Sunday, May 25, 2008

Up, Up, And Away!

Dude----I'm flying to New York tomorrow!

I woke up this morning in an absolute panic. Why on earth do I always pack at the last minute? Then of course besides the normal travel preparation insanity, add to the mix a heavy dose of pre-show jitters. What if the shows sucks, what if it's installed all wrong? What if nobody comes, or what if a bunch of people come but they hate my work? What if all these years I've been kidding myself and I should have just gone to law school? What if a herd of wild boars attacks me during the opening....

Then at 8AM this morning I got a skype IM from the show's program director which simply read: "Wanted to tell you that your work looks AMAZING!!!"

And with that all my anxiety turned into excitement.

Now all I can think about is that in a few hours (ok more than a few) I'll be in a cab headed towards my old Brooklyn neighborhood, then I'll hop on a train to the East village to have a beer with my best buddy, and later fall asleep on Kasia and Kelly's couch, only to wake up the next day just in time to have a greasy breakfast at Tom's Diner, and Gus will serve us fresh orange slices and cookies while we wait for our table....

I love Brooklyn.

So, peace out. For the next week I will be internet-less by choice! But to be sure I'll be back with tales and photos from this week's NYC adventures....unless of course the wild boars get me.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Those Crazy Frogs: Torture TV.

I’m sure by now all of you know that one of the things I hate the most about France is going to La Poste. And clearly this isn’t just one of those “ex-pat issues”, because from what I can tell, French people hate going there too. Well, La Poste must have gotten wind of this fact because my tiny local Post Office recently installed a large flatscreen TV.


Ironically, the program playing on the screen was about exotic beach vacations from what I could tell. “Bonjour customers! While you’re waiting in this endless queu, feel free to torture yourself by watching beautiful images of vacations your SMIC earning sorry French ass cannot afford! Merci suckers!”

Friday, May 16, 2008

Terribly Flexible and Talented.

Ok, no cheating. Don’t scroll down. You get 3 guesses as to how I got these skanky bruises on the inside of my left arm.


I got in a fight with Madame Snaggle-tooth? Nope.

I was bitten by a Tartiflette Demon? Nope.

I forgot to properly position my arm guard during my first archery lesson?

DING DING DING. Right on the money. Yesterday, I got my archery on!
(I mean doesn't everyone come all the way to France to learn English Long Bow Archery?)


So how did this all come about you ask? Well, I was having coffee one afternoon with Samia, who is a painter, and Annick, who is a photographer. Somehow Annick just happened to mention that her husband was the President of the local Archery club. Yadda, yadda, yadda, three weeks later Samia and I are out in a field shooting at stuff!


Ok, back to how I got the bruise. Well apparently my left arm is about as straight as George Michael, so I really need to wear a long arm protector to keep the chord of the bow thing from slicing off my arm flesh. Unfortunately this long arm guard has to be special ordered from the Freak-o-Nature store, so instead I had to wear two short arm protectors that needed to be repositioned after every shot….untill that one time I forgot.
But even with my one little accident, I think I did pretty damn good for my first lesson. Annick e-mailed me last night to tell me that her husband Guy, our instructor for the afternoon, said I was “terriblement souple et douée.” Which according to google, translates to “terribly flexible and talented”.

Clearly some stuff just sounds cooler and less porno in French.

Anyway, I’ve only had one lesson, but I think I’m gonna keep it up. But if I start to dress like Orlando Bloom in Lord of the Rings, please put an arrow through my head.

And with that thought in mind…

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Barbie Dream House Update #15: Dream On!

Since it’s spring, we’re back to doing work on the Barbie Dream House.

Now if you recall, we have not one, but two terraces. The small one is directly off of the kitchen. The monster terrace is on the 2nd floor and can be accessed by the main hallway and by our bedroom.


Ever since living in NYC I’ve dreamed of having a rooftop garden, but last weekend was a seriously rude awakening. Has anyone else seen the price of lawn/outdoor furniture lately? It cost as much, if not more, than indoor furniture! Am I the only one on the planet who didn’t know this?

We had absolutely zero luck at finding the type of furniture we our price range, so next we headed over to the lawn and garden place to look for trees. Since our bedroom opens onto the big terace, this is the look I’m going for:

terrace idea 2

terrace idea 3

terrace idea 1

The good news is, according to my calculations, the Barbie Dream terrace will only cost about 15,000 euros to create! So, I’m gonna put a tip jar on the sidebar of my blog and with the love and support of all of you faithful readers, I'm sure I'll have my Barbie Dream terrage by the time my third child starts Lycee.
Sidenote: All photos above stolen from Desire to Inspire blog. If you're into home decor and you aren't reading it everyday, you're a damned fool!


So since we made no progress on the terraces, we ended up buying wall paper for our bedroom instead. Originally we wanted something printed with images from the Kamasutra, but we settled for a simple multicolored rice paper. It was a tough call. Our second choice was this:


Also we may put these lovely puppy decals in our master bathroom.


Seriously…who buys this shit? I do not understand how a country with a reputation for being a center of style, fashion, and art could sell something like puppy wall decals. Does anyone else wonder about this? All I can say is: O' how the mighty have fallen. *shaking head in disapproval*
Oh yeah…I forgot to tell you. We finally got
our furniture!

furniture 001

furniture 006

From the photos you probably also noticed that I scored this lovely sculpture by Denis Pérez one of the artists I met during Art Metz. FrenchBoy and I both liked him immediately and 3 days later bit the bullet and bought it.



He's officially the first French piece in our French-American art collection!

So, the furniture is even more lovely than we imagined. It was totally worth the many months of waiting. The crazy insane orange color is right on. It totally warms up the whole room and its wacky and fun. It really is quite lovely. In fact it’s so lovely that it made me hate everything else in our apartment for about a week.

furniture 017

If our apartment were highschool, the new furniture would be the group of cool seniors that everyone is afraid to talk to. Nothing else quite measured up.

But luckily I came to my senses . I’m over it now.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Nothing about nothing...

marie catoinette

Ooh, come on. Admit it's slightly clever.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

“Ella a des belles boucles!"

Somehow with all the work insanity that’s come my way as of late, I totally forgot.
It's my one year Hair-iversary!

That’s right folks, it’s been more than a year since I did TBC (The Big Chop). I guess I’d just kinda forgotten about it since ya know…it’s just my hair, but in the last month or so my hair has had a sudden growth spurt and it seems that everyone but me is taking notice. Over the past week or so not a day has gone by when I don’t get a compliment on my hair from someone. Not too long ago I walked into the Beauty supply store and I overheard one sales girl say to another “Ella a des belles boucles!” Translation: ‘She has pretty curls!”

And frankly, I think they’re swell too. The best part is, this hair is about as low maintenance as hair comes. I wake up in the morning, spritz it with leave in conditioner, give it a fluff, and “Voila”---that’s it. Gravity defying hair! It’s so weird to think about all the time and money (20 euro shampoos and 150 dollar haircuts) that I used to spend on my hair, when now my weekly hair routine consists of a few handfuls of off-label conditioner I buy by the bucket at Tati and whatever bottle of shampoo my husband happens to leave in the shower.

So let’s take a stroll down memory lane shall we?

1. Do you smell bacon?
So this was my hair on my birthday in 2006. In many ways it was quite pretty, but the constant chemical processing, blow drying, and flat ironing had taken its toll. You can’t really tell from the photo, but that hair was relaxed & pressed within an inch of it’s life. Can't you hear it crying?

2. Hat-hair.

So, since I was to chicken-shit to just shave off all the old hair all at once, while I was growing in my new hair under the old hair, I wore all kinds of hair coverings, scarves, and hats to camouflage the to-the-death battle that was going on between the new hair and the old hair. During our trip to Japan I wore a different hat almost every day. Those were dark times. There were many tragic moments. Sometimes styling my hair required the use of scissors. But I got through it.

3. Look Ma! No hair!

Taa daaa! This is my hair the very morning I cut it: April 16th 2007. Teeny Weeny Afro in full effect. Doesn’t it make me look younger? I was an emotional wreck the entire day. I think I cried like 8 times randomly throughout the day. I didn't expect to feel anything when I chopped it, but I felt....something. Relief, release, grief, fear. Also, my neck just felt nekkid!

4. I'm getting the hang of this!

Finally--Cute Hair in August 2007. I know it sounds silly, but since I'd always chemically processed my hair for the past 20 years, I really didn't know what the hell to do with it when it started to grow in natural. It was completely foreign to me. It took me until August to figure out how to actually do stuff with it.

5. The Triumphant Afro-Puff!

By this past Christmas, I had finally arrived at my dream Afro-puff. I added a few hilights to accent the texture and to really bring out the curls. And if I do say so myself, what an adorable Afro-puff it was!

6. It keeps going, and going and growing...

Ok, here’s my hair from just last month, you can see that my afro puff has grown so fluffy that it has actually over-grown my fancy hair-tie. It's more of an Afro-bush. (Wait, that doesn't sound right....) In fact I got the impression that my hair no longer wanted to be tied down. And that about brings us to present...


A hair self portrait I took yesterday… make-up…..dear lord, but the hair looks scrumptious!

And immediately after I took this photo I thought of this photo taken of me and my mom at Christmas when I must have been maybe 2 or 3 years old.


Aaaah. How wonderfully fitting that now, at age 33, I once again have the same hair-do that I had at age 3.

Somehow I find this fact just too lovely.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Last Time I was In Paris...

Uhm...I wrote this Paris post 2 months ago, but since this show is still up I'll post it anyway. On March 17, 2008 I wrote:
I totally forgot to tell you that last week after I finished the monster book project, I hopped on a train and spent two days in Paris. As usual I managed to make my way over to the Centre Pompidou. I love that mangled inside-out building with all of its pipes and tubing. And like a kid, I love taking the escalators up to each floor.

Anyway, this time, I went to checkout the Louise Bourgeois retrospective:

"This March, the Centre Pompidou will be presenting the first extensive retrospective showcasing Louise Bourgeois' work since the exhibition that the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris held in 1995. This retrospective has been organised with the London Tate Modern and will feature around 200 sculptures, paintings, drawings and engravings she produced between 1940 and 2007, with a special focus on the past decade and this 95-year-old artist's knack for relentlessly rejuvenating her artistic language."

It was an interesting show that included a bit of everything- Drawing, printmaking, painting, sculpture, installation-- everything really. I liked some of her very early paintings from the 1970’s, and then I really enjoyed the large spidery sculptures as well. I mean---really spooky stuff, and perfectly installed at the Pompidou I might add.

One thing that really struck me was how fearless and playful Bourgeois was in all of her work. She really was willing to try anything, explore and talk about anything, and just work with an idea in as many different ways as possible. The diversity of materials and forms was really impressive.

The other thing that really stuck with me was the artist herself. The length and depth of her career are quite impressive. Here is a woman that started studying at the Sorbonne when she was 15 years old and then just never stopped making art. Even in spite of the fact that for two decades, after her professional debut, she as wholly ignored by the art powers-that-be, she just kept making art!

I kept thinking to myself: Wow, what does it take to keep making art for two decades without any professional validation? What does it take to just keep going on your merry way regardless of reward or lack there of?

Clearly, you can’t get far in this line of work without just trusting yourself, trusting your own voice, and having blind faith in what you do. Of course, this is all easier said than done.

Louise Bourgeois in 1990 with her marble sculpture "Eye to Eye" (1970). © ADAGP, Paris, 2008. © Photo: Raimon Ramis.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Stuff That Happens To You in Paris.

I’m starting to love Paris so much that I feel like I’m cheating on New York.

Of course my little Paris lover affair got just that much more passionate this weekend since it was the first time in a very long time that we visited Paris and it didn’t piss rain all weekend.

Anyway, here is some stream of consciousness plus photo blogging concerning our weekend.

Paris 025

Everything in life is better after 2 glasses of rose. Why is that? Is that bad?

Paris 009

My FrenchBoy looks crazy sexy when he does his “I’m being serious look” while he looks at a restaurant menu.

Paris 040

Mmmm! Overpriced Club sammich!

Paris 042
Did you know you can buy all the sofitel bedding on line? My god the mattress topper is so deliciously comfortable it’s sinful. What do they make this thing out of? Smashed puppies?

Paris 057

Don’t eat at the restaurant Breakfast in America unless you plan on bringing a side order of Penicillin to go with your scrambled eggs. Note to waitresses: Please do not serve me bagels after you put them down on the cash register, do your hair, then throw them on a plate that was stacked beside a pile of dirty dishes. Thanks.

Paris 023

Stuff you should know. Upstairs at Hermes if you lounge around long enough they give you free drinks. Which just goes to prove that my lifetime suspicion that “rich people get a lot of free stuff” is probably true. Also free Perrier served to you on a shiny platter somehow tastes that much better. How is this possible?

Paris 064

Hey, how come at the Bastille Metro station they have that whole huge fancy wall mural about the history of the Bastille and stuff, but politely edited out the bloody parts? But check it--at least they left in the part about the bearded ladies.

Paris 067

Paris 085

"Soon I wheel look at zee map and I wheel find zee metro station.”

And last but certainly not least, the highlight of our weekend—the conversation we had immediately following me almost getting knocked down by a roller-skating dwarf.

MadameK: Holy Shit! That midget almost knocked me over! WTF?

FrenchBoy: I know!

MadameK: Why would he do a jump right next to me?

FrenchBoy: Whatever. I don’t care how many cool roller-skating jumps he can do--he’s still only 3 feet tall.
(MadameK collapses into laughter.)