turbulent indigo

November 30. 2000



the front of my birthday card



the inside of the card - yes, that's a picture of me with my cousins and sister.



the stamps (this pic is rather large)


"My work is delicate. It may look strong, but it is delicate. True strength is delicate. My whole life is in it..." -Louise Nevelson


Today is my birthday!!!!

The first surprise was early this morning when John sent me a link in an email. On the page it said "Good for One (1) CD Burner and Necessary Related Software". My boyfriend got me a CD burner for my birthday. How wonderful is that?

My mom arrived a little after 9. I was so glad to see her. With her she brought the usual food staples, a small birthday cake and a bag full of gifts. And she brought Christmas decorations: electric candles for my front windows, a poinsettia, a wreath for the door, and even a small 4 foot christmas tree, complete with lights and various dried flowers from our house decorating it.

The presents she brought were amazing. A book on Georgia O'Keeffe. A book on the Tao of Drawing. Georgia O'Keeffe notecards. Several small candles, a picture frame. And best of all...Louise Nevelson stamps. Louise Nevelson is a rather obscure 20th century sculptor whose work I LOVE. Unfortunately, information on her is very hard to come by. The stamps were so gorgeous. I'm not even going to use them, I'll probably frame them. I love you, US Postal Service.

We lit the candles on the small cake and my mom sang happy birthday to me. I looked over the yellow glow, on the edge of tears, as I was most of the day. I can't believe how lucky I am to know such an incredible person, and even more amazingly, she's my mother.


We parked near the museum, and walked through the cold, windy day, up the infamous stairs. We sang the Rocky theme as we walked up (I know, how original). We were right on time for our 11:30 tickets. Once we got into the exhibit, I can see why the tickets were timed: the place was completely packed. It was hard to go at your own pace, inevitably you had to join a queue of people slowing circling around the perimeter of the rooms, looking at the little paintings and drawings.

There was also a nice little audio aspect to the show. Last time I took an audio tour (which was in 1995 at a Mondrian show at the Museum of Modern Art), it was the usual bulky handheld tape recorder and earphones. But the audio tour for the Van Gogh show was a small digital device with an LCD Display. There were numbers beside certain paintings, you typed the number into the keypad, the name of the painting appeared in the LCD, and there was an explanation of the painting and commentary from such people as Chuck Close and various art historians. It was rather space age and Star Trek-like. I was quite impressed.

As for the show, I have mixed feelings. The first thing that struck me was the absurdity of it all. People pay money to scrutinize these small paintings in this spacious room, standing back and staring at them and using big words to describe the pyschological implications of such and such. It makes me wonder what Vincent would think if he were here. These paintings created out of such an incredible passion and need to paint, not with the intentions of having them someday hanging in a world class museum. Created without pretension. Knowing that, the vibrant, earthy paintings seemed almost out of place among the pomp and circumstance.


We went down to Society Hill for lunch, at the Pizzera Uno on 2nd Street near South Street. We were both incredibly hungry by now, and were the only ones in the restaurant. When the huge platter of appetizers arrived, we devoured it like jackals.

I skipped painting class that evening, and my mother helped me stretch two canvases for my final paintings. She reminisced about stretching canvases when she was in college, and asked me, "How did you manage to do the other ones all by yourself?" I smiled to myself and said I didn't know.

There was a glow over this entire day. Like nothing could touch the cloud of happiness that I was in. I am so lucky. I am so blessed. All the stupid, superficial things that I complain about or don't have seem to matter very little when I looked across the table and realized I have everything that I need.

One Year Ago:
"We chatted a while about the merits of college, and he said, as he always did, "Never stop learning." He only ever had a G.E.D., but he has more wisdom than almost anyone I know. Wisdom that, I guess, comes only from life experience."