March 26, 2006
Saturday Sunday night
Did you miss me? I didn't croak or go into political exile or burn my house down and have to go live on the streets or anything. Although it's interesting to note that the same smoke detector (or "meep", as it was always called in my household) that goes off at the faintest whiff of well-done toast or from steaming couscous over a large pot of water apparently doesn't even flinch when you actually get a real honest-to-goodness grease fire blazing on top of your stove. I'm not so sure I trust that little plastic traitor with my life so much, anymore.
It's not that I have nothing to say (insert a chorus of "duh"s from those who know me well,here). Friends, I'm having a spot of trouble with time management right now. If I owe you an e-mail, please be patient, and I will try my best to get to it in the next few days. Now that I've taken the time to delete about twelve hundred superfluous messages from my inbox, the ones I really really need to respond to are easy to find.
There was some action in the studio on Saturday, even if I couldn't be arsed to show it on time. I took some of the huge stacks of monoprints that I did last week and dropped one of the steel plates on top of them (the one that I've been calling the "background" plate, although since it's just sparse linework and the other is deeply bitten tone it would make more sense for it to be the foreground plate but to change now would be needlessly confusing, no?) in graphite and white. Here are a few:
These will all be cut into squares and printed in the letterpress, and then I'm going to sew something with them.
That orange reject print from last week looks a lot better whitewashed:
That's all I've got for you. Tomorrow I'm going to start the letterpress printing, but I also want to get a new woodcut started. A new woodcut that (gasp) isn't a picture of my naked arse. Hard to believe, I know. Stay tuned for all the craziness.
The downside of all the fabulous publishing opportunities is that knitting isn't as fun as it used to be, and I'm aching to make something, just one little thing, for me. So, with the lovely Koigu that the AmpuT gifted me, I started a pair of Badcaul socks, just to take the edge off. Don't expect quick progress, these are only for times when I absolutely can't work on anything more pressing, like the fifteen minutes a day I spend riding the bus.
Okay, that's all you're getting. If I'm going to get to bed before midnight (a rare treat, these days), then that means now.
March 18, 2006
Studio Saturday: my aching back (and feet)
Here's the main plate, all ready to print tomorrow. I finished etching it and its companion yesterday, then printed late last night and all day today. I laid down a ton of monoprint backgrounds for these and then started printing my background plate on a few. I forgot to count how many prints I did but I'm guessing close to sixty. None of them are finished, of course, although some of them might be close.
I was worried, looking at the plate I'd made, that I had managed to stylize the figure so that it didn't look the way I wanted it to anymore. But now that I look at it from this distance, in a photo on my monitor rather than up close to the plate, I can see that the rolls of fat on the belly are very much present, and really look fatty and rolly, the breasts look like they're just beginning to sag and the hands look like they work hard and maybe don't get treated all that well. Hooray! This is what I was hoping for. I want age and flaws to be apparent in this image. We'll see how well that translates into the final print.
This is the background plate, which right now just has a basic line drawing of the figure and lots and lots of gorgeous false bite:
I'll etch this one some more later, after I've printed with it for a while; probably I'll put some sort of texture or repeat pattern over the figure and also the background (different patterns). I quite like the simple sketchy lines coupled with the very messy false biting, so I'll be printing a lot from it before it goes back into the acid.
This one's got so far: a layer of text, printed digitally (more of the same, my chat logs with Peter from our first five months apart), red monoprint background, and the background plate printed on top in blue.
March 16, 2006
Well, it didn't take me long to fail that test, eh?
I'm about to become an old lady and drone on about my bodily ailments. Consider yourself warned. I do promise not to stand in front of you at the grocery store and dump all my change out on the counter and slowly count out each coin aloud.
Now is not the time to go off birth control. I'm under too much stress right now, I'm behind on all my work and this week has been sheer hell. Ultra-sheer hell, in fact, with control top and reinforced toes and a huge fat run going all the way up the back of the leg.
Thanks for all the encouragement, and I really do want to stop taking the pill for a while, but since the weekend I've been getting migraines every day and it's just too crazy a time for me to be able to cope with that. I have a limited amount of my (very, very expensive) migraine medication, and my drug plan won't pay for any more for six months. The only thing I can think to do is to get my estrogen levels back up to where my body is used to them being, and wait until I'm home in May to discuss it with my doctor.
Also, I should clear something up in case anybody misunderstood, most importantly my parents: I am not going off birth control in order to become pregnant. Not in a million years, and especially not during the first year of a three year MFA in printmaking (the amount of solvents I breathed just this afternoon would likely be enough to damage a foetus) which I'm doing in a country without socialized health care, and twelve hundred kilometres away from my spouse. I'm not that crazy.
I am, however, crazy enough to knit all day and all night and then all day again (literally; Tuesday night I went to bed at four a.m. and set the alarm for seven, but ended up getting up at six anyway, and picking up the needles). And let me just say that I heartily endorse this product:
I mostly used these on my back, but my nearly 29-hour straight knitting binge the other day(s) required this as well:
Do. Not. Knit for 29 hours. Before you comment and give me all sorts of advice, let me say that I do exercises, I take breaks, and generally take care of myself. But I had to get the knitting done, and I didn't take as many breaks as I normally would. There was a way crazier patchwork on my other hand, because I was pretty much just cutting off pieces and slapping them on wherever it hurt. But don't worry. I'm not doing any knitting today, nor any at four tomorrow morning. I've gotta save up all my RSI coupons for printing all weekend. Repetitive stress injury, your free gift with purchase of any yarn that needs the really little needles. Gah.
March 12, 2006
Let's try this for a while
Today is the day I stop taking birth control. I've been on the pill for a little more than fifteen of the last nineteen years, and because I started taking it when I was fifteen, I'm not sure I've ever had a normal, unregulated menstrual cycle. It's about time I got off estrogen therapy for a while to give myself a bit of a break before menopause hits and I have to go back on it again, don't you think?
March 11, 2006
Today I found outside my gate:
And out front, the irises are in full bloom. In March!
The irises are seriously freaking me out. Back home right now we'd only have crocuses (Pete, do we have crocuses yet?). The scilla won't even come up for another month. How soon do you think the irises will die back here? Should I be cutting the leaves back in May, for crying out loud? (hah, of course I will cut them in May, otherwise I won't be able to make paper with them before I go home for the summer).
I remember when I was a kid and the temperature would get up to 4 Celsius during March break, and I'd joyfully run outside in a t-shirt and bask in the cold sunshine and leap the crunchy piles of melting snow, feeling light and free, unfettered by all those heavy winter garments. I still consider the first day it goes up to 4 degrees to be the definitive sign of spring (which makes Pete mental, sorry, baby).
Today I wore these:
Flip flops on March break and I'm not even on vacation. Well, I never.
Okay. I'm still pissed that there's no winter here, but this early spring is pretty nice nonetheless. I'll really be whingeing a few weeks from now, though, when summer starts. Because, y'all, I hate the heat. I'd rather have 40 below than ever sit at a bus stop again watching the sweat come out of the backs of my knuckles and splash on the sidewalk. Ew!
Ceramic baby head also enjoys basking in the sunshine, much better than lying half-buried under the musty ivy where I found him.
No new studio progress to show. I did do some printing but didn't get any new photos, and this weekend I'm staying home and finishing up some knit-related stuff so that I can spend the whole week in the studio getting some major work done. It's a beautiful day that I wish I could spend outside, but instead I'm sitting indoors with an almost-done sweater in my lap, DNTO on and the windows and door wide open. Although I'm eager to get into the studio, this is nicer because the studio has no windows. Here's the view from my kitchen sink this afternoon:
March 10, 2006
He was advertised on television as 'melting better than Cheddar'
So I'm talking to Peter on Skype right now, and I mentioned that I had seen The Velveteen Rabbit online. I'm a big sennamennal baby and can't read that story without crying, so of course Peter made fun of me, first because he just never loved the story of the little rabbit like I did, then insisting that the Skin Horse is creepy and made from human skin (the proof offered for this had something to do with Joseph Conrad and white man's burden, but I didn't pay close attention because I was pretty sure he was shitting me) and then saying, "why would anyone want to make a rabbit out of that awful fake cheese product?". Argh. I get no respect.
Well. There really is a Velveeta Rabbit.
March 08, 2006
Q, in a few minutes (perhaps this very minute) you'll leave my life forever. The truth is, I won't miss you that much, not nearly as much as I once thought I would. Next week will mark my first week free of the spectre of you, and I am going to make you a little book. Then, we'll say goodbye.
*Friends, I've closed comments on this entry because it's something private that I'm not going to talk about. Don't worry, everything's okay, I just wanted to commemorate this moment, and get some old ghosts out of my system.
Does anyone else think that John Travolta playing Edna Turnblad is just wrong? How much weight will he have to put on, for crying out loud?
March 06, 2006
1. I did some printing today; same woodblock, new prints. Yet again I've been plugging away on plates and blocks and not doing much printing, which makes me feel like I'm working all the time and never getting anything accomplished. I hereby resolve to actually PRINT at least two days a week until the end of the semester. Next week is break week, so I'll be printing every day.
2. Walking home from the studio this afternoon I realized that full-on summer is only about a week away. Never mind daffodils and crocuses, people. There are freaking ROSES blooming here already. Full bloom. I am not kidding.
3. How many ounces of rock do you think the average adult is carrying around in their head from all the times grit blows into their eye and they blink until it shifts to a place where they can't feel it, where it probably gradually works its way around their eyeball and right into their head, maybe settling against the skull and calcifying there (or something), or orbiting their brain forever? Is it more than the amount of bugs we unknowingly swallow, do you think?
4. When I got home today there was a package in my mailbox:
I swapped some badges to TheAmpuT for the ball of Noro Silk Garden, and she's so generous that she threw in two skeins of Koigu KPPPM as well. Thanks, hon! I'm spoiled, and I can hardly wait until the end of April when I'll be free to do something with it.
5. To alleviate my homesickness after Peter left I splurged a bit on some fine Canadian tunes. And I found out that Sarah Harmer is playing in Decatur on Saturday night. Does anybody want to go with me?
6. While I was home over the xmess break, I lost my knitting needle gauge. Peter has searched all over the house for it, in all the dumb places I thought I might have left it. I'm rather lost without it, and don't know if I can still get one like this (I inherited it with the knitting inventory of Lynne's mom when she passed away); I've looked in some stores but I really hate those big flimsy aluminium rectangular ones with the stupid corner slot that I just know would get caught on everything in my bag. I just want my old one back! Mom, did I leave it at your place, or at Gramma's? It looks like this:
Except it's grey, not gold. It's only gold in my memory, because I miss it so much.
March 04, 2006
There's holes in all the bottles and my lungs hurt. . . *
Have you ever had a wonderful toy that you loved more than anything and took everywhere with you, even to bed, even on those long car trips when your mom said, oh leave that filthy thing at home won't you, and you screeeeeeaaamed that you had to bring it with you EVERYWHERE and your snot got all over it when she gave in and thrust it into your arms (doubtless she made that huffy frustrated sound, you know the one) and you buried your weepy, grateful face in its softness? And then somehow, how does it happen? something distracts you and you do other things and one day you come across your old favourite toy and wonder, how long has it been? How could I forget my beloved toy?
I sort of feel that way about this blog today.
Peter and his mom left here after lunch today, and I'm sitting here feeling lonesome again and listening to some cds that Pete brought me from home (Sarah Harmer, at the moment). It's less than five weeks until I'll see him again but it seems months away right now. Tonight I'll be sleeping alone again except for my smelly old stuffed frog.
Peter and I didn't have a lot of time to spend together this week; he was writing a paper and school made a lot of demands on my time. But that was kind of nice in a way; since I've come here, our visits together have been holiday-time, where we spend as much time as we can together, and that's like a sort of fake-life. Our real life together, where we work and are busy and come home to each other, is something that seems gone, in the past. So to have a week where we have something like our normal life (only in Athens) was probably good for us. But I still feel like I didn't get to see him enough.
My beloved is headed back towards winter but here it's full-on spring. Things are flowering everywhere, daffodils (although not mine, too shady I guess), trees, even the Siberian irises out front of the shack have buds coming up already. Here's my little yellow crocus underneath the pecan tree that still drops the occasional nut on my roof (seasons collide in this place).
Peter and I did some letterpress printing yesterday:
I decided not to bother smudging out our address, since stalkers could find out where we live pretty easily anyway. Y'all are invited, as long as you're not stalkers. I'll be flying home in time to clean the house and whip up some of my famous hors d'oevres.
Exciting things are afoot in the knit design department (which I'll tell you all about later), and also, guess what? I'm moving again. But don't worry, I'm not leaving the cute little shack compound. Just taking over one of the little houses behind mine, which is the same price but a better place: it has two bedrooms, a porch, a screen door, bamboo all around, and a shower! And no noisy road, and no electric guitar next door. I could throw a pecan from the front door of the old house and hit the new house. Well, I couldn't. But someone who can throw could.
*just in case you're the gub-mint checking up on me, this is just a line from a Sarah Harmer song, I'm on a student visa here, do you think I'm crazy? You can come on over and check my bottles, and my pee.