Tuesday, December 30

camera happy

It's been a busy couple of days up in wis-CON-sin. Yesterday, Rebecca and I went over to her paternal grandparents' house, Frex and Arla. I spent the day in the woodshop with Frex building a cabinet, and the women did who-knows-what in the house. It was a great time getting my hands on something, I made my own cabinet for our little office/study in Chicago, and I got to have a little male bonding time. The videos speak for themselves:

One time for posterity:

And the finished cabinet:

I think it turned out really well. Unfortunately, we made the measurements up as we went a little bit, and the thing won't fit in Rebecca's car. So, we'll leave it at the G'parents' house until the end of January, when they'll bring it down to Illinois. Then I'll paint it...

Today, we visited Rebecca's maternal Grandmother, Abbie. She lives in Iowa, which is right over the border from LaCrosse. She's a funny lady. Irish.

Also, at Christmas, Rebecca's mom gave me a set of magnetic shapes that you can stick together and make different creations with. A good gift for the Lego-minded not-yet-adult. I, of course, put my creations to the most practical use:

Barry and Lori have agreed to adopt "The Cloud," which is what we've renamed Carly the lucky as hell cat. The short sob story is that her death march was interrupted by Rebecca, and we've been trying to find a home for her. She's a good cat, but she has some issues. She seems to like the laser pointer though:

And finally, after all the holiday binging, Abra is cleaning up her diet, getting back on track:


Saturday, December 27

slowly downward

I'm excited today, because we went to an art store and bought some supplies. It's been a while since I've painted anything. When we get back to Chicago, I am going to make a conscious effort to nourish my creative side, see what comes.

I've been recently re-inspired (respired?) by Stanley Donwood's art. (see below)

He seems to have a unique access to the places I like to go, and that's all the more motivation for me to make my own effort.

Mister Donwood is actually indirectly responsible for the title of this blog. His site, Slowly Downward is a mangling of his name. In the same way, Jeremy Cornish becomes Gently Cornered. My favorite rapper, Sage Francis, did the same sort of thing to name his record company, Strange Famous.

I also picked up supplies to make a few linoleum prints (inspired by the image above). We recently discovered Chicago's Printmaker's Collaboration. This is a local collective of talented folks, who teach classes and sell artwork. I would like to take some classes from them, but since I already know how to make linoleum prints from high school art class, I may just start there on my own.

I always think I'm going to have so much free time.

Wednesday, December 24

holy days

la crosse

I was on the fence last night whether to leave or not. The thought of staying in last night with a cup of Rooibos Tea, and leaving early in the morning was quite appealing. Then Rebecca came home from work and told me she got the weather report. The roads were great, but would freeze by 2 am. So we got the hell out of Chicago as fast as possible!

We took her car, and learned more about it. Some fun facts:

1. The heat doesn't work.

2. The wipers need very much to be replaced.

3. She bought windshield fluid in California (only good for +32 degrees) and it froze in her lines. (my favorite)

So, needless to say, the drive got a little hairy a few times, but we made it safely into LaCrosse at 1:30 am.

I harass her that we should've taken my car, but it really doesn't matter. I'm happy to be on vacation here, and glad we made it safely.

By the way, the car is buried in snow already. It's really coming down.

Sunday, December 21

negative two

Yep. It's cold in Chicago. There is also a lot of snow. I am not allowed to complain about the weather, since I willingly moved here from San Diego. What I can complain about, though, is the city's lack of maintenance of the streets!

Apparently this year is the first year that the mayor has decided not to plow the side streets (the ones everyone lives and parks on) in an effort to save money. Great. Parking is a nightmare. I encourage myself to stay home whenever possible.

As I type this, we are sitting in Whole Foods. Rebecca's work Christmas party is tonight, so we were obligated to actually leave the house. This was quite a process involving de-icing the car, shoveling some of the (iced over) snow that it's buried in with a dustpan (just bought a shovel!) and laying the floormats in front of the wheels to get the thing out of the snow. One day I'll send pictures. Street parking in a winter city is a nightmare. I had no idea.

On the bright side, the kindness of strangers has been shining through. Yesterday, we tried to move a desk we found at salvation army. The thing turned out to be a behemoth. We were trying/attempting/struggling to walk it up our front stairs when a kind stranger offered help. I was pushing Rebecca's car out of the snowy depths of its parking spot an hour ago when a guy got out of his car and gave an extra shove with me. That was all it took.

I am inspired to be a kind stranger.
(If I ever leave the house...)

Sunday, December 14


My favorite part is when the little visitor turns to leave and Chuck scratches the glass like, "hey get back here." And it comes back.

Later on we opened the window, and they touched noses through the screen. Apparently the squirrel wasn't ready for that level of intimacy..

Saturday, December 6


We went for a nice little hike on Thanksgiving. We drive past a little patch of woods every week, and have always wanted to explore there. When we finally did, it turned out to be an enchanted land of mystical creatures!!