Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Not Exactly Leprechauns...

This is my St. Patrick's Day present! A lovely gnome couple tea light holder from Yankee Candle.

I have loved gnomes since I was a kid. The Gnomes book was my bible. Forest beings living lives that I could not see was fascinating to me. I had gnome books, gnome statues, and gnome cross stitched wall hangings.

When I saw the gnome themed display in the Yankee Candle shop at the mall I gasped... and my husband groaned. He HATES the candle store. You are never going to believe why.

My husband can pinpoint the exact moment that his hatred of smelly candles began. He was five. His class was given the opportunity to color with scented crayons. It was the 1970's! We had smelly everything from stickers, to markers, to dolls. Apparently these scented crayons were wonderful smelling. So wonderful in fact that my husband was compelled to eat them.

He ate almost an entire box of scented crayons. By the time anyone noticed it was too late and they were already making him sick. You can imagine what scented wax would taste, feel and smell like in your stomach.

The sense memory of scented wax is enough to put him off the candle store forever.

But they were gnomes!!!!

So I struck a brilliant bargain. The large Yankee Candle with the gnome on the label is $24.99. A very expensive candle I admit; even if it does last for 5 years or however long the say. But the lovely tea light holder was less than half that amount!! So I was able to convince him that the candle holder was a better buy (and it really was). The most remarkable part of the deal was that he admitted that he liked the smell of the Honeysuckle tea lights...

Done.  Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Knight of Cups

I started this blog a year ago. I wrote 34 posts during the last 365 days...

It surprises me that I averaged one post per week. I am a horrible horrible journal-ist. I have at least 3 empty journals in my bedroom; 2 of which are the kind that have questions that you are supposed to answer.

I may be writing into a void here, but there is some satisfaction in creating a post. I like having the ability to craft how it looks on the computer screen and illustrate it however I choose. I especially like having feedback from friends and family who are reading along. Sometimes writing it here is a way to express something that I have a hard time saying out loud.

Taking stock of the year I can look back now and see through different eyes what was happening.
Sarah was in the hospital with a migraine that wouldn't quit.
John was really beginning to build his writing credentials.
I had quit one job and started working at the theatre more and more.
Loreena was becoming a social butterfly.
We got Stella from a family who was moving to California.
We moved to Winston Salem. Back to for John... Back to within one mile from the exact spot that we met.

The precise moment that brought us to the place we are now happened in the Spring of 1988. I was 17. I was invited by my friends family to ride along on a trip to North Carolina and visit her at the School of the Arts. I spent the weekend with her; in the dorms, at parties, in apartments... It was a weekend that opened my eyes in ways I could not have imagined then.

I met my first cross dresser. I drank my first bottle of Amaretto. I met my husband.

I do not know the day, or the time. I do know that it was night and that we were not supposed to be in the Boys Dorm. Someone left the door ajar and we went upstairs to "find her friend who reads tarot cards" My memory is exceptionally vague about the whole event except that he was asleep in his bed and that we woke him up. He did read my cards. There is only one that I remember; The Knight of Cups.

The tarot cards are tools that have been used for centuries. They show archetypal people and situations that can relate to a question or problem and help to illuminate the situation in different light.

The Knight of Cups is most definitely John. I did not know that about him at the time.  The Knight almost always carries a cup; he carries emotions, baggage and mood swings. The Knight is usually next to or in the water, a sea of emotions; sometimes it swirls around him, sometimes off in the distance, sometimes threatening to overcome him and sweep him out to sea. The Knight is like Romeo; he objectifies his love and works to manifest his vision at any cost. He is an artist and an idealist who rides from wave to wave throughout his life reaching for his perfect vision.

Looking back... I could have seen it all coming. I could have seen the years of conflict, the bad mistakes, the hopes and dreams dashed onto the rocks of harsh reality. I could also have seen the moments of stunning perfection when that idealistic dream manifests into reality. That is the way archetypes work. That is why they are in fact archetypes. They illustrate a universal experience; painfully typical and totally inevitable.

The journey that took us from that night in his dorm room to living in our own home just a mile from there is seems like an enormous vast sea behind.  In front of me too now that you mention it...

So many changes under our belts this last. I told myself last year that I would give blogging a year. If I couldn't stay with it I would give it up; but I wrote once a week on average and I started a new one about food. So I guess I am going to keep on blogging. There are more changes and waves to ride in this year too. Luckily I have an expert wave-rider with me.

Knight of Cups Shadowscapes Tarot

Thursday, March 4, 2010

In Defense of the Arts

To Whom It May Concern:

We didn't just sit down one day and decide to be musicians, actors, painters, dancers, designers, writers, singers, directors, or even stage hands. Trust me. In fact most of us have fought it for as long as we were cognizant of what a "salary with benefits" was.

We did not become artists so that we could be a drain on society. I'm tired of hearing about how stimulus money was wasted on theatre projects, symphonies, and art installations. The reality is that if the stimulus money hadn't gone to those artists; your tax money would have in the form of unemployment benefits, food stamps and power bill subsidies.

For the record, most of us have a formal education in a non-art related field for the very reason that we knew what the future would be like in the Arts. We knew damn well what we could expect; budget cuts, justifications and critics (the media AND our neighbors). Those whose formal education is actually in the Arts usually have as many or more classroom hours in their chosen area than most Doctors or Lawyers. Classical musicians and ballet dancers in particular began their formal arts education in early grade school, practicing every day and taking private lessons at least once a week through their college years and beyond. You do the math.

Giving your children an education that includes the Arts will not turn them into Artists. Not unless they have no other choice but to be artists because that is what they do. Not only do they have to love it, but it must also be what they are good at. If they aren't (and I know some of you are silently sitting at home and praying that your child will never be able to draw anything better than a 2 dimensional house or play anything at all by Beethoven), an education that includes the Arts will enhance their concentration skills, their math skills and their ability to work a project through to the end. They will be leaders, team players, visionaries, builders of buildings and mathematicians. To make that possible, there have to be some artists who choose to provide that educational experience for those children. Without it they will spend their days doing worksheets and looking at textbooks that have no pictures.

Karl Paulnack, Director of Music at the Boston Conservatory wrote this welcome address to the parents of the incoming freshman class in September of 2004. Please follow this link and read the speech in it's entirety. Especially if you have ever hoped that your child would just be a doctor.

We do not become artists because we are lazy, or because we are not intelligent enough to do anything else. We become artists because we believe that we can save the world.

Photo: August Wilson Center Dance Ensembles "moving mural" project Moving the Lives of Kids Community.