January 30, 2009

Construction Paper Sculpture

Jen Stark makes these amazingly beautiful creations with just a stack of paper and a sharp knife.

["point of exposure", and "over and out"]

January 29, 2009


I found these two complementary artworks that I thought were pretty original, and amazingly similar.
Sarah Silver is the photographer of the first one.
The second is Samantha Hahn's "Tangled".

January 28, 2009

Ice Storm Feb 2003

Here is an essay I wrote for Brenda Weber's Honors 202 class at UK back in 2003 when we had the last major ice storm. I thought it apropos to share it now, given our present mini ice storm.

I heard one branch crash before I went to bed, it fell a foot from my car. As there were plenty more branches hanging with ice precariously above the lot, I moved my car to the road, out of so much harm’s way. As I walked back to my door, the wind blew and icebergs in the trees above me shrieked their torsion. The branches that usually bring me such peace and respite from the city landscape were threatening and creepy. I went to bed and dreamed of trees dropping out of sight, one by one, as the real trees outside provided my subconscious’s soundtrack, cracking and breaking with the weight of the ice.
I woke up and saw a war-torn scene out my windows. Pith and splinters in the road passed for blood and guts, gaping yellow wounds dotted the dark wet bark of the trees where branches and limbs had been peeled off in the night. Our parking lot was strewn with wood and ice, and still there were branches crashing every so often, menacingly warning of the harsh weather beyond my door. I went for a walk to explore this new world, and was instantly humbled into taking baby steps on the ice-pebbled sidewalks to avoid slipping. Sirens honked and whistled as emergencies took their toll and called for help around town. Falling sleet made a slushy sound, softer than the ice it formed, belying the destruction it caused.
On one home, there were Christmas lights still adorning the eves. They were the white ones that drip from the main line in angled threes and fours, imitating the icicles that we rarely have in Kentucky but love to see during the Yule season. They were sad, sad—drooping mightily and yanked from their staples by the real icicles that mocked them mercilessly. The heavy frozen water mocked everything, though. The tall, stout oaks were snapped like pick-up-sticks. Only blades of grass and the smallest saplings escaped the breakage rampage. They were encased in glass, like museum objects, a perfect half-inch of ice displaying their fine tenderness. One such sapling caught my attention, and pleased that it was not harmed, I started to pinch the ice chunks off it’s little limbs to lessen it’s weight, as if to stop its growth from being stunted. A few rounds slid off readily when I bent the limb to break the ice, but then with one snap, a twig broke off in my hand with the ice, and I felt very bad for having interfered. This was the ice’s war, and I was just a spectator. I continued down the street.
In front of one house, a tree had uprooted, torn down two electric poles, swiped the side off a roof and demolished an SUV parked below. The auto had its emergency lights flashing for no other reason than to hail passersby to the party going on in the lawn. A supermarket cart had been turned into a bonfire receptacle, and a keg of beer had been brought in for the occasion. Several college-aged kids and a TV crew congregated in the yard around the blaze. “Man, sucks about his car, but this is great!” I overheard. Though I smirked, acknowledging the irony of the situation, it struck me that this would probably be the same kind of guy to say “Man, sucks about the dead people, but shooting guns is great!” With all the arboreal carnage surrounding me, and impending “possible war with Iraq” blaring from the media for weeks, I couldn’t help but think such thoughts.
I watched a branch fall, crashing and tearing with it more branches, sending a shower of frozen water glass before it. It occurred to me that this was simple. There was no fanfare, there were no instant replays, no slow-motion repeats. There was no one heralding the fall, pointing it out and preaching its horror. This was not television, so hyped up and sensational, it was just outside, the day.
I started walking towards the arboretum where friends had spent the wee hours of the morning jumping into the stand of wild, tall grasses.
“It was amazing,” they had told me, “the ice broke slowly beneath us as we landed, and it made a perfect cushion.”
On the metal electric pole by the hotel I watched bug sized drops of water wriggle underneath the sheet of ice stuck to the pole. They were pulled by gravity to join the creeks in the street, but fell jerkily as they navigated between the frozen pole and ice. It reminded me of blood vessels, and if the water was the blood of the ice, then the streets were full of blood, too, and not just pithy innards of the trees. The war was between trees and ice, and there were casualties on both sides.

As I walked on Alumni towards the arboretum, I had to walk in the grass since there was no sidewalk. The grass attacked my boots with every step. Each blade was covered with a thick layer of ice, but none were crushed because they were ironically supported by the ice itself. It was like a foreign legion that had gone into a weak country and had given the weak grasses their arms and taught them how to fight. The clear-covered green soldiers stood alert and attentive, waiting for my kick-step when the ice would launch here and there like shrapnel and the grass with bases blown apart, would hug my ankles and toes, top heavy and already disenchanted with war. More water blood spattered my pants.
Weeping willows thought they were on the ice’s side, already bowing and sweeping the ground with their branches. They were hopeful when the ice started to pull down other trees. They let the ice coat them, positive that by cooperating they would be spared. But like the Arabs that cooperated with California officials and showed up to register as Arab immigrants in America and were detained for days without reason, the willows lost hope when they witnessed several of their fellow species split in two by the storm.
A small grove of sumac were slathered with an especially thick coating of ice: it was at least a full inch thick all the way around each trunk, limb, twig, nodule. Sumac sticks that would normally be slimmer than my pinky finger were now heavy and fat enough to lay in my open palm, distressed and phallus-like, though not erect. The ice around the main trunks had twisted and turned, crackled and creased as the outer limbs had gained their extra weight throughout the night, causing an illusion of bandage swathed sumacs. Why would the ice cause so much damage, pillage so many other species and then coat this one specie with beautiful bridal-veil bandages?
I reached the stand of wild, tall grasses, and instinctively kicked the base of a still-standing frozen clump, to rid it of so much weight. But the weight of the ice was surrounding the grass, not just the base of the clump, and so, with my kick, the grasses bent in half, bowed over with top-heaviness. I jumped into the stand to experience the “perfect cushion” that my friends had spoken of, but I only crashed through breaking ice and got wet. I tried it a couple more times, but their experience was undoubtedly much different than mine. It made me sad that when I crashed into one clump of tall grass, the lower ice would fall off the next clump, causing it to collapse, which would cause the next clump to collapse, and so on like dominoes. These grasses had stood tall though winter and even the ice storm, and then here I came, barreling into them, and breaking them. For what? I left the stand of grass, cold and ready to go home, tired of seeing so much destruction. I slipped on the black-ice on the pavement, fell and sliced my palm open. Red blood dribbled down my wrist, and stained the pavement, joining the splinters and melting ice there. With a sigh of resignation, I allowed that I too was part of this war, but then walked briskly home, ignoring the beatings of the grass soldiers at my boots, and huffing with disgust when strings of icicles nearly skewered me as they fell from electric lines overhead.

January 25, 2009


There's a woman who comes into the store pretty often. She's Polish, very educated, worldly, interesting, full of love and sharing. I always enjoy a visit from her, we have so much in common, and I enjoy talking with her. Interestingly, she asked today if I had hope with Obama and I expressed my joy, and how I was so glad to finally have a president that I think is forward-thinking, intelligent and grounded. She was surprised, and said how she was disappointed when he repealed the no funding to abortion-talkers. I went on to explain that I was not pro abortion, but was pro choice, and the conversation that ensued was, as you might expect, very filled with typical controversy: gay marriages, religion in schools, abortion, etc. While my heart sped up, and I could feel my face flushing with frustration, I think we both did a good job respecting our differences and maintaining a cordial, intelligent discussion. Perhaps it would have escalated if we hadn't been in a public store... Anyway, when she left, I felt very much love for this person, but also extreme frustration: she shared her stories as to why she believes the things she does, and I agreed with her sentiments, I just didn't agree with the thought process/actions behind them. How do we, as a species, listen to one another the way we did, but come to some reconciliation? There's no question that we both believe that the human race is screwing itself with greed and hate, and that love and mercy is a way to peace. But she thinks that having a mother and a father as God intended it, and teaching of God is the way to manifest this (and therefore, marriages b/w men and men or women and women is wrong), for he is the one that bestows love and mercy. Whereas I believe that peace within is what counts most. Families are important: loving families that encourage meditation or some form of self-reflection, and appreciation for the fact that Ego gets in the way of just being present (and leads to greed, war, etc). But I don't care whether the families are made up of a mother and father, or two same-sex parents, or a collection of friends.

I find the same thing when I talk with Ben's grandparents (smart people that are God-loving & somehow also racist). We agree on the end point, but not the way to get there. To me, left/liberal thinking is more similar to my leaning, while these folks are dead-sure that the liberals have already brought Sodom & Gomorrah to Earth to finish us, with their tolerance.

Why this disconnect? Why this divergence? Why is anything faith related so irreconcilably unable to be logical? This is my frustration: I don't feel like I can speak logically about my opinions (or about facts) with such people. Or, rather, I speak logically, but it's like they turn off their ears to logic. What? What? I don't get it.

(also, I admit my own ignorance as to the importance of Sodom & Gomorrah. I assume they mean apocalypse or something, but those are definitely their words, not mine).

January 21, 2009

New Era

I'm sure I'm not the only one who kept finding tears welling up, throat tightening in joy yesterday. It just seems so amazing to have a forward-thinking, grounded, fair, open, young man in the white house. I am so grateful and hopeful for this presidency. I was especially impressed with Obama's addressing how hard work and facing difficult issues is the only way out of the mess that has been created. He stands up, doesn't hide behind words, doesn't back down, is honest, and has true clarity. He is not clever (in the 'heh heh, watch me pull the wool over their eyes' sense), but is truly intelligent.

Here's a funny tidbit: there's a shy photographer in Indonesia that looks like Obama.

January 20, 2009

Length and Fullness

Now that my head is not so caught up in itself quite so much, I feel a bit more free to appreciate beauty for its own sake.
I'm into the complementary length and fullness of these. Not so much the clothes, so much as the shapes. The backgrounds are good too.

January 19, 2009


Tulip fields, Netherlands

Viking celebration on one of the Shetland Islands, Scotland.

Ladies enjoying a lazy summer day

"Happy Land" from Fun and Fancy Free AKA Mickey & the Beanstalk. (Remember Mortimer snerd guessing that at the top of this beautiful hill lay "a red barn" instead of this magnificent castle? I love that cartoon).

Double rainbow

I love this design. Mmmmm

January 17, 2009

Cold Night

Frost on the windows. Old ceramic gas heater in our front room. Fuzzy animals.

Eastern Hemlock

There's a huge eastern hemlock that's parked out front of our apartment. Something I've never seen before happened 2 nights ago--the cones all dropped and were stationary on our stoop. Was it the cold that made them drop? (-1 F) Do they drop normally, and I've just never noticed them because wind usually blows them away?


Oh my gosh, I just can't keep it to myself! My friend Mira just sent me an amazing link to cat wigs. CAT WIGS! Wigs for your cat!! As if that isn't exciting enough, I followed a link from that site to urban beast, where I found these incredible photos. Hope you're as tickled as I am!!

January 16, 2009


I feel I must share my happiness--I haven't felt truly happy in my life for years. I have had moments of happiness, joyous days and whatnot, but I don't think I've felt generally/regularly happy & contented since before I left for vet school. It feels so awesome (restful!). My decision not to go back to school right now, I think, has a lot to do with that. Not because I don't want to go to school, persay, but because when/if I go to school, I want it to be for the right reasons, all in good time. I kept putting things off that I desperately wanted to do, in order to 'get my life in order' first. Now, I've realized it's going to take a while to get my life in order (and in the meantime 'Now' is all we have, so I might as well make the best of it). It's been almost a year since I've been back home, and I don't feel like I've straightened out a single thing despite months of applying to jobs, thinking about school, etc. So, *aha!* perhaps by doing the things that I love, my life will straighten itself out--passion leading to what I need, and all that. In just a week, I've gone to a community meeting about a planned bike-trail in Lexington (yay! reminds me of Boulder!!), attended the Wednesday dance classes at Mecca that I've been aching to join in, kept my kitchen fairly clean, and continued to work at Worlds Apart, but in a happier frame of mind.
Several people have been a little bewildered by my decision not to go to physician assistant school, so here's a bit more explanation. Toward the end of the year, I was feeling very cramped in my current job--it's a job that I'm grateful to have, and I don't mind the work (I enjoy it well enough most of the time), but I never saw myself working in women's retail--ever, let alone for 6 years (on and off). I'll spare you the details of what I don't like about my job; suffice to say I'm definitely not passionate about it. I don't make enough $ to be sustainable in any way here, however, here it is a year later, and Ben and I are still alive, and haven't been evicted into the streets. Going to school would mean having NO income (Ben's been looking for work unsuccessfully since September, though his main thrust of energy is still toward FlowMingle, the dating site he's been working on) and spending $4000 on classes I've already taken (pre-reqs for PA school wouldn't count my vet school experience/credits for physiology, anatomy, medical terminology, or microbiology)--and then I still wouldn't know if I'd get into school or not...and if I did, it would mean 2.5 years (starting a year from now...so almost 4 years--which is what I've already spent on something I WAS passionate about, but which failed anyway) of schooling before making any income. I have lived so long in a state of sacrifice (not living with Ben, not dancing anywhere near as much as I'd like to, racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt), and I'm not willing to do it again until I'm passionate about my decision. Going to PA school offered me an answer out of crushing debt, but I felt like even though I would probably enjoy the job as much as I enjoy my current job (not terrible, not great either, but doable), I would be setting myself up to be a slave to my past. That is, the story of "I'm a PA because I couldn't hack it as a vet" instead of what I hope to be able to say one day, "I'm a Such-and-such because I'm passionate about this work. I go into work every day feeling really really good about what I'm doing in the world." Living a life devoid of passion or conviction, in my experience, is hardly worth living. Suicide has seemed like a viable option, living that way. And so, I've voted for my life, instead--keeping a job that is generally neutral (and, I say again, one that I'm grateful to have in this economy), and spending my free time engaging in things I'm passionate about with the hope that those passions will pull me out of this job in due time, without having to give up my measly (but neccessary) income in the meantime. I think that's a pretty good summation of how I've been feeling. I hope that makes sense to you. It's taken me some time to figure out, in the words of my head, what I've been feeling in my heart/gut. Translation is always something I've enjoyed. (o:

January 8, 2009


Today was the day that I was supposed to register for classes at UK (pre-requisites for physician assistant school). I've spent many hours during the past week or two thinking about my life. I'm reading Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose as well as Gregg Levoy's Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life, and they both prompted me to think about things differently--that is, NOT to think about them so much as to FEEL about them. I stayed awake all night a few days ago, mulling. I started that next day with tons of questions with no obvious answers, except that going to PA school was not the answer. Since then, I've been talking with friends and family about this--sort of ferreting out whether this was a decision I felt I could actually live with or whether it was just a late-night whim. My gut/heart has been staunch in maintaining the not-going-to-school-now mantra, which is interesting to me considering how stabilizing having PA school on the horizon made me feel for the past several months.
But that's just it: I think that the decision to go to PA school was one of impatience and "this makes good logical sense" instead of passion or "because-it's-actually-good-for-me". The 2 things I've learned from this whole getting dismissed from vet school situation are 1) I'm impatient and, 2) devastation takes longer to recover from than I was allowing myself ---these combined lead to me being dismissed because: Tufts Vet School Curriculum + Repeated Devastation with No Recovery Time = Too Much To Handle = Worst Devastation Yet.
So what now? I don't know. Chelsea's trying to get me to move to Boulder. San Francisco is also an option. Moving would necessitate some changes which would probably be good for me and Ben, though Ben points out that making changes is not moving-dependent. I know that I don't want to be in women's retail much longer (I never thought I'd be doing it this long in the first place...), I know that I am very excited by environmental/farming ideas, I know that I miss teaching dance, and that I'm really excited for FlowMingle to take off this year. We'll see where these points lead us.

On a complete side note, I took Parsnip to get spayed today. She's home now, no longer intact, and has helped herself to the cat-toy basket and is wobbily batting toys around. Awwwww.

I am happy with my decision to listen to my gut instead of my head for once. It doesn't speak up very often! (maybe I've just not been a good listener, or my gut and head have been in cahoots til now).