Sunday, October 31, 2010

A day in the life...

I chaperoned the Homecoming Dance last night, getting home at Midnight, only to have to be on the road again at 6 ish to get to the Kiln in South Dartmouth by 9AM (make it 9:45 and we are golden) I realized that my age is catching up to me. I spent the day in the studio yesterday, a solid 8 hours, and I was spent, then I had to go to the dance. I felt OLD, lets put it this way, leaving room for the Holy Ghost and slow dances are gone. Come to think of it, so are the mix of tunes, no more eclectic mix of genres, now its all the same, sort of. How many ways can you say "that bag cannot come in here"? My night home was completed by "Jack and Diane" as I got in the car to return home. Man I feel old. This morning as we drove to MA, I started to understand that there would be benefits to having my own wood kiln, I wouldn't have to leave at the crack of dawn on almost no sleep and travel so far to stack wood and play with fire!
In any case, we worked hard until 1, had lunch and called it a day. Kenny and I then headed to see Tom and Linda before racing back to Shelton to meet Mikey and his girlfriend Kathleen and then a 90 min skating practice. I just got home, wolfed down a frittata of potatoes, onions, mustard greens and eggs. and decided to spend 10 minutes giving you the day in a life of a quiet but typical weekend. Its 10 PM and I am so fried, yet because I have been working on a woodpile all day, I have to shower. I don't think I can move off this couch. Can someone bring me a glass of wine, I am watching the Village Halloween Parade thinking I would love to be there right now, but I am so glad I am not there right now. OK- tome to get wet, and watch the inside of my eyelids for awhile in a nice warm cozy place, if I could only get off this damn couch.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

I just learned...

That my husband has a blog, and its really kind of funny. I can't wait to see what he has to say about Calgary in a few weeks. Hopefully that weekend Kelly and I will be having our own adventure, which will be a riot to say the least.

What am I doing? I am supposed to be in the studio! I just couldn't resist telling the world that Kenny has a blog, mostly because it reads like I know him. More later, when I have 10 minutes to spare (and after I chaperone the Homecoming Dance).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

They look fantastic!

I took a leap of faith a couple of weeks ago and glazed something in a manner that I have never used. I was a bit skeptical that I would be able to get the results I wanted to in the electric kiln, but to my surprize! Now, if I can only remember what it was that I did. My week has been that much of a whirlwind. You see, the first quarter at school ends on Wednesday, my grades are not due until next Monday, but we load the kiln all next weekend, SO, well, you get the picture. I am backed up to the cliff edge once again.

I am thinking about this firing, and while I usually document them quite well, to the annoyance of everyone involved, I think this time I will be stealthy with the camera and get only those dramatic shots that will enhance my exhibition at the Jonesville store next month. I will, however, blog about it after each shift. My aim this time is to be totally focused and a bit more retrospective. I figure I have been doing this for the past 8 years or so, I should really record my thoughts about the process rather than document with images.

In the meantime, I am overwhelmed with studio work. The space I am going to be filling next month is rather small and confined. I have somehow had this desire to be repetitive and have found myself stuck on objects rather than function for this show. We will see how that works out.

Kenny and I went grocery shopping tonight. I like doing this together. Though tonight seemed like it was more of a chore than a joy. I have so much to do tomorrow. A field trip, finishing a gallery proposal (that is if I even have enough photos to submit it) and taking care of a ton of errands. I did see this incredible "halloween house" which I decided to take a picture of (Kelly planted that bug). I wonder what it would have been like to be a kid trick or treating at that house?

Monday, October 25, 2010

I am blowing off the studio tonight?

I am blowing off the studio tonight because I felt this need to write. I know that is not such a great choice considering I am in the middle of a time crunch, but I was asked what my favorite blog post was today and that question alone got me thinking about my stories. Yes, I said stories. I have only considered thinking of myself as a storyteller in the last 10 years, but when I look back on my life, I am certain that I have been a storyteller since birth. When I was young my favorite book was The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn . The operative word being adventure. I lived in a neighborhood of boys, you know the tree climbing, bat swinging, worm gathering, slimy frog grabbing, mud flinging, cliff diving, road rash savoring types. My father told me from a very young age that I could be anything I wanted to when I grew up. He did this as we drove past a female construction worker mind you. I knew instantly I wanted to be like those boys. I wanted to be adventure seeking, dirt loving, and spontaneous. I wanted to be like Huckelberry Finn.
I spent years trying to keep up with the guys in the neighborhood. If they climbed I climbed higher, if they jumped, well I didn't think twice. When they ate mud, well what do you think? I did it too. I was always upset when I wasn't included (insert He Man Woman Haters Club- No GIRLS aloud). Of course it came complete with "if you were like us, you wouldn't care about equality, you would just go out an get what you need". So I was born into storytelling as a means of one upping my male counterparts. You do know about that fish I caught don't you?

There have been many times I have been asked if I would ever consider turning my writing into a book. I would love to write a book, but I think I would have to unlock a major puzzle first. I only seem to be able to get as far as the title. It would be called "Adventures with Pete" and be about the adventures of friendships. I spent a few years training for these long distance cycling events. I would often write about the training I was doing (I wish I still had some of that writing). It was laughable stuff. Just how often do you skirt death on the road in the presence of the same person? The escapades I had with my good friend Pete were not quite as death defying as cycling with Bud, but they are incredibly awesome and intricate tales in their own right.

Sometimes I tell stories when I teach. One of my students wrote me a note a year ago about how she would miss my crazy tales. I never realized how funny I must sound talking to these HS students in a nostalgic manner. By the way, high school is so different these days. I live it every day, and even though I think I finally understand this age, when I sit down and talk to my own kids I still managed to get ribbed endlessly about how ridiculous I sound. In other words, I remind myself of my uncle; goofy, wonderful, and wise. I rolled my eyes at him just as many times as well.

He would have this habit of deducing the information that he was observing in life. The scientist in him would come out with some crazy hypothesis such as this theory he had about license plate coding. A vehicle tag could tell you where a person was from. SYR-3452 for example, would be someone from Syracuse. Once my cousin and my college roommate tried to see if he could figure out where we had been all day by the dirt on my car. What was funny about this was that we spent the day all over western NY, we went from Syracuse to Auburn, to Cortlandt, to Clyde (where they were having their field days) to Oswego, eating fried smelts at Rudys Lakeside before heading home the long way, through Geneva. In our what seemed like a 300 + mile day we hadn't a care in the world. We were oblivious to anything outside our egocentric universe. As we sat there trying to get him to ramble off where we had been by examining the car he amazingly started to talk about some things we had seen that day. You see, there on the back porch, listening to him tell us this totally random story, he had us convinced he could pull it off. What he was doing was telling us about his own adventures of going to Clyde for the field days and deciding that lunch up in Oswego would be nice where he happened upon Rudy's, then he decided to make a loop through Geneva rather than coming back the way they came... OK, it was completely coincidence but the three of us were rolling at his seemingly magic powers, especially when it was coupled with the story of how the yellow brick road came to be in downtown Chittenang0.
So where am I going with this? Beats me, my only goal was procrastinating my way out of playing with mud tonight. My hands are cracked and dry. I am tired. I need some regrouping time.
More later. Of this I am certain!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

there is nothing like a fall day

I spent the weekend envious of my husband. He has been in Milwaukee with Chris at the Single Distance World Cup Qualifiers at the Petit National Ice Center. Chris was racing, using the meet as a tune up for the first Jr. meet in Calgary in a few weeks. It was hard not to be there, but it was nice to see that Kenny was actually getting into the excitement, texting me the results of the likes of Shani, Tucker, Trevor and Ryan. He was fascinated with the speed. I want to laugh because I think he has finally gotten it. Now if I could only get him on a pair of skates.
I managed to get a great deal of studio work done this weekend. I have a lot of work to do though, we load the kiln in two weeks. I spent the day yesterday prepping the kiln. I left the house somewhere shy of 6 AM and headed 3.5 hours away to Dartmouth, Ma to help stack 12 cords of wood, set the tents up, put the palettes out, and wash and stack the kiln shelves. Next week, we cut and stack the side stoke. I am excited for this firing, though I still haven't figured out where I am crashing. In any case, there is nothing better than the feeling of prepping wood on a crisp fall day. It was windy and chilly. I knew I was sweating though I never felt warm. Matter of fact I froze when we stopped for lunch. I think the hardest part of the day was the drive home. I was definitely very tired. After visiting for a bit with my boys, I was in bed by 8:30. I am left wondering as I feel like eating everything in site today, just how many calories are burned in 4 hours of stacking wood? I am so sore today (sort of).
This week? Lots of stuff going on. I hope I have the time to update the blog. I have an exhibition proposal to get out, a bunch of bisque kilns to fire, glazes to mix up, work to finish, grades to do, not to mention some skating to do.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The need to be reclusive. IS THAT SO BAD?

MT Anderson visited school today. He talked about innumerable things pertaining to technology's progress (and our stupor because of it) but the one thing that he said that had me riveted to my seat was actually his discussion of the creative process. He goes off alone for a few months at a time to a place where he can be physical all day long and alone with his thoughts at night. He doesn't talk much when he is in his creative endeavors because he needs to build the energy. The uncanny part about this is that those who know me know how painful it is for me to discuss current work as I feel like it robs me of some of that steam that is driving the thread. So I am not alone in thought and practice?
Its killing me that this weekend I will be missing Chris racing. This will be the case for MOST of the season I am afraid, as I have too much going on in my professional life. I know he is in good hands with Bob Fenn but that is my baby and Friday is his 16th birthday. I think I am just torn from my passion this season. I do understand that it is important from time to time to take a step back and do other things, knowing full well that grieving that void is to be expected. I just didn't think it would hurt this much.
With that said, as I spend my weekend on the wood pile at Gustin's, and out of the way of Justin's college buddies, my heart wishes all those involved with the LT American Cup the best. I know that those who make the World Team will represent us with pride. If you happen to bump into Christopher on Friday, you will know him from his florescent skins and Bob's "Bellow to Brooklyn" voice, please make his 16th birthday special. Don't forget to skate from the heart and melt the ice with your soul!
See you on the Long Track sooner than you think! :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Toy

The studio at school got a new slab roller and now I seem to have a new toy. Its funny how those things happen. I remember when I go my first apartment by myself, no roommates. To celebrate, I got myself a new citrus juicer. I juiced every conceivable combination of lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits I could come up with. I worked hard with this new toy until I got a new place that was more rent, so I had less to spend on fruit.
What does this have to do with the studio and the slab roller? I am finding that I am creating work that involves slabs of clay. Its like how many variations on a theme can I come up with only using slabs instead of a combination of methods. I am laughing at myself. What I can't understand is that I love making coil pots, and I make a lot of them. I find it so enlightening to roll coil after coil and create large bowls with them but I hate using the extruder. I need to feel the clay coils being formed and when I use the extruder I feel like I loose touch with my work. I don't seem to feel the same way about slabs.
What I also don't get is that I spent 1000. on a brand new VL Whisper wheel last year. I love the thing, but honestly, I HATE THROWING!!! I find it frustrating and something that I admit I don't really seem to have to touch for, despite working at it often. I just don't seem to understand why its so important to me? There are plenty of clay artists that don't throw.
So the studio got this new slab roller and I am making teapots, cruets, plates and bowls. I have more than I can ever carve in the two weeks time I have to complete all this work. I am drawn to keep going. So I think I will.
On another note, I was listening to Soundcheck today on my way home and totally reminiscing about mine and Kenny's days of concerts at the Bottom Line. I cannot believe they still have their web page up. When I look at the timelines of 1985-1987 I can almost hear every concert I attended. In late 1985 and all of 86 alone I was there at least every 2 weeks and I wasn't seeing Buster Poindexter. Our favorite pre/post show haunts? The ACME Bar and Grill, the Grassroots, the Peculiar Pub, the Backfence Bar, and St Marks Pizza which used to be on 3rd Ave. As I listened to the stories about the Bottom Line, I have to admit that for that year and a bit I felt like family. After Justin was born we ventured there occasionally until they closed in 2004. I was also reminded of another place we used to hang out, the Lone Star Cafe on 13th and 5th. I remember seeing acoustic Hot Tuna one night with Kenny and Paul. We sat on the stairs for the show without anyone bothering us. Then afterwards we stayed to eat their famous Chili. At the table next to us was a painfully shy and seemingly starved for conversation Jorma. He asked us about the chili, our opinion of the show, and then with us being so starstruck he retreated to have a good night. I think back on how he seemed to want to hold a conversation. Man, what I would do now to have that time back.
I often wonder what it would be like to meet my favorite rock stars, actually sit down and have a conversation with them. I know that like many being starstruck is an issue. I keep telling myself that they are just people. Thats all they want to be. What would it be like to have a meal or spend a weekend with the likes of Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Natalie Merchant or Bonnie Raitt? Just me and them, no gigs, no distractions. Would we get along? Could I handle it or would I be an ass?
If you spent any time at the Bottom Line or Max's Kansas City listen to the Soundcheck podcast, you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I have been neglecting my blog...

I feel so overwhelmed with life and getting ready for this exhibition that I have been neglecting my blog. I have had many ideas of what to write about but I also have this desire to be locked in my studio as a reclusive artist as well. When I am out of that space, I am either teaching, coaching, or skating. Yes, I said it, I have been skating on Wednesday nights in Yonkers, and loving every minute of the difficulty getting out of the chair Thursday mornings. The more I skate, the more I find myself wanting to be on my bike and the more I start to feel like myself.
A few weeks ago I started my school year declaring that I had 70 lbs to loose. I am still working on that journey, only now I am down to 58 lbs to loose though I think I need to start recording my journey again.
Some interesting things have happened this week. I was supposed to go to a Hall Of Fame dinner in New Paltz on Friday. I was so looking forward to seeing members of my old swim team watch my coach be inducted, but life got in the way and I never made it, I was too exhausted from my day, which for no reason seemed to unravel from the minute the power went out at 2 AM. My intermittent insomnia reared its ugly head and had me worried about waking up in time for school. Of course that was exactly what happened, I fell back to sleep at 5 AM and woke just in time to have only a few minutes to get out of the house. I was 10 minutes late for class and not fully awake when I got there. I was also impatient, indignant, and an emotional mess. I also had a crap load of work on my plate that needed to get done. As one friend put it, I looked like I did the day I arrived in London, struggling to survive the jet lag. SO I bagged my plans to go anywhere and came home and crashed. All turned out well though, we had an impromptu house full of friends for the Yankee game that yanked me away from the mess I created in the studio and I got a phone call from a Tim, a HS friend that I have not spoken to since 1982. It was so cool to hear his voice and even though we have had a familiar banter going about baseball for about a year on Facebook, I have to admit, I really had forgotten what his voice sounded like. I was stunned at this, I remembered it so differently but thinking back to our conversation on Friday, it came back to me. My old New Bedford friends Tim and Denise are so convinced that I am a closet Red Sox fan. and will go to great lengths to rib me to death at any mention of allegiance to that team that caused the "curse". Come on guys, regardless of what team I find worthy of my support, I married a BX boy, a true blue BOMBER fan. How can I be anything other than a Pinstripe groupie? lol.
I spent the rest of the weekend tending to a bunch of stuff in my studio, skipping skating on Saturday, hosting the same friends for dinner and the game last night, and visiting with Anna who came home to go apple picking with Justin. This meant apple pancakes this morning topped with the HICKORY syrup that Anna brought home from the farm in Virginia. which was awesome.
This week the family is hosting a fiber artist from Richmond, British Columbia. We are very excited to do this. Chris and Kenny head to Milwaukee on Thursday. I am going to miss his 16th birthday. Justin turns 23 on Saturday. I think I will try to get a day in at the kiln this weekend if its not too late to switch things up with Kenny gone for a few days.
Looking forward to the next few days!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

a lesson I learned this weekend

Sometimes I go through my world observing for a set period of time. Usually, I have an ulterior motive in mind; some studio work that needs to be completed but is short of inspiration or I am looking for an angle to write about that won't appear to be forced. This weekend, as I struggled to handle my world, studio, house, speedskating, children, piece of mind, health, etc. I found myself observing as much as I was participating. This taught me a few lessons about life.

Yesterday dawned way too early. I had to be in Hartford by 8:30 AM to coach a speedskating practice for another coach who was away for the weekend. Chris normally skates this practice, so I am usually there helping out each week. I had spent a solid evening in the studio on Friday, working hard on getting a few started pieces finished up so that my slate would be clean on Monday. Doing this affords me some time for critical analysis. In any case, I was up too late.

We were out the door by 7:15 and as we settled in for the 75 mile trip Chris promptly settled down for another hour and a half shut-eye. I started to think about my life and how I spend so much time driving to speedskating practices and wood kilns. It was at this time I glanced over at Chris, completely oblivious to the world, mouth open, catching flies. I took out my camera and blindly aimed. I captured it. What a great shot. I now had something to write about. It was such a funny shot that I couldn't contain myself. I chuckled twice, once when I took it and then again (and just as much) the minute he came too. He took out the camera and laughed with me. He was such a good sport about the goofy photo.

Practice went by quickly. Chris was a model athlete and helped the younger kids I was working with both on and off the ice. I am always amazed at how well he communicates when it comes to analyzing what needs to be done. He will make a great teacher some day.

As we left practice and headed for home I stopped for gas. Just as I was thinking about how well the morning went, how wonderful my kid was, and how I now had something to write about. I look into the car and he has snuck my camera out of my bag. He was in the process of deleting any evidence of himself that would make its way to the world wide web. He erased the angle I was going to go on. Ugghhh! Oh well, they say you should never make a monkey out of your kid.

Later that day Kenny and I headed out to do some overdue errands and ended up at IKEA in Paramus. We were on a mission to find an inexpensive futon frame for Justin. His current one makes so much noise that it keeps us up at night. As we perused the showroom, gathering other ideas about rooms in our house, we settled on a frame. I actually enjoyed looking, though the place as so mobbed that you felt forced to keep moving along. We finally made our way to the bins to gather the pieces we decided on. It seemed like the world had the same idea. I actually encountered a lady yanking a slip cover out of my hands, claiming she saw it first. Really? OK, whatever, life is way to short to get hung up over a stupid cover. Without it what we were purchasing would be 30. less. We gathered the rest of the parts and headed to the cashier where we were next to non other than the cover swiping couple. They were in this heated conversation, he had 1200. in the bank, but had insurance and a car payment to make, which left 300 over, their purchases would come to 850. so they needed to jockey money. She was upset that HE lost his job and told him that this was unacceptable and that the purchases were necessities and that he would have to figure it out. She then answers the phone, telling the caller that yes he was a deadbeat, but she was getting what she needed and that they just had to stop at target and get a bedbug cover...EWE were they infested? Was the cushion I was buying OK? I had this need to check the bag covering the cushion, and I suddenly felt the urge to place it back on the rack and just get the frame, after all, Justin did have a futon that would fit the frame. Did she really call him a DEADBEAT as if he was not standing there in public? He was oblivious, did she do this often? Wow!
All of the sudden I was really worried about the purchases I was making. How am I going to be assured that anything upholstered is safe to being home? I am so itchy even just talking about it. After dealing for 8 weeks with the Rickketsial disease that managed to hitch a ride from Korea I am not about to deal with another bout of intense itching. A hermetically sealed bag is my assurance, right?
After surviving IKEA we were starving. There was this BBQ that I kept hearing about in Blauvelt that I had wanted to try and now that my purchase was 30. cheaper than I anticipated, I had no problem taking my husband out for dinner. We got there around 5:45, and the place was already packed. We went downstairs to the restaurant instead of upstairs to the sportsbar. After all the Yankee game would be a major lure upstairs, we just wanted to eat and get home to watch the game. There was this party about to break up. The waitress assured us that as soon as they left we would be able to be seated and escorted us to the bar, where we had a prime view of the dining room. The party, which was 30 people or more, lingered until they actually had to be told by the manager that they had to leave. In that time, the bar, which only had Kenny and I was filled beyond capacity. There were 10 tables pushed together that this party was holding up. Mind you they were not even sitting at them. We finally got a seat, ordered a combination plate for two, scored an extra side and a salad just because and managed to get out of there for under 50. We each still had 3/4 of a beer left when I paid, so we retired to the bar to free up the table. The hostess thanked us profusely for being so considerate, figured that we were not locals because of it and apologized for the rudeness of that culture. Wow, have we sunk that low that being considerate is foreign?
I spent the all of Sunday doing housework until it was time to skate. I was so exhausted and had such a headache by the time I got there that management of a large group of full of energy kids was much more chaotic than I had bargained for. It seemed that everyone was just as tired and cranky. I am guessing that the saying that "negative is contagious" is true. We did however, make it through practice surviving each others abnormally wilted behaviors knowing that next week will be different. (I hope. I do have faith that this was a fluke thing.)
What I learned? We are so caught up that we are clueless about our own behavior.

Friday, October 1, 2010

feeling??? IDK??? Fridays are for reflections, RIGHT?

SO I have this kid who eats, sleeps, dreams... SOOOOO wants a berth on a future Olympic team. Kenny and I support him whole heartedly, but? Sometimes the pace and volume of training gets to us, the support network. The cost? Forget about that, its off the charts, way, way, way off the charts. Peter doesn't have a clue what Paul is doing! We will have a run down shack for years to come. The road to those rings is paved in years of financial upheaval and a truly exhausting schedule from September to April...and to think, this is a long shot pipe dream. Its all about teaching kids persistence right? I will stop whining in a minute, I am just peeved over the price of airfare. Its a sad day when your kid thinks he should VOLUNTEER his SEAT so he can SCORE a FREE FLIGHT. I spent the past week trying to catch up from that really late (2 AM) night. How does one get sponsors anyway? Man I wish he could capture the eye of the likes of JET BLUE or DELTA!!! I feel like I am being held hostage by them anyway. The cheapest fare to Calgary? Did you say 1250 for two? That is not factoring in the hotel, the car, the coaching, the meet registration, the meals... YIKES! I wish I had the gall to do what I have seen other parents do to support their kids dreams, ask others, outside the family that is hit up all the time, to help. If you have any thoughts on this?


I spent the week feeling a bit overwhelmed and saddened by bullying and just as I started to get a grip, the sad news hit about the Rutger's Freshman, Tyler Clementi, who paid the ultimate price for being victimized. I am heartbroken about this in many ways. Maybe its because my kid was victimized a few months ago when one of his friends hijacked his facebook page, left some derogatory comments and caused this indescribably painfully horrible backlash with a close friend who is gay. Who knew someone else's kid could test an unrelated friendship? Maybe, its because I work with a few at risk teens who are at their breaking point before being ostracized? Or maybe its because I am a parent? Not to mention HUMAN and capable of compassion. Maybe, just maybe it was because I spent the beginning and ending of my week being bullied myself? Its draining! I send my prayers and wishes their way! I hope that healing finds them soon.