Monday, May 31, 2010

did we just drop acid?

I am visiting the lovely Colleen, Esq in Virginia and this evening we were perusing the movies OnDemand when my eye caught Repo! The Genetic Opera.
With a title like that it demanded a closer look.
The actors listed under the title were Anthony Head and Paris Hilton.
Giles and Paris Hilton? How is that possible? What could that look like? Colleen was laughing so hard that we just had to order it. Instead of special 3D glasses, i feel like the movie came with complimentary LSD for that very special hallucino-vision.
It was... was... i can't even describe it. Stylized. Moody. Partially animated. Lots of gasmasks. A drug-pushing, pimp graverobber.
Paris Hilton - singing.
The girl from Spy Kids - bald and singing.
Paul Sorvino - singing in a wig.
Giles slashing people open and singing.
Is that Sarah Brightman? How did Sarah Brightman end up here? I'm not sure Sarah Brightman and Paris Hilton should even be allowed in the same restaurant together, much less the same movie.
Wait, did Joan Jett just make an appearance?
Did i mention the plot is about repossessing internal organs after an apocalypse?
And like all operas, it does not end happily. But you might have guessed that.
We both figured that we would watch a little and laugh and then move on to something else, but we watched the whole thing. We had to see it through. It was compelling in its lunacy. I felt like i couldn't look away. The actors that could sing could really, really sing well and those that couldn't were like a train wreck. By the end i just had to see if anyone survived. And if Paris Hilton managed to keep her clothes on to the end. (luckily, she does; however, her face does peel off. really)
I honestly don't know if i am recommending this movie or not.
I need some Doritos.
And maybe a shower.
And maybe a therapy session or 12.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

kinda disturbing testimonial

Do you ever find yourself in the 24-hour grocery/drug store/megalamart, late at night, aimlessly wandering the aisles, absorbing all of the pop detritus of our society?
I do.
I have a serious weakness for the 24-hour CVS and Walgreens.
They have everything you can imagine.
 Really, everything; except for the one thing i was looking for, of course. I needed a new phone for my land line as the 2-phone/one-rings-in-but-one-calls-out/wait-the-wall-cord-is-damaged-so-i-have-to-hold-it-in situation was not working for me anymore, but alas there were none to be found that weren't cordless (i don't like cordless phones. Why? beats me; i just don't) so instead i found myself just browsing up and down the aisles, letting my eyes dance over the colors and shapes while i hatched a phone plan.
Turning the corner of an endcap i was stopped by this
What is that?!?
Let's remember that i don't have television, so anything marked As Seen on TV has indeed never been seen by me on TV. I read the packaging, snickered and walked away.
Then, 2 aisles later, i walked back.
You see, i live in an old house.
I have slow drains.
 At least once a year, sometimes twice, i do the liquid drain chemical gakiness to keep them flowing. That stuff can't be good for my ancient pipes. It can't be good for the environment. It can't be good for me to even be in the same room with it.
What if the TurboSnake works?
What if it can keep my drains running without chemicals?
 Isn't that worth a try?
Isn't that worth $10?
Yes it is.
I bought the TurboSnake.
Technically, i bought 2, since there are 2 sizes in the pack. Okay. There they are. Heavy-duty wrapped wire with velcro on the end. Really? What was i thinking? You thread the velcro end down the drain until you meet resistance, then you do this twirly motion and then you pull it out.
I tried the smaller sink one and hooked some stray hair and stuff, but was mostly unimpressed.
On to the larger tub size. I tried a few times that ended in frustration. No mater which way i tried, i couldn't get the dang thing to thread. My tub is ancient and fully enclosed so there is no way to know which direction the plumbing runs. But you know how failure just stiffens my resolve. On trial #6 i finally found the correction direction (straight back, then down, then back again - weird) and threaded the TurboSnake down about a foot and a half, did the magic twirling and started to pull it back out. There was a bit of resistance and i could see some hair on the velcro end as it reached the drain, but as i pulled the snake out, more stuff kept coming with it. And more stuff. And more stuff. It was alarming, to say the least.
  Jumping Jehoshaphat!
Look at that nastiness.
Remember, my drain wasn't even clogged, just running a little slow. Since then, it has been draining like a champ.
I am simultaneously pleased with my purchase and disgusted by its use.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Help - i'm trapped!

Someone call my work phone - quick! I got back from my shows pretty late, but TM Amy was still at her desk. She had been captivated by the site because someone had posted it on a blog she reads. As i sat down at my desk to do paperwork she called out a few things she was seeing from the 80s and 90s that she remembered. After i finished work and got ready to do some backlogged blog posts i thought I'll go to the site and look at a few things. It's an hour later and i can't stop looking at all these pictures of stuff from my youth and squealing with delight. Amy just left about 5 minutes ago saying It's okay, there are only like 50 pages or so. Crap! I'm on page 23. Help me, people. Pull me out of my nostalgia.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

baby Collin

fTM Erin and her husband Steve welcomed their first child, Collin, into their family on Saturday night. Unfortunately, though a hefty 7 pounds, 11 ounces and 20 inches long, baby Collin is having some lung trouble. It seems he has congenital pneumonia and a few places in his lungs are collapsed so he is receiving antibiotics through a pic line and everyone is hopeful for a 5-7 day recovery. Please send happy thoughts and prayers their way. Congratulations on making it through the pregnancy and delivery, Erin. I'm sure this will all work out and Collin will move into his new nursery soon. Much love.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I do still actually use my studio

I finished a set of cards for Kate and Jason's son (in time for his 6 week birthday), but forgot to take pictures of them. Kate posted about them so i grabbed her pictures and collaged them. So in response to the recent query by a curious party, I am still working on projects just not as much as normal since my paying job is hectic. My current project is another dozen baby cards, this time in green and yellow, featuring the letter C.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

how about some wedding pics, finally?

If you have never been in the bride's changing room before a wedding, it is a unique experience. There's a station for hair touch-ups, and one for makeup touch-ups, and everyone is in some state of flux between regular clothes and girlie outfits. There was some music rehearsal going on, (Francie actually sang at her own service, with her friend Carmen and her dad, accompanied by the flute; it was lovely) while everyone also tried to eat some lunch and force-feed the bride. She was able to eat part of her veggie sub, leading to one of my favorite pictures of the pre-wedding activities of her trying to brush her teeth without getting anything on her handmade, Belgian lace veil. As the keeper of the dress (you'll recall that it lived in my closet for over 2 years and i went to all of the fittings last winter) it was my job to get Francie dressed. I will admit that i was a bit teary-eyed as i worked the corset back for the last time knowing that this wasn't another rehearsal, but the actual show. We took a few obligatory shots of the ladies, Muneever, Francie, Amy and Elizabeth pictured here with lunch remnants - i am a classy photographer including ones intended to break the nervousness. Give me pouty, now sexy, now stern, now cheetah, now like you are having fun, hey don't laugh! We spent a few moments of serious centering, talking about why we were gathered together and praying, which resulted in Francie crying with her mom and then it was time. There was no photography allowed during the service, but Francie asked me to quick catch her with her dad where i promise they were happy, just concentrating. Also, you can finally get a look at her bouquet of white and peach roses that i finished at like 2am. (yes, i did get called out for taking those two pictures, but it was worth it) The service was very moving. We sang and prayed, Carmen and Jake's sister-in-law, Julie, did readings and there was an almost magical timber to the pastor's words about marriage since he is Jake's dad. There was also a special moment for me when we sang the Methodist doxology that i had faxed a copy of to Francie less than a week before, since she and i sat next to each other in children's choir playing tic-tac-toe and giggling 30 years ago. Right afterwards i went back to the dressing room to finish cleaning up (when will i get a personal assistant to do these things for me?) so i missed them exiting amid the bubbles, but i did get one shot of Francie wrapped in the white pashmina she had for warmth between the church and reception. I think she might be giving directions to the photographer. The reception started a few hours later in a beautiful Colonial Revival house from 1923 that was riverfront about 20 minutes away, called the McLean House All the rentals had been setup by the time i arrived and the bride's attendants were already heating up the food they made the day before. Those mitts look great with the dress, Amy. The appetizer table was ready to go with Muneveer's bouquet as decoration, and I was in charge of staging the cakes with faux grapes and real silver servers. There were toasts - best man and brother of the groom, Joe maid of honor, Elizabeth before we all tucked in to enjoy dinner. [no pictures, too busy eating, yum] One of the most trying things about getting married for Francie was probably that she hates having her picture taken, though she was gracious for those of us who can't help ourselves, [upon seeing this picture, TM Amy commented, For someone who doesn't like having her picture taken she certainly is photogenic. Yep.] and even enjoyed it sometimes, like this fabulous cleavage moment in the kitchen. By this point I had taken off her veil and put a nice comb of silk cherry blossoms in her hair and everybody was starting to really loosen up. By cake time i had also bustled her dress: There is nothing funnier than watching 2 very educated, multi-degreed people try in vain to figure out how to hold the knife to cut the cake but they finally got it. Aren't they adorable? I mean, really people, they are adorable together: Having just met Jake i can say that he seems really nice and down-to-Earth, but my favorite thing about him is how obviously relaxed and happy he makes my dear, dear friend oh, and his laugh which busts me up! Good Luck to you both, with much love -three weeks later- from Niki.

tracking the wild Niki

I mentioned before that Oregon was my 33rd state visited in the US, not counting airport states.
I am determined to make it to all 50.
I chart my progress on this wooden puzzle map
that hangs in my studio, over scrapbook binders, next to paper racks and under the fabric stash. The extra pieces are hanging in that bag underneath. Though it was 3 weeks ago, i just got around to gluing in the new piece last night. Hi there, Oregon! Once it was glued, i changed the state count on the bottom. Every time i add a state i like arrange the missing states to re-focus my internal adventure planning to gather more states. [also, i try to do it without looking at the map itself to re-check my geography skills] What happened, Mississippi? You are hanging out there all by your lonesome. All the other places i have yet to explore are connected to each other, except you. (and the 2 that aren't contiguous - anyone want to take me to Hawaii?) Anybody know a good reason -or any reason- to go to Mississippi? Otherwise, it looks like i need a roadtrip through the center of the country.

Why people, why?

This is the top of a cookbook i checked out of the library. Do you see all of those folded-down dog eared pages? There are over ten of them: we are talking double digits here, people. These are not accidental page folds, but crisp, precise diagonal page folds that someone did on purpose to mark recipes s/he wanted to try. I personally never fold book pages because i hate dog ears, but i don't care what you do to your own books in your own home.
This, however, is a LIBRARY book.
It does not belong to you, mystery-page-folding-person.
You were borrowing it.
Other people are going to use it after you.
You have damaged private property.
You didn't even have the courtesy to flatten the pages back down before you returned it.
What is wrong with you that you are so self-centered, self-involved that not only do you think it is okay to alter a library book, but it doesn't even occur to you that you should try to cover your tracks.
Stop being a selfish moron!

phew... i feel better; sorry you had to witness that fit, friends

Belated Birthday pics

I am now 39 years and 1 week old. Normally i am all over sharing my birthday celebrations, which can last up to a very tasteful 3-4 weeks, but life around here has been a bit hectic of late, pushing celebrations to the background. However, i have caught some free time between crisises (crises? hmmm...) to share the awesome things my team did to mark the High Holy day of the Nikiverse. That is the entrance to my desk. I love that you can just see the pink streamer and shark from last year's festivities (i really saw no reason to take them down) and that this year's purple streamers and glittery, cupcake banner were just hung right over them. TM Lindsey was in charge of decorations and she didn't hold back. That is even more confetti than I would have used. Brilliant. Everything got crepe papered, even Desmond, the monitor frog. Though i wasn't streamered myself, there was a matching, purple glitter sash for me to wear. Right in the middle of the chaos, TM Megan put my present a vinyl record bowl that she made. LOVE IT! The cake was fabulous. It was a chocolate, chocolate-chip bundt cake made and decorated by TM Sam to look like an animal cracker circus. TM Amy added glitter star candles to complete the fabulousity. I forgot to take a picture of the card, but TM Elise managed to find a matching glittery, pink, animals-parading-on-a-cake card for everyone to sign. I had several visitors to the celebration cubicle, including 2 former team members (Karen and Wendy) who came bearing jewelry. Thanks to the team and to everyone else who has helped me celebrate my natal day.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

preparing for the big day

note: my goal is to finish all of the wedding and Portland posts this week; good luck to me As i was working away on flowers the Friday before Francie's wedding, Jake (groom) was running errands, including picking up the reception rentals while the rest of the girls [Francie (bride), Nancy (mother), Elizabeth (maid of honor), Munevver (bridesmaid), Amy (bridesmaid) and Amna (former roommate)] were busy preparing the food for the reception. We were able to use the church's kitchen; it is handy when the groom's father is the pastor. Francie and Jake decided on a French Provincial theme for the food, including mushroom poofs, baguettes with brie, sugared grapes, sliced strawberries, roasted olives, spinach salad, a chicken/onion/apple dish that i don't know the name of, rosemary roasted potatoes, curry carrot puree and ratatouille with both red and white wine. To start with, they needed a few carrots: Have you ever seen so many carrots? Amna peeled carrots, Francie peeled carrots, I think Jake even peeled some carrots between errands. There were a LOT of carrots. Then there was a lot of potato dicing and vegetable chopping for the ratatouille, but i was elbow deep in roses by that point so there are no action shots. Just down the table from me, however, Nancy and Munevver were working on the cake decorations. This shot of them both looking concerned captured the moment when they realized that not only did the not have an upright mixer, they didn't even have a hand mixer. In fact, the only type of blender was the immersion stick that was brought for the carrots. So, they mixed, whipped and colored the frosting by hand. There were 2 layers of white cake with marionberry (teehee) filling and butter cream icing that had been baked and iced by a professional, but were naked and waiting. It had been decided that the cakes would not be tiered and that they would have decorative vines and grapes to keep with the theme. Make that happen, ladies. Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, Amy was starting the chicken. Wow; that is quite a bit of chicken. Amy looks very cheerful in this picture which is amazing when you consider that she had brown ALL of that chicken in butter in the one, itsy, weensie cast iron skillet. Good job, Amy. After it was browned, the chicken was layered with sliced apples and onions, soaked with Apple Jack apple brandy and then baked. Elizabeth was hard at work sugaring clusters of dark purple grapes. They were delicious. Once all of the food was being cooked, Elizabeth and Francie got to work on folding, collating (coalating?, colating?, - you know what i mean), stapling, hole punching and beribboning the programs. There was some frenzied clean-up when everyone in the wedding party had to go over to the sanctuary for the rehearsal. I continued to work on flowers, managing to finish everything except Francie's bouquet and the ribbons (but you know that already) while Amna pureed carrots and kept an eye on the chicken. The rehearsal dinner was at Jake's parent's condo building. It was a nice, low pressure gathering with lasagna, but i only got one picture adorable, but exhausted before i went back to the hotel to get ready for the bridal shower. Elizabeth had bought decorations and she and Amy had gotten refreshments, but neither could really scoot out of the rehearsal dinner to set up, so i volunteered. Molly, a college friend of Francie's, was already at the hotel with her family so i invited her up to my room and she was on balloons and streamers while i moved furniture and finished wrapping presents. very pretty, Molly I love this picture of Francie and her mom because you can see how tired everyone was by that point. Poor Francie was pretty much done, (compare that picture of her on a couch to this picture of her on a couch taken earlier) Hi Jake; you finally get a pic of you on this blog but i am proud of how well she rallied for opening presents, most of which were either black or red and didn't need to be pictured on this PG-rated blog. The party broke up around, well, sometime that felt really late and everyone scattered to their respective rooms to catch some sleep (or finish flowers) before meeting for beauty patrol and dress corsetting and of course getting married the next day.