Thank you to Charles Hively and the judges from Creative Quarterly for including my "Collection of Fowl" to their 42nd Quarterly as a runner up. I am honored to be in amazing company.
Holiday party. Done! It was a lovely event with Robbie telling lots of funny tales and kind people. It was a crazy dark drive with rain combined with an NPR story on the costs of college… enough to make me drive off the side of the road. Tonight is a concert at the school. Tomorrow is a community concert.
More projects keep coming. Just when I thought I had caught up, it continues. On and on…
I am often struck with how things happen. Either it is fate, or divinely orchestrated—but sometimes the alignment of events are just so neatly planned even before they happen that I often scratch my head and take a minute to think and wonder.
One door closes and another one opens. The great step onto another plane—is at once confounding, scary and wonderful. I am inspired by Steve Job’s last words of “Oh, wow!” or a friend who left us after battling AIDS, who sat up in his bed with his face radiant and brilliant welcoming the next chapter. The second birth.
It is this time of hope to welcome God as man…the advent of this time when God was born as a tiny baby that these passings of men seem more poignant, more poetic, more hopeful of the promise this tiny baby represents. Forget the manmade frivolity and focus on this amazing symbol of hope, of energy, of life, and of the renewal of all of these things. This is the gift we are presented with every day to own and embrace.
Old week coming to a close. Since we spoke last, I have cooked up a storm, visited with people, shopped in Corning and in Waterloo, searched for shoes, and tried to sleep in between. We have had visitors from both sides of the family and lots of wonderful time with our dear girl and darling boy.
So the cooking started late Wednesday afternoon in prep for Kitty’s arrival. It was dinner and a few little things. She arrived around ten at the bus station—so Rob and I went to get her. She came home and ate a phenomenal amount of food…talking and chatting, laughing and opinionizing. Delightful. But it got late and we all had to put our heads down. Alex had friends over, so they listened to music and watched movies (which they always do).
Thursday, it was up and early. We had a dinner to put on the table, “wheels up” by 4. Everything was defrosted. The brined breasts washed, the salad compiled, the maple walnut layer cake iced and decorated. Table was set. Placecards made and placed. All went without a hitch. New refinements to this year’s even were: 1) preheat the premade gravy in advance. Use the hand/emersion blender to froth up before serving. You can add a bit more parsley at that time to freshen things up; 2) Second type of cranberry. I make the raw orange/cranberry/bit of sugar in the food processer so its chunky kind. This year I mulled some cider (about 3 c. cider, 1 seeded orange cut in half (put 4 cloves in each half (skin side), squeeze the juice into the cider, 2 cinnamon sticks…and boil.) then, I put 2 bags of fresh cranberries into the cider (you can sweeten/ I didnt) and let them pop… What with the pectin in the fruit, it makes a lovely change and alternative to the raw stuff); and 3) prior to the early gravy making with the early stock making (turkey legs and wings from t he cheap parts section of the turkey aisle at the store)—make a TON as you do use it). Stock is key to Thanksgiving. I should have put a number at each placesetting to force people to change partners at dessert…and need to remember this for the next festa. Only downside to the party was that a family member was out of line with his behavior which soured the event for me. Better planning in the future to manage this behavior is needed. Nice thing is that this misbehavior is consistent. It was silly me to expect better. Next time.
I fully engaged the boneyard moments after the Thanksgiving festivities were winding down. The full carcass of the 19 lb. organic, natural, loved turkey, and Mr. Purdue’s fresh natural breast were boiled away after roasting to yield me three enormous containers of stock for the next Turkey fest after the 25th of December. Plans are in place to have a family party of kids and their friends for more of the same…We will see.
Friday, my brother Tom, his wife, Jenny and three wonderful kids came to visit on the way home to Boston. It was great to see them, albeit a bit short as we were just beginning to get warmed up. They arrived in an enormous truck, something Hagrid from Harry Potter might have driven, the “Raptor” with my nephew who has grown to way over 6’ tall and the girls lovely and chatty. I loved seeing them. What a treat. So we had pizza and gabbed and laughed. I said wicked things to prompt them to join in, but they were so well bred, they snickered but didnt take the bait the way team Cassetti always does. The day was gorgeous…vernal with green grass, bright orange sunlight and a blue sky. It was November in SoCal, not Central New York. But we will take these blessings as they come…hoarding them as jewels. Rob and I did a quick strategic strike at the Black Friday Corning Museum of Glass sale. It was remarkable by 3 p.m. how much merchandise had been cleared out of the museum and the big auditorium with the big ticket items. I bought some drinking glasses, some glass jewelry and a few presents to add to mypile….for a great price. The big things they had were a huge selection of Waterford drinking glasses, tumblers, wine and water glasses, a huge selection of Riedel glasses, and a huge selection of the Iittala Toikka Birds at very good prices. Everything was 20% off across the board with deeper savings throughout the boutiques. It was amazing…and hopefully it will all bode well for the Museum of Glass financially. High class stuff for good prices is hard to beat and next weekend is the fabulous Studio Sale which I recommend anyone in the area to make a visit for. Well worth the trip. We will not be here, so listen…and you will hear my teeth gnashing from down south! Go and hit the dollar table…the interesting experimental drinking glasses will make your morning orange juice something to celebrate or at least, notice. Latticino spun plates and bowls, some lovely cast glass….and so on. Too fun. All one offs.
We bought new dancing shoes for Kitty and a plaid shirt for Alex at TJMaxx to their delight. Kitty was giddy with her new shoes…for contradancing and the costume shop (her new reference points). Alex, as usual, was “hitting it” and working on the new look for Fall Winter Alexstyle. We are going to take some pix for fun and put in an application for Ford Models for A. He wants to do it, and I can take the shots…why not? The worst thing would be that nothing would happen. No change from today, right? And in the tradition of our house, you should try and try and try. You never know.
Today, we went to the Waterloo outlets to get pants for Rob. This week is Art Basel Miami and Design Miami. Rob will be speaking at Musecon on Tuesday and doing some business/ meetings this week until A. and I show up on Thursday and Friday to take in some art and happenings. So we needed to get some things so that Rob could look like the grown up he is. Costuming is complete. Now for the packing for him (Florida and Manhattan, from swimwear to formal wear…sounds almost Miss America-sh). He has lots of work in front of him, but if things happen postively, 2012 will be far more interesting (and diverse/complicated).
The sky is paynes gray grading to cream to light pink to paynes grey again. We have had some spectacular sunrises and sunsets in the past few SoCal days. It would be great for things to quiet down a bit so I can put some ink down and then settle in for an hour or so of Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert Massie (who I have loved from his other biographies, particularly that of Nicholas and Alexandra). But just time with my pens would be lovely.
I hope you gave thanks with friends and family…surrounded by the people that get you revved up and going. I love this holiday of gratitude. We should have more of them. The count the blessings holidays. I am thankful we just have the one we have…but a monthly one would be great too. There will be lots to talk about in the next week. Stay tuned!
Last day before we load up the wonderbus and take Kitty back to the Pioneer Valley and happiness amongst her friends, her soon to be new friends, contradancing and new studies and focus.
Its all ramping up for the schoolyear here. Yearbook has been scheduled. Alex’s classes are good. Rob has been remarkable, coaching Alex to be a better and more focused writing. This writing process has been quite remarkable to watch. Cross Country is in full bore with breakfast for 30 for next Saturday. I think I will make yogurt and granola and fruit sundaes with bagels and juice. Sounds like granola batching this week. Then the next due date is my Sagamore presentation that I need to get charged about. We are having a group here this Wednesday for a project we are calling the Tripych.
Essentially, the Triptych project is going to be a topic we as a group will pick (the group is comprised of writers, visual artists, musicians)…and brainstorm. The next time we meet, we will all have 3 “takes” on the topic using the same media or different, same channel or mixing writing and drawing or writing and photography, photography and drawing….you get the idea. This is a group of great people who have a high quality level, and thinkers. Should be fun doing the work and getting to know the group. If we all agree, we will post a “carnival”(according to Amelia) which is that each of us post a list of links of all the respective participants.
I am chugging away on a publications project that is a stopper in the works. I figured if I would free up the space, things will flow more smoothly….next week—the short week. So onward from dawdling with you.
I got up early to get Alex to his preseason training at the Falls overlook this morning. There I was at 8 a.m. with a beautiful morning in front of me and a hour to do anything in the whole wide world I wanted to do. So, it dawned on me that I could go pick more roma tomatoes at Sweetland CSA and cook them down today/ tomorrow. Additionally, tomorrow is my in-laws’ 55th wedding anniversary, so I could get some zinnias to put in a Corning Studio Glass vase. And so, I did just that and was home before nine bells. A bunch of gorgeous pink and pink/purple zinnias went into a Bill Gutenrath inspired clear vase with a cobalt lip wrap and a striped ribbon to sparkle up the mix. I washed the tomatoes and they are cooking down as we speak. I will need to remember my foley foodmill tomorrow to get the sauce to sauce—and separate all the skins and seeds for compost. What a wonderful, beautiful thing to do before work.
My thinking on the CSA has changed from just a pick up thing to my surrogate backyard for the you pick stuff when I want to pick it (in the morning when its cool and I am feeling in fine feather). I love being out with the bees, surrounded by color and nature, fruit and flowers. Being among the tomato vines this morning was a quiet whisper of the summer. A memorable time and a celebration of this robust time of the year. I think a winter share will be in order for soup and sides. Bring on the celeriac and leeks!
I am SOOOO happy. Baka Micro took the Tower of Power away and called yesterday with solutions—not problems! And, they have thinking and planning around protecting my data and really maximizing my computer with components that are part of the system that I havent put into action (mirroring program for one). So, I am getting my computer back, fixed and ready to roll along with new systems in place and someone at my back that I have never had as the princess of Luckystone—and it is something quite affirming and amazing to finally have.
Around lunch yesterday, I was at my desk when I was wondering why a big truck was outside my window I couldnt see…the windows shook, and shook. I looked out the window to see that it wasnt the weather. The trees were quiet. And then, to find out that indeed, it was the earthquake that was felt on the east coast. I wasnt afraid…it was just something I couldn’t figure out. Thanks to Twitter, I had it figured out in seconds.
Part of the summer tribe departs today. Sad….though we hadn’t planned on the tribe of men we had here since mid July, it has been energetic and active with lots of music, talk and opinions which was fun. Plus, as a person who likes to cook, a pleasure to deliver to a happy audience.
I had a great meeting with a new company, Topography about their image/identity. Greg Kops and Danielle Klock are actively engaged in critical thinking around communications (the broad field from print, to digital media through to products and services). They come at this information in a new way, a distinctly focused on results and data along with the linguistics, and perceptions of their clients through the lense of the web. It was fascinating to hear them talk about the things that they know and practice—and particularly, they will be helping me to better understand my engagement in digital media and communications, and how best to harness and understand the power of what I am doing. Right now, its shooting in a barrel for me. Best to know at least what is in the barrel and whether it is, what I think it is. I am now more seriously engaged in gathering data from Google Analytics…and trying to push all of my tweets and blog writings to as many places as I can aggregate this information. This should be an interesting process getting to know Greg and Danielle for their company as well as the eQ. (or is it IQ?).
I am back at the font of inspiration, The Free Libaray of Philadelphia’s Fraktur Collection (note image posted) for a project I am working on. I keep coming back to the birds, the leaves and the iconography that these inspired people used. I love the beautiful palette of soft color combined with the lyrical line and child like story telling that is used. They are symmetry crazed like me. Hmm. There are some ideas brewing goaded on by the remarkable Fraktur artist, and itinerant calligrapher, school teacher David Kulp (1777-1834) or the rich and pure hymnal illlustrations from the Ephrata Community.
I am struggling with stripping the detail out of my imagery…but keeping something to make it less like big graphic shapes (which I have done a bunch with)…So I have changed sketchbook size (smaller) to work closer to the sketch size which forces me to strip out detail as there just isnt space for all of the tiger teeth etc. I just need to keep at it.
I hope Kitty will work with me today. I have a mailing she can help with. Alex is busy with tests and a tryout for Jazz chorus for next year. Tomorrow is our pick up at the great CSA. Maybe Saturday will be a strawberry picking fest to freeze a bunch for now and later. We are loving the frozen raspberries from last summer. The strawberries will be a gift too. Totally worth the effort now.
Kitty is one of my good models. As is Alex, when he is amenable. However, the light at Felicia’s Atomic Lounge was perfection on Friday evening, and Kitty obliged. I hope this is the basi of another Kitty portrait as it has the range of tone and expression that makes for good work. At least, that is my hope.
Kitty, our dancing princess arrived safely at her destination to be picked up by two of her dear friends to be whisked away to eat dinner and attend a dance at Greenfield. Tonight is the big Dawn Dance which I hope will be all she wishes and she twirls and spins to her hearts delight all night. She has the bus ride home to sleep!
Gloria has flown away, back to Los Angeles to horse and friends, work and beautiful locale. However,, Central New York is pretty matchless today. Though thunder and rain have been promised, we have a bit of an overcast day despite the sun and humidity that beats down. The purple, white and lavender wild phlox has popped, dotting our stands of big, verdant, perfect early summer ferns which right now, billow and grow. We have a piliated woodpecker that is letting us see his grandeur as he wails away at our trees. We can hear an owl and other more tropical sounds such that it prompts me to get some recordings of birds so I too, can be like a real Tburger and be able to identify the birds according to sound.
I have chicken marinating in my own version of Cornell marinade ready to grill tonight. Rob has a bit of work, being Manager on Duty tonight as Memorial Day is the opener for the summer of fun at the Museum of Glass. So, Alex and I will be laking it….and as I have a yummy new book to dive into. Its a bit grisly, but somehow summer and real crime is just so enticing. Certainly not cocktail party talk with the adults and “nice people” but more for those of us who revel in reality t.v. and tales of John Wayne Gacy.
So thats it for now. The sketchbook is beckoning.