Monday, September 29

a cat with taste

This is Dinah.If there's one thing you should know about Dinah, it's that she's obsessed with being brushed. Some cats like catnip; Dinah likes her brush. If you can imagine, she has the same out of control-drugged out response to the brush as other cats do to catnip.

This is a piece of artwork that Christopher's friend Derek made many years ago. You will notice that looks a little like a large dust brush, but with pencils instead of bristles.

Dinah has just discovered it on its shelf, and she now spends many hours pining for it from atop the sofa.
Let's hope she doesn't actually pull it down and impale herself on it.

Wednesday, September 24

drafting relief

I asked a friend to come over today to help me figure out the forced perspective village. After half an hour of staring at my drafting, she admitted that she also had no idea what to do about it.

I then called a few friends from grad school, expert drafters, to ask advice. One of them, who has been assisting one of our teachers since our graduation (and just got back from presenting this teacher's latest design to the English National Opera), confessed to me that this is one of the hardest things to draft, and that for him to remember how to do it he'd have to sit down at a drafting table with a book for half an hour before he could even attempt to explain it to me. He recommended just sending the drawings I'd done (which included elevations and a plan) and along with my model, and that the carpenters should be able to figure it out.

I felt better that this wasn't just something that I'm incapable of: it's really hard.

Another friend called me back. She's been assisting one of our other teachers, our drafting teacher actually, who now has designed a bunch of sets on Broadway. Anyway, this friend was ready to explain how to draft my village over the phone, but by this point I was so done with it that I declined. I would like to know how to do this in the future, but I need to get these drawings into the mail. It is indeed time to move on.

In the meantime, we "cleaned" our apartment. It seems that every room (except the living room, which is immaculate) is now FULL of clutter. I'm not sure where it all came from, or where it can go. It's completely overwhelming... help...

Monday, September 22

easier said than done

I'm still drafting my show. I sent most of the drawings in last week, and they've started building from them, but there are some little detail-y things for me still to do.

One of those is to draft the five (5!) little forced perspective buildings that can be seen out the window of the set. Brilliant of me to put five (5!) of them there, and to make them all so different. Did I mention that they have roofs and chimneys? Maybe it's time to hire an assistant, so I can work on more important things...

Sunday, September 21


Late on Friday night we were offered the opportunity to buy two tickets to Saturday afternoon's Yankees game. For those of you who don't follow baseball (and I barely do) this weekend marks the final games ever in Yankee Stadium. Tonight is the final game. Yesterday was the second to last game. And we were there.Clearly we forgot our Yankees gear.

Despite having strong New England roots, Christopher is an avid Yankees fan. Me? I'm a Phillies girl, but if they aren't around I'll root for the Yankees too. Yeah, that's me. I was probably about 3 or 4.

The whole thing was really fun. The weather was fantastic, and the crowd couldn't have been more passionate. The game itself was rather uneventful and relatively short (barely anyone got a hit and the only point was scored at the bottom of the 9th). Christopher was glowing amd I didn't knit at all because I was too busy raving about how much fun it was.Even the $5 hot dog was especially good.

There was something extra special about being at the last day game (and second-to-last ever game) at Yankee Stadium. I hope to remember this feeling for a long time.

Saturday, September 20

crisp air

Fall seems to be here.

It's been so warm and so humid that somehow I wasn't prepared yesterday when I went to the Guggenheim and then dinner with a friend. For the first time in months, I didn't have enough clothing, and longed for a pair of mitts and a shawl to warm me up.

It's funny. For months now I've been browsing Ravelry, admiring all of these new sweaters that have wide 3/4 length sleeves, wondering which one I should cast on. And then (usually after choosing one, and then browsing which yarn would be appropriate) I remember that I have a sweater in progress that more or less fits that criteria, and I should probably just finish that first before I decide I need another one like it. Especially since I can't imagine that wide 3/4 length sleeves are very appropriate with cold winter temps and are probably a huge pain to get an overcoat over. (Just imagine those bunched up sleeves and cold arms. I cringe just thinking about it.)I cast this on back in February. It's the Cables and Lace Kimono from Sweaterbabe, and I am using purple Queensland Collection Kathmandu DK that I got on sale from Webs last fall. The yarn is gorgeous (though the color doesn't photograph so well), and I'm loving the sweater.

Two minor hitches however: a) the needle I was using has now been moved to another project, which I'm more actively working on and b) since it's all being knit in one piece it's gotten very bulky and it's really not so portable. I may be able to work through these barriers though. Seems like if I'm ever going to wear it, now would be the time to finish it, right?

Tuesday, September 16

Christopher has a blog!

When I originally started this blog, I thought that Christopher and I would write together, thus his name is under the contributors up above (and thus "Brown Wall," our last names). He wrote two posts, probably in the first 2 weeks that I was blogging. And that was it.

Now he's just started his own blog, which is great because a) he's a writer and he's more articulate than me and b) he's able to express himself publicly, which I think is important for a writer to do.

So here it is: Half-Shell.

I can't resist

I feel very strongly about this upcoming election, but I also don't think that this blog is the place for me to rant or get too personal. It pushes people away, and that is not what I want to do on this blog.

So here's a little election humor, in case you missed it on Saturday.

Sunday, September 14

over too soon

This weekend has just flown by. I had great plans to dedicate myself to developing my two rapidly approaching designs, but my father came up to tile our kitchen and the designing just didn't happen. He's gone now, and I'll take a few hours tonight to at least make a dent on what needs to happen. And I'll probably take the day off from work tomorrow. Time to prioritize.

Good things did happen this weekend, number one being the tiles for our back splash. I think we put backer board up for that last summer, but then with our ebay tile fiasco and our feeling of frustration after that, the tile project got dropped. In July we decided to bite the bullet and order what we really wanted, even though they were expensive. (Unfortunately, we realized today that due to a brain fart I only ordered half as much as we need, so tomorrow I've got to call and get more. Argh.)

Ok, before: Since I didn't order enough tile, this actually still looks the same... we tiled the other side of the kitchen.

And after:Looks like I'll be grouting them myself sometime this week. Yes, I can grout tiles. Random skill I've picked up over the years.

The other major accomplishment for the weekend was replacing some shelving in the office/studio. We bought a modular shelving system a few weeks ago at the new Ikea in Brooklyn, but they were out of the feet, so we couldn't put it together until now (when my dad brought feet from the Philadelphia Ikea. Thanks for the runaround, Ikea.)

This is a photo of my work space that I took about a year ago. I know, it's a total cluttered mess. And this is after I've cleaned up and am actually working in it.Note the wooden shelves on the far right, the ones that look like they belong in a garage or basement. Note that they are also tipping precariously forward, like they might want to fall on you when you're not paying attention.

And these are the new shelves that we just got. They have a much smaller footprint and also there's a big shelf at eye height for my models. When I lived on the Lower East Side (I moved away in Jan 2004), I had a big shelf next to my drafting table for my models and it was SO GREAT. Since then I've improvised, and it's not so great. You can see a little model taking up precious table space above. Totally in the way.
Maybe I need to buy some of those matching storage boxes or something. This is not so aesthetically pleasing...

Anyway, working on the apartment is positive, but the changes also bring intense cleaning and sorting (today I actually went through a box that I packed when I moved back in 2004. very satisfying!), and we just don't have time for that this weekend. I want to get rid of this clutter, but the more I do the worse it seems to be. Would another Ikea trip help? or is buying little matching boxes part of the problem...

Monday, September 8

keeping moving

We had a very busy weekend this weekend. After an awards ceremony on Friday night for the theater festival we participated in this summer (we won best director), we ran to Philadelphia on Saturday morning to see family.

As previously mentioned, Christopher's sister had a baby at the end of June. Little Alden is now 2 months old, and he's so much bigger (and more exciting) than when we saw him a month ago. We also had a good time with Alden's big brother Isaac, who is now four, and he asked me if I'd succeeded in getting dressed. (clearly, getting dressed is what he's learning these days.)

Sunday would have been our friend Anne's 65th birthday. Last year Christopher and I drove down from NY with Anne's best friend, and celebrated her birthday with her friends at my parents' house. This year sadly it was the day of her memorial service instead. My parents hosted a brunch for her family and friends from out of town, and after a short break Christopher and I walked over to the Philadelphia Museum to catch a bus downtown for the service.

I'd never been to a memorial of this magnitude. Anne was the director of the museum for about 25 years, and she knew and touched a lot of very interesting people. The memorial was at the Academy of Music (which I hadn't been in since going to Philadelphia Orchestra concerts with my grandmother in high school). They estimated 2,000 guests, most of the Philadelphia art world as well as her family, her husband's family and various important art people from around the world.
The director of the British Museum spoke, as did the director of the Getty, and director emeritus of MoMA and Matisse's granddaughter. My parents and I didn't see them, but the paper reported that Christo and Jeanne-Claude were there, along with Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly and Richard Gluckman.

Afterwards, we took a bus back to the Museum for a reception.
We mostly hung out with my parents, drinking wine and eating cheese and grapes in the grand hall before we discovered that there were tables on the terrace in front of the museum.It was dark and hard to photograph, so you'll have to trust me that there's no other view of Philadelphia quite like the one from the top of the Museum steps, and it was a real treat to be able to sit at a cafe table there, drinking wine and chatting with people from all parts of my parents' lives.

It was such an odd way to wish farewell to someone we knew. She had this very important public life, one which we didn't have a great part of, but it's how most people knew her. At the same time, the woman I knew, who was very gracious and generous and warm was also very private. I had very few personal conversations with her, which I really regret now. I'm not sure how that could have been different, but I now wish I could have asked her how she maneuvered the ropes the way she did, and how she learned to be so tactful. I regret not knowing more about how she perceived her position in the art world.

ETA: I forgot to mention that there was this marvelous silence before the memorial started. Most of the guests were sitting down and ready well before 5, and when the chimes went off in the lobby to make everyone sit at 4:55, everyone got silent. You'd think that within a minute or so they'd all realize that it was just the chimes, but the audience stayed very still until the service started at around 5:07. The silence was wonderful, and I was just astounded at how 2,000 people could suddenly just decide to be quiet. Perhaps this can only happen in a Quaker city.

Wednesday, September 3

a business trip

After a 7 hour bus ride yesterday, I was here: Cape Cod. The trip was too short. I got there at 3pm yesterday and left this morning at 11am.
I am looking forward to a week there in October, when I go back to put the finishing touches on my set. And I'm glad I won't have two 7-hour bus rides back to back again. I'm tuckered out (though I do have 3/4 of a sock).(This beach muck reminded me strongly of Anselm Keifer's work. I wonder if he's inspired by the beach...)

Monday, September 1

in the mix

So I actually went down and got some roti, and I took some photos. The crowd felt very warm and welcoming, and one woman offered to hold my place in the roti line so I could sample some pumpkin bread pudding.
This is the roti stand. Roti is sort of like a burrito but with curried stuff inside. I bought one chicken and one goat, and they were delicious though also rather spicy and full of bones.
These guys were also in line for roti. I couldn't get over their glittery heads. Isn't that awesome? (OK, I think it was probably better in person)
Doesn't this girl just look so proud of herself? I can see why!
This guy was just amazing. I think his costume is a praying mantis. It would sort of swivel this way and that above him.

parade update

Well, I must say the earplugs really helped us get through last night. I mean, we were definitely aware when a steel drum band was passing by (I think the first one came at around 2:30am) but it didn't have us up and annoyed the way it did last year.

Of course, the parade itself it really invasive and loud. I've been trying to work on my model, and the bass from the speakers outside just makes it really hard to concentrate, even with earplugs. And it's not even worth trying to turn on the radio or listen to the iPod. It looks rather busy outside; we've reached the point where there are just trucks inching by, covered with speakers and blasting music.I think I might venture out and see if there's any tasty food to be had... Should I leave the earplugs in?