Saturday, November 13, 2010

Another Day... Another Dollar

42 Days Until Christmas
2/ 38 projects completed
5846/50,000 word written for NaNo
Well, I managed to do more than I planned. And less than I planned at the same time!
Yesterday was a sort of nightmare. I agreed to work some extra hours. I need the money. We all do, right? Hellooooo! Economic Crisis! Well, I wasn't expecting the three hours of overtime to be so eventful. First, a girl refuses school. She was supposed to go so she could have some time with her mentor. Obviously that was not motivating for her at all, and I wasn't about to push her buttons.
Then, after all the residents leave, and I am in chill mode, thinking I have three hours to get my NaNo time on, I am called to work in the school. Mind you, I have only even set foot inside of the school one time up until yesterday! I have no idea where anything is, where people are, or what to do. Even worse, I have to wake up a resident who doesn't attend school and drag her up there with me. It's about 8:30 in the morning, cold out and wet. The resident gets up and curses me to the high heavens as though I caused a ruckus at the school and snuck back to the cottage to make her get up early. Doing my best not to completely snap, I get her to take her morning medications and we walk. At this point, I am flustered, confused, disoriented, unorganized, and tired. I look like a crazy piece of hell. I knew Aunt Flow intended to stop in, so my hair is in braids, no make up, baggy clothes to ward off cramps... you know, a fump-a-licious mess! Even if I were wearing jeans and I did have on make up, everyone would have still had crap to say about me because of my hair. I guess I have nice hair, but it's thick and curly and I don't like to bother with it if I can help it.
On my way to the school, irate resident vomits... well, all over. Luckily we were outside and she hadn't eaten anything. It still made me gag. Not cool. I don't do bodily fluids! We get to the school and I am swept into a classroom with about 3 girls in it. Out of the corner of my eye, I catch a small glimpse of "Tall Caramel Delight". Yes, I give every guy who I am smitten over a nickname. It usually has something to do with sweets- ha! I love to eat!
I am immediately embarrassed. I look and feel like hell. I am also swallowing hard, trying to fight back the urge to vomit myself. Again, I do not do bodily fluids! I sit with the girls and then it's time to switch classes. We go down to an art room. Art, of course, is my thing. I didn't get to inquire much about the project because the *madness* began.
Brace yourself for a complete insanity of ramble...
The program manager calls to say irate resident has to stay back from work because she is too ill. Program manager becomes irate when she finds out I am at the school, rather than in the cottage letting irate resident sleep more. As program manager is cursing me, I am trying to diffuse situation by offering to get irate resident back to cottage for some R&R. Tall Caramel Delight walks in, completely throwing off all concentration. His good friend Loud Mouth Fatty begins to taunt and tease me as I am getting cursed and attempting to focus long enough to negotiate a solution. Loud Mouth Fatty then begins to tell me about how I need some "side dick in my life so I won't be so uptight".... Program manager yells "I love how people can just fuckin' decide what the fuck to do with my fuckin' time, well your time because you are actually there, but it's my time because I would be there now if you weren't"... girls are being rude & disruptive in art room... Loud Mouth Fatty "Imma hook you up! Don't wanna be up tight-- git done right. Ha-HA!!!"... Tall Caramel Delight ignoring me completely, as he tends to do. I hang up and go off on Loud Mouth Fatty... saying things that aren't very wholesome, Christian or lady like at all. Loud Mouth Fatty continues to tease me about how he knows I want "good dick"... and I explain that "this here (pointing to panties-region) is much harder to get than most men have the energy or intelligence to bother with".. then I suddenly become stressed, realizing that I lost irate resident. I came in and was rushed off to the classroom with the other girls and I didn't even think that I should be sitting with the sick resident as well or instead. Then, I chose to walk her back to her bed, but I was terrified she would pass out. Since she was so sick, no one offered to help me get her back. Understandably, I needed a chaperon. This resident is pretty obese and I am heavy as well, but my weight comes from height. I don't stand any chance of picking her up and carrying her the 3-4 blocks back to the cottage. I couldn't leave her in the road if she passed out. With no help, I find irate resident and take her temp again just to verify her being super sick. Another co-worker that I call Boobs Over Chocolate comes out to tease me... yes, I relive my high school days all over again every time I work with co-workers. I love being alone at night! I give Boobs Over Chocolate a quick grab of the man-boobs and head out with my sick, irate resident, praying that irate resident is able to make it back to her bed.
All in all... Loud Mouth Fatty promised to be an asshole, which is something I can always count on. Tall Caramel Specialty ignored me, which is something else I can always count on. The girls were terribly rude as if being horrible to people is the new "Cute". Boobs Over Chocolate laughed at me...or is it *with* me? Not sure... Irate resident made it to bed and actually felt somewhat better once back in it. Angry program manager chilled out and found someone to come in and relieve me. When my relief came in, she and I cracked up about the whole morning.
After that, I went grocery shopping. Much to my surprise, I spent $50 less than planned. I was good! Working 6 days per week, learning French, reading Lolita, and mini-marathon training doesn't leave a lot of time for cooking intricate recipes. The plan was to get something written for NaNo and to work on a project for a pen pal at home. Unfortunately, I was so sleepy by the time I got home at 2:45, all I did was put away the groceries, grab a hand full of grapes and pass out.
I meant to get back up, and I did wake up every two hours. I couldn't get out of bed. It was so comfortable. I think I staggered to answer the door to get a sweet package from my lovely pen pal in Bochom, Germany and then I grabbed another hand full of grapes. I slept until I had to get back to work.
The good thing is I was able type 4146 works in an hour and forty five minutes! This is 646 more words than I planned. Again, I went to that special place! But I am worried...
At some point today, I need to really think more about where I am going with the story. The main character is now female. Who cares what my gut is telling me. I want a Thudercat! I also now have 2 side stories that are happening in the past and present along with the main story. I need to do some sketches and character analyses today while at work. That will give me the answers I need to "embellish" my characters better. That will also help me to figure out where this complicated story is going!
And let's not even talk about a title! Ha! I literally at this very moment just realized that my book doesn't have a title! I'll let you know what it might be when I finish typing my 50,000th word!
Saturday: finish another gift and write 1700 words. I was going to take Saturdays off from writing, but I should plan to write everyday so that I am not in a mad dash to finish in the end. I shouldn't say that. What I meant is *so that I am not in a mad dash to finish it all in the end*. We all know I will be finished at least a quarter of the book in the last 48 hours!
Marching on to November 30th .... and then on to December 25th!

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's the Final Countdown...of 2010

43 days until Christmas
Projects completed: 0

Ohhhh.... What happened?! I am so confused! I am really bad with math, so that has to be the problem. The calculator has to be wrong! I just counted...well "calcu-counted" that there are 43 days until Christmas... FORTY THREE DAYS! Where did the whole year go? I am completely dumbfounded. Just a second ago, I revised my Christmas list. In the back of my mind, I was thinking that I should maybe cut a few items out of the list. Either I changed my mind about who should get what gift or I reconsidered who should get a gift from me at all instead of just a card and/or a friendly hug. Well, let me say this... not counting about 10 people who I spontaneously put on the *hhhmmmm... Lemme get back to you on that* list, I have 38 Christmas presents to make! That is almost one per day!!! I think I might have just soiled myself... Let me check!

Ok... just kidding about that last statement. I didn't shit myself, but I feel like I could spontaneously rupture at any moment! On the one hand, I am excited. I love a challenge. Nothing motivates me more than knowing that the odds are against me. On the other hand, this is going to be one of the biggest failures I have set myself up for in a while. Which brings me back to the positive side of things. When I get stressed and bummed, I totally engage in self-destructive things like: spending more time with friends & family, writing letters, completing art projects that have nothing to do with anything other than personal gratification and/or education, reading, cooking & eating amazing food, and shopping. Under normal conditions, I try to limit all of those things because they are all huge time-wasters in reality (with the exception of spending time with family, of course!). But in the rare situation that I get to indulge in any of these activities, I am always grateful. Even though it is supposed to be a "bad thing".

As someone with a gargantuan appetite for life, I have completely, and almost unknowingly bitten off more than I could ever chew, swallow, or digest.

Last month, I became super excited about this writing project for National Novel Writing Month. But then, I decided to challenge myself to finish all Christmas presents for pen pals by November 19th. But then I also decided that I wanted to make this really cute, colorful blanket... I was inspired by some multi-colored, slightly tacky yarn while in Hobby Lobby. But then I got back into making jewelry because I found these cute beads also while in Hobby Lobby! So then I went back to writing... but I couldn't think of anything to write. Marital problems began to boil over, and I became side tracked with ways to de-stress that didn't involve a shot gun or doing shots. When that died down, I was off from work, but spent most of those days hanging around with my daughter, completely unmotivated to do anything of importance. Believe it or not, I didn't even cook! After that, I decided more art and less cooking elaborate recipes, but then I went on a baking frenzy... I baked 3 cakes and 2 batches of cupcakes for the girls I work with. I also decided no more working too much so I would have more time for all these projects... and time to study and learn French. But then, I was offered so many extra shifts, that I couldn't say no. It's easy, yet stressful, work and it's over time pay. Then I went to the dentist. Terrible idea! Just bad news there... And so I became obsessed with my teeth and I was literally spending hours per day looking in my mouth and flossing very carefully. All the floss in the world won't make my wisdom teeth grow in. They will have to be cut out because they are happily residing under bones in my jaw. Since I will have to pay for that extraction, I chose to accept even more over time.

As you can see, the extra stress has me rambling like a mad woman! Where am I now with everything? I have portions of 2 gifts made for 2 pen pals. I have 1700 words written of my novel...which is about 18,304 words less than what I should have by now if I were on any sort of a writing schedule. I only learned one new word in French *bois*. I actually can't remember what it means, but I know it is pronounced *Boowah*, not *Boys*. It has something to do with water, mouth, or drinking...maybe cup. Who knows!

As of right now, I am going to be investing in some de-stressing techniques... like over eating, binge drinking, sleeping too much, avoiding my problems, and watching Julie Julia every single day because it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Somehow, in addition to those counter productive activities, I also plan to blog -- even if just a short note underneath a picture taken on my cell phone-- every single day as I countdown to my doom! I am pretty excited about it to be honest. These Cheeto's Puffs and Coke are a treat! I haven't had either in at least two months, back when I swore to cook more often and delete all trash foods from my diet, especially while at work.

The plan for tonight.... Finish the one scarf I have started for my pen pal. It is 2:40am. I have until 6:30 to finish it. That is approximately 3.5 hours of hard work... I can finish Julie & Julia and start it back over again in that time. I will also make my self a huge bowl-sized mug of coffee, plan out this week's recipes (Dude, I know! I have no time to plan and cook tons of recipes! But I love to cook!).

I also need to re-think some things for my novel. The main character was supposed to be female, but as I got lost in writing, she became a He. How did that happen? I don't have the slightest clue, but I know that I just completely leave this world when I write. I let the story go where it goes and I just hang on for the maybe the main character is supposed to be a male. But dammit! I want to see more Power Women on the scene! I will think about this over coffee, crocheting, meal planning and my movie. We will see what I decide.

The goal for tomorrow night, while at work is to finish another present and to write 3500 words. This is just a few hours of typing for me, so I should be able to do both. My goal is also NOT to watch Julie & Julia. Aside from my concerns about this odd obsession with the movie, I am genuinely becoming worried that I might damage the DVD and then what would I do with myself when I get stressed or bummed out? I would have to resort to all my other films, which are sinister, violent, and dark... more my style and preference, but they don't make me happy in the end the way that watching actors pretend to cook amazing French dishes does!

Until then... oh-reh-vwah! I have no idea how to spell anything in French except *BOIS*. But can spell all the sounds.


Monday, November 8, 2010


Sigh... my first night back to work in about 5 days. I am so tired, I think most of my body has gone numb with exhaustion. Each blink lasts about 10 seconds instead of one. I have done everything to stop myself from completely crashing for the night. I have loaded myself with disgusting foods-- Shrimp Cup Noodles, Coke, 2 Peperoni Lean Pockets, Sprite, Chips, Mr. Good Bar, and entire box of Nutter Butter Cookies... Thank goodness I am in the home stretch. I am running out of things to eat! All the sugars and fat have my mouth and teeth covered in a film that tastes like vomit from all the mixtures of disgusting malnutrition I have consumed, all within the last 2 hours.

Tonight was a relatively good night at work. Perhaps I should have thought twice before returning to work and accepting to work 2 double shifts back to back. I have to make it through one more hellacious night tomorrow. Only tomorrow, I have no intention on eating nearly as much in order to stay awake! I will try to use conversation, which failed me miserably tonight because I kept slurring my words from exhaustion. I will try to write some pen pals back. I am behind in letters. I couldn't make this happen tonight either. I kept having to use my correction tape because my sentences made no sense. Most importantly, I will work out. Before bringing in any craft items to work on (because I will be too tired to lift a finger) I will bring in my work out items. I will also pack a huge edible survival kit of high protein items (whatever that means) and vegetables with dip. Oh my! I just stared at my now empty paper towel, where my Lean Pocket once was, and thought of eating the napkin!! I am going crazy!

Well, well. Projects! Let's be honest, do you really think I finished all of those things? Apparently, when I am home, I am not interested in doing art. I would obviously rather spend time with my three year old and cook good, wholesome meals. I did start to work on a purse/tote. I tried to make it significantly more complex than I have the skills to execute. It took me two and a half days to realize that what I was trying to do was beyond my skill level and I ended up changing it completely, meaning I started over. So now, I have about half of a bag out of everything on the list.

The good thing about my little Christmas list for pen pals is that I will be back at work for the rest of the month. While at work, I am inspired and completely compelled to finish work that I plan on. If all else fails, I know I can start and finish a project at work.

I just had a very vivid vision of me frantically brushing my teeth with my head all the way back as I simultaneously squeezed globs and globs of toothpaste from a never ending tube.

Well, I best start my tasks for the night. One should be finished in the next 20 minutes... I am not sure whether this is to happen or not, but it can't hurt to try. I think I will learn French online as I work to start and finish all my work in the next hour or two.

More later....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Challenge

I am proud to announce that my Christmas list for my pen pals is completely finished. Wanna know what it is? Well, I obviously can't discole EVERYTHING. What if one of them were to check into my blog spontaneously and find out what I have in store for them. Well, that would ruin everything... including my motivation. Right now, the element of suprise is one hell of a motivator! I love giving gifts... and I have FOUR days off from work, and FIVE nights off. This presents itself as an amazing opportunity for me to set up a challenge. I personally think I can I finish all gifts for all 6 of my pen pals before the end of the weekend. Did you just say, "Bullshit!" and call my bluff? Well thanks for that! Because I am serious. I just know I can do it.

The Challenge...

By Sunday night, technically your Monday, at 8am, when I am finished with work, I will have the following completed:

  • 3 hat & scarf sets

  • 3 decorated canvas totes

  • 3 stationery sets

  • 5 books/journals/photo albums (not each, but they are all just books really!)

  • 2 make up bags

  • 1 charcoal drawing

Yesss.... It can be DONE! And this will be the funnest challenge I have completed in a Long time... Imagine: **Extreme giddy excitement**

Go ahead and doubt me if you like, but I've already won both the race and all the bets!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Key to Wasting Time Gracefully

Some time earlier this week or late last week, my husband and I began a series of arguments. I hate to argue. What are they ever about anyway? You know the saying: "It's never just about the dishes"... At any rate, I handled the added stress in the only way I know how besides self medication and truancy from work: Art & Food. Mainly food. I mean, who doesn't love to eat? I really only like to cook because I love the taste of the food after I am done with the labor.

As you may remember I have been going on and on and on about this whole Boeuf Bourguignon recipe since forever. Well, it hasn't happened. I am totally intimidated by the recipe! I did, however, manage to get a book from Border's on sale full of some of Julia Child's most famous recipes. The funny thing is I am too sheepish to even attempt most of them. The even funnier thing is that I spend hours per day studying the same recipes of interest over and over as though I will be tested on them. In fact, at this point I can probably recite at least 6 recipes from complete memory, but I haven't mustered up the guts to take all that knowledge to the kitchen where it belongs!

Instead, I was able to experiment with some far simpler recipes. First, I tried to make asparagus taste... well, like something other than asparagus. I like the overall flavor of it, but it is a very strong flavor. To my knowledge, there isn't any way to change the way this particular vegetable tastes... At any rate, I liked the end result. I cooked/baked it in butter (I am such a butter-holic! Always have been!) and some garlic spices. It was good, but it still totally tasted like asparagus! Forgive me for the picture. For some reason, Blogger has chosen to warp and load all of my photos vertically despite however they were edited and saved on my laptop.

Of course, Julia Child has some awesome recipes for asparagus and sauces to eat with veggies. I have to try them! I never thought to use lemon juice on asparagus! But the citric acid is so strong, it just might work! But then, I have to think... if it doesn't taste like asparagus anymore, what in the world should I expect?!

Shortly there after, my husband comes up with the glorious idea that he is craving home made chicken noodle soup! A little secret I kept from him was that I have been dreaming of trying to make that soup for at least 6 months. You would think that it is some sort of insanely complicated feat. It's really not! But of course in true "Bri Fashion" I had to research about 60 recipes all over the internet and in random library cook books until I came up with something I thought I could manage with the ingredients I had on hand. Again, in true "Bri Fashion", while researching the chicken soup, I got distracted and decided I wanted to make some dumpling soup too. I have no clue what exactly a dumpling is to this day! Nor do I have a clue as to how people make their own noodles! But I can say this with perfect intelligence: Go to the damn grocery store and get the shit in a box/bag/jar. And that is what I did!

I was worried about both of these store bought products. As you can see, the noodles called themselves "dumplings", but they didn't resemble the gnocchi at all...which, did appear to be what I know as dumplings. I was afraid the boxed, dried gnocchi was going to be rock hard in the soup, especially because the box said to boil them for just 5-8 minutes. And I was sure the egg "dumplings" were going to dissolve completely into muck!

Just my luck... neither of those things happened!

My second dilemma was that I had no intention on buying and boiling an entire chicken to get stock. I planned on making two totally different soups! I wasn't about to fool with boiling, chopping, and all that! So I used some boneless, skinless breasts that I baked in spices and well... yup, you guessed it... BUTTER! I love me some butter. It makes everything tastes better, different, richer. Well, everything but asparagus, that is!

Again, with the photo uploader. Sometimes, I really do think that everyone and everything is out to get me...including the Blogger people! Ha!

In the end, the egg "dumplings" didn't dissolve. Thank goodness. I would have hated to explain that I ruined my husband's dream lunch by turning it into baby food. It was almost like it came from a can... meaning it wasn't some strange and unfamiliar flavor, but it was Better. And just so you know, these are not my words. My Husband said so!

The creamy chicken & dumpling soup was all right. It actually needed to sit before being eaten. I was shocked about that because I had anticipated something more exciting to come of that soup. I am not sure what the package creators had in mind, but letting the gnocchi simmer for 15-20 minutes was a Much better idea because then they take up the flavor of the soup rather than just tasting like flavorless, industrial potato balls, which is what they resembled after 5 minutes of being boiled.

In the same day, I decided that I wanted to make the Panera Bread mac & cheese. I didn't plan on shelling out a million dollars and consuming ONE THOUSAND calories (no, seriously! The large portion is a whopping 980 cal!) But, aside from butter, I am in love with cheese. The pictures looked to appetizing, so I figured I would do some research and give it a try.

Well, I don't want to knock the recipe that I found. I also won't post a link to it. All I can say, briefly, is that there is a reason I hate baked mac & cheese. It tastes powdery and not creamy. But the recipe did have an interesting point to it. There was this method of mixing and stirring butter, flour, and cheese until it turned into a complete cream sauce. That was delicious until I went and baked everything. So, I will return to that microwave method again...very soon! Who doesn't love mac & cheese. It's like an all-American staple! Or at least that's what I tell myself.

The sad thing about all this is that, despite my joy of cooking, no pun intended, and my complete delight in satiety, I have decided that I better get on a diet. If I eat another FOUR sticks of butter in one day, I might have a heart attack... or wake up with an additional 47 pounds that found its way to my body over night.

Tomorrow, I am going to focus more on art than eating. In fact, I have come up with another idea to distract myself from the fact that I am unable to focus long enough to complete my goals of opening an online shop to sell my crafts. I have absolutely nothing on my walls. I think that I will find some art online and create a pastiche from some famous artist. Since I really enjoy black and white charcoal drawings, that is the medium I have chosen in order to complete my project.

I found some amazing pictures from one of my favorite artists, Robert Longo:

Untitled (Ulysses) from the Yingxiong (Heroes) 2009 Exhibition

This amazing pilot mask is a charcoal on mounted paper drawing, not a photo! I think it's sheer genius. Just like this next one:

Russian Bomb (Them)/Semipalatinsk from the Sickness of Reason 2003 exhibition

Well, let me reassure you that I have no real talent of this expertise. Having viewed all of his collections- charcoal drawings, 3-D exhibitions, and photos- I just want to admit that am not a photographer to this capacity, first of all, and I am not sure that my attention span would allow me the opportunity to create detailed drawings of this magnitude. This, however, is an example of the sort of awe that I want to evoke.... in the very few and typically random house guests I happen to have.

Instead, I have chosen to do large charcoal drawings of dancers. I found these amazing photos by Lois Greenfield. As mentioned before, I love dynamic photos, and what could be more dynamic than someone dancing. Although, not all of her work is in black & white, I will print the photos in b&w and then draw from the copies. She has literally hundreds of photos to choose from, so you can imagine my head spinning as I try to choose which ones would be the best for my living room.

Here are a few of my favorites:

New York City Ballet Co.


Maureen Fleming

Carmen De Levallade

Maureen Fleming

Most of these seem to be of the ballet influence. I am not sure which genre of dance I will stick with. I know it is not my style to have one cohesive collection of items, rather than some melting pot of seemingly nonsensical insanity. I would really hate for the meaning only to lie within my own heart and mind. I want, when someone comes through my front door, for the first thing they see are these ginormous amazing works of art. I want breaths to be taken away. I want people to feel a sense of awe, excitement, and joy. And if it is a woman who walks through and sees ballerinas (if that is what I go with...), then I want for her to go back to a time when she was a little girl and the most important thing to her was her holiday dress and she would spend hours and hours pretending to be a world renowned ballerina. That is what I genuinely believe all little girls think of at some point- the beauty, discipline, grace, flow, and respect that a ballerina exudes. Unfortunately, I am not all that feminine anymore, so it would be uncharacteristic of me to have huge drawings of ballerinas all over, but I am not really designing and creating for myself... I am doing it for what I believe all artists work for- to inspire onlookers, to set a point of view, to chnage opinions, to push boundaries... to evoke emotions that have been unknown, forgotten or repressed.

So as soon as I collect the funds to get the paper to draw on, preferably a 38X50 inch piece of Stonehenge, I will whip out my never before used easel and get straight to work.... Oh, yes, I am forgetting something. I have to do one of my absolute least favorite tasks: Make a Decision! I better get that part together, otherwise, I will never buy the paper. And with no paper... well, we all know where that will have me ending up- Right where I am now... Nowhere! And we can't have that.

Tomorrow, I will show off some of my little hooking journeys that I have made in the last two weeks. It's winter time, and I am all about creating cute little ways to keep warm! If I am diligent, which is almost never, but a girl can dream right... I will give a little sneaky peak into some Christmas presents. If I am patient and diligent, I will also do a GIVEAWAY this week-- woo hoo! I am excited to do my first give away *Big Goofy Smiles* So all you praying folk out there who enjoy hand made crafts... get them prayer shawls on and say a little prayer for me to have Focus, Determination, and good Craft-womanship this week!

Monday, November 1, 2010

B is for Blasted Blogspot!

I have spent the past FOUR days, which is extremely dedicated for someone like me trying to make this damn thing load all my photos right. I have a totally great (or at least I think so!) blog made out, but all of my photos will only load vertically rather than horizontially how they were saved.

Rather than trying to kill my laptop or searching for those responsible for ruining my blogging experience, I am going to get some sleep!

STUPID BLOGSPOT!!! I gots my eyes on you!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Is today Yesterday or is it Tomorrow?

Well, did I manage to stave off all distractions and meet my goal? Hell to the NO...but are we really surprised by this? I hope you said "No" to that question because that would be the correct answer. Much to my defense, I did have a lot of work to do, and I didn't even get around to starting one scarf until it was 3-4 in the morning. By then, I had to share art time with coffee time. I tried this new creamer, Italian Cream. I can't remember the brand, but I know I am not sure whether I like it or not. I think it just tastes like sugar with no identifiable flavor to it. But the lack of flavor has me adding sugar to my coffee in addition to the creamer, which I decided some time back was a bad thing. No worries, I have some vanilla creamer I will return to when I get to work tonight.

Yesterday was a spin! My new thing is to get some sort of a sleep pattern. When I first started working night shifts, I just didn't sleep at all. I was working from midnight until 8am, going home to change and then either going to my practicum or to classes from 9-4 and then going to my second job out of town from 5-8 and then coming home for a power nap and hopefully a shower. But then I got laid off and I dropped out of grad school, which also took care of the 20 hours per week at a practicum site. So my sleep habit became crazy because this is literally the first time in my life where I am not doing 100 things at the same time (2-3 jobs, school, relationship, travel, etc). So I would come home, eat, and sleep from 10am-noon. Then I would get up, still exhausted, and hang out with my kid/husband, clean, shop, cook, and Facebook until 8pm. I have sleep issues, so it turned out I was getting 2 naps a day totalling 3-4 hours per day. After a long argum--- erm... discussion with my husband about my sleep issues, lately I have tried something new. Just f-ing sleep!!!! I come home and sleep until I can't, which is usually about 3-4pm. Then I shop, cook, clean, etc with energy and gusto, hence all the new recipes and the new-found joy in grocery shopping.

I also have more energy to work on art projects at home ... like these books I have prepared.

I just need to bind them. These are the covers...

I would have had them bound by now if I were still planning to make that October 15th deadline, but now, I'm just taking it easy. Don't fret. These suckers will be bound and ready to roll before Halloween!
Yesterday, I came home and did some drawing. I really want to design stationery, but when I look at what others have done online, it leaves me scratching my head. How in the hell did they do it? How are they making these amazing graphic designs on the papers & envelopes? In fact, I have been pondering these same thoughts for about.... what month is this? October? That makes 2 years and going on 11 months! I guess that gives a whole new meaning to "over thinking things", huh? I have this terrible tendency to over think and over process until I have overwhelmed and over confused myself. Then, defeated by my own insanity, I throw up my hands and surrender. Well, that's usually what happens when I think of designing stationery, but then something magical happened Tuesday morning...

Background info: I have been writing snail mail letters (another thing inspired by the movie Julie & Julia) since March, shortly before my 27th birthday. I get bored looking at undecorated paper. I have no motivation to write on it. It started out with stealing some stickers from work that had been sitting around for ages. Totally ugly, but it worked. Then, I got more elaborate, decorating papers myself or using a combo of hand-decor, stencils, stickers, and gems.
Now, I just do whatever, but no one should complain about a boring, undecorated letter! Once, I drew pages and pages of amazing animals, fruits, plants, flowers, birds... it was tremendous and so much fun, I smile just thinking of those drawings... if I can say so myself without seeming conceited. But I was impressed that I took the time, had the focus, and finished so many drawings. I haven't drawn like that for the hell of it since I was in 5th grade! In fact, the last thing I remember drawing for shits and giggles was my 5th grade teacher as a witch because she made me angry! Ha!

Tuesday morning, I drew some cute designs for letters going out to two pen pals and then the magic hit.... Why the hell don't I just draw designs, nature, things that interest me and scan them into my computer?! Then I can alter the drawings, cut, and paste them onto paper, gridded paper, lined paper, and even paper that I plan to use to cover books. What a Revelation!

Have I already done this? Seriously? What do you think? Of course not!!! After making my genius discovery, I went to sleep for 6 hours, and woke up completely having forgotten what I planned to do for the day. In fact, I just discovered that my printer no longer functions because my desktop computer is slow, decrepit and has a tech-life threatening virus.

Instead of being artistically productive, I sat on Facebook and Interpals for about an hour. Then, I stared out my balcony window for another hour before deciding I wanted to attempt cooking Boeuf Bourguignon. Unfortunately, I looked at the recipe and was completely intimidated by the amount of work I would have to do. I was very lazy, needless to say. I almost did something terrible and went to ... be afraid.... get ready to scream... McDONALDS!!!! NO!!!! I haven't eaten McDonalds in over a year. I had to stop the violence against my digestive system.

I didn't cave in an commit that food-crime against my family. I decided to use this marinade and bake some chicken. Much to my dismay, the marinade smelled ferocious! It was so offensive! The stench was a mix between rotten garlic, vinegar, something odd and bitter, and baby food. Just terrible! Sadly, I didn't know this until I put it all over the meat. I only went to smell the bottle of marinade after the fact to see what sides would taste good with the sauce. In a panic, I chopped some fresh onion, garlic, and red peppers and sauteed them in some olive oil. Then I threw in some sage, fresh ground pepper corns, sea salt, cayenne pepper, and red crushed peppers. My thoughts: if it's spicy as hell, no one will taste or smell the god-awful marinade! Then, I spooned out the meat, tossed the evidence of the bad food choice in the garbage underneath other trash and fried the meat. Let me tell you... Best Mistake Ever! That meat was on FIRE! It was so good. I cooked it with some cheesy orzo and some raw vegetables & dip. My husband and daughter would never eat veggies if it weren't for me, but I was so concerned about covering the original taste of the meat, I only had time to chop some veggies up. But it was a hit! For the first time, I didn't have to use my powers of persuasion and threats to get them both to finish their vegetables. Raw veggies will definitely be making a reappearance in meals to come!

After dinner, I cleaned and got my daughter ready for bed. I worked a little on the scarf I started... but then exhaustion set in. Without knowing it, I sleep-walked my way to bed and passed out for the night.

Today, I have been obsessing over this meal I dreamed about. Unfortunately, I couldn't find everything I needed to make the dish, so it will have to wait for some other day. I wanted to make Lentil soup, vegetable samosas with tamarind sauce (which is the missing link) and a cranberry walnut vinaigrette salad. Since I have never made them before, I think I will still make the samosas. There is an amazing Indian restaurant near by that opens for dinner around 5. I will have my darling husband go hassle the owners for a semi-free container of sauce.

Tonight, at work, I will finish the one scarf I least! I hope to finish all 3 scarves and hats I planned. I am not betting on it. I have a busy shift on Wednesdays.

But stay tuned to hear about the slave work in the kitchen I pull off in order to tackle the Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon recipe and the samosas... recipe in my mind!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

C is for Challenge! Change! Correction!

It is rather early in my shift now at work. I came into some paperwork chaos. Apparently around bedtime there was an incident. A kid was punished for stealing the therapist's cell phone. The punishment: no home visits until next year and on restrictions until the phone comes up. Still no sign of phone.

I have been doing some thinking about what it is I want out of life. I want to CHANGE. I want to be more positive, take more chances, and be more fulfilled on a daily basis, regardless of my circumstances. I am not about to go out and get religion. Screw that! But I do need to begin making more of a spiritual connection. For that reason, I am watching Avatar tonight, rather than my usual ensemble of midless action flicks. I also think I need to step up to the plate and challenge myself more.

I need to start to set small, achievable goals on a regular basis. It feels so good to know that I have what it takes to get something DONE! Unfortunately, I wasn't born with whatever female gene that makes women obsess about things like their weight, body, men, and all that. If I cared more about my body (and more on that some other night!) I would be making more efforts to shape it up. And men?! Ha! I have never been obsessed over men. Either they like me or they aren't into me. Either way, I am sadly more often than not actually not all that into the men before they can decide whether they like me! My self esteem, unlike my fellow females out there, is completely and solely linked to my ability to accomplish goals! I feel stronger, smarter, faster, and better than my counterparts and colleagues based on my sheer ability to go up against the odds and achieve outlandish goals.

Now, I am a different woman. I weigh more. I am older. I am more married and more of a mother than ever, meaning that any time I try to do anything other than be a married mom, I am shit out of luck. So taking that into consideration, I am starting with some very small goals. My other obstacle is I always put off when the goals should be completed. I am always starting a new diet on Monday. I am always going to start a new project when I get back to work rather than starting it at home. I will always mail that package when I get paid. Every goal is always set for tomorrow, a Monday, a Payday ... ANY OTHER DAY besides the one I am living... Well, not tonight.

My goals tonight...the challenge that I accept:
- Finish 2 scarf and hat sets
- Bind 1 book
- Don't eat anything other than the bag of chips I have already opened!
- Plan Boeuf Bourguignon!!!! I've totally been dying to cook it since the 15th time I saw Julie & Julia... I am making that magic happen tomorrow night for din-din!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

D is for Dreams... Dreams Realized? Dreams Crushed? Dreams Revised!

Some time ago, I realized something interesting. I am not a religious person. I believe in God because this world is too overwhelming, dangerous, and depressing to even think that we are all in it on our own. But the idea of religion and worshiping things/ideas, segregation based on belief systems, and discrimination under the premise of "loving someone/thing" is too far from anything I value. I did realize that the best thing God ever gave us, as humans, is the ability to Dream. I am not talking about flashbacks and nightmares. Although those happen during sleep as well, it's not the same as a Dream. A Dream is full of hope, promise, imagination. Dreams lead you to visualize your potential future, whether real or completely far-fetched. Dreams are personal, individualized... it's like when you Dream you create an entire world, a whole universe, that is all about and all for you. Stop and really think about this. Isn't that the most wonderful gift in the world?!

Well, I am sure you are thinking... what's with all the talk about Dreams? Well, I decided about 15 minutes ago that my Dream was crushed. A big part of my heart and imagination went right out the door with my Dream as I realized that, while we have the amazing gift to fabricate these intense and emotionally gratifying personal wonderlands, identities, and futures... we do not possess the ability to create avenues to achieve these imaginary goals.

Almost a year ago, I set a personal goal. I have been dreaming, rather steadily for about 4 years that I start my own small business selling things that I crafted. I also dream that I write a best-selling novel and travel the world, wearing self-designed, expensive couture clothing. But the second part of the fantasy is not nearly as close to heart as the Dream of being known and loved as an artist/creator. My goal was to work on learning the skills I needed in order to make the things I wanted to sell. Afterwards, my new year's resolution (one of literally 100 resolutions for 2010, I might add) was to purchase the website and start actively working towards getting that Dream to be a Reality. I bought my website last November, but due to working two jobs, going to grad school, and having whatever left over time for my family and sleep, I didn't get started on making things until a few months ago. Six weeks ago, I sat thinking to myself that almost a year has lapsed, where I have been sitting with an empty website that I paid for last November in full, Dreaming and talking about and planning for this online business to kick off. Isn't that a shame? So much time, money and effort on projects started only to be lost, forgotten or damaged as I lackadaisically wandered towards my goal. So, I decided that by Halloween, I would have 60% or more of my inventory stocked on my online store so that I could begin advertisements for Christmas sales.

Here we are... 2 weeks before Halloween. I have less than 10%. Ha! I actually think I have about 2% of the 60% that I planned to be finished right now.

Then, 3 weeks ago, I get this email that says applications for the Chicago Renegade Craft Fair are coming up due this Friday. I thought to myself that I could totally crank out enough items to at least be considered a candidate to participate in the show. I made a plan (which we all know is not my strength) and I got to work. Between picking up extra shifts, migraines, and unexpected fall throughs with childcare, I have been rather ride tracked, but I managed to force myself to keep moving forward.

It wasn't until today, after an argument with my husband that I noticed the truth. It sort of hit me in the face. I absolutely hate being hit in the face, whether physically or otherwise, which is probably why I was so bitter and upset when the truth set in. The truth is I have been trying to make my Dream come true when it's not more than a Dream. Fantasy. False. Fake. Imagined.

My Reality is that I have a husband and daughter who have grown to be very needy because for the past 4 years, I have bitterly played the role of the robot mom/wife predominantly doing things for the family with little or no regard to myself or the things that make me happy. I think, in an alternate Dream, I imagined that's what good wives do. They have kids, take care of everyone, and in return, they are held on a pedestal so that when the wife wants something that's important to her, everyone stops what they are doing/needing/wanting and they help support the wife to that one goal. What in the Hell was I thinking?! That's not true at all! In fact, that's not even in alignment with Human Nature! The Reality is that the more you give to those who are used to taking, the more those individuals take and the more they want/expect.

So I have a new plan... a revised Dream that I hope is more in tune with Reality. The Reality is I have always had to give up every single important goal for my family. I wanted to join the Peace Corps, but my husband said he had no plans of coming with me, which means I would have wasted time and efforts in the relationship to begin with and I chose to stay. I wanted to get my PhD, but to get into any great programs, my GPA would have needed to exceed whatever I squeaked by with after spending more time and effort on being married/pregnant than studying. I planned to breeze by graduate school for social services, which isn't even a difficult program. Unfortunately, when you have to put home life and all it's issues which last indefinitely before anything else, it becomes a little hard to gather the energy to continue giving excuse after excuse as to why you had no time for homework assignments or assignments that require time outside of class.... and it becomes even more difficult to bite back the sheer embarrassment from shedding tears in every meeting that involves important people who point at you and drone on about your failures. I wanted to sell Mary Kay, and I did, until it became evident that I was not going to be able to invest the time I hoped in order to really make something of myself in that line of work. I really liked being a Mary Kay rep too... And now, here we are again. I wanted to be in an art show. Any art show. Anywhere. It's not going to happen. I either have no time, money, space, or energy to get everything accomplished. So I am setting that, with all the deadlines and fees, to the side.

My New Dream is to just create things in order to be happy and to alleviate stress. Next month, I will have paid $80 for a year of a blank website! I am not sad about it. But I really have to bring that to my personal attention as a reminder that things need to change! I also have another revision to my Dream: Find out a way to make things work! What do I really want to do? Be Wife & Mother 24/7? If so, I better shut it up, cook, clean, and cater to my family with a smile on the inside as well as on the outside. Do I really want to be some sort of artistic/creative success? Well, then I have to grow a pair and tell my husband this isn't going to work. Either he better step up and put forth the same unrelenting efforts I do on a consistent basis or I have to be alone! Do I just want to stay the way I am? Well, I have an answer to that! NOOOOO!!!!!

I want to know what it is that means the most to me. I want to know what I want more than anything in the world. I want to know how to get those things and make my Dreams come true. Most importantly, I do NOT want to sit around in a daze for hours per day Dreaming of all that could, should, and would be if I had just made up my mind instead of making longer and longer lists of excuses! When and where did I lose myself along the way? I was never this indecisive about my life, and now I can't even think of what I want for lunch without taking a poll and journaling about it! I need to start a search for who I am Now (not for who I was because she is so very gone) and I need to find out what the New Bri wants for herself. I'll stop there because that is a serious feat in it of itself.

TODAY, rather than tomorrow..... 1-finish cleaning, 2- work on binding books, but not in a way that is disrespectful to my husband and not by ignoring family, 3- cook that delicious chicken meal I planned on.... and 4- write a letter to my mom, my Number One Fan. I need a pick me up!

Monday, October 11, 2010

E is for Exhausted... Excited, but Exhausted!

Finally, I am back to blog! I have what I think is my second night off from work this whole year tonight. It's just because my husband is unavailable tonight and I have to stay home to watch our tot. Otherwise, I will have had ONE day off for the whole year! Before I started in social services, I looked well-rested, sexy. I had bedroom eyes. Long, luxurious legs. Smooth feet. Gorgeous, thick hair..... Now, I am *haggard*! I am definitely going to start researching careers that result in your looking Better the more you work as opposed to the opposite. Maybe I should look into starting a career in athleticism, pornography, or culinary arts. I love the way Rachel Ray looks! Just so happy and cooking and eating and laughing. I could do that everyday for a living!

Anyway, this week has been nothing but work work work. I have had the most terrible migraines, which I am sure are all related to what I call "Vagina Overload". I work with all women in a program that serves girls. If the girls aren't trying to kill each other over random things like stolen tampons, crushes on basketball players, and who the biggest whore of the crew is...then I have my co-workers who have it out for each other. Let me just say that women are SO vindictive and evil! I don't know how men manage not to be this crazy and over emotional about things that don't matter, but I must have a little bit of that going through my veins-- Thank Goodness! I really just don't have the energy to care about what people think or say about me. I guess that's because I am, from what I have observed, the only indie/activist/artistic carefree spirit in the company. Although I walk a lonely path, it keeps me clear of the drama usually.

Sigh! Big, loud, irritable Sigh! It's MONDAY!!!! That means I have either four or five days left before the art show application is due. I am so nervous. I am trying to stay in the game, mentally, but I am terrified! I read over everything last night, while ignoring the kids asking me what color my bra was, whether I was mixed because my hair isn't nappy enough for me to be fully Black, and whether I "wanted" this male co-worker who is the same age (and has the exact aggravating same personality) as my Father! Thank goodness for internet phones! They are the perfect distraction in any situation.

I realized that the application is $300. Luckily, they give $275 of it back if you aren't accepted. Part of me is thinking, "Awesome! Then I'll have some extra money that I didn't plan on having" ... Then I slapped myself (mentally). I mean, what the hell am I thinking?! I don't want that money back! Ok, I do want to spend it on lingerie, shoes, and sexy sweater dresses... But what I want more than anything right now is a Booth In that Art Show!!!

So what do I have completed? Three baby blankets with sweaters and hats. I have an afghan for an adult. I have about 200-300 envelopes. I have 25 basic journals/sketchbooks prepared for stitching, but I ran out of paste so I am not 100% ready to bind the books yet. I am off tonight, but I will not be sleeping in. Oh no. I will be sitting in front of my TV watching action films like Spiderman trilogy, Matrix Trilogy, X Men trilogy, 300, Wanted, Shoot 'Em Up, and The Punisher. I will be hooked up to an I.V. with coffee going directly into my veins. I am also thinking of stealing some concerta/adderal from the local pharmacy to stave off the attention deficit disorder for the evening. OK. Cancel the last two. I can't be in the art show if I am behind bars for stealing narcotics. I also hate needles, so I will have to get the caffeine into my system by more traditional methods, like drinking it with lots of cream!

My point is that I have just two days to really put a hurt on some art. Wednesday, I am working extra hours again, and Thursday is my personal deadline. Wednesday, I plan to have my pictures up - GAH! So nervous! I am so not a photog!!! Yes, my imaginary readers, if you hear a, I am not wrestling a stegosaurus... no, I am not being attacked by multiple Chuckie Dolls... and no, I did not find out that I am pregnant with septuplets. It will be me expressing my frustration and exhaustion in regards to getting things posted on my website, flickr account, and wherever else I need to put them.

For now, I am struggling to not think of anything other than Family time. My daughter has this wild poof on her head that resembles a full afro, but it is actually in a pony tail. Hair must be tamed! My gorgeous, hard working, ever so patient husband has cleaned and is now cooking dinner, which takes me off the hook from those tiring domestic responsibilities for the evening. For the moment, I am renting movies, eating and spending time with the Fam. With the occasional voice note on art ideas.

Until tomorrow .... where I will 1- Sleep. 2- cook yet another chicken recipe and I will make broccoli salad for the first time. I love broccoli salad! 3- complete the finishing touches on my books and move on to JEWELRY! 4- shop for beads and jewelry notions! I am super excited about jewelry. Like crochet, I am surprisingly rather good at it. However, I must go now. My husband is staring jealously at my laptop as though he has a magical mallet. I believe in positive energy, so send some my way for the next 2 days!

Friday, October 8, 2010

F is for Failure? Fantastic Failure!?

Well... it is almost 4am. Tonight, I must say that I am proud of myself. I just completed a small lunch break. I sort of lied about not eating tons of Brie anymore. After finishing the first container, I went and bought two more, and I just ate 3/4 of one tonight. Not good! But my stomach and taste buds would argue otherwise...

The pride I am experiencing today has little to do with food for a change. I love to eat and I love to cook, but only because I like eating so much. Tonight, at work, I was able to stave off my cravings for buttery French bread and Brie for craft work! Yesterday was such a Fail during the day. I went home, ate way too much. I love Cinnamon Crunch Bagels from Panera Bread. My real problem, besides the 480 calorie bagel addiction, is that I can't just eat plain cream cheese because it overwhelms the cinnamon flavor. I prefer the honey walnut cream cheese, but it's too sweet for me. So I have to buy two bagels and both cream cheeses. I usually only eat 1.5 bagels. Yesterday, I ate both bagels and all the cream cheese. I immediately fell into a food coma.

Afterwards, disgusted that I (a)- pigged out on a whim and (b)- slept unexpectedly when the real plan was to get ahead on some art work, I decided to leave the apartment. For some reason I completely tricked myself into thinking that leaving would justify my not making any progress. I went to Michael's, which, again, in my mind, made everything "better". Instead of looking at paper items, because this week is all about paper, I went to the beading section.... and then I overspent.

Frustrated with my lack of will power, I decided to have a Pineapple Surf + ice cream from Smoothie King and a large grab bag of Cheetos. Yum! Disgusting, yet delicious at the same time. I imagine this is what drug addicts think "Why am I doing this terrible crap to my body... but it feels so damn good". Well, same concept...Just replace "feels" with "tastes". I spent so much over my budget that my card was declined. Rather than just admitting defeat and taking my over-eating, over-spending, excuse-making ass home, I dug around my car until I scrounged up the $7.70 it cost for my smoothie. After the card decline, I sort of had no choice but to go home. Thanks to my Lunch of Champions, I passed out as soon as I walked in the door.

When I got up, I looked around... thought about some awesome ideas for jewelry, and then decided to finally cook and clean. My apartment has been upside down since my husband and I have been working so many extra shifts, which brings me to my next point. This paycheck was almost entirely spent on art supplies! $80 at Hobby Lobby the other day, $33 at Hobby Lobby a few days before that. $40 at Michaels yesterday. $55 at Preston's Art store. Let's not forget the $40 at Border's for random books and magazines. So much for the Library Revelation from last week, right? I didn't come to the realization of how much I had spent until I was on my way to work a few hours ago. This won't do! I haven't created enough items to be spending so much on supplies...

Thanks to that horrifying financial reality check, I vowed to crank out some serious work tonight. So far, so good. If I keep cutting, sanding and pasting, I will have prepared 16 books tonight! I will stitch as many as possible tomorrow night after the paste has dried. I also need to get on top of drying out my flowers... otherwise, I fear they will rot in the paper bag they've been sitting in since the other day. I actually love dead flowers, but I can't imagine what a big bag of rotting flowers could possibly smell like.

I have also figured out why my "funk" has set in so badly. It is *that* time of the month. I never want to do anything other than eat...which totally explains the empty containers of Brie cheese, 4 sticks of butter, and missing whole loaves of French bread! I want to stuff my face and then pass out everyday of the week, but that sort of mentality and activity will totally not help me make my next Friday Deadline for the art show application! So, although I am exhausted, and still starving, I am going to suck it up, make a fresh pot of some Folger's Gourmet Hazelnut Cream flavored coffee with some stolen creamer (thank you co-workers!) and get to work!

The other reason for my lack of motivation is the St. James Art Show!!! Goodness, I completely confused what I thought was "inspiration" for FEAR! I am scared shitless! The work that those artists created was so... well, amazing! It was creative; it was indie; it was perfect in my eyes. I just don't know that I can replicate that sort of perfection. I know that I need to at least attempt applying to an art show. I also know I Love Chi-town, so having a reason to go up would be awesome. From now on, no more going to craft/art shows until I have either completed enough inventory of my own to sell, trade, or show artists there or until I have been accepted to participate in an art show myself. I get way too intimidated, way too easily.

Well, back to the sweat shop it is for me. Thank goodness we have some pop tarts because I so cannot make books while serving breakfast. My hands are covered in paste with remnants of paper fibers stuck to all my fingers. I am sure it's not lethal. I eat while arting all the time. In fact, the only thing I haven't consumed are oil paints/pastels and paint thinner. Just about everything else has passed through this iron cast system of mine.

Tomorrow-- SLEEP! ... buy more book board and paper to make text blocks out of ... cook something delicious! .... and think of a logo.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Currently Accepting Motivational Deposits!

Well, here we are again... At work. My nose is currently running a marathon all over the precious landscape of my face. I haven't blown my nose like this in ages. Tonight, I am making books. I just got over one hell of a paper craft craze and stored all my paper items away in an effort to focus on other crafts. I am highly allergic to dust, so I assume that all the particles I have released into this small office are responsible for the sneezing fits and runny nose. No worries. I have a Huge roll of super soft toilet tissue at my side and a rather remarkable growing pile of snotty rags right beside of it. Luckily, I work alone. Otherwise, someone might see the true side of a "crazy artist" who is too absorbed with work to even bother throwing out dirty tissues until the task is completed.

Ha! If only that were true! I am not that serious. The truth is I am freezing in this office, and I don't want to leave my cozy seat in front of the space heater to walk over to the garbage. This week has been a whirl wind. I planned on blogging nearly everyday, but that didn't happen. It's weeks like this that remind me of the importance and value of never having plans. And that would be my life motto: Go with the Flow. This weekend, I was busy. My husband picked up some extra shifts at work, which translates into less time/sleep for me because I am up all day and part of the night chasing my monster 3 year old.

Saturday, a good friend stopped by. The original plan was to get all dolled up and wreak havoc on the local clubs and bars. First, I have too much else on my mind to want to pay that sort of attention to partying at the moment. Second, my husband went to work, which left me with no sleep for the entire night and day. I realized that am pretty sure that I make my friend cry every time we meet up. I am a very honest person, which is why I simply don't bother even speaking with most people. If I do, then I tend not to be my usual, cynical, bitchy self until people have built up a sort of "immunity" to me. I wish I could just inject some sort of vaccine to my occasional abrasive personality. That way, when I met someone new, I could just politely inquire, "Would you like your vaccine in the arm or the buttocks?" My innate ability to bring the overly sensitive to tears with mere words wasn't my only realization. I also realized that I am way too old to be in the clubs! Granted, I am just 27, but there is some sort of an imaginary age limit to the night clubs for women. Now, men, on the other hand, can hit the club scene until their are 50 as they prey on young victims, happy to please these old pervos with a one night stand. But I am married. I work full time. I am definitely closer to the indie/artsy/eccentric type than the diva/sex kitten/high-heeled drunkard dancing queen. My friend falls into my category, whether she is willing to face the facts of getting older and more responsible or not! Needless to say, she found someone who is as clueless and careless as she is with far more energy than I with whom to party the night away. I, on the other hand, made some Ah-mazing bruschetta and french bread with brie.

This was my first experience with brie. Let me tell you, it is soooooo good! I am in love. So in love, as a matter of fact, that I completely ate the Entire container almost alone. I think I allowed my husband a spoon taste of it, and the rest went into my belly! I do realize that I am in the process of losing a lot of weight... and that brie is made of some "double cream" concoction or whatever. But, dammit! I lost my composure. Yum! And as for the bruschetta. Another guilty pleasure, although significantly healthier than the brie. I created the recipe after spending an hour looking through about 70 different recipes on the internet. I had a dream about what I wanted mine to taste and look like. I totally hit the mark!

Sunday, I went to the St. James Art fair. Earlier this year, I got it in my head that I would apply to this fair. I don't know what I was thinking!!! First, it is hundreds of dollars for the application fee alone. As of yet, I am still not an established craft business owner, which means I don't have some magical storage unit loaded with items for sale. I planned to craft enough items to sell in mere weeks... They don't give you any tools for display. I would have had to find my own tent, tables, and chairs. Crazy! Lastly, I found out that St. James Art Show is 90% returning artists. I spoke to someone some time ago. He mentioned that he & his partners missed a deadline for a fee, didn't get to participate, and were never chosen as part of the show again!

So that didn't happen for me at all. But I did find out something important. I really need to crank up the fearlessness! There were so many creative items at the fair. It really reminded me what art/crafts is really all about-- Being/Expressing yourself and LOVING IT! Art = Love! Even the things I would never allow into my apartment if someone paid me to bring it home, I still had this sense of love, care, and excitement in regards to the creations in the show. I was so happy! I also realized something for the first time-- clearly, people must save up to attend the show so they can afford the items. Ha! It never occurred to me. I just figured art/craft shows were for the privileged.

Sunday, I went to work early. Monday, I recovered from my sleep deprivation and made Chicken thighs Braised in White wine & Garlic. Yum! The dish had hot cherry peppers in it. I found out what "brine" was for the first time. I liked the dish overall. It had some great subtle flavors in it, but what I was hoping for was something that would make my mouth water. An oral surprise. I will make the dish again one day and make it spicier with more of an emphasis on those delicious peppers. The recipe is an old one I got from Real Simple magazine a few years ago. They did a special on ways to cook chicken. And I love me some chicken!

Speaking of chicken.... I had it again on Tuesday night. I went hiking with my little brother & sister. We have this site, Bernheim Forest, that is full of trails, animals, lakes, ponds, and art. I Love this place! We hiked two new trails. My husband and I decided officially that we will hike the Millennium trail! It is a 13.75 mile 6-7 hour hike. I bet we could do it in less than 6 hours. I know I can! Ha! I am very competitive!!! The plan for when that will happen is still in the works, but I know it will be before the weather becomes intolerable. Although an amazing challenge (after we have completed it in simple weather) would be to try the hike during the freezing cold.

Tuesday night, we bought chicken on the way home. It did a serious number on my stomach. Lesson. Learned! I should stick to cooking my own food because I barely made it off the toilet long enough to get to a training at work! Lucky for me, there weren't any attractive co-workers available. I would have hated to experience some stomach issues in front of them! Hell No to that chicken place from now on!

This brings us to Wednesday... For all of you who don't do shift work, I think most people consider it the day they went into work until they get home the next day. For example, I come to work at midnight daily... Right now, for you is Thursday, but Thursday doesn't come around for me until about noon! So right now, I am still in Wednesday. And I am on track with my plan of doing book binding. I have to admit that I am completely losing focus and thrill over crafts right now. I really am bummed about this loss of motivation. I need all the inspiration and energy I can get!

So here's the secret of secrets.... I am planning to apply (for serious, for once in my life!) to the Renegade Arts & Crafts show in Chicago... The application is due October 15th. Less than 10 days from now!!! I have NO photos on my Flickr/website. I have only completed 4 crocheted items in the past 2 weeks. Let's face it, that's not worthy of a slot in the show! So I am hoping to kick it into high gear and make... 25 books by the end of this week. Then I will spend all next week sewing and making jewelry. WISH.ME.LUCK! I will need every prayer, positive thought, and if you have any 4 leaf clovers, please request my address because I will need those as well. It can totally be done. But I have to get on task! Tonight, I should have had 15 books cut and pasted... I have 5 almost cut, but not sanded and not covered with papers yet. The paste takes 24 hours to completely dry. What is wrong with me!!!

As proof of my distractions... I bought this amazing new mascara. I like the way it feels, but my lashes were Not 60% longer by any means.

I also got some flowers! I had a dream that I was making book covers out of flower petals and leaves. Of course, I don't want to pay... or be arrested for picking flowers off the road. So I went to a local florist and asked for their trash. Now, I will dry the flowers and leaves... Martha Steward, my biggest lesbian crush & craft/hobby soul mate, has an easy, cheap method.

OK, enough time wasted unfortunately. I have just an hour to cover books, finish laundry and get breakfast cooked. I also feel like I am forgetting some important work to finish as well. Oh well.

Tomorrow-- 1: post pictures for this entry. 2: Complete the 25 book boards. 3: Dry the flowers. 4: Cook a new recipe. 5: Pledge NOT to eat an entire container of brie and 6:SLEEEEEEEP!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Change in Direction

Well, I am sitting in my apartment on what could be the best, most beautiful day of this year so far. Did I ever mention how much I love autumn and October? The colors, the mild weather, people come back to their senses after a long summer of heated debauchery. If I could bag up all the scenic beauty and relaxed feelings of this beautiful day, I would! And then I would selfishly store it in one of my gargantuan shoulder bags, so I could pull out this great day any time I needed a pick me up. Since that isn't possible, I will just enjoy this sunny picture of some garden/shrine that some old ladies made across from my apartment. I love this little area. It's a great place to sit and read or sketch.

The past few days have been a complete whirl-wind! My dad tells me the day that he is supposed to watch my toddler that he won't be able to for some time to come. This sent my sleep deprived husband and me into a frenzy as we packed and jetted our kid to the in-laws, who live 3 hours away in the woods. For. Serious. This was Wednesday. Then, I go in to work, super exhausted, to find out that I have a whopping mad heap of work to do! Wednesday is when I realized that I have a very intense prejudice, almost hatred, for Lazy People! I can't complain. My job is fairly easy. I have plenty of time to do the things I am supposed to every night. But if one person doesn't do their job, I am bombarded with an overwhelming amount of busy-work that must be completed in one night..."or else". Long story made short, my supervisor calls me right when I get to work to tell me she is coming in to help me with my nightly tasks even though she had the day off because I am behind 6 training hours on the final day of the fiscal year.

First, let me say, I am an amazing employee and I am never behind in any trainings! I completed them all in the first place... but some other Lazy Imbecile lost my documentation... and we all know what my craft room looks like as evidence of my organizational "skills". My super tells me she will be in between 2-3 am to help me finish everything. This is coming from the woman who spends a considerable amount of time passed out in the parking lot inside of her car. I knew better. So I just found some online quizzes to take for training hours, where I didn't have to watch the video. The training videos are a mess. A hot mess! This guy who looks like Santa Claus does most of them and he has the worst monotone voice, yet somehow his jokes are even more intolerable than the sound of his drumming on about random topics. I happen to really enjoy Christmas, so I admit, when I am down, I will watch a training video just because Santa makes me feel happy.... Moving on.... My super shows up at 5:30am and proceeds to check her e-mail for an hour! I have to wake the kids up at 6:45. Luckily, I am self-reliant, skeptical, non-trusting, and a control freak. I was able to finish everything just in the nick of time. I had absolutely No time for crafts for the night. I know I am at work and I have no right to whine about not making things while on the clock, but still! Dammit! So while serving pancakes, I completely ignored all the whining and rude comments from the children I work with in order to attempt a new square for quilts.

Apparently, I have some sort of a knack for screwing up instructions because I was met with several FAILS! This is the first attempt. I was supposed to end up with a symmetrical closed square with a puff stitch flower thing in the middle. Somewhere between losing count and "Ms. Bri, you're a jerk! We know you burn our breakfast on purpose, bitch" I made a mistake and ended up with a lop-sided square that I wouldn't be able to connect to anything.

I realized that counting is also not quite my specialty, so I made an effort to turn the closed square into a granny square pattern that didn't require as much thought and effort. But somewhere between "Dammit! Why are my pancakes hard enough to bust a hole in the plastered walls? You are evil, Ms. Bri!" and a daydream about hexagon afghans in an effort to tune out the morning insanity, I decided that this motif also wasn't for me.

So I played around and I finally came up with something that I think is really precious for a baby girl afghan. I have never made puff stitches before. I have to admit that I am a little addicted! Puff stitches are so cute!

So my new baby blanket will be made of these precious hexies...

Thursday night was more of the same insanity, as I went in to work 3 hours early. We had a staff meeting. I am not the most intelligent or even verbose person alive, but I at least try very hard not to use words I without knowledge of how to use them properly. In the same 10 minute frame I heard "I pacifically asked about..." "Well I wasn't sure, but I didn't have time to require any information on..." and something else that had me laughing for an hour straight. Then the head honcho comes in and speaks in so many euphemisms in regards to the Devil, that we all laugh literally until we are snorting, snotting, and farting all over each other. The last staff meeting he attended, all euphemisms were related to mirrors and horses. I got to work early, but due to my supervisor either being eaten alive by pterodactyl or being abducted by aliens, I was rushed in my work because I wasn't given the things I needed to do my job until an hour before I was supposed to leave.
The upside? The progress made on these cutie pie puff stitch hexies... I made 27 hexagons last night while waiting to get to work...

I know what you may be thinking... What happened to the giant, twin-sized purple blanket? All I can say is that is an excellent question! Just kidding. I decided to go in a new direction. This new direction being getting things finished within the time I have allotted. Right now, I just have a few weeks to finish as many blankets, hat/scarf sets, books, jewelry, and some other things. I also need to create some magical photo space to upload pictures onto my website/shop. In the mean time, I should find a free photography class! Ha! I do not have that "photographic eye", or whatever it is called.

I am sure some day.... in the way distant future, when I no longer need my wrists, I will be able to sit and work diligently on the purple blanket. Until then, it's going to be baby blankets and throws for sofas. By the way, YES, I absolutely always have some justification as to why I didn't finish something I started. Always. You can try me if you like!

Since I have been wandering aimlessly amidst all the chaos that has come about in the past few days, I didn't even think to make a to-do list. Tomorrow... I am not working at night *Happy Dance* so I will: 1- do something with my hair, 2- go to the ST JAMES ART SHOW, and 3- get groceries so I can cook something delightful. Tonight, I will pick out some new recipes to try. I am excited.... and 4- get some Japanese & specialty papers for my books that I will start to bind on Wednesday, whether I have finished all crochet projects or not! If I have time and/or remember, I will also post some links to crochet tutorials, other awesome blogs, and possibly also my little project time line that I am working towards... But that's just a maybe!

Stay tuned....

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


As I sit here, late at night on my night off from work thinking about how I always bite off more than I could ever possibly chew, I realized something amazing...

I can't say I *never* finish *anything*. The truth is we will all die one day. And I can say that I started AND finished a rather satisfying life, living and loving every single day to the fullest. Even the bad days work out for the better, when it's all said and done. And for that, I am so very thankful.

Until *that* day arrives, I will be crocheting until my arm falls off. At this point, I must break because I can no longer feel my wrist! These purple granny squares are by far the Hugest granny squares I have ever made, totalling 25 rounds each! The most rounds I have ever completed is 12. Sadly my impatience always takes over before I can protest. With these purple squares, I am attempting to make a twin sized bed set. I am excited, but terrified. I may develop arthritis before I finish. As of right now, I have 2.8 squares finished. I need 12 total.

Something hilarious happened. I forgot that I hit my wrist on something before napping after work this morning. When I got up to run some errands, I put icy hot all over my wrist because I thought I was developing tendinitis. The funny thing is that while at the library, some random man who smelled like a big can of stinky foot odor attempted to hit on me. When I glanced at him to give him my infamous "Fuck you and Fuck off" face... much to my dismay... he told me I had something in my nose. I thought it was snot, boogers, something so I frantically rubbed my nose. It turned out to be icy hot cream from my wrist and it burned my nostrils like hell!!! But I didn't let Mr. Toe Jam know that my nose was in complete flames. Instead, I rushed to the cookbook section and hid until the burning stopped. Luckily, it didn't last long because I may have been desperate enough to rip pages out of a book in order to wipe my nose if it had gone on much longer.

For the past 4 years, I have been buying books on and at bookstores. I somehow forgot about the PUBLIC LIBRARY! What a wonderful place! I mean, I must have been totally bonkers to shell out so much cash that could be otherwise spent on art supplies. Case in point, the other day, I spent $30 on cookbooks. What I really wanted was some Japanese paper to make more of these really awesome journals. Next week, I will put away my yarn barrels and hooks so that I can completely commit (oooh! it burns to even think of that word!) to making paper items-- notebooks, journals, photo albums, and stationery sets. I am excited to spend the next two weeks outdoors and in shops looking for some serious inspiration. Let's face it. When it comes to paper items, you really can go as wild as you want with collages, illustrations, photography. I can pay homage to everyone and everything in the world that I love and stamp it on books to sell in bulk. I am super excited to get back into the paper world. This tangled yarn and aching wrist have me just a little cranky!

In preparation for my bi-weekly task, starting next week, check out these awesome books I grabbed from the library. I totally recommend them all. I have read and tried the techniques back in my two bookbinding classes during undergraduate studies. They are really easy to follow! Stay tuned for some amazing results!

By the way, I didn't do anything I planned. Very little sleep. No lemony goodness... and *sigh* to be honest, I can't even remember what else I scheduled myself to complete for the day. All I can think of right now is a warm slice of something sweet and some more zzzzz's. Unfortunately, in an effort to lose weight, I haven't brought anything sweet into this house in AGES, so I guess I will have to find comfort in my pillows for now.

So here is another plan: 1- buy food for a good meal AND dessert, 2- mail letters, 3- do something to both my & my daughter's hair 4- cook and 5- crochet!!! I have to be as close to finished as possible with these crochet projects by next Wednesday, the latest, if I am going to make my deadline...which I will not disclose because it is subject to change! Ha!!!