Springtime for Katie and Marylhurst, a photo essay

wpid-2014-04-09-22.14.25.jpg.jpegHello, dear readers. Believe it or not, I think of you often. But graduate school has demanded most of my writing-energy and time, so I’ve been away from my WordPress. Luckily, my professors seem to like my writing as much as you do, reader, and that means a lot to me.

I’m halfway through my program, and it’s been a whirlwind. Here are a few glimpses.wpid-20140409_202647.jpgGuess which one I helped on? The one with no straight lines and obvious structure, of course… complete with a ladybug (top right).

wpid-1398040825649.jpgBasketball was really fun– for a while.

wpid-2014-06-12-12.04.23.jpg.jpegThe first time I saw the sunshine caught in the campus fountain. Wow.

wpid-20140512_201854.jpgIf you have homework on your birthday, wear fabulous glasses, have chocolate and wine.

wpid-2014-05-12-18.12.48.jpg.jpegOh yes, I had a birthday. 30 circles around the sun.

wpid-2014-06-05-17.44.26.jpg.jpegI got a label maker.

wpid-2014-05-14-11.45.27.jpg.jpegI got to explore a hunch I’ve had for some time– that the words people use to challenge and ban books can be used to incite curiosity in readers. So I’ve been doing a little project that is one part research, one part art, and one part cheeky teacher. The above books are popular or frequently required reading and are just as frequently banned. I taped them all to block out the covers, titles, and authors. I labeled them with praises and criticisms, and then I taped the books shut.

2014-05-14 11.42.57 I want to draw attention to how people try to censor entire books based on single themes, scenes, or words. Taping them closed elicited a stronger response than I expected, and I realized that one of the best things about books is that they are so inviting. Drop one on the floor and it opens up, saying “read me!” Opening a book is automatic, it is instant gratification. Preventing that brings on emotional (and physical) responses from frustration to anger. It makes for fascinating conversation with students– even kids who hate reading discover they have an opinion on censorship when they learn the only book they ever liked gets banned all the time.

wpid-2014-06-09-08.52.31.jpg.jpegI spent several weeks observing at the nearest alternative high school. It’s a perfect place for me.

wpid-2014-06-09-08.50.40.jpg.jpegIn the spirit of the art project/phenomenon, Before I Die (which I did in the fall with my class). Here’s another good example.

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We were visited a few times by the blondest raccoon I’ve ever seen. Matilda agreed. But if there’s any place for a ginger raccoon, it’s my backyard. wpid-2014-06-12-11.41.12.jpg.jpeg

Speaking of Matilda, she’s in pretty good shape these days. Diana’s cat got an upgraded cat tower for Christmas, so the old one was bequeathed to Tilda, and Emily and I did some improvements on it.

 

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To top it all off (literally and figuratively), my mom made a wee little quilt for Matilda’s tower, which happens to fit perfectly. She sits on this at the window for hours every day with a look that says “What took you so long?”

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I write this on an anniversary of an important day for me and everyone who ever loved Matilda. So forgive me a re-post of my most popular entry, Thirty Days of Solitude.

Here’s a balance-in-the-universe prologue to that story: earlier this spring I saw a cute little calico hiding in our yard. A few days later I saw Lost posters in the neighborhood for the strictly-indoor-tortie. I called and met the lady, and I recognized the tightness in her throat and the hope in her eyes. Luckily, her kitty was still in our yard and they were reunited after 6 days. I had so much trouble communicating to her just how much it meant to me that I got her calico back to her. It wasn’t just a good deed, it was paying it forward.

So pet your pets, and tell your loved ones you love them. I’ll be back with more stories soon.

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What took you so long?

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I hereby declare this blog officially Not Dead

Oh hello friends! I sincerely apologize for taking so many weeks off. In that time, I assure you I have been busy.

I completed another lap around the sun.

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LET US EAT CAAAKE

I saw my brother-in-law graduate from the Willamette University School of Law.

Rob's graduation card from Matilda.

Rob’s graduation card from Matilda.

for dummiesI read this book. Officially there’s a Dummies book for everything.

autoimmuneIt’s not the first book I’ve picked up about Endo, but it’s the place where I have learned the very most. There are surgical options I did not know about (duly noted for when I see my Dr. next), tons of information on all the symptoms and causes for them, approaching it as an autoimmune problem, and even has a chapter for your loved ones– on how to best support a woman with a chronic pain disease that you cannot see. I learned just how typical I actually am. It seems to particularly afflict taller-than-average, thinner-than-average ladies, with certain kinds of moles, it is often first misdiagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and it takes on average 7-10 years for a woman to get the right diagnosis. I’m tall, all kinds of moles, and I had pegged my diagnosis time at about 8 years (all the way through high school and college) but the bit about Irritable Bowel makes me re-evaluate. See, I missed half of 5th grade at home with IBS. And if that was indeed the earliest of my endo, my diagnosis took closer to 12 years.

In March, I adopted the Endometriosis Diet. You can also look it up under “Anti-inflammatory Diet.” I am thrilled to say it has helped, I am no longer having cramps every day. Isn’t that a melancholy place to be– where victory isn’t ending pain, it’s getting through one day without it. I’ve got lots of more observations and information here.

Lastly, I’m sure you’ve been craving Matilda pictures. I just got a smart phone (Woo hoo Galaxy S4!) so now I can use it to take decent pictures when my camera is not handy. Like this one:

peekabooHappy napping!

Art, food, and cat. All that you’ve come to expect from my blog.

*boop*

*boop*

Oh, hello there! Have I been asleep for a month? Or have I just neglected my blog? For better or worse, I have not been sleeping for a month. But I have been busy, and although I haven’t been present digitally, I have kept my dear readers in mind. So here’s some good news from 2013 thus far:

At Bare Bones Cafe, SE Belmont

At Bare Bones Cafe, SE Belmont.

I hope you take an opportunity this month to check out Bare Bones Cafe, where my art bag exploded on the back walls. No less than 9 of the pieces on display have never been seen by the public. In this picture alone there are 4 paintings that have never even hung on a wall. There are a few watercolors no one has seen. Plus all three of my big collages– Paris, Portland (with nicely placed lighting and seating!) and Mt. Hood.

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Like many Portlanders, I’m totally in love with Mt. Hood. It’s a different kind of beautiful every day, and I’ve got easily 10 pieces based on it (you can see 5 just in these pics). A couple years ago there was an art show organized just to showcase Mt. Hood art– imagine my excitement! I submitted my Mt. Hood Collage gleefully;  and against all rules of fairness in the universe, it was not accepted. Imagine my broken heart! Well, I’m happy to say that my collage has been officially introduced to all of Portland, thanks to Willamette Week and their “I Made This” feature for local art.

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Short of being on the front cover, I couldn’t have asked for better newspaper real estate. Next to the crosswords and sexy ladies? Yes please. Thanks, Willamette Week. This was a big deal for me; a vote of confidence I have desperately needed.

mix coconut tartSpeaking of things that are desperately needed– here’s a scrumptious little picture I snapped when I was in Ashland for the holidays. Mix Sweet Shop is a must-do when you visit downtown. This coconut tart is the stuff of dreams, Mimi can corroborate. Never have mother-and-daughter-in-law made such inappropriate satisfied moans as when we shared this confection.

em bday 2013

Nobody makes confections and inappropriate moans quite like Emily, who shared this awesome cookies-and-cream cake with us for her birthday. Between Emily and Holly we had 3 kinds of cupcakes for Jeff’s birthday/Superbowl. And for Bill’s birthday I made chocolate cake with coconut cream filling. It’s been pretty sweet around here.

Lastly for today, here is a peek at a watercolor I’ve just finished. I’ve been busy with brushes too, lately. So you’ll have those to look forward to.

birch preview

For now, I say Happy Monday and I hope this finds you well. Thanks!

And this little ladybug said, Shimmy Shimmy Shimmy all the way home

Awwww, Cuuuuute, right? Just a snapshot of the Mother’s Day cards I’ve been making. You need one? I’ll even sign and mail it for you so it gets there on time. 😉

Mother’s day has totally snuck up on me, it’s usually next to or overlapping my birthday, which is still suspiciously a week away. My 18th birthday fell on Mother’s Day, so I bought her a pack of cigarettes (win win!). My 22nd birthday was the same day of college Graduation, which was also Mother’s Day (win win WIN!).

Since these don’t converge on one date, this year I’m celebrating all of May. Every item in my Etsy shop is marked down 25-35% for the month of May. Every order gets unique and adorable Happy Birthday card. Send your friends! I have gifts for referrals!

I am THRILLED to report that Saqra’s Bellydance Showcase last week was a blast. I met and re-met lots of beautiful dancers and I drooled over tables and tables of coin belts, hip scarves, zills, and silk anything. I looked a little like this:

Luckily, I rolled my tongue back in my mouth long enough to look a little bit more graceful. Sheelah and I choreographed this piece to the most challenging song I could find, Maggot Brain, as performed by Lili Haydn and the DaKah Hip Hop Orchestra. Please enjoy (the camera shake does settle down, my covert videographer was trying to be, well, covert).

This is of course where I say again that I’m giving Poi lessons every Saturday afternoon, the next workshop will be Friday May 13th, and I’m always looking for performance opportunities too. I can’t tell you how much fun we have at Sheelah’s Dance Studio, LLC. I can’t tell you how much fun we had drinking after the Showcase, either. But I can show you their talents and shining faces.

That’s right, BONUS VIDEO!!

Thanks for checking in with me! Please share the links and videos if you like them. Give yourself a hug from me, and if you see the sun, tell it to come back over here.

Shake it til you make it!