I’ll be at the 33rd Annual Woodridge Service Organization Arts & Crafts Show, booth 10, from 9-3 at the high school. I’ll have mirrors, notecards, holiday greeting cards, photographs and prints for sale. Admission is $1; all proceeds from the show go to the WSO scholarship fund which provides scholarships to graduating seniors who have provided service to their school and community. After spending the last 1-1/2 years putting on exhibits in the area, this will be my first appearance at an “arts and crafts show”. We’ll see how it goes!
Archive for November, 2009
Not complete, and not in order, but just some of the songs I’ll be listening to over and over this holiday season:
… Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) (U2)
… Merry Christmas Baby (Bruce Springsteen)
… Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy (Bing Crosby and David Bowie)
… Happy Christmas (John Lennon)
… Winter Song (Sara Bareillis and Ingrid Michaelson)
… The River (Rachael Yamagata)
… Santa Baby (Eartha Kitt)
… Baby It’s Cold Outside (Dean Martin)
… Christmas Song (Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds)
… Song for a Winter’s Night (Sarah McLachlan)
… Snow (Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, etc.)
… Snowman (Barenaked Ladies)
… Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! (Frank Sinatra)
… White Christmas (Bing Crosby)
… Nutcracker Suite
By old-fashioned, I mean that we take the kids on road trips without electronic gadgets – games, music players, DVDs, etc. When I was a kid, we packed books (coloring, reading, puzzle) or just stared out the window at the passing scenery. Mile after mile after mile. I’m sure my three sisters and I drove my parents crazy from time to time, especially on the longer trips (but my parents had to be a bit crazy to begin with, for example, to drive four kids cross-country in a station wagon in the ’70s). But I think being forced to entertain yourself with your own imagination or by (annoying) your family is “good for character,” as they say. And now that I’ve grown up and have children of my own, I don’t see why they should travel any differently. Yes, it would probably make our lives easier if we relied on gadgets. And maybe we’re just plain crazy for not using them. But there’s something about seeing them all crammed together in the back seat, hearing my oldest daughter read a book to her sister, or listening to the girls oohing and aahing over the picture my son drew of a car, or watching them write stories and helping each other spell words, that makes me feel that I may be crazy, but that I’m also capturing some special moments in time.
Someone close to me moved to Brazil four months ago. I visited her on the day she left Akron and I haven’t heard from her since. I’ve e-mailed her and tried to get a hold of her with Skype with no success. It’s as if she disappeared off the face of the earth. Strange. But it made me think of how sometimes friendships just kind of fade away naturally while other times they end abruptly, quizzically. When I got divorced 15 years ago, I cut ties with a lot of people because I just couldn’t deal with the history. I needed new friends to start a new life (except for my BFF, of course, who’s always been there). In other cases, I’ve held on to friendships even though they were way past their expiration date — way past when we had anything in common — just because they were a habit — no matter how poisonous they may have become (I didn’t realize how many people in my life only liked me when I was miserable). It’s still sad when a friendship ends — and I still feel pangs of guilt when I think of the friends I’ve left behind. I’m still working to accept that some friendships were made to be transient while a precious few, if you’re lucky enough and take good care of them, can last a lifetime.
One of the things I don’t like about the holidays is the feeling that everyone’s having a Norman Rockwell kind of event but you. At the very least, the norm for Thanksgiving includes a home-cooked turkey dinner “with all the fixings”, as they say. But is a home-cooked meal at Mom’s or Grandma’s with the family all gathered around really the norm? Let’s see. My neighbor ate a spinach quiche alone in her room at a rehab center. A couple of my family members helped out at a food kitchen in Cleveland, grabbing something to eat when they finished their shift. My family ate pizza for lunch at the Rhino Cafe at the Cincinnati Zoo, and dinner at a Cracker Barrel off 71. (My husband wanted to eat at Golden Corral, but I told him I refused to eat Thanksgiving Dinner at a place that had the word “corral” in it). And if McDonald’s, Wendy’s or other fast food restaurants along the highway would have been open, a lot of travelers would have been eating there, judging by the large number of cars waiting in vain at drive-thrus or trying to open locked dining room doors (we know, we were among them). We did order the the turkey dinner with all the fixings when we were at Cracker Barrel — so at least we got that part of the tradition right. More importantly, we reflected on all we’re thankful for — which is the heart of it all anyway, isn’t it? And last I checked, you didn’t need a home-cooked meal around Grandma’s hearth to do that.
Sorry, this is another Bruce Springsteen posting!! But there is a song on his most recent CD called “Kingdom of Days” which I think is such a moving tribute to long-lasting love:
With you I don’t hear the minutes ticking by / I don’t feel the hours as they fly / I don’t see the summer as it wanes / Just a subtle change of light upon your face …
… When I count my blessings and you’re mine for always / We laughed beneath the covers / and count the wrinkles and the grays / Sing away, sing away, sing away, sing away / Sing away, sing away, my darling, we’ll sing away / This is our kingdom of days …
Yes, Bruce and his lyrics have definitely matured as he has aged. And they should. And I too, count the wrinkles and grays as I fully realize this is my kingdom of days.
… that it conjures up such warm, happy feelings? I’m not talking about the scalding hot chocolate water that fills up half a small styrofoam cup that they give you at some outdoor winter event – that stuff’s just gross. Blech! No, I’m talking about cocoa made with milk … maybe with mini-marshmallows in it … or even some real cream on top. I remember my beloved grandma’s hot chocolate — she ALWAYS had marshmallows at her house, like every good grandmother should. I remember being the first to ever serve hot chocolate to my nieces and nephews (a special treat when they would sleep over at my house on a cold winter’s night). I remember drinking hot chocolate on so many of my vacations. (Chocolate chaud, as it’s known in France, is just incredible, and in Brussels, they have little street shops that sell blocks of chocolate (in every flavor imaginable!) stuck in wooden spoons. They pour hot milk in a cup and you stir the chocolate in, licking the spoon every so often. Heaven!!! Apparently this company started in Germany and is in select spots in Europe.) I remember being at an intern at Nestle in Solon during college and because it was Nestle, the breakroom was loaded with hot chocolate packets. I thought it was the best perk ever! Now my own children have “hot chocolate fever” and I love it! It’s so fun to see them get so excited as they wait to be served. It all comes down to such simple things, doesn’t it?
Some people are born caregivers. I am not. I was taught to take care of myself and I expect others to do the same. Parenthood, of course, changes all that. You are thrust into the role of caregiver, like it or not. You have to be the strong one, the responsible one, 24/7. You can’t show weakness. You have to be the one who cleans up the vomit, squashes the spiders, puts pressure on the bleeding, waits in the hospital waiting room — all the time sucking in whatever fears you have. I like to think that I’ve developed into a pretty good caregiver for my children, hard as it is. But as well as taking care of my young children, I’m a member of the “sandwich generation”, which means my parents are of an age where they may need to be taken care of as well. Unlike most of my friends, I have not had to deal with that yet. However, circumstances have made me the caregiver once again to my 68-year-old next-door neighbor, who suffered a small stroke early last Thursday (earlier this year she was housebound for seven weeks with complications from food poisoning). She never married and has no children. Her brother lives across the country, as well as most of her friends. Since the stroke, I have been with her at the hospital and rehab center, trying to get her what she needs and to help her cope with her situation. Though she is an upbeat, bright, vivacious and funny woman in otherwise good health, she is still alone and scared about her present and her future once she is released from rehab. Again, I have to move beyond my comfort level to help her feel confident and secure and hopeful. It’s certainly no more easy to be a caregiver for her than it is to my own children (especially at the same time). I knew there was a reason I didn’t like sandwiches.
Today my husband and I took a road trip to Mansfield to see how all the artwork (including mine) came together for the Mansfield Art Center Holiday Fair running through December 30 (T-S 11-5, Sunday 12-5). This is the first time I’ve had my work here (10 wall pieces and notecards) and I was excited to be on display along with heavy-hitters like Don Drumm! The theme for this year’s show is “Inside the Artists’ Studio”, designed to emulate “the sights, sounds, and tastes of a holiday in the ‘Big City’, as the Web site says. All I can say is, well done! My husband and I were both very, very impressed with the display — it shows a lot of creativity and originality and does an excellent job of showcasing all the different kinds of local art. If you’re looking for somewhere different to go to do some holiday shopping, take a drive here! (P.S. If you get there early enough, you can stop at the Coney Island Diner on Main Street and have a peanut butter cup sundae – mmmmm!)
I never liked artist Paul Gauguin much, especially after I found out he left his wife and his five children to go paint topless women in the tropics. But I still wanted to see the special exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art (www.clemusart.org) and I was lucky enough to go with a fellow artist who’s a CMA member so we got in free. The audio guide was free, too, so I was feeling good about the show from the get-go. The exhibit doesn’t mention Gauguin’s personal life hardly at all. Instead, it focuses on the exhibit he put on at a cafe on the grounds of the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris (100 works by 12 or so fellow artists). I was fascinated by how similar some of the works by different artists were, or conversely, how different, as in two works by Van Gogh and Gauguin (his one-time, short-lived roommate) which had a similar subject but much different styles. I also discovered some new artists, and even bought a small print by Louis Anquetin (Avenue de Clichy, 1887) which reminded me of Van Gogh’s Cafe Terrace at Night (1888). The exhibit was surprisingly crowded for a Friday morning, so if you go, I suggest you go when the museum opens. Then you’ll be done in time to go to Little Italy for lunch! (Exhibit ends January 18, 2010)