Monday, December 27, 2010

Hello friends, family, fried chicken legs!

Excuse me--I meant chied licken fregs. In other words, I'm being silly. Goofy. Gangly. Gargly.


No joke--it's 4:09 am, and I've been up since 2, having gone to sleep at 1, having drunk a double mocha right after dinner. Hee hee!

At least I'm in a better mood than I was an hour ago, lying in bed stroking my chin hairs, debating getting up and tweezing them, wondering whether that--turning on the bright light, getting the magnifying mirror out, locating the chin-hair tweezers--would wake me up too much. I decided not to deal with the chin hairs (I saw them in the mirror in the bathroom at the movies tonight, and it was like, WOAH!!) but instead have something to eat, so I went into the kitchen and devoured the remaining Christmas guacamole I made (I put chipotles in it, and it was AMAZING!) plus two spoonfuls of vanilla yogurt.

Gee! Aren't you glad you're reading this? The fascinating things that occur to one while one is wide awake in the middle of the night!

I'm glad I decided to write. I'd been worried about the blog, feeling like it'd been too long since I posted, and wanting to, at some point, say that I've decided not to be funny here anymore.

That's right, no more zany humor! I decided it was getting old. Instead, I want to just talk normally. Except, that is, for when I have insomnia. Because all the rules go out the window then.

Um, so...god, I need a massage. And the feeling of needing to pluck my chin hairs is causing this, like, metallic taste in my mouth. I swear to god, it was weird--I went into the bathroom at the movies, went to wash my hands, looked in the mirror, and saw these long, silver monsters sticking about a quarter inch off my chin. Not just one! Like, five of them.

To be honest, I LOVE plucking my chin hairs. When they get nice and long like they are now, it's deeply satisfying to pull them out and then, like, stare at them. I actually collect them on my finger as I'm going and when I'm done I'm totally mesmerized by the number of them and their stumpy dark prickliness. When I'm done, of course, it's great--I love having no chin hairs more than I love plucking them--but there definitely is a strange pleasure involved in dealing with them, sort of like when I pick my nose and collect the boogers and make them into little booger people (like snowmen, but smaller).

Ha ha ha! Totally kidding!

Oh right, I'm not joking here anymore, so forget that about the boogers.

It was a nice Christmas here. My parents are visiting from the Eastern Seaboard, and it's been fun spending time together, although part of the fun includes a sprained ankle (for Joedy) while dancing (very hilariously) and a hangover or two. It's been pretty cold here, and that's made the Christmas thing all the more...believable. Lula, especially, being 6 six years old, has been really getting into Christmas--she wrote Santa a letter (it said, among other things, "Meery Chrestmes" and "thank you"), and when she got his letter to her (written by...guess who?) she was so stoked, I mean, it was touching and cute beyond belief. Yesterday, in fact, she told me "I love Santa" in this sweet little voice, and my heart just, well, totally melted...

This is a short post but it's getting late, or early, already 4:45, and I should try to go back to sleep or at least get ready to hit the gym--crazy, but that sounds totally doable to me right now. I'll probably be a mess later today, but at least I had fun in the middle of the night--I least I got something done!

Speaking of getting something done, I'm posting a couple things: a link to a photo book I did a while ago (for a contest), and some pictures of Christmas tree ornaments I made the other day. Slowly but surely I'm doing stuff, and it feels freaking great...


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Recently I read that blog readers can't handle more than one thought per entry, and if you're going to take that crazy chance and include more than one thought in your entry, make sure you use lots of BOLD HEADERS so they don't get confused.

To whit:


Sorry, I didn't mean to call you a twit. I'm referring to my armpit. Or, as the case may be, my armtwit.

No, I'm not drunk, though I wish I were. Blogging is so much more fun when you're drunk! GogGAMMIT, why don't we have more beer in this house???

Excuse me, I'm not feeling like myself. I'm feeling like Ronald Reagan.



Why can't I underline the above header??? Headers without underliner look weird. Ok, where was I going with this? Oh right, "being creative." Right. It's important. The End.


Right. I've been doing that too. I know, it's not fun to read about, and frankly, it sort of sucks to write about it, but it's a fact of my life, and you know what? I'm "secretly" proud of that. I put "secretly" in quotes because it's not much of a secret anymore, and anyway, was it ever that much of a secret? My love of self-flagellation? No, I didn't say self-"flatulation"--PLEASE. Don't get all childish.


So anyway, as I was saying before you cut me off with that gross, heinous, ridiculous reference to disgusting, stinky gas, I LIKE beating myself up. It's part of my martyr fantasy! Making people feel sorry for me because I'm always putting so much pressure on myself to do this and that stupid thing is FUN.

Ha ha! Just kidding.

Really--what I meant was that yes, there is an element of self-pressure, but I'm ferpectly ok with it. In fact, HELLO, I wouldn't want it any other way! Without pressure from lil ole me, who the hell is going to say "Isabel, you're going to be dead some day, like Ronald Reagan! And what have you to show?"

I know, I KNOW, I have great kids! I know. I know that. And I know I have a beyond-describable life of perfect happiness. I know that. I realize that all day long, every single day--I really do.


But I do want to ACCOMPLISH. I want to ACHIEVE. And by good golly gigglybugs I'm going to do everything I can to do just that. The End. Thank You.


If I keep talking about being creative so much, people are going to get sick of it, so I'll just say this one thing and then almost be done with it:

Being creative, for me, goes much deeper than making stuff. Being creative is about living creatively--it's about going through the day going, "How can I approach this situation in a way that yields a positive result? How can I see every moment, every outrageously lucky moment, in a way that maximizes my appreciation of the moment? How can I get the most out of life?"

The last sentence sums it all up: being creative, for me, is about getting the most out of life. Because if I want to, I can get something from everything--I can learn from every situation, I can grow and get stronger from every situation. That's the most important thing to me, really--that will leave me thinking, on my deathbed, "I didn't do so bad."


I know I'm not going to get very far if I don't take chances, if I don't believe in myself and do it and all that good stuff. Recently I found a bunch of old poems I wrote, and it got me in the poem-writing mood. It's been a long time since I wrote a poem, but the other night, driving home from the gym, I had an experience and tried to put it into words. I'm not sure if the resulting poem is that great, but, like I said, it's important to take chances, so here I go, posting it here.

The Train

The train had stopped on the tracks
at the Oltorf crossing
keeping me and a growing two-lane crowd of drivers
from going home
at 10 pm on Wednesday night

The flashing red lights of the signal
silently marked the passing of minutes
and the rhythm, I thought,
of life and death, death and life

Had someone died on the tracks?
I didn't know, but when two police cars
screamed by, way behind us, it seemed entirely possible
and anyway, people die all the time

You, in front of me, opened your car door
and from the trunk, pulled out a guitar
which you played and sang to,
a little out of earshot, ahead of me

I watched your hand on its neck and
the red lights of the signal on the keys
and it was beautiful, so beautiful, I wanted
to kiss your guitar and your hand and
thank you
for adding life to my night


Monday, December 13, 2010

Usually I don't like it when strange men approach me at the gym. The past few occasions have been based on weightlifting advice I was doing perfectly well without, thank you very much, and, as usual, I was left thinking "Why didn't you offer advice to the sweaty, hairy guy who's using the Triple-Bend Vertical Row as a seesaw?" The attempt at "helping" me invariably brings out my feminist side; if I'm in a good, tolerant mood, I'll do my best not to bite the guy's head off, but if I'm already riled up about something, it's hard not to respond in a way that says "Don't think about little lady'ing me, you condescending, sexist dork!"

Of course, not all male gym-goers are the same, nor do all their varied approaches mean the same thing. This was proven to me a few days ago, while I was resting between sets on the hip adductor, a machine that takes "compromising position" to a whole new level--one not that different, I'd guess, from being dangled from a telephone pole while wearing green socks and a Ronald McDonald wig. The hip adductor, given its easy interpretation as a Kama Sutra warm-up device, requires a certain amount of sensitivity to one's surroundings, especially if one is female, and using it can almost guarantee unwanted attention, at least in the form of looks. Therefore, if I'm using it and a guy makes a beeline for the hip abductor, which sits right beside it, I'm usually pretty wary and...prepared.

I was in a so-so mood that day. It was my second time in the gym after a three-week hiatus that had left me feeling mushy, weak, and cranky, and though I had more energy and felt the positive effects of the last workout and two recent long walks with the dogs, I was irritable and wanted to make up for lost time both physically and mentally--namely, in terms of my creative project goals. Hard weights workouts and long, fast walks feed my ability to produce--to get shit done--and I was mad at myself for having slacked off for so long with the exercise and for having lost my focus.

The guy sat down next to me, his big, bulky body filling up the machine like a teddy bear in a piece of doll furniture, and with clumsy fingers he started fiddling with the pins and movable parts.
By then my irritability had morphed into Defiantly Ballsy, so I stayed in the embarrassing "resting" position, to hell with anyone thinking whatever, and readied myself for the throat-clearing, the helpful advice, the sideways glances, or--worse than anything--the entirely possible and infinitely unsubtle grunts and groans as he exerted himself. Breathing deeply, I reminded myself to respond in a way that was nonantagonistic, yes, but decidedly let's-cut-the-bullshit: I didn't want to hurt his feelings, but if I needed to, I would definitely make it clear that I was ALL BUSINESS and NO PLAY.

"This is the hip abductor?" he asked me, or I thought he was asking me--he just kind of said it out loud, to no one in particular.

"Yes," I said. Obviously. It says so right in front of your face. On the machine you're staring at.

"Oh, this is the HIP abductor." He got his knees lined up, gave it a few tries, then shakily returned to the starting position. What came next surprised me: "I think you're much stronger," he said, laughing, and gestured towards the decent, but not that impressive, amount of weight I was using.

What? I hadn't expected that. I hadn't expected him to be...nice! To be humble! What a relief. "," I said lamely, trying to think of something that would make him feel better about...what? Being a weightlifting novice? Having recently gotten over a major illness? Having broken both legs in a terrible car accident? I had no idea what was keeping him, who was as densely built as a water buffalo, from lifting more than a paltry fifteen pounds on that ridiculous machine.

Before I could think of something to say, though, he started talking again. "This is the hip abductor? Well--I think I'm being abducted! Yep, I'm being abducted, all right!"

Ok, that was actually funny--abducted by the hip abductor? Wow--not only was he not a sleazy creep, he was unafraid of making corny jokes with a fellow gym-goer! Thrilled, I jumped in: "Yes, I can see you're really trans--"

But he cut me off. "Ha ha, I'm being abducted...ha ha. This machine is abducting me! Ha ha--look out...this is the hip abductor. Right? This is the hip abductor? Ha ha. Oh no, I'm being abducted! This is...this is...the abductor?"

That's when it hit me: he was as loony as an aging, addled Siamese cat.

Partly relieved, partly dismayed (I'd wanted to tell him he seemed "transported"), I turned my attention back to my workout. It went well--the more I pushed myself, the more motivated I was, and by the time I was done I felt strong and capable, full of renewed energy for my writing, drawing, mobile, and jewelry goals. As I walked out of the weight room, thirty minutes later, I heard a voice and saw the guy who'd been using the hip abductor barreling towards me. He looked like a tree trunk--a mass of solid, living, non-abducted matter--and I took a step back as his voice boomed out.

"Hey!" he said, "you're...insane tenacious. I saw you on that machine over there--you were...insane tenacious!"

"Oh no," I mumbled, embarrassed, "not really."

"Yes you were," he said. "I saw you. Insane tenacious."

Ok, I thought, whatever...

I left, and felt cynical half the drive home. Insane tenacious, I thought--sounds like the kind of silly thing I would say.

By the time I'd parked the car in the driveway, my thoughts had drifted to my projects: all the things I want to do, all the things I have to do, all the things I'm going to do. Suddenly, I heard it again--You're insane tenacious!--and then I was like, Thanks. Thanks, my crazy friend...


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I spent most of last night worrying about all the shit I need to do and haven't done--finish the children's book(s), make a crapload of jewelry, make the jewelry website, get the jewelry in stores, make mobiles, pimp the mobiles--and by 10 a.m. I was just, like, FUCK IT.


I decided to have a day of saying fuck it, because it felt GOOD to say fuck it, so that's what I'm doing. If anyone reading this is uncomfortable with swearing, please don't read any more--I'm not holding back. (In fact, I swear all the fucking time in my fucking head, so this is just me, being normal.)

Amidst my thoughts of telling all my stupid projects to get out of my life once and for all, just go jump off a steep bridge, you dumb, stupid, disgusting projects, I realized I could probably scale down here and there so everything wouldn't be so fucking overwhelming. For one thing, I can eliminate the jewelry website task, at least temporarily, because just having stuff made and in stores would be great--also,

...what is the also? I don't know what the fucking also was. I DO know that I decided NOT to enter the local paper's short story contest, contrary to my earlier decision, because it's just too fucking much, but then Joedy told me I should use this particular blog entry he really likes, which to me sounds like a bad imitation of Hemingway, but...who knows. I don't know.

I know I'm not scoring points with the Positive Attitude People but this feeling of creative goals depression was really fucking acute last night/this morning and it still kind of is. I mean--here's where the complaining ratchets up into kind of really annoying--what's the fucking point, really? What's the point of me pushing myself to make some silly pearl earrings or a book about a 6-year-old bug? In the long run, what's it going to matter whether I do any of this or not?


That was obnoxious, I know. So "nihilistic" and "deep" I want to THROW UP (please note the Christmas colors). But, really, it's the way I was feeling last night. And though I talked myself out of that frame of mind with the "you need money so you can pay for your kids' college/pay back your parents for that student loan etc/rent yourself a nice room in a nursing home thirty years from now" argument, it's still kind of there. I mean, sometimes things just seem so...fucking futile.

It hasn't ALL been doom and gloom around here!* Yesterday, while lying down with Malko, trying to take a nap, I had the interesting experience of having my nose snaked by someone else's finger. I'd close my eyes, start to drift, and then, like he'd been waiting for me to fall asleep, Malko would stick his finger in my nostril and slide it up in a TOTALLY strategized way.

He did this maybe five times--enough to make it clear that my nose is a great source of adventure and fun. Which I already knew, actually, know--it's nice to be appreciated!

In related bodily humor news, this morning, while Joedy was talking to his business partner on the phone in the bathroom, Malko walked in, summed up the situation, and yelled "PAPA! CACA!"

Very loudly. Practically in the phone.

Ok! Bad Mood Isabob is feeling better now. Guess I better go do some


*"Happy ending" so readers won't feel depressed


Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I'm still feeling a little post-Thanksgiving scattered, but I managed to pick up the pieces enough the last couple of days to bust some stuff out in the studio (I feel pretentious calling it that, but...what the hell), which felt great, even though I later discovered I'd need to take it all apart and start over.

I was making jewelry for the line I'm putting together, which I hope to sell to stores and on a website (which I'm also putting together), and though there are all these OTHER things I need to do (finish the website, for example), it seems like building inventory is a good first step in this particular creative project. [WOAH! "SCATTERED" SENTENCE!]

So, anyway, I was making all this stuff, and it was wildly exciting to use these pearls and other gorgeous beads I'd gotten a while back but hadn't had the space/time to get into; I made seven pairs of earrings and four new necklaces and I refurbished five old necklaces. I was really REALLY happy with them, ecstatic that I'd finally made some headway with the jewelry project, which had been moldering by the sidelines for, like, six months (due to a lack of space), but then I went to the craft store last night to get some metal supplies and everything came crashing down.

After spending no less than an hour and a half debating between THIS crimp bead and THAT crimp bead, THIS lobster claw clasp and THAT magnetic clasp, THESE head pins and THOSE elongated earring wires--laying everything carefully out on a shelf next to a herd of Santa trolls, analyzing the metal supplies I'd brought from home so everything would freaking match, goddammit, and be perfect--after all that, the saleslady who'd been standing next to me the whole time looked at me and said "Do you need help?"

What was it that tipped her off? My hair, which I'd thrown into a barrette, post-shower, ten hours ago, and which now looked like an experiment involving electrocution? Maybe it was because I wasn't just muttering under my breath anymore but speaking loudly to the Santa trolls: "No! No, that's not right. Will this size work? Where are the...? What the...? Where are the stupid plain little silver crimps then? God! Goddammit! What the hell?"

"Yes! I need help!" I said, and told her I needed more metal everything: earring wires, crimp beads, pins, blah blah blah. Did she have any thoughts on anything? Yes, she most certainly did: don't use anything less than silver or gold, because cheap metal will tarnish, look crappy, and give people allergies.

Well, shit. Dammit. That means all the stuff I've made (which isn't that much, really, but sort of), all the things involving wire or metal, needs to be redone. With silver or gold.

I should have known, really--I shouldn't have tried to cut corners using cheap metal in the first place. If I'd had the choice, I'd definitely have used the real thing, either gold or silver, but that's a lot pricier, obviously; from now on I'll just have to factor the better metal into my final cost. Anyway, like I said, it's not that much stuff I'll need to redo (it might take me a few days), and everything will look much better, more professional and quality, so I'm actually glad this happened. To tell you the truth, now that I think about it, I don't know why I was using cheap metal in the first place. Of course it has to be quality! Hello.

The saleslady gave me the name of an online bead supply store; as soon as I get a little extra cash and a resale number (Joedy says it's easy) I'm going to buy some silver and hopefully, some gold, and get this show back on the road!

I just can't wait for this whole thing to be up and running. I really, really can't.

Ugh. I HATE waiting.