Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Disintegration - Seth's project

One of my favorite blogs is The Altered Page by Seth Apter in NYC - he always has such interesting projects and connections - one of his latest projects "Disintegration" is one where he took pages from a book and wrapped them with twine and then put them outdoors for the elements to join in as a natural collaborator to his project - his idea - as I understand it - is to allow nature to do her work until Spring and see what happens - he then invited anyone who was interested to join in and do their own projects - we will be able to see how nature affects the pieces in different parts of the country - it intrigued me and so I did a twist on his idea - I started thinking about pages and words on pages - then went to a literal connection and found an old dictionary - tore out 36 pages and rolled them individually tying them with twine - then bound them in two piles of 18 each and bound each of them - I photographed the pages on top of the dictionary they were torn from -

I live in Southern California so our weather is much different from the rest of the country so it should be interesting to see what happens to my pages - I will put them on my small balcony outside my apartment - actually the balcony sits just outside my former dining area which I now use as my studio - I'll take photos in the daytime - I think I'll take photos periodically to chronicle the progress of the weathering of my pages - I did not add gesso or anything to my pages - anyone else interested in joining in? go to Seth's blog to see his pages - This should be fun! Thanks, Seth, for the invite.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Today over 1 million people braved the frigid weather in my hometown - Washington, D.C. - to see the historic inauguration of our 44th President of the United States. Never have I been prouder to have been born in our Nation's Capitol and to be an American. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've ever even thought about being proud to be an American. Not because I'm not, but it was just not something I ever thought about before this election. But today, as I watched with tears streaming down my face once again, as Barack Obama took the oath of office with his hand on Lincoln's bible on the steps of the capitol that were built by slaves, I am truly proud. As a child of the South with all of my family from NYC, I think it somehow resonates in a different way for me. I've shared on this blog in the past, my memories of seeing water fountains marked "colored" and "white" and balconies in movie theatres marked "colored only". I remember hearing Martin Luther King, Jr. giving his "I have a Dream" speech and for the first time realizing that change could actually happen. And now change has come to our country.

President Obama has challenged each of us, change must start with me....and you. I will take his challenge to heart. To begin with, I choose to be a participant of my world, my country, my community, not just an observer. And to do it as a kinder more inclusive person. I will share my creative talents with others...not keep them to myself. And I pledge to be of service to others whatever that looks like, whether formally designed or as things are presented to me on a daily basis. I am ecstatic beyond words today and feel lighter, hopeful and in awe. My heart is full and I feel joy! I have always believed that if I am not part of the solution then I am part of the problem. Today I choose to be part of the solution, even if I don't know what that looks like yet.

I challenge all of you in our community to stop and think what you pledge to do starting today. I look forward to hearing your commitments. What will you do? How will you do your part? How will you step up to the plate as we begin this new era in our country's extraordinary history? And I encourage each of you to pay it forward - challenge your friends and family, co-workers and students. It is up to us to make the change and turn things around. As creative people, we can literally change the world with our images. So what are you waiting for? This is our time, this is our chance, this is our world. This is our day!

(all photos from

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year ...and more!

Time has a way of rushing by - it's hard to believe that it's a new year - 2009 already! Why is it that when we were kids time seemed to move so slowly - waiting for that clock in the front of the classroom to strike 3 pm or waiting for your birthday or for your Dad to come home from work? And as adults, life seems to be on fast forward - never enough time to complete things or fit everything into our lives - deadlines seem to arrive almost instantly and vacations are over all too quickly - And the switch from time moving too slowly to time moving too quickly happens without fanfare and without notice until one day we wake up and we're in fast forward mode!

I realize that I haven't blogged in over a month - instead of sharing what was going on here I chose to disappear for a few weeks and deal with everything silently - now I realize after reading everyone's blogs that I probably should have worked it all out with all of you - but things are looking up so here's the mini-version to catch y'all up ....

My Mom at home

On November 15th my Mom's significant other - George H. passed away - they had been seeing each other for almost ten years - they were both 83 years young - and I have never seen my Mom happier - they lived in the same gated community in Daytona Beach, Florida and chose to live apart in their own homes - he had lost his wife a year or so before he and my Mom started seeing each other - my Mom knew his wife - they belonged to the Women's Club in their community together - for almost ten years George would drive over to my Mom's house at about 5 pm - My Mom would fix dinner - they'd eat and talk - and then watch TV or play cards or dominoes - then every evening about 10:15 pm - he'd kiss her goodnight and drive home - they loved to travel and they'd go on yearly cruises to the Caribbean - never got off the ship - and have a wonderful time together - the last trip they took together was last July - George could no longer fly so they had one of his daughters and her husband drive them back to his hometown in West Virginia so he could see it for the last time and my Mom could see where he grew up and see the places where all his stories originated - George had suffered from emphysema for many years - he had smoked for many years as a young man - and then they found a spot on his lung - Cancer - he chose not to have treatment - In September he was no longer able to walk and had to be on oxygen most of the time in order to breathe - my Mom stayed with him at his house from September until the end - She was there when Hospice visited and the doctor and the visiting nurses - she never left his side - and all of his children came to visit him before he passed - on the last day his two daughters visited and left for home - he napped for a bit - he could no longer speak in anything but a hoarse whisper - and called out for my mother - he held her hand and told her he loved her and then he closed his eyes and he was gone -

Ironically he died on what would have been my parents 66th wedding anniversary - my Dad passed away 26 years ago this January 29th - so once again my Mom is alone - and it is so sad on the one hand but when I think about it, they had almost ten years of happiness together - how many of us can say that - or have the opportunity to have two wonderful loves in their lifetime? I went home to be with my Mom and spent time with her as she made her transition to being alone again - it was difficult because each person handles their grief differently and my Mom's way is just being quiet - I tried to honor that while I was there - I let her talk when she needed to and not when she wanted to be quiet with her own thoughts -

I know the holidays were very difficult for Mom - she managed to get through them - my Mom is a very active person and I am happy that she is not sitting home but getting out some and her friends have been great to her as well as George's children -

I was not close to George - to be honest I had a bit of trouble accepting him at first - even though I wanted my Mom to be happy and not be lonely after my Dad but George was not the kind of guy I would have chosen for my Mom - he was ultra conservative - not Jewish (actually was a Southern Baptist and very active in his church) - told offensive jokes - was a bit rough around the edges - but on the other hand, he was most generous and very good father to his children and step- children - and the truth is it didn't matter what I thought - and I eventually came around to accept him because I saw how happy my Mom was and how good he was to her - and I was very sad to see him go -

So I tried to think what I could do 3,000 miles away from my Mom to help her through all this - I call her several times during the week - and I know that George always sent her a dozen red roses - so I sent her a dozen roses - 6 red from George and 6 white from me - and then I created a book for her all about George - (which I completely forgot to take photos of) - I know how pleased she was - it helped me complete my feelings past and present about George - thru my art - and helped my Mom through her grieving process -

My Mom and me at my 2nd niece's wedding in San Antonio

So here we are in 2009 - a year of change - I will write more later about my intentions and goals for the new year - Wishing everyone a year of peace, abundance, creativity, friendship, love and laughter! Happy New Year!