Honeybees and Ham

Waiting. No biggie. But waiting for the car. Yes, I am finally getting the snow tires off my car and it has been not the single hour that I was promised but it is going on two. I was going to go back to the office between my two Ithaca appointments today...and now It feels as is the two are going to blur. Ah, well. Thank goodness there are no crazy deadlines today other than the great meeting of the Farmers' Market. And thank goodness I have discovered and changed to Google Mail, Google Drive and Google Calendar and I can use a dumb p.c. here at the car dealership and actually get work done. I like how simple and portable things are getting. Nice change, that.

We are on the verge of Grassroots. The cherries have been picked. The raspberries and strawberries are going full bore. Garlic Scapes are on the outs--and bunches of delightful dill, cilantro and basil are in the future. It is the season of produce and fruit, and we can plot the course of the summer by their  appearance at the CSA and at the Farmers' Market. It has gone from mild to hot very quickly with many fans and cold showers before sleep marking the change in the season. We have been in the lake to start our summer drifting under the high cloud bowl.

 How is it that the sky over the lake is so vast, so high, so much part of the moment, when, even on our plateau, it doesn't seem to loom above us? The water must change that relationship as it is a constant--and mirrors the dome above it. The cloud bowl has been particularly dramatic in the last week with massive cumulus clouds--changing from puffy, angels sit on them, clouds to towering castles changing from white, to pearl, to grey. It has been the sky of full on Summer--giving us cloud bursts and within a half hour, scrubbed skies.  It is the mid point of the year...and such a sweet spot that we are all trying to hang on to the quiet moments together before being spun into our respective other lives.

My America. I have been worrying about another body of work- stressing that nothing was clicking. Well it did. Rob asked my why I couldn't do something like the Advent Calendar annually and it forced me to think about the triggers around the Advent work. I guess what I love about it are all the "knowns" like palettes, distinct traditions and expectations, the iconography, the ideas and the global aspects of the holiday. I have been mulling over all of that and somehow it just pinged, American things... my America. It has symbols and colors. It has traditions and  expectations. Plus, there is more...things that have been bothering me that I think is time to surface. There are womens health issues. There is Uncle Sam. There is the religious right. There are the Masons and Mormons. There are honeybees, and hams. There are guns and grain. And so it begins. The research, the prep, the sketches...and then we are going to load the cannon and start firing to see where we go. It will be a fun ride, with I hope good results and interesting learning. I am ready for another journey--and you will be coming with me. It has been 6 months since the last big push...so I am ready (as is my portfolio).

More on this later.

moment, just a moment

Barn Owl, Q. Cassetti, 2013, Adobe Illustrator, CS5

Barn Owl, Q. Cassetti, 2013, Adobe Illustrator, CS5

It has been solid...and I have a minute to say hi. The past few weeks have been solid work with kids packed in (Spring Vacation for each), a funeral with out of towners, food planning and serving and more work. The work has been mammoth with both Rob and me working nights (seriously) and weekends with a window of a morning or an afternoon unprescribed/ unscheduled. It was quite a moment that we had to be able to get Rob a haircut last weekend. Monumental...a haircut, right?

It is still grey and rainy. My farmer friends are delighted in the mucky cold. Nothing is too hot, too fast so our lovely cherries and apples are going to have a slow birth this year to promise us buckets, bushels and barrels of fruit.  It was great to pick up our spring greens from Good Life Farm yesterday to watch sweet Melissa doing funny pet trick with her white goosy turkey, strutting about all rigid and shaking, clucking and chortling. This pet turkey is named, Bonecrusher...and to see the Bone being wrestled to the ground by bouncy Melissa was very cute and funny. She held him tight so that our friend Eric could touch Bonecrusher's (from Roald Dahl's BFG) wattles.

Rob is home. I have to go. Tomorrow, I will catch up more with you. He is working and so am I...but I will make a little time for us.

New normal, at least for today

On Saturday, the sun shone and there was gladness in all of our hearts.  We walked to the little Episcopal Church a block away soaking in the rays, and breathing in the cool, fresh air that we have been so desperate for in this season of gray.  Mary, Rob and Gloria had planned a small service with Rob, Peter, Jim all giving beautiful speeches about Ron, and Peggy delivering a sublime poem which wove the talk of poetry, music, architecture into a beautiful memory quilt.  They all touched on Ron's reach as a creative person who embraced the idea and ideals and rendered them in his friendships and his architectural work. Alex played the bass with Sevi on the piano. There were Cassetti friends and family (my sweet brothers came--both round trips from Boston and Philadelphia in their grey suits and spring ties), Alex's friends, our friends and our dear community members. We convened back at the house for food and drink with wonderful, Django Reinhardt inspired music by Eric Aceto. The doors were open to the outside, and our guest spilled out on the big back porch and into the yard with little children running around, Shady Grove happy to be catching little bits of cheese off the table, and happy people talking and enjoying themselves. I think Rob, Mary and Gloria had a good time and felt embraced by all.  I think Ron would have approved of how simple and yet tastefully done the whole production was. It was a perfect day.

Kitty went back to school early this morning and I have Alex to put on the bus at noon after we fiddle around with trying to get some paperwork completed for him to have an affordable summer at FIT studying photography. Must go, but wanted to say hello and try out this new blog format which I will talk about soon once I have an opinion, which you know I will.

This journey has many stops

left to right, Kitty, Gloria, Ron, Alex, Mary, Rob, June 2012, Trumansburg, NYTomorrow we celebrate Ron Cassetti, my father-in-law. The place is buzzing after a month of planning and talk. All the stars in the process of lining up, and it should represent him well—and to his liking. The flowers are bought and parsed into vases. Mary is  ready with a new dress, better health and the strength to take on this push. She is in command of the program, her guests, and the pacing of the day. Gloria, Rob and I have taken some off her plate so she can be on top of her game tomorrow. Gloria is welcoming her cousins (here from California) and friends—embracing that community. Alex and Sevi are planning and practicing their music. The guest book (a discrete matte black number) is purchased. The programs, printed. Rob is busy moving furniture and fluffing here and there. David is prepping and making the house look as good as it can. I am plating a bunch of food I ordered from the Regional Access and the store—so there is minimal cooking and maximal opening and styling. Nigel is being the wonder he is and helping in every vein including psychological. It should all be good.

I have been thinking about Ron’s last few days with us. He was sleeping a lot, but when he was awake, he was cheerful, comfortable and in the zone with us. However, as he got closer to the end, he would take little naps in between eating and getting up to sleep again. He was roused by Rob from one with his coming out of his haze saying that “this journey has many stops”. As Ron transitioned from one plane to the other, there were many stops—many stops we did not see and many we did. If we take that simple thought about our personal journeys having many stops—it is indeed true from the big ones of birth, death and that moment of awareness of yourself to the simple stops of coffee every morning, to the many trips to the grocery store or to the beach on vacation. The analogy of travel is lovely, linear and like time as we live it —but is that the trip Ron was on. Was he traversing the gradient, gradually moving from one place to another— leaving one behind, accepting the transition and finally understanding where he was moving to, accepting that new place and gradually letting go of the old to grasp the new?

My grandmother, Mrs. Eddy, had trips as she aged, quietly leaving us and living in her mind— mentioning travel with here long dead sisters, and did we see the trunk at the end of her bed, ready for the adventures ahead.? Did we see her sisters who had been there?  She was prepared and ready to go—leaving the dreary dullness of today for the new. Her life in her old body was not where she wanted to be, but free to travel on a boat with her two smart and chatty sisters, a trip for fun, a trip to be together a trip away from the here and into the next or the hereafter.

That journey with many stops is something we are on right now…and will continue either locked in the shells we inhabit on this plane, or in some other guise. We should embrace the adventure of simple things like coffee and conversation, to visions and vistas, to true travel both here to the store or out to the bigger world…registering all the little stops that make up a day, a week, a month, a year, a life…but not anticipiating the beyond—but taking comfort that this forward motion is something we need to accept. To go with the flow.

What a week

Summer in Ithaca, Q. Cassetti, 2013, Adobe Illustrator Cs5Things have been a bit wild around here. My father-in-law was rushed to the hospital last Friday with a significant nosebleed. He was in the hospital for a few days—and then the process of interviews, deliveries, questionnaires, phone calls and the beginning of the “new normal” began. Hospice has begun. He has moved downstairs as his movement/mobility is challenged. He is not in pain, though breathing  is challenging. He has limited time awake and conscious with most of the time asleep. We are all trying very hard to wrap our heads around this change…and it is stressing us all out in different ways. Everyday is different—and all of our independance is challenged as Mary and Gloria need time to tend to their lives as well. This week with Rob is going to be tough as he is seriously busy and travelling, so I feel I will fill that gap as well as I can. I have set up a Caring Bridge site (a wonderful service that is private and allows a family to talk about  a family member who is sick/ailing/challenged etc to a wide community of friends—essentially making the same “phone call” over and over again…and keeping all the friends and wellwishers up to date with the status quo. I have taken this on….and I hope its been helpful for Ron and Mary’s friends. To learn more about Caring Bridge (www.caringbridge.org)

Rob has been busy moving furniture, making beds out of sofas, moving trip hazards, supporting the change next door in a broad physical way. He also has been very kind and open with his dad and mom…spending time with them and sweetening the sadness that we all have. Lightening the moment with stories and popcorn. He is such a wonderful guy.

We got an impressive amount of snow on Friday. Its been grey until today which has given us a blazing blue and white day to relish the snow bouncecard effect on the light, and the lovely blue shadows we have here on our plateau.

I am rounding the corner on a lot of projects from the candle packaging for “Bee of Life” (using one of my bee goddesses as the image and I created a hive texture and my bees as a complement and background for the paper labels) to Sagamore’s Benefit event package graphics. My big client is bending and changing, and we are bending and changing with them. I am working on box graphics and some vintage related publications for Forge Cellars, updates on the packaging and new ideas for Redbyrd Orchard Cider. The Piggery seems well on their way with new programming and promotion (their BaconFest was a huge success) with Valentines Day seatings filling up, and plans for a St. Patricks Day Sausage Fest on the horizon. Good Life Farm is ramping up for Asparaganza this spring, so we have had a meeting about that…and putting plans in place to support this event. The Farmers Market has sent out applications for vendors (I think I may be a day vendor for a few of the markets just to sell my little thises and thats along with cards)….but we will see.

Creatively, I am a bit shot. I wish I had the zing going on that the Advent work had, but given the changeability of the moment, I am just happy to make little creature doodles in my notebook and focus on the work at hand (teasing out a content review of a website for one) to make psychic room for the extra stuff. I have also decided to spend time learning new things, so I am trying to do a few Lynda.com tutorials during the day to keep my head in the game…and learn something that can make me more productive etc. Plus, I love my digital tools….and the more I learn, the more fun it gets.

Bookends

Alex Cassetti, August, 2012, on the back porch, Q. Cassetti.As I have mentioned before, the new parents are not handed a care and feeding manual when  leaving the hospital to prepare them for the new life ahead. However, many parents despite the lack of information, learn how to parent, learn how to raise/ praise/ reward/ and grow these little beings they have been blessed to foster. I was one of those people who were surprised into parenthood. The time with these remarkable people sped us through almost two decades…so that time before kids is my B.C/ A.D. And just as quickly, the time changes…as they need to go on, and bridge into their own lives with our support and coaching, but not as core players.

Alex is gone and now is situated at Hofstra, being enlightened by the diversity of people, the joy of a new community of like souls, and the freedom of choice, freedom of time, and self focus. He was just a wee bit tentative, but as we were saying our goodbyes, he turned to both of us and said ” I think I am already homesick. You know, I had it really good in Trumansburg.” Just when I thought he took it all for granted, just as he was getting ready to plunge into the unknown, he had the grace and inspiration to gift us with that wonderful sentiment. Not only did he appreciate living in this charming little town, but we loved having him here with us. It has been a remarkable two years allowing us time with him as our only child with Kitty at Hampshire.

We became a new team watching sports with Alex and loving every minute. We took him out to see bands we thought he would like. We had weekly bro-fests with his friends—with food, video games and gossip. We had boy sleepovers and cast parties. We had sausage fests and cross country events. We had sports banquets and musical performances. We had Prince Dauntless and Ike Skidmore. We were treated to Alex’s back seat comedy impressions and hilarious serenades from musical theatre. We froze squirrels for Elly. We went on double dates with Alex and Elly—movies, dinners, pizza. We drove all over. We shopped and planned and talked. We were there for each other. You can guess it, I miss him.

After leaving him to start this new chapter, it took me the better part of three days of being silent to process this change. Not only did Alex have a new world, so did Rob and I. We had a nice life before kids, 12 years of just us doing what we wanted to do together. We traveled. We lived in different places. We had friends (albeit nothing like the life we have now). But this amazing two decade slide from Q and Rob as couple, to Q and Rob as parents, has changed us as the team that we are. We too, have changed and continue to evolve.

It makes me nuts that having your children leave is called having an “empty nest” as the grown birds never return. I was musing on that during the last lake float that I had—and it dawned on me that Rob and I were bookends for our family. We are on the left and right, with just the right amount of space between us to accomodate two delightful books that need a bit of help to stand up. The bookends squeeze the books just to allow them to be vertical— keeping the binding and the paper in the best possible way. When the books are borrowed or are no longer between the bookends, they keep that same space, waiting for it’s  purpose to come back…to support, to accomodate those publications. That is where Rob and I are. We are the bookends, holding the space for Kitty and Alex…and we should learn to scootch together for the time they aren’t here, so we can support each other and relearn our new role as US, versus as the parent role that we have assumed.

The High School is back in session. Everyone has moved forward a grade…and my boy has moved forward too. Its going to be a wild ride for him from now until Christmas—and the work will be hard. I know he can do it. I have to watch from the sidelines and cheer—even if he cannot hear me.

puzzling

Soon to be for Sale at Qtoo on Etsy.The gang have gone to the Big Splash event in Stewart Park and I am blissfully washing towels, charging my iPad, making coleslaw and thinking about the iconic aspects of roses. It was similar yesterday—and I revelled in not having deadlines, plans or schedules. It was just nice being….reading, and at the end of the day floating…until the Bros came over and I made a nice but pretty informal and quick dinner to entertain them.

I am making these cameos (see to the left) and shooting pictures on my windowsill with a point and shoot and then using the photoshop skills (once in a while this sort of thing is nice to really have chops in)—to create images to post to Etsy for the soon to be Qtoo Shop. There will be jewelry and tattoos, cards, and sticker sets, and of course, tattoos. The more I think about Q designed/ illustrated tattoos (particularly the big ones) I think there is a cool niche that could happen not only as one offs, but for wedding parties, anniversaries, etc. And, the darker the better though seed package art might make some cute tats as well.  Both Alex and Rob are not enthused about this, but it is keeping my mind off of where my head is these days with the travel and changes about to happen.

I must be a bit depressed, I think, from the change in the near future. No more kids full time. You have them, raise them and put them first in all you do from cash spends to time spends— and then, they are gone. I am sounding selfish, I know—but when “THEY” give you the baby to take home from the hospital, “They” do not give you a book on how to nurture and raise this person, what to watch out for, how to behave, how to react, how to plan, how to care. “They” do not give you a roadmap of the key “decision diamonds” (corporate speak, impressed?) on this persons path from zero to eighteen. And as we adults stumbled, and fumbled, our little ones raised themselves with breakfast, lunch and family dinners, with little vacations and time at the lake, with the picking and loving of pets, music, art and books on tape to become the fledglings that are leaving our nest…and with that my fear the bumpy road ahead. Why is it that I hesitate in trusting this person who I trust implicitly? Why is it that  I fear for their personal fumbles? Why is it that I worry about the unknown? What can I do to help my fledgling get out of the nest and point his head into the wind to soar? I worry at this change—and am at the same time puzzling over all the new time I will have to be selfish with. More time for pictures. More time to date my boyfriend husband. More time to get myself together. It could be a wild marvel and opportunity and I should try to focus on that than the fear and trepidation I have for my kids. Number One is flying. Number Two is ready….He just needs to jump…and I need to let him (and applaud!). I need to treasure the time I have with them together in the next few weeks and then try to let go. I think I can do this…. I know they can. Deep breath.

flurries

Farmers’ Market Mercantile on Main Street, Q. Cassetti, 2012Grassroots came and went. It was a few hot days and a few moderate days with nice music, an opportunity to visit with Kitty and Alex and friends, and the chance to see some of the sidebar activities which I now think improves the Grassroots experience (at least for me). I met a lovely person new to the community who knew me from my blog and work (which was a bit undoing as she had the pulse on the here and now of what was going on with my life). We saw all sorts of old Trumansburg friends, and made friends with folks we knew but really had a chance to talk and engage on a different level. The Horseflies were amazing as was Jenny Stearns (with Leah and Amelia being part of the Fire Choir). We loved Mary Lorson’s set in the Cabaret Hall…and the pick up music in the new beer garden (for this year). The Stringbusters arrived on their own and played an unscheduled gig to all of our delight. Plus, it was really nice just hanging out with my boyfriend…and taking it all in. I am so blessed with such a great companion and hubby.

I am immersing myself in folk art. Gotta get going on some images, and need a trigger, a push to get it going. I have been sidetracked by the cameos and plan on getting them to Etsy soon to move it from a crazy obsession to a cash factor. They are beautiful and by combining different charms, they begin to tell little stories that I am enchanted by. Stupid, I know, but none the less charmed.

I am looking at Alexander Girard and books from the Girard collection of the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe and hoping that this will force my hand to move and ideas to flow. We will see. If not, the funny tattoos I am doing for a few bands will have to be the trigger to do more work…even if it is a body of tattoos just to get really good at it. They have been fun as I can use all the cool tools I love in illustrator, and work with making the type really sing. Who knows, I could be on the train…and not realize I have left the station. Plus, there are more 1 hour portraits to do. The newest Lincoln is at the top of the page here>> Next one, Susan B. Anthony.

Another flurry begins tomorrow. Just to confirm, no one ever said this was going to be the most relaxing summer on the books. Matter of fact, it is right up there with the nuttiest.

Alex and Rob leave tomorrow p.m. to pick up Kitty to evacuate (“check out”) of her dorm in Manhattan. The FIT folks were inflexible (but maybe that is okay as Kitty didn’t get clarity on when she needed to be gone. The last thought she had was well into August, so we planned accordingly). Kitty will be sitting in the lobby with her stuff until the boys can come and get her after the ribbon cutting Rob is participating in at the Museum tomorrow a.m.

I will follow end of day on Friday on the sublime and fabulous Cornell bus (Campus to Campus), getting into NYC at 10:30 p.m. We will have the weekend in NYC with Kitty and Rob working on Governors Island with GlassLab. Alex and I are free so we may do a little “be in the city” tutorial with map reading, location identification, and subway/bus riding. I offered up a few options and surprisingly, this was the one that struck Alex as fun…or maybe not fun, but the right thing to do given his new status as Hofstra student. Then Monday, get Alex out to Hempstead to have a 3 day orientation at Hofstra.

We will bring Kitty home—and have Alex take the coach back from Long Island to Ithaca for the first time. He is not liking that idea very much…but hey, we cannot be a prince forever.  Time to grow some wings….who knows, he might like it. There are direct buses from Hempstead to Ithaca…so it cannot be that bad..unlike the chutes and ladders Kitty needs to climb in order to get home to Central NY.

We will all be together again next Thursday/Friday…and maybe we can have a few weeks of being together, enjoying each other’s company, the lake, the cloud bowl, our pets, our ideas and thoughts. This time will be a treasure…bliss. Looking forward to it.

Wow.

Alex Cassetti, June 21, 2012, Graduate, Charles O. Dickerson HS, Q. Cassetti, 2012Simply madness. I have been at it so much that I havent had a chance to say hello. I am so sorry for being such a deliquent, but these things happen as I am sure you know. Running and running. Work and filling in the gaps with driving, going to the grocery store, and trying to keep up with all the extras that are out there.

There have been family health issues (large scale under our roof) and of course layered on it was a visit from Kitty, and a graduation for our boy, Alex. Graduation was great. Alex was so happy, just plain bursting with it—and the relief and joy in the recieving of his diploma was palpable. It is a real smile you see in this perfect picture of a graduate. He was delighted to have accomplished this, delighted to be with his friends and family, and delighted to move on. So, the moving on has started and we have pencilled in his Orientation, his  tests and prework, his doctor’s paperwork, moving the transcripts etc. We are moving the show from Trumansburg to Hempstead, LI.

The tenor guitar is ordered and should be here by the end of the week. He is tickled pink with the idea that I got him the guitar versus the watch he kept telling us he needed to recieve (somehow that is all wrapped up in his “old fashioned boy” thing he has in this mind). The “old fashioned boy” was a thing he did as a kid, where he would wear antique newspaper boy hats, type on a manual typewriter, carry a pad around his neck to keep notes on, and want to wear vests and ties. He has this idea that being  the “old fashioned boy” (his term) was somehow befitting breeding and intelligence. Same thing with the watch. He told us that if we gave him a watch for graduation, he could wear it when he got married and then he could say that he got it from his parents at his HS.graduation. I say phooey on that stuff. Get a tenor guitar, learn to play it and tune it a zillion ways and be happy. Then you can play your guitar at your wedding and say “This is what I got for my HS graduation, and look at what I can do!” . And my old fashioned boy grins, smiles and prods me for when it will deliver. I expect a song!

Kitty and Kira, June 21, 2012, Q. Cassetti.Kitty was talking a mile a minute about everything that she has processed for the past three weeks. Lets put it this way, FIT has been amazing money well spent. She is revelling in sewing, and puzzled and inspired by the draping course she is taking. She gets it…and is pushing herself to try new things, go beyond what is being assigned in class. She is delighted by slopes, grades of muslin, all the measurements and dimensions one needs to add or subtract, the import of a puffed sleeve….and so on. She is puzzled by “real girls”, what they do for fun, the need to curl their hair, zebra patterns and high heel decorations, hot pink and nail decals. She is puzzled by the club scene, by the inability for people to see the world as she does—and the pronounced focus she has on gender identities and roles that Hampshire so happily celebrates. It is a bit unnerving for her, but as part of a balanced education, she is getting a whole lot of something from the polar extreme of the Pioneer Valley.

I have to go. I have some driving to do to get Alex and Elly to a graduation party. Then its Farmers Market (#3) and we have people to see, photos to take, Kimchi and mustard to buy. Then, hopefully, it will be a glorious time in the later evening lakeside with the fat bumblebees, magenta sweetpeas, and a blazing sunset. Tomorrow, my friends.

A day of presents

After Ambrosius Bosschaert, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5There was a fresh young squirrel neatly left at my doorstep this morning. Dead, but not disturbed in any way. A beautiful little thing with his amazing paws with lovely pink pads and soft coloration. What to do with him? Toss him in the compost as usual…but somehow that didn’t seem right. In the spirit of a friend who told me the “waste not want not” tale of his own, I decided differently. This friend was really unhappy with a rather robust groundhog who had burrowed his way under the fence to attack my friend’s garden. Fresh vegetables were the prize.  My friend was not going to allow that sort of tresspassing—so he pulled out his beebee gun and shot the culprit dead. This same friend feels that if you take a life, you should take energy from it…and so proceeded to skin and dress the groundhog, place him neatly in a roasting pan, and put the whole thing in the refrigerator for his lady friend to roast for dinner. He said it was tasty.

So, in that same spirit, I was thinking that maybe Elly’s hawk, Tucker, might think that this offering might be a mighty tasty snack. Poor Tucker is stuck in his hawk house during the spring and summer as he could be tempted to fly away—and so is constrained when he goes out and hunting is off the table until it gets colder. The taste of wild meat might be just the thing compared to the little bits of gizzards Elly produces for him. Our little offering went into a freezer bag and he is nestled among the bags of frozen kale and boxes of chicken stock for just that purpose. No roasting pan here. Just the real deal for a real raptor.

Another gift is that today is  Rob’s birthday. He is a present everyday to those of us who are proud to be his family. I hope there are lots of nice things in his day to celebrate how much he means to us. Happy Birthday dear boy.

Really nice illustration news! Nancy Stahl, a teacher at Hartford and a Vector Queen, just was admitted to the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame for 2012 along with R.O. Blechman, John Collier, Ludwig Bemelmans (Madeline books), Edward Gorey and John Sloan. Talk about an amazing lineup…and it is so wonderful Nancy has been recognized for her beautiful illustration and work with the US Postal Service. Her illustration work is sublime—elegant and simple. She is the bar for all of us vector princesses as she keeps churning out inspiring work to all of our delight.

Would love to stay and muse with you. But, time is ticking. Today is CSA day and I have to get Kitty squared away with residence documentation etc. gotta go.

Tattoo You

Tattoo You, Q. Cassetti, 2012, black and whiteNew tattoo. I am having two done…one of this lovely swallow (pretty big, 2”x2”) and a heart one that is about the size of a business card. Psyched. One more in the works, a bee… 1.5” x 1.5” that can be applied as a singleton or as a group. Next stop is a coaster or two to make sets, and maybe sell them. What with the raft of weddings and parties for all these wonderful women I know, coasters and tattoos will be nice adds to the offerings. Maybe a button too?

I have been cruising on a design/illustration time. I have been really hunkering down on a few projects and enjoying the focus and flow of the work. Plus, it is all for people who will like this work (or so I feel it in my bones). I have a bit more to do in the next few days…and then it will be a wrap.

Tonight is DJAQ’s Dance Jam. We are expecting around 60. Alex says the only offering should be water, however, thanks to Nick (a friend) we will need to have snacks—so I plan on getting to the store to buy out the chips and nibbles. Rob will be working on paperwork, so I will do the same with Farmers Market fun.

This blog is going to take on a few more links, tweaks and changes. Keep your eyes open.

Cheers.

New Year, new day.

Sketch, Q. Cassetti, 2012We are back from a lengthened trip to take Kitty back to Hampshire for Jan Term. We swung by Mass Moca with a treat (staying at The Porches Inn) complete with a little sleep, a lot of art and some swimming in the pool and hot tubbing outside in the cold New England air. We had a great time with Kitty and Alex— lots of talking, laughing and really enjoying being in each other’s company. Alex regaled us with his impromptu interpretation of the the horrible books they read in middle school… causing us practically to wreck the car with his funny insights and focus. Kitty wanted to talk about how she is changing/growing and how that could fit into her education and what she is discovering that she may want. What an evolution from the girl we looked at colleges with.

We drove down to Hampshire on Monday on the most spectacular road…taking in the sights of the Mohawk Trail….the mountains, the valleys, the hairpin turns, the goofy souvenir stands (selling moccasins!) (the best being one with an enormous polychromed native american chief to beckon you in for a treat). It was great just getting a dose of new terrain, new places—without having a definite deadline against it. All of my “vacation time” (and Robs) have been involved in looking at colleges, going on college tours and going to and from college as part of the shuttle bus. It was nice to have this as an option (along with our mini trip to Miami) just to change the channels. Would love a week of that. Love.

I kind of hit the wall with teenaged and college aged boys late last week. It started with one of them eating all the homemade breadcrumbs for Christmas eve prep for dinner and climaxed with eight guys lurking around my kitchen all day eating anything within eyeshot and then leaving all their detrius…moving on to more and more and more. I was overwhelmed after working and confronting this wall of masticating men…I immediately became dehumorized and needed to shut down. Unfortunately, with all of this pre Christmas, post Christmas gathering of the “Bros”, it took the quiet time we normally have together and tossed it out the window. I gotta make some plans to make sure this doesnt happen at such volume next December. I can appreciate the need to gather, to eat, to bro-it-up….but starting at 11 a.m. and then finishing at 3 a.m. with heaps of sleeping men for days…is just a bit overwhelming. Yes, I did approve this all…but it then took on a momentum I didnt anticipate.

We have the ACT done. We have the Hampshire application done. We have interviews at Hampshire and Landmark scheduled. We will have the Landmark application done this week. Alex is commited to change with Landmark and wants to sharpen up his skills to let him succeed in a four year program and is articulating why he is looing forward to Landmark and then the next chapter once he has gotten his chops sharpened up. He is a remarkable person…so self aware. He is a solid, centered person that I adore and want the best for.

The New Year has clicked into that of 2012. So much happening from a few graduations, a few weddings, a prom(!), travel for us and the kids (together and separate), and change galore. I do not feel that happy anticipation of the year ahead…and need to get my head there. I want a creative shot…and something I can run with… I hope the New Year will inspire that. 

and now the day begins. Work waits.

Back in the Saddle.

Kitty and Tucker, Q. Cassetti, 2011It was full tilt through Christmas. We had a nice day together with everyone loving their presents and loving being together. It was food food and food. The best, to my thinking, was the smoked salmon I opened for lunch…but the cooking and food for dinner was good. I would have changed some things but that is past tense. We had a delightful time with our friends with lots of laughs, ideas, and even Alex and a guest playing music together.

Yesterday, we had lunch at Moosewood (the famous vegetarian restaurant) which we have not graced for a decade at least. They had the BEST ginger tea concoction that Kitty and I happily had. I swapped a book for the Mark Bittman 

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food— so thematically we had a vegetarian date with Kitty, Alex and Elly.  We were at the wonderful, handpicked and edited selection of books at Buffalo Street Books. I bought Kitty a pocket moleskine calendar and a wall calendar featuring treehouses that she was squealing about. I splurged and bought an inspiring, Provensen zone illustrator/ artist, Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life  I got to see a ton of his work at the Lab of Ornithology at Cornell (his birds) and was struck by his simplicity and graphic quality of his illustration. A kick in the pants for this chick. Here is a google search on his work>> I mean…look at Harper’s work and compare it to the ever famous, ever visible Eric Carle. Similar? (I would go so far as to be better..better design, better style though I love Carle).

Bassett, Charley Harper“I don’t think there was much resistance to the way I simplified things. I think everybody understood that. Some people liked it and others didn’t care for it. There’s some who want to count all the feathers in the wings and then others who never think about counting the feathers, like me.” Charley Harper

Don’t you love him? Check out his site>>

We picked up Kitty’s Christmas ring (resized). And then, on our way home, Elly invited us to see Tucker, her hawk…which we did along with seeing how she works with him to fly and return to her. Kitty gave it a shot (picture above). It was a real treat with this brilliant bird swooping down out of the tall trees to land gracefully on Elly’s glove (for fun and a big meaty treat).

Today, I am back in the saddle at the office. I am hoping to get on the small farm brand I have committed to. I have knocked down several ouchies on my list that kept sliding off…so there is hope.  Tonight we hear the Stringbusters at Maxis with hopefully movies afterward (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

More later.

Finish line time.

From the early encyclopedia, Liber Floridus, around 1121, Ghent University LibraryIts all coming up. Coming to fruition. The potatoes are peeled. The presents wrapped. The stream of young men and women coming to gather (we had a crew until 2 a.m. of around 10) with roaring laughter, shouting stories and great hilarity in general —so the stream of snacks and dinners keep coming. Once again, thank goodness for the big hunks of pork I cooked down to make barbeque a few days ago. Breakfast this morning for the troops had Kitty and Laura cooking up banana pancakes and pillsbury cinnamon rolls that were devoured within seconds of being pulled out the the oven.

All the prep is almost done. I baked and iced a carrot cake. Lovely. The fishes are purchased (salmon, oysters and crabmeat) which will be: a broiled salmon with parsley and white wine, oysters are baked with breadcrumbs and garlic (will make two ways), and a crabmeat casserole that is my sister’s recipe. There is a torta (potato leek tart). There will be green beans and another green. No one wants a fancy breakfast, so I have some stock thawing to make a nice soup for lunch. Celeriac soup?

We are soooo lucky that it is cold out now so I can use the garage as my prep space for tomorrow. The cake is setting up, and I plan on making a few more things that just will need to be baked off tomorrow a.m./ early p.m. There is something to feasting in the cold weather months with the add of the back porch and garage storage. Makes everything so much easier. Maybe Santa could put a walk in freezer in my stocking?

Lou Jacobs, Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey CircusMy friend Amy Brill stopped by unexpectedly last night and we had such a nice visit—catching up on her world of family, fashion and friends.  Her fashion site is here>> Her fun blog is here>> She is doing very well with her clothing lines and is in a ton of stores with an online presence at Artful Home. Amy is always full of energy and enthusiasm—inspiring me to pickup my morose self and try to see the good out there and be grateful. She has had some big life challenges in the last few years and she has been a model for how to hit the tough spots with grace and energy. Now, with all that behind her, she seems poised to launch into 2012 with so much to look forward to.  We talked about present things, about past things, about local things, and about world things. All provocative and very entertaining. And beyond the gift of her time, Amy brought me amazing presents…so sensitive and thoughtful of her. She brought me three totally rocking vintage circus posters (you have heard me rave ) from her collection. Two were amazing type and the last was a prized clown poster accompanied by a photo of the famous clown, Lou Jacobs, who Amy worked along with in her past. If that wasnt enough, she brought this totally hilarious little book of line art with very curious and funny captions. I plan on scanning and sharing with you soon as it will, I am sure, delight you as much as it did me! I am so lucky to have  had such a nice visit with such a remarkable woman. I have a lot to learn from her which she gives so generously. She made my day!

It is nice to have a moment of reflection. A year has passed. Kitty and Alex keep growing and changing. I love what is happening with them, their lives, their friends and the problems that pop up and how they solve them.They are such nice people and I am blessed to have them as part of my life.  Rob is wonderful and keeps doing remarkable things that change people’s way of thinking, living and learning. He has been so additive in his job at the museum, his role on the village board and the various small projects he is engaging in in Trumansburg. It keeps getting better for him. My life would be an empty shell without him.

Jacob K. joined us this summer and now this winter. We now have another member of the tribe along with E. his friend and another team member.

Gloria has moved along with Justin and they seem to be not just liking it, but loving it here. Ron and Mary are healthy and still are able to do what they have to do. I am the same though I must admit, I find myself a bit stale with my work and the sluggish content my illustration has been taking. Lesson from this year’s advent calendar, is that I cannot just work on a style independant of content…if the content of my pictures is nominal, they really don’t  sing visually nor spiritually for me. I missed the toothiness of Christmas by pursuing a cut paper tradition and trying to be more responsible to that style. Onward to the kitchen to keep plugging away at “it”. If I have a chance, maybe a bit of drawing too? Styling exercises need content too…as does the illustrator need time away from her desk to have her brain relax to get into this sort of thing. I need more me time…in the next year.

Speaking of me time…time to mash some potatoes. Have a jolly Christmas Eve and Christmas.

New week on the horizon

scherenschnitte1. Q. Cassetti, pen and ink, 2011Old 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.

Eddys and Cassettis, November 25, 2011Friday, 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, example of Iittala Toikka Birdstumblers, 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!

Lovely Fall Back

Here I am at the ultimate chic Maguire VW to have my car get a check up and lo and behold, there is this lovely computer room, free snacks, teevee, nice chairs, windows and not a cigarette butt in site. How remarkable. I am so impressed, I want to have my car serviced weekly. Maguire really is impressive.  No greasy vinyl chairs tucked between the humming soda machine and a stand ash tray with the battering ram sounds coming from the garage and the endless chat of the owner of the shop on the phone. Now its the car spa…blonde wood, free iced cream and teevee. Glorious.  And the folks are really really nice too. And, with the time I thought I would be dawdling, I can dawdle a bit with you.

I seem to be able to get through my lists these days—taking on more new stuff and being able to get through it without having to do nine or ten iterations on something really simple (like a two color mouse pad that was the recent project of note). We are getting the lineup of a lot of people who want to make their year-end bonuses by finally figuring out they need to get things done that they hadn’t thought about until now, and they need them figured out, designed and produced by December 1 so as to print and distribute by January 1. Screamers. And many of these folks are not our focus customers, so its a bit disconcerting as I really want to say no to quite a few of them as I do not want to have to work Thanksgiving and the day after on someone else’s lack of planning. Urg. Enough of my complaining.

Alex posted some music to the web yesterday—mashups that he created with some audio scrap and work of a rapper online. He is smiling and happy as he is getting some great response (including the rapper who saw a post on YouTube—and was psyched by the work). I need to get Reason, a software package for him for the holiday (along with their software that really allows you to untangle the layers of sound and pluck out snippets to work with. It is great to see him delight and have motivation around something he is getting recognition for. He is talking about how easy these mashups are and how he is done with it. So, both Rob and I are pushing for a body of work so he has an hour of original work to play with the incentive being an exclusive DJAQ (his DJ name) party/event. There is some interest in that…and if its so easy, 75 new mashups should be in the works. If John Thompson told me I would not be an illustrator until I did 500 illustrations, I would say the same around audio mashups. Then we can move on…But recognition for his work and the sheer joy in having others enjoy our work is something I want him to have more of. We all can relate to that (particularly those of us who blog and post our work). I hope there is more of this in the future.

I must admit, I love fall back as much as spring forward. I love the velvety darkness in the evening and being in our snuggly house with the woodstove fired up in the evening with tea and company. It is such marvelous sleeping weather, I am feeling much sunnier and revv’d up. Now, the sixty degree weather and chrome yellow leaves on the trees cannot hurt things either. But we have had a glorious fall—perfection—that to have it extend a bit further into November is something I do not take for granted.

Rob is working late tonight. Leah, Alex and I are going to pick up our two pig shares (1/2 pig each) to our delight. I think there might be some bacon for dinner. Yes!

And then more mailing list correction, amendments and changes.

Game changer

Fatline Experiment, Q. Cassetti, 2011What a day yesterday was! Exhausting and quite startling.Lots of information delivered that is going to take some time to process, fully grasp and be able to act on it. It was amazingly stressful (second time) but after a nights sleep, it seems more tangible. We have lots of new work to do…for the betterment and improvement of the quality of learning for our boy.

It is good to be back to the nine to five (the eight to eight…but who is counting) with Shady and the Cats, and potential to make meatballs after work tonight. 

I have a bunch of project refinements for today. Have some printing to do for the Library project. There are a ton of little hangie things…that I would like to get resolved.  Fat line work continues….we will see.

It is the world’s loss that Steve Jobs (1955-2011) has left us….richer for his insight, ideas, imagination and drive to make personal computing personal, entertaining more personal, and our lives, more interconnected through his tools that he has left us. How many people can single handedly change the culture in so few years as Steve Jobs, providing leadership and money to take the risks, to take on the culture bred in the industrial age, and transform it to the information age? How many leaders embrace design as a way of doing business versus the flourish or cherry on top the way Jobs has with Apple and Pixar— moving creative people to be equal to that of the business boys, and money folks. Steve Jobs “got it” and through modelling this risky, “why not”, brash behavior, changed our world for the better. It is rare when an individual can be cited for this truly paradigm shift. Steve Jobs was one who we can point to—and say that he was someone who really made a difference. He made the world a brighter, bigger community—linking us all, changing our way of doing things…connecting us electronically. He shrank distances and grouped people. He changed what communications mean…and how we communicate. He established the new global village.

Heaven is richer with him amongst the angels. Wireless….! RIP.

Keyhole backwards.

Vecdtor doodle, Q. Cassetti, 2011If you were to describe the perfect autumn day, you would describe today. Cloudless sky. Perfectly brilliant, “lets take a portrait” sun, with the leaves all on the verge of color…many of them still lush and green, but the horse chestnuts are yellow as the maples begin their progression towards crimson. We were up and going before the sun came up—so we had the show of pinks and cream on the farm horizons as we sped towards Rochester for an 8 a.m. appointment. Today was the final leg of getting some clarity on how  A. learns and we got an interesting summation which explains a lot of what we have been seeing both in his work, and the way he takes in information. It has been so worth it—but surprisingly emotionally draining for all of us. If the boys feel anything like I do, we have all been dragged through the keyhole backwards….and are just trying to get our heads, our hearts and our understanding all in line. The come away is that our A. is an amazing young man who has been fighting the good fight without the benefit of my understanding and protection. That is going to change right now. I am not a really happy bunny about all that is past and will coach others to not do what I do…but to get on it and not to trust any institution to do anything beyond the status quo. When I write those checks in September to the school—it doesn’t feel real sweet. Status quo is the best we can do for our kids….its about getting through and not necessarily about either enjoying learning or even learning to learn. Just getting through. However, moving forward, we have things to do, things to change, things to try.

We had a very interesting time talking with the Rotarians about their exchange program last night. Alex interviewed and we should find out if he makes the cut in a day or so. From that, more interviews…and then we will see. I hope something like this could happen for him. If not, we will dive into other programs that do similar things. It is an involved program that seems to really cover all the bases. We should have some idea of where we are going mid November or so. We also have the college applications to do…so busy…YIKES>

I have Rob to myself this p.m. Alex is off to play practice. Then tomorrow night, Rob has town government, and I have Alex. We all  have each other on Friday. Saturday through Monday, Alex goes with his class on a trip to Cedar Point, Ohio to ride the huge number of roller coasters. They even have one in the dark! Lucky boy.

Steve Brodner sent a lulu of a great sketch exploration on politico, Art Pope. Check it out>> I love the display of reference, the sketch process, how youtube can give you expressions that a still might not…and then the final piece. Sweet process…totallly a pro. He rocks.

The big fat pen continues to move.

Together

09.24.2011, Baldwinsville, New York: TBXC Varsity (left to right) Ben Maracle, Alex Cassetti, Cal Randle, Tyler Sutherland, Alex Kenny, Steven Dunn, Kevin VanDeldenWe went up to Baldwinsville yesterday for the annual Bee Ville XC meet. Always a favorite for the team but also as a parent as the course is so beautiful and the anniversary quality that this meet evokes. We have been going to BeeVille since Alex was in seventh grade with the little modified runners, so this being his senior year, we have been able to compare from year to year to measure his growth as an athlete, as an individual and as our boy. How wonderful and bittersweet. Tyler Sutherland was, to use Alex’s phrase “killing it”—bringing home a very good time and finish being the first of the group of varsity runners. The shorter guys in the middle of the shot were the lead dogs in this race. Double excellent as they are sophomores and juniors—so the team has some terrific horsepower for a couple more seasons!  They all seemed to have a jolly time with good results and great comraderie amongst themselves. So, the season is on, the season of brotherly love and friendship, hard races but good times. Sweetness on the edge of frost. The dualities are remarkable.

I guess I was wiped out. We got home and I decided to take a nap as I was winking out on the drive home. And so I did. I napped and then read a junky book. It got darker and darker until it was time to get out of my nest to see if there was another place to plop down. And so I did. Alex came home from a movie date. Rob went to a funeral and was back late…and then it was time to sleep again. I am still wiped out. I am gauging it my my impatience for stuff that normally doesnt drive me crazy, but I can push to the side of my perifery and disengage. I am all loose ends and frazzled. So, instead of attending Porch Fest all day, I think I will catch up with some email, do a bit of reading and maybe close my eyes again. I am just feeling so strung out. I need to get myself back to the point where I do not have to leave the room to prevent a rude outburst on my part or some sort of physical nastiness.

I just finished the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot and enjoyed it immensely despite the sadness of the story and the end result to the family of Mrs. Lacks. I was stunned to read about scientific experiments performed on the poor in recent history—mad scientists gone wild that rivelled some of the antics of the German scientists during WWII. We should be teaching this stuff to our kids…that this sort of inconvievable behavior and treatment of others happened right here in our happy little big island…and not just “over there”. Additionally, it pointed up the import of HIPAA and the rights and privacies we are guaranteed with our medical information and data. However, how are our personal cells and tissue material tracked. Do we have the right to that material and how it is used? or once blood is drawn, or a specimen taken, or birth is given—all of those byproducts we no longer have a right to? Though we are much further ahead than the mid-fifties—there are miles to go to better understand our rights to our own cells and the information they hold about us. One of the big take aways from the HeLa cell book was the gift Mrs Lacks gave (unknown to her, her family) to better mankind— through the truly immortal HeLa cells—was an singular one. Why her family was never notified, were treated badly and stupidly by doctors (all horrible communicators and frankly thoughtless people), and were unable to be treated or helped medically as they could not even afford health insurance while big Pharma made money (millions) due to the work they had done with their mother’s cell. This is just wrong all around.

I loved The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks so much, that I am now on a path for more of that sort of reading. I have The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee. This book started as a blog or diary of a young doctor and his fellowship focusing on oncology. From that pretext, Dr. Mukherjee begins to simply tell the story of cancer to laymen. I have just started but am engaged and intrigued by the elegant way the writer is peeling away the complexity of the ideas—and making them pristine and memorable. He presents cancer as a character—the hero and villain—a character of great stealth, dimension and scope. I am looking foward to diving into this.

I am beginning to get more than stupid right now. I hear the siren song of my pillow.