Thursday, November 29, 2007

Some days EVERYONE needs a nap!

This has been a very busy couple of weeks. We've had celebrations and adjustments and some fun things so I haven't had much computer time. I'd really like to get a little better at keeping up with this little journal, but this being-a-grandmother does take time and energy!

Many of my blog entries are made from notes written in the car or composed while a baby is napping. Sometimes, they just don't make it to the computer. Even if no one else wants to read last week's news, I need them to make connections. So I am taking some time today to add some back entries for a week of Thanksgiving.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanks for Belle

For the second time this week, family gathered in Thanks Giving. This time for tiny Belle.

As with Lucy last year, we took her to the church which has been an important part of Bush family life for generations -- she and Lucy are the 6th. She was baptized and presented as the newest member of the congregation of believers at St. John United Methodist Church.

When the time comes, she will choose where she will place her loyalty and her beliefs, but meanwhile, she will learn about God's love in this place, from these people.

After the service, the combined families of Belle's parents shared a meal at our house. Later in the day, Lucy and I finally got a nap in my big bed upstairs. It was a beautiful day.

(Lucy shared her tiara with Belle. A big step!)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanks for Little Girls

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanks for Gratitude and Hope

Today there was a memorial service for brushes in a small temple in Japan. Calligraphers and writers gathered to burn their old brushes in gratitude and in hopes of better penmanship. I have recently moved some old supplies to a new spot in my house, so this bit of information struck a chord with me. It seemed like a good idea to me.

My friend Karen Jacobs hangs her old worn, paint and gesso spattered brushes in the studio like bones or tiny sculptures. Malaika Favorite has incorporated them into her paintings on layered and folded canvas. I usually just poke them into pots and baskets and then I wonder why I keep them.

I do occasionally think of which series I was working on when I used them last or which pigment I was experimenting with or what I used incorrectly to make one of them hard and brittle. . . but I think I could do more to offer gratitude for their role in my creative impulses. And I certainly could use a little hope in the ‘getting better' department.

Hum . . . . A memorial service for brushes might just do it.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanks for Family

As has become our custom in the last decade, my mother's children, grandchildren and great-grand children gathered at the farm which had belonged to her parents.

As older daughter and I drove the thirty miles, we watched the sky begin to fill with gray, rolling clouds which were edged with black -- they were the kind we have not seen for months during this long drought. We crossed the creek near the big lake and were dismayed at the low levels of the water. We turned off the main highway onto the farm road just as the rain began and ran into the house in the welcomed showers.

There were some new faces this year; babies and weddings do that, you know. My sister, who is such a gentle and unflustered hostess, just pulls out another table and more chairs. She even found the time to read her favorite book to Lucy.

We are grateful for this close family, but, this year, a day of rain was the blessing most appreciated. We returned home with renewed spirits and a heightened sense of who we are.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanks for Safe Arrivals

After anticipating their Daddy's arrival for several days, we waited on the big front porch and finally the little girls at our house were able to greet him. Lucy shyly presented her welcome home card with her handprint and some secret words which she wrote in her two year old style.

Belle wrinkled her face and greeted this stranger for the very first time with a resounding cry.

They are still surprised to find a big man coming out of the bathroom and driving the car, but they know it's their daddy and Belle smiles and Lucy teases.

Our thanks that he is safely home is tempered by the knowledge that he will soon return to his military duties and that when he returns next time, Belle will be one and Lucy will be a sassy almost three.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanks for the Music

This joyous week began with another Sunday afternoon concert. The grand organ had only a small role in this Concert with a Cause.

The program was powerful, joyous and a bit of naughty and emotion filled hearts gained release with laughter at the music and words. The guest director, Eric Nelson, fairly danced as his every move pulled exactly the right bit of color, texture and volume from the choir; his expressive face and hands asking them to - be - more. They responded with crisp harmony, joyous undertones and solid hymn singing.

The readers (playwright Rick Davis, actress Betty Walpert and director Doug Joiner) chose passages which gave hints of past Thanks Givings -- a bit of 17th C. gossip, a modern tale of food choices, lines from Whitman, Donnelly, Twain and passages of scripture. Tonya Currier's solo "This Little Light of Mine" was a concert in itself. Clara Park and Martin David Jones presented an arrangement for two pianos from Porgy and Bess which resounded with the joy of life.

It was an afternoon of spirited music and inspired words. It was a perfect way to begin a week of Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Quote of the Week

It’s also looking back at who you are as an individual . . . . You’re not just this person who’s from your own specific experiences, but the collective experience of what makes you who you are because of time.

Julie Mehretu

I'm not sure I quite understand this quote, but I thought it seemed appropriate to follow my last entry. It seemed to fit this fall tree as well. And it seemed to need sharing.

It comes from an article by Hilarie Sheets in the November 11, 2007, New York Times


Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Silver Linings

On Wednesday, we met for lunch and a tour of the Kousa Creek Southern Living Idea House. It was a glorious fall day. We heard about the Golf Digest LPGA house with its 9,000 fabulous square feet and toured it, too. We posed for pictures on the stairs at Kousa Creek and in the 'locker room' near the indoor putting green in the other. We lunched and laughed and looked. Joyce looked at the view, Jane looked at the kitchen, Mary looked at storage, Janice looked at bathtubs, Emily looked at toilets, Eddie looked at the cabinets and I looked at art. Each of us found things to love . . . and reasons to not move in tomorrow.

"We" are a group of women who crossed a stage together almost 50 years ago to receive our high school diplomas and now are looking forward to the BIG Reunion.

So several times a year, we have a Girls' Day Out to plan ahead, to look back, to make new friends of old acquaintances or perhaps to make new acquaintances of old friends. . . . Sometimes there are twenty or so; this time there were only seven of us. Oddly, all seven have a connection to the same Junior High and four have a connection to the same church. Each of us was born in 1941 and, with my November birthday, I was teased for being the youngest. It didn't even seem strange, that at our age, we would mark the difference of months just like we did in our teens and, by the end of the week, I was no longer the only one at 65.

As the sun slanted through the tall Georgia pines and brilliant oaks, we began to feel the pull back home and the responsibilities waiting at the end of our 100 mile drive. None of us had ever been "best friends" and our lives had taken us in the usual different directions, but on this day, in the midst of exploring, we were surprised to make a few new connections. We were reluctant to end the day.

It seems that, like the gray clouds which began to cover the sun as the day ended, getting older sometimes comes with silver linings.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Photo of the Day: High Art

Sometimes we forget that art is everywhere. Even when we forget our sketchbooks, pencils, brushes or paints, art is still there. Sometimes we just miss it.

These three photos were taken in a half hour time span. All three were quick shots; the first two from a moving vehicle and the third from a mall parking lot. I could not choose just one.

High Art. Glorious.


Friday, November 09, 2007

All the Proper Parts

After last weekend's family wedding, I decided that a 'successful' wedding is very much like a 'successful' painting. All the proper parts are there, carefully selected for their particular contributions, yet when things go awry, as they often do in the church or the studio, few need to know about struggles, mishaps or changes in the plan. It's the results that count.

Like his sister earlier in the summer, my nephew wanted his wedding to be very personal. Like his sister, he and his bride chose a place which has had a long time family connection. Like his sister, they planned for the simplicity of a very old place of worship in the country (a place I've mentioned before.) Like his sister, he asked if I would 'direct' the day.

I came prepared with my lists. What time everything needed to occur. When everyone needed to arrive. Who would be seated when and where. What the order of the processional and recessional would be. What not to do (don't chew gum, turn off cell phones, don't jingle change in your pockets.) The minister gave a few instructions, we rehearsed and we were ready!

The next day, I dressed in black as did the bridesmaids, wrapped my favorite pink scarf -- an impulse purchase in France last year -- around my shoulders and slipped on my bright pink Crocs. I walked from my little house in the bright fall air (a glorious day), tucked my 'real' shoes on a back pew, gave last minute instructions to the groomsmen, stopped to check on the bride's attendants to see that dressing was going well (lovely), hugged my favorite flower girl (the little red-head, of course), and headed across the grounds (the reason for the Crocs) to the open air, rustic tabernacle . Things were going well -- predictably well.

It was then that I realized that the musician was not present; she showed up just as I wondered how much wedding music I could remember how to play. The mothers' corsages would not stay on with the magnets supplied; I raced to the nearby reception hall to retrieve some straight pins. As I signaled for the first bridesmaid to begin the processional, I realized I had not sent the groomsmen down; I signaled to them after half the girls were in place hoping no one would notice. The flower girls and the ring bearer were perfect until they started down the white aisle runner toward the altar; all three stopped in their tracks with puckering faces and I gave up as they raced toward their mothers.

Finally, everyone was in place except the bride who had begun her processional with her father under an orange and gold canopy of crepe myrtle trees. I turned and spotted her as she floated through the sun and shadows of the old trees and the wind lifted her veil. I knew my job was finished and I took my place among the guests in my 'good' shoes.

A memorable wedding.
An unforgettable painting.

They happen when All the Proper Parts are in place and are sprinkled with an unexplainable and unique magic.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

An Election Day

I manage a voting location for County Board of Elections which has two separate precincts with two distinctive groups of voters and only one was open on Tuesday. The day is long - beginning before 6:00 AM and ending near 9:00 PM. Occasionally I have a disgruntled, confused or ornery voter, but, on the whole, "my" voters are great!

This time, there were several unique challenges which made the day interesting. We were in a new building at our regular location, but people found us. We managed to assist our first blind voter who had no problem using the equipment with the earphones and keypad. We had only one race on the ballot with only two candidates. We had to check each voter for one of five types of photo ID and had no problems.

While it is not unusual for only one of our two precincts to be voting because of staggered terms for the Districts, the biggest challenge was explaining to the 15% who came that they could not vote. I could not decide if they should be commended for being faithful and loyal voters or if they should be chided for being uneducated and unprepared.

It was an interesting Election Day.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Quote of the Day: Email is . . .

. . .we now trust email as a magical, instant and secure communications tool. It's not. It's sort of a cross between CB radio and two cups and a string.
. . . Seth Godin


Saturday, November 03, 2007


My nephew's wedding today will be in the country with no convenient restaurant nearby so we pitched in to help my sister with last night's rehearsal dinner. I used black and wine cloths topped with pumpkins, leaves and tiny chrysanthemums for the tables.

As I laundered the cloths, Lucy loved the way the shiny fabric felt. I loved the way she reminded me of Monet's painting of his wife in a kimono or perhaps a John Singer Sargent painting of . . . almost anyone.

I think it's the Attitude.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Trick or Treat!