“Pain” Is the Root Word of “Paint.”

posted in: Chicago, Day In The Life 0
Old, old, old can of paint. Image: Wikipedia.
Old, old, old can of paint. Image: Wikipedia.

Every time. Every time I want a wall in my dwelling place to be a different color, it’s the same conversation — and I’ve lived in lots of places and desired to look at different colors.

Me: I’m going to do it myself.
Other Me: Stop talking.
Me: Oh, painting’s not so bad.
Other Me: Yes, it is.
Me: (Pause.) It is. It’s awful.
Other Me: Taping the walls.
Me: Yeah, I hate that so much.
Other Me: Putting plastic over everything. Trying not to get paint on your feet. The dripping down the wall. Sore shoulders. Cleaning all the painty sticks and rollers.
Me: (Thinking.) Yeah. But —
Other Me: No.
Me: But it’s so expensive! And I can do it myself!
Other Me: Hire. Painters.
Me: (Grumbling.) Fine.
Other Me: Thank you.
Me: But I can do it, though!

When I moved into this place five years ago, someone gave me a bottle of Veuve Clicquot to celebrate the move downtown. Looking at the bottle on my countertop I realized that the lustrous golden orange color of the Veuve label was the perfect color for my bedroom. I took the label to the paint store, bought the paint, and I painted three of the four walls of my bedroom myself. I have to say, it looked great. Still does.

But after thinking deeply about this for some days, I have decided it’s time for a deep, burnished mustard and I am thisclose to going to the paint store tomorrow morning, getting what I need, and doing it myself over the weekend. I want it to be done right now! Besides, these are the days of economy. I can’t be squandering money on things I can very well do myself. And I can do it. I just don’t want to. I want someone else to do it. But when you are a single gal with no kids, there is no hubby to take care of it, no teenage child to punish.

Aw, hell: I’ll probably do it. Unless someone in the Chicagoland area knows really great painters who come really cheap. Please, please someone tell me you know those painters. I’ll give it twenty-four hours until I go get tarp.


What’s In a Year, What’s Not In the Next One.

posted in: Luv 3
Me, Death Valley, 2015. Photo: Claus
Me, Death Valley, last summer. Photo: Claus


A year ago yesterday, I was doing the feature performance at the original Uptown Poetry Slam at Chicago’s legendary Green Mill Cocktail Lounge. I was up there at the microphone saying poems at the Mill to a packed house. There was no way that night wasn’t gonna be awesome.

In the audience that evening was a person named Claus. He didn’t know much about poetry slams, he didn’t come for me. He was at the show with an acquaintance of mine. His friends told me later they elbowed each other during my performance because when they looked over at Claus, they could see “he was clearly smitten.” What can I say? He had been smit.

I got offstage and made the rounds (and had a round) and soaked in the pure magic and vitality of that place on a Sunday night; at some point I spotted my friends and sat down in their booth. They introduced me to this tall, German person, a visiting scholar, here to be paid to think about philosophy and write a new book.

“You’re a philosopher,” said Claus. “Your poems. This is philosophy.”

What can I say? I was smit.

That summer, we took a roadtrip west. I took a break from PaperGirl for the first time in ages in order to focus on that experience in a macro way, i.e., rather than wash clothes in a river and write about it that evening, maybe just wash clothes in the river and see how that feels.

In fifteen days, Claus goes back to Germany. His time as a visiting scholar is over. I don’t know what’s going to happen, how it will feel, what we’ll do. I hate Skype. I detest long-distance relationships. I have a talent for winding up in them and it is a damnable curse. All I can say is that tonight I sleep in Beaver Dam alone and the quiet is curious. It’s big. But it’s calm, too.


File Under: Home, Boards, Museums

posted in: Art 2
Me and Shizuko-san at the museum. Photo: A Nice Lady
Me and Shizuko-san at the museum. Photo: A Nice Lady

I arrived in Iowa yesterday. My episodes of the TV show start taping on the 13th, but I’ve come early and am going to stay a day or so after we’re done. This is so I can watch spring come to small town Iowa and so Mom and I can sew. We work together in various quilt capacities, true, but we rarely have time to simply sew together. So we’ll do that when she gets back from a trip to DC.

Today, though, I am not in Winterset. I came to Lincoln, Nebraska so that I could attend the opening reception for a jaw-dropping exhibit at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum. The exhibit, Blue Echoes, features the work of Japanese studio quilter Shizuko Kuroha. I drove three hours to the museum, then I went around the world. 

Around Christmastime, I was invited to join the board of the Study Center. I fell off my chair. Then I said yes. Then I told my loved ones. Then I wanted to shout it from the rafters but never did, because that’s not behavior becoming a board member of anything except The National Board of United Rafter Shouters.

There’s more to come about the Study Center and what it’s like to be on the board of something. I’ve never done it before. But the people I met tonight, the canapes I consumed, the ideas I had, the quilts I saw, the hands I shook, this all bodes well. While I was washing my hands in the ladies’ room, I thought of other boards it would be fun to serve on:

The Board of the Beard Association
The Board of Boar’s Head Meats Corporation
…and how much fun would it be to be the chairman of the board of the International Chair Board.