Sep 25, 2014

I chewed 20 pieces of Gum and thought I was going to die

I chewed 20 pieces of Gum and thought I was going to die.  Dad always brings over these bags of gum he gets at the Amish store.  They are delicious.  I like to chew them until the flavor is gone and then spit it out and get a new one. I can do this because I'm a grown-up.  I could add this to the list of fun things grown ups can do, but really eating a ton of candy until your belly hurts, is something a kid does.  That's what I did, only this time no adult said to me (including myself) you'll hurt yourself eating all that candy.  So I chewed about twenty pieces, one right after another.  Then my belly hurt like that time my appendix burst and I couldn't even move.  Being crunched over hurt, straightening out hurt, every move sent stabby pains deep into my gut and all I could do was sweat and say "ow ow ow ow ow." I thought I was poisoned.  I may have been poisoned - it's not real clear what's in a gumball.  My companion suggested I had gas, but I didn't, I wished that were the case.  I started to work out how I was going to crawl down the porch stairs and into the car for a ride to the ER where I would totally admit I chewed twenty gum-balls in a row and poisoned myself with Amish gum.  I wasn't even worried about being embarrassed - that's how much pain I was in.  Then I drank a glass of milk and felt slightly better - so I drank more milk and said markedly less 'ow's and eventually I stopped hurting.  I still like to chew a bunch of gum-balls in a row.  The same brand even.  I just try to limit myself to five.... and definitely no more than seven.

Sep 23, 2014

We don't want a hand up, or a hand out, we just need to be paid a fair wage for this hole we've been digging for you.

You've read the story... struggling adult doesn't know how she's going to make it until random stranger tips her $1,000.00 / until football player pays for the kid's operation / until anonymous angel buys her groceries / until undercover boss pays her house off and sends all the kids to college and gives her the first vacation in her life. It's a story that's supposed to warm your heart and make you feel great about humanity and inspire you to maybe pay it forward.  Get out there and give, change a life by throwing a couple hundred dollars at a  poor person, save someone from the brink of ruin.

I can't help it every time I read one of these stories I get seriously pissed off.  What about the millions of people who didn't get that magic windfall?

People should be able to work hard and pay for their own.  A bartender should be able to afford a few appliances, a waitress should be able to buy Christmas presents, but we now live in a society where basic needs can't be met by people who work their asses off.  People we see every day, the cashier, the gardener, the lady wiping the snot of your kid's nose at preschool. I'm supposed to be all choked up at the sudden un-freezing of Scrooge's tiny cold heart at the end of Undercover Boss - instead I am pissed that we are in a place where folks can't afford to buy their own house any more or afford to pay for schooling.

The people on the top get to feel good for throwing a few scraps to the people at the bottom and the people at the bottom are supposed to thank them and be ever so grateful for that angel who paid for their coffee and we area all supposed to clap and cheer about this heart-warming scene when instead we should ALL be outraged that not every American can afford coffee.

Please understand, I'm not trying to discourage charity or paying it forward, or big tippers, I'm just saying we should all be ashamed that are so many opportunities in this country to rescue. We should stop feeling all warm and fuzzy on the inside when we read these stories and instead opt for frustration and outrage that the relief was needed at all.  A thousand dollars here, eighty thousand there... it's pennies barely missed falling from the top earners' wallets, into a vast bucket of need.  Working Americans need a bigger more permanent rescue than a nice tip or a tax credit, we need a living wage.

Sep 22, 2014

Pencil Bag to Wallet Bracelet Hack

1 Pencil Bag 
1 Piece of Velcro
1 Needle and thread to sew Velcro on. 

= 1 Zipping, bracelet that holds chapstick and money and locker key.  

Sep 18, 2014

Fight for 15

Whomever said don't cry over spilt milk obviously never had to make that milk, work thirty minutes minutes to buy it, or put a hungry baby to bed.

*As of 9/18/14 Gallon of Milk $4.05/Minimum Wage $8.25

Sep 16, 2014


“My Least Favorite Trope (and this post will include spoilers for The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Matrix, Western Civilization, and—cod help me—Bulletproof Monk*.) is the thing where there’s an awesome, smart, wonderful, powerful female character who by all rights ought to be the Chosen One and the hero of the movie, who is tasked with taking care of some generally ineffectual male character who is, for reasons of wish fulfillment, actually the person the film focuses on. She mentors him, she teaches him, and she inevitably becomes his girlfriend… and he gets the job she wanted: he gets to be the Chosen One even though she’s obviously far more qualified. And all he has to do to get it and deserve it is Man Up and Take Responsibility. And that’s it. Every god-damned time. The mere fact of naming the films above and naming the trope gives away the entire plot and character arc of every single movie.”

-Elizabeth Bear


Sep 12, 2014

I Turned the Heat On

I turned the heat on but I'm not ready for pumpkin lattes or using my oven. I'm not ready to start raking leafs into piles.  I don't want to pair up a hundred socks fresh and warm out of the dryer. I can't pay a heat bill and I don't know what I want to be for Halloween.  The recreational fires wafting from the backyards of the neighborhood are repugnant and I refuse to scrape the frost off my windshield.  I don't care where my voter id card is.  It's getting to dark too early.  The wool sweater I pulled over my head yesterday made my neck itch and I scratched until I was irritated.  Summer never quite got here this year.  It popped it's head in for a few days.  I said "Oh I'm so glad you are here, we were hoping to do some swimming." I welcomed and offered lemonade. I turned on the air conditioner but only for a few days and then summer was well on the way to the southern half on the planet when I desperately waved out the front door offering up my pale skin.

Sep 10, 2014

Oh the Pears

The pears are on sale this week, perfectly firm and juicy.
They must be respected when you hold them, if you are too rough you'll get sticky hands.
Yellow with specks of brown, they should be eaten today.  

Pears Art Print @ The Joy of Color Etsy Shop

Sep 8, 2014

The Sugars

One of the things I'm trying to do lately is give up some of the sugar in our lives.  Or at the very least be aware of when we are using it.  Like buying cereal with no sugar but then spooning some right onto it.  It seems less processed and less sneaky.  I've been reading labels like mad at the store and sugar or some other form of it

(corn syrup, 
beat sugar, 
agave nectar, 
barley malt, 
brown rice syrup, 
cane juice, 
corn sweetener, 
crystalline fructose, 
diastatic malt powder, 
ethyl moltol, 
high fructose corn syrup, 
rice bran syrup, 

is in EVERYTHING.  So I'm just shopping for things with one or two ingredients.  Not including bread and a few treat type things for the kids.  It's hard.  The kids aren't happy.  But they aren't going to starve.  There is plenty of food in there, just not what they want.  It's been a crabby week and the Nutella is gone already. Hopefully in a few more weeks, we'll all feel better.

Sep 7, 2014

Flowers for Algernon

Almost a decade ago my family bought our first robot; an iRobot Roomba.  We lived in a big open church-turned-house then, and I used to joke that cleaning the floors took a riding vacuum. We named him Algernon, which derived from the Normal-French soubriquet Aux Gernons, meaning "With Moustaches." He had these little sweepers on his underside that looked like twirly moustaches.  Dan asked for Algernon when we split up the household goods. I got the old fashioned vacuum.  I wonder sometimes if Algernon is ok, if he's still charging and whisking crumbles up off the floor at my exes house.  And that's hardly a thing I remember to ask when we speak on the phone; "Hey how's your vacuum? and your blender?" But I still wonder, because he was my first robot.

My second robot already named Siri was a gift one Christmas.  I didn't know I wanted a smart phone, but now I know I love having it.  I use it for all sorts of brain activity that smart humans used to have.  Like "which element is seventeenth on the periodic table?", "where's the nearest pharmacy?" and "what time are all the appointments in my whole life?"  I found that if I changed the voice of Siri to a man, I was more patient with his inability to understand my wicked mid-western accent.  Apparently I have more patience for dumb men than an uppity sounding dumb woman. I'm sure I should blame the patriarchy for that.

I watched perhaps one of the greatest robot marketing videos of all time this morning.  Or maybe I just love robots.  But I have a ton of questions before I order one of these.  Can I change his name? Does he have a motion detector? Can I program him to bark like a dog when the motion detector detects motion in the middle of the night? Would he talk to my Roomba (if I had a new one)  Can he play Simon Says? Can he help the kid with her homework without just giving her all the answers?  Can he track where all our i-devices are?  Can he do accounting and update my blog?  Can he live with a rambunctious and raucous family without getting his face broken? If his face gets broken how can I have him repaired?  Where's the robot doctor? Would he make my life $500.00 better?

Sep 5, 2014

Fight for 15

I support the fight for 15.

Not only are the fast food workers trying to strike and raise wages but the home health care workers have joined in and are trying to be a part of the union too.

52% of the families of front-line fast-food workers are enrolled in one or more public programs, (compared to 25% of the workforce as a whole.) The cost of public assistance to families of workers in the fast-food industry is nearly $7 billion per year.

96% of restaurant workers do not earn paid sick days, forcing 76% to work WHILE SICK.

 57.4% of low wage workers are over age 30


I don't care what you're doing at your job - if you think it's worth more and you want to band together and bargain for more... I am not you supervisor, I don't know what you do at work... I say good on you! You get more!   Because when you fight for the rights of the worker, you fight for us all.


"The only time you look in your neighbor's bowl is to make sure that they have enough." Louis (CK) Szekely


Hanging With The Girl-Kings Of One Of The World's Only Matriarchies

10 female revolutionaries they didn’t teach you in history class

Sep 4, 2014

Insomnia & Other Stuff

I gotta start getting more sleep.


Jack eats a ton of ice cream.  I can't seem to find a good brand that doesn't have a crap ton of sugar in it so yesterday I splurged and bought an ice cream maker.  I made the first batch last night without sugar.  The recipe was cream, milk, sugar, vanilla.  I made it with cream, milk, vanilla and a little tiny bit of honey.  It's not good.  Today I'll dish it out and spoon crumbled cookies and Nutella into it, stir it into a big chunky chocolaty mess and then reattempt.  I hope the children will try another bite after I jazz it up.


I'm tired of rain.


I volunteered to co-lead the kid's Girl Scout Troop.  It's a big troop, lots of giggly girls all talking at once.  I'm going to help lead the art badge activities.  It should be super fun.


I gotta start getting more sleep.

Sep 2, 2014

Sick Pirate

I have the cold Jack just got over.  It's not serious just icky and achy.  I'd like to sleep through it but there's a long list of things happening today, including treasure hunting.  My Dad is working on a salvage job at an old truck terminal. On the racks and racks of steel shelving he's taking apart and scrapping and inside the many semi-trailers sticking out from each side like appendages are the left overs of a hoarder extraordinaire who passed away.  I'm told the man bought out the remains of businesses gone under and resold what he could, what he couldn't was laid to rest there in the truck terminal.  I went last week to help dig through the mounds of dusty items in the offices and warehouse.  I found some old illustrations, lithograph gels and original paintings from the late 70s that I fell in love with and intend to get framed and install in our bedrooms; Sports illustrations for Jack's rooms, a Pegasus and Unicorn for Ella and Whales for me.  I'll post pictures when they are done.  I also managed to procure an old steel machinist's cart that I plan to clean up and put in the living room. It's pretty beat up and rusted and so I need to wash, sand and oil, maybe even paint it a tad before it comes to live here next to the computer, but it's pretty cool. (again picks to follow.)  I want to go back for a few picture frames and some reams of office paper today, so I need to borrow a truck.  All this in between a dentist appointment, a lunch date and preschool drop off and pick up and another construction call with my Dad. OR I could just call it all in sick and miss out on the lunch and the reams and the frames and pearly teeth and go back to bed.


I think the militarization of our domestic police force is dangerous for our citizens.  I'm against Rockford having a tank.  We have neither the funds nor the training to utilize nor maintain such a thing.  Sell it and turn the street lights back on.


Fall Art Scene deadline for artwork is just two weeks away and I want to do three new paintings before then. They're going to be wonderful.  I'm really stuck on the dusty palate of WPA art.  I feel like it matches not only my mood but my surroundings.  This is utilitarian, serious art.  Art made for working people.  It's not art for the sake of flinging haphazard party colors into your brain, it's art because it has to be.  I have to make it.

Sometimes I think about what it would be like to be a window or a sign painter and have everything hand made, hand drawn.  Remember the old number painter clips on Sesame Street? I think I really just wanted to grow up and do this.  Wildly finding a place to put an eight on my off hours. When I wasn't putting "Exit" or "Slow school" somewhere in the city.   I think making a lovely "Pork Chops .19 ¢/lb. " in red on a grocers window would be terrible zen for me; just as rewarding as painting "Little Red's Little Black Heart" and possibly easier to get paid for.  But, sign painters are gone.  Illustrators too, there are many artists in the collective I belong to who used to be illustrators.  They fondly talk about inking something perfectly one time and how fast they were and who they trained under and how many they could get done in a week and how meagerly they were paid.  These pieces I found in the truck terminal are the last remnants of hand painting original layout and velum overlays.  I want to keep it and frame it all.

I want to go back to when an artist was needed in daily life to paint murals and signs and numbers on random sunbather's heads.

Sep 1, 2014


I had to stop reading Dooce when Heather got pregnant with her second child and so did I but then I miss-carried.  I always thought of Leta and Ella as internet sisters and Heather's monthly letters to her were all the things I wish I'd written.  On a whim, I decided to hit her website again and was met with the beautiful smiling faces of her children.  Leta is starting 5th grade like my Ella and Marlo is a few years older than Jack but the dynamic between she and her older sister is adorable.  I scrolled down and down and saw Chuck the dog and the not so new dog Coco, but I didn't see John.  I paged through a few pages looking for his smile.  Looking for the transcribed banter between the two, I used to love to read and found none. I got worried. Is John ok? So I googled and found that they split last winter.  I clicked a few fan blogs and news sights to briefly read about what happened.  I have a sense of how it went down and I have concluded, I still can't read Dooce, but I may go ahead and follow John.