Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Too Late Christmas List

I opted not to make a Christmas list this year. But now that it is almost here, I am wishing I had. HOWEVER, I DID receive a Target gift card, so I am already perusing the website for those things I need/want. Here are ten things that SHOULD have been on my list.

1) A coat (with a hood)

2) A wallet (as opposed to just keeping my ID, debit, and credit cards floating in my purse)

3) A pair of black flats (that don't smell like my feet yet)

4) Spare bedding (to encourage me to wash it more often)

5) Storage for craft supplies (to rescue the floor of my craft closet)

6) A lamp (because my living room has no overhead lighting)

7) Luggage (because the stupid thieves used mine to steal our stuff)

8) Flip flops (since the ones I have are five years old)

9) A toaster oven (so I don't keep burning my polymer creations in the big oven)

10) Books (because it's been too long since I met a new paperback friend)

Not totally sold on any of these, and who knows- I might actually have one of these needs fulfilled without needing to spend my precious gift card. And of course I don't have enough to buy ALL of these. But it's good to have options!

Friday, December 10, 2010

That Which Is Untranslatable

The following blog post is actually from here. I don't pretend to have written it. But you should totally look at these words. I love them all!


There are at least 250,000 words in the English language. However, to think that English – or any language – could hold enough expression to convey the entirety of the human experience is as arrogant of an assumption as it is naive.
Here are a few examples of instances where other languages have found the right word and English simply falls speechless.

1. Toska
Russian – Vladmir Nabokov describes it best: “No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.”

2. Mamihlapinatapei
Yagan (indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego) – “the wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start” (Altalang.com)

3. Jayus
Indonesian – “A joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh” (Altalang.com)

4. Iktsuarpok
Inuit – “To go outside to check if anyone is coming.” (Altalang.com)

5. Litost
Czech – Milan Kundera, author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, remarked that “As for the meaning of this word, I have looked in vain in other languages for an equivalent, though I find it difficult to imagine how anyone can understand the human soul without it.” The closest definition is a state of agony and torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.

6. Kyoikumama
Japanese – “A mother who relentlessly pushes her children toward academic achievement” (Altalang.com)

7. Tartle
Scottish – The act of hestitating while introducing someone because you’ve forgotten their name. (Altalang.com)

8. Ilunga
Tshiluba (Southwest Congo) – A word famous for its untranslatability, most professional translators pinpoint it as the stature of a person “who is ready to forgive and forget any first abuse, tolerate it the second time, but never forgive nor tolerate on the third offense.” (Altalang.com)

9. Prozvonit
Czech – This word means to call a mobile phone and let it ring once so that the other person will call back, saving the first caller money. In Spanish, the phrase for this is “Dar un toque,” or, “To give a touch.” (Altalang.com)

10. Cafuné
Brazilian Portuguese – “The act of tenderly running one’s fingers through someone’s hair.”

11. Schadenfreude
German – Quite famous for its meaning that somehow other languages neglected to recognize, this refers to the feeling of pleasure derived by seeing another’s misfortune. I guess “America’s Funniest Moments of Schadenfreude” just didn’t have the same ring to it.

12. Torschlusspanik
German – Translated literally, this word means “gate-closing panic,” but its contextual meaning refers to “the fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages.”

13. Wabi-Sabi
Japanese – Much has been written on this Japanese concept, but in a sentence, one might be able to understand it as “a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay.”

14. Dépaysement
French – The feeling that comes from not being in one’s home country.

15. Tingo
Pascuense (Easter Island) – Hopefully this isn’t a word you’d need often: “the act of taking objects one desires from the house of a friend by gradually borrowing all of them.”

16. Hyggelig
Danish – Its “literal” translation into English gives connotations of a warm, friendly, cozy demeanor, but it’s unlikely that these words truly capture the essence of a hyggelig; it’s likely something that must be experienced to be known. I think of good friends, cold beer, and a warm fire.

17. L’appel du vide
French – “The call of the void” is this French expression’s literal translation, but more significantly it’s used to describe the instinctive urge to jump from high places.

18. Ya’aburnee
Arabic – Both morbid and beautiful at once, this incantatory word means “You bury me,” a declaration of one’s hope that they’ll die before another person because of how difficult it would be to live without them.

19. Duende
Spanish – While originally used to describe a mythical, spritelike entity that possesses humans and creates the feeling of awe of one’s surroundings in nature, its meaning has transitioned into referring to “the mysterious power that a work of art has to deeply move a person.” There’s actually a nightclub in the town of La Linea de la Concepcion, where I teach, named after this word.

20. Saudade
Portuguese – One of the most beautiful of all words, translatable or not, this word “refers to the feeling of longing for something or someone that you love and which is lost.” Fado music, a type of mournful singing, relates to saudade.

Fake Christmas Shopping

Finishing your presents early is probably the smarter thing to do. HOWEVER, it also comes with two major downsides: 1) You become incapable of waiting to give the gift until Christmas 2) You find so many other cool things for those people between now and Christmas.

Today I present to you a fake shopping trip. As for me, I'm pretty much done with everybody, so no one will be getting these gifts. But if I had the money... then yes they would.

For Bethany:
Electronic Bubble Wrap! Great stress relief. And super classy.

For Brad:
A stainless steel Sharpie! I always borrow his Sharpies. And this one is just cooler.

For Dad: Perfectly Engineered Skipping Stones! He's the best skipper I know and with these he would be unstoppable!

And for me...

I wish these shirts weren't so expensive. They are so cool. True classic nerd wear. Book nerd at least.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Ups and Downs of Today

The up: Gathering supplies for a cool craft project for tonight
The down: Super glue NOT being super and removing my fingerprints

The down: Got the mail and there was nothing for me
The up: Dad called and I got mail from Natalie at the house in Wisconsin

The up: Jeff got up early
The down: I got up late

The up: Wore my awesome conductor pants
The down: A baby ninja kicking my knee with his paint covered foot

The down: An Old Mother Hubbard's Cupboard
The up: Remembering the leftover popcorn from the abandoned garland project

The up: Giving a well appreciated gift
The down: Having to make several absurdly specific new gifts

The up: Diet Orange Soda downstairs
The down: Going downstairs four times and forgetting the Diet Orange Soda every time

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dionysian All The Way

This guy knows his stuff. The first part of the video showcases some of the houses he's made, but then he starts talking about the philosophical ideas underlying those designs. It's great. Watch it if you have the time. (Dad, I especially think you might like this.)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

O Christmas Tree

A few days ago I posted about my borrowed Christmas tree. Next year I hope to have a tree of my own (and then Jeff can have his back!) I am already thinking about what kind of tree I want to do.

I'll admit it. I like theme trees. My mom's tree doesn't have a theme per se, unless that theme is GORGEOUS. She has an incredible collection of traditional European style glass blown ornaments. Each one is stunning, but when you put them all together on one tree... yeah, it's pretty much the prettiest tree ever. To add garlands and whatnots - really anything other than lights - would cheapen the look. I have always loved her tree. But her tree comes from years and years of collecting the ornaments. Her mother purchased a lot of them, I know, plus when Grandma relocated her Christmas party to Heaven (because you KNOW that exactly how she would want to spend eternity, celebrating Christmas with the birthday boy Himself), Mom did inherit some of her ornaments too. ANYWAY, this is Mom's thing. I want to start creating MY tree. And not go bankrupt.

Initially I considered a woodland theme. I read a heckuva lot of craft blogs. I am big into natural fibers and organic colors this year. I am using wood grain contact paper in some of my gift wrapping for instance. I love woodland creatures like gnomes and squirrels and birds. Felt is my favorite craft supply. I could make little ornaments like these:

But is that really ME?

The answer is no.

Then I saw this tree:It has antlers and old lanterns and book garlands and all sorts of things that don't necessarily belong on a tree. They call it "junky," but in actuality it reminds me of my favorite art movement - Fluxus. With my massive quantity of trips to the thrift store, in the next year, I SHOULD be able to collect a variety of awesome items to put on my 2011 Christmas tree. So here is the plan: I will purchase ONE plastic tub. (I can allow myself one tub for decorations, for crying out loud.) Throughout the year, I will be on the lookout for strange and random things. Some will be hung on the tree as is, while others can go inside of those clear glass ornaments, which I plan to buy on sale post-Christmas, like a mini terrarium.
When I buy each item, into the tub they will go. And so next year I will be prepared to create a truly unique tree.

I am pumped.

A Special Day

Today marks two important events.

First and foremost, it is Alana's birthday! When Jeff posted his eHarmony profile, he should have included that dating him comes with the super awesome bonus prize of meeting someone who would treat me like a sister and like a friend. She has been so generous and caring. She is ridiculously delightful. Practically perfect, the constant Mary Poppins in my life - I am so very lucky to have her. And quite frankly, I hope her birthday rocks!

And secondly, today marks ten months with Jeff.

He has been my shoulder to lean on...
cute baby animals-Acting Like Animals: Yes, Yes It Is

My hand to hold...

And I can't wait to spend our first Christmas together. I love you, Jeff!

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Can't Bear It


I have SO many cool crafts that I would LOVE to post. Alas I cannot because this would spoil all of my Christmas surprises.

In other news, though, Jeff decorated his tree tonight! This tree is currently located at my house. I am technically just borrowing it from him for now. I know you can't tell from the crappy cell phone picture, but other than its general razorback color scheme of red and white, it also has an inordinate amount of bear ornaments. I had been wanting to make ornaments for the tree, but didn't have time to make many with my long queue of Christmas crafts already growing impatient. And decorating a whole tree would be too overwhelming. But now that there are many ornaments, I can add a couple and feel good about it. I want to add more bear ornaments, of course, to stick with Jeff's "special" theme. The man loves bears. They are more practical for tree decoration than a Tom Petty theme, although I DID catch Jeff looking up telecasters on eBay on my laptop earlier tonight... ANYWAY, I am loving the randomness of the bears. Some are made from weird materials. Others have the bears doing strange things. I want to make more that fit either of those categories. Totally open to suggestion if anyone has ideas and would like to challenge me with one.
For example...
A bear orthodontist? Sure!
A bear made out of a soda can? Why not!?
A bear nutcracker? Okay!
A bear scuba diver? Uh huh!
A bear with a banana allergy? Um...
A bear who was raised by a family of geese? Oh... well...
A bear that lights up and spins around while playing "I've Been Workin' On The Railroad"? No.

The heat is broken here. It's 53 degrees in the house. Gonna try to cuddle up with myself and shiver to sleep, dreaming of bears with odd occupations and my favorite boyfriend bear.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

How Cool Are THESE?!

It's time for one of my favorite little games, one I like to call "How cool are these?!" where I show you cool things, and you soak in their coolness.

How cool are these?!

How cool are these?! (Sorry the picture is all rights reserved but SCREAMS Jen if you ask me. Wish I could find some affordable Wellies to make a pair for her!)

How cool are these?!

How cool, or should I say ANNOYING are these?! I had an inkling, but didn't realize it was that extreme.

How cool is this?!
Thanks, Cana!

How cool are these?! I love novelty music. Period. I need to start writing again. But it never ceases to amaze me how often new people discover my YouTube and leave interesting comments on my songs.

How cool is this?! I definitely want to check it out.

How cool are these?! You can pick from 30 different owl images and print your own pretty calendar!

Friday, October 29, 2010

TV Around the World

Tomorrow I will be dressing up as Mokey Fraggle.

Fraggle Rock was a children's show designed to have international appeal.

Recently I found a website that showcases other children's programming with a similar quality. You can watch shows from all over the world. I watched quite a bit of PBS while painting the other day and was awfully disappointed with American children's television. Maybe there's a place for me in it somewhere. Anyway, here's that website:
Bunny Ears TV

Monday, October 25, 2010

Nothing Gold Will Stay

"I want to feel like a gold miner, and I don't want the gold given to me."

John Baldessari

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Unnecessary But Stinkin' Cool

Using a typewriter as the keyboard for your computer? STINKIN' COOL!

Discovering old TV series you never knew about, but realize you enjoy, and are then able to watch in their entirety for free online? STINKIN' COOL!

Driving 12 hours roundtrip this weekend so I can help my bike complete its 900 mile journey back to me? A pain, yes, but still... STINKIN' COOL!

The little things that are already getting me excited for NaNoWriMo? STINKIN' COOL!

Friday, October 8, 2010

By gum, it's gum.

Willy Wonka: Don't you know what this is?
Violet Beauregarde: By gum, it's gum.
Willy Wonka: [happily, but sarcastically] Wrong! It's the most amazing, fabulous, sensational gum in the whole world.
Violet Beauregarde: What's so fab about it?
Willy Wonka: This little piece of gum is a three-course dinner.
Mr. Salt: Bull.
Willy Wonka: No, roast beef. But I haven't got it quite right yet.

Um.... wait, what was that? Strawberry Shortcake flavored gum? Mint chocolate chip? KEY LIME PIE?! Supposedly these are set to be released to the public in October. Well, it's October. Please let me know if you see these in the store. I want to try them! I don't even know where to look - which stores carry the trendiest gums? Well, regardless, the reviews I have read of this gum are great, and I WANT IT.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Falling For Fall TV

Now it's time for your favorite unemployed friend to give you a report on the return of her favorite fall comedies because - let's face it - I don't watch TV dramas. (LOST being the only exception, of course..)

NOTE: I put an asterisk next to the ones that I have only seen the season premiere - the rest I have seen the first two episodes. Some of them it's because they have only aired one episode, and others will not live for me to see them air another show.

What I liked:
- The opener (obviously.)
- Remembering what "nepotism" means.
- Pam and Jim, back to their old pranking tricks.
- The spanking.
- Repeatedly reenacting the spanking.
- This felt like an episode from a few seasons ago.
What I didn't like:
- Andy got dumped?! If it weren't for Jeff (and if he wasn't a fictional character), I'd be all over that.
- More Andy Bernard please! Seriously, I love him.
Prediction for the Season:
- I know they are bracing themselves for Steve's departure. I worry about them doing weird stuff. But overall I trust these writers to keep it fresh, and am willing to forgive a weak episode or two every now and again.

What I liked:
- How many of my facebook friends included forms of its name in their status updates.
What I didn't like:
- The characters. The premise.
- I don't remember why I ever liked this show.
Prediction for the Season:
- I don't care. My love for them peaked at the musical episode, and now I am done watching.

What I liked:
- Sheldon's girlfriend and her nerd puns
What I didn't like:
- Not memorable
- The love is gone -- why is Penny still needed?
Prediction for the Season:
- Get rid of Penny or cancel the show. Those are your options. I've said my peace.

What I liked:
- Episode 1
What I didn't like:
- Episode 2
Prediction for the Season:
- I don't know what to say. I am ready to meet "their mother." It's season 6 and the tease is getting annoying. I don't think he meets her at Barney's wedding, by the way. Too churchy. Speaking of him - keep Barney as a side character. He's brilliant that way. When he's featured, however, you get crappy stuff like episode 2. (The suits episode from last year is an exception.)

What I liked:
- Great overall pace and dang good timing of each little bit.
- Same fabulous characters plus a lineup of awesome guest stars.
- Doesn't matter if you miss an episode; it still makes sense.
- Excellent writing. Period.
What I didn't like:
- Not all of my friends and family are watching this great show yet!
Prediction for the Season:
- Will continue to be my favorite show currently on television. Can't wait for more.

What I liked:
- Not a comedy, but if you've seen the watermelon clip, you understand why I feel like I can put this here.
- Travel channel + ADHD.
- Finding out what people are like under pressure.
What I didn't like:
- People under stress can be mean to each other. That is uncomfortable to watch.
Prediction for the Season:

What I liked:
-Great music.
- Strong vocals.
- They are really stepping it up with the dancing, too.
What I didn't like:
- I only like the music parts, folks. The writing is TERRIBLE. The way they try to "weave" the songs into the story... not so clever. Having a Britney Spears fantasy music video sequence every time you go to the dentist? Are you KIDDING me?!
Prediction for the Season:
-The things I like about the show (the music and choreography) are gonna get better, and the things I hate (everything else) is going to get worse. But the theatre geek in me will keep me watching.


Special "NEW SHOWS" Feature!!!!!!!!!

What I liked:
- At one point William Shatner put on an Ella Fitzgerald record.
What I didn't like:
- I had to try to watch it twice before I could get through it.
- It's nothing like the "tweets."
- The main character isn't even a hottie.
- The show is supposed to be about a jerk father who says funny stuff. This was just sad.
Prediction for the Season:
- Done watching. Having a laugh track doesn't make a show funny.

What I liked:
- CBS.com's commercial before the show started was Bobby Flay making a recipe. HA!
- You know, I honestly didn't mind the fat jokes.
- I will watch Swoosie Kurtz in just about anything.
- Mike is really really sweet to Molly. And she's a fun fourth grade teacher. I'm a sucker.
What I didn't like:
- The stoned, idiot sister.
- Well, when a character ends the second episode with "I'm gonna marry that girl" you sort of know where it's going. But they are funny enough to maintain our attention... that is, if the fat jokes don't get too old.
Prediction for the Season:
- I wanted to watch the second show after watching the pilot. This one might actually have the most staying power as far as premises are concerned. We will see. I'll keep watching for a while.

What I liked:
-The lighting was kind of nice.
-When it was over.
What I didn't like:
-Everything, but especially when they made fun of cheeseheads!!!
Prediction for the Season:
-This is why networks have a whole arsenal of new shows set to start up midseason. Parks and Recreation will get its spot back soon.

What I liked:
- Kate Miccuci played a ukelele playing daycare worker!
- Quirky family dynamics
What I didn't like:
- Horrible parenting isn't funny. It's sad.
- Lower class humor written by upper class people doesn't work.
Prediction for the Season:
- I will keep watching for more songs by Kate. That is all. Poor thing, though, being so typecast. If this show were real, they would have killed the baby by now or have been arrested at least.

What I liked:
- The cast -- two Arrested Development alums, Keri Russell, and a cute kid that plays the role of narrator.
- Unless you count Phoebe from Friends, this is one of the first real "Go Green" characters we've seen in a featured role on a sitcom.
- EPIC treehouse is part of the setting. You know how much I love a good treehouse.
What I didn't like:
- Will Arnett playing a rich jerk? Um... haven't I seen this before and better executed?
- LIKABLE characters. Try some sometime, writers.
- Seeing actors I love in such a crappy show.
Prediction for the Season:
- Will probably keep watching, though I'm not sure why.
- When this show gets cancelled, it will result in FAR less of an outcry than Arrested Development.

(okay, so it's not a comedy, but it was late at night and I was bored, so I watched it)
What I liked:
- I'm not exactly an expert on polygamy (shocker, I know) -- it sure is interesting to see the way it all works. They have a way of making it work. And they really believe in it.
- It feels like a documentary, like I'm learning something.
What I didn't like:
- Makes me sad for them. Some of them seem to like the lifestyle, but others seem like they are doing it because they were raised that way.
Prediction for the Season:
- Shows stick around on cable. This one will last at least one season. Apparently he's taking a fourth wife. I am trying to understand it. They seem to do it more for the way of life than for the sake of religion. It's like they picked a religion that will let them do it. Weird. But hey, I watched it. I'm weird, too.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Things That Make Me Say "YES!"

A Shipwreck in an Art Gallery? YES!

Live in a museum for a month? YES! At a place with a muppet exhibit? YES! Marrying Kermit the frog? YES!

Happy cheese? YES!

Schadenfreude when a top model messes up and announces the wrong winner of a reality TV show? YES!

My guilty pleasure of auto-tune combined with a dog? YES!

Whimsy in architecture? YES!

Poetic odes for your muse? YES!

So You Think You Can Design?

I've moved a LOT. I have had 21 different bedrooms over the last ten years. That's a lot. Some elements of those rooms were used once and then abandoned, other things have come with me for the long haul. Most places I've moved, I haven't really had a living room to decorate - just the bedroom. I don't claim to know a lot about design other than what I know instinctively, have learned on blogs, or discovered in my own experience.

The Wunderkammer aesthetic has always appealed to me.This is most likely due to my obsession with thrift stores. I like creating unique combinations of items that have never ever been put together before now. It's like introducing new friends.

Those things will always appeal to me.

But as I get older, my taste refines. Recently I've been all about pops of color. Like this:I am coming to an acceptance with neutrals and white space, understanding their necessity. You can see a lot of this in Scandanavian design. Case in point: The Huset Shop.

There are so many ways you can make your house a cool place to live, one that suits YOU.