The Hustle, Phase One


Oh Dear Readers,

I’m sorry if I’ve been neglectful. I’ll give you the quick and dirty low down. Your girl is trying to get her hustle on. My friends, I need to conjure at least $550 by the end of November to keep The Beast aka Betty White (my car) on legally on the road. Betty is a from 1998. She has over 315k miles. She came from a friend of my mother’s who let her grandson drive it while he was in college. It lived through all that, and has been the best “first car” beater vehicle that I could ever ask it to be for me. I’ve replaced brakes, rotors, the catalytic converter, filters, tires, hoses…. And now, she needs a charcoal filter. She’s old enough and high mileage enough to pass emissions with a waiver, but in order to get the waiver you need to dump over $200 worth of work into doing so. And nothing you’ve tried to do before taking it in for inspection counts.

Oh, and did I mention that I’m the most financially unstable I have ever been in the last 7 years? Yeah, I’m kind of flying by the seat of my pants here, sweating the nickles and dimes while I try to come up with a better long game.

And so, the hustle, because that’s the fun part, right? That’s the part where you pull the sweet baby Jesus Hail Mary miracle out of your ass at the last second, right? Gosh, I hope so. It starts with this Saturday with the Penn Ave Arts in Motion. It’s a local arts festival. I will have a table there, with my friend, and both of us will be selling our handmade wares.
penn arts

I’ve rounded up my canvas work. Some of it is framed, some of it is not. I told myself I’d take new pictures, outside, in natural light (like all the “tips and tricks” tell you that you should), but instead I have older photos taken with my phone. C’est la vie.

These are the unframed pieces.



These pieces where my finding a use for the yellow pages. (Does anyone actually use that thing to look up numbers? Most people throw them away with out using it once, but you get one every year.) I titled them “Bygone 1 and 2”.

This one I used my favorite photos from a cat calendar. I titled it “Cats Rule Everything Around Me”.


(It’s propped up against my laptop, there are no lighting effects in the piece. But ya’ll knew that, didn’t you?)

This one I finished tonight. I had first tried to do a resist with a white crayon and watercolor. That ended in an unsatisfying result. So then I tried to use lace as a stencil and watered down acrylic paint in a spray bottle as “spray paint”. Let me tell you, Pinterest LIES. But I hadn’t given up on it. Tonight I did the Virgin Mary stamps, and I feel that it has found its purpose.


These pieces are framed. (Though they might not be represented here that way. Because I get excited when I finish something and snap a photo and toss it up on Facebook.)





I also have some of my decorated boxes still available for purchase.





(Guest appearance by Pork)

I’m trying to have something at every price point. So I’m bringing the post cards I made, too. I don’t know if the ones pictured here are included in the inventory I have, but these give you the idea.


I might also have a few new boxes and hopefully one of the bags I’ve made to sell. Plus I did get the bucket of Twizzlers to hand out again, because I am not above luring you in with free candy. Expect to see lots of Facebook and Twitter updates from me on Saturday as I try to create the social media hype that one must do to “self promote”.

So this, friends, is Hustle Phase One. Next week is my birthday and then the week after that we’re having a yard sale here. I’ll try to get some sneak previews up here to get you all riled up for that one, too. I’m getting rid of handbags, nail polish, plus sized women’s clothing, men’s clothing, sundry household items.

And if that doesn’t get me to where I need to be, you might see me promoting a bake sale. I make a goddamn mean vegan margarita cupcake, if I do say so myself. But we’ll cross these bridges as they need crossing…

Also, I’ve started devising my plan for holiday crafting. Oh, you laugh, but I found what I needed, on sale, right now. So stock piling at the end of September? Yes, yes I am. Look, I didn’t buy the cat Vans, or the cat nail decals, or the Halloween chapstick from Avon that was all brought to me by the fates as wicked, wicked spending temptation, so I feel okay spending the wee amount I did to make something (hopefully) cool for my friends this year. More on this to come…

So if you feel neglected by my absence in the virtual world, you can come see me in person on Saturday from 12-8 in Garfield on Penn Avenue and hopefully have some fun and get something cool. (Maaaaybe early Christmas presents for your own loved ones?)

Goodbye, Summer!


So we’ve made it to the 3 day weekend known as Labor Day. Which by all accounts, means that Summer is just about over. The kids are going back to school and all the pumpkin lattes are flowing. Don’t misunderstand me, I love Fall. I like sweaters and generally *not* sweating sitting still. Things like: not having the AC on all the time, and pretty fall foliage. But I feel like I didn’t really have a Summer this year. First of all, it was the first Summer in a couple of years that I didn’t participate in either kickball or softball with the PSL. I only went out of town for 2 days, and that was in August. So here, in no particular order, I’m creating a checklist for myself for next Summer, so I don’t miss out again.

  1. Make sun tea. When I first moved from a one bedroom apartment into a house, the first Summer there I must have made sun tea at least once a week, if not more. I mean, it kind of makes itself. You just have to get it out there early enough in the day, really. Understandably, you might be thinking, why don’t you just make tea? Why does it have to be specifically made by the sun? Well, I don’t have a fancy answer for you. I’m not going to pretend to rattle off scientific facts about molecules or properties that make it different. Or wax poetic about the captured sunshine and the feel of the warm bottle when you bring it in from the porch. It’s just nostalgic. My mother used to make it when we were kids, and we’d all get excited and suck it down like the elixir of life.  It’s not too late. I may still get to make a pitcher this season, before it’s officially cold and damp. But I’m listing it here so I can check it off next year at this time.
  2. Go to Kennywood. Kennywood is the local amusement park here in Pittsburgh. I can’t say it’s better or worse than it used to be. It has some of the nation’s oldest wooden coasters, like the Jack Rabbit built in 1920. When you go, you have to have the Potato Patch fries. And don’t touch the railings in the walk through Noah’s Ark ride, kids spit on them. It also has water rides like the Raging Rapids and the Log Jammer. Which I loved as a kid, but now present their own set of problems. Such as, what to do about the wet clothing? Some strategies employed are: wear a bathing suit (nope), bring a change of clothing and store in a locker (awkward), go in the beginning or the end of the trip so that you either have time to dry off or you don’t have to be wet forever. Mostly, I just don’t because I’ve gone enough times over the years that I don’t feel the need to, plus I kind of feel like I’m wading in everyone’s pee. (C’mon, you know everyone is peeing on those rides…) It’s a day long adventure. You might pack some snacks, or if you come for a company picnic, you might score some grub from them at one of the pavilions. My personal joy is the skeeball in the arcade. Last time I went, I tried 3 times. Once the machines were down, then they were full, then they were down again. It was disheartening. My second greatest dream besides the bouncy house one, is to have access to unlimited skeeball. Maybe for a day. Any more than that, and I’d have a problem. At the end of the night, you walk through the stinky little tunnel, coated in the grimy dried sweat of the day, with the twinkling lights and the distant carnival music and feel satisfied that you have made the most of your Summer.
  3. Go to the Bloomfield Pool. This is the third Summer I have lived within spitting distance of the Bloomfield Public Pool. This is the third Summer I have not gone to the Bloomfield Pool. No, I don’t swim like a fish. But living in the city, you don’t have much access to these captive bodies of water known in legend as “pools”. Especially when the city budget shat upon Public Works such as the public pools of the city. There aren’t too many left. For me it’s reminiscent of when I lived within walking distance of the zoo for 3 or 4 years and never went to the zoo. I don’t want to live with that regret all over again. Plus, if you’re lucky you might have a Tom Savini sighting with his glistening tanned leather chest. It’s been known to happen.
  4. Let’s add going to the Pittsburgh Zoo to the list. Ah yes, the zoo. You walk in the heat to watch every living animal from Noah’s friggin’ Ark sleep, screw, or shit. It smells and usually, when I go do this kind of stuff, every special exhibit is shut down. But there are tigers and an aquarium, so everyone has a good time.
  5. Arts fest/Regatta/Pride: These 3 events mingle and make strange bedfellows in the beginning of June. Usually the Arts Festival is first. It’s 2 weeks long. It usually rains. Like it happens often enough to be a city wide joke. It engulfs the park areas around Point Park. Usually there are free bands to check out. I can usually find one or two little things for gifts for friends or family. But one of the things I look forward to most from this event? The food. The row of food booths lining the main street between the park and the rest of the festival has a little of everything you come to expect. You can get a funnel cake, or a gyro, or an egg roll. But the one I long for in my heart of hearts is the booth that fries everything, including but not limited to deep fried Oreo cookies. These little batter dipped gems come sprinkled with powdered sugar and drizzled with chocolate syrup. Something about frying them changes the texture to something more cake-like and it makes my heart sing. This year, I didn’t even go to Pride because it also fell upon Anthrocon, the Furry convention. And so I was pretty certain that it would be a shit storm of human bodies that I didn’t want to contend with.
  6. Go to a baseball game. PNC Park is a lovely venue. I am a conditional baseball fan. I don’t follow the trials and tribulations all season. I don’t really watch it on TV. But I do like to go sit in the sun and gorge myself on nachos and watch the Pierogi Races (a race in which pierogi mascots of different varieties run around the field). Used to be, when the Pirates were flailing about season to season, you could get really cheap tickets, usually also shirts or hats and really cheap (but delicious) hot dogs. Season subscribers were often unloading tickets or you’d get a good group rate. These days such offers are rare, but I’d like to go next year regardless.
  7. Have a cook out. This year I bought a small grill. We used it once. I’d like to use it again.
  8. Go to more farmer’s markets. They happen every week in the city, the day varying neighborhood to neighborhood. But I need to go at least one more time to stock up on my honey supply for the winter. This year we did manage to make a fantastic leek soup early on in the season. But I also like getting homemade pierogies or other local treats from local vendors that roast coffee or even make wine.

So while I’ll be thrilled to pumpkin all the things and squash until I can’t squash no more, I regret not making every moment of this Summer the best it could have been. Who knows what adventures the fall and winter will hold for me, but nebulous sky deity willing, I’ll have next Summer to conquer.

I’m alive…


I’m just not doing well, at the moment. I wish I had something elegant and composed to share, but lately I’m just feeling isolated, shut off. I feel like I missed the boat and I don’t belong in this world. I haven’t been writing. I haven’t been constructively creating. All I want to do is sleep. I can’t even get a handle on my everyday life.

Last night, for instance. I went to a poetry reading, and a gallery crawl, and then I brought delicious food over to my boyfriend’s. I was feeling the extrovert recharge and I was determined to get up today and do all the things that I have on my mental to do list, like a champ. But that hasn’t happened, and it looks like it’s not going to. I overslept and had more twisted dreams that left me feeling uneasy.

And so I’ve managed to do a few simple things. This confessional post being one of them. So I press onward and forward, hoping against hope to feel a sense of accomplishment instead of further upsetting myself at missed opportunities.

#LoveMe Challenge: Day 23


What is your best feature?

In typical fashion, I think I have lovely eyes. I like that they are green/brown hazel, and sometimes people suddenly realize that they aren’t just brown.

My most interesting feature might be my nose. I was teased for a long time for having a big nose, but I’ve actually come to find it an interesting feature. It is distinguishing, and I wouldn’t want to alter it. It only took 30-something years to get to this point, but I’m glad I did.

#LoveMe Challenge: Day 22


What makes you unique?

Honestly, this is something I struggle with. Every human walks around with the hubris inherent in the system of narcissism that we’re taught pretty much from birth. “You are a special little flower.” To a certain extent, the combination of genetics, experiences, and preferences that make up your identity are probably quite difficult to reproduce exactly. In a way, most of us actually are little snowflakes.

So what makes me “unique”? My octopus collection goes beyond jewelry into items as unusual as a big ass shower curtain. I have 4 Polaroid cameras, so I guess that’s officially a collection as well. I have a lot of craft stuff. Like a controlled amount, just on the rational side of hoarder. I can recite Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, UHF, and Kung Pow pretty much line by line. I’ve seen a lot of concerts and shows. I went to a Creative and Performing Arts High School. I’m a very awkward human, but I’m pretty good at getting people to laugh. I know a lot of trivia about conspiracy theories, religion, and The Masons.

Otherwise, I guess most of it would be the combination that makes me who I am. But I don’t really think I’d want to be actually be someone else. Maybe have their life, in so much as to have their resources, or not have some of the challenges that I live with. Otherwise, I’m pretty content. It could be better, but it also isn’t that bad.