February 2009 Archives

one step forward three steps back

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More to report on the Exnihilo project. After waiting a ridiculous amount of time for our counsel to finalize some paperwork to make building on our property legal I finally pulled the plug and changed counsel.

And I couldn't be happier with her (the new counsel) and her office. She is on the case and understands the project which is key. But after getting all of our files from the previous counsel and reviewing them she regretted to inform me that I have to start the process all over again.

Because the previous counsel took too long.


Yea... it only makes sense that they need every document to be up to the minute, but that even includes going through the process of getting a police record again... fingerprints and all. Which I did last january (08).

Not to mention we will be owing a couple of years of property tax that the previous counsel neglected to report.


If you ever wonder why there aren't more people going after their crazy dreams I can tell you from a person who is attempting it... the process can start to suck the helium out of what was once a big bouncy balloon.

Do you think they sell tenacity in chewable form? I could use a bucket full.

And while it feels like we are moving backwards on that front I am happy to report that our BIG building designs are moving forward. Our new project manager is fabulous and was able to take our sketch-up file which we labored over for months and turned it into a viable floor plan that is now in the hands of the engineering department for wind testing. Again we will probably need to make some adjustments regarding the number of windows, but I am still encouraged by the sense that the PM has got it goin on. The plans may not look like much but they represent the culmination of two years of research and all of the self revelation that happens when taking an idea towards reality. It is crazy head-exploding, nail biting stuff. Here they are...

main floor... kitchen, dining, gallery, library, solar-battery room, washrooms, reception, and studio space.

second floor... our bedrooms, recording studio, exercise room, and multi-purpose room (studio/gallery/classroom/yoga).


blank canvas... sort of

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A day with clay is what my tuesdays have become on a semi regular basis. It is another medium to explore and let me tell you, when you change mediums it opens up creative options with your existing ones. Maybe because it exercises another part of the brain and therefore shakes loose ideas undiscovered.

at any rate I highly recommend it.

The shifting of gears can apply to any creativity. It is the cross pollination that is the end result.

blank canvas


the pottery studio (before the buzz of activity)


It is the pure-ness of expression that always inspires me. Watching the reaction of the actors from Slum Dog Millionaire on the academy awards show was an example of what I mean by pure-ness. The lead actor and actress were not nominated for their parts in the movie but were clear cheerleaders when others involved in the creation of the movie received reward after reward. When the camera tuned on them they did not act demure and calculated as if in hopes for future gain from the moment. Instead they showed honest joy in the success of the others around them in their project.

I find this inspiring.

Maybe it is the lack of politics in their response.

Maybe it is the lack of posturing (a calculated smile instead of an unbridled hoot)

Maybe it was the embrace of THAT MOMENT without thought to the future ramification.

I am not sure.

But when we are far enough down the road in our creative journeys... do we become too jaded and calculating that we forget what it is to be genuine?

Just a question.

On a totally different note...less genuine and more political I am sure... Alicia Keys on stage with that guy from High School Musical? What's up with that?

digital light

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This week found me spurning the tactile creative for the other kind of art I do.

The digital.

But digital or clay or metal or paint, it is the words that make this different.

May this week bring you...

and of course...

spoils of love and craft

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He never fails with flowers. Here they are in my other creative pursuits in clay.

platter and vase


sometimes it takes cookies

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Artist date today and by 3 o clock I still hadn't tempted the muse. Doing every other left brain activity imaginable (including contemplating taxes) didn't help, and my "responsible side" was winning out. After a full out argument between my right and left brain, my right citing the embarrassing fact that I haven't picked up a paint brush in MONTHS, I resorted to drastic measures...

chocolate chip.

In spite of the fact that I have worked so hard the last few months to get my weight down and been victorious in that regard, I needed to shift gears for the sake of creativity.

Yes, sometimes the muse needs to eat.

Standing in front of a blank canvas with no muse in sight it hit me...

must make cookies.

I have employed the food tactic before but don't make a habit of it. Sometimes it takes drastic measures... sometimes it takes cookies.

Twenty minutes, two warm cookies, one glass of milk later, my paint brush was flying. The muse just needed a little milk and cookies.

Can you blame her?


three spirits



to grow

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A little like this banana leaf unfurling itself to the waiting world, growth takes a bit of patience, inner peace, strength...

and tenacity.

As we poke and pry at our bahamas plan I feel that we are sort of stuck due to the unforseen economic downturn. And yet every moment of every day spent on the project reveals more and produces more, in itsy bitsy increments. This weekend (and last, and countless other days) Bryan and I worked on the details of the Gathering House for Exnihilo. Yes, we are designing it ourselves within the framework of the oh-so-cool and very green round structures built in NC.

What a challenge.

If you ever want to find out how little you know about something, tackle it head on as if you know everything.

I think this has been the mode for most of my life. It involves the initial gutsy, "let's do this" (the easy part) followed by the "wow, this is harder than I thought," which comes before the..."holy crap what were we thinking"... which then by some miracle gets finished with...

"We did it!"

Getting to that point leaves a trail of newly learned lessons, some newly found communication skills, a lot of nail biting, and a good portion of humble pie.

But it is completely worth it.

It is true what they say about "the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time", and honestly if you knew it was an elephant you were going to eat you wouldn't even start. But here is the thing about not knowing...

you do move forward.

Maybe that is the advantage of this age. We have just enough possibility thinking left to be foolish enough to think we can do this thing and just enough experience to pull it off if we work like mad. While working on this building Bryan and I ran into roadblocks of many kinds. It was an exercise in problem solving of monumental proportions. At one point we were completely steimied working on the second floor. So we stopped working on it for a couple of months. Getting some new info and new ideas while in Hawaii, the solutions presented themselves and the roadblocks came down. And things that we were oh-so-sure about a few months ago got tweaked and changed when we realized there was a better way.

So, this week I sent off our new design to our project manager to review. If it goes anything like the little bungalow design it will endure many revisions to get it to meet up to code. Likely we will have to make some changes, but engineering will let us know what those will be and hopefully the compromises won't change the look and feel of the spaces. It is a long long road to the finish line.

But for today I can celebrate one more bite of the elephant.

Bryan viewing the first floor layout of the gathering house.


my babe with the camera

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Back in january we were in a sunny place with warm winds and beaches. Today we are in a colder place where there is more activity indoors than out. In work mode I was sorting some of my photos from that trip and bumped into these. I think they are cool.

Not because they are well shot or that the location is beautiful. No.

Its because of that man with the camera.

I love him. That's all.;-)




A very important day. 21 years ago my baby was born. The journey of life has many art forms along with many benchmarks. How do you celebrate this one?

Along our journey as a family we have chosen to respect certain "laws". While Bryan and I enjoy wine with dinner, we had been clear with Daniel that until you reach legal age in this country you cannot drink(in this country). When we traveled we followed the laws in those places. In Europe and in the Bahamas it was ok, and he was able to share in the privilege when we were there.

So what do you do as a parent when your son is exemplary about respecting those rules?

Without telling him where we were going or what we were doing with only the instruction of "wear something nice and make sure you have your ID", we started driving. What a weird thing to hear from your parents..."Make sure you have your ID".

We arrived at the desired destination... Grapeseed in Bethesda. It was kinda fun to see the look on Daniel's face as we were escorted up to the bar by the restaurants Sommelier, Ernie Brice.

We had arranged a formal wine tasting for Daniel's 21st birthday.

When I had phoned about the reservation and proposed Bryan's idea to the Sommelier, he was immediately on board. "What a great idea"! he said, and then went on to tell me what he would do. And Ernie did not disappoint. He covered everything from how to inspect the color, where the different flavors of the wine hits the different zones of the tongue, swirling it in the glass to oxygenate it, etc... etc.. Talking non stop about all things wine, he set up three flights of three different wines each going from grape to grape varietal and then threw in a few more unusual blends just to get our reactions.

As the restaurant got busier it was fun to see people regarding us with interest. What a great way to celebrate a milestone... learning to respect another art form. When you understand another person's art you are less likely to be cavalier with it, don't you think?

After the formal part of the lesson we moved to a table for dinner. Ernie brought all of our "tasters" over to our table. It was quite a sight being surrounded by wine and very fun trying to keep each one straight after comparing, sniffing, swirling, sipping, etc.

As we sat down to our table the waitress handed Daniel his menu and wished him happy birthday. They had even printed the greeting at the tops of our menus!

By the end of the night we had eaten a three course meal and sampled thirteen different wines and Ernie presented Daniel with a certificate for completing a wine course.

What a great night. What a terrific son. Happy Birthday Daniel!

Ernie showing how to compare color..." the original reason that restaurants have white table cloths".

The swirl.


Fabulous food!

Ernie answering some final questions before we leave.


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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2009 is the previous archive.

March 2009 is the next archive.

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