February fervor

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It’s been two days indoors; last night it was -6F, tonight 0, and tomorrow up into the 20s, with 32 degrees predicted in a week’s time.  I’m so hoping the deep freezes of 2014 are over after tonight. Unfortunately I have cold-weather activated asthma, so I don’t do pack walks or Lupe’s walks when it’s below about 15 degrees; that creates too much dependence on the inhaler. Chance is improving daily, and those pack walks really help, so we need some just plain old cold.  He and Lupe reached an impasse after she put the proper respect for Senior Dog into him one night, with so much intensity that Paul and I both called it off.  Chance hid under my chair when she came near for a couple of days, but now they are playing rowdily but respectfully, chasing each other around the house, burning off the cabin fever. Before the cold set in, I spent part of an afternoon shoveling connecting pathways into the backyard snow, which was too deep even for Lupe. Paul calls them my ‘crap circles’ for all-too-obvious reasons, but they also help with outdoor space to run in (and, in Lupe’s case, banks to jump over to land in a play bow in front of a startled Chance). It was fun, a bit like building childhood snow forts.

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We’ve decided to do something I’ve never done before, and crate-train Chance, at least until he is old enough not to need confinement at night.  He is definitely exhibiting more Aussie than retriever traits, and one of those is seeing escape from his pen as an increasing nightly challenge, a fun problem to solve, which results in me reinforcing the pen every few nights, usually at about 3am, simultaneously making me laugh at his inventiveness and become really cranky. The crate arrived today, and we’re acclimating him to it downstairs before we move it up to the location of the pen. So far, so good: he was wary for awhile, barked at it initially, but has been in and out a several times with the door open. I crawled in, too, and he followed: look, it’s fun in here! (In fact, he is napping there now as I write: success!)

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When not immersed in canine land, I’ve been firming up the year’s schedule; I had happily accepted six excellent exhibitions from February through September, but now that dates are fully set, they all overlap by a bit, so I’ve been distributing existing artwork between them and planning a flexible, pup-realistic studio schedule for adding new work. And, I’ve decided to teach a third, short, local class in early fall, and booked my sole residency dates for October / November: Chance will be a young adult by then.  Last but not at all least, I want to commend Anne Hughes at ZIA who has been doing some great work on my behalf, as she does for all the gallery’s artists. It’s so nice to be taken care of…

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Though I am sluggish because it is not my favorite activity at all, I hope the web site additions will be ready for publishing in the next weeks, then at long last: warm-ish daily pack walks, outdoor runs, dog school…and studio. (Studio!)

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After a pack walk.

Out in the world, tales like this (a link I’ve blatantly lifted from Aimee, who says her own apprenticeships made her feel the same way) give me great heart, and reinforce the way I’ve been thinking about the how, what and why of art making and education, with impeccable timing: this week, Chicago is overrun with activities like this. That lovely apprentice’s post also makes me truly wish I could figure out a way to accept the requests for internships I’ve received (though my interns would likely be as involved with puppyness as I am right now: it all fits and works together. If it doesn’t, in my view, something is just plain wrong).

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2 thoughts on “February fervor

  1. love your life right now, even if it involves crap circles! we are also really praying for regular plain old cold. yesterday, i was digging into a stinky old bucket of pulp and charity said, “you should make ME do that; i’m your apprentice!” love that attitude.

  2. i’m thinking how lucky i was in a way i never thought: i learned papermaking from other students, who had just learned… it was fresh and new and we were all in love with the process and with things like: rattle! love chance’s antics and lupe’s response!

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