Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat:

I love Halloween...and to share the love, blog readers can save 15% at PinkBird Creations ( by using the code: SPOOKYBLOG08 at checkout! Happy Treating! (Coupon Code valid until November 24th, 2008).

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy 30th Birthday, Sylvie! (or, I love lists!)

In honor of one of my bestest friends turning 3-0, I thought I'd make a cheesy (or at least embarrassing for me) list...
Sylvie, here are 30 reasons you're awesome, or 30 things you may not already know....

1. I have the birds in the tree painting that you made for me matted, framed, and hanging in my kitchen.
2.That day that turned into night--when we went to Kokua, then took a cab (in which you began speaking Chinese to the driver--much to his surprise) to the after party where you guys ordered pizza to the bus stop and later we passed out on your tiled floor--was one of the best times I've had. I wish I could remember it better.
3. Whatever choices and decisions you make about your life or your own Personal Legend, I will stand by them. Even if I disagree, I will respect your choices. There is no make or break; it's already been made. There's no getting rid of me.
4. No matter how you remember our Honolulu-->LA-->Austin (and back again) road trip, It was one of the best road trips I've had, even when I was sick and sleeping in the backseat....even when weird old men where paying for our drinks...even when we changed hotels, twice! (Well, that was a total upgrade!)
5. Some of the best advice you've ever given me is, "Life's too short to worry about getting hit with a beer can that ricocheted off of some one else." Just kidding. (Kinda).
6. I love your art. It amazes me. It's beautiful in its complex simplicity.
7. Your sense of style always inspires me. Sometimes when I'm getting ready to go out and don't know what to wear I think to myself, "what would Sylvie wear?" and just go with that.
8. You always make me feel good about following my dreams and pursuing my Personal Legend. You are one of my dear friends that I know will always support me.
9. I know you hardly wear jewelry, I really do. I'm sorry I always make new jewelry for you, I can't help it. It's what I do. I adorn things.
10. Thank you for helping me see that karaoke in sleazy bars is awesome.
11. I still feel special when I see you using the things I made for you--like the purses or the coffee mug. Thanks!
12. The Universe has its plans...and for both of us, in the stories of our lives, Hawaii has a special place in that plan.
13. You have gotten me into a lot of great music over the years, and even rekindled my love of the Rolling Stones and Mr. Dylan.
14. I truly believe that without your insight, support, and friendship, I would not have PinkBird Creations, nor my own Art School career.
15. When I first met you, I was really happy to learn you were a vegetarian too.
16. Do you remember yelling off the balcony in Waikiki? That night we wrote on our hands? Live free or die. I do. And I smile every time.
17. I now have a pretty jar of coins in my window too.
18. I wish we went to the same school--or even still lived in the same town!
19. We won't be sad if you take the Longhorn off your car (OK, maybe just a little)--or if you already have...but you can't get rid of it....make it into a pencil topper or something. ha.ha.
20. I love it when you speak French in our emails, even if I can't always understand it. (How sleazy did that just sound?!)
21. Let's make art could be an installation, or our own show...whatever...we'll get Jennifer in on it too. We could mail works-in-progress to each other. It'd be fabulous.
22. I had no doubt that you wouldn't love Flight of the Conchords.
23. You have great hair. Really.
24. This one's from Phill: "You get Channel 9!"
25. Our band could at least be an internet (or at least MySpace) sensation! S.T. needs its 15 minutes.
26. Thanks for all the advice!
27. You have brought out new (or hidden) aspects of my life...things that otherwise I may have never discovered or had the courage to do had I never met you.
28. All those black and white pictures you took of me in Austin years ago are framed and displayed in our house....the picture you showed me the last time I saw you was nice too...I only had a weird reaction because I thought my profile looked funny...aside from that it was good...(and hard to believe it was taken in '05 and not '75!)
29. There is magic in our friendship, I truly believe that.
30. The best is yet to come. I hope you have a fantastic birthday and an awesome 30th year!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Me as a Reader...

There are so many things in life that we learn as children that we take for granted as adults. We often cannot even remember learning simple everyday tasks like zippering, riding a bike, holding a pencil, etc. I think few people recall the frustration they may have felt when learning to button our own clothes or tie our shoes. And, what about learning to read? Reading is something we do all the time--often without even realizing it. (Could you walk down a street and read nothing--no signs, license plates, or store fronts? It'd be difficult). Reading is something that we learn and once we've got it, we can't just "switch it off" or stop, or forget, right?

Earlier this semester on my classes required me to write my own "Reading Autobiography." This paper included my earliest memories of learning to read or being emerged in literacy. It was an interesting task, one that perhaps you may want to think about too. It may seem nerdy, but I'm OK with that. Here is what I wrote:

"I love to read. I am usually in the middle of quite a few books at once. I actually just finished the last of my “summer reading” books last Thursday in anticipation of the start of the semester. Growing up, reading and education were valued in my home, though this could stem from the fact that my parents are both educators. I also would see my mother reading for enjoyment, she was (and still is) into mystery novels—she grew up reading Nancy Drew. She and my grandmother would often trade books with each other after they read a particularly exciting thriller. My dad was also always reading something, even today there is a stack of books on a shelf behind “his chair” in the family room.

My earliest memories of reading are of sitting with my mom with a bedtime story, my favorites where Hop on Pop, Are You My Mother?, and Goodnight Moon. Even today, when I read those stories I get wonderfully nostalgic. As a child I would spend hot summer afternoons at least once a week at our local public library, which was in walking distance to our house. We would listen to “story times” and then get to check out our own books, as I got older, I favored “Choose Your Own Adventure” novels or the “Babysitter’s Club” series. I remember getting my first library card—I felt so grown up carrying that little plastic card in my thin pink wallet.

I remember learning phonics in first grade. I was excited to be able to read but nervous at the same time. I recall doing a worksheet that had pictures on it and we were supposed to write the first letter that the picture started with. There was a picture of a coin. I did not know what coin it was so I had to ask my teacher. “Quarter,” she said, saying the Q-U sound more like a hard K sound, “Korter.” “Korter?” I asked in my budding Chicago accent. She nodded and I wrote a messy version of a K beneath the picture of a quarter. I was really sad—probably why I still remember this today—when she came back to my desk, pointed at the K and said, “No. That’s wrong, erase it.” She then proceeded to repeat “Quarter” repeatedly, this time really trying to enunciate the Q-U sound. I wrote “qu” beneath the picture though I still had not heard the difference. After school, I told my mom about what happened—I may have even believed the teacher was wrong. However, I could hear the difference when my mom said “quarter.”

In elementary school when there was a Scholastic book fair or book order or a magazine drive, my mom would always make sure I had picked out something excellent.
My sister and I would share a Highlights magazine or Dog Fancy when I was going through a “when I grow up I want to be a vet” stage. Even now when the school she teaches at has a magazine drive, I know my mom will be buying my husband and me subscriptions to National Geographic Traveler or Rolling Stone.

When I was about 12 years old, my family (including my extended family like aunts, uncles and cousins) drove from Chicago to Rochester New York to watch my grandfather run a marathon. My Uncle Joe had bought my cousin and me the book A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to read in the car. Today, I get carsick if I try to read in a moving car, but not then, I was immersed. That was the first book that I had ever read that completely absorbed and fascinated me. I loved Francie Nolan and the characters in the book as if I knew them. I cried when I finished that book, not because it was sad, but because I did not want the book to end.

That did it for me, after finishing that novel I was never without a book. Eventually when I went off to college, I decided I wanted to be a journalist and author. After taking a journalism class at the University of Missouri my mind changed, journalism is competitive (and, well, I'm not) and you do not always get to write about your interests. I then decided to become a teacher and Language Arts seemed to be the right concentration area for me. My original degree is in Language Arts Education. Though I was interested in teaching literature, as I few older, my passions have shifted once art.

I still read for pleasure and have a few books on my nightstand and a few more on my coffee table (all of which I am usually in the middle of reading). I like to read when I run out of things to "do," and am constantly flipping through magazines. Sometimes I don’t pick them up for months; other times I can’t put them down. A few years ago at my parent’s house, I found my old copy of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and added it to my library. I may have to put that next on my list of books to read."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

PinkBird's Pointers: (Volume 6--More Travel Tips)

We're going back to Texas next month for Thanksgiving (seriously, why can't we stay away?!). We'll only be there for 3 days (hooray--small backpack as carry on! The big backpack can get annoying, despite it's convenience)...but, this got me, here are some more travel tips (perhaps one of these days I'll just combine them all into one list):

1. Before you start packing, pull your bags out and let them air out for a couple days. Better yet, before you store your luggage away after unpacking, leave dryer sheets (if you have them), lavender sachets or even small bars of soap (dry ones, that you aren't using...the ones from hotels work nicely) in the main pocket of your luggage.

2. If you tend to have to travel last minute, why not keep a checklist of essentials in a pocket of your luggage so if you have to pack in a hurry, you won't forget anything. Along those same lines, my toiletry bag is almost always packed and ready, so when it's time to travel, I can grab my case (with travel toothbrush--I use a Toob, shampoo, etc), and toss it into my bag.

3. When using self-check in (and isn't that all there is anymore?!) at the airport, if you have bags to check, make sure the kiosk you're checking in at allows you to check your bags at it. I know the American Airlines counter at ORD requires an agent to be working the kiosk terminal for you to be able to check your luggage there. I'm sure there are others like it.

4. Are you bringing your laptop? There are newer types of bags that allow security screeners better views of your computer without taking it all out. Also, if you are bring a laptop to a place that will have internet access and/or internet cafes, do you really need your guide/travel books? Most guidebooks can be bought in .PDF or even .mp3. (Some even have maps and things you can put on your iPod). I know a couple that will scan into their computer any maps or guidebook pages and save them to their laptop. This cuts down on the amount of stuff you are carrying.

5. Before you travel, clean out your wallet (or have a special travel wallet). You don't need to be carrying around every business card or grocery store saving card you've ever gotten. And, if you have a lot of store credit cards, do you really think you'll use them? Only bring the essentials. It cuts down on the amount of things you are bringing and the amount of things you could potentially lose.

(For more PinkBird's Pointers, click here).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's Her Birthday:

Happy Birthday, Melissa!

Monday, October 13, 2008

PinkBird's Picture: Tagmout, Morocco

I realized the other day it's been a long time since I posted a "PinkBird's Picture" so, now's as good a time as any....

Tagmout, Morocco, is a lush oasis, a Berber village in the mountains. It was there that we were fortunate enough to enjoy lunch and a private celebration with a traditional Berber music group (Ahouach) at this man's home. The music was amazing and moving. This was an amazing day in that we went from being outsiders (or, just travelers in Morocco) to being friends, welcomed into a family's home and culture. This old man was so kind—continually asking if we were enjoying ourselves or if we had enough to eat or drink. It was also here that I met a lovely group of Arab women; even though we didn't speak the same language we were still able to gesture and giggle together. This photo always transports me to that unique day that we were able to participate in this celebration. The warmth and hospitality that we felt in this home was undeniable and forever etched in my mind.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Keepin' it Green....

I know Austin City Limits was a couple weeks back (though it feels like forever ago) but I forgot to mention this of my favorite things about the fest (aside from the music and the people watching, and the food, and the friends...and, well you get it) was the "green" recycling program they set up.

Now, ACL is definitely not the greenest music festival I've ever been to (I think the Kokua Festival takes that spot)...but their recycling program rocked. See, it was perfect for lazy people like me (who just wanted to bask in the Texas heat, listen to music, hang with my friends, and drink a few beers), and motivated people, like this guy:

What was great was that I'd be dancing around or chillin' on my "blanket" (that's a different story) and finish my beer or water or whatever and one of these motivated people would come by and ask me for my empty bottle or can. So, I never even had to walk to find a recycling bin (which were actually all over the place). Well, these recyclers are not just tree-hugging dirt worshippers, they had another agenda...Free ACL swag (like a shirt, poster, or tote bag) for collecting and bringing a bag of recyclables to a "Rock and Recycle" tent like this one:

What a fantastic idea! Get the people who pay to be there to clean up the garbage for basically free. Plus, the people who weren't participating had someone cleaning up after them and got to meet people who wanted to stash their trash. But, seriously, for a giant music festival this was one of the cleanest I've been too. We would see an area totally littered with bottles and cans, and 5 minutes later someone would come by and pick them all up. I wonder how many free shirts/totes/posters ACL gave away. Perhaps if I really wanted something they were giving away, I would have done it too...but I was getting what I wanted...a fun, chill weekend and not being surrounded by recyclable trash.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Today's Critique... my 3D Design class is over our latest assignment. This project had very strict limitations: I had to make a hat that conveyed an aspect of myself (in the form of a motif). The hat could only be made of cardboard and masking tape. We were able to use paint to illustrate our motif. Also, some part of the hat had to extend at least 4 feet in any direction. I went with a vintage-looking suitcase (yea, yea, more "travel art") with stickers on it of the places I have been.

I wish I had pictures from when I was actually constructing the hat, as it is made up of 2 main side panels, four smaller side panels, and a handle--originally I was planning for it to open and close. I used large sheets of cardboard for the sides. The handle is corrugated cardboard reinforced with an unraveled toilet paper tube (for shape). The stickers (for which I used both masking tape and paint as adhesive--she didn't say we couldn't use the paint like "glue") I free-hand painted on very thin cardboard (that I found in a recycling bin).

I used the masking tape to hold it all together (the inside looks nuts) and I also used it as a design element, as the trim, which I painted red. I added a piece of clothing sticking out the side (even though I never overpack-ha!); for this I pulled apart a piece of corrugated cardboard and used the thin, papery-like side as "fabric". The luggage tag is thin cardboard and so is the "string" that holds it to the handle. The whole thing is about 4' 2" across, and 9.5" wide (and, keep in mind that I am only 5' 2" tall!). It is hollow inside, but is still a bit crazy to wear/balance--which I have to do for class.

This is it:
In the beginning (the cat liked it).

In progress: I used books and things to weigh some parts down while they dried. (You can see the "hinge" on the bottom in the above photo on the left).

These are some more pictures as I was working on it. Here you can see the locks and latches on top.

The result: in the middle picture you can see the "fabric" sticking out--I need to fluff it up a bit. The bottom picture is of the back. It's goofy, but it works, and I actually learned alot while making it. If I had more time, or had to make another one it would be way different but very much the same.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Happy 29.5!!!

Today is my half-birthday! I am officially 29 1/2! Whoa!

I better get movin' on my "list of things to do before I'm 30!" (I'm actually doing pretty well on that...)

Take it Light, Bekki

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Austin City Limits Recap:

Here is a little photo essay about ACL 2008. We had an awesome time. I plan to write some more about it, but it might be a few days, since I'm super busy. Here goes...

Ausin City Limits 2008

ACL Bike Parking

Vampire Weekend

Gogol Bordello--One of my favorite shows of the weekend!

Don't ask.


Mason Jennings


The Raconteurs

Band of Horses--one of my favorite shows of the weekend.


Are we at the same show?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Phish Returns:

See the video announcement here:
Phish 3 678 9

On the road again..

So long Austin! And welcome back Phish! Details later...we are boarding our plane. (Sent via mobile phone)