Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Calorie Day,

In honor of you I ate many potato chips.
I get my news, all my news, from NPR (National Public Radio, yeah the liberals), then the NY Times followed by the LA times. Sometimes read the Turkish Daily News.
Carpe Diem, damn it!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Turkey defends its rights to enter Iraq to fight the PKK terrorists, and US allows it with a warning to be quick.
Bulent Erson, Turkey’s most famous transsexual (now a woman), said if she had a son she wouldn’t send him to the army. She may face jail time for these statements.

Monday, February 25, 2008

That Mom Thing

I’ve been thinking about Hilary Clinton’s tone of voice lately, how she’s being compared to the Shrill Woman, the Mom. And that’s so unfair, but at the same time, accurate.
When you’re growing up, Mom is the one who usually cares if you eat with your mouth open, belch in company, leave your pajamas in a wad on the couch, get in trouble at school, spell things incorrectly (Dad sees more the “Big Picture,” which is important, but not more so than civilizing the heathen…).
Moms tell you, OVER AND OVER, the rules of society. If we had to say it only once, we wouldn’t sound so harsh. But that’s not reality—kids don’t listen until we practically shriek. We’ve all heard the voice of Hilary. And we resent it. I wish someone would tell her, but she probably can’t help it.
I can't either.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sleeping in Class

Sometimes when I’m teaching I look out at the sea of faces and I see students sleeping. Their mouths are open, their heads propped up on fists. I don’t know what to do about it.
When it happens in my lecture classes, I can understand it. Eighty students, they don’t all want to be there, it’s early, maybe I’m not interesting (but I NEVER read my lectures, I always talk and try to tell stories--I know sometimes I’m failing.) But it also happens in my perspective class, when I’m lecturing about how to draw. WTF?
These are adults, if they want to sleep in class I will let them. But somehow I need to block it out, so I don’t get down on myself.
So if you ever find yourself dozing off in class, and you think the teacher doesn’t notice, think again. Get up and go home, or at least get yourself a stiff cup of coffee.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Hype is Deserved

I’m totally in love with the music of Radiohead: smart, intricate, beautiful, varied. Listening to it constantly right now, to help me through.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Rant, or W. W. S-B. S?

It bugs me when someone disparages the “younger generation” for not being able to live without a computer, for not reading the newspaper and instead getting news online, or for having much of their social life online. I realize it’s often ignorance and fear that non-digitalizers exhibit with such nonsense. But to say everyone under 25 or 30 is stupid, it’s just outrageous.
I also hate when people dis our educational system. They have no idea how amazing American education is compared to how much of the world learns. Yes, there are big problems, but god bless it, we produce creative problem-solvers, not robots. We believe we can affect the world, or at least our little piece of it, while many non-Americans feel so oppressed by fate and circumstance that they are mostly paralyzed.
Wake up!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I studied ballet for about 12 years when I was a child and teen (I bet you could have never guessed that, friggin' goodie-two-shoes that I am). I was never very good, but I loved it. Ballet is hard on self-esteem for a girl; you hate your body and you hate any sign of fat. But it’s great for posture, grace and pure diligence of practice. Later I became a modern dancer and then a ballroom dancer. Then I retired and was finished with dance, finally.
However, a few weeks ago I found my schedule accommodated an adult ballet class. So I began doing plies, tendues and fondues again. I remember all the French words, the body language, and the traditional order of exercises perfectly, as those who practiced a sport must keep it deep in their muscles. But my body cramps up terribly, and I’m deathly afraid of injuring myself, with good reason. I am very old to be doing this. The teacher is sweet and tolerant of me.
It’s weird how life can circle back on you, no?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Love Song

Your love, dear one, is as lovely to me
As sweet soothing oil to the limbs of the restless,
As clean ritual robes to the flesh of gods,
As fragrance of incense to one coming home
Hot from the smells of the street.

It is like nipple-berries ripe in the hand,
Like the tang of grainmeal mingled with beer,
Like wine to the palate when taken with white bread.

While unhurried days come and go,
Let us turn to each other in quiet affection,
Walk in peace to the edge of old age.
And I shall be with you each unhurried day,
A woman given her one wish: to see
For a lifetime the face of her love.

New Kingdom Egypt, c. 1200 BCE

Sunday, February 17, 2008

How to Stay Home

My self-employed grandfather planned for his retirement and eventual demise carefully. His oft-repeated goal was to stay in his house until the end. As a young child I remember visiting my great-grandfather in a “home”—I never asked why or how he ended up there—but it was not a good place. My grandfather didn’t want that.
He ended up staying in his house, with my gram and nurses caring for him, until a few weeks before his death, when he had to be moved into a convalescent hospital; the end-stage of his disease was just too devastating for home care. I was eight months pregnant at the time, and thought my grief might throw me into labor.
My gram died at home. The last four months she was totally housebound because of 24-hour oxygen. I wonder if all that money and planning was worth it. It didn’t make dying any easier. She was depressed often, and furious at her helplessness. But she died in her own bed.
I’m studying Ancient Egyptian art, how the pharaohs prepared for death by building huge monuments where their spirit would reside forever. These tombs resembled their homes. They led short lives on earth: beautiful Nefertiti was probably in her late 30s when she died, Tut was only 19.
4000 years later we’re still obsessed with the same basic problem.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Bad Year

Note: I normally try to keep this blog from being too personal. Kloe wants to talk about teaching and art and politics. But sometimes my life cries out to be explained a bit. So don’t read this if you just want to think of me as a cute doll in SoCal… or maybe it is comforting to know that Kloe, as perky and privileged as she is, also has bad, terrible years?

When I was a young Kloe, I thought each year was better than the last. So being 10 years old was better than being 9, 17 was definitely better than 16, it was better to be in college than high school, better to be a senior than a freshman, better to be married, better to be a mom, etc. I’m normally quite optimistic.
But this year, the last 12 to 14 months, has not been better. It has, in fact, been a year of tremendous loss, with very few gains. My prestigious grant in Turkey finished, where I was a faculty member with a big studio-office, and I returned to my role as an adjunct living out of her car. I miss my hard-won friends in Turkey, and realize I must work on my friendships here. I have lost my gram, one of the most important figures in my life.
But mostly I have lost love. My lost loves suffer me heavy grief, I almost can’t cope. I know this time will pass, and I’ll be happy again. But my naive idea that life continues to get better is obliterated, although it had a good, long run.

Friday, February 15, 2008


Well, my Valentine’s Day totally sucked, how was yours?
Felt under-prepared for my art history class, although have a couple great students who want to talk Middle East culture with me… sat in my car eating a sandwich and studying while it poured rain… taught into the night.
But at the end of my class, a student gave me a music CD after we’d listened to it while drawing. And that one little act of kindness almost broke my heart. You see I’m sort of a wreck now.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Another Death

Yesterday an artist colleague died suddenly, relatively young. Although I was surprised, I also understood. He led one of those hard lives we traditionally allow creative people. We want our artists to experience life sharply, extremely, and give this information back to us in their work. And so these men and women are fragile emotionally and physically, and they sometimes die, like Heath Leger, before they should have.
But we don’t consciously choose these highes and lows, this non-stable lifestyle so different from the norm. Most of us can’t really help that we crave deep, often painful experiences. It feeds our work, and our work makes us hungry for new ways of being. Not all artists are like this, but many, including me, are.
(Another Martin Puryear sculpture at MOMA.)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Rains, Pours, Etc.

Officially, after two weeks of school, I have 197 students this semester at three different institutions: 80 in Art Orientation, 70 in Art History, 22 in Perspective Drawing, and 25 in Drawing I. I was supposed to be teaching another section of Perspective on top of this, but it got cancelled.
I’m working my little fashionable ass off. I have no readers for the large lecture classes. My close friend, the Art Historian, is always reading student papers and preparing lectures in her car, and I understand why. I eat, work, read and occasionally nap in my car now (parked, of course).
The biggest challenge, apart from not sounding like an idiot in front of so many people, is managing all those students. It’s different when you know each by name. I get emails every day from students, I have to learn new techniques of assigning homework, I have to write multiple choice exams, I have to figure out extra credit and make-up stuff for huge numbers.
I feel like I put on a show with the big lectures, four times a week. It’s both exhilarating and exhausting.
And today I am very, very sad.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Headscarves on Campus

Uh oh, Turkish Parliament has voted to revoke the ban on headscarves on university campuses. You can read what Ms. Frizzle has to say about it here, but she didn’t teach on a university campus last year, and she also lived near Istanbul in a more liberal area. I strongly agree with most academics that headscarves don’t belong in the classroom. If I was a secular Turkish woman, like most of my friends there, I’d be very nervous now.
Have you ever worn a headscarf? I’ve tried it, and physically it changes the way you experience your surroundings. You have no peripheral vision. You don’t move you head or body as freely (I observed this many times watching covered women). It’s hot, and most places in Turkey don’t have air conditioning. Not to mention how it’s going to physically divide women in the classroom.
I don’t know if teachers, administrators and workers will also be able to wear headscarves to work on campus. Will let you know when I find out.

We had a small earthquake here lastnight, it felt very strange and unsettling in the pit of my stomach. Apparently there was damage south.

Friday, February 08, 2008

A Question Posed to my Art History Students

Why do artists, ancient to modern, abstract the human body?
To emphasize body parts of features they wish to draw attention to.
To exaggerate what matters most.
To express an ideal.
There is more imagination in abstract art, the person looking at the image gets to use their own creativity to dissect it.
The artist is not held back by the laws of naturalism therefore gets to add his or her own twist to the piece.
Our brains are pre-wired to think specific shapes are beautiful.
What is beautiful to humans changes with time and fashion, so we abstract the human form to show what is important to us at a specific point in time.
To defy normal—art can cause a certain amount of controversy.
An acceptance of the inability of the artist to truly capture human beauty.
Wishful thinking.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Divided Vote

OK, so for my foreign readers, here’s how things stand in our presidential politics (this is very GENERAL):

Republicans (the Right)
McCain: Has the most votes (delegates). Problem is that he’s not conservative enough for many Republicans.
Romney: Disappointed people yesterday, didn’t spend enough money. He’s the businessman.
Huckabee: The religious conservative, teamed up with McCain against Romney.

Democrats (the Left)
Clinton: Won the big urban states on the coasts yesterday. Supporters include Latinos, working class whites, older voters, women.
Obama: Won the smaller states yesterday. Supports include African Americans, affluent whites, people under 30.

I’m not unhappy there was no clear winner between Clinton and Obama yesterday. If they keep running and keep it clean, the excitement of Democrats and their issues will continue. If Obama loses, many younger voters may become apathetic. So it was a good outcome yesterday… I think….
(photo shot in Mexico, gotta love big gold talking heads)

Monday, February 04, 2008

California, Show Your Power

Vote! Vote!! Vote! Vote! Vote!! Vote! Vote! Vote!! Vote! Vote! Vote!! Vote!
Vote! Vote!! Vote! Vote! Vote!! Vote! Vote! Vote!! Vote! Vote! Vote!! Vote!
Vote! Vote!! Vote! Vote! Vote!! Vote! Vote! Vote!! Vote! Vote! Vote!! Vote!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Sorry for these Short Posts, but I’m Swamped Writing Lectures…

A friend told me he has to re-recognize me every time he sees me. I do have the ability to radically change the way I look with clothing, hair and posture. It’s a blond thing…
The Superbowl was great, didn’t you think?

Saturday, February 02, 2008


I only had five bucks to put in my tank yesterday. And at $3.35 per gallon the needle didn’t budge off empty. Those little cars everyone drives in Turkey would sure come in handy…
Now that I’m teaching at three schools again, I’m living in my car. With a trunk full of art supplies, history books, gym bag and snacks, I’m good to go.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Kloe and (Bill) Clinton

No, we were never a couple, although I’m sort of his type, no?
What I’m thinking about is his ability to “compartmentalize,” to separate the different areas of his life and hats he wears. So at the same time he could follow complicated foreign and domestic affairs, he could have affairs and conduct business, keeping each separate to preserve his sanity and his image.
I’m sort of like this too. I have many identities and threads going on in my life. Parts of my life stay totally private from other parts. Take blogging, for example—it’s separate from my life as a mother for the most part. My personal artwork and my client-based artwork don’t mix. I try to keep something that is hurting me in one of my lives from affecting my other roles.
When I get down or too stressed, I think of Bill.