Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Crap. I slept through class today, I am officially an asshole.
I dunno, it's so fucking cold. I am over the snowzen.
Other than that:
Grams is doing better and is now at a rehab facility and jokingly threatens to leave by kicking up her right leg. She is sharing a room with a spunky 97 year-old who loves to dance. I am going to remix Daft Punk and the "Charleston" and bring it home with me for Christmas. And then I'll turn their room into a little bitty Berlin. And then I'll tear down the separating curtain and declare it a free zone....for dance!
*I'm making a faux wooden wardrobe right now, I'm hoping that it will be both sweet and somewhat functional since my winter clothezen have no place to live.
*I've been to Poland twice in 2 weeks. I crossed the bridge over the Oder river and went to the small, cigarette-rich town of Stubice. I even went to the same restaurant both times; "Ramzes," the Pharoah-themed Polish Applebees. They had hieroglyphs and everything, shazam! Polish cigarettes are like one euro. And the Polish women are even cheaper! (No idea what that means or where it came from. No bother.)
*My roommate, the German/Italian actress slash musician is practicing for a role where she slices carrots in a scene. Our apartment is full of carrots. I just realized that I'm sitting on a carrot.
A sliced carrot! perverts.
*I have been slack about the art eventing, but I think Candace Breitz is speaking this weekend at the Temporary Kunsthalle, so I hope to go.
*I have a beer belly. No more beer for me until my sloshing, unruly Pilsner spawn goes away.
*As a replacement for my friend Risa's "Baby Thanksgiving," (see previous entries about unsettlingly small birds and baby-themed entertainment), I am spending T-giving with my new friends Joe and Emily who just moved here from Chicago. They are going to make Mexican! I am so happy. I miss tacos from El Chilito so much that sometimes I wrap myself in my blanket and pretend I am made of fish. And that I'm eating myself?
I think I'm delirious on art fumes; I can't open the window anymore because then I'll freeze to death. And I don't want to die with a beer belly.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

S0, grams is doing better and regaining her speech (my main concern), and thank you for your nice words, they made me, and grams feel better.
*They read her my blog and comments--more than once. She requested a second time, I believe. So thank you--sometimes conscientious self-indulgence becomes something more.
Otherwise, life is much the same. I accidentally dressed like a nazi yesterday, which was inappropriate, horribly offensive and totally accidental. I have a long, dark green leather coat that wad given to me by my mother, which I put over a suspendered ensemble with dark shiny boots. Sig Hell-yeah!
*offensive.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Grandmother.

My grandmother just suffered a severe stroke. She can't speak or move her left side. For those of you who know me, or who have read this blog often enough, you know how important she has been in my life.
I can't be by her side, and I can't sleep, so I am going to write down the things that mark a strong and unusual constitution; things she possessed that were admirable to me even before I knew why I should be so impressed.

My grandmother, Virginia Arnet Hill loves beignets, ancient Asian art, drinking mimosas (and flirting age-inappropriately), Mah Jong, and telling stories about her days living in the Hollywood Hills, where Clark Gable once "gave her moon-eyes" at the Brown Derby.

At seventeen, she left the pig farm in Iowa where she grew up to move to California where she attended parties in a jalopy that sounded more like Radio Flyer or some kind of rogue death machine. She worked as a stewardess on the railroad during the war and lived in the French Quarter in New Orleans. She dated more than one FBI agent, often trading boyfriends with her roommate Dot. Her favorite parties are still Mardi-Gras parties. She threw one this year for her neighbors. She wore a green mask and looked deliriously happy in pictures.
She's traveled around the world, and since I was 12 she has kept me at rapt attention with her exotic stories. She didn't leave the U.S. until she was 50, but after that found adventure everywhere: Egypt, Thailand, Australia.
She loved the unknown and just last year, at the age of 89, she visited me in Austin and Miami for art shows. My friends commented about her long after she had left, noting the magnetic personality that is her trademark. She never needed to read the book How to Win Friends and Influence People.

She took me to art museums and plays throughout my childhood (one in particular about killing nuns called Nunsense), and gave me a Chinese Calligraphy set when I was 8. I won my first drawing contest with a portrait of her. I've drawn and sculpted her more times than I can remember, and although she alerted me to the fact that these were not "flattering" depictions, she kept them anyway. She even kept a basket I made in a weaving class despite the fact that it looked like a lopsided rainbow cantaloupe.

When my father died, she helped my mother to raise my sister and I. And as she got older, she begrudgingly allowed my mother to take care of her, although never at the expense of my mother's own life.

She has the most beautiful hands, and in recent years I had to hold them to balance her. Her nails are always impeccably maintained, and when she speaks she gesticulates in the coy way that actresses in 40's films do. She loves the word, "Damn!" and often sounds like Rhett Butler, even though she is an Iowan by birth. She bought me a copy of Gone With the Wind when I was 10. That book changed my life, I think.

She wore Tina Fey glasses long before they were popular and donned a red leather jacket for most of my youth.
She never let me feel sorry for myself, urging me instead to do something productive with my time. She often quoted her husband, my grandfather, who said that "Boredom is a matter of personal choice."
She's in several book clubs, and she was the one who introduced me to books like Middlesex and The Kite Runner. She would say things like, "They're queer, but I like them."
*She meant "queer" in the older sense of the word.

Up until this week she did the crossword every day and still swam and played tennis several times a week. She loves movies with Queen Latifah. And she loves the book The Secret Life of Bees, the movie version of which, I believe, stars Queen Latifah. This will be the first movie I take her to, when I go home for Christmas.

My grandmother was never effusive, never pandered to me, never knitted me anything. On more than one occasion she critiqued my hair, weight and clothing choice (most of these were well-warranted).

But she is and always has been honestly caring. Over the course of my life she has cared for me honestly, sensitively, respectfully and unconditionally. I don't know where one finds a better example of will, intellectual ambition and loyalty.

I love you grandma and I want you to get better so that we can go see Queen Latifah try to act again.

*Although she can't speak, the hospital staff is already impressed by her sassiness and determination.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I just bought and began listening to the audiobook "How to Win Friends and Influence People." No joke. It is changing my life. For instance did you know that people "care more for a boil on their own neck than they do for a hundred famines in Africa."? The quote is something like that anyway. The point is, if you want people to like you, you must inquire about their neck "friend" and not start with your normal Sub-Saharan borefest.
I am learning lots of interesting facts about Franklin Roosevelt, who the author uses as an example of a well-liked man. Of course he was well-liked, he didn't have usable legs! Nothing to resent or distrust below the belt.
That's why, in an effort to become more popular here in the existential heartland, I have decided to break all my limbs and talk about people's boils.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Well, I was going to start this particular entry off with a big heaping of self-pity gumbo. All chunky and full of sour fishy bits and bitter swampiness. Ingredients:

-a chipped tooth that makes me look like Ron Howard as Opie, or some other old-timey childstar whose access to dental care is limited in idyllic Appalachia. But I manufacture adorable lispy slogans like, "Shucksies!"...or something similar.

-a somewhat bitchy boss, who was not down with me missing class for election day---I only cancelled class because I was invited by a CNN correspondent in Berlin to this CNN election night viewing party. My dream? Yes, but then it fell through. I was. so. sad. Goodbye sassy weatherwoman job, goodbye colleague (totally professional) hugs from Christiane Amanpour. Goodbye.

Anyway, I WAS going to write about that stuffs, but then I remembered Obama's triumph, and the tears in my fellow expats' eyes. And then I felt petty and ungrateful. And I have to say that McCain's concession speech moved me to tears as well. The country can begin anew, and the Euros are pretty happy about it too. My god, the history that was made....still can't believe it. He is so smart, so somber, so stable and so what we need.
Living here, you feel acutely how the world views us: and damn we need someone to mend our global image. And the election of Obama has already gone a long way towards that. I feel a little less shameful walking down the streets.