Saturday, October 28, 2006


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Dining Room

For the first two years that we lived in this house, Nick and I hated our dining room. It was cold, cavernous and awkward. On many many occasions we'd sit in that room and try to figure out what to do to make us like the room.

This summer, we finally did it. It was the last room for us to make peace with after moving here. And while this picture does not really show the dining room, it is taken from the place I was standing when I realized my own desire to be in that space. It was after dark, I was standing in the living room trying to figure out what to do with myself (a.k.a. avoiding making dinner) and I looked into the dining room and felt the warmth we had always dreamed would be there. Over the last several months we find ourselves hanging out in there to discuss life, plans, dreams, and the day...not just to lament how much we disliked the room.

Nick built the shelves that hang on the left wall you can see in the picture. They made the room. As we processed the selling of our house, we fought about up-lighting in the dining room. Nick felt it was essential. I felt like maybe it was and someone else could take care of it after us...I didn't think it was really worth our time or money. Maybe I still think that, but a few months later and only $20 later, it was the detail that made us love the room.

Our house is under contract now. When we first put it on the market, Nick and I would walk from room to room saying, "I love this house." Now that the end is in sight, I look around and feel a mix of panic and sadness. This will forever more not be ours.

We decided to leave the shelves and lighting with the house for three reasons. First of all, the new owners want them. Secondly, Nick made them, therefore, he can do it again. And thirdly, how sad would it be if the next owners spent two years of their time here unsure of what to do to make the space feel connected and warm? It seems like such a simple simple detail--yet it made it feel like we had always wanted the dining room to feel. Warm and inviting.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Scary Pumpkins

Friday, October 20, 2006


The last two weeks have been full. Many of the things we have been eagerly anticipating--whether an actual event or information or whatever--have come together in the last several days. It is A LOT to process.

This weekend Nick is with some guys at their annual Boys-Only-Bash. It's full of games, conversation and of course, beer. I decided to visit a friend in the town I grew up in. It is crazy how familiar everything is and simultaneously how much it has all changed. The buildings all look the same, but the businesses or uses have changed or expanded. Every now and then we'll turn a corner and I'll ask, "How long has that been here?"

I think the strangest thing I am experiencing this weekend is just the juxtaposition of sitting around, reading, hanging out in a way that does not relate at all to the experiences in my personal day-to-day world. In some ways it is nice to find a seat outside of that for a bit. On the other hand, I'd love to be sitting with Nick processing at the dining room table.

One thing I will say is that Virginia is pretty all of the time. I am always amazed when I return at how blue the sky is, how clean the air feels (ignoring the wet dog food smell that permeates the region), how alive the day feels. This is fall break weekend and it reminds me of coming back here during fall break when I was in college. It was always an amazing part of my year. The crispness, the beauty, the relationships... I always felt alive and it was hard to separate myself and leave again until the holidays.

In general, I think I enjoy weekends like this more when Nick is around. It is grounding to have the current mingle with the past. Otherwise, you just continually forget about the present and yet the past is some other place as well.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A fun animation

Another blog sent me to this link. I found it funny. Maybe you will to.

"The Last Knit"
(The title of this post is linked to the animation.)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Good, The Bad, and The Subsequently Painful

Let's start with the good. I awoke this morning to the kind of darkness only brought on by an early morning storm. It was fabulous. Even now that its officially day, the light is dim, the pouring rain is intermittent and emitting a beautiful sound, and the thunder and lightening are exciting. I snuck out back between rain storms and took this picture of our back patio. The wind obviously helped to place the bright yellow leaves. I love the light on days like this.

So, the bad. I have been having anxiety dreams. Often dreams like this are not related to actual events in life. With that said, the last two nights I have had dreams very much related to what's actually happening in my life. Two nights ago I dreamed of coordinating a wedding on the coast as a hurricane approached. Last night I dreamed that I had four separate friends going into labor at the same time and I got confused and thought I needed to be at each of the births to take pictures but they were all hours apart. (I think this is because of considering sleeping an hour away sometime in the next week.) I really only need to be at one and it is local. The other thing I dreamed about last night was the class that I am visiting today. I am supposed to take the books that I've been working on and share it with a book-making class. I dreamed that I got there and had not brought anything with me. The teacher was really pissed off at me and I offered to drive home to get it and she got even angrier because I'd throwing off her plan for the day. So, I tried desperately to get online and find my blog since I have pictures of some of my books on here, but I couldn't figure out how to use the damn computer! Somehow my months of exclusive Mac use had prevented me from having any clue with a PC.

Now the painful. Stress does this lovely thing to me where it stacks heavy in the muscles of my neck and shoulders. Last time I went for a massage, the woman said that I didn't strike her as a stressful person, that I seemed very calm to her. Then she started working on my neck and shoulders and equated me to a duck on a pond. At first glance the duck looks very still and peaceful, possibly even asleep. However, under water they're paddling like hell. I awakened this morning to a sore neck, upper back and a migraine threatening to take hold and kill my day.

I know that what I am stressed about is really not these specific events. I think that I am having stressful dreams about them only because they are the solid, certain things going on right now. Everything else is unknown and there doesn't seem to be anyway to process the waiting in a tangible way.

I've got to either figure out how to deal with stress differently or else how to come up with the money to have a massage every other week.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Altered Books

In my studio, I have a shelf full of handmade books--all blank. I also have a box (already packed for a move) that contain the same thing. After five years of making books, I still don't do much with text. On occasion, I'll make a book that has specific, predetermined text. For example, annual planners, gift commissions, etc. I have not however ever added my own text with the exception of using a few as journals or an address book.

Often, the first two books of any specific binding I will keep for myself. I have an sentimental connection to them and often look through the piles and think, "Which can I give away?" "Which could I sell?" Giving away is so so much easier for me then selling. Whenever I consider pricing them, I see all the flaws of learning and can't imagine asking someone to pay me for any one of them.

Altered books are different. The text is in place, and altering it often means interacting with it in a unpredeteremined way.

My friend, Brooke, has organized an altered book collaboration. It is a project that will last a full year with twelve Pittsburgh women each passing a book on to the next person at the end of the month. October is the first month.

We met last week to meet the other woman, talk about the project and intentional avoidance of rules, and to share with everyone the book that we had chosen to use. I am using the Photographic Atlas of the Planets.

The first two days after our meeting, I worked on the book several times each day. At this point, it is the images that I seem to want to interact with instead of the text. I find that I like working this way. This project will certainly help me become more comfortable with text as well as letting go of the things I create. At the end of this month, I'll pass on my book to the next person. I won't see it again for another year and in that time it will be changed in many many more ways. Maybe the things that I have done will not even be recognizable. In many ways, it will be very freeing.

I am considering working on one by myself as well. A journal of sorts for the coming year. Instead of starting with blank white pages where I can make lists, plans, rants, dreams, etc, maybe I will start with a book and add color, line, words, making cuts, folds and tears in a very nonlinear form. It may be liberating. It may make me a stronger artist.

Here is a pictures of one alteration.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Current Favorite

"Hide and Seek" by Imogean Heap is my (current) favorite song.

I first heard it on the soundtrack to The Last Kiss--and it quickly rose to the top as my favorite on the album. Since then I have also seen it on television and heard it a few other places and the sounds just connect for me.

So, if you get a chance...listen to it. And when you do, here are the lyrics in case you miss that...

"where are we?
what the hell is going on?
the dust has only just begun to fall
crop circles in the carpet
sinking, feeling

spin me 'round again
and rub my eyes,
this can't be happening
when busy streets a mess with people
would stop to hold their heads heavy

hide and seek
trains and sewing machines
all those years
they were here first

oily marks appear on walls
where pleasure moments hung before the take over,
the sweeping insensitivity of this still life

hide and seek
trains and sewing machines (you won't catch me around here)
blood and tears
they were here first

ooom what d'ya say,
emmm that you only meant well?
well of course you did
ooom what d'ya say,
emmm that's all for the best?
of course it is
emmm what d'ya say?
hmmm that it's just what we need
you decided this
mmmm what d'ya say?
hmmm what did she say?

ransom notes keep falling out your mouth
midsweet talk, newspaper word cut outs
speak no feeling
no, i don't believe you
you don't care a bit,
you don't care a bit

(hide and seek)
ransom notes keep falling out your mouth
midsweet talk, newspaper word cut outs

(hide and seek)
speak no feeling
no, I don't believe you
you don't care a bit,
you don't care a bit

(hide and seek)
oh no, you don't care a bit
oh no, you don't care a bit

(hide and seek)
oh no, you don't care a bit
you don't care a bit
you don't care a bit"


From my computer,
I am able to watch the neighbor's dog.
In the deep shade of our patios,
she stands still
soaking in a small triangle of sunlight.
Her stillness always feels so sad to me.

Sometimes, as I think of our country move,
I imagine taking her with us.
I imagine her sweetness
as we offer her our attention and love.
The warmth of our home.

Mona is terrified of her.
Nick says no.
And anyway,
she's someone else's dog.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Strawberry Hill Farm