Sunday, January 31, 2010

Better sitting than driving

I was up at 3:50am today so that Ben could get to the airport on time for his family trip to Jamaica. When I finally got the car home, took a nap, and then woke up, it had started snowing. Which sucked, b/c today was my planned trip to see Velma. We had to settle for talking on the phone a bit before postponing for Mon or Tues, based on which gets less snow, since I'm not a snow driver.

The benefits of being snow stranded at home alone: doing laundry in peace, not cooking, finding artists like Ke-Sook Lee online, researching Wikipedia editing procedure (hanji deserves a more accurate entry!), snacking indiscriminately on cookies, and not cleaning snow off the car. And I'll finally share the critical article done for my Miami show despite some of the errors. Truth: I did know my grandfather and he died in 2000. Truth: my interest in Milarepa came out of building my tower of paper bricks and talking w/my meditation teacher about how his teacher, Marpa, made him build huge stone structures and then take them down, over and over again, to work out his karma for using black magic to kill people for family revenge.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Work mounds

I am attempting to be online less and working more. Mostly, emailing less frequently and being less lazy (like, taking out the trash every night even though I have to bundle up to do it). I spent yesterday unpacking and reorganizing and getting things in order to prepare for work. Two apps go out tomorrow. Today I took an online defensive driving course, which was long and sometimes sleepy, but I actually learned a ton and they even had a whole section on Princess Diana! That was the "wear your seat belt" lecture (b/c if she had, she likely would still be alive today).

Not much else besides having read Everything Matters! before I came upstate, digging into Oh Pure and Radiant Heart, and starting The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time this morning before a short workout. All thanks to Jami, whose The Melting Season is launching VERY SOON. Also, I made a yummy salad tonight. Maybe tomorrow I will feel like I've dug myself far enough out of work to get some work done!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Final day out

This is lokta, panels of which were lining the backs of the elevator in the Museum of Art and Design, where Jeannie and I went tonight to catch the paper cutting show. I thought it was kind of gimmicky, but I think that is the tendency. It's definitely a crowd pleaser. What I loved most, though, was the Madeline Albright pin exhibit - that was quite a collection, and what drove it were all the stories behind the pins she wore: when, where, and why. It was very straightforward, and a little cramped, but delightful.

I met Jeannie earlier at the Met, and had a good time running through the shows we felt like seeing and galleries we liked best. I was so happy that the Korean art gallery was so well lit! I think this is likely b/c there weren't any pieces that would suffer light damage. I know it's important to protect art, but I get frustrated when it's so dark that you can barely see it. We had soup and a cookie in between, and she gave me a beautiful piece of her art, which reinforced one of the few reasons I would want to own a home: to display art by my friends, and all the other little things I've collected along the way.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


That was a doozy, but I trimmed away at least 100 photos and have made public the bulk of my jiseung (paper weaving) photos from Korea. WOHOO!! Time to snack on dried peppers, as a reward and stress reliever.

Slowly surely

Still tagging pics, still editing, still organizing. But feeling like big knots are being undone and lots of things being worked out. So this is good, since I need a lot of clearing out before I return upstate in a few days.

My goal for today: organizing all of my jiseung pics. But in the meantime, enjoy these fabulous photos from Ravi Kashi, who was the Indian artist that I helped to set up a 2-week residency at my hanji teacher's papermill! I am so excited to see more people on the contagious hanji path. He is also planning events to promote hanji, which proves to me that it's not something that you can just do and then walk away from.

Monday, January 04, 2010

What a Monday

Trying to do a job search and application process for someone else while also doing my own research and apps really is no fun at all. I managed to do very little on my app today besides make copies of the form, but I DID accomplish something huge: I finally organized, labeled, and made public my photos of my dyeing lessons in Seoul! It's still incredible to me how long it took for me to deal with them. Now that it's over, I can tackle the weaving set (which has about 4x more photos. Eek!).

Today's BIG DEAL was getting an unexpected package from my dyeing teacher: he sent a box of dried food (eggplant, peppers, pepper leaves, zucchini, radish, and another herb I don't know the name of) and two containers of special tea from plants of Baekdu Mountain on the Chinese/North Korean border. Plus a wonderful letter (saying that he hopes that I can get a good taste of Korea through the goodies he sent) on a beautiful card done by a Korean printmaker. I was wailing as I opened the package, b/c I had been meaning for at least a month to send him a letter (I don't think he has email) but kept putting it off. I was waiting for my artwork to arrive back from the Lake George show so that I could send something I had made out of hanji I dyed at his place as a gift. But now! There is no way to match his gift properly. I was SO touched, and reminded of how incredibly lucky I am to have met teachers like this, who truly care, even from a distance and even after time has passed. He and his wife loved that I ate their food so happily, and I remember how they would go to the mountains to pick herbs and he would dry them outside during lessons, and we would eat them at lunch, both fresh and re-hydrated.

I need to just bear down and DO things. It would probably help decrease my stress.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Greatness in the face of wind and cold

[This picture is in honor of Terttu.] I was not excited about tramping all over town today in the bitter cold and brutal wind, and it didn't help that I sleepily got on the wrong train to my sister's apt and had to then walk 20 blocks to reverse my error, while seeing a tiny woman with a cane nearly fall over in the street from the force of the wind. But it was totally worth a cozy lunch with Jami, and the luxury of being driven around while erranding with her and capping off w/hot cocoa. Hanging out w/her makes me miss hanging out with super intelligent people (as much as it scares me at the same time), and it also gives me lots of good ideas and inspiration. Plus, I was returning three books to her, and she brought me four more, so I will be totally set for my remaining not-even-two-months back on base when I return in a week.

Then I ran around town and hit no less than six stores in search of the perfect 2010 planner. Failed miserably. I'm too picky to settle on one but too stubborn to give up and make my own, as I have for four of the last five years. While killing time, I walked into a little store crammed with all sorts of goodies, and walked out with three tiny trinkets made from old furniture. I picked figures that sat on birds or alligators, with multiple hands b/c it reminds me of being busy.

Then I met Jeannie and nearly 20 of her and her sister's friends for a fabulous dinner. I learned about fishing regulations in NY, the programming for this month at the Museum of Natural History, photo paper, and how to raise and lower cholesterol through dieting. Also, one of my violin heroes was there: Jason Hwang!! I love meeting famous, talented artists who are also real, nice people. Mary picked up the entire tab in honor of her father, who had passed away seven years ago, but had always made excuses during his lifetime to have huge gatherings for meals that he would pay for. Today was his birthday. Eerie and beautiful, since Jami and I had just talked earlier about giving money and time to charity.

Now that I'm home, I'll finish The Dew Breaker before facing the work week ahead. I count my blessings: a warm shelter, a big bed where I can house my computer, books, journal, and five pillows, a full stomach, a healthy family, and the most exquisite friends I could dream up.

Saturday, January 02, 2010


Today, Ben and I checked out of the hotel and he dropped me off at the bus stop after getting me a Wawa breakfast sandwich. We boarded the bus and then suddenly were instructed to unload and board a different one around the corner, but besides a random stop in front of a Bob Evans in Jersey and another random rest stop for one passenger, it was fairly uneventful. Once in NYC, I rushed to meet Katherine and her friend Andy, and we spent hours at a cafe. It was just like seeing her in Korea except I might have chattered faster since I'm back in the English-speaking groove. I was going to have dinner w/them, too, but when I called home, it turned out that Mom had made a batch of new year's soup just for me, so I rushed through the cold and wind to inhale it. It's a Korean tradition, even though I didn't do it properly since I had it on the second day of the new year instead of the first.

Yesterday, I bolted awake at 6am in the hotel room we were sharing w/a couple friends of Ben, upset over a very recent development - someone very close to me was wrongfully terminated on new year's eve. Literally dragged into HR on a vacation day to be informed of the process of firing, and then given a phone call a couple hours confirming it. Everyone else was passed out from partying (that's my confetti gun pointed at Ben) so I raced through vindictive thoughts for about an hour or two before falling asleep again. Thank goodness for friends like Velma, who sent some comfort and words of solace and advice.

We met up w/Ben's friends and ended up at a Chinese/Asian restaurant for lunch, which included ice cream on the house. After heading back to the party house for video game action, we napped before heading to south Philly to meet Joy for dinner at a bar that served vegan food along w/the usual bar fare. She had hung out w/a mutual friend who had asked her why I go to random places to make art. Many think that I could flourish if I settled in one place, "got a job," and worked from there. But it's not time for that yet, though I like to think that I do have a plan that will unfold slowly. When I'm 80, it will all make sense.

[This was the "arts and crafts" table at the party where you could decorate your own cup. A very yummy homemade cake is under the lid in the back.] On the eve, mom got me a scrub and massage at the sauna, and I got a long-overdue haircut. We had yummy tofu soup before heading home. Ben arrived in the afternoon and we swapped out luggage before embarking on a stressful drive to Philadelphia, but got there in time for a good dinner w/his friends before their party. His friends are sweet and thoughtful and work hard to be inclusive, which involved strapping an electric guitar on me in hopes that I would rock out (I failed. Somehow my fingers forgot the five chords I used to know). Yesterday, I said, "I don't have health insurance!!" when we walked in front of oncoming traffic, so after that, they would all surround me while crossing streets to protect me. Nice boys are the best.

During the party, the boys were trying to figure out a name for the new year, and came up with Y10K. Ben decorated his party cup with sticker letters that spelled "YIOK" and Kevin used blue tape to spell it on the basement wall. Being typographically picky, I assumed they were all letters, and figured it was another William & Mary (their alma mater) inside joke. 24 hours later at dinner with Joy, Ben explained the slogan to her and only then did it come together in my mind.

Like I said before, everything will make sense in time!