Tuesday, December 2, 2008

niece and nephew

Here are portraits of my niece and nephew, at my brother and sister-in-law's house at Thanksgiving. Happy December everybody!

Friday, November 7, 2008

new studio!

I just moved into this new studio today. I just brought a few things, stared out the windows (there's two), read a little bit, and took a nap while listening to my friend practice accordian and harmonica next door.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


My mom, a lifelong Democrat, got me started on the campaign trail early. I helped her put up posters for the McGovern campaign in 1972, when I was six years old.

I was sworn in as a registered voter in my college cafeteria in the fall of 1984, just barely 18 years old. I voted in the primaries and the subsequent presidential election.

I don't understand why people don't register to vote, or use that as an excuse not to vote, or use any excuse not to vote. It's a mystery to me. But like all good mysteries I come back to it every couple of years and see if I can figure it out. No luck this year. I still meet people who I otherwise love and respect who aren't going to vote. Some of them have the grace to be embarrassed. Some won't meet my eye and are angry I'm judging them. So be it.

I'm voting on Tuesday. I hope you are too.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bizarre and more bizarre

Back in this past winter and spring I posted a bit about health issues.

On September 1st my doctor died from a stroke. He was, I think, 61 or 62, and in otherwise good health. This in itself is a shock, but there's more. I was deeply immersed in my art making project in September and so wasn't reading the newspapers much and completely missed the obituaries that were published in the weeks following my doctor's death. I even missed the letter I got from my insurance company telling me my doctor would no longer be available. They didn't say he died, they said he would no longer be able to provide care.

Finally, about a week ago, I got a new insurance card in the mail with a new doctor's name on it. I got my mail too late in the day to call the insurance co., but I did call my doctor's office. I got the answering service. Not a machine, but an actual person. I said I assumed I was reaching the service, and they said yes, but the office was closed. I said, sure, it's 7pm, I figured that. And the woman said, no, the office is closed for business - the doctor has died. Well. I'm sitting there with my mouth hanging open. The woman apologizes, says she understands how shocked I must be, and every time she tells another patient she herself is shocked all over again. She tells me some details about how the doctor died (in a kayak, with his wife). There isn't much else to say, so I mentally note that I have to call the insurance co. and the doctor I've been assigned on Monday morning. 

Monday morning. I call a doctor who a friend of mine really liked, but she's not accepting any new patients. The office is at capacity. OK. They give me the name of a new doctor in town who is taking new patients. I try to find the phone number of the doctor I've been assigned by the insurance co., but I look everywhere and there is no listing for them. I look in the hard copy phone book, white and yellow pages, I look on line. I look under the doctor's name, I look under the practice's name. Nothing. Nada. So I call the friend's doctor's office and they, thank God, have the number. I reach the assigned doctor's office. They advise me they aren't taking patients outside their limited geographical area (even though this is who the insurance co. assigned me to). This area doesn't include where I live, and they recommend the same doctor my friend's doctor's office recommended. Apparently this guy is probably the only doctor in central Vermont who is taking new patients. OK  then. On to the new doctor. I call, I explain. They know all about it. We make an appointment for December (which I later change to January so it'll be an annual physical, and therefore covered by the freaking insurance). They say they will send me an introductory pack of forms, including a release of records form that I can use to get my medical records from my deceased doctor's office.

Which is really good, because it turns out the deceased doctor's office isn't releasing records directly to patients, but only transferring records to other doctor's offices. I find this out when I call the deceased doctor's answering service on Tuesday, because the answering service told me I could talk with someone there on Tuesdays and Thursday between 2-4pm. It turns out I couldn't actually talk with anyone besides the answering service, but they did clarify that I could drop my release form at the office during those hours, but only to drop it off (or fax it over), that I could not actually get my records. And how, I asked, would I know that, first, they'd recieved the request, and second, responded to it and sent it to my new doctor? Oh, they said, you could call your new doctor's office and check with them. As much as I wanted to argue the circular logic of this response I saw that the woman at the answering service couldn't help me, so I said thanks and hung up. 

One thing that took a day or so to sink it was a detail the answering service woman had told me (or maybe it was one of the receptionists at one of the other offices...it's kind of mushed together in my mind now). It's this - the deceased doctor's office will be processing requests to release medical records until the end of October. I called my new doctor's office yesterday (Friday) asking if they had the correct address for me, as I hadn't recieved the forms yet. They told me they had a big stack to send out, but they appreciated getting a confirmation of my correct address, and that they'd be sending the forms out shortly. I sure hope I can get my records transferred before Oct. 31st. I don't want to think about what I might have to do after that date. Sue? File a brief in civil court? What all?

Then, today, Saturday, I'm at the farmer's market. I see the nurse practitioner from my deceased doctor's office. I tell her I feel badly for her, she must be having a hard time. Well, she wants to know if I got a letter from the office letting me know what happened. I told her no, that I found out from the insurance co. She told me the family of the deceased doctor, through an intermediary, told her they didn't have any money to pay her a week after the doctor died. That she couldn't work there anymore, not even to contact patients to let them know what happened. The nurse, on her own, looked for (in the phone book) and was able to find 53 of the several hundred patients she knew, and in this way was able to let them know by letter, that the doctor had died and they needed to find a new doctor for their primary care.

So she is trying to find her own way and is working to get a new practice together. You see, a big reason I was a patient of the deceased doctor was because the nurse practitioner was on staff. I could get my physical examination with a woman. Now? Now I have to start all over again, with a  new doctor whose only recommendation is that he's so new he has room for me. Meanwhile, if the nurse practitioner starts a new practice I may or may not join her there, as she is a bit muddled in methods and communication. Fun all around.

But I can see even though this is a general pain in the ass, it is not so awful as it might be. I am in good health. I am not dependent on the deceased doctor for any prescriptions, treatments or diagnosees. As frustrating as this situation is, it could be so much more so. I'm grateful for that. My heart goes out to the patients who actually have to find their way through this morass, not just checking in around the edges like I am doing. 

Hopefully everything will go smoothly with the transfer of records and I won't have anything new to report until next year. I'll let you know.

Friday, October 10, 2008

existential questions and Curtis Savard photographs

Curtis Savard took a bunch of photographs at Fort Can Gallery during the reception a few weeks ago. I've been chilling out, so am just getting around to posting about them now. But I have to say I love them. This one, above, is of my friend Amy and me in the gallery, mural of kissing couple in the background, portraits and other artwork in the foreground.

And this is a section of wall that includes the poster for the show, an abstract drawing a number of people particularly liked, and another view of the group portrait of Brian, Tara & Kelly. Can you read the writing? It says, in large letters "Is it too much?" and then in smaller lettering below, "Is it enough?" - questions I ask myself all the time. 

Sunday, September 28, 2008

almost last day of "Mild to Extra-Spicy"

Here's my first portrait of the day - Tara.

And a group portrait of my hosts at Fort Can Gallery/May Day Studio. (They are much less cartoon-y in person.) From left to right: Brian Zeigler, Tara Jensen and Kelly McMahon.

This is a portrait of Linda, Brian's wife. We both liked the way it came out. It almost looks like her. Pretty close.

Last but not least, Megan. It was a great day. There were a couple people who couldn't make it, but a bunch of people came to the reception who I hadn't expected, and then some friends who came by took me out for dinner afterwards. May Day Studio also had a good day, meeting new people and making plans for the future. Curtis Savard took some excellent photographs of the event which I'm looking forward to posting soon.

More about my future plans for art making, soon.

Friday, September 26, 2008

portrait Friday

I drew four portraits today, and anticipate drawing another four or five tomorrow. Andrew above.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I got to draw another portrait yesterday

And here she is. I had five people scheduled but only one was able to make it. I've rescheduled with two, one I've contacted and one I still need to call back. After getting off the phone with one of the rescheduled I felt so tired. As if the marathon I had anticipated all week (five portraits in five hours) had actually taken place. Anyway, next Saturday, the last of the exhibit, will be pretty busy with three portraits and a double portrait early in the day possible, and a reception in the afternoon. It's almost over and I feel like I'm just getting started.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

gallery time/portraiture

I spent the day at Fort Can Gallery & Studios, drawing people and enjoying being immersed in art making. Last Saturday I drew four portraits: Karen (above), Cora, Gladys & Duffy. I hadn't arranged to draw Duffy ahead of time, but it worked out well, as the person I had planned on drawing didn't show. Today I had three subjects: Sarah, Rhoda and Harrison. Sarah brought her sweet dog, who I didn't know how to fit in the drawing. Rhoda was a gas and I started two drawings before I settled on one that I liked well enough to finish. I did Harrison in crayon and it came out OK, except his mouth looked like someone else. Thursday morning I started painting and drawing on the walls of the gallery. That's where the image from the "kinda spicy" post came from. After a week of feeling shy about having this gallery space, I found I needed to splash some color around. Once I got started I didn't want to stop, although I only had about an hour. But I got far enough that I came straight over after work on Thursday night, and worked through past midnight. I had a blast. Brian Ziegler, one of the studio renters, was there most of the evening and was very supportive and helpful. I haven't worked on one art object for more than an hour or two in years and years. I just love being able to do it. The only problem I was having was a certain stiffness in one of the figures (of the kissing couple). I found hundreds of kissing couples to study online, sketched a couple for reference, and went back Friday morning to loosen things up a bit. It worked like a charm and I'm pretty happy with the result. I may work on the painting more...I'm not sure. But since it's on the wall, and it will have to be painted over, I may stop where it is now and move back to more portable media. We'll see how it goes. I still have one wall I haven't done anything with yet, except write the words "I don't know", "I don't know, either" (which I erased) and then on the other end of the wall "is it too much?". Before any of these statements I wrote the question "Why" on the opposite wall. I love writing & drawing on walls. I've been doing it since I was maybe three or four years old, when my Dad repainted the upstairs hallway and I couldn't resist applying my crayons to the freshly painted surfaces. Oh, I love making art. I really do.

Friday, September 12, 2008

kinda spicy

Friday, September 5, 2008

Poster! Thanks Kelly!

Kelly McMahon, who runs May Day Studio letterhead press and book bindery,  made these beautiful posters for my show! Whoo-hoo! May Day Studio shares studio space with Fort Can Gallery, which is hosting my show. Tomorrow, Saturday, is the first public day of the exhibit, and I'll have a couple of portraits to draw. More about that soon.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

moderately spicy

untitled drawing from 2003-2005 

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Mild to Extra-Spicy

is the name of the exhibit I'll be having at the Fort Can Gallery, in Montpelier during the month of September. (If you go to the Fort Can site there won't be anything about my show yet, as we just pinned down the details yesterday, but you will get to see what's at the gallery now, as well as their philosophical take on art.)

I am inviting folks to visit the gallery, potentially have their portrait drawn, look at artwork I'm working on, and check out the letterhead press/book bindery, May Day Studio, that shares space with the gallery. Fort Can and May Day Studio are located at 190 River St. Montpelier, between The Restore and Trading Post Furniture.

Gallery hours are Saturdays, 10am-2pm and by appointment.

If folks are in the Montpelier area (and we haven't already made an appointment) and are interested in a fifteen minute to hour long portrait (and visiting an interesting gallery) let me know. I'll put you on the schedule. Otherwise, do stop by during gallery hours - I'd love to show y'all around.

P.S. See below for an example of "spicy".

I recently bought a book titled "Put What, Where?, Over 2000 Years of Bizarre Sex Advice" authored and annotated by John Nash, from the remainders bin of my local bookstore. I almost regretted buying it, but then realized I could make use of it as background for some spicy drawings.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

more portraits!

These are three friends who lived in my town about ten years ago.

I'll be posting more portraits soon.

Friday, August 15, 2008

portrait gallery

I just scanned a bunch of portraits.

This is a sketch of faculty member Corrine Mattuck, probably in 1984.

I used caran d'ache crayons a lot in school - still love them. This is of a guy named Jon who was only around for a semester or two. All I can remember about him is he liked to drive his little red sports car really fast.

Minimalism was a happy result of hours and hours of gesture drawing during life drawing classes. This is of a fellow student, Karen Andress, who was taking her turn upon the occasional neccesity of standing in for a no-show model. 

I love the kinetic energy in this one. Gina, 1985

I wasn't even 18 yet! Ah, if I could go back and give myself a hug I would. Self portrait Nov. 20, 1983.

Lee Henry. So pretty.

I'll post more soon. This is fun.

Monday, August 11, 2008

guard dog

I found this doggie bobble head outside my apartment on Friday morning. The storm drains overflowed and this is one of the items that washed up. I immediately thought of Tara (one of the artists at Fort Can) and decided to bring doggie with me to the reception on Saturday. Doggie found a home in Tara's studio that very night. Above is documentation of said homecoming. At the studio entrance there was some conversation about what duties doggie would perform. Guard dog seemed apt.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

on waking up

The sound of cars passing by on Rte 12, with the front porch and a couple yards of lawn between the road and my bedroom window, is more gentle than an alarm clock, even adding on the doot-doot-doot backing-up sounds the construction trucks make just on the other side of the house.

I hear these sounds and even before I open my eyes I can guess what time it is. If I'm still half asleep I can guess what day of the week it is, too, by the absense or presense of the construction truck doot doot doot. If the cars are passing three or four or more in a row on either side of the two-lane roadway, then I know it's probably 7:30 or 8am, and the morning commute is commencing in earnest. 

Meanwhile, I'm deciding whether the dream I just had is worth remembering and writing down. Sometimes I have to write it down quickly before the whole thing fades. Other times they are so vivid I can remember them through the day and can still recall them before I go to sleep that night. Either way I have to decide, and once I do then I have to either write the thing down or get up and go about my day. No in-between there.

Occasionally I'll get a nice surprise, dreamwise. Recently I had a dream that someone I knew, only a little in college and not at all now, kissed me. I don't know why he kissed me. I don't know what was going on before that kiss, or afterwards. But those moments of intimacy, and it's palpable tenderness, linger on. 

So the gentle surf-like sound of cars passing on the road is a better backdrop for remembering such moments than the sudden sound of just about anything a foot away from my ear, as you may be able to imagine. No alarm clocks here.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

25th high school reunion coming up

Above is my yearbook picture, circa 1983 (actually, it was taken in the summer of '82...but who am I to quibble?).

And this one's from (I think) winter 1983, mid-way through my senior year.

I've been getting notices regarding my high school reunion. It's pretty unreal that it's been 25 years since I graduated from high school. Equally unreal that it's been 21 years since I graduated from college, but that's probably for another post. 

I didn't like high school, although it was an improvement over middle school. I didn't have many friends among the kids I spent most of the school day with. I was one of the few people in the school who came from someplace else, and one of the few people who immediately left to start a new life as soon as I graduated. People didn't know what to make of me - for which I can't blame them - as I didn't know what to make of me either. I'm still working on that one, actually.

I went to my 10th year reunion. Um, it was interesting, but not something I want to repeat. I will not be going to my 25th, although the pictures I saw posted on the web site for the 20th reunion made me feel tenderly towards those who did attend. They looked so vulnerable. Much more so than I ever saw evidence of in high school. Seeing those pictures made me think there might still, yet, be some friends to make there. But I don't think I'm gonna go.

I posted the two pictures above, plus the two b&w photos here on the home page of the blog, on the "classmates" web site. Very few people from the class of 1983 are posting photos, or information about their lives, or anything else. It could be because the sight only offers these options for a fee. The site managers are hoping I'll forget before the end of the week that I've got a 7 day free trial, but forget it y'all, I've got a reminder right here on my calendar. Classmates dot com is not getting any money from me, no sir.

One thing I'm kind of pleased to realize - I was a lot cuter than I knew at the time. I mean, I was cute (actually, I'm still cute) but didn't really see it.

I'm so grateful for photography, especially family photos. I was talking with my dad last night about the family photographs my grandmother has. She is a meticulous housekeeper and the photographs are in very good shape, although a lot of them from my late grandfather's side of the family are undocumented. But I don't care about that. I started to tell my dad how much I value these photographs and he interrupted to tell me I could have them (when the time came). I was surprised he understood what I meant so well, and cut right through whatever else I was going to say. Anyway, my grandma is very excitable and the last thing I would want is to mention the photographs and her passing on in the same sentence, so I have to give my dad a lot of credit for saving us all from that. So - thanks, Dad.

Here's his high school graduation photo, circa 1960.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

wild strawberries

These wild strawberries are just outside my back porch. I am blessed.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

grass seed, maps, small towns & big cities

The weather's been pretty sweet. I mean, cool (under 70 most days) and dry (probably too dry).
Today it's raining, which is excellent.

Yesterday I, with help from a friend, moved a bunch of gravel from just beyond my porch into the driveway, so I can have a little piece of earth to wiggle my toes in (on?). Today I bought some grass seed (mostly rye and clover) and spread it over the patch of earth, and then occasionally went out and watched, with great pleasure, the rain soak down on the grass seed. Soon there'll be green shoots sprouting and my toes are wiggling in anticipation.

Earlier today I spent a couple hours mapping my family and childhood homes, schools and places of birth in Philadelphia. I called my Dad to get specifics on addresses. I was only off by one number on the house I spent my first 8 years in (11764 Brandon Rd). I thought it was 11762. My dad said that would have been the Taylor's house...which I would not want, because they had this german shepard named Major who snarled ferociously if anyone got near their front door, which was right next to ours.

I also found out, by asking the name and address of the hospital I was born in, that my older brother and I (we have the same parents), and my three younger half-siblings (same dad, different mom) were all born in the same hospital (Albert Einstein) and delivered by the same doctor. The doctor delivered my older brother in 1964 and my younger half-brother in 1984. Apparently he, the doctor, was the youngest partner in the family practice he belonged to. Go figure. 

I think of Philadelphia as a large city (it is), but relationship-wise it feels like a small town. All five of us siblings being delivered by the same doctor feels so small town-ish. But maybe it's not as unusual as I think?

Don't know, but it's one of the many questions I ask myself as I pour over the map of my home town (which is really a big city).


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Lynda Barry's "What It Is" available in bookstores NOW!

Hey! Go out and get your copy of What It Is by Lynda Barry, either through your local independent bookseller or via Drawn & Quarterly, Lynda's current (and awesome) publisher.

I've got mine and I'm very very glad.   

It's a combination of autobiographical picture story telling and writing exercises. But this description is an insult to the art of this book.

Go! But It! Now! (Ok, or beg your local library to get a copy as soon as possible (now?))

And now I really have to get outdoors.

Enjoy the day.


the skinny on cholesterol

Oh yeah, I said I was going to post on the test results for cholesterol and vitamin D, didn't I?

Strangely, although I gave up some purported cholesterol producing foodstuffs and started eating more purported cholesterol reducing foodstuffs, my overall cholesterol went up between Jan. and April by a sizable chunk. Especially the "bad" kind (LDL). Ftischhhh.

My vitamin D, however, is up in the normal range. Yay!

The result? I'm less likely to be depressed about my health being endangered by the plaque building up in my arteries. Ha, ha, ha.

Seriously, though, I'm gonna try taking Omega-3 fatty acids as a supplement, and see if that helps. But, the thing is, until April my cholesterol has been pretty much the same for the past four or five years. So my feeling is the stress of worrying over the health of my arteries has created more damage than anything else I might be doing. So I've decided to put thoughts of cholesterol back where they belong: in the world of the bean counters.

I'll go outside and "walk briskly", (although I prefer strolling) for half an hour. A half hour is the recommended time frame for this excellent {although frankly silly looking} low maintenance high benefit exercize. Or maybe bicycle down to the co-op or up to the Peace Park (east and west stretches of the bike path, respectively).   

And I'm gonna find another doctor. Somebody who knows how to read their own forms (and send test results to the correct address), tells patients all the tests being performed for them and why, and can remember in a timely manner to give cogent recommendations on the type and amounts of efficatious supplements.

Seems reasonable, I think.

See you later - time to get outside.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


line dried candy colored clothing!

my bike - equipped with air in the tires and a new lock.

snow retreating from the back yard...it IS all gone now...this pic was taken a few weeks ago

Saturday, May 10, 2008

absorbing and creating

Inspired by the recent American Photobooth book, I'm posting photobooth generated photographs of my Aunt Rose, who was 7 years older than my Mom (who has her own section here), Grandmom Bea & Grandpop Marty. Photos date from early 1930's (when my grandparents first met - when they were in their mid 20's - to the late 1950's - when my mom was a teenager).

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

short visit to say hi and some recommendations

Hey-ho (as Kermit the Frog would say),

I've been mulling over this and that the last few weeks, plus I still have a cold, which was really hellacious at first, ten days ago, and now just irritating. I tried breaking up with it earlier today (imagine me yelling at it: "It's OVER! Get out of my body, NOW, and take all your snot rags with you!", kicking the waste paper basket across the room for emphasis). We'll see if that has the desired affect.

Meanwhile, I've been visiting some more web sites.

Here's a few I particularly like:

TED: Ideas Worth Spreading


Byron Katie's "The Work"

Have fun with these. I'll be back after I change the locks (if I can ever get this darn cold to leave the house).

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Full On Spring

It's for real - no turning back; Spring's Here.

West and east views over the Winooski River, respectively.

And a pot of brown rice, because I like the pattern it makes when it's cooked.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Curiosity is keeping this cat alive

I called the doctor's office to find out what would happen to my blood once it was drawn (see previous post on tests below), and how much it would cost.

My blood will be tested for vitamin D levels, and for cholesteral (the good and the bad kinds). It will cost $76.88. $25 for drawing the blood, $51.88 for the lab work.

Stay tuned. I'll let you know how it all turns out.

Tests I didn't know I was taking and other health related costs

So I got my statement from BlueCross BlueShield this morning. Turns out the information I posted recently about the cost of a mammogram is more than twice as high at $312 than the higher end of $150.

Insurance only covers $249.23 of it, but unlike other statements I've received recently the difference is not passed on to me. I guess the radiologist and my doctor eat the difference. Or maybe the $249.23 is how much it really costs and the $312 is what they ask for just in case the insurance company is feeling generous???

Meanwhile, I got a bill from my doctor's office for $14.27, for the lab work on a pregnancy test. (Clearing my throat) I didn't ask for or need a pregnancy test, and this is what I told the doctor, after speaking with the receptionist, who told me to call the insurance company to find out why this wasn't covered with all the other lab work, and the insurance company told me to call the doctor to discuss the (apparent) need for the test by the doctor. Following me so far?

I got a physical examination in January from the nurse practitioner. She included the pregnancy test with all the other lab work, but didn't mention it at the time of the examination.

So I was really surprised when it came up on the bill. I was just lucky when the doctor answered the phone the second time I called the office, after speaking with the insurance company. He said he didn't know why it had been included, and said he could do one of two things; speak with the nurse practitioner about it's inclusion or take the $14.27 off my bill. I said it would be great if he could do both, and he said he would.

Hopefully, case closed. Although I have more lab work scheduled for later this month, with this doctor's office. They want to find out if the vitamin D3 I'm taking is showing up in my blood. Apparently when they tested for this in January my D levels were at 9 (parts per million?). "Normal" is 25-50, so I guess I needed some assistance in the vitamin D department. I've been taking 2000 iu (international units) of Vit. D3 every day since mid January, and made an appointment back then for mid April to find out how things were going.

Now I'm going to call the doctor's office and find out if there's anything else they're going to test for while they're drawing blood. Just, you know, out of curiosity.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Last Saturday evening I went to a production (one woman play) called "Crazy" by Gail Marlene Schwartz up at the Vermont College Chapel. Third Story Window is the name of Gail's community based art/performance company. Very Cool. VSA Arts of Vermont was the producer for the 5 performances in Vermont, the one in Montpelier being the last of them.

I'm so glad I went! Gail's story, which is autobiographical, centers on her experience of the 18 therapists she's seen since she was 5 1/2 years old. It's a great story and afterwards there was a panel discussion with local providers, consumers, advocates and some combination of all three and the audience, and Gail, the actor/writer. It was a great experience, and instead of re-writing all about it I'm going to re-print the evaluation/testimonial here.

Initially I scribbled some notes to myself and wasn't sure if I was going to send Gail or the producers my feedback, but after a couple of encouraging e-mails from Gail I decided to go ahead.

Although I've never been diagnosed as "clinically" one thing or another I've never felt "normal" either. Not coincidentally this was also my mother's approach to being pinned down mental-health wise, in large part because once one is diagnosed it is on one's permanent health record...or something like that.

So seeing someone explore their life-long relationship with the therapeutic process with humor and panashe and so fearlessly, despite interruptions indicating the contrary (see answer #2 below), well, it was just great! At some point I will post a response to the questions of Jewish and Crazy that Gail posted about recently. In the meantime, I think this is plenty to read about right here.

1. If you were telling a friend what you appreciated about this presentation (show), what would you say?

I liked the story, the method of story telling (not linear!) and detail choices, the set, props and three dimensionality of the stage (riding bike onto stage, using props handed up and thrown back from front row, etc) and the intelligence and wit.

2.What moment/s stood out for you and why?

The "interruptions" of neurotic cleaning during particularly tense or tender moments of the performance, the video of the actor's younger self riding her bicycle near the end of the performance, and the stills of the actor's recent self crying. The cleaning interruptions were so funny and real. The actor used the bike with the banana seat through the whole performance, and spoke beautifully about her experience of learning to ride her bike. As an audience member, when I got to see real footage of her riding her bike, I found it quite moving and saw it as a statement about the actor's resiliency and innate sturdiness in the face of 18 versions of interpreting her "craziness". I was very surprised by the stills of the actor crying, as this is, usually, as emotionally vulnerable as a person can get. I appreciated the actor's inclusion of these stills, but didn't fully appreciate their value until I read the materials afterward and discovered the actor had been photographing herself in high states of emotion to include in future performance pieces.

3. What did not work/what would you change about the presentation and why?

The "Rorschach" test images were invisible from where I was sitting. I felt I was being shown a blank (or almost blank) screen and being asked to interpret nothing; that it was a joke, which was frustrating. At the end of the performance I saw that the images were shown in their original size and shape and were actually out of focus close ups of objects, and the actor's face. I wish the test images were just a little less out of focus, maybe because Rorschach test images are so graphically stark.

4. Were your views about mental health/illness impacted by the presentation? How?

Yes. I felt a surge of positive associations with being on the "crazy" end of the mental health continuum. That is, I identified with the intelligence, wit and vulnerability portrayed by the actor. I'm not crazy about being considered "crazy", but this performance displaced a chunk of the shame associated with it, and I also felt less isolated. Thanks.

5. Would you recommend this program for other communities? Why or why not?

Yes! What's not to like??? Seriously, because it takes issues that might be seen as "mental health" issues and turns them into human issues, which is something everyone can benefit from.

6. Any other comments?

Thanks to the actor for baring her soul, and VSA Vermont for producing the performance, and the Vermont Community Foundation for funding the project! This is important work and should certainly be supported in the future.

7. May we use your comments in future projects?


Saturday, March 22, 2008

bright cold SPRING!

Look what I got!!! A thank-you post card from Lynda!Barry! I sent her a postcard a few weeks ago telling her how much I love her work and how much I'm looking forward to her next book coming out - scroll down to The Gorgon and feast your eyes. So!Utterly!Cool!

Hey, yeah!

Even the snow seems to know it's spring; when it does snow it's not as deep, thick or persistant as it was a even two weeks ago.

The sun is super bright, although it's been very windy the last few days, but never mind, in another little while I'll be writing about crocuses and robins and then peepers and dragonflies. Just you wait and see.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

still almost spring, but closer

I visited with my friend Amy this afternoon. She's also an artist and we were both drawing while we sipped tea and visited with another friend of Amy's who was new to me. I'm pleased with this drawing. First, because Amy's beauty comes across, although she's a lot more interesting looking in person. Also, with a minimum of effort I got a good resemblance, although I really wanted to capture more of her animation than her repose. This was the fourth or fifth page of drawing I worked on in the couple hours we spent together, so the effortlessness took some effort to get to, but so what? Once again I got to see that the effort to get to that effortless looking place is completely worth it.

P.S. New profile and sidebar photographs courtesy Andrew Kline of After Image Photography

Saturday, March 8, 2008

almost spring

We had a big melt yesterday. Here's two views.

Friday, February 29, 2008

early this morning

Last night I dreamed X stopped to talk with me but didn't really want to talk. Was considering not talking with me at all. As X was talking to me (about not talking to me) I could see X didn't have any teeth, that is, the jagged gaps where X's teeth used to be - as if they'd just been pulled, except X's mouth wasn't bloody.

I was thinking about this dream. Feeling bad, feeling I'd been unaccountably rude back some months ago, was it really that long ago?, when I thought what it meant that X didn't have any teeth: X's opinion/words/attitude didn't "have any teeth"; no bite; couldn't hurt me!

I had the most delicious feeling of relief and realized I'd hit on something undeniably true. I just smiled and smiled.

On an entirely different subject, really different, I got my first mammogram this morning.

A few months ago I switched doctors, and they (the doctor and the nurse-practitioner) recommended I get a mammogram, and scheduled the appointment for me at the local hospital. I'm forty-two, and since my family doesn't have a history of breast cancer it's ok I waited this long. But now, probably, I'm going to get one every year. Not that anything is wrong, but I want to know about it as soon as possible if anything does go wrong in the future. It's helpful that the health insurance I have covers one mammogram per year. I don't know how much it costs out of pocket, but probably more than I can afford...then again, maybe I can. I just looked it up and apparently it can cost between $50 - $150. Not anywhere near as bad as I thought. I was feeling pretty good about the insurance company covering it, but now I realize it's not much skin off their noses. Dang. Why they cover mammograms and not any kind of bloodwork that indicates other kind of preventable diseases, is a mystery (except bloodwork, as a preventative tool, is probably more expensive...and more frequently used than mammograms). Sigh. Whatever.

So I went up to the hospital at 7:45am, so I could be 30 minutes early for my 8:30am appointment. After checking in I ran into a woman I know, who was on her way out. Without thinking I said "how are you?" and got an iffy reply. She'd just gotten a mammogram! She told me it wasn't too bad, and if I relaxed my shoulders it would help. O-kay. I got into the waiting room and didn't even see the little changing rooms and went straight to the lavatory to change into the hospital gown. But I was used to gowns being wrong side around and went out to get help to snap it up in the back. A very nice woman in the waiting room told me the snaps go in the front for mammogram exams. Oh, yeah, that makes sense. I put my sweater on over the gown...it was something like -20 this morning...and waited my turn. I put my coat and tops in one of the lockers. I filled out the forms. Then, after the woman who'd turned on the TV left I turned it off and looked around. Lots of signage about where the gowns were and disclaimers about waiting times and payment plans, and the hospital not being responsible for lost or stolen items. But nothing about the changing rooms being changing rooms, how to put on the gowns, or what to do if you've never had a mammogram before. Oh, yeah, and this is the part I really hated: the cabinet that the mammogram exam gowns were kept was pink (nothing else in room was pink, and it didn't really "go" with the rest of the decor) and the cabinet was way too high on the wall for someone using a wheelchair. Actually, now that I think of it the changing rooms and lockers weren't remotely accessible to someone using a wheelchair, either. Does the hospital have separate accomodations? I'm going to call them and find out. It seems like an egregous oversight. I don't use a wheelchair, I just have a very strong belief in universal design. Anyway, even though it was clear the hospital had gone to some trouble to design this waiting room, they hadn't gone to nearly enough trouble.

Then I got the examination. The technician was a short white woman in her 50's or early 60's in a colorful hospital smock-jacket. She was friendly and warm and asked if I'd ever had a mammogram before. Since I hadn't she told me she'd tell what was happening every step of the way. She got me positioned into the x-ray machine, right and then left, and then left and right, four pictures in all. I was amazed how well she handled my breasts without feeling like she was handling my...breasts. It didn't feel like a loaded situation, it felt like she was positioning any other non-sexual part of my body. I'm guessing this must take practice, but it seemed to be normal for her, and she was completely comfortable in this very awkward situation. Thank goodness, because if she hadn't been comfortable it would have been just awful, because I was certainly not feeling super confident and at ease. So hats off to her for doing her job well! It took maybe twenty minutes. Amazing and normal and odd and uncomfortable and ok.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Dr. Love back from the heart of space

The shuttle Atlantis toucheddown safely at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday morning at 9:07am. Whoo. So happy and honestly, relieved. Anything could have happened, but fortunately for everyone involved only the planned and predicted events took place.

My cousin-in-law, Dr. Stan Love, was one of the mission specialists who just re-entered the known world. I watched the events unfold in real time on the SpaceflightNow site via text (I didn't have a subscription for the live video feed, silly me).

Then I was all in a dither about sending flowers to Stan to welcome him back. First I went to a internet florist sight, and had almost completed the transaction when I realized I wasn't sure how long Stan would be in Florida, or if I even had the right address. So I quit that and decided to send them to his home address in Houston, and went downtown to pick out an arrangement from a local florist. But when I started to fill out the address information I realized I didn't know when there would be somebody home to get the flowers, as I realized my cousin, Jancy, and their kids would probably all be in Florida. Ahhhggg!

I went home and called my Dad. Although he didn't have a ready answer for me, while I was on the phone with him I realized I had a contact phone number from the launch invitation. I decided to try that number and see where it took me. A lovely woman answered the call and was able to direct me to a local florist in Houston (although at first I thought I was talking with someone in Florida!!!) who would deliver the flowers in a timely fashion. The woman said Stan would be back in Houston either Thursday or Friday, and the flowers would definetly get delivered to him whichever day he got back.

So I called the florist, who was as nice as could be, and helped me figure out what kind of an arrangement to order. In the end he assured me it would be a nice MASCULINE bouquet. I let that hard to fathom idea remain a mystery and thanked him for his thoughtfulness, signing the card "Welcome Home Stan - From Your Proud Cousin-In-Law, Eva".

P.S. Here's an autograph I received from Stan recently. In case you can't read it, he's saying how nice it was I sent the flowers...so sweet.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Snow, Love and Posting Update

Thing A Day has totally inspired me. I have a friend in New York City (one of my oldest friends because her mother and my mother met when they were in undergraduate school together) who is also an artist and she's participating in the thing-a-day thingy linked above. I just talked with her last night and was noting how I haven't been posting very much the last few weeks, partly because I feel like very very few people come to the site, and even fewer post comments. It's kind of discouraging, but after going to thing-a-day I feel a lot better and I'm ready to post my heart out once again!

Above is a photograph I just took of my back porch (the chair is for scale) to illustrate how much snow we've got around here. Too crazy. I've reached my AAA limit in free service calls (until August or something) so now it's $45 everytime I need to get dug out of my own parking space. Really frustrating and I'm counting the days until I can park with impunity again. Or, I should say, get out of my parking space with impunity.

Meanwhile, Valentine's Day came and went, without any genuine activity here in Eva's Icons land. But wait, I have to show you this "dark" valentine I got as a consolation prize (from a friend, Rachel Rice, who makes art that's dispensed from an old cigarette machine now known as the GLAD-iator).

Nice, eh?

Oh, I almost forgot. Dr. Love did have a space walk (read all about it here), but not on Feb. 14th. Everything, it appears, is subject to rescheduling when it comes to outer space.