Tuesday, October 30, 2007

In the Shadow of the Moon

It's the movie everyone's talking about. So yesterday I went. The documentary focuses on the astronauts who participated in the Apollo program, each in their own words describing what they felt, thought, and did from selection and training to their walks on the moon. Digitally remastered, never before seen footage immeasurably enhances the experience and brings the viewer through a range of emotions.

Initially I felt awe that our country would dare to attempt this major feat, and in such a short time frame, too, 8 years from the date when President Kennedy challenged the United States to put a man on the moon and bring him safely back to earth. The scene of the engineers feverishly figuring out how to do this thing with slide rules, graphite pencils, and mock capsules made of popcicle sticks brought home just how much brainpower was behind it as the astronauts' bravery.

Then I felt pride, watching these men who sat atop thousands of gallons of liquid fuel inside a tiny capsule, knowing something could go wrong at any moment and their lives would be lost. And indeed, in 1967 Apollo 1's crew of Grissom, Chaffee, and White were lost in a flash fire. Yet the commitment to pursue the dream of visiting another heavenly body remained intact and the program continued.

Then I felt such excitement as the movie brought the viewer toward the moon and the men who piloted a capsule to its shadow, leaving the "surly bonds of earth" and for some of the men who came to Jesus afterwards, "to touch the face of God." Here, the images are tremendous, and Lovell's reading of Genesis 1:1 on their Christmas Day orbit was moving in the extreme.

The astronauts' return illustrated clearly how the world looked up to America, with peoples from all nations at the four corners of the earth crying and waving and exulting together at the moment of landing. Buzz Aldrin was especially humbled to hear over and over again as he toured the world: "We did it" and "We landed on the moon." One French woman said "I trust America and I knew we could do it." This segment brought pride and also sadness, because yes, it is true, at one time our country had the capacity to unite all of humanity, not in technology, not in science, but in our hearts. And 38 years later we see how far we have fallen.

The movie is about about boldness, daring, challenge, a power to bring humanity to one united moment at the dizzying pinnacle in July 1969. These men are the best America had to offer, and they are great indeed. Falling from the height of affable, humble, dedicated men of service, to the current low of self-aggrandizing politics and 24/7 porn. What goes up must come down, and for me ultimately it's about the fall of America. God had blessed us with wealth, intelligence, daring, and compassion, but we have squandered them all. Though the movie is absolutely uplifting on many, many fronts, but it did make me think, you know... we coulda been somebody.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Wow! See how creative some people are?

I shared some paste papers with a fellow artist and crafter who lives down the street. We met on the internet. But turns out live 1/8 of a mile from each other in real life, lol! So I dropped off some things as a surprise the other day and as a surprise back today I received this lovely butterfly. Never in a million years would I have ever thought to use buttons and beads this way. The wings are from a piece of paste paper I'd included in the bag. Thank you Maggie Grace Creates!!

PS: Kimimela is Native American word for butterfly, a symbol of transformation.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

scrounging for old stuff

I love to yard sale, browse in old antique stores, scour Freecycle and eBay, all for the purpose of finding stuff to use in crafts and art. My specially exciting find is old paper and ephemera. So many old Christmas cards and Valentines are charming and cute, well-made and almost a shame to gesso over or cut up. But I do, figuring it gives them new life or new purpose.

In Paris we went to the old flea markets held on the fringes of the city, for the purpose of finding something to buy just so we could say we shopped at the Paris flea markets. Paris Perfect says, "The Puces covers 7 hectars and is the largest antiques market in the world, receiving between 120,000 to 180,000 visitors each weekend. The history of the flea market dates back over two centuries, when rag and bone men scoured through the garbage of Paris at night to find valuable junk to sell on. They were called ‘crocheteurs’ or pickers. The romantic term was ‘pĂȘcheurs de lune’ or fishermen for the moon. Many set up their temporary stalls within the Paris walls, in sleazy neighborhoods but because these neighborhoods were full of pickpockets and thieves, they were chased out of the city walls to Clignancourt, Montreuil, Vanves, etc. The largest of these flea markets is the one at Clignancourt but the other two continue to this day."

Of course, anything we bought there had to be transported back home, so I reverted to my trusty fave, paper stuff. I found two vintage postcards, one entitled Les Tulipes and the other, La Lentille. Ooh la la! I have not used them yet but every time I am about to I gaze longingly at them, remembering the fun day at the Paris flea market. I am going yard sale-ing Saturday in Madison County and I'm sure I will find some cool stuff here too. The thrill of the hunt, it never fails...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fun with Youtube

I wasted some time yesterday browsing YouTube. My two favorite subjects to search for are church bloopers and cats. This link brings you to my favorite church bloopers clip, it's only a minute and a half. The funniest (to me) are the last two. And here is one of cats. It exactly portrays my cat, Abby, the Queen of 'Who, me?'

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


WIP: Works in progress. Collages in my art journal. I have a spiral bound journal on my coffee table, and next to my recliner is a basket of magazines. Painters doodle drawings ... I leaf through magazines looking for images that resonate, cut them out, and after a while I look at the pile and see if anything cohesive comes together. I try not to put a lot of thought into it, letting my right brain take over and my soul speak the art into existence.

Below: This one is mostly done, not a WIP. I tried to attain a gesso effect by using white medium to thin ivory acrylic paint. Didn't work. It's the "Long Black Train." Don't ride it. I have it on good authority it goes nowhere.

This was a Renaissance art piece representing Matthew 7:3, "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?" I cut it apart and glued it on star tissue paper & included a celestial scene at the top and a raven outside the picture (that I didn't capture all of in my photo of this) and bordered it in copper tape. I learned last night that aluminum ventilation tape is also good to use. I'll see how much it costs at the hardware store today.

Prairie Chicken. The paper is crinkle brown handmade Indian paper, and I don't know where I am going with this except I like saying 'prairie chicken.'

Take me to the River: the river Jordan. The Lamb watches over all. Border is copper tape and paint is mixture of metallic and flat acrylic.

The most unfinished collage, pieces not even glued down yet. Something about tribulation in the last days, the time pieces counting down the time that's left...It's blue metallic acrylic paint and magazine pictures so far.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Slumber party!

Church chicks slumber partying tonight! A bunch of us women of all ages from church are gathering to have a sleep-over party tonight. We've got the soda chilling, the pizzas on order, the cakes are arriving, and at last count we have two guitars and a piano on premises. Woo-hoo! should be a great time!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hauntings Exhibition, Blue Bell Gallery

artists exhibition

October 4-27

exhibition * book signing * readings * ghost stories * refreshments

Featuring Over 36 New Local Artists

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

a page of collage

from my altered book. The page is titled The Trumpet of the Lord: Redemption, from the altered book, Stranger than Fiction. It's in the Hauntings exhibit but I think I will not sell it. I decided today to put a "not for sale" sticker on it. That, or price it at $195.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Water, Canada, drought, and thirsty

At a party fourteen years ago a Canadian friend announced that if the US ever invades Canada it would likely be over water rights. My husband at the time and I shook our heads, the very idea that water could be at the center of any fight was so strange to us. We lived in Maine, where snowmelt swelled rivers and flooded towns each spring. Water. I mean, there is so much of it everywhere. Right?

Since then there have been studies done about the issue and it turns our friend wasn’t having a senior moment. Canada has only 0.5% of the world's population, but its landmass contains approximately 9% of the world's renewable water supply. I learned about water’s finiteness when shortly after our Canadian friend made his statement, when we became live-aboard cruisers.

Live-aboard cruising is like camping, you take with you what you need. Carry-in, carry-out. That included water. Our sailboat was a solid, heavy and roomy. It carried 100 gallons of water in two tanks under the bow.

We didn’t think about water too much while we sailed in the US. When we needed some, we filled up using one of the available water taps at a marina. However, after crossing to the Bahamas we learned different. Rainfall during the months that we would be there average an inch and a half. The Bahamas Islands are a desert country, situated on limestone and coral, only inches above sea level, and wells are unheard of. Locals collect rainwater in cisterns. For visitors, marginally drinkable water is available for prices ranging from 5 cents to 60 cents a gallon. Many boaters own reverse osmosis contraptions and make their own water.

All this was new to us Mainers who see so much snow, ice, and rain each year. “Conserve water” became our norm. Showers consisted of stove heated water, measured and poured into a bottle that had a pump and handle. If it rained, hubby quickly stopped the scuppers and collected it. You never saw a man move so quickly as when that first raindrop hit the deck. He could go from a napping prone position in his berth to standing on the forward deck with bucket looking at the sky in 5 seconds flat.

Living for two years with a finite amount of water made an impression. Not having enough water scared us, and never mind that it was our choice. What about the people for whom having no clean water is not their choice? We were sobered by our American lifestyle of waste.

Now with the Georgia extreme drought those memories surface again. I see the pond level outside my apartment slowly sink, revealing long-submerged trees and branches. I hear of nearby wells going dry. I worry about the farmers. I cringe at the maroon parts of the drought monitor maps like the one on the left. I like water. I like Canada. I just don’t want to have to go to Canada to take a shower.

For More Information: May 10, 2006 CBS article:
Drain Canada The American Prospect: Prepare For U.S.-Canadian Water War

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Morning Sounds

Right now I hear the over-eager rooster, gunshots echoing across the hills, the coffee pot dripping, my cat licking her paws, and WGBH, the Boston classical station, thanks to streaming internet radio.

The sounds I grew up with stuck with me. One of those was WGBH and Morning Pro Musica with Robert J. Lurtsema. The Morning Pro Musica broadcast was begun in 1966 but when Lurtsema took it over in 1971 it quickly became identified with him and became the WGBH's station's signature series. He hosted it until his death in 2000.

Wikipedia describes him thus: "He was known among public radio listeners throughout New England for his sonorous voice and his phrasing, which frequently included long pauses." Dead air on the radio is unwelcome, so Lurtsema's long pauses made his show stand out.

He made recordings of birdsong and along with portions of Ottorino Respighi's Ancient Airs and Dances Suite that became his opening sound. The deep voice with unusual cadence, the birdsong, and classical music all were the audible wallpaper of my formative years.

Finding WGBH on the internet was like coming home.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Snippets from a fall day

Calm. Peaceful. That's what things are here today. The humidity has moved on, likely to plague Florida and Louisiana, and left us with clear, fresh air that makes you feel as clean as when you get out of the swimming pool. There's bright sun and cool temps and a feeling that you can move around again without melting into a puddle of Georgia goo.

A bunch of friends took off today for the mountains, to look at foliage and buy apples and have lunch. I wanted to go but I had happily said yes to helping a friend today so that's all right. Down here, you cannot find MacIntosh apples. I was at Ingles yesterday perusing all the Braeburn, Fuji, Granny, Cortland and Empire, without a Mac in sight. Too bad, Macs are the only kind I like. One of my friends going on the trip said she'd bring me back some.

The art Show at BlueBell Gallery is mounting nicely, the curator (Tina) is almost done hanging the art and artist statements. The daily paper, the weekly paper, and Athens Magazine have all covered it, so that is a healthy amount of promotion. That's my stuff in the photo below, the 6 pieces from the vultures atop to the red mask at bottom, under the shawl. The artists' reception is October 20.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

New duties

My church elected me Sunday School Director and my duties start this week. I'm really excited!

There's an "Assembly" before church where the Sunday School and Bible study participants gather prior to being released to classes. We sing a hymn to open the gathering, then I speak for 3 minutes or so, introducing that day's lesson and making connections between the lesson, the Bible, and real life.

After study is over and just before the actual Sunday Services start, I stand at the podium and deliver the Sunday School report- how many people attended, how many visitors, and then make announcements people need to hear about (Family Fiesta needs covered dish contributions, we need prayer warriors for the Good News Club, etc.) Then the Pastor takes over and services begin.

So, if you go to church but not Bible study before hand, how come? What would it take for you to go? And if you do attend a Bible study somewhere, what do you like about it and how would you make it better?

Friday, October 05, 2007

"Do you think we'll fly to the moon?"

I have a secret admission to make. I like the old Andy Griffith Show. It's sweet to imgine that there is a Mayberry out there, with a kindly Sheriff and old timey sayings and warm, neighborly ways of resolving things.

On last night's show, in the original year it was made, 1960, a new guy had come to town that eerily knew everybody. He knew things about them that a guy in town wouldn't know for being there just a week. So the suspicion grew and the townsfolk got agitated. Andy the Sheriff was chatting with the new guy in the Courthouse, trying to get the measure of him and how he knew so much about the folks. The guy wasn't helping by being more eerie with each question he answered. Finally Andy asked,

"Do you think we will fly to the moon someday?"
"Shucks, sure!" the guy answered
"Boy, I think you on the moon already."

Imagine, asking what at the time was thought to be an inconceivable question. Inconceivable!

Thursday, October 04, 2007