Monday, August 31, 2009

the dutchess & the duke

i saw the dutchess and the duke at the now defunct gravity lounge last year or sometime in the recent past. they were awesome. this isn't a real video, but i want you to hear this song, reservoir park. on myspace they describe themselves as 'campfire punk,' which is, well, just right.

back to school!

speaking of photos taken from behind, i thought you might appreciate this. i am basically posting this photo to harass my little sister, katherine. this is our back to school photo from 1991 -- i was starting fourth grade, katherine first. and as you can see, our dachshund, hope aka hopeeees, had to get in on the rear view action. check out our matching outfits. WE WERE SO COOL. you can't really see it from this angle because my HOT PINK backpack is covering it up, but i'm wearing a matching vest and perfectly round john lennon glasses. we aren't even going to talk about katherine's pants. and maybe she had a vest, too? this particular year katherine and i had two first days of school, it's a long story, but suffice to say that on my second first day of fourth grade i distinctly remember wearing an acid washed denim mini skirt with a ruffle all around the bottom. no, it wasn't ruffled, it was a denim mini WITH a ruffle. and i remember loving that thing like there was no tomorrow.

now we're sort of grown up and katherine has an mfa from pratt. she has stellar printmaking skills and does crazy cool installations. you can see her most recent work, index of you and me, on her site. she also once attempted to elude the police WHILE DRIVING when she was fourteen. she's awesome. obviously.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

nostalgia fits me like a glove.

my mother does not remember this, and so it is mine to tell. the details have faded, and maybe they are wrong. but she does not remember, so i will remember for both of us. a balmy night with only the faintest touch of chill. there must have been some sort of discussion to give rise to our actions, talk of meteor showers or falling stars. i remember it being dark and feeling like we were embarking on a secret adventure. (there are so many things that are ours alone.) we gathered a few kitchen towels, walked down the concrete steps that are home to so many of my memories, and we perched ourselves on the hood of my father’s truck. we smoothed the towels out flat between our reclining bodies. she told me we needed them in case we caught a falling star. the utter impossibility is immediately clear. not only does one not catch falling stars, but one certainly does not attempt to do so with threadbare kitchen towels. we waited and watched, in much the same way that i remember urgently pressing my nose to the bedroom window on christmas eve, when it was time to sleep, eagerly and desperately seeking out any hint of a glowing red orb in the night sky. i am thankful for these falsehoods. no falling stars were caught, but i do not remember the evening as a failed mission. what i remember is stretching out on the hood of a car, under the starry sky, with my mother at my side. i remember believing.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

inherited no. 6

i told myself i had to stay in tonight to work on my ghirlandaio chapter and/or preparation for my class that meets monday. but the thing is, uva just switched to this new student registration system that has things all sorts of wackadoodle, and right now it only looks like two people are enrolled in my class. maybe more people will show up monday, but if not, the class will be canceled, and that makes preparation seem extremely unappealing. so now blogging has become a form of procrastination. that and trawling the internets for new music. to ease the nagging guilt i thought i would at least post an inheritance that's marginally related to what i'm supposed to be doing. you remember muriel, right, she of the watch and pastels and sesame street chitchats?

in honor of the closing days of summer, here's a favorite snapshot of grandmother. muriel kept an entire album of photographs taken from behind, it was her favorite kind, so it seems fitting that among the masses of photos i've collected, there's this one of her.

this tiny book is what i want to show you, friends. its pages are cracked and yellowed and it smells like the inside of old wooden drawers. also, it originally cost 60 cents. can you say awesome? i was only subconciously aware of this book's existence until a few years ago when one of my professors was listing off a short bibliography of general books on drawing i might consult. this was before i had irrevocably signed my life away to the study of these fragile pieces of paper, but when he mentioned this little text, it suddenly came into focus in my mind. oh, yes, i thought, i know that one, my grandmother owned it. and then, when i opened it, and it fell immediately to the page pictured below, well, something clicked.

on the page opposite the opening lines of text was the drawing that had pushed me over the edge into a full-fledged and unabashed love of the drawing hand. this is the one that, more than once, has single-handedly caused salty drops of water to spill over onto my cheeks. and that's all fine and dandy, la ti da, but then, to think that my grandmother must have stared at the same drawing, to think that she knew a piece of me before i knew it myself, before it could be known at all, well, that's just sort of mindblowing for me.

Monday, August 24, 2009

bug, duck, and worm.

generally speaking, i am not a fan of rats. and so that i don't seem prejudiced, i want you to know that i have a lot of personal experience with rats. they're just...creepy, and have long, hairless tails. in theory, they could be cute, in much the same way chipmunks or squirrels or other small-ish rodents can be cute, but to be honest, i'd prefer a possum over a rat any day. my personal experience with possums is much more endearing, mainly because i used to care for one that would ride on my shoulder and hang upside down from my finger. but, earlier today, i was reminded of a few rats, namely duck, worm, and the late bug, who redeem the entire species. evidence below.

duck and worm

jessica florence photographs her rats and posts them on her flickr page and blog. they are the most adorable and snuggly rats ever, and jessica takes amazing photos of them. go visit her sites and check out the others. you will die from cuteness, i swear.



Friday, August 21, 2009

oh, and...

the last post reminded me of this, which is AWESOME. you just have to make it through the french at the beginning. there are pugs, people, dancing pugs.

inherited no. 5

it's that time of year that time itself seems to speed up. i have a feeling these last months of 2009 are going to pass me by quickly and all the sudden it will be 2010, which i hear we're supposed to call "twenty-ten." i've only just gotten used to prefacing years with "two thousand..."

having always been overly conscious of the passing of time, the way years keep flying by is somewhat disconcerting. (and yes, i know, it's only going to get worse.) i'm pretty sure i almost annoyed m.d. to death by making the following kind of statement A LOT: "this is the last monday i am going to brush my teeth at home before i go to camp for a month." or, much later, "this may be the last breath my father is ever going to take." it doesn't matter what it is, i have always been obsessed with being aware of time, of firsts and lasts, of where i am in it all. i want to feel it between my fingers, and i want to remember it all. luckily i have a few things that help me out with this.

this small clock is more substantial than it looks, cast entirely in metal and still ticking away, despite having been patented in 1894. originally my great-grandmother's, the paint has worn away in places and the color on the details has faded. it's just the way i like it.

i'm wearing this little watch as i type. it was my grandmother's, and i remember finding it many years after she died when my mom and i were going through a suitcase of things we had taken with us while cleaning out her house. it was mixed in with cufflinks and clip-on earrings and tie clips and costume jewelry. when i saw it i fell in love with how delicate it is, the tiny stones framing the watchface, the fact that it has to be wound everyday and never needs a battery. the crystal was all scratched up, so m.d. had it replaced for me, and it's been in my watch wardrobe ever since. i think of grandmother every time i look down, only to realize that too much time has passed.

the last of my inherited timepieces is the least functional of the three but perhaps the most beloved. my father never wore a watch, maybe because it would have made his work more dangerous (he'd already gotten his arm caught in a machine once). or maybe because pocket watches are exponentially cooler. and in case you haven't noticed, my father was, um, kind of really cool. so he always had his pocket watch, hanging heavy and worn in his jeans pocket. my mom gave me the last one he had not too long ago, and i had forgotten its weight, its smooth, cool metal casing. needless to say, i love this thing, but i REALLY cannot figure out what on earth is happening in the narrative on the front. the back is a swirly art nouveau floral pattern, but then, flip it over, and there is what appears to be a native american male, mounted on a horse, and next to him is a woman, also atop a horse, wearing a voluminous dress and sporting a headdress? a tiara? a veil? two dogs run in the foreground. so maybe it's a man and his bride, sort of new world business? clearly ethically questionable, yes. okay, but then why are there medieval looking castles in the background? i'm telling you, there are some serious anachronisms going on here. if you've got any ideas, please let me know.

i suppose if he were here, i would ask my dad what is going on with this watch. although, of course, if he were here, it would probably still be resting warmly and comfortably in the pocket of his jeans, and i wouldn't be holding on to time quite so tightly.

listening to: lightning dust. buy it. immediately.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

a quick jaunt

tomorrow morning i leave bright and early for new york, off to the gift show for what is sure to be an exhausting few days. back soon. bacioni.

Monday, August 10, 2009

inherited no. 4

here i am, back for more. tonight i'm thinking about an inheritance that arrived in my possession via my mom aka mommerdoodle, often referred to here in the shorthand as m.d. she's the mommer to the doodle. i'm really trying to keep "gifts" out of this inherited series, but when i received this norton electric company telephone, patented in 1923(ish), it felt more like an inheritance than a gift. i knew it was mine for safekeeping.

by the way, before we move on to the specifics of this acquisition, i should mention that this phone was made in canada. to be honest, i wasn't aware anything but lifesavers were made in canada. (and this knowledge i owe to m.d.) who knew?

moving on.

this phone passed into my hands because my mother TALKS TO EVERY SINGLE PERSON SHE ENCOUNTERS...EVER. i often berate her for this behavior, but in all actuality, i wouldn't have her any other way. and, you know, i wouldn't have this amazing phone. the phone started out in the hands of a mr. jefferson, proprietor of a fish market in fairhope, alabama. i don't recall the details of how m.d. came to know mr. jefferson, but i know that he endeared himself to her by feeding and befriending the local feral cats and regaling her with stories of gambling in mississippi. just so you know, mr. jefferson is old, as in, when i met him several years ago, he showed me that he was a card-carrying veteran of world war II. the man fought in the battle of the bulge, people, and i am not joking. mr. jefferson had used this phone at his fish market for god knows how many years, and on the first day i met him and despite offers from others to pay good money for this weathered rotary dial antiquity, he handed me this treasure. and i don't believe it's because i was exceedingly charming or particularly interesting; it was solely because i am my mother's daughter. it's an object, a thing, a material possession no one needs, but there was something so moving about this transfer of goods. i have it, here, with me, as a reminder of an unlikely friendship between a slightly ornery old man and my overly friendly mother. it's a reminder of the good they saw in each other, and the good that i see in them.

i only met mr. jefferson the once, but i think of him whenever i pick up the heavy receiver of his phone. (and in case you're wondering, it still works after being adapted with a modern cord. the only problem is it sounds like a fire alarm on acid and increases risk of heart attack.) more importantly, whenever i see the phone, i hope that one day, i will be more like m.d. and not be afraid to walk up to a stranger and say hello. thank you, m.d., for talking to EVERY SINGLE PERSON YOU ENCOUNTER...EVER.

m.d. with a fish in her hand
bet you didn't think you'd see this on the internets, huh, m.d.?

Friday, August 7, 2009

can i go back to bed?

i wish i were writing something more exciting, but right now i'm feeling rather uncharitable toward the world at large. i'm exhausted from my travels and working 14 hour days, and i would feel better about that if i could imagine this frenzied pace might slow a bit. but i'm discouraged by how much i have to do in the next few weeks, preparing for a class i'll be teaching every monday evening from 7:00 to 10:00, writing a syllabus for my spring course, working on my ghirlandaio chapter, heading back to new york for the gift show, and don't forget regular work as well...i'm just a bit overwhelmed and frustrated and annoyed. i was looking at all the things i might write about this morning, and i just couldn't work up enough enthusiasm to do them justice. i'll wait for a better day.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

mi dispiace.

hello friends. contrary to what my recent lack of posting suggests, i have not dropped off the face of the planet. i'm just working. a lot. and i just spent 36 hours in new york buying at the accessories circuit. can i just say the orla kiely booth was unbelievable? her dress forms were made of her own fabric. le sigh. i'll hopefully get back to business soon. xoxo.