Thursday, December 16, 2010

a magical place!

In one more month, I will be able to welcome my newest nephew, Pablo, to the world. Since my sister's wedding was a beautiful, low-key event, my family decided she needed to have one helluva baby shower! We threw her shower in a beautiful mansion in Cincinnati. It used to belong to the Catholic church before some rich and famous people bought it before the current owners. It's quite ornate, as you can see by glimpsing one of the sitting rooms.

Anyway, there's something timeless and whimsical and yet hauntingly mysterious about this garden.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I dare in December; I dream and I wait

So much has happened in the past month!

-I got a job! I'm the newest adjunct instructor at the Findlay Market branch of Chatfield College, a small Catholic college geared to nontraditional students. I am ecstatic to say I will be teaching a Political Science 300 class and an English 100 class. I still get all bubbly when I think about it.

-Chris Salmon's Kickstarter project got the funding it needed and then some! I cannot wait to see "The Price."

-An acquaintance of mine, Go Takayama, was imprisoned in Cambodia supposedly for taking pornographic pictures. He was in Cambodia for a photography workshop, and the pictures he took were far from pornographic. Thankfully, he was released about a week later, with all charges dropped. I helped supporters on Facebook find the addresses and email addresses for various embassies and I wrote some pretty passionate letters to those embassies and to my local politicians.

I know Go both through journalism classes at Ohio University and through a mutual friend. I actually ended up living in Go's old house with that mutual friend. I came to appreciate some of the things Go left behind, like a beautiful painting of a woman with longing in her eyes. Anyone who's met Go can attest to his character and to his artistry. You can view some of Go's photographs at this Website. He is a talented, inspired, and cultured individual. I sincerely wish him the best and hope his future holds the success -and safety- he deserves.

-Lynxy got declawed and picked up this habit of sitting like a prairie dog on his haunches, resting his front paws on his pudgy belly.

-I passed the 40 page mark on my novel! 43 pages, to be exact. And there has been some poetry writing... And I am working on that short story inspired by last month's pictures! Hopefully, I'll be pleased enough to post it soon.

-Most intimately, however, I suppose my perspectives on and connections to humanity have wavered this month. I find myself connecting with other human beings in the most uplifting ways, only to lose those connections and feel ... suspended. I feel as if people are candles and I'm a moth; each person consumes me and then there's just a translucent outline of me floating around. I suppose it must be the weather. Winter and snow have never sat well with my soul, and this looks to be a rather nasty winter. At least it's good for the writing, and at least I have something to force me to go out and about now.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Price

I write this curled up on my bed with my six-month-old cat curled up in a striped and dotted ball on my legs. I've been very sick this last week, probably with bronchitis, and the little furball has been convalescing with me, improving my spirit immensely.

Which is why I feel particularly inclined to support Christopher Salmon in his effort to make a movie version of Neil Gaiman's "The Price." "The Price" is a short story about a magnificent cat in Smoke and Mirrors, one of Mr. Gaiman's most brilliant works, in my opinion.

Mr. Salmon is using Kickstarter, which basically gives him a few weeks to raise the money he needs for the project. $64,000 of $150,000 has been raised, but he will only get the money if $150,000 is raised by December 1.

Check out Neil Gaiman's blog and the trailer:

I pledged, and it's very simple. Even for someone as horribly computer un-savvy as me. So, what can it hurt? Give it a go!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Friday Wishes and Wonders

As I'm adding stuff to my etsy page, I can't help being sidetracked by all the beautiful things! Here are some inspirations:

"Dedication" by ingridArtStudio

"Steampunk Cuff" by edmdesigns

...and some non-etsy items found while surfing the 'net!

An Oscar de la Renta necklace
A Les Habitudes dress
...and some random vintage inspired dresses

These images tell me a story, one I think I should write! Maybe, just maybe, I will... so check back for my enthralling attempt to verbally articulate these pictures' aesthetic intrigue. Possibly.

In the meantime, what do they say to you?

In Honor and Remembrance

Today, as I was transcribing my journal from my life in Cardiff, I came across a beautiful memory.

While I visited Edinburgh, I wanted to see museums, honor literary figures, goggle at architecture, and take whiskey and ghost tours (all of which I did), but I had no real inclination to visit Edinburgh Castle. My travel partner, however, wanted to see the castle so badly that he even paid for half my fare. I think I'll be eternally grateful that he dragged me along.

You see, the castle is grand on many standpoints, but its interactive and moving displays of military history go above and beyond most of the military museums I have seen. (And I've seen a lot of military museums, being the daughter of a Naval Academy grad who ended up teaching in the Air Force as a Lieutenant-Colonel for more than 30 years.)

Seriously, this display was sweet! You walked through the progression of military weapons, uniforms, and theaters. Not so unusual. Unusual: It had a helmet, the sort a knight would wear, that you could try on.


And it had the Scottish National War Memorial, a large blue-gray stone building with stained glass windows and more contemplative silence than most living people can handle. It opened in 1927 and serves to honor all the Scots who died from WWI to present day. Their names are listed in books and binders in the memorial.

One quote in particular captured my attention. Luckily, I wrote it down... and stumbled across it on Veterans Day two years later:

“Ye who pass this way hold in memory those who ministering to the souls of their fellow men gave their lives…”

Thanks to all who have stood up for their countries, sacrificing their time and passion and lives. You are remembered. You are needed. You are loved. Your spirit lives on in the country you served and all around the world.

Blessed be.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Then November comes...

The days, with their white-gray skies and scraggly branches, blend into one another. November is here, has been here... amazing.

October went out with a bang, naturally, since I spent it in Athens! The Court Street shenanigans felt dull this year. Perhaps after five years in Athens, I've finally had enough. I've never really enjoyed crowds and I hate objectification, so it makes sense that I'd feel a little uncomfortable in the Court Street masses of bare flesh and drunken stupor. I spent most of my time holed up in my friends' house, enjoying good company, good music, and precious moments of relaxation.

Leaving would have been unbearable except that Rosie and Lynx were waiting to greet me. There's nothing quite like a slobbery smile and a mischievous wink to meet one at the door.

Here are some Halloween pictures:
my mask

Me in my fairy costume with my friend Mr. Owl

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkins and Spice... and something not nice?

I love pumpkins. I love carving them, eating them, roasting their seeds... Pumpkins are practically royalty in my world.

Which brings me to a slightly disturbing story about royalty and pumpkins.

Jennifer Viegas wrote a piece for DiscoveryNews about a gourd dating back to 1793 France that may contain King Louis XVI's blood. The gourd has scorch markings on its facade that read: "Maximilien Bourdaloue on January 21st, dipped his handkerchief in the blood of Louis XVI after his beheading."


Check out the rest of the article over at DiscoveryNews!


an original picture and poem:


axon by axon,
a mirage of pixels
scattered on a
blank screen.

Why in a room not a room
of white plaster walls
stained with insect remains
can’t we enter the worlds
beyond our screams?
Shake the silence?

There are doorways,
Dark and Light,
through which we

Speck by speck,
we gather shards of color,
space, scent
and piece them together,
these places
we live.

Resolution Check Up!

Three weeks ago, I made a post outlining four autumn resolutions. Now is as good a time as any to check up on how I'm doing!

1. contemplative exercise: Well, I meditated daily for about a week, then I returned to my comfy fall back of contemplative art (as evidenced by all the jewelry I've been making), with a few random meditations thrown in at night. No yoga yet, but I've been taking an average of two dogs out for a mile walk (in the same go!) every other day! I usually take my dog Rosie and one of my parents' dogs, Dakota or Ginger, while one of my parents takes the other dog. I imagine it must look rather funny to passersby.

2. doctoral applications: I have completed my University of Chicago and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but I still have five more applications to do! Yikes.

3. novel: I have not worked on my novel at all, but I have been writing other things: short stories, a young adult fantasy book, and poetry. Perhaps I'll post a sample later!

4. etsy: is up an running! As I mentioned in my last post, I've finally put some things up for sale. I've even been getting a few views, which makes me very happy!

All in all, I'm proud of myself for working on these resolutions as much as I have been. Just goes to show you that any time can be the right time to make some positive changes in your life!

Next goal: get out of the house more! :D

Monday, October 25, 2010

Up and Running!

My Etsy page
is now up and running! There are five necklaces up now.

Here it is:

You, dear readers, also get a sneak peak at what I'm working on!
a neo-Victorian necklace, still in its rough stages

a sort-of shadow box. The blue will dry clear and it will become a little eco-system of magic!

a painting based on one of my sketches

...and the beginning of my Halloween costume

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cutting to the point: Changes

Everyone has their own little rituals, quirks, or habits that make them unique. One of mine is that, in fits of passion, I chop off my hair.

The first time this happened, I was ten or so. I had been out in the fields and the forest, playing adventurer as I often did, with my hair tumbling down my back. Freedom, absolute freedom. And when I returned to my house, my loose locks were matted with burrs.

(Quick divergence, my boyfriend calls burrs "hitchhikers." When I hear "hitchhikers," I assume he's talking about ticks. So when he'd say that Rosie, my dog, had hitchhikers, I freaked out, massively. But matted fur, like matted hair, is still not a force to be reckoned with, in my book.)

So, ten-year-old me urgently pulled on Mom's sleeve, but she was held up with work. Disgusted with the itchy prickers, I found a pair of scissors and chopped off my hair about an inch from my scalp. Satisfaction!

I was so pleased with myself. Mother was not. I believe there was a wedding to go to soon, so Mom had to take me to the salon to get it evened out. I wore a lot of hats that year, in addition to feeling very un-pretty.

There were a few times in high school that I gave myself bangs and layers- usually those times when I'd come home crying, overwhelmed with the pain of teenage drama and lovesickness.

Once I moved to college, the scissors came out every month or so. My freshman year, my hair got shorter and shorter until I asked Nasser (Nasser Kassem of Clifton Cinci, a true wizard of all things hair related) to work wonders. He gave me a very fitting punk-rock 'do shaved in the back, bleached and long in the front. As this style grew out, I grew out of my goth phase and grew into a hippie-esque phase.

I resisted the urge to cut my hair for five years. I let it grow nearly down to my bottom, the length at which my high school friends will likely remember it.

But there's another heavy heart, another move, another change of pace and person. In the last few weeks, I stared in the mirror, holding scissors, urging myself to cut or to refrain. It's been a gargantuan battle, epic as my ten-year-old self's imaginary duels. Quirk won. So, yesterday, I let someone chop off thirteen inches of my hair.

So far, I've found two benefits to this new look. One is that people don't mistake me for an eighteen year old any more. The second is that I can donate my ponytail to Locks of Love and make a difference in someone else's life.

The point of this rather long diatribe is, whether you chop your hair, buy new clothes, destroy photographs, or gorge on chocolate or beer, these rituals are important. They're our way of dealing with things that are out of control. They're our way of taking control. They help us accept the things we can't change and love the things we can. They make life just a little bit easier, just slightly more comforting.

They are worth celebrating!

So, cheers to short hair!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Fading Lands are coming!


Just twenty days until the release of the fifth and final book in C. L. Wilson's Tairen Soul quintet. I've been reading these books religiously since the publication of the second book, Lady of Light and Shadows.

The series follows Ellysetta Baristani, a peasant girl who discovers her fate lies with the king of the Fey, who also happens to be a Tairen Soul, a very powerful Fey that can turn into a tairen. Tairens are cat-like magical creatures, and they are almost extinct. As Ellie delves deeper into the magical world, she discovers that she herself is much more than she ever dreamed.

Originally, the series was supposed to be a quartet. After the third book came out, there was an incredibly long pause before the announcement that an additional book would join the series. I was a bit angry that I wouldn't get to finish Ellie's story when the fourth book came out, but at least Wilson will do Ellie justice. It has been a long and arduous wait for this finale, and I, for one, am counting down the days.

These books are magical, well paced, and well written. I tell my friends that Wilson's imaginative worlds are on par with Tolkien's. My friends could tell you how shocking such a commendation is from me; I am such a Tolkienite that I taught myself how to speak and write the Quenyan form of Elvish (a talent that has rusted itself into oblivion since my entrance into college).

I will also add that for you fantasy lovers who are wary of Tolkien's lengthy descriptions and philology, Wilson creates an equally fantastical world in less lengthy and weighty prose.

Seriously, you need to check these books out!

My only complaint is that since her work has been cast as romantic fantasy, it has a few ill-fitting love scenes that I recommend skipping over. In this case, the genre-fication of these books did them an ill. Yet these books are of such a caliber that I believe any could forgive whatever minor setbacks might be present.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Magic in the air

Methinks there be magic afoot!

October has brought with it a crispness that promises change! The world is changing color, and the air is tinted with wonder.

This waning moon period feels perfect for casting off unwanted thoughts and habits. In just two days, the new moon will arrive! Then the real magic begins as the yearly cycle spins fast toward Samhain.

For me, I've decided this is the perfect time to stop giving excuses and to start practicing life affirmations. I know most people wait until the New Year to make resolutions, but the waning moon bursting into the new moon seems like a good time to me.

Resolution 1: Practice one contemplative exercise a day

Resolution 2: Get cracking on my doctoral applications!

Resolution 3: Work on my novel

Resolution 4: Get my Etsy site up and running

Well, I'd better go work on that! Merry meet and merry part, until we meet again!

Jewelry for Sale!

Now you can own your very own jewelry, designed and handmade by yours truly! Just visit my Etsy shop for options. Collages will be available soon!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Flying high: a falcon's eye view of the world

This BBC snippet shows a glimmer of what it might be like to be a raptor in flight. I can't say how many times I've had dreams of flying like this!

Minding your mindfulness!

How do you connect with the Sacred? Meditation? Practicing yoga? Going to church? Honoring the Sabbats? Participating in community service?

The simplest form of this question is: Do your actions lead you closer to understanding yourself, the world around you, and/or the divine?

I stumbled on this diagram of contemplative practices, or practices that promote mindfulness and self development:

Pretty cool, huh?

So many different branches! Does it count to practice any contemplation each day, without it being the same type?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Spotlight on John Fesken

Every year at Oktoberfest, I support Robert Walker, one of my favorite artists of all time. His use of color and his ability to perfectly capture the human figure and condition while inserting his own magic and whim is out of this world. Take a look at his work "Painting the Roses Red":
This year, I found another artist who deserves a spotlight and support! His name is John Fesken. His game? Paintings and shadow boxes. But not your ordinary paintings and shadow boxes.

Each one of his works tells a story as dark and tragic as a broken heart. Think Poe + Alkaline Trio + Neil Gaiman. Add a few drops of Bukoswski and Grant Wood, a pinch of Adam Gormley, essence of The Dark Crystal, and a smidge of Wuthering Heights. There you have the emotions and the stories Fesken's work recalls. In capturing the excitement of the darkness, the hopelessness, and the death, one's heartbeat quickens. Fesken's world will suck you right in. You will feel the eyes watching you, the gaunt families clutching each other, the dying imploding, and the dead coming back to life.

Ah, but enough of my ranting. I'll let his work speak for itself.

(photo courtesy of Mark Townsend)

After the fall comes the Equinox!

It has been far too long since I have posted anything. There's good reason for that, though: I've been gathering inspiration!

There were a few weeks out West, a few days with my partner before his departure, an amazing political science conference about globalization, and Oktoberfest in Dayton! In the next few days- and weeks- a plethora of photos, essays, poems, and some of my new art will be available for your viewing pleasure.

I also have decided to *try* selling my jewelry and art on Etsy as opposed to working as a waitress right now. As soon as I've meshed out the details, I will post plenty of links! Any advice about trying to make money as an artist is much appreciated!

Thanks for sticking in there!

And happy belated Fall Equinox!