Sunday, December 31, 2006

No pics, but SOON

And they are fuuuuunny. Gili and I did brunch and silly pics and videos and walking around in the morning. She made me take off my high heeled boots and gave me her too big but very comfy and warm shooties. The pictures will show it. I did a quick stop in Park Slope; sadly, my stuff is STILL not done. Then I did Korean food w/Cindy and Ivan and more cream puffs at Beard Papa. I got a wooden brush, finally, coveted the wooden comb but didn't get it, and then got on the train to meet Kiwon at her place. Totally missed my stop from sleepiness and had to walk a lot more than I'd like. In the shooties. Party time soon. Haven't napped yet.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Breathing in the end

Didn't Stefan do a lovely job with this shot? He's so great at all the lighting and tricks. I wanted to get some of the translucency. This is my end-of-year reminder of treasure. I panicked last night about the application that I had neglected, but Ivan talked me down and gave me good suggestions, so after nightmares about oversleeping and pudgy children, I woke up at 8am and started the application. Finished and mailed before 11am. Not my finest work, but I'm glad I did it. I spent the day watching movies after that, and printing out about 30 pages of applications to do before Vermont (oh, wait, that's one of those unreasonable goals to accomplish by tomorrow). Today was "Love Me If You Dare," "Brokeback Mountain," and "Flirting." I liked Sophie's one dimple in the first movie (since it's on the same side as my one dimple), thought the second was way too long, and that the third was a little slow, too. I think generally that my complaint is the whole people having kids mindlessly, and then realizing AFTER the fact that they don't really want to deal with them. Which is why I appreciated the kids in "Flirting," b/c they were so level-headed and didn't rush into things. It's the adults who were acting all crazy.

I've been thinking a lot lately about why I don't want to have children. Mostly b/c people are harping on me so much about how I will (if you want to get on my bad side, tell me that after I tell you I don't ever want to have kids). Here's my take: humans as a species have screwed up royally, and don't really deserve to hang around too much longer on this planet. So I'm not going to prolong the agony by popping out more. I think we should all just let ourselves die out. Though destroying our environment and ourselves now seems to be the faster option.

I did some candlelight yoga tonight, which was really nice. Lots of standing poses and working on my inner lines. Tomorrow will be another big day: brunch w/Gili, final edits in Park Slope w/Lucas, back to Manhattan to possibly meet Cindy/Ivan, and then a Harlem party w/Kiwon and spending the night at her place. Hopefully I'll be too busy to worry about how I think I might need root canal work on the OTHER side of my mouth. I miss my Chicago dentist.

A kilo of karma

What is wrong with this book? Well, I letterpressed it, finished the dating by hand, made the covers, and then handed it over to some nervous lady at Staples today before work. BIG MISTAKE. She screwed it up by punching holes all sloppy and not lined up so the covers are SO not flush w/the pages. I feel like I'm getting more and more unsuitable for life on earth nowadays. I guess I'm a lot more DIY than I ever thought, and giving some corporation the last step in a long process kills me, esp when they screw it up. I'm so sad.

I felt badly b/c I didn't trust her as I watched her punch holes, and then she did exactly what I feared. Then I called Ivan and he said that I need to learn how to trust people more and being a good leader means delegating responsibilities. Yeah, yeah. So I walk into the bindery, and promptly cut the beautiful red skin I had ready for a full-leather album while starting to pare the leather. AAARGH. Gavin cut it off and started to pare, and then also screwed it up. So it's no longer full leather. But it's doing okay. I learned how to do headcaps and a fancy spine. I asked him how he could possibly learn to trust me. I'm going to make one more album, a bigger one. Hopefully I don't screw up royally and can get it done in two days next week. My last week!!

I'm freaking out now about time. I have a boatload of applications (one due tomorrow that I haven't touched yet), a huge book to read, at least four movies to watch, video editing, website work, family stuff, and packing left to do before I fly to Vermont next Sunday. Today was pretty good, though. I PATH-ed it to Newark today and had a great lunch w/Anne (who I used to work with in Jersey; I haven't seen her in over three years, I think). Dinner was in Yonkers w/Barbara, and that was also wonderful. I love my as-old-as-mom friends. The merlot at dinner was excellent. But my spare tire and bags under my eyes are freaking me out. Most friends say that the physical changes/deterioration happened at 30. I'm not there yet!!! I have almost a year left!

Okay. I HAVE to do this application now.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A bird shat on my face today

NO JOKE. Right on this street. I took the picture a few minutes after I cleaned myself up. Thank god I put a couple of tissues in my bag in case of residual cold congestion. I woke up after not even close to enough sleep, and dragged myself up the street to catch the bus for my dental appt, only to feel something splat right on top of the side of my glasses, and onto my face. If this was normal December with falling snow and icicles, I wouldn't have minded. But I knew exactly what it was. Somehow, though, my hat and coat miraculously survived the shit. I immediately left Gili an indignant message, and called my sister while walking to the dentist, who said, "that's really good luck!!"

The dentist was way busy and backed up, so he just shaved some of my filling off, snapped a hasty x-ray, and pushed me out of the chair, claiming that I'd be fine and something about some nerve being disturbed but that we just have to wait. I don't believe that everything is fine. Then I had to walk to the hospital and call mom b/c I had forgotten the house key. It took about an hour to get home, which was a drag, but I was glad to FINALLY get a little time to myself. I got a few movies from the library, bumped into Clark Jackowe and chatted, and came home for some long-overdue yoga. It felt really good. I even did jumping jacks in the morning before leaving. I can feel all the body shifting w/age stuff, though. In the same way I feel my identity more as an artist as I grow into it.

After a nap, I watched "Anita and Me." I told mom about the bird poop and she said, "that's good luck!!" We watched "Crash" (I loved it. I'm so glad I finally got to see it) and then when dad came home and I told him about the bird poop, he said, "that's good luck!!" They were disappointed that I didn't buy lottery tickets today, but mom says that it's 24-hour luck so if I buy them tomorrow morning, it still counts. Hopefully it lasts long enough to ensure me a few rings at Staples, a good day at work, on-time PATH trains for lunch in Newark w/a friend from my first job out of college, time to punch holes in my planner, and on-time commuting to Yonkers for dinner w/my high school orchestra teacher.

This is going too fast

I'm frustrated. I feel like everything I wanted to get done in NY was reasonable. Oh, yes. It WAS reasonable if I hadn't had to get major dental work done. I'm totally fried again. Gili and I were up late last night and then slept in until about 9:30am. She walked me to work, which was great, and then I got right to work on the full-leather album I'm working on. I'm excited to have a project I'll be able to see through entirely (fingers crossed) that is a little more challenging than the pillar books and slipcases but not so hard as the clamshell box. So far, so good. Gavin was impressed w/my sewing, and this time I couldn't really disagree - the football effect was really minimal (where you pull too hard at the ends of the book and then they're tighter than the middle), which is my only sewing weakness. I had a hard time w/the hollow today, but I blame that on being too tired. I was using eyedrops all morning, but got a chance to cover boards for my 2007 planner. It's so nice doing my own work in there: all the pressure is off for perfection. I have a different kind of perfection standard, and it's less stressful than the one I use for other people's work.

I met with my web designer today to walk through the database he built for me. It's amazing. Really gorgeous. So I feel good about that, and met one of his Siamese cats, Max, who crawled all over me (Pickles hid the whole time). So handsome! I'm so pleased w/my cat allergies getting under control. Rafff walked me to my editor's place in Park Slope and we stopped on 5th Ave so I could get a cactus burrito for dinner. Editing was much less painful than the last time; I feel a lot more confident of my editing-from-the-passenger-seat skills now, and wonder if it really is time to make the next big purchase: a digital videocamera. I refuse to do Final Cut Pro, but maybe I can ease myself into some self-editing w/iMovie. It would be funny to pair my new binding skills (old school, traditional ways) w/video ones. We'll see. I know I can handle it; it's just about if now is the right time.

[photo caption: from that Koreatown visit. I made Gili stand in front of "our bank" (that's the translation from Korean). How it relates to this post: I want to get a Fulbright to study papermaking in Korea but that requires some serious remedial language study as well. Can I handle that, too, along w/new manual skills?]

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Full of liquid

8:40am: arrive at work, no one is there, try to go to post office and bump into Gavin on the corner, back to work. Work on album today. All things I've done before, but not his way.

2pm: after eating, totally forgot to take antibiotics.

5pm: leave work, go to PO, wait on line forever for automated machines b/c people can't understand them, realize w/horror that I need to take drugs.

6pm: S'mac is closed, walk w/Jami to a different place for dinner. Dad comes to drop off more drugs. Across street for a drink.

8:30pm: back to Gili's, schedule editing session for tomorrow, feeling overwhelmed by everything I have to do.

Surviving in the crazy coop

This was the drawing I did for my sister that turned into puzzle number two (115 pieces). Number one was 157 pieces and she hasn't done it yet. We taped this one together tonight after she finished it last night (I thought I had made a harder one than that, but I'm not a puzzle maker, so I guess I don't have much expertise). I ended up hiding in the bathroom last night, making calls and using my laptop while sitting on the toilet, since there was no other private place left. I luckily found this artist's survival kit online, which helped me a little. The top of page four is my favorite. Under "HOW TO FEEL MISERABLE AS AN ARTIST," my faves are

2. TALK TO YOUR FAMILY ABOUT WHAT YOU DO AND EXPECT THEM TO CHEER YOU ON.
5. UNDERVALUE YOUR EXPERTISE
6. LET MONEY DICTATE WHAT YOU DO.
10. SET UNACHIEVABLE/OVERWHELMING GOALS. TO BE ACCOMPLISHED BY TOMORROW.

The first is not actually exactly how it is in my home, but I think it's funny regardless. The second I do way too much of and need to stop. The third is the reason I'm in root canal hell right now. Four is the story of my life.

I have this fantasy of sweeping the upstairs pocket of space in the bindery tomorrow so I can do some yoga since I haven't done any since...see? I can't even remember. It was when I was getting sick. I'm frightened about if/when my website and video editing will get done (if all goes well, THIS WEEK). I also have been ignoring all my deadlines. We finished watching "Wonderfalls" and saw "Pirates of the Caribbean" tonight on TV as I helped Cindy clear off her iPod of music she didn't care for. They're staying an extra night and I think tomorrow they'll shop. Gili sneaked in calls to me in between movies to make sure I was okay b/c I've been in pretty fragile shape. The family took turns lightly clubbing me today, but I'll try to ignore the comments about me talking being like Katrina, and just go to work tomorrow and hope I don't take it out on myself by slicing my finger off or something.

Ellie: sorry I didn't get to call you today! But I'm better than last night. Gail: thank you so much for the beautiful shells from the beach. I wish I could take one of those walks RIGHT NOW. Terttu wrote a sweet email today about how she wished we could adopt each other and make our own families and how she loves me just how I am: "which is totally hot, heartful and loveble!" I'll be really happy to see the Vermont Studio Center sign at the airport when I land in Burlington on January 7. But I'm sure I'll be just as happy to get out of the house and put in a good solid work day at the bindery tomorrow, too.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

My horrible life

Apparently, things can now get a lot worse. I stayed up late last night making my mom a book to fit the box I made for her, and wrapping hers and my dad's gifts. Today I got up and made a puzzle for my sister and then went out w/Amy. It was strange walking around town here and going to places that had replaced our old childhood stores. But it was still nice to have tea at the pizza place w/a river view. I got home and was notified of Cindy's and Ivan's arrival in half an hour, so I raced through making a second puzzle. The first: 157 pieces. The second: 115 pieces.

I got a call from Elbert tonight and took the call b/c I haven't talked to him since...sometime in the summer. Then I came out of my room to be attacked by my entire family (mom, dad, sister), b/c they said that I talk way too loudly, and laugh too loudly, and that it's unacceptable and embarrassing, and a serious problem that I have to fix. It was like a terrible intervention and I wanted to cry. Mom also told me I should lose weight, again. They freaked out b/c my tooth still was hurting so I called my dentist, who is in Virginia until Thursday. His response was, "uhoh" and "take more antibiotics. You have to take drugs when it hurts." I am SO mortified. We don't have any more drugs and he didn't give us a refill on the last prescription, so now my mom is driving to a friend's house who happens to have drugs left from her husband's root canal. Apparently, every typical Korean household has antibiotics. I have an awful feeling that Steph is right: I'll probably have to have my gums sliced open b/c the infection is much deeper than what the dentist can access. My schedule really doesn't allow for this. I don't know how this is going to work out. I'm really upset. I guess that's what happens to people who are grouchy over the holidays: they get this kind of comeuppance.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

I could squash the Grinch with my pinky toe

After talking to Cindy this morning about Frances McDormand's character in "Friends w/Money" and how awful she was, I realized that I am exactly like that. I rode to Prince on the N, got out, and was immediately accosted by a loud saxophone playing awful xmas "music" in the street. Every store, too. I despise the holidays. Do kids even care about them anymore the way they're supposed to, in that innocent and sweet way? I doubt it, b/c it's probably all about getting gifts. Gross. No one cares about anyone all year, and then at the end, we all run around finding people presents under strange rules (somehow rating how they rank in your life and how they've treated you in the past year). It's AWFUL. Has no one noticed this? How come people are still shopping?? I don't mean last-minute, I just mean, why at all?

Okay, that's enough crankiness for a moment. I did have a lovely lunch w/Stephanie at Spring Street Natural. I had a green, refreshing cucumber limeade. Mmmm. I wanted to drink wine, but figured it would backfire since I just started bleeding and have had two very poor nights of sleep on a futon that peaks in the middle. I'm totally useless w/o proper sleep. I think I'm losing my mind b/c I've been too booked to make work, and as scared as I am about Vermont fast approaching, it's coming just in time to save me. I also have this great fear that I have to go to a proper endodontist to open my mouth up again b/c this first root canal isn't working; it still hurts. Eek.

One of the books in this picture is called "dance dance revolution," which is exactly what Ivan got Cindy for xmas.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Is this really a holiday weekend?

I don't feel like I'm getting any breaks. It seems like I'm running around even more that normal and wondering why people get Christmas off and why they would want it off. Then again, I don't work a drudgery job or something that's the same day in and day out that doesn't have a flexible schedule. This is my second box from last night in process (on one of the reallllly nice new tables in the bindery). I had never done double wall anything, so learning that was exciting since double walls are so much easier than single ones.

Here are the elaborate cuts I made up for myself while just staring at the box and lifting the cloth this way and that. My first was was covered completely w/just one piece of cloth. The second with two, since I didn't have a scrap long enough for one. I also wish I had learned that the stuff lining the sides of the box was called map folder a long time ago, instead of us just saying, "the green stuff" or elephant hide.

This is the first box, in the Korean bakery yesterday w/Gili's mix. I know this is all not very exciting but I promised to post these. I took the R train today to Brooklyn, which again made me wonder why Brooklyn and Queens are so badly connected via public transportation when they're right next to each other. I could probably drive to where I had to be in 5-10 minutes, but the commute on the train was over an hour. I was late to see my editor. We did some rough preliminary work and I'll go back tomorrow for more. We were both really tired and had bleeding eyes.

But the footage!!! SO gorgeous. Thanks to Chela; I haven't looked at it since late-October since I have no way of viewing those tapes. I was kind of intoxicated by it all: it was a really beautiful performance. I hope we do a good job cutting; it's so hard to make two good minutes out of at least an hour of footage. I stopped at Century 21 to get Ivan's gift (too big; Cindy will go tomorrow to get a better size) and then rode a train that got stuck for a looong time b/c some injured passenger was on a train ahead and they were waiting for police and EMT. I met Cindy and Ivan for dinner at Tierras Colombianas, where I tried to avoid a heart attack by having a salad. I'm staying here again b/c I have to go back to Brooklyn for more editing. I told Lucas (editor) that I wished that there was a big machine into which I could throw all my tapes and footage, and then yell at it and say exactly what I wanted, and it would spit out a cut piece.

That was a long day

I finally got ballsy and used my camera (funny how easy it was on the farm and how hard here. I think it's b/c when you photograph things, people who notice you doing it look at what you're looking at. And I don't want to share what I'm looking at in that moment, publicly). I know there's no proof, but Gili and I are really in K-town here at a Korean bakery. How Koreatown becomes the halfway point between SoHo and Chelsea, I don't know. But it was fun. I'm sure everyone in the bakery was not pleased w/our antics (this wasn't our table. We kept running back and forth between ours, where the camera was sitting, on self-timer, and this one across from us, as soon as the women there left). She gave me a mix w/artwork and I put it in my box that I made this morning after finishing a second slipcase for Gavin.

I then came back to work and Enrique immediately started upbraiding me for being out. Why, I don't know, b/c I'm not keeping him from working. He's finishing the clamshell box that I started since I don't have leather or tooling experience (which is what Enrique is doing in this image. I think anything involving really hot metal tools is something that I should avoid). I could go on about the details of this thing, but I won't bore you all. It's looking lovely. I'm sad that it will be delivered to the client before I can get final shots of it, but such is business.

This is the cover in progress. What will eventually happen is that the trays that I made will be attached to this cover and will hold the manuscript. On the shelf, it looks like a book, but it's a box. I spent my day making two small boxes w/flip lids for my mom and sister. I did the first w/just one piece of cloth, and the second w/two. It works better with just one, but is quite taxing on the brain b/c of the number of cuts you have to figure out. I'll post those later.

Cindy and Ivan came by to pick me up from work and then go to the Edit Center for a party. Ivan and I felt pretty bored and out of place, but the food was good and I got to see a friend of Cindy's who was acting at Steppenwolf in Chicago a while back and it was nice to see him. He's engaged now and his fiancee is super sweet - they're both insanely high -energy people. I'm staying in Astoria tonight and then tomorrow I head to Park Slope to meet a new editor and hopefully get a DVD cut of my farm performance, and everything else. That will be five performances. [oh! I got some Pocari Sweat today at the store. It was good, until Cindy noticed that it has MSG in it.]

I also realized today that I sell myself short a lot. I get intimidated easily, and fall back on presenting myself as a total novice. Then I have to work hard to show people that I actually am not, and often first impressions just don't go away. Sometimes it's easier that way, so no one has expectations of me. Other times it's bad, b/c people just assume I can't do things that I can. I started to see this pattern really clearly on the farm, but here I am playing it out again. I know habits take a loooong time to change, and I guess it's good that I'm catching myself. But realizing I'm in the pattern again is always kind of disappointing at first. Oh, look. I'm back in my pattern of going to bed late when I was tired and sleepy a zillion hours ago.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Now it's hurting

Julie emailed me a recipe for a cayenne cocktail: tomato juice, lemon, olive oil, cayenne and raw garlic. I would SO love that right now. Not that I don't love the Throat Coat that Gili delivered to me, along w/Emergen-C and vitamins. This tea is saving my life right now, b/c I feel horrible. Today was drainage day, which was only okay b/c I worked in back and Nancy has already been really sick, so no one else had to deal w/it (except for Gili). I don't know how I made it through work today. Josh was doing carpentry work (noisy), and we had to clean early in the day for a big client. I think that I'm about done w/pretending like I don't know what the hell I'm doing; I think I can just do the work now w/o hesitation and less instruction, which is nice. Gili was amaza-friend as she dashed into the bindery w/FIVE teas and cookies for all. Gavin told her that she could come back anytime as long as she brought tea and cookies. We ate in the back room and after I inhaled my lunch, I went back to lining boxes as Gili entertained. It was nice to have all the women together. She's so amazing at talking w/anyone and is super good at being inclusive. I am not good at those things.

I ran an errand at Talas today, which was fun (except the illness sweats and having to pee b/c all I was doing was drinking fluids). Gavin gave me a big teflon folder as a 'happy holidays' gift, which was totally sweet and totally unnecessary (I already have two teflon folders. Though smaller). I needed one to work with today, and he just gave it to me. His place is like an endless cornucopia of binding supplies; I've never seen anything like it before. I'm so used to people being super frugal and guarded about their things, but he's waaay generous. I really like that I can contribute to the culture of the shop, too, b/c I bring CDs so we can have music. We rocked Lauryn Hill today. That Miseducation album totally saved my life back in '98.

Got my slides back from Stefan; so far, so good (the image above is of my two paper sample books of all the paper I made in Nebraska). Then again, my nose was running so I didn't really look very closely through the loupe; I just glanced and ran to Cindy's workplace, where I lay on a red sofa for a long time during a meeting (all in the same room; I'm so sick and tired I've lost 'don't lay down in front of company' manners) and then had her get me a croissant from a bakery on Sullivan St. I might have an editor...I hope. Tomorrow is round I lost count of my root canal. I want to pass out from exhaustion and have forgotten anything else I wanted to say (except that I got a letter from a friend: her dad just had a massive stroke! But he's okay. Such a huge scare, though, and it will change a lot of things). I just hope I get better soon.

OH, this is what I was thinking as I was nearly limping in the streets: I have not been to a doctor for over three years now. I hate that getting health insurance in this country is so difficult and expensive. My ankle has been busted for over a year an a half from a breakdancing injury, and my blown-out shoulder is still cranky. Among other things. I know Gili tells me to stop already, but I just feel the aging process very heavily right now. Not to say I'm OLD old, but just that when you get to the point where you're deteriorating and not invincible anymore, it's a hard change to understand and accept. That said, I'm getting ready for bed.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I'm not a good framer

I just realized that while staring at a print I framed for my parents. I broke the cardinal rule: you don't let the artwork touch the glass. Whoops. I'm in the painful part of the sickness now, w/a killer throat and coughing and hacking up crap. Can't wait to go to work like that tomorrow. Good news is that I'll see Gili for lunch. Maybe I can make her bring me some chewable vitamins that make my pee turn neon yellow and then I'll feel healthier. Though I feel like I'm ODing on supplements right now. I'm not fond of trying to sleep when I can't really breathe.

I didn't do much today besides watching "My Architect" (I love when Louis Kahn talks about how you have to honor and glorify the brick and ask it what it wants instead of just forcing it to do what you want) and taking notes. There was some really stunning architecture. I love all the open circles and natural light. It made me feel like maybe I really should look into opera. Maybe I should stage an opera in Vermont. I read a bunch more of The Omnivore's Dilemma, and still strongly recommend it.

Also, I'd like to thank the captain of the Dream Team for reminding me to stop making work that is all about taking care of people and giving, giving, giving. I need to be kept on task w/this old habit, b/c it's self-destructive and truly exhausting in a way that I don't recover well from. Clearly, I lose my memory each time since I repeat myself and then wonder why I get so depressed and to-the-bone tired after each performance. Maybe I'll do an opera about me being rolled around the park in a stroller.

Two other things: 1. I've realized that I have had incredibly amazing and professional experiences with the artistic professionals in my life who are first-generation immigrants from Europe. It's a pattern I only just noticed b/c I'm working w/three of them at the same time. 2. I think from now on I should identify myself as pre-pre-diabetic when people try to push sweets onto me. Like how our captain says things like, "I'm barren" when people ask about if she's going to have babies soon.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Back in NY

I think that being tired is a permanent part of my lifestyle. I try so hard to not be, but I can't do it. The trick is going to bed early but I'm really bad at that. And my body isn't capable of sleeping in. But I did drive back from DC w/o killing anyone, crashing the car, or getting any tickets. I find that remarkable, considering the fact that I was sleepy for most of the ride and there were lots of cars on the road. I was able to stay alert in the beginning b/c I picked a green car as my bf and tailed him since he was a good driver. But I lost him after the first toll.

I made it back in four hours, even w/my minor detour in the first leg (I went south on 295 towards Richmond. Oops. I should have known when the sun was on my left side that I was going in the wrong direction). I got a lot of practice changing lanes and passing cars, though. Driving is not the best thing for me b/c I'm never content to just cruise at a decent speed; I always feel like I have to catch up to the next batch of cars, and when I get to them, I feel claustrophobic so I speed to pass them. And so on. I just watched "The Squid and the Whale" and think I will try to jump into bed early. Here is the recap of the last two days (this is the link to photos if you want to stop reading now):

Saturday: chocolate chip/banana pancakes & strawberries, make lunch for Louis, babysit Kaia (I put her down for a nap! My very first ever. It was easy, after playing with her for about 20 min), hang out w/Carlos and make a bag lunch, drive to Bethesda to explore a new trail along a big creek while Kaia slept and ate, ride to Dupont Circle to meet Ben and visit bad art galleries, have good pinot noir at a French bistro, walk back to his apt, get a ride from his bf Don to 2 Amys for pizza dinner, ride back to Karin's place and watch the beginning of "Prairie Home Companion" before crashing out.

Sunday: have awful nightmares about the entire world turning against me, wake early, finish packing, upload photos, read some NYT, eat Mike's perfect pancakes w/fruit and maple syrup, hit the road, arrive back home right as dad unloads Korean pears from the trunk.

Lessons learned: there is no art scene in DC, I can drive, living w/a 2 yo helped me get over my baby fear, always carry honey when traveling (my skin dried up like mad), two nights of homemade ice cream will make me panic again about my weight, building a website involves disgusting amounts of work. But yay for a successful friend-visiting trip! I love seeing my friends and their homes. Love it.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tired and cold, but safe in the nation's capital

Well, not quite. I'm in one of the burbs, and will probably only be in D.C. proper on Saturday, but I made it all in one piece! Jami's car seemed to like the highway driving. I had some drama last night and this a.m. b/c my temporary filling was crumbling and I feared that I had to go back to the dentist, but didn't really want to b/c I wanted to make this trip. So I got the car from Kerri at 8:30am, left the dentist a message, waited in the car until 9am, and then just hit the road. The drive was not as ugly as I recall. I was a little sleepy, and saw LOTS of state troopers, but it was good. I had quality time w/Justin Timberlake and Ghostface Killah, who both saved me at crucial points in the drive. I adore singing in the car.

This is the book I made two nights ago at home. It'll be my dad's xmas gift, but I'm using it up until then as my Nebraska photo album to show people who don't look at photos online. It's only 19 of the billions of photos I took, but selected to show a little of everything. If he doesn't like it, I'll just keep it. I finally got the hang of the double-needle, single-sheet stitch that I learned last year. I'm really excited now to keep working at the bindery, b/c I realize I'm learning a ton, really quickly, b/c 1. Gavin is fast 2. I am fast 3. lots of learning happens on the job. School is so overrated.

Karin and Mike did a great fast dinner/dessert (tofu pups! yay) and we watched a very Disney-esque movie, "Imagine You & Me" (do NOT bother watching it), while shucking seeds of phragmites (I think that's what they were) for Karin's work - she has to start this experiment tomorrow. It was so much easier than coring milkweed. I think I'm a born shucker. I talked to mom today and she was like, "I ALWAYS told you that you should work w/your hands." It made me happy to find glue on my clothes from binding. As much as I feel like I need to save and protect my hands, I think it's true: I must figure out a way to make a living by using them.

Tomorrow I meet Louis and Carlos and Kaia! Their daughter, who I haven't met yet (she was born this past April). Now I need some serious sleep. I'm excited: today was my last day of antibiotics, so I don't have to get up at 6am anymore to take drugs!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Whoa tired

Ay. I don't know how I'm going to get up early tomorrow to get Jami's car by 8:30am. Ug. The good news: it'll be my last day of antibiotics. I'm exhausted. I backed up my computer last night and when I got up at 6am, it was still going. The moon has been amazing lately in the early morning before sunrise, totally brilliant and low and shining directly onto the river. Dad says it only happens in Nov/Dec.

Work today was GREAT. I loved it! I was so worried, but it was fantastic. I made two screw & post bindings to be samples (or, as they say in England, pillar books. Gavin said that from the start and I thought he was saying "pillow books" and I was like, wow, I've never heard of that. But then as we were doing it, I was like, hey, I taught myself this binding to teach it in Chicago last year!! Hahaaa). I started on the slip cases for them, as well as starting a tray for a manuscript that a client brought in today. It's so lovely. The space is so nice (it used to be a gallery space), and the tools and materials are fancy, and I've already learned lots of new tricks. I was like, I could SO do this all day instead of going to an office. Just gluing up stuff and chopping and working w/my hands. I was super scared that I wouldn't be up to snuff, but Gavin was impressed w/my hand skills. So I could do this line of work if I wanted to. Good to know. W/more training and practice, of course.

Lunch w/Marina, drinks w/Rafff, dinner at home w/Cindy & Ivan. Beat, totally exhausted from being on my feet all day, working. Tomorrow's the big drive! Eeeee. I hope I do okay. It'll be SO great to land in Karin's house. I'm excited.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I'm a secretary

Aaargh. Wasn't this supposed to be semi-leisurely time for me? Now I have at least five appointments waiting in the lurch, all contingent on my goddamn roots. A car pickup, a work schedule, a lunch, an upstate visit, and a trip to D.C. I hate this kind of waiting. I remember how Breda used to say that working is really just waiting for other people to do their work. I feel like I'm at a desk, primed to make the phone calls and emails, as soon as I hear from some important client. As much as I wish someone else could do this for me, it's so dreadful that I wouldn't want to burden someone with it.

I visited Paper Dragon today and totally downplayed my abilities, probably b/c I felt like I didn't want to do it anymore. But it's a lovely space, and so much nicer than I had expected. It feels fine and putting in a couple days a week would probably be very good for me. I think the cold today just made me want to lay around at home and read and watch movies ("Corpse Bride" and then the last half of "Autumn in NY" - which was on TV, and I had seen it before. It's dreadful but I am such a sucker for the little beaded hanging thing in Winona Ryder's bedroom and also that dress that Richard Gere got for her. I'm only now noticing how many movies are about artists and realizing that SOME artist or someone has to make all of it for the film). I'm almost done with Cat's Eye, which is heartbreaking each chapter of the way. I'm pleased w/my limp vellum, made almost exclusively w/farm and found materials, and think maybe I'll use it as a pen and ink comic sketchbook.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Old shoelaces

Last night was "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring". Today was "Junebug". Tonight, "Match Point". In between, I sewed up a limp vellum with handmade paper that has some of the ill-fated milkweed stalks. I had wanted to make this book ever since I got back from the farm, but didn't have the straps and of course left my extra goatskin in Chicago. Luckily, my dad is a packrat and had old, old leather laces that had the first version of the barcode on the packaging. An antique, he says. I sliced the laces in half and I think they'll work just fine. I called Gavin at Paper Dragon and will go in tomorrow to see if we're a good match for each other: he needs binding interns to help prepare for a grand opening in Chelsea. It seemed like the perfect idea before the root canal news. Now I have some qualms, only b/c my schedule is so erratic. Oh, and also b/c I've gotten out of the practice of working for other people.

Speaking of which, I found a web designer!! Now I just need to contact a photog I worked with years ago and see if he's still available to shoot slides, or if he's too big for that now. And then harass my sis about either having her or someone she knows to edit my performance footage. I worry sometimes that I'm sinking a lot of myself into myself, which could be a sinking ship, but I suppose I have enough youth on my side to get me through. Time to finish this book.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Slowing down, catching up

Yesterday, I finished The Handmaid's Tale, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, and started The Pillow Book. I also watched "Mad Hot Ballroom" and was totally taken by the Washington Heights merengue boy. Those eyes! And the face! And the dancing. Makes me think of the five and six-year-olds I taught in Jamaica in 1998. Now I'm eating blackberries, pulling bandages off my ankles from wearing boots, and admiring Gili's CD cover art (she sent me exactly what I wanted/needed: a recovery mix, a Regina Spektor mix, and a really funny postcard. I feel like I've finally found my mail love match).

I love the little pink ceramic dish that now only has water in it b/c I ate the berries so quickly. I love how uneven it is. I want to learn to live surrounded by handmade things. This is a sticker left from when I was probably about four or five, before my parents carpeted (I suspect partly b/c I fell off my bed in my sleep when I was four, never noticed, woke up covered in blood, and got stitches in my chin while the nurse told me to think about rainbows and unicorns). I inspected all the negative spaces in people's hair while rushing through the subway. It's nice to have this time, as fraught as it is w/the drama of my life. It's nice to walk next door and get any books I like. To eat lots of Korean pears. To run into a friend's friend at Filene's completely randomly, the one who met her husband at the residency I'm going to in Vermont (how does a picture of Lainie on Tamara's computer suddenly turn into a real live face asking if I'm Aimee on the fourth story of a building overlooking Union Square?? Ivan made fun of me as we descended the elevator, shoving a piece of paper and pen into my hand, asking for my autograph). To donate old glasses and then see Gili for tea at work and then have a Malaysian dinner in Little Italy (Cindy picked a really good appetizer: fried tofu stuffed with cucumbers and bean sprouts and topped w/peanut sauce). To be caught in holiday shopping at Century 21, wishing silently for a man who wears colorful silk scarves and deciding I should only try on men's hats b/c my head is big.

To be clearer and clearer each day about who I am and what I want with my life. I finger clothes on the racks, some made in Italy and most in China, realizing why I have such a hard time shopping now: it's like making a commitment to something. The same reason I have a hard time even imagining anyone non-platonic in my life right now: I've made the one crucial life commitment and feel too committed to make any more. I think of how I'd like to do a performance with tons of paper strung up between trees and do paper cuts.

After spending two days on this yearly ritual, I've decided that this will be my last year of doing my manic holiday/new year's cards. I can't sustain it anymore, this creating and mailing of all this art. This root canal is such a blessing; I'm finally letting go of what is not serving me anymore (even though some of these things served me very well in the past). I am thinking of going to Venezuela in April. I am looking for a good editor. I am looking for a good photographer. I am loving Cat's Eye (thanks, Tam. What perfect timing for the perfect recommended reading). I miss the wind of Chicago and Nebraska, so unexpectedly, just as I missed the river water of New York. Moving air, moving water; I guess it all makes sense that I feel connected to both of those things right now.