Monday, October 26, 2009


Hello, all.
This is newsletter #205...not to be confused with newsletter #200. And here, my friends, is the art…

Over a month ago, Jo asked me, “Did you write a newsletter this week?” Apparently she hadn’t received it in her inbox. I didn’t get my copy either, but I didn’t think much of it. It was my 200th newsletter. Well, we just received it in our inboxes about an hour ago. So where was it? Out drinking to celebrate its round numberness? Was it stuck in the internet’s series of pneumatic tubes? Anyway, if you just got it too, just know that I’m as confused as you are. I hope that when I die, people keep receiving emails from me…hopefully saying cryptically morbid things like, “I hope you come and visit me here soon.” Great, now I’m going to have to fill all of my emails with double meanings just in case the email is delayed until after my death. This is really causing a lot of pressure on me.
Jo took today off, though you’d never guess by watching her. Her days off look a lot like her work days. The only difference is that she gets to keep the art she makes on her days off. Right now she’s painting a very large circular quilt made up of a lot of smaller circles. Not me. You know when it’s my day off. I’m either hiking, biking, or parked in front of a Netflix movie with a very large bowl of popcorn. My most recent discovery through Netflix is a British show called That Mitchell and Webb Look. Here’s a clip on youtube.

Until next week…or whenever my newsletter feels like showing up.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


OK, people. This is it.
Cue sound.
Jo paints her nails and some dolls…take one.
Cue art.

Yes, we’ve been working this week on recording an instructional video. I rigged up an overhead camera and sat next to Jo as she painted. I know, that sounds like I was being a pest, but she asked me to. When Jo wasn’t busy explaining the process, I asked her questions. So the two of us sitting there talking while she painted pretty much inspired the rest of its production. I’m interviewing Jo in a podcast style, and we’re using that conversation to fill in the gaps when Jo was just quietly painting. I’m hoping to make it sound natural, like one fluid conversation, but if it ends up sounding more like a director's commentary turned on, then I’m OK with that too. I haven’t interviewed Jo yet. What would you ask her if you were me?


Fine print: Not all questions will be asked. Some may simply be alluded to. Others will be rearranged word by word to form different questions to which there are no answers. Entries not valid in all states. Contact your local chamber of commerce for additional regulations.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Hello, all.
Here’s the art…

Jo and I are finally working on a project that we’ve been talking about for some time. I guess it just kept getting put on the backburner until now. We’re producing a how-to video showing step by step how to sew and hand-paint some Santa Christmas ornaments. If it works out, I’m sure we’ll work on others demonstrating the cheater quilts or paper clay sculpture. Jo is a natural at teaching, and I know my way around video editing, so this should be an interesting collaboration for us.
I wanted to share a photo with you taken from our trip to see colleges last week, but after reviewing them just now, I’ve decided against it. It seems that the collection is about 80% pictures of brick buildings, 10% pictures of common scenes like airline ticketing lines, and 10% pictures of me in restaurants looking very tired as I wait for my food and endure a camera in my face. Our daughter has taken a lot of pictures of me eating over the years. Future generations will no doubt be puzzled by her photo album.


Sunday, October 4, 2009


I’m back!
Did you miss me?
Here’s what Jo worked on while I was gone…

My daughter, Kaity, and I just returned late last night from our trip to visit several colleges she’s considering. Our first stop was Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Upon landing in Minnesota, we rented a Chevy HHR, which I nicknamed "the blind spot." I’ve been in submarines with better visibility.
The first thing you see driving into Northfield, assuming that you can see, is the giant Malt-O-Meal factory, conveniently located in the middle of town. As we walked around the college campus, you could smell the factory everywhere you went, which turned out to be a selling point for Kaity. It smelled like a freshly opened box of cereal. Delicious!
I felt a little like an intruder on campus, not being young enough to pass for your average student, and not being distinguished looking enough to pass for a professor. When Kaity wasn’t with me, I worried that I looked like "The Carleton Strangler", cruising the hiking trails on the edge of campus, looking for my next victim.
The town of Northfield is pretty small if you take away the two colleges it’s home to. Their claim to fame is thwarting a bank robbery by Jesse James’ gang, killing two of his gang members in the process. I read all about it in the hotel room’s "attractions" binder, containing two lonely pages.
Next, we flew over to Connecticut and drove our new rented car up to Amherst, Massachusetts. There are five schools in the area: Smith, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire, Amherst, and the University of Massachusetts. If you attend any of these schools, you’re able to take classes at any of the other four, so we tried to see them all, wearing holes in our shoes in the process. I have a cousin that goes to Hampshire College who was nice enough to tour us around there and give us the inside scoop. She also turned us onto a big thrift store that they have in town. Kaity loves finding the strangest antique clothes at thrift stores to confuse bystanders with. She bought a plaid jacket that both of us agreed looked really good… and we noticed that it was getting some looks on campus, reaffirming our belief that it was a quite the find. Later that night, standing in front of the bathroom mirror in her "new" jacket, Kaity realized how much it looked like a bathrobe. And it really did. I laughed so hard that neither of us had seen the resemblance before. I guess we have some blind spots of our own.