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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

On the Road Again

 Well, it's that time - time to load the two 50 pound suitcases and the 35 pound carry-on and the 20 pound purse and the coat with pockets bulging with last minute teaching necessities, load it all into the car and make that 20 minute drive to the airport. And it feels a lot like the above photo of Scooter trying to fit into a tiny boxtop. It's teaching season.  One of my favorite seasons next to spring and sitting on the porch seasons.

I've been preparing new book making classes for almost 3 months now.  New handouts, new projects,  tearing stacks of text blocks, putting together sets of tools for the students. Worrying.  Wondering if I really know what I am doing.  Wondering if I am too old for this.  Wondering what I would do it I couldn't take my show on the road and teach?
I'm heading to Ann Arbor tomorrow morning to teach folks from the Ann Arbor Fiber Guild.  My good friend and fabulous cook, Anna Flora, will meet me at the Detroit airport hopefully with a decent gin&tonic.  The old Detroit airport, before it's face lift, always reminded me of being back at grad school at nearby Cranbrook.  I just love the current airport with it's alien sound tunnel and fabulous fountain.  It's clean!!  No broken seats or torn wallpaper. (one notices many things while awaiting the 4th cancellation of one's flight).

One of the book projects we'll be doing in Ann Arbor will be this mighty useful wrapped journal.  It's quick, easy ( I hope ) and no one else will have anything like it.  I did a sample class at my studio two weeks ago with Marien, Susie, and Jane.  They made some very wonderful books (considering that I gave them the dregs of my resist felt pieces which which to make those books). They are so kind to me!
There is a strange thing I notice that happens just before I leave on a journey and just before I return.  My mind just moves on to the next place.  Body sitting here in front of computer writing this blog so it can cross it off the list and brain is at the airport, fiddling with the itouch.  I just hope I can hold it together for a few more hours as I do need to henna the hair, iron the clothes, stuff the final bag and find the tickets.  But my brain is on the road already. 

And when I am ready to return, my mind again beats my body back to the screen porch. Just like Marien here awaiting her turn for last Sunday's porch haircuts.

Oh my. It's already so late and the henna needs two hours to soak in, and the cable company has had an accident somewhere and so there is no tv.  And there are still loads of un-scratched off tasks to do before 9 am tomorrow morning - 12 hours away.  I guess I'll just have to finish up these delightful strawberry daiquiris and try to iron. And try to think of tomorrow morning with coffee on the porch and hair the color of the sunrise, ready to hit the road.

Opps - almost forgot.  I just scheduled a three day Studio Retreat here in  my studio in June.  Three days of resist dyeing and making books and stitching and beading on the - where else - the porch!  See side bar for more information.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

On Motivation

It's the first day of April and the weather person promises record breaking temperatures - like in the 70's!  It's a day like this I've been waiting for since last October.  We have had a few warm sunny days, but they lasted just a few hours before temps dropped and grey skies spit a few flakes to freeze my soul.

But those bits of sun here and there woke up the dormant sleeping porch lover in me, and I have been busy - not on blogging - but on redecorating the screen/sun/sleeping porch, getting books and teaching papers done and discovering the life appreciating jolt in the heart that comes when disasters strike.  

The Passport - the first heart and soul tremor.
I love Holland and England and well, travel in general.  On April 26th I will be flying off to visit my very cool friend Joke in Holland.  The trip has been planned for months as I scrapped together frequent flier miles, figured out dates from arcane airline web pages and working on the felt book class I will be giving during my time in Amserfoort.  Imagine my shock  when I was told that because my passport expires in June, I could not use it for travel.  Seems that one's passport needs at least six months of unexpired life left or one cannot enter most foreign countries.  I would be captured in Schiphol Airport and shuffled back to the USA in some cargo plane full of other rejected items!

Hyperventilating and thanks to the passpost guy in our local post office, I had that passport form, pictures, a huge personal check and all my hopes in an expedited expensive next-day-delivered envelope on it's way to some government office within hours and  a WEEK later had a new passport.  Most be a slow season somewhere.

Another disaster occurred when my ancient, wonderful $5 Good Will espresso machine blew up almost a week ago.  It was horrifing and sad.  It's name was Charlie and we made coffee every single day for almost 7 years.  After that much time together it was almost beyond my abilities to figure out what to do - which was to spend several days on the computer checking consumer reports and web sites for the best espresso machine within my price range.  One just can't count on Good Will when the chips are down.  The result is in the photo - Marco DeLonghi - my Amazon espresso object of worship.  I still have to hold the instructions in one hand while checking water temps with the other.  Who knew coffee could be so tempermental.  But, oooo, the taste!

 And finally, everyone's great disaster-heart-stopper this time of the year, le taxes.  I have laid out the papers on every table in the house hoping that seeing them at every turn would guilt me to work. Didn't work.  But instead the porch has been almost completely transformed...walls and floors repainted, a fabulous green bench was found at the auction house, new curtains hung, a day bed moved in instead of uncomfortable futon, goodwill pillows were gathered, a few ferns to hang...

And now I am almost back to the artistic life - Sitting in the sun on the porch has done wonders for getting books stitched and teaching plans firmed up.  Yes, I get my wifi out there and if I can find a small bar for the G&Ts and enough power for Marco's life affirming coffee, I'm not moving until Jane comes to take me to the airport (clutching that precious passport in my hand).