Thursday, April 29, 2010


I'm not really sure how this is related to anything, except that it happened. Today. To me.

I was supposed to be driving to Seattle in preparation for my flight across the big pond. I was Netherlands-bound until I logged in to check my itinerary and discovered that...THE VOLCANO GOT ME! But only by 24 hours. No big deal, except missing the biggest party of the year in Amsterdam by one day. Truly though, I was over it in a matter of minutes. I needed a few extra hours to tie up loose ends and try on my outfits (because up until now, I'd only been trying on Matthias'...) That's just the preface.

Last night, I noticed a smell in the basement. Not a terrible one, or a very strong one but...a smell. I knew some little creeper was nesting up in the rafters (there are some holes, shabby-ish areas perfect for such beings). I could literally smell him. I had heard it scratching around too, but could not discern a species. Baby bird was my best guess, because my phone rang really loudly and the creeper started chirping in surprise/alarm/distress. Anyway, I didn't trouble myself too much about it, just mentioned it in passing to my roommates "yeah, I think there's a baby bird or something nesting in the rafters down there."

Today, right after I realized I had 24 hours to spare, I sat down to a leisurely lunch. I let the bunny out to romp around and it had just hopped back into its cage when up the basement stairs and into the kitchen strolls, A TINY LITTLE SQUIRREL. You have got to be kidding me. (I said this aloud). He just wrung his hands and stared at me. As I stood up to grab a broom, he scurried under the kitchen cabinets (again, some unfinished areas perfect for creepers). Great. I was supposed to start my Euro-journey today and now this is what I'm doing instead.

I blockaded the doorways (note, no doors. Also in progress, also ideal for creepers strolling up into the kitchen to much some crumbs!) to the basement and living room with various coffee tables, left some bunny treats out on the floor hoping he would come out to claim them and went back to sewing. I left the back door open thinking maybe he'd just do the right thing and leave. NOPE.

Twenty minutes or so into squirrelgate, I ascended to the kitchen and caught him collecting a bunny treat. He stared, I stared, he scurried back under the cabinets. I quietly grabbed a broom and took a seat on the upended coffee table. He peeked out, wrung his hands. I stared. He scurried to the other cabinet and wrung his hands. He hid. He peeked out again. He tried to sneak along the fridge DIRECLY TOWARD ME. I shooed him away. He did it again. I shooed him and he spooked. He tried it a third time and didn't spook. Boom, here's my chance. I started hockey sliding him along the floor back and forth toward the open door, so close and he escapes into a corner, but he's trapped. Vincent comes in the front door. "GRAB A BROOM!" I yell and we both end up finally corralling the little dude out the door with a nice swipe.

We thought he would bound off into oblivion without a second thought. Instead he sat there, dazed for a moment and then TRIED TO GET BACK IN. He paced, he peeked, he STOOD UP ON HIS HIND LEGS AND PRESSED HIS FRONT PAWS TO THE DOOR GLASS! Then he made a couple of slow laps around the perimeter of the deck, came back to the door AND STARTED SCREAMING. "Awwww!" Was Vincent's response, and I kind of have to agree. Our hypothesis is that he was born in one of the weird eves of our house that squirrels are always trying to get into and fell down some hole, ending up in the basement. We don't think he's ever been outside. I named him Garrett.

Why, you might ask, am I sharing this with you at this odd hour? Because I just sewed a new lining in an old purse, ate some popcorn, was about to turn out the lights and....I heard him crying at the door. HE'S STILL THERE. Waiting for his magical moment of reentry...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Roommate dinner!

Katie is finally moving to Alaska, I'm headed to A-dam for a jaunt and Josh is off to tour a few fine states sharing his melancholy dance pop with the chosen ones! So I decided it was high time we all sat down together and celebrated. I made meatless Swedish meatballs and enforced a semi-formal dress code (although I didn't have to do much enforcing, everyone totally stepped up! Yesss.) In keeping with our elderly outfits, we moved on to some intense Yahtzee hoping Katie would finally roll one...

She did, her first EVER.

And another, same round. This infuriated/excited Josh because his primary strategy is just, roll a Yahtzee. He will cross off his chance if he has to, as long as the possibility that a Yahtzee can pop up remains...

And it finally did. But I think Katie still won :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Two things. Okay, maybe three...


...and we are still not sure what to name her! I totally think she looks like BeBop from the Ninja Turtles. You can't see it in this photo, but she definitely has a mohawky flat-top and is chubby. I can tell roommate Josh is toying with funny Star Trek names like Nelix and roommate Katie wants something cute like Hazel or Nell. I'm sticking with BeBop for now...unless you have any suggestions :)

#2 There are finally some new dresses for the shop! Here's a preview:

#3: I pinched a nerve in my back somewhere last week and was horizontal all of Sunday on meds. Getting back into the swing of things (i.e. I can put my left shoe on by myself again), but yeah. I've been slacking a little in the sewing department because of it. (Sorry)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Musical Monday #2: K'Naan

I usually am not all that enthralled by hip hop, but sometimes I head off on a search for child-appropriate things to play in dance class that I also like. Although he is often totally inappropriate for children, this is how I found K'Naan. He is so elegant. What I like most about him is that you would think he'd be one of those "peace and love" dance hall type world music rappers, but he grew up in Mogadishu and is totally hardcore. In addition to being totally hardcore, he is totally a poet. He tells it high and low, oscillating between a taut, do-not-mess-with-me rage and spinning a tiny glimmer of hope into a thread to hold on to. He is an excellent storyteller. Check out his tiny desk concert for NPR, "Fatima" is my favorite.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thursdays are for thinking...

David Lynch is cool. I was reminded of this by the radio today. NPR, in fact. They were doing a program about Twin Peaks and cited Lynch's uncanny ability for creating an "atmosphere." Having seen Blue Velvet, I most certainly agree. The tension, the weirdness, the ear in the field. Plus, Laura Dern's party dress is strangely similar to some things I'm currently working on...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dear Jamie Oliver,

(photo from channel 4 on the Guardian website,

Thank you.

I had recently seen advertisements for the new reality show about how we eat in America, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. I knew it would be up my alley from what I'd seen, but I was completely unprepared for how emotional it was. I watched episodes one and two back to back, tears streaming down my face. This man truly cares about helping human beings live happier, healthier lives together and is going straight for the source. Food. Simple, healthy, seasonal food made from fresh ingredients and learning how to prepare it and eat it together.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a family where dinner was an unspoken requirement every evening, one I looked forward to. We had chicken cheesy breadcrumb, spinach raviolis from Costco with fresh tomatoes, spaghetti and meatballs, salmon with rice and green beans, and we always sat down to enjoy it together. Mostly my mom cooked, sometimes dad would put together stew or chili or spaghetti. Both of them almost always from scratch. Neither of them ever really asked us to do it though. Neither my brother nor I ever volunteered. So once freshman cafeteria year in college was over, I was totally lost. I relied on my then boyfriend for occasional healthy meals. On my own I ate mac and cheese. The boxed kind we were never allowed to consume as children. I ate instant potatoes, lucky charms, scones from the campus store and okay, here and there a hummus and cucumber tortilla wrap. All the way to my fourth year of school when I headed overseas to Germany.

Germany is where I learned to eat. Not necessarily because Germans have the healthiest food in the world (they don't) or because they do it all right. Maybe because they make a little bigger deal out of eating. But it was mostly because other people I met during my studies, and while living there after graduation, had been taught to cook and passed on some of their skills to me. That's really all it takes. Kristofer taught me to make Swedish meatballs with potatoes, Fläskpannkaka, and apple cake. Amy taught me how to make lasagna, and that pretty much any good simple pasta meal can start with olive oil, onions and garlic in a pan. Matthias taught me how to cut an onion and how to make my own spaghetti sauce. That no matter what you have to do in the morning, you must sit down to breakfast. Matthias also taught me, that regardless of how little money you have, there is never a better way to spend it than on good, healthy food. He swatted my hand away as it reached for colored marshmallow gummies at the grocery store, wrinkled his nose in disgust when I described the box mac and cheese of my adulthood. This was one thing everyone in our Berliner squat stood behind, and I'll never forget what our downstairs neighbor said when I moved in. He always had a crock pot of soup or curry from scratch in his kitchen available for anyone who dropped by with an empty stomach. "You will never be hungry here," he told me. And he was right.

So to everyone who has ever taught me how to cook a simple dish or fed me healthy food, thank you. To Jamie Oliver, I see what you're doing and it is a massive challenge. I support you wholeheartedly and I think between you and Mrs. Obama, we can get something accomplished here.

See him yourself if you have 20 minutes to spare:

Friday, April 2, 2010

It was just too cute.

Some of you may know my deep, dark secret already. For those of you who don't; I generally do not buy new clothing. In fact, this year, my new garment purchases have been limited to a bra for dance, seven pairs of underwear, and this here t-shirt. (Well, I guess you could also include a pair of leggings that look like jeans but...those were technically an xmas gift that what you want.) If there is something I want, I make it. If there is something I need, I buy it second hand or it comes to me through relatives or friends. Why? You might ask. Because the textile industry is lame. Because in America, we throw a lot of things away before they're used up, and because I can sew. Now that you know this, you can see how badly I wanted this T-shirt.

Here are the reasons I caved: I got it from, so it's my little way of giving back to other weirdies out there who do what I do. Make art for a living. The original shirt was also manufactured by American Apparel, so I feel okay that the people putting it together were earning an average of $12 an hour (found on American Apparel's website) rather than the 80 cents per hour an average Chinese worker would receive, 43 cents an hour for a Sri Lankan or even as low as 33 cents for a Cambodian (numbers from "Shopping for Sweat" by Ken Silverstein, published in Harpers Magazine, January 2010). I am also a huge fan of entrepreneurs recreating a manufacturing sector in this country, something we've all but lost and are now feeling the pain. So, good for you Dov. Oh yeah, and it was on sale :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April 12th is Bunny Day!!!

WE ARE GETTING A BUNNY!!! A house bunny. Hahaha. My roommate Josh has a buddy with a soft, docile, floppy-eared grey bunny and his dog has trouble getting along with it. He was going to give it to the Humane Society (the bunny), so Josh just asked if we could have it instead. When he announced the possibility, I couldn't believe it. I have been secretly researching bunnies for months now, but didn't want to get one as MY personal pet because I have a habit of impulsive international relocations. Josh has been wanting a pet forever too, and now that he is in and the other roommates agreed with varying degrees of excitement (Josh and I=delirious, cannot WAIT, Katie=happy, clapping hands together, Vincent=ambivalent but accepting, he will have to do some work closing off areas where bunny will want to hide, will probably be secretly obsessed and too cool to show it once bunny arrives). This means I get to help care for a fuzzy pet, AND don't have to take full responsibility! YAYYY! Sometimes having roommates really is the best.

By the way, Shola sent this photo to me quite a while ago since she is often privy to my secret pet research. How did you find this? The girl not only looks JUST like I did in college (truly, right down to the tan, tangled dark blonde hair, fetal position, EVERYTHING) she's wearing exactly what I wear to nap in. Me and the bunny were meant to be.
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