Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Home Workshop

Now that there are only a few more months until our house guests depart, I have begun to fantasize about the newly remodeled attic that will become my art studio(/guest room). I've never had so much space committed solely to my work, only corners here and there. I am now faced with the dilemma of creating my home craft workshop and it's a big one indeed. I'll probably try to research it a little, see what other people have come up with but here are the issues I have identified:

  • Storage: I need a LOT of storage (doesn't everyone?). I simply cannot be productive unless I feel neat and organized. So if there are bits and pieces of projects everywhere, chances are I am walking back out the door. If there is a clean work surface and everything is put away, I feel inspired to start something new. I hate clutter. And I am absolutely choosing the word 'hate'. Plus, if everything is put away except for one project that isn't finished, I feel more inclined to finish it so that everything is cleaned up!
  • Large Work Space: I am still searching for that amazing table that is large enough for all my little piles of cloth, paper, and doodads, and yet doesn't overwhelm the space. I want a bar stool so that I am at the perfect height of the table when I sit, but the table is also the perfect height for when I stand (and I'm only 5 feet tall). I want it to have character; scratches and gouges that show someone else loved it before I got my hands on it. I want a table similar to this for my back porch (it will be my potting table) and I saw one at an antique store for only $100 but sadly didn't have the cash or the proper vehicle to haul it off.
  • Lighting: I have a good bit of natural lighting in the remodeled space that I plan to use, especially for photographs of my work. But there are a few corners that are dim and I need to find the perfect lamp that will be at a good height and not overheat the area.
  • Spatial Organization: My biggest issue will be working around the "guest room" role of the room. The bedroom area will be staying where it is and unfortunately, that's the best area for a work table. I'll need to finagle something, though, without making the room seem cluttered or else (as mentioned) I won't use it.
What are your thoughts on a home workspace? If you have one, what did you consider when setting it up? If you don't, what would you like in a workspace?

This is an example of the table I want so badly, made of out wood planks and a little beat up. Image is from www.furniturehomedesign.com

Friday, December 4, 2009


So I've been working hard this week on my super thick book that I've been sewing and I just wanted to post a couple of pictures. I finally bought new needles (since I kept breaking all the other ones I had after only one signature) and the first one lasted quite a while before breaking. Part of the problem is that some of the holes are too small but since I've already started, I don't want to go back with the Dremel and try to enlarge them. Needles are cheaper and quicker. I'm sewing 16 pages per signature so with about 600+ pages total, it's taking a while. But last night I discovered I'm over halfway through, as my thumb callus can attest (I don't like thimbles). It looks nice though. As I move along I'll need to decide what color I want the case to be. I'm think a pretty light blue. It's too bad that I can't sew endbands on since the pages are all individual (at least I don't think I can--I'll have to double check). I'm also hoping to start on my brother's holiday gift soon but I have to start brainstorming what types of materials I want to use. I have a copy of our family crest and he was wanted a copy of for a couple years now (I kept forgetting to give it to him). So this year (well, really last year but I didn't have time to do it last year) I plan on making him some type of artwork that incorporates it backed by a canvas. I'm thinking of printing on a variety of materials but I'm not sure yet what I want to experiment with. I guess I'll just have to make another trip to Joanns and browse for inspiration. Lucky me!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Oh the holidays...

Well, while I work on trying to improve the look of the blog (see previous post), I will continue to write because really, can I ever not share my thoughts on whatever pops into my head? I wish my laptop was alot nicer because there would probably be quite a few more postings if I could post whenever something was in my head. I guess that's what my Twitter and FB are for! (You poor suckers that follow me on there)

As usual, I have a bunch of projects I'm still chugging away on. They'll get done sometime this month but now that it's December and Thanksgiving has passed, it's time to break out the holiday decorations. I will rush to put up these decorations as soon as possible after Thanksgiving, not because I can't wait to celebrate our weird Hanukkah/Christmas mix but because, darnit if I'm going to put in a lot of effort hanging lights and garland and putting the fall decorations away while dragging winter decorations out of the basement, I want to enjoy them for as long as possible! I refuse to put them up before Thanksgiving and I will not keep them up through January. Well, maybe just the snowmen stuff. And so, this week I will spend almost every night frustratingly swearing on my front porch (PG-rated swearing, since I have neighbor kids). The weather was absolutely lovely on Sunday, I didn't even have a coat on, so I started the lights then. I checked the strands to make sure they worked and after hanging lights for an hour or so (making great progress I thought), I ran out of staples. But I figured I'd plug in what I had completed, take a look at it. Several sections would not light up. So I gave up for the night, knowing I had a lot of time ahead of me just to fix the ones I already hung. Last night, I return to the little glittery bastards, ready to remove bulbs and plug in new ones in an assembly line type fashion only to discover that some of my strands miraculously relit themselves. Not that I wasn't happy, but what the hell?! And of course it was much colder so by the time I finished hanging a few more strands, I had had it for the evening. Tonight will be take 3 (at least for the front porch). Needless to say, I probably won't complete much on my other projects.

Speaking of my other art stuff, I am thinking of entering my first craft festival next year since Irwin has so many festivals and does not charge for you to be a vendor. However, that means there will be a lot of work for me to accomplish over winter if I want to have enough merchandise available. Otherwise, my display will look pretty pathetic. Sometime soon I will need to sit down and plan it out to see if I can accomplish it at all. As for bookbinding, that will be somewhat difficult since I usually do custom jobs. I have some new wire-working tools for jewelry that I am really excited about. I probably won't get to use it until mid-December once all the holiday gifts are bought and wrapped and decorations up.

Decorations are tricky (see how my mind bounces around?). Hubby and I are both Jewish but 75% of our family is not and so we tend to just celebrate both with different sets of families depending on the day. My family is not Jewish (I converted 4 years ago) and so I was raised on tales of Santa and twinkling Christmas trees (not in a religious way, however). When hubby and I started our own decorations, I tended to only get things that are winter themed. Snowmen, snow flakes, animals, etc. I didn't want to overdo it so that our house looked like David puked his star everywhere, but I definitely wanted to avoid anything Christmasy. Well, that didn't last long. We broke down and bought a "holiday" tree. All of the decorations are cool colors like silver, blue, purple, gold and themed around animals and winter. I am very strict on the No Santa rule. But it recently occurred to us while chatting with another relative that we may have to rethink ALL of our rules. When we eventually have children, we do plan on having them attend Jewish services, go to Hebrew school, etc. BUT we don't want to raise them strictly Jewish. We plan on teaching them about all sorts of religions so that as they get older, they can choose whatever they want, if any. Now, that complicates things because if we celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas, I can't really avoid Santa. He's pretty essential actually, if you are a young child. I'm already feeling confused so I can't imagine how a 3 yr old would feel. I'm still not going to buy a giant inflatable Santa for the front yard though.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Revamping my blog design

I'm a little frustrated by this blog, I have to say. Not because I can't think of things to write, or have too much I want to write. I'm actually in the mood to play around with the design of things and there is some rearranging I'd like to do. The site itself needs to just pop a little more and to be a little bit more personalized. But I haven't worked with HTML in a couple of years and I'm eager to learn how to program in other languages as well. So it's frustrating because there are many things I'd like to do but I don't know how to do them yet! I also have this widget that I noticed on another blog (www.savvygrouse.com) but I am having trouble working it into the layout I am given by blogspot. I can only play around so much with the HTML. Right now, if you scroll allllll the way down to the bottom of the page, it's on the left-hand side. It's a neat little Flickr cloud widget and they spin when you hold your mouse over it. I love this little widget but oh, is it frustrating! I just can't get it to go where I want.

I have a lot of ideas for background textures and some really neat layouts that I'd like to try. I was originally going to set up my own website and play with all of this as I learned more programming, but I got impatient and started this blog up. I think I will still try to do that, but I will have to point to my blog. I'm just not sure how much customization is really permitted on blogspot. Hopefully, you all will have something else to look forward to (besides photos of my artwork and book press) as I learn more.

In other news, I've had some really great ideas for objects I'd like to construct and have posted on Etsy. Right now, I only have a few earrings on there which is not a very good representation of all that I do. But I'm already committed to making some gifts this year (instead of purchasing everything) so I'm not sure when I will have the time! I've been working on hanging wallpaper at home as well and it just looks amazing! I know most people hate it and granted, I've never had to strip wallpaper, but I just love the look of it. There is just some much more that you can do with it instead of paint. I'm not really a fan of any of the textured paint techniques. Or perhaps I've only ever seen poor examples of it. But we've been putting up little bits of textured wallpaper here and there in our house and are so pleased with the results. At some point I will post pictures. I also have a few photographic ideas in mind for the walls that we are finishing up. I have lots of family photographs that need to be hung somewhere and I have some great ideas for printing on some atypical materials, maybe staining them, and then framing them. Again, I wish I had more time!

Thanksgiving is coming up soon obviously (have you been following my Thanksgiving quotes of the day on Twitter?) and I've started my baking frenzy. One pie down and four (or five) to go still. Half will be my standard pumpkin pie made from scratch (not canned) and the other half will be a new recipe I tried last year for apple pumpkin pie. It was amazingly delicious and from my Healthy Cooking magazine. Mmm, pumpkin. This year I am pretty thankful for my life in general. What are you all thankful for?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Deviating From The Traditional Script

Hm, so I was hoping to have pictures (coming soon!) but hubby has decided to make me my very own book press! As soon as he finishes it, I will post some. I'm very excited to have something that works just as well as the presses at work in the lab but that is much cheaper than buying one. It will even have the little hand cranks. Yay!

I've been VERY busy at work with all of my students, so it's been almost a month since my last update. I've been working on a few other projects, which you will hear more on soon. I have continued progressing on the hymnal project for my aunt and I've begun guarding the signatures. I am waiting for a couple of pages that are missing but I might have to look for another copy of the book in a library to photocopy the missing ones. They must've been the most popular songs, worn out from overuse and easily fell out. So far all four copies that I have are missing the same pages. Go figure!

I also started working on a book for a friend (a very large book) that is taking me quite a while to sew. I'm doing my first whipstitich (or oversewing) and I've already snapped one bookbinding needle. It looks pretty neat so far because I chose a black waxed linen thread on white paper, very stark. I'll also have to post pictures of that. I had a grand old time in the Artist and Craftsman store in Squirrel Hill buying supplies. Plus lots of stuff I didn't really need but wanted, like paper. No wait, I always need more art supplies! That's my justification. How can I make more art without it? I was in heaven, to say the least. I was also looking at the blocks for linocuts (I think they are called). I'd like to dabble in those later but since I don't know anyone who does that (or at least I don't think I do), I'll have to find a great instruction book. They might be great for putting images on my books, canvases, etc. I also came across the Yudu machine and it looks amazing! There were some negative reviews of it, plus it's not cheap, but it's still something I would love to have.

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and now that I have all the Halloween decorations down (leaving the fall-themed ones up), I have to start thinking about baking. I make pumpkin pies from scratch (yes, that's right, no canned pumpkin) and I start taking orders early so I know how many I'm going to have to bake. I don't charge because they're just for friends and family, but I make enough for whomever wants one. Last year I also tried a recipe for an apple pumpkin pie and it turned out amazing! I think I will have to make that one again, maybe take that to our Thanksgiving dinner instead of the traditional one. I'm also in the mood to explore some other pumpkin recipes since I might have some of the puree left when I'm done with the pies.

I've been in a very good mood lately, perhaps I'm just getting enough sleep. But I had one of those moments while I was driving by myself and thought, I'm happy with my life right now. I have a great family, friends; I enjoy my job; I'm healthy; what more could I want? And I think I must watch too much television because I immediately looked around for the car that was going to T-Bone me abruptly since that's what always happens when the character realizes they are truly happy while driving. Luckily, I'm still here!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Preservation Work

I will be embarking soon on a new project for my aunt and her church and so I'm of a mood to post pictures. My bookbinding skills will be needed for this one! They discovered in the church belfry an old collection of hymnals, most of which are filthy, damaged, and incomplete. They chose a few of the best copies and I am going to clean, repair, and piece together one whole bound copy in its entirety. I have a few "Before" photos just to show the condition they are in.

I know this layout is a little icky (I seem to have trouble getting things to look nice unless I want to invest the time in messing with the html), but you can see the front cover (the best one), some of the middle section, and below there are photos of the back cover and of the few others in worse condition.

On the subject of bookbinding, while I was putting together a PowerPoint for a class I'm guest lecturing, I found some photos I took over a year ago of a leather-bound book. I repaired it in the lab, which is a treatment we only do rarely. Using a wheat starch paste that we cooked in lab, I was able to reattach the boards with muslin strips. I simulated cords by separating the ends of the strips and attaching one side underneath the board (and under the marbled endsheets) and the other side on top of the board (under the layer of leather). A later photo shows the hollow core I adhered to the spine (again using wheat starch paste). The core is made of japanese tissue paper and is glued in stages, keeping it open inside using a strip of mylar. The mylar was removed once the core was dry. The third photo shows the dark brown italian canapetta that I used for the spine, while the fourth shows the original leather spine readhered. It was still mostly intact and I wanted to preserve it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


It's really too bad that practically no one reads this blog. I wouldn't say I'm in a creative slump per se, it's more that I see so many options and so many types of media to work with that my brain feels overwhelmed and I don't end up working on anything. It would be nice to get some advice on how to inspire creativity, but in a strict sense. I love art classes for this very reason. Because of the parameters that are put on assignments, it allows me to be even more creative because I can focus. When the sky is my limit, well, that's just too broad and uninteresting for me. Anyone out there know of good books or websites that could help with this? Too bad I'm not an art teacher, I could assign myself some projects.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Night Owl Designs, up and running

My three collections are complete as of last weekend. I took some photos (although not the best in the way of photographic environment) and although they could be better, you can see enough. The thumbnails are at the bottom of my blog page but also available on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nightowldesigns/). I'm the least satisfied with how the book collection turned out, but mostly because of color choices on the journal I think. The jewelry collection included two sets with a necklace and earrings in each, as well as a basic box for them that I decorated with paper. The scarf also goes in this set and it's titled "Handmade Accessories." The book collection included a large sketchbook, the 200+ page journal (with endbands), and two "Forget-Me-Not" notebooks (you can see how small they are in the photo where use my hand as comparison). Finally, the canvas collection is three pieces that follow the theme "Live, Laugh, Love." They were covered in paper of varying weights, decoupaged, and other decorations were added afterwards (such as sewn seams, buttons, ribbons, etc). I also have a few photos of a bracelet made of glass beads and wrapped in wire. This one was made while watching TV a couple nights ago and I'm posting it on Etsy. Let me know what you think. I welcome criticism or other ideas.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Two roads diverged in a wood...

I can't wait to take photos and upload them, but so far I have 2 out of 3 sets completed for the auction. My collection of handbound books is finished (although I am not totally happy with how they turned out, I made some poor color choices), as well as the set of three canvas art pieces that tie in together. The scarf is almost finished (that's really been taking me awhile) and I might make a couple extra small jewelry pieces, plus I'll decorate the box for the jewelry. If I'm lucky, it will all be completed tonight and you all will get to see it. I did get some of my business cards the other day, which was exciting. Now if only people would like my stuff and want to buy it... I'm eager to start posting things on Etsy.

With the advent of me devoting time to making art, as well as the contemplation of children, I feel like I am standing at a crossroads and I'm trying to delay the decision as long as possible. On one side, I enjoy my job and I'd like to stay there a while longer. I've also just submitted a paper for publication and I really enjoy research. Perhaps it's something I will continue to do. And even further down the road, I could contemplate my PhD. I might even continue to have more time for my art. That's probably a big "might". But the other path would lead me to having kids, which hubby and I have more seriously discussed lately. We both want them (well, at least one) and I look forward to staying home with my child, being able to cook more, and coming up with creative crafts for my kids. I like being home and cleaning and organizing. I like coming up with activities and places to go to keep my kids entertained and learning. But that would mean I'd have to quit my job, probably not even think about research or a PhD until I'm in my late 30s or 40s. And I may or may not get a chance to work on my art since I would technically be at home more often. But the arts and crafts that I do satisfies something in me, just like all my other hobbies and interests. I don't want to have no time for it. I like the world to be more organized, cleaner, and far more beautiful than when I entered. (Have you seen our house remodel photos?)

Hubby and I decided to at least continue to postpone kids for now, have some time to ourselves once our house guests leave. But then I had a startlingly vivid dream last night in which we had a baby boy named Brandon who weighed 5lbs 2 oz (tiny, I know). Everyone kept asking how much weight I had gained because I didn't look pregnant. I seemed surprised that I had had a baby, not to mention the fact that it was relatively easy in the dream. Too bad that can't be real life!

I'm not one to contemplate this over and over again, let it worry and stress me out. I trust that the future will bring me something I enjoy as long as I keep making decisions that make me happy. I just wonder which path I'm going to take. Or perhaps I can combine the two smaller paths into one wide road? Just a thought.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Arts & Crafts time!

I've been wanting to post a new update for over a week now but work and home have been extremely hectic. I'm trying to interview and hire several student workers for the lab, plus training the ones that are starting. Needless to say, this is taking up a lot of my time and energy, especially considering that a great deal of what I do is done without assistance from other staff members. That's another tirade I will not get into.

At home, we've been trying to finish up some little things here and there in the attic remodel while our houseguests are temporarily away (it was more of a vacation for us than our actual vacation was!). The window seats are almost complete which makes me really excited. In addition, I am trying to finish the various arts and crafts projects that I have committed to donating to my aunt's church auction in early October. I am working on a book set (handbound of course) which includes a large sketchbook, a very thick journal, and two small notepads. The sewing is pretty easy but I also just attempted my first endband sewing on the journal and it turned out pretty nice! I'm eager to try the different types of endbands now. I'm also in the midst of knitting a scarf (hopefully I can complete two), creating some pieces of jewelry, and creating three pieces of decoupage collage (mixed media) on canvas. I'm super excited about the last one because it's one of my favorite art mediums.

I am also thrilled to be creating these pieces for the auction because it gives me an excuse to finally set a name to my little arts and crafts business, plus make business cards to include with them. Now's the chance to get the word out! I'm eager to post pictures and show what the business card will look like, etc. I'll wait until I have it all together though. I'm also trying to get my website off the ground soon so that it can be included with this. I have an Etsy storefront that I will be utilizing though for my crafts. I definitely need to get a lot of work done on things this weekend!

Hubby and I will be going to the Pittsburgh Irish Festival this weekend and I'm thrilled (I'm trying to use other words besides "excited"!) because both Ceann and Gaelic Storm will be here this year (last year Ceann didn't attend). Plus I think there will be more vendors and we all know how I love my shopping....Ooh, and soda bread! Yum!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sometimes vacation is harder than real life

So hubby and I have returned from our lovely vacation in Hilton Head. I did have internet access, but why would I wish to update my blog/Twitter/FB when I have the beach to appreciate? However, that DOES make it difficult to describe the trials & tribulations of vacation all in one post. Let's give it a go, shall we? "Concise" is my middle name's middle name.
The island itself is quite beautiful but all week, there was something nagging me that prevented me from loving Hilton Head as much as those people that put the HHI sticker on their cars. (Some stores give them away for free so I highly doubt everyone loves HHI enough, not even enough to buy the sticker!). It wasn't until our 5th day there that I realized, unless I am in my condo on the porch or on the beach itself, I can never see the beach! It's all trees and other houses, not even any restaurants capitalize on their location to provide guests with the opportunity to dine on the beach (I didn't find any). What's the point in going to the beach if I can't see it? OCMD has its drawbacks but at least I can see the beach, smell it, hear the seagulls. There were even very few birds where we were. Very relaxing I will admit, but just lacking something essential for me to wish to return.
Savannah, however, is a city that has captured my heart. I even looked up real estate prices, although sadly I do not have the 3 million dollars required to purchase one of those historic homes. And I would get annoyed over the thousands of tourists that invade the downtown historic district every day and night by trolley. I especially enjoyed River Street, which almost seems to have a London feel to it, despite my never having been to London.
All in all, most of the vacation went well. The negatives I will not dwell on, for I have already complained enough of them to close friends. I will admit I was upset that I didn't make it through all of my beach reads, but I only have a book and a half remaining. "The Forgotten Garden" by Kate Morton was EXCELLENT and I highly recommend it. In fact, I started it right before we left for the beach and I finished it before we left for the beach. Her first novel, "The House at Riverton" did not hold my attention as well and I had difficulty finishing it. I persevered however and I would give it, oh, maybe a B-. Karen Marie Moning's eagerly awaited "Dreamfever" was also an A+ and of COURSE had to end on a cliffhanger. The final book of the 5-part series should be out next year probably around the same time, so I can't wait. I'm currently halfway through "The Devlin Diary" by Christi Phillips and enjoying it to this point. All that I have remaining is "The Time-Traveler's Wife" since so many people recommended it to me.
And of course, now that our vacation is over, I am already looking ahead to our numerous weekend trips planned for this fall! The desire to travel never ceases....I did miss our cats though. :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Family Matters

With all of the conveniences that technology affords us, I think as a society we tend to focus on the positives far more than the negatives. But my current situation has me suddenly viewing the Internet in a whole new light and realizing how difficult it is to control information.

To sum up a very complex situation, my immediate family (parents, siblings) is not on speaking terms with the entire rest of my family (that's mostly my parents' fault, my siblings are too young to know about it). I, however, made a choice about 4 years ago to be involved with both sides under the condition that the rest of the family not learn anything about my immediate family. No news, no photos, no whereabouts, nothing. I am also not permitted to tell my younger siblings that they have other relatives. I will also be excommunicated if I do not abide by these rules and I would miss my siblings greatly. So up until now, the situation has been mostly without issues. The rest of the family respects this divide and I take care to have family members over only at certain times so their paths will not be crossed. I do not hang photos of any of my family (mostly). And I have been lucky in that my activities on FB and Twitter are not followed by my (mostly) technologically-inept relatives. But today that has changed.

My aunt, with whom I am very close, just joined FB and friended me. On one hand, I am extremely excited that she has joined the addictive community. But on the other, I have photos with siblings, am friends with other relatives that could complicate the situation, etc. I have been great at compartmentalizing my life into separate families, much as a child of divorced parents probably. But how do I do this on FB? I can't completely hide all aspects of my different lives from each other. And I'm tired of doing it. As my siblings get closer and closer to adulthood, I also have to ask myself, "Will I tell them about the rest of their family or not? Can I trust them with this knowledge? What will happen if my parents find out?" Oh, families.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Aviary Adventure!

Yesterday I took my sister to the National Aviary on Pittsburgh's North Side in honor of her upcoming 15th birthday. I just found out from my mom that my sis Briona loves penguins (which I do as well!). I had heard of their new exhibit with 11 African penguins (they used to only have 5 with no real exhibit to showcase them on a daily basis aside from programs) and was planning on going with the hubby to play with a penguin. For only $40 a person, you can attend a "Penguin Connection". Basically, you get a 30-40 minute tour of some behind-the-scenes areas and the exhibit, during which you are educated on penguins in general and the ones at the Aviary. For the final 20-30 minutes, you get to meet one of their penguins; pet him/her, give it toys, watch it eat a snack, and basically interact with it. I was jumping at the chance to do this so I imagined that my sister would like it too.

In hindsight, I think she liked the trip but note to self: She is not as daring or as bold as some of us other siblings. For a while there I worried that she wouldn't even pet him, at which point I would've been displeased to have shelled out the $40. But she did and I think she liked it. Unfortunately for us, it was a VERY warm day (over 90 degrees) and although Elvis (our penguin) was inside an air-conditioned classroom with us for our meet-and-greet, the general malaise for the day could not be put off. He didn't mind us petting him, but only for a short time. He didn't want a snack or to play with toys. In fact, the only thing he really wanted to do was climb into the trainer's lap and show her such affection that you'd think he was humping her! It was rather entertaining and adorable though. Also, they sound like donkeys! They bray just like asses, haha...

The rest of the Aviary was quite extraordinary. I haven't really been a big fan of birds in the past, but perhaps that is only because I've been around canaries which are as dumb as doornails (or so I'm told). The feeding times were impressive just because of the routines the birds have down pat and they put on quite a show for the crowds. I will definitely have to bring the hubby back. The penguin exhibit also did not disappoint. They are very curious animals and they will stare at you through the glass and even splash you a little. The trainer told us that sometimes they put penguin-friendly pool toys into the penguin pool and I can only imagine how entertaining that must be to watch them have at it! Just as fun as watching the polars bears play with giant beach balls at the PPG Zoo and Aquarium. Glad I live in city with lots of opportunities to interact with such creatures.

Now if only I could volunteer to be a penguin trainer, I'll be set....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Melancholy Evening

Last night was sort of odd in terms of mood. I'd forgotten how painful and heartbreaking it is to visit the animal shelter in the midst of summer; cats crammed into tiny cages, listless and silently going crazy. They're all hoping for a home and yet it's not likely that they will all get one, let alone in the next few days. They will have to endure months of cramped cage life, sicknesses, and hopeful encounters with adopters who reject them. I stopped volunteering last year and instead became a foster parent. A whole different set of difficulties, but one in which I am not faced with a sea of cats that I can't assist except to give them 15 minutes of cuddle time and clean their cage up. I can nurse them back to health, play with them for hours, and fatten them up with lots of treats. They get a whole room to romp in and a window to hog. But once they're all better or ready to go back to the shelter, it's even harder to put them back into that tiny cage. They don't understand why. And the ones that we get attached to and keep (1 so far) and the ones that nobody else wants and we keep to prevent them being bounced around foster homes for the next couple of years (1 so far) make it all the harder to continue doing. And you just hope and pray that someone sees what you see in them.
The shelter we assist is absolutely full so I went last night to pick up a foster, just to free up cage space. I usually make the husband go but he had other plans. The sweet little girl I left with definitely needs attention and some fattening, and hopefully will enjoy the company of the other foster girl hanging out in our office. But I can't help but think of all the other ones still waiting for homes.
As you know, I live in Pittsburgh and so the news was completely occupied by the shootings in an L.A. Fitness. Horrifying and absolutely disgusting that that man would hope (on his blog) that this will make people better understand people like him, who are desperate for a partner. There is no way to better understand you. It's a full moon this evening as my yoga teacher pointed out several times. Maybe there is something to the full moon bringing out the crazy people.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Now that I have finally finished school for a while, I'm really excited for the upcoming months. I have so many things to do! The hubby and I are nearly finished remodeling our attic and beautifying it (thank goodness because we are about to keel over from exhaustion). Our vacation in Hilton Head SC is coming up soon and I would like to do more than just sleep. But I will finally have time to bind a few handmade journals for my aunt's church auction, perhaps knit a scarf or two. I also have a special project cleaning, resewing, and binding old hymnals for her church so that they have one complete copy. That's going to take a while though. My training for the 10k in Pittsburgh has fallen behind but I have a sudden interest in Yoga and Pilates again so I'm sure you will hear all about that (last night's class was almost too slow for me), or perhaps spinning. And I still want to get my website up and running as I learn how to program from the hubby. I know, I know, I am a busy busy woman. No wonder I don't have the attention span or patience to sit through movies. And yesterday I had a burning desire to take a class on cake decorating...

Ah, childhood (and teenage) dreams...

(originally posted Feb. 23rd 2008)

So I have this list. And this list comprises all of the things I would like to accomplish prior to my demise. It has a lot of locations to which I would like to travel, it has activities like sail down the eastern US coast and publishing my own novel. I am currently writing a paper for an archives advocacy and ethics course, which means I am blasting all of the music I own and eating lemon zest biscotti dipped in green tea. While singing along to some tunes, I remembered a passion I had as a child and a teenager, which was to be a singer, a country singer in particular (silly, I know--especially since I live nowhere near the south and nor do I live on a farm, or ever have for that matter). But some small part of me says that I can relate to it. I suppose now I have to put on my list to be a lead singer of a country music band. And the funny thing is I feel very passionate about that. New career choice? Sadly, I wouldn't say my voice is ready for that.