Update 03/28/2024

Update 03/28/2024

Where have I been?

What the hell have I been up to?

I hope you have some time to read the goings-on in my life. I am still dedicated to making this website a thing. I’ve just been busy as hell.

I changed jobs. I graduated from the Helpdesk and became a programmer at a different workplace. I went from neckbeard wannabe to true Nerdiness.  The things that helped me to land the programmer position; this blog, maintaining this website, my college degree and computer science credits. In the interview I mentioned that I also tinker around with Raspberry Pi’s and that closed the deal. I started my new job last July 2023.

In June of 2023 my dad, non famous artist, “Starvin’ Marvin,” Marvin Elving, passed away at 82. I’m going to bare my soul here a little bit and say I had a difficult relationship with my father. We all had very traumatic and abusive childhoods because of that man. May he rest in peace. I have accepted that I am a product of severe childhood trauma caused in part by this man. I am dedicated to stopping that cycle.

IT STOPS WITH ME!!

My dad was an artist and I got my artistic abilities partly from him so I will be featuring some of his art here on this website. He is pictured here with a sketch.  He always had a red beret and his sketch pad.  I try to focus on the positive memories now. I also find his art all over my house in boxes I haven’t unpacked for years.

Marvin had been in declining health for over a year. In a span of a few weeks he went from a talking, walking man to a corpse. I still miss my dad, functional relationship or not. Give your parents a hug.

In classic Marvin style, he left no money for his own funeral expenses so I had to pay half of his cremation. Anyway, it was a toxic, stressful time for me. Rest in peace old man.

I got married! My husband is a very good partner. He is a wonderful and supportive man who has legendary patience. He is a good stepfather to my children. He is a great person overall and I don’t think I could have found a person like him in a million years, so the stars did truly align when we met.

I also started and am about to complete my Master of Business Administration. Yes. I’ve been super-duper busy.  I’m also signed up for the AFN craft fair.  More on that later.

I will have time to devote to this website when I finish my MBA. I have SO many ideas for indigenous art. I have been keeping a notebook of ideas. Stay in tune for sporadic updates. -faith

Starvin' Marvin
Oboe

Oboe

I play the oboe.  Music is my friend.  I attribute music to therapy – if I am at a rehearsal for any given musical thing it is like two hours of mindlessness and joy.  When playing, music is essentially just concentrate on making a decent sound and playing in tune and not messing up any solos. 

For those that care, the oboe is a double reed instrument that plays in the key of C.  It is about two feet long, has a black body made of wood or plastic, with silver keys.  The oboe takes a double reed that is plugged into the top to make any sort of sound.  Most familiar of all oboe music pieces is the Duck from Peter and the Wolf by Prokofiev.  The oboe is NOT like a clarinet.  Clarinets are larger and clunkier, but also with a black body made of wood or plastic and silver keys.  They are both musical instruments, but the oboe is on an entirely different wavelength.

I started oboe in 8th grade.  I was the picture of geekiness – greasy hair, good grades, skin condition, an outcast.  I was the kid that would remind the teacher that they forgot an assignment.  I had outgrown my alto sax, because my band teacher asked me one day if I knew what the oboe was and I said “yes” and the rest is painful and expensive history.

Oboe is expensive.  For a poor kid from a poor family I am shocked at how many oboe reeds I went through. Now that I am old and cheap, I make my own reeds and I buy reeds but buying oboe reeds is expensive and a crap shoot.  I will make a good reed last for well beyond its useable life.  Oboes themselves are expensive as well.  It is not uncommon for a professional oboist to take a second mortgage out on a home to purchase a new oboe, valued over ten thousand dollars.  I play a “cheap” turned plastic professionally keyed oboe.  The oboe pictured below is a Fox 333 oboe that I purchased from selling beadwork.

I also make and scrape and adjust my own oboe reeds.  Making oboe reeds is a whole different series of blog posts.  I do the hobbyist version of reed scraping and making.  I purchase pre shaped cane, soak it, tie it on, soak again, scrape, shape, test and repeat until there is a playable reed. 

My Fox 333 oboe. I sold beadwork to buy this oboe.
Two of my handmade reeds

I take my oboe playing very seriously. This is part of my creativity.  Music is an important part of my life and it has gotten me through some difficult times.    

Mushooms

Mushooms

I would like to start off this webpage with something that gives me great joy.  Wild mushrooms.  I have been foraging for wild edibles since I was a teenager.  Every spring, summer and fall I will go out as much as I can to pick whatever is growing at that particular time.  It is great to be out in nature. 

I will be highlighting two easily identifiable mushrooms.  These two are easy to find if you know where to look.  The search should not take a person too far off the beaten path, nor should it take them places that are too dangerous like cliff sides or over any raging rivers.  For the sake of simplicity I will be referring to the mushrooms with their common names.  Generic names and specific epithets may come later in detailed identification posts. 

Some mushroom identification terms here:  Cap is the thing that grows on top.  Stem is the thing that the cap is attached to.  Reticulation is a net like pattern on a stem of specific mushrooms.  Pore surface is the thing under the cap that can be gills or spongy, or if you’re talking morels, the cap.  Confused?  Good.  Let’s move on. 

Morels go first.  Mainly because they show up first – in spring to early summer, mid-May if it’s a really hot spring to mid-June.   I have found morels growing in freshly disturbed soil, after wildland fires, and growing in south facing slopes under deciduous trees.  These can be found growing as a single mushroom or in clumps, ranging in size from too small to pick up to six or seven inches.  They are conical in shape with a stalk that is connected directly to the cap.  Morels have a series of pits and ridges.  There are lookalikes that bear a resemblance to a morel, but they have key characteristics that make them different.  A morel will have a cap that is attached to the stalk at the base of the cap and when it is sliced in half lengthwise, the mushroom will look like it is all one piece. 

King boletes show up later in the summer season – generally late July to fall.  They range in size from 1 inch button to one foot tall monsters.  The cap of a king bolete will look like a hamburger bun or a well-browned pancake, tan closer to the outside and darker brown towards the center.  And the caps can be slimy if wet.  The pore surface will be spongy and lighter colored, smooth in younger specimens.  The stem will be a light color with a netting pattern or reticulation.  These mushrooms are easy to identify and will grow in enough quantity to make a good addition to a meal.  I steer clear of larger king boletes because they tend to be buggy. 

Both mushrooms are pictured here. 

NOTE:  It is generally wise to go out with a knowledgeable friend to identify your first edible mushrooms.  Study up – read a book from the library, read about them on a web page.  Do not just pick any old mushroom and eat it.  If in doubt, leave it.  There’s no harm in admiring a mushroom and letting it be.  Please do not overharvest mushrooms either.  It is wise to only pick and clean as much as you feel like cooking that night.  Fresh wild mushrooms do not store well – so cook and preserve or eat what you pick that day. 

Beads

Beads

Oh this particular little addiction can cost you in valuable time and money.  Beadwork has long been a love of mine. I just only have so much time in the day. 

I have taught beading classes.  I have sold beadwork at craft fairs all over Southcentral Alaska – the Heritage Center, the Youth Corps in Palmer, Cordova, Talkeetna during the famed Bachelor Auction Weekend, Wasilla.  I even sold enough beadwork one year to buy an oboe.  That was a tough year because oboes aren’t cheap and that required a lot of menial and repetitive tasks and being nice to people.  Beadwork was not fun that year and I got a little bit burned out. 

Growing up ultra poor and indigenous in rural Alaska in the 80’s and 90’s meant one thing – you were subjected to programs put out by the school district.  By default of being born with brown skin and black hair and looking Eskimo, I was a part of the Indian Education Act/Johnson O’Malley program (IEA/JOM).  IEA/JOM would send out tutors for elementary aged children that were indigenous, and I was the only indigenous child in my school for a couple years.  This is in a rural area of ALASKA!  Ok ranting again.  I need to stop these rants.

Basically I was a nerd, and got very good grades.  I didn’t need no tutor for grades and homework.  Instead, my tutor lady (her name was Jeannie and she was lovely) brought out beadwork.  Jeannie also brought out native stories for me to learn about.  I made beaded medallions, little beaded flowers.  One year I was allowed to bring a non IEA/JOM student.  It was great. 

My beadwork evolved over the years.  I started making beaded pouches.  I have just one picture in this post and that is a peyote stitch iris I made into a hair barrette.  This was my original idea.    

beaded iris barrette