Friday, April 29, 2011

She's Crafty!

I got this knit top at a clothing swap a few months ago. It's super soft. There was a TEENY tiny hole in it at the time and I told myself that I would mend it

 After going through one wash cycle, 6 LARGE holes appeared (thanks to the attached bejeweled necklace).
In the past I've thrown away clothes that have holes or stains. I decided this time to try my hand at "reusing" the shirt and fix it by creating something new. So I pulled out my craft box.

The shirt is just a plain ivory, a blank pallet. I went with peaches and browns, stuff I already had on hand (double bonus that this project didn't require me to buy anything!).

Oh yeah, and I took of the neck piece. Hole making b@stard.

I then cut out varies size circles of my fabric. I used a coaster, a cup and a container of lotion to trace around. I cut out about 15, but I didn't use all of them.

I then hand stitched them in a pseudo random pattern, first making sure the holes were covered and then going back and balancing the entire look.

OF COURSE I had to add buttons.

The back. Two holes there too.
Completely original new shirt!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Deja Violin

Somehow, someway my parents were able to provide me with a private tutor during most of the years I played the violin. I'm sure bartering or some sort of work-trade was involved to cover tuition, just like it was with ballet classes (mom sewing countless costumes) and karate lessons (dad remodeling the dojo). Regardless, I spent many an hour in Mrs. Nigro's basement studio of her home in Raytown, Missouri. It was a pity I never practiced, I could see it on her face most weeks.

Anyway, I came across one of the last books I did with her in the beginning of 1998 a few days ago. This was the last few months I played before quitting. She was annoyed that I had decided to quit Orchestra at the end of the school year. I lied to her and told her I'd try to play on my own and keep it up.

As I flipped through this book on Sunday I realized that almost all of the songs, pieces I had mastered (and I use the word loosely here) back in freshman year, I have been working on for the past several months. I was repeating my catalog of work and hadn't even realized it.

Mrs. Nigro's scribbles cover the same areas that I have trouble with today. It's kinda like the ghost of Violin Teachers Past reminding me of my trouble areas and to REACH to hit that high B on the E string.

Thanks Mrs. Nigro.

If I know you in real life and you're able to make it to my concert on Thursday... you're coming right???

Monday, April 25, 2011

Grandma ran over the Reindeer

My grandmother Alice (Sammy's mom) had a motorized wheelchair.

Fortunately she is capable of being mobile without the Rascal. For a while she used it as her main mode of transportation, after her drivers license was taken away, mainly to visit her husband in the Nursing Home. My mom asked and pleaded with her not to, but Grandma is stubborn like that. Mom's only choice was to get a couple of brightly colored flags and a sign that read "Wide Load" to attach to the chair.

Now that Grandma is with Nelson in the nursing home, she no longer needs to trek a few miles on back roads to see him. We thought that the Scooter Saga was over.

I learned this weekend that the chair had been taken away from her by the Nursing Home staff and she won't get it back until she's successfully completed an "Appropriate Behavior" course, learning what is and isn't acceptable to do with the Hoover-Round.

I'm just speculating here, but based on what I know about my Grandma this is what I think the course would look like:

Keeping all 4 wheels on the ground: A guide to basic motorized chair etiquette.

Break for the Price is Right

The Hallway is not a Race Track


How to Avoid Crushing Others' Feet and Toes


I'm certain that she'll get her chair back but it will only be a matter of time before it's confiscated again and she has to go through the advanced course OR they remove the standard battery and replace it with a a dozen AA batteries so that her top speed is somewhere between "snail" and "turtle" giving her would-be victims ample time to move or get out of the way.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

a creepy "Secret Garden"

Whitney asked if I would spend an afternoon with her taking pictures. I'm a big fan of her work AND she was going to do my makeup. It was a no brainer. She had a vision; I was instructed to show up at her place with black shoes, black patteren tights and black bra with my foundation, eyebrows and hair done. She was going to do everything else.

I knew the pictures were going to be great. Yet, I was still blown away when I saw them. Whitney is totally bad ass and I'm very lucky to know her. I even more lucky that I get to share some of the pics here.

I discovered this overgrown little garden in the West Plaza area of KC a few years ago and knew it would be perfect for a creepy "Secret Garden" kind of shoot. It was, sadly, cleared out a bit since last summer, but still had a wonderfully weird quality I loved. We also did a few shots in the basement of my vintage building and my favorite shot was actually taken in a claw foot bathtub in my apartment! I just wanted to create some photos that I like to look at: a bit cold, interesting, and maybe a touch haunting. Hopefully, others like to look at them as well!
-Whitney Smith

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Funny Valentine

I have a big gigantic crush on Frank Sinatra. I'm not sure when it happened. Somewhere between signing up for my Wheel Watcher Spin! I.D. and learning to crochet, I developed a deep love and admiration for him. Dean Martin too. It just feels right.

For the love of the Rat Pack!!! I agreed to take Sammy Davis Jr in LARGELY because of his name. I thought that having a cat named after Frank & Dean's buddy would somehow channel their spirit into my life. And I haven't been disappointed there - just for the record.

If someone out there wants to send me a print of this...

...I'd love you for it. And I would maybe even do something nice for you in return.

But in the mean time I can be satisfied with my very own member of the rat pack. Here's looking at you, kid!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

This Day in History...

Many terrible, awful, horrible events are marked today. Adolf Hitler was born in 1889. More recently and closer to home, today is the 12th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting and also it has been one year to the day of the BP Gulf Oil disaster. All of that could lead a girl to have a drink or two today. Or smoke... since today is THAT day too (a "holiday" invented by community college students. Or Incubus fans. But that might be redundant).

To balance the bleak cloud (or smoke cloud) that hangs over April 20th, God did us a favor in 1979 and ushered my sister into the world. A gamma ray of sunshine was born unto us so that in 32 years time I could focus on her and how much I love her and not on the images of adorable sea life and beautiful landscape being destroyed.

Happy Birthday Nily!

When I was 4, my sister's 8th birthday party was a first in the derka- derka household. It was a slumber party and of course I was sternly instructed to not bother her and her friends. And of course I didn't that think this was fair. No amount of whining moved my parents on the subject.

Resigned to my fate, I spent the majority of the party tucked away in the hallway; tempted by their sophisticated giggles I, willed them to ask me to come hang out with them. I would peak my head around the corner, testing the line of how visible I could make myself before Nily would tell me to scram, or worse, tell mom.

I had retreated, once again, back into the shadows and begged the universe to have one of the other girls call out my name to join them. If one of her friends wanted me to join the party, I was guaranteed some direct face time with them.

I got my wish after presents were opened.My sister was the proud new owner of a pastel purple crimper. The hair styling tool of the 80's, the crimper did exactly that - it "crimped" your hair. With technology similar to a waffle maker, girls could add fun texture, volume and style to their hair with-out chemicals or harsh smells. The 100+ degree tool was completely safe for 8 year olds to operate by themselves.

Texture, volume and style were three things my hair did not need more of. In fact, if there was a de-crimper that is what I needed (I later learned they do make these, they're called "flat irons"). When I heard one of the girls proclaim "we should totally crimp your little sister's hair!!!" my heart rang out with unadulterated joy and happiness.

They wanted me.

As I proceeded into the living room, it became clear that they had already crimped their own hair and now wanted a doll to play with that didn’t melt under the intense heat. Didn't make a lick of difference to me. All I cared was that I was now included in the fun and all eyes were on me.

I took my rightful place - in the middle. With the girls in a circle around me, the crimping began. They took turns sectioning off my massive amount of hair and holding it between the two hot wrinkled plates.

"Oh man, that's totally radical" one of them exclaimed, as my hair began to grow, which I knew to mean only good things; My self-worth was validated.

I sat through the tugs, pulls and burns, determined to be a good doll for them. I didn't want the fun to end. I wasn't sure if I would be dismissed when they were done or, like I hoped, if I could stick around, having earned my slumber party badge of acceptance. I hoped they’d let me stay since I had clearly survived the hazing.

This is where my memory of my sister’s 8th birthday becomes foggy, mainly because I remember being really happy. Happy I was hanging out with my sister and all her super cool, super chic and super crimped friends.

I love you, sis!

ps - who is rocking the SH!T out of those aerobic pandas? You bet your ass my mom made that.

Monday, April 18, 2011

April Showers bring May.... babies

Baby showers rank right up there with "cavity fillings" or "lady exams" in terms of most least favorite things to do. Usually I'll do the dutiful thing; RSVP, buy something off the registry and show up and play bad baby/mommy themed games. OR tell you I can't make it because I have a dentist appointment that day.

This past Sunday was Kristen's baby shower, and while my lack of enthusiasm for the shower shouldn't reflect my opinion of her (or her unborn child), it should go without saying that I wasn't really looking forward to the event. But several things transpired over the coarse of the afternoon to make it all very memorable.

1. Flattened squirrel on the curb. I refused to go over it I realized the car behind me was waiting for me to pull up so that they could park behind me.

2. Jalapeno Artichoke dip.

3. The mom-to-be's best friend spilt Sangria all over the WHITE carpet.

4. Better than most baby shower games. I won "Pin the Sperm on the Egg."

5. The mom-to-be's step mother spilt her rum and coke IN THE SAME spot. People were cut off after this point.

6. Me and every other non-mom took an (imaginary) shot when we heard the word "nipple." We were (imaginary) WASTED.

I do wish Kristen & Chris all the best in the world! Your baby will be beautiful.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

She puts the "my" in ShaNatAmy

While technically she puts the "Amy" in our collective nickname (For Shannan, Natasha & Amy), I DO think of her as "my" Amy. I loves her the very very most most. She's like RULLY RULLY cool and I totally want to be her when I grow up.

Today she did something AWESOME and I'm super proud (and inspired/awe/amazed too) of her. Unfortunately I can't share the details of it just yet. I know... I'm such a tease. But that's just a hint to HOW FRIGGIN' awesome what she did today WAS!!!

I haven't forgotten, either, that I still owe you a story that involves North Carolina and, in some abstract way, Anderson Cooper. The time is close upon us when I can share that. In a delectable teaser, I can tell you that I've been asked by the producers to not talk about it until it airs.

What could it be??? Knowing me, so many things... but I'm pretty sure you're all wrong.

But back to My Amy.

She's Awesome.

And I just wanted to document for posterity that I love her and her big heart. She's made me run marathons (actually just one half of one.... but still... have YOU run a half marathon?), she's encouraged bathroom picture taking (no, not like that) and turned me on to the best sheets in the world.

I love you Amy.

ps - Shannan - ditto.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

More Bathroom Humor (Horror?)

"If it's yellow, let it mellow. It it's brown, flush it down." I live by this mantra. If it's just a little tinkle I save water AND indulge in the lazy side of my personality and wait to flush until the next time. I recently polled others (my friends) on what their "number" is. Consensus was a single flush for every 2.4 pee pee trip. Factors between 2 and 3 were the saturation of the color and/or the amount of TP.

For a while this "way of the throne" was a godsend. My toilet handle broke the morning after I moved into my apartment and I had to figure out how to flush my big ole "toilet christening" without a handle. I didn't know what do to or if I should call any body, and if so... WHO??? My landlord? My Dad? A priest... because LORD that thing was a beast in and off itself. Being vegetarian not only has made me a more "regular" lady, but also... more of a "solid" one... if you know what I mean.

I after I flushed by way of direct access into the tank, I immediately called the landlord. Over the next 5 months I'd have the handy man over two additional times to deal with a janky handle. Since I had my yellow/brown rule, I didn't always have to deal with jiggling the HELL out of that sonofabitch to flush. But now with the luxury of a working toilet handle I am able to decide whether to flush for fun or not.

Last week, after starting my shower but before getting IN it I suddenly realized that my digestive track was moving A LOT faster than I was. So I went poop. And then I came to an impasse. Should I flush and wait 5 minutes while my shower re-heats? Or do I remember to flush after my shower? Only on rare occasion am I running "on time" in the morning, let alone with a 5 minute cushion, I had to flush after I showered.

I remembered to Flush after my shower. Only it was 45 minutes and 11 miles after my shower that I remembered to flush. I sat at the light, after the flash of remembrance, and imagined how embarrassing it would be if I died today. Whoever went to my apartment to clean it out would be surprised by the kind of cleaning they had unwittingly signed up for. By the time I got home that night, I had completely forgotten, AGAIN, that there was a flushable in the crapper. Gross.

New Mantra. When it's Brown, flush it down. Even if the shower is running. Because, Ew...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Drummer Boy

Not to brag or sound "show-off-y" or anything..... but..... a pretty cool thing happened with the Orchestra this season. We got a new drummer. I'm pretty stoked when ANYONE joins the group and am even further enthused when they stick around, which he has. And he's good to boot! More importantly he's always at rehearsal. Probably because he never gets stuck in Traffic...BECAUSE He's the one of the Traffic Guys for WDAF Fox 4!!!

Oh that's right. The Kansas City Symphony (you know... THOSE guys... the ones that are professional and get paid....) can have Byran Busby. I don't want to start a local network newsman battle here on MHIBTY. For those not in the area, The Chief Meteorologist at a competing station plays the tymphony drums for the KC Symphony

Don't get me wrong. I love Bryan Busby. I know more about this local weatherman than I do some of my own cousins. He has been a fixture in all-things-weather for me since before I can remember. He's a lovable guy and I'm pretty sure his Teddy Bear charm comes naturally to him. One day while on one of our Friday Lunch Dates, Sabrina received a text from her husband (who is a chef) "I just made lunch for Bryan Busby!" That's pretty awesome in my book. For as much as I love the big BB, I'm loving Bill Hurrelbrink.

I mean...He wore a vest to our concert tonight.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Good Face

Poor Sammy Davis Jr. Either he is getting on my nerves OR I've just been more irritable than normal, I'm not sure, but I've been short with him lately. He was a good snuggle buddy in the winter, but, now that the nights are warming I don't need him cozying into my side and camping out there. I'm too young for night sweats.

He and I haven't been together very long, just since this past September have he and I been roomies. I forget that sometimes. There are time when it feels he and I have been together for over 20 years. Not only because he is close to being just that old, but also because he looks 98% like the cat my family had when I was growing up. A big old Siamese named Limburg... a gift to my brother Daniel from (you guessed it) my Grandma.

This cat came along in the late 80's and was sent to the big farm in the sky a few years ago. Limburg was a solitary and moody old cantankerous cat and didn't care much for "snuggling" and "not biting" you. This cat ATE MY PET BIRD when I was 10. I didn't much care for the guy.

So, when I have a bad day and come home to an apartment covered in cat hair and a smelly litter box that needs to be scooped and the culprit is kinda like your stinky uncle; a guy that needs to crash on your couch for a while (until he kicks it) because his old-lady (your grandma) won't pay his rent no more.... and he looks JUST like the asshole that devoured my most beloved pet, Miss Corrie, in the whole entire world (a pain I might not fully be over)?!?!?!?!

I don't want to see his face.

But then I see his face. And I can't help but fall for the old mangled-faced guy. Maybe that's what Limburg didn't have going for him. He needed to get hit by a car and have a fat lip with crooked face for me to love him. And the very least I'd have felt some vindication for Miss Corrie.