Wednesday, April 16, 2014

VIPTs: Very Important Personality Tests!!

Last night, when I should have been working on Important, Responsible Things, I instead spent...let's just say "a lot of time"...on Zimbio taking Very Important Personality Tests.  I mean, how could I get anything done until I knew which Goonies character I was? (Stef) Or who my celebrity boyfriend would be? (Joseph Gordon-Levitt...score!)  Or which 80s Action Hero I was?  (Robocop, natch.)

I won't confess to how many of these tests I took either.  Suffice it to say, I now have my personality pretty well figured out, thanks to these online, very accurate and meaningful tests.  Zimbio (and the government) probably knows way too much about me now, too.  

Here are a few of my results, so you can understand me better.  Click this link so you can take a few quizzes as well, and report back here with your results!  Are you Giles from the Buffy series, too?  Did you also get Taylor Swift as your celebrity road trip companion??  Inquiring minds need to know!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Robot Tuesdays

Some days there are just too many thoughts in my head.  I feel like my brain races from one thing to the next without stopping to appreciate the chaos. Earlier on in this blog, I tried out something that my sister Elizabeth does on her blog's Wednesday Thoughts posts - just get a bunch of ideas down that may or may not be related.  I planned on doing mine on Tuesdays, since that day is in the title of my blog*.  I haven't done it in quite a while, but today was one of those crazy brain days, so I thought I'd get a bunch of stuff down in one post.

First, I've been meaning to put a link here to my new art blog, Paintings Speak Louder Than Words. I started it so I can chronicle my adventures as Two Twelve Arts Center's Artist in Residence over the next six months, as well as my continued journey as an artist.  I plan on using that blog for artsy things, updates and progress made on the residency, etc, but will continue to blog here as well. (Come to think of it, this whole blog is like a Robot Tuesdays post - a lot of random stuff, much of it a bit goofy...)

Speaking of the artist residency, I walked the ~mile to the studio today.  I know that it can still get cold and even snow this month, but today was the first day where it finally, truly felt like spring!!  The sun was shining, it was in the high 50s/low 60s (short-sleeved shirt weather here in Michigan!), birds were chirping - it was glorious!!!  I reveled in wearing a t-shirt outside again, instead of several layers and a coat (and a scarf and gloves and a hat...).

I forgot just how difficult walking is!  Yes, that sounds ridiculous, but I haven't really walked for exercise in a while, thanks to the whole bronchitis/fractured rib deal.  It's one thing to walk around a store or at work, another thing entirely to walk for exercise with a heavy backpack on your back!  Plus, I have a tendency to walk fast.  Anyone in my family will confirm that, especially my younger sister, Heather - we walked home from middle school together (I was in 8th, she was in 6th), and she would always yell at me to slow down as she jogged to catch up.  I do have a long stride and am about 5 inches taller than her, but I also just find myself walking fast without really thinking about it.  Good for exercise, bad for the ol' shin splints.

I really like finding a song that matches my stride.  As I was walking up a hill today, "Home" by Phillip Phillips came on and matched my stride perfectly!  It made the hill seem less exhausting. (On a different note, anyone else in love with Phillip Phillips?  That smile + that voice = Dreamy.  I need a gif of me raising my eyebrows over and over to put right here.)  

As I was jamming to Phil Phil, I walked past a store that sells medical supplies - they have a sign in the window that just says, "CPAP."  I have no idea what that is, I just know that I always think it says "CRAP" when I see it out of the corner of my eye.  

Once at the studio, I watched some Gilmore Girls followed by the movie "Oz the Great and Powerful" (is that what it's called?). I like to watch movies or TV on DVD while I paint.  Recently it's been a lot of a favorite show of mine, "Inspector Lewis" (speaking of dreamy, Sergeant Hathaway, anyone??), and some fairly poorly acted TV movies based on Mary Higgins Clark books.  (I get what I can find at the library, since I don't get internet at the studio.  It's for the best, since it's harder to waste time on the internet on my phone!)

I'm telling you, a LOT of random thoughts today.  Good news?  As far as I know  I was just going to write something about no one having played any April Fool's jokes on me today, but there are still a few minutes left of April 1st, so I'd better be careful.  I know very few people who actually like April Fool's Day...  Do you?  

*I don't think I've ever explained the title of my blog on here anywhere. I think it's more fun that way.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

If I Had A Dog

Sometimes when I'm laying in bed at night, I think about all sorts of random things.  What would my dream house look like?  What would be the most peaceful colors for a bedroom?  Why am I not laying on a hammock someplace tropical right now?  (Insomnia brings about deep thinking.)  And so on.  

Last night, I got to thinking about dogs.  I have a confession to make...  You know how there are people who prefer dogs or cats or birds or snakes, etc? I prefer none.  If I had a choice between having any animal I wanted, all expenses paid, or having no animal at all, I'd pick no animal at all.  They're just SO MUCH WORK!  Plus there's the whole getting super attached to an animal and then having it die, and I just figure, why put myself through all that?  

I realize that this probably tells a lot about me.  People might think that I'm a cold, unfeeling person, or that I'm dead inside, because who doesn't love animals?  Well, I DO love animals!  I think they're great!  Giraffes are the best, seahorses are the coolest, bunnies are adorable, puppies and kittens are frickin' heart-melters, penguins be stylin', and so on.  I love animals.  But do I want to deal with the care of one?  Not so much.

See, here's the thing: I can't handle gross.  Anything gross.  You want to tell me all about your surgery and show me scars?  I'll buy you flowers to keep you quiet.  TV shows want to put bloody wounds all up in my face?  TV goes off. Zombies?  NO THANK YOU.  And that's the thing about animals.  They do gross better than just about anyone else.

Now, I get that most of what animals do is NOT "be gross."  But you've got to admit, they do leave "surprises" from both ends of their bodies around often enough that for me it overshadows the rest.  Why, WHY would I want to walk around carrying a bag o' poo?  To quote Leopold from the movie "Kate and Leopold," "Are you suggesting madam that there exists a law compelling a gentleman to lay hold of canine bowel movements?"  Exactly.

Now that I've enraged animal lovers anywhere, here's a collage of animal photos to woo you back:

You might have noticed that the title of this blog post is, "If I Had A Dog."  The reason for that is that, despite my protestations above, there's that part of me that wonders what it would be like to have a dog.  My cousins have the sweetest Golden Doodle ever - his name is Blue and he never fails to make me smile:

Blue, just one of the gang.
I often tell my cousin that Blue restores my faith in animals - so loving and sweet and goofy.  While I personally can't see myself with a dog Blue's size, he does make me wonder if having an animal like him would be worth all of the fuss.  So, instead of actually worry about getting a dog, I lay in bed and think about what I'd name one if I did.  (Sorry to cat lovers out there, but I will never own a cat, partially due to being allergic to them, but also largely due to their sneaking, plotting ways...)  

Here are a few ideas for names I came up with while laying in bed last night:
  • Lord Rothschild
  • Steve  (while some might think this name comes from me once dating a guy named Steve, that's not it at all - I just think Steve would be a hilarious dog name)
  • Walter
  • Marty McFly
  • Doc Brown
  • Professor Fluffington
  • Anne Murray
  • Wolverine
  • Mystique
  • Amy Pond
  • The Doctor
  • Thor
  • Squidward
  • Albus Dumbledor
  • Viktor Krum
  • Mulder
  • Scully
  • Captain Phantom
  • The Crimson Chin
Maybe there are other reasons I don't have a dog, come to think of it...  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Lyrical Thursday: Hyacinths

In honor of the first day of spring, I wanted to share a poem that I honestly can't believe I haven't shared yet, as it's one of my favorites!  It also happens to be a favorite of my mom's, and she used to recite it on occasion.  It's short, but has a very upbeat message that I find to be true.  No matter how down-and-out things are, hyacinths can always bring your (or at least my) spirits up.  Flowers in general do that for me - something bright and sweet to cheer up even the dullest days!

The poem is attributed to Moslih Eddin Saadi, a Mohammadan Sheik and Persian poet who lived in the 12th-13th centuries, and is usually called Hyacinths to Feed Thy Soul, or simply, Hyacinths:

If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loaves alone
 to thee are left - 
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.

I did a painting for my mom one year with the poem at the bottom.  The picture's not that clear - I'll see if I can get a better one soon!  For now, Happy Spring, everyone!!!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Happy Eight Day!

As mentioned in my last post, I recently came down with a nasty case of bronchitis (my second this winter).  The good/bad thing (depending on how you look at it) is that it happened over midwinter break, so I was off work and able to rest.  I did just that, and felt like I was well on my way to recovery by the time the week was over.  I was still coughing some, and had been for over a week, but it wasn't as bad as it had been.  

Sunday afternoon, as I was cleaning up after making some delicious cupcakes, I started coughing.  It didn't seem any worse than any other coughing fit I'd had that week, but there was one big difference.  I don't know if I just coughed harder than normal or if it was the strain of coughing for a week straight, but an intense pain started to grow in my ribcage.  I tossed it off at first as a pulled muscle or maybe an inflammation, but after a sleepless, painful night, it was clearly much worse.

Monday morning, I bit the bullet and drove myself to Urgent Care.  The whole time, I kept thinking of Brian Regan's Emergency Room routine (below), when he talks about driving himself to the hospital.  I thought of him again as I sat in the room and the nurse asked me how I would rate my pain on a scale of one to ten.  I didn't say eight (though I thought about it!), and instead said six or seven.  The doctor came in, did his tests, and told me what I'd suspected: I'd fractured a rib.  From coughing.  Not from doing something awesome, like wrestling a bear, or doing a sweet jump on a bike, or sky diving.  Nope, coughing.    

One week and several medications later, I'll be honest, I'm tired of having a fractured rib!!  There's not much that can be done for it, so I take medicine, ice it, try to rest, and try not to complain (sorry about failing just now...).  I admire people with chronic pain who bear it with a good attitude.  It just makes me all kinds of crabby!!  In an effort to cheer myself up, I decided I'd go back and re-watch some Brian Regan, and thought I'd invite you to join me.  I have some exciting news I'll post about soon, and a new direction I might be taking this (or another) blog.  In the mean time, here's to a few good laughs!! (Though not too hurts!)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dear Polar Vortex...

I don't know what this winter has been like where you live, but here in Michigan it's been soul-suckingly miserable.  So much so that it's made me melodramatic about it all.  Between the bitter, bitter cold of the recurring visits of the Polar Vortex and the snow falling, snow on snow, snow on snow, I've been going a little loopy.

I'm normally not a big winter hater, but this winter has been particularly bad.  I've felt so cooped up inside - it's just tooooo cold to go outside unless you absolutely have to!  I've had bronchitis twice, too, which has been a real treat. I blame all of this on the Polar Vortex, of course. 

In an effort to release some of my anxiety, I started writing letters to the Polar Vortex on Facebook.  Things escalated quickly.  Below is a sampling of my letters to the Polar Vortex, and some other lovely wintry posts.  The PV is back this week, dropping temps once again, and I'm hoping I don't have to take drastic measures.  If anyone wants to fly me someplace tropical I wouldn't say no.  I'd offer a painting in exchange...

January 24:
 January 26:

January 28:

February 1:

February 3:
 February 4:
This is what it's been like here: 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Lyrical Thursdays: In the Bleak Midwinter

Along with new beginnings, the new year has brought a lot of snow to Michigan. We've had quite a bit all winter, actually, but never at a time that would grant us a snow day!  Ah, well.  (**Update: ...Until January 5th, when the snow kept falling, snow on snow...and got us a snow day on the 6th!) 

I was out shoveling and snow blowing earlier as the snow continued to swirl around me, and this song came into my head.  It's such a beautiful one, and the poem by Christina Rossetti is so moving.  The last line says it all - all that we can give Him is our heart!  A great thing to think about as we head into the new year.  Happy Thursday! 

In the bleak midwinter

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.