So, I’ve been married for two months and we decided to get a puppy. Neither of us have ever been dog owners, nor have we been puppy owners. Needless to say, we have no idea what we’re getting into. We’re still trying to figure out how to keep him from mouthing fingers and toes ( he might be a sociopath because he doesn’t seem to care about our yelping and ignoring and all the other things people tell us to do), but when he’s sleepy he’s irresistible. We played outside today and normally he just digs for worms, but today he decided to be cute. He rooted around, circled and flopped lazily onto the cool grass in front of the condo. I pulled out my camera.
Maybe he knew this would be his last chance to enjoy the sun before fall begins.
He doesn’t sit still very long.
He has green eyes, I didn’t know dogs could have green eyes.
I made this in the three days I’ve had since school officially ended.
The Great Wave Off Kanagawa
I’ve always loved this ink Block print by Hokusai. It’s part of a series called “36 Views of Mt. Fuji.” Despite the name, Mt. Fuji plays a minor role in this detailed landscape.
"The Great Wave." Acrylic and ink on canvas.
Detail of "The Wave"
I haven’t worked much in ink, but I really enjoyed it. It takes well to the canvas of these otherwise boring Vans.
After 4 trips to RadioShack, I now realize why all the nerds on the discussion boards for these electronic projects refer to this so-called electronics retailer as the Rat Shack. While the folks on staff were nice and helpful, the selection was pitiful (and, I’m afraid, exorbitantly priced). The first build went disappointingly awry, and when, at the end of the day I had nothing but a buzzing speaker, I decided to build the whole thing over again. The second attempt took a lot less time, and luckily for me everything at RadioShack is packaged in twos. What a surprise this will be for my fiance!
I tested the sound with my laptop and it came out a bit garbled, but I think I just need to recheck my solders. I owe a great deal of thanks to all the pioneering cardboard-box amp creators who have worked out all the problems inherent in working with this schematic and subsequently posted their modifications to instructables.com, Flickr, and runoffgroove.com. I am also very appreciative of my uncle and aunt for allowing me to usurp their kitchen table for the duration of this project and their words of encouragement and wisdom!
I love how it turned out! But I think my favorite part is the light. . . (It glows red, but I have a cheap camera which was unable to capture that lovely luminescence)
Lessons learned from this project:
1. There is an art to soldering
2. Brain function is signficantly affected by sleep and caloric intake
3. “Close” only counts with Bocce and best friends (yes, I did just reinvent a popular and annoying epigram)
4. Failed attempts are instructive, but success is incredibly rewarding!
“Community is an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace, the flowing of personal identity into the world of relationships” (Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach, 90).
“Community” is a buzzword today, I hear it everywhere. It is preached by pastors, it is pushed by my professors; trendy restaurants have communal tables. It is an ideal of cultural interaction that, in my opinion, is easier said than done. More often than not, it is done artificially, because if community is the big picture of human interaction than why do violence and intolerance prevail? What I think is missing (and I have to give Mr. Palmer credit for illuminating this for me) is individual self-awareness. And since my generation is most commonly typified as the wandering, wavering, confused, quick-gratification generation, I believe I must ask myself who I am before I level the carbine at anyone else.
To know who I am I must define my values, I must name my motivations, I must investigate my interests to get at the real heart of my passions. Max Morden, the protagonist in Jon Banville’s The Sea, equates knowing oneself to being oneself. To allow one’s quirks and qualities to maturate and inform personality and behavior is to overcome situational hardships and be present in one’s community. Who we are, of course, is not defined by our circumstances or even our predispositions but by our reactions to, choices about and realizations within situations. At least I think.
This last bit is difficult, because many would say we are shaped by our experiences. Certainly this is true to an extent; children who pass through multiple homes in the foster care system begin to feel unloved, while children who grow up with both parents around are more likely to be better readers and students. On the other hand, people like Somaly Mam, who doesn’t even know her real age because her early years were stolen from her in a Cambodian brothel, are inspired by their own tragedies to build a better future for others. Being yourself is a lot easier than explaining why you are that way. Even harder still is liking yourself.
Liking and accepting the traits and personality flaws that I have been given is exceptionally difficult for me (and probably most of the world), but they are pivotal to knowing myself. I know that I am judgmental, and I hate it. Being able to recognize it, though, is part of fixing it or applying it in positive ways. I know that I am fiercely independent, and I know that that must be transformed into interdependence if I am going to have a successful marriage. I used to laugh when people said that they were “working on” this or that aspect of their lives, because I really didn’t there was actually any physical work going on. I’m still not sure how to “work on” turning my faults into assets, but I like the idea of taking time to be mindful of myself, my thoughts and the words I want to use before I use them.
I am poured out like water,
And all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
It has melted away within me.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
I am laid in the dust of death.
Dogs have surrounded me;
A band of evil men encircles me,
They have pierced my hands and feet.
I can count all my bones;
Men look and stare upon me.
They divide my garments among them
And cast lots for my clothing.
To me, this passage is extremely moving. Nothing like a little old testament to shake off the cliches of modern poetry, and yet despite it’s age the emotions conjured by these words are entirely relatable. It’s weird how, when we are emotionally drained or stressed or discouraged we talk about those things in terms of their physical effects. A potsherd is a piece of pottery, not necessarily whole, like a pot, but maybe just a piece of broken pottery. Gardeners know that unglazed clay pottery absorbs water readily because it is so porous and dry. This is good imagery for a person weary of injustice. Today we might say “bone-dry” to express the same sensation, and I already used the “drained” to explain this. This passage is an obvious comparative to Jesus’ cross experience. It is from this chapter Jesus quotes when he cries out “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani.” We don’t know what David is weary of, but his words point to the suffering of his progeny, in eerie concomitance between metaphor and reality.
After a bit of frustration and confusion as to how my sashing and squares ended up having such varying widths, I finally managed to put the rows of squares together. The completed product actually looks acceptable. So what if the corners don’t quite match up? The squares are made from punk rock t-shirts, and perfectly squared quilt piecing is so old-fashioned anyhow. Defiance, that’s how I’ll foot it.
Next step: Find and attach some sort of batting and backing to make this into a real quilt! I’m trying to make this quilt with 100% recycled and repurposed material, so I’m going to try to talk the bf into letting me use the old childhood comforter which he still uses on his bed. I will not mention the comforter’s theme, but I will say that he need not fret over losing his friends Mark, Harrison, Carrie and that tall hairy guy.