Monday, February 14, 2011

Is This Too Sappy?

I feel like it's too sappy.

Happy Valentine's Day :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

An Open Love Letter To My Mommy On Her Birthday

Once upon a time my big brother told me his main goal in life was to be even half as cool as my dad.  This is completely understandable.  My dad is pretty much the coolest person who ever lived.  (Still, this statement made me a little sad since my main goal in life is to be maybe one tenth as cool as my big brother.)  The great tragedy of my dad being the coolest person, living or dead, ever is that we sometimes overlook how completely and totally awesome my mom is.  Where my dad is the mellow that keeps us all truckin' (so to speak) as a family, my mom is... just everything else we need to keep us going along the way.  She is our cruise director, our teacher, our domestic goddess, our moral compass, our cultural attache, our historian, our cheerleader, and our support pillar.

Make no mistake, my dad does all of those things as well.  But I'm confident in saying he will be the first to tell you, my mom is one hell of a lady.  One who deserves any and every nice thing anyone has to say about her.

Let me paint a picture for you.

When I was just weeks old my mom took me to my first political convention.  She put signs up on my play pen and I lobbied for better day care.

There's this totally awesome picture of my brother when he was little.  He's wearing a tee shirt that says "nuclear war would totally ruin my day."

My brother and I used to tease my mom that we were going to buy her a leash for Mother's Day so we could stop her from going to nurseries (the flower kind) all the time.  Related:  my brother and I are kind of buttheads.

Every year on Christmas Eve my family watches Lethal Weapon.  This easily one of the top ten weirdest traditions I've ever heard of, and therefore one of the best.  It exists because of my mom.

I love this:

And these:



And these:

because of my mom.

My mom will never let anyone say anything bad about themselves.  She will encourage you to be the very, absolute best that you can be.  She can bake at least 30 different kinds of cookies, occasionally will encourage you to have ice cream cake for dinner, and makes the best spaghetti ever.  She can sew, quilt, knit, and read (I'm guessing) one thousand words a minute.  She can make homemade Halloween costumes, design a set, manage a stage and play the violin and tympani (though probably not at the same time.)  She loves the Rolling Stones and taught me to love Janis Joplin and the Allman Brothers.  She also taught me to love Tchaikovsky, Handel, and musical theater.

My mom is a tooth and nail feminist who let me love Disney princesses.  She taught me that the princesses weren't just pretty - they are smart, kind, warm, occasionally head-strong, optimistic, and generous.

Last night I happened upon a clip from It Happened One Night.  Netflix failed me as they don't have it on their instant cue.  I decided to watch Arsenic and Old Lace instead.  When I was young, though I don't remember how old I was exactly, my mom took me with her to see a performance of the play.  I think it was at the local college.  Nothing major or anything, but a performance all the same.  But that's my mom, she always wanted to show us something cool.  I can certainly say that without her, I'm sure I wouldn't randomly decide to watch movies like that on Saturday nights.

I love my mommy very much.  And I don't think she gets told enough that she's freaking awesome.  Mom, you're freaking awesome.  Here are some pictures I think you'll like.

And if you do that's bully.  Just bully!  (Happy Birthday)

Friday, February 11, 2011

No More Rhymes Now, I Mean It!

I don't have an art rant for you today.  Just so you know.  You can continue reading without fear.  I can't really think of anything to particularly talk about today, but I'd like to get back in the habit of blogging since... well I like it, and I like to do things I like.  Weird, I know.  So hmmm.... here are 13 totally random facts about me.

q) As you well know, I start my lists with point q.  I'm still not telling why.

2) months ago I started a playlist to try to figure out what I want the daddy/daughter dance to be at my wedding.  I've made a lot of cuts and it currently has 57 songs in it.  This is the most planning I've done for my wedding so far.

3) I have officially become a hockey fan.  I believe this proves that if I just see enough of a sport I will become a fan.

4) Based on number 3, I will continue to avoid lacrosse as much as possible.

5) I secretly like the broadcasting for the Wild better than the same for the Twins.  This is because there's less Robby Incmikoski, who bugs the crap out of me.

6) This morning the mere fact that I didn't have to wear two pairs of gloves to face going outside made me happy enough to keep me smiling until at least 10:30.

7) I actually really love living in the twin cities, even when it's so cold that -13 degrees no longer warrants a warning from the weather channel.

8) In June I will be biking 150 miles in two days from Duluth to the Twin Cities to raise money for MS research.  I don't own a bike and I think the only thing I've ever done for more than, like, three miles is drive.  I have no idea HOW I'm going to do this.  BUT I WILL.

9) My bologna has a first name (it's o-s-c-a-r) but I prefer his cousin salami.

10) I wake up with the oscar meyer bologna song inexplicably stuck in my head roughly twice a month. I can only pray this is just due to some weird coincidence and not a recurring dream about lunch meat.

11) I really wish I would have started studying art before I visited France.  I think I would have been less of a smart ass about the Venus de Milo.  Probably would have, if possible, increased my disdain for the Mona Lisa though.

12) If I ever went back to school for art history, I would strive to write a paper about how and why the theme song of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is completely wrong.

12a) Scratch that, if I ever go back to school for anything I would strive to write a paper about how and why the theme song of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is completely wrong.

13) Any time I can work "anybody want a peanut?" into conversation, I will.  Because I roll like that.

There you have it - 13 pretty random things about me.

And now, a picture of a tree.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

From Art to Zombie Ghosts - My Appreciation for the Little Things

A long time ago - back in the idyllic, golden days when I talked about art all day and drove my roommates insane with art fun facts and crazy color-coded post-its helping me study for exams (it made sense to me.)  In the before times when I didn’t really even know what an expense report was, let alone have the faintest notion of the (roughly, without a hint of hyperbole) six hundred and forth-three thousand different ways one can be done incorrectly  - I once had an argument with an entire art history classroom, including one Polish professor who I’m pretty sure was and is at least partially insane (in the best possible way, of course.)

The topic of discussion that day, and the subject matter upon which I apparently had a different opinion than that entire collection of mostly intelligent people, was Georgia O’Keefe.  It still sort of shocks me that I went to a women’s college where we were taught and asked to think critically (that’s not the shocking part, shut up) and that whole classroom was so completely convinced of the ready-made explanation of Georgia O’Keefe’s art.  
Alright, let's just get this out of the way right away. Yes, a fair number of O'Keefe's most recognizable work - particularly those depictions of flowers as if seen very close-up kind of look like vaginas. Because, well, when you think about it a lot of flowers kind of look like vaginas. Kind of where that whole "blossoming flower" analogy came from. It has become a widely accepted opinion that O'Keefe's intention was to create just that impression.
I'm not sure I agree with that conclusion. O'Keefe's husband and promoter, photographer Alfred Stieglitz frequently highlighted her work in his galleries that no doubt helped her reach the level of acclaim she did. However, O'Keefe was one of Stieglitz's favorite subjects for his own work and he, on occasion, hung O'Keefe's work amid his own, revealing depictions of her. Even in the 20's, sex sells. I mean, really? If you're looking at a photograph of a naked woman and then look at an extremely close-up view of a flower, is you mind really not going to go there? Of course your mind is going to go there.
I'm not saying that's wrong. And I'm not saying that the opinion that her work was a bold, if veiled, statement on female sexuality is wrong. I'm just saying, I choose to see her work in a different way. Based on her whole body of work I really just believe that Georgia O'Keefe was a woman who made a point to see and call out the every day beauty of the world around her. I've always thought that those gigantic pictures of a single flower? To me those are a way of taking something that is small, insignificant and frequently overlooked and making it huge and significant and very difficult to ignore.  It is literally saying "Hey! Look at how incredibly beautiful a single flower can be if you just take the time to look at it. Look at how cool a building can look at night if you just look up. How cool does this pile of rocks look?"
Maybe I just saw The Crow at too impressionable an age but I believe heavily in taking pleasure in the little things. And as such I just can't help but want to find the beauty in the little things, in the details that can easily get overlooked. In the words of Eric Draven, "believe me, nothing is trivial."
I don't know, maybe it's just that I like the idea of it. That it fits pretty well with my own personal view on life. Or maybe it's just that I have a hard time looking at her work and thinking "it looks like a giant vagina" without sounding like a grunting idiot in my own mind. But the way I see it, Georgia O'Keefe's work was and is a message to literally stop and smell the roses.
I know that got a little art history major-y there. I've just been musing on this for a while now. Got myself good and worked up.
The building where I work has some ice problems. By that I mean we manage to get a lot of ice buildup on the sidewalk where pretty much every one has to walk to get to their cars at night. They mark the really bad patches with those bright orange traffic cones. They don't actually help much, but they at least remind you that they tried to tell you there was ice there before you slip for the twentieth time. This is a photograph of a reflection of one of those cones, through this patch of ice that's melted off of the roof and refrozen on the branches of a little bush below. Just something that I've noticed a few times as I've walked past and thought "that's really cool." You know, the little things.