Thursday, January 31, 2008

Vick's Pit Bulls.

As some of you may be aware, BAD RAP (a SF pit rescue organization) handled the evaluation of Michael Vick's horribly abused and fought pit bulls and found that 22 out of the 40-some dogs that were impounded from Vick's backyard are adoptable sweetie-pies - amazingly, most even get along well with other dogs. Since the huge majority of fight-bust dogs are euthanized immediately (because they are automatically written off as vicious), these pooches have now narrowly escaped death twice (I don't know how many more lives a dog has!).

One of the rehabilitated pits, Hector, is featured on the BAD RAP website, looks just like Omie's big brother, and "loves to be held upside down, like a baby." Check out this lovely little video clip.

Oh, and I also found this great AP article, for those who would like to know more about the evaluation process. Yay for BAD RAP!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Heap o'mammals.


This cartoon pretty much sums up my life these days. It's a "Rhymes with Orange" cartoon - how long do you think it will take before they send me a cease and desist letter? Anyway, I hope you can see the snakes curled up on the bed post, because that's the cutest part (edit: or is the giraffe resting his head on Noah? I can't decide). You know you're in trouble when you're fantasizing about getting a king sized bed so that your dogs will have more room to spread out. Sick, sick, sick.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Thrift-friends - Update.

The "incipient" influenza became "biblical" influenza last night, and while I was lying prostrate and immovable in bed, with a high fever, making soft moaning sounds, wishing someone would bring me some Nyquil and end the horrible sweaty dreams, the dogs were getting busy giving dolly a new hairstyle - "bald."

Sigh. Thank goodness for dolly wigs on eBay.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thrift-friends.

Despite an incipient case of influenza, I took Rebecca down to San Leandro to check out a few thrift stores. The ones up here in Oakland and Berkeley are picked over by hipsters and no good.

I made out like a bandit:

  • Here's an old porcelain doll. She just needs a new cute little retro wardrobe (I'm always running into cute old doll clothes at garage sales and flea markets, and they are fun to sew). What girl doesn't love dressing up their dolls? Well, Rebecca, apparently. She was actually scared of the dolls her grandma gave her when she was growing up.

  • Don't tell Steve, but I want to start collecting porcelain dogs. Don't ask me where this collection is going to go. Now, where am I going to find a porcelain pit bull?

  • Here's a wacky daisy vase. I love tacky stuff like this. Imagine how much they would charge for this at Anthropologie?


  • And my favorite of the day, an emroidered wall-hanging to add to my collection, in cheery yellow. I've never seen an embroidered mason jar before. Me likey.


  • I also found "The Practical Exclopedia of Good Decorating and Home Improvement, Vol. GAT to KIT," published in 1972. There is some really hip stuff in here! Dig this bedroom:



  • On the other hand, this room is so Urban Outfitters:


  • And I could happily work in a craft area that looks like this, but I can't help wondering - where are the piles of crap?



I also ended up with a heap of soft cotton vintage pillowcases, which I'm convinced I could make something with (don't hold your breath), a scary anti-sexy flannel housecoat for cold nights doing housework, and a couple of tops which I'm not sure about yet (because of course I bought them without trying them on and put them in the wash the second I arrived home - ugh, stinky flea market clothes!).

Rebecca only ended up with a pair of pants and a few tops, but was very supportive of my heaps of 1970s memorabilia. During a break, she shared the joys of Mexican pastry with me, and I slurped down the most delicious, dark coffee. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Citron?



In addition to our Meyers lemon, peach, persimmon, and loquat trees, there's a sort of blobby, not-exactly-a-lemon tree at the far end of our back garden. The fruit are large and round and yellow, but when you cut them open, there is hardly any flesh - it's almost all bitter spongy white stuff. I wondered if it was a lemon with a terrible juicy-flesh-destroying disease, but Steve was convinced it was a grapefruit (still with a terrible disease) because of the large size and roundness of the fruit. As he pointed out, "Have you ever seen a lemon that big?" Well . . . uh . . . in fact, no. But maybe the flesh-eating disease makes the poor fruit distended and large? But the tree looks perfectly healthy . . .

Trying to figure out all of the trees in our garden (our backyard has no less than nine trees in it) has been a fun ongoing research project for Steve and I - we're down to the last couple mystery-trees now. So last night we explained our various theories to our housemate Rebecca, and she wanted to see the mystery-citrus for herself.

So Steve obligingly tried to climb our loquat tree to get high enough to grab a weird citrus fruit but the branches kept bending perilously and breaking off - eventually he was able to take a running start, bounce of the main trunk of the loquat, and hurl himself bodily at the weird-lemon tree. He came down with a crash, flailing his arms and legs wildly, but triumphantly holding the fruit in the air (like that one time when Harry Potter barely catches the golden snitch at the last second and then crashes - you know the scene). Why, oh why, don't I have a video camera for moments like this?

After cutting it open to show Rebecca just how bizarre this fruit is, she commented that it didn't really smell like either a lemon or a grapefruit - it's more like a lemon than a grapefruit, but not very lemony, exactly. Rebecca cooks more than Steve and I combined, so I take her opinions on lemony-ness very seriously. So I got this idea that maybe it was a completely different species - or else, our tree is diseased and we should do something about it before the awful illness spreads to our delicious Meyer lemons. It was time to really start researching.

After some very serious Google searching (try searching with the key words "weird citrus fruit all white" some time, and you'll see what a challenge this is), I think I've figured it out. I think it's some kind of Asian "citron." If I'm reading this correctly, citron is actually a wilder ancestor of the lemon, and it's mentioned in the bible as "the goodly tree," and used by the Jews during Sukkot (the Feast of the Tabernacle).

However, based on looks, ours is most likely an Asian, as opposed to a Middle-Eastern, variety. Check out this website. This would make sense since we know from neighbors that it was an old Chinese man who planted and lovingly maintained all of the beautiful fruit trees in our backyard (before eventually moving in with one of his sons and selling the house to the folks who sold it to us). Apparently, the white part of the fruit is used in Chinese medicine.

So let us know if you suffer from "distending pain in the chest and hypochodria, fullness and stuffiness [sic] sensation in the epigastrium, vomiting and belching," or my favorite, "cough with copicus [sic] expectoration." Because we may have the cure right in our backyard! I can't help but wonder, with concern, whether the old Chinese man who used to live in our house suffered from stagnation of qi in his liver. Enjoying his trees everyday, I feel that he is a friend.

Stay tuned for theories on the identity of the odd willow-like tree with the cherry-sized berries that smell like apples. Crouton loves to eat them, but . . . ahem . . . trust me, this one is definitely not a cure for vomiting.

How do you quilt embroidered squares?

I've finally finished the quilt top and back for my friend Kristi's wedding quilt, which is made from old depression era "friendship" squares that she found at a flea market and gave to me. Each square is embroidered with flowers and the name of the embroiderer.


One of them says "Norton, Kansas" and another says "1938."



All of the ladies had great names, like Flora, Norma, Ida, Doris, Lula, etc. (The quilt can double as a folksy girl baby-names guide.) The finished top looks lovely, if I may say so myself (since most of it is not my labor, I think I can say so). The back is assembled from random scraps I had laying around, like the ladies likely would have done back during the depression. Sorry for the weird photo here - the back is absolutely enormous.


But here's the problem. How do you quilt embroidered squares? I can't/don't want to quilt over the actual embroidery, but the squares are much to large to go without any stitching (plus, I like dense, old-fashioned, quilting). Any ideas? I was thinking of cross-hatching around the designs, or, potentially, under and through them.

Another, completely unrelated question - how am I going to baste this enormous quilt without the dogs running all over it and messing me up? The dogs seem to think that whatever project I'm working on is their new dog bed, and give me appreciative looks while making a nest out of heaps of batting. (Note: I mistakenly dumped an entire box of quilting pins into this batting, so Omie is quite the yogi doggie).



A final aside: I will be lucky if I finish this "wedding quilt" by Kristi's tenth wedding anniversary.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Snotty article about Sacred Harp.

I finally got around to reading this Time Magazine article on Sacred Harp. I found the tone to be unbearably snotty, commercial, and condescending, and the whole thing left me feeling, I dunno, like I need to take a shower. Creepy.

I hate it when something I really love is cited as the latest hipster fad. It's just a yucky feeling. I stop and wonder, "Am I just a sheep? Is this dark and beautiful and spiritual thing I love so much just a fad? Why can't I ever do anything original?"

But wait, what is this?:

"an album is in the works featuring alt-folk god Sufjan Stevens, alt-country hero Jim Lauderdale and (!) Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones." (Exclamation point in original).

Whoa. Okay, you have my attention now. And they will be singing Sacred Harp? Indeed, that could be interesting. I would totally stand in line with all the other hipsters to hear that . . .

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ah, Hollywood.

There's really no other place where you can find car art quite like this (watch out, this girl appears to be completely nekked and snuggling a robot):



Sitting outside this bar:


Which is to say, I had a great time with my friend Patrick at our favorite scary old haunts on Melrose. After spending the weekend praising the Lord at the top of my lungs, that Guinness was just the thing for my parched throat!

All-California Convention


I just got back from a weekend down in Los Angeles, and I have so many photos and thoughts to post about my weekend, both here and on the UCB Sacred Harp blog. I packed a lot into a short weekend, including some time and beer with my much-missed L.A. office and Hollywood friends and no less than 15 hours of singing (including last night's regular weekly sing)! Here's a picture Natalia took of me at the All-California Convention down in lovely San Pedro - don't I look like I know what I'm doing? Words can't express how amazing it was to stand in the middle of the hollow square - my ears are still ringing, like I spent the weekend at a rock concert. I'm croaking, but happy.

Some Late New Year's Resolutions

I have a rebellious heart, so writing down New Year's resolutions generally ensures I will do just the opposite. Thus, much like Bridget Jones, resolution number one this year is:

(1) Try to pay attention to New Year's Resolutions.

That's why I'm posting them here - y'all can hold me to them. So here are a few others, ecological, financial, and personal:

(2) Stop drinking bottles of water. Even at work. Try to remember to bring portable, reusable water bottles everywhere I go.

(3) Take my lunch to work at least two days a week. Hello, that's $75 a month. Try to remember to get lunch out of fridge early in the morning when I'm harried and forgetful.

(4) Try to remember to bring cloth bags to the grocery store. Maybe I'll make a couple cute tote bags from my fabric stash?

Have you noticed how many of these resolutions involve remembering to do something? Which brings us to:

(5) Try to be less forgetful and better organized generally.

This from the woman who has never owned an umbrella for more than a week before it mysteriously disappeared.

And, finally, last but definitely not least (unless we're talking about least probable):

(6) Devote lots of time and energy into turning my troublesome pooches into uber-well-trained, well-behaved angels. Become amazingly competent positive-reinforcement-only dog-mom.

I'll let you know how this goes.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Nose prints.

This is Omie's favorite place to hang out - guarding the house against kitties and squirrels. There is an abandoned house across the street from us, and several feral cats call it home. This is the dog equivalent of watching TV.



And this is what the window looks like. I'm surprised she can see the kitties through this fog, but she has amazing vision. They say dogs are near-sighted, but this pooch can sight a cat at two hundred yards, in the dark, through a nose-print haze, so I'm not buying it.


Friday, January 18, 2008

Fortune cookie.

Today I had lunch with my LA buddies at our old haunt, Taipan Chinese, and I got the most suggestive fortune ever. It seems like it was written with the "in bed" ending in mind. I know, I know, sucky photo. But it's hard to focus on such small print!


Sock creatures.


Hi, my name is Inder, and I'm obsessed with sock creatures. First I bought my 11 year old friend Jackie a "Stupid Sock Creatures" book and kit for Christmas, thinking, "I hope this isn't too young for her - I like it!" The "Stupid Sock Creatures" book featured all kinds of edgy, punk-rock sock designs, including creepy two-headed monkeys, which seemed almost hip enough, even though nothing is ever hip enough for a tween/teen.

I kept thinking about that book, and the many hip sock monster possibilities, long after Christmas. I soon realized that really, I wanted to make two-headed punk rock monkeys, and that's why I was so entranced by that book. Well, duh. That's when I found this book, which is another super-hip sock creature book. It is Japanese and has a distinctly Japanese pop-culture vibe. And the creature on the cover looks a little like a sock pit bull!!! AAAACCCCKKK! When I saw the sock pit bull, I almost didn't care what was inside - I had already mentally shelled out the cash. My friends know how crazy I am about pit bulls, wanting to rescue every single poor abused pit bull in Oakland, and maybe Richmond and San Leandro too. But anyway, inside are even cuter creatures - a sock sheep, a glove pig, a sock zebra (from a striped sock, obviously), even a mitten mouse!

I am so out of control that I even found myself explaining all about the sock creatures to a poor hapless (but lovely) woman from Olympia who had the bad luck to sit next to me on the 8:15 a.m. flight from Oakland to Burbank this morning. She was very sweet and insisted that I was not that annoying person who chats people's ears off on planes (but I know better). Let's just say my conversation was so self-absorbed that I didn't even get her name. I suck! I'm so sorry, lady from Olympia! Write me sometime and introduce yourself - I'll send you a glove pig to make it up to you!




Thursday, January 17, 2008

Glen Hansard & various others.

I'm totally obsessing on this album right now, and I don't obsess this hard very often (okay, maybe I do). Glen Hansard with Marketa Irglova, and Marja Tuhkanen and Bertrand Galen, "Swell Season." I am living proof that not being able to pronounce the artists' names doesn't mean you can't listen to an album all the time. It does make it harder to recommend it verbally, but I manage. Anyway, this is a "grower." Give it a couple listens before you decide that I am completely insane.

Mu'u mu'us.


These "Built by Wendy" sewing patterns are so easy and so fresh, it makes me want to start sewing my own clothes again. I could make a bunch of these dresses and wear them all the time, with pants or with boots. Maybe I could single-handedly revive the mumu, something I've been trying to do for years! I mean, what could be more comfortable? Seriously, I'm excited to see some simple, young, hip patterns out there. When I first started sewing fifteen years ago, the pattern books were full of hideous and unflattering matching mother/daughter prairie sack dresses.

I didn't know how to spell mumu, so I looked it up. More correctly, it is "mu'u mu'u." I liked the part where Wikipedia explains, "Contrary to popular misconception, the correct Hawaiian pronunciation is moo'-oo moo'-oo." I am not usually tempted to make cow jokes, but how can you resist this?

New blog!

On Linda's urging, I am starting a blog in a publicly accessible location (no more Myspace!). I'll blab about fun things (blabbing is something I excel at) - music, crafts, books, my house and garden, my friends, and of course, my loveable, troublesome pooches! Now I need to figure out how to work this thing ...