Thursday, June 30, 2011

worth a thousand words

found when i came back to my desk

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

truth is truth no matter where it is found

This week i am posting 2 quotes instead of one
Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives.
-C.S. Lewis

Everyone can understand from natural experience and common sense that affection is crucial from the day of birth; it is the basis of life.
-Dalai Lama
Written 100 years apart by men of different faiths they both capture the same sentiment: that which makes life worth living is not tangible, but emotional. Though a backbone of my own philosophy, it is a truth that i've let slip from the forefront of my mind lately.
I've been working steadily on catching up the backlog of blog posts. Many of them involve people in my life for whom i have great affection, but i've been writing so quickly, trying to get them done that i haven't spent time thinking about what i'm writing; i've let the emotion take a back seat to the deadline.
The quote from the Dalai Lama was Twittered last week and it gave me pause for a moment, but it wasn't until i read the C.S. Lewis quote this morning that the message sank in. I need to take a breath and experience every facet of my life, not just cross things off of my Master To-Do List. I love that both of these quotes crossed my desk right when i needed them.

{psssssst: i love you guys; thanks for spending time with me here}

Monday, June 27, 2011

Oh, Henry

A few weeks ago i participated in the National Road Yard Sale. It was a hoot; you can read Michelle's account of it here, along with pictures of her and Cassie doing a rousing rendition of the Village People's YMCA with Y-A-R-D.
But the most important thing to know about that day is that in payment for my hard work i acquired Henry:
Yes, he is a devilled egg plate shaped like a chicken.
I can not explain my deep love of this odd object.
Every time i look at him i get the giggles.
It is just so... so... RIDICULOUS.
Maybe Rea had control of the brain that day -you are aware that my BFF and I share a brain, right?- or something, but i just HAD to have this chicken plate. I said to myself, Self, you could get him and send him to Ohio, but i knew that i was lying. I just wanted him for myself.
And yes, i'm aware that most of you, including those who raise chickens, might try to convince me that this is a hen and not a rooster, but i KNOW in my heart of hearts that it is a boy and his name is Henry.
The only real question i have is about his maker's mark: Teleflora. Teleflora? Aren't they the flower people? What kind of bouquet comes with a chicken-shaped egg plate?
Anyhoo... he's mine now.
Anyone having a cookout? I'll bring the devilled eggs!

Friday, June 24, 2011

nothing says Thank You...

... quite like a giant pile of bacon.

The new theater show went great yesterday -thanks to everyone who wished me well- even though it wasn't fully staged since Jason is in Houston. Co-worker Abby spent 2 days that she should have been using to finish preparing for her summer camp next week learning enough of the show to partner me.
In celebration and as thanks, I took her out to lunch after the show. She order a white pizza with bacon and the cook was not messing around, people; there was so much bacon on it that you couldn't actually see the cheese underneath. Abby loves some bacon, but had to pick off so much as she ate the pizza that she ended up with a pile of bacon to take home and use in some other meal.
Perhaps it was the released tension of finally getting through the show, but we were both giddy with delight at her pile of thank you bacon.
So remember, when someone has gone out of their way to help you, think salted, cured pork products.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

they're selling what?

Yesterday i went with co-worker Jami to a huge restaurant supply and wholesale grocery store to get supplies for work when we turned down this aisle:
Thank goodness, they have them.
If i need to pick my toots or want guests at a party i am hosting to be able to pick their toots, this store sells toot picks in various styles by the case.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

yes, i am that sexy

It's been a busy afternoon. I was able to get the last prop built for the show, but had a few issues with realizing my vision. [It really shouldn't be this hard to create a multi-layered, reflective holder for 20 tealights, people. In fact, i would really like it if a store could carry things from my imagination so that i could just buy them instead of having to create them from scratch.]
Anyhoo, after revising the design several times and having to compromise on the color, my candleholder is drying in the lab. I'm taking a wee break and glanced down at my hand as i picked up my water glass:

aaaauuuugghhhhhhh... looks diseased
I went to the bathroom to wash up and realized that i am covered in streaks of red, have sawdust in my hair and seriously need hand lotion.
I look like i fought a war in the lab, for the love of Pete.

Let's take a closer look at that sad little index finger. Even after washing with a nail brush (okay, fine; i used a test tube brush; you gotta be resourceful, people) we should be able to reconstruct my afternoon:

I am really glad that everyone else has gone home; I am a dang sight.

mental doughnut

After 18 years of performing, I am really comfortable on stage.
In fact, the only time i get nervous at all is when i premier something brand new.
Unfortunately, i get really, really, really nervous - panicky, sweaty nervous.
It only lasts until the show actually starts; once i'm talking i'm fine, but it is uncomfortable up until that point.
On Thursday, i premier the new summer theater program at work and i can already feel some butterflies emerging from their coccoons in my tummy.
Perhaps it is because there is one experiment that i still haven't been able to get 100% right.
Perhaps it is because there is a prop that i still need to build, but i don't have a key to the shop.
Perhaps it is because i am suppossed to train someone that i just met yesterday on the show tomorrow, but i don't know him or have any idea what our chemistry will be like on stage and the key to the success of the show is the chemistry between the presenters.
Perhaps it is because after the training, he won't even be at the premier; on Thursday i am literally going to do both sides of the show with an adult safety partner so i still won't know what the correct timing should be.
Perhaps it is because i directed and staged this show so if it sucks there is no one to blame but myself.
Perhaps it is because i lost my To Do list while i was just shopping at WalMart (it was in my pocket, then not; where could it have gone?).
Whatever the reason i am now officially starting to freak out.
Therefore, this week's quote will be about me not defeating myself; it comes from 12 Sharp, one of Janet Evanovitch's fabulous Stephanie Plum books. This character is truly the most unlikely heroine of all time; it is amazing that she even survives through the books since she is completely ill-equipped to be a bounty hunter. Whenever she and her sidekick -a former hooker who is addicted to fried chicken- get stressed out they visit the bakery, but in this quote she is flipping out by herself and can't leave to get to pastries:
Okay, take a deep breath, i told myself. Don't go all hormonal. Get the facts straight. Have a mental doughnut.
The first time i read it, i laughed myself silly.
Even more silly, however, is that it works.
I repeat those words to myself, imagine a lovely cruller or glazed vanilla cream and use the time it would take to eat it to gather my thoughts and breathe.
Ridiculous, but right now any little bit helps.

Monday, June 20, 2011

a case of the Mondays

5 AM: what the heck is the noise?
Why won't it stop?
Somebody make it stop.
Crap; it's my alarm clock.
5 AM?
Two weeks of sleeping in until 7:30 has made me forget that 5 AM exists.
Reset to 5:30, which seems more reasonable.
In what world could 5:30 be considered a reasonable time to get up?

so dreary outside...
so very, very dreary...
If i have to get up at this indecent hour, can't there at least be clear skies and birds singing?
Even the birds elected to go back to the nest when they saw this crappy, crappy morning.

There is only one way to make it today -

now that's cheerful
 a giant, daisy in my hair.
Mayhaps that will chase the blech away.

Have a great, non-dreary Monday everybody.
At least, try.

Friday, June 17, 2011

yes, i do feel lucky

Because as co-worker Abby said after seeing this picture,

i feel lucky to have been born with good taste.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

summer storm

There's nothing like feeling the pressure shift as evening falls after a hot, hot, hot summer day. You can hear the leaves rustling just a little bit more and sense the hot breeze is heralding a change. The sky is too dark to show clouds, but you know it's coming. You can feel it.
It seems like the whole world is holding its breath when you finally catch the rumble of distant thunder.
You can hear it moving, pacing closer.
The wind picks up, blowing hot around you with just a flirt of chill.
Was that a drop?
Closer and closer, the rumbles turn to cracks.
Until the sky lights up like the day.
By lightening flashes you can see the storm rolling towards you, knowing that the incessant heat is about to break... any time now...
More lightening.
More thunder.

Was that a drop?

Was that?

From one fat drop landing on the lens to a thousand
mini pools of water falling from the sky, in an instant the rain has arrived.

Time to close the camera and dance.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

take that!

I walked by the soda machine in the hallway on my way to the elevator and thought, hmmmmmm... Something looks odd here...

Is that a plastic knife shoved in the coin slot?
Why yes; yes, it is.
I know this machine steals your dollar sometimes, but doesn't stabbing it seem a bit extreme, people?
Gosh, i hope the soda machine learned its lesson...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I dream big.
I always have.
When i look at things, people, situations, opportunities, etc. i see the biggest, best, most sparkley version that it can possibly be.
It is a great attribute cause it allows me to find potential is just about anything or anyone. I am always pushing, pushing, pushing to find a way to be better.
When i was younger it could be a destructive impulse as i tried to achieve a level of perfection that is unattainable. With maturity came the understanding that excellence and perfection are very different creatures so now i can balance desire with reality.
Generally, on a day to day basis, i can set reasonable, attainable goals for myself without feeling like i compromise my dreams.
But sometimes, sometimes i slip and the vision overshadows possibility.
There are so many incredible opportunities right now at work and in the art community that recently i've felt myself overwhelmed to the point of inaction. You know when you have so many choices that you can't pick one? That's where i've been for the last week.
So this week's quote from Robert Rankin's the hollow chocolate bunnies of the apocalypse is a message to myself to Keep it Simple, Stupid:
"I told you before: when things are not as they appear to be, it's because they're actually simpler than you think them to be. Things are never as difficult and complicated as folks believe. You'd be surprised just how straight forward and obvious things really are. the secret is in knowing how to look at then the right way."

Monday, June 13, 2011


Schools spend a lot of time, money and energy trying to get students to make good choices and behave in socially acceptable ways. It is fascinating to see all the different tactics from Pillars of Character to mascots to rewards programs. Sometimes, though, what i'm sure must have been a great idea gets lost in translation. Take this poster for instance:
We all agree that it is generally a good idea to keep hands, feet and other objects to ourselves, buuuuuuut why are all of those letters capitalized? Normally that indicates an acronym. What the heck does khfooty mean?
Does it have something to do with that crazy little super hero dude?
Look at his hands on his hips.
He's supremely happy with himself.
Perhaps khfooty is his super power?
Maybe his name is Khfooty? Kaptain Khfooty?
Or mayhaps his battle cry of KHFOOTY can be heard ringing through the hallways as he rushes in to combat the dreaded he's-touching-me-she's-touching-me-he's-touching-me.
Whatever it is, this poster has been in this school's cafeteria for at least 3 years and it still reduces me to giggles every time i see it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

because the need is constant

I figure one-third of the way through the month i should get around to choosing a June charity. This was the first month that i didn't have one already picked out from the beginning.
hmmmmmmmm... i thought. There are plenty of worthy charities around, including ones i've supported in the past, but nothing jumped right out at me.
As I was poking around it seems to me that there have been a lot more natural disasters recently. I mean, i'm not sure if there really ARE more or if in our age of instant and constant information we are just more aware of them.
Anyhoo, anytime there is a major disaster it seems like the Red Cross is in the forefront of relief. I know they get great donations in times of crisis, but i wonder if monetary donations, like blood donations, drop off when there aren't pictures plastered everywhere in peoples' faces.
Sooooo, it seems like now would be a good time to throw my 1500 cents into the pile. The donation page for the American Red Cross, which can be accessed from my sidebar, has a minimum donation of $10, but i really like that you can earmark how you'd like your donation to be used. 

sometimes the unexpected is delicious instead of ironic

On her way out of the office Stacey says There's some leftover Rita's in the freezer; help yourself so i figure she couldn't finish her bowl or something and didn't want it to go bad as she was off for a few days.
Instead i find FOUR full sized tubs from a lunch meeting, including my very favorite flavor - cherry.
Super score!
If you live in a state that does not have Rita's you might not understand that eating their Italian Ice is a vital summer-time ritual; i weep for you.
In the spirit of trying something new i ignored the cherry and tried the mango, instead.
It was delightful.
Thanks, Stacey.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Irony can be a harsh mistress

There is no better way to start out the last day of the work week than with a hearty chuckle and i have no qualms with being the source of your mirth, so here you go:

I injured myself while doing an African Healing dance.

Go ahead and laugh; i know it is ridiculous.
Oh people, this is my life.

I bow to you Madame Irony

{btw, my knee feels much better now; thanks for asking}

why i hate formatting changes

So i've been trying to catch up on blog post -per my 40 list- as there are, no joke, about 20 in the queue right now. Somewhat recently i changed over to the newer Blogger posting format. I really like that it is easier to hang pictures in text, put on captions, and edit within the blog, plus i super love that i can see an accurate post preview.
 However i don't like that you can't stack pictures or change a picture to non-text hanging without doing it in HTML and who has the time for that nonsense?
But, i had convinced myself that it wasn't that big of a deal.
Until now.
I had to look up an old post to answer a comment -Michelle, i have your hair picture answer in the comments of the Jewelry Roundup- and found that all of my old posts changed over to the new formatting.
Which totally screws up the spacing.
If you back-read, it now looks like i don't understand the concept of paragraphs and stick pictures in the middle of sentences for no reason.
I guess in my vast free time i'll go back and check the format on every single flippin' post - you know, there's only like 940 of them!

phew... just had to let that out... i might be over-tired... sorry

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Operation Beautiful

My beloved BFF is working on a 101 things in 1001days list (which is amazing, but way too long of a commitment for me) and one of the items was to leave Operation Beautiful notes. I had no idea what that meant so i looked it up and fell in love with the idea.
Basically, you leave inspirational and encouraging post-it notes in random places. The intention is to brighten the day of random strangers and get them to appreciate themselves. A lot of the notes are left in women's bathrooms because that is were some of the most destructive self-talk happens.
I was inspired to include this on my 40 List and have done about 30 post-its so far.
For anybody visiting the Nikiverse today:
You are truly unique; embrace who you are, not who others want you to be.
I really appreciate you spending time with me.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

the Force was not with them

We have been trying various experiments with Peeps for our summer theater program at work.
In response to Frack's fervent wish from yesterday's comments, I did indeed bath a Peep in 30% H2O2

oops; mayhaps i should have worn gloves

 (hydrogen peroxide that is 10 times more concentrated than the stuff you have in your bathroom cabinet; if you get it on your skin, it instantly lyses the cells, as illustrated brilliantly by the photo of the idiot at right)

Just like it did a great job stripping my skin, the Peep's sugary blue layer was quickly dissolved and then much more slowly some of its marshmallowy innards were broken down. It wasn't very interesting, frankly, except that the eyeball floating in the solution never did break down.

However, what was interesting happened yesterday when i combined burning magnesium ribbon with Peeps; it looked a little like they were brandishing light sabers.
You could even get them to look like they were dueling, or more likely (since all Peeps are brethren in sugar), to look like they were crossing sabers in a Jedi salute.

We are the three Peepskateers!
Through many trials i was able to find about the right length of magnesium for a brilliant white burn that lasted long enough to look awesome, but not long enough to set off fire detectors. Unfortunately, there were some injuries:

                  In fact, by the end there was quite a bit of Peepy carnage. I like to call this picture, Peeps Bonfire Gone Horribly Wrong
ohhhhh, the humanity
Yes, this really is what i do for a living. Now, if you'll excuse me, lunch is over so i need to go secure the newly delivered tank of sulfur hexaflouride (heavier than air gas that will make me sound like Barry White) and then go practice slingshotting water balloons at the museum.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

somewhat common situations around my office

If you are hungry, fTM Megan will whip you up some hot dogs on a thermal plate,

then TM Sam will use a propane torch to toast the marshmallows on a S'mores Pie next to VanDeGraaff generator wreckage.

When the new, stronger VDG (400,000Volts instead of 125,000Volts) arrives everyone wants to stand in line to feel the shock and Commander Laura is peer pressured into being the first to fully touch it among cries of Do it, Do it, Do it.
And Accounts Payable in the finance office doesn't even blink anymore when you turn in receipts for 1140 Peeps.
Why so many Peeps? you ask.
Tune in tomorrow.

Quick Quotes 6

It has been forever since a Quick Quote, but not because my co-workers are any less hilarious.
Across the office from me, Abby was working on her summer camp about the science of magic when she busted out with, That's not science. That's the opposite of science. That's lying! to no one in particular.
Yes, Abby dear, that's kinda the point of magic.
Her tone, though, was so personally affronted that it sent the rest of us into gales of laughter from which it was difficult to recover.
Sometimes it is hard to believe that we ever get anything done around here.

Monday, June 6, 2011

changes are a-coming

This is the only full week without programming that i have between school and summer seasons this year; instead of taking a few days off i'll be plowing away at refining a theater program that the team put together, finishing write-ups for summer activities, preparing for one new team member, trying to find another and attempting to write summer schedules when i still don't know what the summer will bring for my team.
It is exhilarating to be on the cusp of an evolution despite the uncertainty and work, which brings us to this week's quote from a poem by Nissa Middon:
The future is coming, never you worry,
coming to find and greet and keep you.
Don't fight or flee or cry aloud,
rather run out to meet it,
with arms outstretched and heart held proud.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

a suitable end

Friday was the last day of regular programming for my team.
In some ways this has been one of the best and one of the worst years in my career.
It has certainly seen a lot of changes, that's for sure.
But through it all, the actual moments with kids -on stage or in a classroom or at the museum- makes everything worthwhile.
Plus, it really is a job that puts you in situations every day that you never quite expect.
I was doing the last shows of the season with Adult Safety Partner Jasmine when we decided that since the heat had broken we'd eat lunch at a nearby park. There was a super playground, so of course we went to play after eating and i spotted something i had never seen before - drums on the playground:

Yes, indeed; gourd shakers, bongos and congas all formed in plastic and attached right to the super-structure. For being plastic, they actually sounded pretty good.

Do i even need to tell you how happy playing drums in the sunshine between my final shows of the year made me?

Friday, June 3, 2011

what do you see?

As you know, I am a big fan of public art, but sometimes...
...i'm just not so sure about it. This is on a street corner in Northern Virginia. At first all i saw was a glump of metal, then a stag beetle, then a little kid playing drums and now it's like a transformer gone horribly wrong.
What's your interpretation?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

like lemon italian ices

I love irises and have seen them in a multitude of colors, but was surprised by these in front of Jason and Kate's house
I don't know if i'd call them yellow with white or white with yellow, but i'd definitely call them lovely.