Sunday, August 28, 2011

i'm a skeeter, not a milly

Photo from
So I just returned home from seeing The Help. I have not read the book, so going into the movie I didn't really know what to expect beyond the obvious deductions I was able to make about the subject matter and film quality from previews and social media chatter.

I must say, what I experienced was unbelievably moving. The story, the characters, the themes... it was all so beautiful. Words cannot truly express how it felt sitting there scene after scene becoming more empowered, more touched, and more inspired.

I won't delve into detail about the movie for those of you out there who have not yet seen it or read the book. However, a word to the wise: if you're planning on doing either, bring some tissues. Jason's sister Kim and I found ourselves a bit unprepared and were forced to tame our tears with the not-so-gentle one-ply brown napkins we picked up at the concessions counter. Don't let that be you.

(Sidenote: I'm quite aware that I've been known to take the smallest hint of an emotion and absorb it into every fiber of my being, resulting more often than not in an unexpected crying episode. Case in point being ESPN's Tim Tebow documentary during which Jason spotted a tear roll down my cheek and expressed his disapproval. Apparently crying while watching ESPN is frowned upon in our household. During this particular account, I managed to form words through the thick glossy lenses that had welled up, "...but no one thought... in the NFL... and then... the draft... and... and... his MOM... I'm just... I'm so proud." Yes, well, the point here is that I'm admitting I'm an emotional basket case (though I prefer extraordinarily compassionate), especially when it comes to movies, and I just don't want you to think I'm exaggerating about the tissues. It's a very, very powerful movie. Okay, let's carry on.)

It's interesting though. As much as I realize it is certainly a movie about race and equality and human dignity, I was surprised to find that it was as much a film about that as it was about family. Woven throughout the entire story is a theme of generational values and parenting. The lesson is that we are responsible for raising our children to be the people that we want them to be and for instilling in them the values that we hold dear: equality and human dignity. It made me think about my own mother and how blessed I am to have grown up with a mom who was so present in my upbringing. She not only taught me a sense of self-worth, but she also worked her butt off to make sure I had an open mind and an open heart, never once thinking I was born into this world being inherently better or worse than anyone else.

It gives me great comfort in knowing that if I was born back in those days, I'd be a Skeeter and not a Milly. And I wholeheartedly believe I have my mother to thank for that.

Anyway, if you haven't seen it yet, go catch the movie or read the book. It's a beautiful and hilarious story, and I feel that it's a perspective that deserves to be shared.

Monday, August 15, 2011

copycraft: our adventure map

Another mission, accomplished. Hooray! This has to be some sort of record. Really.

I've had this map project in my craft queue for-EVER (note: this is a mental queue and not an actual thing of existence like a Netflix queue. However, both are equally important in my life.)

I've always thought there is something really cool about documenting the travels that you and your significant other go on. I'm a firm believer that life is less about the things you have and more about the memories you make, so I'd like to do my best to remember the great trips of my life (especially given my genetic predisposition to short-term/also long-term memory loss.) When I saw this map on Pinterest, I immediately knew I wanted to replicate it somehow (truth be told, I think it was actually one of my first pins, which I've decided is basically like a historic artifact.)

Photo from Life Blessons
An adventure map has all the sentimentiality of a scrapbook without all the rubber cement/craft paper/ridicule from Jason that an actual scrapbook would bring ( by the way, made-up word alert: spell-check wanted me to change that guy to "sentimentality" but I like it better this way. The red squiggly line can just relax.) I think this project works for us too because I'd say we travel more than the average couple due to the nature of Jason's job. Not only is this idea great for remembering where we've been, but it's a constant reminder of where we can go. I'd like to think that somehow over time our board will become cluttered with an endless number of little red pins. Right now our map is full of possibilities and I'm looking forward to the trips and adventures that the future has in store.

Also, from a purely artistic perspective, I've been really intrigued by maps lately. More specifically maps using text. I actually started with this guy as an inspiration image:

Photo from World Metro Map

I love how the words form the shapes of the countries, but something about it just wasn't right. It felt way too static to me. Plus I knew I wanted a U.S. map, not a world map, because Jas and I aren't the world travelers that I hope to be (yet.) My first instinct after seeing this was to take to Photoshop and create my own version digitally, but when I found this awesome map of California (below), it was exactly what was missing in the other photo. At that point I knew I wanted to do something by hand.
Photo from Society6

It's reminiscent of the text map but in a more imperfect, hand-drawn way, which I love. The stark contrast between the black and white was really beautiful to me too.

So there it was. This idea I had floating in my head, continuing to evolve with each awesome photo I saw (don't you just love that?)

Photo from 4men1lady
Finally, last week, when I saw this last pin (right), I knew I had to dust this map idea off and give it some life. (Come on, how fun is that map?!) I finally had the missing piece and decided I wanted to create a hybrid of all the inspiration photos. At the top of this post is what I finally came up with (Jas actually picked out the red pearly push pins, which I absolutely adore.) I feel like I somehow miraculously captured exactly what I loved about each individual inspiration photo. If those four projects had a baby, it would be our map.

It was a ton of fun to work on, and super simple if you like to draw. (I used a template for the outline of the states - I know my limitations.) On the downside, however, it was a depressing reminder of just how terrible I am at geography, so I warn any of you that prefer to remain blissfully unaware of your lack of elementary school lesson mastery: you may want to pass on this one. (I mean, come on, you start talking about Wyoming and Missouri and Kansas and I have NO idea where those states are... to me, they're just in "the middle." Jas actually found it hilarious that I had to keep my template next to me the entire time because it had the state abbreviations on it, but I was not about to screw up. True story.)

So basically, all you nice people that already left lovely comments on my Facebook, just know that I'm admitting openly that I'm a fraud. This project was no where near an original idea: in fact, it was a melty conglomeration of four different inspiration pieces which I kind of mushed together. I think I've decided that's kind of my thing. Starting from scratch can be so daunting, but give me a starting point and all the sudden the floodgates of creativity open. Maybe that's not such a bad way to be. Keep an eye out for plenty more copycrafts in the future. And (as always), thanks for listening and appreciating my stream of consciousness writing. It's a bit of a mess in here, and I'm just glad I have a place where I can write it all down. Happy crafting!

Monday, August 8, 2011

elevators are awkward

...And in this installment of Caroline Over-Analyzes A Situation So Much She Makes It Awkward, we'll be talking about elevators.

Right, I get it, not exactly the post you were hoping for after a three-week hiatus, but we've had a lot going on lately and the other day this interesting revelation came upon me and I decided this post MUST be written, if only for some weird person out there to validate and encourage my neuroses. (Person, please be out there.)

So yes, let's talk about elevators. I encountered a situation the other day which made me officially decide that elevators are the single most saturated location in terms of awkwardness-per-square-inch. There is no other place that creates such a palpable, unspoken tension between people, nor another that has more opportunities for awkwardness.

I mean, think about it. The close proximity of people and likelihood of simply touching a stranger or accidentally grazing someone's butt? Awkward. Trying to cram 12 people in a small steel box because god forbid the group on the fourth floor split into two groups to get to the lobby and therefore you're forced to assemble like some complicated Tetris game where there's only one winning configuration that maximizes every inch of space? Very awkward.

Or what if it's not crowded. What if it's worse. It's just you and one other person. Do you talk? Do you not? Or maybe you end up making idle chit-chat while you're not even facing toward each other, but instead, sort of talking in the same forward direction (think about it, it's weird.) And what happens when you're only two floors away from your destination and you unexpectedly strike a chord of familiarity during your chit-chat? You share a casual laugh and before you know it, your floor or the other person's floor shows up and you have to truncate the conversation abruptly before you can really tie up loose ends and the doors closes while you both strain a rushed Nice talking to you! or Have a great day! (This has happened to me on more than one occasion. What can I say, I'm a chatty Cathy. Errr... Carol.) Yep, if I was a stand up comedian, my entire HBO special would be on elevators. Endless material.

BUT what I was thinking about this morning was, leaving the elevator. What happens when you get to Star Floor 1? Who gets out first. All the females because it is a grand gesture of chivalry to allow a delicate woman to exit an elevator mere seconds before a strong and burly man? Do you depart in the order that you entered? Perhaps it goes in alphabetical order by the second letter of your middle name, and in the event of a tie you divert to the person with the larger number of letters in their birth-month. No? It's like the classic Four cars arrive at a four-way stop at exactly the same time DMV test question. Is there even an answer?

It's true, if I wasn't the over-analyzing ball of ridiculousness that I am, it would all probably happen naturally. I'd exit an elevator exactly when I'm supposed to and go on with my perfectly graceful day. Too bad instead I wait just an extra second too long and people think I'm not walking out, inciting them to take a step toward the door. Simultaneously, of course, I become acutely aware of that extra second (longest second of my life it seems) and I then take that same step toward the door, practically body-checking a kind man in his nicely pressed suit. I apologize profusely and then practically speed-walk all the way to the office, as if I'm trying to justify my odd behavior by exhibiting some sort of dire emergency I have to scurry off to (which comes off more like I'm just an unusually fast walker. Again, awkward.)

So yeah. These situations are pretty much the bookends to my every day. Down the parking garage elevator in the morning and up again in the afternoon, looking forward to each new awkward encounter.

I promise I'll return soon with more craftiness - we've done a few things around the house I'm looking forward to sharing. In the mean time, feel free to let me know I'm not alone in the world of elevator shenanigans by leaving a comment below. Awkwardness unite!