Friday, December 28, 2012

Stairway to Heaven

Nancy Wilson & Choir Bring Robert Plant to Tears Preforming Stairway to Heaven
Kennedy Center Honors

Friday, December 14, 2012

Some Holiday Perspective

I was going to tell friends & family I just can't find the time to send out holiday cards because there are too many Etsy & Amazon orders to fill. Woe is me. : /

I was going to let you know that our Gabe had a seizure at school last Monday, very similar to the one he had at the ocean several years ago.

I was going to share how sad it is for us that dad isn't here for Christmas ..... & our year of 'firsts' without him has been so bittersweet.

These past few months have bred Hurricane Sandy, increased unrest in the Middle East, a Syrian President determined to kill his own people instead of stepping down & today 27 people are dead, 20 of them children, who were attending elementary school when an armed gunman came in & shot them all before shooting himself.

Gabe is fine. I'm fine. Camparatively, I think most of us are pretty damn fine. xoxo

Sunday, October 21, 2012

From Elephant to Raven

The Elephant has left the room & has been replaced by the Winter Raven. She sneaks inside as the sun fades to shadows & the fall dips towards winter. I like this particular raven image with spirals as her heart & under her feet on what looks like a lightning perch, where she's teetering a bit, like me.

I have suffered from clinical depression for as long as I can remember; the 'malady, disease, blues, swimming in mud or teetering on the abyss'. About 20 years ago I went to a GP doctor who also suffered & recognized my inner agony immediately. Two weeks & fourteen anti-depressants later, it was like I was living on another planet. While actually on this one, it was suddenly in color, focused, beautiful & recognizable, as the safe, good place I was supposed to be living in all along.

Now, at the end of short autumn days turning crisp, a small twinge starts in my gut & heart in anticipation of the setting in of cold & darkness & reminding me to up my med dose slightly to compensate. This usually isn't a big deal, as I've gone without insurance now for several years since being laid off from an insured job & am receiving free meds from the manufacturer.

A few months ago I learned I had been put on Medicaid because of my income, which seemed like a good deal as first. As soon as I attempted to get the same brand name meds through this government program however, doors started closing. Medicaid says I am taking too LITTLE to qualify as being "therapeutic". If I was taking MORE they would approve it, so they will only approve generics instead, which are NOT THE SAME & DO NOT WORK IN THE SAME WAY. Meanwhile, I'm in the middle of the lengthy process of doctor approval for Brand Name to Medicaid rejection & back to the manufacturer so I can keep getting what I was getting in the first place. I just paid $95 out of pocket for fourteen pills which I cannot afford. How does that make sense? Why did I even tell the drug company I was now getting Medicaid?

I'm not myself right now because I cannot afford to up my dose for winter. I'm wasting precious time that I could be spending with my son whom I can barely tolerate because I'm so anxious & depressed. Waiting....... waiting....... waiting........ for the bureaucratic wheels to turn in my favor so I can feel 'normal' again.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Elephant Body Slam

"I don't get it. I'm standing right there & it's like no one sees me!"

A friend fell out of her office loft a few weeks ago & was laid up for a few weeks, then another friend fell off her horse & was laid out on her couch last weekend. I came down with a nasty staph infection & am now in the middle of my own couch rehabilitation. What do we all have in common, besides being friends & over fifty?

We ALL kept ignoring the ELEPHANT in the room, because seriously, WHO HAS TIME?

We walked around it, over it, or just slammed the front door on it as we ran out of the house, keys in hand. We were faithful to our commitments, deadlines, sandwiched in between parenting our kids & elderly parents, our work & the eight million other tasks we crammed in to each day as expert multi-task masters.

Finally, the elephant stood right in our way & with our heads down, probably looking for a lost shoe, we charged forward & did the ELEPHANT BODY SLAM.

And just like in a head on car crash, everything slowed way, way down & finally came to a screeching halt.

to  be continued the next time I get off the couch........

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Angel Delivery

Last Saturday morning I was once again scurrying around trying to get Gabe dressed & gather things, to get out the door to visit my mom. My dad had worked for Boeing for many years & they were going to accept his notebooks for their archives, so I needed to drop them off at my sisters house. I grabbed a big box from the shed & carried it out to the car to put in the trunk & told Gabe to hurry up! (Note: That's an oxymoron if there ever was one, but also another story.) 

I put the car in gear & proceeded to try to back up, thinking, why is this damn car not moving? ...... ahhhh great, something is wrong with it & I'm not going to be able to go! So I floored it again of course, right over the top of the box still sitting behind the car. You know that moment when it all comes together in your head & you sit there for a few moments, waiting before surveying the damage? 

I slowly got out & walked around the back of the car & there, sure enough, splayed all over the ground was the broken box, notebooks everywhere, but also, WOW......... there was a number of mementos of dad's under the notebooks, which were not meant to go to Boeing! Hmmm, that's interesting, I thought, as I gathered up everything to throw in the trunk. I was still in a hurry to get to the ferry, so I picked up the crumbled remains of the box & threw it off to the side. Just then I noticed a little tiny slip of paper or something fluttering to the ground. 

A few days before I had written to my dear Etsy friend Donna asking about spiritual connections & signs. I wanted a sign from my dad...... I wanted to feel more connected to my spiritual self & consequently to him.

"So Diane, she wrote, relax, take a deep breath, and ask your angels to give you your own apparition. Tell them you are ready and you need it and you will get it. I know we have angels but b/c we have free will we have to ask for things."

Friday, September 7, 2012

Another Robot original by Gabe!
 This one is "Robot Spy, because he has spy camera's on the ends of his arms." 
Mama artist is sooooooo proud of son artist! : >

Monday, August 27, 2012

Anna Quindlen

Columnist Anna Quindlen quit her back-page column in Newsweek to make way for younger, browner talent, but she went out scolding:
"It’s undeniable: America’s opinionator's are too white and too gray. They do not reflect our diversity of ethnicity and race, gender and generation. They do not reflect the diversity of opinion, either, mainly because most are part of an echo chamber of received wisdom that takes place at restaurant tables in New York and Washington. Conservative pundits are making themselves foolish, flailing wildly because their movement itself is aging, confounded by the popularity of a president who stands for much of what they revile. But liberals are little better, fighting the same old battles in the same old ways, as though the world during their tenure had not changed radically."

It wasn't until she turned 50 that Anna Quindlen realized she didn't care any longer what people thought about her. "After all those years as a woman hearing, 'not thin enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not this enough, not that enough,' almost overnight I woke up one morning & thought, I'm enough."

Quindlen's new memoir, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, explores her past, present and future — her relationships with her parents and children, her faith, her career and her feelings about herself over the past five decades.

Our Madonna of the Toast

Bought for $28,000 on E-Bay

Bought for $5.00 at a Kitchen Supply Store

Saturday, August 25, 2012

OMG !!

The efforts of an elderly parishioner to restore a 120-year-old fresco on a column inside a Spanish church have some wondering about his effort. YA THINK?!?!?!

The fresco, titled Ecce Homo (Behold the Man), is a depiction of Jesus Christ with a crown of thorns. It was painted on a wall of the Sanctuary of Mercy at Borja, near Zaragoza, Spain, by artist Elias Garcia Martinez more than a century ago.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Chartres Cathedral: Sacred Geometry

When Mary Was Black

When Mary Was Black

"As a writer &researcher, I believe that there is much that I could say about the image of the Black Madonna. As an artist, however, I also believe that the age-old adage is true: a picture paints a thousand words. So I will let these pictures -- a small portion of the many that I've collected -- speak for themselves.

When I have found both the time and the finances to support an unprecedented film project like this, I will produce my full documentary on the Black Madonna. One which marries both pictures and words. In the meantime, I offer this mock film trailer to herald that future time project of mine. This is but a glimpse into a remarkable tale that has thus far gone untold; and but a glance at that now largely forgotten time when Mary, the Mother of God, was black."

-- Paco D. Taylor
Paco Taylor has been studying and collecting photographs of Black Virgin icons since the mid-1990s. His collection features more than 500 such works, culled from every corner of Christian Europe, and other parts of the Christian world.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Happy Birthday, Daddy Dear xo

It's interesting to me how the soft underbelly of those we love comes forth most profoundly in their birth & then in their passing.

Another chapter in a whole lifetime seemed crammed in to that last month my dad and I had together. At home he rustled the pages of his last presentation paper for his Wranglers group about the brain while asking me if flowers have a memory since they repeat the life cycle. I told him, no, that was simply genetic coding & so we went round & round as usual & then I went home & actually tried to find out on the internet if flowers DO have tiny brains. 

I stood by my father's hospital bed after our 'last' real meal together of salmon, baked potato & fruit crisp, which he had gobbled down with gusto. On my way out, he motioned for me to lean down closer & closer until he could peck me on the cheek & then I kissed him on his head & he thanked me, as he had thanked Moe the big guy who had turned him & the nurses who had shifted his pillows or brought him ice. Chivalry until the end.

A week later, for all intents & purposes my dad mostly laid in twilight between two worlds. I was wishing he didn't have to experience the shutting down of time & space & organs & thought somehow a head on collision would be more humane. I was dreading the drive again to witness his disappearance, although at the same time I wished I was there holding his hand so he was not braving this journey alone.

I took solace that his soul was slowly arching away from the constraints of earthly plane. How strange though it seemed that one so wearily encased could rally for that final flight! Those days were so precious to me; perhaps more so then all the years we had leading up to them. The aching wait, the man child, the long rest into the long sweet sleep of peace. I believe you are truly in your element now.

 God Speed, Daddy Dear xo

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Henry Darger & the Aurora Shootings

Jessica Yu's 2004 documentary In the Realms of the Unreal details Darger's life and artworks.

Henry Joseph Darger, Jr. April 12, 1892 – April 13, 1973, was a reclusive writer & artist who worked as a custodian. He has become famous for his posthumously-discovered 15,145-page, single spaced fantasy manuscript called The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, along with several hundred drawings & watercolor paintings that illustrated the story. Darger's work has become one of the most celebrated examples of Outsider Art.

In 1930, Darger settled into a second-floor room on Chicago's North Side. It was in this room, for 43 years, that Darger imagined & wrote his massive tomes, in addition to a 10 year daily weather journal & assorted diaries, until his death at St. Augustine's Catholic Mission home, the same institution his father had died in. In the last entry in his diary, he wrote: "January 1, 1971. I had a very poor nothing like Christmas. Never had a good Christmas all my life, nor a good new year & now.... I am very bitter but fortunately not revengeful, though I feel should be how I am."

Darger is buried in All Saints Cemetery, Des Plaines, Illinois, in a plot called "The Old People of the Little Sisters of the Poor Plot." Darger's headstone is inscribed "Artist" & "Protector of Children."

Henry Darger was an unusual man. Some found his references to girls & violence disturbing; others saw his work as a creative way of dealing with his horrific upbringing after being left in orphanages & poor houses upon losing his mother, sister & father at a young age. He held menial jobs while bursting with an artistic genius that he channeled into an amazing body of work at night, isolated in his little room.

On the other hand, James Holmes, the Aurora Shooter, manifested his genius in outward, horrific ways. He was obsessed with The Dark Knight & his hero was the Joker. Of course as onlookers, we entertain any idea that might make his acts rational & therefore explainable. Once again there is a tightrope between sanity & full blown mental illness & what seems like a tipping point which pushes the mentally ill over the abyss of no return. Unfortunately hindsight, as they say, is 20/20.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Kamil Vojnar

Kamil Vojnar 'Flying Blind' Series 1996

Kamil Vojnar Born 1962 Moravia, Czechoslovakia
School of Graphic Arts, Prague
Philadelphia Art Institute
New York City
Paris, St. Remy de Provence, France

I was first introduced to  Kamil Vojnar in the 90's with the magazine image at left & did not even know the above uncut version existed until seeing the image again among my things recently. I was bowled over at the time with the ethereal quality of these angels who seemed to be taking flight before my eyes & this work continues to be a favorite piece. I wanted to see if I could buy a print so googled his work & low & behold found the image below that I had taken from ANOTHER magazine around 2002 & used in a collage piece that has since sold. Again, I was attracted to the ethereal quality image, not realizing it was also by Vojnar!