Sunday, February 27, 2011

home

At least my body is.

I'm still waiting for the rest of me to arrive.

I'm soooooo happy to be able to store my body here in a safe, comfortable, familiar place while the rest of me finds it's way home too.

The 42 hours it took to get back took a bite out of me, but gave me some very surreal experiences some of which I chronicled on Facebook from my iPhone in situ (I've been posting from my phone lately too, so when words seemed kind of weird, that's what it was. Or at least that's what I'm saying). But it seems that I have no idea what I'm saying right now so let me just say:

My kitty and I are having a wonderful reunion.

I think he hasn't stopped purring the whole day.

I feel just as happy to see him.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The long road home

I had such a great time in New York.

Very short, but packed to just the right fullness. I loved being with my friend and her family, I loved the time we spent out on the streets together.

I loved being out on the streets alone!

And I was really inspired by my visits to MOMA and the Guggenheim. For some reason new little tickles of insight visited me. I found myself smiling a lot. I didn't see them as much as beautiful-famous paintings, but kind of was able to see the them a bit in the context of their time. To see through their fame a bit, to the crazy/incredible excitement of freeing up a new way of seeing, perceiving, expressing during that point in history.

Lot's to think about.

I also got to have my ritual treat at my favorite restaurant: Union Square Cafe, and I walked a gazzilion miles.

I said my goodbye's to my friends last night, as I would be out on the street hailing a taxi well before dawn.

Spent 4.5 hours at the airport waiting for a co-pilot, then a 6.5 hour flight to SF, of course having missed my connections. No space on any flight to Seattle today, so I am tucked into a Doubletree Hotel courtesy of United, with a nifty little toiletries bag (but no makeup, and no little airplane bottle of gin, what's up with that?)

So I'll be forced into getting caught up on my rest, and be ready to get to work on all those orders I wrote!

But now I just really want to see my kitty.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

NYC!

I'm in The City!

I can't believe how happy I feel.

I got off the train yesterday, caught a cab, got to my friends home, and the moment I walked in I felt happy and "at home"!

Without further ado, Danielle and I hit the streets, and BANG! I was in New York.

Kind of a dizzying transition, I had barely opened my eyes from a long, long (metaphorical) sleep which was the past few... weeks? And to suddenly wake up without warning on the streets of New York...

Well, I felt almost giddy!

I kept telling D. how happy I felt; to be walking around with her (we haven't spent any time together in, why, it must be 2 years?

I felt immediately at home, we made dinner together as if we did it every day.

I went to sleep happy and woke up with a smile, little bubbles of excitement in my belly.

So.

No more for now, Danielle is hard at work under a tight deadline and I am hitting the streets on my own today. My favorite thing to do in New York. I will likely get my boots fixed, do some "product research", maybe I'll get uptown to Moma or the Met.

I'll stop someplace along the way for lunch, and no doubt indulge my ritual of a cocktail and appetizer at my favorite restaurant: Union Square Cafe. Last year when I was here, so sick, I didn't do ANY of those things, and didn't even really get to spend time with my friends. I just slept the whole time. This time I intend to make up for it, even in just a couple days.

Gotta go, there's a city to see!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Writers cramp

from rewriting so many illegible order forms. Well, illegible to anyone but me.

And then I had to look up all the prices (no, I certainly do not have them memorized. I just worked them out before the show!)

And then split large orders into three separate orders as requested in some cases.

And then re-count to be sure the number of pieces added up correctly.

And the double-check prices and total all the categories.

And then run downstairs to get dinner at happy-hour prices.

And then come back to the room to do a final tally.

Yep.

Looks like job security for another year!!!

How is it possible to be so broke I wonder how I'll get through the month, and yet confident of the year ahead?

Well, it seems I am learning the definition of cash flow.

And for those of you betting types: I did WAY more paperwork than napping today (I lost that bet too),

and...

I wonder what the odds are in the race between me finally getting a handle on managing my finances so that I'm NOT broke and in debt next year at this time... Or will it be the same? I suppose an odds-maker type person would say, based on history, that history will simply continue repeating itself.

But I have been getting better at it, little by little, so I'm going to wager my two bits on the side of coming back from the shows solvent and able to order materials and pay my mortgage and helpers.

It will require that I continue working very diligently, but I've certainly proven I can do that.

And I DID raise my prices a smidge. It had become clear that it's not just about working harder, not just about making better decisions, not just about to be working all (yes, ALL) the time, not just about making really lovely things that actally do sell in the marketplace...

But the price has to encompass the cost.

I have some old programming to overcome. Something that keeps me from believing I can have...

whatever...

I'll be working on that this year!

I'm betting I can do it.

Tomorrow morning i'll pack up and catch the train to New York, to visit my friends there!

Good night.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Done.

All done.

Packed up, three pallets, shrink-wrapped, labeled, bill of lading filled out.

Thank GOODNESS for my awesome Philly crew. Really. What a gift to my heart, soul, spirit... not to mention my mental health and body! I CAN NOT believe I used to do it all myself. Wow. I was a very strong, persistent, and determined FOOL!

But now, all done. Finished with this Big Show.

Show good. All the other artists reported that too.

That's GREAT!

I don't know the numbers yet, as I've been too sick to do anything but get through the days and survive the nights; thrashing about, checking the time, trying to sleep and breathe and not cough. I really hate being sick. Can you tell?

I am feeling better now though, it finally broke. I am coming alive again.

I have the whole day tomorrow to:

sleep. As late as I want. And then even later.

Do paperwork.

Sleep.

Go to museum.

Sleep.

Do more paperwork.

Sleep some more...

We'll see what gets checked off on THIS list.

If I were you, I'd bet bunches of money on the sleep thing...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Doin' it

Well, I'm very busy at the show, which makes me very glad.

The new work I struggled so laboriously is a success!

But I have this yucky cold and feel really crappy.

So.

It's disappointing to not be able to enjoy, but I'm getting the job done!

Tonight, after a stop at the drugstore and Kinkos, I came back to the hotel, got into my jammies, ordered room service, and settled in to watch stupid TV.

Prone.

Just what I've bee longing for since I got upright this morning.

Being a good little trooper...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Great day,

Line out of the booth until 1:30,

Great response to my newborn line.

But I'm sick.

Came on through the day, in spite of hands full of vitamins and every immune concoction I know.

Damn airplanes. Damn convention centers.

It gets me every year.

But the show is proving to be a success, even though I haven't done any totals at all

I know,

But I'm a real baby when I'm sick.

And the next few days will not be a whole lot of fun.

Boo hoo, sniff sniff.

But the show? For me?

It's going great.

And for that I'm incredibly grateful!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

long day

but nearly ready.

Philly crew warmed my heart and we got the skeleton up in 4 hours or so.

Then I spent the next 7 hours alone "fluffing", staging, arranging, displaying, putting out price cards, etc., etc.

I'm always astonished at how long that takes.

And still, after all that,

I need to go in early tomorrow morning to clean up all the glass (fingerprints! smudges! T. would shriek!), and arrange some fresh flowers, and make some of the price cards more clear.

But it's up. The booth. The work. The lights.

And: It's good.

I've been writing with such hesitation about my new line. Wondering, doubting, wondering.

When I saw it unpacked today, then arranged under lights, I think it's the best ever.

Some of the things I thought might be ho-hum actually look amazing!

I'm so pleased.

My Philly-crew was already putting their names on stuff they want to buy at the end of the show, and were most taken with the new.

Cool. They are the first to see it, outside of "us", so that gives me confidence too.

And now, some photos! (as always, click on photo to see larger...)

Last night the bar was full. What was I doing? Working, of course!



Sweet/sad: one man talked with me a bit, wistfully commenting that I am "living the dream". He told me he was a ceramic artist, but now works in the pharmaceutical industry. Wife, and kids. Wistful. I reminded him he has financial security and benefits. Cost and benefit to every choice.

But he still looked wistful and sad.

This morning, I walked into the booth space to this. SO much potential! SOOOOO many hours to fruition!


And then, after cutting away the layers of shrink wrap, I was reminded of the thoughtful and careful little things my crew does to make sure everything is ok:

Rachel and Connie clumped bubble wrap over some little pokey-uppy points, to make sure they were well protected in the shipment. That may not seem like much, but it is..., it is...
And then there is that incorrigible T., who can't leave words well enough alone. Nope. Not even when she's doing something so mundane as labeling boxes to be included in the shipment to Philly:



and then there is this:

After a very, very long day.

Yes, I'll probably take some shots of the booth in it's dressed-up-for-the-ball costume tomorrow. I was too tired and dirty and all my fingernails were too broken for such fancy stuff today....

But tomorrow:

IT'S SHOWTIME!

Goodnight.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Still workin' the list:

Actually managed to get up at 3am? Check.

Cab came on time and delivered me (dozing) to SeaTac on time? Check.

Got 3 quarts of water for plane & first night in hotel? Check.

Drank Bloody Mary on plane and dozed while listening to mbira? Check.

Survive flight and change planes in Denver (although nearly missed connecting flight because of severe space-out)? CheckE

Get to Philly? Check.

Arrange for lost luggage to be delivered to hotel? Check.

Check in at hotel?

Check.

Martini, tuna tartare, mussels all for $5 each in hotel bar? Check.

Sleep a gazzilion hours? Check.

Sleep a few more hours? Check.

Workout on the treadmill 40 minutes this morning? Check!

Make 100 copies of catalog? Check.

Make up price cards? Check.

Go to exhibitor Services to buy badges for crew? Check.

Make sure my big shipment has arrived? CHECK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Actually FIND liquor store and buy wine for booth to serve buyers and artist-neighbors, and gin for hotel room? Check.

Find the cool Reading Market (yeah, right across from the Convention Center, but still...) and buy snacks for set-up? Check.

Find 7-11 and buy a gazzilion bottles of S.Pellegrino for me to drink in my booth? Check. (last year I drank 3 liters water a day and never peed a single time during the show. Convention Center Air).

NOT get lost a single time today? Check! (and for those who know me, that's significant!).

Lost (and fortunately good people had my back): wallet, credit card, room key. Check. (shame face, gratitude face)

Kept my head attached. Major Check. At least that.

Arrange for my pre-shipping (Amazon supplies) and late delivered luggage to be brought from hotel storage to my room? Check.

Back to hotel in time for happy hour? Check.

Crew notified about logistics for set-up tomorrow? Check.

"The usual" happy hour fare consumed? Check.

And now I'm folding the little tent-shaped price cards for my display, while sitting in the bar (free wi fi) and listening to live jazz.

And sipping my martini, which I ordered AFTER I ate plenty, as I kinda forgot to eat all day and I know enough to NOT drink a martini on an empty stomach...

Not bad, not bad at all.

OH! and a peculiar thing. Somehow all of us artists/craft persons have an uncanny ability to simply know each other, to recognize each other in a crowd. Weird. At the airport, in the elevator, on the street, in the stores.... with blunt confidence I've been asked, with NO prelude, "have you set up yet? what do you do? where's your booth?" So I started doing the same thing. We don't look that different from anyone else, at least I don't think so (well, there's my hair, but still... that doesn't explain the others). I think it's interesting. Kind of an artdar, versus a radar.

Alright, back to folding my little tent cards and my martini.

Oh! And did you know that actually DOING a show, the actual BEING here, is a billion times easier and less stressful than preparing for it? I just have ONE task. Do the show. That's it.

I love it.

I'm not stressed in the least.

Busy, but not stressed.

Ok. Now I think I'm done with you.

Bye now!

Monday, February 14, 2011

ready.

Hair cut & colored? Check.
Dishes done? Check.
Glass finished and packed? Check.
All the little forgotten things? Check.(hopefully)
Clothes packed? Check.
Philly crew confirmed? (mostly) check.
Electronics charged? Check.
Tigger-Lou love planned? Check.
Some cash in wallet? Check.
A book? Check.
My All. Important. Folder? Check.
Plane ticket ready to grab when I'm too tired to see? Check.
Taxi number ready for 4 am in the morning when I'm am VERY unhappy to be up? Check.
Laundry, house and dishes? Check.
Catalog? Check.
Price cards? Check.
Martini? Check.
Bed by 9pm? Well, not quite, but close.

I think I'm ready to go.

Next post? Philly!
Good night.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The List

is looking more manageable by the day.

Which is good, as the days are ticking by and there are only 2 left until I leave!

Today I'm working on my catalog, figuring out pricing, figuring out again how to format it in a program I haven't used since last year--as last year I saved it only in PDF, and, come to find out, I can't just update it but need to start from scratch.

It's just a small thing though.

It's just time, and I have (just barely) enough.

I've confirmed my set-up/take-down crew in Philly. I hope anyway so, it's weird hiring people sight unseen from Craig's List, mostly by instinct. I'm never totally sure until they show up--although since 3 of the 5 are returning for yet another year I have confidence. I've been very, very fortunate to meet terrific people, one of whom is my same photographer who will pick up my work at night, photograph it, and get it back to me before the show opens the next morning. Not only a great photographer, but a great guy.

My house is clean, my laundry is done, I've written out a sort-of packing list.

I still need to finish some work and finish the catalog and make price cards.

And arrange for some Tigger-Lou lovin'.

But that feels do-able.

I can't slack, but it's do-able!

OH! And Wendy Rosen (the founder of The Show) wrote on her Facebook page that pre-registration of buyers is up 30% this year.

That certainly bodes well.

That, and the fact that there are no blizzards in the forecast for either Philly or Denver (where I change planes). If you don't know why that's on my mind, go back in this blog and read the entries from a year ago...

Lookin' good!

And folks, that all the news I've got.

Good night!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

learning stuff,

and the stuff is important.

As you (the few of you who read this little journal) have noticed, the past couple months have been, shall we say, a little bit miserable for me?

I hadn't really, really taken it in until I gave myself the challenge to see just how much better I could feel in a week of conscious attention to doing so, and started taking action in the service of that intent.

I'm discovering (yet again) how very important exercise is. Well duh. How well do I know that? In my marrow. But do I always act on that knowledge? Well apparently not.

But not JUST that. I'm becoming aware again of how I can lose myself in a habit of rush! rush! rush! and allow myself to succumb to the belief that internal clenching and stressing and rushing is somehow going to make things go faster.

I'm beginning to have my doubts about that. Well, I never would have said I believed that, I DO know better. But I have to admit that even as better as I know, there are times and situations that trigger a big dive into unconsciousness and that (fearful?) layer in my brain takes control and clenches down.

Exercise is important for me because it burns off (to some degree) that manic rush! rush! rush! feeling inside. And it slams me back into my body and out of my rush! rush! rush! mind.

So it's very important, but not enough.

There is something else, a different way of orienting myself relative to how hard I (and I really do) have to work. There is a grace and softness I intend to incorporate more habitually than I currently do.

I think it's possible, but not easy. Simple, but not easy.

Good grief, isn't it weird that at 57, with all of my experience, with all of my (extensive) training, with all of my (actually very deep) knowing... that I'd still have to keep learning these things?

Isn't Life interesting? Crazy? Challenging? And really, when one is awake to any degree, amazing?

I mean really, if one quits learning stuff (even the same stuff over and over) it would be pretty damn boring.

And miserable.

And maybe that's the thing; being overwhelmed (for whatever reason) made me so overwhelmed I had to shut down, and shutting down made me unable to learn. And being unable to learn and being shut down made me miserable.

Boy-oh-boy am I ever happy to be un-shutting-down.

Life is returning little by little, day by day, and I welcome it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

little by little...

my consciousness and sanity are returning.

I woke several times last night in a started panic: "what? where? who? when? what time is it?"

I calmed myself down: "only a reasonable list. right here. no one is coming. no time pressure. you can sleep as long as you want, so don't worry about the time."

Ahhhh.

Over and over.

Somehow this year's prep. has been harder than previous years I think. Or maybe, like labor pains, I just forget.

I decided my primary goal this week is to do everything I can do to feel better by the time I get on that plane to Philly. It's a game: just how much better can I feel than I've been feeling in one week's time?

Well, today I ran/walked. I went to yoga. I crossed things off my list. I took a nap. I ate healthy food.

I am pretty naked here about my life. Sure, I do have my boundaries, but still.

I remember when I was in a difficult phase with this self-employed artist business I searched and searched for blogs that would give me some clue as to how others experienced it. For real, not just for show.

I couldn't find one.

So I decided to write one.

It's for myself really, but also in case there is someone out there who wants to read the day-to-day guts and glory of an ordinary/extraordinary life of one of those sorts of people who take such a crazy thing on.

So. In my nakedness I'll just tell you that tonight in yoga, in shavasina, when Dee (the instructor) came around and gave us a brief neck and shoulder massage I started crying.

The tears just rolled down my face as I grieved for the past weeks that I've been utterly out of body, stressed, pressured, and pushing myself insanely hard.

This year I allowed the time pressure and stress to be an excuse to not take time for myself.

To not run, to not go to yoga, to not take time to settle, to not eat mindfully, to drink more than is healthy for me.

Stress and time pressure triggers excuses to not exercise, and not exercising triggers stress.

Damn vicious cycle!

But I need to remember, well, I don't really forget but I need to force myself to Take. The. Time.

And do it, no matter what.

Even in one day I am coming home to myself.

What a relief!

Monday, February 7, 2011

HUGE relief!


and the first hurdle cleared!

3 pallets were loaded, packed, shrink-wrapped, labeled, and labeled again, and again--you see, I have bad memories of an entire show shipment having been forgotten by the shipping company on a loading dock only halfway to the show a few years ago... "sorry ma'am, it's not OUR responsibility" (?!?! then whose responsibility is it? You're the ones I paid over $5000 plus a "time sensitive" rider to...????!)

Sigh. But that's a different story, and in the past, and all done now, thank you very much.

But in the PRESENT time:

the shipment is on it's way to The Show in Philly.

Whew! I felt such a huge relief I had little bubbles of happy in my belly.

I packed the last of the new pieces this morning, still warm from the last minute speed-drying of the paint (yes, in the kitchen oven... the things we do...).

Once we finished (R. and C. came in early) I took us to lunch, and some good bloody mary's, and then home, where I took a nap, woke to sign the bill of lading papers when the truck got here, finished all my reservations for flight and train to NYC where I get to spend a couple days with my dear friend after the show, ordered some supplies I'll need to be delivered to the hotel, and then...

fell asleep on the couch for nap number 2.

And now I woke up just in time to go to bed. Yes, I know it's only 8, but the tiredness of the past days and days has taken over my entire being now that I'm letting go of the adrenalin that kept me going.

I still don't really have any idea of the new line. It went so fast I never got the opportunity to look at all the pieces in peace and quiet. But my gut tells me there are some really lovely pieces there.

It's weird to not even be able to visualize them, that's how much I'm in the dark about it.

This week I'll make some small versions of the new work, a few missing pieces from the other lines, tidy my ridiculously filthy home/factory, do laundry (well, yeah, it's been a while), actually cook something and sit down while eating (deli food, eaten over the sink right out of the container or while on the go lately, I'm sorry to admit), make my catalog for the year, schedule housecleaners to make home a place to look forward to coming home to, figure out the schedule for kitty-care, prep some work for T. to do while I'm gone (if she decides to come back from her vacation Hawaii, and that's a big if, based on the photos, texts, e-mails I've gotten. All on a theme of: "I don't miss Seattle"...). Pack. Get back to running and yoga....

oh yeah, and sanity.

That is a TOTALLY do-able list! I could do it in my sleep, but after my much sleeping today and tonight I suspect I'll be able to do it awake.

SO delicious to have a do-able list to look forward to this week.

yawn.

good night!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

tired, and...

utterly unable to see or even really feel if what I have been working to birth will actually be born, or... well, maybe a false pregnancy of sorts.

I really don't know.

I have confidence in my "old" work, confidence in some of the new pieces, and little nudges of what might still be in the gestation realm.

But I'm essentially sightless at this point.

Working on momentum, and with a sort of tiredness and over-stimulation that will lead either to a breakthrough, a disappointment, or simply "good enough".

Or maybe I'll be utterly surprised and it will thrill me when I get it all set up and lighted at The Show.

Thanks to my spectacularly talented assistants, some breakthrough HAS occurred in the past 24 hours.

But I'm really too tired to see clearly if it is ... well ... enough to sufficiently differentiate the new from the old.

I have some new ideas to work on this weekend.

And then it's shipping time.

And then in the next week I need to make my catalog, arrange my crew for Philly, book my flight, and...

maybe,

just maybe,

come up with something that will elevate the new attempts to the level of confidence and real pride of presentation.

And then pay the big bucks to bring it as excess baggage on the flight.

I wish I had blogged this process the past two years, so that I could be reminded that these are all normal and predictable feelings at this stage.

But I am blogging it now, and next year I'll re-read it and be reminded.

And hopefully soothed.

Although I had intended to be in bed by 10 tonight, making all the masks and applying them took longer than I had expected.

As everything always does.

But, I'll be asleep by 1:00, and that's something!

Goodnight.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

and now,

for a little respite from my trials and tribulations in this creative phase:

go read what my assistant Premium T. writes about a hilarious moment during a day here at work!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

a little breakdown

I've had a crying morning, disappointed. I have a few nice pieces, and something that crept around the corner of my vision that is simple and beautiful which I will expand upon. But no real new line. Not yet. Probably I'll be going with expansions of my other lines, and see how the "sneaker line" plays out. Odd, how sometimes the best things sneak up while I'm working on something else. Sometimes the best things. So we'll see.

My crew is cheering me on with confidence and fervent encouragement.

This is just one of those inevitable waves.

I've been working so hard; pushing, pushing, pushing.

Pushing too hard, under the pressure of having lost too much time at the beginning to allow the breathing room, silent room, empty room in which to let something grow more in it's own time.

So today I am culling.

There are some absolute "yes's", some absolute "no's" , some maybe's. The maybe's are the hardest.

So I'm going with the absolute yes's today, and the sneaker line (which I'm actually going to call the whisper line when it's done).

Then, I'll look into the maybe's.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The nether zone of

the in-between.

Ok. I'm in the final days of the new work.

I've had moments of excitement, many moments of frustration.

And now I simply don't know.

I suspect it's not alive.

No really, I think it didn't happen this year.

But I remember feeling the same thing last year.

But the things I thought were really good didn't sell, and the things I wasn't so confident in did.

So.

I really have no idea.

But if I'm honest, (and I really do my best to be so)

I can't help but feel it didn't happen.

But there is still some time.

So I'll keep at it.

I may have to pay The Big Bucks to take some things as extra baggage on the airlines...

if I'm so fortunate as to break through in the final moments, as The Shipping is scheduled at the last possible moment on Monday.

Which is now less than a week away.

Or maybe I have gotten there?

I don't think so.

Not quite.

So.

I'll sleep, look at it fresh in the morning, and T. will come and weigh in, and I will consider, and I will consider again, and again, and again...

and flail about, and sleep again, and then?

Maybe the key will emerge.

I keep thinking of something, something I originally wanted to do but didn't have time (given all the setbacks in the first two weeks of this process), but maybe I can manage to make the time.

We'll see.

Welcome to my world!

And good night.