Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Are you Smarter than a Fourth Grader?

A co-worker in my department has a son in the fourth grade who gets these weekly math challenges. I must say for a fourth grader are pretty hard. Usually they are solved with algebra (which they have not learned yet) but the kids are challenged to try to figure it out anyway they can graphs, guessing, pictures etc...Now my co-worker gives these word problems to several of us in the department to work out. Usually it takes me a few minutes to kick out my basic algebra skills and figure it out.

The first time we did it, my co-worker couldn't solve it herself but insisted that my answer had to be wrong because I did it too fast because apparently the rest of my department took over a half hour to solve it (their answers were wrong by the way).

The second time I was critiqued for not showing all of my work . We have yet to do one where I haven't had to explain how to get the correct answer to at least one person.

I know I sound really bitchy and condescending. I fully acknowledge that not everyone is good at math and I'm totally okay with that there are lots of things I can't remember from school. The thing is all of these people work in my department - the ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT!!! They are paid to work with numbers all day and should not look at me oddly because I remember how to do simple algebra!!!

So here's the problem. Feel free to post your answers in the comments.

A magic money box doubles any money put into it and then adds $1. Kara put some money in the box and the box did its magic. She then took this new amount of money and put it back in the box again. After the box did its magic again, Kara took of $31. How much money did Kara originally put into the magic money box?

Friday, May 18, 2007


Now for something completely different....

I am posting things all out of the order in which I took the classes but that's because it all depends on what I have photos of. Some things require me getting to a scanner and I just haven't managed to do that yet.

Compared to the piece I posted a few days ago this one is on the other end of the spectrum. This is from my class "Washday" with Pamela Huntington. First of all Pam is just wonderful as an instructor, she really wants everyone to enjoy themselves, learn something and most of all have fun. I have to say she was generous both of material things (an amazing amount of supplies) and of spirit. She was the perfect person to have my last class with.

The class was a bit more on the craftier rather than arty side so I was more at home. We painted the frames, cut out and put together paper dolls and then collaged the background, mine pretty simply but I really wanted three dresses on my clothesline. I wasn't sure about the baby but everyone in class loved him so he stayed. Thanks Dad for letting me raid your ephemera! The dresses are all hand sewn and embellished by me and then the ones on the clothesline we dipped in wax. It's hard to see in photos but they are all stiff and gives them a really neat look. And I got to use my Liquid Nails again! Woo-hoo! Michael de Meng would be so proud! Had to make sure that fence wasn't going anywhere. Oh, check out the little goose peeking out of the fence - I love him!

Again, I really like her but she's not so weird.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Message from the blogger

Sorry to interrupt my regularly scheduled ramblings but I was fiddling around with my blog options and I realized that I had it set so only blogger members could post comments. I have now changed it so anyone can post now.

So, comment away! Really! Go ahead!

No, it's okay... I'll just blog in the dark....sniff...

Can you tell Grandma's been helping me with my guilt trips lately? She's a master.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

She's weird and I like her. That's it.

This is the way I described my finished piece at the group discussion and share at end of Michael de Meng's "Soda Pop Icon" workshop.

First off Michael de Meng is totally the rock star of the mixed media, found art world or it least that's how it seems to me. He has groupies, is totally captivating, looks good in a pair of jeans and is pretty easy on the eyes.

Thanks to some generous people from an earlier workshop I had soda cans for this class. Most folks know I never drink soda and I was ready to make Marsy chug a few cans but there were none to be found in the hotel vending machines, bottles only! This was the only large class I took and clearly some people were taking several classes with him so I walked in a bit intimidated by that alone.

He spoke for a few minutes during which time I realized that he was a total rock star and then it was like ready, set, create! I crushed my Diet Mountain Dew can (Ew!) and then sat and stared at it trying to figure out what the hell to do next. Clearly a lot of people had prepared for this far better than I had and had tons of doo-dads and such to work with. (These were also the people who pounced onto the stuff he brought as well, not making a lot of room for those of with less - bad sharers!)

Not until I found the doll head and arms amongst my stuff did I get a clue of what I was going to do. Clearly it is in my DNA. Quick tangent here, totally appropriate since I am speaking of my Mom, Queen o' Tangents. But I think this one makes sense. When I was younger it was not unusual for someone to come over to my house and find a bowls of fake fruit with a pair of doll's arms sticking out of it or legs or in one case a really large head. Mom got past her body part and faux food stage although they still have a mannequin in the living room and fake deli sausages hanging from the kitchen ceiling so maybe not.

Okay back to my bizarre, slightly obscene soda can icon was born. She's got a totally different vibe than his work (check it out, it is really great - even if some people think it's too "muddy") and everyone else's in class. But Michael was awesome and totally supportive and has introduced me to Liquid Nails (how did I live without this?). He taught an amazing amount on color theory that I will surely use. And at the end of class we put all the pieces on the table where he asked everyone to say a quick thing on their piece and then he told us what he liked and worked well on each one of them. Even mine! Apparently my painting technique was quite impressive. Must be because I had no clue what I was doing! But I now know how to make things look rusty and patina'ed (is that a word?) with paint.

So all I had to say was she's weird and I like her. Sounds a lot like me.

Funny post script: I'm holding her in the elevator back at the hotel and someone else from Art & Soul is there and looks at it and says "That's cool - it looks like you." (Huh?!?) My reply "My boobs aren't that big."

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Art & Soul - Part I

I am back from Art & Soul and it was great! I am sure that this is the first of several posts about it since I still have to take photos and/or scans of my masterpieces.

Things were a little wonky in the beginning as our luggage enjoyed a longer stay at the Philadelphia airport than we did. We flew out of Logan down to Philly okay, a few minutes late but with enough time to catch our 1:20 connection to Newport News which was unfortunately in a terminal at the other end of the airport. We go and check the departure time as we get off our flight and it says "Delayed". We take a shuttle to the other terminal and we spy the Chick-fil-A in the food court area, we figure we can grab a bite for lunch no problem.

As we get to the other terminal, I check the departures again and this time it says that our flight that our 1:20 flight is now leaving at 1:05. Yes, early. Since when do flights leave early? I actually ask some strange man if I am reading things correctly and apparently I was. They start boarding just a few minutes after we get there and we can see them loading the luggage on the small prop plane. Marsy then says "I don't see my red suitcase". Which was true since both of our suitcases were most probably making their way from Terminal B to F but when they got to F, whoops!, out plane was gone. Early!!

Since we checked into the hotel in late afternoon there were little choices on where to eat and the stress of all of our missing supplies (and underwear). I will spare everyone the details of our descent into mopiness and the crankiness of some people when they don't get anything to eat for lunch. Our luggage was due to come in on the next flight, get to Virginia around 4:30 and make it to us in time for our evening class. Yeah, not so much. The next flight was delayed and we had to make head off to class sans supplies. Luckily I in my class the instructor had most of the supplies we needed and the people in my class were generous, very sympathetic to my situation and were good sharers. Marsy was not so lucky and really could have used her own tools and had bad sharers. People who say they are going to share but then don't.

Our luggage finally arrived about 15 minutes before the class ended. And I found myself finally exhaling the breath I had apparently been holding in all afternoon. Did I mention we hate US Airways? And Philadelphia?

Stay tuned for more arty goodness and culinary adventures....

Thursday, May 3, 2007

It's that time of year again!

Bust out your crockpots and Velveeta it's time for my office's Cinco de Maio celebration!!!!

Since May 5th is on a Saturday you're assuming it would be on Friday the 4th then? Oh no, that would only make sense. It is today Thursday the 3rd. Why? Who knows? It's always on Thursday. This tradition led to one of my favorite work quotes ever when I overheard this gem last year.

"Wait, since we're celebrating on the 4th shouldn't we be calling it Cinco de Quattro?"

So as with all of my office functions (including our holiday party) it's a potluck. Unfortunatly whoever made the scrumptous treat made of Velveeta and ground beef called "Monkey Brains" in the past did not make it this year. Mmmmm......Monkey Brains

Last year's big highlight was the chili contest. But wait, you say that chili is Southwestern and not Mexican? Ha! Mexico, New Mexico same difference. This year "Mexican food" apparently means anything spicy. Macaroni n' cheese with jalepenos throw in, jerk pork, jambalya and rice (Cajun-Mexican same diff).

I have to say my favorite things this year were the items not made. Crush Boy stops by my desk yesterday and says "How's this sound for the potluck? Some ground beef, browned and then put inside jello? Red jello of course, like salsa." I say that all that's missing is the grain alcohol and we've got a party!! Clearly he is kidding so there no Beef Jello shots to be found. But the brillant co-workers in my department do not understand sarcasm.

T: Crush Boy has made Slim Jim Stew for lunch.
Me: Huh?
T: He put Slim Jims in a crockpot with boiling water and now those guys are all making fun of it. Ask him about it!

A little later....

Me: So what did you make? I heard something about Slim Jims?
Crush Boy: I took Slim Jims put them in a crockpot of water added cheese and some spices.
Me: So has anyone actually eaten any of this?
CB: Well, no since I didn't actually make it. But I've got all of them convinced that I did (nods his head toward my department). Slim Jim Stew. Ha!

I swear if I wasn't crushing on this boy before I so would now. The fact that he has them convinced he would make something so vile and be proud of it is awesome. I pretty much didn't believe early on. I am not seeing this 20-something, barely-cooks, brings Ramen noodles in for lunch, guy actually owning a crock pot.

Felice Navidad! And have a happy and healthy Cinco de Tres!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

May already?

So after I actually let people know that I had a blog I'd figured I'd be compelled to write more often to make up for the years (yikes!) of horrible correspondance with people (particularly college friends). Yeah, that didn't see to happen. So it's time for a quickie update to relieve my non-blogging guilt.

Last Sunday I went to see the play Confessions of A Mormon Boy in the South End with my friends Linda and Meg since we are intrigued (Linda may be obsessed) by all things Mormon after we read Under the Banner of Heaven in book club last year. The play was good and I love spending Sunday afternoons in the South End but it does make we wish for an extra million or two lying around to buy a brownstone there.

I've been running around like a mad woman trying to gather all my bits for this art workshop thingie, Art and Soul, that I am going to with my sister at the end of the week. I need four different types of glue, two of which I am convinced will be confiscated at the airport. I have been getting photos made into transparencies, calling my parents with odd requests for things from their treasure trove o' crap to be scanned and crashing my computer with my attempts to do too many things at once with the photo editor. I must chill.

I am sure I would have spent last night stressing myself silly about sorts of crazy things but luckily Meg's dad is in town for a conference and and they invited me out to dinner at the Beacon Street Tavern. Yum! I have to say, beet risotto - really good. Not to mention some kickass pan seared scallops encrusted with a horseradish-y sauce.

Well, I better go and do some work. Feel free to leave me comments (please, please) so I know that someone, anyone is reading my ramblings.

Oh and tomorrow is my office's Cinco de Maio lunch celebration (yes, on the 3rd) so I am sure I will have some crazy story to tell.