Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Hot 100!!!

It's blog post #100!  Time for a little celebration.

Once a year the citizens of Iceland blow up their whole capitol city and rebuild it from the ground up.  It keeps things fresh and exciting.

Those aren't words I'd use to describe my next big task, but it will be a lot more so once I get into it.  That is, I'm cleaning the nerve center of the basement, the storage room where Dylan kept about 5 million books and papers.  I've started a little but there's a lot to dig through.
I've shown a similar pic before.  The room is too small to get a good panorama shot, so I collaged it.  How can such a small room be so intimidating?!

If there's one thing I learned this year, is to recognize when I'm afraid to mess up, then find a way to start anyway.  I got more art done that way. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Packing Radness

I mailed four boxes of mini comics to the Dylan Williams Collection at OSU last week, and found out a couple days ago that they arrived safely at their destination.  They weighed over 40 pounds each.  That's a person's weight in comics!!  Or four school children.  Anyway, they are at their new home.  It was hard to choose which ones were going.  I have a lot of them still, mostly the ones by close friends or ones I had been collecting for years.  I hope they'll inspire a kid to make his or her first book.

Things Fall Apart

I got a bookcase from a friend when she decided to move to New York, and decided to make room for it in the basement.  Thinking that I would just slide it in next to the large metal shelves that had been there for a decade, I moved a table that had been standing there for almost as long.  It turns out that the table had been holding up the shelves all those years.  Immediately the shelving began to buckle sideways and fall over.  I spent the next hour holding the thing up with one hand and removing everything from it with the other.  Do you know how hard it is to reach over head and move objects that way?  I had built the shelving wrong to begin with, and forgotten all about it.  This is why you need to built things safely and correctly!  It could have been much worse.  It was covered with books and could have fallen on me, causing serious injuries.  I threw almost everything that I knew wouldn't break onto the floor.

A few days later, with the help of friend Sean, I got some heavy-duty plastic shelves to replace the one I ultimately took apart and gave away to my neighbors.  The new shelves were easy to put together, just like Tinker Toys.  Very stable, too.  As it turns out, they are the same kind we got when we moved Sparkplug to its new home-office location.

The white melamine shelf on the right was a gift from my friend Nusha, who moved away recently.  Friends who are moving are a great source of shelving.  They don't have to haul it, you get a fine unit, win-win.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Donate to a great comics cause!

I'm getting ready to make a sizable donation of small press/self published comics.  Don't worry, if you're reading this I'm most likely keeping your stuff unless I've got doubles!  Over at the Ohio State University, they have a special collection of just such things named after my husband Dylan.  I'm really honored on his behalf to contribute a lot of the work he collected over the last couple decades.  Dylan discovered a lot of amazing work that might get overlooked, because small press stuff tends to not get the publicity and distribution it deserves. 

Caitlin McGurk is curating the Dylan Williams Collection, please contact her at or call 614-292-0538.  I mentioned her in a previous post ages ago.  She's super nice and learned on the subject of indie comics and zines.

As a lot of you know, Dylan's and my books and comics together make a vast personal library, and going through them is a massive undertaking.  I'm keeping a ton of stuff, but it feels like I could build another house with the volume of materials that I have on hand. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Basement library beatdown

I'm back in the basement again pruning the usual junk.  I'm going through the books Dylan had down there and picking out what I mean to keep.

I intend to give some more books to friends and have Powell's Books buy most of the rest.  Though I think I'd like the Portland Art Museum's  library to have some.  Dylan had the most amazing collection of comics by overseas creators all over the world.  I think it would be great to have them in a place where people who love art want to be.

I concede that it doesn't look great down here, but it's better than before.  And you can see the entire bookcases, as I removed the junk on the floor in front of it.

Remember this?

And this?

I'm glad I took pictures.  Otherwise I'd feel like nothing is really changing.

Going through the books this time is surprisingly similar, emotionally, to all the other sifting I did with Dylan's collections.  It's a little easier to reason with myself about where these will all end up, but I still experience some self-recrimination and sorrow.  Also, the mental and physical exhaustion of the process.  I need a foot rub after all this. 

E-Z Rock School of Agriculture

 The garden box has a joyous mix of dirt, compost and topsoil and I've already got some strawberries and tomatoes planted.  So what is the problem?

I know that Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock aren't exactly expressing frustration at the current Portland weather patterns here, but I thought the chorus reflects the mercurial nature of our sun and precipitation each day.
I'm the headliner of this show
And you're just a kid and you need to grow

Friday, April 18, 2014

Dirt Life

I'm going to need to bring the hose inside and spray down everything because my planting and building is bringing a lot of mess into the kitchen.  I'm trying to sprout some starts so there is potting soil everywhere.  I tracked in some mud from the backyard while making the garden box.  I've been filling it with dirt all week and it still needs more.  I've supplemented it with compost, including all the stuff I've been brewing in my Earth Machine.  The chickens from next door sure love my compost.  I'm hoping they'll add a little fertilizer of their own to my little garden.  I'm ready for more serious labor this weekend.  Aaaaaannnndddd...some real planting of real seeds and shoots in the place I've been preparing for them all this time!
I'll get a newer pic with dirt and stuff real soon.
 I'll be at the Twilight Rummage sale again tomorrow night.  Won't you visit?  All monies that I earn go towards some important shit.  Like more plants!  And paint!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Divining Magic in the Home

Want a secret to finding anything in your house that you've lost?  I used this when I was looking for a part of a table I needed to make a repair.  I had been looking for it for hours.  Stand in a central location of your home.  Hold your hands over your head and spin around until you lose your sense of what direction everything is in.  Stop and stick your arms out in front of you.  Walk in the direction your arms are pointing.  I found the item in a closet that I had already checked with a flashlight!  This might not work for everybody, but it can't hurt either.

The Scavenged Garden

Let's go outside for a moment and ponder the garden I've been planning.  I've been getting new plants and seeds, but also a few other necessaries to bring my vision together.  Here's some stuff I got FOR freaking FREE everybody!
  • little plastic pots
  • one of those sifters you use to get the weeds and pebbles out of your soil
  • about half a dozen tomato cages
  • a trowel (somebody left this in my yard last year, but I'm throwing it in the list for posterity)
  • soil, abundant soil - my neighbor is terracing his front yard and said I could have the dirt.  I just have to haul it up to my yard in a bucket.  My back yard, for reasons known only to the builders of this neighborhood, is far higher than street level.  No wheelbarrow is going to work.
  • I pulled up a tree sprout out of somebody's curbside plantation.  It had sprung up from a normal size tree and was still tiny so I have it in its own little planter at home until it gets big enough to go outside.  

I got my plants on the cheap, mostly.  There are a lot of seed sales going on now, and I got a few starters and sedums at Grocery Outlet.  I already have a couple rose bushes planted in the back yard, and a baby birch tree I got at Walgreens, of all places.  I'll be hitting up the farmer's markets for more plants, but in the meantime these little discount shrubs and things have to go into the ground sometime, right?  Oh yeah, I also took advantage of a Chinook Book coupon a friend gifted me, and got a mini magnolia tree and some herbs.  I just wish it would stop raining so I can plant more stuff!

Step into my office...

I'm hanging art in my studio office, do you approve?

Much of it is stuff my friends made!  Sean Christensen, Aron Nels Steinke, Ian Collazo, Amy Kuttab, Tony Remple, and even one I made (the tiny girl in the upper right).

The dollhouses show a small portion of my large and exciting collection of miniatures (sorry they're messy right now, no time yet for the mini housekeeping).  Sadly I missed both the miniatures shows in both Portland and Seattle, but it's probably for the best.  I don't need more little things, but it's so fun to find them.  Note to prospective collectors: elderly ladies are freakishly competitive at the dollhouse shows.  Don't give in!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Three R's in 24 Hours

By that I mean reducing, reusing, and recycling.  I rented a car via Travelocity, since I don't have a car of my own anymore, and spent a large part of today and yesterday doing just those things.  I made a trip with my friend Andrice to Far West Fibers for recycling the non-curbside stuffs.  Before departing for that place, I had left a "free box" of things on my own curb for people walking by to take.  I used the car to haul my treasures to the Twilight Rummage Sale again for the first time since last fall.  I sold a lot of stuff, but managed to bring home a few things too from both the vendors and the free table at the end of the night.  I'm trying to make a little money to get more paint for the living room.  Today I gave away a very old scanner to Virginia and donated a bike to the Community Cycling Center on NE Alberta St.  They need 3000 bikes a year, as well as stuff like helmets and bike related equipment.  The bike was Dylan's and he hadn't used it since we moved to Portland 15 years ago, so I thought this was a perfect home for it.  Oh yeah, and I made a trip to SCRAP.  Andrice had given me a box of things to give away along with my own.  Share the ride folks!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Do do doing

It's been a busy new year, full of to-do lists and activity.  I finally got the dryer hose situated.  I had planned to simply vacuum and have done with it, but I ended up getting a new hose and changing it myself.  I think I did all right.  I reasoned that it had been ten years since the dryer was new, so the hose had to have ten years' accumulation of lint in its deepest reaches.

I made a mini rack for necklaces and bracelets using a wooden children's toy I found at SCRAP and a handful of vintage buttons in all colors.  The buttons keep the jewels from sliding off the spindly parts:
 By the way, I made the stuff hanging from it in this picture too!  I'll soon post pics of a mini grotto I just made also.

One of my new ideas for the year is to create a fix-it basket for little things that need repairs and alterations.  I keep it in a really obvious place so I can pick up something to work on if I have a moment.  Buttons get stitched back on, split seams get closed, etc.
 I'm getting overenthusiastic about putting little things away or finding good places to store things.  Suddenly, my office is no longer a place where I store stuff that I want to hide from the living room, and I want to keep it that way.

I also now keep my planner nearby when I'm home or at work, so I can jot down anything I think of that I need to do.  I don't have any resolutions this year, except to keep building on all the work I did last year, and I want to make sure I make notes of any little thing I can get done.

Oh yeah, and I think I mentioned that I was giving away my car to OPB.  Well, a tow truck came on January 4th and got it.  Bye bye Camry, thanks for the memories!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 Year in Review

It was a great year, housekeepingwise and everything else.  My home is looking really good.  I was talking to a good friend a few weeks ago about the grieving process and mental health issues relating to it, and how you can't think your way out of that cycle.  It's the truth, trying to chase thoughts away won't make it happen. 

I accomplished a lot since last January 1, one of the biggest things being that I have a job that I love.  For a couple weeks now I've been taking steps to rid of my car, which I'm donating to OPB.  I shed my internet and land line at home last fall, who knows what I'll learn to do without.  I'm trying to figure out if I should change my healthcare plan.  Oh yeah, and I finally paid off my student loans!  In this day and age, that's no little thing!

While I still have my car I'm making the donation rounds to Goodwill and SCRAP, and I sold about 60 CDs last weekend.  I will miss my car, but Portland is great in that you can walk or bus anywhere.  When I lived in Berkeley I walked up to a mile each way just to buy vegetables or see a movie, so I know I'll be just fine.

I'm having a love affair with gifs (and Michael Caine), here's another for the ages.  Happy New Year everyone!!
Miss Congeniality, anyone?