Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Dia de los Muertos postcards

These are some postcards I made that I'm entering in a contest at MCBA. I love drawing the skulls, they are fun. My favorite is the one with bowls of ice cream.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Tattoo day 4

Here's how it looks today: a bit darker, shows up nicely. The only thing I don't like is that this is the only way I can see it right side up--if I take a photo of it! Next time I'd get it the other direction.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Here's my tattoo on day 2, what it looks like after the henna ink and sealer comes off. Now I'm supposed to put some natural oil on it to keep my skin moisturized so the tat will last longer. So J. goes and gets a bottle of olive oil and a basting brush! Hey, I'm not a turkey. Anyway, it should last for about 2 weeks. After that I might decide to get a permanent one. Ha! Henna tats don't hurt, it's just like someone painting on your arm. I don't know if I could do the painful kind. So here's a plug for my body artist: Check them out at SoleShine. They do parties, which I think sounds like a lot of fun, a tattoo/art party!

Friday, August 25, 2006

I Got a Tattoo!

Okay, it's only in Henna, but it's pretty cool, no? I got it today at the Minnesota State Fair, one of my favorite events of the whole year. More pics to come...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Homeless or Shameless?

So I'm sitting in my car this morning at the Hennepin/Lyndale exit stoplight off I-94 West, and I notice a 20- or 30-something guy (I'm not so great at guessing ages) crossing the street. He's got a folded up piece of something under one arm and a dirty yellow canvas bag slung over his shoulder that looks like it was meant for laundry but he doesn't strike me as being on his way to a laundromat. The clothes he's wearing look they could use a good wash. One of Minneapolis' finest rolls by in the lane next where he's walking, and the cop in the passenger seat starts talking to the guy out his open window. The guy is walking fast like he's got somewhere to go, or at least that's how he's acting. Acting. When the cop leans out the window with a smile and says something to the guy, he first looks surprised the cops are talking to him, then his body language changes and it's like they've caught him at something, the game is up. But the cops don't stop, it's no biggie, they've had a chat and they pull away to go stop more serious evildoers. The guy stops and stands there a minute, then unfolds his thingie, which I now recognize as one of those ubiquitous homeless signs. I can't see it but it probably says something like "Homeless Please Help God Bless." He turns around and walks back the way he came, like it doesn't matter anymore where he was going. He walks under the overpass and stops, reaches down between some electrical boxes, and pulls out a black rectangle, which I recognize as another ubiquitous cultural object. It's a laptop bag. And it's not empty. He opens up his dirty yellow bag and carefully slips the black laptop inside, pulls the dirty yellow bag closed, then continues on his way.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Artist Trading Cards entered in Art Show

These are the ATC's I entered into the House of Cards II ATC exhibit in Columbus, Ohio. I just wish I could attend the show. It's kind of a far drive, darnit. But I do get a show poster for being a participant, that should be fun.

The top one is one of a series I made last Christmas called "You Know Why." I carved the James Dean rubber stamp. The doggie one is a drawing I made based on a fun children's picture book. It's called "Gigi" and along the side are the words "Flowers always made Gigi feel like dancing. And the flower one is from the recent State Flower swap that I did. It's a Showy Ladyslipper, the MN State Flower.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

About Writing and Puzzles

I've been thinking about myself as a writer lately, and noticing I have no desire to hook up with my alumni at Hamline, and don't really feel a need to find a writing group for feedback on my work. I know what I want to write. I don't need any input from anyone else anymore, and I like that feeling. I'm not saying I have a huge ego now, at least I don't think that's what I'm saying. I just know myself as a writer and don't feel the need to be shaped by someone else's vision, maybe that's it. I did recently get a subscription to The Writer's Chronicle, as I've always liked their thoughtful articles and interviews, and in the current May/Summer issue I found this:

"Community is the happy affirmation of the young writer; but solitude is the mature writer's dearest mate." --D.W. Frenza

It's in an essay for MFA Students (that's what I have, an MFA in Writing) who are just graduating and wondering about life beyond the classroom. He compares students to bees in a hive, which gets kind of annoying, but he makes some very salient points. I used to feel guilty that once I'd graduated I just wanted to get away from school and most of the people there, even though they were good writers and nice people...but now I think I get it. I'm finding my place in the world. They were good for me, those people, while I was there in the program. Now it's okay to let them go. They don't need me, I don't need them. End of story.

Or, beginning of new story. I wrote a young adult novel for my thesis that was very marketable, but I have no desire to go back to it and send it out to publishers and invest my energy in it. I want to write something else now. And I should not feel guilty that I'm not focusing on that saleable piece. I'm not in this for the money, I never was. That's mainly why I quit the Writer's Union, because I realized that was their agenda, money. And it wasn't mine. I love writing for writing's sake. So there.

People find out I'm writer and they get all excited when they read my writing and like it, and then they have this agenda for me: I need to talk to so-and-so because he's had books published and he could help you and blah-blah-blah bestseller, money money money. Why can't they just say, hey I really enjoyed that piece. And let that be enough? Is that an American thing, always going for the big money? It's like watching those dolts on Wheel of Fortune spin the dork wheel and chant "C'mon, big money! Big money!" I've always found that embarrassing to watch. Why don't they just call it "Wheel of Ugly Americans"? It's not like they're doing anything real hard to win, either, jeeez.

Which reminds me, I like doing crossword puzzles, which do take brain power, but I've recently gotten more interested in the British version of the crossword puzzle, which is the cryptic crossword. It has more wordplay and I like that, and when you get the answer, you know you got it right, there's no ambiguity. So I'm reading this old book I found called Beyond Crossword Puzzles, which is teaching me how to do cryptic crosswords. Fun!! We did go see the film Wordplay, about the 28th annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, run by Will Shortz, the NYTimes crossword puzzle editor and puzzlemaster of NPR, and that made me want to do more puzzles. But I don't want to just amass obscure knowledge, like all those geography clues require (port city in Kansas--shut up, it's a joke, my geography is not quite that bad). It's much more satisfying to solve a cryptic clue and know immediately that you got the answer right.

The Da Vinci Code was boring but...

This was my favorite line of dialogue:

"I've got to get to a library... Fast!"


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Sanitary Pads Upgrade?

Warning: this is another woman-centered entry, so if you are squeamish about menstrual periods, READ NO FURTHER.

So my sister sent me this rant she had passed on to her from a woman who's pissed off at Kotex for printing "Tips for Life" on the peel-off strip on their pantiliners. Evidently they say helpful things like "Staying active during your period can relieve cramps" and "Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day to keep you hydrated and feeling fresh." Yeah, shut it, Kotex. You aren't my doctor. It is pretty bossy, you gotta admit. Like the recent helpful list of money-saving tips Northwest handed out to their screwed-over employees, with tips like "Don't be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash."

See, the problem is, Kotex and Northwest are not in a position of trust for the things they are trying to offer advice on. In fact, they have a vested interest in our behavior, therefore, they need to shut it. And I now have to add Always to the list, because right before I got this email from my sister about Kotex, I noticed that Always also has messages on their peel-off strips...not as bossy as Kotex, but still weird. The message is "Have a Happy Period," and also in French because I live near Canada, "Bonne et heureuse semaine." This is a handy phrase that should be in any traveler's notes--French phrases for everyday use...yeah, not so much. The thing is, what the frack is a "happy" period? It's like saying "Have a good time in surgery." Um, no. A happy time is not really the goal of surgery. Or a period. It's a necessary evil. Period. Pun intended.


Cocoa and J. swimming in the Mississippi River, with stick.

Splish Splash

Cocoa leaps into action after the stick, which you can see in the air just above and to the left of her.

It's a Good Stick

Cocoa likes big sticks. They get smaller the longer she plays with them, as parts get gnawed off.

Sparkle Sparkle

Sparkly sun on the creek water (non-muddy part of creek). I love how the shadows fall on the rocks under the water. I have this photo on my desktop right now.

Mud Lover

Here's Cocoa enjoying the muddy creek at the doggie park.

Fetch in the Mississippi

Cocoa brings the stick to J.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

New Book Review!

I just put up a link to it on my sidebar, but in case you didn't notice, I have a new book review up at Twin Cities Daily Planet, for the book Mommy Knows Worst, by James Lileks, one of my favorite nutballs. He's funny without being mean, and I like that a lot. Lileks has a great website full of goofy stuff like old signs, matchbook covers, scary food, etc.

I also put up a few more links to more of my book reviews. They aren't new, but if you just can't get enough of my writing and haven't read these yet, then you can go get more. Whoo.

Blue Meanies

I was in line at the post office yesteday to mail some artwork to a show, when I overheard this guy behind me talking to whoever would listen...

Talker: Looks like it's going to be a nice day out there, huh?
Trapped Person next to him in line: Mmm-hmm.
Talker: As long as the Blue Meanies don't drop down on us, huh? (snickers at private joke)
Trapped Person: (says nothing, looks baffled but smiles)
Talker: The Blue Meanies, haha. That's what I call the Homeland Security--boy, those guys are ruining everybody's party, huh?
Trapped Person: (nods silently)
Talker: Pretty soon you won't be able to buy a pack of cigarettes...
Trapped Person: (looks at talker questioningly)
Talker: --without being afraid they'll spontaneously combust...
Trapped Person: (looks more baffled)
Talker: --because some Turk put pyrotechnics in it!

There was more after that, about the government in the fifties and commies under the toilet seat, but I thought the Blue Meanies was brilliant. And if you don't know who the Blue Meanies are, good Lord! Go watch Yellow Submarine.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Things You See From a Moving Car

While driving to work in rush hour traffic, I saw the guy in the car behind me pull his red t-shirt over his head and toss it on the seat next to him. He looked quite pleased with himself, hanging his arm out the open window and settling back into his seat. I bet he didn't have air conditioning in his car. Too bad more people without A/C in their car don't just remove their clothing. I think there would be less road rage.

So I watched this guy for a while, since traffic wasn't moving much. He was funny, he yawned and looked at himself in his rear-view mirror while he was yawning. Then he stuck his finger in his eye and checked his finger for eye goo. Ew. So I looked at the guy in the car in front of me, and he was cleaning out his ear with his finger. And looking at it. Ecch. You know, men make fun of women who put on make-up in the car (actually, I do that, too--mock them, not do as they do), but really, I thought this was much worse. Driving in traffic is not the place for personal hygeine rituals, guys.

I was in the lane that had merging traffic coming into it, you know, the one where people pretend nothing exists on the right side of their car, even though there are all these cars with their blinky blinkers on begging you to let them into their lane? Lucky me, I had a Haagen Dazs truck come alongside my car. You know I let him in.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


They never had these in the library when I was an ankle-biter. The kids love them. You can actually check them out like books, how cool is that?

Big Place

The lights are still off but you can see how much natural light there is. There are lotsa windows.

Purty View

In the morning before opening: Study tables next to windows with a great view. Stacks reflected in the window.

My Happy Place

This is the library where I work. This view is of the front of the building. The library is actually on the left half of the building, at least the public part is.

These are some ATC's I recently made for a swap on State Flowers. The state flower for MN is the Showy Ladslipper. I looked at some botanical drawings and made my own, then painted them. I was really pleased with how they came out, and each one is different.