3.31.2014

Things I've made

Oh yes, there is more blogging happening. I'm not sure why these days but there it is.

Firstly, can we talk about today being Cesar Chavez Day? I went and saw the movie last night. So good in so many ways. Dolores Huerta was kind of shoved to the side though. And she's a badass. Also, Larry Itliong and the Filipino faction were shoved to the side. They were given some screen time here and there. And while it is a movie about Cesar, it was also a movie about this farm worker movement and there needs to be more said about these folks as they were so vital.

At one scene in the movie Rosario Dawson (playing Dolores Huerta) was wearing an awesome sweater that made my crafty heart go pitter-patter. Apparently it was a real thing. Like seriously, that is so flipping cool. Throughout college I had a UFW flag up on my wall. It was my father's and it has returned to him and probably resides in his man cave.

Go see the movie if you can. I got goose bumps. I got teary. I'm so glad the movie was made.

Now. Things I've made.




More felted hearts and calaveras. I find them soothing to make so I keep doing it. And folks seem to like them.

3.27.2014

Thrifty garage sale goodness

I visited my parents recently and we were able to hit a few estate/garage sales. Which then put me in the mood to hit the thrift stores when I got back in town. Everyone just shake their head and sigh. I'll do it too.

Found not here:
Lovely W. German lava glaze vessel. It's by a fairly well-known maker that I can't remember at the moment. They did tons of these in lots of gorgeous colors. Spotted at an estate sale all the way up near the ceiling on a ledge. The little red vase was found here but I don't have a separate picture of it.

 This little deer makes me smile. I was worried his little ears would break off in the suitcase on the way home. But careful wrapping ensured that he arrived safe and sound.
 Found here:
 The bottom of my red vase. It is marked but I haven't been able to find anything similar in pictures on the interwebs.
 This lovely little thingamabob (it serves no purpose that I can discern other than to look pretty) was found thrifting. It is hand-painted with some little cracks running through the glaze which you can see in the last picture.

 These last two will go to my mom. The wee pitcher or creamer matches a pig jug that she has at home. It's commonly referred to as Oaxacan drip ware.
 
And a little piece of willow for her and her still-life set-ups. Maybe I'll have my tea out of it before I hand it over. It's kind of cute, right?

Any exciting finds out there?

3.24.2014

Something cheerier

I promised you a little something in that last post. Something pretty, less depressing. And while it may make sense to save this for Wednesday, I'm not going to.

For my birthday I asked my parents for a gift membership to the Chicago Botanic Gardens. It was partly because I wanted to meet up with a college friend who frequented there with her family. They have had a membership for a few years and it was a nice mid-way point to get together and the kids enjoyed it and there are regular fun activities for them. Well, they don't seem to have a membership anymore. But, I also wanted to spend more time at the gardens. It is a beautiful place and it costs nothing to just go in. Parking, however, is far from free. Cars are $25 and it just goes up from there. Membership includes free parking and a discount at the store, cafe, and special event tickets.

A few weeks back I went to the orchid show. I might have taken a few pictures.



Once upon a time, for a short while, I worked at a flower store. One of my co-workers raised orchids and would bring them in to add to the stock in the store. I have loved them ever since. I love them enough to know that I cannot keep them alive well so I shouldn't bring them home with me. But they are glorious, aren't they? I may give in soon and see if I can manage to bring one home and not kill it immediately.

It is also time to consider the herb garden. I have killed off everything but the rosemary and I miss my kitchen window overflowing with herbal goodness. I should work on that. I trolled the Target garden section yesterday and looked at pots while dreaming of flowers and vegetables.

What are you dreaming of planting or growing this year?


3.06.2014

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Lent started yesterday. I rebuffed students who came to see me as I headed to chapel to get my ashes. I am in love with the impartation of ashes. It was not something my family did ever when I was growing up. I get this for the years we were at a Quaker church but not for the years we were elsewhere. Perhaps it has made a resurgence of favor with the idea of new orthodoxy or return to the Church calendar within the Protestant branch? At any rate, ashes. A reminder of our dusty beginnings and endings.

Lent is generally a season of giving up or surrendering of something. The past few years I have chosen a variety of things to lay on the altar. This year I knew one of the things I needed to consider was my make-up buying. It is my latest obsession. A new nailpolish here, a concealer there. I watch "beauty gurus" online for product recommendations and reviews. Many of them do makeup professionally for a living. It makes sense that they have a bazillion lip colors and foundations. It does not make sense for my collection to grow so rapidly.

I think being more aware of self-care is important. My well-being is important. I need to be important enough to myself to spend time at the gym or cooking things that are healthy. I think the make-up/beauty product thing is part of this self-care issue as in wanting to present the best me that I can when I'm out and about. But I need to watch the obsession part of it. I met up with a friend a couple of days ago and we decided to travel to the bowels of Macy's downtown to their food court in search of a hot beverage and had to go through the beauty department. It wasn't the easiest thing to walk through without stopping frequently. So, I'm giving up the make-up/beauty product buying for the season. I'm also trying to go for a less made-up face in general.

I usually read my wisdom of the desert fathers every year for Lent; this is still part of the plan. In fact, I may get the kindle edition so that I have it on my phone. It's great for meditation and reflection.

I will also add something beyond the reading from the above devotional which is to apply for a job each week. I did my first last night so this week is taken care of. I sent the three folks I had approached last fall to serve as references an email with the position description and to give them a heads up that I had used their names. I will, of course, keep them informed about any progress. I know it is doubtful that they will be approached before I do an interview but better safe than have someone call out of the blue. I've had that happen to me with folks for whom I have agreed to serve as a reference and I find it to be not great. At least let me know that you have listed my name somewhere and that a call might be coming my way. Better yet, give me a copy of your resume and a copy of the job description so that I know what the job entails and how your experience/skill set qualify you.

I don't think my current boss knows exactly how unhappy I am with how things are. It may be a lateral move (kind of the point this person made in their response to my informational email) but I think I owe it to myself to get out if I can. Friday I took home a bunch of stuff from my office. Things accumulate after so many years and I need to start paring down the amount of stuff I will need to cart home if I do find another place to work.

Sorry, I know it's been a while since I've written here and this isn't the cheeriest of returns. I can't put this up on FB (some of my work friends and students are connections there) but need to get it out somehow in to the universe. Maybe I can throw some pretty flower pictures up here next to liven it up a little.

9.06.2013

Stepping out into the hall

I had a conversation with a friend recently as we were talking about transitions and moving and new things. I mentioned that I had applied for a job recently and then there was talk about open vs closed doors. And I said "but you have to actually step out into the hall to see where the other doors are and make the effort knock in order to figure out if they will open."

It is not often that performance management reviews in which one is praised make one feel awful. This is my state of being currently. Maybe awful is not the right word. Being forced to consider my position and the environment in which I work has made me excessively morose. I have a nice relationship with my direct supervisor. I value my supervisor's opinion and feedback. My supervisor has done a great job of buffering between the incompetent and the competent but cannot excise what needs to be removed. My boss has a boss. During my review I shared my current operating assumptions which include that excellence is not rewarded/incompetence is not penalized, no office support, lack of overall vision and leadership, and being treated poorly by other people I work with because of job titles.

I am fully aware that my boss cannot do much about any of these things. Rock and a hard place and all that.

I have to make the choice to move on, get out, or at least step out into the hallway, find out if there are other doors, and start knocking to find out if any of them might open. 

8.05.2013

Thoughts on love

I apologize for the radio silence this last month. I started teaching a new class which I've redesigned and it is taking quite a bit of my time. The other part of my time is being spent on things that are just due to the normal cycle of a college school year. Lots of new people applying and needing information from me right now. And we've got a new general education package. And the new gen. ed. package is not yet included... oh... anywhere. It would be stressful as a new student to not have that information. I'm doing the best song and dance that I can to make the students feel better without having all the information that they should have. The new semester starts this month. Why is this still an issue? I have no idea. Oh, also, I may have to teach a class I strongly dislike teaching because the school had put new adjunct teaching limits into place so that they don't have to provide benefits for them. So they get shafted because their income is cut and we get shafted because then we, as full-time folks, get to teach the classes that they were teaching before. I'm already scheduled to teach another class that term. So, yes double the teaching excitement!

In addition to that work craziness, friends have been in and out of town, a bridal shower and wedding were held, cat-sitting was being done, people were moving (not me!) and so it has been a great, big, exhausting party at times.

In the midst of all of this, I keep thinking I want to share this with you. I didn't make it, my friend Melanie did. I posted this picture ages ago on FB but wanted to share some about the process of picking this out and what it means. Melanie makes beautiful things and half of them she gives away; I am a proud owner of several of her creations, including a few of these bracelets. This time I picked out love as a reminder that I get to have love too.

I don't know if it's been the season of engagements and significant others showing up in the lives of several good friends or these crazy conversations that I've been sitting in on (one night I almost got up and left I was so overcome with the obsessiveness that seemed to be oozing from the women I was with at the time) but I've not been super keen on the idea of relationships lately. Let me refine that furhter; I don't want to be stuck in a place where I feel like I'm waiting for someone to sweep me off my feet and then my life can really start. It's not like I haven't had a life up until now. Sometimes I feel as though that is how people are acting. I am allowed to be a whole person, with goals and dreams that exist outside of life with another person by my side, contrary to what society may say. My relationship status doesn't determine my worth.

But, there's the need to be open to relationship, whether it is romantic or otherwise. It is good to have love in one's life, both given and received. Despite my battle to not allow myself to be defined by relationship, I need to allow the possibility of love. So, this is my reminder to myself:

7.01.2013

Returning

I took some vacation time (so that I wouldn't loose hours like I do every year - clearly I need to travel and vacate more) the last two weeks. In the midst of that was a road trip for my uncle's birthday. It afforded me an opportunity to see the parents (a Colorado trip wasn't going to work this summer), a lot of extended family, and long-time friends.  Melanie and family put me up for a few nights and I stayed a night with a cousin and one with an aunt. I drove 6ish hours to visit my 99 year-old great uncle. I don't think I will make it back for the party in October but wanted to see him.

I recorded the conversation with my uncle and I'm pretty sure he thinks I'm going to hell after our discussions on creation and the flood and cross-dressing. No, I just couldn't let those pass without interjecting my thoughts. He told me stories of taking the train to Chicago for the 1933 World's Fair, being given mammoth bones found in a nearby field, and the Oklahoma sod house in which he and his siblings were raised.

Melanie and I smoked a hookah and drank cherry wine and talked about the last five or so years. Her family is brilliant and I loved staying with them. We got to see Kim (and meet her little dude!) and tried to take pictures of the super moon.

Honestly, I love that drive. I think it is beautiful country, hills and fields, neat rows and old farms. It's only when it gets dark and I don't know exactly where I am that I get weary.

Sunday I returned to Meeting. A few folks talked about hearing God's voice. I was reading in Hosea for some reason and was struck by a few verses in chapter 2, particularly v. 14 as it relates to the idea of hearing God. "Therefore, behold, I will allure her/Bring her into the wilderness/And speak kindly to her." Sometimes we have to be re-trained to hear the Spirit talking to us, to recognize it for what it is. Sometimes all of the other noise has to be absented to allow us start hearing again.

In a way, this is what Meeting does for me. The noise and movement of general life can keep me from paying attention. Meeting makes me slow down and re-train my heart to hear.