Boo hoo, like some kind of Scrooge.

Yay, my Welcome Wagon CD finally came!  Right when I sent an aggitated email to the distributers, of course.  Also, I added a button to subscribe to my feedburner… so subscribe!  You’ll find it in the right sidebar, just under the photo of me looking so skeleton-cool.

Gwen loaned me an American Elf book and now I have the renewed urge to draw a daily comic strip, buuuuut I still don’t have the time.  Gotta focus, Bea. 

I’m cold all the time.  Even the womb has been disappointing me lately.

I have not been in the Christmas spirit.  I decided early on this time around to reject the commercial aspect of the “season”, and my plan was to focus more on the holidays of my preference (Advent and then Christmas).  So I rejected the commercial, but somehow all the stuff that is meaningful to me has kind of slipped out of my sight also.  Which leaves me with nothing, except winter and this constant feeling of cold.  How depressing!  Tomorrow morning, though, Christ Presbyterian is going to be performing Handel’s Messiah so I am really really hoping that gets me in the mood.  Who knows… maybe we need some of the commercial stuff to keep Christmas real.  As much as I hate it, maybe I need to fight the crowds at the mall and choke on the B.O. of some ragtag Santa Claus to realize that there really is something about this time that is different from the rest of the year.  

Or maybe there really isn’t.  We don’t know when Jesus was actually born, right?  Maybe there is no real point to celebrating any of this.  I have this fantasy of celebrating New Years by going to bed at 9pm on December 31 and waking up the next year, no party, no ball dropping, no midnight kiss (which I never get anyway!)  Maybe that’s how I should celebrate Christmas too, just ignore it.  I’m just so bored by all of the tradition.  

What’s wrong with me this year?  I’m in some kind of holiday funk.

The boney insomniac.

I couldn’t sleep.  I was lying there in my bed and I just couldn’t sleep so I propped myself up on my elbows and kind of cradled my head in my hands in mild frustration.  As I was holding my head like that I began to think about the shape of my skull, and I thought about how I used to be an infant, a tiny little baby with a tiny skull.  And I grew up, and I’ve turned out fairly decent, and really, in that way, I’m kind of proud of myself.  I’m not an infant anymore, I’m an adult with adult intelligence and adult ideas and an adult skull.  That skull…

I began to think about myself as a skeleton, which I am – a skeleton covered in muscles and flesh and so forth.  Underneath all that I am just a skeleton which is actually really cool.  I don’t mean like, “Hey, cool, isn’t the human body fascinating?”  I mean more like, “Hey, skeletons are just  COOL, like James Dean cool.  Like skeletons are just leaning against the brick wall smoking a cig and they just don’t care.”  Does that make any sense?  Probably not.  But when I pictured myself as just a skeleton I was cool, I was confident.  When you strip away the fashion and the styles and the sarcasm and terrible charm we’re all equal, just a bunch of stupid, cool skeletons.  Like we just don’t care.  I know that I’m not explaining it right.  But I AM a skeleton, under all of this.

Anyway, I kept thinking about skeletons and how skeleton-me was so cool but then I started to remember that skeletons aren’t all that cool*, they are actually super creepy, with their perpetual grinning jaws and their gaping eye holes and hollow noses and long bony fingers.  I started thinking about those ridiculous Grateful Dead skeletons and I was picturing myself as one of those, sprawled out on my bed, and I started to want my muscles and skin and pajamas back.

I don’t know, I was sick of having such stupid thoughts when I probably should have been praying or meditating or, most of all, sleeping, so I got up and did the only thing a skeleton knows how to do.  I logged on to my blog.  And now I’m going back to bed.

*Of course skeletons are still cool, and always will be, in the biological, structural, life-enabling framework sense.   

B-sides and beside myself.

I don’t know what it is about Dear Nora (Katy Davidson).  I just love her.  She’s Northern California, to me.  She’s driving through the Redwoods, through the fog-draped mountains, singing, at the top of my lungs, “It’s so easy to take the blame, when everything I do comes back again.  And I haven’t felt the same, my friend, since you went away.”  Magic Marker is releasing a double disk collection of Dear Nora rarities (something like 57 tracks!) in case you are also a fan.

On the matter of ordering music, my copy of Welcome to the Welcome Wagon, which was released this past Tuesday, still hasn’t arrived.  I know we need to be a little patient with the postal service when the weather is this treacherous, but come on.  I’ve already had two dreams about it.  The Agony!

Like month old fruit juice.

Yesterday I was spoiled.  Not simply because of the snow day (our office was closed for the day!) but because of how I spent my day.  Determined to be productive, I set up camp in my long neglected studio, put my favorite records on, and got to work on an art project (a watercolor/ink illustration, if you’re keeping score).  Normally I don’t have the time or energy to work on projects like this, what with the day job and all (don’t get me wrong, I love my day job).  Weekends, too, are often too busy for much creativity, so it was extremely nice to have a free day with nothing pressing to do and nowhere to go.

The reason I say I was spoiled is because I had a taste of what it might feel like to be a real working artist.  I mean, there are people who are able to do this for a living – their work day is going into the studio, putting on their favorite records, and just creating. How fun would that be?  I’d venture to put them in the same category as professional athletes, rock stars, and actors… they get paid to play!  Well, okay, most artists aren’t earning a fraction of what professional athletes, rock stars, and actors earn, but you know what I mean.  You get it.  There are some artists who aren’t starving, and who aren’t working a “day job” and saving all of their projects for the rare occasion of a snow day.  The challenge, I guess, is becoming one of those artists.

Unrelated, I had an anti-genius idea today to create a search engine called “Irrelevant” in which all of the search results are completely unrelated to whatever your search words were.  Wouldn’t that be novel?  And annoying?  And completely useless?  Remarkably, the domain name www dot irrelevant dot com seems to be available.  If I was a different kind of person I would snatch that up.  You can be the snatchers, friends.  You can make my idea come to life.

Can you eat it? Can you hit it with a drum stick?

Once every 100 years I cook a meal that was not first frozen or packaged in plastic. Tonight I learned what it really looks like to cook 6 cups of rice (listen, it’s a LOT more rice than it sounds like!) Tonight I made enchiladas, which is maybe a 0.5 on a cooking difficulty scale of 1-10. But they were awesome, and now they are in my stomach, and also in my refrigerator (to be stomached on another day). I need to try cooking more often. I don’t think women should have to cook and clean and do laundry and powder their nose but I think they should at least be able to do one of those things and I am pretty awful at all of them (men should be able to do them too, PLUS shoveling driveways and fixing cars).

I just got a text message from my Dad! I tried an experiment and sent him a message and he did indeed reply. How intergenerational! I don’t think I talk about work very much here but part of my job is that of an Intergenerational Coordinator, which means that I am in charge of programs that bring youth and seniors together. Today I was at our intergenerational choir practice and in the corner of the music room was a drum set just calling out to me. I managed to wait until practice was over, when all of the kids had left the room, and then I sat down at the drums and started playing a simple enough beat. It felt great.

Rachel and her boyfriend have loaned me some random bits of percussion for a project that I’ve hinted at (and will share soon enough). Currently they’ve loaned me a snare drum, a cowbell, a wood block, a tom (a tiny tom!) and a shaker. I want to play them all loudly but I am afraid the neighbors might not appreciate that. So I put a t-shirt over the snare drum and play it quietly.  Quiet IS the new loud.

Maybe I’ll make the 2015 list?

In case you’re interested, NPR has chosen the best graphic novels of 2008.  My brother saw me looking at these and said, “Is that your competition?” Sure, it’s my competition in the way that a kid who tosses the football with Dad is competing against Brett Favre.  But hey, Tony Romo grew up watching Brett Favre, and look at them both now!  Sorry to carry the football analogy so far.  It is Sunday. Anyway.  Go graphic novels, yeah!

In lieu of a parking receipt.

My last boyfriend and I broke up over the phone.  The last time I saw him was at General Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee, and at the time I didn’t know that we would be broken up within a month, but I was certainly upset enough just saying goodbye.  Well, the very interesting thing about that morning was when I pulled my car up to the toll booth as I was leaving the parking ramp, the attendent took my money and said with a very genuine smile, “Have a blessed day.”  Not a mumbled “have a nice day,” or an obligitory “thanks for your money, ” but, “Have a blessed day.”  My parking attendent gave me a blessing!  Maybe she says that to everyone who passes by her stand, but I like to think this was a sincere prayer for me.  Somehow she knew that my stoic face was hiding emotions much more turbulent.  Somehow she knew things would only get harder, would eventually splinter and then break.  Somehow she knew that a little encouragement could go a long way.  Don’t underestimate the impact you can have on a stranger’s life!

The reason I was thinking about General Mitchell Airport at all is because I’ll be returning there in January, this time to fly to California with a good friend who is interviewing for an externship.  The interview is actually in Los Angeles, but rather than spending our time in smelly LA we are going to stay with friends in San Diego.  I haven’t been back to San Diego since 2006 when I decided that I was too homesick to function.  I’m looking forward to the brief respite from winter, of course, and to seeing my friends and my beloved #2 state, but I am really not looking forward to flying.  The way I see it, we’ve been flying planes for something like one hundred years now.  It should not take hours and cost hundreds of dollars to get from one time zone to another.  It should not be an overwhelmingly unpleasant experience.  This is the 21st century.  But I won’t complain… we’re going to the warm-land!

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    Breena Wiederhoeft
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