Friday, October 1, 2010

Some Good News for the Month of Me

So, I admit to avoiding my own blog lately. It's not surprising after the last three posts about losing so many loved ones. This year has not been too kind to me and mine, and I guess I needed time to get my head together after all the sadness. Things are beginning to take an upward turn at last, perhaps because I am once again entering the month of me.

If you don't know me or are new to this blog, let me explain that I was born on October the 18th, 1969, and since I turned forty (last year), I decreed it time to be selfish and take an entire month to celebrate my birth. After forty years, we all deserve much more than just one lousy day. I say live it up while we still have our health. Last year's month of me was the best part of the year thanks to my dear friends who celebrated in style with me at Shakori Hills where Donna the Buffalo, the best band in the world, serenaded me, and I won't even tempt to top that this year. I am going for another Donna concert with friends this coming weekend,of course, but then I'm missing Shakori all together and opting for a week at the beach because it sounds like heaven right about now. I will be busily hunting beach glass, or laying like a barnacle on my blanket in the sand.

Anyway, just in time for the month of me, the wonderful news has hit the stands that I am to be one of the eleven women honored by the Academy of Women this year for outstanding contributions in the category of the arts. I was completely floored. So just a couple of days after my 41st birthday, I will have to stand up in front of the Central Virginia community and give an acceptance speech. There is, indeed, always a down side to every great thing. Still, they only want said speech to last five minutes...whew. The dinner and awards ceremony information can be found in the News and Advance article. Click the green Academy of Women link above for more info. The proceeds raised from the dinner will go to the YWCA of Central Virginia, whose motto is "eliminating racism, empowering women." So, come on out to help me celebrate the night and the other ten women who are being honored, and help an excellent cause in the process.

So, what other good news can I share? I am still working diligently on my graduate project and the painting and writing for this is moving right along. It seems to be flowing out of me these days. Of course, this leaves little time for anything else, like writing blogs and submitting new poetry and short stories to publishers, or calling, writing, and generally responding to invitations from my friends. I've even had to turn down or put off several excellent job and volunteer opportunities for worthy causes. There are just not enough hours in my day. I hope everyone will forgive me.

I did manage to squeeze out enough time to get my art entered into some shows over the summer. Thanks to my studio mate Terri, who reminded me of dates, kept me focused, and even picked up my art for me while I was away for school, I was able to take second place for my dragonfly photo in the Rockbridge Regional Show in July. I showed at Kaliedascope a few weeks ago, also. Thanks to all the friends and clients who came by to support me at the show.

Next, there will be three of my photos and two paintings inspired by my years living in Morelia, Mexico showing this month at the Bowen Center for the Arts in Bedford, Virginia for their "Latin American Show." If you are in the area, the show opens next Friday, October 8th and runs through the middle of November. Also, Art on 12th, where I have my studio, will be open to the public on Sunday, November 14th from 1:30-4 pm. We are located above the new Art Box on the corner of 12th and Grace St. in downtown Lynchburg. Come on by, enjoy snacks and conversation and see what all the fabulous artists in the building are working on.

So, that gives you a little taste of the positive side of my life, plus a a little taste of my art. Thought it might brighten up your days. Have a great month of me!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Angel of Mercy

Ten years ago, I met my angel of Mercy. She did not come in the form I expected, no hail of glory, no white wings and glowing halo, but she was an angel and she saved me, none the less. We were introduced by a friend while I was still grieving deeply over the loss of Isabeau, my first Rottweiler, who had lost a long and horrible battle with cancer. Although I swore I would never put myself through the sorrow of losing another dog, my friend knew I was in need, and she happened to know a dog who needed me, too. Mercy was the angel I never saw coming.

One of the best things about Mercy was that she simply loved everyone. If you gave her a cookie and a pat on the head, she would help you carry the TV and anything else you wanted to the car. She loved kids, and often put up with whatever they could dish out. Five minutes after meeting my four-year-old cousin Grant, pictured above, she was wearing his Pirates hat and his blanket and playing Superdog without complaint. She seemed fine with helping Katie, who is two, get over her fear of big dogs, too.

When we met,she was named Mercedes and she was in serious need of help. I went to her house skeptical that I was not ready for another dog, that I could not handle the emotional attachment. But, when I saw Mercy at two years old, weighing nearly 200 pounds and suffering greatly from obesity, I knew I had to take her home with me. She was a sweet and lovable klutz who was badly in need of a health overhaul, not unlike myself. We dieted together, but she was much more successful at it than I was perhaps due to the personal trainer. I could be so regimented with her and am still unable to keep myself in line. Go figure. Anyway, she lost enough weight to make up a whole second dog until she was down to the normal 120 pound mark. In the deepest hours of my depression, helping Mercy made me stronger. She was a loving friend who pulled me back into the land of the living.

Mercy did not just rescue me, however, she rescued another, or actually we rescued her together. One day, on my way to work, I found a female Healer / Terrier mix in the middle of the road nursing a litter of puppies near the back gate to the zoo where I worked. About half of the puppies in the litter, there were a lot of them, resembled the male pure bred rottweiler, so they had their tails docked. Since the owner of the dogs had already been caught several times selling half breeds as pure, and since I was a member of the local humane society, we chose to confiscate the puppies. Later, all of the other dogs were removed from the owner and he was fined, as well.

The first puppy I picked up from the pile in the road burrowed under my hair and began to make a soft, whimpering noise. After helping the humane society volunteers who came out to help pick up all the dogs and capture the mother, I was still holding this one puppy under my chin, and I literally could not put her down. I so did not need a second dog, having just taken Mercy home and feeling like she was not even settled in yet. But, I took the puppy home thinking I would just elect myself in charge of finding the one pup a good home.

Mercy took immediate charge of the tiny, little thing, cleaning and protecting her. They romped and they played and their famous freedom races at the end of each day probably aided Mercy in losing that last pesky pound or two. My favorite game, however, started on the first day they met. Mercy would play tug-o-war with the puppy, offering her the favorite toy, and after tugging for a bit, she let the little one win the game every time. They laid together with the puppy tucked safely between Mercy's front legs every night to sleep. I found several friends with farms who were interested in giving the puppy a home, but when they came over to meet her, Mercy placed herself between them and growled. Nobody was taking her baby away, least of all me. So, I named her Cinco de Mayo, after the day I found her, and we call her Cinco for short.

Mercy, Cinco and I became a family, a pack if you will, and we have been the best of friends. Sadly, and most likely due to Mercy's obesity in her youth, she contracted both thyroid and cushings disease, both of which are endocrine diseases. She was diagnosed about a year ago. Although the thyroid was treatable, there is nothing much to do for cushings except treat her symptoms and keep her comfortable. Even the cutting-edge, best drugs for the disease are questionable and do nothing to cure the animals. In the end, it is degenerative and eventually shuts down the internal organs due mostly, I'm told, to an excess of steroids in the system.

Mercy was amazing all the way to the end. She never complained, and she always stayed in the best frame of mind. Even a trained observer like myself had a hard time telling when she suffered. Most dogs become depressed, stop eating, stop grooming, or show signs of hurting, but Mercy stayed stoic, eager to please, eyes bright, and happy to be alive even as her kidneys were shutting down. After the tremors began to cause her to flop around and kept her from walking well, and she started having trouble standing up and laying down, even when she stopped processing food well, and started flinching whenever she was touched, she was never depressed. She would just shake it off and move on as if nothing was wrong. But, after it became apparent she had made it to the acute renal failure stage, we finally made the decision today to prevent any more suffering.

Right up until the end, Mercy was giving me kisses and hugs and panting with her big, sloppy smile even as she splayed out on the hospital floor and was unable to stand back up. She seemed more concerned about me and why I was upset than the fact that she could not stand up on her own. Once I sat down on the floor beside her and gave her another hug, she seemed happy to just stay where she landed and let the doctor work on her. She let me hold her and gave me kisses right up until the very end, and I know that if any dog has a special place in heaven, Mercy does. I told her I thought St. Francis probably had another assignment for her already, some other lost soul who needs rescuing. Mercy literally saved me, and although I can't really speak for her, I'm betting Cinco would say the same. We already miss her more than words can express.

Thanks, my Angel of Mercy!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Cat Spangled Weekend

Last year, I caught all kinds of flack from my cat loving clients for posting a blog about my doggy friends over the 4th of July holiday. In particular, Chaplin Spies (pictured above) was not pleased to be left out. As I told them, this was because mostly, of all my pet friends the dogs are more cooperative about having their picture taken, and friendlier to the pet sitter all around. Although, there are a few exceptions to the rule, and in fairness to the cats, I decided it was time to post a blog in their honor. This one's for you Chaplin!

As it happens, this holiday I am sitting for just as many cats as I am dogs, for a change, and a few of them were spectacularly cooperative with the paparazzi. So, with the help of my handy cell phone. I would love to introduce you to a few of my catty friends.

Meet Abby, the cattiest of cats. She will cooperate with me only if I NEVER touch her. I think the photo conveys how she feels about me.

On the friendlier side, there are a couple of cats that keep me rolling in the floor most visits. The first of these is the wonderful Ted. You just never know what crazy antics you might happen upon when Ted is near.

Then there is Boots. He is the curious cat who comes when called. He may have been a dog in a former life.

I often wonder if he was named for his foot fetish. He is quite enamored with his own white toes.

Lucy is also quite the dog lover. Here she is with Max the Maltese who gives her a bath every evening while we watch TV.

No cat blog would be complete without my favorite curious cat, Boomer, who happens to be Lucy's brother.

I just have to slide the dog who thinks she is a cat in here. This is me with Sienna, my smallest cliet. They tell me she is a dog, but I am not so sure!

Finally, one last cat that I thought Chaplin might like the looks of. Chaplin, meet Stella the barn cat. She is a wild and crazy girl!

I hope you all have a fabulous 4th of July holiday. I will be hanging on the wild side with the cats and dogs, although I plan to squeeze in a little cookout by the pool with friends, too.

Also, if you have not already read or seen these links, I have a couple of published works out there this month. You can read my latest published poem at The Canary by Hip Pocket Press. I am indeed grateful and honored to be published there with the likes of Ann Fisher-Wirth and Thomas Berry. You can also view one of my paintings in an international online exhibition called Face the Music.

Have a safe and happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Poppy Moves to Red Light District in the Sky

Never let it be said that Poppy did not tell you exactly what she thought. She spoke loudly if she felt the need. She and I had a lot in common that way. We also shared the distinction of having lived by many names, having had many friends who chose to call us assorted things, mostly out of affection. Poppy started life as Claireese, which was shortened further to Reese, and then somehow morphed into Poppy. Whatever name she went by, she was a fabulous cat who lived a charmed life, and thankfully shared most of it with me.

Twenty years ago, on Clairendon Drive, hence the original name, a road in downtown Dallas between Zoo north, the old part of the zoo, and the new Wilds of Africa on the south side, my friends Heidi, Amy and I rescued Poppy from four neighborhood dogs who had cornered her in a tree. We were on our way to the hay barn riding this little John Deere four wheeler - meets dump truck - meets tractor thingy that we referred to as " the green machine." It was loud like a Harley might sound if it had a really loose, rattling tail pipe, and yet, Poppy was so glad to be saved that she curled up under my chin and purred the whole way to the hay barn and the whole way back across the zoo to the Okapi Barn where she hung out with me until I went home for the day. She was mine and I was hers from the very first moment.

There are a lot of things she will be remembered for, but I think she is most notable for her own personal red light district. She was a fetishist of sorts, finding herself fond of using the litter box in the middle of my bed, regardless of the fact that I kept trying to explain the whole little box concept and how there should be litter and a box involved. She preferred doing her business in a bed and soon had to be relegated to the outdoors to live on our screened front porch. That first winter, we worried that she would freeze, so I bought her a heat lamp and plugged it in over her favorite bed. It made our front porch glow red that could be seen for blocks. After several undercover cops made excuses to knock on our door and check things out, a friend opted to take the naive girls aside and explain what a red light district meant. After some shock and a bit of laughter, we decided we liked it, opted to leave it, and told friends to look for it when we threw parties. In fact, we because known for our " Parties in the Red Light District." Poppy didn't care what people thought, why should we?

Never caring to be dubbed a slacker, Poppy helped to train every one of my dogs and a few of their friends and neighborhood canines. She was a good, but fair trainer who actually grew quite fond of Rottweilers, in particular. Yet another things we had in common. After teaching Isabeau who was the boss of every situation, she used to curl up on the bed next to her stomach and sleep for hours. With Mercy, she had already been relegated permanently to the out doors for crimes against the new mattress, so sleeping together was out. Still, she enjoyed hanging out by the pool with her in the summer. She would often use Mercy's back as a bridge between the table and the chaise loungers, so she could climb on top of the sun bathers and lay across our wet bathing suits and purr. I never said she wasn't a little bit strange.

Dearest Poppy, you will be missed! I like to think of you upstairs by the fire in a big cushy green chair with buddies TJ, Isabella, and Opal all sleeping in a pile and Isabeau maybe curled up on the floor. Maybe Gramma is there, too. Who knows. Wherever you are, it was a pleasure to have shared my days with you, and I hope we meet again!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Interning with Pam Longobardi

Well peeps, the time is here and I am so stoked I can barely see straight. I leave ultra early in the morning on Saturday for the long drive to Atlanta and my long awaited internship with the fabulous artist Pam Longobardi. We met quite serendipitously while I was working an internship for my undergraduate studies at The Maier Museum of Art. I walked into the room to help hang the show which was focused on artists addressing environmental issues, to find Pam busily pinning to the wall small pieces of colorful, plastic trash she had collected off of South Point Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii to create an eye color test chart that read Dead C in its center. I happened to be wearing a necklace I had created from beach glass collected off that very same beach. We bonded instantly over our mutual love of Hawaii, the ocean, and all things environmental. Now, several years later, after Pam and her wonderful Drifter's Project have been shown all over the world (pictured here at the Art Life Gallery in Venice), and I have dutifully continued trudging through school hoping to learn how to create such amazing and inspired environmental art works as Pam, I have been given the incredible opportunity to work with her on her latest installation called Material Drift in the Sandler Hudson Gallery Atlanta next week. So, in honor of this exciting moment, I have copied the link to my article on Pam's upcoming show recently published at Got2BeGreen. It has all the details on Material Drift opening May 21st in Atlanta. I hope to see some of you there. Thanks to Pam for providing this opportunity and the photo of her work.
For more go to Got2BeGreen.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Long Journey Home

While my 91 year old Gramma was in the hospital with pneumonia three weeks ago, I began to paint the clouds in the sky after one particularly hard night. She was begging God to let her die, while all I could do to help was hold her hand. We prayed together that he would hear her and take her home. Finally, after several hours, she let me sing her back to sleep. The next day, my mind was on the clouds, and so I began to paint.

Initially, I bought the large sheet of Yupo paper to attempt a portrayal of the monarch butterflies, a subject I'm often moved to paint because of my connection to their wintering grounds near my childhood home of Morelia, Mexico. In the past, I have painted the monarchs with the memory of standing among billions of them at the Del Rosario Monarch Sanctuary north or Morelia.

This time, I wanted to paint the beginning of their journey from here in the Blue Ridge Mountain of Virginia all the way back home to the exact spot of their births. In my mind's eye, I pictured a mountain landscape, the view off a favorite overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway with a few butterflies fluttering around. But, after Gramma's horrible night, my head was in the clouds and I thought, "I'll just buy another sheet of paper later."

As I painted, however, I could not help but think of Gramma's struggle to die as a long journey not unlike that of the monarchs. I have always been fascinated by the thought of these tiny, seemingly frail butterflies and their ability to traverse continents in a few weeks only to breed and die.

Likewise, Gramma had become a frail, little thing struggling against the elements with each passing day. Having been diagnosed with severe dementia many years ago, she had very little hearing left, and macular degeneration had claimed her eyesight, too. She had very little quality of life for such an independent and active person, and she kept saying she had lived entirely too long already. It seemed she was ready to die, but just wasn't sure how to begin the final journey.

We prayed every night Gramma was in the hospital that God would take her, but alas once more she pulled through the pneumonia and returned to her home at Heritage Green Assisted Living a week later. At the time, she was diagnosed with the beginning stages of congestive heart failure as the underlying cause for the fluid in her lungs.

Then, last Saturday at four in the morning while I has home alone for the weekend, the nursing home called to say Gramma had fallen and cut her arm, that I should meet her at the emergency room. When I arrived, they already had her on a stretcher and were giving her high levels of oxygen. The nurse felt her low count might have been part of the reason she fell trying to get out of bed. Gramma was only in minimal pain, however, because the skin tear on her arm was superficial, and with her poor circulation, she really didn't feel it much unless they were touching it. Thankfully, there were no broken bones.

That night was our blessing. With the high levels of oxygen, Gramma was very lucid and clear-minded for a woman in her condition. So, for the four hours it took to find out she was officially okay - they literally applied Neosporin and gauze - she and I were able to really talk for the first time in ages. At some point, I told her I would give her memory back if I could. She really seemed to like that. I told her I loved her, and for once, I knew she heard me and understood.

That night was God's gift to us both. I'm sure of it. At long last, I drove her back to the nursing home and we got her tucked up in bed in her favorite pink pajamas under the quilt my aunt made for her last Christmas. Reluctantly, I left her when she said she needed to sleep, and by the time I arrived to check on her that evening, she had faded back into her dementia.

The next day, I returned to my studio and began to paint small butterflies onto my finished sky. Without much real thought, I landed on the number four. At first, I considered painting a whole trail across the sky, but once the first was painted and I saw the impact of the tiny creature in the large expanse of blue, that idea went right out the window.

In hindsight, I think the number four was my unconscious need to represent the four directions, earth, air, fire, and water, or north, south, east, and west, because I always give thanks to the four directions in my own spiritual practices. After several tries over a period of days, I got my butterflies just the way I wanted them and my painting was complete, except for my least favorite thing...figuring our how to frame it.

In the meantime, the nursing home staff began Gramma on short treatments of oxygen, but over the week her skin began to look grayish, and she seemed less responsive at times. My cousin Jason was scheduled to visit her on Tuesday, and he commented on how bad she looked. We assured him she had an appointment to see her doctor Thursday afternoon. They were planning to check her arm and discuss how they might manage keeping her on oxygen. We wondered if they could keep her from removing it all the time, because after about five minutes, she would not remember why it was in her nose and take it right back out.

Alas, that doctor's visit was not to be. Thursday at 11:30 the staff got Gramma cleaned up and dressed and had her in the wheelchair ready to go. But, when Mom arrived, she was slumped in her chair and not responding at all. After checking her over, the staff felt she had gone into acute cardiac failure, and they called for an ambulance.

I was at The Framery where I get most of my works framed. I decided long ago to save my sanity by never again attempting to cut my own mats. The guys who run the little frame shop down the street from my studio are great about letting me bring old frames I scavenge from garage sales and antique shops and cutting them to fit my work. Then, all I have to pay for is the matting and a small fee for the cuts. Plus, I get the added benefit of recycling old, used frames that might otherwise end up in our county landfill.

For my sky painting, I had chosen a silver frame and a warm, white mat that matched the color of my clouds. Having just unwrapped the work to see it for the first time in its entirety, my phone rang. I answered Mom's call excited to tell her how great the painting looked only to find out Gramma was being rushed to the emergency room.

During the long afternoon and evening ahead, Gramma was mostly unresponsive, and her breathing had taken on this loud, rattling sound. Every now and then she would moan, and I would talk to her until she calmed back down and slept. It seemed like forever before they finally admitted her officially and called our doctor's group in to consult.

Thankfully, we got Doctor Woodward. While he was assessing Gramma, he began discussing our options for treatments to remove the fluids from her lungs. I said that if I could convince him to do a Dr. Kevorkian I would. I complained about the fact that we had just been able to euthanize our elderly, suffering cat several weeks ago but could not offer the same dignity to my own Gramma. He responded that we were often more humane to our animals, but then miracle of miracles, he began to talk to my family about the option of "comfort care." He admitted that the hospital did not have to treat her at all, but could just give her pain medications and keep her comfortable until the end.

Gramma already had a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order in her living will, so it seemed we knew where she stood on the issue. Plus, the doctor admitted that even it they treated the fluid in her lungs, they had nothing to help heart failure of this stage, and we would simply be prolonging life until her lungs filled up with fluids again in short order. It seems a no brainer, but in the face of actually making the choice, we were all a little hesitant. How do we know for sure we are making the right decision? As if on cue, Gramma woke up and began to mumble to me. I was rubbing her forehead and she said it felt good. Then, she said as clear as a bell, "Please, please. I just want to go home. Help me find my way home."

The doctor moved Gramma up to a room in the stunning, new oncology ward with a view of the mountains. The hospital provided us with a pull-out couch and a lazy chair so we could be comfortable, and they called the hospice people to speak with us the following day. The doctor made sure Gramma was given morphine right away, and they took her off all other medications. In short order, she was sleeping deeply and seemed fairly comfortable apart from the horrible, loud, rattling breaths she took in a steady rhythm. I fell asleep that night to the steady rattle and the burbling of the humidified oxygen tank running above her head. She only woke once during the night and the nurses gave her another dose of morphine, quickly returning her to a deep sleep.

The following day, my family came to the hospital to relieve me. I convinced Mom to go home at 4 am and get a few hours of sleep in her own bed since she is dealing with a torn rotater cuff in her shoulder. Plus, I had the upcoming art show at my studio with 300 guest already invited on Sunday afternoon. It was Friday, and we had not yet hung the art on the walls. I was going to need to leave for a while at some point, too. Mom and my uncle convinced me it would be okay, although I felt a little frantic about leaving. We got a friend to come help us hang the art, and together with my studio mate, we worked non-stop to get the whole thing done as fast as possible. By late afternoon, I was back where I belonged at my Gramma's side. I convinced my family to go have a supper break, and I got some alone time with her to make up for leaving. I was so tired, I fell asleep holding her hand by the bed for a while.

Something woke me out of a deep slumber to find Gramma's eyes open. She was staring off into the distance and moving her eyebrows around a bit as if she was straining to make out what was there. Worried she was in pain, I called for another dose of morphine. Just after the nurse administered it into her IV, I began to rub her forehead and sing to her, trying to comfort her back to sleep, but she just kept looking into the distance. I sang her favorite song, "The Lord of the Dance," and another Shaker tune called, "How Can I Keep From Singing." I sang my favorite Ben Harper song, "Blessed to be a Witness." Then, I sang "Amazing Grace." I kept coming back to the verse that ends, "Twas Grace that brought us safe thus far, and Grace will lead me home," so I sang that verse to her twice more.

When the singing ended, Gramma took three more breaths and she was gone. The room went from the loud rattling to a still, quiet, comforting peace. Gramma's face went from struggling to see that distant object to a calm look of rest. While the nurses came in to listen to her heart, I called Mom to let her know. Within five minute, Gramma was pronounced officially home at last, and my painting had its title...The Long Journey Home.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sick of Being Sick

While the world wakes up around me with the lovely sounds of spring, and the sun begins to warm up the over frozen ground, I am going back to bed. After a miserable time of nursing my Gramma back to semi-health from pneumonia a couple of weeks ago, I picked up whatever virus has been keeping every bed at every hospital in town full. Let me just state the obvious: I'm not having fun!

My doctor told me I was in for at least ten days of hell, and although I thought at the time it really wasn't helpful to be told such a thing, I guess it has kept me from panicking too much. I still don't feel a whole heap better at ten days than I did on day one. Alas, I did get one house call out of him, an extra-ordinary circumstance, to be sure. He was afraid I had contracted meningitis, but because the hospitals are so over-run, he came over to my house. I am happy to report, I do not have meningitis. Plus, I now am the proud possessor of antibiotics, something he doesn't give lightly.

Anyway, there isn't much fun to report here, nor do I have the brain power, filled as it is with all assortment of bugs and drugs, to write anything too delightful for your reading pleasure just now. So, I have opted to link you to a few places where my work has recently been published in hopes you might enjoy a poem or two of mine and some of the fine writing of others.

I was honored recently when my grad school professors invited me to publish some of my work on the Goddard Blog along with their own writings and some of the incredible talents of alums and current students.

Yet another poem has been published in The Canary this month by Hip Pocket Press. The editor, Gail Entrekin, has been fabulous to me, and I will be eternally grateful. You don't want to miss reading some of the back issues of this journal if you are a fan of poetry and prose.

Last, but certainly not least, I am linking you to an old article in the Lynchburg News and Advance about the Art Box move to its new location, because this is where you can find the new Art on 12th Studios and Galleries. I rent studio number one with my business partner, Terri Miller. We will be having our first opening to the public on Sunday, April 18th from 2-4:30 pm.

The paintings I chose to share are a couple of my new works in progress, which have been created since moving into my fabulous new space on January 1st of this year. We are excited to finally be officially opening the renovated upstairs spaces to the public. We being myself and a dozen other artists living and working in Lynchburg.

If you live in the area, come on down to the new Art Box on the corner of Grace and 12th Street in downtown Lynchburg, and check out all the great stuff Anne has for sale. Sign up for some of the ongoing classes by several resident artists in a number of media, and by all means, wander upstairs and visit the artists at work. We look forward to seeing you!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Caribbean Sun Cures Snow Overdose!

Today, I was supposed to be driving to Vermont for my grad school residency. Romantically, I thought it would be lovely to go to Vermont in February. I am always reminded of Bing Crosby and Danny Kay. "Vermont must be lovely this time of year, all that snow and all." I mean lets face it, we never get any snow down here in Forest, Virginia. Oh, the mountains get snow, but here in the valley we get maybe one good snow a year if that. I never dreamed that I would be going to Vermont to get away from the snow. Jeez.

Now, with the promise of Plainfield's mild winter weather (balmy 22 and very little snow on the ground), I can't get to Vermont no matter what I try. Why? Because there may not be snow in Vermont, but there's so much freaking snow in every state between here and there that most of the interstates are closed and all of the airports in the north east as far west as Chicago don't plan on flying any time soon.

Instead, I am stuck in my house, which thankfully has heat and electricity (don't think I'm not grateful), and I must wait until the snow stops. We have not seen green grass for the whole winter. It is buried under several feet of snow. The wind is blowing so hard out there that it sounds like it will tear the roof off, and even the inches of ice on top is not stopping the drift. The garage door is frozen closed, and I might as well move back to northern Indiana.

So, in the interest of fighting the winter blues, I would like to share a few pictures from my recent cruise of the Caribbean. We dubbed the vacation the "Mom and Me 2010 Cruise." My two girlfriends and all of our mothers went with me on the Carnival Legend for all kinds of fun in the sun. Our stops? Grand Caymans, Cozumel, Belize, and Roatan in the Honduras. It was fabulous. Perhaps the sunny images will lend some warmth to our frigid winter hearts...

First, we have the fabulous stingrays of our stingray encounter in Grand Caymans.

The face of the Tulum Ruins in Mexico

Can you find the hidden Iguana?

Mexican crab in Playa del Carmen.

The view from the top of Altan-Ha Temple in Belize

Oh I loved the Voracious Insect Bats in Belize too!

Alas, the sun must set on all good things.