17 February 2009

Bye now

Back when I started this blog this is what we all looked like:

But that was then, and this is now. See you there.

25 August 2007

The New Mini

Shrinky Dinks. They're remarkable, really. $5 for ten 8x10 pages of shrikable magic. For anyone unfamiliar with shrinky-dinks, here's the story. Plastic sheets that you can color/cut any way you want, and then bake for 1-3 minutes. In the oven they reduce to about 1/3 their original size.

Here are some things that we've made recently.

The odd shapes in the middle are Star's very own designs. I think they might make nice pendants. Any takers? Oma Bonnie? We used a hole punch (regular office size) to make the holes in each of the shapes so that they can be strung.

As you can see, we traced my kids' hands and they colored them in. Star on the left and Dandelion on the right. Actually, Dandelion just scribbled all over a page and I traced her hand onto the already-there marks. Star really did color hers in, and if you look really close, you can see that she drew rings on her fingers.

21 August 2007

More Books

Today, just for fun, I made a list of all the books I've read just for fun this year. This is a big deal for me, because up until this year I have read books for two reasons:
1. I was supposed to for a class.
2. I had to convince and console myself that yes, I am cultured.

It has been years since I read for the latter reason. Nearly a decade, actually. I can think one other time when I was bored out of my mind and started picking up books because I couldn't think of anything else to do. Yeah. Those days are long gone. It sure is nice to have such sweet memories.

I'm not reading out of boredom these days. I just really like to read, and I think that has to do with my Thesis. Since I've had so much practice rewriting my Thesis I am now a really great rewriter, so I sometimes rewrite books as I'm reading them. I let myself think things like, "this is an intelligent idea but it needs to be further developed" or "this is an interesting sort of character, but he isn't entirely believable and that's preventing me from caring if he lives or dies right now" or "this ending is totally unsatisfactory because the book really ended a chapter ago and all this here is worthless".

And since I mentioned my Thesis, I'll just add one bit more. It isn't done. But here are three books that I've read some or all of this year not for fun, but for my research. They've been useful.

Tangled Memories by Marita Sturken
Remembering War the American Way by G. Kurt Piehler
Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag

Even though these are not books I have read for fun, I've still rewritten them as I go. For example, I have wondered for quite a while how I would have rewritten this section of Regarding the Pain of Others:

. . . it seems a good in itself to acknowledge, to have enlarged, one's sense of how much suffering caused by human wickedness there is in the world we share with others. Someone who is perennially surprised that depravity exists, who continues to feel disillusioned (even incredulous) when confronted with evidence of what humans are capable of inflicting in the way of gruesome, hands-on cruelties upon other humans, has not reached moral or psychological adulthood.
No one after a certain age has a right to this kind of innocence, of superficiality, to this degree of ignorance, or amnesia.

Yeah. I'm not sure how I would rewrite that, only that I really definitely would. It has become a speed-bump in an otherwise easy read. I get to that section and I wonder about it and I eventually go around in circles, which bears a remarkable resemblance to what I've been doing with my Thesis.

20 July 2007

We're Off

Tomorrow, way too early for anyone's good, we will depart for Michigan. Our travels will involve one borrowed car, two airports, a rental car, and a vacation house. And then we'll do it all in reverse four days later. Total travel time to get there: 9 hours. I'm going with Star and Dandelion. They're champion travelers by now, besides which, 9 hours (2 to get to the airport, 2 to wait in the airport, 2 on the plane, and 3 in the rental to get to the vacation house) is nothing. It was easily 26 hours to get from St. Louis to Beirut. EASILY. That includes 5 layover hours in Heathrow. Not a barrel of laughs. But they did it, and they might have even liked it.

Star and Dandelion can't wait to see papa. Everything is better with papa.

19 July 2007

A Whole Lot of Nothing

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, that's what you've been reading here for nearly three months. What's that? Oh yes. You're right. Four months. Yes.

I'm reading lots. But then, I've blogged about that. And I'm writing my Thesis. Oh, yes indeed I am. And I'm mommying. I mommy better than I do any of the rest of those things. AND . . . I've taken advantage of the summer arts festival in Boone, NC. Not impressed? Oh really? Well then, I have two words for you.

Mark Morris

Enough said.

I went on Tuesday. With my mother-in-law. No one has a better mother-in-law than I do. She rocks and we get along. So, while I've been blogging nothing at all rest assured that art just keeps right on happening. All the time. Sooner or later to reappear here.

19 June 2007


Hug: the artist not the verb.

Interesting story behind this picture. It is actually a relic of my childhood. Aparently back when my mom and dad were recent acquaintances (1973?) they discussed (among other things) Fritz Hug. My mom had returned from Europe, disappointed I suppose, that she had come across art that she really liked and not purchased any of it--not even one print. My dad was just about to go back to Europe (where he and my grandfather would succeed in finding our ancestral home in Switzerland) and he asked if there was anything mom wanted from Europe. There was. She wanted something from Fritz Hug.

Dad brought back a calendar, and they later had the pictures mounted and hung them on the walls of one apartment after another. This picture is one from that set. It and nine others survived two solid decades in our basement, where they were retired after my parents left the vagabond phase of their lives behind.

I think my kids will like them. I do, anyway. In the late 1960s, Hug began painting endangered species for the World Wildlife Fund. These are almost definitely part of that project.

15 June 2007

Me Talk Pretty One Day

I certainly hope you've noticed a pattern by now. This is the third installment of 'art stuff in books not really about art', and today it'll be from David Sedaris, around page 51. This quote is drawn from the chapter Twelve Moments in the Life of the Artist, and this moment is number Nine in which David has become a performance-conceptual-happenings artist.


Watching the performances of my former colleagues, I got the idea that once you assembled the requisite props, the piece would more or less come together on its own. The inflatable shark naturally led to the puddle of heavy cream, which if lapped from the floor with slow steady precision, could account for up to twenty minutes of valuable stage time. All you had to do was maintain a shell-shocked expression and handle a variety of contradictory objects. It was the artist's duty to find the appropriate objects, and the audience's job to decipher meaning. If the piece failed to work, it was their fault, not yours.


It's Mary Ann again with a bit of summary: he goes to a thrift store for 'appropriate objects' and chooses a pile of sock monkeys. He tells the check out lady that he's an artist and she says her daughter is an artist too.


I looked into this woman's face, her fuzzy jowls hanging like saddlebags, and I pictured her reclining nude in a shallow pool of peanut oil. Were she smart enough to let me, I could use her as my living prop. I could be the best thing that ever happened to her, but sadly, she was probably too ignorant to appreciate it. Maybe one day I'd do a full length piece on the topic of stupidity, but in the meantime, I'd just pay for the sock monkeys, snort a few lines of speed, and finish constructing a bulletproof vest out of used flashlight batteries.


The whole chapter is like that--full of descriptions of his crazy projects and his self-important description of them. Oh yes, he took his art very seriously. I've been wondering if he made it all up or if he really did this stuff. If I ever get to meet him, I think I'll ask.