Saturday, July 30, 2011

Oooooh! In honor of the Leo new Moon (especially auspicious as Leo does rule the mane) I've just designed myself a new business card for my hair styling self. Not only am I happy to have finally done this so I can start promoting myself but I'm pretty darn proud of the design, as well, for which I used my own photograph (the one above but in altered colors) and the tools on the website I ordered from. Can't wait!!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My entire life I've been unusual by default, in ways that are considered even before anyone could get to know me well enough to decide whether or not I was very unusual in my own right. I was born and raised vegetarian which is so unusual (in case anyone's wondering) that the first time I met another person who had been born and raised vegetarian I was in my twenties and I didn't actually meet this person, I met their mother (raised two sons vegetarian) who had become a vegetarian herself when she was young despite the best efforts of her family. Anyway, this doesn't technically count as having met a born and raised vegetarian so you can see what the odds are. This was a woman I worked with and at the time I first started there were also two other converted adults, but I think besides us the rest of the department (maybe 55 people give or take) were omnivores. During the fourteen years I worked there I don't think that number ever went up, it maintained and I think it dropped to two of us total at some point and there was a period during which one of the current-at-the-time vegetarians was one of those suspicious ones who converted as an adult and whose politics were often very trendy and whom I spotted eating a beef flavored Cup O Noodles once and when I pointed it out he pretended to be surprised as if he hadn't event noticed and kind of went "Well it's too late now, oh well" and polished it off. That would never happen to a real vegetarian. So that's really not a lot of people. That's estimating that in this group 4-6% were vegetarian. .05% born and raised. At that point I was no longer surprised to learn there were others but I was usually surprised to hear they'd been vegetarian for even all of five years.
Being a vegetarian sucked growing up. Kids at school hated you for being different and told you openly that their only goal for the school year was to see you eat a hotdog. Eating dinner at a friends house was totally humiliating when you asked (after years of watching your parents read ingredients on EVERYTHING) why the rice was kind of yellow colored and were told it was because it had been cooked in water that chicken bones had been soaked in and when you said you couldn't eat it your friends mom looked exasperated, insulted and unwilling to compromise and tried to convince you that your parents wouldn't mind. Yes, they really would. My mom would kick people out of the house for bringing meat over with them. We lived around the corner from In-N-Out (which, if you live outside L.A. is cult fast food here -not that I will ever know why, it looks like pretend food all perfectly shaped and brightly colored) so every so often a friend coming to visit would cave in and stop on their way.
I think the most amazing example of the power of my grandmothers presence is that when she once came to visit after having moved away she stored salami in OUR refrigerator and cut it with one of OUR knives and ate it as a snack whenever she wanted to. This was my fathers mother and I must note that when once my mothers sister was babysitting for us at she had my grandfather deliver her some Kentucky Fried Chicken and then proceeded to use our silver memento, engraved baby spoons (which my mother did keep in the kitchen drawer with the rest of the silverware -it's not as if they were mounted on the wall or something) for the sauces. My mother found out (ok, we were shocked too, and very young -we tattled) and she was banned from the house and I don't think she has EVER set foot in there since.
So this is what I was dealing with growing up. Every second of my freaking life was wrapped inside this one eccentricity. I have to say, I do know that I'm an unusual person in other ways but I don't quite get what they are. When I hear the sweet chuckle of a friend observing my wackiness I'm often not sure of exactly what it was that inspired the chuckle and the things that end up being more obvious to me I think are totally normal and I forget immediately what it is that someone's just pointed out to me is unusual.
These days vegetarianism (still the majority are converts) is pretty popular and even veganism, too (which is trendier). At school at least half the people seem to be vegetarians and I can't remember if there are any vegans but a few of the vegetarians have tried it and I hear people talk about it a lot. It's a strange thing to become suddenly more "normal" in this way.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thrifting is quickly becoming an easy pick me up these days and yesterday (in stark contrast to Friday) was pretty icky feeling so I took myself to one of my favorite places: St. Vincent's. Strange how not so long ago I had no patience for pawing through racks and racks of clothing just to maybe find one piece that I inevitably wouldn't be able to wear to work. These days with my wear anything anywhere lifestyle I get excited to find that one thing that brightens my day. This time it was this green polka dot skirt (actually it's one of those ruched top, tube top things but I think this one is perfect as a skirt). As I've been wearing my tiger T non-stop I needed an alternate outfit and this skirt with my old worn-to-near-transparency dragon T is the perfect switch up. The price of this lovely mood lifter? $3.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

In Honor of That Which Has Passed

Stolen from a Mystic Medusa post, I so relate this to one of my favorite loves.

Courtesans of tenth century Japan knew
the keening of the caged copper pheasant,
solo double-note aria for a missing mate,
could be silenced with a mirror
The ideal of a love that completes 
masks a yearning for homeostasis,
a second umbilical, island fever,
harmony tighter than unison
dull as a solved equation;
like the ex-lover who said,
“Being with you is like being alone.”
He meant it as a compliment.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The garden continues to grow and is (I believe) even more beautiful that it was just about a week ago when I last posted a photo. The cucumbers seem to be on a mission to take over the world and I swear they ripen over night. I've been eating them daily and gave my neighbor an armful yesterday. I've just tried to redirect them outside the bed so that they don't swallow everything else. There are some plants growing under them that seem to be fine but the closest row of sprouts are still small and I don't know if they'll ever fulfill their potential under the shade of the big cucumber vine leaves but it's pretty to poke around in there, parting and lifting the leaves to see what's going on. The strawberry's send off long stalks and then shoot roots down in new places which is something I didn't know about strawberry plants. And even though I was warned that I might not have any success with lettuce, it might be too delicate for the sun, I have two beautiful heads that I think are nearly ready to pick. The most exciting part is that as soon as I harvest all this I can replant and watch it all happen again.

It seems I'm obsessed with shopping lately but in actuality what I'm obsessed with is spending less for what I need and want. The other day I loaned someone my cape (doesn't that sounds funny? I mean the thing you put on someone to keep hair bits and dye off of them while you do their hair) and never got it back and forgot who I loaned it to. Today I had my first client and had to borrow a cape from someone else. After class I walked down to the 99cent store near my house and bought another one. Likely not the best quality and it may not last too long, but for a dollar who cares if it falls apart eventually or if someone forgets to return it? Ofcourse I looked around a little while I was there. These 99cents stores near my house have all kinds of stuff and today they had an assortment of pretty green flower pots, the kind with drain holes and an attached saucer to catch the water. I got this one but they also had a flared cylindrical shape in three sizes. I wanted to buy them all and have a collection to group together or spread out through the house but I resisted and just bought the one. Another useful thing they had in stock were heavy duty extension cords (20 feet for $7.99) -I can't decide if buying a bunch of these to string together for weed whacking really is safe or if the savings is significant, the ones I was looking at on Home Depot's website were $50 but I think they were 100 feet. Anyway, I left them for now but it's good to know they're there. Overall I'm just excited about rediscovering less expensive alternatives. Why spend $50 to over $100 on jeans when the shop one the corner has cuter ones for $20? Why spend $10 on a hairdressing cape when I can get one for $1? Salad in a bag is about $5 at Ralph's and, again, $1 at another nearby 99cents store.
When I started earning more money at my last job there were things I decided to change like allowing myself decent shoes. I never got very comfortable with spending a lot on just one item or on buying brand new rather than thrifted/used. I wrote a post awhile back about how I always like a deal and bought both my car and my computer used (in fact I have never had a brand new car or computer) and I feel really good about the way I make purchases. These days I'm finding better stuff than I used to find and for significantly less and I'm wondering what I was thinking these past few years. How did I forget the satisfaction of getting what I needed and wanted for next to nothing? I'm happy to be back to it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I seem to be on a roll in terms of thrift store findings. Today while I was out running errands I happened to be right next door to an Out of the Closet and decided to stop in. Totally not in the mood for shopping or spending much money and with nothing in mind to look for. But isn't that how it always goes? And then you come across.... an amazing tea pot with built in infuser basket for $3!!!!!

As I don't currently have any loose tea I'm trying it out with teabags, but this will come in handy when my chamomile (first little buds showing!) grows in.
Actually, that was not my first find. My first find was a pretty little glass. It was 75 cents and is the kind of thing I think of as a thrifting souvenir. When I'm not really shopping and I find some pretty and inexpensive thing that will make me feel like I came away with something special. Something that contributes to my home or wardrobe, once piece at a time. The best little bits seem to come that way.

And finally, I came across these very unusual... plates? bowls? They're very shallow, about an inch or inch and a half deep, with very rounded sides (soup plates?) and two are just a tiny but smaller than the other two which makes them fit inside just perfectly. They're the palest shade of blue (not sure it comes through against the pink table) and so simple and beautiful and unusual, I love them!

They're on the small side but if I ever have someone over for dinner I think I may use them for salad and soup. In fact, I'm so in love with them I think I may have to look for other things that would be good to serve in a small dish. 
I also came across a stack of lotus shaped bowls -some very tiny, some a bit larger. The only thing I could think to use them for was to feed them cat from (the larger ones) and so I left them. If I ever come across some that are dessert bowl size I'll have to snatch them up but they were today's exercise in will power and practicality. All in all I'm quite happy with my thrift store luck lately.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Positive Sunday

I had forgotten all about Positive Friday as Friday is now 'my Thursday' and Sunday is now my first day off. Anyway, I'm bringing it back today. Here's all the awesomeness that is my Sunday.
Had a dream that I found money I didn't know I had and as I counted through the bills there were more and more. FYI: in dreams money is actually symbolic of love. I think the last time I dreamt of money it was frozen in a block of ice in a safe. This one was much better.
The humidity has finally subsided and today is a beautiful clear, sunny, breezy 76. Perfect! I walked down to one of my local thrift stores and found a bunch of really cute stuff that fit, including a hat I became [even more] obsessed with having yesterday and had been searching all over the internet for. All at super cheap thrift store prices. The only thing they didn't have for me was a pair of flat (meaning: good for walking) sandals, which is kind of what I was specifically looking for. But I did find yet another pair of burgundy low wedge vintage sandals. This is a thing with me, I have found now three pairs of low wedge vintage sandals in shades of burgundy at thrift stores over the years. Always burgundy. These I like because they are a little closer to plum and just cute in general and also have fairly cushy insoles. They were only $10, how could I refuse? The remaining items were a t-shirt with a tiger face graphic covering the front, cap sleeved and gray (a staple color in my wardrobe), a fuschia cheongsam style top that fits me really well (also a favorite style and color) and finally a pair of terry cloth shorts in wide stripes of alternating shades of yellow. Just cute and kind of silly. The hat was new and the most expensive item at $15, the tops and shorts were $6 each. Score!!!
It's been a while since I've had much luck thrift store shopping for clothes I can actually wear. I have a weakness for certain things I find even when they're not my size and often buy them promising myself I'll alter them or have them altered or make them into something else. Most of the time it either doesn't happen or doesn't work and I've learned to put those things back. I also used to have a weakness for things that were not necessarily my style but which I found interesting due to style, color, texture, details and wanted to have them for my own. That is ridiculous, too, and now I know when I'm looking at something and feeling appreciation for the design, etc. but not for how it will feel to wear it. And then for a while I couldn't seem to find anything that was 'me' or I would find something great but think, 'When the hell am I going to wear that? I can't wear it to work!' I'm amazed these days at how much larger my wardrobe seems without even having bought anything in a while. Once I became able to dress freely every day I found I suddenly had unlimited choices. Amazing! And now that I can dress how I like it seems I'm better again at finding clothes at thrift stores. Or maybe it's just a really great Sunday.

Friday, July 8, 2011

I think I mentioned the other day that I haven't been feeling the creative urge so much -certainly due in part to keeping a tight budget. But as I'd been assigned to put together a style book for school and I had a vague idea of what I wanted it to look like I decided to let it be what I wanted.
I knew I wanted the images to be on black pages and figured I'd look for a small photo album with black paper pages. As those are probably a minimum of ten bucks I certainly could have sprang for it but I wandered into the small 'art supplies' section at Staples when I went to pick up photo paper and they had a package of unbound black construction paper for about a buck and a half. As I spent the last fourteen years working at a museum I've seen my share of video's and books on book making and such and I decided I'd do it myself.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon printing out photos from an online cache and sewing together pages and these are a few images of what I came up with.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I don't know if this a good thing or a bad thing (or categorizable at all) but I'm finding that these days I feel freer to be dumber. I know that when I was younger I felt like my intelligence was unrecognized and I worked very hard at proving it to myself until I reached the point where I believed in it and no longer cared if anyone else did. I think it was also some urge stemming from the same place which drove me to succeed in jobs that didn't suit me or make me happy. I felt the need to prove to myself what I could do and once I had done so I no longer cared to make myself miserable in such ways. These days as I am free of the burden to prove to myself that I am smart and "successful" I'm noticing that I no longer care if I sound or feel dumb sometimes. Or even often. Just doesn't matter.

Apartment Therapy posts (daily? weekly?) a round up of vintage finds for six major U.S. cities and all it does is make me want to move because everywhere else seems to have better stuff than Los Angeles on craigslist.
I'm having the most interesting experience of awareness, today especially, and just checked my chart and transits. I thought it might have something to do with my natal Saturn in Cancer -and some relation, I'm sure to the recent eclipse- but I'm really not sure. (I also see that Saturn is *on* my natal Pluto in Libra so maybe that's part of it?) Anyway, the experience is of recognizing my own flaws via experiencing other possible expressions in other people. It's hard to explain concisely but what's been happening, mostly, is my experience with people at school has been opening my eyes to how I've handled similar situations in the past, how I do now and where I still am working on myself.
So here's what I'm seeing a learning (and believe me, it does not come easy to see these things about myself). My teachers are amazing. They're very patient and kind and nurturing and seem to detect who needs encouragement the most and they deliver it sometimes firmly but always with kindness and a lot of patience. It's been really surprising to me to be around young adults with so much caring in their leadership styles. There have been times when I'm not sure how I would have handled a situation, such as someone being somewhat disruptive or if their tone of voice and choice of words seems to convey a slight attitude. In each of these situations I've watched these various teachers respond in the most level headed manner. Calm, pleasant, logical. Each time it happens I'm aware of what my own impulse might have been and I'm impressed by the mastery with which they handle themselves. At first I thought, this is what I think because I've been exposed to people in authority who are so much different and could not be described as nurturing at all -and I think that's certainly part of it. But today I thought very clearly, in response to the experience of the teacher: this is patience and kindness that I have been lacking in the past. It feels both amazing and terrible to identify in myself the lack of qualities that I feel are incredibly important to all relationships. And ofcourse I can console myself by saying that there's only so much you can achieve when you're in an environment that's wrong for you, but I'm now realizing that as I repair the damage in myself I have to learn entirely new ways of handling myself -ways that are beyond my known vocabulary- and it's a bit frightening to see all the things I'm not sure I know how to do.

Monday, July 4, 2011

How 'bout a garden update? Ok!
Yeaaah. Not so much feeling my creative self lately and the results of this are that outside of school my productivity is suffering. I'm not happy about it but I think it's the byproduct of the combination of these two elements: it's getting hotter here and I'm trying to stick to my budget. That means: no, I haven't gotten started on my kimono quilt, I haven't painted the trim in the bedroom (ok, mostly because I keep forgetting to go to the paint store on any day but Sunday when they're closed), and no, I can't really start anything new at the moment. I've been cleaning a lot. Boredom doesn't inspire me. I have nothing to tell you about. I'm focusing on the stars as they are endlessly fascinating and always guide me through weird times but I don't really feel like purging all that information here all the time.
So, the garden! The garden is strange. The cucumbers are growing like crazy and taking over. They're covering a row of broccoli and I'm wondering if that's good (shade?) or bad (no space). Their pretty little curly tentacle tendrils are reaching out and wrapping around the strawberry leaf stalks (the strawberries are also interesting, I had no idea they'd spread out so much!) and I'm wondering if everything in that bed will be overtaken and strangled by the cucumber plants.
Another thing I maybe didn't give enough thought to: bugs. First were the caterpillars (still signs that there are more around but I can't find the little bastards) and now there are aphids and some other bug that looks like aphids but are black and NOW.... I found these teensy little hard bugs that don't even look like bugs. They just look like tiny barnacles and they're on the cucumber leaves.
So I did a little research because the soapy water wasn't getting rid of the aphids and now I have a variety of pests to deal with, and I went by the nursery and asked what was good for all these guys (I mean bad). I thought I asked for something organic and natural -chemical free- or perhaps I just assumed everyone would want to go that way and it should be naturally implied. The guy gave me a pyrethrin spray and I recognized it as an insecticide made from ground up flowers. Super. Took it home and doused the whole bed.
This morning I spent some time reading my gardening book which warned that I should be sure that my spray not contain a particular chemical that is often combined with pyrethrin and is somewhat toxic. Crap. I checked the tiny print on the bottle. Crap. It's in there. Crap. And I'm mad at the nursery guy for not mentioning it when he offered it to me in place of the two options I asked about which both had ORGANIC all over their labels. How do you not get that I'm trying to grow organically? My own fault, really. But now I'm stuck with a bottle of chemicals that I can't use and can't throw away (right?) and I still need something I can use.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

More Bits About Me...

From Mystic Medusa:
AQUARIUS: Even more spaced out than usual but they've actually gotten really magical and advanced. Hatching some major ingenuity in between mourning the last 15 years. Some regrets.

So, yes, at the moment I am using this space more than ever to keep track of bits about me. Like a weirdo scrapbook. It's just that -as stated above- I am a bit spaced out and it's nice to put together some clippings from random places that are complimentary and also reminiscent of reality -yes, I can also relate to brief spells of mourning the past 15 years while also feeling very magical.