July 28, 2012

Whales and Fog

I forgot (how could I!?) to mention that before I spent 2 weeks up in Oakland, we were lucky enough to have a visit from our friends Anne-Claire and John.  They lived in Pacific Grove (next town over from Monterey) and AC went to MIIS with me.  They are our favorite people to watch the Bachelor/Bachelorette with...but they're also really great people (check out John's blog for some great travelogues from this summer when they hiked the Camino de Santiago in Spain/France and last summer when they revisited Niger where they met in Peace Corps several years ago).  They stayed with us, and in the morning we walked around Point Lobos in the gorgeous fog, and then went whale watching, during which we saw a blue whale (!) and several humpback whales.  The blue whale was just incredible.  A small bit of its back surfaces, and then you see the length of its back (100 ft or more!) just a few feet at a time.  Its blow is not particularly larger than that of a humpback whale, so when the length of it is at least twice the size of the humpback, you assume that the animal must have a serpentine  shape, not that of a whale.  If I had never seen a picture of a blue whale before, I would have assumed that the animal looked like this:

(because this is all you see for a long time, and you can tell that the back is slithering forward)

not like this:

Here is a short gif...maybe you can imagine the foreverness of it...


Anway.  Enjoy our photos.

Friends walking through Point Lobos forest.  Not the greatest photo of us.  

Lovely day to paint the landscape

I love the ocean colors and the sage/desertish colors side by side.


Serious fog only brightens the sage brush color

And whales we saw!!

Brown Albatross

Humpback tail

Humpbacks surrounding us, and very close.

Anne-Claire almost forgets about her sea sickness with the spouting of the whales.

Design your own pendant!

I had an idea:  why not let others choose their images?

I offer custom orders, and get quite a few takers for that--but what if I offered something in between a fully Alyssum-Curated pendant and a You-Tell-Me pendant?  And, thus, I chose these 4 sets of 12 options:  1) Italian birthstone/zodiac, 2) Eccentric, 3) Vintage circus, and 4)Vintage bellydance.  They are all the same aspect ratio, so they fit together.  If you're interested in having me put one together for you, let me know!

Step 1. Tell me what month you want (from the ITALIAN BIRTHSTONES/ZODIAC options).

Step 2: Tell me which other image you want me to pair it with.


B) Is it in the top or bottom row? Which number from the left? Include a brief discription.

Step 3: Email me this information at alyssum.pohl[at]gmail.com, and I will send you a paypal invoice for $40 (pendant + silver chain).

To see my other work, click here for my Verdance shop.

Italian Birthstones/Zodiac
Across the top: Jan (garnet; constance and fidelity), Feb (amethyst; peace of heart and humility), March (aquamarine; good luck and courage), April (sapphire; guarantee of innocence and repentance), May (emerald; love,happiness, hope), June (pearl?: long life and wisdom).
Across the bottom: July (ruby; forgetfulness of sorrow), Aug (black sapphire; marital happiness), Sept (moonstone; safe from folly), Oct (beryl; happiness and peace), Nov (topaz; friendship and loyalty), Dec (turquoise; unalterable happiness).


Vintage Circus

Vintage Bellydance

July 27, 2012

What I did on my Summer Vacation

See, the name of this post is funny because I'm done with school, so it's not really a summer vacation.

Still, I went to house sit for my friend Mira up in Oakland for ~10 days and it felt like a vacation even though I brought some work for Seafood Watch with me.  What else did I do besides work, you ask? Well firstly, I saw Cyprus, Mira, Dakota, Pthalo, Joe, and Appleine in their packing frenzy, and sent them off to Sweets Mill. Then....
Mira & Dakota almost ready to leave for Sweets Mill!

1. Helped my buddy Superkate set up for the Amanda Palmer show at Public Works on Friday the 13th.

Reviews of the show here and here.  I'm honestly not a fan, though I can appreciate her point of view, and dedication to her art if not her 'talent'.  I had an amazing time though, because a) (first and foremost) I got to hang out with Superkate,  b) I enjoyed the opening acts, c) I enjoyed meeting and goofing off with the band members Chad, Michael & Jherick (sp?), d) great people-watching venue.

I also had a conversation with Neil Gaiman, Amanda's husband, about dancing.  There was a couple dancing the tango upstairs and he was watching them intently.  I thought, "he must either be a dancer or long to be one."  I asked him about it, and he assured me that he was a terrible dancer, but that he sort of wished that he was good at it.  Superkate invited me to dance on stage during the encore with the opening acts, and afterward, Neil--who'd been watching from upstairs--grabbed me into a hug with a wide grin and said, "Now you are a dancer.  Thank you for going up there and sharing, you are completely in your body.  You are alive inside your body.  Beautiful to watch. Wonderful."  So that was a lovely compliment.  I thanked him for living through his words, ha ha.

2.  My friend Safari (Stephanie) was in town from NH for a conservation biology convention, so I got to spend some quality time with her.  She's one of my few friends that appreciates the same things I do on almost every level:  travel, conservation, tribal bellydance, intelligent conversations.  She is super duper rad and I'm so happy to know her.  We met over 10 years ago on a study abroad program in Tanzania.  I'm Amana to her.
Amana na Safari
Hiking in the Berkeley hills
3. I played a lot with my new friend Dusty.  We enjoyed snacks, made costumes, and chit-chatted about life.  She's a professional bellydance costumer, and her life history could not be more different than my own.  And yet it lead her to where she is right now which is why I love her.  Sorry that's pretty vague, but I feel like her story is her own to tell.  She gots wisdom and a pure heart.  Plus she's fun and super creative.  Those are excellent qualities.  Yay for new friends!
I spent 6 hrs making these epaulettes.
Fabric shopping!

4.  Had brunch with BrieAnn.  I think we eat amazing breakfasts together.  This seems to be a trend.  I love this trend.  

5.  I worked on more than 30 new pendants.

6.  I went on errands to procure things that are difficult to find anywhere but a Large City.  Things that you can buy online, but they may not be perfect, and seeing them in person first is the key.  Things like special jumprings for my pendants, special polycarbonate material that I'm playing with for lighter-weight pendants, and special dye for polyester.  Also some plants.
Here's the process of my dyeing attempt. I'm pleased with the outcome.
Trying out 3 (of 4) colors. 
Top to bottom: brown, black+blue,  brown+blue, blue.  I went for brown+blue to get that greyish color.


Just a few dye spots.  Don't you love the scallops!?

Pieces of my costume coming together....
7. Hung out with Dorothy (from vet school) and her sister Marge (also a vet).  Good to hang out with some smart ladies who love kitties (they have 5 cats and a kitten at their place).  We balanced nerdy discussion with watching the Bachelorette finale together, complete with romantic potluck meal.

8.  Puttered around in Mira's house by myself with nothing else to do.  God, what a wonderful feeling.  I needed the break.  By the end, I missed Ben, the kitties, Monterey.  It was like pressing the reset button on so many aspects of my life.  I feel more confident and contented with my life there than I have in a while.  It's a wonderful life, how lucky of me to get to live it!  And how lucky to have the bay area and so many friends easily accessible!

July 19, 2012

Healing Sliced Finger

WARNING:  images are graphic.  No running blood, but you've been warned.

One week ago, I sliced my finger pretty bad.  The knife went straight through my fingernail and deep into my finger pad.  Immediately I grabbed it tight, didn't want to look, decided I needed to rinse it, rinsed it and realized that I had a pretty intense flap.  I wrapped it tightly in a bandaid and didn't want to look at it closely again because the thought of it made my stomach turn.  Ouch!  I woke up a couple times in the middle of the night, throbbing with pain...and called Dad in the morning to see if I should do anything more than what I'd already done.  He said, "The reason you heal is because you're healthy.  Don't put any poultices on it or anything, and as long as you can keep it from getting caught on anything or adding trauma to it, leaving it free of bandages and open to the air is probably the best thing for it."  So I took off the band-aid, and realized that it hadn't cut quite as much of my nail off as I thought it had.  Phew.
So for past week (excepting Day 1, when it was in bandages), I've kept a record of the open-air healing process. Please ignore my chipped gold fingernail polish.  Healing is neat!

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6: Nail fell off like a loose tooth.

Day 7: Itchy dead skin was peel-away-able for much more comfort.
Now my fingernail just has a strange shape but it's perfectly fine otherwise.