So, it’s been a couple weeks since I posted a photoblog. I’ve been deep into everything that comes with wrapping up my book and neglecting mostly everything else. My website was also being redesigned by Karen Martinez at http://karen-martinez.com. She did a really great job, and if you read my photoblog through an RSS reader or something like that, you should consider popping over to my website! The most important difference are the comics galleries, which are much easier to look through now. You can really easily read Year One from start to finish (or to latest, I should say. I haven’t posted all the pages yet.)
During that two week hiatus, I did a fair amount of stuff! I spent a lot of time with this little guy, who is learning the art of the tantrum. He’s got a knack for it, for sure.
I also met my new nanny baby that I’ll be starting with in August. His name is Will and he’s a pretty big guy! Already 11 pounds and he was only five weeks when I met him. This house I’ll be working in is beautiful too. The good thing about having experience under my belt as a nanny is I feel like I can be selective at this point. When I interview, I put out a flyer outlining my sociopolitical beliefs, things I’d love to have in common with parents (art, politics, gardening, food stuff, etc), and I end up being able to choose to work with families that I’d be very happy to help out rather than families who might treat me more like an ‘employee,’ which always feels very strange when you’re working so closely with their children.
This is Will Oliver Bonham. He has four names.
I also got back to regularly attending my crossfit gym, 3-4 days a week. It feels really good to be an active part of that community again (although I won’t be able to go again for two weeks because of my upcoming work schedule.).
I’ve been continuing my 40 day nutrition challenge at my gym, where I log everything I eat and think really mindfully about what I’m consuming. I’ve been gluten free and refined sugar free (mostly?) for 4 weeks and it feels incredible. http://ramseygetsbig.wordpress.com
I also just got my very first bodyweight pull up, which was my goal for the nutrition challenge. The hardest part of the challenge has been eating enough protein and even eating enough calories really! I’ve been eating huge portions but cutting out gluten and sugar really brings your calorie count a lot lower.
Two weekends ago was Will McAndrews birthday bash show at Cloud City.
Bonnie and Lily. Babes! I love both of those gals a lot, even though I don’t know Lily that well. She lives in Boston.
Rob and Shira came to town for the show. They switched glasses at brunch and it was funny looking.
Rover getting all the attention. No surprise.
Most easy going dog.
Last week I met up with Aaron for coffee. I hadn’t really seen anyone in weeks, it felt like! Aside from the birthday show, of course. It was nice to catch up with him.
Last weekend I went to Chicago to visit my old stompin ground. Daniel had a gallery opening Saturday night, so it was a good excuse to visit. One of my best friends from growing up, Erin, also had a baby last month, so I was excited to finally get to meet him. I got in pretty late on a Thursday night and took the train down to Wicker Park to meet Daniel who was still installing the show at LVL3.
It was a pretty late night of last minute details for the installation. We got a really late dinner at Big Star. The weather was beautiful all weekend. One of my favorite things about Chicago was always the abundance of patio seating at restaurants.
Top notch service from Dsheaphoto.
We ate a good breakfast of eggs and salad the following morning at D’s house.
Egon, Daniel’s roommate Bouchard’s dog. He’s twice the width of Rover. He’s such a sweetie.
We headed over to the gallery where Daniel had to problem solve one of his pieces that wasn’t working. His show opened Saturday evening and it was Friday, so it was a little stressful! So goes the life of an artist. So much of being an artist is re-working things at the very last minute. I think one of the greatest myths of being an artist is that everything comes easy because of things like “talent” and “natural ability.”
I was just there to lend a hand and sweep a lot. There was a moment when Daniel said “you’ve been my gallery assistant for so many years.” And it’s true! I’ve helped him with countless shows over the years. It’s been cool to watch my best friend grow so much as an artist. I can say the same for him, of course. Half the emails and messages I send him are for feedback about my comics. We make totally different types of work but his feedback is always spot on.
Eventually, he got some assistance on construction stuff and we were able to relax a little.
i call this one “cool guy.”
We used the break to go down to Hyde Park to see his friends MFA show at U of C.
Chicago was eerily quiet because of NATO being in town. It was quite the disruption.
back at the gallery for late night finishing touches.
raw materials for the sculpture he was finishing
It finally came together at about 2am the night before the show, and it turned out pretty perfect. It was a reeeeally long day in the gallery.
The following morning we got brunch at a well-known Chicago spot called Lulas. A lot of D’s grad school friends coincidentally work there.
I got this incredible breakfast.
D’s grad school friends surprised us with a complimentary dessert to congratulate him on the opening of his show later that night. It was really sweet. I decided it wouldn’t be the worst cheat in the world for my food challenge. It was local, farm fresh raspberry sorbet and creme fraiche ice cream.
Daniel headed back to the gallery to shoot slides of his install and I headed up to Avondale on the blue line to meet up with my friend Erin, who I’ve been friends with since I was 13 or something! She just bought a house with her husband, Jason, in preparation for the baby. Ah! So adult. When I was in Chicago I always said Avondale is where I would buy a home if I ended up staying there, beautiful, treelined, modest homes.
It was really great to meet Erin’s little nugget, Elijah, and talk to her about how it feels to be a mom (whoooooa! still wrapping my head around this.)
so cute. I didn’t realize how much I had already gotten back in toddler mode. Between meeting Will, my new nanny babe, and meeting Elijah, they felt so tiny compared to Asher and Hadden who I watch regularly and who are already 14 and 15 months. Asher was six weeks old when I started watching him and as cliche and obvious as it is, I can’t believe the difference in just a year.
Erin’s family was also visiting, so I was happy to be there to hold Eli as he slept while they were all able to eat lunch together. It’s little stuff like that that feels impossible sometimes when you have a tiny baby around.
I took the train back down to Wicker Park and met up with Matt at THE Wicker Park. It was nice to talk to him and catch up with everything that’s been going on in his life.
We also got lunch at Native Foods.
We arrived to Daniel’s opening to find that it was already hoppin with people! D assured me that no one would come for the first hour (which is how it always feels when you throw a party or have an opening, haha). The show looked flawless.
I’m super proud of this dude, who I’ve been best friends with since I was 18. Watching what he’s done as an artist in that time is so impressive. We’ve joked all along about how I should be his intern because I love organizational stuff and office work and spread sheets. But now D has an actual intern and several people that he employs! So strange.
It was really great to catch up with lots of old Chicago faces in one setting.
and no one even got hurt! We kept talking about how someone would probably accidentally run into the drop ceiling, or bump the pedastals with the cinder blocks. Phew.
After the opening, there was an after party for the show, and a bday celebration for our friend Murphy. Murphy’s backyard has been the location for many fun parties in my Chicago days.
In the morning, we packed up our things and headed out for a photoshoot that D got for Popular Mechanics. It was a really fun shoot actually. He just needed to photograph people slow cooking steaks over a campfire for a how-to for cooking over a fire. We went out to brunch first.
We just needed to find a place in the woods to set up “camp.” We ended up driving out to Indiana, about an hour away. We found ourselves at a national park in Gary. It made me realize how fascinating it is that the Great Lakes are one of the few bodies of water in the U.S. where towns that are economically depressed end up with beach front property.
We parked by the side of the road and headed into an unknown patch of woods.
We decided to stick close to water. We were only making a really low and small fire but wanted to make sure we were able to responsibly take care of the place we were about to set on fire.
LOL LOL LOL LOL unfortunate angle with that stick.
Bouchard, the outdoorsman.
Preparing our “location”
The specific instructions were to build a small fire with flames burning high on one side, and low embers on the other side, as if it were low and high settings on a stovetop. They specifically had to be cooking steak for the photos.
I just realized you can see Bouchard and Daniel’s matching black flag tattoos in these next two photos. That’s very cute.
After we had gotten photos, I threw some tempeh on. I feel like this accidentally created the most cliche set of photos where the men are eating steak and the woman is eating tempeh. Sigh. Inadvertently promoting gender stereotypes. Haha. Don’t worry, these photos have nothing to do with the actual photoshoot (those were up to D.), and the shoot includes myself and Bouchard both preparing the steak.
It was great to get my sandy shoes off at the end of it.
A big storm rolled over Chicago as we were heading back into the city. Ironically, this was also when things were heating up with NATO protestors and cops. It felt like a real police state with the helicopters over head and sirens blazing by us while we were in gridlocked traffic.
After we got back, Bouchard headed out of town and Daniel and I just lazed around for a little while.
Because of the storm, the most beautiful evening light came over the city.
This is how my phone caught it, which is pretty dramatic.
We got around by motorcycle for a lot of the weekend. Daniel has two right now that he’s working on. I have to say, I was skeptical at first but now I’m pretty sold on motorcycles. They’re so much fun.
I headed over to Leslie’s to catch up for a little while. She had been out of town most of the weekend so we didn’t have a lot of time, but I’m glad we got an hour or so of good real talk in. I miss that girl all the time! She’s been making really excellent comics and it’s been so cool to watch her grow with them. She just made this really good and important one about how hard is to to deal with accountability and issues of consent within the punk scene: http://leslieperrine.blogspot.com/2012/04/dealing-with-sharks.html
D. picked me up on his motorcycle and we headed down to our really foodie restaurant experience of the trip. We’ve been trying to go out to one ridiculous and extravagant meal every time we see each other, which is only once ever 3 months or so. Since he technically had hired me for the photoshoot that day, but I really didn’t need to do anything hard for it, we decided to use the budget for my assistant pay to just treat ourselves to this fancy dinner. We went to the Girl and the Goat, which is a restaurant from a Top Chef winner. It was so so good. Gluten free goat cheese cheesecake?!! I wish that portion had been six sizes larger, but you know. I savored every bite.
D. snapped this photo of me with his phone.
After dinner, we just headed back to his house and watched Girls on the couch with his projector. Girls is a funny show because we all know how how it’s problematic, but it’s still kind of fun to watch and talk about because a lot of the characters really are pretty spot on caricatures of types of people we know.
In the morning. Daniel took this photo with his phone and it’s cool. I just started taking the ten seconds in the morning that it takes to straighten my bangs. My hair is sort of unruly, frizzy and curly, especially in humidity. I also have a cowlick right smack in the middle of my bangs, which gives them a funny middle part when they’re humid. I spend all summer combing my fingers through my bangs trying to get the part to go away. I realized I could actually just take a moment in the morning and prevent it from happening all together. I’ve been so adamantly “wash and wear” for forever but then find myself fighting with myself over it all day. Haha. Part of it felt like a hold out from a younger mindset when I thought it was punk as fuck to not ‘get ready’ in the morning. I now realize that using a straightener on my bangs says absolutely nothing about who I am. It’s funny to come to those weird realizations about things you’ve been doing subconsciously for years for silly reasoning you’ve long outgrown.
We spent my last day in Chicago just riding around on the motorcycle, getting coffee, checking out thrift stores, taking it easy on a pretty day. Sometimes I live a dream life. It’s posts like these that remind me how lucky I am to be surrounded by supportive and creative friends, to have the privilege of being an artist, to be able to travel freely, etc.
But of course, it’s always nice to get back home to this guy.