Sunday, April 15, 2007

Lauren's Bread Circus

It's super nice spring weather out here again today. Thank goodness! All the snow from last week is melted and little violet crocus flowers are blooming in peoples' yards. Marco and I took a walk around town. It was warm and there were lots of birds chirping. There were also lots of people out on their front porches, many starting up their barbecues. There was even someone practicing classical violin on their porch. Earlier we went to an arts & crafts fair downtown with my Mom and walking back up the hill we saw a crow trying to chase a hawk in the sky. It kept diving at the hawk and circling but the hawk didn't really seem to care.

Yesterday was a big event for my friend Lauren. He is a baker, trying to revive baking for a younger, more food-savvy generation. He came up with an idea a year ago to create an event to try to pull together the baking community in the Twin Cities. So yesterday was finally the big event. In addition to the presence of many local bakeries and baking exhibitions by a famous baking author, there was also a kids dough-playing area and a baking-related art contest. Since I am an "artist" he asked me to help out with the art contest.

When Marco and I got in the car accident on friday night, we were actually on the way to pick up the baking art from the Rogue Buddha gallery, which belongs to a friend of ours. There were something like eleven artists. The winner that the four of us on the "arts committee" chose was a really fine traditional oil painting of a loaf of bread with a bottle of beer. It was pretty well done. I was surprised to see at the end of the day that the artist was a guy in his twenties, pretty hip and young looking, because the technique in the painting was really refined and I pictured an old man with lots of experience doing it.

Lauren's event got great crowds and he seemed pleased and satisfied. Way to go Lauren! I know he put a ton of work into this. I'm happy it paid off.

Car Crash!

Oh my gosh, Marco and I got into a car accident friday evening!

We were one block from my studio crossing an intersection (with the green light, I may add), and a car drove right through the red and slammed into Marco's side of the car.

Fortunately nobody was hurt at all. But it dented the door in. The unusual thing was that the driver of the other car got out and started saying "I haven't got papers, I haven't got papers". I don't know which papers he meant, exactly - driver's licences, insurance, proof of ownership? Don't know. But he and his friend were super agitated. They gave me a business card for a mechanic's shop and said they would fix our car as long as we didn't call the police (calling the police is standard procedure here, for anyone French who's reading).

I told him I needed the police report to file for insurance, especially since this wasn't our car (it belongs to John, a friend of the family). Then he tried to hand me the keys to HIS car, saying "just take our car - don't call the police."

I was super torn. The guy had a spanish accent and he spoke spanish to his friend. It was possible he was an illegal alien. I really had no desire to get this guy in trouble. On the other hand, insurance won't pay for the damage without a police report and I would have been in big trouble. So I had to call.

When I started to call the two guys got in their car and took off. So it officially became a hit-and-run.

The police guy took forever to show up - almost 40 minutes! But he was pretty nice and easygoing when he arrived. Marco and I had a witness - a guy on the corner - who confirmed we were driving through the intersection during the green light. The cop looked up the other car's license number and already figured out who the guy was.

We were really lucky because nobody was hurt and the car's not too bad. But I really feel bad for the other guy. I feel like we've dropped the axe over his head. Not only is a hit-and-run a crime for which he is in trouble now, but he might be an illegal alien and get deported for all I know. He didn't seem like a bad guy - I mean he didn't look like some kind of drug runner or gang banger, just a young working immigrant. He really seemed terrified of getting caught without his papers - whichever ones they were. I hope he'll get by allright.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Snow has no business showing up in April

Ughhh, this is disgusting - it's snowing out. It's the 11th of April and it looks like February out the window. The sky is dull gray, the light is dreary and it is truly repulsive. April is supposed to be yellow tulips, blue robin's eggs and sunshine.

Winter is definitely a guest that has LONG overstayed its welcome.

I'm off to the studio today as usual. I finished a big custom project about two weeks ago. I've started on a new custom commission but it's still in the design phase. The funny thing is that this commision is for a woman in Idaho. She called me out of the blue after she found my Etsy shop on the internet. Pretty cool. I'm also working on small sample panels that show a variety of styles of stained glass that I can create for people. Their all modern and I like them a lot. This is for the upcoming spring St. Paul Art Crawl, where local art studios like mine are open to the public.

My friend Emily has been working on enamels and jewelery in my studio with me for the past couple months, but she just got a full-time job at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, so after the art crawl she will be there no more. That's sad, because now I'll have nobody to heckle NPR commentators with all day long. (We listen to WAY too much radio.) She is perfect for her new job though, and she should enjoy it a lot so I wish her luck. I'm going to make her a key to the studio so she can continue to use it on weekends if she wants to.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The good ol' days of SARS

This is so funny....

As everyone reading this surely knows, Marco and I lived in Singapore during the 2003 SARS crisis and it was pretty much one of the most fascinating things we've ever seen. This is due to the incredible, zany, super-motivated Singaporean government who went above and beyond all expectation to protect their population from the epidemic.

One thing I remember was the SARS rap video that played on tvs in all the public buses for months. It was a tool to teach teenagers and kids all the "rules" of how to behave during the epidemic. You'd get off the bus humming this tune.

Anyway here it is on YouTube. It is performed by a popular Singaporean comedian. I swear I cannot imagine any other country doing this. This is SO Singaporean.

Also I found this great government instructional video of a family teaching each other proper SARS behavior (and yes, it is all in english though the accent is pretty strong). It is earnest and corny, yet it really captures a certain essence of Singapore - clear, efficient and well-behaved and well-informed. The info that they are telling each other was also in every newspaper, on every tv, every billboard, in every taxi, in every shopping mall, in every bathroom all over the country for months. Everybody in the country new everything about SARS. So funny, so bizarre!

Friday, April 06, 2007

My Wish to be a Morning Person

I am trying to teach myself to get up earlier.

I am such a terrible morning person. I am truly incapable of being up early on a regular basis. I consider myself really accomplished if I can drag my zombie carcass out of bed by 8:30 am. Even if I'm awake I love to lay in bed. I think about everything under the sun in bed in the morning. I have a lot of my best ideas then. I'm relaxed and all my thoughts flow and I love the peacefulness of it. When my feet touch the floor I know I have to become a serious person, but until then I am completely free and unperturbed in the peace of the bed. Mmmmmmm......

While Marco was gone in Rome last week I reverted to my "natural" state, which means that within one week I was completely wide awake until 1 or 2 am, or even 3 (I am so energized at night!), not waking up until at least 10am. I have been this way as long as I can remember, especially in the summer. Late summer nights were the best - so fun, being a kid running around with my friends in the dark, with the fireflies and the bats and the night frogs and the owls. So beautiful. I get all my good, civilized habits from Marco. Certainly they don't come to me naturally!

Ironically I love mornings though. I feel like it's a sort of a secret time of day, when it's really early and nobody is out yet. My studio is beautiful and has radiant sunshine. It would be great to arrive there at like, 8am to start working. But that NEVER happens!

Last week I was up early one day and it was a beautiful spring morning. All the birds were out, there was dew in the air. I went to buy milk at the little store across the street, and the Iranian (I think) guy that runs the shop was standing by the door, taking in the morning freshness. He came inside to ring up my purchase and I joked with him that he should just get a chair and spend the whole day in front of the store because it was so beautiful out. By the time I got home I looked back out the window and there he was, with a little chair now sitting in the sunshine. I really liked that. He looked content.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Hometown Baghdad

Hee hee, now I'm kinda embarrassed. I nearly gave Marco a heart attack with my april fools joke! By the way honey, it's twins!

Anyway, I found a fascinating site. There are some Iraqi guys in their twenties making videos of regular life in Baghdad right now. This whole Iraqi conflict seems so abstract here in the US - we talk about sunnis and shiites and kurds like they're weather fronts moving around on a map or something. By that, I mean that we talk of them as masses of people, shifting political alliances, religious groups, but never as individuals. And I think the news gives us an impression that all they do is get bombed and pray at mosques.

These videos are great because they show the life of regular individuals. They lead lives that are in many ways "normal" (their mom cooks good meals, they play guitar), set against a backdrop of war. But it shows how the war and their normal lives weave together in a much more complex and multi-dimensional way than we usually think. It's real and it's interesting.

It's at Hometown Baghdad.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Bountiful Joy!

Guess what.....I just found out I'm pregnant!!

April Fools!