Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Few Good Men...

It is with total irony that I am writing about my dear friend Billy after writing about my professor who passed a few weeks ago.  Billy is one of the greatest friends I have ever had in my life and his friendship came to me at an important time in our lives I guess.

Billy and I met working at the YMCA as lifeguards.  Billy was kind of the interim aquatic supervisor our freshmen year of college.  At the time, he was attending Miami Hamilton (I obviously was at UC) and we worked together all the time and even played volleyball together with the aquatic staff at Y on Wednesday nights.  He was single that year and I was dating this loser pot head (because I thought it was the artsy thing to do...you know...date a pot head).

I can't really describe our friendship I guess.  He was just there for me.  He was the first guy outside my family to treat me with respect and it was just easy to be around him.  He was with me when I decided to break up with the loser pot head because he told me I deserved better.  He was there for me late at night at Mt. Echo while I drew a nightscape of the city of Cincinnati until 2 am for my Freshman Portfolio review.  Hell...he got me drunk when I did not receive the grade I wanted on that review (it was pass/fail...and I passed but had a lot of negative remarks to go with it). I think importantly, he was there for me when I lost my Grandpa Ed.  I had not really experienced death in my life with that much impact until that point because I had only lost my Grandma Edie at the age of 3 when I couldn't really comprehend it.  We would spend nights that summer just talking in our parents basements, eating chicken wings, and drinking beer we were supposed to have as 19-20 year olds.  My parents, sister, my aunt, and a few dance people who met him love him.  I love his parents.  I think his bride is wonderful.

The thing that sucks is that we have not SEEN each other face to face in 5 years.  We chatted over IM.  He transferred to NKU and joined a frat and I joined a sorority at UC.  We had our own separate lives.  I quit the Y just 3 months after he did and we went on our ways I guess.  It was just all but too funny that I ran into him tonight when I was leaving the mall tonight.  I was driving and he was walking to his car and we both just looked at each other and said "holy shit."

I left my car running and jumped out immediately to run up to an old friend.  I probably could have tackled him with my hug.  It has been so long that I have had tears of joy and this is all but perfect occasion.  We talked about our lives and our significant others, jobs, school, and other such things.  Our parents (whom Ryan and I live down the street from his parents no joke).  Billy is like a brother to me.  I love him in a different way than Ryan I guess I can't sometimes explain.  When we were talking about Ryan, the first thing he said was, "does he treat you right?"  Of course I answered "Of course."  I then followed it up with, "I dated a bunch of jerks before him, but, I always knew good guys existed because I had a friend like you."

It is significant that I follow up my tribute to TC with writing about Billy because he helped me survive TC.  I only hope it is not another 5 years before we catch up again (but, we both promised that wouldn't happen when we said good bye tonight).

This is was the biggest uplift I have had in weeks and it couldn't have come at a more perfect time.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fallen Hero

My very good friend Emily, sassy little roller derby girl and fellow painter and studio buddy during our undergrad years at DAAP put it best:  DAAP has lost a hero today.  I think if I heard this statement 7 years ago, I would totally disagree.  Seven years ago this week marks the end of my very first quarter in college.  I had finished some art school basics:  Basic Drawing 101, Methods and Concepts 111 (basic design really), Art History 101, English 101, and Current Arts Forum.  It is really funny for me to look back on my freshman year now, older, wiser.

Corbin, cigarette in hand, in front of his work.

But like I said, if you were to ask me if Tarrence Corbin was a hero 7 years ago, I would say hell no!  But Emily is right in our conversation about his passing this past week (after a short struggle with cancer unfortunately)  TC (as we call him, or Tarry, or just plain Corbin) was the deflate-er of egos.  He toughened artists up.  He made them strong.  Of course me, always an emotional mess, the first time he said my work was shit, I went out to my car, cried to my mom on the phone, and asked if it was okay to transfer over to Marketing or something.  And then she said no, because they must have let me into one the most prestigious art and design schools for a reason.  OBVIOUSLY today I have a BFA...so I stayed.

One of my favorite pieces by him from the late 80s.

What were once tears in the first quarter turned to pure frustration the rest of the year for my dire need to impress this man (which of course I did, he was the first to buy a work of art of mine.)  What we all call now, Corbinisms, are just a way of making everything work in art.  "Make it tight and right."  Every morning, at 8 am, he would walk in and say, "Its a beautiful day."  Even if it were shitty out.

A fruit study, done in the pointillism technique by me, for TC's Class.  The first drawing he ever bought from me.

Out of all of this, besides making me a tough person to criticism, he showed me a softer side of him that I will never forget.  The morning my grandpa Ed died was the morning of a critique in class.  I couldn't miss that but I felt awful and sad and went anyway.  Luckily, at this point in out friendship, Emily could read me well and knew something was wrong, so she asked.  I told her my grandpa had passed (after a 7 year struggle with Parkinsons), and she told TC.  He came up to me and said, "Girl, life is so much more important than art.  Go home, be with your family.  I will not let you stay in class today.  If you want to talk to me about your work in the critique, call me when you are ready."  Of course I called the next day and he said it was horrible....I ended up redoing the piece.  For one small moment, he was this human being, not this painting GOD before me.  That moment, that morning, has always kept TC in a special spot for me.

Yeah, he was a tough teacher.  In fact, I found myself later avoiding his classes but I couldn't help it.  I started my DAAP career with him, and, I ended it with him in a specialized studio on Mural Painting (of course was his forte).

Another pointillism project.  TC loved this quality in my drawings.

When we all got the news of him being ill this summer, I was shocked but not surprised as one of the many Corbinisms he has is "Smokin and Jokin."   Damn did he like is Marlboro Reds!  All we knew is that he was too sick to teach this quarter.  I got the news from Janie, a photography professor and one of my senior thesis advisors, last Thursday.  I literally sat in front of my computer and said, "WHAT!"  And then I cried.  This man drove me to perfectionism is my craft.  He is the reason why I hate bringing shit to critiques....he taught me better than that.  For the many times I may have said his name in vain that first year, I wish I could take it back and do it all again.  The man was amazing.  He took bright eyed bushy tailed freshmen, usually the best artists in their high schools, and put them in their place.  He did not sugar coat:  "You can't make chicken salad out of chicken shit."

Black and White Pastel drawing (done in TC's class).  Study of Glass and fabric.
This one is for you Tarrence Corbin.
I am a better artist and a tougher person if it weren't for you!
May you rest in peace.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


So, I was reading Judi's blog, and she was saying how she was being a total downer. I have been the exact same way only you can add whiny, selfish, malicious bitch to the end of it. I have been acting like that for weeks.

I was mad about the ballet thing because I thought I felt betrayed and under-appreciated. But, when I thought about it, where would I rather be? I am there. There is no need to bitch about it anymore.

My mom and I got into on Sunday too. I hate fighting with her. I was complaining about how people think buying a digital SLR camera makes them a photographer. Never mind I have a degree in it? Never mind it was not something they thought was worthy of study in college. Two people I know are turning this "hobby" into their career. Meanwhile, I have turned this passion into a hobby and not a career. Who's fault is that? Not theirs. Certainly not my mom's. I blew up only to have the fact obviously pointed out by my mom, "you always have an excuse for something."

She's right. And maybe that's why I was mad. But apparently she is still mad because now we haven't spoken since Sunday and I have not seen her or my father since they left for their vacation over a week and a half ago.

I make time to play on facebook, pick my nose, and do absolutely nothing. The only two things I do make time for (after school work) is ballet and barely Ryan.

Please cue in the Reality check. In addition, add the self-confidence as well, I am lacking it. I put up a good front of confidence but the reality of the matter is that I am my own worst enemy. I should not have to have my Mom, my Dad, or Ryan constantly tell me how good I am. There was a time in my life that I KNEW I was good at my job and it showed. Not cocky. It was confidence. Mom always told me how proud she was to see me doing my job as an art auctioneer on the ships. She cried in the middle of my auction (seriously, but she was in the back corner so I didn't know until she told me).

There is a kind of self loathing that has happened to me since I came home in January 2008. I have had gleams of the person I used to be. Nobody has ruined it except myself. I bitch about so many things (roommates, parents, artistic directors, employers, etc.). No one to blame but me for my attitude.

Looking back, I wrote that my motto in life should be this, and I have forgotten it so here it is:
"You can't always get what you want,
But if you try sometimes, you get what you need."
~Mick Jagger

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Knowing when Enough is Enough

I have not posted in a month. School is having its effect on me it seems.

I have decided not to run the marathon.

I am pissed.

What appears to be runner's knee is becoming excruciating pain with every step I take after running 2 miles (that's all it takes for it to start hurting). I have new shoes. I have tried the knee straps. I still need to test drive Kinesio tape. I have done Pilates to strengthen the leg muscles around it. I cannot not do an easy 3 miles without limping in pain which in turn does not help my hip flexor.

Mom and Lori joke about how I would find excuses not to run it. I hate that this has happened. Ryan thinks I took on too much too fast. He's probably right. I only started running again this year and even that was a sad attempt.

I feel like a quitter. It is a feeling worse than failure because I didn't even get to try the race.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I am in Ballet Heaven!

Every once in a while, you come across the people who literally bring out the very best in you (and also the worst).  I have spent the last couple of  blogs bitching....for what?  Everyone has always told me that I the most happy go lucky person they have ever met.  Where did that girl go?  I will tell:  she got bitter about stupid things and let the debbie downers bring her down.  Enough.

So I have to say in the world of ballet, it is SO easy to get stuck in a rut with the same teacher.  I love Pam at Cincinnati Ballet.  She was so great for getting me back to where I was three years ago.  For those who don't know me, I had to stop ballet because of working on the cruise ships made it nearly impossible.  I started again this time last year and it has been a long and very painful road.  I am getting to the point though that I feel Pam isn't challenging me enough.  This is probably the reason why I put the pointe shoes on for center:  challenge.

I discovered De La Arts in Oakley via my artistic director (actually former A.D. since he needs to take a break), Kevin.  Him and I have rehearsed there because it was convenient for me but then I started taking classes and Mario just gives a hard class...for me it seems at least.  Or maybe I just like getting my butt kicked every once in a while.

So I have been down at De La Arts taking class for a couple weeks now because I haven't been able to make it to Pam's class because of work and school.  Today I got a one on one lesson with Mario.  He is the first teacher EVER to tell me I have a nice body and nice lines.  REALLY!  Short and muscular little me.  I was shocked (actually I am still in disbelief...but that is the difference between a Balanchine aesthetic and a more Modern/Realistic one).  But what I learned is that I am using my legs all wrong...I am working them too hard because I know they are my powerhouse.  

Mario also said I have great flexibility, especially in my back.  I laughed and said, "Shit!  You should have seen me 5 years ago."  He is also teaching me how to relax in turns because I get all tensed up during them in trying to execute doubles and triples.  

And then there was the epiphany:
"Kristi, I have taught you 3 times in the last 2 weeks and I have come to the conclusion that you are a straight forward, technical oriented, anal retentive dancer in class [ba ha ha ha...yes I know because everyone else has told me my technique sucks during auditions!].  Just let go and relax!  I have seen you perform and it is like watching 2 different people.  Stop being hard on yourself and let go!"

That's a novel idea!  So I did.  My turns were better and my jumps were lighter and quite frankly:  I WAS HAPPIER!

The long and the short of it:  Awesome Class today! 
Mario is officially on the list of all time favorite dance teachers!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What is my Self Worth?

Probably for as much as I complain about the workload of my Advanced Human Development Class, I actually do enjoy the material we are covering. We just finished up "Development of Self and Social Understanding in Children" and it really got me wondering, have I established my sense of self and what is my self worth? The irony of this is coming after a phone call from the dance studio saying they not only cannot hire me full time, but, they can't afford me part time either. What did I do to become dispensible? I'm a good teacher.

Sense of self, according to my textbook is "Knowledge, beliefs, judgements, and feelings about oneself as a person." It also defines self worth in the question How good am I as a person? I think at this point in my life, I have established my sense of self. I know who I am and I accept it and the people I love (my family, close friends, and Ryan) accept it as well. My sense of self is the following:
1. I am too nice. I will do anything you ask me because I like to help people.
2. You walk all over me because I am too nice and you will wish you have never seen the bitch in me.
3. I believe private education for K-12 is a waste of money that can be used for a child's college education. There is nothing wrong with the public system and I would argue that it is better than private schools (whose teachers aren't always licensed).
4. I think the arts get a weird rap and I have pretty much made it my mission in my professional life to teach people how wonderful it is to be educated (even if its a little) in a world too few understand or try to understand.
5. I put up a strong front. Inside there is an emotional mess. I have a short fuse and a violent temperment went its lit and only a few people can handle it.
6. I tend to get very upset at failures (and by failures, I believe becoming dispensible to the dance studio is one of them).
7. When things go wrong....I have two extreme reactions that both happen: Extreme rage (like I need a punching bag or get my running shoes on) and then depression (like wanting to drink myself into a small oblivion so that I pass out and hope it was just a dream). [Note: right now I am doing neither because I felt the urge to blog and also because I need to finish writing up an observation]
8. I grew up in a republican household and in the Catholic Church. I spent four years in art school and liberal views and then 18 months living on a cruise ship working with many nationalities and thus my outlook has changed. I get mad at anti-abortion signs and walk out of church when the priest plans a protest at Planned Parenthood. Is what I think wrong? No, its what I believe. I believe there has to be a better energy system than what we have here in the United States. I believe education has fallen off the radar along with the arts (when do you hear politicians speaking of them?). I strongly believe in the first amendment though its power is sometimes overused. I think Republicans have too high expectations and Democrats are a buch of cry babies wanting money for nothing (like welfare and unemployment...just feeding the system). I also think Cincinnati needs to get up to date with the times and get along.
9. I believe in myself 75% of the time when it needs to be all the time.
10. Finally, I believe that I have found my soul mate in Ryan.

But what is my self worth? I suffer from what the experts call self-handicapping by setting unattainably high goals, taking on too much, and procrastinating (like writing this blog right now is total procrastination). This is why I get so upset when things go wrong because my expectations are too high and I want everything right now. I try to do too much at once and lets face it, when I do that, it leads to procrastination.

They say our peers affect our self worth and its totally true. The girls I live with unintentionally make me feel stupid because I'm not a psych major or nutrition science or med school. Excuse me for being artsy. I would argue my parents and sister are very practical scientists and mathematicians (which is a generalization of their fields), but, never have they made me feel stupid. Sure I can't save a persons life (wait, I can, I have expired certifications in CPR and First Aid) but I know that I can change them.

I guess what I am getting at is the last 18 months for me (since coming home from the life on cruise ships) has been a total transition. I have been lower in self-esteem than the economy, got stuck in a dead end sales job, and lost it because of the economy. I have been taken advantage of professionally and personally. This past January is when I finally decided that I have had enough. I started running again. I had so much rage about things gone wrong, it was all I could do.

I don't always believe fate, but, I believe things happen for a reason. If I had not started running again, I would have never met Ryan. Its been with him that I am starting to be who I really think I should be and its because of him that I feel like I have any self worth at all.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Things to be excited about

This will be short as I am sending this from my iTouch: my order of bondi bands should be in by the time I get home sometime tomorrow (ska the best head bands ever). Two: I just order the trigger point quad roller which is way better than a foam roller! Check it out at www.tptherapy.Com

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Free At Last...Free At Last...Thank God Almighty....wait, nope not free yet

Lots of things happened since last week so here they are:

*My dad now follows me on twitter only to comment that nobody cares that my knee hurts in a pain similiar to meniscus tears (thanks pops)
*Last day of school came June 12 which was my birthday: I then proceeded to celebrate by getting my hair chopped off (alot but not too crazy) and also by drinking two bottles of wine on my front porch with Ryan after the amazing stir fry!
*Spent majority of Saturday at Loveland High School doing stage rehearsal with Dance-Etc. I ended up napping during the rehearsal for Show 2 in the actual auditorium which is amazing because it was loud.
*Went to Orchids at the Netherland Hilton downtown for my birthday with Ryan and my parents! Amazing food! Yum: Tuna Tartare, Spring Greens Salad, NY Strip Steak cooked medium (it must have been 6-8 oz...not obnoxiously big), and had the "Hot Chocolate" dessert with the edible spoon.
*My new iMac and iTouch arrived!! I love the iTouch and use it as a PDA rather than an MP3 and tomorrow I clean out my room/desk so I can set up my new baby instead of working on this pc....YAY!
*Dance-Etc Showcase ALL DAY of Sunday, but, it was fun and rewarding as it always will be to watch students I taught display their talent in dance.
*Stayed awake for most of Gran Torino with Ryan
*Started Grad School classes officially and officially I love it already (what's life without a little stress)
Welcome to Planet Earth another beautiful niece:
Evelyn Rose Barnes
June 15, 2009, 4:19 pm
7lbs 8oz, 20 inches long
Head FULL of black hair: a Siconolfi she is! (yes that was my attempt at Yoda)
With Aunt Kristi!!

Ryan even held her!
With her dad: Joe

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Favorite Things

I follow a blog called Tulips and Tea and it generally has great insights to the wonderful world of artsy fartsy and she wrote a blog similar to this and I felt compelled to make my own.

*Yagoot with Strawberries and Blueberries

*The smell of sautéed onions and garlic lingering in the kitchen hours after I've cooked.

*The Essentials of Heart CD collection (I guess thats why I have "Crazy on You" as a ringtone)

*Nars Nail Polish in the color Orgasm


*Tinkering mindlessly on a Piano

*Fresh Veggies and Herbs from the Garden

*Clean Design Lines in Furniture and Architecture (I love minimalism)

*Signature colors (for Ryan its Red because of the his one dress shirt and for me I'ld say a magenta type pink).

*Pedicures (though I never money or time to get them so I give them to myself)

*Adrenaline Rushes

*Losing myself in the zone (whether thats running, dancing, or doing something creative)

*"Freeze It" topical analgesic gel 

*Road trips and singing in the car with Ryan

*Art Museums and hours of time

*My Camera and a long walk somewhere new or somewhere familiar (Spring Grove Cemetery anyone???)

*the sounds of my niece Abigail laughing

*the Planets by Holst (and just like everyone who knows this piece of music, I'm a sucker for the Jupiter piece).

What are your favorite things?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

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This is my first entry in what is not my first blog!  Haven't done this in a while so bear with me.

What you'll find here are my general adventures in running and dance and teaching my little ankle biters in Milford how to dance.  This blog is also for my creative endeavors.  I'm in school at the moment studying to get my Masters in Art Education and my teaching License.  I'm also working on getting my free lance business officially up and running with a portfolio website.  I'll be posting logo ideas and layout ideas as well.  Public input is important to me.  ENJOY!