The pouring rain

With my naked eye I saw the falling rain coming down on me...

Rainy day view driving over my favorite bridge

So it's rainy out today. I'm in bliss listening the to rain hitting our roof, watching the droplets hit the leaves of the bushes outside my plate glass window. The rainfall is calming, soothing and of course it brings a wonderful cool breeze to an otherwise hot summer day.

Of course it will get hot later (and muggy, yuck) but for now I am all about the wet.
Viva la precipitación!


Interesting Human

So if you haven't caught on yet, I'm an interested person.

I'm interested in everything, and I want to learn about everything. From the time I was real little (we're talking elementary school little) I have watched the adults around me, and noticed that the ones who seemed happiest were ones who did something. The ones that had a hobby, or a craft, or just something to talk about that they liked. Like I've mentioned I grew up in a musical family and so I've watched countless times as my dad stomped to his piano, fuming with frustrations of life, and rose from the bench an hour later completely happy and at peace. He would play standards from the 40's Everyone needs something that is their own, that they created and take part in, to keep them sane in life.

Once I pinned that epiphany down, I made it my goal to do stuff. Always. I make it a conscious effort to explore things I don't know how to do. It may be hard, but after I flub around for a bit I'll finally get the feeling that there's one more thing I can add to the list of things I can do. I can knit, cook, sew a tiny bit, I can work with clay, I can paint, I can play french horn and piano, I can change a tire and my oil (but only if really necessary...I choose to shun these tasks most of the time), I can lay tile and grout, I can perform CPR and limited first aid and I can play 'name that tune' with the best of them.

The Heinlein quote above represents my feelings on life pretty fairly. I feel like if I am not moving and learning and becoming capable of doing things for myself, then I have fallen short of my goals. So every day I try to push myself either towards furthering an existing passion, or into finding the next.

All of this is to share something new that I am pretty excited (anxious!!) about. I went to an event recently called Poetic Justice, which is a poetry reading/art show in one of the artsy districts in town. I heard about it via Facebook, and it turns out that the show was created by a bunch of kids I went to high school with. I went to their very first one at the beginning of April, and had a great time. More importantly, though, I realized that when I was watching the readers I was thinking to myself "I could do that. I could so do that." The more I thought those words, the more another thought popped up: "then why the hell don't I?" Ain't a damn thing stopping me...in fact, I'm sure that this crowd would love more interest, more support. So I decided that if there was another Poetic Justice, that I would be in it.

I've been writing a bit of poetry for a while now, nothing serious or anything. I like words and I like to arrange them in ways that roll off of my tongue. I've got a small little collection tucked in a Google Doc in my Gmail of all of the poetry I've written since I was in high school. I know it's nothing to write a 50-page paper about, but they're my words and my emotions and I like them. I emailed a few of my favorites to the event creator and he 'liked my concepts' and said I was in! Easy peasy. Now the hard part will be getting up in front of a room of people and reading my words off as they were intended (as in, not shaky and nervous in a tiny mouse voice). I'm proud of myself for getting this far, and I'm sure I'll be just as proud once I'm walking back off the stage.

This will be me in approximately a week and a half!


It's such a movie, this little exciting life of mine

I'm so pleased with the new picture style, I just want to throw out some eye candy.

On May 1st Corey skipped out on work and we went up to my school to finish up some pottery business. The sky was broody and glorious, and I couldn't stop taking pictures.

My tall love

Messy hair and love <3

Corey in the kiln room

Outside of the Arts buildings at school


And I will never grow so old again


I got my mix cd from my swap partner in the mail yesterday, and I'm having a good deal of fun listening to it. I have a bit of a routine, and in this routine I get just as much entertainment from observing my gut reactions as I do from actually being exposed to new music.

Here's my routine.

Step 1: Put cd in, listen to first 20-30 seconds of each song to see what immediately grabs me. I also do this to see if there are any songs on the cd that I have heard before.

(During Step 1 I make some immediate snap judgements about the cd, mostly concerning how superior my music taste is and how shoddy this cd is. This is a very bitchy judgement and it gets overturned pretty much immediately, but I also giggle at myself because I can objectively watch myself make these judgements knowing that I know I'm wrong. So meta!)

Step 2: This step occurs over the next day or so...I keep the cd in my car's stereo and listen to the songs that jumped out at me immediately. In this cd's case, The Lime Tree by Trevor Hall and Sweet Thing by Van Morrison are my instant favorites. In fact, the Van Morrison song might be a new favorite song in general. Can't believe I've been sleeping on this guy for so long.

(During Step 2 I start to feel bad that I judged the rest of the cd so harshly, and I resolve to start the cd over and listen to it from the beginning with no skipping. This brings us to....)

Step 3: Ok. Here's where we get down to business and Bitchy-Keri gets told to shut her mouth. So by now the cd has been in my stereo for a minimum of 24 hours, and I'm just now getting to the part where I listen to the whole cd in its entirety. This is where I find wonderful nuggets like breakdowns that happen halfway into the song (so therefore would have been passed over on my 30 second intro), or postludes at the end of each track. I also like to evaluate the transitions between songs, and find my 'secondary favorites' (yes I am a geek).

It's kinda bass-ackwards, but that's my routine....and I love it. I love mix cds.

There's nothing like getting not just an assortment of random unknown songs, but an assortment of songs that mean something to the creator. In a random match up like on Reddit it's not as meaningful, because it's more like going through an antique store (a bunch of items that meant something to someone you'll never know or meet, and they'll never know or meet you) but getting a mix cd from someone close to you is like getting a glimpse into their soul. These are the songs that they would choose to represent themselves, these are the songs they listen to when they are alone and don't have to worry about what anyone else thinks.

It's like being invited into someone's head for 50ish minutes, and I cherish every moment of that.

One of the things that immediately told me that Corey was the one was that he started making mixes for me almost as soon as we met, and that he shares my fascination and romantic adoration of the mix-making process. I fell asleep many nights listening to his mixes, to music handpicked just for my ears.


Musical Musings

Listen to this. It's relevant!

I figure today we'll delve into another passion of mine.

I am the type of person who asks everyone within seconds of meeting "what kind of music do you like?" I love music. I love hearing new music, I love listening to old music from classic rock to jazz standards to ragtime to baroque orchestration. Love it. I was raised in a musical family with a grandmother who opted out of an Oberlin education for opera in order to stay home and have my father, a grandfather who played violin, a dad who plays jazz piano and bass, and my mother who sings soprano. I went to performing arts middle and high schools for french horn and I loved to 'dabble' in piano in my free time during those years. I've strayed away from the physical playing of music since I graduated high school, but listening to and sharing music will always be a part of my daily life.

The Grooveshark playlist I've posted is a mix cd that I made for a swap on Reddit. I haven't received my cd from my partner, nor have I gotten acknowledgment from him that he got what I sent (and I know he did, that punk, I fed ex'd that shit), but I figured I could use the mix as a brief introduction to my musical tastes. When talking to my partner and feeling out what kind of music he likes, we both decided that we would just make a mix comprised of personal favorites instead of trying to tailor to the other's tastes. I like branching out, and I also like the personal challenge of pinning down "my favorites." It's really hard! Picking songs that I would have define me? Oh man.

So, after a week of hemming and hawing, this is what I came up with. I'm going to post the album art that I made, just because I am so proud of it..ha. I'm also going to break down why I chose each song...just for shits and giggles.

(click to enlarge so you can actually read the text)

Song list:
1. Once Around the Block/Badly Drawn Boy: I've loved this song since high school. I have fond memories of the bell ringing, to be followed almost instantly by earphones popping into my ears as I strode out of the classroom and down the hallway. Mmm memory triggers.

2. Movies/Alien Ant Farm: In 8th grade my friend Brooke gave me this cd because she got two copies for her birthday. I listened to it almost every day of that school year, and like Once Around the Block this song takes me back to vinyl bus seats on my daily afternoon trek home, windows down on a warm (hot) Florida afternoon.

3. Zebra/John Butler Trio: This song is a more recent addition to my heart. Corey introduced me to John Butler, and I fell in love. This song is just infectious.

4. The Swimming Song/Vetiver: I downloaded this song from an online playlist, uploaded it to my ipod, and promptly forgot all about it. One day when I was in Washington state visiting Lisa, this song came on shuffle. It was a perfect moment, enhanced by a perfectly complementary song. It made me want to find the nearest watering hole and wade in, surrounded by mountains on all sides.

5. Home/Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes: I am trying to listen to this song as much as I can, to desensitize myself. Corey played this for me when we first started dating, and I have pretty much cried every time I've heard it since then. I absolutely love it. We decided that we are going to have this song play as I walk down the aisle...oh my I'm getting verklempt just thinking about it!

6. Blue Ridge Mountains/Fleet Foxes: This song carries on the folky-mountainy goodness. I love it on two levels- it obviously makes me think of the Blue Ridge mountains, but it brings me back to WA again too because that's where Fleet Foxes hail from. I just love how the song fills my brain with images of tall pine trees enshrouded in linear wisps of fog...*sigh*

7. Helicopter/Deerhunter: My little sister Margie introduced me to this song last year, and I've loved it since. Deerhunter can be a little too dreamy for me at times, but this song is perfectly accessible.

8. Old Souls/Life and Times: I first heard this song on 3WK, which is an indie online radio station. I was working at the sign shop, and I literally stopped in my tracks when it came on. I was entranced, stricken, during the entire song...and immediately came home and downloaded their cd. I had the great fortune of seeing these guys play at a tiny club in Jacksonville last summer.

9. Diamond Raft/Enon: This is another band that Corey introduced me to. I have no idea where he found them either, because I have never heard a single word about them online or in magazines or anywhere...and they are soooo good. Another favorite from this cd is Natural Disasters.

10. Ghost of York/As Tall As Lions: Here's another Corey song..he put this on a mix cd for me when we first started dating. My associative memory for this one is of a summer night when Corey and I drove to a little neighborhood park and started exploring, and I was humming this song and looking up at him constantly. I loved that man then and I love that man now.

11. There There/Radiohead: Here's another back-in-the-day song for me. I heard this one night during the summer between my freshman and sophomore year. I was in trouble for some reason or another, and was confining myself to my room to hide from my family in typical teenage fashion. I had the radio playing in the background, and out of the midst of bland generic radio-rock came this song. They never played it again, and for weeks I had the vaguest hint of this song's melody floating around in my brain. I finally heard it again at an FYE and immediately asked the cashier "WHAT IS THAT SONG!?!"...haha and so began my love affair with Radiohead.

12. Blinking Pigs/Little Dragon: Little Dragon is my band of last summer. I played their stuff non-stop. Their songs vacillate between lighthearted and beautifully serious. Oh I love them so. This song is on the beautifully serious side.

13. Way of the Light/Gift of Gab: So the guy I made the mix for said that he doesn't like hip hop, and I happen to love hip hop so I threw some on anyway. This song is a perfect light introduction for people who "don't like hip hop" because it is light hearted and feel good, and Gift of Gab is an incredibly intelligent and articulate wordsmith.

14. The World is Yours/Nas: After the introduction to hip hop from Gift of Gab, we gotta go into some old school. This song came out in 1994 and is a cuh-lassic song from the golden era of hip hop. Socially conscious with gorgeous production, this song is so far away from the radio "hip hop" of today. I find that most people that say they don't like rap/hip hop are specifically talking about crap on the radio/BET, and that's because you gotta go underground to get that good-good.

15. In Sarah, Mencken and Christ/Tortoise: This song is a perfect moment-maker. That is, I love to play this song when I'm driving at like 7:30-8pm on a summer night, right as the sun is starting to make its way down. You can't not be in love with your life and everything in the universe. I figure this was a good way to start winding the cd down to its end...

16. God's Bathroom Floor/Atmosphere: This song is in my top 5 songs ever, and that is a hard list to make. This is another hip hop song from my favorite underground artist, Sean Daley. I used to listen to this when I was taking the city bus back and forth to college every other day a few years back, and it was the perfect soundtrack for my life at the time.

And there you have it. I like talking about music and what makes me like certain songs, and I'm sure I'll be doing more mix exchanges over on Reddit, so I'll do this again in the future. I hope you like the mix, too, I'm gonna bump it on my way home for lunch.


My workspace, at 2 in the morning

So classes are out, and my first ever big-girl pottery class is done. I specify 'big-girl' because I did dabble in some pottery at two previous times in my life: one as a 10-year-old girl scout, and then I went to a pottery studio with a friend of mine once in 8th grade. So yeah, I'm totally experienced. Hehe. Anyway, I went into this class with an open mind and itchy fingers and I ended up learning a lot about myself. I learned that I love to work in a studio at 3am alongside my young ceramics professor, who blasted Type O Negative on the stereo and worked on her naked lady sculptures. I learned that getting my hands dirty every night made for dirtier clothes and more laundry, but also a really nice feeling of accomplishment.

I am not new to the world of creating with my hands, but my knitting is something almost mindless for me now. It's not really a challenge, and so doing something that really forced me out of my box was so so so refreshing. With knitting, I am once I finish the construction of the piece. With ceramics, construction is only the beginning. Once you are done building then you have two firings to do, and disasters and calamities galore lurk inside the kiln. Talk about a frustrating paradigm shift! That took some getting used to. I would put a beautiful, masterfully hand crafted piece into the kiln, only to pull it out cracked and beaten. Of course, with this trial came the lesson of fixing. Which I am a MASTER of!

Oooh, look at that nasty crack

Crack-B-Gon, sucka!

Ok, well maybe not a master. But I actually ended up making a bunch of pieces that I am really proud of. I pretty much had the idea that my end products from this class would make great additions to my Mom's curio cabinet, but now I want to keep every single one. They are magnificent!

My first project of the class, resplendent with teeny feet

I accidentally made a cool coral shape, so I ran with that in the glazing.

This is an abstraction of an animal, can you guess which?
Hint: The piece is called 'Odette.'

These pictures are of my favorite project from the semester. The assignment was to create a trompe l'oeil piece, as realistically rendered as possible. Our teacher created a premise about sacred burial rites, and we were to choose an object to recreate that we could have cross into the afterlife with us. The clear choice was Corey, but how could I represent him? I struggled with that for days, wandering around our apartment picking up every smallish item we own and examining it for potential clay-creation. You like that? Yeah I just made it up. :) Anyway, I chose to do Corey's beloved FSU hat, since he wears it 8 out of 10 days and was wearing it during almost all of our big milestones. I was worried because I knew it would be a lot of work, but I made myself do it anyway. I'm glad that I did.

Here's the hat at about 60% done. I don't have any before that because I was in deep focus land.

I experienced heartbreak and disaster when the back half of the hat broke off in the kiln, through no fault of my own. This is a particularly frustrating part of ceramics. Someone else's project shattered in the kiln, and a piece of shrapnel landed on my hat and caused a stress fracture. Luckily it was a clean break and I was able to break out my trusty PC-11 epoxy and glue 'er back together. I was bummed at first because this meant I wouldn't be able to glaze the hat, but after painting it I'm glad. I love the way the paint is rough and worn looking, it actually looks truer to the distressed nature of the real hat than any glaze could have. Hooray for happy accidents!

I brushed on light layer upon light layer of watered down paint to get the desired look.

Thar she blows!

So, final verdict: A+ would take again. Haha. I loved the class, I'm bummed it's over, and I'm seriously considering taking another ceramics class in the near future. Not this year, though...I think I'm taking a break from school until after our wedding. I've been going full steam full schedule for quite some time now, and the thought of an extended break sounds absolutely loverly. We can talk about that in another post. :)