Friday, February 27, 2009

file under: ooch, am i old?

One of my very hip little first graders was jumping around in puddle after puddle on the playground until I stopped him,

me: "L., honey, your feet are going to be soaked!"

L: "NUH-UH! These shoes are waterproof!"

me: "Um, yeah, no they're not. They're Vans. Vans aren't waterproof."

L: "Yeah, they are, Miss Molly. My mom told me so."

me: "Well, trust me, L. I've been wearing Vans since I was your age and I really don't think they're waterproof."

L: (he snorted) "I don't think you wore these as a kid, Miss Molly, Vans weren't even INVENTED yet!"

rad image from my new favorite flickr finding

Thursday, February 26, 2009

it's up to you

We spent almost the entire night talking about new york city. All through dinner, all through the walk home, after-dinner drinks. We must've brought up a thousand different restaurants: our favorite falafal place, the only spot to get an amazing bagel, where our favorite slice is from, eating after midnight, steak and fries at Raoul's. Oh, new york, new york: I miss you. We also talked about the relationships we had with the shop owners and the bodega guys, and the little old ladies in Father Demo's Square. Those are relationships I think about often, have tried to gain here, and miss dearly in their absence. They were like no other.

I befriended a lot of "old timers" in the city. I figured they held the key to the past. The told me stories of how things were better, safer, when the mafia ran the west village, or how this silly little cel phone shop used to be the best speakeasy in the neighborhood. I remember one woman in particular, Ruth. We met in Washington Square Park. She was sitting next to me and some of my friends when she spontaneously joined in our conversation. I don't remember exactly what is what about...something on the topic of relationships with friends. Anyway, she piped in her two cents and next thing I know, we're all involved in this big ole conversation. I enjoyed her so much, we made a plan to meet there the next day at the same time. Eventually, really not much later, we started meeting at her apartment on University and 16th.

I have some really fantastic photos of her that I just tried to find to post here...but to no avail. That little excursion of photo finding, from what seems like 'my past life', set me off track for about an hour. I had little idea how many photographs I have from those years in NYC-- none of which are categorized very well.

We'd sit in her apartment that housed her entire life, her husband dead and gone, her kids never keeping in touch anymore, talking about everything. She wanted to know every little detail of my daily life and I wanted to hear about new york the way it used to be, the way only a very old woman who was born and raised there could tell me...and, eventually, we too grew apart. It was a sad ending, but a really beautiful memory.

There were a lot of older people in the city that I had brief, but memorable, encounters with over all those years. A lot of people think of nyc as a lonely place to live, but, in fact, if you put yourself out there, there's more relationships to be had than you can shake a stick at.

an installation at the Whitney. click on image to read. borrowed from a new favorite.

When RK and I do finally move back there, most of those people I knew will be gone and I'll have to start again.

But, I'm ready.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

color me katie

I like my life.
I get to do a lot of neat things.
I have space to create and a really fun, funny job.


this girl's life seems ridiculously filled with juicy-ness that is seriously enviable.
Her hugely creative spirit creating all the good that comes her way. Damn sweet.

images from her fantastic blog

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

sixth thought

I was recently tagged by a cool little blog I'd never heard of, I love this internet thingie, it really makes the world a smaller place!
Brinja, said blog writer, is a shop owner in Copenhagen (where I have always wanted to visit)! She tagged me with a job to do. It went along the lines of writing about the 'sixth picture in the sixth picture folder' way... but, I don't keep picture folders, so I had to improvise. I went to my iphoto, um, 'area' and clicked on the sixth 'event' category and then clicked on the sixth photo in that section. And, this is what I got:Funny for two reasons. The photo that Brinja, my tagger, posted was also a portrait of herself. The other reason is that I use this photo everyday: it's my 'blogger' profile photo.

This is a detail of a painting my brother John did. {My brother is a ridiculously fantastic painter who I've wanted to highlight for ages. And this probably sets that idea in motion, finally.} The complete image has my sister, Lisa, and me in the back seat of a car. It was painted from a photograph my mom took (or maybe my other sister took?) on the weekend that just the girls came to visit SF. It was an awesome weekend, my mom, two sisters and me (RK popping up occasionally to see if he could get us anything...). We did the junk shops, fabric stores, and general eating til we were full. My mom brought a box of old photos she'd bought at an estate sale and we spent countless hours trolling through them under the dim, warm lights in the apartment, putting together full life stories for this person. A classic weekend all around.

This photo reminds me, I need another girls weekend.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

three down, four to go

The 7-piece 'to sleep, to dream' series I'm working on is coming along. I've only shot a couple things from the studio, but have got another one made and another in the works. I notice this color theme of dirty pinks, sage green, and browns keep coming through.

I'm working on a new logo for 8mm ideas and wondering if I should do it in color. But then I don't want to be "stuck" with a specific color and in a years time, fall madly in love with some other colors. Sounds like I'm completely fickle when it comes to color... when, in reality, all I have to do is look around (my studio, our apartment) and see that I've been in love with the same color palate for years! Almost everything in my life is a wildly broad shade of celadon. The chairs, the table legs, the kitchen wall, our bedspread, books on the shelf, napkins, plates, on and on. I can't escape it...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

can you speak rhinoceros? i say, of courseceros!

I think only RK really knows that I kinda, sorta, majorly have a thing for animals that talk. Not so much in the Dr. Doolittle way, where he talks TO the animals and understands what they're saying. No, it's more like animals with human voices. I do talk to animals, I think I've admitted that before...
But what I like more than talking TO them is talking FOR them.
Again, I'm gonna venture RK is the only who really knows about this one, too.

I'm really specific about my animals though, and their voices. Take the Slowskys, for instance. They rock. They're prehistorical type creatures, but they're still really cute... 'cuz, who doesn't love a turtle? And you want to believe they can actually talk.
Okay, I have always wanted to believe they could actually talk.

And it's not like talking to the plants, which, I know I've admitted before... because that really is just talking TO them. Plants can't talk. At least not in my "things that can probably talk" list.

Anyway, the Slowskys: they are some of the best talking animals out there (must be seen to be believed. I'm sorry they're for a commercial item and not just short films). Whereas, when they gave Garfield a voice, that sucked. And a lot of talking dogs, not funny, not cute. I don't like the way they make the dogs "lips" move. It looks weird and fake (unlike the turtles, of course). Also, talking cartoons don't do it for me. They've got to be real animals doing their thing.

On the other hand, reading cartoons...a real favorite Sunday morning childhood activity. Any animal in The Far Side can make me smile for days just thinking about it... and,
Get Fuzzy, a Sunday L.A. Times cartoon that can usually make me snort. That's me, cracking up. Snorting. Doesn't happen often, but when it does, it's obvious. I don't know what it is about this particular, scruffy, matted cat and this dippy dog, but I can totally hear them without really needing to hear them.

hmmm, after all that, I'm not sure I'm really able to describe my love for talking animals. Shoot.

Friday, February 20, 2009

role playing

Recently, T and I were talking about the declining state of books and magazines. Slowly, but surely, great publishers of great magazines, books and newspapers are going out of business. Everything is turning digital. We were feeling kinda crushed about it all. T is in 'the biz' and I'm just a great lover of paper, in general. As things were getting worse in said 'biz', she told me she felt like sending sympathy cards to friends and colleagues. Things that said something like, "i love magazines!" or "i'll never stop reading real books!" I thought it sounded like a great idea and wanted to quickly make something for her. For them.

Well, I never move that quickly, but I've got some things in the cooker...

A long way to go yet....., but I'm really into this idea of making specific cards for specific stores or for unusual occasions at peoples request.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

bring it, friday

I'm a particularly superstitious person: I would never write a letter to someone in red ball point pen, I don't walk under ladders if I can help it. If I see three sets of twins in a day, I think it's a sign of something... I don't know what. And, Friday the 13th has always held some strong bad juju sway in my superstitious mind.

So, it was with a far-off concept, but a quickly approaching date, that our most recent Friday the 13 came upon me. Luckily, for me, in my line of work, the six-year-olds have no Jason, Freddy or or other weird personification attached to this date. For them, this year, the day before the actual Valentine's Day, it's just "Valentimes." We had a little party that some rad parents threw, all with constructable food projects, which many of them just ate instantly:

"Oh, D, what happened to that cool ant you made out of blueberries?" or, "...that cookie that you decorated?" any number of food endings,
the inevitable response was,
"Why? I ate it. ...What? I finished making it, so I ate it."

Of course.
Now, THIS is the kind of Friday, the 13th, I wanna have!

also when you're six, honesty is usually the route to pick, like in this card given out:
sort of love you"

The day before our class Valentimes celebration, my sister sent me the coolest box of snails (another year-long study for our first graders is snails and it's been such a neat trip with the kids.) When I first saw this box of little vintage, velvet, hand-rolled snails made in Japan, I knew I had to get my hands on them for the class.

Turns out, they arrived just in time for Valentimes. So, I "drew" some grass, used these cool labels T just sent to me, putting a little flower on each section, cut up little cards and attached the snail. Voila! The snail just looked like it was just rolling thru it's natural habitat. And the kids loved them. They're reactions to them, so cool:
"tee hee hee heee heee hee hee tee hee tee hee hee heee hee hee tee hee...."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

in an absolut world, currency will be replaced by kindness

as the kids at school say,
Happy Valentimes Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

after i jumped
it occurred to me
life is perfect,
life is the best,
it's full of magic,
and television...
and surprises,
lots of surprises
and then there's that stuff that everybody longs for...

i wish i could remember who's blog i saw this posted i could say 'thank you'.

Monday, February 9, 2009

when the bell rang

Well, we've all upped the ante on the never ending fairy tale. The first graders are reading a new fairy book series that has led them to believe that they don't have to wait around for a fairy to visit them anymore, they can just go to FairyLand themselves.

When I found the latest set of notes left out for the fairies, I thought, we're screwed, they want to go visit "fairyland". The two little girls in the books get to go...why can't they? So, P.S. and I decided I'd write a response note from the fairies essentially saying,

of course we'd love for you all to visit though it's very, very hard to find fairyland, so, don't be upset if you can't find it...

etc, etc. and P.S. would draw a really complicated map for them.
Which I did.
And which she did.

But it didn't deter them one little bit.

Once the girls got over the fact that it wasn't just their secret....
All morning long the girls tried to hide the map from everyone because, dammit, they didn't want everyone else coming to FairyLand with them! It started to feel a bit like maybe this whole thing had backfired from the sweet thing it once was.... but, once we explained they needed to show it to everyone, because, well, they were gonna need all the help they could get finding that big purple & pink mushroom on the map...they finally put all heads together and went a searching. The whole mass of them couldn't get out that door fast enough at lunchtime. It was beautiful.

They were sure they'd found a way in one time, and then another time, they were sure this dirt hole was the way... and then one of the boys wondered aloud,

how are we all gonna shrink small enough to get into FairyLand?

That took 'em back a bit and new observations about the map were heard. Eventually, some of the kids decided the way to FairyLand wasn't within the school grounds at all and they'd have to start looking outside of our little realm...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

one man's junk....

Brian Macdonald was just walking along one day last week and boom! there it was! A digger's dream ! The local middle school had decided to clean out an old classroom, get rid of stuff from 30-40 years ago and put it in a huge pile in the parking lot. This particularly sunny, beautiful day, Brian happened by this pile... basically, it was a free pass to the basement. Now, the kind, fellow-artist he is, he texted me and told me to get my ass over there, quick like, if I knew what was good for me!

Alas, I didn't get the message until that night.

As the even kinder friend, he loaded up on the good stuff, for me too. jeeze, i lucked out.

Presenting my favorite thing from 'the get':

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

{*small obsessions*}

So, as I was sitting in the studio, thinking about the next piece...I noticed that I have a lot of smalls. I collect smalls. Little things, that I'm fairly obsessed with, in a talisman, touch-it-then-feel-better sorta way. I figured it was time to shoot a few of them. Small, odd little things that I've picked up along the way ....flea markets, estate sales, favorite new york shops, some of the best junk shops in france... or have been given to me. These things make me so happy when I'm looking at them or holding them, I can't stop smiling.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Stage of Life

Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and enter my little six year old mind. I'd like to see what I really thought of myself--a look that isn't later clouded by years of self-doubt and judgement. Was I filled with courage? Was I a loyal friend? Did I feel creative? Did I think I was smart? I have a feeling, in those very early years, I was a confident and excited little kid. It wasn't until about 3rd grade I started letting others dictate how I felt about myself, my idealism and sensitivity in equal parts getting the best of me.

Today, one of my 1st graders came to me and asked if I knew who picked out her clothes each day. Thinking, "your mom" as the logical answer, I feigned ignorance...
"Who?" I wondered.
"ME!" she said, with her finger pointing proudly to her chest. A huge grin on her face.
"I'm the fanciest person in my family!"
How awesome to think of yourself that way, I thought! It reminded me of Cece and her fantabulous line, "do fancy things for the world."

I have another little first grader who really, really, really wants to read. I don't know for sure what's held her back so far, but she is finally getting it and it is purely magical to watch. I'm constantly confronted with the complexity reading truly is. I've decided on a new approach to teaching/helping this little girl to read. It used to be, I'd meet with her and one other boy, we'd have a book and I'd read it "with" them first and they'd read it back to me. It was purely memorized on their part and they both put on a good show of pretending to actually read the words. My "new approach" is to meet with this little girl on her own, put a book in front of her, encourage her to have a go at any of the words that might makes sense to her and then get absolutely giddy at her every success (or, near success even! why not?). In turn, she just melts into smiles and giggles with each word she sounds out, getting a real word out of it all by the end of it. Watching her beam with pride at figuring out the word "the" or "boat" is worth every minute it takes for her to get it.This week, before we started in on the book (this whole new approach), I gave her a little pep talk about how I really thought it was time for her to read to me and she slapped her forehead and said, "no, no, i can't! i can't!" and I held her hand and got really close to her ear and whispered, "Yes. You can." She looked at me very gravely and said, "Can you read?"
I answered honestly.

"Can you read a LOT?" she said.
Again, I was honest.

"But once upon a time you were like me, right? When you were little, you couldn't read, then you could?"
Yes, I told her, that was true. And I told her it would be true for her, too.

"And, Miss Molly? Can you write?"

"Can you write a LOT?"

"Okay, okay," she was shaking her hands like she was holding me off,
"when we're done with this," she said, pointing to the book in front of her, "you'll tell me alllll about it."

It took everything in me not to crack up.
Where do we go in all those years of life? From a person who's lived only six years on this earth and experiences, what seems like, so much already to the adult we become? Now, I'm very happy with getting older, I don't really want to go back to being six again. I like finding out that I can survive the things life throws at me, I like striving for more, I like appreciating my little ole self (again?, or finally?).

Now, I just want to do everything I can to let these kids know they're the fanciest little beings to me! I want them to walk through life with-out a dip in confidence, without a whiff of self-doubt...
Ah, well, there goes my idealism talking again!