Tuesday, January 29, 2008


When i work on a project it can be pretty complicated. I am drawn to intricate techniques. Multiple steps make me happy. Sometimes, though, it's nice to just be simple. My sister wanted a birdhouse for her kitchen so i offered to paint one for her. She requested blue and she wanted a bird on it; those were the only guidelines. I wanted something lovely, but simple. I'm really happy with the way it turned out. I still snuck in layers, like the bunny over the fence over the grass in the back but generally, the whole thing is pretty straight forward. It was great to take a little break from really complicated. Besides, what's better than a wee birdhouse ON a wee birdhouse?

This is the End, My Beautiful Friend, The End

One day you're a star. You're a big star. Perhaps you're a star in a winter play. Perhaps you're a star in a Christmas concert. You're covered in glitter and spangles; you're wrapped in tiny twinkle lights. People are in awe of you. Then, one day it's all over. You're in a heap with the other has-beens, leaking your styrofoam innards all over the floor. It really makes you think about your own mortality. (or perhaps -like me- it just makes you giggle)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Apperantly I'm It

Ahhhhhhh... the blog tag. I read other people's tag postings, but i've never been tagged. How i long to be tagged. Thanks to Kate P for my first time tag. (it really doesn't take much to make me smile) I'm excited cause you know how much i love randomness. For those of you unfamiliar (and i bet there is at least one of you), you post 7 random things about yourself and then tag 7 other people on their blog. That way, anyone reading your blog will read their blog as well. Of course anyone reading my blog would probably already be reading those blogs - i think i might have about 7 readers. Plus, Kate p is out cause she tagged me and Mel is out cause Kate tagged her. And THREE of the blogs i read every day (or whenever they post) are password protected. And i can't comment on Jonah's blog. And several of my faithful reader are cool, but i don't know if they will play... Crap; this could be a problem. But first for the funness: 7 Random Things about Niki 1. Though an obvious extrovert, there are situations in which i am very introverted and i suffered from some Stage 1 Social Anxiety Disorder about 10 years ago. 2. I feel the need to declare to anyone I am with that i am leaving the room to go to the ladies' room. I don't want people to think i am just done talking to them; i want them to know that only insistent prompting from my body would drive me away from them. 3. I really, really want a tiger tattoo, but can't get one because of childhood scars on the area in question (my leg, BTW). 4. I will listen to a CD or a watch a movie over and over and over again until I know every tiny detail of it. 5. I have had a secret ambition for my life for about 11 years. I have never told anyone about it; i have never even written in my journal about it. (i let part of it slip out a few weeks ago, but the person i was talking to had no clue how momentous of an occasion he was party to). No, i'm not going to tell you either. I'm not sure why i continue to harbor this crazy idea in my head, but i do. 6. I have a not-so-secret desire to be a better dancer. I freaking LOVE to dance, but look like i'm getting electrocuted. 7. I LOVE sunflower seeds (already shelled, of course). I mean i LOVE them. They are like crack; if i have a few of them i want the whole bag. Great, now i want sunflower seeds... Onto the hard part; i think i can get 5. I'm gonna tag: Kaaren Jonah (i'll just e-mail him) Elizabeth (Mom and Dad can help) Francie (you could use some frivolity) Erin

Thursday, January 24, 2008

National Pie Day

My sincerest apologies to everyone - i missed National Pie Day. I was convinced it was today (January 24th). I had a post all planned and ready about it, but realized that it was actually yesterday when i went to hyperlink something. D'OH Anyhoooo... National Pie Day is a chance for us to all revel in food with crusts, be they savory or sweet. Pie is comforting. Pie is tasty. Any excuse for pie is a good excuse. I celebrated over the weekend at Rachel's house. She made a nice French-Canadian tortiere (meat pie) and people brought chocolate creme, pumpkin, maple syrup-walnut and cherry pies to go with. Of course there was vanilla ice cream to go a la mode if you wanted. (and who wouldn't want that?) We played games and ate pie; a good time was had by all. It may be a day late, but that shouldn't stop you from having some pie - mayhaps, a chicken pot pie and a nice coconut creme. Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I have been trying to get things done around the apartment. After 20 months it has finally hit me that i really LIVE here; i'm not going anywhere. So last weekend I finally decided how to store my pins. You know that i collect jewelry, and that i especially love vintage pins. I wanted to be able to see them all, but have it be convenient and attractive. I've been toying with hanging them on the back of my closet door, but was unhappy with my previous option of putting them on ribbons. I found a piece of pink burlap (burlap comes in COLORS?) that i must have bought years ago. (i BOUGHT burlap?!?) It seemed like a good color to highlight the pins without overwhelming the room and a good texture from which to hang the pins, so i washed, dried and ironed it. (ironing is from the devil) Then it was time to cut it to the right size. Have you ever cut burlap? It is nearly impossible to get it even cause the edges unravel. A long, long time later it was right; i hemmed the top and sewed in a dowel that had already been cut, sanded and painted. Then i had to hang the pins (grouped loosely by type and distributed for even weight, of course) Voila - the pins are done and i'm pretty happy with it.

Life can be lovely

You know how we all have days where everything seems off, not clicking, missing the mark and frustrating? Today was the exact opposite of that day. Gloriously, everything fell into place all day long. I think that it is because we went to the cutest town in the world today - Fawn Grove, PA. The adorable quotient of this town is so high that it leaks out to everything and everybody surrounding it. Team member, Miriam and I were ahead of schedule this morning, so we took a fun, twisty over-land route to get to our school. The sun rose beautiful and golden over the rolling hills of frozen farmland. We saw 2 really, really shaggy llamas in their winter coats. Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" was on the radio and, jeez, who doesn't love that song? [sure it kills any musical credibility you might have, but just TRY to listen to it with out going Sweet Caroline - BUM, BUM, BUM at the top of your lungs; it's gotta make ya smile, shameful or not] We roll into town and notice that the street sign have little deers on them (many tiny PA towns have little icons on their street signs) but on closer inspection we realize that they aren't just any deers, no they are indeed wee fawns - the cutest fawns ever (of course they had a "Mill Street" - what tiny town doesn't?) Being 40 minutes EARLY for set-up (how did that happen?) we drove around town (took about 7 minutes from corner to corner to corner to corner, including stopping to take the sign pics) and noticed this intriguing sign: crafts, coffee and aerobics? In the same place? yep. There is yoga and dance as well. A couple who grew up in the town and own the house across the street bought the old hardware store after the owner dies and converted it into a coffee house and a dance studio. The owner was there with her 3 month old son; she talked to us while we drank our tea and ate homemade muffins (keep in mind that we are being PAID during this). They tried to keep as much of the cool old tools and things from the hardware store, using them as decorations. It was truly charming as opposed to "bought on E-Bay" charming. As we are talking and laughing and admiring her handsome baby, "Sweet Caroline" comes on CD player. I kid you not. Feeling warm and tingly from all of the homespun-ness and tea we left for our school (about 2 minutes away, if you catch the traffic bad) which was ready for us and had a custodian standing by to direct us to the correct door. Circling the building, we turned right into the sun and had to pause for a moment - BLINK,BLINK; BLINK,BLINK; is that a snowman in front of our door? yes. yes, it is. Sure, there's no snow on the ground, but that won't keep the cutest town from having a snowman with bottle cap eyes and penny buttons from waiting to greet us. Still don't think it is the cutest place, ever? The arms aren't just branches, they are branches from a pussy willow. really. Miriam and I are so filled with adorableness at this point that the thought of setting up to do shows is jarring. Luckily, the MPR (multi-purpose room for those of you who don't live in elementary schools) is Candy Cane Lane (sorry these 2 are so dark; i can't put my editing software on my new computer yet) Still decorated from the Winter play or something we had cheerful elves to acclimate us to the real world. Of course it was hardly the real world since all of our classes had less than 20 students each. And the kids were cute, polite, smart and on-task. I swear i spent the day in a Frank Capra movie. It was nice.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I just got out of the staff preview for U23D in Imax. WOW This concert movie of U2's Vertigo tour, shot in South America , is "the first digital 3D, multi-camera, real time production-brought to life with over 100 hours of footage with the largest collection of 3D camera technology ever used on a single project." I have never seen 3D used to such great effect. The music was great (you know i loves me some U2), but the visuals were astounding. One moment you're watching an ordinary - albeit Imax-sized - concert video and then you realize Bono is singing about 3 feet away from your face. Once you adjust to the cool 3D, they start throwing in layer after layer of images. At one point, the words projected on the screen behind the band are suddenly in the air between you and the band. It is remarkable. The movie open tomorow in select cities. If you have a 3D Imax theater near you, go see this movie. If you don't, find one, drive there and go see this movie. You should go now; forget about work; just get up from your desk and GO.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Objects Found

My local antique/collectible/junk shop - Objects Found - is moving. This place had a bit of everything if you were willing to search for it. I have consigned several things there and like the staff. It is really sad that the location where they have been for 8 years is closing, but the new store is walking distance from my house. Yesterday i spent several hours helping the owner sort and pack stuff. It is amazing to see how much STUFF can fit into a small space. I thought i had a lot of stuff until i started packing this place. There were piles for the dump, piles for a yard sale, piles for storage and piles to go to the new location. Reggie has been working on the move for weeks and she is obviously ready for it to be done. There were great deals to be found. I got an entire set of pink dogwood china (including meat platter, serving bowl, sugar bowl and creamer) for $1. Yes, i did say $1. Also, she let me pick through the pile for the dump. I love antique store trash; it is always stuff just screaming to be remade into something else. Goodbye to the old store; i'll miss you.

Super Science Day

There is a school in Delaware that books us for "Super Science Day" every year. There are presenters for different types of science and math, discovery stations and the science fair going on all at the same time. The whole school does science all day long. It is really fun; plus, free lunch for the presenters. Going through an elementary science fair is an experience in and off itself. There are the obligatory paper mache volcanoes, fun with magnets, static electricity balloons, density bottles, tadpoles and models of our solar system. This year i saw a project i actually have never seen before: make your own lip balm. Twin sisters worked on various proportions of vegetable shortening, honey and kool-aid to get the right formula. The best parts were that they had "celebrity endorsements" as part of their backdrop and that we could make our own lip balm. Yum! The one thing that always makes me giggle at these events are the robots. They aren't working robots, mind you; instead, they are models made from trash that the kids have imagined what they could do, if they were real. I don't understand it, but it makes me smile.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Baby Steps

Slowly, ever so slowly, I am getting technology back. The computer showed up on my desk 2 days ago. Then it was hooked up to the internet, but not my network. I've just spent 20 minutes trying to reproduce my favorites file (about halfway there, i'd say). Today i took some pictures at our school to post about the joy of "Super Science Day" and then remembered that this computer still doesn't have the camera software on it. Maybe by Monday i will have everything where it needs to be so that i can start posting on a regular basis again. sigh

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


2008 is off to quite a start. Have you ever heard of a doom bubble? Life has natural ups and downs that cycle for all of us; a doom bubble is when it seems like the down cycles seem to converge. I, personally, am just fine (knock on wood, light a candle, say a prayer) but i seem to be sitting adjacent to a doom bubble. It is better than being IN the bubble of course, but it is early yet. Let's start at the beginning of the year, shall we: -Jonah developed a crazy sub-dermal infection called cellulitis, which is rare enough that i had to call Matt to get him explained to me; he was released from the hospital, but had to deal with phrases like "drainage, "seepage" and "calamine-colored fluid." - Mom's medication was wrong so the doctor has been playing with the dosage; if you don't know "playing with the dosage" of an epileptic meds is a fiddly business; Mom has to re-learn to walk and control her muscles (she's doing great, BTW) - last weekend my dad fell off of a ladder and broke his hip; a pin and a plate later he was ready to start rehab when they discovered his broken wrist -the next day my mom's really good friend died while walking her dog -yesterday i talked to Jonah, he's going into surgery next week to have nearly 2 feet of intestine removed -yesterday i got to work and Erin wasn't at her desk; apparently she's in the hospital - they removed 2 gall stones yesterday and she has her gall bladder removed later this afternoon -last night i called Matt to check on his first week of class (both school and work) and found him driving home fro the airport; he'd been home over the weekend for his grandmother's funeral, who had died last Tuesday -i walked into the office an hour ago and Logistics Coordinator Wendy's eye is bright red, swollen and weeping; we're waiting for her husband to come get her to take her to the doctor phew... i'm exhausted just from sending the get well and condolence cards. As i said before, i'm fine, just concerned for all those that i love. Please send good thoughts and prayers for all the afflicted, grieving and their various families. I hope the rest of you are 1) alive, 2) in reasonably good health, 3) in good spirits and 4) LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Crash and Burn

There was a brown-out at work over the holidays, frying lots and lots of things. It seemed that my computer was fine, but alas it started having a nervous breakdown yesterday. With limited internet at home and no computer at work, don't be surprised if i am not around quite as often for a little while. I'll try to update when i can find internet access. BTW - there is an update on the Tuesday post.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Never Gets Old

Mayhaps you have a dim recollection of me submitting cards for the themes "Change of Heart" and "odds & ends" back in July. You might recall that my favorite from both batches was a painted card with a jaunty flower that i made from some leftover fiber. While I was in FL I found out that my loopy flower is published in this month's Stamper's Sampler. I gotta say that i can't imagine that it ever gets old to see something you made in a national publication. I am excited, but humbled that anyone would think my work is good enough to print. I know that a lot of you lurking readers are way more talented than me. Be brave; submit some of your own work too. It doesn't hurt and you never know what could happen. Jan 10th UPDATE: Kaaren went to the website link and noticed that my card is there under the theme features! I hadn't even looked cause it never occured to me that it might be there; they only post a few pieces from each theme. Wow. I just changed the link above to the one that takes you where my piece is posted. Thanks Kaaren.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Mystery Picture

You just don't expect to find mystery pictures on a digital camera. I mean, on a roll of film you-betcha there might be something unexpected - a picture you forgot you took or accidentally took or a weird exposure or something. (i have this cool picture of me and Matthew swirled with trees or something from an accidental double exposure on Spring Break a thousand years ago) But generally i look at the pictures i take on the digital camera right after i take them. Imagine my surprise when i uploaded the winter break photos and found this. What IS that? It is from when i was at the beach. It is nestled between pictures i was taking of the shells. What is it? How did it happen? Why is it purple? I just don't know. But i do quite like it.


I love New Year's. I am pretty introspective most of the time so i completely embrace a holiday that contains as part of the celebration a tradition of self evaluation. Hopefully we all set goals and self-adjust consistently, but I am all about New Year's resolutions. It's a chance to publicly declare ways in which we intend to make ourselves better. In the past I've e-mailed my resolutions to people, but now i have this handy dandy blog. First, let's see how i did with last year's resolutions: 1. Reconnect with friends and family – CHECK (i love you blog) 2. Volunteer more – CHECK 3. Make flossing a habit – umm... (it is still the first part of the night time ritual to be cut if i'm sleepy) 4. Visit at least one new state – CHECK (MO and AR) 5. Give blood (you wuss) – CHECK (twice in fact) Four of five: not bad, i guess. So here are this year's. Niki's Resolutions for 2008 1. Make better language choices 2. Give thanks more often 3. Finish unpacking moving boxes 4. Put my work up for sale We'll see how it goes over the next 12 months. Anybody want to share your resolutions? I hope everyone had a nice New Year's and has a fabulous 2008.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Welcome Back

Hello from the Nikiverse! It was a lovely break. In the spirit of all of those "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" essays foisted upon us in elementary school, here is a quick recap of what i did over the last 2 weeks. I flew to FL on Dec 21st, went to Ft Meyers Beach and hung with my dad and his girlfriend, Shirley. The next day i drove to Orlando to visit Douglas. We had a great time and tried a new sushi place. He had to work the overnight shift at the Park Plaza Hotel in Winter Park, so i got to sleep in a $250 a night room - it was pretty plush. After lunch the next day i drove to Deltona to visit with David and Kaaren. It amazing how big their kids are already. We had a fun dinner and David and I stayed up till 4 catching up. After a late breakfast of pancakes I set out for Gainesville, but partway there i came to my senses and realized there was not actually enough time in the day to drive all the miles i had to drive. So no Mel and Mike this trip. sigh. I arrived at my Mom's in North Port around dinner time. After much discussion on which Christmas Eve service to attend, we ended up not going to any, which was probably a good thing cause my sister called to say that her ex-husband had just died. He was really sick, but the timing was a bit unexpected. I spent quite a bit of time on the phone with my sis and my nephews, but it was still a good night. Mom and i had a nice leisurely Christmas morning with a visit from my aunt and uncle. Then i made a full turkey dinner for my mom and 2 of her neighbors, Miss Ceily and Miss Evelyn. We dressed for dinner cause Mom wanted pictures of us together: The next day was beach day I went to my favorite beach, Nokomis, which is on Casey Key (in the Gulf, of course). I've been going here since i was little. The beach is mostly made of shells which i love. It was a little cold, but i did go in (at least to my waist) Mom and i had a really nice dinner at home and worked on some projects. The next day we were supposed to go to Myakka State Park, but it was grey and foggy and gross so we slept in instead. After finishing several more projects i drove back to my dad's in North Ft Meyers. We barbecued, had Christmas and played cards till late. After a few hours of sleep it was back to the airport and back to MD. Matt picked me up and we spent the day hanging out and finally found the road to the giant woman in the middle of the forest on the side of 95. (alas i didn't have my camera) Saturday was an errand day with a trip to the trainer in the middle. Sunday Matt and I went on a tiny adventure. Some of the highlights include cheese steaks in Philly (he really loves ketchup; it was really hard to get a pic with the drip in the frame) after touring some of the more scenic neighborhoods (we were a bit lost), eating ice cream in an ice storm in NJ and discovering that there really IS ivy all over Ivy League schools (at least there is at Princeton) New Year's eve i went to the gym, gave blood and had a relaxing night at home. Tuesday i started the year out right with shopping, errands, writing a new budget and some home improvement projects. While Wednesday I designed and made the first batch (about 50) of New Year's cards. Then it was back to work. Overall, i traveled 3000 miles (2000 by plane and 1000 by car), visited 13 people and was in 5 different states. It was a nice break from work, but i certainly wouldn't call it restful!