don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today;

I read this bit description of Rodarte's Fall 2010 collection showcased during New York fashion week in Vogue magazine today, and it struck a nostalgic chord for me.

There was genius at every turn in Laura and Kate Mulleavy's tour de force Rodarte collection, which elevated their inventiveness to a new high. "This collection was very close to me," said Laura in their rented first floor apartment, decorated like a rococo dollhouse they labeled Chateau Brioche. I had invited myself over hours after the show to find the sisters and close-knit staff eating takeout tacos and watching the evening news.
"We just pushed and pushed to the limit," added Kate.

-André Leon Talley, Vogue Apr. 2010

My mom was a choral director. She put on grand productions for middle school students and their parents about four times a year, and did a lot of the work single-handedly. She spent weekends at school with her students (and little me--trying to make friends with the big kids) adorning the entire auditorium with handmade set decorations. She planned choreography on our long commutes home. Sometimes, she turned the productions into dinner theaters, hiring caterers. She had a close relationship with her accompanist, who helped her put together the program. My mom would work late into the night on her Mac designing the program book all by herself--using, if I recall correctly--Hyperstudio? She also taught drama, and so there would be skits by her drama students interspersed throughout the shows, complementing whatever its theme was. And they were funny.

Months of work and planning, and two hours later, the show would be over. She always got flowers from her students, parents, or staff. It was magical. I was always in the audience with my dad or brother, and I would wait for her to finish chatting with whoever, maybe I would help clean up, put chairs away, or carry props from the stage down the back stairs to the practice room.

And then we--me, my brother, my mom and her accompanist--usually went to Red Robin, or in the earlier days, Coco's to eat, decompress and celebrate. Those were usually the only restaurants open at 10 p.m. in our suburban town. My mom and Leni would talk about the show. I don't remember what they talked about, really, but they used this time, during what felt like the middle of the night to me, to come down together off the energy they created. Oh, I always had an opinion. I really thought I was offering valuable insight. The littlest grown up, my mom's helper. I felt like an intricate part of the process.

I always carefully observed my mom in her element, and she instilled in me a sense of what it means to see something through from concept to creation. I believe she cultivated my romantic ideas of good work ethic--satisfying, exhausting, thrilling work--more than I realized until now. She didn't take shortcuts.

...She made teenage musical productions seem like a tour de force. She always elevated her inventiveness to a new high, and you could tell how close her work was to her. She pushed and pushed to the limit. And we, her staff, always went out to eat afterwards.

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