Monday, October 31, 2005

Glenda the Good Witch

Chloe made the crown. I made the dress. She wanted me to also make a bubble to float around in. I had to explain that my sewing machine didn't have that feature - the bubble floatation creation attachment. It must have been lost along with my zipper foot and buttonholer.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Baby Super and Her Flying Machine

Complete with perfectly balanced platters of crudites and a flower petal propellor.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Congratulations Chicago. Now Please Let Me Sleep

Okay, so the White Sox have won the World Series (I've assumed from the hundreds of people screaming and honking horns and noisemakers in the bars, lofts and on the street below me). All the fun makes me wish I was a sports fan, but I'm not really. It is amusing, though.

I suspect there will be much celebration.

Other news today: 2000 US soldiers have died to date in Iraq. Peace rallys were held across the country. I wonder which gets more press coverage?

They are now breaking bottles in the street. This city has gone mad.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Originally uploaded by Wannashrink.
Or perhaps she can go as Ozzie Guillen. Now where did that mask go?


We are getting a lot of mileage out of last year's costume because it is less than a week until Halloween and I still haven't made her a new one.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Lost in Flickr

A tapping sound interrupted my aimless browsing. I emerged to investigate. Small, pea-sized hail is falling from the sky.

Thirty minutes later, I am interrupted by trucks with sirens stopping at my building. Probably a tripped alarm, it happens frequently. I always look because I am surrounded by aged, dry timber. A window washer is repelling from the roof. The firemen stop him, and then go away.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Originally uploaded by Wannashrink.
To get her into the bathtub, it takes a strong adult to drag her by the foot as her fingernails screech across the slate floor. But once submerged, Chloe is happy.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Anatomy of a Quilt

It began sometime back in the eighties in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota. As a young girl, I had purchased sale fabric to make a bedspread as one of my personal progress goals (a Mormon thing). It was planned to be one of those frilly, calico numbers with many, many ruffles. Unfinished, thank god, it found a home buried deep in my hope chest.

Several years later, my father personally delivered this chest, complete with all of its forgotten contents to me in New York. I then lived in a 6-floor walkup, cold-water-flat on the edge of Alphabet City. The bathtub was in the kitchen, the toilet was in a closet on the other end of the flat, and gates secured my windows. I had no money for furnishings so discarded boxes improvised for curtains, giving my home the lovely effect of a crack house. I did, however, have a sewing machine. With a casing and hemmed edges, the unfinished bedspread soon replaced the dark and dusty cardboard.

Yards of fabric still remained. A found scrap of wrapping paper with an image of an antique quilt became my design inspiration. I had no television at the time so I often spent evenings listening to a local jazz station while hand-sewing hearts onto squares of fabric. Packs of those small squares traveled with me everywhere, on the subway, in the breakroom at work, and on park benches. It was years before I had completed enough squares for the quilt top. By then, my taste had grown up and out of hearts and calico. Again, it was buried at the bottom of the chest.

Where was I when I had finally sewn the pieces together? I’m not sure, but it may have been in the small, Brooklyn studio I occupied between relationships. It was there that I would rebuild my soul before corrupting it again through empty relationships. Loneliness is great motivation to work a project. While not proportionate, the completed dimensions would fit a double bed, although at the time I slept in a twin. I must have felt optimistic. Alas, I ran out of fabric at about the time a new man came along. Neatly folded, the unfinished quilt returned to storage.

Years passed, as did the man with his trendy, Upper East Side apartment. Rejected and broken, I returned to the simplicity of Brooklyn with its big, shady trees and wide sidewalks. Quilting stores were in vogue along Seventh Avenue and I would often wander in to touch the fabrics and drink in the patterns and colors. I had started and completed many other projects, yet the quilt remained unchanged.

It moved with me from apartment to apartment. I married, moved, moved again, bought and moved into our first home (an apartment). Had a child. A daughter. Oh joy, the quilt should be for her. I took out the old quilt top only to consider it briefly. I returned to its dusty place as I went back to school to finish my degree and took care of my baby girl.

A year later my small family and I packed our belongings once more, including the forgotten quilt. This time we moved out of the city, out of state, where we have settled in Chicago. This new place was disorientating. Sometimes it still is after four years. But as Chicago becomes more like home, I know New York less and less. We gutted and renovated a loft in an old machinist building as my daughter was almost ready for her big girl’s bed. My first task in decorating was to finally resurrect the old quilt. It was cleaned up and with new flannel for the backing and cotton batting, it was set up on stilts in my center room. The work took months, but stitch by stitch, it was finally completed.

The colors are dusty and outdated. Because of this my daughter has not fallen in love with her hand-sewn quilt (not nearly enough pink). The fabric from my youth has now found its purpose as decoration in a vacation home. It is mostly forgotten.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Watering the Cat

Much to my displeasure, Edwin will not drink from his dish.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Speaker Wire

Tried to hook up my stereo speakers today, but left it all in a tangle. I think I think that I'm going to give it all up and get one of these. Feedback anyone?

Snagged this from Muse. Go to Google and type "(your name) needs". Include the quotations marks. For example, if your name is James, type "James needs" and press enter. Pick the five funniest ones.

Dominique needs:

- to find 145 machines.
- to take a more aggressive role in the boat...
- to work a bit more on her classes (flash back to Grade School, Junior High, High School, BYU, etc.)
- to go down.
- a breast job. (I swear, George didn't write this.)
- no introduction. Her sex appeal is sizzling.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

More on the Subject of Water

This was taken at Crown Fountain in Chicago. A watery image is projected on a tower of water that is reflected in the pool of water below.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Oh, there are some days that seem simply perfect. Beautiful, autumn day. Dried leaves on the ground. Chloe joyfully running around the playground with new found friends. Park bench in the shade. Utne Reader in hand reading Garrison Keillor.

Cell-phone-mom then crosses the entire length of the playground and chooses my bench to sit on. There are three other lovely, shady and unoccupied benches with excellent views of the kiddies. Why? Why must she sit by me? My peace is shattered as she argues with whomever about whatever. I don’t care. I really don’t care. I want to watch my kid play. Read my magazine. Listen to the crunching of dried, fallen leaves. Luxuriate.

What do I say? I want to ask her to move somewhere else, please and thank you very much. Yet I don’t. I’m certain that will add contention to my otherwise peaceful day. Without comment, without a glance I pick up my stuff (poncho, backpack, snack, water bottle, tote bag, books, etc.) and moved to a vacant bench. This time I was inconsiderate and spread my belongings out across the bench to ensure this won’t happen again. She didn’t notice nor did she care.

Within minutes a new mom approaches (mother of one new friend) and we enjoy a long conversation. For this I move my bags, snacks, magazines. “Please sit,” I say. And she does.


This was taken about a year ago at a block party. The fire department turned on the hydrant and hung out while kids crawled into, onto and all over their fire engine. As my daughter's lips turned blue (that water is near ice), my mind wandered back to a time (little more than ten years ago) when I lived in Harlem on 123rd and Lenox. There were a lot of kids there, too, running through open fire hydrants. But the arrival of the fire department wasn't something to celebrate. The younger kids scattered, while the older ones jeered at the firemen as they shut off the water. As soon as they were gone, a large old man with a very large wrench managed to turn it back on again. Instantly the kids were back. Hah.

I post this for Mama Says Om. Beautiful site. Beautiful women.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Morning Exchange

(The painting above my desk is by one of my very favorite Chicago artists, Marketa Sivek. See more of her amazing work here.)

I stopped at Starbucks after dropping off my daughter at school. I’d already had my morning cup-o-joe but I longed for a connection with other adults before returning to my empty home, if only for a brief consumer exchange.

Starbucks is one of those major franchise operations that I despise on principle, but secretly enjoy. There is a hip, privately owned coffee lounge in my neighborhood that I want to love, but don’t. They have a bigger space, local art on the walls, comfortable seating, and healthier food options. I go there occasionally, but it is usually filled with smoke and the employees are sometimes too cool to be nice and too hip to bathe. The smoke isn’t intolerable. I am an ex-smoker who quit long ago but still love the smell and the sensual curling trails off the end of a butt. I just don’t want to carry it with me for the remainder of the day. Nor am I a clean freak – I think our country has an unhealthy obsession with hygiene. For myself, I’ll settle with a whore’s bath and some lipstick. However, for the morning coffee stop, I find it unappetizing to see the crack of the barrista’s ass because his hipster jeans have failed to meet his hips.

At the local Starbucks, the folks are clean, make eye-contact, and most seem genuinely friendly, at least they try to be. This morning I arrived at the end of a rush. I selected a bag of beans to be ground and ordered a medium pumpkin spice latte. I usually have just coffee – reminiscent of simpler times when coffee light with two sugars and a buttered roll went for a buck fifty. And I refuse to order my coffee size by Tall, Grande, and Vendi. These words still hold little meaning to me. Cute, young, twenty-something with exquisite blue eyes asked how would I like my coffee ground. On some days this question would be really annoying – ground? Isn’t that the answer?

“Paper cone,” I answered.

“Would you like anything else?”

Mmmm, just to wallow in your eyes. “Ah, no.”

“That will be $15.44.” I handed him a twenty. “Let me grind your coffee first.” He returns with the bag. I hand him the twenty again. My hand jitters from my earlier coffee buzz – or anxiety. “Are you in a hurry?”

“Oh, ah, no. Heh (nervous laugh). No – just used to being quickly processed through this place.”

He smiles. “But there is no one behind you.”

“You’re right, what’s the hurry?” He hands me my change. “Just to rush home do the dishes.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean. Yesterday was laundry day. Hey, have a good day.”

I smile, “You too.” This was what I came for, what I paid for - just enough contact to ward off the lonely birds. I gave the homeless guy two bucks for the new Streetwise issue and went home resolved to write.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Because of this, my life is rich.

First Adult Conversation of the Day (Saturday)

Thought I could get the paper while still in my pajamas without much ado. I was wrong. There are people showered, shaved and dressed, hair combed and teeth brushed, walking dogs all before 10am on a Saturday.

e: Hi Dominique.

d: Hi E.

e: Who'd you have to run over to get those pants?

Snippet of said pants (ewe):

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I'm a What?

You are a

Social Liberal
(71% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(18% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test

No big surprises here. My husband announced that we are exact opposites. He's wrong, because then he'd be a fascist. We're both pretty socially permissive and opposites on economic policy. That makes him a Libertarian. This reflects on our personal life... he makes money and I give it away (he always agrees, though, so maybe he's not as much of a Libertarian as he thinks he is).

And last night, giving was never so much fun. House of Blues in Chicago hosted a hurricane relief fundraiser. For a substantial donation to the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity we got tickets to see Pearl Jam. They are not a favorite of mine, but I was along for the experience.

The cynical side of the night...

Getting out of the cab I thought that perhaps we had the wrong night. The look of the crowd didn't reflect the ticket price. But once assured that they were all anxiously waiting for Pearl Jam, I thought how cool it was that these kids managed to scrape together the cash, or managed to convince their parents that it was essential to donate to the Red Cross NOW! I had good feelings. Then some wiry, old guy marches to the back of the line shouting on his cell phone, clearly intending to be heard by all, that there was nothing but a bunch of teeny boppers in grundge on Mommy and Daddy's dime. Hey buddy, this is for a good cause - did you really think your feeble donation (it's all relative, huh?) was going to buy you a private room with your favorite rock star? Folks were visibly uncomfortable. Someone kindly explained to him that for one hour fifty tickets for $50 were made available to subscribed fans. Cool. Silly that a nerd like me who had to Google Pearl Jam to remind myself what songs they're known for should enjoy this without a true fan base. I almost wanted to donate my tickets to a couple of very dejected guys who were two too late for the fire sale. But I really wanted to go to this.

House of Blues is just the kind of concert hall that I'd normally avoid - no seating. Above the stage is a sign that reads something to the effect of everyone is equal. However, for another $2 Grand one can enjoy the Foundation Room on the upper level. For yet another undisclosed sum, you and your friends can have a box complete with your own bar and sumptous seating. Even the bar stools scattered about had names taped to them. Twenty minutes into the warmup band (Robert Plant, no less), it was clear no one was going to claim their hard wood, backless stool. Yet we were still admonished by a security guard to remove our bums. And then, of course, there were all those out-of-luck fans waiting outside hoping for a break to get in.

The really cool part of the night...

Fans are great. I think they're more entertaining than the act. I was wedged between two fanatic Robert Plant/Led Zeppelin fans. Both guys were in their mid-forties I would guess. I missed the whole Mega Rock Star worship thing (except maybe Bono), but it thrills me when someone can rattle off meaningless trivia while punching the air at all the appropriate beats and yet still shout every word to every song.

I missed so many great photo op's because we'd left the camera phone at home. My favorite was of an attractive, stylish forty-something woman, tired of standing on her kitten heels, neatly tucked them in each back pocket of her jeans and knelt on one of those forbidden wood stools. Whenever anyone passed they had to dodge her gyrating tush for fear of getting a heel stuck in the eye. Nice shoes, too.

Ears buzzing, my hair extensions reeking of pot, we dodged out of there around midnight, long before the concert was over. We gave our tickets to a hopeful fan and went home to relieve the babysitter. It was a good night.

Monday, October 03, 2005

"We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it..."
George Eliot