August 31, 2006
a colleague just informed me that the semester is one-eighth over
Yes, this strikes fear into my heart. Let's not discuss it again.
So, with these out of the way*:
I can now get down to the work I came here to do. My 30-hour review is coming up this semester, where my committee looks at my work and rakes me over the coals and then decides whether I'm good enough to stay in the programme and get my degree. I'm not too worried, but I do need to get a lot of new work done. So now that I've finally shaken the sickness (the coughing seemed to drag on forever) and am between design commissions (with luck it will be a few days yet before the next box of yarn arrives), it's time to get down to work. I've been avoiding the studio so far, working at the house and just biking in to campus to teach my class. Yesterday was the first day of my new regimen: get up at 6:30, half an hour of yoga, into the studio before 9 and work all morning before going to the main art building to teach. Then, back to the studio. I got a lot of printing done yesterday morning:
I'm pretty excited about these so far. I'm forcing myself to print only on new paper rather than working overtop of old prints like I normally do. I will still use up the several hundred pieces of already printed paper I've got, but for the time being I need to do some work without all of that old baggage underneath it. These are printed from one of my old woodblocks using stencils to only ink up certain portions. Leaving white space in a print is also a new thing for me, and I like it.
*this is all I can show, since these are for JCA. Both of the yarns are new and I forget what they're called but I'll find out soon if anybody is burning to know. The stuff in the top piece especially is absolutely gorgeous and really nice to work with. This doubles as my neutral-coloured crafty project for Project Spectrum this time around, as it's all I've been working on outside of studio work. Now that I have a bit of time when I don't have a design project to work on, I'm trying to finish up a few older Spectrum projects that were oh-so-close when I abandoned them: Ms Marigold, Orangina and my gramma's alpaca scarf. Ms Marigold will be done by the weekend, so stay tuned.
August 27, 2006
going to bed alone is the easy part
It's getting out of bed alone in the morning that's the hardest. Walking into a kitchen that isn't mine, going through the motions of making breakfast, sustaining myself, speaking to no-one, there is an emptiness in me that is more vast than I ever thought possible.
August 26, 2006
This is the recipe I was telling you about, from the first edition of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. Looks tasty, doesn't it? Don't worry if you're not really all that fond of processed cheese slices: that only LOOKS like cheese slices all over that attractive and convincingly moulded pineapple.
It's actually a delicious mixture of gelatine and mayonnaise.
August 24, 2006
Pluto, I feel your pain
Those jerky planets, they think they're so fucking cool. They never did let poor Pluto join in all the planet games. After a career of skulking around out back of the school, skipping gym and smoking cigarettes and selling the odd bag of weed to those two-faced jerks Uranus and Neptune (who always pretended to be your pals in detention but snubbed you when the popular crowd were around), you've finally been booted out of the social order completely. You've only ever been grudgingly invited to the bush parties, and now they're moving the parties to a whole new bush to avoid you.
Don't worry, P. I'll let you in on a little secret: those kids are going nowhere. It's the rejected outcast losers like you who turn out, fifteen years later, to be the cool people: the software company owners, the independant filmmakers, the influential scientists and popular political bloggers. Trust me on this. You'll be okay.
August 21, 2006
Obviously I spoke too fucking soon.
WARNING: old-lady-style kvetching ahead.
So one minute I was sitting at the computer, hitting "publish" on a blog post in which I whined about being sick and said I was feeling better, and the next I was flat on my back, dizzy and hallucinating. Here's a quick recap of the rest of my Sunday:
1. high, high fever
2. the sound of a train rushing through my head
3. strange hallucinations caused (I think) by the spinning blades of the ceiling fan
4. the certainty that my brain was swelling and that it would be days before my roommate thought to look in my room and find my swollen corpse
5. more sweat than you can ever imagine
6. umm, some vomit (yes, I have a COLD, what gives?)
7. the birds outside my window? They never, ever shut up.
8. a hypochondriachal freakout in which I repeatedly reassured myself (possibly aloud?) that I'm too old for meningitis, too young for a stroke (I was lying about the stroke part, but managed to convince myself at the time)
9. a blessed afternoon thunderstorm during which I opened the window and lay with my face right in it for about an hour and got soaked, because I'd become convinced I couldn't breathe in my room and that it was the fault of the central air unit
10. a Skype conversation with Peter conducted flat on my back in the sickbed while back home he was flat on his back on the couch, and I told him about my fever and vomit and he told me about messing up his back playing hockey. Because we are pathetic, and also old.
Ugh. I still had a slight fever this afternoon when I dragged my ass in to teach my class. If I hadn't told them to keep their distance the students might not have even noticed, because I'm totally fucking manic in the classroom on a good day, and apparently I'm pretty manic in the classroom with a fever, too. Some of them made some pretty decent drawings today, so I wasn't a total failure.
Okay. NO MORE WHINING.
I also wanted to say something about the sorority girls: I didn't mean to imply that I think all sorority girls are vapid and brainless, or slutty. I do think some of them are a bit silly but that could have as much to do with their youth as with anything else, and y'all ought to know by now that I don't see anything wrong with being slutty and in fact champion sluts every chance I get. What struck me about that gathering of girls, and the reason I went back to take a picture in the first place, was the sound they made: it was exactly like the thousands of starlings that gather in the girders beneath the Ambassador Bridge every evening back home, a massive chirpy rumbling that seems to hit your ears from all directions at once. In fact when we went by on our bikes Peter assumed that the sound WAS birds, and only realized it was the girls when I insisted on going back to take pictures. And yes, the sight of all those identical knee-length A-line skirts totally amazed me. When I saw some of the comments I had to go back and look at my post again to see if I'd said anything mean-spirited myself. While these girls do sometimes get on my nerves, I have to remind myself that they're just children, some of them young enough to be my daughters (although like all feminists I hope that my daughters would not be quite so girly). Perhaps when the first home football game rolls around I will feel less charitable towards them, who knows? But right now when I see them I also see my thirty-fifth birthday close on the horizon, and I remember that when my mother was the age I am now I was seventeen, and slutty, and undoubtedly an irritating little brat.
August 20, 2006
I'm not sure why we compare our sick selves to dogs. Have you ever seen a dog produce this much snot?
No studio yesterday or today, no bike riding, no printing. Also, no long rambling run-on sentence in which I mention things so embarrassing that I then have to apologize to my mom, because while I may still be feverish enough to write that stuff, fortunately I'm not feverish enough to publish it. I think I'm getting better, but I need to take it easy so that I'm not too sick to teach my class tomorrow.
Last night I was up late with a fever and I think I may have written some silly comments on the MySpace pages of people who don't even know me, which I guess is the internet version of drunk dialing. Gah.
So I will watch more old episodes of Trailer Park Boys today, and do some knitting (I've got a deadline fast approaching, but for once I'm right on target to meet it), and maybe work on some more of these drawings:
And that's all.
August 19, 2006
Let me tell you something
I am a bad -alonger.
I joined the trek-along with the best of intentions: it's summer! I'm unemployed! I love walking! and I just bought this awesome orange Trekking XXL at MDS$W, count me in! (in retrospect my intentions may have been a tad too emphatic and possibly manic, judging by all those !!s).
But let's face it: I like to go for walks, but I am a city girl without a driver's license, and you need to drive to get to a real hiking trail from where I live. There was just no way I was going to be able to be a valid trek-along participant without making someone else take time off work to drive me somewhere for a photo-op, and with Pete's new department head position and a limited number of vacation days (that have to last us all year when we're living 1200 km apart from each other, so they need to be doled out stingily and carefully spaced), it just wasn't happening. So at the very end of June I squeaked in with a cop-out photo of my trekking sock down at the Windsor riverfront, which is a park path, not a hiking trail (although we walk it many, many evenings in the summer to get downtown for coffee and back, and shouldn't that count a little, for city-dwellers?).
July crept by in a haze of sweltering dampness, and I barely lifted my carcass off the front porch long enough to walk inside to the tea kettle and back. I worked on my trekking sock a bit and then let it slip aside in favour of summer tops and my gramma's birthday scarf.
Then August came, and time to return to Georgia for school. On a whim, exhausted by the hour-long gridlock in the blazing sun in the middle of Nowhere, Kentucky, we decided to cut off the interstate and take our favourite route through Great Smoky Mountains National Park (we were desperate for some cool altitude and some shade to drive through). We stopped at the summit to eat our supper, and afterwards I puttered along the edge of the jagged slope, marveling at how all of the wildflowers and weeds were so familiar to me (because the part of Ontario we grew up in is a tiny pocket of Carolinean Forest nestled in the vast expanse of Boreal Forest that is the rest of Canada, so the flora of the Carolinas is exactly the same as home). Had my trekking socks not been safely packed away in a box somewhere in the trunk of the car, I could have dug them out and faked a really good trail photo. The sign was right there, on the way to the rest rooms, Appalachian Trail, it would have been so easy to just lay the sock down there and fake it, no hiking required, no purchase necessary. But I didn't. Maybe because I'd be embarassed to fake it, or maybe because I was too lazy to unpack half the car to find the sock. Or possibly because I might not have actually even thought of it until the next morning when we were far from the mountains, back in the city. But anyway, there you have it.
So. Instead I offer you this. Here I am in Athens Georgia, riding my new bike to school every day. This might not sound so remarkable, but listen: I have not ridden a bike regularly in sixteen years. I grew up in a tiny, tiny town (of maybe a thousand people), and I used to ride my bike out on country roads, where I could ride on any side I wanted until a car came along. When I was 18 I moved to London, and after three or four terrifying trips down Wharncliffe Road to get to my then-boyfriend's house (plus that one time I agreed to ride with him to a party way out in Byron even though it was dark and I had no lights on my bike; what a goddam ordeal that was, poor guy, I must have driven him crazy with my fearful whining and y'all, it was a long, long ride), I gave up riding in the city; I was just too scared. Twice I rode from my place to my dad's farmhouse north of the city, and both times I was absolutely terrified until I got outside the city and onto roads that seemed familiar and safe to me (even though I had never biked those particular roads before). I haven't ridden since. I gave my beloved old Triumph ten-speed to Peter, and when it came time to replace the tubes and we discovered that the wheels on my old bike were no longer considered a standard size and the right tubes couldn't be found, Peter bought himself a new bike and I sadly placed my old Triumph out by the side of the road (this story doesn't end sadly, though: somebody took it, and I even saw him riding it past our house one time, which made me really, really happy).
This spring, my colleague Jenn gave me a bike. I took it home and in the middle of July Peter and I rode from our house to the Yacht Club and back, then I started riding along with him to work every day on the riverfront bike path; it took me a little while to not be afraid of crossing Riverside Drive to get from our neighbourhood to the bike path, but I got over that. We brought both our bikes to Athens and rode downtown together every afternoon, then on the last day Peter was here we tried out the ride to the studio. And since he left I've been riding to school every day, even going on big, busy streets, using left turn lanes and everything. The only drawback is that unlike walking, for this I need to use my hands. And we all know what that means.
Sorry Norma and Margene, but I should have known better; knitalongs always tend to kill my enthusiasm for a project, and that added to the fact that I don't actually ever hike anywhere should have made it obvious to me from the beginning that I would fail. But I do have a beautiful almost-finished sock, and am slowly getting back in shape with the biking. So maybe next time we spend time in the Smokies, I will hike part of that trail.
I can, however, trek-along vicariously through my friends a bit: Wednesday night we had our first Hot Corner knit night of the 2006/07 school year; I drank tea and knitted the night away with Jenn, who has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, and Sam, whom I helped to kitchener her newly finished Trekking XXL socks. Do I get any kind of loser consolation prize for that?
August 17, 2006
Dave and Max, 1981
This sweet little boy is 31 today. You can tell by the expression what a torment he was back then, so easily fooling grownups into believing he was the angelic darling, all the while egging on his (somewhat less angelic) big sister into catching the shit for every misdeed (by the way Mom, it was DAVE who coloured the entire basement wall pink that time. I swear it was him).
Love you, bro. And I'll forgive you for bloodying my nose if you'll forgive me for smashing your video game.
August 14, 2006
that empty feeling
August 13, 2006
Here I am. We've been in Athens for a week, spending our afternoons at Little Kings and our nights at the 40 Watt taking in Athens Popfest, sleeping in and trying not to get sucked in to living on Athens time. I've been working too, knitting away on some summer tops for JCA while listening to some fantastic indie bands and also a few downright awful ones; my favourites that I hadn't heard before were How I Became The Bomb (I'm just holding out until payday to get my hands on their record, and y'all know what a total skinflint I am, so that says something) and Baby Calendar (who are a little bit twee, but in that totally awesome and pleasing way instead of that irritating way, and the people in the band are all really cute). Other than that, my favourite performances were two of the headliners, The Mountain Goats (goes without saying) and Apples in Stereo (they're incredibly tight and the music is full of those catchy hooks that suck you in; I wasn't nearly as impressed listening to their recorded work as I was seeing them live). There were lots of other great performances, but I'll let the music people talk about it, since I'm the sort of artsy-crafty-geek whose impression of the band is sometimes skewed by whether I like the shirts they're wearing or if they have a really snazzy looking guitar (for instance, I knew I was going to like How I Became The Bomb because they have such a cool name, and I knew that I was going to like that guy with the flags on his trousers and the baby blue dress shoes, just because. Baby. Blue. Shoes. And lo and behold, that was his band, and they freaking rocked). Had I been willing to haul the laptop down to the bar every night I would have blogged the whole damned festival for you, but I'm too fucking lazy. And also didn't think of it until halfway through the week.
Sorry I haven't been regaling you all with stories of late, but as Peter's leaving to go back home tomorrow I've been feeling somewhat stingy with my time. Rest assured that when I'm left all alone again more than a thousand kilometres from home, loneliness will get the verbal diarrhoea going once again.
For now, here's a fun game:
Who can think of a good collective noun for sorority girls?