there's a Giant Eagle nearby, and I need bread. Regular bread. I've never been to Giant Eagle. Giant Eagle knocked my socks off with its hugeness. I wandered around there for a half hour and actually got several things, including shampoo and antipasti goodies (which are the devil, but are SO darn good), and regular bread. But then...I did a double take, and mentally clapped my hands like a four-year-old. There was the red bag! Sunmaid has returned to my life.
Duh, I bought the raisin bread, and this morning on my way to church I had two hot, toasty slices, and it was the best cap to the best 24 hours I've had since Christmas Eve-Christmas. The end of last term was sort of nutty and emotional for me, and I have only recently gotten back into the groove of being creative and private, not spending a lot of time with others but enjoying my world, only to have many of my friends and family acquaintances experience horrors or sadness. My heart and prayers go out to them, even as I nest within my own renewed, fluffy warmth and comfort. The raisin toast became a celebration of that comfort, that adventure I'd had, and all that I've experienced recently, crumbs and all. Mmm.

The other thing of note is the only (glaring) mar on yesterday: Something very hard and very fast struck my windshield on the way home, and left a baby crack about a centimeter long in it, not all the way through, about 2/3, right in the upper middle. I've been hit with lots of stuff on the highway, especially when we were going out to Colorado, but this guy left some damage. Boo!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Burning candles in my mind for twelve families, and a whole lot of other people, too, like the rescuers, who know the risks, but would never fail their fellow miners in efforts looking for survivors.
For me, the miracle is still there; not just one came up alive. As sad as it is that twelve were lost, and so many families had a lifetime of emotions in hours, one man lived. I celebrate that as much as I pray for the others.

Monday, January 02, 2006

2006: A long, wet kiss hello

Dear nimbostratus layer,
Evidently someone forgot to apprise you of the situation here. See, it's January. Ohio. Not really a month for sloppy rain. Don't get me wrong, I mean, if you want to rain now and then just bring spring in a bit earlier this year, say beginning of March, that'd be fine. But so help me, if you are planning to snow after this for four months, I will up and bitch slap you. I mean it. I'm not putting up with your head games.

The new year has arrived, it's wet outside, I dropped my phone today, it still works, the fish doesn't look so hot, and I just want to go back home and sew where it's nice and warm and dry and my TV loves me. I am somewhat absolved because today is a university holiday. So if I don't do any work it doesn't really matter, right?
I am such a sloth.

The Party:
Fun was had at Steve and Liss's place, or should I say Stir Fry's pad. That cat loves me. We bonded. I didn't have an allergy attack. It was great. I sent some text messages, called someone hot and nice, and drank champagne.
  • Favorite song of the evening: "Got to Give It Up, pt. 1," Marvin Gaye, thank you so much Steve and Carrie, I needed that.
  • Favorite eats of the evening: Got to go with Lisa's chicken enchilada dip, but in terms of the overall spread I got to give a serious holla to Melissa, who always sets out a superb nosh.
  • (side note: isn't it hilarious when I say holla? It's like a monkey saying "enchante")
  • Favorite drink of the evening: What can I say? I brought a Lambic. But that Asti was the perfect sweet deliciousness to finish the evening out.
  • Favorite party moment: Trying to get the group shot together. Much hugging was achieved. Nathan received a new-and-improved, hyphenated name--David-Nathan. Aimee was giggling too much to focus. Party hats were worn.
  • Favorite private moment: Text messages to ME!
  • Least favorite party moment: Dealing with the stupid run in my favorite nylons with seams. Curse you, Victoria's Secret hosiery!


Last night I received a phone call from my friend Erik, which lasted a very short time because the connection was lost. Later that evening, someone called, and I got a lot of background sound but no speaker, so I hung up. Three minutes later, the phone rang again, and a girl said "Abigail? Abigail? I mean, is Abigail there?" And I said "this is she" about three times and then nothing more was said and I hung up. I have no idea who it was, since the person called my landline, and the voice did not seem familiar. Weirdos.