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smiling to cover the LIULockout pain.

Hilary Lorenz with 48 hours to get materials of her LIUBrooklyn studio.

I debated whether to go off topic and post about my distressing return home after an artist residency. I was excited to begin the school year as a Full Professor,  a promotion that took 14 years, 8 of which were post-tenure to  find myself unemployed without a studio,  insurance or access to my office. “It sounds like a story from the Onion” said one friend.
I am not going to rattle on about it. Every major news outlet  has covered the LIU Brooklyn faculty lockout.  Thankfully I have a commission from Brooklyn Bridge Park to keep my mind occupied, but without a studio space it is difficult to work. It is difficult to concentrate  while living in limbo.  I have no idea what will happen, the administration rejected federal mediation.  I do know I will complete my commission, continue making art and evaluate my situation on December 31, 2016.

The following is an update from our union executive committee, it sums up the events well.  If you are in academia or connected to people in academia can you share this with them? No university has ever locked out their faculty; tenured and adjuncts alike.  The lock out will  have reverberating consequences to professors and students alike and negatively impact the entire educational process. I have dedicated the past 20 years of my life to teaching university art students and now it feels like that just vanished.

Dear LIUFF Colleagues,

What started as a labor dispute on the corner of Flatbush and DeKalb Avenues has quickly gone international. We no longer fight just for LIUFF but for the dignity of faculty in higher education in this country.  Across the United States, university presidents are watching us to see if they might try the same tactics with their faculties.  To this we say:  not now, not ever!

Meanwhile, our wonderful students are standing up to President Cline and learning important lessons about organizing and activism.  We have all been overwhelmed and humbled by their support.  Together, students and faculty are the university, and together we will win this fight against a president who does not understand the nature or value of higher education.

On Thursday, the negotiating met with management and made the following offer:  to return to work for a month under the old contract and to submit to mediation after two weeks should we still not have reached an agreement.  The LIUFF’s offer included reinstatement of health care, full wages backdated to the beginning of the lockout, and reimbursement for any medical expenses incurred during the lockout.  Management not only rejected the offer but continues to offer essentially the same contract that has been on the table since April.  They return to the table on Monday at 5 p.m.

We have had a busy week as we continue to put pressure on President Cline and the Board of Trustees:

  • We voted down an unfair and divisive contract by 226 to 10 and the Faculty Senate voted no confidence in President Cline and Vice President Kane by a margin of 135 to 10.
  • We made national and international news.  Coverage can be found in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Guardian, The Brian Lehrer Show, Inside Higher Ed, The Village Voice, The Wall Street Journal, City Watch (WBAI), Academe blog, and local TV news.  
  • We have launched a social media campaign on Twitter and Facebook–#LIUlockout–that has gotten our message out widely.  A petition started by the AFT Action Network has gathered almost 8,000 signatures, each one of which generates an email to President Cline.  LIU students have started a change.org petition that has so far gathered over 600 signatures.
  • We have many labor unions standing with us.  This unprecedented lockout is not only an assault on education but also an attack on organized labor, and we are receiving tremendous support from our parent organizations, the AFT and NYSUT. The UFT is giving resources and sent delegations to our campus as did the vocal and mighty PSC CUNY. Our sister unions on campus–the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 30; OPEIU Local 153; Service Employees International Union (SEIU) CTW, Local 32BJ; and United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, Local 926 and Local 45—marched with us and sent letters of support.  At the annual Labor Day Parade on September 10, LIUFF was given pride of place and marched right behind Mayor DeBlasio and other elected officials.
  • We held a rally featuring speakers like Public Advocate Letitia James, AFT President Randi Weingarten, and NYSUT President Karen McGee. We heard from students about the chaos on campus (despite what the administration says to the press about an “overwhelmingly positive response” from students) and watched as the students marched in solidarity with the LIUFF.
  • We learned that as a result of the chaos: the School of Nursing has cancelled practicum classes until further notice; lab classes in Biology, Physics, and Chemistry have been cancelled all next week pending a resolution to the lockout, and students are reporting that many classes have no instructors at all.
  • We sent letters to accrediting agencies, cosigned by AFT, alerting them to our situation.  Our attorney has also filed a NLRB charge for unfair labor practices stemming from the way the lockout was handled, a charge that, if upheld, would require the university to pay back wages and expenses.

We have also heard many stories about the financial hardship this lockout is causing our members.  In response, the AFT has set up a solidarity fund where people can donate to help our members with pressing financial concerns. They have already begun to raise money and more information on how to apply for funds will be forthcoming in the next few days.  In addition, NYSUT can give legal advice to faculty and students.

This week has proven that you CANNOT REPLACE AN ENTIRE FACULTY! The negotiating team heads back to the table on Monday from a position of strength, but we need the membership’s help to keep up this momentum and end the lockout! We need you to commit to coming out every day so that we remain a strong presence at the Brooklyn campus.

Please stay tuned for a list of events planned for this week.  Your participation is both expected and essential.

In solidarity,
The LIUFF Executive Committee

#LIULockout

Scabby the Rat, with Danny Lou (LIU alum in support of faculty) myself and Professor Bob Barry

Hilary_lorenz_Cscape_dune_shack_Ptown_cormorant

This past weekend I had the great pleasure of having Lisa B. a friend and hiking buddy from Santa Fe, NM come visiting. She had been volunteering at a kids camp on the Cape and stayed with me for two nights at C-Scape.

On her second day we walked from the shack to the visitors center, down the bike trail past Race Beach, past Herring Cover to the jetty at Pilgrim’s First Landing Park . It is just over 5 miles from the beach shack, not terribly far, but the heat index was 101 and two of those miles are in soft sand.  The sand was blazing hot and we were pretty cranky by the time we got to the jetty, but as planned we got there at low tide. After walking out the jetty, we climbed down the rocks and looked for critters, specifically starfish.
Hilary_lorenz_Cscape_dune_shack_Ptown_StarfishThere were loads of starfish almost immediately. I was really happy. At first I thought our trip was a bust and hated the idea of walking the 5 miles back in that terrible heat. We found starfish, crabs, loads of neat stuff I really did not know what it was. Wading through the low tidal pools, while very stinky was a nice feeling on my beaten up feet.
Hilary_lorenz_Cscape_dune_shack_Ptown_crab
We walked back via Commercial Street and stopped to get iced lattes. That was a nice invigorator for the walk back. By the time we got home, we were only gone 5 hours, but walked almost 12 miles and we were hot, sunburn, blistered and exhausted. I barely remember going to bed.
Hilary_lorenz_Cscape_dune-shack_drawing
I finished eight drawings. I made two drawings of this seaweed. I forgot the name of it and could not find it on-line so if you know it, please post it in the comments. Otherwise I will find out the name the next time I meet up with the ranger.  I could draw this stuff all day as it is really interesting and fun to do.

Hilary_Lorenz_CScape_Dune_Shack_Seals.jpgIt was delightful to return to the C-Scape Dune Shack on Provincetown’s National Seashore after almost 8 years. It is hard to believe it was that long ago that I spend 6 fascinating winter weeks here. Now it is summer  I will be here three weeks and I have the grey seals to watch.

Hilary_Lorenz_CScape_Dune_Shack_beach_toad

I just landed on Cape Cod in Provincetown, MA for a three-week artist residency at the C-Scape Dune Shack.  This is the delightful place I spent 6 weeks in 2007/08 at. It is buried in the dunes and absolutely primitive. I have no wifi or electricity for that matter, but once a week I will try to make a post.

After completing my LMCC artist residency, driving out to Norther New Mexico and back within one month, now out at the Cape, I am beat, really beat. But I am completing the work on my installation for the Brooklyn Bridge Park out here. Since I am completely alone without any distractions I am sure I will get plenty of rest and work done while floating in the salty Atlantic Ocean.

Have a wonderful summer.

PS if you are interested in learning about the last time I was here, I blogged about it at https://adventureartist.wordpress.com/tag/c-scape-beach-shack/

Morning dog play.

Morning dog play.

Two weeks ago my journal it reads, “sleepless, heavy, bloated, extreme lumbar pain, no endurance, fat belly, anxious, angry, 121 pounds.” I laugh as I read that.  I felt terrible and everything hurt, my left knee, right hamstring, right lumbar spine, I felt like I was  dying and hated getting out of bed.  This seemed to come out of nowhere in less than a 30 day period.

I couldn’t run without pain and I had trouble moving. My easy 10 miles at 8:30 pace  in January was now a really hard 10 miles at 10:30 pace in March. It made no sense so I decided the stress of teaching, being chairman, beginning my new artist residency at Govenors Island, and caring for my dogs (who by the way get walked over 50  miles a week!) was just too much. It is not that I wanted to stop running, but I put on a hold with my coach as I could not answer to another person and I got a dog walker 3 times a week.  Then  on a whim I took  the “Two Week Test” of carbohydrate intolerance  by Dr. Phil Maffetone.

The TWT is a test to see how your body handles carbohydrates by going off them for two weeks. Since I don’t normally eat meat or dairy I knew this was going to be tough. The premise is to cut out all carbohydrates for 14 days, with the exception of vegetable, but no potatoes or corn. You can eat eggs, fresh meat, (not bacon or cured meat), fish, nuts, heavy cream (no milk sugar) and that is  it. That is a lot of variety with loads of types of vegetables, fish and nuts. You cannot have any milk products, soy or rice beverage, fruit, cashews, peanuts, soda, energy bars or any grains what so ever. It is not gluten-free, it is carbohydrate free. You can read more about it on the link. Then after 14 days you introduce one fruit into your meal and see how you feel. You can add in a single carbohydrate to see if it sets off any feelings of being bloated, tired, low energy, poor concentration, gas or increased craving for sweets. If it does, drop the food, go back to only protein and fat and try a different carb at a new meal.

In 14 days, this is how it went. I ate a massive amount of fat, existing mostly on nuts and seeds. I  got to the point of making coffee with a tablespoon of raw unrefined coconut oil and two tablespoons of grass-fed cow heavy cream.  That drink was so fat I could last 5-6 hours before eating anything.   I never craved grains or sweets. My energy was through the roof, in fact it was almost annoying as I was firing on all cylinders. I ran almost every day between 30 and 60 minutes. My pace was slow, but that was also intentional. After today’s run I was dying for some fruit because I knew it was the last day.  This would be the first test. I went to Fairway and got giant packages of organic black and red raspberries, bananas and pineapple. As I washed the raspberries I was chucking them in my mouth, in fact I wanted to open up the whole box and stuff it in, but I resisted. I put them in a bowl and began to write this post. After about 20 berries I was done. I can’t eat any more. I don’t feel sugar laden, I am just satisfied. I put the bowl back into the refrigerator a little disappointed because I wanted to gorge on fresh fruit.

As for my “symptoms” listed at the beginning. Sleepless-I sleep far better and less hours.    My feelings of heaviness and  bloated-gone, extreme lumbar pain-gone,  no endurance-still working on that,  fat belly-gone anxiety-gone,  angry-gone, 121 pounds down to 116 and feeling really light, happy, and incredibly relaxed. Just the feeling of relaxation is amazing. Almost all the symptoms were gone between 24 and 48 hours. Just goes to show,  some experiences are really worth the effort. This was a successful experiment.

A little set back.

My one month follow up on my  2016 goals for. First, it has been a rough month. Nothing particular happened. The weather was glorious and warm, then suddenly it is -10 and kind of miserable to go out. I got a hamstring strain, then knee pain, then a wrist thing,  and a bit of falling apart. The good thing is that I have physically fallen apart in so many times, I know it is temporary. But as I watch my 7 year old labrador, the younger of my two, limp by me with all his exuberant sports injuries, I just want to curl up with him and fall asleep until everything heals up. At the same time I am planning my running outfit, because while it was -10 two days ago, it will be 50 today.

Goals

  1. Pistol Squat. I have not done anything in particular to keep working on this. But I am working on strength through kettlebell workouts. I love the StrongFirst method of kettlebell training.
  2.   Get  StrongFirst Certification. I took the one day workshop at the end of January. It was fantastic. It was one of the best classes on exercise techniques I have ever taken. That is what I like about kettlebell, while you are getting strong throwing around weights, you have to learn good form and technique. This further fed my desire to get  certified.
  3. Race the WhiteFace Skymarathon. This is in July and I am still planning on it. However I chose it because of the date and that I would still be in NYC, but now I might not be. There is a chance I can head to NM as early as July 1, and that I would do.
  4.  Race the Marquette Trail 50 in MI. This is the biggest change. I was excited to run in Michigan but my friend Gabrielle got into Leadville 100. And I can think of no better fun then going to Colorado to pace my friend in a 100 mile race through the Rockies. So I will switch this up.
  5. Build a canoe by hand.  I have that all schedule and I am very excited. I will make a preliminary kit canoe while at my LMCC Governors Island Artist Residency. 

I missed about a week running because everything just hurt in a bad way, not a “oh I just had a great workout way.”  I raced in 1 degree weather on Sunday and did horrible. My whole right side seized up, I could not feel my feet and I have to stop and walk then jog in a 3.3 mile run. It was bad. Thankfully my two relay partners were speedy so we still came in first. But right now I hate the way my body feels and I have no idea why it feels like it does. Basically it is as if I am not responding to training, then it never gets easier and that I am sore after the simplest of runs. My 10 mile runs at an easy 8:30 pace, I was suddenly struggling to run at 10:00 pace.  I am not doing much mileage, under 35 a week now. I registered for the Queens Marathon at the end of April, but I now have serious doubts. I feel like my body was replaced by an alien abduction overnight. It is frustrating because  I love the feeling of running, there is nothing like a few hours of loping through the city or trains. But now I tend to cringe at 6 miles, which I am about to go out and do. Maybe to day will be better.  I just hang in there and eventually I know it will change.

SMART Goal Reports

Has it really only been 10 days since I posted my goals for 2016? It is feeling like months ago. How am I doing on them? Well, lets see.

1. Master the pistol squat
I got pretty excited about this. I worked on it 1-2 times a week during a TRX workout. I have not put specific focus into the pistol, but I have been working ankle flexibility and regular squats to help make it happen.

2.  Get  StrongFirst Certification
I am registered for the 9 hour technique course on January 17 at Five Points Academy in Manhattan. I am looking forward to it. I am also taking kettlebell class 3x a week right now. I plan to do more as I work it out with my running schedule. I don’t want to burn out doing both.

3. Race the WhiteFace Skymarathon.
I am registered for the Skymarathon at Whiteface in the Adirondacks and I have a coach who is working me out daily.

4. Race the Marquette Trail 50 in MI
I am registered for the Marquette Trail 50, a now sold out trail race in Michigan. But, two friends just got into the Leadville 100,  through the lottery, Leadville 100 is probably one of the most coveted  racing in the country, that takes place in Colorado the same weekend. One friend I paced at the Javalina 100 got in, and, well, I would love to skip my race to pace her to a 100 mile finish. I will still get in my 50 miles, but in the mountains of Colorado and with a super fun friend.

5. Build a canoe by hand.
Until I secure my class, which will be with Hilary Russell, there is a great fundraiser for a canoe at Yestermorrow School.  It is a beautiful hand built canoe, a narrow passage 14, only 22 pounds, made by Mr.  Russell. For only $10 you can enter the raffle for a  $1400 canoe. If you have never heard of Yestermorrow, and you are interested in design and hand-built, you must check it out.

I have been working with Coach Sean Meissner at Sharmaulta for just about 4 weeks. My distance is increasing and the quality, fast running, is increasing even more. I had a few days of painful lower back, high hamstring which created undue anxiety and emotional stress that made me overall cranky but I ran 14 miles yesterday in a pretty relaxed state and feel good now.

All in all my goals are remaining S.M.A.R.T., I can measure progress and build all my other life events around it, like putting up an exhibition. I have an exhibition of printed and cut paper going up in Brooklyn at LIU, over the next 8 days and I have application out for grants and residencies to carry through to 2017. I feel like I am honing in on a few things and it feels pretty darn good.

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