crossing off #25

We took a quick road trip to the Dallas area on Friday and Saturday. Johnny manned the wheel as we listened to good music. I kinda wish we had been on a New York-bound plane to the IAM Encounter conference for the likes of Makoto Fujimura, Billy Collins, and Alissa's workshops, but we ended up having a splendid time right in Texas.

Before leaving, I did read the nifty weather widget on my computer desktop: a high of 60 degrees. I thought, "No problem. We're Texans and the sun will be shining." But I failed to read the low. As we pulled up to The Heights Church for Johnny's gig, we discovered it was brrr cold - a low of 30 degrees. Neither of us packed coats. Right then and there, I also realized that I forgot to pack pajamas. My parents keep their house pretty frigid. I had a problem.

While Johnny sound-checked, I tried to finish up my Curator article. I found a comfy, mostly quiet spot in the massive narthex. I sipped green tea and the Church had free wi-fi and everything. But as more and more women started to arrive for the conference, the less quiet my space became. I wasn't able to finish though I made a valiant effort. Honestly, the main problem is that I'm a fear-based procrastinator. I churn out ideas for my articles at an impressive rate, but sometimes I hesitate to begin, afraid that whatever I write will be utter crap.

It's time to heed Anne Lamott's "shitty first draft" advice (from Bird by Bird) once again. I need to sit down and start each article way earlier. I'll just write and write whatever comes to mind, then go back, polish, and prettify. But I need to do this before the week of a deadline and a fun excursion with my husband. He tends to procrastinate as well, so we're bound and determined to use our time wisely this month and onward - it's never too late to learn good habits. And we must because we both want to write and drum (respectively) more and more. We're grateful to work at home doing what we're gifted by God to do.

Johnny played drums beautifully, as always, and Donna Stuart's whole band sounded great. However, the green room backstage was brrr cold, too. Thankfully, hot coffee was one of the perks. After a long night, J. and I and our friend Aric (the bass player) crashed at my parents' house. My Mom loaned me PJ pants and socks, and my Dad offered a comfy long-sleeved T-shirt. They even turned the heater up just for us. My Mom also had "treasures" from her favorite thrift store waiting for me on the guest bed: a large wicker-covered vase, blue & white porcelain spoon rests, a small blue stoneware vase (for pens and pencils), and a set of wooden trivets. I'm sure these fun items will appear in photos of mine to come.

The next morning I sipped French Market coffee from a navy blue stoneware mug - I always use it at my parents' house. I admired aloud, "I really love this mug." My Mom insisted that I take it home. Since I was not hinting at such an offer, I refused a few times until she pulled the obedience card. How could I disobey? I decided that I really love stoneware mugs (thanks, Mom!). My Dad whipped up the most delish omelet for me, too. Then I wondered why in the heck Johnny and I haven't been making omelets all these yeast-free months?

After a lovely, light lunch in the breakfast nook, my Mom loaned me a brown suede jacket and we all said our goodbyes. Johnny and I set out under a gorgeous blue sky to meet our friend Jenny at the Nasher Sculpture Center. Another thing I love is to be downtown in a bustling city. We scored a parking meter with ample time to spare - love that, too. It was so good to see Jenny, or as I call her, Jenn-Y. She is very funny, smart, creative, and traveling to Uganda with her Church this summer. She's also a brilliant first grade teacher. I think I'll keep her.

The Nasher is an amazing place. The current exhibit is "George Segal: Street Scenes." We all liked these eerie, life-size models of Segal's family and friends, but we also decided that those folks are better friends than we are. They allowed Segal to cover their bodies with layers of medical tape save for two tiny nose-holes. Then he covered them with white plaster. No, thank you.

Most of the other indoor sculptures were excellent - Johnny was partial to Large Horse by Raymond Duchamp-Villon. Yet another thing I love is a good art museum such as the Nasher - the use of light in tall spaces, so very good for my psyche.

After browsing indoors, we went outside to that beautiful weather to see the rest of the permanent collection including an installation by James Turrell:

"In the quiet and meditative setting of Tending, (Blue), one concentrates on the view of the sky through the opening in the ceiling. By washing the interior walls of the skyspace with light calibrated to a certain color, Turrell conditions the eye in a way that affects one's perception of the sky's color, distance, and density. At sunrise and sunset, when changes in the coloration of the sky are most rapid and pronounced, the experience can be especially mesmerizing. The sky seems to take on extraordinary colors and, framed by the knife-edge rim of the aperture, appears extremely dense and flat."

I was really taken by that aperture of blue. I could've sat on the concrete benches, looked upward, and stared all day. So peaceful and meditative.

I was also very inspired by Jonathan Borofsky's piece, Walking to the Sky:

"....features seven life-size figures walking up a 100-foot stainless steel pole to the sky. Three more figures at the base of the pole watch their ascent from the ground. On loan from the artist, the sculpture debuted in front of Rockefeller Center in New York City in September 2004, and the Nasher Sculpture Center is the only other venue to present the work to date.

True to the dream and fantasy imagery that populates Borofsky's work, 'Walking to the Sky' evokes a wide range of associations. Figures rising into the sky can suggest death and the passing of souls to the heavens, but the overall impression is one of optimism. The figures are easily recognizable: they are the kinds of people one sees everyday. Here, they seem to be defying gravity, ascending to new heights under their own power. Like many of Borofsky's previous works, 'Walking to the Sky' is a compelling tribute to the power of our aspirations and the resilience of the human spirit."

That's a nice humanist perspective and all, but I found the massive sculpture to be much more redemptive, in a similar fashion to Sigur Ros' "Glósóli" video. Man is capable of greatness indeed, even the seemingly impossible, but not without God.

[click to see larger]

Back inside, we warmed up over coffee and tea at Café Nasher; hugged Jenn-Y and extended an invite to our house; then hopped in the car for Houston. I was pretty tired, but happy to cross #25 off my list. I think making granola is next.


Laura Leigh Dobson said...

wow. . .sounds like you had a fabulous time.
making granola is one of the easiest things i have ever done. i guess it depends on the recipe though. i always keep it simple. my last batch was very basic but very delicious.
happy granola making!

Lindsay said...

Jenni, I'm glad you had such a nice weekend. I have faith you'll get your procrastination under control and think your plan here will help. Often, I feel the same way, having outlined in my head something that feels perfect but doesn't translate to the page the way I'd like. It can be frustrating and debilitating. So, know you're in good company. :)

Actually, I was just thinking about how lovely this entry is about your weekend and how what I wrote about my weekend was so simple and, honestly, guarded. I love your honesty.

jenni said...

Laura, my granola recipe will have to be unique due to my medical diet, but it will involve nuts, shredded coconut, and dark chocolate at least. I can't wait to pour almond milk (or coconut milk) over that goodness.

Thank you, Lindsay! I'm starting my next article on Monday (3/09) which is "way early." :)

Mocha said...

I love that sculpture! I'm so sorry I missed you this time :(

Kimberly said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful time! Glad you had the opportunity to catch up with family and friends.

kate o. said...

your post is a good encouragement for me to explore more even on short weekend trips like we had this weekend. we were in st. pete and i haven't been to the dali museum there in ages. next time!

jenni said...

Next time, Christine! We'll go hiking in that nature preserve, right?

Thanks, Kimberly. :)

Kate, I bet the Dali museum is fascinating....