Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Lounging outside in a tank top and flip flops in the evening on Christmas Eve makes me feel so lucky and good at picking a climate. I am glad my parents took me to the snow in the mountains every year or two as a kid, but I am reading on blogs and facebook about how lovely storms are, or bundling up, and I can just tell that's not for me. After we moved to Northern California when I was 8, we would go back down south most years to see our extended family (on both sides) so extra temperate weather, palm trees, and the ocean also feel festive to me.

We had a cold snap last week, where it got down to 28 degrees at night and didn't ever warm up all the way during the day, and it was pretty grueling. The yurt is neither insulated nor enclosed, and I was fine and not even cold (thanks, down sleeping bag!) but my elephant palm either died or went into hibernation. And my 5am bike commute was just horrible. And my feet would hurt from the cold floor in the house because I don't have any slippers. I read a headline today about a life threatening power outage in the Northeast, and okay, I want everyone to be comfortable and live but they chose a life on the edge of survival when they moved to a region with that climate.

ETA: I feel like mentioning that it is less that I don't care if people die from freezing temperatures and no heat, but more that I was sad in advance that people try to live in that climate, like I am sad when I find out one of my friends is comfortable driving drunk.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Experiment re:Black Customers

After I read the life hacking/white privilege article (or maybe it was a supporting response piece) I immediately started noticing it at work, that black customers just get shut down a lot (though Latino customers don't, which is different than in the article). I don't think its the yellow car phenomenon; I think it is really happening. This made me feel a little helpless and sick, so today I started actively extending the benefit of the doubt to black customers, they way I do naturally for really young earnest people and also people who are really terrible and aggressive. In the case of very young people, I know that they are navigating something new and I want them to succeed. I mean, any roadblock I can easily remove for a pregnant 19 year old with a handwritten page of things she learned from our call center is gone, and the same goes for an 18 year old who is the only person in his family with a credit card (I know because they all come with him and counsel him). For the aggressive folks, I just appease them as little as possible to avoid making a minor issue/absolute non issue my boss's problem. So as an experiment I am just extending that discretion to more people. Like, today someone returned a Rug Doctor after 49 hours instead of 24. Normally I would charge him for two days instead of the three that I could technically charge, but his contract notes showed that he had been keeping our call center informed about his efforts to turn it in after we closed yesterday and as soon as possible after he got off work today, so I charged him for one day.

To make a long story short, I don't know what to do, ever! But I am trying.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

USA Always Stamp

I got photoshop in lieu of a scanner, to make my greyed out skewed photos of my art look like my art. I am kind of afraid that if I make anything from scratch it will look like people's deviant art magic the gathering dragon bff playing cards. I feel like I have paid my dues by making really terrible paintings and drawings for years and years, and I don't want to face . But I kind of think no one has fixed the USA/Forever Snape stamp into a USA/Always stamp, so I tried, and I think it worked.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Between the time my car broke down and the time I got it fixed, I got 4 biweekly paychecks, and they won't cover the cost of the repair.

At work I am supposed to be able to tell with  glance whether all the engine fluids in a truck are leaking. Since I started in August, the gritty innards of trucks and cars are starting to resolve into parts I can name, but after I rolled into work with a shuddering, jolting car that couldn't leave under its own power I asked for a refresher. Well, first I called a tow truck and started biking 10 miles to work in winter, and then after I stopped feeling so sorry for myself (or rather, after I became accustomed to feeling extremely sorry for myself), I asked for a refresher. Everyone was nice about it and it turns out that I couldn't've checked the transmission fluid anyway because on a standard transmission there is no dipstick and you have to get underneath the car. As far as I can tell, only $400 of the $2500 bill could have been avoided by taking the car in as soon as I noticed anything wrong, since I imagine the clutch wouldn't have failed if I didn't let the transmission run dry.

I told myself a LOT of mantras when I was waking up in my unheated yurt at 4:00am in December to leave by 4:45 for a 6:30 shift, but they got a lot less positive after the first three weeks. These last two weeks have been more on the grueling side, and the mantra has been "28 degrees is not lethal, so I am fine." Yesterday in particular, I got a flat tire in the morning (my fourth since I started commuting by bike) and had to walk 3/4 of a mile to a gas station, where I found that the air compressor was out of service. Luckily the second gas station on my route was just another quarter mile or so.

Before I was forced by circumstances to get into shape, I would complain about the bike and everyone would say, "That's because you have a horrible bike. If you had a decent bike you wouldn't believe how much better it is." Because I hate the bike, it was easy for me to agree that it is horrible, but actually the quality of the bike is not the reason it is below freezing every morning, or the reason I can't see far enough with the bike light to ride fast after dark, or the reason I have to stuff groceries into my pockets because they are too bulky for my backpack. It's also only kind of the reason riding in the rain leaves me a grubby mess, since some nice bikes have fenders but some don't and would just kick up more water by being faster.

The biking has really been good for my mood, and I got to know my new town a lot more by using side streets instead of the freeway.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Capitol One Security Questions

I don't know the answers to these questions. I couldn't log into my Capitol One account today, so I called their tech support.
"What can I help you with today?"
"I locked myself out of my account by not knowing the name of the hospital where I was born."
"I'm sure it's not a question of not knowing the name, but we're moving from a three question system to a five question system, so it will want you to set new questions."

And he unlocked my account and told me to set five security questions. And I am really trying. But my best friend in high school had a hyphenated last name and only went by one of the names. Just yesterday I was looking at my father's mother's new address label and wondering what the "P" stands for. I don't know how to spell any of my teacher's names before 3rd grade. Luckily, my grandfathers had the same profession. But that still leaves four more security questions to set. I will have to remember (read: won't remember) to not get confused by the present tense, when I go to log into this account in six months, and type "retiree."

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


I've got a birthday trip to Boston coming up. I am going to do a lot of sightseeing! I'm not one for sights, really, I just like to soak up one thing all day and then sleep. This time, though, I've had a year (since Casey moved to Boston) to make a wishlist and there are a lot of things on it! There's an exhibit of fore-edge painting at the public library, which also has a hidden letterbox. There is a Doctor Who letterboxing series with 12 boxes! There is a glass globe of the world of the 1930s. And I was thinking if it was convenient I could check out whatever Gutenberg Bibles are around. But, Casey reports that the public just plain can't look at Harvard's copy. This made me feel really justified in my boycott of Netflixing movies set at Harvard, but it also annoyed me. I told Casey that this interferes with my goal of seeing all of the Gutenberg Bibles. It surprised me to hear myself say that because I actually never set that goal. It just occurred after I kept seeing them accidentally, at the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library main branch. (I am really, really comfortable in libraries and always seek them out.)

The same thing happened to me with the license plate game (you try to see one from each of the 50 states). I was driving in Santa Cruz and I saw a license plate from Hawaii and I thought well, I guess I am playing the license plate game now. Anyway I don't care to see all of the Gutenberg Bibles so I am striking that as a life goal. Maybe I will just see the one in Tokyo and the one at the Hogwarts library. Because I will be there anyway.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Specimen Keyboard

My new specimen keyboard is all-consuming. Each key is going to have a specimen corresponding to the output letter. It was such a simple and compelling idea (similar to a periodic table composed of element specimens) but it is overtaxing my measuring and planning skills so I've had to redo loads of things.

 I measured my new keyboard and made a box that size. But that is not how containing works. So I took it out of its housing and used the grinder to make it smaller. Each key had a little silicone cup underneath it for a spring, and those all fell out, but I put them back. But when I was building a brace to hold all the cups in without the underside of the keyboard I got glue on the plastic sheets with circuits printed on them and it wouldn't scrape off and then the whole thing was broken. So I got a new keyboard and made a new wooden box.
Right now I am test fitting the keys. The test fitting stage is very long. I planned for the top to be removable for repairs, and so each dowel post is fastened to the keypad with a pinch of swimmer's earplug, but it is not holding very well so I think I will glue them down.

Here is how it handles so far:

wjee//////////////////////////////. taxtilke llllllleyboaes''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Friday, September 13, 2013

Dala Horse Bed

I made a piece of furniture from scratch! I just went to home depot and got five 3x1x6es and some plywood pieces and sawed them all apart and screwed them together. When I took up floor sleeping I wanted to do it like in my special friend Japan, but really Americans cannot handle having bedding on the floor. I was looking on pinterest for how other people handle floor beds and I found that Montessori thought indicates floor beds for very young children (since they can crawl in and out, it mitigates their anxiety about bed) but American moms can't face putting their kid's mattress actually on the floor without comment, so there are headboard decals available. This shows that the child is well loved and well tended, but also shows the aforementioned anxiety.

I myself gave up mattresses in principle in 2005 when I was pushing a California King mattress up the front steps of my parents' victorian (also couches), and in practice when I finished college and got rid of my secretly mildewing mattress. I handled my transition to floor sleeping by doing my lying-on-the-floor-breathing-into-the-pain-in-my-back exercise before I went to sleep, and then doing it as I fell asleep. Now I am totally acclimated, but I do still feel the anxiety that Montessori moms display- the floor is not a sleeping surface! A functional adult does not floor sleep! I just ignored these feelings until an actual impetus arrived for building this little platform in the form of the return of fall, which made my nearly weatherproof yurt a really terrible floor sleeping location.

As soon as I realized my woodworking skills were poor enough that there was no way for me to do anything imaginative with the form, I got excited about painting it like a dala horse, which it somewhat resembled due to stockiness and what I thought would be four leggedness (see: woodworking skills). I had a plan involving gesso and diluting one ounce of cadmium red paint in two cups of varnish, but then in a super-exciting coincidence, Dawn had a GALLON of cadmium red. (If you aren't familiar with artists' paints, this is like going to someone's house and finding that the peanut butter they have is the half-crunchy roasted kind you prefer. Oh also a bathtubful, but that's not the part I was analogizing.)

As for the blue and white detailing, I spent a little bit of time on youtube despairing of my kurbits (Swedish folk painting) skills, but honestly I think this came out fine.

Monday, September 2, 2013

U Haul Training Course

At U Haul new employees have to do an online training course. My manager said I could do it on the clock if I don't have a computer at home, but most people do it at home and that's the best way to do it. That is exploiting, but because I was almost certain I was going to get to drive a truck, I said I would be happy to. I was tearing up at the thought and my heart was full. So I was indifferent to the particulars. But then the training course took 8 hours.

The exam question at the top of this post is something I was really asked. I got it wrong.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Butterfly House

The county fair is in town, and I picked up a couple of weeks' work at the Butterfly House. It was a really fun environment. It's nice to work with the public when the public is happy and having a special treat on a special day as a family. My personality is such that customer service is easy for me when the person feels stressed that they won't get a bed for the night, or has a fit because it made them mad to imagine that my hispanic manager is monolingual, but it was so unstressful to facilitate families having a nice time at the Butterfly House. I spent half my time working the front, controlling how many people went in at one time and explaining what to expect, and the other half working the exit, answering questions and taking butterflies off people. 
 I sat right next to this monarch chrysalis display and I only saw two monarchs actually emerge!
 This particular company, Butterfly Adventures, lets people feed a butterfly with a q-tip dipped in nectar. The nectar bowls had plastic beads in them to stop the butterflies from drowning, and people had no end of trouble intuiting this.

Since I worked half-days, I would go a little early or stay a little late and check out just one or two things at the fair. I got to sketch the livestock, the rides, and the Hall of Flowers. I also got to visit the entries in domestic arts, fine arts, and crafts- there was way too much to take in in one session. I like taking things in slowly, like when I lived in DC and everyone around me was in a rush to work or keep their tourist family of children engaged and out of harm's way, but I just sat in the free museums and worked on watercolors.

Substitute Teaching

Should I become a substitute teacher? I can't decide. I think I would like the work and the hours fine, but the requirements are so frustrating. I attended a 2-hour sub orientation yesterday and made a note of the different requirements. Everyone I live with is completely tired of hearing about the hoops and how much I hate them, so I will put this little write-up here. Below, I have marked requirements with an X if I think they should obviously be stricken from the substitute teaching requirements, or if they are plausible, an O. 

[X] $60* CBEST
This test lets BA or BS holders prove they are educated to a middle school level.

[X] $90 2xFingerprinting
I can see that it would be negligent to let folks who are or have been criminals of any sort run a classroom for a day. But if the state thinks you are cleared to be around children, the district doesn't need to prove it also. 

[?] $25 TB test
  I don't know, does anyone ever get TB? Is it not a required vaccination for children? Is there no vaccine? Can children with TB attend school? I think the tip-off that this is not necessary is that you can be infected with anything else in the whole world.

[X] $40 county processing fee
The county needs to figure out how to pay to process applications. Obviously. Everyone has to process their own job applications unless it's a program that's for the benefit of the applicants.

[O] $40 Classroom management course
Okay, yes. This is relevant to the actual job. 

[X] $60 Medical Exam
I can't believe this is legal. I think super flexible 6 hour days where you just don't schedule a shift  if you are having a flare up/bad symptoms is completely ideal for people with disabilities or who are getting on in years. The medical exam form does say it's checking for disabilities "on the basis of functions which will be required of the applicant upon employment," but it asks specifically about arthritis, asthma, MS, and affected vision, speech, and hearing.

[O] $72 30-day sub permit license
Sure. It is appropriate to pay for licenses. It's silly that the one year period starts when the application is received, instead of when the license is granted, but an academic year is shorter than a calendar year, so it doesn't matter. 

[O] $30 2xcollege transcripts

Even with all that, I still haven't decided against applying. I do want to teach, although not in a California public school (I've been). 

*This would have been $40 had I registered on time, but on the other hand it would be $100 if I wanted to take the computer-based version. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Here is some found poetry I generated

Preface: O 
Preface: O
 Preface: I am ;
Preface: I am leae
Preface: O 
Preface: O
 Preface: I aml
Preface: O 
Preface: I am learning to tu 
Preface: I am learning to tup
Pteface: I amm 
Preface: I am ; 
 Preface: I am
Prefacd a
 Preface: I am ;ea
 Preface: I am learninf
 Preface: I am ; 
Preface: I am learning to tu
Preface: O 
Preface: I am ;ear
Preface: O
 Preface: I am learning to type. 
And use mu 
And use my ;ef
And use my left sji 
And use myleft shifrk 
And i 
And use my left shift key.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Typing in Japanese

Japanese people can all read roman letters, butthe romanization systems for showing Japanese words are a bit cumbersome and so students learn hiragana, the syllabary, as soon as they get started studying. So I have been able to write in hiragana for years of course, without learning to type. After a year's worth of false starts, I learned to type in Japanese in an afternoon.
Here is all I actually had to do:
1.Activate the Windows Japanese Input mode
      This step is really easy to find out how to do. Control Panel ->Region and Language -> Keyboards and Languages -> Change Keyboards -> Add -> Japanese -> Apply, and then in the task bar switch between EN and JP at will.
2. Label the keyboard
       I just pressed every key and wrote down what it rendered.
3. type the gojuon/syllabary in order
      Realize the keyboard is not actually a confusing mess of characters.
So here is the gojuon, which is the alphabet analogue. It's arranged by vowels across and consonants down. 

Here is how it applies to the qwerty keyboard. It is mostly clusters with a bunch of outliers, I do not know why. Also, just a note if you are reading this and fairly detail oriented but haven't studied japanese: chi and tsu are in the t category, shi is in the s category, and fu is in the h category. I don't know the reason for most of those, but fu is because the japanese h is like an h/f hybrid. 
My two workarounds before I learned to type yesterday were to use my phone, or type in English into google translate and then copy/paste. The phone keypad is actually perfect for the gojuon. It works like the T9 system in English. Multiple taps take you across the columns of the gojuon, and there is one key per row. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Micro Landscapes and Personal Gallery

This is my new, tiny series. It is made by framing scraps of acrylic paint peeled from my palette. 

 I think gluing them to bails for necklaces and waterproofing them with resin is the way to go if I want anyone else to wear them. For myself, I had fun experimenting with attaching them with spirit gum. I probably wouldn't wear this out because in my experience people can't really be cool about things like that. I would just hear, "What's that?" as many times as there are people.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Alameda Towne Centre bronze sculpture

The shopping center in my hometown got a ton of nice art with its last redevelopment. This is my favorite piece. It's a mandala sort of wheel made of animals and fruits and things. I usually wouldn't post such an unsuccessful photo but I have honestly spent hours googling:
 "Alameda Towne Centre bronze sculpture"
"alameda town center bronze sculpture"
"southshore redevelopment public art"
"south shore redevelopment public art"
"alameda town center metal sculpture"
"public artists alameda towne centre"
trying to find a picture of it. So now here it is. I still don't know the artist's name.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Swimming Hole

At the local river there is a remarkable jumping-off tree. It looks purpose-built. Non-swimmers can't fall off of it because it is on the far bank from the beach. You climb up to the tree from the river via soft, silty pocket steps in clay, then balance on horizontal branches worn smooth by feet. These are so sturdy that they are where the jumping-off line forms. And they are enveloped in glowing green leaves. You can jump from either of two low hanging branches. A rope hung from a higher branch can help prolong your fall. I had a lot of time to memorize everything and enjoy it because I was much too frightened to jump. I guess it was fear, but it felt resolute. I was just certain that jumping was the wrong thing to do, as I told the children who stuck around for ages to encourage me. I was up there a really long time. I think it is out of fashion to call feelings primal, but it was a primal fear of dark water.  I have always been able to count on not being afraid of heights or other physical things. But, I am a bit glad I've experienced it. It had better not be ongoing.


I jumped off it and it was okay. I remembered to wear my contacts, so I think that helped. Also, I made these photos by swimming my camera across the river. 

Friday, June 21, 2013


The highlight of my day today was driving to the grocery store. I had to hill-start my car because I the battery died from driving it so infrequently now that the water pump complains the whole way. It's a reliable car that never needs push-starting so I am a novice. I was pushing and pushing it with all my might, and it wasn't moving, so I took this photo to prove that it was on an incline. But it turns out I was either in gear or in neutral, whichever is wrong. 
At the grocery store I had to smile when I saw this Home Style Sauerkraut. I have only made kraut 3 times, but it comes out amazing because I use the same equipment, ingredients, and climate that my Dad has used to perfect the process. So I have this false feeling of mastery. 
And this is what it looks like, a gorgeous jewel. The reason it's pink is it's half red cabbage, half white, and the reason it comes out so good is that you crush the vegetables with your hands with salt for a long time and it breaks down. 

Monday, June 10, 2013


Baby rabbit day one, above, and day six, below. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mendocino County Mini Maker Faire

 I usually like to just take a good picture and then crop it, but lots of things I saw this weekend seemed to call for heavy filter use. Dawn and Dad were making hula hoops at the Willits Mini Maker Faire, and they brought me along to teach jewelry making with bike tubes, and it was fun and not too hot or busy. The focal point of the Faire was the gypsy caravan of a performer named Doctor Sol, whose magic show encourages children not to pollute. He does it as an 1800s carnival barker and even though  I heard it twice I didn't mind it.
The Faire was in the Roots of Power exhibit which is full of trains and lumber equipment. I wold have liked to make some drawings of the machines but I was too busy. After Willits we drove up to Lake County to gather Dawn's son. The lake county house is such a treat- it is in a vineyard and Clear Lake is just across the road. 

It was sunny but not hot so I couldn't bring myself to swim, but laying on the dock was almost as good. 
 One of Dawn's old friends spotted this tiny opposum, and Dad caught it so we could move it a few yards from the cabin, just to let it know it's not welcome to eat the recycling.
 Lake County is wonderful for plants, as is Santa Rosa. This is one of a stand of 5-7' tall fried-egg poppies.

I'm lucky I was spared nearly all the ills of working a fair-- overheating, sunburn, hoarse voice, sore feet-- I just got a backache from leaning over all day. Also my fingertips wore off but it wasn't visible.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


My lifeguarding class is nearly all teens, including teens who have reached the age of majority, and I thought I had identified myself as an adult woman but I guess a lot of the teens didn't notice. So having them discover it was a bit of an embarrassing episode. No one has ever in my life thought I was my own age or older; I should have a medical alert bracelet made. They immeiately asked me about SAT scores, alcohol, and college, and I think I was a fairly good example on all counts. Since then I have been thinking about how much my life sounds like youthful imaginings. There's the whole trope of a camp boyfriend/Canadian girlfriend. I have an alive boyfriend, and we lived together for six months after he graduated college, but he lives in Boston. Now I just mail him sauerkraut and he mails me sweaters.

When I first left highschool for college I had a horror of being put back in high school or elementary school. I would have nightmares about it and everything. But now in my lifeguarding course I have a former juvenile hall teacher yelling things at me about responsibility and whatever, and it feels okay.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Lifeguard Cert Class

Usually everything interesting in my life is art-related, but not the Lifeguard Certification course I've just joined. The instructor asked us all to write down why we wanted to be a lifeguard, so I wrote about the drownings in Louisiana that made me decide I had a responsibility to be able to save swimmers. A large family was picnicking on a riverbank. None of the children or adults could swim, so when one teen fell off an underwater drop-off, several more followed to try to save him, and drowned too. I looked into it, and learned that it is unsafe to save a drowning person because in their desperation they will drown you if they are able, and that is when I knew I would have to be formally trained. The five allotted minutes passed faster than expected so I finished with, "I don't want to be helpless."

Almost all of the teens wrote that they want to be lifeguards because they love to swim and want to help people, and want a summer job. Oh. I honestly did not think of that. Swimming is my favorite exercise, but lifeguarding is sitting in a chair in the sun.

These teens have been in school all day, and now they are taking a 3 hour swimming + lecture class for 50 hours in two weeks. We get out at 9:30, and we got homework for tomorrow (but it's just reading). When will they do the homework? Teenagers are amazing! I was amazing in that indefatigable way as well. Get up at 7am to go to high school, bike to second high school for special class, bike back to first high school, then after school were committees to help the school, fitness club, or special-interest community college class. "peaking in high school" is for athletes, not students who spend all of their time reading and inventing weird little projects, but that was my peak to date for spending my waking hours progressing toward external, measurable goals.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Massachusetts Wishlist

These are the neatest things I know of in Massachusetts:

The Mapparium- A three-story stained glass globe visitors can walk through. It's a whisper gallery and since it was built in 1935 it's a time capsule of political borders and country names. 


The Glass Flowers at Harvard- these have been on my wishlist for years and years, so long that contemplating them doesn't fill me with wonder anymore, but I'm sure in person it will.

 The Edward Gorey House (a museum) plus topical letterboxes.

Click for Clue
Travel In The TARDIS- a 20 box Doctor Who letterboxing series carved by several different people (not linking because the box is restricted). I would get to find 20 stamps on just a 4 mile hike! In the New England woods! Fairy tale woods!  I slightly hate the boxer who commented "Amazing series!!! Interesting characters, I think I may need to check this show out!!!" on this series. 
Casey- a 23 year old research assistant who is always up for adventures (shown here at Yellowstone, WY) provided they're safe and well-researched. He is lovely, but he's not 3,000 glass flowers; he can travel to California perfectly well. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Today in LDRs

This year my boyfriend took up knitting, hardcore. We're long distance, and he's in Boston freezing and sitting by the fire wearing thrummed mittens and knitting me all this stuff and I'm in California in a T shirt making ice coffees and spritzing myself with water and not knitting him anything. So, these took a while.

Here I am in a flattering SF sunset wearing a scarf he knit with the same design. The pattern is from LeesyKnits, and it is just so cute.
It's necessarily knit from the feet up- the hedgehog spikes are single stitch checkerboard, and it doesn't look cute knit from the top down. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

I made an infographic!

This week I realized that humans are the largest primate, and not gorillas. I was so excited that I started researching mid sized megafauna which might be surprisingly smaller than humans. Right now I have access to my dad's graphic design computer (+knowledge) so I got to make this in Illustrator and I like it a lot. And I got to use Dawn's tablet! 

My dad told me to sketch in a very rough shape and then refine it afterwards, which he demonstrated by drawing a basically perfect great white in 0 seconds and then correcting one fin. (it's not in this image because the bottom of their range is 200 lbs above the top of the human range. I guess the small great whites I have seen in photos were juveniles) This took me four days, because at first when I got a tiny bit fatigued with refining lines my stylus control would fall apart.
The roughed-in first go animals were just a malformed mess, but this lion looks pretty good to me.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The 100 Push-Up Challenge

 I am doing the 100 push-ups challenge, where you do small sets of push-ups every other day until you can do two sets of 50, at which point you can probably do one set of 100, or are nearly there. I am doing the easiest tier, and I am pretty good at it. Every couple of weeks you do as many push-ups as you can to make sure you are still on the right tier. It's called an exhaustion test.  Yesterday I did my exhaustion test and I got 5. I thought that was pretty bad, but later I remembered I had already done the set of 5, 5, 7, 5, max. "Am I tired now? Is that too many? Am I okay?" gets me enormously fewer push-ups than "Okay, now do 5 again."

I didn't really re-read the directions for an exhaustion test, but I think next time I will just try for 100 and see if I get to 12 or something.

Relatedly, the "max" push-ups I can do after my little sets is always zero, which seems fine to me because look, I did 22 push-ups tonight! But I will enter it into my calendar as the recommended minimum.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I Dress Myself Correctly!

When I was younger my mom got me a The Color Analyst session, where a lady fawned over me and held up any number of scarves in different palettes to show what looked good and didn't look good, and then she gave me a little printed palette to compare to my wardrobe (so that I could discard non-matches) and take with me when I go shopping. (Also there were some great panels painted brown, blue, and two other colors that show whether you are warm or cool toned when you put your hand in front of them and your hand blends or pops out.)The idea is that you will be empowered when you easily look your best every day in flattering colors that coordinate with everything in your closet. I am not used to fawning, I mean I cut my own hair and do my own nails. So it was kind of nice, and kind of weird. I could tell that she could have spent 5 minutes doing the consultation, but then it wouldn't be engaging me and showing me how gaunt and pallid I can look if I wear black or orange. I keep the palette in my purse sometimes but I don't consult it when shopping. I got it out today, and compared it to the things around me, and I found that I am doing pretty good.
I even have a bunch of blue things like I am supposed to, even though I don't like artificial blue, because it is so easy to find blue things. This prescriptivist stuff reminds me of my little rant about the enormous percentage of women who are supposedly wearing the wrong bra size, because a bra fitting will yield a different size than the one she wore to the fitting. I wear the right everything size! I would know if I wasn't wearing the right everything size! 


I have this app on my phone called Wunderlist. I feel like my Wunderlist entries are super clever, like I am an expert at wanting things. I usually put my shopping and wish lists on the back cover of my notebooks and  so I don't lose track of them, but now I am aggregating them into Wunderlist.

My "Travel" list gives me a twinge in my belly because it's so exciting and so unattainable. But I know if I permanently want to go to the New Zealand beaches and fjords, the Budapest hot springs, and the B
altimore Washington monument and George Peabody Library, I will eventually be in a state where I can make it happen. There are two things from each of those places on my list, as well as "use a pneumatic tube" which I recently found out you can do in some offices with their old systems and some hospitals with new systems. I got excited to add "send a pigeongramme" to my New Zealand wishlist, but the service was replaced by telegraph in 1908. So that is my travel wishlist. I also want to go to iceland, but for the same reason I want to go to Budapest (to swim in hot springs), plus in DC all the metro ads are for going to Iceland on your way to London, and that made me want it more.  I bet there are a lot of iceland shaped things to buy in iceland, and i would like that.

 I have a seperate wishlist for books I want to buy or check out of the library, but some should be on my travel list because I specifically want to read them at the Library of Congress. Like, the Klingon Newsletter, which I won't be able to read but will still be exciting. Also I want to look at very old copies of books by the Dutch ambassador to Japan, Isaac Titsinghs. I know everyone has already made their peace with autocorrect, but it really takes exception to basically everything on my wishlists.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Resin Jewelry

 There is still a lot of trial and error with resin for me. I love this ring, but it is rubbery so I have to recast it with the correct catalyst to resin proportion, also the back is flat but that's nicer than the many tries I did as a 3d cast instead of a flat cast. Also it is too big. I was making some dripped resin layered rings before this, so I thought adding material was the easy direction, but for a cast item I think it will be easier to shave off material. So I can cast this in beeswax, which shrinks as it cools, then make a fresh mold in 2 part silicone, then cast it in resin that I've mixed properly.
 I figured out a one piece cuff link I'm happy with! I made the original out of buttons and cheese wax. And I can cast it in any color! But the mold is only usable once or twice, because I make it thin and then invert it to release the cuff link. I just made a thick mold and cut a zig-zag down the side to release the cuff link, but I haven't tried it yet. I'm hoping it will just make a thin seam of extra resin that I can trim off. Maybe I can let the resin set in the mixing container for a short time to thicken.
I love waiting overnight to decant these little treasures. Maybe I should take notes instead of trying to remember what works.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Fabric Dye

The jacquard iDye is supposed to be no mess because of the dissolving plastic they're made from- just toss it in the dye pot! But my counter was wet (whose counter is dry all the time?) so a packet got glued down and then when I pulled it up it made a terrible mess. I was glad I did my ring modeling earlier in the day.