onward and upward

Greetings to you, from the leeward side of January.

I was in Boston for a day last weekend, looking at apartments and spaces for the UnLAB, and I took this shot from the window of a room on the 22nd floor of the Sheraton in Back Bay.


This is where I’m headed as soon as the CGB books go to press, except I’ll actually be viewing from a 4th floor walkup (!) in Beacon Hill, a bit to the right and forward. As usual, MIT54 (the tall building in the MIT skyline and the target for our first WindLAB) dominates the view, visible even from my dining room window below (extreme left of the skyline).


I don’t know how long I’ll perch there… it’s difficult to predict how lightly I can live vs. how lightly I would ideally like to live. I’m not quite ready to give up my books or my paintings yet, for example, or my odd collection of ball gowns, and I very much want to live with Miss Fish, who may or may not wish to roam the world. I’ll have to consult with her on the matter.

Miss Fish in my pink bedroom

I like walkups. My friend Peri had a 6th floor version in NoHo and all of the climbing was divine for the figure and kept me from bringing up too many castaway items from the street. The only really shocking thing for me here is using the Longfellow instead of the Harvard Bridge to cross the river.

I think I’ve shied away from the LF ever since I got drunk on sake with Jack Wisdom and found myself beneath it, admiring a wall of trophies. I could see that it was a powerful vortex in space-time; anything could happen on or near the LF.  The Harvard Bridge is just a bridge.

Bridge Trophies

Under the Longfellowbottom photo Ryan Anas, the day Bri signed off of the USS Constitution.

I must admit that living at the foot of the LF is a ninjaperfect way to be walking distance from both Harvard and MIT; it’s just a few stops on the ever-handy Red Line, and of course just a hop or a walk across the bridge from MIT/Kendall. Also, it’s where our friend Ron lives, and before I knew he existed, and that we could collaborate with him, I never thought too much about living around Beacon.

Ron isn’t in this photo, but he may as well be, because this moment aloft on 54 with Peter and Steve Imrich from the Cambridge 7 architectural firm was deeply material, as was the morning we went up with Erik and Marty Demaine, and Peter had us all in a circle, affirming our dedication to taking that roof by storm. “Are you in!?”, he said to each of us in turn, in his 1000 watt Peter way, “ARE YOU IN!?”

On the Roof wih Architects

It was an easy question for me, as I’ve known for decades that the building was in my future. I remember when MIT recruited Rick Binzel away from the Planetary Science Institute shortly after I was hired in 1987. He went off to work in this very same building, the one we all called the Needle Of Science; it’s so tall and narrow that people feel isolated, and sometimes depressed inside. I’ve long wanted to help.

I’ve only taken the Boston apartment for a month to begin, but it (and many other apartments as well in this world) are available for longer, and I am curious to know myself where my next real landing place will be. I decided to sell the Tucson house, as it’s clear that my work and my mind are taking me elsewhere. I don’t like hoarding space, and I can’t afford to maintain it if it isn’t my home. We’ll ALL be there the first week in February (come over if you are in town the 2-5!) and then I’ll be saying goodbye.

Cooper Pool May 2013

It’s been a beautiful place to live, an entire urban acre of peace and warmth and sunshine and gentle growth. And the accumulation of way too much awesome STUFF.

workshop table, Cooper House, oct 2010

Palm trees in the sunset, cooper hood, jan 2011

Since I wrote last, I’ve really been all over. We’re moving straight ahead, doing All of the Things, working on the startup of the UnLAB, the furthering of the MIT site projects, and as ever now, the inescapable study of hypars, which are even more prevalent than sights of MIT54.

I’ve interacted meaningfully with a vermillion flycatcher, a female kestrel, a raven, a Navy carrier pilot who flew Vikings, I’ve seen an eagle land in a pine tree, sat down with hedge fund investors in Manhattan, played tennis in Tucson and LA, listened to bartenders and vice presidents. Bartenders know everything.


Danger of Travel on Hypars

It strikes me from watching everything around me that there are a lot of points ready to flip. If you knew what you were looking at here, you could just make a little twisting or untwisting motion on the origami hypar, and it would go “sproing”, flip back into the other way of being, and the deer might look like a deer again.

But, whether it could actually still be a healthy deer… hmm.

We are definitely going to new places with all of the crazy here in the USA, and some of our pieces aren’t going to be the same deer after it’s over. In a way, I feel like it’s my job to think about that now, before things go sproing, I must look for the hidden twists, useful and not useful, and get ourselves sorted out. That way we can move like pole vaulters and not like bugs heading for a windshield.

Because you know, yesterday, the new government froze all of the Federacy agency websites, forbade staff from using social media, and locked out the press. Naturally, science went rogue, BECAUSE FACTS, and because we are the media, and it’s time to do our job. If you’d like to keep up with the plight of these people inside the agencies as we ride our greased rocket to God knows, you can follow them now on their rogue social media accounts.

on Twitter:
@rogueUSedgov@AltRockyNPS@CERN. And many others.

And please plan to join us when Scientists March On Washington, because frankly, we’re not gonna take it. The date of the march will be announced on Monday, and you can sign up for email updates at the link. I expect to see a lot of pink hats back in DC!

Lee,Chang W. -  from camera serial numberPhoto NYT

And remember, if you are Tucson-bound next week, come and find us at the house. Stop by in the evenings of Feb 3, 4, or 5 and come and see what we have to give, share a glass of wine. Leave a comment if you want an email with the address.  I’m going to sell my Miata, too, because I don’t want a car in the city. We can take a farewell ride around the neighborhood, wave at the midnight rabbits. Many changes, but I have a full heart.

And Obamacare. For now.

Kate on her car postcard


12 thoughts on “onward and upward

  1. Sending you lots of love in these challenging times. I know that you somehow do see it as simple and easy or that it should be or feel simple and easy, but that is only the case as long as you don’t let your heart sigh too much. But let it sigh a bit, if you haven’t already, to let it all go. Love. Good luck with the apartment hunting – the one where you are now has a beautiful roof so to see. I’d sure fell in love with the place. I am happy to read your updates although I don’t understand everything you explain, your plans, etc. But one thing is sure, and that is that you are your own hero. Brava!

  2. ch-ch-changes… My motto for today: “The End Times are also the Beginning Times,” which perfectly describes kaleidocycles and hypars. The love of my life came out the door the other day and told me that he’d decided to get a full-time professional teaching job and was applying to colleges across the USA, but particularly 2 in Maine, near his parents. There’s another one in Boston, which is still closer to his folks than Kauai. He’s quite likely to get one of them. There’s even an opening at MIT, but it’s for a very specialized kind of math composition teacher (math is not one of his strengths). He wondered if I’d be willing to leave Kauai (which I love) to go with him. Of course. I didn’t have a moment’s hesitation or resistance, which surprised both of us, considering how much I really love this place. I don’t ever want to get so old and ossified and satisfied that I’m not up for an adventure!

    So we are also in the process of cleaning and weeding out stuff, far in advance of actually knowing where we’ll end up in the long run, and encountering the same questions of how light we can actually get, how many of our book friends and how much art and tools we can keep. Exciting times. Imua! Forward!

    As usual, I read the 3 linked blog posts off this one – I’m fascinated by how they’re chosen. Keywords? They always seems so apropos and have little nuggets of Kate wisdom.

    I specifically tell people that their pre-order for anything in progress from my studio entitles them to a lovely discount, and the gifts that come with the pre-order, and my love, but that they are not purchasing the right to treat me badly or email me 14 times if I take too long. The few people who got tired of waiting had a refund in ten minutes; that strikes me as meeting my end of the bargain. That and delivering a quality product at the end.

    My, what a time it’s been. It’s good to be feeling human again, find my own self in my skin. For so long now, I’ve been a machine, moving toward the goal. At some level, that’s still the case, but the creative work is no longer at the fore, its all admin until the shipping is finished. It’s still work, of course, but it doesn’t consume my consciousness.

    I’m headed home soon. January and February will be a kind of bittersweet time for me in Tucson; I’ve vowed (and recently renewed the vow) to stop taking up space on this planet. My hope is to exist lightly, in the spaces between the walls of other people’s expectations; in the gaps into which their imagination does not extend.
    I have an entire B40, I have 65 beautiful wooden windows; surely I can make my own fortune, make my own fort, and be happy without a traditional house. So things are changing; I’m enjoying the best of the traditional setup while I have it, and saying goodbye to a lot of things (good and bad) that everyone else takes for granted.
    After all, as a wise person said to me yesterday, “I don’t have to listen to crazy ideas.”
    We should all heed these sage words, and apply them immediately to our lives.

    • Peggy! WOW. Wouldn’t it be cosmic if you guys ended up in Boston, and we could do UnLAB things together? I feel you when you say you didn’t have any questions; sometimes, we just know what to let go of and what train to where to catch. I’ve always strongly trusted this instinct, and I need it now more than ever.

      Join us!

  3. Kate, leaving home is always hard. The very best is a fresh start, new memories, your very own. Believe in yourself. I’ve always admired your strength. There will be good days and bad days, make the good days bring smiles, hope whatever you need for yourself. Just be happy, Braveheart. I adore you and wish you only a bright and happy future. With love, Marianne

  4. I put myself in your shoes but I am still me. Terrified. Not wanting to give up THAT sun, the creatures who know you but you have never seen. Then, I step out of those shoes, see you wearing them with ease, gliding into the next chapter. I cannot wait to see what you make of the next part of your future!

    • Diane, that is a beautiful thing to say and all it takes to move forward is to let go… to me, it feels a lot like learning to roller skate or ice skate at a rink. gotta let go of the rail, side of the pool, gotta leave the ground to fly. Thank you for your support, your kind fierceness.

  5. Oh my gosh, why do I feel like I’m the one moving! I’m at a loss for words here, I feel like I’m the one going away from the beautiful garden bedroom. The outdoor shower! Tea on the terrace so to speak. Awesome night skies that remind me of my miniature place in this universe. And most of all the wonder of watching for the season changes that bring back our critter friends especially the lizard. What is going to replace this place of peace and tranquility, where my dreams and your ideas have been flowing from these past years. I’ll never be able to see it in person, but I will drink a glass of Chardonnay as a parting toast on one of the ending Feb evenings.
    Love and Sunshine

    • Oh, Paula, there is so much beauty everywhere, in every place. I can’t qualify for the mortgage on the house alone, and that’s just the way it is. I don’t really have any choice except to sell it. I’m making the best of it, and honestly, I am ready to move forward into life with a great deal less. I have been for a long time. But yes, I’ll miss it so.

  6. Thank you for the updates on what and how you doing. I have no doubt that the best is the yet to come because that is the direction in which you are headed. You are a force of nature traveling through the universe and wonderful things, experiences and people will automatically find you.

Comments are closed.