June 01, 2013

Lisa: Blake, the Mad Scientist

Guys, look at my adorable husband.

February 26, 2012

Sarah: Wild Heart

I have funny stuff to share with you, I promise. But right now it's 10:30 pm on the night before I start working for 12 or 17 days straight, and I'm feeling overwhelmed with all kinds of feelings.

Excited to start a new job, relieved that the job hunt is over. Appreciative beyond words for the support and love of my family and friends.

I've also been thinking about dreams, and how they sometimes change and shift over time, so slowly and subtly that you don't even notice. Sometimes they get more solidly fixed in your mind when other interests and distractions wear away like sand around a harder stone.

And sometimes your heart breaks a little when something that you thought would be perfect isn't so perfect anymore. That's a little of what happened in my professional life I before I decided to move to New York.
I don't think that New York was the only solution to this problem, but I think it was a question of what if that had to be answered. And while I'm still working on that answer, I am learning that part of my heartache was because I didn't want to walk away from a situation before it was fixed.
I decided that I couldn't fix that situation for everyone, but I could fix it for me. And once in a while, that has to be enough.

When I accepted my job in New York (and had a bonus job offer, to boot), it was a confirmation that perhaps that dream-job-that-became-not-a-dream-job wasn't the only option for me. There are other options that will get me closer to the big dream in different ways.

This is all a vague way of saying that I'm excited about my new job. And if all goes according to plan, it is going to teach me some skills that I'm eager to learn, and I'm going to be paid to do some of the things that I love along the way. This is such a lucky, wonderful thing to be able to say.

And now, without any real segue, here's a little song I have in my head. Thanks for the heads up, Orangette.

June 03, 2010

Lisa: label me

One of the things I love about my new closet office is that every drawer and box has a little slot for a label. I had Sarah come over one day and help me type up some labels, old-school-style, with typewriters and white cardstock.

(Please excuse the poor photography and the grimy handle from the exactly Nora-height drawers.)

Some of the labels are typed with the IBM Selectric that I made the oilcloth cover for. Here's how it looked before it got cuteified:

I found a few never-before-posted pictures of Nora playing with/on my Selectrics, right before she cut the side of her face open on the black one (and earned the nickname 'Scarface'). Needless to say, the black Selectric got sold and the other one got put away in the craft room very quickly.

The script labels were typed with another machine I bought at the same time--a Smith Corona SL 480, which is an adorable small travel-friendly typewriter with a snap-on cover. I haven't found much of a use for my typewriters other than a few small crafts like this one, unfortunately. Ideas?

May 31, 2010

Lisa: Office Redo (part deux)

When I left my job at the library to work at home on Concert Black, I decided it was time to give my closet office a makeover. It was functional before, and I still liked the idea of an office using unexpected space that I could hide behind doors, but I thought it might be soul-killing after a while if I actually felt like I was going to work in a repurposed closet.

I had a gallon of paint sitting around that I'd bought with the idea of painting the sewing room--until I figured out that bright coral pink was a terrible choice. I took the paint back to Home Depot and had the paint guy add in some new pigment to create a usable color. He was great, giving me helpful advice about what colors we could reasonably get without overflowing the can. We ended up with an inoffensive warm dark brown--probably not something I would have chosen originally, but I think it works really well in the small space of the office.

The desk and shelving and a lot of the accessories are from IKEA, and I did a ton of measuring and planning on the IKEA site and with an employee in the store before I bought everything. Unfortunately, I still ended up with some shelving pieces that wouldn't work in the tight space I had designated for my "shipping station" (on the left in the photos below). I dragged Nora back to the store by myself and manhandled her and a bunch of really long pieces of steel, with only one minor altercation with an IKEA employee. Marci's dad lent me a Sawzall, and I cut down some of the new pieces to the right size before assembly. Success!

Better, right? So, why did it take almost two years for me to blog about this? Because that's how long it took me to hang that magnet board on the wall.

March 10, 2010

Sarah: Clean out your desk

I'm pretty sure it's not only because I've been doing some cleaning out of desks lately, but I like this site:

Simple Desktops

I hope they add more options.

I feel the need to declutter. This will help.

March 07, 2010

Sarah: Job Update

I meant to tell you about my job a few weeks ago. But now it's a better story. Here goes:

My work made some cut-backs and my position was one of the casualties. It's the first time I've lost a job, and it's a crappy feeling. But I have stayed positive, knowing that something would come up. For last few weeks I've been helping out where I can, cleaning out my desk, and tying up loose ends.

Meanwhile, I've been looking for other jobs. I applied for many, interviewed for a few. And today I'm excited to tell you that I've accepted a job offer. So I'm moving on to something new. And this time? I plan to stick around for a while.

I always hesitate to talk about work online. So until I know how my employer feels about it, let me just say that I'll be working with letterpressed items.

So, have anything you want printed? Because I know some guys.

July 15, 2009

Lisa: they grow up so fast

I meant to post these pictures on Sarah's birthday, and to tell you all what an awesome person she is and how proud I am of her. Luckily, I still feel the same way three days late.

Congratulations also to Mallory...

...and to Valori, who graduated at the same time! I love you guys.

I took some pictures of Nora, too. What do you want? I'm a mom.

June 06, 2009

Lisa: The package goes in the box. If you know what I mean.

Some of you know that I work from home, sending out orders for my online business. Thanks to the wonders of Click-N-Ship, my mailman can pick these packages up right from my front porch (for free!) and get them on their way. When I first started doing this, I bought a clear plastic tub with a flip-up lid to corral the slippery Tyvek envelopes and protect them a bit from the weather. It worked fine, but wasn't doing much for the aesthetics of my front porch.

I clearly needed a prettier, more permanent solution. Here's what I came up with:

As a side bonus, the mailman and the UPS/FedEx guys deliver my incoming packages into the box now, so they're out of sight and protected from the elements as well. Materials and more details after the jump!


After a little research, I chose this unfinished toy box from JoAnn's. The size was about right, and I wanted a box with a hinged lid that could be raised from the top with one hand. On Sarah's excellent recommendation, I painted the pieces before assembly.


Our new porch light, house numbers, and mailbox are all either oil-rubbed bronze or black, so I chose Hammered Dark Bronze Rustoleum spray paint. Supposedly, it's good for outdoor applications. I primed it first and put on a coat of clear polyurethane after I stenciled the letters on. I always forget how much spray paint it takes to cover something--this project used three full cans each of primer and paint.


I had some leftover Fern Green Patio Paint, which I already knew was weather resistant. I used that with some 2-inch block letter stencils I picked up at JoAnn's. I'm kind of a slapdash stenciler, but I figured that gives the box a pleasing rustic quality.


I bought a mailbox flag replacement kit with an official-looking jaunty red flag at our local Ace Hardware, and adapted the instructions a bit for screwing it into wood rather than a thin metal box. As you can see in the photos, the flag is attached on one side, so when it is 'raised' it sticks out past the front of the box. So far, it seems to be an adequate system for signaling the mailman that there are items to pick up.

April 17, 2009

Lisa: Live Life to the Fullest

In October of 1992, my deepest aspirations apparently included:

1) Playing pieced-together sheet music on the flute
2) Graduating
3) Getting married
4) Wearing ill-fitting clothing

and let's not forget,

5) Becoming a tiger.

Ah, junior high school, with your ridiculous assignments and even more ridiculous students. We couldn't get to high school without you.

February 27, 2009

Sarah: One of the cool kids

I finally posted my first little entry at the lovely Angie's brain child: high/low

I'm going to miss working with E each day, but I'm excited for her to jump in to a new, exciting phase of her life. And I hope that she will invite me over to her house sometime soon to watch Animal Planet.

December 11, 2008

Sarah: Direction

More plays should have stage-direction like this:

New Chorus: Love Is Always New When It's You
[sung by Hephaistos and his robots as they begin to erect around his marriage bed a trap of many fine volcanic chains]

(from Decreation by Anne Carson)

December 07, 2008

Sarah: Homework Night

Who are we, who is each one of us, if not a combinatoria of experiences, information, books we have read, things imagined? Each life is an encyclopedia, a library, an inventory of objects, a series of styles, and everything can be constantly shuffled and reordered in every way conceivable.

From Six Memos for the Next Millennium by Italo Calvino

November 07, 2008

Sarah: Working for the Weekend

It's after five on a Friday night and I just spent far too long at my desk crafting this creation:

I wish I weren't quite so proud at how far my Photoshop skills have come, since they still have a long, long way to go.

Don't even get me started on how quickly I can animate a PowerPoint presentation.

October 04, 2008

Lisa: bittersweet

Today is my last day working for the library, at least for the near future. My feelings about this are so mixed, but I think excitement for the next phase of my life is winning out.

Thank you, thank you to Dawn for helping me find library science, to the University of North Texas for allowing me to earn an MLS without leaving Salt Lake (and Blake), and especially to the Salt Lake County Library System for hiring and training a brand new children's librarian (and for working around my pregnancy, delivery, and new motherhood for as long as they did). I consider this my career, and I'll be back, refocused and ready to work harder than ever in just a few years.

Thank you also to Concert Black, for making this change possible, and to my mom, whose vision, drive, and very hard work has made our little company run so well that instead of working on it "on the side," it can be my main job. I can hardly believe that I'll be writing myself a paycheck for filling those website orders from home.

Thank you most of all to my little Nora, for coming into my life so fortuitously. You have brightened it and made each day better in a way I could never have imagined. It has been hard for me to leave you every day (even with people who love you as much as Sir, Grandma, and your dad do) and I can't wait to be home with you to watch you changing and growing. I feel like I'm growing because of you, too. And of course, I'll be there to make sure you have on pants.

Phewf! Enough sappy stuff. See you all online.

September 29, 2008

Sarah: It could be worse, aka Radio Science

There's something charming and romantic about the fact that authors Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning called their son (whose full name was Robert Wiedeman Barrett Browning) "Pen."

At the very least, it's better than Pilot Inspektor.

September 25, 2008

Sarah: Moving on

Tomorrow will be my last day at my job. The company where I've worked for 3.75 years. My first desk job, my first professional writing, my first event planning.

I've been lucky to work with friends, and to have the best bosses imaginable.

This job allowed me to rent an apartment, patiently worked around my school schedule, taught me patience. I could not be moving on to my new employer without the skills I have gained over the past several years. My company took a chance on a 20 year old student with no office experience and no previous long term employment. I hope that I've helped them as much as they have helped me.

I'm excited to move on, but incredibly thankful for where I've been. Thank you.

September 08, 2008

Sarah: Up to No Good

My energy seems to have been spent elsewhere as of late, so my blogging has been a bit more sparse. Perhaps it went towards something like:

Making my own Seven Sins Pillow

Applying for graduation

Trying out a new cardmaking technique (Yeesh, the green is slightly less radioactive in real life.)

Responding to Jeff's adorable card

Enjoying my gifts from Japan (Thanks, Val!)
Pink text: Fruit Train -- Welcome to the country of the fruit. What do you see in this fruit? It is a train that carries your dream.
Yellow text: Cheese Driving* This rat goes to buy food while taking the cheesecar on the weekend.

Anyway, I'm keeping busy, and I like you. More entries brewing!

July 11, 2008

Sarah: A Year in Review

In the past year, I have:
1. Gotten within a semester of college graduation.
2. Stood outside the hospital room while my niece was born, then held her on the first day of her life and countless days since.
3. Learned how to use an old hand-printing press.
4. Gained a new sister. An amazing new sister.
5. Traveled through Europe.
6. Bought a new (to me) car.
7. Learned to drive a manual transmission, just about burning through my clutch in the process.
8. Given up the apartment where I lived for almost two years.
9. Lived with my awesome family (Don't worry, guys, I promise that I'm looking for a new place).
10. Become much closer (whether she liked it or not) to a great friend.
11. Baked and cooked. A lot.
12. Cracked jokes with an albino.

It was a great year. One of my favorites yet. Thanks for being there with me.

July 08, 2008

Sarah: Friends Say the Darndest Things

Favorite quote from a coworker today: I'm not really too familiar with the service side, let me go ask someone who is a little more inept. Hold on...

I dreamed that I was making out with a starship captain last night. We were on an escape pod from the Battlestar Galactica. I had to save the President. We saved her. Then he showed me space and it was awesome. Then we made out. For a long time.
I realized Marci was sitting in the back seat of our space-car the entire time.
Em. Barrassing.

E (stolen from her blog, but she told it to me as well, so I'm hoping she doesn't mind that I spread the awesomeness):
I teach the six-, seven-, and eight-year-old children at my church.
Lesson: Gratitude
E: Adam, you love soccer. A lot. It's pretty cool that your body can play so well. How can you show Heavenly Father that you're thankful for your body?
A: Well... I could get a plate of cookies and put it on the counter. Then I could leave a note: "Dear Santa, Please give these to God."
E (laughs): That's one way, I guess.
A: Except I don't know if God likes milk. So, if God doesn't like milk, I'll leave a glass of 7-Up.

For what it's worth? I'm betting that God likes milk.

July 07, 2008

Sarah: Monday Afternoon Haiku

Facebook, where are you?
I need to un-tag photos
And play Scrabulous.

Lunch: Went to the mall,
Returned lots of merchandise.
Visa: Zero owed.

Thank you for calling.
He's on a call, may I take
a message? No? K.

June 28, 2008

Sarah: Uniform

Logowear, nametag, glasses, fannypack (with attached luggage tag!), and cell phone clipped into belt.
This software vendor is ready to work.

June 21, 2008

Lisa: Friends don't let friends wear men's golf shirts.

You know those golf shirts they ordered for everyone at work? Yours doesn't really fit, does it? Like, it's somehow simultaneously too big AND too small? Maybe because you are not six feet tall and shaped like a sausage? I think I can help.

First things first: find a good show on Tivo, so you don't get bored, and plop the baby in the walker. Hi, cutie!

Double-check your measurements against your trusty dress form (you can even make your own if you don't want to splash out for this invaluable tool).

Okay. Turn your golf shirt inside out and put it back on the dress form. Your shirt probably doesn't have side seams now--we're going to create side seams in order to give it some shape. The process is the same whether it already has side seams or not, really. Just grab the fabric at the side of the shirt, under the arm, and pin it together close to the dress form, keeping the pins marching in a fairly straight line down the side. If there's a place where the shirt is already somewhat snug, like at the hips or whatever, then you only need a tiny pin tuck to keep the illusion of a side seam going. You're going to pin the body of the shirt and then continue the line of pins around the curve at the armpit and along the bottom of the sleeve. Trust me, there's enough room in that sleeve to take out an inch or so.

Unpick the ribbed material from the bottom of the sleeves. Just detatch it from the sleeve--don't unpick the stitching that keeps the cuff in a circle. Set those sad-looking things aside for now.

Time to start sewing! Don't bother cleaning off the table first; this is enough domesticity for one day, don't you think? Anyway, you should stitch along the line of pins you put in earlier, pulling them out as you go. After you do both side seams with a straight stitch, change your machine to a zigzag and add a row of that OUTSIDE the side seams. Trim off the extra fabric right next to the zigzag stitch. If you have a serger, this can all be done in one step (but...you are probably a very competent seamstress and don't need my help).

Let's address those monster sleeves. You can cut at least four inches of fabric off of each of those. This isn't an exact science; eyeball it, then fold over the fabric on top of itself as you go, using the cut-off bit as a guide so that you trim off a straight piece. Throw those pieces away, or make one into a headband a la 1990s Seventeen magazine featurettes.

Once you have the sleeves trimmed down to size, pin the cuff back on. Make sure you think this through before you start sewing! Right sides go together, and the underarm seams go together. If your shirt is still inside out, you will be pinning the cuff inside the sleeve. Then stitch a straight stich and zigzag stitch (like the side seams) right along the rough edge of the ribbing.

If you haven't tried your newly curvy shirt on yet, you might want to do that now to measure where the hem should be. Put the shirt on inside out, and pull the hem up over the shirt until you like the length. Pin it in four or five places so it'll stay in place while you pull the shirt back off.

The bottoms of knit shirts are usually finished with a double row of straight stitching. To copy this look, just sew around the hem twice with a straight stitch, picking a place on the presser foot to measure against for the second time around. When you're sure that you haven't hemmed your shirt too short, trim off the extra fabric.

Voila! Isn't that better? You just lost twenty pounds, visually. Work will be 45% more bearable today!

May 23, 2008

Lisa: no more nougat

Ants ate my Toblerone. This is the universe telling me that I am too fat to be eating a Toblerone.

On the other hand, I won the Toblerone in a drawing at work. I never win things. So, that could be the universe saying, "Go ahead. Eat a Toblerone. You've earned it!"

STOP MESSING WITH MY MIND, UNIVERSE! I am feeling very fragile right now. Yes. What? Yes! Because ANTS. ATE. MY FRIGGIN TOBLERONE.

May 08, 2008

Lisa: Strawberry 100%

From the back of a book I checked in this morning:


The hero (me, Junpei Manaka!) sneaks up to the roof to see the sunset. When he opens the door, he startles a mysterious beauty. She panics and runs away, but not before Junpei has caught sight of her adorable strawberry print panties...in EXTREME close-up. With that vision forever burned into his memory, Junpei embarks on a quest to find the girl, and the panties, of his dreams!


Oh, Junpei. We've all been there. May your quest for the perfect strawberry print panties be fruitful.

April 25, 2008

Lisa: Sorry, Mom.

I thought I'd kick off Handwritten Fridays with a few truly useless but laboriously handwritten items that have (against all reason) survived for THIRTEEN YEARS since their creation.

You see, kids, in the dark days before text messaging, public school students annoyed their teachers by passing long, detailed notes to each other, expounding upon the controversial topics of parental injustice, how close they were to failing Bio, and the heartbreak of unrequited love.

If that student of yesteryear were lucky enough, the object of her unreturned affections might pass her a sweet, encouraging note like this:

(Yes, since you ask, I had a crush on him for five years. Can't you see why?)

April 11, 2008

Sarah: Things that make me

Shoulders of people that have been cropped out of pictures.
Feist's performance in Amsterdam being sold out.
Accidentally dumping 1/4 of a pineapple onto the gravel when I get out of my car at the office.
The woman in my class who talks over everyone, breathlessly drowning out fellow students and the professor (!) so that she can loudly give her pedestrian interpretation of the text.
The guy in another class who says the most offensive remarks possible in my Children's Literature class, most recently during a discussion of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. To explain would bore you, but I may have uttered "Oh my gosh, STOP TALKING." under my breath. Two classmates heard me. Oops. At least they nodded in agreement and laughed?
At long last, Ben Folds is returning to Utah. I will be there. So will Ben Lee. You should come!
Eventually someone is going to notice that I spend the majority of one of my classes gazing at the back of a certain young man's head. It's a sickness.
Flo Rida's reign of terror.

April 10, 2008

Lisa: they put the "bling" in sibling

Some of my innate awesomeness obviously rubbed off on my brothers and sister, because...

David is trying to decide between the architecture programs at Columbia and Virginia Tech (assuming his dance career doesn't work out), and I couldn't be more excited that he and Angie just got engaged.

Sarah (as you know) is on her way to Europe for a study abroad program, and will graduate from the U with a major in Being Completely Awesome next fall.

Jeffrey is serving selflessly in the slums of New Jersey for one more year, and then will return to his school for slightly socially awkward geniuses.

I'm so proud of you guys! I could just sit on you and poke you in the ribs all day.

(Happy Sibling Day, everybody!)

April 02, 2008

Sarah: Things you might not know and perhaps still wish you didn't.

A few things the internet may not already know about me:
1. I usually misspell "magic" on my first try. It's a small, common, simply-spelled word, and yet I almost always use a "j" on my first try. Embarrassing, I know. I'm getting better.
2. I agonize over social blunders for years after the fact. I was once extremely obnoxious and refused to leave the band room (yes, and geeky. I also had braces that year.) after school when I was in the 7th grade. The 9th grade boy in charge of making everyone leave was understandably annoyed. I think his name was Carson. I've been feeling guilty and stupid about it ever since.
3. I have scoliosis. It's a very minor case and no one but my mom has ever noticed it without having it pointed out to them, but I think about my curved spine several times each day. I think I was one of few girls more freaked out by the back brace in Deenie than by the pink plastic belts described in Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret.

A few conversations this week:
1. Over 27 minutes on the phone, after hours, with a work contact, wherein she related a detailed history of the back pain she has felt since her car accident, the related visits she has made to various doctors and chiropractors, and the suits she intends to file. She also said "boob" five times. I was not ready for this call.
2. Sarah: I just took a dress that Nora spit up on to the dry cleaner. And then realized that the spot I pointed out probably looked like semen. Classy.
Mallory: Ha! You skank!
Sarah: As soon as he wrote 'soiled' on my ticket, I felt so cheap.

April 01, 2008

Lisa: Do this, don't do that--can't you read the sign?

Quite a prodigious collection of passive agressive notes for one 8'x10' break room, don't you think?

This one reads: "If you make a mess on the table, sink, or in the frig or microwave, Please use these wipes and clean up after yourself immediately. Thank you. [smiling sun]"

I especially like the escalating comment penciled in on the bottom corner here: "I didn't know water made a mess! [signed,] Deeply offended Jean"

These two should be viewed as a set--the sign asking people not to leave coats at the table, and a sweater left at the table. The sweater's owner has been flaunting her disregard for that sign for weeks. Well, days.

Let's round out the set with a sign-up sheet for cleaning (only 7 of our 20 employees took the bait on that one), a "helpful" warning that personal belongings deemed objectionable will be thrown away by an anonymous judge, and a notice of paper towel machine changes (I don't even know).

March 24, 2008

Sarah: What is sure to be the first of many entries about Europe

Here's a little Brain Dump on a theme of Europe:

1. I'm going on a study abroad program with Marci. She's good looking, and smells nice. The class is a Printmaking class, which I think will be interesting. I'm curious to see if/how my knowledge from Letterpress enhances my experience in the class.
2. I am consumed with stress about money. It's not fun.
3. We're going to Scotland, thanks in part to Lisa and Blake's recommendation (okay, that link doesn't go to a recommendation, per se, but that's the tour they took, and they really enjoyed it).
4. We're going to Rome. And possibly another city or two in Italy. Seeing Italy has been a life goal of mine since I was a little girl (one of only three I had at one point. The other two were to see Phantom of the Opera on stage (I saw it with my mom many years ago) and to see Les Miserables (not yet. Can you tell we listened to the soundtracks to musicals as kids?)).
5. I need the perfect purse/bag for traveling. Big enough to hold my wallet, camera, and a notebook, small enough to be easy to carry, good-looking enough to justify the purchase, and safe enough to not get stolen or pick-pocketed. Any suggestions?
6. Any suggestions of places to go or sights to see will be great. We're going to Edinburgh, London, Amsterdam, Prague, Budapest, Klagenfurt, and Rome. It's possible that we'll spend a day in Venice or Florence, but that might depend on how long our money can last. I need your tips for the best cafes to try, museums to visit, streets to wander.
7. As soon as I return, I have to fill out an application for graduation. I have to find a new place to live. I feel like I'm getting a fresh start. This is going to be a good year, I can tell.

February 28, 2008

Lisa: thanks for the heads up

This morning, I finished up helping a middle-aged gentleman on one of the public computers, and then walked back to the information desk. The other librarian on duty was helping a customer at the desk.

Librarian: You might want to wash your hands.
Me: O...Kay...
Librarian: (hands me a canister of Clorox wipes)
Customer: He's filthy.
Me: (wiping my hands) What?
Customer: I saw him sneezing into his hand and then licking it. Over. And over.

February 14, 2008

Sarah: Miniatures

Little notes in my life:

The margin of my notes from class, while we discussed Through the Looking-Glass:

A valentine from my mom. Just like the conversation hearts! She's adorable.

February 12, 2008

Sarah: Punderful

I just titled an essay on The Rape of the Lock for class.

"Hair Comes the Pride" had me sitting in my chair, giggling, for at least one full minute.

Oh dear.

February 05, 2008

Lisa: I'm just saying...

To Whom it May Concern:

If you complain to my boss about my appallingly loud voice and even go so far as to suggest that vocal volume should be taken into account during the hiring process, I may be less inclined to help you with your computer problem.

Sarah: Format

Form has been on my mind lately. An excerpt of a quick statement I wrote:

I am interested in the aesthetic quality of literature and text. Studying literature is not only about the content of the materials one reads. It also leads to studying and appreciating form. The audience's experience of a text is not limited to the words. Holding the weight of a book, smelling musty pages of an out of print text, turning the glossy pages of a magazine, letting your eyes be drawn to a well-designed poster: these are all ways that a reader is influenced by design and medium.

January 29, 2008

Sarah: Letterpress

While looking around my house for some samples of my writing (no particular reason), I realized that I never posted much about the letterpress class that Lisa and I took last summer. As far as the class itself, I would recommend it to anyone. It made me think in a different way and was a blast. Below are some of the works I produced.
Letterpress has a lot of aspects that can't really be captured in an image (especially one taken in poor light with a non-professional camera). A poem of less than 40 words took about an hour to set, letter by letter. The press leaves an impression on your thick, soft paper. The ink cannot be exactly replicated once it has been used up, because you mix the colors by hand on a smooth acrylic slab. Your left arm becomes stronger than your right as you pull the heavy wheel of the press towards you to print each single page. The size and face of your type is determined by many factors, not the least of which is whether you will have enough letters to spell the words you have chosen.
It's a slow, tedious process, but I always loved the result. Anyway, you should try it.

Color balance on these images is terrible. Like I said, bad lighting. This is what I get for blogging at night.
The text of three of my projects is after the jump, if you're curious.

The weeds reach up to welcome me as I sink down into the murky depths. The last bubble of air escapes my lips as the currents brush across my goosebumped flesh. What was once a bottomless abyss now ends in a sandy floor.
The pressure is killing me.

We squeezed into an empty space.
The ether spills into the sun, the gases rise
through the cold air, crooked, bending
stars of light.
We sink, purposeless, to sleep.
Dizzy, spinning
Wonderful... round and round
Dizzy. Spinning.

Working tirelessly in his workshop, Frederick was the premiere taxidermist of the east coast. Famed for his realistic representation of indigenous birds, he could often be found working nights and weekends. Though his home was filled with pheasants, crows, and robins, it had one empty place. The table was always set for two, but Frederick ate alone. He continued to wait each night, hoping his wife would return.

*For this project I had to choose words included in a scientific article. In this way, my vocabulary was limited, but the end result could be anything I imagined.
**This project had to be a story inspired by a zinc cut (like a metal stamp) image supplied by the lab. My zinc cut was the bird that you can see in the first image above. If you spot the typo in that image, you get +2 smart points. If you tell me that I'm sort of dumb because I didn't notice this typo until I had printed my project, you get -3 nice-friend points.

December 06, 2007

Sarah: A Message from Finals Week

Here's a good, underused word for you:
inure: to accustom to accept something undesirable
I am currently inured to my unkempt apartment.

My friends must inure my appearance this week.

Yeesh. Please take a moment to enjoy my headband that I believe I bought in the 7th grade, my PowerPuff Girls t-shirt from the 12th grade, and the makeup that is most obviously not on my face. This is the look of self-imposed exile as I study for my final. On the positive side, my dad painted that painting behind me. Those are rows of crop in a field. The painting has warm happy colors and I love it as the focal point of my living room.

I just noticed that my dry winter hands bled on my laptop keyboard. It's all class and grace around these parts. My beloved computer, pre-carnage:

Ah, G4. No one can display villanelles quite like you.

At least I have my Christmas tree to keep me company.

Most of the ornaments are hand-me-downs from my grandma. The gifts each proudly bear tags crafted by Marta.

Now it's back to the grindstone for me. I'm currently writing an essay about this poem:

Villanelle by William Empson

It is the pain, it is the pain, endures.
Your chemic beauty burned my muscles through.
Poise of my hands reminded me of yours.

What later purge from this deep toxin cures?
What kindness now could the old salve renew?
It is the pain, it is the pain, endures.

The infection slept (custom or change inures)
And when pain's secondary phase was due
Poise of my hands reminded me of yours.

How safe I felt, whom memory assures,
Rich that your grace safely by heart I knew.
It is the pain, it is the pain, endures.

My stare drank deep beauty that still allures
My heart pumps yet the poison draught of you.
Poise of my hands reminded me of yours.

You are still kind whom the same shape immures
Kind and beyond adieu. We miss our cue.
It is the pain, it is the pain, edures.
Poise of my hands reminded me of yours.

November 19, 2007

Sarah: Hot like Fiya

In honor of my German test today, for which I was awake until 4 am studying, I present a discussion of temperatures from class last week:

Professor: 'I am hot' is 'Es ist mir heiss' or 'It is to me hot.' You wouldn't say 'Ich bin heiss' (literally, I am hot), because... that has sexual connotations.
Student: I said that in a paper once. He pulled me aside. So. Awkward.

October 03, 2007

Sarah: Intimidating

Selecting 'print' on an Graduation Application for an Undergraduate Degree. I'm excited and relieved that the end is in sight. On the other hand, do I have to be a grown-up now?

September 01, 2007

Lisa: career day

I love being a librarian, don't get me wrong, but we all have days when we think we might want to try out another profession, right?

Here are a few I think might be fun:

  • small bookshop owner, a la The Shop Around the Corner (but preferably not a bookstore being edged out of business by the nearby big box retailer)
  • owner of a store that sells fancy paper and custom stationery, etc., printed on the in-house printing press
  • private investigator (because some people actually get paid to be all nosy and stalkerish)
  • August 28, 2007

    Sarah: Brain Dump, List Edition


  • a windowsill herb garden
  • cute galoshes. Oh, and don't you think that Lisa's baby needs some too? I'm so glad we agree.

  • a clear umbrella. To match my galoshes, obviously. (via Mighty Goods)

    Soaking up like a sponge:

  • the perfect just-before-fall weather.
  • the Real Men of Genius radio ads. They always crack me up.
  • and the Whopper Family commercials. I don't know what broke in my brain.
  • knowledge. Because I'm back at school.

    Eagerly anticipating:

  • the Birthing.
  • a road trip.
  • Peach Days, the second most delicious festival in Utah. The first is Raspberry Days in Bear Lake. Mmmmm...


  • the demise of the gigantic spiders that are taking over my apartment. I will poison you soon, my pretties.
  • some letterpress cards to be listed in our long-neglected Etsy shop. I'm excited. You should be too.

  • August 16, 2007

    Lisa: I knew I hung on to those hideous socks for a reason...

    So, if you live nearby, I have an odd request. I'm trying to collect (as cheaply as possible) costume pieces that 8-year-old boys could use to make themselves a superhero outfit. I bet some of you might have appropriate things lying around, such as...

  • a cooling gel-filled eye mask
  • striped knee socks with separate toe compartments
  • elbow-length satin gloves from prom
  • pieces of old dance recital or Halloween costumes
  • a stretchy sequined headband that pulls your hair
  • a ski mask
  • brightly colored opaque tights
  • ill-advised novelty boots from the clearance rack at Wal-Mart
  • spare shoulder pads
  • a reflective emergency blanket

    If you don't have costume stuff to share, or live far away, I'd love more ideas of cheap, commonly available items that I could use!

  • July 18, 2007

    Lisa: practical knowledge

    I was in Provo last week for another children's literature symposium, and here's what I wrote in my notes:

    Venison is the least nutritious meat you can eat. It is 11% protein at best, and always wormy. Beaver is the most nutritious meat you can catch in the wild--it's very high in protein, and tastes a lot like beef.

    I would trust Gary Paulsen on that.

    July 16, 2007

    Lisa: I just don't know how to feel

    I just got poked in the stomach repeatedly by a 13-year-old boy.

    Him: (POKE.) Are you pregnant?
    Me: Ha! Yes.
    Him: (POKE. POKE.) Can you help me on the computer?

    July 13, 2007

    Sarah: From the Conference Room

    Putting together an event for work takes a fair amount of effort.
    Putting together that event in heels just makes things a little more interesting.

    July 07, 2007

    Lisa: you can have what's left of me

    A little bird named Sarah told me that SOME people have been complaining that I never blog anymore. That is because I have forced my usually razor sharp brain to become banal and empty.

    There are important things I could be thinking (and blogging) about, but I choose not to. Delivering a baby? Avoid. Breast-feeding, or worse, breast PUMPING? Avoid. Finding a way to reduce my work hours? Figuring out a childcare plan? Changing my entire life to become a parent? Avoid, avoid, avoid. Why? Because these things are simultaneously the most stressful (to me) and most boring (to you) subjects in the universe.

    Here are a few things that are left among the cobwebs. Worth blogging about? Maybe I'll let you decide.

  • Finding a comfortable position on the couch while watching a movie was the highlight of my week--possibly my month.

  • I spaced out in front of the bathroom mirror at work thinking about my pretty, pretty hair.

  • I have a constant nagging fear of not getting my projects for class done in time.

  • I have found my true nemesis, and that nemesis is ants. Ants are the zombies of the insect world. No matter how many you kill, there are always more ants. No matter how many possible entrances you find and spray full of ant poison, the ants find a new weak point to breach. You can't demoralize them by killing a bunch of their friends. If you break the trail and clean with bleach, the ants will not shrug their shoulders in confusion and head home. But I digress.

  • I bought a cruiser, which I can't ride until after the baby's born and can't tote her around on/behind until she's a year old. BUT IT IS SO PRETTY! (I'll post pictures once I put the fenders on!)

  • Celgene is flying Blake first class to New Jersey to interview for a job.

  • I have noticed I'm not alone in thinking So You Think You Can Dance is the best show on television, and Mary Murphy is one of the best things about it. You can see my nerdy boyfriend Benji from last season dancing with Xtina in the awesome Candyman video.

  • June 20, 2007

    Sarah: Don't call me listless.

    That my living room was five feet wider
    That the spiders would stay away
    There were more hours in the day for me and my cruiser.

    an Airstream trailer
    a Vespa. Still.

    a fabric-covered bulletin board (pictures to follow)
    baby gifts
    wood cuts for our letterpress class
    thumbtacks. I may be selling a set or two soon.

    field greens
    nine-grain bread
    Mt. Rainier cherries
    Pastries and sandwiches

    the Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings
    the Arts Festival with the girls on Friday.

    Andrea's good taste
    Lisa's knobs
    wall decals

    my brothers. I miss them.

    on my company's annual event. It's in three weeks and I'm freaking out a little.
    fighting the good fight against apartment squalor.

    May 01, 2007

    Sarah: Boy, Is my face red.

    Nearing the end of my workday, I took a quick break to use the restroom. While washing my hands, I glanced in the mirror to check the frizz levels of my hair (assessment: Threat Level Yellow) and lip gloss shine factor (assessment: 0 shine remains. Bummer.). Then I noticed a pinkish spot on my cheek. It felt slightly puffy and sensitive to the touch. I decided that it could be nothing other than a flesh-eating bacteria. Obviously I needed a second opinion.
    I walk briskly out of the restroom to consult Marci.
    "I have a flesh-eating bacteria on my face. See? See??"
    I stand on my toes to lean over the front of the reception desk. Marci soothes my paranoia and tells me that she doesn't see anything on my face. "Right here! It's eating my face off. I saw it on America's Next Top Model. Marci, I have a flesh-eating bacteria."
    "Sarah," she smiles, "your face is fine."
    "I have a bacteria! Look! The spot is right there!"
    I twirl around to head back to the bathroom mirror for confirmation.
    And then I see something.
    A man in a suit sitting in the conference room, waiting to speak with my boss.
    "Oh. Hi. I have a flesh-eating bacteria."
    He smiles, nervously.
    Just then, the president of the company walks past.
    "Sarah, stop scaring people away."

    "I have a flesh-eating bacteria on my face."

    April 20, 2007

    Lisa: one track mind

    While I was setting up the auditorium for our "War of the Worlds" No Girls Allowed program, a four-year-old boy wandered in and gasped with delight at the alien party streamers I was draping around the edge of a table. He picked up a stuffed puppet.

    Boy: "Look! Two zombies on there!"
    Lisa: "I think those are supposed to be astronauts."
    B: "Astronauts! And they're in a planet!"
    L: "Um, I think that's a space ship."

    He picked up another stuffed toy.

    B: "This one is a zombie!"
    L: "That one's an alien."
    B: "..."
    L: "Do you know what an alien is?"
    B: "Aliens aren't even real! They live in space! They couldn't be on Earth because that would be CRAZY!"
    L: "Yeah."
    B: "So why are you decorating with all these zombies?"
    L: "And astronauts and aliens?"
    B: "Yeah!!"
    L: "Well, because we're having a program today about aliens and outer space."
    B: "AND ZOMBIES????!!!!"

    March 01, 2007

    Lisa: Thank you?

    I never know what people are going to say to me at the information desk. I think some people don't know what a librarian is, while other people are just strange. I try not to take it personally.

    "Gosh, you're so bright--why do you work at the library?"

    "So are you all volunteers?"

    "Gee, you'd make such a great secretary. Maybe I'll offer you a job!"

    "You have a master's degree? Really? Seriously? So...did you always know you wanted to be a librarian?" (No. Actually, I got my undergraduate degree in music.) "What do you play?" (The flute.) "Oh. I...don't play the flute."

    "You're the smartest girl in the world. And not only that, you're pretty good lookin'! I can say that because I'm old, so it's not a threat."

    "Did you know your thyroid gland is enlarged?"

    "Can I ask your advice? Do you think half a stick of dynamite would be enough to blow up this whole library?"

    Edited because I just had to add one more from today:
    "You always look so nice when I come in here. I prefer brunettes with white shirts and black skirts, and you always look very nice."

    September 14, 2006

    Lisa: Growth Industry

    Recently, a "friend" suggested that, if I really wanted to start making more money, I could become a crack whore (Thanks, Wikipedia! Think Brittanica has an article on that?). I took this kind bit of advice to heart, and have formed a new life plan (complete with easy-to-follow steps!):

    1) Become crack whore. Give sex for drugs, but then sell the drugs instead of taking them myself, thereby earning enough money to...
    2) Finance plastic surgery, allowing for...
    3) Upgrade to high class "escort," trading sex for money (cutting out that annoying "crack" middleman) and making myself available to...
    4) Find a rich but lonely businessman with a heart of gold, a la Pretty Woman and...
    5) Get him to fall madly in love with me, which shouldn't be too difficult considering we have so much in common. Of course we would...
    6) Get married, in which case I would have so much money and spare time on my hands that I would naturally...
    7) Start a foundation to help crack whores like myself get started.

    I think this plan has some real potential, don't you? Aren't friends great?

    August 25, 2006

    Lisa: a long time ago we used to be friends

    I survived my ten-year high school reunion.

    Blake was a good sport and came with me to the dinner part on Friday night. Here we are with Melissa (left) and Emily.

    Here I am again with Charles, whose endlessly capable wife Mindy planned the whole reunion. In this picture I look about one-fourth as freaked out as I felt about the whole thing. My dress was pretty hot though--Sarah pointed out it was even worn to the premiere of Step Up by Arielle Kebbel, who played Dean's wife on Gilmore Girls.

    Saturday morning we had a picnic so that everyone could bring their kids. Below: Jaak, Molly, me, Blake (not MY Blake), and Marianne.

    The main thing I learned at the picnic was that all babies hate me. Seriously, I would try to hold them and they would look at me and scream, violently flail away from me, turn into a limp noodle in an attempt to slither down to the ground, or some combination of the three. I think they can sense my complete non-emanation of any kind of mothering vibe. Don't worry, Charles the 4th (below) was much bigger when I tried to hold him, so there was no actual breakage.

    Saturday night I felt somewhat redeemed because these kids don't hate me.

    They love me. But at least part of that is because I will draw pictures on the table-paper on demand. A tiger? A snake? A giraffe? Abraham Lincoln? You got it.

    A tiny baby monkey? There's nothing I'd rather do right now than draw that for you.

    In other but not less self-absorbed news, I now own a magenta RAZR phone. It is the awesomest phone of all time AND its camera has a special function just for taking self-portraits. That's right. Maybe I will use all of these...

    to make one of those photomosaics where all the tiny pictures (of my face) make up one giant picture (of my face). Maybe then the gods of vanity will be appeased. You can only hope.

    April 26, 2006

    Lisa: Boston, Day 3

    On Wednesday morning (March 22nd), after running, Janell and I took the bus (a 5-minute ride) to the convention center for the second day of our Early Literacy workshop. We left the workshop a bit early to see Nancy Pearl speak, but when we got there the huge auditorium was already packed. We ended up sitting on the floor along one wall. Unfortunately, the program ended up being mostly publishers introducing some of their new titles, but Nancy did introduce them and she was hilarious. She shared a few things I wanted to pass on:

    People clap before a speech out of faith and hope; they clap at the end out of charity.
    --Bishop Sheen

    She also told a hilarious story about finding herself locked, naked, in a hotel bathroom with a broken door handle. Her first thought was, "I am locked in the bathroom of the Mallory Hotel...and I have NOTHING TO READ." Instead of panicking, she then said to herself, "what would Nancy Drew do?" She got busy with a nail file and soon sprung herself from her prison. Only then did she look back into the bathroom and see the telephone next to the toilet.

    The publishers did introduce a few books that I added to my list of books to read:

  • The Brief History of the Dead, by Kevin Brockmeier

  • Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn, by Sarah Miller
  • Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer (although that one seems to be a vampire romance...?)

    Anyway, Laura joined us for the afternoon, and we took a bus to Harvard Square where we couldn't resist taking a few pictures on the Harvard campus...

    ...and had lunch at a sort of mongolian BBQ place called Fire and Ice. Then we headed up to the Harvard Museum of Natural History (miraculously arriving during their few free hours) to see the glass flowers. We walked around Cambridge for a while, going in lots of fun shops, and then walked back to the hotel. Along the way back I took a picture of this building...

    ...which is next door to the Cambridge city hall. Back at the hotel we split up, and after dropping of some of our things, Janell and I took the T to Park Street, where the Loews theater is. One of the ladies from the library had gotten us tickets to see the premiere of Hoot, a movie based on the Carl Hiaasen book. We ate paninis (with more hot tea--BRRR!!) at the nearby Emerson Cafe (Which brings up a problem we kept having in downtown Boston: where do people eat? If you don't want Dunkin' Donuts or Au Bon Pain, I think you have to have a secret insider's map of the city.) and then ran through the wind over to the theater. Hoot was pretty cheesy (and approaching Ferngully levels of environmental consciousness), but kind of cute and funny too. Plus, Luke Wilson!


  • April 25, 2006

    Lisa: Boston, Day 2

    It has taken me awhile to get around to posting about the rest of my trip to Boston, because things have been super crazy at work and at home. But better late than never, right?

    On Tuesday morning (March 21st), Janell and I decided to walk from our hotel in Cambridge across the Harvard bridge to the convention center in Boston proper. The walk wasn't long, but it was freezing cold. The good news is that when we were crossing the bridge we got to see the MIT women's crew team out practicing...

    ...as well as some of the Smoot markings.

    Once across the bridge, we stopped at a convenience store for some hot tea, string cheese, and a blueberry muffin (Yes, I actually ate a muffin. And it was DELICIOUS.). Almost every person we saw walking around Boston was carrying a travel mug or take-out cup of a hot beverage, and as soon as I got my own it was obvious why. The cup serves as the best hand-warmer money can buy, and then when you are waiting for the bus you can take a few sips and warm your belly, too. Just make sure you have a cup with a lid that fastens securely, or you will slosh scalding tea all over your hand on the bus, like I did a few days later.

    Janell and I were in a conference on Early Literacy all morning, but on lunch we walked past Copley Square...

    ...to the Boston Public Garden, hoping to see the Make Way For Ducklings statue.

    After seeing the ducklings (the rest of the park was pretty bare and muddy), we had lunch at Au Bon Pain, which we don't have in Utah but that was everywhere in Boston. After lunch, we headed back to the Hynes Center for more conferences. At the end of the day, we walked next door to the biggest, most convoluted mall ever (well, biggest might be an exaggeration) and ate at the Cheesecake Factory. Not really an example of local cuisine, I know, but it was tasty and they do have sugar-free cheesecake.

    After dinner, we stopped at Trader Joe's (another chain that hasn't hit Utah yet), which was AWESOME. I got Blake some of the fruit slice candies he loves (Which I found out are called Boston Fruit Slices and I ended up seeing all over Boston. Curse you, Utah, and your lack of fruit slice candy!) and these low-carb tortilla chips made of soy and flax seed, which were actually really tasty. Too bad they don't sell them online!

    We took the bus back to the hotel and then stopped at the Star Market, which was ATTACHED TO OUR HOTEL, for breakfast groceries and more snacks. The only bummer part of the day was that I completely killed my feet by walking everywhere in stiletto boots.


    March 21, 2006

    Lisa: Boston, Day 1

    This week I am in Boston for the Public Library Association national conference. Here's my first daily report!

    Security was terrible at the Salt Lake City airport, which meant that I barely made my plane, and that my luggage did not. Nevertheless, I got to the gate in time and everything was fine. Janell (another children's librarian from Whitmore) and I watched Pride and Prejudice on my laptop on the plane, but the battery crapped out with ten minutes still to go (wah!). We got to Boston around 4:30 pm, and successfully found the hotel via bus and subway.

    We stayed at the Hotel at MIT, which was AWESOME. I couldn't resist taking a few pictures...

    Here's sort of a dark close-up on the throw blanket:

    A wall sconce out in the hallway that resembles a microchip:

    The lounge downstairs:

    We ate a tasty dinner at the Asgrave, a sort of Irish pub right next to the hotel, and then walked down to Harvard Square. Most of the shops were closed, but we were able to go into the Harvard Bookstore, the Harvard Coop, and Urban Outfitters. We took the subway back to the hotel to get out of the cold and got into bed. My suitcase got delivered at about 1:30 am, alleviating my fear that I'd have to go to workshops the next day with no makeup, wearing the dirty clothes I wore on the plane.

    To be continued!

    February 06, 2006

    Sarah: Reading, Writing, Etc.

    This was an exciting weekend. Why? Because I read some cool publications and got a new sort-of job. As a journalist! I know. It's a little exciting. I've been thinking a lot about my experiences, and would like to sort of mash out those thoughts here. Because guess what? I can.
    I think the most straightforward way to explain myself is to compose a list of the experiences or parts of my life that have brought me to my current line of thinking.

  • Everyone knows I love my celebrity gossip magazines. I truly do, but I can occassionally break out of my shell to read other printed materials.

  • As I've mentioned here, I've been an editor for the Century magazine (an Institute publication), and have really enjoyed my time there. I have met an incredible group of people (shout out to Dave, E, Mark, Andrea, Michelle, Becca, Emily, and Sunny), and also gotten a glimpse into the world of journalism, writing, editing, and publishing.

  • Armando and I occasionally will go to Barnes & Noble, grab some magazines or books, and just sit at a table and read. Saturday was one of those days. I've been interested in ReadyMade magazine, so I grabbed the latest issue. The tagline is "A BiMonthly Print Magazine For People Who Like to Make Stuff." Perfect for me, right? The magazine is very creative, not only in its content, but in its presentation. There is so much to read, and it is not full of only craft projects. There are interviews with interesting people, personal stories and essays, and a focus on re-use, re-thinking, and keeping the environment in mind. I have the magazine on my Amazon wishlist, and would love to eventually have a subscription. If the gift fairy does ever purchase this magazine for me, though, I believe you get a better deal purchasing a gift package from the ReadyMade site. I'm just saying.

  • Two of the blogs that I read daily (found here and here) are by smart, funny women that make their living by writing. Maggie Mason especially interests me, because from what I can tell, she writes free-lance for different publications, covering a wide variety of subjects. Her resourcefulness and versatility inspire me to find something I'm passionate about, and carve out a place for myself in the professional world.

  • I did some minor grocery shopping this weekend, and picked up a copy of Real Simple while I was out. I thought this was an extremely aesthetically pleasing magazine. Like ReadyMade, I felt like you get a good quality product for the price you pay (roughly 2.5 gossip magazines).
  • (I wrap things up after the jump)

  • I wrote my first little article for the Daily Utah Chronicle, the on-campus newspaper. It's not a big deal, but it's the first piece of writing I've been paid for. That makes me a professional writer! Well, sort of.

  • Being an English major, I'm often asked about my favorite author or literature. Honestly, I don't have a favorite author yet. I've enjoyed some poetry, but haven't been able to get excited about traditional choices, like e. e. cummings. I loved reading Charles Dickens, but sort of in the way you enjoy eating whole grain bread or celery. It's yummy and you enjoy it, but you can't help feeling that you enjoy it partly because it's 'good' for you. I know that I love short stories, though. That tiny capsule of literature, where every word is selected to convey as much as possible, seems more vibrant than an 800 page novel, where brevity is of little consequence.
  • People are often asking me what I plan to do with my English degree, provided, of course, that I eventually graduate. I don't usually have a good answer. The more I immerse myself in journalism, however, the more excited I get. Finding articles for a quality magazine would be like becoming Ira Glass of This American Life. You have to find something brief that still carries a strong message, emotion, or mental image. It is undoubtably a challenge, but seems so rewarding. Plus, think of all the wonderful personal narratives you'd pass on the way.

    I don't have much more to say on this matter for now, except that I'm excited to be exploring my options, and to be filling my brain with more than celebrity gossip (although that is really more in my heart... okay, just kidding).

    January 25, 2006

    Sarah: Man was not meant for Internet cafes alone.

    I don't understand why my wireless internet has been gone for three days. But I know that it is sucking my life away.

    Also, guy that sits in front of me in class: A quasi-mohawk that hasn't been washed for weeks on a dandruff-prone head is less emo-hot and more greasy-gross. I'm just saying.

    January 09, 2006

    Sarah: Spring

    Back to school,
    Back to school,
    To prove to Daddy that I'm not a fooooool.

    January 05, 2006

    Sarah: Etsy

    I didn't like the idea of filling up our site with items that I've made, trying to sell stuff to my own friends and family. After looking around the internet for craft fairs and other selling options, I've almost decided upon selling items on Etsy, but I'm going to first design a banner and hopefully get some feedback about their site from you guys. Thanks for your support, and for your nice comments. Let me know before Jan. 10 if you're interested in any specific items that I've posted here, and I'll make sure not to sell them to anyone else.

    December 05, 2005

    Lisa: Dino-mite

    I always intend to post cute or fun stuff I do for the library, so that I can remember it, but then I usually forget. (See how that works? It's a vicious cycle.) This time I remembered to take pictures, so you lucky people get to hear about my dinosaur storytime!

    Here's the chair where I sit when I read the stories, and you can see the books and stuff that I have set out there. This time we read Find-A-Saurus, Ten Terrible Dinosaurs, How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?, and the awesome Dad's Dinosaur Day.

    I set out a bunch of other dinosaur books for the kids to check out, too.

    We always do songs and rhymes between the stories, and then usually one crafty project. On this website, I found a recipe for making dinosaur eggs, which I thought sounded fun.

    You start with a mixture of flour, salt, used coffee grounds, and sand.

    Then you add water to the mixture, to make it stick together.

    I gave everyone a small plastic dinosaur (which were really hard to find for some reason--I finally had to get some at Toys R Us) and a scoop of Dino Dirt, and we packed the dirt around the dinosaurs. The eggs are supposed to look like rocks.

    We let the eggs dry out for a whole week, until they were really pretty hard and rocklike, and then broke them open at the next week's storytime. Cute!

    A few more helpful sites for dinosaur storytimes:
    It's Storytime
    SurLaLune Storytime
    Milwaukee Public Library
    BayViews Storytime Ideas
    The Best Kids Booksite

    December 02, 2005

    Sarah: I'm Superficial.

    Yesterday I applied for an editor position at The Superficial. Why? Because I read that site at least once a day, I want to be funny like them, and I'd love to be an editor. I don't know quite how the job would work, but I'm hoping that it's completely internet based. If that were the case, I could a) keep my current job (which I love), b) have an extra income from the part-time position that they are hiring for, c) have editorial experience, which I think is what I'd enjoy doing, and d) be considered funny, and possibly even have people other than my professors reading my work. So I'm hoping that I am seriously considered, but I know that the competition is tough, so I'm keeping my thoughts realistic.

    The application process was fairly simple: Give some basic contact information, list websites you frequently read, write a short bio, and submit three sample posts. My sample posts are below:

    While on tour together, Kelly Clarkson and Graham Colton found true love. I'm guessing this was not because of her fashion savvy.
    "They have both lived in Dallas 'so they have that Texas thing in common,' a source close to the singers tells PEOPLE. "They're both very spiritual and mature for their ages. They are in a committed relationship."
    One can practically bet money on a couple that has "that Texas thing" in common. Congratulations, Kelly. You've found what most of us can only dream of.
    (Inspired by this article)

    Matthew McConaughey is named the Sexiest Man Alive by People Magazine. And by "sexiest" they mean "the most orange".
    (Inspired by this article)

    Charlize Theron says she's tired of being noticed for her good looks. I want to like her, and I often do, but when the article says "it's part of her job to hide her looks," I think of another starlet, Eva Longoria. When actresses lament the burden that is their beautiful faces, it just makes people hate them. Well, that, and when they're complete bitches.
    (Inspired by this article)

    November 17, 2005

    Sarah: And by "any time" I mean...

    Armando has a fairly new job. He fills job positions with compatible employees. Or rather, that's what he tries to do. In real life, after speaking with a prospective employee, he sends me emails that say the following:

    Typical work convo:

    Guy: I need a job
    Armando: When can you work?
    Guy: Whenever
    Armando: Can you work tonight?
    Guy: No?
    Armando: So when can you work?
    Guy: mon-fri, anytime.
    Armando: Anytime? So can you work tonight?
    Guy: No
    Armando: Any reason why?
    Guy: Just can't.

    Armando, although you may be frustrated, these experiences never cease to amuse me.

    May 24, 2005

    Lisa: Princess Peanutbuttercup

    For our summer reading club kickoff party at the library, I am making a princess costume. Our theme is Dragons, Dreams, and Daring Deeds (cheesy, but hey, I didn't make it up). I decided to make the blue dress from the "I would not say such things if I were you!" scene in The Princess Bride. I haven't been able to find any pictures of the dress online, and I have been using a videotape for costume research, so I'm not sure how to make screencaps of my own. Anyway, I'll get some pictures up of the dress-making process soon.

    The POINT is that I have a chin-length red bob with blond highlights. Not exactly your traditional princessy waist-length blond ringlets. I am trying to find a way to disguise at least the short length of my hair, while keeping the soft, feminine look Buttercup has in the movie. I don't think I want to wear a full wig. Here are some alternate options I've found online, but I'm not really loving any of them. Please send me your ideas! The good part is that this is a fairytale/fantasy princess, so I don't have to be authentic to any time period. Basically, it just has to look pretty.

    Gotta love Maid Marian.

    The idea is a stuffed fabric tube with ribbon twined around it and bits of fake hair sticking out the end. It would be fastened to my head somehow under a veil.

    Princess Isabelle from Braveheart. This would involve net caul things over the ears stuffed with fake hair (or lined with fabric) with fake hair braids around them. I'm not sure about the circlet, but I would definitely want to forego the veil around the neck.

    From Padme's Picnic Gown. I could handle the loose ringlets around the face, but I would need some kind of curly ponytail attachment for the back.

    Pop some fake braids on there (if I can find the right color), find a way to slick the rest down in back, and we're good to go.

    Drew wore sort of a be-pearled golden hairnet in Ever After.

    This looks a lot like the pearly hairnet thing too, but maybe a bit smaller and neater.

    Sort of a turban thing. Seems like it would be hard to get it to look right and then keep it up on your head.

    Sort of a fabric bag tied on to the head. This is basically a variant on the hairnet idea, but you can't see the hair through it. Also, I thought this girl looked like she kind of had a bob.

    A bunch of different crown/veil combinations. I don't think I would want anything around the front of my neck.

    May 03, 2005

    Sarah: Would You Like To Stay Forever?

    Did I tell you that I'm working full time at one of my jobs now? Did I even tell you that I used to have two jobs? Well, I am. So what do I have in my drawer at work?
    -current knitting project (a cool shawl/scarf made of crazy ribbon yarn)
    -iPod charger
    -laptop (depending on the day)
    -birthday cards
    -breakfast (well, in the fridge)
    -lunch (well, in the freezer)
    I think I could live here. What more do I need, really?

    January 24, 2005

    Lisa: Concert Black, part deux

    So, the reason I haven't posted for almost three weeks is that I have been working on programming a new version of our website for Concert Black, the business my mom and I are starting. We have new drawings, another level of navigation, and a few other less-obvious programming changes.

    Check it out here, and please let me know what you think (or if there are any problems) in the comments. I would love to know what it looks like on as many different monitors and in as many different browsers as possible.

    January 22, 2005

    Sarah: I tried to walk on water, but then I totally sank

    We play a Top-40 style radio station at work. While listening to an older Counting Crows, Mike had a valid question:
    M: So, this song says "walk on water," so is he singing about Jesus? He's the only person that walks on water.
    S: And his apostle.
    M: Okay, so it's either about Jesus or his apostle. Whatever.
    S: And that girl from The Craft. "These are my gifts!! He is blessing me!!"

    Yeah. Probably going to hell.

    January 19, 2005

    Sarah: Your Muddy Buddy

    Last week, it was raining almost nonstop for a few days. While at work, I was sent to a nearby postal drop box to send out some letters. The dropbox, set to be accessible from the sidewalk, was separated from the parking lot by a small, grassy divider. No, let me rephrase: the sidewalk and parking lot were seperated by the muddy slippery-slide of death, which it was my mission to traverse. I think you can see where this is going. The shortened version of my experience is that I COMPLETELY fell in the mud. My back, butt, and legs were covered in mud. I laid a grocery bag on my car seat, called work to let them know I was on my way home to change, and returned a while later. The experience was a little mortifying and a lot messy. The most amusing part of the story was the face of the man who passed me in his car just as I slipped. His face contorted in sympathetic pain, and his mouth puckered as if the very air he breathed was sour. Other observers offered these helpful comments: "You dropped one" and "Are you ok?!" and "MM-hfgh-mmm." The last comment is an approximation of what I heard, since the man was yelling, through the rain, from across the parking lot. Yesterday, M needed one of the employees to take mail to the same drop box, but automatically called upon another person, reasoning "Well, I need him to come back after he drops it off." Good. I didn't want to go anyway. I never want to go there again. So there.

    December 10, 2004

    Lisa: no turning back now

    I finished programming the Concert Black website yesterday and have been submitting it to search engines all morning. Scary! Anyway, check it out and see what you think.

    For the backstory on Concert Black, look here, here, here, and here.

    October 29, 2004

    Guest Blogger: David Anderson


    It was Halloween, 1995. I was fourteen years old, and was about two weeks away from falling deeply in love with Gwen Stefani. That afternoon, however, I was primarily concerned with the skit that I, as a member of the Academic Team, had to present to the panel of judges at the meet against Evergreen Junior High.

    It became apparent during our brainstorming session that there was a problem with my voice. A day earlier, it had been high and clear, and I had been able to speak with supreme confidence. And, to the annoyance of my teachers, I had done so at every opportunity, being something of a blabbermouth. In a matter of twenty-four hours, however, my voice had changed, now coming out in an intermittent, nasal squawk.

    During the discussion with my four teammates I attempted to disguise the fact by keeping quiet and making exaggerated facial expressions and hand gestures. This worked for about fifteen seconds, after which Annie, whom I was convinced I would someday marry, said "Why aren't you saying anything? What's wrong?"

    When your voice changes suddenly overnight, it takes time before you fully gain control over it. I did my best to answer, but my response came out so cracked and strained that I only elicited horrified stares. My face burning with shame, I finally managed to gasp out something about having lost my voice.

    Being creative individuals, we managed to plan a skit in which I didn't have any lines. I remember standing at the side, wearing a large blue piece of construction paper with the words "Potable Water" written on it in black magic marker, while my teammates explained their bold new plans for improving water conservation. I felt relieved, more than anything--grateful that I didn't have to hear the sound of my own voice.

    September 16, 2004

    Lisa: More of the Same

    I don't really have anything new to report, just mostly updates on the same old things I have been talking about for the last little while.

    Car: Instead of taking 5 more weeks, it looks like my Scion will be ready to pick up next week sometime. This is great for Blake, since he won't have to take the bus and/or beg rides from coworkers anymore, and only slightly bad for our home mortgage situation. Actually, I think we have it worked out so that everything will be fine--we're just using some of the cash we originally had earmarked for the car to pay closing costs on the house.

    House: After several recent drive-bys, I have to say that I don't think the sellers are getting ready to move fast enough. They technically have until the end of October, but I keep hoping they will find a house to move into sooner, so that we can then move into their house sooner, and vacate our smoke-smelling, broken-window, plywood-patched-cement-stairs, water-always-running, tiny apartment (go into Cartman singing voice here) in the ghetto.

    Job: Everything at the library is awesome. There is a huge banner still up in the children's section that says "Welcome Lisa." Everyone seems really nice. The library is only ten minutes from our new house (but unfortunately 25 minutes from our apartment). I am still getting used to things and learning everyone's names and where things are. Luckily, I don't have to start doing storytimes until October. They will be kind of intimidating and intense at first, but at least I have a little while to adjust to the new job before I have to start doing them.

    Business: My mom and I went and bought a fax machine, printer, phones, Quickbooks software, and a bunch of other office supplies on my day off. Then we went to a meeting with our manufacturer and designer. The manufacturer has all of our fabric and the "markers," which I think are these sort of giant pattern layout things. We should have samples of two tops and two skirts (all in two fabrics) by next Tuesday, which means we can start taking pictures of the clothes, which means I can put the website online sometime next week. I'll be posting the address here as soon as it's ready for public consumption.

    Update: the website is live! Check it out here.

    Anyway, all of this is clogging up my thoughts and I haven't had a chance to do anything crafty or think of anything funny. Actually, though, now that I think of it, I finished crocheting my poncho and David and I pulled an awesome fake wedding invitation prank on his former girlfriend. I will have to post pictures and more info on those exciting events, to remind myself that I am not completely boring.

    September 01, 2004

    Lisa: Everything is insane

    1. I got the job at the library (WOOOHOOOO!!!) and I start September 13th.
    2. Blake and I have met with our realtor twice and have been prequalified for a home mortgage.
    3. My mom just took out a line of credit for our business, and we are rushing to finalize things with the manufacturer in time to fill our first order.
    4. I ordered a Scion xA.
    5. I started crocheting a poncho last night around midnight. Because...?

    It is obviously a time for new beginnings. And a time for increased chance of stress-related illness or accident. I am planning to take deep breaths, drink lots of Diet Coke, and attempt to form coherent thoughts.

    August 30, 2004

    Lisa: Family and Coke--no better combination.

    Last Friday, David, Jeff and I drove up to Logan to help Sarah get installed in her new apartment for the upcoming school year. I just have to say that all of my siblings are awesome. We had tons of fun on the drive up there, with a more than a little bit of Coca-cola-induced hysterical giggling (thank goodness for the McDonalds in Centerville and its 59-cent 44-oz. drinks!). We managed to build Sarah's IKEA desk and chair while we were up there, but not much else.

    Here are some photos from the drive, when I started rooting around in my purse for things to play with and found my camera:

    Sarah, I will miss you tons. I hope you will still come down and hang out with me sometimes! And on the plus side, maybe you will remember our lowly blog and post a few entries once in a while...

    August 20, 2004

    Lisa: Brain Cloud

    It looks like I am too late to buy the car I had my heart set on. The Echo, which I blathered about here, is apparently being discontinued, although I find no evidence of that on the Toyota website. None of the dealers in the entire region have a new Echo. I am so bummed! I loved its cuteness and incredible gas mileage, but most of all I was excited about the oh-so-affordable price. I want to buy a car with cash, and I think we will have to earn two or three thousand more dollars before we could consider buying a different but comparable new vehicle. Getting a loan for $2200 or whatever would be lame. All of the Toyota dealers want to sell me a Scion XA when they hear I am looking for an Echo, but I am not convinced. The Scion is not as cute. It is a hatchback with four individual seats. Its base price is $2000 more than the Echo. True, it has more standard features...

    I guess I will have to decide what to do. The problem is that if we buy a house soon (which we want to do) and/or if I get a library job (and I'm interviewing for one on Monday!), I will almost assuredly not be able to ride the light rail to work. We will need another car, period. I was just hoping I could go to the dealership, tell them exactly what I wanted, come home with something shiny and NEW that I loved, and feel happy and carefree. Now I am all stressed out about it and worried I will make the wrong choice.


    I just moved into a new office at work. It is much bigger than my old office, with tons of storage space and real wood furniture instead of the gray modular stuff. I love it. And they are sending me to a conference in New Orleans in September, which should be awesome. I had just decided I was feeling good about staying at this job for a while when I got called for the aforementioned interview for a library job that I applied for months ago. Now I am almost hoping I DON'T get the library job, which is crazy.

    In other, not-related news, Sarah gave me this super cute librarian pin from Fred Flare for graduation! I love it, but I'm not sure whether or not I'm actually making fun of myself by wearing it. I mean, is it an ironic librarian pin? Whatever, it's cute.

    Also, the guy I mentioned a couple of months ago is starting medical school on Monday at the medical school WHERE I WORK, so I guess I will only be seeing more of him. Whoopee.

    July 22, 2004

    Lisa: Pretty drawings do not a website make

    My mom and I had another meeting with the designer for our Concert Black business last night. It was all kinds of serious, with fabric samples and a design board with pretty drawrings and everything. Evidence below (click the thumbnail for the bigger picture).

    So, the next step with the clothes is a few design changes (like making the skirts all long enough) and getting quotes from manufacturers.

    Unfortunately, the clothes part isn't my responsibility. Instead, I am supposed to be working on the website. Argh! E-commerce websites have so much STUFF involved that I don't know how to integrate. I need a tax calculator, shipping calculator, credit card verification/processing service, SSL on my web server, a web server, a digital ID/authentication certificate, and a really good looking and functional website. What do I have? None of the above. Help!

    Update: the website is live! Check it out here.

    June 25, 2004

    Lisa: A few items of varying importance

    1. I am wearing my "World's Best Grandma" shirt today, which nobody seems to think is funny but me. Maybe it's because I live in Utah--do people think it's possible I really could be a grandma? Whatever. I think the shirt is funny, and besides, I look hot in it.

    2. Molly, Blake, and I are getting more and more serious about our trip to the British Isles (is that capitalization correct?) next summer, which I think I have mentioned before. I am totally excited. Molly and I went to Europe together in college, and we did the whole giant backpack, youth hostel, Eurail Pass, five countries (and ten cities) in three weeks thing. This would be different. This would be hotels and quite possibly a rental car. This would be seeing things we want to see, not just things we feel we are obligated to see because they're famous or important (although seeing the famous/important things has its merits). Anyway, the planning is half the fun, so we're starting to research costs and things we might want to see. If you have any suggestions, please comment! My assignment is to look for books and movies with a historical (fiction or non) slant set (and/or filmed) in the British Isles--you know, to get us in the mood.

    3. Talking about going on a trip next summer has led to a lot of talks on future plans in general. Blake graduated in May and has been looking for jobs, and I graduate in August. There's just a lot of change coming up for us, I think. Within the next year, we (Blake and I) would like to:

  • get new jobs
  • buy a new car
  • buy a house
  • attempt to increase the surplus population
    All those things are kind of a big deal, but I am suprisingly not freaked out. Maybe it's not real enough yet.

    4. I am thinking about quitting my job and applying to be a substitute librarian at both the city and county library systems. My theory is that between the two systems I would be able to get plenty of hours, and the people at the libraries would get to know me, making me more likely to be considered if any librarian jobs ever open up. I wouldn't get benefits, but hopefully Blake can get benefits through his new job (which is still nonexistent at this point). I need to research how many hours I could realistically expect to get before making a real decision. Any thoughts?

  • June 14, 2004

    Lisa: Schooled

    I finished my comprehensive essay exams last night (WOOHOOOOO!!!), which means I am almost done with the Capstone Experience of my master's program. The other main component is a leadership project, which I'm basically done with. I just have to have one more meeting and then write about what I did.

    In case anyone's interested in my project (or indirectly my lack of postings lately), here's what it entailed:
    I made 15 story sacks for the library of the Young Parents Center, which is an alternative high school for students who become parents and want to bring their children with them to school. The sacks each contain a few related books, some activity items, a sheet with more activity ideas and tips on reading to babies, and a bunch of reading lists and brochures from the county library system. I took pictures of a few of the sacks this morning to include with my write-up, so you get to see them too. (Click on the dealy-hops to see the bigger thingummies.)



    By the end of the week, my write-up will be done and turned in, and that means no more Capstone! I just have to finish out summer semester (three classes) and then I graduate in August. In Vegas. Yeah, it will be the hottest--but also the funnest, right? If you know of any fabulous yet affordable hotels, please let me know.

    May 25, 2004

    Lisa: Gradgitated

    Congratulations, Blake! I love you the most.
    Blake in cap and gown, with two diplomas and one Lisa.

    April 28, 2004

    Lisa: I didn't make it all the way through third grade for nothin'!

    Today my mom sent me a link to a quiz on the placement of the US States that was actually pretty fun. I passed! It did take me four tries, but hey, who doesn't need a bit of a refresher on those ones in the middle? I'm just glad no one's testing me on Utah's counties and their county seats, which I had to memorize in fourth grade.

    I would normally go into a rant here about how it would have been helpful to actually learn world geography in my ninth grade World Geography class, instead of making videos about saving the environment, but I think it's getting a bit tired. Mr. Burnham, you're off the hook.

    April 27, 2004

    Lisa: But officer, we were following the scientific method!

    A few months ago David, Blake, and I served as judges for a local school district's science fair. The simple truth is that we got jealous. WE wanted to do a science fair project, too! Besides, we were confident that three adults with a combined 12+ years of post-secondary education would be able to show those seventh graders how it's done. Anyway, it's taken us a while to come up with a decent topic. Around Easter time, we seriously considered trying to determine how to make the strongest-shelled boiled eggs, in order to always win in egg fights. (The sacred egg fight tradition is an entry unto itself, and will be discussed no more at this time.) Unfortunately, the cost of the thousands of eggs necessary to make our experiment scientifically sound became prohibitive.

    Today David sent me this link to a series of pictures drawn by an artist at various stages of an LSD trip. Not only are these drawings and the associated commentary fascinating in their own right, but they are also serving as preliminary research for our new experiment. Don't worry, we're not planning to document the effects of LSD (Hi, Mom and Dad!); we're thinking of something less illegal. Something more along the lines of "The Mind-Altering Effects of Sleep Deprivation."

    Look out, science-loving thirteen-year-olds! You won't know what hit you.

    April 06, 2004

    Sarah: You're so cruel

    Today at work, while calling people all over the US with surveys, I spoke with one woman named Iwona Boney. I'm not making this up. I don't think I could if I wanted to. What kind of parents name their child that?? I think it's very mean-spirited to let a person enter the world with a name like that. I'm sorry, Iwona. And thank you for your participation in the study.
    Hee hee hee.

    March 25, 2004

    Sarah: The Vending Machine Blues

    Today I was purchasing my beverage of choice from the vending machine located in my apartment building, and I suddenly remembered my junior high days. Although my mom made our lunches for school from first grade all the way until we graduated (spoiled, I know), and they were always quite fabulous, I would occasionally purchase candy during the lunch hour. There were these certain cherry flavored candies that I just thought were the most delicious EVER. If you kept them in your mouth long enough, the sugary flavored outside would melt away and you'd be left with the gummy center! Anyway, the point. There were several boys who would spend the majority of lunch time gathered around the vending machines begging for your change. Their goal was apparently to collect enough money to make a purchase of their own. I never understood this. Why don't they just bring 65 cents to school? It's not that much! Instead, they opted to spend their time out of class asking their peers for enough change for a soda or some other item. I, like many of my peers, became an expert at guarding my hard-earned pocket change. After I inserted my cash, I would punch in the numbers for my selection. Then I would immediately cover the change slot with my hand. If I did not do so, my change could be stolen or, possibly worse, handed to me by one of the aforementioned beggars, who would then, with my money in his hand, ask for my change. Did I give the money to him? Did I snatch it back out of his hand and hurry back to the lunch table where my friends were seated, clutching my worldly possessions? This was a major moral dilemma for a 14 year old, and one that I faced all too often.

    January 16, 2004

    Sarah: Is that a taco, or are you just happy to see me?

    So, this morning was ultra-bizzarre. I recently got a job, and my second day was today. I needed to be at work at seven, and so I set my alarm for 5:45 for plenty of alarm-snoozing time. In the wee hours of the morning, I had a very vivid dream where I worked next door to a Taco Bell. I went to this fast food franchise around 8 pm at the start of my shift to get some Diet Coke, and the guy working there (there was only one employee) was surprisingly attractive. Allow me to clarify. This guy was actually not very good looking. He was fine, not grotesque or anything, but I knew that he was SUPPOSED to be hot. So, whatever, I had a dream-crush on him. And I somehow got to Taco Bell without my wallet, so I had to go back to work, get money, and return to Taco Bell. When I came back, there were at least three Taco artists on staff, and the cup I was given for my Diet Coke, aka Sweet Nectar of Life, was bigger than my head. Before I could fill up my cup, I was woken up by my alarm.
    Oh Holy Crap!!
    My clock said 8:00. I WAS AN HOUR LATE FOR WORK! I immediately went into panic mode. How could this happen?! I glanced over at my roommate's alarm, and it said 6:47. Inexplicable!! I felt like I was in a twilight zone. I checked the time on my cell phone, because my watch died two days ago, and it agreed with my roommate's clock. I wasn't late... yet.
    After I hurried and got dressed and wet down my hair (it froze in the 9 degree weather), I got to work. They told me to wait for a minute, and then informed me that they didn't really have anything for me to do, so I should come back to work next week, when they'd have "a bunch of new projects."
    At this point, I was completely frazzled. My alarm clock had decieved me, I woke up needlessly early, and it's not very often that you meet a decent guy at Taco Bell! This is not a good start to my weekend.

    December 02, 2003

    Lisa: Not just pretending

    Things I am thinking about right this minute:

  • Working at a school while going to school is a bad idea. My finals week is always the busiest week at work, too, which is crappy. (If you are a 30-50 year-old man in the Salt Lake area who would like to do some easy work for $15/hour, CALL ME!)

  • Support the Lisa and Blake fund: buy my parents' coffee table!

  • My costume is coming along fabulously, albeit a little slowly. At the last sewing session, I found that invisible zippers are hard to put in, especially if you have never done it before, are just trying to wing it, and don't have the right sort of presser foot. I guess I will be going to the fabric store to purchase a new, unmutilated zipper.

  • Macadamia nuts are absurdly expensive. Sarah and I had a whole riff about this, which I can't remember now.

  • The employees at the McDonald's by my apartment seem to be especially inept. Blake and I swing through their drive-thru quite often after work, and I always order the same thing: a Bacon Ranch Salad with grilled chicken, and a medium Diet Coke. This is a regular menu item, nothing funny, but they manage to mess it up almost every time. I have never gotten croutons with my salad (but I have at other McDonald's stores), I have been given the breaded chicken instead of the grilled several times, once I got the salad without the chicken entirely, and once they tried to give me a grilled chicken sandwich with bacon on it. Honestly, people! The folks at Burger King have my "usual" memorized, and have it sitting on the counter for me by the time I'm ready to order.

  • Babies are nice.

  • November 17, 2003

    Lisa: Don't choose me to be your Secret-Keeper

    Because it is KILLING me not to talk about this brilliant idea Blake and I have been cooking up, I am posting a few pictorial clues for Sarah to puzzle over.


    I guess while I'm here, I should apologize (in case there's one person out there who cares) for being a horrible blogger. I have been trying to pass my classes, working, helping Blake apply to law school, starting a small business with my mom, and sewing my costume for Trilogy Tuesday(!). All caught up now? Good.

    September 15, 2003

    Lisa: Concert Black

    My mom and I have been talking about starting a small business. It's getting pretty serious--more so than my usual genius ideas--because we're talking about getting a small business loan and I've registered a domain name and everything.

    Here's the concept. Almost all orchestras and symphonies require their female musicians to wear formal, all-black ensembles, usually skirts, that are long-sleeved and ankle-length. If you have shopped for this type of outfit before (as I have on countless occasions), you would know that it does not exist. If it's formal enough and long enough, the sleeves are guaranteed to be too short, etc. "But I'm sure there's an online clothing retailer that caters to musicians," you might say. You would be wrong. The only similar-concept site that I have found after countless hours of searching has only ugly clothes with short sleeves.

    We've decided to sell separates, a la David's Bridal bridesmaid outfits. Separates are the easiest way to fit varying body types and allow for customized looks that give an overall uniform effect. There are a few caveats for formalwear that is used as an everyday uniform, though:

  • Items should be comfortable; you have to be able to sit down, bend arms, breathe, etc. All of the materials should be stretchy or flowy. Also, people don't like to buy new orchestra clothes just because they gained five pounds. Plus, a waistband that is comfortable standing up is not always good when sitting down.
  • Let's face it, musicians playing strenuous music under hot stage lights sweat. Items should be machine washable if possible! Packable (for tours) is even better.
  • Items should be flattering and look professional. Bunchy waistbands become worse when sitting down. Tops that are too long make hips look wider. Tops that are too short show bare skin or underwear when sitting. Bra straps should never be in danger of showing.

    Anyway, I've been working on the website, and my mom's been working on how to produce these customized skirts and tops. I'll post more info as we get closer.

    I have no doubts that a business of this kind could be successful. There is a huge market that is not being satisfied. But...this is kind of scary!

    Update: the website is live! Check it out here.

  • September 08, 2003

    Lisa: You mean I might have to get a real job?

    I have this fantasy. No, it's not about D-Bo, you sickos! Anyway, here it is (not that you asked):

    A wealthy older woman in my neighborhood has spent the last ten years aquiring an extensive collection of high quality children’s picture books. I don’t know if the books were taking up too much room in her home or if the woman developed a social conscience, but she now wants to share the picture books with the community. She doesn’t want to donate them to the public library, because she wants the collection to stay together with her name on it. Also, the nearest city library is a ten-minute drive and she would like the children in her neighborhood to be within walking distance.

    Since this woman knows that I am working on a degree in library science, she wants me to investigate what it would take to start a privately owned “public” library. Of course, I would be the librarian...

    After that it just gets too personal.

    September 02, 2003

    Lisa: Segue

    I think this is the best conversational transition I have ever heard (courtesy Gabrielle):

    "Speaking of unnattractive bulges..."

    July 28, 2003

    Sarah: Return to Pooh Corner

    At a recent nannying job, I came across a disturbing light fixture. In a Winnie the Pooh themed room, a charming lamp adorned the dresser. The base of this lamp was a staircase with Christopher Robin ascending and Winnie the Pooh scrambling behind. All this seems very cheery and appropriate for an infant's bedroom.

    I was disturbed, however, by Christopher Robin's missing head. Seriously. Apparently during some escape attempt by the infant or in rough play, Christopher Robin had been decapitated. The result was a headless form in pajama pants and a bathrobe walking up a stairway to an unknown and possibly sinister destination while an overly curious, pint-sized bear -- dressed in human clothing, possibly because of its idolic nature to a headless cult -- followed a few steps behind.

    July 21, 2003

    Lisa: Vah Beach

    So, I had a dream that Sarah and I were walking down a sidewalk with my mom, just talking, and she said "But don't you want to lose weight?" and we (Sarah and I) linked arms and started skipping and singing at the top of our lungs. The chorus of our song started with something like this: "It's easier to get FAAAT....than THIIIIIINNNNN!!!!!!" All in all, though, it was better than the dream with the girl whose face had no skin on it. [Shiver.] As has been previously stated, I have serious problems.

    In other news, my conference in Virginia Beach (or as the locals call it, "Vah Beach") is going much better than the one in Springfield last April. We're staying in this quaint old hotel that is really charming and fun. No narsty condom wrappers on the floor, and this time Blake got to come with me! Oh yeah, and the conference itself has been good, too.

    I should also add that I am writing this blog from our new and fabulous PowerBook G4! Hurrah for Financial Aid!! And for exclamation points!!!

    June 27, 2003

    Sarah: Adventures in Babysitting

    Sophie (3) has taken to saying "I suppose." While I was helping her go to the bathroom, she said "I suppose that I need some toilet paper." She also seems to think that she is an adult. While having a snack, she looked at me and said "I think we need to check on David." David (my brother, who is 21) was quietly reading in the next room. I'm glad she's got her eye on him. One of my favorite moments of the day was when, as I was feeding the kids dinner, the ice cream man drove by. Tim (9) grabbed his money box and made a run for the door. When his mom stopped him from leaving, the following conversation ensued:

    Mom: No, you don't!
    Tim: But... can I just get some ice cream?
    Mom: No, you can't.
    Tim:... Can I ask Sarah?

    Thanks. Dude, I've been turned into the softie. Oh well. Another dinner funny happened while I was making grilled cheese sandwiches. Tim and Rachel (6) were both about half way done with eating their current sandwiches, so I asked them if they would like a second sandwich. Both of them said no, so I started to clean up. Almost right after I put the pan I'd been using for the sandwiches into the sink, Tim says "Okay, I'll have another sandwich now." And Rachel says "Yeah, me too." So I said "But you both said you didn't want another!" Tim replied "I had to see if I was still hungry..." in a slightly condescending way. Oh well.

    May 08, 2003

    Lisa: THROTC, Final Report

    I know people everywhere are hanging on the edge of their collective seats to find out how my hotel room saga ended. I talked to the manager of the hotel today, and I am happy to report that I was professional and firm but not nasty. The manager is simply SHOCKED that such a thing could happen! She can't understand why I didn't personally seek her out between the hours of 7 am and 4 pm and tell her what was going on! She had no idea! She has NEVER had a problem like this before! Anyway, she will supposedly be arranging a refund to my work from the corporate headquarters of the hotel chain. She tried to convince me that gift certificates would be just as good, but I didn't bite. Anyway, all's well that ends well. At least I got to watch Driven: Jennifer Lopez on VH1.

    Update (7/31/03): I have never received any kind of refund. I HATE THEM.

    For the first entry in this series, click here.

    April 30, 2003

    Lisa: Update on THROTC

    Well, it did get worse from there. I called the night manager, and he came and took the grody food away. He promised to leave a note for the housekeeping staff, but he did NOT offer me another room. Later that night, I discovered that my sheet had some sort of red goo stuck on it and that my toilet seat was covered with nasty pee and pubic hair. I laid in bed on the side farthest from the goo and tried not to cry. Okay, I cried.

    Anyway, I told the next manager on duty about the new problems, and he promised to add them to the note for Housekeeping. HOWEVER, when I returned from the conference yesterday evening, my sheets had not been changed and the toilet had not been cleaned! I told the night manager (the same one who was on duty Sunday night) about this oversight, and he promised to take care of it PERSONALLY, as soon as possible. Meanwhile, I went to ShopKo to buy various important items I had forgotten to pack (and the 24 DVDs!). I returned to find that nothing at all had changed in my room. I called the night manager (Jonathan) again, and he apologized profusely, calling me HONEY several times. I cannot stand people calling me honey, especially people MY OWN AGE!!!! Whew. Anyway, I asked him if he would just bring me a clean set of sheets that I could put on by myself. He did, but did not offer to put them on or clean my toilet or move me to another room. Also, he brought two top sheets and no pillowcases.

    I may find myself taking advantage of the 100% satisfaction money-back guarantee. But then would my work get the money back, since they are paying for the hotel? THEY didn't have to sleep with goo!

    On the upside: The conference is good and the other participants are very nice. I spent $100 at ShopKo and loved every minute of it.

    For the next entry in this series, click here.

    April 27, 2003

    Lisa: The Hotel Room of TOTAL CRAP

    This week I'm at a training conference for my job. I got to my hotel room tonight and there was old leftover takeout in the mini fridge and an EMPTY CONDOM WRAPPER on the carpet by the bed. Ew. Just ew. I hope the week goes up from here.

    For the next entry in this series, click here.

    April 08, 2003

    Lisa: And Hilarity Ensued

    So, I walked across the hall into my old office and into this conversation: "and then he started smashing it with a rock, and he was all 'die, snake! Die! DIE!!'"

    How could I talk about copy center account numbers after that?

    April 04, 2003

    Sarah: Roommates

    So, it's my first year of college. Correct me if I am being unreasonable, but it seems to be a general rule among dorm inhabitants that sleeping until 9 o'clock is not only reasonable, but very normal. Unfortunately, I have the roommate of insanity. After returning from an early class, she bustled into the apartment, inquiring of a fellow roommate "She's STILL in bed, isn't she?" Before I am passed off as a slothful college freshman, a few additional details are required. I was not in bed, but was awake and getting ready for class. Also, the time of this incident was 8:00 am. EIGHT IN THE MORNING! If I had been in bed, which I wasn't, this would not be an obnoxious amount of sleep, nor would I be inconsiderate to expect an atmosphere in my bedroom conducive to sleep. I would just like confirmation that I was not the inconsiderate roommate in this particular instance. Also keep in mind that this roommate sees 8:00 am as an absurd time to be in bed because she prefers to do homework between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am, sleeping in the afternoon. Am I the dysfunctional one?