Check-In: March 30

It’s been almost exactly a month since I did a general “hey, what’s happenin'” post, so here we go!

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What I’ve been working on: Nothing concrete yet, but I taught myself a new trick. I can now make some super intricate patterns like the one above! That one’s literally the first one I’ve done so it’s kind of unbalanced and a little all over the place, style-wise. But I’ve been trying to figure out a way to do more damask-style patterns and a way to kind of “draw as I go” inside a pattern, rather than combining elements. So I finally cracked the code (turns out you just Google “damask pattern tutorial illustrator”) and now I’m excited about what I can do with it.

What I’ve been reading: I picked up a couple of true crime-themed books from the library this month. I got Alan Moore’s From Hell, a decision inspired by Last Podcast on the Left‘s Jack the Ripper series. I never paid much attention to the Jack the Ripper story, despite my favorite kind of true crime being more historical true crime. I’ve finished the actual story and I’m just reading the back matter now. Alan Moore really pulled together the threads of so many theories and actual people and events in to a very compelling story. I don’t recommend reading it before bed, though. Dreams get weird.

I’m also reading Mrs. Sherlock Holmes, some Edwardian-era true crime to follow up the Victorian-era. The book itself is a little bit meandering for me to really get caught up in the story as intensely as I think I’d like, but it does a good job of telling the story of a both really interesting lady I’d never heard of and the story of a missing girl she investigated.

What I’ve been watching: I’ve actually been watching a couple of reality shows. Which is odd for me, because I kind of hate any reality show that isn’t RuPaul’s Drag Race. But, they’re very different from the usual reality show. First is The Great British Baking Show, which everyone loves and for good reason. It’s a competition show without any manufactured tension or drama. There’s tension and a little drama, but it’s actually real. There’s no obnoxious feuds or coaxed confessionals. The people on the show seem to genuinely like each other and feel genuinely upset when someone has to leave. And the setting is pleasant and there’s lots of good looking desserts and breads and it’s just a happy place. (And it really has me wanting to do more baking.)

The other show is Terrace House, which I’ve seen described as the Japanese Real World. And that’s kind of what it is. Six young people live in a nice house and just interact with each other. I just started watching it because you don’t see much live action Japanese television here, much less reality television. And again, I was surprised at how real it was.  But Justin McElroy explains why this show is so interesting better than I can.

What I’ve been listening to: I devoured S-Town in a couple days. If I didn’t have a job, I would have knocked it out in one. I won’t say too much because I don’t want to give anything away. But it’s by the Serial and This American Life people, and it’s a perfect blend of both. It’s a Southern Gothic audio drama but it’s all real. So good. I think I liked it more than Serial. Definitely more than Serial season 2.

Chicago! The city so nice they named it… Chicago!

First of all, thanks to my husband for the title. It’s a joke he made repeatedly while we were in said city for a week. It got better every time.

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Cloud Gate, with a nice layer of frosting.

 

We were in Chicago last week! It was pretty great. Both my husband and I have been before, but it’s been years. We were excited because we got at least a few days of real winter. It’s been an incredibly mild one down here in Mississippi. We went from highs in the 70s to the most snow I’ve ever seen in my life.

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We spent a lot of time in art museums. Including the entire duration of the Tuesday business hours of The Art Institute.

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Turns out, this is where they keep all the art.

And we also ate.

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The best Reuben sammich.

And we explored Chinatown…

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And we ate.

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Tonkatsu ramen!

And we visited the Museum of Contemporary Art…

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My favorite is the middle one — ‘Birth of a Star’ by Mariko Mori.

And we ate…

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Not Pictured: My new best friend, Italian Beef

And we had dessert!

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We only had one small cake. :/
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The warmest day, with a high of probably 35. 

We did some shopping and some gawking. We saw a show at Second City, which was great. We explored a couple neighborhoods and found a cool board game shop. We saw lots of street art and murals and neat old buildings.

And we ate!

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Fish tacos. From a place picked at random. They were great.

We didn’t do any St. Patrick’s Day partying (because we’re old and lame and it was our fifth day there and we were so tired), but we did see the city lit up green.

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We didn’t get to see a fraction of what we could have. We were so worn down by day five that we barely had the energy to leave the hotel. But, I think we’ll be back one day. (But not before Boston and New York, which are next on the list.)

Check-In: March 1

Oh! I’m the worst! I can’t keep up with this blog and I can’t force myself to schedule enough posts ahead of time to make up for my laziness. My goal this year was to get ahead of the game with both the shop and the blog. I’m batting whatever the worst that you can bat is. I don’t know enough about baseball to use it for analogies.

What I’ve been working on: I finally got some St. Patrick’s Day done!

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I’m thinking I need to work on some new preview images for patterns like these. They aren’t repeats, so the little preview slivers I use now really don’t give you a real idea of what each paper looks like.

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What I’ve been reading: I’ve gotten a lot of reading done. I finished Dietland by Sarai Walker and really enjoyed it. There were a few tiny things I took issue with, but over all it was really good. I also finished Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, so I’ve only got one more of the Neopolitan Novels left.

And just last night I finished up the March trilogy. I really, really want more people to read those books. In reading them, I realize I knew the basic history of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s, but it was never really brought home for me. And I’ve lived in Mississippi my whole life. The story is home. It’s a really powerful story and it didn’t happen all that long ago.

What I’ve been watching: I’ve mentioned before my love of all things McElroy… but now they have a television show on Seeso and it’s the best thing to ever happen to streaming internet comedy. There’s a whole episode up on YouTube and you have no reason not to watch it. Do yourself a favor.