Maybe I am moving, maybe not

I made an offer on one of those apartments in the building I didn't want to buy into, having found out they might accept me in spite of my lack of four times income. I haven't signed a new lease on this apartment, and the contract needs some renegotiation before I will sign it. I am getting ready to move out at the end of this month if necessary. My workroom, the second bedroom, has the most stuff in it and is the most chaotic. This is where I am working and suddenly I realized I am relinguishing parts of my life. You know, throwing out the souvenirs: class notes, web design information (I did that for a while), font samples from my printing business, Excel text books (tried to become an expert a user) technical writing manuals, even some I wrote myself, like going from QuarkXpress to Adobe Indesign, and some magazines with beautiful pictures and papers. A few books of paper samples still on the shelf really should go. I'm gearing up to it. I haven't looked at any of this stuff in the six years I've been in Pittsburgh. I don't suppose I'll miss it. Three of five shelves in one bookcase are now empty.

The new apartment, assuming I get it, needs the carpeting removed, wood flooring installed (I have area rugs) and complete redecorating. All of this will have to be done before I move in. I would also like to put in a shower instead of the tub, but that can be done after, there being two bathrooms. 

I don't know what this will do to my New York trip. With any luck I should be able to go, I hope. Sale of the new apartment wouldn't close until the end of August, at least, so it's just a matter of what I do with my current arrangements.

Kentucky 2

This will be a short update with more to come. Tuesday is always a very long day for me–African food in the morning, then Japanese art history all afternoon, and tonight the class went out for dinner together. I'm getting bored with the African food, always seems to be some kind of rice and beans, but the Japanese art history remains my favorite.

Back to Kentucky: I drove out on Thursday. It's an easy six hour drive, but with all my usual stops it takes seven. I had a book on tape–Richard Russo, Bridge of Sighs. I got through the first five CDs on the way out. Coming back took longer–lots of road work. I got into CD12 then finished listening at home. There are 21 CDs and I like the book so much I have to figure out how to finish it. No more driving but that's when I like listening the best.

I stopped at what was purported to be an excellent outlet mall between Columbus and Cincinnati. (Most of the trip is going across Ohio.) Anyway, the stop reinforced my belief that outlet malls aren't worth much. I would like to get another bookcase, something I swore I'd never do. I looked in Pottery Barn but found nothing. Walked over to the Harry and David store. Many years ago a friend sent me a box of amazing pears from Harry and David; the best I've ever had. They didn't have stores then; the store didn't have anything I wanted. Oh well.

Heat and other nasties

I am ready to spend the day in bed in my darkened, air conditioned bedroom. It's not going to happen, but for a few minutes I'll stay here with my little netbook. I can't find a really comfortable way to use it in bed. Leaning on my left elbow gets old very fast. Tomorrow it is supposed to rain and get a little cooler. That would be better; I'd like to go for a walk.

For months I've been having trouble falling asleep, but when I travel, no trouble. At first I thought it might be because I feel more secure with other people near me, but I didn't really believe it. Then there is the mattress question: do I need a new one? On this last trip I changed beds seven times, including one not wonderful sofabed. I had no trouble falling asleep. Back home, Monday night, after a very long, tiring, hot day, I was tossing again. I've been sleeping on two pillows at home; that seemed to be the only real difference. I took one pillow away: Fixed! I'm amazed that such a little thing could make a big difference.

I'm still working on books: another flag book this time. I feel this is a form with great potential. Google flag book to find some interesting illustrations.

Back to the big city and cell phones, traffic and noise

This is our last morning in Door County. It's been a great trip. Not only have we all been productive, 

we went to a wonderful play (Tom Stoppard's Heroes) visited two spectacular gardens and spent some time at Kathy's house in the woods. Only Sandy, Jan and I came up this year; Sue couldn't make it. Kathy joined us part of the time, but she hasn't been well and didn't have energy for all of it. So this year it was three of us and Anita, our hostess.

We went back to the Garden Door, the master garden we visited last year, but the really spectacular treat was Overbeck's, a nearby private home and garden. This is a living work of art; the garden and the house being embellished with mosaics, stained glass and carved wood in amazing, tasteful ways, not at all exemplified by that website. 



Between the book workshop last week and art camp this week it's been the best two weeks I've had all year. Nothing like a little stimulation to make me forget all of my health problems. My week in Chicago should be equally good.

Report on book workshop

This was a workshop to learn techniques and make product. All of our materials were provided, mostly cut to size with only a few adjustments necessary. We began on Monday making four small books, using folds and tabs with no adhesive necessary. Signatures were stitched into the book creating different patterns on each spine. This technique really interested me; it’s much better for me than using glue. I plan to explore further. In the afternoon we made a soft cover Japanese stab bound book. This is the method I’ve been using to bind my books, although I never use soft covers. The interesting part, for me, was making book cloth for the covers. At the end of the day we had five books. I normally work very slowly. Just had to finish the butterfly stitching and stitching on two of the.small books. I went home completely exhausted and crawled into bed by 8:30.

Tuesday we began with a book with a butterfly binding. Again this is a stitch that becomes a decorative statement on the outside of the spine. Boards for the spine and covers were precut for us. We had our choice of bookcloth, endpapers, and linen thread for the stitching. Text block papers were provided precut. We folded and punched holes. In the afternoon we did origamizo, folding and dying papers. It’s an interesting process, but you never know exactly what will result. I can’t say I was happy with anything I made; maybe in time I’ll feel differently about it. I wasn’t so tired Tuesday night and was able to work on my unfinished books at home.

Wednesday was build-a-box day. Pam provided precut, thick boards for top, bottom and sides. We had to make size adjustments on the sides, giving us the opportunity to cut the thick board. Then we chose 10 different papers to cover the box, inside and out, top and bottom. We also received instructions and materials for making a half-size box. This is one of the projects I will work on when I return from Chicago. 
Thursday we created a bradel book: an old-style, fully bound book with a curved spine. The text block was made from watercolor paper, eight sheets cut from three full size sheets then folded and punched for stitching. The book has that fancy tape on the edges of the spine, heavy board covers and beautiful end papers. It’s obviously too precious to use. This was another wipe-out day; I was very tired all day and also had afib all day, making me feel really awful. I’m still trying to figure out what sets off the afib; maybe tired had something to do with it. I doubled the meds in the evening and have been OK since. Again, I don’t really know if this is a fix or maybe a placebo effect. 

Friday we began with some single page, folded books. You can download and print some artist designed papers here. Using the same fold we made pages for a journal in a box. The box was made from a recycled cereal box. I have all the folded papers but didn’t finish cutting and gluing; another project for when I return. We finished the day folding a blizzard book and a crown book. I didn’t do a good job folding so I have to try again. Both books really interest me.

I was really sorry when the week ended. I loved the workshop and would happily do it again. I was hoping for a little more emphasis on technique; my craftsmanship leaves much to be desired. But I think there are no secrets; I just have to be more careful. 

On the road

Sunday June 20

Another beautiful, sunny day. Yesterday was a nostalgia trip. Some of my visits in Chicago concern the here and now, but often they dip back into the fathomless past. I spent the night with Joan, Richard’s cousin. I’ve known her since I was 20, and even though I am no longer Richard’s wife, she remains my cousin. We deal with the here and now, but the past sits just behind an open door.  We talked non-stop, all through dinner and on to a visit to Linda and Tom, who live in a house filled with art. Tom is an amazing, highly productive artist. I ache for him, that he does not get more recognition.

I am sitting in Joan’s kitchen watching the birds at the feeders, the squirrel under the feeders cleaning up seeds the birds dropped and a chipmunk that steals seeds and darts away. 


We went to see more of Tom’s art: sculpture being installed on the Purdue campus; 


Linda, Joan, Ed and Tom 

a wonderful mosaic with 150,000 tiles at Andrean High School. 

 I am overwhelmed by this man.

More talk, then into Chicago with traffic as bad as I’ve ever seen it. If this happens on Sunday, what must Monday be? I made a quick, unsatisfying stop at Paper Source, then out to Arlington Heights to meet with Sandy and Jan over a wonderful dinner. We looked at the books from the workshop, which inspired Sandy to add more tools and materials to the supply we are carrying.  Tomorrow morning, after quick stops at Trader Joe’s for snacks and Office Depot for more paper, we’re off to Door County.


The drive to Door County was largely uneventful–only about 10 minutes of heavy rain as we left Illinois. We arrived about 3, unpacked the car visited over lemonade and then another show and tell for Anita and Kathy. We are now suitably inspired and ready to go to work tomorrow.

Cardio update

Wearing the monitor, last Thursday, nothing happened until early Friday morning. Then I was back in afib for the day, but it was never as bad as Wednesday had been. I went back to rehab and exercised in spite of the flutter. When I woke up Saturday morning, still fluttering, or fibbing as they call it, I took the old dose of my meds. By noon I was feeling good and have been fine ever since, even though I immediately went back to the reduced dose. I tried to ask the doctor about it, but his staff just told me to do what he had said and wait to hear from them. (Remember, he has the personality of a drill sergeant.)

I've been waiting all week; in fact, I'd pretty much given up. Since I was feeling good, I didn't care. Today was the big day–they finally called, not with an answer, but an order to come in again, possibly on June 29. Obviously, this is not an emergency. I made the appointment for July 6. I have a busy three weeks coming up and I won't let them spoil it.

Next week I'm taking that book making workshop at the Society for Contemporary Craft. Then the next day, Saturday, I'm driving to Chicago then on to Door County for another art camp. Back to Chicago the next week to visit with friends and relatives and attend a nephew's wedding. I'll get back here July 5. But I promise I'll post again before that.