Monthly Archives: March 2011

hump day nuggets: what is art?

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and words about the last week I spent yesterday in the gallery installing my art. On the drive to the gallery I was…I kept trying to name my feeling. Anxious? Excited? Nervous? Happy? Terrified is where I landed. I saw this lily on my way out the door. Dude burst up practically overnight. I decided he was a sign of good things. My work is tricky in that it largely relies on space, shadows, structure. It’s all in my brain and in piles around our home until it’s installed. I left my house Tuesday morning with cartons of eggs, boxes of photos and dryer lint and an unruly stitched paper tree. In my terror I asked Andy what he thought of my work. He is always my best, most honest, most productive critic (plus, he is an amazing artist). He said, “I think it will be great babe.” I asked why the non-specific encouragement? and he explained that he really had no idea what to expect but he knew I’d pull it off. Terror. Pull it off. We talked more about my approach to making. See, my creativity is fueled by urgency. I wish it wasn’t, but it is. My whole life I have apologized and made excuses for my proclivity to pull an all nighter to write a 20 page paper, to sew 27 skirts the night before they ship out, to get a grant application in the mail on the due date. It isn’t that I don’t care, it is simply when I do my best work. I think thoroughly about stuff and when I actually set out to do it? It all happens in a quake of adrenaline, focus and inspiration. I don’t make excuses for it anymore. It is 100 percent me. Andy confessed he found this behavior charming when we were young lovebirds and he now merely rolls with it, knowing me to the core, wishing it wasn’t so with two wee children swimming underfoot. He smiled when he said it, like he had been thinking it for a while and could now say it with a sweet smirk because we are on the other side of that mountain and I am piling my piles out of our studio. two wee children who swim underfoot My mom always says long story short and my whole family knows this really means long story longer. So, long story short, I was terrified yesterday morning, pitting out with my heart all splayed across the trunk of my Subaru. I called Paige and left a message. She texted back just what I needed to hear, as best friends are able to do: Nerves are good. It means your heart is in it. And, by last night, I felt calm and proud and energized. After a day of putting the ideas in my brain on the walls of the beautiful Brink Gallery, I let myself feel a little confidence with my nerves. All nighters? Pshaw. I feel good. We still have some installation to do but that can totally wait until Friday afternoon…just kidding. I am not that much of a deadline dork. I will be working in windows, with and without kids, in the next few days (and posting riveting updates here if you are interested). And then, on Friday, happy exhale. nuggets. :: The snow in our yard is totally melted and the soil is finally ready to hold seeds. The girls and I raked the leaves off our garden to reveal joyful evidence of last fall’s garlic planting. Well, I raked while Margot and Ruby hunted for worms, put dirt in in a bucket and planted “seeds” (rocks). We planted arugula and lettuce and I was in bare feet! And then the sky opened up and hailed so we raced inside. Spring. Parsley! :: I miss my mom. She still cuts my sandwiches in quarters :: My dad couldn’t come on this trip and goodness I am thankful for Skype. :: Ruby thinks walking is the most amusing thing she can imagine. And I think she is the most amusing thing I can imagine. :: Margot and Andy had a ski date. She rode the chairlift for the first time! :: Margot has been saying the same thing to any person or chicken we happen by. “Wanna see my thumb? It’s definitely swollen.” :: I love my zoom lens on my Dreamboat. I love it for many reasons one of which is because I like to take photos that capture a moment that doesn’t see the camera, I don’t often choose the eye-contact photo. And my zoom allows me to be like the paparazzi with my family. Like, here, I caught Andy spinning Margot as fast as he could in the swing (I always tell her no because I think she’ll be miserable and puke. And I always tell Andy to slow it down. Turns out, daddy does it all the time and she doesn’t puke.) :: Rubes continues to be an early riser. While the moment my tired feet hit the cold wood floor is less than desirable, I do so enjoy having her all to myself while the neighborhood sleeps and the sun peeks over Mount Sentinel. She also continues to sleep through the night! Anyone having difficulty with this: I highly recommend Good Night, Sleep Tight. The author, Kim West, generously gave me a phone consultation and her knowledge and approach is gentle and effective. :: Sisters. :: Dig sponsor, Feeleez, is an empathy game for kids (and adults!). We use these cards all the time to facilitate conversation and explain feelings. I find them particularly helpful when feelings are sharp or elevated. We grab the cards, often at Margot’s request, and everyone picks the illustrations that best explain their feelings. It’s a starting place, it’s compassion. I think Feeleez is brilliant. Right now Feeleez founders, Natalie, Kris and Nathan, are generously donating a number of games and posters with small scratches and dents. In their words: Read more on hump day nuggets: what is art?…
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a little of this and that

We are back to our family of four humans, seven animals. My mom is gone and in her wake is clean laundry, paired socks, frozen meals in the freezer, a groomed dog, altered clothing, organized cupboards and lots of love. She knows how to give, that woman. Not much better than sipping a martini on Sunday evening while my mom hums and pins my dress.  For the next several days I will be busy installing my work at the Brink. Typing that sentence makes my stomach lurch. I am so excited and so nervous, mostly excited. Ruby doing down dog next to I Can Fix It, an installation of one week’s egg shells pieced back together and coated in beeswax. Speaking of stomach lurch, I best get back in the studio to finish up a few things. Eeeeeek. In my column this week, I wrote about a funny experience I had with my car alarm. Read about it in mama digs: pushing buttons. :: :: :: all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com Read more on a little of this and that…
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hump day nuggets: slow slow quick quick slow

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and words about the last week Girls Just Want to Have Fun was one of my favorite movies when I was a girl. Rebellion and big hair and dancing in spandex with matching half-shirts. Oh to think about being the blue collar good girl with a burning passion that would emerge in a dance off on television with my mom and little brother cheering on while my dad raced downtown to find me only to discover I truly was a dancing genius thanks to that roundoff back flip combo. Good stuff. I wanted to post the scene I love from the movie, but then I discovered this video in my youtube search and it is something. Dancing in Heaven. For whatever reason, it’s in my head today. nuggets. :: I so remember searching for and sorting rocks as a kid. At the river, in my backyard. I don’t ever remember feeling bored. There were always rocks and sticks and and such to spin tales with. Margot will often spend an hour seeking the perfect four rocks and then present them to me as our family. “This is Ruby, this is mama, this is daddy and this is Margot. Oh no I just dropped Ruby. Sorry Rubes! Are you ok? Do you need milk from your mama?” OK, sometimes her exclamation is more colorful than “oh no” :: We are still finding evidence of my cousin’s visit peppered around our stead. Watching our girls play together brought back a ton of memories for Elise and me . Like the time we stayed up all night watching the Sound of Music and whispering by flashlight so we wouldn’t get caught. At 3am we decided we’d surprise our grandparents with pancakes and bread for breakfast. I was seven and Elise was nine. We mixed flour and eggs and sugar and milk. We sifted and stirred and I think we even used the stove. We used every bowl and spoon we could find and ended up with mounds of “food”, baking powder ground into carpet and a full gallon of milk spilled across the counter and then, just as the sun was peeking through the blinds we heard slippered feet shuffling down the hallway. We ran into the living room and hid behind the recliner stifling our nervous giggles. Oh my word! Girls! came from the kitchen. I think grandma Chot was mad for a hot second before she laughed. Or maybe she was mad longer than that but all I remember is the eventual laughter and very long cleanup. And now we both have two daughters. It’s very cool. :: The snow around our home is like a tide going out. Every day the snow retreats into the earth little by little and tiny electric green promises sing hello! :: Wheelbarrows, mitten-less swinging, camouflaged dog poo, rogue garden tools, prancing hens. Spring! Looking to get your spring swing on? Dig sponsor CSN Stores has some pretty rockin’ wooden swing sets. :: Ruby steers her little tricycle in circles which doesn’t work so well for the sidewalk. I am continually rerouting my right-learning girl as Margot peels away and Ruby squawks for her to wait. The other day, as I was hopping up to rescue Ruby, Margot stepped off her bike and calmly, patiently explained to Ruby how to turn left. Rubes sat and listened intently, with a smile that made my chest hurt. Homegirl still turns right but if I am not available, Margot is there to reroute. Oh this sister thing is amazing. Margot explaining why it is important to lean left, on bikes and in politics. :: We are all eager to dig in the garden and Margot has taken to moving the snow so she can see the dirt. :: My refrigerator is sparkling, my kids’ snot is lovingly wiped every few minutes and tonight’s meal is not only planned but already cooking. My mom is in town. :: And, my mom always comes with Margot’s new favorite clothing item in tow. Margot asked for a “long lighter pink dress with darker blue that can twirl like a princess dress or a nightgown” and my mom made just that. She wore it for two days and slept in it at night. :: My art opening is on April 1, 5-8pm at the Brink in downtown Missoula. Yikes I am nervous and very excited. If you come and I don’t know you promise you’ll introduce yourself? I’d love it. Left: detail, dryer lint cloud, Right: detail, cloud tree sculpture made from cut apart and stitched together words I’ve written. Thanks for your inquiries about my work. Yes, I’ll post photos when it’s up! :: And I’m making myself a new frock for my opening. I hope to wear it and not look like I could smuggle an armoire which is pretty much how it fits my front side at the moment. But the bodice is adorable, it has deep pockets and the fabric has been begging from my stash for years. A belt or some pleats or something will happen. My mom is really good at creative tailoring. :: A conversation I overheard while Margot and my mom were in the bathroom together: “Grandma, poop is food that goes through your belly and comes out of your intestines. But it isn’t gross. But you can’t eat it. So it is kind of disgusting.” And my mom said, “Well, yes, honey. That is exactly right.” :: I so love where I live. That I can be at a trailhead in seven minutes and on a hilltop with a best friend in another 12 minutes. And then turn 180 degrees. :: Ruby Jane. She’s long and strong. She’s delicate but pushes back. When she sees me her giggles pile on top of each other until she can’t hold herself upright. She’s an observer like her papa. She’s determined like her mama. She is getting so big and opinionated. I want to eat her cheeks. And how about a little Dancing in Heaven to wrap up this week’s nuggets? (did you SEE the supermoon?!) Hey, here I am.I hear the universe singThe celestial screamI am not aloneAre you receiving you clearThere are others out there. Dancing in heaven I never thought I could get this far.  Happy hump day out there. :: :: :: all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com Read more on hump day nuggets: slow slow quick quick slow…
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open

I think I always feel pretty free to express myself here but this morning? I am raw and on fire. I had a bit of a spiritual awakening this weekend. My family left town and I was in my home by myself for two days. I haven’t been home alone for more than a few hours in over three years. It came on the heels of our too-full plate getting one last spoonful of mashed potatoes and then the whole damn thing dropped to the floor. I believe in the law of attraction so I have looking for guidance as to why we are suddenly in place of frantic, stressful energy. Having the weekend to sit, undistracted, with that and experience the host of uncomfortable emotions I felt when those effing potatoes landed on the plate was revealing, opening and healing. Let me move away from the potato metaphor and say that a few days after Margot broke her thumb (all is well there! It is healing beautifully, no cast, splint off in a week! Thank you for your kind thoughts.) she fell off a chair and split her forehead right open. An amazingly kind and lovely Dr. Fritz sewed three stitches in her head and that’s that. Looks like we just might meet our insurance deductible after all! But, boy, I’ll tell you it has been a trying month in many areas of our life. We have had good, big talks about what we want. To me that is the heart of the law of attraction: talking about what we want instead of what we don’t want. And, thankfully, there are many positive, productive, creative things coming out of our tornado month. It will take me a while before I can look back and feel appreciative for the tornado but I’ll get there. Right now I think the tornado is kind of an asshole. I wrote about my meditative weekend in this week’s mama digs: sow, mend. I also want to tell you this: the over 400 comments that came in on last Saturday’s post fed my soul. I asked a simple question about what path-changing experience you have had in the last four years and I read every single comment. There is just so much connection, support, camaraderie, trust and love out there. People are beautiful. You continually remind me that goodness and honesty eclipse negativity. Which brought me to another realization whose details are mine. But know that you have changed me in a really great way. I will say: I am human. I am vulnerable. We are all writers and readers. We all own our perspective. We all choose how we engage. We are all so powerful! You know what I am so excited about right this minute? My mom is coming to town today!I feel alive and in love!It is spring!I get to tell you who won the camera! Random.org picked comment #35, Cait said…Congrats on a great four years! For us my man and I have both finished our undergraduate degrees, played house for a while in the city and then (more recently in the last few months) thrown caution to the wind and moved home to our farm. We started our own blog to keep our city friends updated about our farm adventures but at the same time we’ve enjoyed looking back through the blog at the little details of the last 6 months that we might have forgotten. The things we couldn’t really notice at the time as we ran around getting ready for our animals to arrive! xo,dig :: :: :: all photos taken with a Canon Digital SLR from Vanns.com Read more on open…
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four, yo

Today, I have been here writing and interacting with the intertubes for four years.  In 2007 I didn’t read blogs and started one after hearing it was free and wouldn’t get lost as easily as my scribbles on the back of old envelopes. It was about gardening, running, making. A space for me to keep track of germination and growth. A while back I had a gardening business called dig this chick and so the name was easy. I like to write and take photos. I started dating Blogger. Then I was off to grad school in Chicago for two years without my husband (because he had just started his electrician apprenticeship) and I remember considering the possibilities of getting a bit more personal on my blog about all of that. And then, surprisingly, we were pregnant. My life was changing so quickly. I cautiously tip toed into writing more openly about my heart and it felt good. A whole different kind of germination and growth that led to I a whole lot of connection, thought-provokes and inspiration. Margot Bea’s birthday 12.18.07 Grad school on hold and a Margot in my belly, dig this chick changed into something else entirely. At first I felt like I wanted to honor the initial intention of dig so I started a different blog for bug. In hindsight I think I wanted to prove my autonomy and passions persisted within the context of motherhood. Because long ago, when unsure if I’d have kids or not, my biggest fear about motherhood was swallowed identity. And then, after a year, I understood I am Nici, a mom who gardens, writes, sews, makes, runs. Nothing was swallowed but everything in my life is about me as a mom. It is all dig. Dig. Ruby Jane’s birthday 11/23/09 This url has chronicled some of the most vulnerable and important moments of my life. I feel really thankful for this space and for you. YOU! Fer real. I learn so much from your experiences, advice, camaraderie, support. Thanks. SO. A giveaway dontyouknow. And a good one. Remember how my camera broke and then Vann’s gave me the rockstar loaner until I got my paws on my Dreamboat (thank you Vann’s!)? Well, we’re giving that barely-used, totally awesome rockstar loaner away to one of you lucky peeps! Leave a comment for a chance at it. Tell me something interesting, path-changing that has happened to you in the last four years. For another entry, ‘like’ dig on facebook and leave another comment here telling me you did. xo *** comments closed *** Read more on four, yo…
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