April 2006 Archives

in the company of heroes

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A very special weekend brought my parents to DC. It had been three years since they were here last. Since that time a new memorial was built downtown to honor the vets of WW2. It was finished and opened in 2004 but my stepfather had not seen it yet. Having been a pilot in WW2 this wouldn't be your typical day of sightseeing.

Mobility around all the monuments in DC can be an issue for someone in the best of shape so we opted for a scooter for George. By the end of the day I had wished we had all gotten one! He motored all over the place with ease while Bryan, Mom, and I tried to keep up.

Seeing this kind of monument with someone that is honored by that monument is a unique experience. It is like time folding in on itself. I found myself choking back tears more than once. George was wearing his 42 squadron cap and a few people came up to him to shake his hand and thank him for his service. We even ran into another vet and the men shared a few stories.

scooting through the national mall.

walking the memorial.


two vets.

the kid's first show


How wonderful it was to see people view Daniel's work. Someone mentioned to me how gutsy it is for someone so young to not only produce so much, but put it out there to be seen. It is a vulnerable state to put yourself in. The risk involved is how people critique. In our house we have often talked about the purpose of art is to leave the viewer changed after the viewing. Watching people view Daniel's work, and read the statements, I think he accomplished this. He left people with something to think about. It was a proud time for us as parents. We stood back lurking while trying to be invisible while watching him discuss his work and answer questions. He sold twelve pieces.

walking the space before the opening.


daniel next to "postmodern complex"

daniel and grandma jane next to "radiating sun"

chaos mode-wednesday


I know that work has slipped into chaos mode when I find myself sitting at my desk in my bathrobe without having taken the time to brush my teeth. It happens occasionally when there is lots going on and the plate seems too full that I am tempted to work and forego certain basics. Forget yoga, that went out the window way back. Some of it is the natural catch up after travel and some of it is the mass of paperwork that continues to plague me-domestic stuff, work stuff, college stuff. Stuff. Getting a brief breath of paradise makes the tedious seem that much worse. Why am I blogging this? To get back on track. Writing helps. Sorts out the order of things in my brain so that I can attempt to proceed efficiently.Nothing profound or interesting here. Just the untwisting of my brain.

On to work.

Oh. Maybe I better brush my teeth first.

archetypal narratives

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We all got home and hit the ground running. Especially Daniel. Tonight is his senior show at Blake. This is a school wide festival of arts. He gets a show of his own in the same school gallery next week but set up had to happen for the festival and he was scrambling. We all are sort of pitching in with printing artist's statement and what not. Should be a fun night.



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Light a candle, say a prayer. This may be the spot for the ARTIST'S Retreat.

View from the boat (since there is no road into this section of the island). This was what the locals call bad weather. Pierre said that beyond this they get hurricanes. Most of the time it is pretty calm.



our new friend, Presley.


of course after you have bad weather you have this...
we had two days of double rainbows.


scuba do

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suiting up.


where are all the fish?


one fish...two fish...
forty feet down.


underwater world. I managed to get a few good shots with the new camera gear. Bryan was shooting video and I was shooting still. This was a challenge for me. Diving is a real face-your-fear kinda thing for me. Having had claustrophobia, diving takes real mental focus for me not to freak out. Adding the extra challenge of maneuvering a camera was tough. I opted out of the last dive because I got so tired. but I managed to dive twice and that was still a victory.


blair with the attractive mask hickey.


ya mahn



life is simpler. no hot water but who cares with a view like this from your bed.


workin hard or hardly workin?


no one here but us.


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No artist date today. My normal routine is to take off friday and do something creatively enriching ala the advice of Julia Cameron but today I am playing catchup. Boring tasks to keep my little planet spinning before running off with the family for another photo shoot trip/vacation. This trip is multifaceted in that I am also looking to check off item number two on my MONDO BEYONDO list for 2006. Scouting a piece of paradise for a potential artist retreat. It is this kind of thing that I think some people just don't consider a possibility for their lives and so don't even try. I love possibility. I have also fallen on my face a number of times attempting something that seemed out of reach in the realm of accomplishment. But other times I have actually succeeded. And there is a rush. But most of these crazy ideas are just that...CRAZY ideas that don't line up to anything practical.

And I love that.

And I have taken my family on this wild ride once or twice and they don't seem to mind.

What fun.

So, several days from now I will hopefully have some underwater photos of fishies, and more info on my pipe dream. I also hope to get some r and r because frankly the last several weeks have been filled with a lot of the kind of administrative work that really wears me out. Feeling a bit out of the old creative balance.

Like a top that is on the end of its spin.

reduced to a sermon illustration


Ok, this is a real hoot. After yesterday's discovery of our premarital counselor's name we (Bryan and I) dug a little deeper to see where this person was up to after 20 years (hey it is a google world don't ya know).

What we bumped into blew us away.

The internet affords us so many wonderful things. Instant online travel booking, grocery delivery, dictionary definitions...

and online sermons.

Tracking down our old buddy, counselor-college prof, Bryan bumped into a bunch of this man's audio sermons online. He emailed me with a "you won't believe what I found" along with a link to the mp3 of a sermon. I then excitedly downloaded it and got on the phone with Bryan and together we listened to a voice from the past.

It is amazing how people's voices don't change. Here was our counselor's voice recently recorded but sounding very much as it did twenty years ago. He was also saying some of the same things. This particular sermon happened to be about the sanctity of marriage and as we listened to his words about thirty minutes into the talk the inflection in his preaching tone changed along with the words,

"I had a couple once that I was counseling that were engaged..." he went on to describe our situation in detail in his sermon.


What a weird feeling that is.

The thing about this particular sermon illustration is that it dealt with something that we disagreed with him about (a particular interpretation of scripture) and if one would follow his particular train of belief/thinking/conviction to its logical conclusion would end in us (bryan and I) not having a successful "christian" relationship.


First off it is REALLY WEIRD discovering that someone is using you in their sermons as a negative example of something. That sort of made me feel a little exposed. Of course he didn't name names but WE knew who he was talking about.

Second, it is a TOTAL HOOT when you can look at where you are now in your life (and in our wonderful, ministry fruitful, spiritually rich marriage) and know that you were right in your own convictions. (If that sounds spiteful, it really isn't meant to be.)

Bryan and I started dating 23 years ago. We are approaching our 20th anniversary. We have a truly blessed marriage. We have a son who is honest and compassionate and insightful beyond his years. I think this is because we have always been truthful about who we are. We have sought after truth in our lives, in scripture, and with others around us and sometimes that has put us at odds with those that might disagree, or just want us to "look right". Truth makes people uncomfortable. It is complex. And living truthful lives can be tricky especially when prevalent christian culture prefers perfect lives. I think living a truthful life is more difficult because you tend to deal with the tough questions about life in the open rather than put on some sort of pretense about who you are. Pretense is safer. Especially if you are in a subculture that, despite what jesus taught, is very quick to judge.

I believe there is such a thing as christian peer pressure. I also believe that it tempts people to live outside of god's intentions settling for something less.

Regarding the discovery of our friend and counselor (who I still think very highly of despite the disparity between us) it is really funny to think that the world can fold over on itself and create and re-create connections that one may never consider possible before. Hey wouldn't it be great if we all (the world) were kinder, more tolerant, and less judgmental because you never know who is listening.

But a word to the wise...

Be careful what you google, you may find you have been reduced to a sermon illustration.

Or find yourself on someone's blog.

I guess we're even.

Blast from the past. Took a wonderful trip down the blog rabbit trail this morning and ran into this post via bobbie. We all are effected and molded by various events in our lives and it is kind of fun and enlightening, sometimes sobering to look back and see where your own path has taken you. Especially in matters of belief and conviction. in reading this article about egalitarianism* I was sort of surprised to find a name I recognized mentioned as a complementarian. (And don't think that I even knew the definition of those two words until 10 seconds ago).

The name mentioned seemed familiar and so thanks to the web I checked it out.


The guy that did Bryan's and my premarital counseling. He was a stellar scholar and was cranking out papers and such when we were in college. One of our professors but probably only five minutes older than Bryan and I, this man (and his wife) sort of did the premarital advice thing that was in vogue at the time for anyone considering marriage and attending a christian university.

Honestly, I don't remember much about the counseling except that he and his wife split us up to talk to us separately as well as together. Heck it was over twenty years ago. But it is interesting to think that he went on to write a book called Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15. This work basically analyzed the text and argued the two opposing views. His view was complementarian. He has written scads of books since then and has undoubtedly contributed great things to the world of scripture dissection. And twenty years ago he was a good teacher, friend, and counselor. But the institution's perspective on women in ministry was subtly represented.

What is interesting to me is how easy it is to adopt a belief or conviction when you are in some sort of relationship with someone that you might otherwise reject. So the beginning of my spiritual journey included an institutionally sanctioned indoctrination of the woman's place in ministry. Which at the time really flew in the face of having been raised by a very capable, self-sufficient, business woman, single mom. At the age of nineteen I was getting some pretty big mixed messages.

One was, "you can do or be anything you want to be." (my mom)

The other was, "you can do or be anything you want to be, but there are some limits especially in ministry leadership...ok you can peel carrots and take care of kids." (the church=god). "oh yea and teach...other women".

During my university experience I was sexually assaulted (which is a whole 'nother post) and in a small christian university community that can be a big deal. So much so that during a chapel (where the students get together twice a week for service) the president of the college saw fit to take time to get up and announce this event and then lecture the girls on safety and female modesty. Yes, female modesty.

Think about that.

This should have been a defining moment for me, and I should have been mad as hell, but I was fairly new to the christian subculture and I was a sinner after all, and these people all knew more than me... but that lecture was like a second (worse) assault.

At this point I was 20ish, and was not only being given the subtle message as a woman about what my identity should be by the church (therefore god), but that when men commit illegal acts towards women it is somehow the woman's fault. And honestly, at that point I believed that it must have been god's will, or god allowed because "all things work together for good..."

I guess I went down this road this morning because I was reminded that as part of a spiritual timeline our actions that are born from convictions DO matter. You can say "god is in control" all you want, but as believers we are called to stand for our convictions not sit in chairs and wait for someone else to raise their hand and sheepishly say..."umm... wait a minute... jesus didn't teach this or that." As a woman I live in a period of history and political location that makes claims that there is equality. The truth is as a country we aren't there yet, and the church is decades, DECADES, behind. And I am one of the truly privileged women because I have a husband that does not hold to what amounts to traditional christian behaviors, but actually lives the cross the way jesus taught and cherishes his woman. In our marriage we are equal partners. And I am enhanced and blessed by that, and we have been able to raise a son that holds the next generation of convictions about women. That is how to change the world.

So I continue to walk this timeline and marvel at what it is to be part of history by being a woman with a voice when not-so-long-ago men of the church were debating if women even had souls.

We emerge at different paces from different places. All of my life's experiences thus far have brought me to this point and it will be interesting looking back in another twenty years and (hopefully) be able to see how far I've (we've, everyone) come.

n : the doctrine of the equality of mankind and the desirability of political and economic and social equality [syn: equalitarianism]

While lurking on blogs this morning I bumped into Betsy's link on the absolutely brilliant article from New York Magazine, Up With Grups.

Although I am not a New Yorker, I have to admit the way that my husband, myself, and our son have approached life was laid out to a degree in this article. Switch out all the rock band references and replace with art forms and it pretty much fits (except maybe for the affluence). I am proud that in some small way we have contributed to the closing of the generation gap (daniel once referred to his parents as his best friends) and in that closing seems to create more harmony and tolerance which is referenced in the book The Greater Generation (us) which trumps the brokaw book The Greatest Generation (our parents).

Although technically not a boomer, wedged somewhere between a yuppie and a yindie and really doing it all before our friends (daniel is eighteen not two) we forged a lifestyle that is roughly described in this article. Granted some of the elements that were missing for us were things like 600 dollar jeans but that is because we were buying the real vintage clothing for 10 dollars at the consignment store and ripping the jeans ourselves. I also crafted an awesome jacket out of black distressed leather out of a bargain bin (because we were starving artists) for daniel when he was two. Of course I hit a patch when we were smack in the ministry where I felt foolishly compelled to dress like all the other good christian mothers but eventually came to my senses and tossed the floral skirts for my familiar jeans and t-shirts. What does a freelancing artist need with pretentious floral skirts anyway? The article talked about uniforms of lifestages. Like teenagers wearing jeans, evolving into adults wearing suits, etc. The division of age was seen by what was worn, but also the division of classes. Is it possible that that blurring of those "uniforms" was one of the ways that our generation (and the next) became more tolerant to each other? And our international neighbors? O.k maybe it is an over simplification, but just watch a few old movies and those stereotypes that made our parents so judgemental will jump right out at you.

It probably helps that the music isn't an issue either. That used to be a dividing point for kids and parents. Now I listen to the same stuff as my son.

Clothing and musical tastes aside, it is the attitude of a sustainable lifestyle with freedom to do what you love that is the real point. If our parents slogged through occupations that they hated, trading passion for security only finding themselves at the end of a pink slip, is it any wonder that we (as a generation) searched for something better? If life is going to be unpredictable anyway, why not ride the wave of what you love?

The key is that we have had to be more flexible than our parents. At least in terms of occupations. Maybe in terms of learning as well(one has to keep up with technology). Survival has required it. People just don't get a job and stay at the same firm and work toward the gold watch retirement anymore. Things move fast and if you aren't adaptable then it's "game over". What I do as an artist today did not exist in it's present form ten years ago. I guess this is really striking me because as we consider the college question as parents we may be tempted to perpetuate the "old school". I have come to the conclusion that college shouldn't prepare you for a job but instead equip you with the tools to navigate life. Or maybe just to discover your passion, something that people might otherwise take a lifetime to do.

Thanks Betsy!

mica: second round

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O.K, just a disclaimer for anyone bothering to read my blog. The posts are starting to all sound the same and that is probably going to be the norm for the next six months as we (the family) are somewhat focused on the journey to college. It is a great transition and like all great transitions there is alot of mulling over what has been mulled and re-mulled. It is the necessary process of adjustment to a new idea, time of life, or change but the rehash may appear like navel-gazing. So for the next 6 months or so every other post is probably going to have MICA in it. Consider yourself warned.

Another round at MICA involved a meet the faculty day. So Sunday we spent looking at THE school again only on an even deeper level. This round in particular involved a group of prospective scholarship winners(including us) and so there was a narrower focus compared to the last time which was more about selling the school. This trip assumed that you were included in the MICA community and so it had a more intimate tone. Chatting at lunch with faculty and students was so insightful. Some of the visit on this pass was a bit of a repeat from the last tour we took, but this time we got to talk to the teachers. I was STRUCK at how much they care for each one of "their" students. Each one very animated in their discussions and obviously loving what they do. We toured the galleries which all had completely new exhibitions since the last time we were there. Amazing stuff. There was an intensity that was palpable. Maybe it was because the faculty and staff and scholarship committees are still spending late hours sifting through the finalists. It is obvious that they are focused on the task. As we approached the reception building at the beginning of the day we were greeted by a woman that directed us into the building but before she directed us she looked at Daniel and said, "I remember you." We were a little confused by this but then she clarified that it was from the "book" that was one of his scholarship applications which had his picture all over it. We were sort of blown away. At any rate we were told later in the day that final scholarship letters are being sent this friday.

Which means we will have a letter a week from today (monday) that will reveal the next step to this process.

Except that we go out of town on Sunday and are gone for a week.



viewing one of the gallery installations

Talking with the fine arts department. Daniel is hidden behind someone in this shot but he is actually talking to the Chair of the Painting Dept, Barry Nemett (wearing the pink name tag). Although he has a masters from Yale and a resume that doesn't quit, you would have never known it by how attentive and kind he was in conversing with Daniel.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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