Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Crazy

Today I turned in my final thesis proposal and I feel much better about it than the one I presented last week.  I'm glad that process is finished.  Now I can get on with more research and the writing! Yay! I have a pretty big week ahead of me so I had to make that priority number 1! We start meeting for the Paseo Arts Festival tomorrow. How did that come around again so quickly??? Haha! I'm presenting at the Daughters of the American Revolution on Wednesday.  Thank goodness my thesis proposal presentation can be edited for use.  I think the ladies will really enjoy it.

I also have the privilege of eating lunch on Wednesday with my friend Courtney Gilman and Lauren Zuniga! I really admire Lauren for all that she does so I'm excited to get to know her a little better.  Of course I just realized that I'll be eating at Cheever's twice that day. That's just too bad. (Did you get that sarcasm I laid down there?) I'm throwing a birthday party Wednesday night that will include a trip to the Cheev's and I can't wait for that either. 

Then there are a gagillion holiday and birthday parties this week. Did I mention that through all of this I'll be preparing the house for friends to stay with me and another party next week? It's just the most wonderful time of the year. LOL! But seriously, it is. :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Rezoning and Thesis Proposal Week!

This has been a crazy week, but it's been a great week! I gave my thesis proposal presentation to my committee and the head of the art history graduate department on Wednesday.  I have to say that it didn't go a well as I'd hoped, but as long as my revised and resubmitted proposal is accepted, I will pass and can get started on writing my thesis.  It's not that I wasn't prepared.  I had worked harder and read more than I ever have in the past for a paper, but I quickly realized as I was presenting that I hadn't been asking the right questions and I hadn't been focusing on the correct ideas.  I also hadn't done a very good job with my written proposal, so I needed a lot of redirection but that's what that presentation and time is for.  I needed the suggestions that everyone gave and I am grateful for the chance to resubmit.  Admittedly, after all of that work, I was a little disappointed that I didn't do a better job.

I was actually pretty sad that evening and yesterday morning, but I didn't have time to be sad.  I had to get myself together and get up to City Hall for our rezoning meeting with the OKC Planning Commission.  James had presented the day before to the Historic Preservation Commission with the request for support in our hopes to rezone Sixtwelve from residential to Urban Design.  We had a SPUD (Special Planned Unit Development) request that includes all kinds of things.  We dreamed as big as we could when we were asking for things.  Not only did Historic Preservation lend their support and approval, so did the City Planning Commission.  In fact, they did it in under a minute!

James had invited the planning commissioner from our Ward (Ward 2) to walk through the building previous to this meeting.  He told her about all of the plans that we had for our building and lot and she was so supportive. Yesterday we waited about 2 and 1/2 hours for our turn to present, but when James got up to speak, our commissioner asked a couple questions, told the rest of the commission that what we wanted to do there was really cool and then they voted on it.  It was passed unanimously!!!  I'm so excited!

James told me that we have to take it to the city council now but that will be the last step and he said that it usually happens pretty quickly so we'll see how it goes, but I have a good feeling about it.  I'm so proud of James and all that he has accomplished for us.  I'm also really grateful that so many people in the city offices and commissions are supporting our dream.  It's making this really fun and I'm just thrilled! Oh and I'm feeling much better about the thesis proposal.  I know what I need to do now so I'm just going to redirect my efforts and I think I'l have a pretty great paper! It helps to know that what James and I are doing  is finding success, but I don't want to miss out on any of the opportunities to learn while I'm still in school either.  It's easy to get a little overwhelmed sometimes, but I know that I can do this.  I just need to work hard and I'll get it!

Monday, December 5, 2011

ECST 2011 - Sixth Stop: New York City and New Haven, CT!!!

Well, it's taken me a while to get around to writing this up.  My intention was to wait until I could do this entry some justice, but I ended up getting a little lost in time spent with family for Thanksgiving, working on my thesis proposal (as I should be!) and catching up with friends, my mail, and other responsibilities.  So I will now attempt to remember all of the exciting things that happened while I was in NYC! (Beware, this is the longest entry to date.  I won't be offended if no one ends up reading all the way to the end. But this blog is for me, so I had to do it!)

After James and I got off of the train we took from Philadelphia to NYC (which is such a fun way to travel!) we took the subway to the Bowery Hotel in the Lower East Side.  We were on a bit of a time schedule because I was trying to make it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art before it closed, just so I could see a few pieces by Edward G Malbone, Charles Fraser, Anson Dickinson and Richared Morrell Staigg.  These are the artists I had been studying all along this trip and I couldn't wait to see what treasures there were at the Met.  We'll get to that silly part of the trip in just a bit, but first, let's start with the subway...

We'd just gotten off of the train from Philly and were finding our way to Bowery and the hotel!

We were both excited to be in NYC!

James is a pretty good whistler...especially when there's a pretty lady around.  Haha! We think the lady by the bellman was a model or actress, but we couldn't figure out who we thought she was. :)

Welcome to the Bowery Hotel (This is seriously my favorite hotel of all time.)

The view looking the other direction

After James and I checked into the hotel, we caught a cab up to The Met.  We had to see if we could find those miniatures.  Well, here's a lesson for you.  Always call ahead to see if a certain piece is on view or a gallery is open.  I had checked online, but didn't find evidence of a closure, but when we got there, the whole American Wing was closed because the Met is in the process of updating a Luce Foundation Center there too! It is the Henry R. Luce Center for the Study of American Art and like the one I encountered in Washington, DC at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, it will house rows and rows of Lucite cases that encase hundreds (possibly thousands) of pieces of American art that are neither in storage or on view in the galleries.  It will be, and already is, a wonderful center for study.  

I wasn't really that disappointed about the pieces not being on view because I can look these works up online and possibly go back if there are works that I absolutely have to see in order to write about them for my thesis. The Luce centers have been very generous about documenting everything online and I couldn't be more grateful.

After seeing the Luce Center in progress (which was also really interesting) James and I had about 20 minutes before the Museum was to close, so we walked through a few galleries and then headed out the door!

Just a little Tiffany piece with painting, mosaic and big deal. (sarcasm) :)

We hit up the Greek and Roman galleries on our way out.

This reminds me of the ceilings in the Vatican.

Check out the drapery on that statue! Dang!

Back at the main entry hall

When we were walking out the front door and on the steps of the Museum, I heard,  "Amy Young!" I turned around and saw a guy that I used to teach at Lakeview Elementary School, Christopher Gabrels.  He's all grown up! I was so happy to run into him and so surprised to hear my name. Really proud of Chris and all that he is doing in NYC.

James and I decided to catch a cab to the next destination, The Park Restaurant.  I ate there the last time I visited NYC and wanted James to experience it too.  It's yummy and it's designed by the same guys that designed the Bowery Hotel, Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode, so it's beautiful too!

Cocktails at the bar while we waited...

One of the things I like the best about The Park is the fact that there is a garden area to eat in and they've wrapped all the branches in Christmas lights.  They do this all year round!

Group Pic!

Next we took a cab ride to Brooklyn to see Skyler's new digs.

Skyler ended up letting us have a photo shoot with some of his cool toys.  He's really great at what he does and I'm so impressed by all of the work he's getting.  He took the time to show James how to use one of those awesome cameras.  I should have taken a lesson too.  I think I wasted some of his film with my blurry shots.  I can't wait until I get to a point where I can take classes and learn how create art.  I think it will complete the experience of learning because I will have all of this background of art history behind me.  Of course I could end up doing something completely unrelated to history.  Wouldn't that be ironic?

I just decided to use my iPhone camera to document what James and Skyler were doing.
I really like this one.

I know that it can seem like a crime to not see sites when in NYC, but I had that interview with the author/curator Dr. Robin Jaffee Frank the next day at Yale and I wasn't going to let anything get in the way of successfully talking to her. It was a rainy day and I needed the study time, so I actually stayed in bed and studied all day. I ordered room service twice from the restaurant that is connected to the hotel, Gemma. They served some amazing Italian food so I could have eaten that food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but I did finally hit a stopping point and there were a couple of other restaurants I had learned about the last time I was in town. I wanted to share them with James so off we went!

First we went to Milon, a Bangladesh/Indian food restaurant on 1st Street.  We just had a snack there, but God it was good and James just had to see the decor.
I still can't get over those lights hanging from the ceiling! 

Portrait time

This is what Milon looks like from the street. You can't miss it if you're looking for it. Haha!

Later we met our friends Aidan and Iman at Freeman's.  These are some great people and the food was incredibly tasty too!

James' coif was in rare form that night.  Had to document.

Freeman's is down a little alley on Rivington.  I love that it's hidden away, but it's definitely no secret spot.  The word is out on the quality of the food here.  It's always packed!

James, Me, Aidan - On our way back down the alley

Empire State Building, seen from a rooftop party (I only stayed for a little bit.
I left the others and traveled back to the hotel to study.)

On my way back, I saw the light tree on the front of Macy's!

And speaking of Macy's, there were hoards of girls and pom-pons on the subway that night.  They were coming in to march in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!


One of the things I love about NYC is that you can find art everywhere! I was walking back from the subway station to the hotel and I ran across this facade that had been added to the side of an apartment building. It reminded me of a modern day Gaudi with a surrealist touch.  I loved the lighting behind it too.  So cool!

A view from the other direction. I think the windows look like TVs when encased in this facade.  Maybe that's the point; like you're looking into someone else's life when you look through the window, as if it's a show.  I haven't done any research to find out who did this or even what it's meant to be. But I like it.

When I got back to the hotel, I was so excited to see Jason Segel getting off of the elevator while I was waiting to get on that I totally changed my plans and followed him out to the porch to get a drink.  Of course, I was by myself and nobody came to take my drink order for a while, so I chickened out on saying hello and went upstairs to study, as originally planned.  But James came back from the rooftop party and I really wanted to give it a shot, so I recruited him to go outside and at least sit with me so I didn't look like a creeper.  Which lets face it, I was.  Haha! It's just that Jason Segel is soooooooo stinking cute and I love everything that he does.  I've seen all of the Freaks and Geeks episodes, I LOVE and record How I Met Your Mother every week and don't get me started on the movies he's been in.  I'm actually using the new Muppet Movie, The Muppets, as a reward for getting my thesis proposal successfully defended this Wednesday.  Don't be surprised to find a whole blog entry on it soon. Haha!  Anyway, I just couldn't not try to at least say hello to Jason Segel.  This might be my only chance! 

So I went downstairs with James and had a cocktail.  I dragged it out as long as I could, looking across the porch and every now and then it seemed like he was looking back.  But who knows? It was dark. Finally, I decided that I had to get upstairs and back into the books, so I decided to go.  James stayed behind, so as I was walking toward the door, I gave Mr. Segel one last look.  He was sitting with a group of people and was actually talking to a girl, so I didn't expect him to turn around.  Maybe it was because he thought I was weird and couldn't look away, but I like to think that he thought I was cute too! Lol! So I just nodded, said hello and he did the same! This was definitely one of the major highlights of my trip. :)

The next morning, I left bright and early for New Haven, CT.  I was off to Yale to interview Dr. Robin Jaffee Frank! I was nervous and excited and I couldn't wait to get there! I was ready!

The northeast in the fall is something to see! Yale was beautiful!

This one's for you, Romy Owens!

Beauty at every turn
The interview with Dr. Robin Jaffee Frank was so wonderful.  She was encouraging, generous with her time, so helpful in figuring out a more focused approach to my thesis and she made me feel like a colleague.  She even introduced me to Dr. Helen Cooper who officed next door to her.  They encouraged me to share whatever I found during my research for my thesis and seemed excited to know that someone else was interested in continuing the study of portrait miniatures.  I felt like a rock star when I left there.  I was more than honored just to talk to these brilliant ladies and couldn't have been more grateful.  I was now ready to come back to Oklahoma and get to work! But that's the thing about this trip.  It turned the work into fun.  I have had the best time studying, opening door after door of information and learning so many new things.  The best part is that with each goal achieved, I feel like I can do even more.  This is so important for what I want to do with Sixtwelve.  Every ounce of confidence means more that I can give to this community.

Waiting at the New Haven, CT train station for the journey back to NYC.

Once I got back on the train, I rested until I arrived at Penn Station, but I had to take a few pics from the window. 
Once I returned to the hotel, I thought I could get a nap to rest up for the evening fun that we had planned to have on our last night in NYC.  I was wrong.  I was so excited about the trip to Yale, figuring out the train system all by myself and getting myself back to the hotel via subway without any help that I was beaming.  I've heard that saying all of my life, but now I think I really know what it means.  When I was finally in the bed, all I could do is lay there and feel the positive energy radiating out of me.  I felt such gratitude for the opportunity to take this trip up the east coast and to have the chance to talk to Dr. Jaffee Frank that I couldn't sleep at all.  I just decided to see how long the feeling would last.  I never really went away.  I'm still feeling it.  It's not quite as intense now, but I have to say that even with some disappointments that I've experienced over the past few days (and we all have them) I still have this calm and peace combined with excitement for the future!

Skyler came over and met us at Webster Hall because we were trying to get into the M83 show.  It didn't work out so we just went back to the hotel and decided to have some cocktails while James researched Tuesday Nigh Hot Spots in the LES.  

Skyler outside Webster Hall.  It was quite rainy!!!!

Posin' it up in the BH elevator

We had to head back up to the room so I could change out of my wet boots! Skyler kept us entertained! Afterwards we went downstairs to have some cocktails before going out.  We saw John Mayer that night.  The Bowery Hotel Lounge must be the place to hang out these days.  I had no idea when I booked it.  I just wanted to see what great work the MacPherson/Goode team had accomplished for the guests.  I will definitely stay there again.  Best hotel of all my book.

The next morning I took some pics of the room because 
I am researching how to design small spaces for the apartments at Sixtwelve and this room was the perfect model. This trip wasn't just research for my masters thesis

Love that Bathroom too! 
After capturing some pictures of the space, James and I headed out the door for the airport. Thanksgiving was the next day and we had to get back home just in time to celebrate with our families.  I am more than grateful for the whole experience of this trip.  I can't believe how fortunate I am sometimes. When I look back over the pictures, starting with Jacksonville, NC and follow my adventure all the way to New Haven, CT, I wish I could do it again! My intention is to gather all of the good I can and to share it with as many people as I can. Each experience I have propels me toward that sharing.  I can't wait to give whatever I can to our community and I'm so thankful for the chance to learn and grow, in whatever area life brings me those chances.  It will all be relevant.  I just know it!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

ECST 2011 - Fifth Stop: Philadelphia, PA

Diana, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 1892-94, located at the top of the interior steps of the
Philadelphia Museum of Art 

After Jeff dropped me off at the train station in Washington, DC, I journeyed up the coast a little until I reached Philadelphia, PA. My friends Sarah, Ashely and Eva (Sarah and Sean's daughter) picked me up at the Philly station and then we all went to Sean and Sarah's apartment.

Sarah, Eva and Ashley
James had flown in the day before and stayed with them.  Sean and James have been friends since the sixth grade, so they were having a great time.  After eating some delicious Philly sandwiches, we all loaded up in the cars and went to the Art Star Craft Bazaar. It was pretty darned cool.

That night the ladies (Sarah, Ashley, Tara and me) went out to dinner and let the boys have "Bro Night." We went to a place called, "Honey's," and it was yummy.  This restaurant is a southern cooking, soul food kind of place that gets its produce from a local farm.  Apparently I didn't think I'd had enough southern food in Savannah, Charleston and DC. Haha!

Tara, Sarah and Ashely - It was so nice to meet Tara and Ashley and to spend time with all three!
Afterwards, we walked back to Sean and Sarah's apartment and just happened to pass Architectural Digest's Home of the Year from 2010. The guy playing pool in the window stopped and looked at us for a while.  I'm sure he knew that we were taking a picture of the house, but I got the feeling that he was posing too.  That made us all laugh.

Architectural Digest's Home of the Year, 2010
I woke up early the next morning and scooted over to the Philadelphia Museum of Art before catching the train up to NYC! What a great morning that was! There was only one small problem.  The Philadelphia Marathon was taking place right outside the Museum!!!! 

I know it doesn't look like a thick mob in this shot, but I had to have a police escort to run in front of the racers.  It was so nice of them to let me across.  Had to explain to the police that I only had an hour and a half to look at the pieces I was researching for my thesis.  They were pretty sweet after that. :)

Rocky was pretty proud of me for joining in the race for a few seconds
and for doing what it took to get to the PMA!

Once inside the Museum, I located the Portrait Miniatures gallery, which was actually quite difficult because these American works were placed inside a European gallery. I understood the reasoning, keeping all of the portrait miniatures together, but I still think I might make the suggestion to move them in a "comments" area. The most I could hope for would be a response, explaining why the PMA would keep them there because I'd really like to learn and grow by knowing. While we're on the subject of the miniatures, can we talk about how dreamy ol' Edwin Martin is? It doesn't hurt to have your portrait painted by the leading miniature painter of the Federal era, but goodness. I wouldn't mind wearing that miniature around and showing it off to my friends. Haha!

Edwin Martin, by Edward Greene Malbone, 1802-3

After leaving the PMA, I needed to get back to my hotel, pick up my bags, pick up James who was eating with Sean and Sarah and then get to the train station so we could ride up to New York, New York! I only had an hour in which to accomplish these goals so when I walked out of the Museum to find the race was almost over and the post-party was just beginning, I started to panic a little. I couldn't find a cab because the streets were full and blocked off.  Help!

I called James in a very worried state and even took it out on him a little.  He was pretty strong and calmed me down. This is one of the best things about working with James.  He's positive, supportive, doesn't allow me to fall into a pity party and encourages me to affect the outcome of things hoped for by having a good attitude. I want this in my life and that's why I wanted James around for the last part of the trip.  I knew I would need it because I had the biggest challenge ahead of me. I was going to talk to Dr. Robin Jaffee Frank when I traveled from NYC to Yale in New Haven, CT. She's the author of the book which is most influential in my thesis. I needed to have my studies in order and to know my stuff before I felt comfortable taking one minute of her time.  I also needed to have confidence and I did! But that story will be in the next entry.

Oh! And p.s. I found a cab right after I decided to have a good attitude, be open to the idea that a cab could finally come along (after walking around for 30 minutes looking for one) and James and I made it to the train station just in time! We even had a little extra time to enjoy some breakfast sandwiches that he brought along for us.  Yay!