23 December 2012

all we ever wanted was everything

(except to sleep cheap at El Centro Motel in Glendive, Montana)

I was in Bozeman, Montana, this morning, the first touch of blue mountain horizons in months. We were on our way to our regular Christmas haunts in Utah and spent the morning at a sacrament meeting. After I'd changed back into my favorite lumberjack apparel I walked around outside in the beautiful sunshine and I smelled pine trees.

It is not as though there aren't pine trees in North Dakota but I never get that crisp alpine smell. As I was remembering being up in the mountains in conifer heaven, more memories of junipers, sage, and desert air came back and I thought how much I missed them.

On Design*Sponge sometime recently I saw a picture of a print hanging up on a wall that said, "All we ever wanted was everything." It's me to a T. I want my summer nights in cool desert air; my uncomfortable melancholy mixed with excitement as I spent a 4th of July on a Florida beach; I want to live near my sister; I want to live near Jbottoms; I want to live where I initially know no one; I want to keep working strange blue collar jobs; I want five doctorates; I want big cities and millions of peoples and museums; I want my small town, funny historical museum and farmer's market and bluegrass music.

I really love the people I work with. Last week at the winter farmer's market one of my custodian's was there. He's the jolly fellow with a beard and glasses and stickers from all over covering his old van. He introduced me to his wife and we chatted about Peter, Paul and Mary, The Moody Blues, and NPR, then I bought her homemade bread and picked my mom up at the library. There's also a husband and wife we have on staff--he's lived all over, once in a tipi in Montana in the winter, and he likes to tell me stories and tell me what books I should read. I wish I knew the wife better but she's on the other side of campus working evenings. Someday I may visit them at their farm. And then there's another custodian who loves to play practical jokes and she's always laughing about something.

I am delighted with them all. We have about 30 people in our department and I wanted to hand make them all Christmas cards but I am a human being so I didn't. Maybe I'll start now and have cards for them by the time May Day rolls around.

I want to go to Laus, Belgium, Englad, Wales, and Shovel Point, Minnesota. Some of that will be accomplished in 2013. Namely Minnesota. I want to live in a cabin in the woods and a studio apartment in a vast metropolis.

Bit by bit I can--maybe not all at once, but I'll have it all.

You know, something else happened on our 1,100 mile drive. I've been making a hand-drawn woolly mammoth tapestry and somehow in the last two days he developed a fifth leg. This may be the most stable woolly mammoth ever. Pictures to come later.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, stay close to good things. (Like me.)

09 December 2012

potatoes and Danny Kaye!

Last Thursday was the best. I was looking forward to it ever since we received a Christmas gift bag full of Idaho potatoes two nights before. We could finally––Ma, Pa, and I––be together at home, in the evening, long enough to eat baked potatoes and watch a new (to us) Danny Kaye movie that arrived two weeks ago from Netflix.

Virgina Mayo

In A Song is Born (1948), Danny Kaye, a real square, and his six squirrely cherub friends fall head over heals for Virginia Mayo (and who wouldn't) who happens to be the moll of a murdering gangster. And don't forget Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman and a really inaccurate but fun explanation of the history of jazz. My dad was ironing and laughing, I was laughing with untouched crotcheting at my feet, and my mom was falling asleep. It was a typical family movie night all around.

A lot has been going on around here. (1) I'm the official owner of BUSINESS CARDS and I now stop by the Chamber of Commerce after lunch and drop one off and introduce myself like a fancy lady. (2) Sean and I recorded a podcast Friday night in which, despite our tendency to have the most scattered conversations ever, we covered the made-up origins of East Enders, some of the worst things we've ever said to people, our obsession with David Tennant, what our friend Charlie does for fun, and that one time we shot guns. We're editing it this week so stay tuned because YOU MUST LISTEN TO US. (3) Yesterday I had the kind of day that makes small towns seem like the most magical of places. I went around to the all the little shops buying new sheets, a fisherman's sweater (for $1.50!), some fabric (which I found at the pharmacy and which was cut ever so gently by the man on staff), and some funny, fancy plates. And the pi├Ęce de resistance was a farmer's market and blue grass jam session at the county historical museum.

I really want to take banjo lessons. 

05 December 2012

04 December 2012

03 December 2012

old shoe

02 December 2012


01 December 2012

cottage factories

I've been trying to create more often and, like usual, I started my New Years Resolution a couple of months ago:


I will finish projects I start!

To understand what happened this week we first need to travel back twenty years or so ago. As a kid I must have heard of cottage industries which seemed like the best idea ever because I loved cottages and small things and drawing industrious worlds. I was always drawing ant farms that looked like people farms; elaborate tree houses that had liberal amounts of pulleys and trap doors; and cozy underground dens where animals or ants (I don't know what was with all the ants) were busy and safe from winter. All of these things also included hammocks because hammocks also seemed exceptionally cool. 

Cottage industries were translated to cottage factories which liked to imagine ran all the functions of the human body. There were little elfish beings who carried the saliva up to your mouth in tiny wheel barrows, tweaked all the right valves in your voice box, and then they had the supporting industries like the shops where shoes and clothing were made for all those cottage factory workers.

a recent drawing of cottage factories
I'd forgotten these factories until this past week. One sleepless night, I finally began imagining that as I was snuggled into my covers, if I breathed really deeply I could breathe in sleep. I just knew that as I was inhaling the sleep there were cottage factory workers to distribute it to my whole body.

And then I feel to sleep. 
Because I'm still essentially five and there are still cottage factories and ants are still cool.
But not as cool as worms.

Mixed media: cereal box, crayons, old library card catalog and check-out cards, Elmer's glue (it's acid free!), and a Toms catalog.
For some reason since I've moved home I've been getting Toms catalogs and I've found they're really great for making things. The paper is thick and matte with pictures of nicely textured and colored things. Last year they were incorporated into this (along with my BYU alumni magazine):

That silky, orangey thing you see hanging up is my mumu

(Isn't it so nice all these institutions are sending me free fodder for crafting?)