“Cause and Effect”: Ifs, Thens, and Accountability

Pictured: The famed Wisconsin Cheese Chalet. Included in the post mainly to inform everyone Wisconsin has a Cheese Chalet.

If someone is bemoaning the repercussions of an action, my mother has a response she will go to.

For example, I might say, “I’m sick from eating a whole block of gouda like an apple! Betrayal by those I love most!”

It’s at this point, my mom puts her hands out to her side, and tilts her head back and forth as she says, “cause and effect!” (To her eternal credit, if I said this, she would also probably bring me a ginger ale. I’m aggressively spoiled.) It’s her way of saying our choices have consequences.

“I spent all my money on novelty tote bags, and now I have to eat lentils and rice for dinner!”

Cause and effect!

“I didn’t replace my car battery when everyone said to replace my car battery, and now I have a dead car battery!” (True story. I have since replaced my car battery.)

Cause and effect!

In 2011, as the country was coming out of the recession and I was struggling to find a job, I made the choice to go to graduate school. Not only that, I made the choice to go to graduate school in New York City. No wait! It gets better! I made the choice to go to graduate school at a private school in New York City. And let’s just bring it home- I made the choice to go to graduate school at a private school in New York where I studied textile history.

Trust me. It’s the most lucrative of all the fields of visual culture history. Continue reading

The Photography of Martin Parr

Sometimes in the course of my research/googles-gone-awry, I run into things that are too charming, interesting, or striking for me not to share. No advice, no pearls of wisdom- I’m definitely, pretty much, mostly very certain those are reasons you decide to stop by- just something cool that might brighten your day. This week? The photography of Martin Parr

Tuesday mood.

 

 

“They’ve Seen You. You Can’t Run Away”: Muscles, Grace, and Trying Out Dance Class

I’ve always had a pretty healthy self-image, give or take a puberty.

I’m not a tiny person. I have a poochy stomach when I slouch (and also when I don’t slouch), and my hips are really just leaning in. They’re saying yes to life! They’re demanding a seat at the table! All this is to say, there is a lot of me. And society tells us that is bad.

But my body does pretty well getting me from point A to point B, and then nine more points after that. And then dancing to the song that comes on in the grocery store. And then running away from the guy who just caught me dancing in the grocery store. By and large, I like who I am.

Which is why I thought it would be fine to sign up for a ballet class.

For some context, I have desperately missed being a student which is why since last Fall, I’ve consistently been enrolled in one continuing ed night class or another. First storytelling, then Medieval gardening, and even a rogue Saturday where I learned woodworking basics from an incredibly cool Lumber Jill.

As I’ve already mentioned, I love to dance, so I figured it might be worth digging into dance classes in the area. And I found ballet.

“Just think of the wardrobe opportunities!” said all serious ballerinas ever and also me.

Immediately taken with the dance clothes that one could not do without (Leotard! Wrap around sweater! Those tights with the holes in the feet!), realizing how grateful I should be to my parents for buying me years and years of dance clothes (including a wide-leg unitard with an iridescent bubblegum pink crushed velvet bodice which feels like a worthwhile detail) because they are expensive, and then promptly forgetting my budget, I ordered everything.

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Too Much Embroider-Drama For Your Embroider-Mama

We always reach a point in the season where Winter gets the best of me.

I’ve been trying to stay normal, guys. I’ve been really trying.

Knowing that there’s always a point in Winter where I lose it, I’ve tried to be very philosophical about everything. “This is temporary. It will get warmer. You will wear sandals again some day. This is not Narnia. It is not always Winter. You should stop mumbling under your breath now.”

But that doesn’t always work.

I have tried to keep myself distracted. I signed up for a ballet class. I signed up for a woodworking class. (I’m making a cheese block! For all my cheeses!) I’m even researching welding classes at the local technical college. “It’ll be like Flashdance!” It won’t be like Flashdance, but I feel like “welding” would fit nicely in my list of skills. Right between a “can make a chicken,” “claps good,” and “has a cheese block.”

I’ve really tried to keep myself together this year with mixed success, but ultimately one of the most sure fire ways I’ve found to keep the Winter crazies from getting to me is putting my hands to work.

Baby’s First Bohonkus Bag

My grandmother taught me how to sew when I was little. I remember embroidering my dog’s name on a Christmas stocking we made from a Precious Moments’ pattern. I remember her teaching me about forward stitch and back stitch on a sewing machine as she made my Glenda the Good Witch Halloween costume.

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The Next Big Thing: Aprons! (…Aprons?)

Sometimes in the course of my research/googles-gone-awry, I run into things that are too charming, interesting, odd, or striking for me not to share. No advice, no pearls of wisdom- I’m definitely, pretty much, mostly very certain those are reasons you decide to stop by- just something cool that might brighten your day. This week? The time Good Housekeeping tried to make aprons into a fashion accessory.

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“Dovima with Elephants,” 1955.

During the first month of grad school, a period in my life where my insecurities could best be described as…obtrusive? Engorged? Big and tall?… one of my professors was introducing the history of fashion photography. She pulled up the photo above, and said, “now, we all know you took this picture….” She paused for the class to fill in the blank, and like a chorus of my doubts and fears, everyone answered in unison, “Richard Avedon!” A name they might as well have made up, as it was entirely foreign to me.

I’d go on to learn that he was one of the 20th century’s most famous fashion and portrait photographers, but at the time, all I could think was, “well, these people already know the stuff, and I do not. This is the end of my aspirations.”

Good thing I’m not dramatic anymore.

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Rant Alert: I’m cold, you guys. I’m cold.

I have a complicated relationship with the cold.

I’m usually hot. The summer I spent in New York, a city that fosters a special type of muggy, only amplified by it’s general summertime hot dog water aroma, one of my favorite past times was just going to stand in the Bed, Bath & Beyond fan aisle. All of the display models were turned on, and I’d just… stand there. And it was typically the first moment in the day where I didn’t feel like I would actually rage murder the next person who blew their cigarette smoke in my face as we were walking down the sidewalk. It was brilliant.

Heat makes me feel crazy. I feel faint, but raging. Sick to my stomach, but furious. And mysteriously, a little bit sleepy all the time.

I once yelled, “I’m sorry! I’m just so hot!” in a fight with my friend when I went to visit her in LA. I forgot what we were fighting about, but I definitely yelled it while sitting in front of her open refrigerator, holding a bottle of her rose to the back of my neck. (She has since forgiven me. I think.)

I always run hot, and I know that I’m not great about it. But this morning Facebook informed me four years ago today, I announced my move to Wisconsin. And four years ago, plus a week or two, this hot-blooded person learned about the cold.

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Rombola is the Bomb-ola*

Sometimes in the course of my research/googles-gone-awry, I run into things that are too charming, interesting, or striking for me not to share. No advice, no pearls of wisdom- I’m definitely, pretty much, mostly very certain those are reasons you decide to stop by- just something cool that might brighten your day. This week? The illustrations of John Rombola.

*I’m so sorry.

“Technological Family,” 1966

“Portrait of a Fencer,” 1958

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