The Starbucks Experiment

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Informational Interviews

I have been going on a lot of these lately. Monday was Judy Metro, editor in chief of the Gallery's Pubs department. she was v. nice, v. maternal, giving me advice on how to break into publishing with absolutely no experience. then yesterday i met with the director of the Corcoran. i had only ever seen his name in print, Greenhalgh, and i assumed it was an example of that weird british habit of dropping consonants from proper nouns. like how Leicester is pronounced lester. so i thought his name was pronounced grenhall, but it turns out it's actually green-halch. luckily his assistant corrected me in time, but the point is, who wants their last name to be green-halch?

however odd his name sounds, Mr. Greenhalgh himself was v. charming, a boyish-looking, energetic, middle-aged man who slouched so low in his chair i thought he might fall out. yet he was brisk and business-like, rattling off names of programs i could apply to and profs. i could work with. the best thing he said was that if i got a graduate degree in design history i would never be out of work. i am soon to be unemployed and i have a feeling it sucks.

then this morning i had a really great chat with a woman here at the gallery who did her graduate work in London at the Courtauld. she was really nice and made the program sound really nice, and more importantly she was v. frank and informative on how it works re: applying and funding.

so now i've been spending most of the afternoon looking at the profiles of faculty in the UK and trying to figure out how i would apply for a Fulbright. i'm liking this grad school in England idea more and more. i feel like doing that instead would make getting rejected this past year make more sense. whereas if i reapply to the same places in the States and get into a couple i'll just wonder all the more why the hell i didn't get accepted in the first place.

i feel like i've finally gotten over the rejection thing, but of course, every time i do think that i have another meltdown about it. maybe i just have to embrace the roller coaster, they are more exciting that level ground.

Friday, May 12, 2006


This just in: I realized that I haven't posted anything in a while. i have no explanation, except that i've felt busy. so in the spirit of taking a break for a gasp of air and an exchange of information, here are some updates:

Alaskan Envoy Arrives in Washington
The diplomatic group consisted on Jessica Cochran, my sister, her husband Nathan Pankuk, and their daughter Lily. Lily won all the cuteness contests, especially since she was only slightly more fussy that Jess. Nathan as usual was the pinnacle of "diplomacy and tact" a phrase i have been using often lately (explanation to follow). he helped the parental units pick out my birthday gift, an absolutely 007 worthy digital camera that i love more than cheerios (which is really saying something). we managed a few outings to the movies etc., but the envoy's principal mission was to give the native Washington party the opportunity to play with Lily. this was only partly successful, since according to Jess, mom and dad didn't pay Lily enough attention. a secondary mission was to let Jess critique our housekeeping habits by engaging in major cleaning projects like organizing the front hall closet. Jess seems to have displaced gramdma in this capacity. Grandma Heidi did join the summit from New Jersey, but abstained from most of the talks in order to rest. the Alaskan envoy made a good-will trip to North Carolina so Laura did not have to make another journey to DC.

Rare Triple Birthday Celebrated
The Alaskan envoy (see above) arrived in time to celebrate the birthdays of Jessica (May 6th) and myself (May 8th). We were joined in this endeavor by Eileen and her daughter Sorrel, who was raised with Jess in a Hippy-Dippy commune in New Haven, CT. Eileen's birthday (May 7th) was the occasion of a rare triple birthday party brunch, which actually had nothing in common with a traditional birthday party. there was no singing, cake, candles, or gift exchange. but, at my insistence, there was champagne. much fun was had by all.

Office Saves the Day with a Traditional Birthday Party
On Monday, my department took me out to lunch, sang the happy birthday song, and presented me with a cake, thus saving me from a non-traditional birthday fate worse than death. the cake was especially important, as Cathy, the staff assistant in our department, kept asking me what kind of cake I liked the week before. she tried to order at least three different cakes, none of which were available, before she just sent me the web page link and asked me to pick something out myself.

Dogs Run Amuck, Literally
Lizzie, our dog, "ran away from home" in the sense that she ran a block before a neighbor kindly picked her up and took her to a neighborhood vet. it was not the vet we use, and since they didn't recognize the dog, they called the pound. we spent a frantic afternoon and evening looking for her before an email to the neighborhood listserve solicited news. next morning bright and early we arrived at the animal shelter, from which we had adopted her in the first place, to pick her up. there were absolutely tons of dogs there and Lizzie was the best behaved. then the v. same afternoon Sorrel's dog, August, a beautiful and expensive italian greyhound, was out in our (fenced-in) backyard and cut his leg, probably on a ladder (we're having some work done on the house--more to follow). an overnight at the vet and a few stitches later, August was back in the bossom of his family, and right as rain. oh, except for the tube sticking through his wound and the elizabethan collar around his neck. oops.

The Hartmann-Wells's Redecorate
It all began with a guest room. Mom wanted me to help her pick out new paint and carpet for the basement. next thing I know, we're repainted the upstairs, replacing old wood and doors, repainting the front porch, and installing a new front walk complete with landing strip. Sorrel happens to be a landscape designer and now mom has her working on a plan for the backyard. the house looks fantastic, but mother has become a bit of a wreck. she gave me a massage for my birthday (like paid for me to get a professional one--it was absolutely heavenly) but she should really get one herself.

The Job Search Begins . . .
Yes, i caved. i started looking for jobs. somehow the thought of applying to grad school in a few months really overwhelms me, whereas the thought of having a job, a salary, and my own place seems sort of cool. probably this feeling will pass as soon as i get a job, or since i now want a job, that will become the one thing that is impossible to get. so far i've only applied for a development job at the Met, another one at the Whitney, and something more academic here at the Gallery. applying to the Gallery job has been particularly trying because it's a government job and therefore requires three times as much paper as usual. it also requires you to explain how you meet very specific qualifications like "ability to deal with a variety of people using diplomacy and tact," at which point my job at Starbucks came surprisingly to the rescue. i have a few informational interviews in the works and have decided it would be really cool to work at a university press. so if anyone here's about anything, let me know :-)

Social Life Appears to be Picking Up
Maybe it's just been all the visitors keeping me busy, but i also seem to be reuniting with lost friends recently. Leah came to the birthday brunch, and a few days ago i ran into Clem (short for Clementine, yes that is her name) a seriously long-lost friend from elementary school. naturally we vow to get together soon. Eva is coming to town this weekend. and tonight I'm going to an after hours thing at the Hirshorn with none other than Louise. should be fun. of course she hasn't shown up yet . . . um, Louise?