a Tiny description

a full time artist, stepmother, radio personality, and mom to an energetic Chug dog, tries to get through the days without committing a felonious act. My life is a rickety Zen circus.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

be careful what you wish for. just sayin

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

yesterday afternoon, i took a break and watched "Who Does She Think She Is?" which i think should be required viewing for any female artist ... and their partners. and somewhere in the middle of the documentary, tears began to slide down my cheeks. so many trial-and-error things to this new life...there is no handbook, or orientation day...only making it up & figuring it out as you go. I am lucky to have strong pioneer women in my circle of friends that i can call on when it all just seems overwhelming (daily!)...and so far have had the surprising support of my husband, who formerly only grudgingly admit i was an artist (he once sat next to a female artist on a plane who was returning from a trip to install her huge bronze sculpture in front of a city hall, and said his wife "likes to do artsy things - i think she's a scrapbooker." He meant assemblage.) as the months have continued on, i have felt less like an artist, and more like a businessperson. it's important to view this as a business - it's what i do for a living now. but i have been missing that blissful joy that bubbles up when i turn on the studio lights and smell the paint and glue, and see all the possibilities waiting for me. so yesterday, despite a list of things to do to get ready for this weekends art festival, i took a break. i walked out of the studio and into the woods. i shut off the computer - not just put it in sleep mode. i left diva dog snoring under my worktable, and took my own self alone for a walkabout. and felt renewed. and found a new sense of direction and rightness and back-on-trackness. i realized that i love doing specific pieces for specific people - whether it's jewelry or collage or assemblage. and realized that these festivals are not for me...although they are an excellent way to introduce myself to a larger audience, the nuts-and-bolts behind the scenes stuff? not so much. for instance, Friday i have to be onsite at 4:30am, unload a van and a car, move both vehicles, set up an EZ-Up tent (which I assure you is not so EZ up), set up my displays while Elizabeth sets hers up, then, sweating like a bull, start greeting customers and continue this till 6pm when we have to remove everything except the tent. rinse and repeat 2 more days. oh- i forgot - thursday night pack the van & car. my husband has been told he is required to be there with me at 4:30am to help set the tent up. not only do we need his muscles, but i think it's important that he see what is involved, so he realizes that i don't just sit in my pj's all day playing with jewelry stuff. he has a way of moving at his own pace when there is a time deadline, resulting in arguments and stress between us anytime we have to catch a plane or make it somewhere at a specific time. a while back i decided that i would take my own vehicle when possible, and watch from my window on the plane as he stands on the tarmac wondering how the plane could've left without him. but that's an issue for another day. and as usual - i'm off track. my point is that i need a hiatus from doing what i should do, and let my soul speak through the paints and matte mediums and papers and metal for a while. and as soon as i've completed my commitment to this festival, that is where you'll find me: working on some tasty custom orders for necklaces, then collaging my big behind off! i'm excited and energized by the thought, and can't wait to see what develops. wishing you a day of epiphanies!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

there's so much talk about "finding yourself," and so much effort and money expended on workshops and retreats and books and podcasts designed to help you do just that. we are a culture obsessed with individuality. that's not a bad thing...it's actually a great & exciting thing! but i think people often stress out too much trying to find their "unique-ness" ...their journey...their purpose. when oftentimes all that's needed is a quick gut check - "how does this make me feel?" whether it's an article of clothing or a friendship or a career path...how does it make you feel? does it resonate with you? does it feel natural? does it reflect the inner expression of yourself? that's the journey...following the gut. and that outward expression of the inner you is what will ripple out into the world, designing your journey. i had a long conversation with a friend the other night (our once or twice monthly phone date) and within all our talk, came the subject of how people relate to other people. i notice when i am distracted and not "in the moment" as i go about my errands, i am treated like "just the next customer" wherever I go. when i'm smiling and making eye contact with a clerk or passerby, and happy and laughing and wishing them a good day - wow. noticeable difference in our 60-second connection. when i was paralyzed, people would address the person i was with, rather than me - as in "does she want milk or coffee?" and when i was heavy, i was more invisible than ever. in my day-to-day, i keep my inner-surveillance going for any judgments about others based on appearance...it is the heart that i listen to...what does my gut say about them. have you ever met someone that you have an instant & visceral dislike of? like magnets facing the wrong way. your gut is usually trying to tell you something. as usual, i'm not sure where this ramble is headed, but it seemed important, for some reason, to write it. stopping and waiting and despairing about what your purpose is - a waste of time. start living, start molding the clay on the wheel and soon you will know. for so many years i wanted my career to be as an artist. but for those so many years, i also recognized that quitting my Big Girl job "for art" was a lie...i was using art as an excuse to heave-ho a job that was stressful. once i was able to put every part of my life in proper perspective, then i felt the inner release to go and do. i knew i'd have to work harder at being a professional artist than at any other job i've ever worked. i knew it would take 18-hour days, days a week, and working through the doubts and fears and grass-is-greener and blah blah blah. but i knew the time was right for me. and, with sweaty palms, i listened. and here i am. where that "here" is, well, it's still defining itself. and until i feel that definition, i will keep it small, and keep it real. so part of my point is that it's perfect and wonderful to live each day with a grin in your heart, knowing that your path & journey are before you - it's about the little details of the day.

Monday, July 25, 2011

the coolest! Kroma Crackle from a small 2-man company in canada. I can has? a sad turn of events...the babes we've been watching in the nest are gone. they were too young to fly, so it must have been a hungry cat or crow or hawk. usually the hawks will wait till their prey is out in the open though. i hate that part of nature. Delivered a special order necklace today...i love to see the look on people's faces when they open up a something i've created out of their handful of treasures. of course, it's also a little scary - what if they don't like it, etc. usually much conversation has gone on before i get the drill or resin out and make irreversible changes to their keepsakes. i feel like these last bunch o' posts have been downright boring...i'm boring myself, even. just all work for another few weeks. speaking of work...i went in to my former Big Girl job today to say hi and make a delivery. it was odd. right after i left, the place emptied out. not because they couldn't live without me, but more like they couldn't live with the new boss. which is too bad, because the company always had a nice family feel, even though there are a few thousand employees. the CEO used to stop by everyone's desk and chat all the time, and his parents would have a holiday party for the managers. the new boss doesn't fit. and she hasn't taken time to learn her job properly, from what i'm told, preferring to delegate her own work/reports to others. today, she made another employee escort me around. the director found out and rolled his eyes. i had been with the company since there were 3 people in my former department. if i was going to steal something, i had ample opportunity to do so during my time there. it was just her way of letting me know that i was an "outsider." what she doesn't understand is that i'm more of an insider than she is. it felt good to get the hugs and smiles and "please come back's." but i admit, i did get a stomach ache just walking in the door. so boring me - back to work for a few hours!

i know, right?

a busy busy time...working with some resin for a very special custom order....a peek here: and saturday's distraction was a Robin Rodeo...as the two babes thought they might try their wings a little too soon. Husband and I ran around trying to scoop up the squirmy hopping things while the crows gathered, tucking napkins under chins. Add to the fun, mama robin swooping at us and screeching loudly to leave her babies alone, thinking we were trying to harm them. then the crows turned their attention to mamma. so husband was put in charge of fledgling-wrangling, and i grabbed the garden hose and cooled off some crow interest. (note - i think the hose would work well on teenage boys coming to call on daughters). how is it these babes grow to this in less than a week?? we'll keep an eye on them from husband's office window from now on, rather than scare them out of the nest again. the heat wave has subsided somewhat, and it was nice to shut off the A/C and open the windows again. this morning was cool and refreshing at 5am, just the way i like it. Diva dog had a vet trip saturday (eye goop) and a man in the waiting room said it was hotter here than in florida the past week. Kitten...well, kitten has issues beyond the bulimia, i think. she's been in the tub for 4 days. no water. just sitting in the tub staring at the faucet and occasionally leaping up and tagging the wall. for 4 days. and nights. we'll hear ThUnK when she lands, her being of the fat cat species. i think she's seeing the light from the skylight reflecting on the faucet, but for cripes sake....FOUR DAYS? i should have that attention span...i'd be rich. Watched "Limitless" saturday, which was really good but went on forever. i wandered away near the last 20 minutes and missed the whole ending. OH! If you have Netflix...you HAVE to order "Who Does She Think She Is." This is a required watching. we saw a special screening at Squam that first year, and i have never forgotten it. just a-mazing. it's a documentary, and it is something you will never forget. it's about women artists. go now and watch. ok - i really have to get to work now...wishing you an incredible week with many fantastic surprises!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

energizer bunny

(P. Diddy's boat - photo by The Funkyman)(this picture will make sense in a few paragraphs) yes. i'm still at it. my days and nights are officially in transition. a 3-hour-ish nap and here i am again (or will be in a minute) back at the studio table. my studio is a mess. i watched a few minutes of that show "Hoarders" last night (last night? oy. sometime recently) and gasped as i recognized the clutter. well, it's not that bad, but i've got things everywhere - giant sterlite tubs with festival displays semi-packed, my 6' x 18' worktable covered in a collage piece i abandoned for the time being, my jewelry bench covered in bits of shiny & sparkly as I work to get beautiful necklaces created and sent to their new homes, and my desk a jumble of piles of papers...bills, fundraisers, art opportunities. i mean, i know where everything is, so i'm not a hoarder, right? oy. anyway, that got me all thought up to re-do my studio. which, in a startling moment of clarity, i realized would have to wait until October. or February. i dream of Ty Pennington coming in and designing a perfect studio, with actual organized cubbies or whatnot. problem is - i am too visual. i need to see everything out. oh well, he can work it out. and then we'll have coffee. so yes, in the midst of all this, i spied The August Break and decided to join in the fun. i'm not a huge online joiner, but this is low pressure - just take a picture every day in august. can't be that bad, right? and we are starting august off on a yachting thing, so there should be some good photo ops...the sunrise, breakfast, me losing breakfast, more sun, sails, lunch, me losing lunch...see, my husband's dream has always been to buy a big sailboat and basically live on it all summer. i get seasick just bobbing around. speed boats - not so bad. once anchored and drifting - not so good. i once got seasick in a kayak while i bobbed up & down in one place waiting for him to catch up. it was ugly. i was in shallow water, but the other problem about boats & I is that i don't like to go in the actual water, unless it's a swimming pool. nope. won't do it. fish and all manner of sea creatures slithering around me. shudder. so to spend a day out sailing would require either going below deck and showering to cool off, which is odd, or...going in the water. and once overheated, fuggetaboutit. so i'm doing this yacht/sailing thing for him, in hopes that he will realize how much work it is compared with how old & creaky he is, and get a nice vacation home instead. it's a 50/50 risk. we've spent many weekends going to check on potential boats, and they're all very nice, but they still float and bob. it's the bobbing that gets me...the slow, easy side-to-side. same thing in a helicopter if it starts circling endlessly in one direction looking for a bad guy who's on foot, and suddenly you feel that cold drop of sweat drip down your side, and a bead of moisture on your upper lip tells you it's about to get chaotic in your intestinal track. same thing. and i was transparently honest before we married, and he talked about this life on the water, and i told him i really think he should marry someone else, but no, he didn't. but i was honest. and thought, as all engaged women do, that he would change, or forget. ha. the joke's on me. so we'll see what August brings. why he wants a giant sailboat, who knows? a nice regular boat would be a bit better, so i'm hoping that all the sense i've been talking will sink in. well, maybe "sink" is a bad word choice, but you know what i mean. I'm still waiting for the heat to go away somewhat so diva can go on an actual mini-walk. she doesn't understand that just because it's cool inside does not mean it's cool outside, so shrieks and howls to go sit outside. once out there, she looks amazed and wants to come back in asap. this has been an all day pattern. since 6:30 a.m. oy. okay back to work. stay cool!
i've been up since 3:45, walked the dog, fed the cat & dog (who turned her nose up at *gasp* dog food), made pancakes (including a teeny heart-shaped one for the dog) (yeah, i know), poured resin, drank coffee, scheduled my day & re-scheduled my week, let the dog out again, cleaned up after bulimia cat, started a necklace, took a nap, read 4 whole pages of a book Sue sent me, showered (finally), let the dog out, made more coffee, checked resin for the umpteenth time, cut resin out of hair, and now here i am. feeling mighty productive for a 1000-degree day. am grateful for A/C and will worry about the electric bill another day. I'm pleased with the new designs coming out of my studio...they remind me of spring and farmer's markets and lemonade and candy...they make me smile, so sitting at my workbench for 18 hours isn't so bad! I figure if I can stand them for that long, someone else is certain to like them also! i'm working on a commission right now that involves making beads out of dried rose petals. the problem solving has got me energized, and I'm hoping the resin sets up well. i decided to try a new resin in a syringe-type pump, and it doesn't actually pump out as evenly as the makers said it would, so cross your fingers that i got the 50/50 ratio correct. i'll know in 6 more hours. this necklace is bittersweet...it's main feature is a dried sweetheart rose that was given to JC by her husband. He died in a car accident a week later. she wanted to have this somehow incorporated into a talisman necklace. i said yes, of course. These are exactly the things that get me up at 4am. memento necklaces, talisman necklaces...call them whatever you choose. but to be asked to make a piece of jewelry that is a reminder of a special event, or life changing moment...it's an awesome responsibility that i take very seriously, and am humbled by the trust given me. so many stories of the memory quilts i used to do, back in the day...baby clothes, husband's favorite work shirt or flannel shirt, varsity sports jerseys...each had a story, and as heart wrenching as it was to hear the story, i knew it had to be told, and i knew i could. not. screw. up. there was no fabric at Joanne's to replace a mis-cut. nothing would smell the same, or be worn in just the right spot. oddly, one of the happier quilts i've had to work on is still unfinished....many years after the shirts and skirts and pants being dropped off - my angel-friend Georgia's. and i don't know why this is...my guess is that it needs to say so much more than fabric and thread can be expected to say, and the design and redesign and redesign again will never meet my expectations of what i want it to do. (G just wants to be warm in the winter, at this point, i'm sure!) so - enough rambling & blathering...off to check resin, twist sterling, and find just the right vintage components and chain for a necklace!
Today: Record heat. Slight chance of a pop up storm in the afternoon. High near 100, with heat indicies in excess of 105. Wind: West 10-20 mph. Tonight: Hazy, warm and humid. Low in the low 70s. Wind: WNW 5-15 mph stay cool!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

a 2-fer!

I need your help. You've heard me mention Kindred Kingdoms Wildlife Rehabilitation Center before. It is the passion and lifeswork of Jean Soprano, and her husband Len. just them. and a volunteer or two that stop in a day or so per week. It is not a government sponsored or funded place...just 2 people who made a conscious decision to dedicate their lives to healing sick, wounded and otherwise abused wildlife, then releasing them back into their natural habitat. you will not see the work of their hands at a fair or traveling road show. and they do it all on donations and sometimes a small grant. those grants are drying up. So Macy's has stepped in...For $5 you can buy a shopping pass with discounts exclusive to passholders...good at any Macy's anywhere, and even online. the $5 goes to Kindred Kingdoms...100% of it. Beautiful, right? and very very much needed right now, as she is chock full loaded with over 10 raptors (eagles, kestrels, falcons, etc) that eat over $200 worth of food a week. then there are the bear cubs, and the squirrels and skunks, and even a tiny hummingbird with a hurt wing. she lovingly and expertly cares for each. Please - if you think you may need back-to-school clothes, or bedding or perfume or furniture - or you just want to help...contact me for a shopping pass. i thank you, Jean & Len thank you, the animals thank you! and i'll say a special prayer that skunks stay out of your yard!
ah ha! so this is how i spend my days! I met Carrie at Squam Art Workshops last year, and was impressed by her vibrancy...especially so, after learning more about the challenges she has faced the past few years. It's not my story to tell, but when life kicks you in the gut, it's good to know that you can get up swinging. Even though she won't be able to attend this year, she wanted a memento of her september at Squam, and sent me this picture of herself wearing her necklace. loved seeing it! and you've heard me rattle on about the experience of Squam so much here, that I'll save the gushing for mid-September when I come home. But it has been my pleasure and honor to create these talismans for the June tribe, and I thank them for their trust in me...it has been a unique (and a little nerve-wracking) experience to get an email with the request for a necklace "in green" and the rest is up to me. usually, these necklaces find their match at vendor shows and art festivals, after the purchaser sees them and selects the one that resonates with them. i wasn't able to attend the June session of Squam, but didn't want the Junies to be left out, so I threw the net out there and hoped for the best. and overall, the emails I've gotten back have been really delightful & wonderful & encouraging. Just one misstep, but that will be corrected asap. It's difficult to create a piece that represents such an awesome experience...it isn't just a piece of jewelry...it's a reminder of all that happened, and all the ripples that began inside. i have watched friends i met in 2008 grow in confidence and certainty and boldly going where they never thought they would...or could. this tribe of women have held each other up, and encouraged one another, and celebrated wildly with each others' success. they show up. they see and hear. they share their hearts and their inspiration and their secrets...whether those secrets are personal, or creative. there is a trust that it is a sacred space being created. and each person takes a bit of that sacred home with them, to nourish, and brings it back next year "see what has grown?" It was through a series of coincidences that i got there that first year, and a promise to myself that I would return every year, no matter what. this year, there are 12 of us sharing a cabin. 12 women...2 bathrooms. should be interesting! i am so looking forward to seeing them, and meeting new people who've read the blogs and descriptions in magazines, and have ventured out for themselves. for some, it is just another workshop trip, with no anxiety attached. for others, it is so far outside their comfort zone, they've probably canceled and re-upped several times in their mind already. i hope they stay determined and come. it's not at all intimidating once you set foot on the grounds...just peace...breathe in the cedar balsam air, listen to the lake shushh-ing up the shore, smell the woodsmoke from fireplaces in cozy cabins, watch as separate planets become one galaxy, and know this: you were meant to be there. back to work now...yesterday was a lost day, with hands in ice packs, motrin, and movies. today - we'll see! If you have a necklace request with me, please be patient as i convince these rusty gears to get turning again! wishing you a beautiful day with wonderful surprises!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

it's kind of interesting to me to listen to some younger friends grow up. not that they were immature, but just in a different place in their lives before...before kids, before marriages and divorces and mortgages and carpools and all that Big Girl Reality stuff that intrudes on the ability to be light...by "light" i mean being able to wake up when you choose (somewhat) and do what you feel when you want, either after a day job ends, or (should you be so blessed) taking a day off because you're the boss...but in the past few years, those little tethers i mentioned have begun to cling to these friends also...having to arrange budgets and childcare before attending a workshop, or even out to dinner with other friends...and there has been a sudden awakening within them that life does come with responsibilities sometimes. it's how you manage those responsibilities that will determine your "lightness" i suppose. i agree - it is very easy to hop on a plane or into your car and just go, when it is just yourself that you have to think about. but in my life, i've had dogs, cats, husbands, stepkids, and yes, a parent, that i had to plan around. and for the most part, was able. but the interesting thing is, now i'm at a point where i can pretty much pick up and go (after getting diva dog to grandma's) but they are the ones who now have children and houses and all manner of things to plan around. and this seems to be a big revelation to them, as i imagine it was for my parents when i was born, then my brother was born. i want to say to them, "you have not discovered a new reality - this is just life as many before you have lived, examine your parents, for example." but then again, it is a new reality for them...a new phase of their lives. the same people who once espoused a "leap for your dreams" mantra, now are a bit more cautious in advising. those who thought it a brilliant, new experience to gather and share deepest inner thoughts and feelings, now just want a babysitter & a nap. anywhere. and since this is a written commentary, and you can't hear my voice inflections, i will say (in print) that i am not mocking or denigrating in any way...not even a teensy bit. i smile because they are where i was many years ago. and i know they will carry the spark through the challenges of toddlers and teens and mortgages and Big Girl jobs that have nothing to do with their Inner Them but much to do with feeding those teens and toddlers and saving for college and helping out the husband who has supported this Lightness Lifestyle. i have confidence, as they grow even older, that they will recognize that women are not defined by size, as menopause takes the last of your size 4 clothes and adds a "1" in front of the tag, and facial hair abounds and things start to creak...i have confidence that they will suddenly realize that perhaps that "old woman" they tried to value but could find no common ground with - is now them. and that time and age has put a beautiful patina on them, but they are still holding the same spark inside. and i hope they think back, as i did, to all the "older women" i have known in my life, and hope that i respected them as they deserved - as a woman, plain and simple - not an "older woman," as if our inner SpiritFire depletes as we age. (and the secret is this: you recognize who sees you, and who Sees you. and the "see-ers" don't get the good stuff from you). Times are different now...technology is different now...i can log into facebook or text a friend or shoot an email out saying hello in 2 seconds flat...there are online communities for anything you want/need, and can have virtual mommy playdates at 2am if you want. so with all that at a person's fingertips, it will, indeed, be easier to navigate responsibilities that life calls upon us to master. and it will, indeed, be easier to keep that captured Self within. and thank goodness for that...they will soon be responsible for the whole world. i guess it was a softening of a friends attitude recently that got me thinking about all this. where before, she was calling constantly to do this or that Right Then. and most times i had to beg off...i needed time to arrange for a sitter or check schedules to see who needed a ride when & where. and this, to her, was proof that i was not living in my True Spiritual Self - that if i felt a calling to go to the lake, i should just up & go. and we had many a conversation about this (is the nicest way i can put it) and many a month of frustrated silence between us. now she is seeing what my reality was then, and it is a dawning for her. the interesting part is that she is convinced she invented the whole idea of keeping her Self Identity as she performs her day. i smile. and am proud of her for moving somewhat seamlessly between junctions of her life. and yes, i admit, a teensy tiny part of me is waiting for the day when she is in the grocery store with a small child past her naptime who is shrieking about wanting Cocoa Puffs. i think that is the defining moment when we all realize our mothers were once regular women who happen to have kids, and maybe they had dreams and passions and blissful thoughts, but pushed it all aside to raise us. and i am hoping also that my friend doesn't push her dreams and passions aside...that she finds community...that she realizes that she can have most of it, even if it's not all of it...and that a good nap helps a real lot.

Monday, July 18, 2011

ok. 8 hours later, computer fixed. it only took 1 tech on the phone who cared about doing her job to the fullest. i lucked out, after a dizzying circle of finger pointing...the server people saying it was the computer people saying it was the computer manufacturer...and spending 3 hours saturday night and 5 hours sunday morning on the phone, reconfiguring things to the point where I literally had no email program...none...on my computer or phone, then the tech giving a verbal shrug and sending me on my way...many many times repeated...after finally connecting with just the right person, she had things all squared away in 20 minutes. being Amish is kind of eye-opening. so what did i do with all this low-tech imposed time with the weather in the high 90's and humidity to match?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

all this amish talk...my email is kaput for now...the server won't recognize my login and just endlessly asks me to log in...this has affected my mobile email too. i am email amish. if you need to reach me, kick it old school....call. i am furious. if you know how to fix this, call. or post something here. it all went crazy as i was trying to add a 2nd email account.

Friday, July 15, 2011

wait - what's today??

Holy moly...working in a bubble as I do, it's entirely possible to lose track of the date...i mean, i know the day(grocery day, laundry day, post office day, etc) but the number date is not usually as important unless it's Car Payment Day, or a hard deadline day. so imagine my surprise when i realized i had an Entire Extra Week to prepare for a festival! an entire week. that's like winning the calendar lottery! I'm knee deep in lovely lovely Squam necklaces, with just a handful left to create and send to their forever homes, and also in the middle of a total studio re-do, oh - and getting ready for my biggest 3-day festival on the 29th. so extra time is incredible! not so "extra" though once i realized it...it got penciled and slotted in pretty full, pretty quickly. and that's with Extreme Organization tactics. and i also corralled and organized my electronic time even more after reading this. (thanks for sharing, my queen!) this may shock you, but there was a time within my lifetime, where people had no cell phones. Yes! It's true! there was no cable tv, and AND - no remote control for the TV. There was nothing like a home computer, or the internet (YES it's for real)...long distance phone calls cost big money, and you could have the operator call you back and tell you how much the call just cost. there was 1 phone company, Ma Bell, and you put real coins (5 or 10 cents) into a phone on the corner of a street, and dialed your number...and *gasp* there were no touchtones! just an actual dial...a round thing with holes in it, and a stopper bar that ...well, google it. yes all of this is true. so you can see, coming from the dark ages, it is easy for me to go Amish if need be. if i want to know the weather, i look outside. if the birds have stopped singing, and it's getting darker, then it's either about to thunderstorm, or it's night. if i want to contact someone, I have the capability (being old school, and all) of writing an actual letter. with paper and a pen. it just cracks me up to remember a few years ago, when the steppers faced severe punishment for a large infraction, and that penalty: no cell phones for a week. the weeping and fussing. never mind that the infraction (in my day) would have included at least an ass-whooping and cold, hard, scary looks from both parents. i honestly don't think i would have crossed the boundary they did. well i KNOW i didn't. didn't even occur to us to have an underage drinking party with 55 of our closest friends while the parents were out of town, in florida, both trying to quit smoking at the same time, weeping copiously in fine restaurants as the withdrawl took place and the itch to smoke could possibly only be relieved by an act of homicide. never would have occurred to me to have that party. but that's off track and behind us all now. so the point is, i am uber-productive when there is no electronic device beeping and ringing and demanding my attention...there is nothing - i mean nothing - that scintillating that it needs to be tweeted every 10 minutes. there is rarely anything so urgent that it needs to be posted on facebook every 20 minutes. emails are shot out into space with little thought. there's something about having to find paper & pen & envelope & stamp that makes you consider each word. and you still have a chance to take it all back by crumpling the paper and throwing it out. early on in my marriage, it was a rocky rocky road. i admit i sent some absolutely scathing emails to my husband. absolutely scathing. because to talk to him would have been to incendiary. he never twitched an eyelash, and that fueled my anger. till i calmed down, and we began a 10 year conversation, in which i asked (at one point) why he never responded to the emails. he replied that he never got them, and then we realized that when he set up his email account, he checked the wrong box, and ANYONE who had an email ending in "verizon.net" was blocked. oh praise the email gods. they were bitter words to have to take back, and i was truly truly lucky they had dissolved in space. so the point of this ramble? oy. who knows. just make it a thoughtful, and productive day!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

today I am thankful for 2 words: YES POSSIBILITIES also for the unlimited, unbridled joy & relief of being on track. can i tell you? YOU are so special & unique in all the world...and know, like I have re-learned this week, that your journey is not without apparent twists and bumps and some miserable moments. and i say "journey" as a person follows an outline of: realize there's a path/purpose for you, then try to find the start of the trail, then follow it to the destination, and BINGO! there's your purpose! nope. someone far wiser than I said that "the journey is part of the destination." so true. the nasties that come to trample on your zen moments where you swear you feel like Mary Tyler Moore throwing her beret in the air and you own the whole wide world? those crappy buzz-kill moments are part of the journey? yeah. those bliss-buster moments are part of the journey. will they make you stronger for an even bigger challenge/reward ahead? hopefully. i don't know your purpose/path, so i can't say. for me, it's only when the bigger challenge comes that i realize, ah ha! that happened before, so that this could happen now and not crush me. and learn from both experiences. sometimes i learn to not wince and whine and twist away from a challenging time, knowing it is there to make me stronger. honestly? sometimes i just wince and whine. twisting away is impossible though. whatever the "it" is, will still be there waiting, it seems, like a bad blind date you forgot to cancel, ringing the doorbell, wearing his best polyester suit. it sounds strong and favorable to say that i recognize these challenges for what they are, and welcome them for what they will teach me. truth? i really would prefer fewer ripples and high tides that engulf me and absolute tsunamis of the soul, where no amount of reasoning or meditation or mindfulness or puppy love & tea can save my balance. those moments where everything is just shit. and we all have them. i guess the trick is knowing that you hold on, and the water will recede...that the coast guard will come in some form, if need be, and you will survive. and honestly, life would be emptier and less colorful. the best view is from the top of the mountain. getting to the top is hard work. trust me - i've hiked the Adirondacks. i tend to overpromise and overbook, not wanting to disappoint someone who wants a special necklace, or print, or what-have-you. i tend to want to enjoy everything i can that life has to offer, that i want to do. but i can't. and time is what it is...there are only enough hours in a day to do what you can. i have learned to balance out time in the studio with time relaxing. an imbalance creates a space where neither time is productive. I found myself at Walmart last night at 11pm buying office supplies. i had gotten up at 4am and started in the studio. but that's how i'm wired. i am super excited about a design i'm working on and couldn't stop. i did pause my day to take a 20 minute nap around 3pm, and did take 2 walks through the woods with diva. and some days are just doomed from the start, and meant only for staying in bed watching endless movies and being a princess. lovin' me those days, too! i'm so totally off whatever track i started off on, but you're used to that with me, so i offer no apologies or recriminations if you actually left a while ago to check out a better blog. but, this is what it is. i've been up since 5am and worked for a few hours. am sitting at my desk, with a cat on the back of my chair "combing" my hair, and diva dog sleeping under my printer table to the right side of me. there's a (thankfully) cool breeze coming in my studio windows, and my iPod is set on random (making for an odd sensibility when Mary J Blige follows sanskrit kirtan!) the sun is just rising high enough to dapple my curtains and cast a shadow or two on my mannequin forms to my left. time for a peanut butter and banana sandwich, some fresh coffee, and more work! say YES today to all the possibilities, those known and those yet to come. and watch your heart fill.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

as you may have guessed, i've been at war with myself the past week. it's been ugly. and i won't bore you with the details, mostly because there is no possible way i could end up explaining the things that have been twirling through my head and heart like a majorette on crack and Red Bull. my usual way to deal with the freak outs is to talk it out. usually hearing my own voice saying out loud what is hiding in the dusty corners is enough to snap me back on track and realize it just isn't that big a deal. thank you Georgia. so tonight, after a heartfelt conversation with the lovely Elizabeth, by chance i found this video. i couldn't even tell you now how i found it. but you just have to watch it. it's wow amazing. so go watch.

you will survive from Dyana Valentine on Vimeo.

drinking the Kool Aid

so i was advised that I should be on Facebook...a good way to connect with customers and friends and announce events and shows...and to be honest, it sounded good. so i did it...i drank the kool aid. and managed to get my name MY OWN NAME on there wrong and suddenly had 1 billion messages, posts, pokes, friend requests or whatever, and people i judged as sane who felt it was important that all my other friends know their baby just filled his diaper. i mean, do i need this information?? there is zero chance i'll be helping with that task, and for real - why??? was there a contest i missed? sigh. but i am there and will test it out for a week. maybe a day. it's a full time job, and i already have 2 of those! speaking of which....i'm off to the studio now. more later!

Monday, July 11, 2011

building like storm clouds all afternoon yesterday - not some-light-rain-expected, but anvil heads and thunderheads and all manner of tumultuous grumblings coming in from the side where the periphery is blurred, and quite unexpected...having enjoyed the solace of a kayak wandering in the early morning, this was, by comparison, even sneakier...this eruption, of sorts...this vertigo that took my sensibilities and shook them by the ankles, trying to release a coin from a secret pocket. the too-busyness of the past few weeks grabbed me and set my feet walking through the woods for a pair of hours, as i struggled with what the tempest was about. again the journey includes some steep hills and treacherous pathways, all to be navigated in order to reach the destination...or turn back and never see. a long listen to some Nebraskan sensibility and snap! there it was...the torment, the issue, the answer. and once the light shone on it, not so impressive after all...a sort of pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-screen trickster, it was. and today, reinvigorated, a website almost complete, a husband safely on a plane, a fur baby walked, a new design...all before 9am. not bad for a morning's work, eh?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

i'd love to show you the pictures of this incredible weekend, but, alas, blogger is jealous and not allowing me to upload. in fact, blogger has been downright snarky the past week, and i've been having issues just trying to post, period. so bear with me. suffice it to say...this has been a wonderful weekend...we celebrated our anniversary on friday (actual date was the 7th) with dinner at Rosalee's....awesome. saturday morning we went to the Lavender festival, which was way more fun for me than husband, but stopped at the kayak shop on the way home and FINALLY found a roof mount for husband's company car. it's been 2 years since we've been able to get the yaks out, as there were no car rack systems available for his make/model that didn't require drilling and permanent installation. we got them up on the roof asap, and this morning early, we were on the river! i'd forgotten how centering and peaceful it is to drift along...and how hard it is to paddle against the current! but it was wonderful wonderful. i followed up with a solo walk to my backyard lake, with 3 crows following. i'll post pictures as soon as i can trick blogger. (later: ah ha...trickery worked!) wishing you a peaceful day...

Friday, July 08, 2011

power. where do we get it? who do we give it up to? when do we feel most powerful? least powerful? i'm not talking about "power" in the Snidely Whiplash way...i guess i mean more of an "empowerment" idea. we are all born with the empowerment we need for our own personal journey. i believe that with all my heart. and those times when you feel so In The Flow? that's when you know you're on the right track. so often we give up our power to others...let them take from us...let their words or actions convince us we are anything other than the cape-wearing, love-glowing children of the Divine that we are. we get caught up in all the meaningless details. a favorite exercise of mine is to sit quietly and expand my view...if i have something niggling at me, i concentrate on it and try to feel every last atom of fury or confusion or hurt it may be causing...really feel it, and let it grow for a minute...then take my view back a step...how will this effect me tomorrow? then another step...in a week, will this seem just as important? then again...in a year, if i look back at this, will it be that much of a game-changer? till finally ...if i had a phone conversation with someone who just lost their home to fire, or a child to disease, or is starving in another country (or this one), would this issue that's creating all sorts of horror inside, this issue that has stopped my day to capture my attention...would this issue be a blip on the radar? would i be embarrassed by it, in the face of all that is truly disappointing & bad in the world? if the answer is "no, it isn't that important after all," then i take some breaths, and think of some random act of kindness to do...usually the planning alone will chase the nasty out. that's not to say that i will allow someone to take a pass on bad behavior, but i just won't let it fester and spoil in me. and addressing the matter from a better place, always produces better results. on occasion, we give up our power...that's what leaving radio & working a "normal" job felt like. it was the Big Girl thing to do. and there i languished for a number of years, still craving the fun of doing a morning radio show, but too tired of getting up at 2am and shoveling the driveway and walking the dog and drinking gallons of coffee in order to get to the studio and prep for the show and be in bed when most people are having an afternoon coffee break. and honestly, wanting neither. i know that art is where i belong. i am learning Trust now, and it is just the hardest lesson for me...i'd rather do something myself and bollocks it up, rather than hope that someone else comes through - even if that Someone is God. He and I have a strange relationship...me, a born-again Jewish Buddhist ordained minister from the Church of Universal Light. try fitting that on your passport. i have my own beliefs that don't fit through a particular worship house door, no matter how wide they throw open the welcome. but i do believe strongly in God, and in Jesus, which made my Sunday School teacher have multiple conferences with my parents before i was allowed to stay home and watch cartoons on sunday. and i do pray. not like in high school, in that panic-moment bargaining prayer. but i'm not ashamed to say this, even though believing in God is not as cool as some other beliefs, and people are always afraid they're about to be judged or thumped with a Bible. no, not that kind of born-again. so as usual I'm off-track. but i guess wherever you feel you get empowerment from, hold it. nourish it. don't use it to kabong someone in the heart with it...know it is your gift to help you on your journey...in your unique purpose for being here...the place in the puzzle where you fit. and when you find that spot, that inkling, that blast of empowerment...move with it...we need you...

Thursday, July 07, 2011

today is my 10th wedding anniversary...ten. hard for me to wrap my head around that one...it was a blink of an eye. and a testament to endurance for 2 people! we married, all sharp edges and opinions...all hopes and ideas about how things should be...and most expectations fell by the wayside so many years ago...and the frictions slowly slowly ground down the sharp edges, filing them smooth...2 hardheads... looking for that curve to fit against and find safe harbor in...and looking back, maybe we accomplished just that, and maybe now we can accomplish so much more...but i do know it's much better without the jagged edges....now - off to celebrate! oh wait - work day today. more new good stuff later......

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

ooo ooo that smell

one of the first rules in a studio is: if you can smell it, wear a respirator. and even if you can't actually smell it, but can't pronounce the ingredients and think you should wear a respirator....wear a respirator. just do. and clear the pets out of the room too, unless you have teeny respirators for them. why am i so obsessed with respirators today? maybe because my fume box was buried under some other stuff, and i thought, "ach - i just have a few little things to do," and the next thing i knew...Woodstock! so the garden got some attention while i cleared the marbles in my head. i don't usually use toxic chemicals, or anything that would be that corrosive to a person's state of mind, but sometimes there is nothing else, and i haven't had time to invent this 1 product's replacement. I'm reading a book called "Haiku Mind." it is like a meal. love. my bud Sue from Squam mailed me a huge box of books she was done with, and i've been trying to get through them and get my work done. okay - be honest - am i the only one who has to go into the bathroom and lock the door in order to get some uninterrupted time with a book? i visualize myself sitting, no - lounging - on the windowseat with some mint tea, and a good book...the birds at the feeder outside stop by and sew me a new dress, the chimney gets cleaned...all that, right? we don't have a window seat, but we do have a cat that thinks it's a dog, and a dog that thinks it's a cat, and both have to have me in plain view or they panic. even with the locked door, the clawless cat/dog stands on her hind legs pawing at the door, i don't know, maybe trying to wear a hole in it? then diva the dog/cat will go to the furthest point in the house, tip her little coyote head back and howl for all she's worth. the neighbors must think i abuse her. so there is no peace, per se. i've learned to ignore. which is why i decided early on that i am not good "mom" material, and just decided on dogs. not sure how good a stepmother i am, but i try. it has it's moments. so the Love Canal in my studio has cleared...back to work. remember - respirator respirator respirator...Peace out, man

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

there are days and there are Days. today is either one of them. :) i have always treated Time with great respect, and thought of it as a "thing" almost...think about it...all the ways we describe Time - wasted time, time flies, down time, etc etc. and i try to balance my time between volumes of work and "me" time. a visit to a specialist today put a whole new perspective on using time wisely & well. She is a lovely woman from Egypt, with her words spiced with rolling R's and slight inflections from her distant homeland. I adore her. we met before. today's visit was prompted by some bloodwork from February that my General Doctor tsk tsked at, and said "no wonder." so we are now watching & waiting to see what happens next. Dr. Abdulky sees the beginnings of RA. she wants xrays now, and follow ups in 6 weeks, when she thinks she may begin drug therapy. i say no. but will reserve my arguments till the time they should become necessary. The test is known for false positives, so i will continue on as before, but not put off any spark or inspiration that needs to find canvas or rusty metal or sterling silver for it's own voice. and that is pretty freeing, actually. the bloodwork today and driving across town for appointments and xrays and all that yuk just wiped me out, and i spent the late afternoon with my pillow and dreams. now - time for a walk with diva, and my secret pleasure - watching Deadliest Catch. shh- don't tell! how's that for hillbilly?

Monday, July 04, 2011

so here we are on the day that celebrates freedom (and mattress/box spring combinations at 50% off) and here, right here in line at the grocery store with 200 other crazed people who had no particular holiday plans and decided to grocery shop...there. That's where my snarky foul attitude of today caught up with me and my head, i tell you, almost blew off. if you were near me in line, you never would have known, because of course i kept that smile on my face while the sweat ran down my scalp and soaked the nape of my neck, and a puddle of sweat and ill-will and nasty pooled in my bra like the tide testing the levee and i thought for sure This Was It right here in the grocery store is where i finally blow my cool and why couldn't it be Tiffany's or at least Saks? so i sucked in some air and gently blew it out, telling my head that it better not talk to the mouth, because if one cell in this body listens to the nasty attitude, then there would certainly be hell to pay. so i sidetracked the brain by asking it what it was so upset about all day? just what could bring on a full-blown tantrum-like attitude at this late stage of life and with all the blessed goodness happening every day and the fact that i had predetermined that i would use the husband's debit card for groceries...just what could possibly be the problem? and as i mulled that, i realized just how blessed i was...you know how a person casually says "count your blessings" (usually after something bad happens and they have something to top that story) well that's exactly what i had to do in the same way a person would count sheep to get some sleep...and i looked at the cashier who was perhaps the slowest cashier in all grocery history, and i saw her...in a flash i saw her...she was an older woman (even older than me!) and here she was on the 4th of July standing on her feet at the hottest register by the door where the warm tar smells came in with every customer and she was just doing what she could do to earn some money and had probably been at it for many hours without a break and the screaming kids and nasty people and the coupon-clipping fanatics all conspiring against her mental stability and she was smiling and thanking people for shopping there as if it was her store...and i was next in line with some tempest inside me ready to scream I Will Buy Your Freaking Groceries For Life If You Just Put Those Freaking Coupons Away And Be Gone Step Off Already. and i realized that i had best shove this nasty sweat-inducing moment back to wherever it came from and start acting like the so-called enlightened person i believed myself to be. and something wonderful happened. in the moment where i saw her, she looked up at me and smiled so very sweetly and truly, and said Thank You For Your Patience. thank me? for my patience? how in the world did she feel that i needed a pat on the head for letting her do her job and make each customer feel special as they juggled coupons and crying children and benefit cards and their life in general and wondered what they may have to put back because even with all that preparation there wasn't enough money. and she was thanking me for being patient while all that was going on. and i felt ashamed and sad, but also glad that i stopped the irrational soundtrack of hot flash before it took hold of my Mood In General. and in line in front of me, the Cheez Doodles did not make the cut, but everything else seemed to, and now it was my turn to return the favor to this woman on her feet for so many hours and give her my truest smile and thank her for working today so that i could grab my groceries. her name was Lydia.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

i've been asked to give a workshop. and a presentation about being a fulltime artist. two separate opportunities, yet one will likely feed the other. as i worked yesterday, i thought about what i might say. (and if you know me, then you know i tend to go long). i've never been one to kid myself, or candy-coat when people ask. i don't use this blog as an advertisement for the work of my hands, although i will update on new & exciting things simply because it's my voice. i'm not a journaler, so this space is where i dump my day...good & bad...precious and not-so-proud of moments. it's where i connect & work things out, and stay in touch with you. and don't worry about punctuation & grammar. so to answer a slew of email questions i've gotten, and also to try to gel my thoughts for the presentation, here is what i think: being a fulltime artist is not for the faint-of-heart. it is not for risk-takers. it is a business with no guarantee of financial success, and requires complete updating & remaking on a monthly basis. it is a business, first and foremost, if it is your sole income. i have been blessed with a safety net of husband's income, but his patience would run thin if he didn't see how much effort i put into it...with or without financial reward. there is a lot of paperwork and details that the taxman wants, silly him! there are emails to return and orders to keep on track with, and oh yes - creativity and soul to mine like gold nuggets. anyone can buy anything from anywhere these days...why should they buy from you? i've heard artists talk about "product," as in "I moved a lot of product at that show." they day i think about my work as "product" is the day I rinse out my brushes, and douse my soldering torch for good. despite the high volume of pieces i need to make for a festival, each one is designed by me and is unique from every other one. product. snort. see? i'm already windy & off-track. okay... first the nuts & bolts, then the sweet stuff: you will get up earlier than you imagined...you will work a minimum of 12 hours a day, and often weekends. and holidays. you will work through times when you are creatively constipated, because you have to - someone is waiting for a piece they've ordered, or there's a show in 2 weeks and you need 3 more pieces to hang...someone copied you and now all you can think about is how dare they...despite what you perceive should be a religious experience every time you enter your studio, you begin to notice that you are "going to work" but in your bathrobe...friends, relatives, stepchildren and sometimes husbands will ask for favors/errands/free artwork because you are home and "have time" / "want to help you get your name out there." They will stop by your studio to chat uninvited, and usually when you're up to your eyeballs in alligators, trying to get something finished by a deadline. They will expect free art and discounts. you will worry endlessly if you are good enough...you will worry endlessly if you deserve this opportunity...you will question everything, and suddenly that desk in the cube farm will start to look pretty good...you will realize you need materials but hadn't budgeted for it because you forgot to figure in how much all the one-time setup stuff costs...your loved ones (furbabes included) will try to tempt you away from your studio with kayaking and daytrips and all manner of sparkly things, and you will feel guilty saying "i have to finish this." your neighbors will look at you with the same eyes that used to be reserved for stay-at-home moms (before we all became them and realized how hard it was)...only you have no children to carpool, so you are more like the nutty neighbor who gets the mail in her bathrobe. and then watch her melt down when her order from a supplier isn't there. now the sweet stuff... yes, you get up at dark o'clock every day, but it's quiet and peaceful and the world is yours...you imagine who will be wearing a piece of jewelry you create, and try to send them a love letter with your work...you are free to take a "walkie" break with your diva dog whenever you want, and if it's a day of thunder, you can hug her and comfort her...yes, the risks are all yours, but so are the rewards - to hear back from someone that they love the piece you made for them, well, that beats all...you get to meet interesting people at festivals and galleries, and talk about art and process and all manner of soul-enriching conversation...your studio is your sanctuary....when things are going well, it is truly an amazing feeling...when they aren't, the frustration is enough to make you put on those pantyhose and heels and go back to the cube. essentially, you have to have a deep passion for the work - and it is work. hard work. but if you feel it is what you were born to do, you simply must. you must. or you must find a way to be deeply & truly satisfied with whatever configuration you can make to let that passion express itself. without that outlet, you will be miserable, and that will creep into every aspect of your life. no matter how good of an artist you are, or how passionate about art you are, if you have a low tolerance for risk, you may not want to chuck the day job. i grew up with a father who worked on commissions. my husband works on commission. i am used to fluctuations in salary, and months when it's a little too close to the edge, or even just short of safe. i understand that a big sale today doesn't mean it will be something to count on...that sale may be the only income you see for a month or two months. 12 years ago i had a plan...and that plan was structured so that i could work as a full time artist without needing to worry about income. Then i met & married my husband, and his children, and the plan vaporized as we blended needs and wants and other plans. this year, as i sat at my desk in the cube farm of my Big Girl Job, i realized that it was time for me to realize that plan. and i walked away from the assurance of a steady paycheck, and into the hardest job i've ever loved, truly loved. i am more my authentic self than ever before, and that deep gratitude & joy has transformed my household and my marriage. my husband has dreams also. he wants a boat. always has. and i know he will own one someday. he will make the choices he needs to in order to make that happen. but i need to keep on the path of what i know to be true - that my purpose is to create art. why that is, I don't know. but i know it to be true. so as you can see, the nuts & bolts portion is the realistic part of being a full time artist, and by no means is it an all-inclusive list. the trick is to have more gratitude and appreciation for the sweet stuff. now, on a Sunday morning of a holiday weekend, i'm off to work!

Friday, July 01, 2011

a 2-fer post!

not the best pictures but just taking a quick break to rest my wrists and back...i've been hands-deep in yummy, creamy Blue Opal from India (which is really a very light greenish), and a stunning Aquamarine from Nairobi. I love that I can hand pick these stones! While I work, I think about where they came from, and all the hands that held them, and here they are on my worktable...blows me away. yesterday was just incredible...did i mention that in the past few posts?? aside from meeting Shawn, I came home with a tote bag filled with sparkly amethyst, fresh & fun glass squares with millefiori flowers, incredible topaz, some really really cool turquoise that i can't wait to pair up with some wooden beads and also some sparkly Swarovski crystals. i tended to go for a lot more brighter colors than i normally thought i would, but in the same tonal range. as my friend Gail always says - all colors go with all colors, so i guess it will hard to decide which to pick for the next piece! it's a beautiful day...warm & sunny, with a gentle breeze. perfect to kayak. diva wore out her welcome at grandma's wednesday night, though, when she wouldn't let grampa into bed. the little gremlin. so, it will be a day around the studio, and husband shampooing carpets. i suspect this month will go quickly, and i have a ton to do before the end of the month...so break is over! Have a beautiful day!
ok, let me back up...the art scene here is, well, apathetic. there are few venues, but they are strong (one main gallery being my fave Szozda). the apathy is not reserved for art - it is a general feel of the city. "the city that could, but just couldn't." this is not a rant about art or buyers or art-lovers...this is a fabulously uplifting post - wait for it. for every enthusiastic "HEY LET'S...." there are a hundred snipers waiting to shoot down the idea. there is a distinctly eeyore attitude that prevails. Yesterday, I drove to a nearby city, Rochester NY, to meet with a gallery owner, Shawn Dunwoody. we had been emailing back & forth about a show. I'm not a prima dona artist by any means, but need all the details discussed and nailed down before I commit...insurance, dates, commissions, etc. So that's what this meeting was to be. Holy Codfish on a cracker! This guy is ON FIRE! just walking the street of his neighborhood, listening to him talk about how it went from a "shady" part of town to the vibrant arts area that it now is....it was inspiring just to breathe the life in the area, and i wished for my studio Right Then! his passion, absolute passion, is exploding from him. The article in the link above calls him a "tireless advocate for the arts," and that is an apt description. Before I even unloaded a single piece of art to show him, he wanted to take me on a walking tour of the neighborhood. he was as proud of it as he was of his kids. People hanging out in front of their houses making music...galleries painting up walls for new shows...cafes...antique shops...and everyone with the necessary YES WE CAN attitude to make it happen. and my camera was where? oh, right...at home. picture an old phone booth (yes - booth - remember them?) painted red, and where it should say "phone" at the top, it says "poetry." and people can go into the booth right there by the sidewalk and write a poem inside. sculptures everywhere...benches that look like hands...brick sidewalks with a braided design...everything clean scrubbed and prideful. but this Shawn - this Force...he is into everything and knows everyone...and his vision is that of a much older person. He will most certainly keep things moving - and just try to keep up with him. Gentle & patient, with depth & wisdom...and electricity for blood...i swear i was ready to cross the street and rent an apartment just to be a part of all that is happening. the city has a whole different vibe to it than mine. it feels more Yes than No. i need to go back with my camera, because words do not adequately describe, and i wonder if it's possible to capture magic on pixels. If you have the opportunity to be in Rochester NY, look Shawn up and see if i'm not under-describing. I wish him stamina for the journey, and patience for those who can't see his vision. May his dreams never go unrealized. the world needs more Shawns, and far fewer Eeyores.