Graduate school application updates!

Applying to graduate schools was a lesson in stress I didn’t think I needed.

I ended up successfully applying to 6 different programs, and so far I have heard from three!

1 rejection, 2 acceptances!

I have been accepted to University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and University of Victoria in British Columbia! WOO!

I’m so relieved/ecstatic/excited because I stressed myself out to the point that I dreamt of rejection letters and made myself almost sick worrying. I have to hear back from 3 more programs, which is full of its own anticipatory feelings, but I got into two so far so I know that in August I’ll be headed somewhere.

PHEW.

Superfund, or super fun? The Butte day.

Yesterday I got into our trusty Subaru and headed south. I drove over mountains, through canyons, and into a storm. I don’t like driving in the Montana winters because conditions can turn treacherous quickly, but I had good reason to brave this one: at the end would be a good soak.

My drive was beautiful if scary at times. Semi trucks shouldn’t pass others in windy canyons and cut you off but they do. However, I saw ice-filled creeks, frozen waterfalls, snow-dusted trees, and the beautiful pattern very cold dry snow makes when it’s being blown all over the dark asphalt. The sun broke everything into beautiful patterns and made the canyon walls and forested hills absolutely gorgeous.

I got to Fairmont and soaked in the outdoor pool with my sunglasses on. I felt anonymous and loved it. I picked up Luke from a conference and we drove through the now bluebird day to Butte, Montana.

I love Butte. There’s a sturdy resilience about it, and if there’s one thing Butte folks know about, it’s eating and drinking. We ate at the Hummingbird Cafe and I loved every bite of my sandwich and sip of soup. I had an amazing mint tea and the lighting and interior were fun. We walked with a crisp breeze driving us to peek into random buildings.

We ended up at the Quarry Brewery at random, and descended the stairs to it’s semi-subterranean digs. I had a Gneiss IPA while Luke had the Open Pit Porter. I loved my IPA, it wasn’t too hoppy but it was awesome to enjoy after lunch. The Open Pit Porter was delicious and super smooth- it had a definite coffee flavor to it, which I loved. I really loved just finding them and going through the door- it was very unassuming and everybody was extremely friendly.

Afterwards we drove to see if the Berkeley Pit was open. The Berkeley Pit is a….ahem…unique Butte attraction. It’s essentially mine sludge in an open pit mine that’s sitting there. It’s very basic (in the chemistry sense…it’s not acidic, ya dig?) and it’s 800 feet deep. It’s slowly filling with heavy metal-laced water, to the point that the water can be mined. You pay $2 and you get to stare at one of the US’s largest Superfund sites and the fact that men did this for copper and by extension money.

The Berkeley Pit was not open. So Luke didn’t get to stare at the glory of men’s accomplishments.

We then drove up and down Butte’s steep, very steep, and randomly built roads. I cannot imagine trying to get up some of those roads in the winter if there was snow on the ground. After not successfully navigating the streets to get to Pork Chop John’s for a milkshake we got onto the highway and headed north, to home.

The drive was beautiful and clear. Purple and pink light tinged the mountain tops, and the creeks were in shadow in the canyons. We had the route mostly to ourselves and I thoroughly enjoyed driving through the twisty pass home.

 

Little moments

Life has been odd lately. Odd is a vague word that doesn’t even begin to describe things but I’ll leave it.

Yesterday I went on a hike. It was crisp outside and cloudy, and walking along the trail was interesting. My hiking partner walked slowly compared to my usually quick pace, and I had time to appreciate my surroundings  a bit more.

The top of the mountain was chilly and windy. My hands became stiff and cold but the view was incredible and my hair whipped around my face. The wind was blowing clouds full of snow everywhere, and watching them move all over the valley and in the surrounding mountains was really wonderful. I don’t usually sit on the top of the mountain after I hike it. At one point large fluffy flakes were falling all around us and my hair was full of snow and I wish I’d gotten a picture because I imagine it looked pretty neat, with my curls full of snowflakes.

I’ve finished all my applications for graduate school. Now the waiting begins. I don’t know what to do now, besides write thank you letters to all my wonderful professors who helped me out.

Work has been hellish. I’ve cried and stressed myself out so much about it but I’m trying to rectify my situation and make it so that I don’t despise waking up. I literally don’t want to go to sleep because that means I have to admit I’ll wake up and go to work. That’s not healthy and I know that- I don’t think that I was sick for over 4 weeks just simply because of a little infection. I think that work has made me stressed out to the point that I literally couldn’t handle a standard sinus infection.

Anyway, I’m just trying to make it a day at a time. Wish me luck all! I’m sure that soon I’ll have a more positive tone to things.

 

One autumn

Can a person be an adventure?

I think so. I had a lovely, if short, adventure with a creature that was unlike any I’d ever met. I had quite a blast. I made some really good photographs that season, I think because finding out things about somebody else and being with them can be a really incredible experience and tinge other parts of your life. It was odd and sometimes sad and others completely euphoric.

I took a lot of my photographs on weekends when I wasn’t with the adventure, and others walking to go see the adventure. I would take my time and find weird ways to get to his house because to get there I had to pass by some really beautiful architecture and the lighting was always different. Montana in the fall can be the most beautiful place in the world.

Cooper


Some unedited pictures straight from the camera of my favorite black Lab, Cooper. The new camera makes these kinds of pictures possible where they weren’t before.

He’s getting old and I love being able to photograph him and keep him in my heart.

Down by the river

 

This was January 1st.

And what a beautiful day it was.

Chelsea and I drove to Bozeman to stay the night and go out. We ate plates of olives and cheese, drank very good gin, saw Cody and hugged quite a bit. There were all the good people, and the best cat.

We drove back in the afternoon after seeing a movie. We passed Townsend and I asked Chelsea if she’d be down to pull over near a little campground that bridges the Missouri River.

I am in love with ice in a way I cannot explain and to capture some frames of the incredible formations the river created as the sun went down was too tempting. Chelsea and I walked to the edge of the river, where pink and blue hues tinged everything. I felt euphoric – I had meant to pull over dozens of times in this particular site, but had never made the time. And now, it was finally happening.

We stayed for only about 15 minutes, as it was cold and getting colder. Chelsea took pictures, I took pictures, and we meandered along the river’s edge. It was the perfect stop before we continued towards home.

The importance of art. Or, Art History struggles.

Yesterday while I was working a guy from another Forest Service office came in, sporting large mutton chop sideburns and a sheen of sweat.

He seemed fairly nice and conversational. After he had met with one of our timber guys he was talking to me and casually asked me what I studied in school.

“Art History”

He chose to reply with “Would you like fries with that?”

My ideal reply involved me being very much the Judith to his Holofernes, except instead of saving my people I would just save the world from an unnecessary asshole.

Below is Artemesia Gentileschi’s c.1614 version. She is an incredible artist. And Judith’s expression is perfection.

For a moment I felt very embarrassed, but then that was immediately wiped out while I felt anger seep into my veins, slowly saturating every part of me.

Who the hell even makes a joke like that?

What actually happened is I gave an angry stare and didn’t move until he noticed I was really not amused, and quickly said he was joking. But he refused to apologize. And you know what?

Neither will I.

Right now, I feel like every time somebody asks me what I majored in or what I want to do and I discuss Art History or History as being my great loves, a lot of people make a lot of assumptions about me. I’ve written posts about it before, but never from a post-grad point of view, where I’m swimming in the world of “real” jobs, “real” work, “real” things.

I consistently feel that immediately people think I’m a pathetic, romantic dreamer who was too stupid to wake up and smell the stink that the economy left everywhere. People assume that I’ll never find a position in my field, that I will never contribute anything useful, anything of real value to society. They want me to apologize for still trying, for being steadfast in the belief that I’ll be okay.

I’m so sick to death of these poor souls feeling sorry for me.

copley_watsonandtheshark

 Save that poor soul! He’s an Art History major! (John Singleton Copley, “Watson and the Shark”, c. 1778)

I have found out that it’s a lot of people who themselves are stressed, who are worried, and who are nervous about their own ability to climb whatever ladder they want to that need to step on somebody in order to feel as though they will be alright. Well, at least I’m not that stupid as to get a humanities majorYes, pat your back, stand up straight, because you’re contributing and participating, you good productive creature.

People think that because I’m holding down a job in a field that isn’t my chosen one that I’ve admitted defeat or fessed up to the fact that maybe interning at a gallery won’t pay the bills. Instead, what I’m doing is quietly building up reserves of money to later spend on keeping myself alive in a way that goes beyond housing, food, and the bare necessities.

Sometimes I definitely wish that I had chosen a path that was a bit more lucrative in the monetary sense, where it would be much easier to find a position. Programming, engineering, working in health fields, etc, would all be much simpler, and because they’re in high demand, I could move and travel and do some of the things I want to. I could still go do those things- I am 23, the world is my oyster.

Instead, I refuse to stop loving and researching and pursuing my quarry. I sleep better, I radiate energy in a way I don’t normally, and my soul keeps a steady pace when I am doing these things. I take night walks and look up at the clear Montana night skies and feel at peace with my smallness.

Art is humanity. Art is inherent to the human condition. Nobody can exist without art, because we live in it. We have placed ourselves here voluntarily: as long as humans have existed, they have created. They painted animals, gods, devils, and put their fears, hopes, and dreams into the world in this way, injecting art into our DNA. I feel this when I paint horrible paintings that upon my death will be sold at garage sales for 50 cents. I feel this when I study a picture of the Virgin Mary from Cuzco, Peru, in all her gilded glory. I cannot imagine living without art because nobody, as long as the humans have existed, has. 

I will be okay. I am a strong, fiercely intelligent, competitive young woman who will do whatever I want and will do it well. I have never compromised on my dreams- I may have to restructure them but the basics remain the same. I work towards my goals and do it with an upward slope.


rossetti_yeahgirl

 Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s “Lady Lilith”, c. 1867 + text

End note: A lot of the people who doubt that I’m going to be useful will later enter museums or galleries where my hand and the hands of my peers have decided what they’ll see and where, and what information they are fed. These people will enter my world and will feel more intelligent and better about themselves for it, after they’ve been carefully controlled by the architecture and layout of the space in a way we knew they would. They will talk about it later and feel more cultured and whole.