Saturday, February 3, 2018

can you meet for pizza?

Ali came through town last week.  Do y'all know Ali?  I met Ali about 8 years ago when she was introduced to me while she was applying to our MAT program.  She had a kid on her hip and she was quick to say it was not her kid.  The next year she became my student and served as my studio worker (Queen of Sculpture) for a good while.  She's good people.  We got to know each other pretty well during that time and then I shipped her off to grad school for a while.  Then she got married.  But every now and then she drives past Gwood and she'll text me to see if I'm free for pizza.  So last week I cleared an hour to catch up at Millhouse.  These kinds of chats can be so scattered as we have to catch up on everything that has happened since the last time the planets aligned.  In this case it was 7 or 8 months.  There are mutual friends to catch up on, people to make fun of, funny stories and general life updates.  

I have a couple of different topics for the blog open on my computer just gathering dust, waiting on the right mood to either finish them or share them.  But they're not ready yet.  And since things are still happening all around us, I thought about stealing the rambling life update approach from my conversation with Ali and using it here with y'all.  So maybe grab a coffee or a slice of pizza.

 I'm a parent.  Those are my kids hiding inside cabinets at either Lowe's or Home Depot.  I scratch my head in wonder every single day at this parenting thing.  Sometimes you feel like you're the king of all dads and your kids are saints.  Twelve seconds later you can feel like you're a miserable parenting failure.  Blue and Violet are happy kids and they're nice to people.  I'm going to consider that a win so far.

 When I get home each day from school I do a yoga based exercise called PiYo.  It's a combination of pilates and yoga.  I've tried several things for strength and cardio and this one seems to work best for me.  It feels right.  But it's hard and after the long days when I've been on my feet all day and I'm feeling my age, it's a struggle to exercise when I get home.  Then, I turn around and look behind me and find these lazy mutts asleep.  

 Both of these photos were taken at the end of a PiYo session.  I was tired and sweaty.  They were cozy and well rested.  Punks. 

 Ok, so a couple of weeks ago this delivery guy pulls up directly outside my windows at school.  That's him in the red shirt behind the stop sign.  It was either his first day on the job or it was his worst day ever.  He jack-knifed the truck trying to back it up and was delivering it in the wrong place.  The truck shook as he pinned the tires against the curb.  He got out of the truck already exasperated and it was still morning.  He thew up the back door to find the entire contents of the truck in a giant dog pile.  Boxes everywhere.  It was a mess.  Oh and this is a food delivery service.  Inside the boxes are fragile and perishable items being delivered to our restaurants on campus.  When he saw the mess he braced against the truck and hung his head.  Then he started muttering and cursing.  

At this point, I was hooked.  I pulled up a chair, told the students still in the room to gather and we prepared to watch the show.  He climbed into the truck and started to try to restack the boxes in some kind of order.  He set up his ramp for unloading and after throwing several things around pretty recklessly, he gathered himself enough to start packing the order on his cart.  But instead of using his hand trucks to roll the boxes down the very steel ramp a few at a time...safely...he opted to use a large cart which he then proceeded overload with very poorly stacked boxes of fragile, perishable food products.  Even while he was loading it, the boxes were on the verge of falling off the cart.

Our excitement was palpable.  When he started down the ramp with stacks of rocking boxes that were towering over his head, we started giggling.  To our amazement he made it to the bottom of the ramp without disaster.  But then...the moment the cart wheels hit the bottom all the weight shifted and the towers of boxes started falling in all directions.  The look on his face was unforgettable.  He grabbed at the boxes but it was far too late.  They crashed to the ground in heaps.  A couple of boxes ripped open.  Many more were crushed.  The best box erupted, spilling it's contents - large, gallon plastic containers of mayonnaise onto the sidewalk.  Some of those containers also gave up the ghost and exploded gobs of mayo onto the sidewalk and grass.  We were absolutely rolling with laughter.  

He cursed and threw his arms around in a fury.  Then he got himself together enough to restack the boxes on the cart.  He attempted to clean up some of the mess but his stacks of boxes fell another couple of times before he made it to the building doors.  There were several other small mishaps on his second and third trips inside, but the only one worth mentioning was when he split the butt of his pants.  Dude was having a very bad day.  He's been back a couple of times since and I'm happy to report he's gotten a little better and a little smarter each time.  He still blocks the entire road when he parks but he's dropping less food.  And Friday he even learned to use the brake on the cart after the fully loaded cart took off rolling down the sidewalk without him when he went to get something out of the cab of the truck.  

I am thankful for his contributions to our Fridays in class.  

 I'm working on finishing up the painting on a steel bowtie for a life sized rhinoceros.  While I was working on cutting out pieces of steel for that project, I happened across an idea and I think I'm going to have to steal away some time to sculpt soon.  After spending the vast majority of my studio time last year working on drawings, I'm suddenly excited about working on sculptures again. 

 Our students in the art department are exceptional in every way.  Each week it seems new people come out to slog with us.  Not only do we get to breathe fresh air and do something good for our bodies and our minds, but we also get to know each other during our slog chats.  I don't know of any other art department that has the kind of environment that we have.  It is a very intentional thing and we work hard to create it.  Best of all, it works.  It forms an atmosphere where the students can get the most out of their education.  I really like my students.  (That's Bolt, Jocelyn, Katherine, Cali and Yessica posing with my head)

Not only is Timmy lazy, he also sleeps like a human.  Most nights when I go to bed I'll find G under the covers with her head on her pillow.  Timmy will be asleep beside her, also under the covers with his head on my pillow.  Spoiled mutt.

 Thursday we had our annual celebration of our students' creative work, the Annual Juried Student Exhibit.  We make this event a big deal for our students by having tons of place awards, merit awards and purchase awards.  Jax thought I was taking that photo of her.  I don't want to get anyone in trouble so I wont say why I took it but I think it's funny.  

 Laura Brown took these photos and you can tell because they're actually great photos.  That's Jamea with her drawing.  Jamea is a quality human.  She will graduate in May and I will miss her.  She says she has never been mad at me and I'm sure any of my students would tell you that's a miracle.  

Adam won Best In Show.  That's Jimmy, jonny, Singletary, Adam, me and Esnipes.  Adam's family was present for the reception so his mom, grandma and aunt got to see him win this and another award.  There were tears.  It was great.  I'm happy for him and very proud.  But this photo....this photo is all about Esnipes the superhero.  Take a good look at the photo.  If you look carefully beside my left hand you'll see a tiny foot dangling from behind Esnipes.  What you can't see is the rest of the toddler body attached to that foot.  There's a whole tiny human hanging on to Esnipes' back while this photo is being taken.  Esnipes posed, smiled and completely hid the kid on her back for the official photo because she moms so hard.  It's a small visual reminder of the juggling acts our art faculty members all practice each day.  Parents, animal trainers, teachers, committee members, spouses, artists, public relations experts, agents and managers - we have to be all those things during any given day.  Esnipes makes it look easy.  It's not.

When Ali and I had that pizza lunch, I have to say that we managed to talk fast and eat our two pizzas without being totally disgusting.  She and I share a fondness for the movie "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?" where one of the characters states that while he has the "gift of gab" he prefers a conversational hiatus while eating.  I think he said he finds talking while eating "vulgar and rude".  Maybe it was "course and rude", I forget.  I'm happy to report that we kept most of our food in our mouths.  If I had any in my beard she didn't tell me.  Hopefully we didn't gross anyone out.  Maybe next time we'll just get coffee.

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