Saturday, September 30, 2006

Brief Update

So……we ran away to the cabin for a few days and had a wonderful time, even though we only got to play golf once due to rain. But our friends Stephanie and Chuck came to visit on Sunday, the day after we got there, and we got to meet Florin, who was crawling like a madwoman and standing up in her little playpen thing as well as being very verbal and interested in everything. We took a walk down to the river, the Roejan, and then cooked out before they headed back to Boston. Jim’s parents also came to visit one day and we bought Eric birthday dinner at one of his favorite restaurants, now called Lanahan and Lopez. Another rainy day we explored the tiny village of Millerton and one day we visited Wilderstein, one of the old mansions along the Hudson River near Rhinebeck. On another I visited the Vanderbilt Mansion. I bought books at both of them. One is a novel that is partly set at Wilderstein: “American Woman.” The other is the story of the Vanderbilt family as told by one of the heirs: “The Rise and Fall of the Vanderbilts.” It’s fascinating, really, what a lot of money can do to a family. We also went to Red Hook’s annual celebration, had dinner at the Roasted Garlic Inn and then heard an oldies band with Larry, Chris and Leah on Saturday night.

Getting home we were both a little swamped and put in some long days catching up. And I had a couple of doctor’s appointments, as well as my annual mammogram and dexa scan, but nevertheless I was caught up enough with the tasks of GGRF by this past week to be able to spend most of my work time painting a mural in Eliza’s bedroom at my neighbor Mary Kay Zuravleff’s house. I’m hoping to, and I think I can, be done before I head up to NYC on Thursday to meet Carey for her annual follow up appointments at Sloan Kettering. We’ll stay through Monday night. This week-end we’ve already had one autumn picnic, the PRB picnic at Jim’s boss’ house, and tomorrow we have our annual Jocelyn Street Block party.

When I get back from NY and perhaps Boston and Providence, I have another mural and two portraits to work on. That’s exciting because until this past week I hadn’t painted in a few months, working almost exclusively on GGRF. Speaking of which, we will have another show in December at the Coffeehouse at Politics and Prose that I’m really excited about. The people in the neighborhood can easily come and it will be up for a few weeks, December 3 through January 6. We may do some sort of rotation of art, since the space is small. We’ve worked out very few of the details so far, since I just arranged for it this past week. But Beth, Marie and I will meet there on Tuesday afternoon for tea and recon of the space as well as some talk with the various decisionmakers there. Whoo Hoo! Life is good.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

What a Great Night!

I had a ball! Around 200 people attended our opening reception for the kick off Girls Gotta Run fundraising shoe art exhibit and sale at the Sewall Belmont House last evening. Attendees exclaimed about the lovely art, the beautiful House, and the delicious Ethiopian food and wine. Voice of America came, interviewed me and then taped our remarks during a short program. Amy Conroy, the House’s Director, spoke first, then me, then Sarah Newhall, the Director of PACT, and then I made some final remarks. I have no idea what I said.

Even so, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. We sold several of the artworks and got an additional few hundred dollars in donations, so are very happy with the amount of money generated by the event. We haven’t counted the income from t-shirts and note cards yet. Several people took pictures, and we will have some on the website as soon as possible. So it looks like GGRF is off to a good start.

Jim and I will head up to the cabin sometime this week end for a few days of rest and recreation.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

A Minor Identity Problem

My father named me Patricia Elizabeth, Patricia after my mother, Elizabeth after his.

When I came home from Trinity Hospital after a month in an incubator because I was only four pounds (and a month early) at birth and they wouldn’t let babies go home until they weighed five, my Uncle George said I looked like Sydney Greenstreet, a well known and very portly bald actor at the time. Thereafter, my close family called me Sydney.

My great aunts called me Patty Beth.

My teachers called me Patricia when I was young. My kindergarten teacher reprimanded me once because I sometimes accidentally left the second “i” out of my very long and complicated name when signing my papers, so in self-defense sometimes I wrote Pat…though that same teacher then reprimanded me for that.

After awhile, in school, though, I did become Pat, although one of my high school best friends nicknamed me Bean because I was so smart. She still calls me that. I guess she thinks I'm still smart. A couple others, who frequently hung around my home, started using my family nickname Sydney, or just Syd.

My husband has about a million constantly evolving names for me, including Boolean (Search), Moldonius, Cloppenflop, Fascisti, to list just a few. I can remember the first one, but it's a little sexually suggestive, so I won't mention it. However, from all this, I can only conclude I am everything to him. He started calling me Dr. (Kitty, Flop, etc.) the semester I started on my doctoral program, so by the time I actually received my Ph.D., I was already perfectly used to being called "Dr."

My first students, high school students, called me Ms O. My college students inevitably called me Dr. O.

Since I left teaching some of my former students have decided they feel comfortable calling me Pat and a couple, who learned of my family nickname, refer to me as Sydney. However, many of them tell me they can never think of me as anyone other than Dr. O. and are uncomfortable calling me anything else even though I invite them to do so.

I took a group tour to Crete once and ended up “adopting” a daughter, another woman on the trip who felt like she could use an additional mother. She calls me Mom.

In the last few years, through an evolving humorous email correspondence, my younger sisters and brother have begun to call me Sister Big, S.B., for short.

I write a lot of letters and emails. It is difficult, sometimes, to remember who calls me what, so whenever I write I sometimes have to stop to think who I am to that person or those particular people. Sometimes I can’t even sign an email because it would involve too many different names, so I just let the email address, my initials peo, make do.

A former student asked me in an email recently if I WANTED to be Dr. O. I don’t even know how to answer that because I AM Dr. O….but I am also Patricia Elizabeth, Patty Beth, Sydney, Syd, Pat, Sister Big, Bean, Dr. Flop, Dr Kitty, Mom, Fascisti, Muldonius, Boolean Search…...

What's a girl to do!? I'm just glad I never changed my last name. I could get hopelessly confused.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Exhibit Opened Today

I ran up to the SB House this morning to see it on its first day. It is so beautiful! Jenn did a wonderful job. When Becki said to me, "It's your vision...Come to life!" I almost cried.

We got a nice notice on Wednesday in the Northwest Current but I haven't seen any of the listings I sent to the Post so not sure it will make it in there at all. It looks, though, like we might not even need them. Congressman Honda's office called the other day to say that he would be attending and that other staffers, and maybe Congress people, from the Ethiopia Caucus would be as well. The SB House has gotten a tremendous response to all of their publicity, so I'm looking forward to a good turnout. On top of that, we sold several pieces of the art before the show even officially opened! It makes my heart glad.