Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Loafers and Looking at Art

Today in Austin we're having the most perfect day: 60s, clear and sunny, and barely breezy.  I just returned home from my day of radiation, lunch, then yarn and sock shopping with Laura, and a trip to Tomlinson's for cat food.  I need to go buy wild bird seed for Chubby's seed hut, but I feel I've done enough shopping for today.  When I got home I found my fancy $10.00 olive green suede Cole Haan Ebay loafers in the mail box.  They're to replace my almost worn out green suede Target loafers.  They're so stretched out now that they flop right off my feet sometimes.  I've always been a fan of loafers. I wore them in high school in the 60s and  in the 80s, I had a pair of black ones I found at a thrift store.  They were really nice, hand stitched with leather soles.  I wore them everywhere.  After a show at Liberty Lunch (in whatever year that was),  I was merrily, and probably drunkenly, skipping across the rain-wet street to our car when my lovely leather soles slipped on the concrete, and I hit the ground with my left cheekbone and hip. My cheekbone immediately swelled to size of a golf ball.  I was sore and had big bruises for weeks, but I never held it against the shoes.  

Lauren and I went to Houston this past weekend to see a Kurt Schwitter's ( show ( at the Menil Museum.  It was great!  I loved looking at his collages up close, focusing on the individual elements--brush strokes, thickness of paint, the print in newspaper cut-outs, the grain in wood, and so on--then backing up quite a way just seeing just color and shape, the cubist effect being more apparent.  Does that make sense?  Anyway it was a wonderful show and you should go before the end of the month and see it.  The Menil is free, but they're happy to take a donation.  
Lauren in front of MFAH
We decided to Spend Saturday at the Fine Arts Museum and I was so glad we did because one work of art took my breath away:  Cai Guo-Qiang's Odyssey.   I don't want to say much about it because I want you to go see it.  Here's a link if you need more convincing:

I have a lot of ideas brewing right now.  Several things about Schwitter's work really spoke to me, some things I needed to hear.  I've been really uptight.  I am really uptight.  I'm not sure when that started, but I'd like to loosen my grip on some dumb ideas I'm holding on to.  His work seemed really raw and immediate--a few crooked frames and all (of course the gallery frames that often framed his work, were perfect). 

The light is beautiful right now at 4:46 and it's time to feed the cats.  

Friday, January 7, 2011

30 Days of gratitude--Day 30

This should be the last of the 30 days of gratitude posts, but I noticed yesterday that along the way I left out day 16.* I  haven't quite decided what to do about that.  In fact yesterday I was so flummoxed by the omission of the 16th day that I neglected to post.  Twenty-nine days of gratitude should be adequate, but I feel that it's just not right.  I set out to do 30 days, so there will be a belated day 16.   

Today, I'm grateful that I live in Austin.  Sure the traffic sucks, city government is often kind of a joke, and property taxes are awful.  That said, it's a heavenly green oasis in sea of scary, Baptist, gun-toting, right-wing, creationist-myth-believing Texas.  This state is red.  
Ah dear progressive Austin, with your beloved Barton Springs, many city parks and pools, beautiful greenbelts, Lady Bird Lake, hike and bike trails, fragrant blooming fruit trees, honeysuckle, wisteria, and mountain laurel in the springtime, breakfast tacos, brilliant music, flourishing art scene, passionate gardeners, kick-ass grocery stores with organic produce, farmers markets, casual, relaxed restaurants and bars, and buy-local attitude.    I can go from the farmers market to Hill Country Weavers for some yarn, to the Stitch Lab for a screen printing class, and from the Stitch Lab head over to the East Side and Domy to browse books, then to Tacoba for dinner without changing from the jeans and t-shirt I started the day in.  (I'm not saying I would do that, but I could.  If I wanted to.)
Morgan on hike and bike trail at Lady Bird Lake
 Austin is the seat of state government and home to The University of Texas.  Those two entities have provided jobs to folks like me for years.  Our economy is still stronger than that of many U.S. cities.  
me in front of the state capitol
People read here.  Smart people live here.  Progressive ideas take wing.  This is one of the greenest cities in the country and getting greener. Today I'm very grateful Austin is home. But if it gets much bigger, I'm moving to progressive West Texas!

*As it turns out, I did have a "Day 16."  I just somehow skipped over it.  Doh!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

30 Days of gratitude--Day 29

It's  official now, so I can break the news!   The neuropathy in my hands and feet has gotten bad enough that the Taxol treatment is over!  Yay!  Now I'll have just the Herceptin, but only every three weeks.   I am so grateful!   

What this means is no more muscle and joint pain, no more flu-like symptoms 2 days after treatment, no more depressed immune system, extreme fatigue, and hopefully, eventually no more neuropathy!  I am indeed grateful!  

My hair will grow back and I'll start feeling good again.  Hooray.  

Monday, January 3, 2011

30 Days of gratitude--Day 28

From left to right: Kathleen, Elena, Christine, Laura, Edmo, and Erika
This is my art focus group. These are some of the coolest, smartest, funniest, nicest, most creative people you could ever meet.  I am so grateful to know each and every one of them.  
For almost a year now we've been meeting on Monday mornings at 9 a.m., usually at Cherrywood coffee house, to discuss creative issues from making to marketing.  Sometimes we talk about how to get "unstuck,"  how to be gentle with ourselves, how to ask for help, how to develop the creative habit, and how keep going when discouraged.  Sometimes we talk about inspirations, processes, and resources.  Sometimes we talk about the stuff in our lives that's really hard : family, illness, money, and relationships.  Sometimes we cry, frequently we laugh, but we always celebrate one another's successes, no matter how small.  Disappointments, rejections, and failures all become a part of the learning process and are treated as such--just keep exploring and playing and making.   Eventually all of it becomes manifest in the work.  

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

30 Days of gratitude--Day 26

 Yesterday morning, Morgan and I celebrated New Year's Eve Day with a road trip.  We drove the back roads from Austin to Buda, from Buda to Kyle, from Kyle to San Marcos, from San Marcos to Gruene, from Gruene to New Braunfels, and back. I love a lot of small Texas towns.  We stopped along the way and took some pictures.  I'm grateful that it's so easy to get out to the country from Austin, and that we're surrounded by trees and water.  I'm also grateful that sometimes man's footprint upon the land is beautiful, or at least interesting, because that footprint is undeniable.
future business park between Kyle and Buda

what are these?  pink and blue, they are.
Too bad Riley's Tavern was closed because it looks awesome!

30 Days of gratitude--Day 25

I'm grateful I survived this difficult and challenging year.  I'm grateful I'm married to a kind and compassionate man.  I'm grateful for my friends, my oncologist, the chemo nurses, and the few strangers who have come up to me and said, "I know what you're going through and it will be okay." 

 I'm grateful that I continue to feel hopeful in these wicked times.  I don't believe in wearing blinders. I think the truth is the goal, regardless of how painful it might be.  If we can't see and admit the truth then any real solutions are impossible.  It's great to be positive and to see the beautiful parts of life, but living in that place for too long is foolish and not helpful.  Sometimes we're supposed to feel sadness and sorrow.  It's part of being human.  

 My greatest fear is that I possess enormous blind spots (lacunas) that are apparent to all but me, yet I know that possessing blind spots is a large part of my human condition.  This is where a sense of humor is helpful.  And I'm grateful for that.