2012 Week 21: A memorable Memorial weekend.

Z’s parents finally got to see Puppet Bike in action! Puppet Bike is the absolute best thing about Chicago. It fills Z and I with so much JOY!

I am still resetting. There was a work event on Tuesday night that was fun to be a part of. Got to see a sneak peek of Moonrise Kingdom. Had a great time with Z’s parents in town for the weekend. Went out to lots of tasty places to eat. Went on the Chicago Architectural Foundation River Cruise. Walked around a LOT. Somehow I’m at my lowest weight again, even after putting all of this food into my belly. Huzzah! Z’s parents wanted to buy us a patio set as an engagement present and today Z and I went to Home Depot and picked one out. According to our landlord, there may/may not be a wounded raccoon in our enclosed back porch, so the boxes are in the living room for the moment. I hope we can put the set together tomorrow and that animal control confirms the raccoon is gone. On Sunday, we went to an excellent bbq which left me with a headache all morning and required two naps to kick. I have always been a big fan of naps.

I really need to start creating new things. So far this year, I’ve been rejected from two craft fairs; Constructor (Berwyn, IL), which is not all that surprising, but I didn’t get into one of my favorite shows ever; Coterie (Chicago, IL) at Pitchfork. The truth is, I am not wholly surprised at that either as I have not made anything new since the winter fair season. I always take a hiatus after the holidays, but I can’t let the negative things that have happened so far this year weigh me down creatively. If anything, I need to use those as a diving board into making new opportunities. Gotta get my creativi-twee back up to par so I can apply to DIY Trunk Show and Renegade Craft Fair Chicago with the vim and vigor I usually have.

Films watched 21st week of the year:

Chemerical: Redefining Clean for a New Generation*
Temple Grandin
Moonrise Kingdom
Carnage (Polanski)
The Iron Lady
Revenge of the Nerds
Pirahna (2010)


Moonrise Kingdom was definitely the most enjoyable and may be tied with The Royal Tenenbaums for my fave Wes Anderson film now. The font may tip it over the top. Actually, I just found out it was HAND LETTERED by one Jessica Hische. AMAZING. Now it definitely wins. Also, I don’t remember Revenge of the Nerds being so g-d creepy with the videotaping scene where they “got even with the Pis” and the rape scene. A quick google search finds that a lot of others feel the same way. It is really hard to believe that this was okay in the 80’s. I feel like if this movie was released today, it would be fought tooth and nail.

2012 Week 20: one step forward. forward thinking.

La De Blog - RWT Booth Set-Up @ Urban Folk Circuit (Schubas)

I accomplished some good things this week, but there were moments that I realized I had been staring into space thinking about losing Jeff. His death helped put things into perspective for me and I am going to try to take positive steps forward for myself and those that I love.

  • Prepared duck (roasted duck breast) for the first time.
  • Made chocolate cake and chocolate buttercream frosting from scratch.
  • Planted my container garden.
  • Went to Dan Cordinated’s balloon-filled birthday party.
  • Did my first craft fair of the year (Urban Folk Circuit @ Schubas)
  • Got to hang out with some awesome ladies at Urban Folk Circuit: Mother of Hermes and Red Ava
  • Did a whole lot of Tilda training.
  • Films watched 20th week of the year:
    Drive Angry
    The Avengers
    Bomb It*

    2012 Week 19: “well, everyone must die; it’s true, but first we get to live. don’t ever, ever forget to live.”

    The quote is from one of my very favorite Jason Anderson songs, El Paso. It has been running through my head a lot this week.

    My friend Jeff Barszcz took his own life on Tuesday. Processing his death has taken a lot out of me even though this news did not come as a surprise. Jeff was battling with depression as long as I had known him, but I knew he had been depressed long before that. A few friends and I had, I believe, helped pull him out of it before. Before I moved to Chicago, Jeff was one of my very best friends. I often called him Jeffers. I was quite fond of his cat Wally, whom he often called Mister. He deeply loved his cats. He had a real connection with them. When my first hedgehog Hoggle died, I went into a deep depression over the loss of the first pet Zachary and I had. Hoggle was the first pet either of us owned outside of our family pets. A lot of friends did not know how to respond to me losing Hoggle, but because Jeff knew the deep pain I felt, he sent me this e-mail:

    Hi. I’m really sorry about Hoggle. I know exactly how you feel, but please don’t blame yourself. You loved him and that’s all that matters. I spent over $2500 in vet bills trying to save Wally and I still kept thinking about what else I could have done, but you know what? I loved him so much and I tried my best. So did you with Hoggle. He was lucky to have someone like you to care for him. He’s in your heart forever.

    Hang in there. It will get better.


    It is heartbreaking because I feel like I could have sent most of this e-mail that he had sent me to my other friends who tried very hard to save Jeff. Since moving away from the DC area in 2003, I had not gotten to see Jeff a lot, but the times we did get to see one another were very happy. He visited me in Chicago once while I was dating a previous dude and I got to take Jeff to see Jason Anderson at Texas Ballroom. I got to see Jeff whenever I went back to DC before he moved to Seattle. Zachary got to meet him when we went to Seattle together in spring 2009. Jeff took us to his favorite coffee shop, Espresso Vivace Sidewalk Bar.

    Sadly, the last time I saw Jeff was in December 2009. He had a manic episode while I was with him and I tried everything in my power to help lift him up and he was still unhappy. I felt like I had failed him. After that episode, I pulled away from him. I never told him that I was doing so. We would still IM from time to time, but the friendship was not the same as before. When I called a mutual friend to inform him of what happened, he said he had always “sensed a darkness in” Jeff. The only solace I find in Jeff’s passing is that he is at peace now. His humor, his wit, his taste in food and music were all huge influences on who I am today. He will be sorely missed by so, so many.

    Films watched 19th week of the year:

    Foxes (1980)
    The Immortals
    EL BULLI – Cooking in Progress*


    2012 Week 18: Will you be my Mrs. Boo?

    This week was great overall, but the best news is that Zachary and I are betrothed! He said he had an early birthday present for me and he put on a puppet show and then one of the puppets came up with the ring box in his mouth and he asked “Will you be my Mrs. Boo?” This has been in the works for awhile. The ring was my Great Aunt Norma’s, but it first had to be appraised and then re-sized and reinforced. I knew it was going to happen, but I just didn’t know the when. I assumed it would be sometime around my birthday and I was right. We went out for celebratory gelato at Black Dog Gelato with Kirstie & Jason.

    The photos above are the finished result of our taking the Woodworking Beginner to Intermediate class at Pagoda Studios. We can say without a doubt that it was worth it. We left the class with knowledge of basic woodworking tools as well as a cutting board that we made with our own hands! Zachary was going for a bomber (22 oz. beer) cutting board, but it ended up looking like a wine bottle, which was good too. Of course I made a hedgehog. This was the second class that I’ve taken on Dabble. If you haven’t heard of Dabble, it’s a site that offers affordable classes ranging from vermicomposting to woodworking to Photoshop, etc.: Dabble. I cannot recommend Joseph’s class enough. Take it and you will not regret it. I have to give props to Heidi for blogging about his class in the first place.

    I said I would eat out less this week and I failed at that. I did get to see many awesome friends though.

    MUSIC-A-LEIGH, I saw Mahogany at Subt on Friday night. The last time I saw them was November 8, 2002 at WMUC Third Rail Radio. They remained great, but very different from nearly 10 years ago. Dang, I am old.

    Films watched 18th week of the year:

    Monks: The Transatlantic Feedback*
    The Unbelievable Truth
    Sweet Revenge
    Three Coins in the Fountain


    Margaret was incredible. Really interesting shots. Great acting by all. Anna Paquin’s portrayal of a teenage girl was fantastic. I keep thinking back to it. Definitely worth a watch.