Sunday, October 29, 2006

Textile Art Tutorials

Such cool information about things textile-related -- it makes me want to go work in my studio, even though I'm supposed to be grading and gardening today. {pout}

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Overdoing it again . . .

Too many hours of gardening today . . . hurty hurty! Still not done, either. *Sigh* But it was a lovely day and now we have more flowers in the garden.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Evolution of dance

Ok, I may be the last person to have seen The Evolution of Dance video on YouTube, but if you haven't seen it, you should check it out. I don't know whether to be impressed or appalled, but it certainly made me laugh!

Strange toys . . .

So now we have to feel guilty about throwing away used tissues and hug our tampons? These are the new, avant-garde plush toys, and who knows? Perhaps they'll start a whole new generation of plushies. ***nudge nudge, wink wink***

Too much time on your hands?

Try creating creatures from bed linens and towels! Martha Stewart, eat your heart out.

Monday, October 16, 2006

It was a good day

I kicked off this semester's Psychology Brown Bag series today with a talk entitled Gay, Bi, Lesbian, or Straight? Sexual Orientation is Not Categorical. The brown bag series was my idea, and I organize it each semester. This is our second semester of the series, and they have been really well-received and well-attended. I buy the food (usually way more than we need -- I can't help it!), set up the space, organize the speakers, do the advertising, and so far, I've also been a speaker both semesters. Today's talk went really well -- lots of students and faculty came, and the larger conference room was a good choice, as it was full but not too overcrowded. I kicked off the talk with the data from some of the major sex surveys -- Kinsey, NHSLS, NSFG, etc., along with some cross-cultural and historical data, about the ways in which identity, behavior, desire, fantasy, and love can diverge. Example: A recent study of more than 4000 men in NYC found that 1 in 10 men who identify as straight had sex with a man in the last year. There were loads of questions and comments, and I only wish we could have stayed longer to discuss the issues. I was pleased that there wasn't any hostility, as the topic can evoke prejudice (e.g., many of the flyers were torn down).

And, as always, everyone loved the Seven Layer Cookies I made (nod to my friend B who gave me the recipe in high school -- thanks!). Plenty left over for Q to give them to a colleague -- yippee!

Taught my Human Sexuality class, which went pretty well. This class hasn't been particularly strong in discussion, but we had a vibrant discussion of the pros and cons of circumcision today, as well as the cultural equation of penis size and masculinity (and the role of pornography in perpetuating that myth), which was great.

I came home and visited with Q for a bit -- always wonderful.

Then off to my dance gig. Pretty big crowd there for a Monday night, and they were very receptive and enthusiastic (gosh, there were even a few tips, which is really rare there). I had a lot of fun and I was pleased with my dancing. I even got out a bit early, since the manager let me start 15 minutes early.

Came home and visited more with Q. Yay! Various web browsings later, I am off to bed. Future plans involve getting up early to get into work early to get some grading done before my first class.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Green tomato recipes?

In light of the freeze warnings, I pulled up the tomato plants yesterday. So now I have LOADS of green tomatoes, and no clear idea of what to do with them. I know there are green tomato recipes, like green tomato relish or pickled green tomatoes, or even green tomato pie, but I haven't made them, so I don't know which ones are good. Any suggestions?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Dance class and fingerprinting

Well, I started teaching another session of belly dance classes at the JCC tonight. I generally enjoy teaching there, but I find it hard to get energy with such small classes. I have five students signed up, but only two of them came tonight. They were very nice and seemed to enjoy the class, but it always feels low energy to me with such a small group.

Tonight was another chapter in the endless fingerprint saga, as well.

In order to get hired to teach at the JCC, one must submit fingerprints to have a criminal check performed. Fine. So, initially, they had a security guard who had been a police officer and did the fingerprints. But he worked mornings, and I taught in the evening. So I had to come in during a totally different day to get that done, which meant there was a delay until I could find a free day. Ok, fine, he does my fingerprints, and I figure we're done. Nope -- the ones he did were too blurry. And apparently this is a chronic problem, so they give me the fingerprint card and tell me to get it done at the police station.

But the police stations have limited hours in which they do fingerprinting. So I need to find a day in which I can get to the station during their fingerprinting hours. I finally get to the Rockville station on a Friday to get this done. But you're supposed to call before you go to the station, because they don't guarantee that they will be doing fingerprints during their posted fingerprinting hours. You guessed it -- the station isn't doing them that day. Neither is the other Rockville station, or the Bethesda station, and I don't have time to get to Germantown. *Sigh* So I put this off to some other day in my far-too-tightly-scheduled life. And the next day I'm free, none of the stations near me are doing fingerprinting *again*. And, need I say that I'm not all that motivated to get it done? It's not the most exciting task on my list.

Meanwhile, I've been teaching at the JCC for almost a year, but because of the lack of the criminal check, they start holding my paychecks until the fingerprints come in. Ok, so I finally find a day that the Silver Spring station is actually doing fingerprinting and I have a couple of hours to rush over there in the morning, so I get it done (one of them had to be redone -- apparently, I have a strangely curved thumb). I even manage to find time to drop it off at the JCC later that day, which is truly a miracle.

Hosannah! I am done!

Nope. Apparently, there is some time limit on the fingerprint cards. The head of the dance department told me tonight that since I didn't submit the fingerprint card within the time frame, I may have to do them again. None of this makes sense to either of us -- I mean, my fingerprints haven't changed in the last months, as far as I know, so what is the problem? So she decided to wait and see if they really do pester her for me to do them again (and pay another fee to the police station out of my own pocket, thank you very much), or whether they will just let it slide.

Who knew that fingerprints were such a complicated process?

Hmmm . . .

My favorite line from my classes this week was one I came up with. We were talking about women's and men's attire in my Psychology of Women class, and one of the students talked about how she likes to wear "wifebeater" shirts. I stopped the class and asked them to think about that term, and whether they were comfortable with such a casual use of the term "wifebeater." I asked if they would wear a garment that got called a "child molester" or "pedophile" -- I think I'll wear the green pedophile today.

They cracked up at that, and told me I should consider a career in comedy. But they also admitted it was a good point, and that they'd never thought about it that way before.

I love teaching.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

News from the fiber studio

I've been re-organizing my fiber studio for weeks (months?) now, which, so far, has mostly meant hours and hours and hours of ironing and folding fabric. I've filled 8 file boxes with quilting fabric, and I have about two more boxes worth to iron and fold. Then I have to organize the garment fabric! After that, we are going to put together a new sewing island and paint the room . . . it's a big project.

But while all this re-organization is going on, I can't actually get any sewing done because of the chaos in the studio. It's sort of disheartening, and I miss my actual sewing. So this weekend I decided to do a quick project for ancientsong's birthday. I had read about a technique for making scarves by layering yarns, threads, and other fibers between water soluble stabilizer and then sewing over the stabilizer to hold everything together. After washing out the stabilizer, one is left with a lacy scarf. It seems like the lazy approach to weaving or pinweaving. ;)

So I made a short scarf with some gorgeous blue and turquoise and purple yarns and stitched it with parallel horizontal rows and curving vertical lines. It was a bit more difficult to do than I thought, since the yarns moved more than I expected during the sewing (I think I should use a stickier stabilizer next time), but I think it came out pretty well. Alas, I didn't take pictures before it went to live with ancientsong, but hopefully I'll do another one and take pictures of that. I have all kinds of designs dancing in my head.

The scary part is that this justifies my emerging obsession with yarn, which is almost as expensive a habit as beads. I swear, it would be cheaper to have a drug habit. Oh well, at least my obsession is legal (for now). ;)

Sunday, October 1, 2006

PSA: No shortcuts with paint!

You're repainting a room in an old house. You're in a hurry, no time to do a thorough prep job. You think to yourself, "No big deal, I'll just paint over this old wallpaper", or "I don't know if this is oil-based or latex-based paint on the trim, but I'm sure the latex paint I bought will cover it just fine."

STOP! Don't do it!

You may be saving yourself time at the moment, but later on, someone will pay for this choice. You're handing the job of scraping off the paint-over-wallpaper, latex-over-oil paint to future generations, just because you were too lazy or rushed or ignorant to do the job right the first time.

Don't skimp on the proper preparations. People like me will be cursing you as we peel the paint off in sheets to do the repainting right.

This has been a Public Service Announcement, paid for by the hours of tedious labor I have put in as a result of my overactive conscientiousness.