Mother’s Day Gift from Mom

Talking to my mother on Mother’s Day, she mentioned that she had recently written a memoir for her college class reunion. I asked if she’d send it to me. When the email arrived, I realized I’d been given a wonderful gift — chance to know my mother better in a different time and place. She said I could publish it, because I thought others might be interested in these memories of college life in the late 50’s.

Washington University had an awesome reputation for a young, naive woman like me in 1958. We began with Freshmen Camp at Potosi and then rode buses back to stately Macmillan Hall with its paneled walls, well-worn wood floors, and creaking stairs. From the window of my third-floor room, I could see the post-WWII faculty housing across the drive. My possessions were minimal: a manual typewriter, lamp, clock, dictionary, clothes for a year, hatboxes, and head-sized hair dryer. In the hall was a phone for receiving inside calls, and pay phones were downstairs…

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Halloween and Spontaneous Creativity

Regardless of what most people thing, Halloween is not just about ghouls and goblins — it’s all about spontaneous creativity. It’s the one time of year that most people think it’s perfectly acceptable to dress up in costumes and become someone or something else and walk around on public streets.

Just think about it. Most of people don’t ask what you’re going to “do” on on Halloween, they ask you what you are going to “be” ?

There are no rules about what you can become, and the idea that you can totally transform yourself through mask, costumes, makeup, wigs, cardboard, foam, or spray paint is very empowering.

When we first moved here, we were completely unprepared for the amount of Trick or Treaters that come to this neighborhood.We get hundreds of kids dressed creatively as superheros, food, animals, rock stars… some people dress their dogs too.

Maybe it’s something about the old neighborhood, old stone gates, narrow streets, friendly neighborhoods — I don’t know but it seems to draw a lot of kids. That first year, I think we had to make about 5 emergency trips to the neighborhood Smillie’s grocery store for more candy.

Since then we’ve started to doing concept installations for the one night on our lawn and driveway. There has been a Haunted Sushi Bar, Domestic Nightmares, Beastro Market… like Brigadoon, these places appear for one night only, then disappear.

This year we’ve gotten a lot help from our fabulous “Candy Construction Crew!” Here’s a few photos from the candy making party yesterday. We’re making big candy for “I Dig Candy” — a big candy road construction theme, complete with a zombie crossing.

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Wishing you Peace, Love, and Joy for the Holidays and New Year

I had a lot of fun doing this drawing – Yoga 101: The Mistletoe Pose, with the crazy tree, the lunar eclipse, and Russ meditating on a peace rug between two extension cords. I think it’s more fun to draw trees than to decorate them in real life:)

Merry Christmas to everyone, or whatever special day you celebrate. I hope you get to share time with your family, friends, and furry family members!

Winter Solstice

Last night we got up at 2 am to watch the lunar eclipse on the winter solstice. It was a crisp night and the moon was positioned perfectly for watch everything right from our back deck – nice of the universe to put on such a spectacular show with front row seats, no charge. Lots of tea and hot chocolate made it better. Mochi was crazy about getting up in the middle of the night and running around the yard.

As the earth passed between the sun and the moon, the moon turned a strange color of orange. Russ got some amazing photos with his camera and tripod, but I can’t really take good moon photos with my camera.

So I took a different kind of photo towards the end of the event of moonlight through winter branches. There’s something about cold winter air, leafless branches, and moonlight that gives me a sense of stillness and clarity of thought.

The Real Fireworks

new-year-cardHere’s what we did on New Year’s Eve. I’d been drawing fireworks in the sky, and that was fun, but it was all part of a plot to pysch myself up to go stand outside in 5 degree weather at midnight. I’m kind of a wimp about these things, so it took some mental prep to give myself the enthusiasm to videotape fireworks at midnight in December.

fireworks-firstnight2When you dress for 5 degree outside weather, there’s a little problem with standing around in 70 degree theaters. So during the first part of the video when we were taping the live music and theater performances,  I was sweating. (p.s. I’m not complaining, because since then, we’ve had sub-zero temperatures.)

But it was fun, all of of it. And like regular blogging, video blogging sometimes takes you to places you wouldn’t go otherwise.

I haven’t mentioned it here before, but earlier this year I suggested that the Springfield Regional Arts Council on which I am currently a board member, needed a Technology Committee. So when the committee was formed, guess who was named chairperson?

If you don’t want to do something, don’t open your mouth! Anyway, since then, I’ve been working on some projects to fulfill what I see as the mission.

I heard somewhere that since we are always changing and adapting, every two years, we are completely different people. What do you think about that? True, false? Maybe?

Merry White Christmas!

white-christmasI’ve been drawing stuff in the sky this week and looking at photos of space, astronauts, and the Hubble…. animations of fireworks….

Today we woke to a gift from the sky – snow!

This the first White Christmas I can remember in a long time. Mochi and I went on a very early morning walk. It was a bit surreal, and we didn’t see a soul out except for some squirrels, so I let her run off her lease, much to her joy.

For someone who likes to work with color, I’m awfully inspired by some whites — moonlight, starlight, and snow. Wondering how to draw snow, I decided to just draw the stuff around or behind it. It’s kind of like space in sculpture and architecture, defined by the stuff around it.

my new winter hat

Merry Christmas everyone!

(And how come with all the art supplies I’ve bought in my life, when I want to do a quick ink sketch, all I can find is an old box of Prang and one old brush??)

The Haunted Hairdryer and other Halloween Constructions

We get a LOT of kids at Halloween at our house — something like 500+  each year the weather’s good. So we have to budget for our Pyramid of Candy carefully. Also decorating is very fun. Two years ago it was “KaBOOki – The Haunted Sushi Bar” and here’s another set of photos from that year – Evidence of Ghosts.

This year, with help from two of our Chicago artist friends Mary and Charlie, the theme is “Domestic Nightmares.” It’s a work in progress as we’re working on the spotlighting for after dark, but here’s a sneak preview.


Bad hair day.


ET meet Psychic


Naughty knitting

(or happy hands are healthy hands)


Housework kills




Hmm, I always forget which fork to use first….


Robin and his mummy


Lighting one of the scenes. From here you can’t see the 15-30 foot stuffed snakes in the trees and other crazy stuff, so we’ll try to take some photos or video after dark. In between passing out loads of candy and eating some ourselves!

Happy Birthday U.S.A


4th of July weekend is usually pretty big around here. In our neighborhood, we like to dress up in red, white and blue, decorate our bikes, dogs and cars, and parade around the block in a mob-like fashion, then end up in front of someone’s house who is kind enough to provide brownies and lemonaide.

fourthjuly-sign.jpg modeltford.jpg smallparade.jpg

Then go out to the lake, swim, eat and wait for sunset and fireworks.


Magnificant end to a holiday huh? Only took me about a hundred tries to get this photo, but I’m having a blast (no pun intended) using my new iPhone. And trying to learn to send photos to Facebook and Twitter.

Sorry if I’m behind on email replies, but it’s been a mad dash from anniversary, to Mexico for brief anniversary trip, to home for folks arriving for the 4th. Hope to catch up with you all this week and get ready for the Modern Materials opening talk next weekend in Oklahoma City.

In the meantime, here’s my 4th of July holiday set of photos on Flickr. (more beautiful firework refections on the water.)