Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Daily _____________

I love these self-challenge blogs.

The idea of daring yourself to make something new and creative everyday isn't new, but having an online gallery to display your works and an audience to whom you feel obligated to is certainly a wonderful external nudge to getting concepts turned into reality.

That's initially why I started this, the thought that the blog would be a gallery to fill with my own creations...

Sometimes I want to be a little more focused in my posting, but other times, it feels good just to riff.

That said, enjoy a few of my favorites

Skull-a-day, Cleveland Daily Photo, Daily Monster

Take the time to watch the monster vids, I love seeing how he goes from abstract ink spills to distinctly personable creatures.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Circus Peanut - be afeared no longer

In college I worked in the costume shop for a designer who was wonderfully eccentric - right down to having a Circus Peanut Phobia.

Now... how one cultivates a Circus Peanut Phobia, I have no idea.
They're not exactly around every corner - you don't run into them on endcaps at the grocery or trip on them at the Quickie Mart.

They usually have to be to sought out, requested, ordered online.

So I have fondness for the Circus Peanut, because I thought if I ever needed to bend her to my will, I was fairly certain I could do so with the humble orange marshmellowie peanut.

Imagine my glee when I found Bent Objects blog - he seems to have a fondness for orange foods and wonderful series of Circus Peanuts doing what they must do in the wild.

Hyeres 2008

The Sartorialist's last few posts have showcased some from the city of Hyeres in the South of France.

Curious as to what brought them to this locale, I went looking and found that there is an international fashion and photography weekend each year. I know its technically fashion week here in Cleveland, but somehow it doesn't speak to me in the same way as a village on the Med...

What can we do to make Cleveland have some of the charm of this village?
We have a number of the elements...
*access to water's edge
*sand beaches (not a word negative - they are beautiful regardless of your preconceived notion of 1970s pollution in an industrial town)
*artistic acumen

Why not a Hyeres here?

Curating Waste

There's a new exhibit at the Allen Art Museum in Oberlin focusing on the detritus of consumption.

I've always been a fan of that museum: it's compact enough to allow for a deeper appreciation of what's there, the academic culture and history of the institution underly the accession strategies AND it's free.

So take the 40 minutes to drive to Oberlin in May to see the exhibit, hit the FAVA galleries, get a cup of coffee downtown and take a walk around the square.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bare Jr.

Every now and then I hit the interweb full force to find songs long lost to time...

Today I was looking for Bare Jr. vids or mp3s - I went to see them about 4 years ago at the Beachland and have NEVER had a concert experience surpass it - it was what I hoping for from the Feist concert - but a decided lack of liquor, no dancing room and a fairly formal venue made it hard.

Bare Jr. was one of those spectacular combinations of energy and good music that I need to seek out more.

That said - I found no vids of songs that I really wanted to share by them... except this one... man, this guy fully deserves his 15 minutes - if only for having the balls to put it all out there - and the song is pretty good, too.

Sea Lion Woman

This is the song that featured the shadow play of legs...

I can't not stop and listen when I hear this song now, because all i see are those beautiful curvy legs keeping time to the beat.

Top o' the mornin'

Saturday, April 26, 2008

All together now

Tonight I was at Playhouse Square again, and it was refreshing to see all the activity and energy infusing Downtown Cleveland.

Of course, there was the Tribe game at 3:55, which always seems like such an invasion from the 'burbs. Keeping that theme, Go Diego Go was letting out at the Palace Theater, resolving my curiousity about why a young child was chanting the racial slur "dago! dago! dago!" in the parking garage stairwell.

Later you had The Crucible (with snacks) at the Ohio, La Boheme at the State, and Tri C Jazz Fest at the Allen.

Add to that the fabulously surreal experience of seeing folks coming to the CLAW (Cleveland Leather Awareness Weekend - Link NSFW) at the Wyndham (I saw a LEATHER TUX and it was beautiful. I totally wanted him to come attend the opera in that.)

Even better was the mix throughout all this at the newly opened restaurant Bricco at the Hanna.

All this gives me such hope for the area once the NEVER-ENDING CONSTRUCTION is finished. I can see, with all the effort they've put into bringing people to live downtown, that once there's enough pulse and activity to draw them out of the Statler, there's going to be a burgeoning night life in the area.

Already Fred has assembled the railing that marks off the Hanna's al fresco seating, and on nice days, it's easily packed by 5.

More outdoor seating means more people will stay downtown after work for happy hour - which could lead to the urge to shop (if someone could provide the wares - Banyan Tree, Knuth Shoes, Anna Van H. are you listening?) increase impromptu meet ups as well as decrease rush hour congestion.

I can't wait for summer to increase the pulse of the city and hopefully bring even more life to an area that's all too often deserted.

Friday, April 25, 2008

So, how long do you think I have?

I read a great essay in the Times about longevity, and what it takes to get the most out of our short time in the mortal coil.

Given the 6+ hours last night I spent fretting about everything, I thought I should take the suggested Blue Zones quiz to determine my projected lifespan. According to my current status, I am currently 29.6 years old (almost 3 years younger than I actually am) and I'm projected to live 88.7 years, with 74.9 years described as "healthy."

I don't like the idea of 14 years of "unhealthy" - but I think I can affect that with obvious changes I've already incorporated in my life, such as more exercise and an increased intake of fresh foods.

What I found most interesting were the two determiners of the outcome that are somewhat (but not really) surprising: stress/outlook and belonging.

I took the quiz a few times and played with the answers to see what happened.

They predict that those who consume between 1-2 drinks daily will achieve a longer span than those who abstained or overdid it.
They correlate a higher level of education with a longer life.
Those married or in long-term loving relationships gain points over those single, widowed or divorced - although all three land on the same point on the scale.
Those who have a more solid sense of belonging to community (they have two indicators: church and group activities) also correlate to a longer life.

So here's what I think...

Maybe a drink now and then would ease stress. And belonging to a community increases your safety net, and gives you a place to vent your frustrations and accomplish something beyond yourself - you know that you have a place to receive unconditional love and acceptance, and what about that WON'T make you want to hold out a few more years.

The education appears to correlate to community as well, although it may tie into the portion that has to do with annual earnings. Having increased my personal communities greatly through both my masters and undergraduate education, I can say that my education was an excellent predictor for "belonging."

As for coupledom, I think that's a hard call, because a bad one will increase stress levels and therefore decease life span (according to this model) whereas I think (strike that, I KNOW) that a solid friend/family community can be a more than an ample replacement for a partner.

That said, I'm solidly in The Blue Zone, but I need to find a way to let go of stress, frustration and the anger they create together.

I'm going to retake the test in July and see if anything has changed...

4:45 am

still up

i tried...
a bath
listening to music

nothing's worked

the bed is too hard, then too soft
too warm then too cold

thigh starts twitching
or cat starts meowing

tomorrow is going to be spectacular

1 am

it's 1:30 am and i'm suffering from having something caffeinated to drink at 8pm.

my blood is bouncing and my skin is twitching.

thoughts are racing through my head...

I'm 8 years away from 40.
Why have I stayed in Cleveland.
Do I really not want to get married, or do I simply believe an elaborate justification built up over years of being disappointed by men and assuming its my fault.
How can I gain the power position in a relationship.
Why am I all ideas and less follow-through.
Why do I persist most at the things that cause the least good.
Why can't I stop drinking Coke Zero.
Where did my optimism go.
Why did my dad not catch the symptoms of cancer sooner.
Will I ever be out of debt.
Are my degrees worth anything.
Do I sabotage things without knowing it.
Am I a bad person.
Will I ever be skinny.
Will things work out with M.
Will things work out with J.
Will things work out with... TBD.
Will I lose my job and live at the poverty line again.
If I get sick, who'll take care of me.
Is it possible to balance independence with companionship.
Do I deserve both.
When K moves back to town, will I continue to let her treat the current me like the 12 year old me.
If I become less complacent, will I have to find new friends.
Will I ever have tea in the Sahara.
Will I ever learn to surf.
When will my tax refund get here.

You get the idea...

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I started this scarf..... January.

It's MY scarf. MIne. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. For me.
It's all "X"s and "O"s to remind me to always be a smitten kitten and never begrudge a friend a hug or a kiss (or a scarf, even!)

I love the lovely sea blue - perfect for my English rose complexion and spun gold hair.

Close up of cable pattern.

This will be such a great gift when I've tired of 90 degree days and sand in my hair (I know logically that this day will come in September, but emotionally, I just can't imagine I'll want to wear a woolen scarf ever again.)

Here's to looking forward.

Oh my!

A friend sent me this today.

It took me a while to get it.

but then I just rotated the .jpg

Feistivities II

So Feist.

Is it wrong that the music became background noise to the silhouette shadow play going on behind her?

Her music is enjoyable, sure. But when I realized that the two girls in black (the band was all in white) were generating the images on a projected light table in the back corner, I couldn't watch anything else, and was sad when the song didn't feature the visual element.

There were leaves that they blew across the table... branches that danced and created dreamy, unfocused forests.
The cut paper was beautiful: a bird twittered and flew, a watering can brought forth flowers and a house, and the legs of three dancing girls kept time to a bass beat.

There was a transparent film covered in ink (or paint?) and a hand drew out ever-increasing waves, a heart that was scrambled into angry skies and an abstract sailboat that was overtaken by a tsunami created with the flick of a wrist.

It was like a magic lantern show - simple and charming, and the music was a lovely addition.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


So I'm going to the Feist show tonight at the Palace.

I don't know much about her, except that I'm the exact demographic that's supposed to like her.

...and that a TON of my friends are going.

So I thought I'd go too.

I've been listening to her today, and she's OK.

But then I found out she was PEACHES' roommate (music in link v.v.v. NSFW).

Suddenly I'm a lot more intrigued....

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


So I've been thinking about my feet lately.

I've always had troublesome feet.
I have this awful contraption that I wore in my first year - it was meant to de-pigeon toe me. It was aluminum and had thumbscrews and apparently, my dad used to pick me up by it and dangle me upside down (searching for a photo of this).

When I Scottish danced, I could never get certain foot positions right, and in ballet, I couldn't graduate to pointe because my ankles were too weak.

In my 20s, I had a pair of steel-toed boots for work that worked one year, got put away and when I used them again, created a crippling effect that led to the podiatrists office.

He told me I had "freakishly short achilles tendons" and suggested orthotics (which made me cringe, both in concept and cost) and lots of stretches.

The recent spate of dancing and yoga has made me mindful of my feet and today I came across an article that basically says that shoes - all shoes - wreck our feet.

It's an interesting thesis.


I'm a believer that shoes are a problem.

I learned the walk diagramed in the article when I was but a band geek learning to march in the parking lot of Lorain High. Ever since, I've always rolled through the foot in a very pronounced way - hence the split Bjorn shoe.

But I love my shoes, I have over 120 pairs... so you can see the conflict.

But the article has opened my eyes, no more flip flops (the action of grasping upwards with the toes creates rigidity in the tendons on top of the foot, affecting the muscles in ankle, etc), my Keens are getting far more use, and I'm sticking with barefoot as much as possible.

... if only to recover from the 3 inch silver snakeskin stilettos I love to wear.


Carpe Diem personified.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Market dinner

I've been trying to make a habit of going to the West Side Market to increase my intake of fresh foods; fruits and veggies especially. I go at lunch on Mondays or Wednesdays with a friend, when it's fairly calm, but less is open... which actually makes it easier (and cheaper - less temptation.)

I always hit The Basketeria for spring mix, snap beans that eat like Cheetos (only with far less sodium and orange powder residue but satisfying crunchiness intact), and any other veggie you can imagine. They have excellent selection, prices and quality - something that you can't always count on from all vendors.

I get my fruits from Calabrese Produce, a suggestion from a friend who's worked in and out of local restaurants, so I trusted him and found my vendor. From them I get my pineapples, strawberries, avocados... all the things that shouldn't be available at this time of year in Ohio, but thank goodness, are. Ditto the excellent selection, prices and quality - who knew an April plum could eat like candy.

Today I splurged and got a pound of mushroom ravioli from Ohio City Pasta. A friend always raved about their pasta, so I decided to give it whirl for dinner.

I'm quite pleased with what I put together from my lunchtime foray-
mushroom ravioli sauteed with onions, mushrooms and chicken in fresh pesto
salad with avocado and fuji apples, with dressed with left over sweet-lemon vinaigrette from the Souper Market.

Such a lucky girl to have this resource...

MILF Island: Brilliantly Low Brow

Last week's NYMag Approval Matrix. Which itself would fall dead center betwixt High and Low Brow, but fall to the far right on the Brilliant axis.

A giver, demanding

it's my nature to give.
give 'til it hurts.
i give to friends,
and others around me.

but sometimes you reach a point when don't have anymore to give.
no more time, patience, energy, compromise or focus.

but i try to give fair warning that i've hit a wall.
demand my own needs.

here's the issue, i feel that reaction to my demands is never good.
it never has been.
i don't think i know how to effectively demand something.
how do I make sure get the time, patience, energy, compromise or focus I deserve?

if i'm not getting it, i seem to default to one of two actions:
increase my efforts (in case I was falling short, because, as a giver, I assume it MUST be my fault)
i walk away in what I assume is a dignity-saving move.

but how much dignity is maintained when walking away... i'm usually only leaving because the long slow show of evidence takes weeks to build up to a point where I go "Hey, I think someone is sending me a message."

i assume i've brought this upon myself over the years... being generally content with going along with whatever is happening. I can sense high maintenance and usually let it win instead of causing tension by suggesting something else. But years of agreeing to meet them on their side of town, acquiesing to a pizza without black olives or generally putting the ball in other's proverbial courts has made me someone who can't successfully demand the things i need.

and that's sad.

I'm issuing a challenge to all those who demand as a regular course.
Those who agressively demand
Those who passively demand
and those who are generally inflexible.

Go back to those you demand from, and figure what you can do to even the balance.

Make someone else feel heard.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

scary stumble

I was listening to iTunes Radio and heard an Imogen Heap song I love.

I went searching for a video on YouTube and after the usual fan vid trash... amine, Harry Potter, and slideshows and then I came upon something called thinspo.

It's one of many, many, many videos that are "thinspirations," posted by those with screen names like back to my bones, chewing cotton, i heart water, diet coke plz and anawreckzia.

There are no words.

Shakespeare's Snacks

I was at Playhouse Square today - bastion of culture, long-standing arts institution and temple of muses.

La Boheme, All's Well That Ends Well, various choral concerts were all in attendance. People were dressed in their best and prepared to soak in the culture.

... and eat...

hot pretzels.

Outside the Ohio Theatre, currently showing the Crucible and AWTEW in repertory, they sell coffee, tea and... hot pretzels.
I mean, there was machine with a rotating pretzel holder thingie and everything.
It had a heat lamp.

I was so taken by the cognitive dissonance (and hungry - I was working, not soaking in art) that I had to have one.

It's like when someone from Parma gets all obsessed with sushi at the Jake... I mean Pro..Prog.... the ballpark - I get obsessed with hot pretzels at classic theater.

It was pretty good, too.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rain Gear

Is there anything more winsome than skipping around in a drizzle wearing wellies and carrying a charming umbrella?

Highly doubtful.
New York Magazine's Rain Gear Shop-A-Matic.

This, however, does NOT count as winsome NOR charming.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the $700 umbrella.

BEHOLD its blandness.
EXPERIENCE the generic.
FLAUNT your disposable income.
TAUNT the working class.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

acro yoga

New goal.
Don't know when.
Don't know how.
But it's beautiful.

Now that's what I call opera

So there's a new definition of "Eurotrash" out there - post-modernist opera production: naked pensioners in Mickey Mouse masks, nods to BDSM, Hitler even makes an appearance...
Here for pictures. Click on "maskenball."

Or don't.

UPDATE: If you're looking for the BSDM or Hitler in particular... click on "umstrittene" - below "maskenball." Many apologies.

Monday, April 14, 2008

She called me a dancer

I totally needed my dance class tonight. I was full of the nervous energy that come from things unresolved and needed to focus my thoughts on something minute, technical and subtle.

We've started repeating combinations, letting me think more about the details you can never consider when learning a new movement: where my spine is, how my foot completes the line and which muscles to engage to keep my balance in tilts and turns.

I love when you can get to point where the end of one movement is the beginning of another, there's a flow there that only comes from a solid understanding of your body in three dimensions.

As I was leaving, I got a complement that may change the way I think about my body - she was relating a conversation she had that referred to me, "I know this dancer..."
Me - a dancer.
And tonight, I was.
I attacked the movements and anchored my center. I was quick and precise and consistent.
I wasn't playing at dance, I was dancing.

So yeah, I'm a dancer.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Two dorky girls glowing with glee.

Is there anybody out there?

How do you solve a communication problem if you never get an opportunity to truly communicate?

It's a question that's been plaguing me lately, especially given all the ways we have to communicate: SMS, email, IM.

These examples are great for confirming plans or as a virtual tap on the shoulder in the middle of the day, but do they count as true communication? Can you resolve anything through these methods? Are you supposed to feel satisfied if these are bulk of your interactions with others? When these methods fail you, what do you do?

I've been so busy lately that my in-person time has been drastically reduced with many, and I fear for the state of my relationships with flesh and blood. Today I went back to the UU and realized that I miss smiles, hugs and winks that are the result of muscles and intention, not colons, semi-colons and parentheses.

I miss impromptu cups of tea or walks around the block that bring stream-of-consciousness conversations and digressions that spiral into surrealism.

I miss conspiratorial body language and seeing connection grow through unconscious touches.

I want to live in the real world again.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Resolved. (progress report)

The original post.

Where I stand...

*I don't always answer my phone anymore. New challenge... don't always respond to SMS immediately. A girl's gotta learn to be unavailable sometimes. Status: Good

*I have returned to Monday Modern Dance and continue to enjoy positive results: better balance, stronger feet, increased flexibility and rhythm.
Status: Excellent

*Debt continues to shrink - 13% less than when I started in October.
Status: Good

*I have not been attending the UU at all - busy or sick - it just hasn't been the priority it was before the new year. Status: Poor

*My knitting was moving forward, but got derailed in March (like sooooo many other things in my life). I completed 2 cable knit scarves, began another more difficult cable knit scarf and almost finished a sweater vest (still have to get back to the edging). Now that I know the gender of my dear friend's baby to be, I can start knitting little sweaters and booties and blankets in boyish tones. Although I have to make SOMETHING pink. Boys really need to be comfortable in pinks - so damn flattering... that and lavender. I love a man in lavender. Status: Good, Then Stagnant

*I'm comfortable with the amount of externalizing I do... I have probably started to internalize more with all the changes. Status: Good

*I have yet to make it down to my gym. But I have been doing the yoga at night as well as sit ups, stretches and walking. Status: Moderate

*Oil change. Yeah... it was overdue for a change in December. I JUST got it done this weekend... I don't drive much, but its still no excuse. What IS an excuse is that my mechanic only works on weekdays, is 40 minutes away and was booked in December. I hate the overpriced Lube joints and don't know who I'd go to locally. Somehow, my $15 oil change was $50 at the 10 minute place. I hate that. Status: Poor

Over all, I think I'm doing well towards my goals. Trying hard to keep up with things I procrastinate on: taxes (done), car registration (to be sent in next paycheck), eye exam (later this month), and bills bills bills - it costs alot to live, doesn't it?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

PM Yoga

A friend gifted me a copy of AM/PM Yoga for Beginners, as an Amazon.com mixup left him with two copies.
It took me a while to get it into the DVD player, but last night I tried it.
It's been almost... well... 9 years since I did yoga with any regularity.
Wow! Almost a decade - that's unconscionable!
I've dropped in to the Atma Center now and then for their free yoga week, and I have a book on poses I occasionally crack open and relearn sun salutations - but regular practice rarely sticks.

I did it with such regularity when I lived in Arizona, and again when I moved back to Ohio that I've somehow been in denial that I no longer practice it.
Isn't that funny? That something you did with regularity in a formative period can implant itself into your mind in a way that makes you think... "I do this thing," even if you haven't regularly done it for quite some time.

I'm proud to say that despite a mini-sabbatical, I have gone back to Modern Dance Monday at Studio 11 and it has been reminding me how sedentary my life has become. So last night, recovering from a muddy hike on Sunday and following a solid hour of dance, I gave the DVD a chance.

It's broken into a number of chapters, and I tried the 25 minute "Good Night's Sleep" since that's what I need more than anything these days. It was mostly breathing exersizes and restful poses, and calmed me down quite a bit, but I have enough chatter in my head to cut right through true restfulness.

Tonight I did the 40 minute "Energizing Evening" and I can see myself doing this regularly. It's like a full yoga class without worrying if your top is falling off when you do downward dog. Barbara Benagh has a wonderful voice, and assumes you know most poses, so there's little wasted time teaching you how to get from pose to pose (much appreciated.) I have that wonderful rested/focused feeling I always got after class, the one that immediately went away when I got in the car and drove home... except I have it in my jammies, 20 steps from bed.

Overall, I enjoy it, and I think it'll keep me from my bad habit of getting into some 10pm show I don't really want to watch then watch anyway because 10pm always seems so early to sleep. It may actually enable me to replace a bad habit with a good one.

... and increase flexibility and core muscles to boot!

More to come on the AM when I become the person who can wake up with enough time to do yoga before work. Although, if I keep going to bed at a decent hour, that might actually come to pass.

Wouldn't it be great if yoga begot yoga?