Monday, November 24

a shameless endorsement.

Well, it's that time again. The freakin' holidays. And i am here to promote my mom's lovely items.

Basically, she takes a lot of photographs. Close-ups of lichens, flowers, rock and cactus textures, etc. Also, some stunning landscapes from around the area where she lives. The other side of her art consists of fractals. For those of you who aren't familiar, fractals are math-based patterns that she generates on her computer, then rocks them through Photoshop until they are just amazing. It actually takes quite a bit of time, which most people don't realize. And what does she do with all these images, you might wonder?

Well, a long time ago my mom bought a heat-press, for designing T-shirts. Then she bought a mug-press, so we could put our own pictures onto mugs. This has been a years-long process for her, and she has become quite good at it. She's always been interested in functional art, which i love because being able to actually use a gift is a huge bonus. So she makes glass cutting boards, tiled boxes, coaster sets, mugs, pillows, mousepads, etc. etc.

In any case, i promised her i would put up a post about all of this, in the hopes that somebody might like what they see and order some stuff for the holidays. Like i said, shameless ;) But i love my mom, and i want her to be happy, and this is what makes her happy. Ideally she wants to be able to quit working for IBM and do something creative, which of course i want to support. She has done so much for all of us, and anyway it's not like this stuff is easy- it's quite labor-intensive. She makes every piece herself, and the best part is that you can send in your own photos and she can customize stuff for you! Woo-hoo! For instance, i have a morph-mug with an image of our old cat, Calico, that i make tea in every now and then so i can remember her. Then again, i'm a sentimental old fool, so who knows if this appeals to you. But take a look and see if you dig it.

Her website is here, and her Etsy account is here. And lastly, her Zazzle account, where you can get the mousepads and many other things as well. Zazzle is a strange place, so don't be frightened ;)

Ummm, what else? Yes, some of my favorites:


(a cactus photo that has been altered; i have this as a mousepad and adore it),


(a photo of some glass flowers that she tweaked; there are actually many variations on this one, and all are great!),

Cactus Flower Mugs

(a set of black cups with 3 different versions of a prickly pear- these are soooo pretty in real life!),

Lightning River - Round Tempered Glass Cutting Board

(an awesome cutting board!),

Claret Cup Cactus Flowers - Round Tempered Glass Cutting Board

(this is simply a beautiful photograph; a claret cup catcus that was in her backyard),

Blue Green Serenity - Tempered Glass Cutting Board

(one of my favorite fractals; also comes in pinkish greens),

Gathering Storm - Tempered Glass Cutting Board

(this is perhaps my favorite of all. i have the large rectangle cutting board of this one, and every morning i look at it and am blown away. This is a shot of some hills in Red Rock Canyon, near Las Vegas.)

..Seriously, the photos don't even do them justice. And i'm not just saying that because it's my mom, they are really, really lovely. Of course i understand if all of this is not your cup of tea, that's cool. But i just had to give a shout-out. Other favorites include the swimming pool cutting board, anything with a hibiscus on it, and the yucca photo, plus basically all of the lichens and rock texture photos... there are just so many!

And the truly great thing about the cutting boards is that they are glass, so they don't retain odors (like garlic and onion and whatnot), or get moldy or scratched; they are super easy to clean, and please don't be afraid to actually cut on them, i do it multiple times a day. Everything is dishwasher-safe, if that matters to you, and it's a great way to have your kitchen lookin' real pretty. You can also use the cutting boards as serving plates, or trivets.

Okay, okay. You guys have endured enough. Honestly, thank you. And no pressure! I'm sure there are only one or two people reading this, anyway, but every little bit helps. Happy holidays, folks. I'm off for a bike ride before it gets dark (really? at 4:30? sheesh.)

In other news: last night i spotted a near-perfect capital 'A' in the cracks in the driveway outside my building. Rad.

In other, other news: White Chalk is possibly the most melancholy, plaintive album i have ever owned. i love how PJ's piano sounds just a tad out of tune, or old in some way. That girl's got me covered in chilly goosebumps.

Friday, November 21

Guilty pleasures.

Wow, so- don't get on my case for this, but i'm sort of addicted to this song. And there's absolutely nothing i can do about it, except wait it out. i'm actually embarrassed about this one, versus when i still liked Green Day even as everyone else decided the thing to do was (say they) hate them. But sometimes it just gets stuck in my head, and boy is it ever catchy! Damn her. i hope this goes away soon.

Doing laundry last night, i noticed that my neighbors down the hall have an interesting welcome mat. i say "interesting" because it is more of a go-away mat: one of those heavy-duty brown bristly ones, with one simple word, "L E A V E" printed on it in (strangely) small black letters. i can't decide if i love this or hate this! Initial reaction was definitely, "ugh, please". But is it cute? Or just annoying? Hm.

Of all the myriad things i dislike about San Diego, there is at least one thing that i absolutely loved from the moment i moved here: the utility boxes. Apparently someone getting paid by the city decided that it would be a good thing to hire an artist(s?) to paint them up all pretty. And you know what? It is a good thing. No more depressing grey boxes everywhere! Yay! i would love to send this person a fruit basket or something. In any case, i just stumbled upon this today, which reminded me of how urban art is absolutely fabulous. Honestly, there should be more of it.

Heading off to Bad Movie Night; this week's feature is Young Einstein. God, i hope there are cocktails.

Thursday, November 20

home again, home again, jiggety-jog.

Back from Vegas. Sat next to Typhoid Mary on the bus ride to L.A., that was a hoot. She was nearly seventy years old, was wearing a strumpy lace dress with a man's suit jacket over it, and dirty white slippers that said "Junior Mints" on them. A hacking, phlegmy cough and all of her belongings were in plastic grocery bags. Very sad... apparently she thinks that in downtown L.A., everyone is an jerk, but that on the strip in Vegas they treat you like a queen. Not sure exactly what she meant by these remarks, but i'm not really keen on delving much deeper into it. i gave her the window seat so she could sleep (hacking cough lessened a lot with that development, thank goodness), and a tissue because she was sniffling and wiping her nose on the back of her hand. Not that i've never done that, obviously, but i could tell she was not having a good time.

The craft show was sort of a bust; the economy has definitely taken its toll there. Lots of lookers, not a lot of buyers. But hey! Experience is good to be had. We sat for 3 days in the empty strip-mall store, smiling at people and buying things we didn't need form other crafters. And on Sunday, we packed everything back into the car, strapped the metal display shelf on top, and drove on home. As we were pulling into the garage, we heard a loud, horrible screeching sound and then suddenly stuff was raining down onto the windshield. It was a split-second of bizarrity. Then it hit us- we had forgotten (is that a proper word?) to stop in the driveway and remove the damned shelf from the top of the car. i laughed so hard my belly hurt. There was stucco everywhere, but only minor damage to the garage door mechanism. Whew! Good times. i certainly hope the neighbors were watching- there's some cheap entertainment to be had in Vegas yet! Tune in next time, folks, for Heather and Linda's Driveway Comedy Revue, Redux!

In other news, i guess i'm a nephophile. i mean, not to the extreme, but a mild obsession is definitely there. i am always looking up at the sky, searching for clouds. Photos of them almost always take my breath away (do NOT start singing that song), and when the sky is nothing but blue it bums me out completely. Speaking of clouds, here is a really fun optical illusion segment from Bill Nye that you should absolutely check out. Don't worry, it's not a Rickroll.

What else is new? Hm. Think i've got one too many houseplants at this point... seventeen pots, at last count. Wow! i never even realized that until this moment. Unfortunately, i'm nowhere near what you would classify as green-thumbed, so a couple of these are hanging on by a thread (the plants, not my thumbs!), and a couple of the others are not exactly thriving... But the rest do pretty well, and make the apartment a much happier place. i'm telling you: green is where it's at.

Even though this is boring, here is a list of them all, because i'm obsessive.

~Orchid (Brassidia x Odontoglossum, yellow star-shaped flowers with chocolatey mottles)
~Aloe (gotta have one of these, right? nature's burn healer.)
~hanging Ivy (because the bedroom is dark.)
~hanging Philodendron (the tendrils!)
~Arrowhead (Syngonium podophyllum)
~Dieffenbachia (because they are hard to kill)
~Croton (stunning rainbow leaves)
~Spathiphyllum (peace lily, also hard to kill!)
~Lithops (because they look like upside-down elephant feet to me)
~Fenestraria aurantiaca (a succulent that i'm busy killing)
~Maidenhair fern (delicate and lovely)
~Table fern (hearty goodness)
~Hypoestes phyllostachya (pink and green mottled)
~yellow Bromeliad (tropical!)
~Two Lucky bamboos. (just for the heck)
~a nearly dead Lily of the Valley (::sniff::) i got this for Nat's birthday, and it was so cute and delightful, until it slowly withered away and now i don't know what's going on there.

So there. Yeah. Glad i typed all of that out. Real interesting for you all, i'm sure. Time to go. Working on scanning some photos, but i'll probably just put them all on my Flickr account. It's long, tedious work when you're not digital, let me tell ya.


Oh, and apparently i travel so much on Amtrak that the lady at the ticket window recognizes me now. She's all, "do you work in Vegas?" Hah. At first i got really offended because for some reason i thought she thought i was a stripper, then it occurred to me that she probably thinks i'm an entertainer of some kind. Circus, or something. i wish!

Wednesday, November 12

The Meadows.

How on earth did Las Vegas get its name?

i guess a couple of hundred years ago there were green areas, as the result of natural wellsprings. Hard to believe, if you ask me. Although cacti can be very deceptive. when i went to Death Valley as a youngster, i had no idea what to expect. i just remember thinking, with a name like that, it can't be good...

But how wrong i was! To this day, i have not seen a more brilliant flaming orange than the hue i witnessed on the bloom of a flowering cactus. It stopped me dead in my tracks, actually, as the plant itself was absolutely towering. As my eyes wandered down, i realized that the ground was blanketed in hot pinks* and yellows and reds. From the road, you could see none of these details.

Plus, we had an unopened bag of potato chips in the the car that expanded so much during the trip that it looked like a mylar balloon. When we went to open it, it exploded salt and vinegar deliciousness all over the back of the van. Very exciting! i highly recommend a trip to Death Valley, especially for anyone who likes gorgeous moonlit desert nights, lizards, and living in a convection oven.

As for me, i'm heading to Vegas for the umpteenth time. Okay, it's more like the 8th time, but i haven't said "umpteenth" in awhile. My mom has a booth in another craft fair (her 2nd), and i'm hopping a train/bus there to help her out with everything. This time i'm bringing my camera, and hopefully the result will be fancy eye-catching photos for me to post. i know you guys like that stuff.

Wish me luck on the Greyhound. ::sigh:: i'm getting to be an old hand at all this... is that normal? Should i just give up my fear of flying already, or hold on to it for dear life? Hah! Interesting sentence, that.


*Originally typed as "oinks", which was much more interesting. Corrected for posterity.

Sunday, November 9


It's interesting to me, that when i am sick my body balks at the thought (or sight, or smell) of things that it knows are not good for it. It makes perfect sense, but i find it absolutely fascinating. One of the first thing that alerts me to an impending illness is that cigarettes start to taste strange. "Uh-oh," i think, "this is it."
A bad night's sleep, and much sneezing and coughing later, i wake up to make a cup of coffee, only to realize that the idea of drinking a cup of that foul brew sounds like the worst idea in the world.
Wait a minute- foul brew? Did i really just think that? Yep, it's true. The simple pleasure that i truly look forward to every morning has turned into an impossibly disgusting task. i can't even think about it for too long; there is just no question. Tea it is. Herbal tea. (uh-oh, am i an elitist?)

It makes me realize that these substances can't possibly be good for me. Even if i refuse to realize it, my body tells me the truth when it's trying to muster its defenses against an attack. It's pretty amazing.

Cut to five days later, and i am seriously hankering for a cup of joe. As health slowly returns to my cells and body processes, i feel a switch turning on in my brain. i believe it is the one that screams: Give me caffeine! Or, it might just be the fact that i am an extreme creature of habit, and having something missing from your daily routine starts to gnaw on you after awhile.

...nah, i think it's probably just the caffeine.

In any case, i am looking forward to having a strong cup of coffee tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day, i can feel it! Right, box of tissues? Right, cough drops? Right, giant sweater that i only ever wear when i am just feeling A-1 crappy?

Right. You guys are done.

But then i ask myself: is this perhaps a good time to wean myself off of the stuff? Actually, i guess it is far too late for that, as i have already gone "cold turkey" (i call wtf on that saying, by the way) on the coffee. Should i let it ride? We all know that coffee isn't inherently "good" for you, but damn is it ever delicious! Plus, i saw a news report somewhere awhile back showing that women who drank one or more (not sure if there was a limit) cups of coffee a day turned out to be more intelligent when they got older. As in, over fifty. Which i surely hope to reach some day; that is, if i can manage to quit smoking cigarettes.

Shoot, this is a tough decision. Although, if i quit smoking soon (which i will, okay? get off my back, dang), i'm going to need a fallback vice. It's just the honest truth. In times past, i've used friendship bracelet-making, chewing on cinnamon sticks, and eating. Oh yes, the eating. That just comes with the territory. But give up coffee too? What am i, a saint? Um, nope.

Guess i'll go wash my favorite mug. Ah, anticipation is a delight, ain't it?

Friday, November 7

smoking cigarettes when sick hurts my lungs, but i am doing it anyway.

Ugh, so we voted not to expand and improve drug treatment/rehab programs for nonviolent drug offenders (saving millions of dollars and the needless traumatizing incarceration of petty criminals), but decided that it was okay for victims of a crime to have input during the sentencing and parole of their combatants? How is this normal? Do we live in a society or not? Must we keep pumping fear down the throats of our citizens, until we are all gorged and refuse to leave our homes without pepper spray and exposed nerves?

I really don't understand people sometimes. Don't even get me started on Prop 8.... "Marriage Protection Act"? I'm sorry: what, exactly, are you protecting marriage from? (by the way, marriage itself doesn't have feelings; i'm not sure it really needs to be shielded or saved or protected from anything.)
Refusal to grow and change and adapt will only hurt you, people. Believe me, gays are not out to indoctrinate, for fuck's sake. They just want their basic human rights, same as everyone else. Nat heard someone being interviewed on the news (a Prop 8 supporter) before the polls were closed saying, "i mean, if gay people were allowed to get married, i mean- people would stop having kids. Humanity would die out."


Wow, overstatement of the century award! i mean, i'm laughing just trying to wrap my head around that statement. It goes far beyond simply angering me, to the point of absolute hilarity. Do you understand that you marrying your wife has basically zero effect on me and what i choose to do in my own life? And that is i married (or didn't marry!) my boyfriend, you and your family would roll along through life same as ever? Good. Now just go ahead and apply that same "zero affect" principle to what your neighbors Joe and Tom do, and we're good! Everyone's happy! Live and live, ever heard of it?

..oops. i said "don't get me started", and then i went ahead and revved the engine myself. Sorry 'bout that.

In other news: how come no one heard about this? Oh wait, i'll tell you why: we spend so much of our time on this planet freaking out about things that make us unhappy, so we become increasingly blind to the things which have the capacity to make us happy. The world is a wonderful place, honestly. It's way past time to rub your eyes and blink a couple of times, then start enjoying.

Wow, who knew i could sound so preachy! Please excuse.

In other other news: Nat finally brought home the printer/scanner/copier dealy that he got for free when he bought the MacBook, and within 5 minutes of opening the box, i managed to ruin the damn thing. It's a curse in my family. My mom used to always say things like, "Why can't we ever have anything nice?" Usually this would be expressed after one of us broke a mug, or ruined a piece of furniture, irreparably damaged a wall or the floor, etc. etc. I'm really beginning to understand that feeling. i told Nat that no more will i be the one responsible for setting up or moving electronic objects. It's not the sexual stereotype thing, (the one where women don't know how to do anything that's not cooking, cleaning or procreating), no- rather it's the fact that i, specidically, tend to rush headlong into things without thinking clearly; either as a result of overconfidence or impatience, it depends on the situation. In any case, the color ink cartridge receptacle has been compromised, and i'm pretty sure we're never going to be able to print anything in color, unless we keep our old printer hanging around, but then that's missing the whole point of having a new, wonderful machine. Nat, bless his heart, is not angry with me. Which is funny, because i'm pissed at me. Classic!
The good news behind all of this, though (yes, there was a point!), is that now i have a scanner! Today is Test Day- wish me luck. Here's hoping i don't push buttons in an incorrect order, thereby overloading the machine and having the whole thing implode into a lump of smoking, melted plastic. That would not be fun. i refuse to let the curse take hold. I will win this one!

Wednesday, November 5

Finally: i'm not a thief!

Well, that's mostly true, anyway.

Regarding the title of this blog: For a long time now, my thoughts have come back to this particular phrase. It just popped in my head one morning- not without a bit of familiarity, to be sure- and i went with it. Later, little nagging thoughts kept popping up: But Heather, where did you hear that? Did you hear that somewhere before? And the fact that they kept coming told me that i was probably borrowing a phrase.

As i am not one to neglect giving credit where credit is due, my brain faithfully (and subconsciously) stayed on the trail. Yesterday it dawned on me- a poem! It was in a poem i read somewhere! But where? And how long ago? Surely i don't read that much poetry (something i should change, at any rate), so perhaps it's on the bookshelf?

A-ha! It must be Sylvia Plath, i thought, and i was right:

Nick and the Candlestick

I am a miner. The light burns blue.
Waxy stalactites
Drip and thicken, tears

The earthen womb
Exudes from its dead boredom.
Black bat airs

Wrap me, raggy shawls,
Cold homicides.
They weld to me like plums.

Old cave of calcium
Icicles, old echoer.
Even the newts are white,

Those holy Joes.
And the fish, the fish -
Christ! they are panes of ice,

A vice of knives,
A piranha
Religion, drinking

Its first communion out of my live toes.
The candle
Gulps and recovers its small altitude,

Its yellows hearten.
O love, how did you get here?
O embryo

Remembering, even in sleep,
Your crossed position.
The blood blooms clean

In you, ruby.
The pain
You wake to is not yours.

Love, love,
I have hung our cave with roses,
With soft rugs -

The last of Victoriana.
Let the stars
Plummet to their dark address,

Let the mercuric
Atoms that cripple drip
Into the terrible well,

You are the one
Solid the spaces lean on, envious.
You are the baby in the barn.

(From my copy of Ariel, a collection of her last poems which was published in 1961)

And there you have it. Stanza 11, "Love, love/I have hung our cave with roses". So now i'm torn. Obviously i didn't come up with a purely original phrase. i was influenced by her prose, but to what degree?
i think i'll keep it up, all the same. it's an homage, okay? i love the words, and words belong to everyone, right? So there.