01 December 2010

Reflection

For many months now I've been in an almost constant state of reflection and the only conclusion I can draw is that, while I have no idea where I'm going in this life, I'm happy and content with my life as it is today. I love my house. I've got a great family, great friends and love my new job. I really have nothing to complain about, except maybe that my life has been so regular, so uneventful, that I quit my 365 project. There's not much to document.

Day 147: On break

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Listening to: Pretty Little Empire - Wasted Days
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08 November 2010

Earlier that day

Merely hours before we hit that deer, Jeff and I were driving along when I saw an abandoned house and said that I'd love to go investigate. Without hesitation he circled back, telling me I had five minutes. (Yesss!!!)

I stepped into the house through a curious window.

The Entrance to That Old House

And then I walked around inside, wondering.

I thought about Christmas, birthdays, special days and regular days. I imagined a variety of families enjoying life in that old house. I wondered about the many people who have lived here and ohh, probably at least one creepy person lived here, too. Where'd everybody go?

04 November 2010

We hit a deer and I didn't like it

A few weekends ago I took a one day road trip to Keokuk, IA as the passenger of a Mazda Protege which had been in its owner's possession for exactly nine days.

My Point of View

Sometime around 8:30 pm, maybe five miles east of Quincy, IL, a deer stepped out in front of us. We swerved, it ran forward and we collided. The deer hit the hood, some car parts and possibly deer parts exploded and then the entire deer bounced off the car over the driver's side. We kept going.

The whole thing happened in a couple of seconds:

Driving.
Talking.
OH SHIT!
KaBlaam!
Continue driving.

It's so weird how mellow the whole event was.

We drove for a good 30 minutes or longer before the car started steaming and overheating. We made it to to an exit and the car died as we approached the top of the exit ramp, but we were able to coast into a gas station where we waited for a family member to come get us. And then we rode home, arriving later than expected.

The car was totaled.

This post's title was inspired by Katy Perry's 'I kissed a girl and I liked it.'

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Listening to: The White Stripes - Red Rain
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26 October 2010

Inspiration: it's weird and cool

I find inspiration in the most unexpected places so I shouldn't be surprised that yesterday and today I was told by two different people that I had inspired them.

I've worked in the health foods store for just shy of three months. A lot of food gets damaged so it's either left in the back for employees or given as free samples to customers. The food is perfectly edible, think dented soup cans and fruit that is ripe or bruised, so it drives me nuts that a lot of this ends up in the garbage; not too terribly much, but an average of two boxes of food a week. I talked to the Outreach Coordinator about it a few times and yesterday Tim said, "You inspired me. I've already been in contact with organizations who are going to come and pick up food; a church who feeds homeless people is coming later today to get three bins of peppers and some other stuff."

Yesss!

Six weeks ago I received an email from a guy I grew up with, also named Tim, who recently moved to China to teach English and American culture. He wrote me a short message about sight-seeing, getting to know his surroundings and that he had been assigning English (American) names to his students. I was taken aback by the idea of renaming kids he didn't even know and it took me weeks to wrap my mind around this thought. After talking to a variety of people I realized my feeling was a cultural thing that his students likely did not share.

A couple of nights ago I finally responded to his email and explained that this caused such a delay, and for whatever reason, I followed that statement up with, "Can you show them a picture or two of me and ask them to assign me a name? I did a self-portrait project and I literally have hundreds from which to choose. Let me know what you think!" I attached five pictures, asked a few questions and then sent the email.

Weirdo. Seriously, what is wrong with me? What kind of person does that? A boundaryless weirdo, that's who.

Tonight Tim responded to say that I had inspired him. "Now...I have developed a whole lesson on giving you a Chinese name. I'll show them the pictures, break them up into groups, and have them give you a Chinese name then give a small presentation on why. I have a small camcorder. I'll film the presentations and send them to you."

Seriously, how effing cool is that!? I am so stoked to get the videos - I can't wait!

And hooray for no more wasted food!

Jeannette, Hunnert Car Pileup
One of the photos these kids will have when they decide on a name for me.


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Listening to: Unsane - Against the Grain
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02 October 2010

The Lowest Wage Legally Possible

I love blogging; not only writing my own, but also reading the writing's of others. It's allowed me some great opportunities and introduced me to some amazing people. However, lately I've neglected my blogging community. I'm spending a lot of time strengthening the footing in my every day life. I'm finally working, again, after a second unemployed stint in a tough economy. I'm actually working a job that I thoroughly enjoy, but I also know this isn't a future for me.

When I entered the corporate world of Banker's Hours and incredible benefits back in 1998, I never envisioned myself retracting toward a minimum wage position with zero benefits. The money was good. The benefits were incredible. But being in an office is not for me. 8-5 Monday through Friday is not for me. A sanitized environment with both limiting and limitless possibilities is not for me. I'm always struggling with what I should be when I grow up, and whatever it is, spending the majority of my time sitting at a desk is not for me. I entered Corporate America to escape minimum wage, but now I would rather make the lowest wage legally possible and do something meaningful and full of human interaction. I would rather struggle financially than be trapped in an office behind a desk.

I had a great conversation with my manager on Friday where he reminded me that identifying what I don't want is easy. Finding what I want will be more challenging, but if I don't figure it out I'll never realize my full potential. And I have to be more specific than "help people, be creative, make enough to make ends meet and have money left over to build savings and travel." That's a nice flowery statement, but too general.

A day or two before that I had a conversation with a friend who explained that I have to do, not think, and not think about doing; I have to identify and eliminate obstacles, move forward and accomplish what my mind imagines. But the only thing I imagine is making enough money to pay my bills, save, and save for travel. This thought is stifling my creativity and I need to be more imaginative than I am currently being. At the same time, it's my only thought. I have to stop thinking about money, focus on identifying my goals, and find my direction.

Statue
Imagining myself moving the obstacles I've created in my own mind.

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Listening to: Modest Mouse - Doin' the Cockroach
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05 August 2010

Me Blog You Long Time

I hate to be one of 'those people' who apologize for not updating their blog for a longer-than-self-desired period of time, so I won't be. If I had written anything in the last month it would have surely resulted in at least one death by boredom. Who wants to read complaints about many job applications/inquiries sent, receiving no response, or the very few replies being of the 'thanks but you suck' variety? Fortunately, to try and balance the negative stories with positive, I may have included something about that one cool dog wash, or mowing my grass, or sweeping my floors but never mopping because I hate that shit. Besides those mundane events, I haven't been doing much except riding my bike through a really cool cemetery near my house. Oh, and I went to a Zumba class and then played Raquetball with Lynne. See? You're glad I haven't been updating my blog.

Last weekend I had a lot of fun with my family. Heck, there were seven or eight people in my house .... all at once. Totally new experience on my end because, if you've known me for any amount of time, you know I'm not much of an entertainer. You will know this because you've never visited my place of residence. If you've seen my new house, consider yourself lucky; if I've invited you over and you didn't follow up on my invite, consider yourself screwed. I just, well, prefer to meet up with people in a mutually agreeable location, elsewhere. Unless you bring Scattegories and Cranium. Lots of fun, those games.

Scattegories taught me that Lynching might be an acceptable reason to miss school or work. Smith is not an acceptable response to 'name of a famous author' (while someone with the first or last name of Smith probably has written a book, we need you to be more specific, Amy). Maybe I should take back that last statement because Amy also answered 'Shank' to the phrase Name of a Weapon. I also learned that Thisily is not the capital of any foreign country; it's not even a place. And it has been verified that people are not allergic to Hydrogen, though a select few are allergic to Hydrogen Peroxide.

Cranium was a lot of fun, too. One minute, someone is drawing a picture with their eyes closed while their team mates try to figure out what they are drawing (toupee! lifeguard!). The next, someone is sculpting Play Doh while their team mates try to figure out what it is (toothbrush! banana split!). Or humming the tune to a song while others guess (Like a Virgin! Love Shack!). Or acting out a person (Jim Carey, Zsa Zsa Gaor)... Acting out a TV show (Leave it to Beaver).... Spelling a word backwards.... Adding all the prime numbers from 1 to 100.... finishing a 'famous' phrase.... You get the idea. And it was so much fun!

My family is incredibly awesome. We all love each other, show support and tease each other. (Dear Chelsea: Dirty Little Whores For Sale, black eyes, beating with sticks. Syran wrap and pee. Coat and pee. Green dress and pee. Hockey table, Goosebumps and pee.) As you might imagine, lots of laughter ensued over the weekend. Seeing each other for the major holidays really isn't enough.

Fireworks, Origami style. on Twitpic

The Big News

I started a new job and to be quite honest, it's my dream job, if one were to have a dream about being gainfully and satisfyingly employed. Considering I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up, other than happy, learning new things every day, helping others.....for me this a dream come true. Nothing lucrative or like, requiring me to suit up (yes!!!) --- but I'm excited for this next adventure. Now that I'm going to be working and interacting with people nearly every day, I might actually post a blog more than once or twice a month.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, no I am not working in an Origami factory. I made that thing over the weekend during a nearly-three-hours long paper-folding session. I'm working in a Health Foods Store.

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Listening to: Primus - Have a Cigar
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08 July 2010

Update: Nothing's changed, except my mood

I completed a nice mosaic project almost two weeks ago, but after a test-grout-failure, I am leery to grout the piece. It is my first commissioned work and the sculpture which it rests below is intensely beautiful. The tile and bronze (or copper? what are those circles made of?) turned out great, but I can't allow horrible grout work below this amazing sculpture. I looked into pre-mixed grout, but Lowe's didn't have any in black. Maybe I need a drill and a mixer attachment? I can only mix so fast and on the test run, the grout started setting and then my sandless grout, which should be smooth, ended up with lumps and I ended up frustrated. That can happen on a test run, but it cannot happen on a collaborative piece of artwork.

Bless you, Travis, for having faith in my abilities. Faith in myself is something I seem to lack as of late. But I'm working on it and I can feel an improvement.

Day 055: Mosaic Project
Three days later I completed this project. Just add grout.

I've had a really hard time focusing my energy in the right direction(s).

I have been struggling with my resume and trying to somehow reinvent myself - because I do not want the same type of jobs I've held in the past - this has been a true test to my strength and belief in myself. A variety of friends have offered suggestions, edits, and the like - but in the end Kelly reworded and revamped my resume as I sat next to her, distracting her from working on... my resume. She did this HUGE favor a week ago and that really was the turning point in my mood; I feel tremendously better. Regardless that nothing's changed -yet- and I can't quite see a light at the end of the tunnel, I know I'm going in the right direction and I know I am surrounded by people who will guide me, people who want to see me happy and who have confidence that I'll be successful, no matter what I attempt.

For a while I felt like I were participating in that group exercise where I'd be standing on an elevated surface (you're probably picturing a picnic table, but I picture the severed remains of a once-giant tree) with my arms crossed and my eyes closed and I fall backwards into supportive arms of people who love me. Except I've been picturing myself tumbling into a den of captive lions who are burnt out on prepared meals and have been waiting for an opportunity to kill live prey. For months, I've felt as if I am the frozen-then-thawed food on which they normally fed. Now I know that I'm one antelope in a herd of many, but I am not The Weak One. When I fall, I have my own herd of friends and family who are willing to come to my assistance, help me up, dust off my jeans and encourage me to keep running (from those lions!).

While nothing's changed on the job front, I'm feeling better and more confident in my abilities to find a job that suits me. Until I find that job, my job is to find a job. Which kind of sucks, but it's not the first time I've been in this predicament. And I have so many other things to be happy and grateful for, they are overshadowing my ability to wallow in self-pity over losing my job three weeks after buying a house.

To quote my long-time friend (no, really, I've known her since third grade; I'm 32. That's about 24 years. The only other people I've known for that long are family members. Crazy. Anyway, I digress...), Terra, she wrote this to me during a different stressful major life transition, on 25 September 2008:

This could have been so much worse; this could have been so much better. But what could have been, never is, so onward and upward you go!

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Listening to: The Isley Brothers - Footsteps in the Dark
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After, I think, only one post with my 'listening to' at the top, I decided to move it back down to the bottom; I thought it'd be funky in people's feed reader. As if anyone feeds me.

28 June 2010

Filling you in on my klutzy escapades. And please enjoy the music.

At the end of every post I include what I'm listening to at the moment because I ALWAYS listen to music, always - and the style is varied. I'm thinking of moving the category to the top of my posts so that maybe ya'll will get exposure to some music you might not normally listen to. Today's post is brought to you by The O'Jays - Forever Mine.



I want to write more frequently, but I don't seem to have much to say. Same old, same old... the no-job/recently-bought-house fiasco has been downgraded from Overly Depressed to Freaking The Eff Out. Meanwhile, I think it'll all work and it'll be all good. So, I keep trying to tell myself, Meh.

Working on this mosaic during the last week has kept my mind occupied (almost finished!):


Otherwise, I've just been doing stuff like this:


And being very klutzy.

On Thursday I fell in the yard, twisted my ankle and bruised/cut up my knees. The next day I fell again, this time backwards down a few concrete steps and according to Travis, "Your butt killed my aloe plant!" Saturday, I sat down to enjoy a piece of carrot cake... except there was no chair in sight so I busted my ass, hard. The next day I knocked a box fan out of a window sill and it landed on my head. I've not hurt myself yet today.

Otherwise, you can keep up with my daily life by following my Year In Photos project.

21 June 2010

Whaaas Happaneeen?

It's been a few weeks since I've posted and after many calls and emails inquiring about my sanity, I thought it was time for an update.

My last post totally freaked me out. Writing it unlocked a too-strong understanding of the word uncertainty. Dealing with a lot of good and bad things all at once is stressful and the realization of buying a house, losing my job three weeks later, being unsure of exactly what I want to do with my life (other than take it in a totally new direction).... the list goes on - and my thoughts are deep for shallow me, anyway.

In other words, for three weeks I've been freaked the funk out.

With all this uncertainty, confusion, days awake in bed doing nothing but stare at the ceiling, followed by sleeping 20 hours at a time, with intermittent moments of unpacking and manically organizing my new house, attempting to revamp my resume, applying for work.... It's been an emotional roller coaster of stress. Everything is complicated and any little thing I encounter seems to come with difficulties involving extra work, extra time, extra effort, more stress.

Day 003: Stuff and Junk

There's just a lot of crap to deal with that are not only a time suck, but frustrating and I'm not in the mood to fuck with any of it. But I trudge on, day after day, doing all sorts of little shit and trying to wrap my mind around my current situation of recently buying a house and shortly thereafter losing my job....and figuring out how I can earn money, survive and be happy. Life is too short to go back to an 8-5 desk job that offers me no creative opportunities, where I get treated like an eeediot and sexually harassed by one of the owners. I just can't do it.

On a positive note

A few things seem to be coming together. I'm working on my first commissioned mosaic, the base of a sculpture by Travis Taylor with two other projects in the works. And I still feel like "How cool is that, being featured in Springfield's Own for my mosaic work!?" I'm also working with Springfield Art Association to possibly teach a mosaic course later this year. I've been dying to do another floor mosaic so I'm going to mosaic my breezeway. The surface is ready to tile, which means I just need to come up with a design, paint the room, gather the material, and get to work.

I prefer to work a sporadic variety of random jobs. I originally wanted to be a freelance writer, but I've learned I prefer to freelance anything that interests me. Last year I helped an artist friend paint a gigantic basement. I've enjoyed working on the brick documentary with Bill Streeter. I'm attempting to work with Matthew Glasson on a low budget film project. Over the weekend I worked as a photography assistant for Teresa D Wells Photography. I loved the work! I got to use Teresa's fancy photography equipment and basically took as many photos of whatever I wanted in an effort to catch special moments. It was just a great experience, rewarding to work hard and best capture one of the most important moments of one's life. This might've been the best freelance job I've had as a Jill of all Trades.

I can't wait to work on more cool, interesting and creative projects in the future.For now, I need to get back to Travis' mosaic project. Just know that things are still crazy and stressful and I'm still fighting with depression and anxiety, but overall I feel that things are getting better.

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Listening to: Franz Ferdinand - Tell Her Tonight
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31 May 2010

Blog for the Dumped

If you've been following along, you may have noticed that I bought a house on April 29th.

Day 028: Enjoying the downpour

And then on May 18th I lost my job.


Don't fret, I feel very positive right now; I feel a sense of relief. Granted, I am scared (I just bought a house, remember), but I believe opportunities are approaching and many good things are going to cross my path; I am open to explore, try new things - and I always do. I am not a spirit that can be trapped within a box; I need flexibility and opportunity to seek and find creative solutions to problems that others do not realize exist.

In this economy, losing one's job is a frightening thing. But for me, this might be the best thing that could have happened. Otherwise, I'd still be there, feeling miserable, and wishing things were different. I now have the opportunity to make things different. I had a remedial job and was quite unhappy with my quote-responsibilities-unquote. I cannot work in an environment where suggestions for improvement are interpreted as obstruction; avoiding new approaches will inevitably impede growth and lead to deterioration within any organization. 'We've always done it this way' is inflexibility, ignorance, arrogance, and will do nothing but lead to failure....especially when the competition is evolving. He was exactly right when he said I wasn't a good fit for their disorganization.

Day 029: The back of my phone looks like this

Hmmmm, now what?

I'm not sure what my next step will be, but I cannot feel satisfied when my sole responsibility is literally faxing and emailing applications, with no room for advancement or learning.... I digress. This post is about moving forward.

I've been struggling for a long time - years; this struggle wasn't triggered because I suddenly lost my job. I've been struggling because I'm searching for a box, a way to define or give a title to what exactly it is I want to be "when I grow up." By default, at 32, I am now a grown up. I need to take action and find a way to make a living and be happy. I have to stop trying to fit myself into a box someone else constructed. I need to take this opportunity to weigh and understand all my options, explore every path I can brave and find a way to be happy.

I decided this a while ago; I just want to be happy.

I blame myself for trying to follow a path that isn't a good fit for me.  I seem to be making choices for reasons that feel right at the time (seems like all the other girls are working for someone else, in some office job, for health insurance eligibility reasons), but in turn, those choices make my life more difficult and miserable than it needs to be. If I depend on some person or entity, who doesn't really and truly make me happy, just to pay the bills, what is my purpose in life?

Really?

People think I'm joking when I talk about how I'd sit at work all day and ask myself existential questions about my purpose on this planet. All these wars and accidents which result in a weeks-long, catastrophic oil spill with no end in sight - these thoughts encourage me feel to feel like my purpose is nil - just like every thing that lives and breathes on this planet - I am here for a short time and then gone forever. Earth evolves over millions and millions of years, but any organism that lives and breathes is here, then gone, and eventually replaced by a new species.

If I only get a limited amount of time on this planet, how do I want to spend it?
Happy.
So where do I go from here?

Bamboo Forest

Find my path.

No matter how I imagine my future to be, it never works out in the way I envision. And that's exactly what makes life so awesome - the unexpected.

What makes me happy?

I love talking to Strangers
. Like today, @Roseyland came to do some touristy stuff and after a long day of this, we're strolling through Abe Lincoln's 'hood and see these two dudes. One guy is the cameraman and the other guy was doing other stuff, kinda like when I'm on a shoot with Bill. I instinctively run up and say to the 'not Bill' guy - who I'm now imagining as myself, doing the same things I do as Managing Producer for BRICK by Chance and Fortune - and I ask, "What are you guys doing?" And he responds with a British accent, "Working on a documentary." I excitedly replied, "I'm working on a documentary - about bricks!"

Now I'm stunned that there are two dudes from England in Springfield filming a documentary and he's stunned that I'm working on a documentary about bricks.

*photo removed*

In the least eloquent way possible, I attempted to say this. He was intrigued and wanted to check out our trailer (you should, too) so I wrote three things on a piece of paper and handed it to him:
- StLBrickFilm.com
- JeannetteEatsSpaghetti.com
- The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret
(That last one is way off topic and I couldn't help bring this up, but I've no time to explain it to you now.)

I walked away and couldn't stop thinking, "D'oh! I should have gotten his contact info." As we were about to leave I decided, "Screw it, I better go back and find out how I can find about their documentary when it becomes available."

My point is, I like talking to strangers, asking them questions and learning about them.

Day 024: Future Mosaic Pieces

Which brings me to photojournalism. I love taking pictures, it helps me remember. I take my camera everywhere and I take a ridiculous amount of pictures and then upload a few and sometimes write a story about it. (Problem is, I don't write about the typical stuff. Of aaaaall the things that appealed to me the most at the Illinois State Fair, I was most intrigued by the Butter Cow's Va-Jay-Jay. Yet somehow I never got around to writing about the blow-up slide in the shape of sinking Titanic. I've also seen this blow-up slide with a certain fast food chain's logo on the smokestacks.)

But, yeah, I like going places, meeting people, experiencing things and writing about the nuances I discover. I have a variety of interests that are ever-expanding. Heck, I was even featured in a local magazine for my mosaic work. I never thought of it is as something that anyone else would care about. I've always been drawn to tile so for my first attempt, I laid a floor mosaic (hallway and foyer). And those brownish accent tiles, I made those in a pottery class. That's right, the photo below, is my first mosaic. And it's not a little one, either.

Day 324: I laid this mosaic

I'm still in shock that I was approached about and interviewed for breaking stuff and making it into a mosaic. They were interested in my 'art.' The only other time someone ever called me an Artist was the dude who I see at Salvation Army on Saturdays (but first he asked if everything was alright at home... because I stopped in every weekend to buy dishes).

You know what else I like? Working crazy shifts for days and days and weeks at a time, while taking a break every so often to run an errand, then sleeping in one day (any day - not just Saturday, Sunday, designated holidays, sick days (those are no fun), vacation days, non-paid days off or whatever). I want to work as hard as I want, when I want and when others need me to - but the schedule will vary, have terms and limits that are agreed upon by both.

The entrance is mangled; but you can still enter

And in conclusion...

How can I fit this in a box? I'm searching for a non-existent box created by someone else -- and that is an unattainable goal, like Partnership for a Drug Free America. Side note: There has never existed a society or community throughout all of time, even pre-recorded time, which has been completely 'drug free'. Drug use and misuse has always existed; the drugs deemed acceptable, are openly used and the ones frowned upon by society are hidden.

I have no idea what you're thinking after reading this, but I'm thinking that I have a limited number of days on this earth and my life can end at any moment; I want to spend my time exploring, meeting others, sharing my experiences, making a positive difference, being challenged and challenging others' perceptions. I want to feel passionate about my career. I want to work with people who are open-minded, accepting, compassionate and helpful - like me. This can't be done spending the majority of my waking moments in a remedial job that's going nowhere. Other people make their living doing things they love - so why can't I?

Origami should be my hobby -- not mosaics, photojournalism, working on documentaries and other film projects, writing and exploring a lot of random opportunities - all those things I love to do should be my career and not my hobby. (Super awesome to look back at this post two years later and know how much my passion for food and growing it, has grown. Life and its evolutions = amazing.)

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Listening to: Ben Folds Five - Song for the Dumped
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Rainbow legs

11 May 2010

A Quickie (update)

Lots has been happening and I was going to write a big long thing about it, but instead I uploaded a bunch of photos on flickr and spent time writing descriptions instead of a blog post, so if you're really interested, you can read what I wrote for each photo.

I bought a house

This old wheelchair is in my attic.

I started a new 365 Project

Day 013: These detergent caps were sitting on top of the change machine

I was featured in Springfield's Own magazine for my mosaic work!!!

There's so much more happening and for over a month my life has been at a level of chaos that's nearly unbearable, but a lot of positive experiences have been coming my way. I wish I had time to go in to detail, but extra time, it's just not there.

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Listening to: Balkan Beat Box - Joro Boro
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09 May 2010

I am now 32. This happened the other day.

Lots of stuff happening and my life has been crazy busy and blah blah whatever. Happy belated birthday to me. It was mostly a normal day. But you know I like self-documentary; here's my birthday self-portrait:
I'm 32

Normally I'd tell the story now, but, eh, I'll explain later.

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Listening to: J.U.F. - Balkanization Of Americanization
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06 May 2010

Nothing particularly significant, just a huge impact

The last few weeks have been stressful, exhausting and just a lot to deal with. It's nothing more than normal life ups and downs and if we compare me to most any human on the planet, I'm dealing with nothing, really. But I have been feeling overwhelmed.

Whatever, no big deal. Anyway...

Let me cut out many important details of tonight and focus on this one thing.

I invited myself to a family dinner. And while I experienced a wide variety of awesomeness, the best part (and there were a lot of 'best parts' tonight) was having someone sitting across the dinner table from me say:

Every time you look at me, I smile. I don't know why. You make me smile.

That was it. Just a comment in passing, a thought spoken.

And it amazed me.

There was nothing particularly significant, but in one fleeting moment two people made a huge impact on each other.

Cool.

Shadow Games

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Listening to: Gorillaz. Might I recommend: Fire Coming Out of The Monkey's Head; Tomorrow Comes Today; Rock The House; Dirty Harry; El Manana
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PS - I was going to link to some Gorillaz stuff on yotutube, but the commercials turned me off.

22 April 2010

If there's a problem- Yo, I'll solve it

Life is full of possibilities - and problems. Whether big or small, I came up with a step-by-step plan that should hopefully will guide me through the problem-solving process.

1. Analyze Situation
2. Identify Problem
3. Find a Solution
4. Implement Solution (Solve the problem)
5. Move Forward

Day 095: You can get through this

After a particularly rough week, I was talking to my mom about this and she said, "But, Jeannette, it's not always that simple." And she's right. So let me go over the fine print.

1. Analyze Situation
This may happen over a period of several days where you go mental and black out. Don't worry, you won't have any idea that you're going mental or that you're blacking out certain events. Typically you'll find out when friends say things like, "What do you mean by 'I feel like I never see you any more'? I was just at your apartment on Wednesday!?" The very process of analyzing a situation can increase your stress level tenfold. You'll be stressing out anyway, may as well talk it over with friends and family - let them help you find a path toward clarity.

2. Identify Problem
You may need to score some Xanex; it'll help you cool your jets and think clearly (see #1). While you're busy analyzing the situation, try to consciously think about what's really happening. And, again, the bigger problems require an outsider's view; be sure to talk things over with those you're closest to.

3. Find a Solution
The solution should slowly start to reveal itself during steps one and two. Don't let it get too complicated. Try to whittle your solution down to something easy and manageable. I tend to see most solutions as a multi-step process. Regardless of how you see it, put it on paper. A long time ago I saw some quote that something along the lines of, "People who achieve their goals put their plans on paper."
(I could've looked for the quote, but I was worried it was some sort of salesy quote to get people to buy Franklin-Covey planners (I kind of think it was) - but whatever.)

4. Implement Solution (Solve the problem)
See, I told you to write your solution on paper. If you had done what I asked, you'd be following a checklist that you wrote way back in Step 3.

5. Move Forward
It's done. Move on. None of this wondering about "What if I had... I should have... I could have...." You can't change the past. You made a decision, created a plan and implemented it. You have to think about the possibilities while you're searching for a solution, not after you've implemented the solution.

Move along, please.

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Listening to: Chrisette Michelle - Blame it on me
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08 April 2010

A little bit about me

I have a small camera that I take everywhere. I don't upload the majority of my photos to flickr, but I enjoy taking pictures of completely random things as a way to document whatever I'm seeing. I've been toying with the idea of doing a different 365 project, where I'll take a photo a day for a year...Maybe I should just start it?

For now, here's a sampling of what was on my camera when I downloaded the photos the other night. What does this say about me?

Nico's Breakfast
I like circles. I take photos of them quite often.
Nico's breakfast

Hard Boiled Egg, Sliced
I told you I like circles. Why don't you view my Hip to be Square-d Circle collection.
Hard Boiled Egg, sliced

Self-Portrait, with Chelsea
I've always loved that giant Santa statue; as a kid, it signified the half-way point on the trip to Bowling Green, KY to visit family.
Chelsea and I, saying hello to Santa

Damn, those ham and beans were good
I wish I would've taken more photos while we were in Kentucky.
Rendezvous

Green Onions and Radishes
I like the way these onions were displayed in a vase.
Yum

Tile Washing
Marshall buried a turd in a pile of tiles and I had to clean them. That was a surprising discovery.
Washing off these bad dudes... because Marshall buried a turd in a pile of tile

Brick Path
My dad made a path with found bricks.
Bricks

Beer Sign = Tarp for a leaky roof
For months and months this giant beer sign has been draped over the roof, serving as a tarp until it's repaired. They don't seem to be in a hurry.
Beer sign = tarp for a leaky roof

Dinner
I made a mushroom quesadilla and guacamole, and then washed it down with a glass of ice cold milk.
Dinner

My Fridge
This is what my fridge looks like now. I wonder what it'll look like after I move?
Hip hip hooray! I'm moving at the end of the month!!!
My fridge

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Listening to: Julia Sweeney - God Said, Huh? (This American Life, Act Two)
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30 March 2010

I dream of bloody baby bunny body parts

Texts, from me:

2:57 am
Had dream that I mowed over a nest of four bunnies, then scavenged for bloody baby bunny body parts like they were Easter eggs. It was a beautiful spring day and I didn't seem to mind picking up the body parts. No different than picking up turds, apparently.

3:02 am
I prolly dreamed that because I ate two of Kelly's boneless wing ding things at dinner. The bunny body parts were saucy, like the food, except furry, cuz it was bunny pieces.

Day 120: I need rest

I'm sure there's a logical explanation.

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Listening to: not much of anything at this time of day
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25 March 2010

Go ahead, buy any food product for human consumption. And don't forget the dip.

I think a lot about food, where it comes from and what it does once it gets inside your body, but writing a serious food post is something that I have a difficult time with. I need to examine my thoughts, do some research and write my opinion in a cohesive manner. But as you may have noticed by this post a few weeks ago, I don't have a lot of time to spare. I hate to complain without offering sound solutions to the issue of which I complain, but I just haven't had time to solve this problem. Sorry about that.

I witnessed a seemingly nondescript incident over the weekend. I watched a couple in a gas station buy $27 worth of junk food - on their Link Card.

I can't stop thinking about it.

Cheese, with fry

The problem I have is not with the people and how they spent their money - because, while they paid with a Link Card, which is funded by others, this program gives them their own money to spend on "any food or food product for human consumption". It's their money, they can spend it however they'd like.

The problem I have is with the lack of nutritional education for program participants. Because literally, there is nothing on the site about eating healthy. I didn't even find a link to MyPyramid.gov. There's just, nothing. No information. (You can follow a link to the USDA Food & Nutrition Service's site, but it's more about services and less about nutrition.)

People need help. People deserve help.

I've been in tough situations a few times and I know that having food available makes a big difference in one's outlook and attitude. Having family and friends give me a care package - a brown paper bag filled with food and a few other necessities - it makes all the difference in the world.

I went on a search to find out whatever I could about this Link Card and found that they don't do, well, anything, to promote a healthy diet. This is their page about food. You'll notice there's plenty of information about how the program works, who qualifies and for how much they may qualify, how to apply and links to other resources (such as WIC, Homeless Youth Services, Food Pantries). But there's no information about nutrition. Here's their list outlining what you can and cannot buy:

What services are offered?
SNAP benefits can be used to buy:
- any food or food product for human consumption,
- plus seeds and plants for use in home gardens to produce food.
SNAP benefits cannot be used to buy:
- Hot foods ready to eat,
- Food intended to be heated in the store,
- Lunch counter items or foods to be eaten in the store,
- Vitamins or medicines,
- Pet foods,
- Any nonfood items (except seeds and plants),
- Alcoholic beverages, or
- Tobacco.

The rules don't specifically say you can't buy junk food. And technically, every item that the couple purchased falls into the category of "any food or food product for human consumption". But spending $27 and change on 6 16oz bottles of soda, 3 large bags of chips, 2 containers of dip, several packages of pop-tarts, and a couple of Landshire sandwiches -- something is wrong with this picture.

Especially considering that, at a farmer's market, $10.48 can get you 6 bananas, 4 potatoes, 3 ears of corn, 2 plums, 2 avocados, 2 kiwis, 1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, 1 pound of mushrooms and 1 grouping of broccoli.

There seems to be a disconnect with the program and its recipients. The ironic thing is, SNAP is an acronym for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

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Listening to: Firewater - Too Much (Is Never Enough)
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I repeat, I hate to complain without offering sound solutions to the issue of which I complain, but I just haven't had time to solve this problem. Sorry about that.

05 March 2010

Please excuse the crazy

I work with one of the guys who owns my building. I've told him how sometimes when I take a shower the lady upstairs stomps on the floor and bangs on the wall the entire time the water is running. I mentioned it again last week, so this afternoon he came to my office to explain that she has migraines and the sound of my shower is making it worse.

Um.

Blink.

Blink.

Say that again?

Confusion

I'm torturing the migraine-afflicted woman by... showering?

Really?

It took you nine days to come up with that response?

I guess when you think about it, jumping up and down on her floor for twenty minutes or so (I'm a long shower-er) relieves the pain I'm exacerbating by-- running water, you know, when I shower.

Makes sense. (Not.)

He also explained the reason behind those crazy fights with her daughter:
she's schizophrenic and doesn't always take her medicine.

And he wasn't joking.

¡Ay, caramba!

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Listening to: the voices in my neighbor's head
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03 March 2010

Miscellaneous Debris

It's sometimes hard to find the time to write a blog post even when I know what I want to say. I spend most of my time either working on the brick documentary or thinking about it. The thinking about it part is really what consumes my time; I like to call this conceptualizing.

When I'm not conceptualizing bricks, I'm conceptualizing mosaic projects. And when I'm not doing either of those two things, I'm looking for a new place to live. Once you add work, sleep, exercise, fun stuff & leisurely activities, and chores to my daily task list, I have almost no time to spare. And I like it this way.

Day 054: Drinking carrot juice

Brick: Working on the brick documentary is incredibly satisfying; I'm learning a lot about St. Louis history and even better, I'm meeting all sorts of interesting folks. You can keep up with our progress by following the blog or becoming a facebook fan. Bill just set up the facebook page on Sunday and we already have more than 350 fans! Oh-- and we've nailed down a title, which you can read about here and here.

Mosaic: I'm working on a couple of smaller mosaic projects until I can do something bigger, which would be a kitchen backsplash for my brother and then possibly another one for someone here in Springfield. I'm anxious to get to work, so I started another small project over the weekend:
Finding direction. on Twitpic

This reminds me, does anyone know if it's possible to cut the sides on these serving trays? I'm not sure how to explain it, but I still want the sides to be attached but maybe cut them down so they are more of a frame so they can be hung on the wall. I hate the handle-y things; it makes the mosaics look stupid.

House stuff: Last week I went looking at houses and was about one second away from knocking on someone's door to ask about their house for sale by owner, but then I realized the for sale sign was an advertisement for the people who redid their garage. DOH!

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Listening to: your mom
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14 February 2010

Guess what happened this weekend?

Friday, 9:45 pm
Thank you, Nico, for chewing my camera cord in half.

10:15 pm
I posted a blog
on the web site for the brick documentary I've been working on.

Saturday, 2:54 pm

You should go inside this building: on Twitpic

Today, Sunday, 12:24 am
Best burgers in the world: that dude next to Penthouse on the East Side. Yummmmm.

8:something this morning
Just a few more minutes, plz.... on Twitpic

9:30 am
In the Aldermatic Chamber. on Twitpic

3:30
Just saw a 3.5-legged coyote within the fenced grounds of the ethanol plant in Sauget.

8:30
FINALLY home! Almost a four hour drive. And I counted 26 accidents. (It was like driving through the Starfield screensaver with a bunch of other cars.)

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Listening to: that lady upstairs yell at her adult daughter while a baby cries.
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09 February 2010

Monster Mistake

Saturday night I went to the dome to watch monster trucks. It was fun.

Monster Mutt. Just before the crash. on Twitpic

I enjoyed a great walk across Eads Bridge where I was rewarded with this view of Downtown St. Louis:
Walking across Eads Bridge on Twitpic

And then 45 minutes later I realized I didn't have my wallet.

So that's awesome.

Feel free to shower me with comments that make me feel less of an eeediot and also less worried about someone running around with my license and cancelled debit card.

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Listening to: This American Life - What I Should've Said
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05 February 2010

Duh, Jeannette

My hair is long. It hangs there, dangling in front of my big boobs.

Day 362: Me, after work.

I stopped to talk to a friend of mine about two weeks ago because I'd heard his wife cuts hair. She does. Instead of just asking for her number, I decided to go into this whole explanation about how the last girl who cut my hair did not cut it evenly. "See how the right side is about an inch longer than the left," I say as I begin fondling my hair - right in front of my nipples.

"Jeannette, I can't hear a word you're saying because you just gave me permission to stare at your boobs."

I guess I did. Woops.

"Just give me the number, Doug."

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Listening to: This American Life - Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time
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03 February 2010

Better Late Than Never Or Whatever

I love doing car-related activities with my brother. I don't have any knowledge of what I'm looking at, but I can tell it's cool and I know someone put their heart and soul into their work. It's a lot of fun to stop and ask questions, learn about people and their experiences and momentarily share in their passion for fast cars, rebuilds, rat rods, bitchin' paint jobs, artwork and the list goes on.

CJ

In today's society, too much weight is placed on people going to a four-year college and landing some sort of dream job behind a desk. There's a huge portion of the population who do not fit that mold and with their mechanical ability, interest, creativity and perseverance, they put together some amazing machinery. It's fun to travel to events like the Hunnert Car Pileup and be around so many passionate people who are willing to take risks and push the envelope to develop something unique and intriguing. The imagination knows no bounds and watching others bring their fantasies and outlandish visions to life - human beings fascinate me.

Hunnert Car Pileup

I communicate with a few car guys on flickr and the other day I received a comment via email by a guy in California named Jeff McCann. He said, "Your eye for the unique details of the hobby shows in your images. Wish that there were more photo journalists like yourself." He called me a photojournalist! Wow! That's some compliment coming from a guy who's had a 40-year career painting bikes and - just check out his photography collection.

Kewl

Sorry about my delay in posting this story. Better late than never, or whatever it is that procrastinators say to make themselves feel less guilty for putting off something that should've been done months ago.

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Listening to: The Zydepunks - Valse de Balfa
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23-hour Service, really?

02 February 2010

I found the end of my rope. And then I started to climb back up.

If you know me, you know I'm not generally a crier. I had a life-altering situation to deal with about a year and a half ago that sent me into a weeks-long frazzle from which I slowly recovered and since then, I've cried literally four times. And when I did, it was over something serious -- like finding out a friend or two or three had died (they were dropping like flies in 2009). (Okay, I did cry once while watching the T.O. Show. The episode where his Gramma uttered a few words to him. Whoa, that made me drop a few tears.)

Day 124: Dealing with life

For months now I've been letting a few things stew. And stew. And stew some more. And last week it all caught up with me until BLAMMO. I was done. Toast. Finito. Not getting out of bed. Not for work. Not for the brick film. I'd take Nico out and then come inside and climb back into bed.

On Friday I realized a few people at work were kind of worried about me and I'm like, "I didn't even know you cared." And then I uttered a few melodramatic tweets like this and that. And the responses were numerous and unexpected. Before I knew it, people were sending me @replies on twitter, direct messaging, texting, emailing and calling. At first I tried to ignore everyone, but the messages just kept coming.

And then before I knew it, I was nodding my head like, yeah.

I'm not really sure what the purpose of human life is, but it seems we're all here on this planet to help each other. I found my wit's end and there were vast amounts of people already there (go figure). Since that place was so crowded, I thought it'd be better to find the end of my rope, but too many of you encouraged me to climb back up.

I couldn't even attempt it without you. Thank you, everyone. Your words have meant more to me than you'll ever know.

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Listening to: This American Life The Kindness of Strangers
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26 January 2010

Goodbye, The Internet, how I will miss you so

My freeloading wifi access has officially come to an end. As such, I need a recommendation for an internet service provider. I need something fast, easy to use, reliable and obviously, inexpensive.

Also, I need all the fixins and trimmins, like a modem and something to make my desktop become wifi able. Whatever that stuff is, I need it.

Plz halp.

Day 223: Gabbing on the phone

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Listening to: It sounds like the Bread Co is cleaning up for the night.
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20 January 2010

Don't look now - it's The Ingredients!

I'm making an effort to go out to eat no more than once each week and when I do, I try to avoid the typical fast food joints and instead go with locally owned restaurants. But when it comes to eating at home, it's hard to make homemade meals regularly and I end up having frozen dinners or some sort of prepared dinner concoction.

Tonight's main course: Classic Double Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper. And for the vegetable: a handful of peas, the kind that have been frozen and then boiled in the microwave.

Double Cheeseburger Macaroni

Hamburger Helper Ingredients:
Enriched Macaroni (Durum Semolina, Durum Flour, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate [Iron], Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Corn Starch, Maltodextrin, Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Salt, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Mono and Diglycerides, Modified Corn Starch, Corn Syrup (Dried), Ricotta Cheese (Whey, Milkfat, Lactic Acid, Salt), Nonfat Milk, Monosodium Glutamate, (Dried) Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, Color (Yellows 5&6, Yellow Lake 5 and Red Lake 40), Soy Flour, Egg.

And according to this web site, this particular flavor is ranked 192 out of 197 on nutrition performance, so this might be something I need to avoid eat less of in the future.

I eat meat about three times each week. I eat a lot more vegetables than meat products, but it's difficult. I'll go back to regular salad consumption during the summer, but for now, I'm bored with eating my same-old fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. I need suggestions. I've made several homemade soups to freeze in serving-size batches, but it's either that or the other side attraction of frozen-then boiled peas/carrots/broccoli. No wonder I feel like vegetable-consumption is a self-forced issue. What vegetable recipes end up in regular rotation at your house?

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Listening to: J.U.F. - Bassar (Spanish Car Service Special)
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