I have been living on several tracks these past two weeks, orchestrating among them hour by hour. There's the art consulting track for 1002 Washington Avenue, a job that involves three different and on-going (or perhaps never-ending) tasks. I have a good time with it all, but it is relentless. Perhaps I make it so. I stay in contact with the eleven other artists, watching over their progress, the payments that must be made to them, the decisions that often involve crisis or changes in plans. Each of the projects has its own set of conditions and issues. All needs follow through. But that's what they hired me for.
I am also working on my own 'artful interventions' for the building. That would be the text that will show up on selected walls throughout the facility.
Last weekend I got into the studio, spread everything out and worked on copy, tightening and refining. Spent hours of time at the current permitting facility listening to conversations between plan reviewers and the folks who come in for permits. Also reworked the sketches I made of wall elevations during the Christmas holidays.
Ten walls will have these text interventions - sort of like tagging, in a way. Some stenciled, some with acrylic letters, some with who knows what yet? Met with Sherri's team last Monday and early next week, I should have graphic concepts to show folks on the architectural team and those who will work in the building - plan reviewers, inspectors, fire marshals and code enforcement folks. Hope they find humor in what I heard, transcribed and edited. Hope they like the graphics that will be on their office walls and lobbies for years and years. That remains to be seen.
The third component of this job is all of my own making. When I was interviewed, I cavalierly suggested I could raise additional funds if necessary. I was coming off Second Seating and fundraising was what I did every day for that exhibition. So now, I am working on a pitch letter, a packet and list of potential donors to approach for an exterior piece for the building. Also would like a positive response from an approach already made to a potential donor for artwork on a stairwell wall. For the remainder of my life, I must remember not to be cavalier about fundraising capabilities. I am not complaining. I am just saying.
I've also been on a quest to find out what made my mouth blow up two weeks ago. I looked as if I'd had a really bad Botox experience. I won't even post a photo of how bad I looked two Sunday mornings ago. The mess began with cracked chapped lips, followed by lots of hot Cajun food at Benno's in Galveston, then scratching those lips in the night - never a good idea - and finding out at McGovern Allergy Clinic that I'd scratched myself into a bacterial infection. A bacterial antibiotic seemed to work for several days, but then all the red came back - from nose to chin. I ate something? find I am more and more sensitive to various foods. Haven't eaten white rice, corn or dairy or eggs for almost two months. That cuts out a lot.
After some really bad-lip days, I finally called UT Hermann dermatology clinic last Thursday. The doctor walked into the examining room, took a fast look and pronounced dermatitis. I came away with prescriptions for three creams. They are working. I have my face back again. But an interesting thing happened on the third day I sparingly applied those creams. I thought I was getting a cold and dropped a packet of Emergen-C into a glass of water, that 1000 mg of Vitamin C so many of us take when we feel a cold coming on. Within hours, my mouth was red and swelling, so I read the Emergen-C label. After listing all the vitamins, the main ingredient is Fructose. Isn't that the corn sweetener that is in almost every packaged food these days? So, corn again. Within a day, my lips were again on the way to normal.
Now, let's add in the other stuff that consumed the last fourteen days. Add the ALF (American Leadership Forum) board retreat at the United Way, a Greater East End District board meeting, another dash over to the district offices to advise on placement of art, posters, framed historical material and project renderings.
The district has just doubled its square footage, added new employees, picked up a graffiti removal contract from the City of Houston itself and just received a grant from Houston Endowment for the Livable Centers project in and around Second Ward. Diane Schenke is taking district endeavors to the next level. Hurray!
Then add in a dinner party - in my dining room - what was I thinking? We did have a really good time.
Add in wine and tapas with a friend at the new Americas on West Gray. This is, I think, a photo of the mirror in the ladies bathroom.
Add a visit to 1002 Washington Avenue for a meeting with one of the artists and the building contractor and then a tour of the building itself. It is going to be quite the place. The views of downtown Houston are magnificent.
Add a planning session with artists and friends of Dick and Beth Collins Wray to organize speakers for Dick Wray's memorial service. Add the memorial service itself at the Rothko Chapel where both Earl and I spoke. He gave the eulogy - wonderful. I spoke for two minutes and seven seconds about Dick's four story tall work for 1002 Washington. Avenue. There were abut 200 people in the chapel. A very full house. Add a reception at Richard Stout's after the service.
Add another doctor's appointment for a well woman exam. This was in addition to the dermatologist. Add in trips to McGovern for allergy shots, twice a week now. Add in those eight hours I put in last Monday on the 1002 Washington Avenue job and add the six hours I spent laboring on the project the following day, plus a visit to Houston Arts Alliance to review progress and problems, budgets and timelines.
Add in stacks of newspapers, both the Houston Chronicle and The New York Times. I need to read them both because I still don't own a television. That may change soon?
Add in a week of below freezing temperatures that flattened the garden and browned the eight-foot tall ginger that's taken two years to recover from the last bad freeze. Add in a sprinkler system that I'd not turned off. It went on at mid-day in weather so cold that the water immediately froze on the shrubbery. The sprinklers are off for now.
Add in Marisol, one of my two cats who appeared to have some sort of infection which involved a trip to the vet and who was taking antibiotics through a dropper, until she rushed outside last evening and hasn't yet reappeared. I fear a random bullet from aerial shooting or perhaps pneumonia? Who knows? I've called and called and walked my property, Sally's property and the property in between us.
Add in that I am really missing my three daughters. Add in the fact that I've not mailed a card to my dad who will be 94 in two days. Add in the coming week's schedule which includes several meetings, a sleep doctor appointment - sounds like health is a major issue - the monthly TTN (The Transition Network) supper and Pilates on Tuesday and Thursday's monthly breakfast with long time friends and an invitation to dinner next Saturday evening. Add in that I think there is something next Friday evening, but it escapes me and it's not written in my book. Add in laundry, though not nearly as many loads and piles as I know are at Caroline's and Jeanne's houses.
So that is that.
And because I am such a visual person, I am going to go back through this post and add pictures. Needless to say, I've documented almost everything that's occurred, but you'll not see my inflated lips.
Tomorrow is Monday. It's midnight now. Was this post the best use of my evening? Better than watching the Super Bowl commercials?
By the way, I do like my life. There's just a lot of it.
Wouldn't you know I forgot to add that Earl and I were invited to attend the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance Annual Awards Dinner at the River Oaks Country Club last Friday night. What more can I have missed?