Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Non-Commercial Season

We watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade last week and I was annoyed as usual that they didn't show the marching bands more. It's so unfair. The stupid commentators blather on about how this band had to raise so much money to get here and they're from a small town and yadda yadda, then we get to see them for approximately .5 seconds before we cut to some stoopid balloon. J. and I nearly fell off our chairs when the mayor of New York said he loves this parade because it's non-commercial. Exsqueeze me??? It's the MACY'S Thanksgiving Day Parade, and about 95% of the entries in the parade are from commercial ventures--Spongebob and various other cartoon characters from the Cartoon Network, M&M's (which provided the only violence of the parade by crashing into a lightpole and making it fall on a woman in a wheelchair--oopsie, not such good press there for Macy's), Ronald McDonald (who's now supposed to be some big exercise guru for kids--shyeah, right), and on and on. Hell, even Mr. Potato Head was a fracking commercial--the commentators read from their little script that he's now called "Healthy Mr. Potato Head," sponsored by the Potato Growers of America, and he carries a sports water bottle. Oh come on, people, it's Mr. Potato Head! It's supposed to funny, not moralistic! Jeez. The truth is, the marching bands are about the ONLY non-commercial part of the parade, and they don't get coverage for exactly that reason. So just shut it, Mr. Mayor, we're not buying it. And it's not the best parade of the year, either. That would be the Rose Bowl Parade.

Mousie Frat House

Now is the time of year all smart mousies find a house to invade for the winter. We usually have several, and this year is no exception. They really went all out this time, though. The bottom shelf of our pantry, which we don't use much except to store stuff, became mousie central. And they are little pigs! There were a couple of bags of doggie treats they chewed through and chowed down on, and they made a nest of paper and other bits of stuff and there was mouise poo everywhere!! Blast those mousies! I mean, they're cute when you see them scurry across the kitchen floor, but they live like frat boys. And they leave a trail of poo wherever they go. J. cleaned out the frat house but I still have to wash it. Bleah. Meanwhile he's set traps to catch them. The pantry is in a little alcove near the back door that closes off from the kitchen with another door, and those darn mousies have been chewing the door and the rubber sealer on the floorboard to get back into the kitchen at night when we close the door!! They've also chewed the back door, I guess to get out. It's times like these I wish we could have a couple cats in the house. But then again, if we did, I'd probably get to see the mouse carcasses when they were caught, which I don't have to deal with now. J. deals with that, and I gladly let him.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Thankful List

This year, here's some of what I'm thankful for:
J., Cocoa, my family, my friends
that CK's pregnancy is going fine
MNAlteredBooks, my art group that I meet with once a month
Sharon and writing for the Observer
glue stick (my favorite art tool)
having the courage to go for teaching art
that I haven't had to go in for emergency pain shots for migraines nearly as often as I did last year (hey, it's all relative)
my birthday party with Cindy and her friends and my friends and family
making art
fall colors
Boundary Waters camping and canoe trip this summer
Mom's health
Dad's choir group
Wendy's boyfriend
walking Cocoa

ATC: Flying Monkeys!

I know this is more Halloween than Thanksgiving, but I haven't had a chance to post it before now. The flying monkey background is a hand-carved rubber stamp I made. The witch in the middle is from a poster I found on the web--what's funny is that it's actually a play on a WWII poster that shows a woman in the same pose cheering on a bunch of planes flying overhead, like the RAF or something. Posted by Picasa

Surprise monkey

and here is the surprise monkey underneath. Also found this photo on the web, the monkey is sitting at a typewriter...writing Shakespeare, no doubt. Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 21, 2005

Ohhhhmmm Library Job Ohhhmmmm

So last Friday my interview went really well for the library clerk job in Minnetonka. They seemed to really like me, even gave me a tour of the building after the interview, which seemed more like something you'd do with someone you just hired than with someone you haven't decided on yet. One of the questions they asked me in the interview was that silly one they always ask you about what you see yourself doing in 5 years, or how this job fits in with your long-term plans, something like that. And I kind of scrunched my eyebrows and said "Well, I don't have plans to become the head of the library or anything." That made them laugh. I mean, come on, it's a part-time clerk job. So I was just honest. I'm a freelance writer, I want a part-time job I'll enjoy and be good at, and this seemed like a good balance. And they seemed to think that was an okay answer.

Then this morning I got a call about another job I applied for that I'd already given up on hearing about--a tech position at the big library in Ridgedale. Oooh, that's the one I really wanted! It's closer, pays better, daytime weekdays and no weekend hours. I have an interview scheduled for December 1st. I'm really crossing my fingers...a job would be a really great Christmas present for me. To me. From fate.

Keeping up with the ?

Okay, I've realized something about the money thing. The point is not really that I need to control how everyone else does Christmas, i.e., how much money they spend on buying presents for me and J. The point is that I have to be comfortable with "inequity" as J. puts it. I have to be okay with the fact that I know I won't be buying or making or giving as many or as spendy of presents to other people as they might be giving me. This sounds so stupid when I spell it out, like what's the big deal? But it is. Money is the one thing I have trouble talking about, and being decisive about. I know last year J. and I talked early on about how we knew we didn't have a lot to spend on Xmas presents, and we really should come up with a spending limit. And we never did, we just kind of winged it. I don't know if we're going to do that again, we might. I just hope we wing it a bit lower than last year.

But why do I feel like I have to spend a certain amount of money to show people I care? Am I trying to keep up with the Joneses? I don't know. I don't want people to feel sleighted, and that's real. I do like getting presents for people, picking out things I think they will enjoy is fun. But it's so stressful when you don't have money to spend, and that's not what Christmas is supposed to be about. I saw this commercial yesterday for Toys R Us and it said "so you can get your child everything he wants." Is that the point, to get everything you want? I mean, what does that teach you? I think it just teaches you to want more. Seems like there should something more useful to learn about Christmas than to want more stuff.

One thing I still haven't done that I've always wanted to do for Christmas is go caroling. I don't know, I probably need to already be in some singing group, which I'm not in.

J. is going to be off work a lot this next month because he has to use up vacation time before the end of the year, and I really hope we can spend some fun time together, even though we can't go anywhere really. I mean, I know we can find fun stuff to do in town, like go to museums and take Cocoa to parks and stuff. I hope there's more snow than last winter, it would be nice to go Cross-Country skiing in town at one of the big parks.

Friday, November 18, 2005

But Other Than That...

Things are going really well with my writing and my art. Next month I have an article being publishing in a local paper, The Minneapolis Observer, all about Artist Trading Cards. I also have a book review for the same paper, and I'm being PAID for both pieces, which is really exciting. I'll be teaching three Community Ed classes this winter on making ATC's, and my hope is that this article will create some interest in that and get more people to take the classes. So that's all good. And now I'm writing book reviews (they aren't done yet) for a new local website, the Twin Cities Daily Planet. This gig won't be paying, but it's all local books, which I really like. It's funny, one of the books I could have reviewed is a new collection of poetry by Jim Moore, one of my fantastic teachers from Hamline. I love his poetry and I am so happy he has a new book out (it's called Lightning at Dinner), but I just don't want to review it. I think there are some books I just want to read as a reader, not as a critic.

A Bit Rough and The Stoopid

Today I did something really stoopid that I so wish I could undo but there it is. I was backing out of the garage, thinking about the job interview I was going to and being a bit nervous, and there was a terrible crunching sound...I took the driver's side rear view mirror off the car with the side of the garage. Aw, crap. Nice way to start the day. Nice nice nice. Not like we have money right now to fix it, either. Last night we had a plumbing back-up and J. spent almost three hours working on that before it finally started working again enough to flush the toilet. He wasn't super sure it was all fixed, though, so I couldn't take a shower this morning, just had to do a sponge bath and wet my hair and refix it. Not the most confidence-inspiring events before a job interview. The interview itself went really well, so I'm hoping and praying I get hired. We need additonal income to pay down some debt, and I REALLY want this job, it's another library job. A bit far, 20 miles from home, but you take what you can get, and the pay is good and the people seem very nice. It's hard not to invest a lot of hope in getting this job. I try to be flexible about things happening and have faith things will work out, as they usually do, even if I can't see how sometimes...but I'm feeling rather nervous about money lately. I won't get to fly home for Christmas like I have been wanting to all year, and so I don't feel super cheery about Christmas like I usually do. We don't have money for gifts so I don't really know what we're going to do about that. I keep thinking we should draw names in our families so everyone is only buying for one person, I know some friends whose families do that and it seems so much less stressful. I just don't know how to introduce the topic and J. is not super keen on saying anything to his family, either, as far as I know. We'll be together for Christmas, our little family of me, J. and Cocoa, that's the important thing, right? It's hard to just focus on that sometimes. I hate being in debt. I mean, we've made lifestyle choices to make us happy, and part of that was me going to graduate school and then not working so I could write. And now I've gotten into making art as well, and that's all great. But it's reached a point that I need to work at least part-time to bring in some income. I'm still writing and doing art, and even have some teaching gigs lined up to teach ATC's this winter, but none of that is money-producing. It's a hard balance to find, to know how much debt you can live with. I mean, I have worked in big companies and made decent money but was rather miserable. Now I love my lifestyle but I'm in serious debt. So I'm doing something about it, I'm trying to find a part-time job and still pursue what makes me happy. It's just a pain that it's so hard to find a job. I feel for anyone looking for a job, it's a harsh roller-coaster to ride, pumping yourself up to come across confident in a job interview, then feeling crushed and useless when you aren't chosen to be hired. Feeling like you'd be perfect for the job and not getting it makes you wonder if you're just deluding yourself--but you want to have a positive attitude, right? Ack. I think I need a breather, I'll go eat lunch and play some Pogo. I have a very rich skill set when it comes to playing QWERTY on Pogo.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Get Out of Pain Free Card

I was looking for my Get Out of Pain Free card yesterday when--oh!, I remembered I didn't have one. Too bad, this has been a rough month so far and I could use one. First I had a couple fun infections, one that was so painful I had to go to urgent care in the middle of the night and get asked weird questions by a nurse escaped from the 50's": "So you're okay, it's just your bottom that hurts?" She actually said that. First of all, my bottom is not part of me? Secondly, my BOTTOM? Who are you? I mean, come on, I'm 39 years old fuh chrissake, let's use anatomical terms we all know. Christ. Then the doctor follows with "So, you have abdominal cramps?" Like, he didn't want to really get to the part about my BOTTOM. Then the nurse tried to tell my husband he had to leave the room for my pelvic exam. OH, I THINK NOT. Good Lord, who are these people? At least I was coherent enough to say NO HE'LL BE STAYING. The exam was utter hell, I don't think that doctor is real familiar with female anatomy. But I forgive him because he gave me some Vicadin for the next couple days, and that helped immensely. Then I ran out and was very crabby again. So I go to my regular clinic, and they tell me, oh no, you don't have that infection anymore, now you have this other one. So here's some more medicine for your BOTTOM. No, actually she didn't say that word. But she didn't give me any Vicadin, so I don't like her very much. Okay, so all that fun is done. And I'm feeling pretty good, for oh, a few hours? Then it's that time of the month: no, no, time for the migraine headaches to start. Pooooooo! Okay, but I went to my art group meeting today anyway, and although I forgot to take my sunglasses off, I think I was mostly coherent and I feel much happier now, even if I still have a stinkeroo headache. So there.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I'm Doing What?

Good Lord, I just found out that all those friendship bracelets I've made--I wasn't just making knots, I was doing Macrame!! Holy 70's flashback! I didn't know, I swear, no one told me that's what macrame was, making knots! But I haven't made any hanging plant holders, and you can't make me.

ATC: Quilted Wolfman

The monster is from leftover material I have from the first quilt I made. This little card is my first attempt at binding the edge. Not too bad. Posted by Picasa