Just when you think it can’t…

…get any weirder, it does.

Sunday’s final CBA class day went fabulously well. We ran out of the cotton base pulp at about 2pm, leaving a perfect amount of time for a thorough cleanup and a follow-up chat session with folks who were interested in paper sculpture.  Something that I meant to tell you about in the last post:  in keeping with the class’s ‘Portable’ title, I beat two pounds of cotton the night before leaving Chicago, drained it, double-bagged it, packed it in my suitcase, and paid to check my bag.  I knew it would re-hydrate easily; the experimental aspect  was whether or not it would get there. It made it through TSA just fine. Even though I forgot my usual “Dear TSA” note on a printout of the class listing, gallon freezer bags of drained cotton (thankfully) must not look very much like several pounds of plastic explosives or drugs.

The Drying, Sunday night. All this packs into the box at the right.

After a nice post-class evening eating even more lovely Indian food and honoring my personal tradition of intently browsing the Strand, my free Monday in New York was a total washout: subway derailment with delays and re-routes kept me from Wall street, shows and places I’d meant to see were closed, and I missed connections with several folks due in part to weird wireless.  To top it off, while trying to shoot a photo, I tripped, smacked my head into a light pole and then hit the ground, resulting in a skinned knee and a huge goose-egg on my forehead that is now flat again but is just beginning to turn a lovely chartreuse. And I didn’t get the photo. My shuttle was an hour late, but got me to LaGuardia in plenty of time for my flight, which was then delayed and delayed again; I got home about midnight.

Tuesday and Wednesday, unpacking and massive paperwork and skewed-by-crazy-traveling-wireless e-mail catch-up; Thursday, a 140-mile-roundtrip (S)Edition retrieval run. Thursday evening, I began to have some strange chest pains on the left side.  Paul took me to our provider hospital, juuuust to check. Tests came out fine, but they kept me for observation. I spent a bizarre 24 hours hooked up to all sorts of equipment, including a pair of rather lovely air-pump-sleeve things that massaged my legs. I wish I owned some. They sort-of made up for being woken all through the night for further tests; the care was quite thorough.  Finally, after a treadmill stress test that I actually enjoyed, yesterday evening I was allowed to eat, then go.  Verdict: unknown cause, but suspected deep muscle spasms, possibly a delayed reaction to lifting heavy tables during class prep  or the fall, or both. I am fine, released with no limitation on physical activity, except for the admonishment that I cannot expect to do what I did twenty years ago. I’m inclined to agree, though I am heading into another insanely busy week, made even more intense by the hospital delay.  Time to get better at delegating and high time to learn not to overbook, yes? I’m getting quite tired of writing about stuff like this, let alone dealing with it in the first place.

Here’s a fine review of The Book: A Contemporary View that’s closing next week in the Baltimore area, at Towson University, and another version with bigger photos and an extra view of (S)Edition. I really like the look of the show in this big space, and wish I could have seen it. And, here are CBA’s shots of the Portable Papermaking class.

If I don’t get round to blogging for another week: Happy Samhainn / Halloween! These are fancy-schmancy Union Square farmer’s market street pumpkins.  In place of the pulp on my return trip, I brought home some NY state Macoun apples bought here. Delicious, and we can’t get ’em…

A New York state of Blahg

I’m in NY, and it’s shortly after the first day of the two-day Portable Papermaking class. I haven’t seen much NY yet but some excellent Indian food and  the subway to & from my lovely hostess’ Brooklyn flat, so this will be quick. But a blog’s the perfect way to put in some needed rest-my-ears time; it’s a full, lively class in a busy, bustling place.

Freneticism went into overdrive and I arrived here yesterday with under two hours of sleep.  Why?  Rebuilding the very important, integral slideshow from the horrendously mixed-up recovered files from my crashed hard drive.  The other, smaller slideshow I’d reconstructed went fast, but, noooo: not this one. Multiple images had randomly relocated and others disappeared altogether, and I had to reshoot what I could. I had to get ’em off the external drive before I  left, so: no sleep. I started sequencing them on the plane, and finally finished at about 10:30 last night. But it’s actually much better than the original version, so that helps.  I am getting too old for all-nighters, though.

Here at CBA, I needed to wait for a class to finish in the bindery before we did the extensive studio setup. But Aimee came by!  It was so lovely and fun to see her and to have time to talk …and she let me put her to work as well (thanks!).  For some reason, we did not do the obligatory photo.  Aimee looked great.  Me? Well…

The class is just sweet and of course, like all my classes, is a bit of a productive madhouse. It’s an excellent mix of folks with widely different levels of experience, but everyone is getting something useful, and that’s grand.  I’m especially pleased that several teachers came specifically to find new ways to take papermaking into their classrooms; the icing on an already fine cake is the outward ripples that will occur. Thank you, Center for Book Arts.

Frenetic Fall

Swamped, swamped, swamped, still.  As soon as things get checked off the to-do list, more are spawned. And, more inquiries continue to pop in.  It’s wee bit crazy, and I’m currently having to try and calm that breathless feeling daily.  I’ll manage it, I am managing it, but I’m late on some things.

I ‘graduated’ from knee-related physical therapy sessions this week, with a long-term plan I’m still implementing in spite of it all. That’s essential; I definitely feel it if I don’t. I’ll miss the excellent therapist, but I can keep in touch with questions (whew). New PT starts Monday with a different therapist, addressing a recurring inner ear situation that cost me several days recently, significantly contributing to the current work crunch. I also met my new audiologist this past week, and liked her. The evaluation was not the best but I knew it wouldn’t be. The hearing aids are now reprogrammed for my new level of loss.

So much for my physical plant; it’s old, and requires extra maintenance these days, but it’s still chugging along. That’s a good thing, because it looks like it’s not slowing down for the foreseeable future.  In so very many ways, that’s most fortunate, so now: back to it!

Today’s drawings are by John T. McCutcheon. He was another member of the original Ragdale family, and these panels are taken from one of two original six-panel works that still hang in the Barnhouse.  His old studio is right next door, but not a part of the property. When I was a child, this 1907 piece of his ran in the newspapers annually, over fifty years later,  just as the leaves began to fall in earnest.

Fall In

I’m still swamped – not much time for online pursuits such as blogging, Facebook procrastination, or even more than a cursory daily skim of the news.  I am: writing, documenting, doing deferred taxes, curating, rebuilding last summer’s lost photo files and slideshows, and hoping, hoping, hoping to get to some unfinished artwork soon.  Things won’t slow down until mid-November, and then only for a wee while. Through it all, the daily physical therapy (as often as I can, I head to the forest preserve for the walking part, or I’d not be getting much of a glorious autumn) and the usual (currently losing) struggle with our personal environment. 2012 is rapidly filling, meaning a lot of advance admin and a limited amount of time to apply for anything; as of this writing, I have two free months.

Ah well.  Yesterday, a fast busy roundtrip to de-install at the Lubeznik Center in Michigan City. They gave me a lovely collection of high-res images from the show, which will help with those photo files. I liked the detail shot above.

Here’s a rendition of a show I wasn’t aware of till it showed up today in Google Alerts, an appearance of (S)Edition in an online collection of mushroom images (illustration, textiles, etc.), and what’s up next out in the world (followed the next week by the same new, improved, two-day class at Evanston Print & Paper).