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What making me happy this week 06.14.13

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photos:
1. mangos
2. blik eames decal
3. charles and ray eames © 2011 eames office, llc
charles and ray Eames “pinned” by chair bases, 1947, as seen in american masters charles & ray eames: the architect and the painter.
4. converse sneaker made with lucienne day textiles
5. nigella lawson’s old fashioned chocolate cake

My son finished his exams Thursday and christened the beginning of summer by having friends over for a fire in the backyard to burn homework, and to roast hot dogs and marshmallows. (Though earlier in the day he said, “I miss school already.”)

The Ann Arbor Summer Festival started last night. Three weeks of free outdoor concerts, food stalls, late night outdoor movies and many other amusements. I noticed they added some free outdoor yoga classes starting at 5pm on the lawn adjacent to my office. Maybe…

There are also free noontime concerts on Thursdays a few blocks away from my office, Sonic Lunches, sponsored by a local radio station. UM graduate Darren Criss was the star of the most recent one. I wanted to go, but didn’t want to wait hours to get in the door of the Michigan Theater. Most concerts are outdoors and not so well attended. But Darren Criss is now a superstar, having conquered Broadway and now starring in Glee. He also wrote and starred in “A Very Potter Musical” which he created while a student here. Such a talented guy. He has quite a fan base here in AA.

In addition to a free-for-summer child who loves school, the start of summer and the anticipation of the AA Summer Festival, also making me happy this week include:

1. Mangos. I didn’t like mangos for a long time due to my experience with some with stringy texture years ago. My brother had me try one a few months ago and it was amazing. Love them. But still need to learn how to properly cut one…as it is now, my hand turns into a sticky, slimy mess and much of the fruit is left on the stone.

2. I have some Blik decals on my office walls, but I may have to replace them with these decals based on Ray Eames textiles. I’ve been thinking about the Eames lately as they are featured in a current exhibit on modern design at the Cranbrook Institute where they met. I plan to attend at the end of the month.

3. Converse sneakers made with Lucienne Day textiles make me happy. But it makes me unhappy that I discovered these years after they were produced.

4. Nigella Lawson’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake that may daughter I made this week. I was in the mood for cake. She was in the mood for chocolate. It was better the next day after having been refrigerated.

5. Have you seen these Openculture videos on the Bauhaus, Modernism and American Design?

6. Six Words You Should Say Today, from the Hands Free Momma blog. I love simple suggestions for better parenting. As my sister said, filing this one away with the other important scripts! (One of the best scripts was given to me by my friend, Suzanne, who told me to practice saying over and over again, “I’m sorry, but that would be just impossible.” The period at the end was the most important part.)

7. Libby Callaway’s home featured in the Selby. I probably couldn’t live here, too much going on. But I love looking at it. I love that she’s taken a pretty modest house and really turned it into a spectacular and unexpected space. So much to love here, the chevron rug, the closet, the clothes…though, I’m no fan of antlers, bones or dental casts…

8. Convos with My 2 year Old: Episode 3
Not as good as the first one, but it did make me laugh

Happy weekend to you!

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I’m not sure where this week went. You know exactly what I’m talking about. It was just Friday and here is Friday again, and a holiday weekend.

“Boo” to time going so fast; “Hooray” for the holiday weekend.

Some things, in addition to a holiday weekend, that are making me happy this week:

1. Hats by Pooka Queen, to rival any worn by princesses at royal weddings.
This California based artist is an Ann Arbor girl making a name for herself in the west coast fashion world, and soon the rest of the world. It is hard to say which is more beautiful, the art or the artist.
Visit her web site and etsy site for more exquisite pieces including hats, jewelry and accessories.
http://www.etsy.com/shop/pookaqueen
http://www.pookaqueen.com

2. I hate shopping for pants. I even hate the word, “pants”. That whiny short “a” sound. It’s grating.
It’s difficult for me to get a good fit and one that doesn’t emphasize features that I would like to de-emphasize. BUT, this is the happy part, these Banana Republic Sloan Fit slim ankle pants work for me. I ordered them in a long so they are just slightly longer than those in the image above (I’m 5’9″). I wondered about returning them for ankle length, but my daughter says no, the longs make my legs look very long, so I’m keeping them.

3. I don’t have a lot of time for watching television, but, Arrested Development – SUNDAY! I am nearly giddy about it. (If you don’t watch, this where to find the never nude)

4. I had dinner with my former mother’s of daughter’s group this week. The group was put together by a clinical social worker, who led the monthly discussion of parenting daughter issues and eventually grew into parenting of daughters and sons and marriage therapy and personal therapy…whatever we need to talk about. This group, these women, made me a much calmer (I didn’t say “calm” I said “calmER”), better parent and helped me through some very difficult situations. I started attending when my, now 19 year old, daughter was 5. We stopped meeting a few years ago when most of the daughters had graduated from high school. Oh how I miss this group!

5. Convos With My 2 year Old video on youtube. I’m looking forward to more. Funny…and creepy.

Happy weekend to you!

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photo 111: i am the eggman

photos
1) this is the one I matted and turned in: eggs in a tubtrugs bucket with old green onions peeled from the bottom of the vegetable drawer, winter, sunday morning light
2) outtake: egg on “radioactive: marie & pierre curie: a tale of love and fallout” by lauren redniss. redniss is a “graphic biolgrapher” and if you have not seen her books, you should. gorgeous.
3) outtake: eggs in bowl my sister-in-law made. do you think our windows need a little work…ugh.

In January I signed up for an introductory photography class at our local community college. Blogging was a motivator, but also, I was looking for something that would interest my teenage son, something that would get him off of his computer. He was interested, so we signed up together. Since he is only 15, and dyslexic, I wanted to take the class with him to make sure he wasn’t in over his head. Turns out he helps me more than I help him. (Turns out we also have to keep one empty seat between us in class so we don’t argue.)

We have an assignment every week that we edit, print and mount on matte board in class on Monday night. On Wednesday nights in addition to a technical lecture on our camera, or Lightroom, we have a critique. Our work is displayed anonymously and we have to vote on which photos we like the best—with the idea that clusters of votes will help illuminate key elements to a good photograph.

The matted photos are pinned to a bulletinboard/wall and the instructor puts a push pins above each photo that gets votes, one push pin per vote. Then we go in order, from the most push pins to the least talking about our process and getting critiqued.

I have had many weeks with no pins (votes), but two weeks ago my son and I tied for most votes. He gets votes almost every week and frequently gets the most votes. Once I told him it is even more exciting for me, as a mom, when he gets votes, than if I do. His response was, “No! You don’t get to claim credit for my work! No!”

For our egg assignment, we had to take a photo of an egg with the goal of getting a well-exposed, sharp image. I liked my image and technically it was good. But it received no votes from my classmates. My son put his egg on our pool table and had it in the foreground sharply focused and all of the colored pool balls in the background out of focus. He received many votes. One girl broke an egg in the snow and had a small LED flashlight illuminate it from underneath. There was a layer of snow between the egg and the light. The whole critique was really eye opening to me. Think creatively, or, take the egg out of the kitchen.

We only have 3 more weeks left and both my son and I are sad it’s coming to an end. As much as missing the photography class, I will miss the time with my son. He will get his driver’s license at the end of the summer, and it’s clear to me he can handle the classwork on his own. He is planning to take another photography class in the fall, without his mom. Of course, as a mom, I am proud of his growth toward independence, and I will let him know this, at the risk of him accusing me of claiming credit.

what my daughter made for me

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photo
1) the chick my daughter made in her dorm room for me. made from cardboard, legal paper, a sharpie and…a paper clip?
2) my mothers day card from last year made by that same girl
3) mother’s day card detail

My daughter gave me this chick last weekend, and the card last May. I love that girl. I think she should be in art school. She’s more of a Tim Burton than a Michelangelo, which is why I love everything she makes so much.

She will be coming home soon! Less than a month– can’t wait!

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photos
1. the sapphires, http://images.smh.com.au/2012/09/21/3654873/sapphires_wide2-620×349.jpg
2. my new favorite mint chocolate chip gum, http://www.extragum.com
3. from the red shoes blog, this is her store, where I want to live, http://redshoesa2.blogspot.com

It’s been a crappy week. I don’t’ know why. Hormones? The never-ending cold and gray weather? The news report about the treatment of women in Egypt? I’m feeling better today. In part because I do keep this list during the week.

My dear old friend Paul once said to me decades? ago, “Anyone can find some reason to be unhappy. Sometimes you have to work to be happy.” He wasn’t talking about people who live in poverty, or have diseases. He was talking about those privileged people in the world, like us, who really do have the power to change their perspective.

What’s making me happy this week:

1. My friend Paul and his positive perspective.

2. The film, The Sapphires. You MUST see this film. You will love, love, love it. Chris O’Dowd from Bridesmaides is it and is wonderful, the music is great, the story is great, the 4 female leads are all just awesome. I just saw it last night and I want to see it again today! I WILL end up owning this DVD. Please see it.

3. Extra, Desert Delights, Mint Chocolate chip gum. I don’t chew gum in public, because I know I get obnoxious about it. Most people do. But I chew it in my car to freshen my breath, or I chew it to keep myself from snacking at home The checkout guy at Bush’s saw I was buying Extra peppermint gum one day and said I HAD to try the Extra Mint chocolate chip flavor. Man I am hooked, as is my family!

4. The Red Shoes blog makes me happy, as does the web site and the store here in Ann Arbor. I want to live there. Catherine is real. And an amazing artist.

5. This in particular video Catherine linked on her blog is making me happy this week—because EXACTLY. It’s called “What’s Making You Happy.”

6. I finally saw the musical Spring Awakening last weekend when I was visiting my daughter. It was much heavier than I thought it would be, but I really liked it.

7. Listening to the Detroit Tigers home opener on the radio while driving to visit my daughter. Tiger’s baseball on radio was the soundtrack to my childhood summers. Listening to it gives me a warm feeling inside.

8. f***yournoguchicoffeetable blog makes me laugh. As my sister who sent it to me said, it’s a great reminder, “Not to take ourselves too seriously.” Oh so many antlers, ladders, stacked old suitcases with globes on top. As I read it, this blog is both saying, “I’m so jealous of your cool home design, f*** you!” and partly snickering at people who have tried so hard to be “cool” it’s just a fail. I guess It’s up to you to decide which is which!

9. Invisible bike helmets. So much to love about this video. The design throughout, the shoes and then finally they reveal the helmet design, by women. It’s genius.

10. I love new words. I misunderstood my son today. He said something about hanging out with his hooligans, but I heard it as “cooligans”—which I kind of liked.
And even though this word is like finger nails on a chalkboard to me for it’s hipster speak-ishness, I like that it’s new to me– “daylighting”, as in, “thanks for daylighting that issue for us. We didn’t realize it was happening.” Thanks to my sis for that one that she learned when having a conference with her son’s teachers. I would likely want to choke anyone who used that word with me. Still, like that I know that usage.

Go see The Sapphires, it will make you happy!

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you say belstaff, i say i want that

photos
1) women’s trailmaster jacket view 1, http://www.belstaff.com
2) women’s trailmaster jacket view 2, http://www.belstaff.com
3) skyfall’s eve moneypenny in a belstaff, http://www.ingredientsofstyle.com/2012/11/bond-style.html
4) more of eve’s pretty wardrobe (yes, his suit is pretty too), http://www.ingredientsofstyle.com/2012/11/bond-style.html
5) and more,
http://www.ingredientsofstyle.com/2012/11/bond-style.html

Like vintage lambretta scooters, I so salivate when I see an image of a Belstaff jacket. I am not sure when I first saw one, it was years ago. Watching Skyfall last week with my son, I was pretty sure I spotted one on Eve Moneypenny. Turns out I was correct. (I loved all of Eve’s wardrobe.) Belstaffs are too pricey for me, but a girl can dream.

stuff i don't need but like to look at

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photos:
1) i need this storage shelf for the stuff I have but don’t need
2) barbie thermos
3) this is a daisy-covered 60s hat. i couldn’t get a good shot. it looks similar to this one, but with more flowers!
4) i love old radios, such great designs
5) and more radios
6) i love old typewriters too
7) i’m bought you these babies for your birthday.
just kidding.
they look like something found on regretsy. seriously, why? who?…when?…what?!!
8 & 9) i find old photos mesmerizing. i wish i had taken a sharper photo of this one. do you see her delicate little glasses? did she like her glasses because they made her look smart? or did she hate them because they made her look school-marmy? or did she not bother with such thoughts; she needed glasses so she wore them.
did you notice her simple wedding band? And her lovely boots, legs crossed at the ankles? do you think her feet look big? do you see the beautiful details on her black wedding dress? the design around the neckline and arms? near the wrist? The buttons down the top layer of her skirt? Is it her wedding dress, or is this her post-wedding dress?
who were these people? did they not have children who cared about preserving this photo? or maybe it was passed on to grandchildren to whom it meant nothing? there is no name or year on the photo.
did they love each other? did they have a happy life? hmmm…this photo is so compelling to me. now i wish i would have purchased it.

My daughter and I visited one of the several antiques malls in her town this weekend. What I like about antiques malls is that there is always a lot of crazy, cool and interesting stuff, pretty clearly displayed so you don’t have to dig.

I haven’t visited many of these malls, but some seem to have great prices, others, like the one we visited this weekend, not so much. It seems like you can always find great vintage linen table cloths and napkins, and vintage aprons for very cheap. (I have some pretty great vintage aprons. I wish I could wear them to work.)

The only thing we purchased this weekend was a yellow plastic bracelet for my daughter and a necklace for me—I haven’t taken photos yet. At about $11 per piece of costume jewelry, I didn’t think it was much of a bargain…but we liked them.