Thursday, November 29, 2012


When I was young and forced to go to Baptist church twice a week, my favorite part of the services, which otherwise lacked aesthetic beauty, was the music. The congregation would sing, there was an orchestra, as well as special performances of singing or instrument-playing, and when I was old enough, I joined the choir. The music was the only thing that was pure enjoyment for me. Some of my favorite songs were the Christmas-themed ones, as many of them have particularly beautiful arrangements, and the songs are universally cheerful, unlike many of the other doom-and-gloom hymns we'd sometimes sing.

Another one of my musical likes is a cappella music - from Gregorian chants to the contemporary group Pentatonix, who, I was giddy to discover, sang arrangements of some of my all time favorite Christmas carols. Enjoy!

(Click here to see embedded video)

(Click here to see embedded video)
(Click here to see embedded video)
(Click here to see embedded video)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Deck the Halls!

I put up the Christmas tree Sunday, and all the other Christmas decor including... Mother-In-Law's collection of Nativity scenes...

This one is actually mine. You can tell by the cats ;) (On the left there is a vintage angel from my parents)

...the wreaths I made last year...

...and the small-but-growing collection of cat-themed Xmas items people keep gifting me.

Henry is entranced by the shiny tree. It's so cute to watch him stare at it!

Related posts:
Baby's First Xmas (Sort Of)
What To Watch For the Holidays

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving's tomorrow so I'm letting myself be lazy and just post once this week.

I had good intentions of participating in NaNoWriMo this year in order to push myself to finish the novel I started during NaNoWriMo a couple years ago, but that didn't so much happen. I wrote some, but definitely not as much as I'd hoped. But it WILL happen at some point!

Meanwhile I'm just sitting here being grateful for all of the wonderful things that have happened this year: getting married, Henry's birth, cuteness, sweetness and silliness; the many many great art shows, performances, festivals and other events I've been part of; experiencing the magic of the continued awesomeness of being Matt's partner; getting Reiki I and II attunements; getting to see my little sister for a month when she was visiting from China; figuring out that gluten intolerance was causing the stupid rash and sinus headache I  had for 6 and a half months (finally knowing how to treat it was a huge relief) being able to introduce my son to my grandfather and uncle before they passed; going to several family reunions and learning new things about my family history; moving in with my Mother-in-Law who has been a huge help with Henry; and working on a series that is totally my best work so far (you'll see 'em eventually, but not today, my friends).

Tomorrow we'll celebrate with my parents, my sole remaining blood-related grandparent, two of my brothers, Matt and Henry. I'm looking forward to a chill day with people I love. Hope your day is lovely.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Henry & Autumn - Two of my Favorite Things!

Autumn is by far my favorite season. Getting to share it with Henry is just gravy! We've been going on walks around the neighborhood and in the woods, going outside to play with leaves on nicer days, and staying snuggly warm together inside on cold, rainy days. What fun! Can you believe he's already 7 months old?!

"………a wind has blown the rain

away and the leaves and the sky and the
trees stand:
the trees stand. The trees,
suddenly wait against the moon’s face."
-e.e. cummings (Source)

As always, you can see more pictures of Henry in 365 Days with Henry.

Related posts:
My Baby Babbles
Yours, Mine, and Ours
Henry's Busy Weekend
Henry James Evans-Barchers is Born!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Show and Tell: My Book House

Don't mind me posting a day late..... (acting nonchalant)....

When my mother was a little girl, her parents bought a collection of books called "My Book House." Each book in the series is a collection of stories made for a specific age range in mind, so the stories grow more complex from one volume to the other.

When I was growing up, this collection was on the bookshelves in the family room along with many other children's books, various copies of classic literature, and lots of old sci fi and fantasy novels. As far as I can remember, I was the only one of us 6 kids who kept coming back to the "My Book House" collection.

I would read and re-read the stories, which were a mixture of fairy and folk stories from around the world, simplified or shortened classic stories (like Victorian novels) or plays (like Shakespeare's), nursery rhymes, and poetry. The illustrations fascinated me as well and it's this series of books that most heavily influenced me as a writer and artist. I simply adore them.

My mom gave me the books for a birthday present a couple years ago, and now I've been reading from them to Henry. Mostly just from the first book, which is all just nursery rhymes and poems. I love having this to share with him. I hope he loves them as much as I do.

What was your favorite book(s) as a child?

Related posts:
2 Novel Approaches to Fairy Tales
The House that Grandpa Built
Photo Essay: May's Minutia


Thursday, November 8, 2012

My Part in the HyperKewl Relics Project

Last Friday before the Our Lady of Perpetual Beginnings, Henry and I had another adventure together: the HyperKewl Relics Walk. A little bit of backstory for you first... HyperKewl "initially a sound and video show in Chicago, IL, the heart and mind of Hyperkewl has become a collective of people interested in community endeavors and collaborative creation. Hyperkewl exists as an online information hub, a monthly event, and takes on various projects that we come up with. The identity and endeavors flux and are open to new ideas from anyone." (Source)

My friend Rosemary Barria came up with this as a way to "work outside of [the] ownership system and see what happens when we work under a name, rather than our own" (from a post on the fb HyperKewl Project page). The most recent project is the Relics Project which I and several of my friends took part in. And since I can't say it better, here's the project overview I was given:
People were asked through facebook, email and by word of mouth to fill a provided reliquary with relics. A relic is traditionally important to many religions, including to Buddhists, Christians and Hindus. They are typically remains of saints, bones, and pieces of clothing or other objects, placed in a church, a temple or shrine. Pilgrimages are made to them to give honor or to receive magic from them. Hyperkewl re-appropriates the power of reliquaries beyond traditional religious context and asks the participants to place their own magic inside and to gift it to a place of importance to them, regardless of what it is. Each participant leads their own walk and decides if a ritual or some other delivery is appropriate. After the walk, a map will be available online for the community to revisit these reliquaries. Each reliquary, becomes a new point on a map from where our special experiences are acknowledged. We are re-accessing our environment and imposing our personal relics. This is magic.
So now that you know about all that, I can talk about my relic! I, and all the other artists, were given smallish wooden pyramid shapes that were open on all sides. Our job, as you just read, was to make them over with our own personal magic. I had no inspiration on this for a while, but after buying a couple of weird basket things that looked to me like birds' nests at a garage sale, I had a sudden vision of what to do... I took what I call my fairy crown - a wreath of dried roses and other flowers, plus ribbons and feathers, that I've built up gradually over several years - and put it on top of the "nest" where it fit perfectly. You might remember the crown from my first performance art experience because I wore it then.

My next step was to paint the basic relic shape a light blue. Then I took a large dried flower I'd glued feather into for an assemblage that my cats later broke (which is why it didn't make it into my "Meditations Manifested" show with its sister piece) and placed, and the inverted pyramid, it in the center of the nested crown.

 I called this one "Pathway to the Sanctuary of the Avenging Goddess"

Lastly I added feathers to the 3 corners of the inverted pyramid. I called my relic, "Flower Nest" and, to me, it symbolizes the peacefulness and creative adventures that emerge from feeling safe or secure with who you are.

Friday, November 2nd, was the day we delivered our relics to our chosen places. So I took Henry for a walk in the stroller, put my camera around my neck, and recorded the journey from our new place north of the river to local WaterWorks Park. This is a significant place to me because it's one of the places Matt and I first made out and such way back when we were 19, and it's also the location of a recent picnic we took together. It seemed a place that symbolized both my past and my present.

And I taught myself some video editing, which I've wanted to do for a while, to compress the 35 minute walk to a 5 and a half minute video. It turned out super shaky since I was wearing the camera around my neck, but I'm glad I recorded it anyway. (Click here to see embedded video)

I used a thin wire to attach my relic to the bench so it wouldn't blow away because it's very light. I wonder how many disc golfers saw it before the rain got to it?

 Henry grabbed a petal from the rose I added during the walk
(as you can see in the video) as we were leaving.

This was a really interesting experiment in community, self-expression, and impermanence (a lot of us placed our relics in outdoor locations). Rosemary is currently en route to the MDW Fair in Chicago to present the results of the project. You can also view the map marking each relic location with pictures on the HyperKewl website. AND if you're interested, check out this great blog at The Junk Revival about the HyperKewl Dia de los Muertos altar that some of the HyperKewl members built recently. HyperKewl also has a Tumblr.

Related posts:
What the World Needs Now Is Love (Performance Pics)
"Meditations Manifested" (Show Pics)
Our Lady of Perpetual Beginnings at the Slap-N-Tickle (Performance Pics)