Thursday, May 28, 2009

Frames And Layers

This evening I headed over to Capitol Hill to get a mat for an Etsy print I needed framed. It was a great experience - the gentleman helping me, DJ, was quiet and intelligent, but also enthusiastic about the choices I made. He loved the frame, which was clearly inexpensive and from Target (and yeah, me and my big mouth, I totally told him that's where it was from in a weird confessional way), and thought it looked great with the mat color I picked. It was such a good experience, and so inexpensive, that I decided to get another print framed. This one was small, but such an odd shape that I hadn't had any luck finding a frame that could work. So I selected a simple white, wood frame, and a mat that complimented the image, and plain glass.

$70, and I'm assembling it myself.

I knew framing was expensive, but wow! But, also wow - what a great trade to learn. You need space, and specialized equipment, but if I could learn how to do that, that would make a great Plan B. Have you seen this article that's making the rounds right now, from the New York Times? It's called "The Case For Working With Your Hands." I like to think that's not something I've ever needed convincing about, that I've always valued work, and trades[wo]men. If it was ever something I was elitist about, all traces of snobbery have disappeared since dating Cam. He's always made his living as a mechanic of sorts - he's worked on cars, motorcycles, and boats, and now, on hydrogen generators. He's got more career mobility than I'll ever have, and I really admire the knowledge he picks up along the way and how he's constantly building upon that base, and using it to solve new problems. Everyone does that to a degree, of course, but nothing I do gets our DirecTV wired through the air ducts*. Cam took one look at where the TV needed to be mounted, and where the cables came through, and made it happen.

I have said for a long time that building and decorating cakes for Baskin-Robbins was quite possibly my favorite job. I learned a ton, and I've recently been chipping the rust off those old skills, baking cakes for friends. So far, so good, and I'd be lying if I said I'd never entertained the idea of chucking my career (after much more practice, of course) and hanging out my shingle as a baker.

Dipping my baby toe into the world of framing, though, gave me another idea (a fantasy, really). How cool would it be to apprentice with a framer, then open up a shop? I love the design aspect, of picking the right mat and frame and detail for a picture. But as appealing as that all sounds, I'm equally intrigued by the tools of the trade, necessary for cutting wood and fitting corners and sizing glass.

I'm not really someone who has dreams about what I'm going to be when I grow up. Gross as it sounds, I already got what I wanted. I got - and have - my dream job. But lately, I'm starting to get glimpses of what my next life could be like. It's a relief, really, because between getting said dream job and now, I've been a little worried about the "what next," about how to have goals and dreams when I got what I really wanted at 25. How exciting to see there's still a path ahead of me.

*On a side note, there was one home problem I should have been well-equipped to solve, and I failed miserably: wiring my record player to play through my stereo. I carefully plugged everything in, from turntable to preamp and out of the preamp into the stereo... And it sounded AWFUL. Distorted and loud and just dirty. I should have realized hey, it sounds like this is double-amplified, a problem I know how to solve when dealing with my recording equipment for work, but nope. I got a new stylus, Cam and I grounded the crap out of every stage of the setup even though it didn't sound like a grounding issue, and I even got a new, fancier preamp in case that was the issue. And then I turned to my genius friends, the audio engineers. They all thought of the same question instantly: "Hey, is there a preamp already built in to the record player?" Duh. Yes. So now I have not one, but two useless preamps. But hey, I can listen to my vinyl again!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ricki Hits Rock Bottom

Oh man. I've never hidden my love of trashy shows of all stripes. Rock of Love, the Hills, Rob & Big, if it's vaguely reality based and on MTV or VH1, I'll probably watch it. For whatever reason, Charm School never made the list... Until today. I blame the gym! The dumbest show in the world looks downright appealing compared to staring out the window while I pant on my hamster wheel. First of all, it's got one of my favorite Brett Michaels rejects, Ashley. She's a total trainwreck, and she and her partner in crime, Farrah, are a trip. What the French! But, seriously? This show is godawful, and RICKI LAKE is hosting! Now that's the real What the French! I mean, it's a paycheck, but she just uttered the following sentence:
It makes me uncomfortable because Charm School is supposed to be the kind of environment that fosters respect.
Ohhhh Ricki. I know it's a paycheck. But... Just... NO.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Shake My Taters

First of all, is there anything quite like a Mom? Cam and I are lucky to have two of the best, and so Mother's Day was an incredibly fun holiday this year. But, really, we celebrated moms all weekend.

Saturday, after a quick perusal of some local yard sales, we headed to Annapolis to meet the newest mom I know: My friend, Susan. She had a baby boy about 6 weeks ago, and we had yet to meet him. As anticipated, he's adorable. He's got her coloring and her husband's red hair, and he screamed up a storm while we there. I have that effect on infants, for some reason. Then we went to my "nephew", Evan's, second birthday party. It was a really fun afternoon with old family friends, most of all, Evan's mom, my best friend. She's pregnant again and so cute. That night we caroused with one of Cam's buddies, then the next morning, mom celebrations began anew.

My mom is super cool so for Mother's Day, she went to the bagel place and got bagels for everyone, and when we woke up we gave her her present: tickets for the 6 of us (mom, dad, sister, bro-il, cam, and me) to go see Star Trek. It. Was. AWESOME. Seriously. I mean, exceeded-expectations good-times-for-fans-and-non-fans AWESOME. I was really worried there would be a "heh heh check us out we're in a Star Trek movie heh heh" mentality from the cast, and there was none of that. This was a rockin' good time.

After the movie, Cam and I took off to make an early dinner (is that what "supper" is? The meal after church, but not in the evening?) for another awesome mom in our lives - his. She requested bulgogi and kimchi, so after a grocery shopping trip, we spent an hour and a half buzzing around her awesome, newly renovated kitchen. We chopped, diced, mashed, blended, massaged, sliced and squeezed our way to a pretty incredible meal, and she was thrilled. It was so fun to take the time to make something new, and Cam and I are a great team in the kitchen. It's pretty rad to be with someone who enjoys feeding people as much as I do.

After supper (and cleaning the kitchen), we swung back by my parents' to bring them the leftovers for their dinner, and joined them for beers on the deck. Nice finish.

Oh, and tonight? Tonight I ran, and came home to a delicious dinner a'la Cam. That's where the title comes from - he made skillet potatoes, and jumped off the couch at one point, exclaiming, "Ooh I gotta shake my taters!" Perfect.

Friday, May 08, 2009


I'm not sure exactly what it is about me, and I think a lot of women feel this way, but I think I really do receive more unwelcome commentary on my appearance on the street than the average woman. It's bizarre, because I'm incredibly average - 9 out of 10 times I'm in jeans and sneakers, I'm neither fat nor thin, I have light brown hair, etc.

The thing about me is my hips/derriere are, well, not average. My waist is small and my hips are wide, and my booty's round, and that's where the vast number of loudmouths get their inspiration. I'm incredibly lucky to be with a man who loves that about me, who feels about my shape like other men feel about large breasts, so in the past couple of years I've definitely gotten a bit less hate-y about my shape.

Often the comments are appreciative (but still gross and unwanted), sometimes they're downright mean, or sound that way on the receiving end. I think I'm going to keep track, see if it takes the sting out a little. I'm not giving them any power or fame by doing this here on my little page, and it might make me feel better. We'll see.

Of course, this morning was no exception. I was walking to the bus stop, and passed two men. Said one,

"Mmm hips is wide like a horse!"

On a scale of 1-5 of hurty-ness, I give this one a 3. Could be worse, but still sucks. As for accuracy, he actually did pretty well. Horses to get wide in the back, and they're strong, just like me. If he said I was built like a horse he'd be wrong - my legs aren't skinny, I have much better calves (haha) - but he just called out my hips. So I give him a 4 for accuracy.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Fleet(ish) Feet

I know I have a ridiculous number of blogs listed on the left here, but if you scroll all the way to the bottom, you'll see a new addition. See her, down there, my little Nike running girl? I love her. Or, more accurately, I love my Nike+. If you don't know what that is, it's basically a little kit with a sensor that sits on my shoe and a receiver that plugs into the bottom of my Nano. It tracks the distance and speed of my runs, but even better, it's a little electronic trainer. My Nike+ trainer has a woman's voice (I really need a name for her, don't I? Hmmm.), and she is the best. She tells me how far I've gone, a half-km at a time, and anytime I ask her, she tells me how fast I'm running and my exact distance. After a run in the rain last week, a new lady congratulated me - I'd PR'ed on my mile time, dodging drops. Sweet! I'm not sure how accurate she is - I'll have to test it out at a 5K sometime, or on a track (unlikely) - but I can tell you she's a great motivator.

I've only recently taken up running again, after more than a year off. It's more enjoyable than it's ever been. When I'm running, whether on sidewalks downtown or trails in Rock Creek Park, there's rarely a run where I don't feel, for at least a kilometer, like a runner. I should explain, I run very slowly. Not quite as slowly as my little runner girl on this page would have you believe - that time includes some walking after I finish my run - but slowly. And every time I catch a glimpse of myself in a plate glass window, I'm shocked. I lumber. I plod. I'm hunched over and monster-y. But I feel like an athlete. I feel like I'm standing up straighter and my legs are moving faster than they actually are. But a kid on a swing feels like she's flying, and so do I. I guess that's what really matters.