Friday, March 28, 2008

Oh my cell phone, it has three modes...

1) No network coverage; 2) AT&T coverage but no bars; 3) Four bars and still unable to make a call. This last one is its new favorite mode- I get so excited because, finally, something must have happened to give Cingular clients in Los Angeles consistent, reliable coverage. HA. At one point yesterday I tried four times to call my voicemail and all four times I either got complete silence or a series of weird beeps or the series of beeps that means the call failed*. Just now I tried calling my mum, and despite the four bars, the calls still failed before a connection could be made. I think I shall march my irate, congested self straight down to the Cingular place by Whole Foods and give them the winter of my discontent (and hopefully my cold as well. Then those employees can pass it along to their supervisors, and so on).

Enough complaining (for now). I just finished (or am on the brink of finishing- I'm not quite certain yet) a very important Project. A very important Project (well, to me), and Something that was fairly ambitious for me. But I can't talk about It anymore than that for now.

Oh- last of all, for now, I was wondering if you friendly readers could give me some advice- I'm looking for some good books to read. Preferably fiction, preferably not dealing with war, politics, horror, or romance. I'd been reading One Hundred Years of Solitude, but wasn't enjoying it too much and Marli said she didn't like it. So I tossed it back in the bag of books I'd gotten from the library. Then I picked up House of Leaves, and, oh lookie there, it's a horror novel. DANGIT. I did read the first few pages, but then just sort of flipped through it. Tales of terror and I do not mix well (why would I ever want to read about someone experiencing extreme psychological/emotional/mental/physical distress for my entertainment?), but Mark Danielewski gets really creative with some of his text layout, which I found quite fascinating and cool. Yay creative typography, boo horrid plot.

*What is with these beeps, anyway? Why can't some nice, calm computer voice just tell you what went wrong? I don't know what "boo boooo boooo beeeeep" means. Instead of some dumb chime, why not "call failed" or "the network is busy right now" or "switch to verizon!". I might heed that last voice...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New stuff

Hi all. I had a lot of fun yesterday evening making journals out of the boxes that some chocolate came in. The boxes were the perfect size, and I have this thing about chocolate packaging that prevents me from ever throwing the wrappers away. I have an actual box in Potsdam of (you guessed it) chocolate-bar packaging. And several here, as well. I'm a freak! But anyway, it's fun to combine interests (bookmaking and chocolate, in this case), especially when recycling is involved as well! I've made two so far- you can find more details about them at my etsy shop.

Quick story about how I almost killed myself- I was grocery shopping yesterday, and really wanted to get hummus. Because I'm a little more paranoid about food preservatives, additives, and corn-derived products in general than usual, I couldn't allow myelf to buy prepared hummus. So, in addition to a few other things, I bought chickpeas and tahini (which I love anyway). Once at home, I filled a pot with water from the Britta pitcher (the tap water here makes me sick), added all of the beans I bought (a couple cups), and set it on to boil. When the water had reached a boil, I removed the lid to stir it some, and ugh! It reeked! I couldn't quite put my finger on the smell at first, but then it dawned on me. Bleach. I checked the Britta pitcher- there was no filter in it; someone must have been trying to clean it. So I poured out the water, re-bagged the chickpeas, threw them in the trash, and got myself a delicious piece of strawberry pie* to ease the pain of disappointment. Hehe.

*Bart and I made strawberry-blueberry pie on Easter as his belated-birthday treat! Farmer's market strawberries cannot be beat. Even the whole-wheat crust that I insisted on making didn't ruin their awesomeness. By the way, if anyone knows of a good whole-wheat, not-incredibly-buttery crust recipe, I would be grateful to know of it. Encasing delicious fresh fruit in a wrapper of lard just seems dumb to me, but I do admit that it is hard to imitate a white flour and butter/shortening crust without white flour or butter/shortening.

Oh, I stumbled upon this recipe last night somehow...Maybe in one of those links of "related topics" Google puts next to your emails. Anyway, it looks almost amazing! (Minus the butter, yet again. Hmmm...maybe minus most of the butter and the coffee, with peanut butter instead. MMMMMmmm...) Maybe we'll have to subject Care Group to this concoction in two weeks! :)

PS- Thanks for the comments! I really like them; they mean a lot to me :)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Things and Stuff!

Sometimes I really hate trying to come up with a title for a post. Good thing “things and stuff” is always applicable!

Just wanted to let y’all know that there is a new journal up for sale at my etsy shop! It’s groovy; I like the cover design. I hope that there will be more on the way in the days to come.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention- today was like, free-sample-stravaganza at Whole Foods. I am a sucker for free samples (free anything, pretty much), especially at a semi-hoity-toity establishment like Whole Foods. Dark chocolate ganache spread? I can pretty much tell you now that I will never buy/be able to afford such a thing, but sample it? Oh, definitely. Cheese? Apple-raisin coffee cake? Heck yes. Yum. Hmm…if I work it right, maybe I could make free samples at Whole Foods an actual lunch. And then, to make it fair, I’ll buy a banana. No, that would be wrong. I could justify it by proclaiming that Whole Foods is a house of lies and deceit*, but two wrongs don’t make a right…Bah. :)

Today is Bart’s birthday! Hooray Bart! :)

*darn you, The Omnivore’s Dilemma! You are ruining my life!

Monday, March 17, 2008

On Death and the Weather

I came up with an amazingly articulate, inspiring and witty blogpost on my walk this afternoon. Yeah, I was thinking about blogging while wandering in the mid-afternoon sun. Sad. Anyway, let’s see how much of it I remember.

Well, first of all, the title of this post is far more dramatic than the actual content of what I was going to write about. Last night a terrible windstorm raged from at least 2am to sunrise; I was awake for most of it. I opened my blinds so I could watch the trees being flung about like …umm…ok, metaphors fail me. But at any rate, their branches were being flung about quite wildly, and I was too afraid to try going back to sleep (as if I could. It was loud) in case a branch broke off the tree near my window and crashed through the roof, squashing me beneath its gargantuan weight*. So I thought about some things, althought not oo terribly in-depth, since I was feeling a weird combination of groggy and jumpy. First, God’s power. Second, …ok, there was a second thing, but I’ve completely forgotten it for the moment. Third, boy, was I glad I had no job to get up early for because I knew I was going to get no sleep that night.

Ok, so that was a useless paragraph, but what I’m trying to get to is to say that last night’s weather reminded me of the nature of life and death. We haven’t figured out a way to control the weather (one of the few natural forces that remains beyond our greedy grasping for control), and so it rains on the rich as well as the poor.

I’m listening to “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” on cd, and now I’m curious (re: paranoid) about processed foods**. So I thought I’d poke around the FDA’s website, and ended up learning something new about ketchup.

[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 21, Volume 2]
[Revised as of April 1, 2007]
[CITE: 21CFR155.194]




Subpart B--Requirements for Specific Standardized Canned Vegetables
Sec. 155.194 Catsup.
The standard of quality for catsup is as follows: The consistency of the finished food is such that its flow is not more than 14 centimeters in 30 seconds at 20 deg. C when tested in a Bostwick Consistometer.
I never knew! Ah, the subtle qualities of ketchup (which may also be spelled catsup and catchup, apparently).

In food-related news, I bought a bar of chocolate the other day (on sale at Target! Woohoo!) – Frey Supreme Hot Chilli Pepper (“extra fine dark chocolate with chilli”, and yes, “dry chilli” is listed fourth in the ingredients). Now, I’ve had chocolate with chili pepper in them before, once or twice***, and I, a white girl with zero tolerance for spicy food, was actually disappointed with how wimpy and thoroughly unspicy it was. This bar, however, is so painfully peppery it is nearly inedible. This has not kept me from choking down most of the bar, but I think I’ve finally had my fill and will share the rest with those of you who enjoy submitting your taste buds to extreme discomfort. This will be difficult for me, because one of my favorite kinds of chocolate is the kind that on sale. And seriously, it’s chocolate.

Last but not least- A NEW ITEM has been listed in my Etsy shop! It’s made from some beautiful papers from Neenah and bound in covers of the same stock as my senior project, with a cool Celtic-like drawing on the front. Ta-da!

Well…not much of a post. I’m pretty tired from only getting four or five hours of sleep last night, and having a hard time being coherent. Too bad you weren’t there to hear my head narrate that brilliant post earlier.

Hold it- last, last of all, I would like to say "Happy Birthday" to my ma :) Yay!

*I looked at that tree this morning- there aren’t any branches on it capable of crashing through the roof. Darn you, imagination run wild!
**I am already paranoid about meat.
*** Chuao Spicy Maya is the only one I remember at the moment. It's not that spicy...but it does taste good, still.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Daily schedules

So I always make wild plans before each new day to make that day incredibly productive and awesome. But then somehow random things happen that completely suck time from my day, and I find myself only working for an hour or so on a couple of things from the list. So I want to write down what I actually do end up doing in a day, to see where the time sucks are (I already know one of them, perhaps the greatest time suck of all: walking. Sigh.)
730-9: breakfast, read some blogs, paid a bill, played on Photoshop a bit and then copied pictures to a rewritable cd, and also caught up a bit bible reading.
9-12: walked/jogged to the 99cents Store, Kinkos, Out of the Closet. Got some cards printed by a very nice fellow at Kinkos- they look awesome. I am incredibly pleased with them!! I also printed three new designs, and I think they look amazing as well :) And they’re all on linen cardstock samples that I got from Neenah. The dollar store was meh, and Closet was sigh. I’d been hoping to find a skirt there, and maybe a new shirt. I did find some nice skirts, but they were dry-clean only, and since I’d be getting them from a thrift store, cleaning them before wearing them would be a must, but dry-cleaning…expensive. Total distance walked - 9 miles
12-1230: shower*, dress, vacuum room, get lunch, begin this blogpost.

I woke up feeling exhausted this morning. I remember feeling like I had gone for a twelve mile walk while I was asleep. Sigh. I felt better when I got up, at least. Anyway, my plan for the after noon (1-4pm) is: make phone calls (stop whining, stupid brain!), work on a drawing for my mum, play with fabric, and finish this blogpost. Ok…go!
Quick observation: Spider Solitaire has finally beaten out Photoshop as my most used program (according to the ranking in my start menu). Is that a bad sign?...
Argh! I forgot about that silly cover letter I was going to work on…well, maybe after I make those phone calls.

It is now 3:10pm, and I have worked on fabric and did some drawing. I also wrote about two sentences for this cover letter, and will hopefully have the opportunity to finish it this evening, since I want to hand it to them tomorrow. Finally, I cut the paper that the cards are on. happy with how they came out! :) Finally, finally, I'm still trying to force myself to make those phone calls...Come on....There are only two...It'll be easy...

Bye for now.

*In case you were wondering, I am, in fact, the world's fastest/most efficient showerer.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Well, this morning was supposed to be fabulously productive, but I have found myself to be severely distracted. I did laundry and walked to the farmer’s market, read my Bible and took the screen/sunshield off my window (let there be light! And there was. And it was gooood). So now my clothes aren’t smelly, and my spider plant and lavender are very, very happy. I didn’t get anything from the farmarket because I only had about three dollars and didn’t really feel like picking through vegetables in giant crowds of people anyway.

I recently discovered (completely by chance) the blog of an old friend that she’d started in high school. It took me by surprise, to say the least, and I’ve been thinking a lot since then about relationships and people I knew. I wish I’d been there for her more, but given the circumstances…that would have been difficult, though not impossible, and I kind of wish I’d been able to see beyond myself a bit more and care for others at that time. Reading her words has been very draining. Anyway, I’m trying to be vague and yet explain and describe something that I’m feeling, and that doesn’t work too well.

Ah, my room is very sunny. I love being able to work by natural light. That was my favorite thing about my room senior year at Scripps. If the sun was up, my room would be filled with lots of natural light, and it was indirect light, too, so I was never baking in the sun. If I ever have the pleasure of owning a house, I want high ceilings and big windows. A good view also wouldn’t hurt, I suppose.

So we’re already into the second week of March, eh? That is incredible. Let’s see…I’ve applied to 2 jobs at Whole Foods, Coldstone, Target, The Huntington, Robeks (rejected), Corner Bakery (rejected), and I sent my resume to a couple other places that obviously were not my dream job because I don’t even remember what they were. Why doesn’t that seem like very many places? Hmmm…I’m pretty sure I haven’t been a slacker. Perssons greenhouse and Steamers are not hiring, but I’ll fill out the applications anyway. Monday I’m headed off to Baskin Robbins, tutoring places, and will print and fill out the application for being a library page at the Sierra Madre Public Library. I may also check out the Hastings Ranch branch of the Pasadena Library System. I’ve been considering substitute teaching for a while now as well, but just getting certified for that sounds like an exhausting process.
I do not understand why all of these doors have been closed. It’s ok and all…I can usually trust God with the situation and providing what I need…but…I dunno. I’ve never had to deal with rejection like this before.

Let’s see…I have not been able to do a lot of art recently. I spend a lot of time walking or feeling like I’ve been hit by a bus. Trying to draw or work on things takes too much effort. It’s not that I don’t want to…I don’t know. I’m too tired to try and think straight. A nap would be a good idea, probably, but no. We must stay busy, busy, busy. Always.

On the plus side (or maybe this is why I’m so tired :) ), I had the opportunity to go hiking (!) yesterday! Bart took the afternoon off to accompany me to Bailey Canyon and protect me from the mountain lions. We spent two hours or so on the trails, and at least that much time walking to and from the park, and walking to the bus stop (and then another bus stop, and then another bus stop, and then to his house…long story). It was warm outside, and clear. From the height we climbed to, you could see well beyond downtown LA, and we could even make out dim outlines of buildings in Glendale. It’s nice that you can live in LA and still be able to get away from it. I am especially lucky that wilderness begins a few short minutes’ walk from my house. It’s a good thing the mountains are there. Just imagine how much bigger LA would be without those massive inconveniences.

I have no projects I’m really working on right now. I calligraphized some business cards the other day so I can give people the address to my bloggy, etsy shop, and portfolio. I also made another recycled container-plant pot paper covering, but it’s nothing worth photographing or writing about.

Blah. At least I can hear the birds sing. Everything will be fine.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tuesday things n’stuff

So today I walked to Michael’s (the craft place) on Colorado. Yay for another 11-mile day. I found nothing but linen thread there (which I hope to use for sewing some books); they don’t carry contact paper anymore, and I was also looking for some adhesive stuff to use to make book cloth, but they didn’t have any of that, either. I can’t hold that against them too much since it’s a pretty small Michael’s. Still, I did have to walk five and a half miles to get there*. On the way back I stopped by my favorite place to shop: the hallowed “99cents Only” store. Their stock changes constantly, but that’s one of the reasons I like it. Sometimes they have organic soy milk, or organic applesauce, or organic canned things, V8- for a dollar or fifty cents each! Sometimes they have good energy bars- two for a dollar! Or Kashi cereal, or Nature’s Path cereal, or a number of other organic, overpriced cereals that you find for four bucks a box at Whole Foods. But at the dollar store, guess what? They cost a dollar! Huzzah! Unfortunately, to really take advantage of the deals, you have to go about once a week, because stuff can come in and be gone within a couple of days, and it all depends on what happens to not sell in other stores. Anyway, so I sort of lucked out there today- got some energy bars, a large can of organic tomato sauce, one of those boxes of organic Swanson veggie broth. I didn’t want to let myself browse too much, though. It was already half past 1pm, and I wanted to have some afternoon left when I got home.

New paragraph time. It surprises me how little text it takes to make a big paragraph on this blog, so since the above one appears rather large in Word, it will probably look gigantic once posted. Oh well.

Along my route was a Target, so I went there and found contact paper and some washable glue, which I’ve been wanting to get for a while.

Then I rocked the last three miles home. Ahhh…I was so exhausted. It’s really one thing to walk eleven miles throughout the day, but all in one go, without any real downtime, is pretty tiring! Ah well. It’s all part of my sherpa training :)

I put some of Belle and Sebastian’s “Dear Catastrophe Waitress” and LCD Soundsystem’s “Sound of Silver” on my mp3 player a couple weeks back. Those songs are fun to walk to.

So the contact paper is for a number of projects. First, I’ve been working on making pots for plants out of used yogurt/cottage cheese containers. I did some designs on butcher paper, and finally finished one I like, so I wrapped a yogurt container in it, and then covered it with contact paper to protect it and give it some shine. Now, there has to be another container nested within the one with the decorative covering, because if the pot just sits in a dish, any water that leaks out of the bottom (for drainage is essential) will be sucked up into and through the paper, thoroughly ruining the design. The contact paper is not waterproof, so there would be no way to prevent water seepage. So the nested carton has holes poked in the bottom, so water will be able to drain into the outer container. So then the plant, the container and even our dear little planet will all be happy. I hope to put it (and others, once I make them) up for sale on etsy. I would love to hear feedback on this idea. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, because I have been a serious yogurt/cottage cheese consumer since my youth, and always wanted to hoard the empty containers, you know, for some amazing project :)

Hmmm…ok. One last bit of news for now. I ordered some samples of paper from Neenah paper (you get ten free samples of paper (a single sample consists of ten sheets of 100 sheets total), and pay nothing but shipping- about $10!), and they came today! The paper is very, very pretty :) The colored papers are also a tad sparkly, and others have different textures. I am looking forward to using these, and will perhaps order more in the future.

*No. Taking a bus is never an option- not unless I’ve already walked something like 11 or 12 (or more!) miles.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Head (shoulders, knees and toes) in the clouds

Reasons why I love SoCal #1: Garage sales year-round. Found one via craigslist that was pretty close by, so, braving the heavy mist, I went and visited it. It’s not as much fun to pick through people’s unwanted stuff when it’s all a bit damp. All I got out of this trip was a back 4x6" picture frame. It was worth it. I spent a lot of time wandering around neighborhoods after that, listening to the parrots and other birds, enjoying the grey morning, trying to walk out some nameless anxiety. I thought about why I haven’t been doing much drawing this week and realized it was because I’d gotten into the mindset of “if what I’m drawing isn’t presentable/potentially sellable, then it isn’t worth my time”. That is a dangerous attitude, you know.

Reasons why I love SoCal #2: The foothills. I enjoy having hills around. I thoroughly dislike unending flatness. It’s nice to have variations in the terrain, and it feels good to walk where there isn’t monotonous flat flat flat. My legs get very bored with that (that that). Unfortunately, because I’m in the foothills, the walking can be very steep uphill and downhill. Uphill is great, but I’ve started to hate walking downhill; it can be very jarring and straining. Anyway, enough whining. It’s obviously not so bad that it keeps me from walking 10+ miles a day!

Hmmm…I suppose it would be good to do some drawing now.