Saturday, February 27, 2010

Volunteers of America

So today I went to a Volunteer information session at the Lincoln Park Zoo, and I have an interview with the volunteer coordinator on Wednesday by which point I hope to know if I will need to take some training in order to start this spring and summer as a volunteer at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

I am actually hoping to be an education volunteer at the Farm in the Zoo, but we shall see as I go through my interview. I am super excited about giving this a whirl.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Leaving it behind

Breaking up with it.

Ditching it.

I am so not into it.

The ponytail.

I have decided that I am breaking up with the ponytail. It isn't flattering on my curly hair, and it just looks lazy and sloppy. A nice braid is a way better alternative, so is a well constructed bun, some Harold and Maude braids, or a nice little faux thirties knot at the back of my neck. All of those look generally thought through and worked on even if they come with a degree of quick fix hair or bad hair day solutions.

Now obviously, I will still use the ponytail when I go work out (stop laughing, bear with me, I am sure I sometimes work out). I will still use it to do chores around the house. It is still an option for laying about in my jammies. I can still do it to temporarily pull hair out of my face while filing at work or working on sewing and quilting at home. But I am just not going to make it my default anymore. I am being put together-ish.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Gigantor Mending Project (Redux)

Yesterday I started what looks to be a rather big project. I began mending my grandma quilt. Every member of my entire extended family on my dad's side has a grandma quilt (well one at least). Every kid got one upon their birth--usually fairly brightly colored and always twin bed sized. Then everyone got one when they graduated high school (traditionally a blue jeans quilt--I have one of these too). And then when people get married, they get a full or queen bed sized quilt. I actually have one of those too because in the last two years of her life grandma finished a crap ton of them and gave everyone one.

All of my grandmothers quilts are hand tied rather than hand or machine quilted. Hand tying means there are little knots of thread--sometimes of decorative yarn in fun colors--that are sewn/tied through all the layers of the quilt). Hand quilting is when a stitch is sewn through all layers of the quilt using a long, strong needle by hand; this can be in straight lines or in curved and/or patterned lines. Machine quilting is sewing through every layer of a quilt and can be done in straight lines (often chosen if sewing at home on a smaller sewing machine) or free hand, but nowadays is most often done on large machines that use a computer program to quilt elaborate patterns into the quilt. Nowadays it is most often farmed out to people who almost exclusively do this.

As some of you know from here, I have taken up quilting. Although I am (for now) choosing to farm out the actual quilting unlike my grandmother who hand tied her quilt often with assistance from her neighbors, daughters, daughters-in-law, and occasional granddaughters. This is in part because our quilts are pieced together using very different manners of construction (again so far because I have done like 3/4 of one and 1/2 of another quilt using one pattern).

I have been using strip construction. This means kind of what it sounds. I cut strips of fabric out, sew them together alongside other patterns and colors of fabric. Then I cut smaller squares (about 10 inches each side) out of longer sections (up to two feet the long way) that trim up the squares to even lengths. Then all those evenly sized squares get sewn into a final quilt top. The final top then has many, many, many seams where different fabrics get sewn together. The machine quilting is a great way to bring out the beauty in the patterns, and it generally makes flatter all cotton quilts like those popular in the pages of Pottery Barn catalogs (although I have been picking much brighter colors and much bolder modern patterns).

My grandmother used block construction. This meant she cut squares out of fabric and sewed them together into bigger squares. She also did something that seems to have gone out of favor with modern quilters (yeah quilting has fashions that wax and wane who knew?). Her main squares were usually fairly big (10 inches square or 12 inches square) and were always white, and she would border them with a piece of solid and often brightly colored fabric. On these squares she would applique and paint designs. My big quilt she made later in life has butterflies with appliqued wings and painted antennae. The jean quilt is just plain squares of denim. The grandma quilt I got at birth has very 1970's Holly Hobby esque girls in bonnets with umbrellas with appliques for the skirts, bonnets, umbrellas, and faces and a bit of paint for the umbrella handle.

Actually I think my quilt is kind of ugly and I always have, and my sister has an identical one. Mostly I hate it because the quilt's colored border is a very bright mustard (think French's) yellow, and I don't really like yellow and I really don't like bad 70's mustard yellow. I appreciate it much more as an adult than I did as a kid. Mostly because I appreciate the skill and time that went into it.

However this quilt is now 30 years old, and it is kind of fragile. In part because of its age, and in part because it lived on my bed from age 2-13 and got washed a bunch as a result. In 2001 when I lived in NYC and was unemployed and depressed and spent most of my time watching my roommates movie collections and reading, I spiced my life up a bit by deciding to repair the tears in the applique and the opening seams. It took several days (but boy did I need shit to do!), and I am glad I did it. In the interweening eight and a half years it has only been washed a few times, mostly because it has lived most of those years in a box or up on a shelf and not out in life.

Lately Sam and I have been using it as one of our couch cuddling blankets. We have a nice cuddly sweater throw that is mine and he had a very beautiful but scratchy Pendelton wool blanket. So this blanket got pulled out due to its size and warmth, and since my grandmother passed away in 2004, it has been nice to have her things around me. But now it needs to get regular washing and some of my earlier repairs have failed or been compromised by the age of the thin cotton fabrics, so it is mending time again.

To mend it I go back in and do a simple invisible stitch on the seams that have failed. They are the easiest part to repair, but also the most tedious as you sew tiny little stitches over and over and sometimes for only an inch at a time. Mending the applique is harder as the fabric as worn out and pulled away from itself, so I go in and tack them down with the fabric. It is totally visible, but there is no other good option that wouldn't compromise my grandmother's original design.

Yesterday I worked on it for 7 hours (give or take, actually it might have been longer). I watched 4 episodes of Cold Case, an episode of Bones, two episodes of modern family (all on Tivo), the first act of Passing Strange on DVD, and Blade Runner (on Netflix on demand). I did eat some food in there, but mostly I sewed and sewed and sewed. I got done with 4 decorated blocks and all the surrounding border fabric. There are 20 blocks in all.

Yeah, this project is going to take a while.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Snowpocalypse Trip Update

I am hearing rumors that Southwest at Midway will be letting flights go after 10am tomorrow. My flight is at 10:15am. However, tomorrow Southwest at LaGuardia has cancelled all flights until Thursday morning. So it doesn't really matter.

Also I feel like this is a leisure trip and I should just take it as a great way to get out of having to sightsee in the snow.

Snowpocalypse Now

Ummm, so if you have watched a weather report in the last day or so, you will be aware that Chicago is in the midst of a snowstorm (well Chicago and a lot of other places) that will move East to the coast and beyond--it's kind of Buzz Lightyear that way.

I have a plane flight book for 6pm tonight from Chicago to NYC.

Or rather I had.

Southwest cancelled all of its flights out of Midway today. Last night I rebooked for midday tomorrow, thinking hey yeah cool I will get there in time for the dinner with friends I have planned and I will stay until Sunday instead of Saturday.

Then they cancelled that one too.

Because it turns out that by that time I could totally get out of Midway, but I sure couldn't land at LaGuardia. I could rebook sometime in the next two weeks BUT I can't really get my schedule clear then, so my trip is cancelled. But Southwest is cool and lets me use this as a credit on further flights, and it was just a fun trip, so it isn't like I am missing some very important date specific event or anything.

Next I need to get a refund for the show tickets I bought for Friday's performance of A Lie of the Mind at The New Group. And resign myself to being here for the rest of the week. I have some ideas though. . .

Monday, February 08, 2010

So, I kind of came RIDICULOUSLY close with my non-trad Superbowl pool

I am kind of tied for first.

Because here is what I predicted:

1) Winner and score: Sants 31-24 (it was 31-17 and seriously holy crap how did I do that?!)

2) MVP: Brees (yes)

3) Winner of the USA Today AdMeter of movie spots ONLY: Toy Story 3 was my pick and it didn't even have a commercial.

4) Number of shots of Pete Townsend doing the windmill: 3 (it was way more than three)

5) Over or under on Carrie Underwood's National Anthem being 1min42sec: I said over (it was).

Now, there is one other person who got as close as I did because we had identical choices except he had a higher score that was further off (31-28) and he said 6 on the windmills (which was still off but closer without going over).

On the blog that does this they are entertaining arguments for why my calling the score more closely might take the win over calling a higher number of windmills when the total of that was very high (higher even than the number called). The blog owner/pool host is inclined to call the windmills more important.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Dear Taylor Swift

Just say no to John Mayer!

I recently heard via totally obviously true internet gossip that you are 'more than just friends' with said crooner, and although I get the appeal, I am older and wiser than you, and I warn you to walk the eff away.

I get that he probably told you that your body is a wonderland, and I get that it probably felt awesome to hear that (and sure I bet your body is but still there are way way way way better and less skeezy men who think the same thing and plus dude that was a song about a whole nother girl with way bigger boobs, is that really ok with you?).

I mean, I of all people get that for little bit country white girls John Mayer is somehow our Barry White (and I get way more than you do just how totally humiliating and just plain lame that is).

I too would love for him to croon some tune about how wonderful my body/person/love is in my ear, and write a song about he can't be around me because it destroys him because I put myself in for those girls in his songs BUT it is reasonably ok for me to do this because John Mayer and I will never date, and if I met him in real life I would run screaming into the night (or day) if he started to hit on me. Because the man is a sleeze ball. I bet Jen Anniston would take your call and explain, and you should trust her because that girl knows about being fucked over by a dude.

Taylor honey, I am not meaning to be judgy, if you want to get secretly get down with John Mayer no strings attached. If you can do that, you go girl! But your songs suggest you come with strings, and I don't think I can like songs about John Mayer breaking your young girl heart that you will inevitably write when this inevitably goes south. Please don't date him so you don't have to write them.

Also, as a sidebar, when are your songwriting themes going to mature? I keep selling people on the fact that in five years when you grow up you will be not just super fun but totally awesome, and I am willing to give teenage you a pass on writing teenagey songs, but since you have turned twenty, you have a very short lease on that pass. Please think about writing songs that aren't about teenage boys doing you wrong, for me, as a trade for this awesome advice on not getting entangled with that charming fuck up John Mayer.

Thank you Tay, and good luck. If you want to date someone in their 30s and frat boy boyish, go for Seth Meyers. He is the same kind of type, but I think he would treat you right.



Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Midnight Vomiting

Not mine thank goodness or the cat's, but it was Sam's. He is going to hate that I wrote this here, but after a late bedtime Sunday night and an early morning due to work by Sam at home starting before I usually wake up, last night I was woken up at near two am by vomit. LOTS of vomit. SMELLY vomit. It made opening up the window and letting the FREEZING air in preferable to MASSIVE vomit SMELL EVERYWHERE.

Still there this morning. Hopefully Sam is feeling better and can clean it up. Hopefully he is feeling better and will go to Azar's production of Sara Kane's "Crave" today or he will have to explain to her why he is missing it.

Also not totally sure why the vomit happened. So that is exciting and fun too. Also it is all over the carpet because apparently Sam never learned the skill where you hold it back and in until you get to a garbage can or a sink or a toilet or a bathtub. Le Sigh.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Rock Musical

I saw one today. It was a student project and had some truly awesomeness and some truly studentness, but it was overall very good. It was also totally autobiographical (because did I mention it was a student work). It got me thinking about the partly formed, half-baked one woman show idea that floats around my head. It involves me and my misadventures. I got a cool title that might not even fit, but it is super cool, so I am putting it here. No one steal it!

How to break up with God before he dumps you first. (And yes duh, Jesus boy would feature into this one and also the ads for "Dear John" which I admit I totally want to see because it is so exactly my crack kind of weird me out because Channing Tatum with long hair seems like a 6'2" version of the 5'9" Jesus boy and it is WEIRD)