Friday, April 29, 2011

Some tips for a better life.

I'll admit that I tend to get addicted to stupid, nonproductive activities.  Like, not even nonproductive stuff that feels good, like reading or taking walks - I mean stuff that eats up all my time and leaves me feeling vaguely icky, like surfing the 'net (not emailing friends or looking up important things to help my art career...just, like, pointlessly puttering around). 

I've noticed in particular that I get super-strong cravings to go on the internet whenever I'm at a tricky point in an art project: cycling continuously back and forth through twenty open browser windows keeps my brain occupied so I can't obsess on my (possibly failed) painting or guilt myself out over not getting anything done.  It's a way of running away from my problems.  I think a lot of people are afraid to spend time alone in their brains, for various reasons, and so they run away through similar methods.

There's a thing I do that helps keep me on track, though, and maybe it'll work for you too.  I came up with it back when I was still at my job and trying to convince myself to do art in my spare time instead of wasting those hours on useless time-eaters.  Here's what I do:

I wake up, and I tell myself: "This is your day, to spend however you want."

Now, obviously most days aren't really all mine; I might have a job to go to or errands to run or what-have-you.  But this mantra still serves as an excellent reminder that once I've fulfilled my obligations, I can choose how I use my remaining time.  I don't have to go on autopilot and end up Googling each former cast member of The Facts of Life to see what they're up to nowadays; I can make a conscious decision to do something awesome and life-affirming instead.

If I somehow fall into an endless loop of internet-related fuckery anyway, I can sometimes snap myself out of it by asking myself, "Is this making me happy?"  The answer is invariably NO.  Puttering around on the internet is compelling, but feeling compelled isn't the same as feeling fulfilled.  This same "is this making me happy?" technique has also helped me to end some pretty bad junk food binges.

In conclusion: today is your day.  How do you plan to use it? :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Diary of a Trailblazer: Loose Ends

It's been almost a month since I left my job.  Feels like longer, in a way: with no particular structure to my days, and no place I need to be, time strrrrrrrrrrrretches out like taffy. And yet every Thursday or so, when I realize I have one more day of being alone in the apartment and then The Boy will be here all day because it's the weekend, I think, "Already?!"

I was rummaging for something in my wallet the other day and realized that there was a bunch of work-stuff in there I didn't need anymore.  Obviously the card for my employee health insurance could go, as could the card with the office emergency number on it and the card with the employee attendance line number on it.  But also, employees of my ex-workplace are entitled to a number of different deals and discounts, so there were four or five other cards to throw away, too.

Speaking of employee deals, I'd forgotten that one of these was a special low interest rate on my credit card...until my bank mailed me a letter stating that I'd been bumped back down to peon status. Ouch.

Another piece of mail I received recently: an ROE, or Record of Employment.  It's a big official piece of paper showing how long I worked for the company.  I put it in my Important Documents drawer for safekeeping but to be honest I'm not sure what this thing is for.  It's not a tax thing; I got my T4 slips already. 

Any day now I should be receiving a letter asking me if I want to cash in all the money I accrued in my company retirement savings plan or if I want to let it sit there for now.  I think I'll probably cash it in; the money will buy me that much more job-free time.  The HR lady at my old work warned me that cashing it in might bump me up to a higher tax bracket and I'd get a much smaller refund, but something tells me 2011 isn't going to be a huge moneymaking year for me so I'm not too worried about this.

I've taken all my work pants out of their dresser drawer and stashed them in a storage bin; I'm not the kind of girl who'd ever wear tasteful pinstriped slacks of her own volition.  That drawer is now filled with stacks of paintings.

So...this is it.  The last little loose ends are tying themselves up.  I think the wallet-cleaning and the letter from my credit card company made the whole "quitting" thing feel more real to me than anything else so far...I was forced to realize just how much I've given up.

But then I put on some tunes, gave my cat a kiss on the head, picked up my paintbrush, and reveled in everything I've gotten back.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The vet says...

Birch has major tartar on his teeth and it's making his gums are all red and swollen.  He should probably get his teeth cleaned, which will end up costing me something like $600-$1,000 depending on whether they find any cavities or if it's just a routine tooth-scraping.

Obviously, this news is much better than if he'd had to have a plastic shopping bag surgically removed from his colon.  Also obviously, I'd rather there had been nothing wrong at all.

The vet did say that the cleaning isn't a super-urgent thing, and gave me some crunchy cat treats that might help bust the tartar off in the meantime.  But I really should bite the bullet and spend the money.  Birchy's gums look really sore and I can't stand to think he's in pain.

He was a freaking champion with the vet, btw.  So calm and polite!  That's my boy. :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vet time for Birchy!

I've whipped myself into a big paranoid frenzy that there's something wrong with Birch.  It's probably nothing, but he's overdue for a checkup anyway, so I'm taking him in tomorrow.

Here are the things I'm worried about:

-I don't think he threw up once in the first year I had him, but for the past few months he's been throwing up from time to time.  Not a lot, but still.
-The Boy made an offhanded comment about Birch's gut feeling firmer and less floppy than it used to.
-I think he's been sleeping more than he used to.  Although I'm not positive.
-Recently, Birch has started making sudden squawking he'll be lying on the couch minding his own business and suddenly go "MRAH!" and get up with a pissy expression on his face and go sleep somewhere else.  The first time or two, I was sitting right next to him and I thought his tail must have gotten caught under the side of my ass or something...but then he did it a bunch of times when no one was anywhere near him.
-He obsessively licks and chews plastic bags.  It looks like the bags he's molested are tattered but still intact - I don't think he's actually eating any of the plastic - but all the previous points make me wonder if he has a huge tumor of wadded-up plastic in his belly that's giving him random, shooting stomach pains and making him throw up.

Again, he's probably fine.  His semiweekly pukes don't have plastic or blood in them and neither do his poops.  Also, the start of his barfing may well coincide with me changing his brand of cat food a while back (I can't remember).  But I'll feel better once he's seen a professional.

Send us happy thoughts!

Monday, April 25, 2011

I'm up to two imaginary packs a day.

I've never smoked, but when I was in my late teens and early '20s literally all of my friends did.  The anti-smoking laws were less harsh back then, so almost any place we hung out - restaurants, coffee shops, etc. - they'd be puffing away.

Witnessing all this smoking has had a weird after-effect on me: to this day, any time I'm about to attend a slightly nerve-wracking social event and I'm anxiously imagining how it'll go, Imaginary Me smokes.

Here's the thing: although I'm emphatically anti-cigarette, I've always been jealous of the thousand different nonchalant ways that smokers can occupy their hands.  In real-life social situations, I deal with my anxiety by drinking way too much (not getting drunk necessarily; I mean taking a sip of my beverage whenever I feel awkward*.  The beverage itself is usually water).  In imaginary social situations, I can fiddle with my cigarette pack, or make a big production of taking a cigarette from the pack and lighting it, or tap the ashes off the tip to punctuate something I just said.  Also, I could initiate conversation with strangers by asking for a light.  Cigarette culture is huge; it contains vast possibilities.

I'm trying to quit picturing myself smoking, though; it's a bad habit with no practical advantages.  Also, I don't want Imaginary Me contracting metaphysical emphysema or pretend-cancer.

*Constantly. And yes, between my nervousness and the steady stream of water consumption I do end up having to scurry to the bathroom every ten minutes; thanks for asking.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Shoutout Sunday: Guy Incognito Designs

When I went to The One of a Kind show a few weeks ago, I tried not to buy anything until I'd gone around and seen everything.  There are always so many amazing things there that it's easy to spontaneously spend all of your money in the first five minutes and then come across stuff you would've wanted even my plan was to hang back and be all nonchalant.

But then halfway through my systematic circuit of the room I reached the booth for Guy Incognito Designs  and I totally caved.

Guy Incognito Designs makes Zippies - a kind of bag or storage container.  Picture a hollow, brightly-coloured metallic sphere with a zipper around the equator and a soft, fuzzy lining.  Some are smooth, some are bumpy ("like Daleks!*" The Boy said, nerdgasming), and they range in size from approximately two inches to six inches in diameter.  I love them all**, but being jobless at the moment I restricted myself to buying one small, smooth purple one.  It reminds me of one of those glass Christmas tree decorations,which made me decide that some day when I have more money I will in fact decorate a Christmas tree entirely with red mini-Zippies - each one containing a different bauble for The Boy.  Maybe I can have him open one every day for a week or two, kinda like an advent calendar, except instead of chocolate each "compartment" will contain an eye shadow compact or pair of skimpy panties.  Anyway.

Zippies are very lightweight, and this - combined with their smooth, room-temperature, kind of rubbery texture - made me think they were made of plastic - but I was WRONG!  Turns out they're made of aluminum via a process called metal spinning, in which a disc or tube of metal is rotated at high speeds and shaped by hand over a form.  Apparently the process is sort of similar to using a lathe and some wood to make a fancy, curvy table leg.  So each Zippie is carefully formed by hand using really cool methods that I totally want to learn to do, and I'm assuming its texture comes from the coating of stuff that gives each Zippie its vibrant, non-chipping, non-fading metallic colour!

I'm not sure yet what I'm going to store in my beautiful purple Zippie.  So far I've just been holding it in my hands to ooh and ahhh over the shiny, and for now that's good enough. :)

You can buy a Zippie of your very own on or see a list of stores and upcoming art fairs on the right side of this page.

*Daleks are a Dr. Who thing.  I know this because I have always dated nerds and they would mention that word.  I did however have to do a Google image search to actually see what they look like.

**My fascination with pretty shiny things is well documented.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Caturday: Random Funnies

I haz the dumb today, and cannot brain.  Therefore, here are some videos!

The original, unedited version of this video made me slightly uneasy.  This version freaks me right the hell out (but in a funny way).

Here's a kitty saying hi to a dolphin!

...And a kitty who likes to put his head under the water faucet (the video just shows him dunking his head a whole bunch of times - you can stop watching halfway through and you won't miss anything):

...And finally, a kitty who likes to watch the toilet flush (and afterward, seems to yell at his human: "Do it again!"):

Happy Caturday, everyone!

Friday, April 22, 2011

...But if you go back far enough, there are fauns!

When I'm flossing my teeth lately, there's a spot on the top left that gives me trouble.  By which I mean: even when there's nothing visibly stuck between those two teeth, I can dip under the gumline and tease out a chunk of stuff the size of a smoked ham.  And then I can do it eight more times.

It's kind of worriesome. far back does this particular interdental crevice go, exactly?!?!?  I'm starting to think those two teeth form a gateway to Narnia. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Last night I didn't get to bed until 3am because I got some ideas for new things to make and sell.  One idea: painted trinket boxes (imagine a beautiful fine-art painting you can keep things in!).  Another idea: wall clocks with stuff painted on the face.  And finally: a lot of people seem to love this painting I did:

...and I love it too, and plan to paint other impaled insects soon...and last night I think I figured out a way of affixing a jeweled "pin" right to the canvas so the paintings will have a 3D element!

So I was excitedly working out the details of all these projects and I couldn't get my brain to shut off.

Then (after going to bed at 3am, remember) I woke up at 6am to go to the bathroom and as I was peeing my brain whispered, "Psst!  We should line the trinket boxes with fabric!" and I was like SHUT UP BRAIN I NEED TO GO BACK TO SLEEP and my brain was like "Oh yeah, totally.  So I was thinking maybe fun fur because it doesn't fray."  SHUT UP BRAIN SHUT UP NOW.  "Hey, how accurate are those clock movements from the hardware store, anyway?  D'you think there's a price range?  Would a more expensive one keep better time?"  OH MY GOD BRAIN SHUT THE FUCK UP.

This internal dialogue went on for another four hours.  I wanted to sleep; I was trying to sleep; but it just.  Wasn't.  Happening.

At 10am I gave up and got out of bed.

I'm tired and pissy and kind of stupified right now, but it could be worse - I could also be at work.  Because, you know what?  This hyped-up artistic insomnia thing isn't a new development for me; it's been happening periodically my entire life, including when I had to go to school or work the next day.  At least now I can take an afternoon nap if the opportunity presents itself.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Note to Self: Moderation is Key

I keep having to remind myself to eat well.  I like vegetables, but that's a relatively recent revelation for me;  also, I like cheese, mayonnaise, eggs, etc. more.  So, unless I watch myself really closely, I tend to default to a diet of all protein and fat, all the time.

Today, I realized I'd been letting my eating habits slip again so I made myself a great big salad to get me back on track.  And, as always, I was amazed by how fantastic all those veggies made me feel.  You'd think vitamins would have to actually digest before a person could reap their benefits, but apparently not - I felt like I was in a video game and the salad filled up my energy-meter thing to the top!

...Until I finished the salad, whose size exceeded the comfortable capacity of my stomach by approximately 25%.

So...full.............must...lie down..............can't...stop...talking like Shatner..........


Seriously, though, I'm not what the kids call a "foodie" but this salad was so colourful and pretty and, well, healthy-looking that I actually took a picture (yes, I set my plate on the floor for this; every other flat surface in the apartment is covered in paintbrushes, paint tubes, paintings, bottles of varnish, artificial bacon strips and fake fried eggs.  These days I eat on the couch with the plate balanced on my boobs).

Spinach,  mushrooms, old cheddar, red and yellow peppers, strawberries, and tuna salad.  Next time I'll use half the can of tuna instead of the entire thing.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

...But he's actually a really good kitty.

There's something I should mention about Birch's foolproof wakeup system: most of the time, he only does it after my alarm goes off and I've started hitting "snooze"!  It's like he knows I'm trying to get up and he wants to help, or he's bored and lonely but doesn't want to disturb me until I've had proper sleep, or something.

...Although he will often come up next to me in the very early morning for a purr and a snuggle, and for some reason his snuggles usually involve stretching out and lightly raking his claws down my face and neck.

Why always the face-to-face cuddle?  Why does he never want me to SPOON him?
It always wakes me up, but that doesn't seem to be his goal.  His little peanut brain just can't comprehend that his claws are automatically extending every time he goes to affectionately touch my cheek.

Overall, he seems to respect my need for sleep.  I feel very, very lucky.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Diary of a Trailblazer: the Value of Slowing Down

Y'know what I love about the '50s*?  Back then, people thought technology would do all our work for us so we could sit back and relax.  The future was supposed to be a paradise of leisure and fun!

Unfortunately, somewhere along the way the message got lost...and now it is the future and technology is almost entirely marketed as a way of doing more, not less.  Now you can listen to music, have a conversation via text message, surf the 'net, do laundry and fix dinner at the same time!  Isn't that fantastic?

Well...yes and no.  In theory, all this multitasking helps people to be more productive.  But it also increases people's expectations of what should get done in a day, which means we all have constant performance pressure on us, either from our employers or our families or ourselves.  And for some people - like me, for instance - the sense of continuous pressure sucks the enjoyment out of tasks that would otherwise be satisfying.

I've known for a long time that too much multitasking stresses me out, but when I had a day job I kinda didn't have a choice; my job required balancing various duties simultaneously and my home-time was in such short supply that I wanted to cram as much into it as possible.  Now that I'm able to arrange my life however I want to, though, I'm trying to slow down and "live in the moment" more.  It's surprisingly difficult.

I'm a fierce perfectionist and my own worst critic; as I mentioned in a previous post, I have a bad habit of measuring how good a particular day was by how many tangible things I accomplished rather than what I did, how I felt, etc.  So basically I could spend an entire day visiting critically ill kids in the hospital and cheering them up with small talk and puppet shows...and end up feeling like the day was a waste because I didn't buy anything, make anything, or clean the apartment. 

Curiously, though Accomplishing Tangible Things does make me feel pretty good, doing something calm and meditative - whether or not it "accomplishes" anything - makes me feel fantastic.  Walking aimlessly while thinking of nothing in particular except how good it feels to be outside?  Great!  Working on a painting without worrying about how long it might take to finish?  Fucking awesome.  Even putting on a DVD and giving it my full attention (instead of trying to catch up on emails and cook some scrambled eggs at the same time) is astonishingly restful.

Society tells us that we need to get the most out of life by doing the most stuff we possibly can, every single second.  In my experience, this is blatantly untrue; if anything, multitasking seems to compress time into a frantic, confusing hamster-wheel haze.  I need to get into the habit of unitasking - focusing wholeheartedly on each task I perform until they're all strung along the timeline of my day like beads on a necklace.  That is the way to maximize one's time.  That is the way to feel serene and satisfied at the end of every day.

I encourage all of you to set aside at least an hour a day to slow down - to do one thing and one thing only, without guilt and without obsessing on what else you should be doing.  Let me know how it feels!

*From what I can tell via old ads and stuff.  I wasn't actually alive back then.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Shoutout Sunday: Ilona Brodi

I discovered Ilona Brodi's work at the One of a Kind Show, where I spent ages in her booth gaping rapturously at the bright colours and adorable subject matter and OMG GLITTER in her artwork!

Ilona specializes in mixed media pieces (acrylic paint, coloured pencil, and DID I MENTION GLITTER*).  Her business card refers to her stuff as "whimsical artwork for children", but I feel that this description is both inaccurate and limiting.  I'm a grown-up (well, kinda...) and I would totally buy her work - the only reason I didn't purchase a print of her fantastic Cow Over the Moon at One of a Kind is that my walls are currently bursting with my own paintings (and also shelves of DVDs and comic books) so I don't know where I'd put it!

Speaking of prints: yes, Ilona does carry them, so if an original piece is a bit out of your budget she's got you covered.  And, get this - the prints have actual glitter on them!!!  Like...not just a picture of the glitter that was on the original picture, but the real thing!  Ilona painstakingly glitter-ifies every single print by hand!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this - it means that each print has a unique and special personal touch.

You can order Ilona Brodi's prints on her website here (my favourites are Cow Over the Moon and Hippo's Bath Time!!!  What are yours?).  Also, if by chance you live in or near Bolton, Ontario and you have kids 5-11 who want to learn art, she's offering art lessons out of her home (the deadline on applications is June 1st...see all the details about halfway down this page).  Kinda makes me wish I were young enough (and close enough) to participate!

Rock on, Ilona...and please note that your work appeals to "big kids" too!

*In case you can't tell, I really like glitter.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Caturday: How to Wake up Mommy (a Guest Post by Birch!)

Oh hai!  Mai name iz Birch Tribble Viner and I are dis weekz "guest writur".  Today I tellz u how to WAKE UP MOMMY.  I haz a very gud proven teck tekneek syztem.

Mommy iz not gud at wakeupz.  Most morningz she lookz like dis.

Dis no fun for Birchy.  Dis not get Birchy fud in bowl or hed-petz.  CAN HAZ WAKEUPZ NOW? Yes!  I showz u how:

Iz important to see if Mommy iz ded (if she iz ded, I can HAZ KITCHEN COUNTER PARTY with no spankz!  But if NOT ded, I can haz CAT FUD and MANY PETZ.  Fud and petz iz bettur).

I takez a close look to maded sure.


Iz still not clear, so next step is to haz bum in Mommy's face for checking breathy action in chest.

I seez breathy akshun!

Breathy akshun iz gud newz!  Time for happy bounce!  Can haz stomak trampoleen?  CAN haz!

Mommy iz not ded!  Perhaps iz simply deep exiztential crisisisis keeping Mommy from wakeupz.  Iz necez nessess gud to fight exiztential crisisisis by showing Mommy she can haz LUV.  I showz her by lying on her neck for purr-cuddlez.  Windpipe is excellent place for haz elbow! She will likez.

Still no wakeupz?  Iz time to show MOAR LUV with deep eye contakt and carezz da face many tiems!  I LUV U MOMMY!  I GENTLY PAT UR EYEZ WIT MAI CLAWZ!!!

Last resort that nevur failz: violent throwups in next room.
"ALRIGHT goddamit I'm up!"

I hope u finded my wakeupz guide helpful!  Kthxbai!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I have no good title for this one.

The Boy and I went out a few nights ago with him in full drag.  When we got home, he peeled off his fake eyelashes and - I guess not knowing any better place to put them - stuck them to the door of the little cabinet thingy that hangs over our toilet.

Ssssh!  It's sleeping.
Neither of us has since bothered to move the eyelashes to a more reasonable place, so every time I'm in the bathroom I see them out of the corner of my eye and my brain goes "AAARGH CENTIPEDES!!!"  I don't scream out loud or anything, but I get a little jolt of adrenaline up my spine for half a second before I realize that the dark floofy things in my peripheral vision aren't bugs.

Because I really hate centipedes and am rather forgetful, I manage to get freaked out by these damn eyelashes ten or more times a day...sometimes pretty much right in a row.

Because I am lazy, I haven't bothered to put the eyelashes away so they'll stop scaring me.

I wonder...could these minor startles count as cardiovascular exercise?  Is glimpsing these fake eyelashes on the front of my medicine cabinet actually making me healthier because it makes my heart pound?  'Cause, I mean...being mildly scared a dozen times a day sucks, but it still beats the hell outta jogging...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Diary of a Trailblazer: So Totally Worth It.

Since quitting, I've spent most of my time tidying the apartment and making fake bacon and eggs (stockpiling because I think they're gonna be big sellers) but I haven't really done any paintings.  I think I was having my whole "fear of failure" paralysis thing; I mean, I have a ton of ideas for art, I just have a hard time starting any of them.

But yesterday, at The Boy's gentle urging, I forced myself to power through my mental block and start painting.  I told myself that if I tried something and it didn't work, nobody would ever know but me...I could screw up a hundred times and just quietly throw those attempts in the trash and start again.  The only work my potential customers will ever see is what I choose to put in my store - the good stuff - and even my failures will be learning experiences, so the rewards of starting a new painting would far outweigh the risks, so just go already.

And I did, and my ideas snowballed, and since yesterday I've made like a dozen adorable little 4"x6" paintings (mostly of cartoon food; I'm still on that food kick).  I feel freaking awesome - today and yesterday are everything I ever hoped my jobless life would be.  I feel productive and energized and fulfilled and amazing.

What's that you say?  You want proof of my awesome prolificness?  Well then:

I told you I'm a messy painter!
Confession time: if you've been to my Etsy store lately and it seemed pitifully understocked, it's because I've decided to switch from Etsy over to a different selling venue called Artfire.  But I don't want to open an Artfire store with a handful of things in it and gradually build from there; I want to pack my virtual shelves with a wide selection of incredible art before I invite the public to come browse.  In the meantime, there's going to be a bit of a lag as my Etsy listings slowly expire and I work like crazy behind the scenes to get my Artfire store into shape.

At this point I'd say I'm nicely on track to having a truly righteous Artfire shop.  Let's hope my productive streak continues 'cause I can hardly wait to show you my brand new digs!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Shoutout Sunday: Fancy Pants Kids

A while back, I had the idea to make crowns and other dress-up accessories out of washable fabric and market them to kids.  I didn't actually do it, though, because frankly my sewing is kinda halfassed and I thought my potential customers deserved better.  Luckily, someone else got the same idea and was willing to use her whole ass to bring it to fruition: Gretel Meyer Odell of Fancy Pants Kids.

My favourite Fancy Pants product is their Long Dragontail - a spiky vinyl tail that you put on like a backpack.  Because it's so long and has adjustable straps, it actually fits me - even though I am a giant!

Many Fancy Pants Kids items will work on grown-ups, actually - and the designs are flexible enough that you can let your imagination run wild and pretend to be lots of different things!  The Pointy Ears Headband (found at the top of this page) is a great example of this - it looks a bit like animal ears and a bit like a crown and a bit like a superhero tiara, so this  one piece gives you lots of options. Another great thing about Fancy Pants Kids (though I didn't consciously realize this until I read it on their "about" page) is that their designs aren't gender-specific.  I love that - I believe that in imagination land, kids can and should be anything they want*, and this includes boy princesses and girl heroes!

So anyhoo, remember how I mentioned that The Boy and our friend Jen and I went to the One of a Kind Show?  And remember how the weekend after that, I turned 38?  Well, Fancy Pants Kids were at One of a Kind and Jen saw me coveting the Long Dragontail and somehow managed to surreptitiously buy me one for my birthday!!!  AND IT'S RED!!!!!

I am totally going to wear this clubbing and astound all the cool kids with my righteous dinosaur-style dance moves.  Awwww yeah.

Did I mention that Fancy Pants Kids isn't found only at arts and crafts fairs?  You can buy from them online, too!  Take a look!

*Actually, I believe this about grown-ups and real life, too!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

What does 38 look like?

When I was a teenager, my friends would get me to buy cigarettes for them (I'm not a smoker, but many of them were) because nobody ever asked me for ID.  By age 16 I was six feet tall and I guess that tricked people into thinking I was a grown-up.

In my 20s, people consistently guessed that I was five or ten years younger than my actual age.  I remember one particular office temp job where everyone treated me like an adorable mascot.  One day, one of my co-workers asked me if I was just there to "make some extra money over Christmas break" or what, and I realized that she (and everyone else) thought I was in high school.  I was like "Well, no...I'm just...supporting myself."  Pause.  "I'm 23."  Pause.  "I recently got married." the lady was like "Oh." and after that she (and everyone else) stopped treating me like an adorable mascot and things got really really awkward.  I guess it's not socially acceptable to bop someone on the head with a stack of rolled-up photocopies when she's grown up and married and stuff.

Nowadays, people's opinions are divided: either they think I look exactly my age, or they think I'm 22.

On one hand, at my last job one of my (young) coworkers decided to dress as "an '80s girl" for Hallowe'en, went on and on about how ridiculous and stupid and ugly the costume was*, and didn't clue in when I was like "Ease off on the stupid-talk, would you?  That's my adolescence you're maligning."  Finally I had to spell it out for her, and she didn't believe my age until I showed her my driver's license.  And I regularly get asked for ID when going clubbing or buying liquor (ironically, probably because of my height again; most women in my generation are pretty short, but kids these days keep getting taller and taller).

On the other hand, when I have a birthday, nobody asks me my age anymore - so obviously they suspect I'm old enough to be offended by the question (nobody hesitates to ask a teenager her age...).  If I choose to volunteer the information, I always pause right after to make room for all the gasps of disbelief...and, increasingly, there are none (and yeah, I'm vain enough to be a little peeved by this).  And a couple of months ago, a 40s-ish woman stopped me in the grocery store to compliment my winter hat with the cat ears on it and said "dressing like that makes us feel young again, eh?" with a smile of complicity.

It's normal for someone to maybe be "off" by five years (in either direction) when guessing a person's age, but for the guesses to span about fifteen years? That's just odd.

Clearly, I am some kind of changeling.
Anyway.  I've been thinking about this stuff is my BIRTHDAY!  I'm 38 years old...whatever the hell that means.

I'm gonna get off the internet and allow The Boy to shower me with adoration now.  :D

*A long poufy skirt, a big poufy scarf to tie around her (crimped) ponytail, and...I forget what else.  Possibly fingerless lace gloves.  Almost certainly an off-the-shoulder top of some kind. Personally, I don't think any of those items are all that unfashionable on their own, and only moderately silly all put together.  But whatever, I'm old.

Caturday: Honeysuckle is the New Catnip

The Boy has a pair of "sex dice." No, that's not a euphemism, these are actual dice with actions on one and body parts on the other - so when you take a roll, the dice will suggest things like "touch lips" or "tease body".

I was just puttering around on teh internets when The Boy found these dice and idly started rolling them.  As a result, I got my toes kissed and my shoulder prodded with one of his fingers ("touch body").  Then the dice came up "tease ?" (the body-part die has a question mark on one side) so he went to the next room where Birch was having some breakfast and told him, "Ha ha, you're fat!"

It was pretty funny.

In other news, I have recently learned that a lot of cats go insane for the smell of honeysuckle!  I'd never heard of that before.  There was a cat toy booth at the One of a Kind show last weekend (business name: Krazy Kitty) that had honeysuckle cat toys in addition to the usual catnip The Double Whammy, a little pillow stuffed with a bit of both!  I got Birchy a Double Whammy and he loves it - he'll hold it in his front paws and lick it until there's literally a puddle of drool on the floor (and he's not normally a drooler!).  We've taken to giving the pillow to him at bedtime to help mellow him out.  It's drastically lowered the amount of times he runs across our heads at 4am.
Thanks, Krazy Kitty!
I haven't yet taken any pictures of Birch making out with his little pillow-o-intoxication, but when I do I'll be sure to share them. :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Conversational Snippet #12: Priorities

[I have just come home from the store to find that The Boy is home from work and sitting on the couch.]

Me: Hello, Pretty.  How was your d-- OH MY GOD YOU GOT POTATO CHIPS, YAY!!!!

Boy: I did.  But also?  I'm naked.

Me: Yeah, no, I noticed that and I was going to remark on it.  But then I saw the chips and got distracted.

Boy: [pouts]

Me: Hey, I've seen you naked pretty recently.  It's been a longer time since I've had chips.

Boy: Fair enough.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Diary of a Trailblazer: The Story So Far

This past Thursday was my last day at my job.  Then came the requisite celebrating 'til the wee hours, after which I spent Friday recovering from the celebration and generally slacking off.  And then it was the weekend, so I hung out with The Boy.

Which means yesterday and today have been my first "official" days as a full-time artist.

Not to brag or anything but yesterday was freaking awesome.  I spent most of the day alternately tidying the apartment and painting some fake fried eggs, with Seinfeld DVDs providing a bit of company.  Then I went for a little walk to the store, bought a chocolate bar, and lounged around on a park bench eating the chocolate and watching people go by.  It was humid outside (and would eventually rain) but the temperature was milder than it's been in a long time and it was so, so lovely to just sit there quietly enjoying the almost-Spring weather and letting my mind wander.

After my walk, The Boy and I snuggled and watched some episodes of Dexter season 4 that we'd rented, and that was lovely, too.  But oddly, when it was just about bedtime, my brain started racing.  I think I was starting to freak myself out over the whole "I have to get a bunch of art done soon so I don't starve and die" thing.  And then I freaked out about freaking out because I know that freakouts paralyze me so that I can't get anything done and hence my "what if I don't end up making any art tomorrow?" thoughts could end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

It took me a long time to fall asleep.

Today, I slept in later than I'd intended to.  I'm not sure if it was a crash from all the chocolate or if I was just afraid to get up and face the day, but I eventually did get up...and I immediately started making a batch of fake bacon.  Later, I went to the hardware store and got some things I need for my business.  So that's good, right?  I spent pretty much the whole day doing stuff.  And yet, when I got home from the store, I felt grouchy and told The Boy I hadn't been that productive.

I think I know what the problem is; I did make some fake bacon today, but it took longer than I wanted.  I've been pushing myself to PRODUCE!  PRODUCE!  PRODUCE! because I want to have an assload of stuff to upload to my store, but my art is not a mass-production sort of endeavor.  Even my bacon slices aren't identical since I hand-paint a different pattern of fat-stripes on each one.  I need to realize that I'm an artist, not a factory - and budget my time accordingly.

Besides, in pressuring myself to be all FASTER FASTER MORE MORE, I'm killing all the fun.  Art only brings me to the happy place when I'm calm and focused and not thinking about anything but what I'm doing.  Today felt like a bust because my inner drill sergeant kept yelling in my ear and wrecking everything.

So, this evening I set about making another batch of fake bacon - this time without any particular deadline in mind.  I put on some mellow tunes and let myself get totally absorbed in the task at hand, and y'know what?  I think I finished this batch at least as quickly as I finished the one from this afternoon.  Berating myself for being too slow may actually have been impeding my progress!

And really, if I'm not enjoying the creation process, what's the point?  I quit my office job in order to lead a more fulfilling life.  If I spend every day meticulously measuring my productivity and comparing it to some arbitrary standard, that's just office work again...but for less pay.

It is important that I get a lot done in the coming weeks...but I'll measure my success by how much of my day I've spent creating art, not how many pieces I've finished.

Monday, April 4, 2011

If I Had My Own Street.

Jen, The Boy, and I went to the Spring One of a Kind Show yesterday.  It's a huge arts and crafts show with tons of fantastic stuff, and looking at it all was so exhausting that I didn't end up doing my usual Shoutout Sunday post.  It'll be back next week, though!

On the streetcar heading home, I started thinking about what I would name a street if I owned one.  I came up with:

Nofreakin Way
Raging Boulevard
Underboob Crescent

Then The Boy contributed:

Corn Road
Terri Boulevard (say it out loud a few'll get it)
Gang Way

Turns out Jen has an alter ego named Faith Palmer, too.  :D

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Caturday: A Song For Birchy

So apparently some person named Rebecca Black sings a song called Friday, and this song is the worst thing in the history of ever.  I live a fairly sheltered life - I don't listen to the radio, rarely watch tv and haven't been doing much internetting lately - so it really says something that this information has somehow seeped into my consciousness.  It must be a really famous song for me to have heard of it, is what I'm saying.

I just watched the video on YouTube to see exactly how bad the song was.  It's...really very bad.  The lyrics are the worst part - they aren't poetic, don't say much of anything, don't conjure up any interesting imagery, and mostly don't even rhyme.  Here's a section from the start of the song:

Seven a.m., waking up in the morning
Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs
Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal
Seein' everything, the time is goin'
Tickin' on and on, everybody's rushin'
Gotta get down to the bus stop
Gotta catch my bus, I see my friends (My friends) 

(I left out all the "yeeeeeeeeeeeeeahs" and "ohhhhs".  You're welcome.)

I can't help thinking that I could write something at least as good as here's an opus to my cat, Birch.  This is not meant to be sung to the tune of Friday, you understand.  This just in the style of Friday.


Ooooooh, yeah
Ooooooh, yeah
Meow meow meow baby
Ooooooh, yeah

Here comes Birch
Sitting on my head
Boy he sure does like to sit on my head
Now he's going over there gonna crinkle a plastic bag
Crinkle a plastic bag yeah
Ooooooh, yeah
Ooooooh, yeah
Meow meow meow baby
Ooooooh, yeah

Now I'm gonna feed him
Boy, cats sure do like eating food
But I guess if they didn't eat, they would eventually die
I give him dry food
Because canned cat food smells like a burning tire shoved into a dead guy's ass
And also it's a pain to open
Yummy yummy food, Birchy!
Gotta love that cat food, Birchy!

Ooooh yeah, talkin' bout cat food cat food cat food
Talkin' bout cat food

Ooooooh, yeah
Ooooooh, yeah
Meow meow meow baby
Ooooooh, yeah
Plastic bags and cat food baby

Now all I need is for a musician to read this, turn it into an actual song and post their performance on YouTube.  That would be freaking epic.  I'd send a link to everyone I've ever met in my life.

Any takers? :D

Friday, April 1, 2011

Introducing Faith Palmer

I like to pretend that The Boy has an alter ego named Faith Palmer who only emerges when I've gotten an idea or had a realization. 

For example, the other day I was making some fake fried eggs.  I hadn't painted them yet, so they still solid white.  And I held one up and said, "Look, Boy!  It's The Ghost of Breakfast Past!"

...And then I realized, "Wait, no, technically The Ghost of Breakfast Past would just be poo."

Then The Boy facepalmed and I was all, "Well hello, Faith Palmer, how nice of  you to join us!"

Faith Palmer has been coming by almost every day lately, it seems.  I guess I've been having a lot of really righteous epiphanies.

Hey, if I have an epiphany about poo, is it an epoophany?

Okay I should probably go to bed.