Thursday, November 29, 2007

Going Gray?


This book, Going Gray, keeps popping into my universe. I have been eyeing it for a while, even saw the author, Anne Kreamer, on one of the morning talk shows. I still was not tempted to read/buy it because, well, I've been there/done that. The author's going gray refers to her allowing the gray to show, to stop dyeing her hair. I never did dye mine. But today I read a review of the book on Terry Grant's blog. These are the words that Terry quoted from Anne that struck me: "if you can stop worrying about what others might think of your hair color, and of feeling obliged to wear camouflage, then you free yourself up to think about other things—that by abandoning the small stuff you may make room for the big." To me it's all about authenticity.

Now I admit, my hair is not gray, but white. I went white at 42 - young, I think. But let me tell you - I have people, women, teenagers and men, teenage boys even - strangers all, tell me how beautiful my hair is. At an age where most men no longer take notice of me, or any woman of a certain age, it's nice to have a stranger in the elevator, on the street, in a restaurant, tell me I have beautiful hair.

I know of a couple of women who have decided to go gray because of me. And I think they look better for it. Gray softens our look as we age. It goes with the softening of our skin, the softening of our moods, and need I mention, the softening of our shape. It's about accepting who we are, where we are in this journey of life.

Silly me used to think I was the only one of my friends who had gone gray. DUH, the minute they saw gray, out came the dye. I had no idea, really. Dyeing hair is like a foreign culture to me, not to mention the cost and the time involved. I can't sit still long enough to get a manicure. And if/when I do, it's ruined the very same day once I get back into the studio. My hands are my tools for heavens sake. But back to hair. I have another funny story. One day, a few years ago, I went to pick up my youngest at teammate's house. I guess Kelly was about 10. The girl answered the door and yelled back into the house, "Kelly your, uh, mom, uh, (now fallen to a whisper) your grandma....uh...uh.. SOMEONE'S HERE FOR YOU."

So what's the point of this entry? That's for you to decide. I know many of my readers probably have a gray hair or 2 on their head. And I figure most of you also have dye on your hair. You look beautiful, each and every one of you. I'm not lobbying to get you all to go gray, but I just wanted you to know you'll still be beautiful if you do. My mama always said that beauty comes from the inside. I know you know that too. Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Gray hairs seem to my fancy like the soft light of the moon, silvering over the evening of life. Jean Paul Richter

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Serendipity

glorious November moonThis is the reward I get for being a good mother tonight. Kelly asked me to run her over to her friend's house to pick up something. I was tired but I said "yes". I opened the front door to this glorious moon and felt a rush of energy and beauty surround me. I was going to make a quick trip of it and drive, but I went back inside and to get my tripod, not yet put away after the Thansgiving family portrait. We set out walking up the hill, searching for the best place to take the picture. It just so happened it was also on the way to Hannah's.

An evening stroll under the moonlight with your daughter....priceless.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Giving of Thanks

This photo is for you, Lynn, across the ocean in England, a friend for 41 years. 41 years? Can that really be true? But weren't we both just 14 last year - Fellow yellow gorillas in our Suburban Hospital candy-striper yellow pinafores?

Lynn asked me to take a photo of everyone this Thanksgiving. I'm not sure if I would have done the whole tripod/timer/portrait thing if she had not asked. Surely if there ever was a Thanksgiving for us to remember, it was this one. Marriage, birth, impending birth,honor rolls, and internships, Chris's recovery, and my mother's health and new-found strength. Look how she shines in that photo!

It has been our tradition at the Thanksgiving table to go around and say what we are each thankful for. There's a lot of repetition, because in a family, most of us are thankful for the same things. But what makes it so special is that you never know what will come out of whose mouth. There are the short and sweet answers, and the expected, yet heartfelt responses And then there are the ones that bring tears to everyone's eyes. My Dad couldn't even get a word out before he got all choked up. He'd manage 5 words and then have to compose himself again. Which put us all in tears. He said, tearfully, that this family is more than he ever imagined he would have, a statement that is even more significant when you know that he was an only child, orphaned at 14. He is so proud of how we have all turned out, our accomplishments, our love, the people we fall in love with and add to our family, the little ones that come as a result. That didn't happen by chance, Dad, we have just followed your example.

Then we wind around the table to Chris. Chris usually doesn't say much, a man of few words. But when he does.... He's the guy that wanted to go last at the soccer team banquet 5 years ago. Each senior player takes the podium to say a few words. Chris knew everyone would say something funny and brief. He chose to go last so he could give the meaningful speech, the one that made this mother's heart swell and tears break out in hers and all the other mother's eyes, and yes, even a few players. Well, he did the same last night. He didn't go last, but he went deep. It's moments like this that I am thankful for. I need nothing more than to see my family together, to create a day like this that brings us all together both physically and emotionally.

And I must share this. It's no big deal, but I was just so proud of myself. I was so excited that I figured out a way that all 18 of us could be at one table. Actually it was 3 tables all pushed together and covered with, of all things, a drop cloth. It was the only thing I could think of that would cover a 8x8' table that I cold get on Wednesday afternoon AND that wouldn't cost a fortune. It was $20! unbleached cotton canvas - looked like linen. If I was truly Martha Stewart I would have rushed home and hand-painted, stenciled or appliqued something on it, but Martha wouldn't do that anyway. She just gets the ideas. The helpers (OK, paid staff) do all the work.

I hope that all of you had a day that brought warmth to your soul. There are many ways to make a day special, whether you are with just yourself, your family, friends or community. And we needn't reserve anything just for the official day of thanks. Joy can be created everyday simply by realizing that any part of our lives, no matter how small, is something to be thankful for.
Happiness is the experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. ~ Denis Waitley
What can anyone give you greater than now, starting here, right in this room, when you turn around? ~William Stafford

Friday, November 16, 2007

And the Winner Is...

Babsarella! aka Barbara.

My daughter Sam drew the lucky winners name. If I had to choose I would have picked you all. This has truly been (or is, as it's still Nov. 16) the best birthday. My biggest smile was from Sequana's comment which said, "Just wait till you hit 60...still better yet!" Isn't it grand having so much to look forward to?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My Lucky 3s Day

3 beautiesCan I call this a red letter day? All these good things happened to me in 3s today. Three's a number, not a letter, but who has ever heard of a red number day. Mind you, these aren't fantastic things, but there were enough of them to make it a very special day, just the kind where everything goes right and you find unexpected joys in little things.

1. While shopping at one of the super Joann fabric stores, I discovered that they had both of my books on the shelves (a rarity) and then also on the newsstand there was the current issue of Cloth Paper Scissors with my art on the cover. - 3 places, 3 publications.

2. At lunch today, my daughter-in-law gave me 3 of the most beautiful photos of her 3 daughters, my beautiful granddaughters.

3. At Hancock Fabrics (OK, yes, now you know, I had my own little fabric shopping spree today. It is my birthday week after all), anyway, on the remnant table there was a discontinued sample book of decorator fabrics. One woman thought each piece was $1.99 and I just HAD to have this one of them (OK 2), so I took it to the cutting table. The woman there told me the whole book was $3. There are over 20 big, 15 x 15" pieces of nice fabric there. $3. That's when I realized that it was a 3 day, but I wanted to call it a red letter day.

Cherry blossoms in the fallIt's been good news like that all week. Yesterday we were told that they would discharge my Mom from the nursing unit and she can move back upstairs to their independent living apartment. She can now come to my home for Thanksgiving. Medicare rules didn't allow her any outings and she's been a prisoner for over 6 weeks.

I love you, BuddyOn Monday, my husband took me for our annual birthday outing. His birthday was yesterday. It's a day for both of us, but he plans it around what I like to do, sweetie that he is. It was a surprise up until we got there. He took me to the national Gallery of Art in DC. It was also Veterans Day, so we parked and walked along the Tidal Basin, home to the famous Cherry Blossom trees and on through the WWI and WWII memorials on our way to the gallery. Not the best weather, but the company was great and the atmosphere charged with positive energy from all the people honoring the Veterans.

Jackson Family plotThe Gallery was hosting a show he thought I would like, The Art of the Snapshot. He was spot on about that. It made me really appreciate my own collection of snapshots and the stories that they tell. Bonus exhibits were the Baroque Woodcuts and Robert Rauschenberg. I enjoyed showing Buddy the transfers he did on some of his pieces. There was even a lovely all fabric piece with printed and transfered images! No photos allowed, darn it. But again, it was a nice feeling to be able to relate my work to his. The nice surprise of the day was to find dear Jane Wynn's book, Altered Curiosities in the museum bookshop. What an honor. I was so excited (and proud of us mixed media artists) to see it there!

eternally beautifulBut that wasn't all! We left about 2:30 to head on up to Oak Hill Cemetary. My grandmother and several of my fathers's ancestors are buried there (the others are in Arlington Cemetary). There's room for me too, since my Mom & Dad will go to Arlington as well. And who wouldn't want to be there for eternity. It's beautiful. Here's a bit from their website:
a lot to be thankful forIn the center of Georgetown, lying along Rock Creek, a neighbor of Dumbarton Oaks and of Evermay, is a 19th Century garden park cemetery rivaled only by Boston’s Mount Auburn Cemetery in graciousness and a sense of community.
There's amazing history there, my own included. It has been quite a week and it's only 1/2 over. Thursday & Friday will be spent in the studio (my dream days) and on Saturday I take off on a day trip with my sister. We have not done that in quite a while. We can talk about all the things we have to be thankful for this year - a rough and tumble one with its ups & downs, but one that has fallen softly into place and left us standing on our own tired feet. A red letter year for sure.

Check back on Friday to see who the lucky Fragment winner is. I have deeply appreciated all of your comments and birthday wishes. Maybe you have all had a part in making not just today, but all the days this week, red letter days. Thank you.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Birthday Present Anyone?

My birthday is on Friday and I am celebrating by giving you a present! Come to my virtual party this week and leave a comment. On Friday, I will draw a name from the group and the winner will be gifted with this lovely Fragment. That's my grandmother in the photo, Lulu Vivian. The quote reads: If you ask me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you; I came to live out loud. ~ Emile Zola

Bibbie, (she would never let us use the G word and I could not say Vivian and boy, she hated Lulu), certainly lived out loud. A flapper in the 20s, she had red hair and oh! she loved to dance. She was one of 13 kids but only ended up having one daughter, my mom, who gave birth to me on November 16, 1952. I think the only thing we had in common is that I, too, love to dance. As Grandmas go, she wasn't the cuddly, loving type, full of stories, sweets and smooches.

But enough about her. It's all about me, the birthday girl, this week! It's the official kick-off of my year of discoveries in the studio, grandma goodtimes, health & exercise, resting & reading, setting new goals and making plans for my next 10 years. When I was approaching 40 I once told a friend how forward I was looking to becoming 40. I saw it as a time of coming into my own, knowing who I was and want I wanted out of life (finally). To me 40 wasn't old, it was a time of finally having arrived. Her response was, "Wait until you turn 50. It only gets better." I felt that she had just revealed a part of the secret knowledge that only "mature" women are privy too. Well let me tell you, ladies. She was right. It does keep getting better. And I'm livin it all OUT LOUD.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Veteran's Day & My Dad


I owe you a nice long post about my time in Houston and how my first week off from teaching & traveling has been (wonderful & creative), but I just had to make this quick post to tell you all about my Dad. He is a WWII Vet. He was also a German POW for 18 months. AOL selected him to be the face & voice of their WWII segment for Veterans Day. Watch the video HERE. He's the 2nd interview ~ WWII.

I couldn't be more proud!