Monday, June 30, 2008

Self Portraits

I love to look at pictures of myself and of people with whom I can "find myself". Mostly, I think its because I never agree with them. Ever since I can remember I have been totally self absorbed. I'm sure my family and friends can vouch for it. Not in a "Mine" sort of way... More in a "OK, get to the story with me in it," sort of way.
Now, I also used to draw myself on many occasions and my favorite artwork (of my own) that is currently sitting in my living room waiting to be hung on a freshly painted "Venice Blue" wall is a form of a self portrait.
When I began taking painting and drawing classes at Pella, Central College, I used to scoff at this one guy who did NOTHING but self portraits. They were always the same.... Shoulders up... same blank stare... same grunge flannel shirt... same long limp hair and attractive face. In the time I spent at Central he must have done twenty of them. I thought he was so unoriginal.
Until I started taking life drawing classes and had to draw a moving body or even a still body that couldn't help but sway a little here or a little there and after a break you just couldn't get back into the right spot you were drawing in and that arm isn't quite right! Then I thought, "OK, I get it." Portable life drawing model that you have full control over. But what's with the the mug shot. Everywhere I looked very intelligent students resorting to this same head shot with eyes staring themselves down.
Then I took Bikram Yoga. Everyday you did a variation of the same 12 poses. I feel like I could still be doing those same poses today and not have them just the way I could best do them (had I stuck with Bikram Yoga and was still working for the guy who owned the studio so I could get half price hot house yoga). So then it came to me a bit more...
If I could I would have total control over all the images of myself that are floating out there in the world. I would delete and retake all the ones I didn't like. Maybe that's the artist in me. Or the insecurity in me...
Michelangelo and Da Vinci didn't indulge in very many self portraits that are "Known" self portraits. I can think of the one of Michelangelo in the Sistine chapel where he portrays himself as the Saint who flays himself. Michelangelo's portrait is not the saint who is holding the skin... He is the skin he holds. Not too confident, Michelangelo. Basically saying that he is the base sin and shit of humanity.
There is a drawing that everyone calls Da Vinci's self portrait but it isn't confirmed. Some say the Mona Lisa is a self Portrait of Da Vinci because the features line up with the aforementioned self portrait of Da Vinci. Some say both portraits show a certain sadness, longing, and maybe even a little anger.
Are self portraits cocky of insecure?
As for those drawings I'm about to hang in my living room. They are not portraits of my face but of my body at a time in my life when I was jumping from the frying pan. I was ready and eager. I'm happy to have them in my life. I was talking to a friend... and I wonder would my other Mommy friends agree?... I feel like I have shed a skin that day I gave birth to Lucia. I don't recognize myself. This is an exciting and scary time. And as exciting and scary Italy was in a "global-consciousness" sort of way this new place is much more crucial and complicated. I tread slower and more deliberately on this new path. The pace is almost painstaking. I had the first pang to make a new self portrait today but didn't know what to do. In Italy I didn't even know I had started before I created the "twins". Perhaps I have started creating already but haven't recognized it yet. Lucia is the obvious indication but my reflection is hard to discern from her.
We had our portraits taken at JCPennys last Saturday. There is one of my holding her up by my face and we are both smiling. She embraces the toothy, mouth wide open smiles of her Mommy. She hands them out all the time to anyone who will look her way. I love that about her. She brightens peoples faces like sunshine. I see it all the time when I carry her around. They come closer with curiosity to see a little baby and she blasts them one of her grins and "POW!"- I get to see the happiest face from a perfect stranger. It's a freaking miracle. I'm sure other mommies out there know what I'm talking about.
My baby is part of my new portrait like a Frida Kahlo portrait with her sitting neatly and formally in a chair with a bloody vein reaching out and attaching her to me. The marks of childbirth discreetly tucked behind my carefully chosen middle class second hand clothes with words hovering over me. Words like Welfare, Career, and Housewife. This paints far too literal a picture but you get my train of though, no? Plus, I would hate to rip off the lovely and amazing Frida. Frida was great because she wasn't afraid. I identify a lot with her. She liked to play different roles in life and didn't let people put her in a box. She stands out obviously for her dense collections of self portraits. I also liked her because there is always something gruesome and painful about her self portraits. Its well know that Frida knew pain but it resonates for us "common folk" because we all feel a bit of that pain of living. Life can be very painful at times. Other times its the best feeling in the world but there are times it is downright gory. Recovering from childbirth is a serious example of that.
I haven't found my artist-self in many years no matter how many museums I visit, or Joni Mitchell CDs I listen to or smart people I talk to. Art can be encouraged by those things but it has to be authentic to be good. It has to resonate. It has to be recognized. And unfortunately for me there is always a sublimation process that I have to be so ready for I practically have to train for it. And again, unfortunately for me, I'm still not ready.
For Katy O. from Sara B.

I'm not happy about this, but you asked very nicely...

So even though I have other pictures of you that I like better...

Here you go.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Fathers' Day!

out to some of the Best Dads I know (in no particular order):

  • Grandpa Olson
  • Kent (Daddy)
  • Uncle Chris
  • Grandpa Obert (Popo)
  • Uncle Mike
  • Uncle JR
  • Uncle Andy
  • Uncle Kurt!

We love you all and wish this day to be full off relaxation and appreciation!

Take Care, Lucia and Katy

Friday, June 13, 2008

Goodbye Sutliff Bridge

I have been getting by with the floods affecting my life minimally. Today I was deeply saddened to find out that the Sutliff bridge collapsed. It was a one of my favorite local historic sites as you could get a bottle of beer and stroll out on it in the summer and watch the sun set. They also have awesome hamburgers there at the Biker bar that sits adjacent to it. Farewell ole' bridge I will remember you well.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Frantically making slow progress...

I feel like I've been busy with nothing to show for it but here are the things I've been "Attempting" to do (here comes another bulleted segment of my blog):
  1. Download free virus protection from Avast: Unsuccessful b/c of slow dial up connection
  2. Take a clerical test for a job with Team Staffing Solutions: Again Unsuccessful b/c of slow dial up connection (these two things have been taking me FOREVER!)
  3. Take care of Lucia who developed a fever from her four month vaccinations: makes me sad and worried for her. Makes Daddy sad too.
  4. Clean my house- don't get me started on the state of my toilet, shower, and sink (please explain to me why dirty bathrooms allude most men).
  5. Cook food so that we might save money from more trips to grocery store or for take out.
  6. Get my license renewed. After one failed attempt at the written exam yesterday (hardy har har- I know... more jokes about Katy's stupidity) I passed the test after missing one question about how many feet you need to be from something when something is happening when you are driving- 100ft, 300ft, or 5ooft. The answer is 100ft but the question is still a blur. Damn short attention span. You see, I didn't notice it had expired on my birthday and the 60 day grace period had ended.
  7. Get my bike in working order (Cha-ching for World of Bikes but well worth it in the long run). I will be converting my tubes from European style, getting new tires thanks to dry rot on the white walls (the actual tire part was still good), new break pads, and a tune up. It won't be done until first week of July. I hope I have a job by then.
  8. That brings me to finding a temp part time well paying job for the summer... I need one. Interviewed with TSSI on Monday. Will keep you posted.
  9. Securing a para position for next year. Whoopity-doo. Met with Lemme principal today.
  10. Entertaining my little Lucia without being distracted by aforementioned 9 things that have been weighing on me.

I hate money, esp. when we don't have it.

My knee has been healing okay. It's still ugly but on a smaller scale. We are safe from the flooding. Many people I know have been helping with sand bagging down on Dubuque St. Mom and Dad's house should be well enough away from harm as well. It's been a big deal for Iowa. Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Waterloo and Cedar Falls are all affected by the Iowa and Cedar rivers flooding. There is still another 7 day forecast of rain ahead of us. On the flip side, I don't have to water my vegetable garden.

Lucia's four month Baby wellness visit went well. She is in the 50% for weight and head circumference and the 90% for height. She is developmentally at a 6 month level for some things and has hit all her milestones for four months and most of 5 months. I don't know if any of that adds up to anything but its reassuring to know as a parent that things are going smoothly. I like to think that she's a capable and strong little thing and want the world for her. The doctors all commented that it was apparent that she was a baby that was "talked to" as she was engaging in a lot of "conversation" with everyone. She was all smiles and happy until those damn shots. I know they are good for her but dammit- They piss me off.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

ER Humor

My ER Doctor looked at my knee and said it looked like Hamburger.
I said, "I guess that makes you Hamburger Helper."
Then I joked that I would buy him a T-shirt.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


I was very excited to go on a walk with my friend Melissa, our dogs and her kids at Hickory Hill today. Unfortunatly, during the first leg of the trail my foot caught a dip in the trail and I fell like a ton of bricks. I have 7 stiches in my right knee and lumps and sprains in/on my left foot. So I will be completing the last 4 days of the school year with the little preschoolers on crutches. That's right... I will be of no use for anything other than verbal redirection for the rest of the year. But who am I kidding? I'm checked out of there anyhow.