Who are you? What do you do?
I am an artist, paintings conservator, decorative painter, gilder, paint analyst, designer and sometimes furniture maker and set designer. Johnson & Griffiths Studio is where it all happens.
The Work Week:
I really have no “typical” weekday morning. On any given weekday over the past year I could have woken up in a hotel in Washington, DC, Philly or State College, PA, or Middleburg, VA just as easily as my own bed here in Harrisburg. On any given weekday over that period I could have been conserving a mural on the ceiling of the PA State Finance Building, restoring a decorative plaster ceiling in the lobby of a historic art deco building in Philly, replicating trompe l`oeil wall fresco paintings in the U.S. Treasury Building in DC, recreating the historic decorative painting in the office of the President of Penn State University, making furniture for a local restaurant here in Harrisburg or painting the theater sets for a grade school play in Virginia. When I wake up away from home I have to first remember where I am, what project I am working on and where I will be able to get coffee and breakfast that morning.
"Sunday morning is the only thing in my life that has a routine"
My wife Norah and I typically wake up around 8:00. The first one up gets the Sunday NY Times out of the door then starts coffee. Our go-to is Joe’s Blend from One Good Woman in Camp Hill. We grind 4 heaping tablespoons and brew in a French press. While the coffee is brewing Norah makes toast using bread she picked up at the farmer’s market on Saturday. I start cooking maple sausage links (two links for Norah and three for me). Once the sausage is close I start my two eggs over easy for me and two scrambled eggs for Norah with free range organic local eggs that Norah picked up from the Broad Street Market the day before. We load the coffee, cups, milk, some jam and the newspaper onto a wicker tray and carry it all up to the 3rd floor of our house to the guest bedroom where there is a small couch and coffee table and where the tv is, just in time for Sunday Morning on CBS. We alternate between watching that and reading the paper.
When CBS’s Sunday Morning is over we make another French press of coffee and take it to the bedroom. I grab my laptop and Norah grabs the paper and we crawl back into bed. Our cat Isabella crawls in next to me. I surf the internets and Norah reads. I think about house projects. Maybe later we’ll walk a few blocks to the Midtown cinema to watch an independent movie or possibly walk a block to eat wings at the Midtown Tavern or 3 blocks to the Midtown Scholar book store. Whatever we do we don’t like to stray too far from the house and we try to make a point of not driving anywhere.
Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me
In addition to the aforementioned, we listen to Will Shortz presenting the week’s puzzle on NPR while we cook breakfast; throughout Saturday and Sunday, maybe Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me; maybe This American Life. Depending upon the season, possibly a Steelers game.
The ideal end to a weekend is Norah’s roast chicken dinner and a glass of red wine. She makes the BEST roast chicken anywhere. We will eat in the living room with our plates propped up on stacks of art books on the coffee table. For dessert a few squares of Lindt chocolate with a touch of sea salt.
.Jeff and Norah just welcomed a new baby into their lives. To get some perspective we asked Jeff about his routines both before and after Elliot came home.
What's a typical weekend morning like now that you've got a new tiny guest in the house?
We don’t really know what typical is just yet. Today (a Sunday) I got up early (7am), (Norah got up earlier to feed Elliot) and I went down to the kitchen to make coffee and still get the Sunday NY Times out of the door. I brought Norah coffee and a muffin (from Yellow Bird Café that I bought yesterday…which reminds me that I went to the grocery store and to the market on Saturday which is Norah’s typical weekend routine thing to do…so this weekend that changed). I then made myself breakfast (eggs over easy and maple sausage links and toast I bought at the market yesterday) and started reading the Times and fooling on the internets. Norah then joined me in the living room with Elliot and we took turns holding him, (she feeding) and reading and internetting. So, in general, our Sunday routine has some semblance of the old one, but we will figure it out as we go.
What's for breakfast? Any changes?
Now that Norah is not pregnant anymore she can have more coffee.
We still have the NYTimes, internets and NPR, but we also added lots of Google searches for things like: how much breast milk is too much/too little? How much should a newborn weigh at 2 weeks? When do new parents sleep? How much should a new baby sleep? Things like that…