Monday, January 22, 2007

how did we survive before we were plugged in?

I often find myself wondering that........what on earth would I do without my laptop, my cellphone, my ipod, my digital camera? Well, we did exist before all these things, believe it or not--and we managed to thrive in a world where one actually hand wrote letters, where people couldn't call me at any time of day or night no matter where I was, where I would listen to music on a larger format than what fits in my pocket, where I actually developed film.
My aunt has a cabin in the mountains in California--when she goes there--she really goes away from everything. She turns her cell phone off, and the only thing calling her is nature. I wonder if I'd be able to unplug myself like that--or am I so attached to my email, my instant messages, my digital music, my gotta have it right now news, that the silence of nature would bore me? I hope not. I've always considered myself a nature girl---my best friend even says I'm "granola"---I hope my granola doesn't have to have a megabite.

That all being said, I have a challenge today: WRITE a letter.....a mean with a pen and paper--and a stamp! (you know that man that delivers that junk to your door every day, he'll actually deliver real mail too!) Instead of emailing someone your hellos and happenings today--tell them with ink, and remind them what your handwriting looks like--you might even remind yourself!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Martin Luther King Day

“If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.

I took that quote from my Franklin Covey planner today, I can’t claim to have known these words by heart….of course I know some and many of his words, as do most Americans, or as should most Americans, but these words seemed fitting as any, so I stuck with them…..if you haven’t found something worth dying for yet, I hope you soon do, otherwise life is hardly worth living.

Martin Luther King day is a special day….I’m sure people would argue with me for ranking the importance of national holidays, but for me, I certainly put this towards the top. It represents what I feel America should stand for—equality in the pursuit of the American Dream.

I grew up on the south side of Chicago, and attended an arts magnet school on south State Street. I was one of only 2 white kids in my entire kindergarten class; the rest being made of Hispanic and black kids—and I loved it……….every waking moment of it…I loved double dutch in the playground, I loved my little crush on Jermaine, but most I loved my friends and that we all belonged together and shared the talent and intelligence to be at such a school, and it had nothing to do with the color of our skin, how much our parents made, or which side of town we came from.

When the teachers were on strike for 3 weeks I attended class at the catholic school my mother taught at, St. Solomea. The children in her class held a beautiful tan in mid winter and loved that I could roll my r’s as well as them and swear at the nuns under my breath in Spanish.

I found myself at St. Thomas the Apostle in Hyde Park in first grade, and my best friend was the most beautiful girl I’d ever met. Rebecca was a third grader with coffee black, satiny smooth skin. She towered over me, and I thought she was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen. Her voice was rich and I hung on her every word. I remember our school held our very own presidential election. Rebecca and I both voted for Mondale, and wrote in Michael Jackson for Vice President. (yes, I second guess my write in now)

By forth grade (and a whole-nother blog topic) I had gone to live with my father in the suburbs…………… case you weren’t aware, white people live in the suburbs, lots of them. I’d never seen so many white people….and seen so much bad dancing, (but I digress). I was given a “cultural badge” in girl scouts by teaching the troop to double dutch. No, I’m not kidding.

I love looking back on my early school years, when I’d beg my mother to braid my hair like Mercede’s, in perfect sections, when I’d play hooky from brownies to accompany her to night school and stop at brown’s chicken on the way for a piece of fried chicken and a biscuit. I did in so many ways have a horrible and troubled childhood, but to her credit, I was amerced in so many cultures and community activities that created treasured memories and valuable lessons. I love the sounds of culture and urban beats, the smells of family style dinners in ethnic neighborhoods. I love to dance, to sing, to embrace every ounce of life.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Day, Celebrate what he was willing to die for………celebrate that although we have progress still to make, we have come a long way and live in a nation of many cultures and a thriving spirit of success and love. Celebrate Diversity.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

another day of vacation

I'll hate to leave my happy little vacation come saturday--I'm really enjoying the beach and pool, the warm weather, the absense of work, the great meals and my family.
Here's some shots from our day at Busch Gardens today. way cute baby gorilla
the "nice bird" moments later I was attacked and had about 7 of them on me at once--you don't want to or need to see those pictures
I did every roller coaster there!

Monday, January 08, 2007

beachside blogging

I'm down in Florida, enjoying an actual vacation. Despite the fact that we've had an extremely mild winter this year, the sun is nonetheless appreciated along with a week off of work.
I enjoyed 2 kayak rides yesterday, the first with Trish, and the second with Jason. Trish and I made our way out to the sandbar, walking around and discovering sealife. We found some beautiful Conch shells, but unfortunately, the Conch animal-thing was still in it, so I couldn't take the shell. :( But I did manage to find a great sand dollar and star fish. Also swam a bit at the pool yesterday and took a nap pool side; it's a tough life down here.

Today it turned a bit cool and rainy but we managed to capture some time in the sun early in the day and enjoy a bike ride. We headed down to the nature preserve along side the bridge where the bay turns into the gulf.
Of course, I'm always the one taking the photos--my precious nikon in hand--perhaps I'll let someone take a picture of me in Florida this week, to prove I was on vacation. :)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


"Fill your paper with breathings of your heart"
-William Wordsworth

I made myself a new journal last night….and guess what, I actually WROTE IN IT! For those of you who aren’t aware—I’ve been a collector of journals for years. I have dozens that I’ve purchased or have been gifted or created myself, but they sit like pieces of art on my shelf. You see, I’m afraid…………..I’m afraid that what I might write inside, sloppy handwriting including will take away, and ultimately “ruin” the pure beauty that I once saw in the journal. If I ever did get around to writing in it, I would ALWAYS skip the first three pages, so if someone was to crack open said journal, it looked blank and untouched. But not yesterday—I dove in on the first page, messy left handed penmanship and all, and started writing—not even thinking ahead about what I was going to say. It was so liberating!

It’s part of my new start—one of those cliché new years resolutions. I promised myself I’d write more—physically write, with a pen, like I used to in high school and college. I want to rediscover my writers bump, and the smear of ink that comes with being left handed.

I love writing---I love putting words together and drawing emotions. I love run on sentences. I promise to write poetry again…I was pretty darn good at it once, if I do say so myself (pat on back, lol) I won the outstanding undergraduate poetry award in college. I was published in a couple anthologies around that same time as well—but my greatest literary honor came my senior year of high school, when a poem of mine won an award and I along with several other students from the region met the famed Poet, Gwendolyn Brooks and got to read our works to her. That was an amazing experience, and I am forever grateful.

That being said, I need to get back to that place—that passion, that closeness with ink…and not my rubber stamp ink (although we’re pretty tight).

So, that’s resolution #1. Resolution #2 is to be creative EVERY DAY this year. Now, that may be challenging as I travel quite a bit, but if I embrace writing again, that gives me another creative outlet on the road, or when my studio is just too messy to take on a project. (hmmmm, maybe resolution #3 should be keep studio clean—but we all know that’s NOT gonna happen!)

As yesterday was the first day of the year—I made my journal—I didn’t take a picture of it yet though—so in its place I’ll post the layout I did the day before. It’s a picture I took last year. One of those sights that pulled me over to the side of the road to capture the image, and I’m glad I did! I, of course, distressed the heck out of the paper. (and people think basic grey is already distressed! Ha! Not enough for me!...I do love their stuff though!) Fun with chipboard, paint and walnut ink too. TFL! (Ok, I lied--I guess I'm not posting it because blogger hates me for some reason--I'll try again in a bit---grrrr)

Oh, and resolution #3, YES, I’ll start blogging regularly again!
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