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Posts tagged ‘drawing’

The Domestic Rut

November 14, 2013

DogRut

Have you ever stopped to consider all that your dog (or cat or fish or really any pet should you have one) actually sees? It’s a little disturbing.

It was just this past weekend while I was doing coordinated high kicks in the nude to the beats of Naughty by Nature that I looked over and saw my dog, Finn, watching me with his large, judging eyes. This is not the first time I’ve caught him staring at me — he’s doing it right now — but it was the first time I actually became self-conscious.

Finn and I have been through a lot together — breakups, multiple apartments, career changes, bed bugs —  it’s almost as if I could say he knows more about me than my therapist. He’s certainly seen more than she has. Naked high kicks aside, Finn has witnessed many of my emotional breakdowns, my standing in front of the open fridge eating a bowl of pasta, my obsession with repeating a new favorite song over and over and over again. It’s safe to assume that Finn will see more of me in his lifetime than anyone else will see of me in my lifetime. But at the same time, I’ve seen a lot of his stuff, too. I pick up his shit daily, watched him cower and shiver on the way to the vet, caught him awkwardly barking at specks of dust in the air, and you know what? I’ve given him some pretty judging eyes, too. But here’s my question: is this as domestic as it gets? And on top of that, is it therefore possible to be in a rut with your dog?

Our days are pretty consistent: we wake up, I put on a pot of coffee before taking him on a brief walk around the block. Then it’s me to my desk and he to his bone, each of us gnawing away the working hours before we embark on another walk, enjoy a simple feast (me: quinoa and some sort of vegetable, he: Science Diet Small Bites) in front of the TV, take one last walk, and climb into bed, he with his stuffed fox, me with my book. I’ve heard of humans falling into relationship ruts — OK fine, I fell into one many years back when my ex and I spent every evening with a bottle of wine and multiple episodes of Family Guy, but whatever — and often they either break up, head to couples therapy, or try something “new and different” like badminton lessons before breaking up a few months later. None of these options however, particularly the couples therapy, are an acceptable option for me and my dog.

So what’s the lesson here? Don’t let your significant other see half of the things you let your dog see. Take me yesterday for example, face down in the toilet with perhaps the worst stomach flu I’ve had since I was a mere tot and all I could think was how thankful I am that no human of significance had to witness my on-the-hour vomit sessions. But you know who was there to see it all? Finn. He was there, watching me as he always does, and as much as I hate the idea of anyone watching me curled up in the bathroom, it was nice to have him as a little furry companion to complain to. Even amidst our rut, and I assure you, it is a Rut with a capital R, it’s nice to know that Finn and I don’t need any of that couples therapy hoo ha because, like a family member, we’re in it for the long haul. Well, that and the fact that he’s a dog and is excited to see me even after I’ve poked him in the butt with a toothpick.

The Week of Indulgence

October 10, 2013

Birthday_Period_Week

One week out of every month I allow myself to do what I want. I’ll load up on carbs, wear spandex exclusively, sit in bed all day, drown my sorrows in a bottle of wine — it’s period week and I’ll eat fries if I want to. Even when my girl friends begin their week of tampons and tears, I support them when they say that all they want is to sit in bed with a bowl of tortellini. “You’re on your period,” I tell them. “It doesn’t count.”

Of course I know that every calorie counts, flo or no flo, and that exercising is likely a better solution to cramps than say, a pint of ice cream, the  third season of Sex and the Cityand your couch. But even after all these years — seriously, am I approaching menopause yet? — I live my period week as if nothing else matters. And even when I’ve come out of the dark, crimson tunnel, I don’t look back and regret all the things I didn’t do or the amount of calories I consumed. Like I said, when it comes to period week, these sort of things just don’t count.

This past Sunday I sat down to dinner with my friend Suz to kick off our shared birthday week, her’s is the eighth and mine is, well, today. We debated ordering fries to accompany our meal but decided that we were going to be doing a lot of eating this week and weekend so it would be better if we didn’t. But all it took was one waiter carrying a bowl of french fries to walk by and our opinion immediately changed. “It’s our birthday week, we should get the fries.” And with that we did.

As I’ve moved through this week, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities in my mindset between birthday week and period week. I ordered a god damn crab cake sandwich the other night (for Suz’s birthday) and went to town on a shared plate of lobster mac-n-cheese. I’ve avoided the gym like I avoid my dentist. And were you to ask me about my outfit situation at this very moment, my definitive answer would be S to the P to the A to the N to the D to the E to the X.

I recognize that this arrangement sounds more like the start of a Bridget Jones movie where I’m getting over a breakup and preparing for a life as a lonely spinster, but alas, this is not the case. Though cramps are a pain and getting a year older only means more anti-aging cream and responsibility, I actually enjoy letting go a little, allowing indulgence to take over. Birthdays are as much about celebrating you as they are about treating yourself, and since one’s period or the lack there of is the whole reason we are on this earth today, shouldn’t we celebrate our week of menstruation as well? I’m not saying we should gather our friends and blow out candles every month that Big Red comes to town, but if it means letting go and enjoying say, an extra ten minute massage at the nail salon or not wearing a bra for a week, then why not? Am I right?

To All You Nail Biters

October 8, 2013

Nerves2

I can’t remember where I read it, but recently I read somewhere that you should write down three positive things about your day before you go to bed at night; and at the risk of sounding a little like Judy Blume, I’m going to have to agree. As a naturally anxious person — I’m a nail biter, foot tapper, and cheek chewer — a lot of my anxiety floods in just as I’m settling into bed at night. I start to list off all the things I should have done that day or beat myself up for eating that extra slice of pizza or fret over the important phone call I neglected to return. This kind of downward spiral thought process inevitably turns into a form of self-loathing which ultimately means a restless night of sleep.

In an effort to avoid under-eye circles the next day, I’ve started forcing myself to come up with three good things that happened to me within the last 24 hours. This could be anything from securing a partnership to finding a missing t-shirt to not running out of toilet paper mid-pee. What this encourages, at least for me, is to take a step back, especially at the end of one painfully crappy day, and acknowledge at least a few of the positive things that have happened. Has this stopped my nail biting and knuckle cracking? No, not really, in fact I’ve pretty much stopped getting manicures. But it adds a level of tranquility to the finale of my day, which is more than I can say for all those times I’ve spent lying with my eyes open cursing myself for not flossing before bed. Now excuse me while I attend to this hangnail.

Over and out,

Judy Blume

18 Emojis that Need to Exist

August 21, 2013

Emojis_Two

As a writer, words are my favorite, but I can never turn down the use of an emoji as an accoutrement to whatever sentence I’m sexting texting. “Hey do you want to grab a drink? *insert wine glass emoji*” “BRB jumping in the shower. *insert shower head emoji*” “Let’s make out! *insert eggplant emoji*”

But far more often than not I find myself searching for an emoji that just doesn’t exist and then consequently get irrationally angry about it. Like seriously how is there no cheese icon? And could there be more race representation? And wouldn’t adding the middle  finger emoji just solve so many problems?

On the offset chance that emoji creator, Willem Van Lancker, spends his lunchbreak reading my nutty voice, I’ve drawn 18 emojis that I believe to be essential to the iPhone user experience. Crikey, I sound like I was born in the Apple Store.

1. Smiley Face with Glasses: Sunglasses Guy is cool and all, but what about when I’m acting like a nerd and need emoji-graphic backup? Or how about when I’m talking about George Costanza? Or for all those times I’m at the optometrist? The four-eyed folk need representation and Sunglasses Guy just isn’t going to cut it.

2. Barf Face: Whether hungover, sick, or simply disgusted by something, the Barf Face would be an excellent way to emphasize just how bad things really are. It could also be the 911 face you send to your boyfriend when you’ve had too many margaritas and need to be picked up.

3. Fingers Crossed: Not everyone prays, but a fingers crossed emoji would certainly cover the base of portraying that you’re hoping something happens. It could also be a great way to confuse someone since crossing fingers can also mean that you’re lying. “Be there in five! *insert crossed fingers*” and arrive an hour later.

4. Middle Finger: I have no doubts that this emoji would be used more than the poop icon. It speaks for itself in so many ways that I find it unnecessary to explain its importance. So #@%$ you!

5. Beach Ball: I was actually surprised to find this one missing since almost every ball is represented and there are multiple emojis that imply beach time fun. And though I can’t say I’ve played with a beach ball in the past couple of years, it would serve the purpose of a glorious accoutrement to a sentence as simple as “Let’s go to the beach!”

6. Tampon: My friends and I have spent an embarrassing incredible amount of time figuring out the best way to use emojis to describe our periods. We’ve used everything from the big red dot to the exploding volcano, but nothing has really stuck. Since this is clearly a monthly issue, I’m making a stand and demanding proper menstruation representation in the form of a vagina plug.

7. Soap: Because why not? We have the shower. We have the bathtub. But what about a fresh bar of bubbling soap? I’m not asking for a bubble bath or a rubber ducky, just a simple bar of soap to emphasize personal hygiene.

8. Toothbrush: This goes along with the soap. We brush our teeth — I hope — multiple times a day. You could practically emoji-out (see how I did that instead of type-out?) your entire morning routine pending the soap and toothbrush get added to the lineup.

9. Cigar: Pairing a suit and tie with a martini — all of which are current emojis — is one thing, but a suit and tie with a martini and a cigar? Now that’s what I call a gentle(wo)man’s club.

10. Champagne: This may be even more obvious than the Middle Finger. How often does a bursting bottle of champagne describe just what it is you want to be doing? Whether it’s New Years, an anniversary, or your first round of botox, a bursting cork is always necessary and therefore so is its emoji.

11. Cheese: As a cheese-a-holic, I stand tall when saying that this is the most important emoji of all time. Its lack of presence irks me so much that I would gladly grab a wheel of France’s finest brie to smash over the head of Willem Van Lancker just to make a point. I’d also still eat the wheel of brie after it hit the floor because no cheese should ever go to waste. Since brie may be a little harder to depict as an emoji, I went for the all around crowd pleaser and easy to identify slab of swiss.

12. Hotdog: Another should-be no-brainer: the hotdog! As far as I’m concerned hamburgers and hotdogs go together like turkey and stuffing, so why be exclusive and pick only one to feature? If Bruce and Gretchen are having a barbecue I want to know if they’re serving burgers and dogs, the latter of which shouldn’t have to be spelled out.

13. Popcorn: Though the current emojis including a VHS, a clapboard, a DVD, a camcorder, and a video camera could easily do the trick, nothing quite says going to the movies like a heaping bag of popcorn. Said popcorn could also be used to go along with the circus tent, merry-go-round, and ferris wheel, all of which only further support the necessity of this here festive and buttery snack.

14. Avocado: Do avocados even need an explanation? They’re almost, and I mean almost, as important as cheese. And Zeus’s beard, Willem, if you’re going to feature something as rogue as the sweet potato then at least pick something as universally pleasing as the avocado as well.

15. Pickle: Something tells me that were the pickle to be an active emoji, it might take the place of the eggplant in frequence of use. Plus I hear it’s something pregnant women crave along with ice cream, so there’s always that.

16. Lobster: Emojis could use a little decadence and what better way to do so than with a juicy lobster? I also find the current shell emoji to feel a little lonely, so another crustaceous creature couldn’t hurt.

17. Shark: With all the hype that Shark Week gets — and rightfully so — a shark shooting out of the water with hungry jaws just seems like one of the more likely additions to the emoji lineup. Plus, if you were to get really creative, you could use it as a symbol of hunger in a sort of, “FEED ME NOW” type of way.

18. Unicorn: Unicorns are huge; they’re probably more popular than any of the other emojis existing or fantasized about. And how else are you to describe how magical or majestic something is without the help of a sparkling pink unicorn? I mean, really.

Ok, now it’s you’re turn. What emojis are you dying to see? Tell me please!

Hope Gangloff

July 22, 2010

I discovered Hope Gangloff‘s art a few months back and don’t know how I went this long without sharing some of them with you. Based out of New York, she works primarily with pen & ink, drawing images of friends or still lives from photographs she’s taken.

I was a studio art minor in college and went about creating my works of art in a similar fashion. I would use photographs of people that inspired me and then recreated the photographs as I saw them using oil pastels. The most frequent comments I received about my pieces were that I made my subjects appear isolated and alone, uncomfortable in front of the lens. Hope Gangloff’s works have the complete opposite effect for me. To me, her drawings are very encompassing; it’s almost as if we, the viewer, are in the drawing as well and at times it feels almost as if I may know the subjects of her drawings just by the way she portrays them.

I love it when connections like this can be made between a work of art and its viewer. To me there’s nothing like immersing yourself in an Edward Hopper painting only to walk away feeling completely alone and abandoned or meandering through a Monet exhibit feeling as if you could dive right in to one of his water lily paintings. Hope Gangloff’s drawings emanate a similar sense of inclusion – I feel very much a part of her work.