A Little Bit of Whimsy

November 25, 2011

Do you ever feel a little out of place? Like something’s just a bit off? As if you’ve perhaps slid into an alternate universe in which everything is so very much like what you know that you wouldn’t even know that you were somewhere else except for a few glances out of the corner of your eye in which something is not as expected? I feel like this sometimes. A bit like Alice in Wonderland. It’s occasionally disconcerting, but mostly just a little reminder to be mindful. To not make assumptions. And if I am feeling a bit out of place, to find my way back to where I belong. Finding my way back is a little more difficult when I find myself quite far down the rabbit hole of career choices, but I’m working on it. In the meantime, here are the creatures I’m encountering in my head.

These guys are just deliciously creepy...by Christina Hachatryan

Adelaide Gazelling, by GrandeOleBestiary

Queen Cat...no source found

Rainy Day Rabbit by Magda Trazaski

Rainy Day Rabbit by Magda Trazaski

Deer Heart...can't find a source

Rabbit Mask by Corrine Perier

I wonder which critter is occupying my head.


Chicken Lust

October 19, 2011

I am having nesting urges. I do not want babies. I want chickens. I want to get up in the morning and let them out of their hen house and listen to them cluck with glee as I dole out kitchen scraps. I want to eat eggs with vibrant orange yolks for breakfast, and know that they got that way because the hens are keeping our resident cockroach population in check. Circle of life, and all that jazz.

We live in an urban neighborhood, but houses on our street (including our own) all have small yards, and it is even LEGAL to have chickens (under a certain hen/sq. ft. density – no roosters allowed). We eat a lot of eggs and I feel like a small flock of less than half a dozen would satisfy my farm girl itch for a while.

However, it would be rather impractical given our current state of uncertainty. What if we take new jobs in the next 6 months? Who do you give your chickens to when you move out of state? I have no idea.

So, no chickens for now. Look, but don’t touch. I know how you feel, kid.

Fucking chicken. Can't even take it home with me.


October 18, 2011

I just love this little guy.

Personal Creature by Ellen

It really resonates. So light and airy and free and hopeful, but if you get too scientific about it, the little bugger should be struggling to achieve takeoff. How does it get off the ground with all those beautiful holes in its wings?

(link to the artist’s etsy page)

Buy me a pony

October 16, 2011

Let's be honest, I'd much rather have one of these than a KitchenAid mixer, but wedding guests aren't Santa Claus

Ooof. Wedding registries.

As a guest, I love ’em. Makes it easy to shop, and you know you’re getting people something they love.

As a bride, putting together a registry is causing me a lot of angst. I know that guests will very much appreciate having a registry to choose gifts from, but I can’t help but feel that I am being greedy and selfish by creating this huge list of “buy us things!”. Which is ridiculous of course, but I am really not great at holding myself to the same standards and expectations that I do other people. It’s fine and legit for other people to have registries, and I appreciate when they do, so what is this idea that as soon as I make a registry I am a little troll? Perhaps it is because we are having a “destination” wedding…which is only really true for about half our guest list. With family and friends on both sides of the Atlantic, no matter where we have it, it’s going to be a “destination” for some of them. I guess I feel bad implying that those who are already forking out the big bucks just to be there should buy us a gift on top of that. But you know what, our guests are all adults, and they can decide whether they want to buy a gift or not. But I want to make it clear that it is not expected. Is a short note to the effect of “your presence is presents enough” on the registry page of our website sufficient, or does that imply that those who can’t come are expected to buy us a gift? I don’t know.

Jan Brett's Christmas Trolls - I loved this book as a kid. They stole pretty mittens and the like even though they had no use for them. They just wanted pretty things.

So anyway, I am squashing the troll feelings and having a registry, but then the next problem is what to register for. We live in a small house, and given our respective employment status, we are open to the possibility of moving in the near future (which is also making the purchase of our own trans-Atlantic flights a bit sticky – it’s hard to buy them when you’re not sure where you should fly out of next July), so we don’t really want to accumulate a lot of stuff, especially in the eventuality that we will be moving overseas. However, we sure could stand to replace the mismatched Goodwill flatware, and the bargain basement “non-stick” pans I’ve had since college which are shedding Teflon. I am scared to cook with them, and it would be cool to replace with some really solid, pass it on to the grandkids cookware instead of continuing to buy the $6 pan from Ikea whenever another one bites the dust. (I inherited my great-grandmother’s cast iron Dutch oven, which is so meaningful to me, but that is a story for another time.) And recently there seems to be a small appliance flu going around – the blender, food processor, and crock-pot have all kicked the bucket within the course of a few months. But I use these so much I don’t really want to wait until next July for someone to buy them off the registry.

So yes, there are a few traditional registry things that we would love to have, and so we will register for them. I wish that were the end of it. However, I am told that we should register for 3 times as many items as there are invited guests (really!?!?) in order that there will be plenty of things for them to choose from, and we need to register for things over a wide price range (which OK, if we only register for fancy enameled cast iron cookware, that’s not leaving a lot of options for our equally cash-strapped friends). But we don’t need a lot of cheap gadgets and stuff…so what about registering for some real grown-up art? There is some great stuff on etsy from artists I love in the $15-$50 range, and if we move, it’s easy to pack. But it feels weird to register for such luxuries when many people we know are as precariously employed as we are.

And then, the question of where. I am inclined to just do an amazon universal registry. I love me the little one-click that can add things from anywhere else so it’s all in the same place and easy to find. But it won’t keep track of purchases from other sites so if guests forget to go back to the amazon list and say they bought it, we might end up with 3 copies of the same etsy artist’s print – I think it might be hard to return the duplicates in that case.

Pile of Presents

Some “registry guides” suggest registering at one online-only site, and then a couple of brick-and-mortars. I don’t know if this is for real or if this is another myth from the WIC. I can understand that some people who like to shop (I am not one of these) prefer to go into the store and pick it up themselves, but given that we are traveling to the wedding, we are not going to be registering in brick-and-mortars near the wedding destination. Guests who might buy gifts from brick-and-mortars on this side of the pond will not want to pack them all way over there, and we will not want to pack them all the way back, so perhaps the brick-and-mortar point is moot.

Some people register for honeymoon activities, which is great, but we’re not sure we can afford a honeymoon in the first place, so I would hate to have people buy us “zip-lining through the rainforest canopy” or something and then not go. My mom thinks we should do a honeymoon-type registry for the wedding itself, giving people the opportunity to “be a part of it” by paying for the bagpiper, or the ceilidh band, or the highland games, or something. Certainly, there are some guests who I think would love this, and we would surely appreciate it, but I am really hung up on the idea that some more traditionally-minded guests will see it as us asking them to pay for the party that they’ve just shelled out to travel to. Ugh.

I’m just really not sure what to do about any of this, and trying to sort it out makes me want to go hide under a rock.

What say you, oh wise intertubes?

The Big Uglies

October 11, 2011

The Little/Big Uglies - whimsical paper cutouts by Vladmir Stankovic

*deep breath*

Some days, being objectively no better or worse than other days, are just crushing. I’m not really sure why, but there it is. Today is one of those days. Monday’s productivity lost to a sinus infection, looming deadlines at the end of the month and the year, and a general sense of futility with regard to the emotional fulfilment that I seem to feel entitled to in my job (HA!). Plus the never-ending to-do list of tiny little wedding things – very few of which are particularly urgent or important at this precise moment, but if dealt with now, they will never get the chance to pull the whole train off the rails later on when there are bigger and more important and more urgent things. Today, it is all sitting on my chest, and my throat feels tight. I try to breathe, let it all out in the exhale but it’s still just parked there. It feels about the size of one of our cats. We have largeĀ enormous cats.

One or two of these things would not be so bad, but there isn’t just one or two. What’s that they say about balancing work, life, and family? It’s actually very easy: just pick two. I think the same is true of balancing the Big Uglies in one’s life. Right now, it’s the job, and the wedding planning. The third is our financial no-fly zone. One of us is (under)employed (unhappily, but at least securely and with health insurance), and the other of us is unemployed (unhappily, sans health insurance). Fuck this economy, is about all I can say about it at the moment.

Some days, it’s all a bit much. Today is one of those days – it’s a little hard to breathe, and although my boss has been making rumblings that he’d like to see me spend less time in my office (where I am productive) and more in the lab (where I appear productive, to him), I find myself holed up behind my desk so that I don’t “accidentally” deliver a fatal puncture to someone’s jugular with the sharp end of a P1000 pipettor. Yikes. It’s not anyone else’s fault, or even mine, really (stop berating yourself, Magpie). These things that I am dealing with so poorly are at least for the present, very much outside of my control. And the things within my control (like the itty-bitty wedding planning goblins) are being beaten within an inch of breathing in my effort to wrest some semblance of productivity out of my day, even if it’s not the kind that really matters. I’m just not sure how to refocus the frustrated rage toward something useful (like the tedium of generating sequencing primers). Instead I sit here quietly hyperventilating, which is neither solving my problems, nor is it accomplishing anything useful towards my work. Tomorrow will probably feel better, even though it is unlikely that any of the Big Uglies will have worked themselves out overnight.

Anyone else feel like this sometimes? How do you snap out of it? Or at least redirect it?