Monday, December 29, 2008

water water everywhere

Last Monday, the night I discovered the rain shower in my home, I was on my originally on my way to meet up with my friend Teresa for dinner and to exchange presents. Obviously, my plans changed.

That same night after the Serve Pro guys and my fabulous, "clean up crew" friends left. Teresa looked at me and said, "I still have your presents in the car." Why not? At that point there wasn't much to be done except wait for things to dry out.

I opened one package to find a beautiful piece of blue art glass. Teresa had picked up over the summer at an art fair. My first reaction was, "It's beautiful. It looks like a little splash." Then I began to giggle. "It's so appropriate that you gave it to me tonight!"

We both spent the next several minutes having a good laugh over the gift.


My issues with water didn't stop last Monday night. Tuesday, I walked into the kitchen to find the dishwasher leaking out onto the floor. Then over the weekend, while working in the shop in Yellow Springs, the roof began to leak.
Neither compares to Monday's ordeal, but I just found it funny. I'm going to visit a friend over New Year's. We'll see if my water woes follow me there.

It comes in 3's

My previous post was about a bit of bad luck bestowed upon me a week ago today. Actually, it feels like it all happened just last night. Nevertheless, when my circle of friends found out what happened, they all replied "That's it. You're the third."

Our group has a history of having bad/weird things happening to us in groups of three. For example a few years ago, we had what we called "the worst week ever." One of our close friends lost her battle with cancer. (That also happened on a Monday as I recall.) At the same time, another friend, Paula, was admitted to the hospital with a collapsed lung with later revealed itself to be associated an undiagnosed case of rare form of leukemia. (She's doing well health-wise, in case you are wondering.) Meanwhile our buddy, John had a skiing accident that left him with cracked ribs. Admittedly his was the least traumatic, but still not good regardless.

This year John was not so fortunate. After eleven years of service, his employer laid him off just five days before Christmas. That same day the strangest event happened to my friend Paula. She came home from work Friday night to situation straight out of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. She entered her apartment to find to a homeless woman sleeping in her bed! Evidently, a wonky door lock failed and the woman just wandered in and made herself to home. She sat in Paula's rocker, slept in her bed, and even helped herself to some oatmeal with chocolate chips and washed it all down with a Corona. The woman was disoriented and wearing a paper bracelet, like the ones you get in a hospital. She didn't take anything aside from the food. It appeared that all she wanted was a place to eat and sleep.

So my little black rain cloud (aka burst water pipes) was the third. Teresa, the fourth friend in our circle is safe. We've all had a good laugh over our coincidental misfortune. John's is scary, Paula's was scary and weird, and mine was messy.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Craziness


I’ve been a bad, BAD blogger these days. That’s simply because the holidays have made life very busy. In recent years I have found myself dreading Christmas. I’m beginning to feel more and more like Charlie Brown, and actually being depressed by Christmas, not really knowing why. This year I cringed at the site of the Christmas tree display at Home Depot. Granted it was the middle of October, which seems way too early, but that’s another issue altogether. At first I was surprised at my own reaction toward the holiday season then it occurred to me that perhaps I dread Christmas so much because historically, bad things happen to me right before the holidays.


When I was about ten or eleven, my pony became very ill and nearly died. I spent the week before Christmas thinking we’d have to have her put down. Many years later when I was home from college, I went up to the local mall to do some last minute Christmas shopping. On my way home, I was in a car accident. While sitting in stopped traffic, I noticed the car behind me traveling way too fast. I knew I was about to be rear-ended and there was nothing I could do about it. I was driving my mother’s car at the time, and although it was from the rear, I was hit with enough force that I was pushed into the car in front of me, rendering my car un-drivable.

After moving to Kentucky travel often became the issue. Several times I was caught in Christmas Eve gridlock in Cincinnati. A few years ago, a strong winter storm almost canceled my travel plans entirely. Last year, my car broke down two days before Christmas, and there was no way to have it repaired in time. I chose to drive my second vehicle, a 1973 VW Super beetle, which at the time had no heat. All I can say is that it was a long, cold drive back home.

None of these events are earth shattering; nevertheless it seems that there is always some last minute emergency change of plans that causes additional stress to an already busy time of year. This year was no exception.

Monday evening I came home from work to the sound of running water. Unfortunately the running water was coming from the ceiling in my office. My first thought was that my toilet had overflowed, but I soon discovered that in fact I had a frozen pipe burst in my second floor bathroom. Water was raining in my office on the first floor, and my basement had flooded with four to six inches of water.

My neighbor helped me shut off the water from the street, and after a few panicked phone calls, my friends along with my plumber and a restoration service all arrived offering to help. Apparently, my verbal skills had diminished to “Flood, Help, and Shopvac.”
My kitchen became triage area for books, papers, photos and artwork. God love my friends. They know my priorities. Immediately, they grabbed my soaking photographs, strung up clotheslines, and hung each print up to dry. It was like walking into an old darkroom. Books were sorted by “wetness” and dried appropriately. Artwork was removed from the framing in order to dry out, while soggy paper and cardboard backing was discarded. Meanwhile, the carpet in the office was pulled up, and the water soaked insulation was removed from the attic, and pumps began removing the water from the basement.

Things were not as bad as they first seemed. The pipe burst in an attic space and caused no other damage to the upstairs. Many of the items in my office were salvageable. The water did not reach my computers, or photographic equipment. I tackled the basement the next day. Many of the things down there were protected by being up on shelves or in plastic tubs. The ceiling wills most likely need replaced but I’m not too worried about it, since that space is mainly used as an art studio. Everything is drying out right now and the insurance adjuster will be come on Wednesday.

All and all I’m quite thankful. Thankful to everyone that came to my rescue. Thankful that there wasn’t any more damage. Thankful that it was only water and not anything worse. Thankful that it happened when it did. Two days later I would have been away visiting family in Ohio for several days. It could’ve been so much worse.

So my Christmas plans were thrown into chaos again, as the clean-up and dry-out process began. I spent the next 36 hours trying to get things cleaned up enough that I could leave the house for a few days, and once again I found myself scrambling at the last minute to gather everything I needed to visit my family. Those last minute gifts I needed to pick up, simply didn’t happen, and luckily everyone understood. It all turned out okay in the end. I made it home to my parents and had a lovely holiday, but I think next year I’m locking myself in my home around the 23rd of December, just in case.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Holiday Classic





"A Charlie Brown Christmas" airs on MONDAY, DECEMBER 8 and TUESDAY, DECEMBER 16 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fall in photos

It seems that fall was cut short this year. I can remember when I moved into my house a few years back, the leaves stayed on the trees  well into December.  I recall the man at the local hardware store laughing at me when I asked for a leaf rake while standing  amidst the sea of inflatable Christmas decorations. (This was before Home Depot decided to start the Christmas season in early October....which is wrong, but don't get me started on that one.)  Admittedly, my "leaves on trees gauge" has been thrown off a bit this year, since the bulk of my leaf makers were wiped out this past February, but it still seems that the cold winter weather has arrived early. 

I feel like we were cheated out of fall a bit this year. But given the shortness of the season, I'm extremely thankful that I had the opportunity to enjoy the few days we did have. Here are some photos from my few fall excursions.

________________________________

I've always suggested the Lexington Cemetery to clients as a location for photographs. When I worked for another studio, I can remember talking to a lady on the phone.  She said, in a thick country accent, "Y'all take pictures in a graveyard?"  I had a hard time convincing her that it was a really beautiful place especially during the spring.  

So, a couple weeks ago my mom came to visit and she said "Can we take a drive through the cemetery? It was so pretty in the spring I want to see what it was looks like in fall."  I reluctantly agreed.  I've never thought to go there in fall.

I was blown away by the pallet of colors. I'm so glad my mom suggested it, and luckily I had my camera with me.

________________________________


The following weekend some friends and I traveled down Loraine, KY to visit the Maker's Mark Distillery.  Nestled down in a little valley, Makers Mark loaded with classic Kentucky imagery. 



We took the distillery tour, did a bourbon tasting and even dipped our own bottle. It was an awesome field trip on a dreary, rainy day.

________________________________

Now almost all the fall color is gone, and Christmas is looming. We've already had a significant snow (aka: a good dusting. It is Kentucky), and although I feel fall was way to short, today I'm going to tie up loose ends and prepare to embrace winter even if it's early.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This is why I wear converse.

Anyone that knows me or has perhaps looked at this blog, knows that I have a thing for converse tennis shoes, specifically Chuck Taylors. It all started back in college when I bought a pair of  white hi-tops. They seemed to be the perfect shoes.  They were classic, comfortable, but most importantly they were cheap. Since then my collection of chucks has grown. At last count, I have about 30 pairs of converse raging from classic white, to hounds tooth, plaid, even alligator skin. (hmmmm.......I see a future blog theme on the horizon "Chucks of the month.") 

Anyway, you might be surprised to learn that excluding the converse and one notable pair of Doc Martens, I have pretty boring taste in shoes. Simple oxfords, or loafers in black and brown and perhaps a sandal, will just about do it for me. My best friend, on the other hand, has shoes in every color and style imaginable. Conveniently, we often wear the same size. So when she decides to clean out her closet, I'm generally the recipient of her gently worn, yet greatly loved cast-offs.  Recently, after a visit to T's house I found myself the new owner of about six new pairs of shoes, including one pair of bright red Mary Janes.

Last Friday as I got ready for work I contemplated my shoes selection. I was dressing somewhat dressy. The outfit was not chuck appropriate. I was going to be wearing basically all black, but I'd also be wearing a red raincoat. "I know! I'll wear the Mary Janes." Which I did, and for once I can actually say the outfit was cute. So off to work I go.

While making the long trek from the parking lot to the office, I noticed that shoes felt funny. I chalked it up to the fact that they had been broken in by someone other than me, but then later as I walked to lunch it seemed to be worse. And, the weird thing was that one shoe was now significantly worse off than the other.  I reached down to feel the sole of my shoe and to my surprise I found a large chunk of it missing.  After lunch I looked at the other shoe, only to find that it too seemed to have bits breaking off the rubber sole.  

As I walked back to my desk I noticed tiny bits of black runner all over the office.  Apparently, I was leaving a trail everywhere I went, very much like Hansel and Gretel. My co-workers got a good laugh out of that one.

Around 2pm my shoes looked like this.


By this time it had started to rain outside and given the fact that the shoes seemed to be melting off my feet, I thought it best to save what was left of the shoes for the walk back to the car. So the rest of the afternoon I ran around the office in my socks. (Luckily these socks didn't holes in the toes like most of mine do. Talk about embarrassing.)

I did manage to make it home with some shoe still intact and without major incident, however I did almost slip when I lost my footing (literally) as a large chunk fell off somewhere between the UK Fine Arts Building and the President's home.  

At the end of the day my cute Mary Janes looked like this.


They were  cute... for about 2 minutes; that is the amount of time I suspect they remained in tact. When I got home from work I had to laugh when I found little bits of black rubber sole on my front porch and sidewalk, left there from the morning.  Yep, my guess is about two minutes.  

After this all I can say is, that I've never had this trouble with my chucks.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Double Bonus

About six or seven years ago I was commissioned to make a minister's stole using my salt-dyed silks for a lovely lady named Kayt Ward. At the time I didn't get the chance to meet her as I was in Kentucky and she was in Ohio, but I heard she was thrilled with the end product. I kicked my self repeatedly for not getting a photo of stole before I shipped it off to her.

As fate would have it our paths crossed again this past spring. Kayt called Village Artisans trying to track down the artist that made her stole. Luckily, I was working the shop that day. She explained that she needed another stole for the officiant at her daughter's wedding in the summer. Even after moving to a new house and a couple of studio purging incidents, I managed to dig up my pattern and even some pieces of silk that I used on the first one.

This time Kayt and I arranged a time to meet to pick up the stole. What a delightful lady! We immediately hit it off and ended up chatting for over an hour in the shop. She's been to Italy several times and we shared stories of amazing experiences each of had there. After our meeting I emailed Kayt and asked her if she could send me a picture of both my stoles being used at her daughter's wedding. She happily agreed.

So a month or so later, as my cousin was trying to tie up loose ends for the wedding, he said the person that was presiding over the ceremony had to back out. "I just may be able to help you out with that." I contacted Kayt and she happily agreed to do the ceremony. She even posed for this picture, so I might be able to document my artwork. So, it was kind of neat that I was able to contribute my artwork in two different ways. A double bonus!


A big thank you to Kayt in so many ways!

I've finally finished editing Rob and Kelly's wedding photos.
To see more of photos click here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sneak Preview-- Rob & Kelly

Rob and Kelly were married on October 31st, (HALLOWEEN!) 

Rob is my first cousin, and the closest thing I have to a little brother. When, his twin sister married three years ago, I was the maid of honor.  This time I traded in that role, for the one of photographer; one I'm admittedly more comfortable with, but I know if I don't post some photos from the wedding soon, I'll be flooded with emails and phone calls from my relatives. Patience is not a trait that runs in my family. So, this post is to pacify my family, who I know are eagerly awaiting.

Although, the temperature had been in the 30's earlier in the week, things had warmed up by Friday and we had a beautiful fall day. There ceremony  took place outdoors under a gazebo, then everyone moved inside for a casual reception at Gilbert's Party Barn.

The wedding took place, quite literally down the road (or gravel path) from where I grew up.  My parent's house quickly became the meeting point for everyone before the wedding. I ended up doing quite a bit of these pre-ceremony shots of the bride and groom there.

Kelly even got ready in my old bedroom, which photographed much better than I ever would've imagined.  Then again, after living there for nearly 20 years, I guess I you could say I was familiar with the location. 

(For some reason I LOVE this first image of Kelly. It reminds me of something you would see in a magazine, although, I suspect my family won't love it as much as I do.)




Admittedly, these are more of the artsy-shots.  I'm still working on the rest, and to any family out there reading this, I'll let you know as soon as the rest are finished.   I hope these will tide you over in the mean time.  Enjoy

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Seasonal Changes

I've been a bad blogger this week. I try to post something at least once a week, however sometimes life just gets in the way. One would think that a 5 day break from work would give me plenty of time recharge, but actually I think I'm more drained than when this all began. My 5 days off consisted of 4 in Ohio and 1 catching up on all the things at home. As for the rest of my week, I quickly found myself with something going on every night .
It is when life gets to this pace that I experience Einstein's Theory of Relativity. In my space-time continuum, it is the end of September, but when I watch the Weather Channel every the morning, they are quick to point out that it is all ready November. Somehow I feel like I missed October. How does this happen? Why can't I keep up?
November means the end for me in so many things. The end of leaves on trees. The end of my garden (although mine petered out much earlier this year.) The end of time to get those outdoor projects done. I'm afraid many will be remain unfinished this year.  

November has an impact on Bianka. It means the end of snake-season.  She's had a good run this year.  I neglected to post the latest standings.   She caught snake number 9 in early October, although it was hardly worth mentioning.  It was a tiny, garter snake not much bigger than an earthworm.  Truthfully, I think she was disappointed with the catch.  It gave me hopes that perhaps she's had an impact on the garter snake population in my yard, that is until she got snake number 10. 
Snake number 10 gave us insight to the much asked question, "What does she do with the snakes after she catches them?"  

Mystery solved. She plays with them until she's done and then she's ready to come inside....






....and rest.

Final Standing for the season Bianka 10 snakes 1

Now I'm off to try to soak in the last glimpses of Fall, and take care of a couple of those remaining projects.  And who knows, Bianka still might come across a no-legged friend.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thriller

I'm so bummed that I'm going to miss this. It sounds like so much fun. (This is from 2006) Next year I want to sign up to be a zombie.



For more info on Thriller:
Thriller in Lexington

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Haunting

The last few weeks at work have not been what I would call fun. With a deadline looming I’ve been trying to finish up a project that was started before I even came on board at UK. We’re creating a digital archive of UK yearbooks also known as The Kentuckian. The total nerd side of me has loved this project. Having taken so many photos destined for yearbooks, I loved looking at the portraits. Watching fashions and hair styles change from year to year has been completely entertaining. The first person to smile with their teeth showing didn’t occur until 1915 or so. Most people probably wouldn’t care, but I’ve had too many mothers tell me “Make sure he/she shows her teeth,” so I notice these things. Another interest for me stems from the fact that I went to school at UK. Campus has changed so much over the years. I walk around now and try to imagine what it looked like back in the day based on the various photos I’ve seen.

The down side of this project is that it spans over a 100 years, and the University has obtained several copies of each edition. Most were owned by actual students, which means people have cut out pictures and/or removed entire pages. Covers have been replaced. Not all the pages are numbers. Pages have fallen out and been reinserted in the wrong order. I’ve made countless trips to the archive and reading rooms to verify odd ball things, like the fact that the printer did indeed jump from page 10 to page 12 in the 1910 volume. These are all little things, but they are driving me slightly crazy.

So good, ol’ Kopana said to me last week, “You just need to get out and do something fun. Come on a group of us are going on a ghost walk.” I was totally up for it. Officially, it’s named the Lexington Ghost Walk and Creep Crawl. I didn’t catch the name of the man that leads the tours, but he also does history walking tours of Lexington, although he admits the ghost walks are the more popular tours.

Thursday night, the weather was wonderful. The tour starts at Main and Broadway. Our group got their early to grab a warm drink from Starbucks. Around 7:00 the tour guide arrives, decked out in a top hat, long black cape and carrying a lantern. I remembered a few years back sitting at a traffic light and seeing him come down the street with cape blowing in the wind and being scared to death until I saw the group following behind. That’s when I figured out what was going on. So I had to chuckle at expressions of people driving by catching a glimpse of the man

The tour itself lasts about an hour and half. You walk through downtown and the adjacent neighborhoods stopping to hear a spooky story about how somebody died and the ghostly things that have happened in the building since. The stories range in time from the late 1700’s going all the way up to 1970’s. The tour winds its way up through Transylvania University’s campus and the Gratz Park neighborhood. (Incidentally, the Bluegrass Trust also offers a ghost walk where you actually get to go inside some of the buildings. It is only scheduled for this weekend, and given that I’m here in Ohio, I’ll have to remember to sign up to for next year.) In addition, to the ghost stories, historical land marks are pointed out, like the oldest brick building in Lexington and the home where Mary Todd Lincoln was born. I learned that the horses used by Lexington Livery Co. actually still live downtown. I assumed they were trucked in from a nearby farm. These are types of things that a nerd like me loves to learn. The tour is only $10 per person and completely worth the money if you like a spooky stories and historical tidbits.

After the tour was over, I made my way back home. Still keyed up from the Pumpkin Spice Latte, I found myself wide awake at midnight. I clicked on the TV and surfed channels a bit, eventually settling on KET (PBS). The show was Kentucky Life, which features interesting people and places across the state. I started to nod off during the show, until I heard the host say “Next up, we’ll talk to photographer, Sam Abell, who has worked for National Geographic, but got his start right here in Kentucky as a photographer and editor for the UK yearbook.” My eyes shot open and there on the television was the 1967 Kentuckian.


Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Forget the ghost and sprits. I have my own haunting.



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

yum...



I have to say a big "Thank you" to my friend, Kopana, for introducing me to a most wonderful creation.

Hershey's has released a pumpkin spice kiss. yum.


It ranks right up there with the pumpkin spice latte in
terms of yummy deliciousness.






It's like taking a little bite of pumpkin pie. yum.












Did I say yum?  


Apparently they are a limited edition and not everyone is carrying them.  


So if anyone reading this has any contacts with Hershey's research and development folks, I vote to make this one a keeper.













Sunday, October 19, 2008

an evening with David Sedaris


Yesterday, as I worked on my blog I did a quick google for David Sedaris. Buried about half-way down the list of results was #25 David Sedaris « Stuff White People Like. The link takes you to a blog about what presumably all or only white people like.

The bloggers pose the question why would people spend money to go hear an author read from a book that they already own or have read? My response would be another question. Why do we go to concerts to hear music that we've already bought or heard on the radio?

Anyway, I what interested me most was a comment at the end of this blog post.

I waited in line at a bookstore for an hour and a half, give or take, so that my
girlfriend could meet David Sedaris... (in the book) he signed for her he
said, “I’m glad you have legs so that you can walk.” That’s it…is that
funny?

I don't think this person get it. Sedaris is very observant of tiny details about people. He tends to hone in on they way they look, something they say, what they do for a living etc. The things in finds particularly interesting may be abstracted and morphed into something else in his imagination, and there begins a story. I suspect that is why he talks to each and every person at a book signing. He's always looking for new material. Judging by last nights attendance the man probably meets hundreds of people a day. Coming up with a witty comment for each person would be impossible, especially if it's someone you just met. Think of how hard it is to write a unique comment in an office birthday card, and that's for someone you probably see on a daily basis. To fill in the gaps I'm assuming that he uses quotes or tag lines from one of his many short stories. Out of context, the phrase may seem a bit random, but a die-hard fan would probably get the joke and others (like me) might appreciate a silly bit or randomness. Let me give you a similar situation my friends and I experienced a couple of years ago. This is the same night I discovered that I didn't look like a slut.


A dear friend of mine had been recently diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia which is often times terminal because it usually afflicts elderly men. She was in fact a 35 year-old woman, and is currently in remission. Anyway, at the time of the signing she was just beginning treatment. The line for book signing was long and she started to feel very tired. My other friend, Teresa, and I suggested she sit down and rest, while we have the book signed for her.


When it was our turn, Teresa told David to please make it out to "Paula" and that was it. As he was signing, Teresa blurts out. "You didn't just write that?" She hands me the book and I see the words " Paula... You are going to die."


Earlier in the evening David had read a short story, Memento Mori when gifts come back to haunt you, that at the time had recently been published in the New Yorker. Without paraphrasing too much, the story had the reoccurring phrase "You are going to die." So upon seeing the inscription we knew what he was referencing. It was plan old irony that he wrote that in a book destined to a woman with possible terminal illness


I don't think either Teresa or I breathed for a minute or so, trying to figure out should we give the book to Paula or stealthily run over to the book kiosk and get another copy. Eventually, we delivered the original book to Paula, who was eagerly waiting. We warned her that the inscription may be unsettling. She took one look and laughed out loud. She got the story reference and she go the irony.


So I can see where the blog commenter was coming from to a certain extent. I think its a case of not everyone gets it.


Momento Mori was published this year in When You Are Engulfed in Flames. On the dust jacket there is a quote from a reviewer at the Village Voice "Sedaris's sometimes affectionate, usually dark insights might be troubling if they weren't so damn funny." I think that sums it up best.


So you may be asking yourself what he wrote in my book this time. "I like your stick." Seemingly random yes, but I was wearing my "little dude on a stick" necklace. It works.

-Crystal


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Again.

Despite the best of intentions, this week still wasn't great, so we're trying it again. No big plans for the weekend.  "Work around the house" is always at the top of the "to do" list.   It began last night by doing laundry, paying bills, and cleaning up the kitchen.   Some may see it as a pathetic way to spend a Friday night, especially for a single girl, but it works for me.  In a way it's cathartic, especially cleaning up the kitchen.   I know its nuts, but I find fewer things in the world more satisfying than scrubbing down my kitchen sink with Comet and having it glean back at me.  The whole house could be in a shambles around me, (which has actually been the case off and on throughout various construction projects,) but if my kitchen sink is clean, I know I'll be okay.    It's weird I know, but it's one of my tics.

Speaking of tics,  I am so excited about this evening. I'm going to
 see David Sedaris at The Singletary Center for the Arts. 

I saw him about two years ago in Louisville, and can I say the man is brilliant!  I'd heard him on NPR's This American Life several times, but had never read any of his books.  That night after the show I picked up Naked and even had it autographed.  I've been told that David is really good about book signings. He'll stay until everyone in line has been taken care of, which was great considering I was nearly the end of the line.  

I'd had plenty of time to watch the man, considering a small hoard of people were ahead of me.  I liked the fact that he actually asked who the book should be made out to.  I've been to book signings before where a staffer comes through the line and asks you for your name. Then writes it on a post-it to be placed on the page where the author signs.  It's a nice way to speed things along, I guess, but it seems rather impersonal.  Not that the Sedaris' approach is THAT much more personal.  He asks the name signs the book, hands it back to you, smiles quietly and says "thank you." 

So when it was my turn, he quietly looked up at me and asked "Who should I make this out to?"   I answered back "To me,  Crystal."  He put his head back down and quietly wrote.  As he finished, he clutched it to his chest and said "I have to explain, why I wrote what I did...It's because of your name."  He hands me the book and I quickly look at the inscription.   "To Crystal
Funny, you don't look like a slut.   David Sedaris"   

There is an even better story from that same evening, but I'll leave that for another post.  

I picked up When You Are Engulfed in Flames last week on one of my many bookstore visits.  I think I'll tuck it in my bag just in case I have another opportunity to have it signed.  I wonder if I still "don't look like a slut."

-crys

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Planting the seeds to a better week

Saturday
  • Have breakfast with a friend at Joseph - Beth (a favorite place.)
  • Discover a soon-to-be new favorite place, the Morris Book Shop 
  • Purchase some gifts for friends, might as well add one for yourself too.
  • Go home to only to find out that you and your best friend both decided to purchase buttons at Hancock Fabrics and missed bumping into each other by only a few minutes. (Acknowledge the coincidental randomness)
  • Eat the Glorious Morning Muffin you saved from breakfast (Yum!)
  • Make a to do list for the rest of the weekend.
  • Avoid all news reports about the economic "crisis" just to be safe.
Sunday
  • Begin the day with NPR and good coffee.
  • Start working on outside chores like cleaning up the back yard from recent construction projects.
  • Plant the free plants given to you from a friend.
  • Realize you've completed nearly all your  "To Do" items
  • Decide to finally use that gift card from Barnes and Nobel that you've had for 6 months.
  • Laugh at yourself as you realize this is your third bookstore visit in a little more than 24 hours. 
  • Treat yourself to a Pumpkin Spice Latte (YUM!)
  • Meet up with some good friends to take photos at the Arboretum. Laugh almost constantly for the next 3 hours.
  • Dinner at Ramsey's  (another fav)
  • Come home to find more free plants delivered.
  • Consider the cheer up weekend a success!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A New Week

It's Sunday, and I'm hoping that this week turns out better than last. Nothing horrendous happened. It was just kind of a crap week. Perhaps it's the trickle down from the "economic crisis." That seems to be all anyone is talking about. It's bound to affect my mood, and they say its probably going to get worse bere it gets better. So the plan is to turn this funk around for the coming week.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Another Bianka Story

So I’m contemplating changing the name of my blog The Dog Blog, since I’m finding out it’s becoming less about sharing bits of my life and more about sharing stories about Bianka. I know I talk about her as if she was my child, and honestly right now she is the closest thing I have to a child. But, no matter how much I dote on my dog, I do realize she is a dog. She digs up snakes in the backyard. She eats gross things. She sniffs other dog’s rears when she meets them and yes occasionally she gets into the trash. This is why she lives in a kennel when I’m not at home …that and the fact that she ate an eight in hole in my couch the first week I got her, but that’s another story

So off and on throughout the summer my father has been helping me with a home remodeling project. Back in May, Dad observed that Bianka spent most of the day asleep in her bed while I was at work. He suggested I try leaving her out of her cage during the day. That trial period lasted exactly 3 days. On the third day, I came home to find the contents of my bathroom trash shredded and strewn around the room. She has lost all freedom privileges after that, and she earned herself the nickname TED (trash eating dog.)

So, for the past week, my father has been back down to finish the various projects started earlier in the summer. Bianka loves it when “Grandpa” comes to visit because it she gets a break from kennel time as long as he’s around. Then, when I get home from work, I get the daily dog report. Today’s report was particularly entertaining. Dad came in from working outside to the little black dog with a white nose. At first he thought she’d gotten into the powdered sugar. Then he realized that, no, TED had returned. This time she’d gotten into the kitchen trash, drug out the paint rags that were disposed of the day before, and decided to redecorate. Thankfully, she Hadn’t ventured beyond the kitchen, so damage was minimal.

So I will say there are advantages to having a dog over children. When Grandpa goes home, I can resume locking Bianka in her kennel during the day, and I don’t have to worry about social services being called.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Be my friend

I recently discovered that Facebook has an app that will let you create a profile for your dog. The app is called "Dogbook."  You know I had to sign up for this one. 


Okay, I'm the first to admit that  I'm a dork, but I think I've reached a new level now. Actually, I think Bianka's profile will be more active than mine. Sad but true. My only concern is that my dog will out-"friend" me.

In case you're interested, they have other networks for cats, rodents, even fish. So if your guppy is wanting to join in on the on-line social network phenom, here's your chance.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Crystal Heis or Crystal Ice


I recently found this image while poking around the Kentuckiana Digital Library website.  I  need to get a print for my office space.
-c
Image courtesy of the University of Kentucky Archives

Sunday, September 7, 2008

All or Nothing



I'm telling you, my garden is all or nothing this year.  All of  this I picked just this week.   I'm currently pseudo sun-drying tomatoes. Looks like salsa is also in my future. Although, I can't complain. Nothing beats fresh summer vegetables. 

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Chalk one up for the snakes.

Today as I was getting ready to run some errands, the little dog came in from actively pursuing something in the back yard.  I noticed she had some blood on her nose, and my first thought was that she cut herself. I started to clean her up, and the more I looked at it, it seemed like the spot on her nose was raised or puffy.   Not sure if this warranted a trip to the vet's office, I grabbed my camera and took a couple of pictures. Then I headed off to the vet's. Oddly, I was planning on stopping there anyway.
The girls at the office are so sweet. I think they got a kick out me bringing in pictures instead of my actual dog. They  managed to get one of the vet's to take a look.  The opinion there was that Bianka was having some sort of reaction to something like a bite.  "Like a snake bite?" By the way, they got a bigger kick out of Bianka's 7-0 record.  Sadly that record has fallen. Although unconfirmed, I think I'll have to give the snakes 1 for today. 

Official standing Bianka 7 Snakes 1

FYI - I read an article about whether dog's dream.  Turns out they do. I found this tidbit interesting.
"So the next time your pet has an unusually exciting experience during the morning, pay special attention to his behavior while he naps that afternoon. You might just catch your pet reliving the past — in dreams!"

Told you she was hunting snakes in her sleep.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bianka 7 Snakes 0

Last year my mother called me up one day, just as excited as can be.  "I've found the perfect Christmas present for Bianka...... a toy snake."  (Yes, we buy presents for our pets. After all, they are family.)  It turned out to be Bianka's favorite toy.  I do believe that during the winter months, she used that toy to hone her skills at snake capture, because she's having a very successful season.
Today's catch made number seven for the season.  The post-capture stand-off lasted well over 30 minutes.  So what do you do while you're waiting on the dog to get bored with the snake? Why you take photos, of course. ( Since many of you are a little creeped out by seeing actual images of Bianka holding a snake in her mouth, I won't force the pictures on you.  They can be seen by clicking here.)
(Bianka and snake stunt double)

Knowing that my dog is a seasoned snake hunter many people ask me, "What does she do with the snakes after she catches them?"  Not wanting to think about what she would actually do  if she were unsupervised, I normally try to get the snake away from her,  which isn't easy.  She is quite the determined little dog and I have learned the hard way that a snake will only stretch SO far.  So, after over thirty minutes of attempts of coaxing and tricking the little dog into giving up the snake, I was the one that gave up. I went in the house and positioned myself so that I could still keep an eye on her.  The next thing I knew, she's laying on her back tossing the snake around just like her favorite toy.  Then she pranced around the yard carrying her snake proudly.
Occasionally, she stopped to shake it violently.  Then I noticed her starting to run toward the house, still with the snake mind you. 
Not wanting a repeat of last year's Mother's Day incident, I popped back outside to keep her from getting too close to the house.  I met her under the carport.  She stopped, looked up at me, then spit the snake out, wagged her tail and headed down the stairs to the basement. I guess all I had to do was to wait for her to finish playing.

(Bianka in action with stunt double)

Even as I write this post, Bianka is napping at the foot of my chair.  Every once in a while she fidgets and whines in her sleep. I can only imagine that she's hunting pesky snakes in her sleep too.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Don't Try This at Home.

Back over the winter a friend and I decided we wanted to try yoga. This is when we found
Barefoot Yoga Works. They offered a Yoga Basics class at a time after work. We both said "This is perfect." Even after our first class we noticed a difference.  We both felt great, less tense, and we were energized. It was amazing! 

Sharon, our instructor also happens to be the owner.  She is a wonderful teacher for those who are completely new to yoga.  She has a great, relaxed teaching style, and I love the fact that she constantly reminds you to honor your body and to be aware of what your body can and cannot do. 

It's been about six months now, and I have actually stuck with the yoga practice.   I think I can safely go on record in saying that I'm not a fan of exercise, but this is different.   I wouldn't call myself a "Yogie" by any means, however, I will say I'm totally hooked.  I quickly found myself eagerly awaiting Thursday night's Yoga Basics class.  Eventually, one class a week wasn't enough so I've worked my way up to Yoga Level 1. Although I really enjoy the Level 1, I  still attend the Basics. I consider it a kind of a reward to myself  for going to the Level 1 earlier in the week.

So, this past week I attended my Level 1  as usual, but by the time Thursday rolled around I was pretty burnt out. So I bailed on my Basics Class.   Shortly there after I regretted this decision.  I just felt off for the first part of the weekend. Also, something pinched behind my left shoulder and nothing was loosening it up.  I contemplated joining in on one of the studio's Sunday classes, but eventually I talked myself out of that, because I was trying to keep a promise I made to myself to go nowhere on Sunday.  Then I remembered something a friend of mine asked me. "Why do you have to go to the studio? Why can't you do yoga at home?"  That's a good question.  One of the  great things about yoga (well, one of many) is that  you don't need a lot of equipment.  I have a mat. I have space. I'm good to go. 

I set up  a space in a spare room.  I've been to enough classes that I know how to start with the breathing and slowly work into a little flow sequence. I even tried to imagine the sound and pace of  Sharon's voice announcing the instructions.  I could do this. No problem.

It didn't work exactly as I planned. Actually, it went a little something like this:

"Find yourself a comfortable seated position on your mat with legs crossed and hands on knees."
(Remove the dog from your lap)
"Slowly, take a deep breath counting to 5 with your inhale. Do the same with your exhale, letting go of all the things that aren't present to you at this very moment."
(Try to ignore the sound of the dog grinding her teeth as she aggressively chews on a bone next to you.)
"Come up onto all fours to Table Top.  With your inhale lift your head and sits bones for Cow and with your exhale drop your head, and round your back for Cat."
(See the dog look at you strangely and then fuss at you by half-growling/half-whining as if to say "Why aren't you playing with me?")
"Reach your hands forward and lower your torso for Puppy Pose"
(See "puppy" demo the pose for you.)
"Inhale back to Table Top. With your exhale reach your left leg back with toes pointing down, and at the same time reach your right arm directly out in front of you."
(Try to maintain balanced and focus as dog decides to lick your toes.)
"Return to Table Top. This time with your exhale repeat the pose, by extending your right leg back and reaching your left arm forward."
" Exhale and return to Table Top"
"Take your right arm and insert it under your left  and lower down for Thread the Needle."
(Shoo away dog trying to lick your face.)
"Return back to Table Top. Repeat the pose by inserting your left arm under your right."
(Dog decides to leave the room)
"Inhale to Table Top and then exhale back into Downward Facing Dog, your inverted 'V' position. Pedal your feet back and forth, eventually finding some stillness in your pose."
(Dog returns to room with favorite toy, still wanting to play. Dog decides to lie underneath you to play with favorite toy showing you how much fun it is.)
"Move forward into Plank, your push-up position, and with your exhale lower your body down to the ground in one even movement"
(Grab the toy before lowering down and toss it into the other room so dog will move out of the way)
" With your inhale straighten your arms and arch your back for Cobra."
(Dog returns with favorite toy)
"With your exhale lift back into Downward Facing Dog."
(Exhale back into Downward Facing Dog Licking My Face.)

sigh....You get the picture. So I guess I'll be seeing everyone back in class on Tuesday. 

Namaste
-crystal



 

Friday, August 22, 2008

careful what you blog

A few days ago the director of our department asked each of us to send her the URL's to our blogs. She wanted to include them in departmental blog referencing, meta-morphosis. It's sort of a symposium we hold each year for various libraries and institutions to learn the in's and out's of transitioning microfilm collections to digital. She thought by having our blogs on the meta site, attendants might get to know who we are a little better. I thought to myself..."Great. Even more people out there will know about the crazy antics of my little dog."
Then yesterday afternoon I actually logged onto the meta-morphosis blog to see how it was coming along. There it was! Right at the top of the page....the list of all our blogs.....with the titles of the most recent post. I'll give you one guess who's was at the top of this list. Yes, yours truly. For those of you that have forgotten, the title of yesterday's post was "Can you pick my nose?" (Oh dear God. Good one, Crys.) I sat there staring at the monitor horrified. If you have read the entry you understand the title, but out of context it's just gross.
So, the point of this post is a blatant attempt to have something other than "Can you pick my nose?" greeting the readers of the meta-morphosis blog. What a way to welcome a guest.
-c

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Can you pick my nose?

It's always fun when I'm working at Village Artisans and my friend, and fellow Artisan, Nancy, stops in. One visit she asked if she could ink my hand for a print, to brush up on her study of palmistry. I am completely intrigued by that sort of thing so I willingly agreed. The results were very interesting.

So last month she pops in and asks "Can I get you plastered?" Well actually she wanted to take a plaster impression of my nose. Again, I willingly obliged. I've done this sort of thing before for various art projects. It's not a big deal. Of course,
any customers that came in during the process were curiously confused. Nancy explained that she and her JafaGirls were creating a "nose tree" to add to the collection of totems around town. So if you are wandering out the Village of Yellow Springs, be sure to look for the Nosy Tree. They have included photos of the nose owners. See if you can pick my nose.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bianka 6 Snakes 0

After over a two month dry spell my little snake hunter finally nabbed herself another snake. No pictures this time. Her new favorite thing is to guard her catch by laying on top of it, then occasionally picking it up shaking it violently. Poor snakes.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A treat to myself

Each year I save any gift money I may have been given during the holidays or for my birthday, and set it aside specifically to buy art. This year at Art On the Lawn I met this delightful jewelry designer named Manon van de Graaf. I simply fell in love with her work. It's not your traditional style by any means. The pieces she was showing had a more modern, yet whimsical style, something I can definitely appreciate. So I decided to treat myself to this necklace. The title is "thinking man." I affectionately refer to it as the necklace with the little dude on a stick.


It is a great little piece. There is something about it that just makes you smile.

(smiling)

-crystal

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

On-line Storefront!

Well, finally I have managed to get my act together and created an on-line storefront. I am SO excited about this. This allows me to display the images in a more professional manner, and even better it allows me to take orders via the web.   Very handy when you live in Kentucky, and you photograph someone living in Ohio, but whose family lives in Iowa and Virginia.......you get the picture. 

Now we need to work on a proper logo....sigh.
-Crys

Monday, August 11, 2008

Taking it easy.

The last 3  to 4 weeks have been busy busy busy.  It's all catching up with me now.  I realize I've neglected many things including my blog.  

I do have several posts to publish shortly but for now. I'm going to take it easy and try to shake this bug I have (not the VW.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

VW



My cousin sent me this link. Most of the images have to do with VW production, but you have to check out the wooden bug. Also check out the images of VW storage tower. It's impressive. Those crazy Germans!

Yahoo news/vw

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Home Sweet Home


This post is long overdue. My poor father has been anxiously awaiting the public disclosure of all his hard work. After all, this home improvement project has been many months in the making. The planning phase started last fall. The physical work started around Mother's day. The project came to a screeching halt when my uncle, who was helping, came down with a case of tonsillitis. Six weeks later things were back up and running, but during the down time I became known as the girl that lives in the Tyvek house. Now, the bulk of the project is complete. I have new windows, new siding, insulated walls and the beginnings of kitchen pantry and small back deck.
I also have one proud, but tired father. I keep telling him he doesn't need to push himself so hard, but he actually enjoys it. He calls my place his "house in the South." Although he did tell me he's not coming back down for a while. (Translation: he needs a break.) I hope he knows how grateful I am. My little house is pretty again, and more energy efficient to boot. There is still more work to be done. The yard is still a bit of a mess from February's storms, but if there is one thing I'm learning is patience and the value of tackling things a little at a time.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Not my Binx!


A friend just sent me this article on the 10 most aggressive dog breeds. I disagree with the findings. My dog is more apt to lick you than bite you. Of course you probably don't want her to lick you considering she's knows to catch snakes and hold on the them in her mouth for up to 30 minutes.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1032531/Why-Sausage-dogs-really-just-legged-fiends.html

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Summer Harvest!


I planted a good bit of my garden a little late this year, so this is my first harvest of the summer. Everything seems to be doing nicely, and I love the fresh summer vegetables.  I simply love being able to pick something and eat it that same day.  

Soon I hope to have tomatoes, peppers, beans, and melons.  In the mean time, I have plenty to keep me busy here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Breathing Easier

Finally, I seem to be getting over the sinus infection I've been plagued with for the better part of the week. I can actually sustain closed mouth breathing for more than 10 minutes.
Things are looking up around the house too. Yesterday, I came home to find one entire of side of my house completely clad in vinyl siding. Today, the back of the house was completed. Life is slowly returning to normal. Of course normal is a relative term especially when you discover that your kitchen sink now gurgles when you flush the toilet. sigh......(deep breathes...at least I can now.)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

When it drips it pours.

It was bound to happen. After a very long, fun-filled weekend, I've gotten sick. I'm blaming my current state of congestion on allergies. Regardless of the cause, I decided it would be best to stay home from work on Friday and not subject my coworkers to my drippiness.

It was a good day to stay home. I napped on the couch which made the puppy quite happy.

Somewhere after noon the dark clouds rolled overhead and the next thing I knew it was pouring down rain. The fact that it was raining made it an even better reason to stay curled up on the couch. That is until I heard the dripping noise coming from the next room.

I walk in to find my brand new window leaking in the front bedroom. I ran to check the back bedroom....also leaking. I quickly grabbed some towels and a small container to catch the water. Eventually the storm passed and the dripping subsided, well at least from the windows.

Now since Mother's Day my house has been stuck in the middle of a pretty large improvement project. For weeks my house has been stripped of its aluminum siding and then wrapped in Tyvek house wrap. Apparently the rain got behind the Tyvek and worked its way to through the window opening. The new siding is scheduled to go on this week (hopefully) which will fix the problem. In the mean time strong storms are supposed to head through the area, and this is my weekend to travel up to Ohio.

Duct tape to the rescue!!!! I managed to climb up and secure all the Tyvek to the house. I just hope it works. I'll find out tomorrow when I get back home. Keep your fingers crossed.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Quote of the Week

"Everything I'm going to tell you is the TRUTH, ...except the mistakes and the lies."

-Eddie Izzard 
06.20.08 Nashville, TN

Friday, June 20, 2008

Nashville Bound!

Today is a road trip to Nashville!!! Tonight we'll see one of my favorite comedians, Eddie Izzard. I can't wait. I know people that have seen the show already in Louisville and he didn't disappoint. We're coming back to Kentucky tonight after the show. This should be an adventure!!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bianka


A friend of mine lent me their camera so that I might play and get the feel for it.  So of course I took a lot of images of the dog.  I really liked this one, which was a happy accident.  I have put a few other favorites in an album.

See more at:
http://picasaweb.google.com/crystalheis/Bianka