The Collage Series
The Collage series is coming along and I'm really loving the process and also how they are coming out. I hope to get some pics up for you to see soon...maybe by this weekend.
We've had much going on around here lately. I try to reserve the weekends for studio work, but with winter melting into spring, and drywall dust (from the laundry room build out) on every surface, Martin and I felt the need to do a MAJOR spring cleaning this past weekend, which was much work, but felt SO good. We cleaned from top to bottom, and I also got rid of so much stuff that has just been sitting around here forever. I still have to weed out our closets, but I've gone through lots of paperwork, along with our kitchen cabinets, refrigerator & freezer...I'm embarrassed to say that I found a seasoning packet with an expiration year of 2002. I'm not quite sure how that happened since we moved 2 1/2 years ago and we got rid of many old/expired packages, but it must have been slipping through for, gulp, six years?!? Yikes.
Clase de Espanol
So now, after patting myself on the back for being such a good cleaning girl, I have to balance that with telling you about my "clase de espanol".
I have several people in my life who have a gift for languages...two off the top of my head are my sister, Nicki, who was in the Spanish Honor Society and chats easily with native Spanish speakers, and Iris, who has the knack for languages in general and can just pick things up like no one I've ever seen. I think at one point in college she was majoring in Russian. I, on the other hand, retained exactly two things from my two years of Spanish in high school: 1. How to say "here" (as the response to attendance being taken...the one response I knew I could ALWAYS get correct), and 2. The United States' Pledge of Allegiance, yes, in Spanish. Why did we learn this, you may wonder, and to that I have to say I don't know. But I can recite it, with a really great accent, and I like to think it sounds pretty impressive...probably not.
Several years ago I worked with Sylvia, a woman from Mexico City, and I learned two more very useful phrases: 1. "I almost died!", and 2. "Almost none", useful to inject some humor into a situation where I am startled or surprised, and also when someone asks if I speak Spanish. The latter I learned when someone, so impressed with my sister's Spanish, asked if I spoke Spanish too, and Sylvia said under her breath, "Casi nada!". OK, I knew "nada" was "nothing", and I had already learned from her that "casi me muero" was "I almost died", so I put two and two together and realized that Sylvia had just said that I knew almost no Spanish...she was right.
After moving to Chicago I found myself in more and more situations where knowing a bit of Spanish would have been really helpful. I began buying books: a Spanish/English dictionary, a Spanish grammar book, etc. and thought that I might try to learn a bit on my own. Well, that just doesn't work for me.
Last Spring the Instituto Cervantes moved into a building less than a block from my work and I decided that this was as clear a sign as any...if I really wanted to learn Spanish I would have to take a class...and how much more convenient would it get? I began taking Spanish classes in May of 2007, and I have to say that I really do understand quite a bit of Spanish. I can even put some complex thoughts together and can begin to express what I'm thinking..."speaking" on the other hand, I mean really engaging in a true conversation, well, that's another story. All the tenses and verb conjugations, and then all of the articles that I ALWAYS forget, along with the accent marks...why so many accent marks!?!
I am fortunate to have a really amazing profesora, Christina from Spain, but in class when it is my turn to talk, or when I get a red-marked paper back (those damn articles and accent marks!)I still sometimes feel like I am TOTALLY relating to David Sedaris in his short story "Me Talk Pretty One Day" (from the book with the same title):
"Sometime me cry alone at night," Sedaris laments about his sadistic French teacher. A fellow sufferer replies, "That be common for I, also, but be more strong, you. Much work and someday you talk pretty. People stop hate you soon."
Today in Spanish class we were working on future tense and our assignment was to go to the library and look at a travel book and plan an imaginary trip. In the library I chose a seat at the work table and in front of me was a book on Santander, Spain. Looking at the book I saw that Santander had some really beautiful beaches, and I also saw that the locals were playing a game that looked a bit like outdoor bowling, but was set up on some sort of court with two players. For my imaginary trip I said, in Spanish, that we would go to the beach every day, and we would also watch the men throw the balls. Christina laughed and said that the way I expressed it, a native would assume we were going to the nude beach to watch the naked men...hmmm...yeah, going to have to add that to the itinerary!
On that note, it's time for me to sign off.
Be back soon with more studio news!