Monday, June 30, 2008

Our Nursery (warning, this is a long one)

So first, Sam put it all together . . . (I helped by staying out of the way.)

Then Schiele claimed it as her own.

(Notice the mosquito net in the picture below: we have wicked mosquitoes - thank you giant garden outside our windows. So little Samaire gets her own little princess enclosure in hopes she can get some sleep without being carried off.)

And tonight, we hung the mobile - our last little touch.

Who says you can't have a cute little nursery in a tiny Manhattan apartment?

(Thanks to May and Christian - our friends who gave us the kickass tree for the wall!)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

June 10th - at the tail end of the 100 degree streak

After 4 days of misery, this would be right after Sam installed our new a/c. (Explaining my rather worn, but ecstatic, look.)

But you had requested photos, so I took them. This is how great the love! ;)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jamie did this

and I do whatever Jamie does. ;)

1) Favorite hobby?
Huh. Lately my art's been a "hobby" - something I'd like to change, and soon. I want to learn how to knit. (Anyone want to show me how? I've spent years trying to teach myself to utter disaster.)

I collect signed/special edition/first run books of my fave authors and stories. Yes, I know - exciting! But there you have it, I'm a big fat nerd.

(2) How do you feel about your ex?
Which one? 'Cause all but two were in my wedding . . . I've been really blessed to remain close friends with all of them.

(3) Do you own guns?
Um, no. Opposed entirely. Prepared to lose this battle someday when Sam and I have a house.

(4) What flavor do you add to your drink at sonic?
Cherry and vanilla. Yummy.

(5) Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
No usually. If some thing's wrong, then yes. For normal check-ups, not at all. However, dentists? Terrified.

(6) What do you think of hot dogs?
I don't really . . .think of them, eat them, or prefer to smell them.

(7) Favorite Christmas song?
"Christians and Pagans" by Dar Williams. Or "Christmas" by Blues Traveler.

(8) What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Strawberry-banana smoothie. Almost every single morning one version of this or another passes my lips.

(9) Can you do push ups?
Right now? Um, no. When I'm not eight months preggers? Um, maybe. Really don't care enough to try and find out most days.

(10) Can you do a chin up?
Almost certainly that's a no. I have horrid memories of trying to do these for the Presidential Fitness Challenge. Does that still exist?

(11) What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?
I'm obsessed with rings (though right now they are almost all too big to wear.) Each one has a story and I remember when Little Sarah was small she would point to each and want to wear it while I told her where it came from or why I wore it. The rings may have changed since then, but they still all have special meaning.

My favorite being of course, my engagement ring. I love my wedding ring, but Sam picked out my engagement ring all on his own and I love looking down at it and knowing that it encompasses how he sees me.

(12) Do you like blue cheese?
Dear, sweet, jesus no.

(13) Ever been in a car wreck?
Yes. Like three my senior year. It felt like every time I left my house for a while there I was calling the insurance guy . . . *sigh*

(14) Do you have ADD?
No, I just don't seem to care enough most of the time to concentrate on any one thing for very long. I believe it's called "apathetic daily disorder."

(15) What’s one trait that you hate about yourself?
Hate's a strong word. I'd like to be less anxious, more confident about myself most days.

(16) Middle name?
I had a whole bunch. Now, I just have one - "Bell." It seems right. I love it.

(17) Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment?
1. I wish Samaire would stop kicking me.

2. I need to find the perfect present for my friend Joyce somehow very soon . . .

3. A nap right now would be fantastic. And ice cream.

(18) Name 3 things you bought yesterday?
Wow. I had work yesterday in Boston, so nothing exciting. An upgrade on the train, Broccoli (an entire plateful for my lunch) at the client cafeteria, and a sandwich, chips and juice for dinner on the train for dinner.

(19) Name 3 drinks you regularly drink?
1. Water

2. Dragonfruit Vita Water

3. Do smoothies count? Cause that about covers it.

(20) Current worry?
Getting everything together for the baby before she gets here. (So soon! I'm considered full-term next week!)

(21) Current hate right now?
Work. I mean I love my job and all, but am becoming increasingly distracted by this whole "baby" thing.

And, tourists. Dear lord, the tourists on my commute.

(23) How did you bring in the New Year?
Olive Garden, Times Square. It's the only way to start the new year right and if you haven't come to stay with us and participate - you're insane.

(24) Where would you like to be right now?
Well, here. Go figure. It's pretty cool. Maybe a day in Montauk. I love and am recently missing the beach desperately. Or on a car ride with my husband. I love it when we take road trips and we haven't for a while. I don't care where to, though.

(25) Do you like bok choy?
I have a feeling the answer is no, as it makes me think of wilted, giant green leaves.

(26) Do you own slippers?
Nope. But they're on my list of stuff I want for after Samaire's here and she and I are hanging out constantly in the apartment.

(27) What shirt are you wearing?
Just a plain white t-shirt. It makes me look especially pregnant. But it's comfy.

(28) Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
It's possible I've never slept on satin sheets. I feel like perhaps in theory they'd be good? Do they stay all shiny and soft after multiple uses? Or do they get all pill-ey and scratchy? Answers I need before trying them out.

I do, however, think sleeping on new, clean sheets is one of life's greatest luxuries.

(29) Can you whistle?
Yes, but I can't do the crazy fingers-in-your-mouth thing. I can just "disney" whistle. You know, short little tunes. . .

(31) Would you be a pirate?
Um, see for yourself.

(32) What songs do you sing in the shower?
I don't really. Is that sad?

(33) Favorite girl’s name?
Ha. For what? People? Plants? Fish? Me?

(34) Favorite boy’s name?
Really, I need specifics.

(35) What is in your pocket?
My pockets are empty!

(36) Last thing that made you laugh?
Hm, I've laughed a lot today but can't think of any specific cause. That's good, I guess.

(37) Best bed sheets as a child?
Strawberry Shortcake all the way!

(38) Worst injury you ever had?
When I got the staph infection IN the ulcer ON my cornea. Labor, you don't scare me.

(39) Do you like where you live?
I ADORE it. Please move it closer to the middle of the country.

(40) How many TVs do you have in your house?
One. No cable.

(41) Who is your loudest friend?
Not sure. I have a lot of really loud friends. Though Sam might be the most obnoxiously so.

(42) How many dogs do you have?
None. I want one though. For some reason Sam thinks two adults, one baby, a cat, three fish and a snail, AND a puppy is overkill in our 300 square foot apartment. I say he lacks imagination.

(43) Does someone have a crush on you?
I'm going with OF COURSE on this one.

(44) Favorite book?
Ever? Wow. "The Art Spirit" by Robert Henri = the only book I've ever gone back to read so many many times. Always inspiring.

(46) What is your favorite candy?
Cherry or Strawberry taffy with sugar sprinkles. SO GOOD.

(47) Favorite Sports Team?
Mets, I guess. As I'd like to avoid bringing this child into a broken home.

(48) What song do you want played at your funeral?
"Let the Mystery Be" - Natalie Merchant

(49) What were you doing at 12 AM last night?
Sleeping. I'm lame.

(50) What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up today?
There's a cat on my head.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Girls Rock

Okay, so this made me cry. (Though the list of what doesn't lately is very very short.)

I want experiences like this for Samaire. For her to feel strong, and loved, powerful and affecting.

That she rocks.

Out of all the things I wish/hope/pray for her on a daily basis, I might want that most of all.

Monday, June 09, 2008

My Job and, um, Baseball ...

So I find myself surrounded by young designers all of a sudden. Interviewing them, mentoring them (our interns), combing through their work, helping designers in other offices field design questions and basic corporate craziness . . .

And it has given me pause. I recognize the influence I can choose to have on them: on the team we're beginning to build. I say "choose" because it would be just as easy to perform my tasks, be their manager, and leave it at that. But I know what it's like to have a kick ass manager. Someone who inspires you - who pushes you for better work, and by example shows you what true advocacy and professionalism is. (Hi, Joyce!)

And that's what I want to do for the team I'm building. I want to fuel inspiration and daring. To build confidence. I want, despite crazy deadlines, finicky clients and long hours, for the people who work with me to be able to look up and say "but I still really love what I do - this is good work." To never forget what brought them here to begin with.

And, in accordance with being married to Sam Stiers - I can actually point to something I read today about baseball and say it actually inspired me.

Floyd typically doesn’t carry teams, nor is he the best player, however there is something about his presence which Hollander sums up the best by stating:

“You can’t measure a conversation that instructs or motivates or takes pressure off. You can’t quantify a well timed joke that eases tension in the clubhouse. Or a look that reassures. Or a skillful deflection of the media away from a player who can’t handle it. Or a million other little things that go into the relationships that are bonded over the course of season together. These are the human qualities that elude objective statistical analysis. But they’re crucial to creating a winning team. In order to win, especially to win a championship, it’s not simply about being the best player but about making other teammates play better.”

Who knew? Sam was right on the money when he said I want to be "the Cliff Floyd of marketing."

(taken a couple years ago when Sam took me along on a job assignment at Shea...)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

pregnancy photo

'Cause you asked. :)

I'll try to get a better one tomorrow, had to take this one myself.

I worked on our "nursery" today. Basically the corner of our room we've dedicated to the baby. Sam has built the crib, and we hung the mosquito net over it. (We have a wicked mosquito problem in the summer, thanks to the garden.) Today, I sewed branches and white flowers around the top of the netting, and jimmy-rigged a "skirt" to go around the bottom of the crib so we coudl store the stroller seat there without it looking all tacky and crowded.

All we need to do now is hang this super-cool tree sticker our friends May and Christian got us on the wall and that should be pretty much together. (I'll take pics then, so you can see it all at once.)

And I roasted a turkey.

Ha. So domestic!I was left to amuse myself most of the afternoon. Tonya and Travis (Sam's cousins) are here and wanted to go down to the lower east side for pastrami from Katz's Deli - and while I would have loved to go, it was 95 degrees out. And there's really nothing there for me to eat. I had planned on meeting them later, but they stopped in Union Square (and I think sort of forgot about me as they watched the Mates game in the bar) - so I never quite caught up with them.

Tomorrow, though, we're headed to the Yankee/Royals game and then to Churrascaria (awesome Brazilian restaurant in our 'hood), so hopefully we'll get some good pics then.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


So I went to Linked-In tonight and began perusing old friends and co-workers I was connected to - just cause. We're hiring right now, and I wanted to check and see if there was anyone I might want to contact. And, you know, general professional curiosity about what everyone was doing now.


And I came upon a site of someone (who I thought was a friend, I even helped him get a job a while back) and while looking through his portfolio I found HALF of the work he showed was mine.


7 years old, but MINE.

Designs that I, once upon a time, took the time to think out and put together as best I could.

I can't tell you how upset I was. I am. How absolutely violated. And, of course, what can I do besides send an email asking he take them down? This person I invited to my wedding, who I supported when he needed a job - this person I thought was my friend.

Who has been blatantly pointing to things I designed and taking credit. Did he show these when he interviewed for his last job? How many times has he benefited from my work? My ideas? My layouts?

I can't express my sheer bafflement at how someone could be so absolutely ballsy.

Part of me wants to link to him here. Encourage you to email him and call him names. :)

Or leave a comment on Linked In. Email his current job. Take some sort of revenge.

Mostly I just want to take back my work.

I emailed and told him I didn't appreciate him claiming it as his own, and to please take it down. I'm not sure what I'll do if he doesn't - though in all my anal-retentiveness I still have all the original files. Technically, I can prove they're mine. But why should I have to?

And what's funny is, truly, the work is irrelevant to me at this point in my career. I'll never show it again. I'll never put it in my portfolio. I've gone past it, my skills have eclipsed it. And, yet, apparently his haven't.

Oh, I'm so disappointed. And angry. And, well, just plain sad.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Moment of Hope

Congrats, Mr. Obama. May you be blessed with calm, strength and determination as you head into these next months.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Luncheon of the Garden Party

With my new commute, I've gotten the chance to read a lot more. And I'm loving it. Between that and the intense and lovely time I'm getting to spend with my iPod, I'm beginning to think I actually prefer having a commute. It's nice to have some alone/quiet time in the morning, and some de-stress time after work. Of course, my opinions might change once it's 100 bahizillion degrees outside and I'm eight and a half months pregnant - but until then, I'm enjoying it.

One of the books I've read is Susan Vreeland's Luncheon of the Boating Party.

In short, I loved it. I can't recommend it enough. For people who love the arts, love creating, love me. (*smile*).

Here's the amazon summary:

Imagining the banks of the Seine in the thick of la vie moderne, Vreeland tracks Auguste Renoir as he conceives, plans and paints the 1880 masterpiece that gives her vivid fourth novel its title. Renoir, then 39, pays the rent on his Montmartre garret by painting "overbred society women in their fussy parlors," but, goaded by negative criticism from Émile Zola, he dreams of doing a breakout work. On July 20, the daughter of a resort innkeeper close to Paris suggests that Auguste paint from the restaurant's terrace. The party of 13 subjects Renoir puts together (with difficulty) eventually spends several Sundays drinking and flirting under the spell of the painter's brush. Renoir, who declares, "I only want to paint women I love," falls desperately for his newest models, while trying to win his last subject back from her rich fiancé. But Auguste and his friends only have two months to catch the light he wants and fend off charges that he and his fellow Impressionists see the world "through rose-colored glasses." Vreeland achieves a detailed and surprising group portrait, individualized and immediate.

There are passages in this book that describe perfectly why I paint, why I have loved art from the moment I started to really see it - why I have based so many of my major life decisions around knowing more about it and being closer to it. Most importantly, why I do it. It also served to remind me how much I need more of it now, in my life.

Vreeland took great pains to make this historically accurate, and does so without making the situations and characters seem stiff or one-dimensional.

I know, however, what I'm writing right now seems pretty stiff and one dimensional. And for that I could not be more sorry - I loved this book and think all of you should read it. I may read it again, soon.

Til then, however, I have some painting to do . . .