17 June 2011

Summer Spark

School let out last Friday - the most anticipated day of my year. I had an automatic countdown on my iGoogle page that slowly ticked off the weeks, the days, each draining hour. And finally, my sweet reward, a huge component in why I took this job in the first place- 14 weeks off in the summer, 5 weeks off in the rest of the year. I should be completely stoked, electrified, ready to go - but it felt a bit anti-climatic in the end. Part of it was knowing I still had weeks of work to do, that I could not in good conscience leave right away. Some of the teachers were flying off to France the next day or parents were headed out on long, luxurious vacations - and I suddenly realized that I didn't have much lined up for the summer. A few camping trips, but we're saving for the big trip next summer. No airplane trips, no sand and sun, nothing glamorous. No daycare either, and despite wanting to spend more time with my kid - again a big, big reason to take this job! - weeks of full-time parenting doesn't sound exactly relaxing. Part of my mind realizes it is utterly insane to have any quibbles about time off and time with my kid when every working mother across the nation is likely about to throw their commuter mug at the computer screen hearing that- or uh, you know, the 1.2 of them who read this blog. But there you are - I had a little sadness and disappointment when school let out, not what I was expecting to feel.

So I started making a list - doodling a list, busting out my pretty ink pens and Moleskine notebook, all things, small and huge, made it on the list. From the dentist to cleaning my computer screen to writing/finishing my gdmned YA book. Small things like this -

- a knitted banana I started approximately 3 months ago, for a baby I know. It has a jingle bell inside. It looks lumpy and insane because there was no pattern, I was trying to make it up as I went along. And it looks like it. But it is done! Checked off my list.

The list morphed into some little/big projects that I am excited about and by extension include grain elevators. prairies, film reels, audio equipment and two-lane highways. Anything to make this close to home summer feel more purposeful and important and bigger.

I'm also coming to terms with my thrift problem this summer. It has always been extreme, but now I can easily wander into a couple thrift stores way too often. When I'm thrifting for Simone's clothes and shoes, I always find something else I cannot live without. A Czech magnetic toy theatre . A dual Super 8/regular 8 projector that works perfectly.

Spanish baby shoes

Danish pottery with the original Danish price sticker on it.

It turns out this island called Bornholm was the ceramics mecca of Europe at one point. The BOFA factory only existed for ten years but those 10 years happen to be some of my favourite in design - 1953-1963. They still have the original price tag on it, how could I say no? Even though I have no use for them.

And I can never say no to Holt Howard, let alone his tomatoes.

I have myself slightly convinced that I need my own Etsy vintage shop so that I can shop without guilt. Please disabuse me of this notion, as it would likely be more trouble than it could possibly be worth, right? Especially as I only ever remember to take pictures at night, in terrible lighting and apparently only on my kitchen table. Still...it's on the list.

07 June 2011

Except Almond Joy. That one is pretty good.

On the subject of people who apologize for not blogging lately (I swear to the earth and back I won't ever do that), I was ecstatic to find Corey Arcangel's project "Sorry I haven't posted lately", in which he aggregates apologetic entries. This is when the internet gets good. Unfortunately I cannot link to the original New Yorker article where I first read about Mr. Arcangel (oh how I would like to see his show!) but I recommend you seek out a Doctor's waiting room or the library to read it yourself. Or subscribe! I did when the lure of $25 a year was too ridiculous to ignore. People sometimes ask why I continue to live in the United States and here is a statistical breakdown:

I'm not really kidding. I'm certainly not here for the chocolate bars or the great hockey commentary. But Americans - you can have such amazing magazines sent to you for a pittance! Why don't you? Here is our current subscription roster:

New York Times (just Saturday and Sunday during the school year but the magazine takes me all week to read and my god, the Acrostic! The Acrostic!)
The New Yorker
Sun magazine
Newsweek (this one is Sergio's)
Tape Op (ditto)
Edited to add: And Canadian Living!!! How could I forget the magazine which my beloved beloved and very sick Grandma has been subscribing to for me for over 10 years now? I love Canadian Living!

I would/might add a few more, just to try and keep some of my favourites alive, and yeah, my kitchen table doth overflow with reading goodness. So much so that it is admittedly hard to keep up with it all. But I am never, ever without good reading material when running for the bus, catching a flight or heading on vacation. The kind you can leave behind all salt-stained and water-logged. Or put their cover on your wall. (Like this one, which is on my daughter's wall.)
PS- In case, like me, you want to make a mildly humorous pie chart, I simply Googled "instant pie chart" and voila! the first link "Instant Pie Charts" did exactly what I wanted it to do, for free. You can just drag the resulting pie chart to your desktop where it saves as a .png file. Don't say I'm no information professional!)

01 June 2011

Bad start

This is supposed to be the Month! of Creativity! and I feel about as creative as a wet sock full of moldy oatmeal. I may be having a genuine mid-life crisis. Or a full-body reaction to endless grey skies and work. Check back with me on that.
In the meantime, I cannot stop listening to this song loud in the car. Not only is it catchy but it feels fucking fantastic to shout the opening lines over and over. Like I've been wronged, when I don't think I have. Check back with me on that too: