Life Lately: January

I've never written a "life lately" post, so I thought I'd give it a whirl...

First off, I'm sooo excited to be making progress on one of my goals in such a big way already.  I am working on a song set for none other than the St. Francis Mardis Gras pasta dinner on February 25.  I'm still tweaking the list, but it's mostly standards with some fun ones thrown in for festivity.  Trying to memorize La Vie en Rose in French... wish me luck!

Here, Sherman is helping me pick out music.  "You have to start with Cabaret, of course," he said.

I've also been testing out papers, pens, and framing for the Flying Adventures exhibit.  The prints for frames are bigger than the original book, so I was worried that my handwriting would look too small or the ink line too thin, but it's working out just fine.  In the photo below I'm writing in pencil on scrap paper to see how the words will line up with an image. After getting that ballpark idea, though, it's a pen and no guide-lines.  I take a deep breath and just do it.

I want the framed prints to look like an open book so that they appear three-dimensional, not flat. I decided to hand-sew signatures and mount them individually in shadowbox frames so that you can see all the page edges and the fold of the paper.  I got goosebumps when I held up a finished piece... they look really good if I do say so myself!  Now to start working on 42 of them... 

I visited my brother in Florida a couple weeks ago.  We decided to start going through the boxes of family memorabilia that we'd left in storage after selling Mom & Dad's house.  We got through one box and found some gems!  Here I am with my Mom and our dog and cat when I was five.  I still have the same haircut lol.  And I still love picnics.

My brother just got himself a new office, which is exciting for him, obviously, but also for me because he asked me for my opinion on decorating and artwork, and wants to display some of my photographs.  (My first corporate gig - yes!)  We spent a Saturday afternoon at the Orlando IKEA looking for odds-and-ends (and had meatballs for lunch, of course).  I can't wait for it all to be finished!

I designed a print ad for him too while I was visiting.  I've never done an ad for anyone but myself and I thought it turned out pretty well!  Design work always feels like putting a puzzle together: there are all these independent elements you have to try to fit in a certain space and somehow make it look good.  I designed his website too, which made me realize that I'd love to do more website work.  (Need a site?  Let me know!)

Back at home it feels like there really is no winter.  I got to make that one snowman early in December but there hasn't been snow since.  It's terrible.  That said, I've been going for a walk every day and I'm always wondering what the river's going to look like.  Foggy one day, rain another, a crazy pink sunset... Before the big thaw it was frozen and every now and then you'd hear the dark echo-y twang of the ice cracking.  It was so eerie but beautiful.  Made me jump out of my skin every time.

I got out & explored Columbus a little bit this month too.  Finally went to check out the renovations at the Columbus Main Library.  Fortunately they left the foyer exactly how it had been.  I lloooove the foyer sculpture.  It just feels so grand.  I can't help it:  I always just want to jump off the second floor balcony and swing around on those things! 

The renovations are gorgeous.  Open space, lots of tables and hang-out spots, and a great cafe.  But I dunno, the main level just feels so empty.  I'm all for big spaces and minimalism, but you don't see any books when you walk in.  I know that libraries are about more than just books, but it feels more like the entrance to a museum than a library, kind of distant and institution-y.  Maybe they've got plans for the lobby that I don't know about...? Regardless, I will ALWAYS love our library.  It's one of the Carnegie libraries, and it's always one of the top-ranked libraries in the country.

I also decided I would finally figure out how to get to the abandoned bridge over route 70 downtown.  That's the LeVeque tower in the very-distance.  I found it!  It winds up dead-ending at the railroad tracks, which makes me wonder how long ago it was still in use as a road.

Every now and then we've gotten some sunshine, and I love the winter sun glowing up my orange tree, which I've had for over ten years now.  It started out as a little 6-inch Home Depot purchase and I just keep repotting it.  It's four feet tall and smells sooo good when it blooms.

Been reading too.  Flights to and from Florida were perfect for that!  I read Kent Haruf's Our Souls at Night, am in the middle of Andre Dubus III's House of Sand and Fog, and finished Jean Nathan's biography of photographer Dare Wright called The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll.  I can't remember where I came across the recommendation for that book, but I'm glad I did; it was such a fascinating read.  Dare Wright wrote children's stories about the lives of her doll and teddy bears and illustrated them with black and white photographs.  That alone piqued my interest... I didn't know her books even existed.  I'm always curious to see works of fiction illustrated with photographs instead of drawings. It's such a rarity!

Her stories, though, hinted at Wright's unconventional life, psychological insecurities, and unhealthy -- most would say, too close -- relationships with her mother and brother.  A "girl who never grew up," Wright explored her sense of self through photographic self-portraiture and lived in the world of the stories she created.  I don't know why a filmmaker hasn't taken Wright's story on yet. 

Anyway, this has been my January so far.  Too rainy (or too cold) to fly, but that's okay, I need to be in the studio!  I hope your 2017 is going well.  Cheers!

ps - A hello from Miss Kid whose mission here was to keep me from changing the sheets. Success!