Saturday, February 28, 2009

Girls

I was a girl, once. Most days, moments even, I still feel I am one.

All evidence to the contrary.

I did not have sisters. I had some close approximations, but no.

I always felt I would be the mother of sons. Doting. Adoring. Adored.

Ha.

I feel at times that I have been given what I needed, but not what I can necessarily handle.

But handle it, I must.

And I do. Beautifully.

What on earth makes us feel that we in some way are entitled to a certain future? That we are destined for something, so that when it does not come to be, we are not only surprised, but indignant?

I remember in college, a girlfriend sobbing over lost love. She was crying for the children that she had already named, and would now not have. How do you comfort someone in grief for what has not happened?

I stopped mourning my dreams right about the time I realized I was living them.

This is what we have.

Please understand: I am not preaching. Or boasting. I struggle. With everything. It's hard to the point of my wanting to give up. It's not for me to tell you here how close I've come.

But I have girls, now. And they are smart, and strong, and brimming with what I could only wish for, but could never have taught them, or given them, if they had not had it in them to begin with.

I was a girl, once. I still am. And I am constantly in awe, constantly learning from, the girls that I have, finally, all around me.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Happiness

:: A grey day, but yesterday there was some sun. And tomorrow, February ends.
I've nothing against February, but yearning for Spring before March makes you sound a little delusional. Once March comes, you just sound optimistic.

::French toast for breakfast; using up the whole wheat sourdough. Shamelessly going back to white flour for bread baking.

::Elizabeth's show is up now. The work is beautiful; calming. Restful to look at after the jumble of The Obama Show.

::Listening to all the talk this week about Mark Bittman. In general, it makes sense to me; common sense, in fact. I'm going to distill it into : eat less meat, eat more plants, move more.
Oh, and try not to eat two and a half bagels for breakfast. That's the toughie for me.

::Field trip today to the barber shop, to have the mullet shaped into a pretty little pageboy, or somesuch.

Enjoy the weekend! Thanks for reading.
tt

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Perspective

I've been having a hard time getting out of a funk this week. I've been very productive, actually, crossing things off lists like an efficiency expert. But I've been lacking what I might call inspiration, and my mother would call oomph.
She'd be right.

I was all set to whine here about needing Spring to come. About wanting to throw out all my old stuff and start from scratch. About my discouragement at not fitting any of my clothes, not getting around to doing the things I love. Not moving enough. Not feeling much joy.
It's a temporary condition for me, fortunately. But I was feeling low.
Then I read this post. Then I looked out my window at the kids playing soccer with a neighborhood dad in the park. Then I stood up and started dinner, set the table, folded some laundry.
Later, I started some kids on their baths. Listened to some music. Poured some wine. Heard my husband walk through the door.
Three-year-old, all clean and jammied up, singing beautiful nonsense.
So.
The walls need to be painted. So, I miss friends. So, my jeans don't fit anymore.
They will, again. Spring will come, and I'll start walking. Friends will come out of the woodwork, once the park is bathed in afternoon sun. It will be light out while we're eating dinner.
Soon, even.
All these things are temporary. The season, the mood.
All the bounty we have here, that's here to stay.
More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I can't believe I didn't see this coming.

It's not like I've never had a three-year-old girl before. I didn't just fall off the turnip truck of parenting, so to speak. She's not the first one of the bunch to do this...and come to think of it, she's right on schedule.

So when she came to me and asked me for scissors, what did I think she was up to? Clipping coupons?

I think it works for her, don't you? The shaggy-bang-mullet look is going to be all the pre-school rage this spring.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

tt

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Introducing :: Public Bookstore

When Tim and I first met, we had a lot of dreams about what our future would hold. Small, seemingly insignificant things held our hearts in their grip; huge, looming realities seemingly melted in the heat of our resolve to forge our own path through life together.

One of the small details was that we would need a car that could transport all of us. On weekends, Tim would lead me by the hand around dealership lots after hours, looking at embarrassingly large automobiles that could seat eight. The implication that we would not only have our children together someday, but would need the extra seat for when we had a child of our own, was one of the most romantic notions I could imagine, then or now. I still swoon a bit at the sight of a Toyota lot.

One of the big dreams was that we would fuse what we were passionate about with our need to earn a living. This dream first took the shape of a used bookstore slash meeting place, where we would sell art books, children's books, vintage books...plus wine, and cheese plates, and organic chocolate milks for the little ones.

We named it. We envisioned a logo, a storefront. We bought the domain name. (The artist I had fallen in love with turned out to also be a computer geek.)

Public Bookstore.

Well, that incarnation of the dream never materialized. But we've come pretty close in spirit with the community (and business) that we are building with Eyebuzz Fine Art.

When we envisioned our next project - what began in theory as a "zine", but we no longer want to label as such, as the idea has evolved somewhat - we wanted to give it an identity separate from eyebuzz, but which still held meaning for us.

Public Bookstore.

Click here for more info. And we hope you'd like to join us in this next endeavor. It's a work in progress...we'll keep you posted as we go along.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

ps: Believe me, I'm as outraged about our gas guzzlers as anyone, but my husband informs me that once you drive that shiny new car off the lot, it loses an awful lot of value, and we could now probably not even afford the trade in on the Suburu or Prius that I would prefer. Please be kind when you see me on the road. I wish I had a bumper sticker that reads: Don't judge me, I really do need all the seats.

pps: The image on the Public Bookstore logo is from an antique etching of the capture of Major Andre. If you can tell me where the subtitle comes from, I'll send you a gift. Leave me a comment, and the first one who can place "All nine kinds of pie" will receive a little something in the mail.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday Morning :: A few random notes on art

Monday morning. It has been so long since we all had to get up, get it together, and get out, that I was almost sure it would be hectic at best, and disastrous at worst.

It was neither thing. Smooth sailing; and now I am left home, alone, for the first time in over three weeks.

We have a lot of things cooking here, both literally and figuratively. When my tech-director helps me out tonight, I will be able to show you what we're working on, but today I will mention a few random other things.

This weekend was art-full for us.

Third Friday was surprisingly, encouragingly busy at the gallery, and a great send off for The Obama Show. We'd like to thank everyone who made the show such a success, not only in terms of how much of the show sold, but measured instead by the enthusiasm, energy and sense of community that surrounded us during it. And an enormous thank you to the artists who participated, and made it such a varied and inspiring show.

Saturday we had a busman's holiday: an opening reception for a show at Rutheny's Brook Street Gallery in Croton. The show, an exhibition by The Cathouse Associates, included two types of work: Not Shoes, shoes that had been altered by the artists with other elements, and Not Books, paperback sized blocks of wood with "covers" made from collaborative collages, and given invented (and inventive) titles and authors.

And on Sunday, we finally made it up to Katonah for the last day of the juried group show, which only happens once every three years. We were very impressed by the work, and loved the museum's setting, which reminded me of this museum, in Denmark. Well...without the view, and the cafe. But Katonah's sculpture garden will be lovely in the spring, and it's an easier drive from Tarrytown.

All of this got me thinking how in this economy which no one can stop talking about, perhaps the silver lining is that people will be forced to find culture and entertainment in the art world, at libraries, and at home. We spent a weekend-admittedly much fuller than we generally like-full of interesting, stimulating experiences, without spending much money.

One of my favorite pieces in the Katonah show was a piece by local artist Nancy Egol Nikkal, called Quote. She took some of the text of a December 2008 Interview magazine article and used it as the basis for a collage; this part, on the value of art, struck me as most timely:

"and it's something that not only speaks to who you are, but that transforms you into who you want to be...the financial markets may be in turmoil, but no matter what happens, we still have art."
More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Happiness


Back home, after feeling at home, somewhere else.

We'll be at the gallery for Third Friday tonight, with wine and kisses (chocolate and otherwise). Hope to see you there!

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Taking the show on the road

We'll be gone for a few days, all of us.

Here's where we'll be. These are from two years ago, the last time we were there in winter:

We've rented this place for years. It's upstate, down the road from Yasgur's Farm, past an alpaca farm, on ninety acres. Now, on the site where once was mud, and free love, and music, stands this.

The farm: this is what we call it, although the only animal there other than the deer, will be our borrowed dog. And it's not his first visit, either.

Every year, I ask the girls if they like it better there in winter or summer. It's a toss up.

In summer, there's swimming in the three acre pond on the property, and blueberry bushes all around, an apple orchard in front, and a jacuzzi tub. Not so fond of the tub, myself, but the kids act as though it's some sort of carnival ride.

In winter, the pond freezes over, and there's sledding right outside the door, a huge fireplace, and a jacuzzi tub. See above.

We've come here with an infant, now grown to almost four. And a Labrador, now gone.

We've come here first with American Girl Dolls, and later with ipods.

We've come here with friends and guitars, drums, keyboards. We've come here with oil paints and toboggans. We've come here to see concerts, and we've come here as the last stop in a month long journey.

We've come here with ice skates and bathing suits, lots of wine, and all the food we could possibly need. Although, there is always a fruit basket waiting for us on the eight-foot kitchen table.

It is here where I read Three Junes, learned to play Folsom Prison Blues, and, on a blanket underneath an apple tree, taught Anna to roll from her tummy to her back.

Today, we will go there with six girls, not a baby among them, yet all of them still young enough. Young enough to still want to go on a vacation like this with their parents, something we're told will not always be true.

We will bring sleds and skates, wine and clementines. Knitting and musical instruments. Movies and books and favorite pillows. And a borrowed dog.

We will bring our family. We are taking this show on the road.

More, later this week. Thanks for reading.
tt

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Road Trip :: Beacon, New York

I was reluctant to leave the house today. So much to do. Girls scattered to other houses, back tomorrow. Closets to straighten. Lists to write. Bags to pack. Times eight.

I'm glad I left the house. So much outside my door that needs seeing. Doing. Climbing.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Call me a romantic fool,

but I find it hard not to like a holiday that's all about love.

Happy Valentine's Day. Thanks for reading.
tt

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Happiness :: Thirteen things


I'm loving today:

::sun streaming in the windows.
::the dog we're babysitting for the week, sleeping at my feet now.
::sneaking pink and red m&ms from the girls valentines.
::this movie, especially this, and the last four minutes.
::feeling well rested for the first time in weeks.
::listening to Al Green non-stop. All of it the same, all of it great.
::my first ever homemade biscotti, from here, a success.
::little encaustic paintings from tangled sky studio; find them here.
::friends who give wine as payment for babysitting a dog.
::books from the library; this one, The Houses of Greenwich Village, and this one about Georgia Keeffe's cutivated persona in photographs. There's a picture of her at thirty, that I just can't stop looking at.
::sneak peeks at design*sponge. Maybe just a little bit addicted to this, actually.
::little girls (not mine!) in coats and party dresses, playing in the park outside my window.
::loving that spring is coming. Soon-ish.
More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The View

from eyebuzz. Sixth in a series.
This is our town, on a freaky warm February evening, a few days before Valentine's Day.
More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What a wonderful thing love is.

"What sustains our relationship is I'm extremely happy with her, and part of it has to do with the fact that she is at once completely familiar to me, so that I can be myself and she knows me very well and I trust her completely, but at the same time she is also a complete mystery to me in some ways. And there are times when we are lying in bed and I look over and sort of have a start. Because I realize here is this other person who is separate and different and has different memories and backgrounds and thoughts and feelings. It's that tension between familiarity and mystery that makes for something strong, because, even as you build a life of trust and comfort and mutual support, you retain some sense of surprise or wonder about the other person."
Barack Obama, on Michelle, as told to Mariana Cook, May 26, 1996. Excerpted in The New Yorker, January 19, 2009.
A little bit of love today. Thanks for reading.
tt

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Next

Tim's had the idea that eyebuzz launch a zine, and we are running with it. Fortunately for us, we have so many talented friends who are game, so we're getting it off the ground pretty easily.

The first zine I'd ever come across, I found in a gallery on a road trip to Beacon last fall, when I picked up a copy of Kate Bingaman-Burt's Obsessive Consumption. It struck a cord with me then. Now it seems like necessary therapy for all of us. Check it out. No pun intended.

What's funny to me (in a funny,interesting slice of self discovery, sort of way), is that when Tim first proposed this idea to me, it didn't even occur to me that I wouldn't be a part of it. That I wouldn't have something to add. Something to say. (Well, I guess I always have something to say...)

But what's interesting about that, to me at least, is that perhaps not only has my definition of artist changed or developed over the last two years, but that my definition of me has, too.

Here's to a slice of self discovery. I'll let you know how the zine's developing. If you've got some suggestions, or some submissions, you know where to find us.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday Morning :: One step forward, two steps back


Well...we did get out a bit this weekend. I even left the house alone. Twice.

Once to go to the indoor farmers market, which was a pleasant surprise. Where I imagined just onions and potatoes, there were pickles, and eggs, bread (but no pies) and cheese, honey and beef jerky. Yes, beef jerky.

Again, alone, to stop in at my favorite store and say hi. Browse a little. Found a Valentine gift for the ten-year-old. Found eight or ten other things I'd love to bring home, but not in the budget, right now.

The big new room in the shop looks amazing and has some new (journals and books) and vintage things that make the perfect little something to give. My girls could get a new journal every day for the rest of their lives, and still not be bored by them. They write stories, they write secrets, they make lists, they make business plans (not joking), they keep track of time, they draw pictures, they write notes and poems.

On Sunday, feeling optimistic, (and a little stir-crazy,) we made a break for it, Tim and I, and went out for a late lunch with the little one. She totally rose to the occasion, complete with skipping down the block, but we're paying the price today.

Today we have a variety of girls home, with a variety of ailments. So if you drive by...maybe, just wave from the car. Unless you're looking for some time under house arrest.

I have to admit, it has a few charms, this staying home sick. But I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Happiness :: Outside, Inside

I think the bare trees are more beautiful than summer trees. I love to see the lines of them, the structure. Talk to me in June, though. I'll be in love with June trees, too.

When I was cleaning up from dinner last night, and bent over these to smooth the tablecloth, I breathed in spring. It's far off, I know. But the paperwhites made me think it.

The kids regularly abandon common sense for fashion. If you work for social services, it needs to be said that they have all been provided with proper snowboots.

I spend so much time here. Sometimes I feel like I'm standing guard. Sometimes I'm completely absorbed by what I'm making, and I'm never calmer, happier.

Enjoy the weekend, inside and out. Thanks for reading.
tt

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Creative Class



Now it's the little one's turn to be very, very sick. So I only have a minute or two.

But I wanted to mention that Brian Lehrer had an excellent show yesterday about funding for the arts, and if you have the time you can listen to it here.
Lots of interesting, intelligent discussion, but it all boils down to: let's stop viewing the arts as a charity case and start treating artists and "art workers" as a vital sector of the economy.
I suppose my role at the gallery places me in the latter group, although the semantic proximity of that term to "sex workers" is a little unsettling. No matter, though, because the most accurate term for me right now would be "home healthcare aide".
May all of you stay warm and healthy this week. Thanks for reading.
tt

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Taking care

I lay in bed in the wee small hours, wishing that the clocks would stop.

I lay in bed, awake, listening to the absence of sounds. To finally no coughing in the room down the hall. No clank of the bunk bed, someone climbing down, stumbling blearily into the bathroom. No cat meowing, looking for late night water and company. No fire horn wailing, or snow plow blades scraping, or raccoon foraging.

I lay there tangled up together with quilts and limbs, and wished that everything could stay like this, for just a little while longer.

Quiet, cared-for children sleeping, satisfied. Not needing me, at this hour.

Someone speculated recently about what it is I do all day.

I say: I spend all day taking care. And afterwards, I have a few dark, calm hours to myself, wishing that the clocks would stop.

For maybe just a little while.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Milkweed Project

The milkweed plant dies down. Underground, however, the
roots are living and next spring, the plant will send up new shoots and
the cycle will begin anew.

(Exploring milk weed seeds; here.)

I've joined in on a collaborative art project which will bring together the work of hundreds of artists, crafters, and now, at least one mediocre-but-eager-knitter, to create what surely will be a beautiful, ethereal piece of fiber art. Learn more about it, join in, or simply follow it's progress here.

I had forgotten about it, until I received an e-mail update on the project today. It was exactly what I needed to get my head out of this February funk which is encroaching on my general outlook.

I've had this organic white cotton yarn, bought just 'cause sometime last year, waiting for the right thing to come along and save it from becoming expensive household twine. We've already used it to hang ornaments. To make stick stars. To exercise the cat.

Now it will realize the destiny it so deserves.

Seems, also, that milkweed is the perfect metaphor for finding beauty and hope in nature's slumber; this February funk.

More tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday morning :: some pictures,

and a few links to pictures. More and more it is becoming all about the photo, for me.

I'm so wishing I had the skill, knowledge and equipment to go along with my burgeoning obsession.

In the meantime, there are so many beautiful pictures out there that inspire me to try.

Look here, and here and here. And then look here, for the new issue, today.

And look here, tomorrow. Thanks for reading.
tt