Friday, June 12, 2009

Stubbed Toes, etc.

If you recall from our very first blog post here in Inkwell Alley, a stubbed toe qualifies as a dramatic occurence--one that elicits "Oh My Goshes!" and "What?! What the hecks?"--in the lives of me and sbass. In other words, it takes very little to get us riled up. Last night, sbass stubbed her toe during her somnambulistic adventures throughout her house--a house, might I add, that features a staircase with no railing; an accident waiting to happen, especially if you’re sbass. I digress....

Anyway, based on my recent traumatic experience with acrylic nails, I am writing today to champion the very real danger of abused nails, to justify their placement in the dramatic occurrence category…Let me give you a little background; it might be unrelated, but I’m going for dramatic effect.

First: I am not a girly girl: I barely wore make-up on my wedding day; I never apply it as part of my morning routine (although I will use concealer on blemishes); I’ve never had my hair dyed or styled (I’m finally growing my bangs out after 23 years and just that decision alone liberates me, makes me feel like I’m walkin’ on the wild side), and I have never, up until two months ago, had anything done to my nails. To be quite honest, nothing has changed much since that day my mom took me to the beauty salon to have my hair done for a wedding that I served in as flower girl (It was a black/white, avant garde wedding…I’ll have to post a picture…). Even at 7-years of age I was more concerned about being late for T-ball practice.

I held back tears as the beautician curled my hair, fat lock falling upon fat lock. I looked like a pig, especially with the way I was scrunching up my face.

“You have gorgeous hair, Monica,” she said as she worked.
My mother beamed while I just continued to scowl. I didn’t want to be gorgeous because I didn’t want to attract attention. I just wanted a simple, maintenance free life of running around outside on the ball field, in the yard, the honeysuckle-infested woods, around the neighborhood with the other street urchins.

We got home just in time for me to change for T-ball practice. I ran upstairs, grabbed a brush and vigorously pulled it through my hair until was as straight as I could get it. I put on my cap and sauntered up to the dinner table as if I hadn’t done a thing. “You combed out your hair didn’t you?” my mom asked. I sheepishly nodded; she couldn’t even get mad.

Now fast forward to two months ago, when my husband Robert was driving me to my “surprise destination” for Valentine’s Day.

“Are we going sky diving?”
“Romantic hot air balloon ride?”
“Ballet performance?”
“Hell no.”

We pull up to the mall and go inside.
“I can buy a really nice outfit for work?”

And then he stops in front of the place. A nail salon crawling with females of all ages running around with foam between their toes. Asian women in surgical masks were hunched over at tables and recliners.
“Oh no you don’t. You know I don’t want this! What are you doing?!”
“Come on,” he grabbed me by the wrist and got right in my face. “Every girl who has ever had this says how relaxing it is. It will feel great. You’ll look really pretty with it. Just trust me on this one.”
“No one touches my feet, let alone with fungal infested dremels.”
“You’ll get a manicure, not a pedicure.”
“That’s not as bad—but I still just want my natural plain nails.”
I mindlessly let him lead me inside.
“She’d like to get a French manicure,” Robert said.
I nervously looked around.
“See honey,” Robert pointing to a bunch of tools that were floating in jars of blue, foamy liquid. “They keep everything clean. They also nuke them in that microwave thing.”

So I got the nails. And after two weeks, I’d had it. I couldn’t type, grip my tennis racquet properly or open soda cans. I was eating dinner at my parents’ house and abruptly proclaimed that I was leaving for the nearest salon to have “those things professionally removed.”
“Right now?” my mom asked.
“Yes, they’ll be open. It shouldn’t be a problem.”
I left my half-eaten steak and all the rest of my food that my dad had made, and fled the premises. They had to come off—NOW.

I rushed into the empty salon in a tizzy and the three Asian workers looked at me as if I was an escape convict trying to find a hiding place. One walked up to the front desk.
“Wha woul you like?”
“Can you take these nails off?”
“Yes, off. I don’t want them anymore.”
“Okay, sit right here.”
The guy pulled out some pliers and some thin, flat edged metal thing.
“Is this going to hurt??”
He looked up at me, nervously smiled and shrugged.
“Oh my God.”
“We can soak them first; tha might help.”
I sat with my fingers dipped in a bowl of cold solution for 20 minutes—only to have the guy come back and tell me that he had me soak my hands in regular alcohol instead of nail remover solution. I’m dead serious. So I sat for 15 more minutes with my fingers in a different bowl.
The next 30 minutes were agony as he tried to pry the acrylic nails off, sliding a thin piece of plastic between the fake and the real and pushing down towards my cuticle.
“Ooops. I sorry.” The guy had accidentally shoved that thin piece of plastic way under my real nail.
Pardon my French, but after all was done, my nails looked like pure hell—heavily trimmed, thin, and caked with dust-like residue. And one didn’t look quite right—and continued to not look quite right to this day.

“Fungus! Oh my God I have fungus! Robert! I am going to kill you!!!”
I noticed that the yellowish, white circle was expanding further and further to the top of the nail on my left index finger.

Fortunately, when I went to the dermatologist the other day, I found out that it wasn’t fungus but simply separation from the nail from the nail bed, the process of which started when that guy at the nail salon shoved the plastic under my real nail. Although, my derm still wants to monitor because it could lead to the dreaded Fungus.

The bottom line:
-Don’t get acrylic nails
-Don’t cause any trauma to the nail; eg, stub your toe
-Toe stubbing IS a big deal

As I wave my hand, Grendel finger and all, Tata for now…

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Another Ink-thought!

2:00 am - Had an ink`ling it was time to get up to write down what was pouring out of my head.

2:10 am - MMMMmmm - coffee to start the day ;)

2:15 am - Thought of mom - who passed away Jan 28th 09' of lung cancer. Going to dedicate Inkwell Alley~Etsy to Charlotte Ann Ferguson who taught me INK! Meaning tk.

2:20 am - Checked on my cherished pets, shishu lucy and maltese sissy. Both of whom are inK-redibly smelly today. Note to self - Bath time and, er, call their beauty girl. PRONTO!~

2:25 am - Finally sat down, noticed husband is now gone! Oh my, his back is troublink' him again.

walk, walk, walk, walk...stairs...walk, walk, walk

2:26 am - Checked to make sure he's doing OK. "Husband, you OK?" He says - meditating - trying to subdue the pain. In other words, scoot, scram and skedaddle!

again, walk, walk, walk...stairs...walk, walk


bump @#@!

2:33 am - who put that there? At least it wasn't a toe I stubbed (speaking of which, note to self -remind monica to tell the crowd why you shouldn't do acrylic nails.)

2:33 1/2 am - note to self again! Remind monica not to get too gorey. It may not be a murder mystery, but we don't want Freddie Kruger thinking we stole the show.

2:40 am - planning an ink`link for our giveaway.

2:41 am - updating name to sbassdesign-ink' on twitter

2:50 am - check on auction --- maybe they'll be more shoes, or vintage someth-ink'

2:51 am - remind monica to put together our list of the many famous idioms/phrases that are misrepresented in the office. ,,,a watched clock never boils,,, Oh, you'll see how the 21st century has caused many a character phrase to become evicted from their home.

mindless rambling:
I luv the gecco - especially when he's asked to wear a suit. Did you see that ad?

2:65 am - Internet tells me its not responding and to restart... GREAT - did I save?

2:68 am - Realize that I'm in a different time zone.


3:20 am - Must put clothes up on ebay. NOT< Maybe tomorrow (er, today) - or Saturday.

Random Thought.
Design~ink Word of the Day: BersĂ«rkr - translation, "bear’s skin".
This was the bear skin clothing Viking warriors wore into battle... also wore decorated helmets made of metal and chain mail covered by a large cloth. The berserkers fought with battle axes, swords, and spears. The most famous weapon would be their deadly throwing axe, with great skill. Their morale was extremely high, greatly intimidating their enemies. Reference:

Sheeesh, next time you hear someone telling you, "e' went berserk", you'll know to duck from those flying axes.

3:50 am - Already? Father time is gettin' carried away.

3:51 am - husband snores.


5:06 am - Oh my, I better sleep, almost time to get up.

husband still snoring...

When the Well is Empty

It seems my inkwell is empty more often than not and it fuels my ire like nothing else, well, except when I lose a tennis match...more on that another day. Anyway, I think I need to alter my approach to writing--I try too hard, dwelling on word usage and transitions so much, to the point where the final piece is barren, without juicy plots or well-rounded characters or even my own personality. When it comes to art, I'm learning, it seems you can never go wrong with natural. If a model, as they say on America's Next Top Model, is too posed or rehearsed, too restrained and controlled, the picture is lackluster--same with writing. If I'm going to be a author of complex psychological novels, I can't write what I think a random crazy person would say--I need to write what I would say if I were crazy. I need to make it personal.
Sbass is the perfect example of this. She has found her way; you can look at something and say 'Wow, Sbass has done it again.' She has her own shtick. Maybe I just need more time. I can hear Sbass right now, "It's okay! You're just a little chickie! A baby bird! You're okay!!"


I never realized how many words contained the letters "ink"...why would we even care? Well, just in case, here's some random information that might be useful to you someday~yea right? You never know, as artists or writers, resources like these come in handy.

or how about this handy word navigator~ inc-redible ;)

so, I found the definitions of ink - to share with ya-- I know, yer goggles over that bit o' info, but it'll help you to understand The Inkwell Alley's newest space (coming soon to Etsy.)
n. - The step, or socket, in which the lower end of a millstone spindle runs. 2
n. - A fluid, or a viscous material or preparation of various kinds (commonly black or colored), used in writing or printing. 2
n. - A pigment. See India ink, under India. 2
v. t. - To put ink upon; to supply with ink; to blacken, color, or daub with ink. 2

So now that I have you really confused, SHORT & SWEET, here's what it is, COMING SOON, the inkwell alley! ~ ETSY SHOP:
A place where you’ll find “all things ink!”,
that would inc-lude, estate & vintage clothing,
designer handmade clothing--cute dog outfits :)
typography & creative writing, paintings, decorative arts,
handmade jewelry, —anything to experience life and living.

OH YEA, all things inc-luded!
Well, that just means -- lots o’ great deals!

PAce e ents pleez

This is taking us some time to figure out how to team blog...sheesh. working diligently to figure this out so watch us as we troubleshoot. It's not brain surgery, but I'm beginning to think I see smoke coming out of sbass' ears.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


WHEW! I've got so much to talk about but not enough time. Perhaps it would be nice if I could just get a clone. Of course, that would mean more shoes...which speaking of which, found a great pair of silver, hmmm, what I might call "BOHO CLEO" Anne Michelle's—which I wore today. I felt like a real princess. Now, don't dispair, I will be popping in more to visit with ya'll and to comment on my "cube-neighbor", monica's blog. It was clearly a riot reading what she wrote as she recalled her first impressions of her internship and being introduced for the first time. Since I love to work in the dark -- in the corner -- grumpling... quiet!!!! er, QUIET!!!! I roar!, I'm sure she thought I was the real oz - not because I was great - just because she recalled OZ yelling at Dorothy to "QUIET!"

So much for first impressions. Well, I'm pressing on to figure out all this blogging stuff, etsy stuff, twitter stuff, estate sale stuff, ebay stuff, oil painting stuff, gardening stuff, and oh, um, family stuff... so I'll talk soon, maybe with interesting pics and such. ta, for now, sbass

Foreign Exchange Student by monica

My first day as an intern at Augusta Magazine was one of the most stressful days of my life. Consider this: I just graduated college with an English degree, I’m dying to make my mark as a writer and there I am, foot in door, at a magazine office. “Don’t blow it,” I kept thinking. Be professional. Smile. And gosh darn it, if you’re assigned to write—whether it’s a feature article or a seemingly nugatory blurb—make it good, make it capture their attention and ensure that it will need no editing.

This of course is a stressful situation for any average scrawny scribe (my writer’s version of the starving artist). But for me it was ten times worse because…Well, you see—I have this fear that makes every day a unique challenge. This fear is far more grave, for more complex and inconvenient than a fear of heights, spiders or confined spaces. Here it goes: People—yes people—scare the heck out of me. And it’s not necessarily the fault of the people. It’s my own insecurities that start the vicious cycle that usually goes something like this:

Me (in meek voice): Hey
Person: Well hi! Are you new in town?
Me: Yeah…um, I’m from Maryland originally (My eyes dart up and down, side to side as if searching for a cue card that will assist me in carrying on the conversation; my shoulders hunch, armpit sweat expands in the sides of my shirt, my bangs start to congeal with oil and perspiration—I’m drowning in that silence that I’m certain I need to fill in order to seem coherent and interesting.)
Person: Aahhh, I see (The person’s eyebrows furrow and suddenly he/she seems to feel uncomfortable, which is a terrible feeling because he/she is not known for having awkward encounters).
Outcome? I may see this person several more times, maybe every day, and we never converse beyond “hey” ever again. Too painful for the both of us.

I would’ve bet my life that this would be the case when I met my co-worker, the magazine’s highly-talented and highly-regarded art director who never left her cubicle except to get a sandwich from the vending machine. Being that the staff was only comprised of myself, a zaney editor and this Oz-like artist from New York, I knew we would all be closely interacting and that there was no room for hiding (although this mysterious art director seemed to get away with doing just that).

A few days into my internship, I finally mustered the gumption. I was going to formally introduce myself to this almighty art director.

I literally poked my head into her cubicle space, leaving the rest of my body to tremble behind the partition.

“You’re Shirley Bass, the art director?”
“Yes?” she looked up at me with intense eyes rimmed by dark-framed reading glasses. She almost seemed to be frowning, as if she were waiting for me to deliver some important work-related information so that she could get on the case right away.
“Um, I’m Monica Budnichuk, the new intern. I’m sitting right over there.”
“Oh! Okay. Good!”
I ran away. That was it—for the time being.
I would later find out that SBass thought I was a foreign exchange student from Russia or Argentina (wow, two different spectrums there). Apparently I was so nervous that I mumbled in a way that made me sound as if English were my second language. What a way to start my career as an English major ravenous for my first great American novel.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dramatic Tragedies

Dramatic tragedies (i.e., events that induce passionate “Oh my goshes” and “WHAT??’s”) in the lives of Sbass and Monica:

The magazine comes back and the text is printed in light blue instead of extra light blue.
A friend called: She stubbed her toe.
We run downstairs for cake and Doressa says, “No no girls, cake is tomorrow.” ;{
The light comes ON over Sbass desk.
The doctor calls: The scale we were weighed on yesterday is five pounds off.
It’s gift wrapping time and...there’s NO ribbons!!
There’s no concealer in the purse; time to flee the premises for Rite Aide
A b e e i s d i v e b o m b ing in the office.
Sbass being ARRESTED in the name of a fundraiser. I repeat, not for real, in the name of a fundraiser.
Someone calls and can’t understand why they don’t have dates for their events yet, must be a murder mystery!!!
It’s time to call someone...on the Phone!
The machine is out of machine sandwiches :[
The TV loses its signal during the finale of Biggest Loser
The tennis match has been CANCELED!
The BMW’s been hammered...Oh Wait! That actually IS bad!!
OH MY... shirts too's time to flee the premises again to...friends drawer.

About Us

Two cubicle neighbors with pizzazz and their own personal, but highly similar, set of of innate complexities find refuge in this alley of creative musings. So pull up a chair, join in, as we--artist and writer--share our spin on the world, art, literary pursuits and the seemingly miniscule, daily occurrences that become larger than life.

WHAT'S NEW: Follow Friday!

Feature Friday--Each Friday! Inkwell Alley is a growing neighborhood and every Friday, one of our followers will be featured with a short bio about their work. We love to make our avid readers feel at home, so relax and enjoy reading about who's springin' up on Inkwell Alley. Don't miss as we continue to update our blog with many new features. Monica and Sbass hope you enjoy your walk down Inkwell Alley! >>Last Week: karilynnlove >>Previous Weeks: June, also known as Isewcute


Vintage Petals