Wednesday, November 23, 2005

~:P O R T F O L I O * C E N T E R:~
Since I have already e-mailed the entire planet the link to the article Portfolio Center has posted about Bjorn and myself, this story will not be news to you. Just in case, I'll talk more about it here.

I have been teaching at PC for a little under 10 years. Hard to believe how fast time goes. It wasn't until this year that I was able to teach on a more full-time basis. I spend the first part of my week there at the school (Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays), and balance that with freelance at my home office for the next 4 days of the week. It is a perfect balance of work and play. I can hardly believe I get paid to do this - basically to be myself. My 2 lives at home and at school are seamless now - and I feel no one or thing pulling me too tightly. I am free to be myself 100% in both places. It is a very nourishing place, indeed.

When working for someone else, I hated the feeling that that place HAD me for most of the week, leaving the rest of my weekends and week nights as recovery time from the damage done at work. Not a great place to be. One should not have to "recover" from their manner of making a living. Working like that felt more like enslavement after a while. I was just a person who needed to have more control and freedom. Basically, I needed something to call my own.

The decision to go out on my own was not an easy one. It took me a long time to muster up the courage to do so. Not only courage, but a belief that I deserved to be happy in the first place. Or that I would even succeed. It's amazing how fear can keep you from happiness. I am so incredibly grateful for the souls along the way who guided me through this shift. Everything that has happened, happened for a reason and it's all for good. This soulful alignment of logic and passion has brought me to this new place. I am still asking people to pinch me.

Pinch me?

Monday, November 21, 2005

~:G R A D I T U D E:~ The holiday season is upon us. Gloria, Peter and Mia are in town. We're all going up to Clayton this year to celebrate. I am always reminded of the past, of the people I love, the traditions I find comforting during the holidays. It is a feeling of being home, described in the actions of those around me - their gestures, our history, stories to tell and memories to make. It is the best of sentimentality. The kind that makes you just plain grateful for what you have. Something I wish I felt more of.

This poem by Mark Strand sums up the season for me. Our comfort associated with food. This poem is peacful, wise, calm, open to change, while cherishing the past and being in the present. Memory is fascinating. I think, food, second only to music, triggers the most memory in me. I read this poem for the first time while in undergrad. I was in Cleveland, far away from home. I read it each year during this time. Enjoy it. And peace be with all of you.


Pot Roast

I gaze upon the roast,
that is sliced and laid out
on my plate
and over it
I spoon the juices
of carrot and onion.
And for once I do not regret
the passage of time.

I sit by a window
that looks
on the soot-stained brick of buildings
and do not care that I see
no living thing — not a bird,
not a branch in bloom,
not a soul moving
in the rooms
behind the dark panes.
These days when there is little
to love or praise
one could do worse
than yield
to the power of food.
So I bend

to inhale
the steam that rises
from my plate, and I think
of the first time
I tasted a roast
like this.
It was years ago
in Seabright,
Nova Scotia;
my mother leaned
over my dish and filled it
and when I finished
filled it again.
I remember the gravy,
its odor of garlic and celery,
and sopping it up
with pieces of bread.

And now
I taste it again.
The meat of memory.
The meat of no change.
I raise my fork
and I eat.

~Mark Strand

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

~:YoWhasSupper Anyone?:~

Before you take a look at the pictures of Doug's birthday party, read his e-mail to our good friends Sharon and Paul. Sharon brought her boyfriend, Paul, for us to meet for the first time to Doug's party. He was lovely. And I suggested to Doug that we set a date for the 4 of us to get together and chat in a more intimate atmosphere. This is what he wrote:

From: doug
Subject: YoWhasSupper anyone?
Date: November 16, 2005 10:56:43 AM EST
To: Sharon, annedavnes, paul

It's the new urban-based theme dinner, taking America's milky-white suburbs by storm, the "YoWhasSupper"! Based on the scientifically-proven fact that white guilt is easily assuaged by the jocular use of ethnic colloquialisms, coupled with a healthy serving of literal and metaphorical soul food, the "YoWhasSupper" can help you, too, reinforce sweeping racial stereotypes....all while "gettin' yo' proper eat on!"

Or, we could all just get together for dinner instead. You know, whatever.

Paul, if you haven't guessed yet, Anne and I think you are just swell. Matter of fact, we've both already decided that group sex is the next logical step. Just let us know what group you want to do that with and we'll be there with a video camera, applause-meter, and metric ruler.

All seriousness aside, let's try to set a date and place. We will be out of town next weekend for Thanksgiving, other than that I will defer to Anne. I have nothing on the books at night for the next few weeks, except sleeping, which I usually reserve for later on in the evening and early morning. So why don't ya'll put something out there and we'll see?

We'd be glad to host you'n's at our place (I'll cook and clean, honey) if you want. Then we could follow dinner with any number of games, such as the ever-popular "hey, is the grill cooled off enough for me to sit on it with my bare ass?" or "let's trade punches on the nose and the first one that requires hospitalization loses" or the more tame "let's all take valium one-at-a-time until someone starts weeping about their childhood."

Well, be in touch!! Thanks so much for coming to my birthday!



Isn't he obnoxiously brilliant?!?!

I love him.
Yesss, yes. Sick of hearing about Bjorn? This one's too cute to pass up. I knit my first dog sweater for Bjorn and decided to put the Portfolio Center "P" on thte back. Sort of create a school dog sweater for him. He LOVES it. The students can't keep their hands off him. And Hank fell in love the minute he saw him in it. He wants to be the school mascot now. Want to see more photos of him?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

~:D E C O * E L E G A N T:~
I recently designed invitations for a client who wanted the work to be heavily influenced by the Art Deco movement. I instantly had flashbacks of Hank's History of Design Class at Portfolio Center - oh, about 9 years ago. (Sheese!) This image of a book cover blows me away. It could have been done today. It's busy, but understated. Complex, but with a think selection of elements that all speak to each other. This hidden and graceful language of shapes and rhythm.

So back to the creative process.... I needed to do some research to refresh my brain. As I began to work, I had just acquired (OK stole) a bunch of music by the Starseeds. I surfed for about a day, filling my head with familiar and not so familiar art deco images, all the while, listening to music that's kinda spacey, techy, funky, and modern. And then it dawned on me that the images I saw could be described with the same words. I mean, we're talking about the 20's and 30's, right? Amazing. This pattern I would like to plaster all over my house. It's even beautiful in black and white. You have structure and grace dancing. Maybe that's just what dancing is.

If you'd like to see all the images I collected (OK stole) and what I was listening to at the time, go to my dot mac site to check out the little movie I made. It will give you an idea of the inner space I was shot into while working. Sometimes I wonder if I should be in textiles. I could sit for hours and sink into patterns. And I can really sink when type and image work together to create pattern, like the image you see here. When space is designed and I find myself resting on a page, I am so relieved to find someone has worked it all out for me - all the chaos and endless of varieties of choices have all been made for me. You've done all the hard work and I follow. Design is structured passion. Man, what a combination.

Monday, November 07, 2005

~:X M A S * C A R D S:~
Every year, for the past 10 years or so, I have made Christmas cards for friends and family. It's something I love doing, and each year the task of creating something new is always fun. How many different ways can one say Merry Christmas? Plenty. Coming up with a concept and figuring out how to mass produce them each year gets me in the spirit.

I spent last weekend making our 2005 Christmas Cards. I originally wanted to silk screen them, but couldn't wait - and I think when I am ready to try that, I'll need a lot of hand-holding. Anyway, I decided to try block printing the cards. What fun! Had a great time. I have made two versions of this card, one is naughty and one is nice. The image you see here is of the nice cards. But the naughty ones will remain a secret unless you specifically ask for one. Which one would you like smiling up and out at you from within the shadow of your mailbox?

If you are not on my Christmas card list (meaning, I don't have your address and therefore, have never sent you a card in the past) and you would like to receive a card, please e-mail me your mailing address and I'll send one to you. Kisses or sarcasm and all.


Sunday, November 06, 2005

~:D O U G 'S
D I N N E R:~
We celebrated Doug's 35th birthday early with Mom and Dad this year. They took us out to Garcia's, Doug's favorite restaurant. Had a great time with a pitcher of margaritas, nachos and each other. Doug wore a silly hat and I slurred my words shamelessly. Want to see more photos?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

~:B J O R N M O U S E:~

Here's Bjorn's latest glamour shot taken during the last Papillon Play Day. Our handsome boy. Little muffin cake. BjornMouse. Muffin Mouse. Monkey Mouse. Little Muffin Boy. My Little Flask of Gin. My Little Pile of Fabric Scraps. Little Juice Harp. Muffin Tin. Muffin Mix. Punkin Pie. Monkie Pie. Pumpkin Pie Mix. Little Bird. Little Man. Pumpkin Pie Spice. Little Monkey. My Little Tuft of Pubic Hair. My Little CD Burner. My Little Toasted Sandwich. My Little Toasted Sandwich on Rye. Cheese and Crackers. My Little Basal Body Thermometer. My Little Cube of Sugar. My Little Hit of Acid. My Little Thrombosed Hemmorhoid. My Little Tin of Turkey. Turkey Baster. Turd Cutter. Sliver of Cheese. My Little Timing Belt. My Honey Mouse. My Little Man. Monkey Mouse. Sweet Little Bird. Puppy Mouse. Puppy Bird. Monkey. Mouse. Mine.

~:U U U U M M M M:~
Reference to this interesting product was found on Mary's blog and I stole it without asking her.
Check it out, girls.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

~ : C H U T E M E : ~
Tommy, forever playing jokes on me when we were kids, continued to do so well into adulthood. As we matured, his jokes grew more sophisticated. He performed these pranks on a whim of brilliance and without fear or hesitation. It was marvelous to watch and even more to be the victim of one. He'd do it all without cracking a smile. A masterful performer. It's the thing I miss most about him.

The prank that still gets the most laughs involves a scary movie, a circuit breaker, a very late night, a laundry chute, and lastly, a variety of strange-looking kitchen utensils. It happened one summer night when I was home from college. Tommy was also home and we spent that summer watching rented movies late into the night. They were fun memories. Tommy usually lasted through all the movies, while I ended up dozing off and retiring earlier than he. We'd do marathon movie sessions - rent an armful of VCR tapes and watch them back to back. Ever done that?

One night we were watching a horror movie (his favorite genre) that he had chosen. It was called Dead Ringers and came out in 1988. An incredibly creepy and well-made movie where Jeremy Irons played two brothers: identical twin gynecologist surgeons, Doctors Mantel, who shared the same life without anyone knowing. Obviously, they're screwy in the head, which makes the whole movie interesting.

These doctors specialize in female infertility. And at one point, one of them has a sculptor create a set of gynecological tools made for mutant women, like who have two vaginas or whatever. Ish! It's creepy as hell. And it was soooo well done. The beginning credits feature a red background with drawings of these tools. You don't know what they are - only that they are different and obviously custom made, had unidentifiable shapes with menacing moving parts, handles and latches. They are featured laying side by side on a red surface. It isn't until later in the film that you discover what they are and what they're for.

SO. Back to my story. We finish Dead Ringers. I'm creeped out. It must have been something like 2AM and I'm tired and say goodnight to Tommy. I sleepily drag myself upstairs, while in the back of my mind, I'm mulling over the contents of the disturbing movie I just saw. I get my PJs on, brush my teeth, wash my face, and then sit on the toilet for a few minutes or so, trying not to dose off. Our house was calm and peaceful. Mom and Dad are fast asleep. All I could hear was the whirr of cool air coming from the air vent, maybe the sound of crickets, and the muffled voices coming from the TV Tommy was still watching.

Just as I begin to dose off, I hear a loud "CLICK" and poof - the lights GO OUT in that windowless bathroom. There I am in the dark, pants around my ankles, legs tingling from numbness because I've been sitting there for too long. I'm thinking, "this is weird..." as I blink in the dark. And I sit. And I wait. As it turns out - Tommy was underneath me all that time, in the laundry room, where the circuit breaker (which he had just shut off) is conveniently located. His innocent seeeestor (as he used to call me) was sitting alone. Naked from the waist down. On the toilet. In the dark.

The next sound I hear is something I can't really describe in words. Remember the shriek the monster made just before attacking Sigorne Weaver in the movie Alien? Remember the throaty deep vibrations of Darth Vadar's voice? Or the famous "GET OUT" you heard coming from a haunted house in (was it Amityville Horror)? Well, imagine all those horrible noises combined into one shrieking roar that ended with a Vincent Price-ish cackle. Imagine all those sounds coming from Tommy's deep chest as he hoisted himself up into the hidden hole of the laundry chute in the floor of the bathroom cupboard. The very cupboard in the very bathroom where I was resting. The very cupboard that was close enough for him to growl and punch open the doors of, while reaching over to his left to claw AT MY FUCKING LEGS. For demonstration purposes, my lovely assistant, Doug, has kindly posed to better illustrate the prank.

Now try to imagine the sounds that came out of MY mouth. I was so genuinely terrified to find that monsters really DID live in hidden spaces in your house, under beds, behind curtains and within cupboards. That a monster really COULD reach out of nowhere to claw at your legs while you sit on the toilet. I screamed louder than he growled. I woke up both my parents, who were not happy to be so alarmed, only to find the whole thing was a joke. Of course, this made ME look bad. All Tommy had to do was push my buttons to get me to REACT, which got me, not him, in trouble. Always. And here we are, "adults" still playing this childish game of cat and mouse. I can tell you that if there was any shit left inside of me, he literally scared it OUT of me. Good thing I was on the toilet, no?

SO! He had a great laugh at my expense. Needless to say I had a difficult time falling asleep that night after such a rush of adrenaline. Who COULD fall asleep after being attacked like that? Well, the joke was not over. Oh, no. The cake needed one last layer of icing: The next morning, I got up really late. Stiffly shuffling out of bed and over to my bedroom door to face the very bathroom that had terrified me so mercilessly the night before, I put my hand on the door knob and look down. This is what I see at my feet on the floor - an arrangement of any odd looking kitchen utensil he could find, neatly laying side by side, with a note written by Tommy, "Doctors Mantel are watching you."