Tuesday, June 30, 2009

a pioneer of american abstraction

On display at the Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville is an incredible exhibit of Esphyr Slobodkina's work.  Slobodkina (1920-2002) was a pioneer in the development of abstract art and a founding member of the American Abstract Artist Group.  The exhibit spans the entire span of her career, beginning with her work as an illustrator of children's books to her painting to her final sculpture completed in 2001.  The exhibit includes more than 60 paintings, drawings and mixed media constructions that reflect Slobodkina's unique style based in collage and assemblage.  The exhibit is organized by the Slobodkina Foundation in association with the Heckscher Museum of Art , Huntington, New York, and is curated by Dr. Sandra Kraskin. (Summary paraphrased from Harn Museum of Art's May/June newsletter).

Book accompanying the exhibit.  I'd love to own a copy.

One of the books she illustrated.  I LOVE these illustrations.  I'd really like to have a copy of a print of one to put in my place.  Actually, I'd also love to have this book.  Maybe I'll get it to read to 'Liv when she gets a bit older.

The exhibit runs through September 6th.  I might have to go see it again.  I was so overwhelmed and awestruck when I went the first time.

Monday, June 29, 2009

the waiting is the hardest part

The next step on the paper making adventure is the retting... or rotting of unwanted plant tissues.  When farmers do this, they usually cut the plant and let the cutting sit in the field, or float in a slow moving bog or stream, for a few months.  They then collect the crop and scrape off the unwanted tissues to collect the fibers.  Unfortunately for us, we don't have a field, stream or bog.  Nor am I really willing to wait for months (probably safe to say Erin isn't either).  So our process is a bit different.  I've completely submerge the fibers in a plastic tub with a lid and will let 'em soak until Friday.  Then... more fun.  Unless they're not quite ready, then I guess we'll have wait some more.  I've never done this before, so I'm not 100% sure how long this should take.  Patience is one of those things I'm still working on.  Erin is only slightly better at it.

Only downside is it's a bit smelly.  Luckily I have a lid for this container.  I might change the water and check things out in a few days.  I'll just have to keep an eye on it.  I don't want the fibers to start rotting too!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

little 'Liv

The Heckatrons first little bundle of joy is coming... in 24 days.  They invited me last week to attend the last ultrasound.  I was honored, excited, and totally not prepared for the magic I'd witness.  These images don't do my little niece (niece by choice, not blood) justice.  She was so amazing in the live show.  I can't even describe my feelings during the entire ultrasound.  I can't wait to meet her.  Little 'Liv was quite lively.  She danced.  At least that's what I decided she was doing.  She's going to be such a bad ass.

You can click on the images to enlarge them.  The Heckatrons edited the images to indicate what they're actually showing.  Although, making up things is equally fun.  In my head she has the voice of a gangster rapper.  I have no idea why.

Tiny fits of fury

Why, hello there!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

the artist and the botanist

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, an artist became interested in natural fibers.  She made friends with a botanist, who was also interested in natural fibers.  The two went on adventures and became fast friends.  They were constantly pulling, tugging, twinning, and experimenting with tid-bits.  They ventured here and there collecting and examining.  The artist nurtured the botanist and encouraged her nerdy habits.  The botanist taught the artists about new and exciting materials.  They collected treasure, played and shared.  They learned each other's language.  The universe smiled.

Yesterday, they began the process of making paper from paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera).  

Thursday, June 25, 2009

physics can be beautiful

Lauren Nassef - Magnetic Fields 
June 24, 2009

If you've been following me in real life at all, you've probably heard me complain/bitch/rant about my physics classes for about seven months now.  I hate them.  They make me miserable.  I just don't get it, and I really would like to.  The past two months we've been working on magnetic fields.  Rather interesting little suckers as long as you're not being forced to calculate shit regarding them.  The above drawing, by Lauren Nassef, reminded me that I do find the subject intriguing and occasionally even beautiful.  I just don't care about the strength of the field or the forces involved.  Fair enough.

* I recommend clicking the image to enlarge or the link to Lauren's blog.  The tiny image doesn't do the piece justice.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

new lust

Found these on Etsy today.  I came across the shop via the blog Aesthetic Outburst.  I drooled a lot.  It was nice to click around on the internet and look at beautiful hand made treasures.  To read about people's paths and processes.  Much more uplifting than the death, corruption, and destruction that is the news/current events.

Check out the designer/artists at their etsy shop: Twigs and Heather's

Saturday, June 20, 2009

everyday is an adventure

Yesterday was subtly beautiful.  I started my day by sleeping late.  Yep.  I slept until eleven, and laid in bed with no sense of urgency or motivation to move until noon.  Probably the first night I've gotten more than 5 hours of sleep in quite a while.  I was tickled.  Birdface and sweety were irritated.  Apparently they are not into sleeping late.  Sigh.  They've taken to making very angry parakeet noises lately.  The kind I can only imagine them making if they were being tortured.  I've witnessed them while they make the horrid screeching.  They sit on their perch, look at me, and proceed to let it all come out.  Completely unprovoked.  I think they're mad at me for something.  The reason remains a mystery.  

Later that day I drove around the Duckpond in Gainesville.  I'd really like to live over there if I can.  I'll keep my fingers crossed.  I ended up stopping in to play with Erin.  Much needed.  I forgot how much fun we always have together.  I was so relaxed and happy.  She let me spin on her wheel, Mr. Spinny  (I think that's what Ruth calls it...).  So nice.  Once I make some money from the job thing I'm gonna get me a spinning wheel.  It was so lovely.  I stayed for dinner with the crew and finally met the infamous Tim.  I've met Ruth several times, and always thought she was pretty spiffy.  Tim is equally spiffy.  Both are highly talented artists, makers, and kite builders.  

I must admit, I've been reading Ruth and Tim's blogs for a while now.  I felt like a creepy internet stalker as I disclosed my admiration for their work... but whatever.  They seemed ok with the fact that I've done so.  That's why blogs/sites are there right?  Check out their site WindFire Designs, and blogs WindFire Designs: Studio blog, and Instances of Make.  I hope to get to know them both better in the coming months and maybe even get a closer look at more of their work.  Some day, I might even get a kite... 

Friday, June 19, 2009


Wednesday I officially took a job with Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Network in Gainesville Florida.  My position is a Violence Prevention Advocate.  My duties are to facilitate teen groups/presentations on a weekly basis, adapt violence prevention curriculum as needed, conduct professional and community awareness presentations as requested, and serve as the right hand to the Director of Violence Prevention to establish and maintain connections.

I am so excited.  Not only is it a HUGE relief to have a job, but this one is something I feel passionate about and has some immediate impact on society.  I'm so happy about it; I've told pretty much everyone I've come into contact with.  I also gush about it upon inquiry.  I fear I'm slightly annoying... but honestly, I don't give a shit.  3 months and 45 resumes later, I'm employed with a kick ass organization doing something worth while.  P.S. I have yet to graduate.  I'm on cloud nine.  I can't wait for this new adventure to begin.

You can find out more about the organization here.  To learn more about the Violence Prevention Program go to the first scroll bar, go to the last option and click.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Southern green stink bug
(Acrosternum hilare)

Ok so I've been on a bit of a bug kick lately.  I can't help it though, they're literally everywhere.  Oh Florida in the summer time!  Today I came home from class and found this dude in my shirt.  Jerk didn't even offer to buy me a drink!  So I lured it into a plastic container... and put it in the freezer.  I have no idea if I was sprayed, or stung, or whatever but while I was getting it out of my shirt my hand was burning.  Hence why this visitor went into the freezer.  I feel slightly bad about freezing its tiny ass, but not enough to truly regret it.   Now I have something new to play with/look at... and give to a friend... they know who they are.  I would post my own pictures, but my camera won't capture images that tiny.  So we must make due with these I found on the internets.

I really like this diagram.  The shape of the abdomen is oddly pleasing.  I have a sudden urge to draw them and put in the specifics of my specimen.  I also enjoy the word specimen.  Specimen... it makes me feel closer to Charlie D.  Yeah that's what I call Charles Darwin.

Specimen, specimen, specimen...

Monday, June 15, 2009

harder, better, faster, stronger

Cannot stop laughing/crying.

Their work is clearly never over.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

heavier things

Saturday night.  I'm sitting in the 24 hour copy store/coffee shop studying.  My mind keeps drifting.  I'm so overwhelmed most of the time.  I don't know how I'm managing to keep it together.  I have hardly any time to spend with friends and the last several conversations with my parents have been curt and short.  Very down to business.  Only official matters and pressing things are taken care of.


Last week I received an email about going to Boston for an interview.  I replied with questions about if I would be compensated for the travel, etc.  No response.  I haven't had time to actually call during business hours.  I keep thinking in the far reaches of my brain that I've ruined any chance I've had by asking such questions.  No matter how logical and completely expected the questions were.  I can't help but wonder...


I started packing up some of my books and cold weather clothes and will  slowly be taking them to my parents place when I can.  I don't know what else to do.  I'm trying not to think about it, but as I approach graduation I feel I need to be getting ready... for something.  Only I have no idea what for.  Packing makes me feel as if  I've made progress.  If only towards moving out of my current apartment.


What's around the bend?  I've never really had a concrete idea or picture of what life would be like after college.  I honestly never could truly envision myself finishing.  Now what?  What do you do when you reach the end of any foreseeable path?  What if you can't see the next part of the trail?  Am I not looking hard enough?


I whipped out my tools and fixed the door knob/hinges to my bedroom and closet doors today.  I also worked on the toilet... again.  I felt better.  I felt like I'd done something right.  Perhaps I should just become a handiwoman.  Even if this is the 100th time I've messed with the toilet in the past year.  Maybe I don't really know what I'm doing, but I'll be damned if we put a work order in.  It's not leaking, just needs some help every now and then.  I then walked around trying to find some reason to use my power drill.  What I should really do is patch the holes I covered with a tapestry  from the last time I just drilled for the sake of drilling.  Drill, baby, drill.  Sarah Palin would be so proud.

Back to work.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

little june buggy

I've been noticing recently an abundance of this particular species of beetle's carcasses littering the stairwell of my apartment.  I finally broke down and attempted to figure out what it was.  A friend of mine used his divine internet skills to ID it.  My little june bug friends are just that.  Spotted June beetles (Pelidnota punctata).

For some reason all I do when I see them is sing The Presidents of the United States of America song, Dune Buggy.  Except I change one letter.  That's right.  I modify the song to June Buggy.  Every time I get a quick flashback to... well... 1995.  We had their first album on tape.  Yep.  Tape.  We knew all the words.  My sister probably still does. 

Friday, June 12, 2009

austin cary teaching forest

Our final field trip for Local Flora was to Austin Cary forest.  Austin Cary is owned by the University of Florida's School of Forestry for the purpose of teaching forest management techniques such as prescribed burns (that is what we're calling controlled burns these days), and ecofriendly(er) tree farms.  The habitat is predominantly mesic flatwoods which, depending on the elevation, grades into sandhills (higher elevation) or swamps (lower elevations).

Mesic flatwoods occur on relatively flat, moderately to poorly drained terrain.  The soil is acidic and typically consists of 1-3 feet of sand over a hard clayey subsoil.  The habitat is prone to seasonal flooding during the rainy season and drought during the dry season.  The system is occasionally prone to fire, burning every 5-10 years.  Mesic flatwoods are the most widespread and common biological communities in Florida.  

On the one hand I was sad this was our last trip, on the other VERY happy.  It was about 90 degrees out by 10:00am.  Much too hot for me to care about what this plant looks like in its natural setting.  I'm all about being out in the woods having a good ol time.  I just prefer not to melt in the process.  I was the person muttering "Please rain.  Please rain.  Please rain."  When there was not a cloud in the sky.  A girl can dream can't she?

Hypercium brachyphyllum (Coastal plain St. John's wort)

Diodia virginiana (Button weed)

Austin Cary Forest

Woodwardia virginiana (Virginia chain fern)

Pteridium aquilinum (Bracken fern)

Gaylussacia nana (Glue huckleberry)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


This is the final week of field trips for my Local Flora class.  As the semester comes to a close (Summer A is abbreviated into a six week intensive semester), I can't help but feel slightly sad.  This is my last botany course of my undergraduate career... and if I decide to go in a different direction when I figure my life out, possibly ever.  I don't think I'll ever stop being curious or wondering about the natural world... but I honestly fear having a job that does not involve it in some way.  Would I be happy?  Could I be content for long enough to save money and go back to school?  

I had an interview today with the local domestic violence shelter, Peaceful Paths, and I think it went rather well.  But I got home and started thinking about how different I felt in that particular interview than I did in my last with Environment America.  I felt nervous of course, but not nearly as excited about the idea of working there as I did previously.  Not that I find Violence Prevention a lesser cause, but more because environmental protection, conservation, and advocacy is where I think I'll find my niche.  It combines both the activism and move for social change that I love with the world I wish to protect and share with others.  But then again, who knows what I'll be good at or what I'll really find the most joy in doing.  I'll just have to wait and try things out.

I really just want someone to pay me to have a garden, make things, sit on a porch and read.  Too bad these things sound more like hobbies than careers... or even short term job fixes.   I've been so wrapped up in finishing school and getting out, I've forgotten how much I really do enjoy learning.  Perhaps waiting to go to onto my masters is a good thing.  Perhaps I'll remember why I loved learning so much.  And wonder why I was in such a hurry to get out/finish.  Or maybe I'll discover how to learn without wanting some sort of grade or certification for it.  Learn for the shear joy of learning.

Macfadyena unguis-cati (Cat's claw vine)

Tillandsia usneoides (Spanish moss)

Colocasia esculenta (Wild taro)

Pleopeltis polypodioides (Resurrection fern)

Lagerstroemia indica (Crape myrtle)

Zamia pumila (Coontie)

Butia capitata (Pindo palm)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

relaxation flowing

Sunday afternoon creeps in like a strange chill.  I'm in a funk.  I decide no work will be done today.  Nothing is due tomorrow and my brain needs a break.  I attempt to cuddle with the kids.  I put birdface in my pocket.  I threaten to eat him.  He tweets in a only mildly irritated protest.  After all, we are seeing who can be the most obnoxious.  I pull ahead, but only for a minute.  Sweety sits in my hair and does some rearranging.  Everything is out of place.  It tickles.   My laughter startles her and she yells at me from across the room.  After cuddle/play time, we all fluff up and take a nap.  But first, I annoyingly dance around and insist they smile for the camera. 

My plants actually look quite happy.  I'm surprised.  I've been trying really hard to remember that just because it rains outside, doesn't mean the inside plants are getting water.  Seems simple enough... but is proving to be quite the challenge.

Monday, June 8, 2009

payne's prairie, northern rim

To experience this part of Payne's Prairie was quite a treat.   The area hasn't been cleared or disturbed since at least the Spanish colonial times.  Therefore, it represents one of the oldest and most diverse mixed hammocks (forests) in the region.  Aside from the swarms of mosquitoes and every looming threat of wood ticks, the hike was quite enjoyable.  I really did love it, except when we stopped.  When we stopped walking I could have sworn I was getting eaten alive.  Every inch of  bare skin seemed to be fair game.  They were not deterred by the bug repellent, swatting, or swearing.  When I got home I counted all the bites which had to have been acquired through my clothing.  Needless to say, I was quite itchy.  I'd love to go on this hike again during the fall or winter and with people who like the outdoors as much as I do.  It amazes me when people take classes titled "Local Flora" and don't like going out into the woods.  Can.  not.  compute.  rationale.

Vitus rotundafolia (Muscadine grape)

Prunus umbellata (Flatwoods plum)

Sideroxylon alachuense (Silver buckthron; Alachua bully)
This plant is an extremely rare, endangered, endemic.  The largest population (consisting of less than 30 plants) is found in Alachua County.  This species is only known to occur in the wild in three counties, Marion, Alachua, and Orange

Ruelia caroliniensis (Wild petunia)

Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurel cherry)

Payne's Prairie Northern rim

Sapindus saponaria (soapberry)

The woods.

Oplismenus hirtellus (Wood-grass)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

alfred ring park

I apologize that the pictures from this trip are not nearly as spectacular as the previous trips, but I spent a better part of the time fighting with my camera.  We had some words.  We've slept apart for several days.  And I think we've made up.  I also reformatted it.  Bwhahaha.  I win.  When all else fails, play dirty.

I've also discovered that I'm becoming stranger rather quickly.  I talk to inanimate objects as if they were people, more often than I actually talk to other real, living, breathing humans.  I have rekindled my long term, passionate, relationship with ice cream.  It might be a bit more desperate than last time.  I'd rather eat a bowl of ice cream than interact with other humans.  I've been watching CSPAN.  On a Saturday night.  And drinking a glass of wine while watching the parakeets.  I  have developed voices for both Pinkie and the Brain.  The Brain didn't used to have a distinct voice.  But now she does.  And the two have conversations.  Aloud.  

All attempts to unleash the crazy slowly are failing.  It's coming in waves.  Much like the rain/monsoons.

Cercis canadensis (Souther Redbud)

Osmunda cinnamomea (Cinnamon fern)

Woodwardia areolata (Netted chain fern)

Hogtown Creek (Gainesville, FL)

Critter I was more interested in than the plant we found it on.  So cute and sleepy. 
Upon further investigation, thanks to some help from Erin and What's That Bug?, I've determined its Narcus sp. (sp. meaning species, or unknown variety).  I'm almost certain its in the same family/genus with the Great American Millipede.  All efforts to get it to roll into a ball failed.  Perhaps I'm part millipede.  That is my defense mechanism.