Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Day After

No doubt, the Hall family is far more exhausted than I am.  Never-the-less, I'm out of staying awake fuel as my son and Karli Hall's wedding week draws to a close.  It was as close to perfect as possible. The weather was gorgeous and in so many ways, it's exceeded my fondest hopes.  
A prettier bride and groom have yet to step in front of a camera (and there were a lot of them on Saturday).  I've never seen Jordan so happy.  Not only is he marrying the perfect woman for him, she's part of a family of the most loving, hard-working, kind, creative, dynamic people I've ever met.  
All I can post right now are a few photos taken by myself and my brother at the temple.  Hundreds of photos were taken, both professionally and by adoring family and friends, which include reception scenes; however, this photo of Karli & her sisters gives a glimpse into the Hall spirit: 
  Not one whit less loving, kind and diligently helpful, are the men, Karli's father and brothers-in-law.  With unflagging enthusiasm and desire to make the event perfect and do their part, everyone toiled together late into the night.  Yet, despite sleep deprivation, hours of food prep, transporting, setting up, extensive travel and clean up, I never heard a cross word out of any of them--not one.  The only person who got cross, although it was brief and I understand she felt horribly for it afterwards, 
was Jordan's mom.  She's like that.  
What neither Jordan nor myself could possibly achieve alone in our little family, this union with the Hall family will supply.  I look forward to absorbing more of their enthusiasm and creative passion for a life time.  Best of all, when I awoke after an evening nap (you know, that thing you do when it's dark outside), and wondered how I'd feel, having my only son off with a girl, having, I'm quite certain, a most splendid time.  Sure, I love this family all ready.  Yes, this is the very woman I'd have picked myself, if that was still in vogue.  But for years people have managed to worry for me, because divorced mom's, with one son, are supposed to be fall apart when that son marries.  Or so they tell me.  At least my fair share of worrying accompanied preparation for the day, and, umm, social combinations and over-lapping of filial connections which had long been kept apart--both welcome and not-so-much.  We joined forces in worrying over the weather and finances, I'm sure.
Also, any worry of my son's is mine, because that's a mom's job; and 
I worried if I'd "fit in" with this amazing family he raves about...  
While I have decided it's high time I do something about my hair (all of the Hall women are so elegant), everything else went beautifully.  More love was felt and shared by all participants than generally fills a city--any city.  Old and new friends showed up to delight us; family ties wound more tightly and expansively--my brother Tom tried to swing dance with me in 4" red heels
...that's a Youtube video that'll be forever banned--
and old pains from severed relations melted away. 
But, how do I feel after a couple more hours of sleep, knowing my son is married?
Relieved.  There is finally someone else on this planet who cares as much about my son as I do,
and has far more power to make him happy, now, through them.
That's a wonderful reality and the pathway into tomorrow.
He loves her; She loves him; and that's where the best happy endings begin.

PS: I get to watch the finale of Breaking Bad tonight!  If Jordan thinks about that show at all tonight (or for more than a few seconds), he needs help, but it's a highlight for ME!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fall Flowers and...

It's Autumn!  So, when I went to Home Depot for cleaners and cleaning advice, their fall flowers caught my eye.  Remembering the empty pots sitting in front of my house, along with one, lonely face drawn on a spaghetti squash, I devoted an hour or so to picking through chrysanthemums  and came up with these.  The solitary blossom that fell off is adorning 
the squash face just for the photo...I really missed 2 things while I was in Korea: 
baking and planting things.  There's really no room to plant anything in my apartment and it didn't have an oven.  An adorable apartment, it suited me quite well, however,
potting some flowers adds to the sense of being Home.
In between cleaning, job interviews, and wedding prep, I'm working on how to apply the text of my stories to their illustrations.  Granted, my camera's washed out the colors and there's a problem with glare, but those issues go away when using a scanner.  Since I already had a VERY OLD box of transparencies with a 1/2 inch white strip lying around, here's my first attempt.  Going to try not to screw them up, because these transparencies are very clear and work well.  However, I'm not sure they're the right size...could also cut up sheet covers.  I have nearly 400 of those!
So any thoughts on the lettering style?
What I REALLY feel like posting right now are photos from the pre-wedding bride/groom photo shoot on Wednesday at Wheeler Farm.  Jordan suggested the place because we went there together awhile back.  But, of course, to post bride & groom photos now would be a spoiler,
so I'll forbear and just post this lovely morning view
of the mountains in back of the hay barn, sun rays streaming over them.
Also, here's the antique teacart I'm trying to paint for the reception.  Should've taken a "before" shot, but here's an in-between.  It's going to be primarily antique white, but the dark shades need to go on under the white and then look "exposed." I think it looks pretty cool like this
(better, of course, w/the wheels attached).  I took off the wheels to stain them;
added a thin layer of the antique white to the cart and sponged a lot of it off,
 then more dark stain on the cart, and sponge-dragged it off too.
The whole theme of the wedding reception is rustic, early America--I don't know what'll go on this teacart, yet.  I might attach a photo of it finished, along with the bud vases I get to paint and distress!  These are all the bride's family's idea.  I've figured out I'm not really a "party planner."
I like doing intimate little dinners and helping others in anyway I can
with their larger plans, tho!  Like last night.
Tom and Marji turned 60 this year and we finally got together to celebrate the fact in their Spanish Fork home (where I stayed before moving back into my place).  The 2 of them blew out the candles together--adorable!  My niece, Rachel, and I are off to the right behind Dave's red shirt.  Karli made and brought cookies, which vanished in minutes; and both she and Jordan
took time out from final week of wedding planning to join us.  All of the
family members available dropped by for a lovely, lovely evening.
Dave got a pretty great image of a backyard view of the sunset
with his little flip cellphone (like mine).
Even the fuzzy image can't mask the gorgeous clouds.
This morning, as I walked around Wheeler Farm as usual, my mind was, and continues to be filled with the current conflict among many members of my faith over the issue of the Priesthood.  Because of my intimate and copious experiences with this topic, I want to say something that might help clear away dark clouds of anger and misunderstanding to let in some light.  But light is something one usually has to seek.  If shades of gray and darkness become too normal and comfortable in the mind and heart, real light tends to be avoided.  So, I wonder if anything I say could penetrate with any efficacy.  On the other hand, what's the point of revelatory experiences beyond personal enlightenment, if not to share that light, even if, being mortal, it can only be partial illumination?
With this blog, I'll stick with art, scenery, the wedding and such.
On my other blog, Candy Corn and Spiders, I'm going to write about this issue.
It's a good/evil, love/hate, beautiful/ugly, Godly verses Satanic topic,
which is how I decided on the name of that blog in the first place.
Plus, I just like the sound of it.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Home again, Home again...

Geez.  Sometimes I still hate the internet.  Spent hours composing a post for today and somehow it all vanished.  I can't find it in the history or anywhere.  So, here we go again, with fewer words.  Maybe it's for the best.

The weather's been gorgeous, with more rain than usual for Utah.  I tried to capture the mystery of cloudy mornings on labor day, while still in Spanish Fork.
Provided they're not destructive, I love stormy skies like many people love the moon.  They're evocative of dragons, wizards and cloud angels and make me feel alive.  Ever changing, this recent sunset mimicked a raging fire and I doubt I'll ever see its equal again.
Everywhere people were pulling over and climbing up on their rooftops to get a better view as the entire western horizon flooded with brilliant neon colors to end the day.  While I love the Eastern US, and Eastern countries as well, the West puts on a better show for sunsets and sunrises!
On Labor Day I walked for 3 hours because the next day was slated for me to go back to my place in Midvale and start putting it back together.  I'm here now.  Home.
Thanks to several gallons of bleach, carpet cleaner and disinfectants, as well as scented candles, it feels more like home now.  Everything in my place has a history, a story to explain how it got there, all of which contributes to what home is for me.  I'll never rent my personal space out again.
Jordan and Karli get married in less than 2 weeks.  Photos of that will have to wait, as it's inappropriate to post photos I took of her trying on her wedding dress and I'm trying very hard not to hover to often.  But, going to the temple with Jordan yesterday was really nice.  We got to talk and agreed that the real joy isn't about the prepping for a gorgeous reception.  It's in things like fixing dinner together, which they'd done the previous evening.  The moments of joy in my life have almost never come on cue.  Rather they wander in unexpectedly, like when you're playing with your child or notice a moment in others' lives.  Like watching Emmy Schwarzmann with her daughters.  Happily, Iley likes her frog fan from Korea!  BTW, why are red heads always so darn cute????  Need to see them more often!
Now that I'm back, my walks are to and from nearby Wheeler's Historic Farm.  A cooler place than I ever expected to live near, it's a slice out of history, yet actively relevant for hundreds of regular visitors.
I LOVE this place!  It's home to cattle, horses, rabbits, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and geese, too.  If you go early in the morning, they're expecting breakfast, so I got some fun photos.
We raised goats and chickens, even though we weren't farmers, when I was a kid.  My dad was a Baltimore city kid who longed for space and fresh air.  Think "Green Acres."
Dad called our first 2 goats Cosmos and Damian, and Simon Aristotle Garfunkel came along in the 60's.  But, he dubbed our only steer as Sirloin.

With some semblance of order restored, I'm ready to work on adding words to the illustrated pages of my books this week, using transparencies.  The plan is to not screw up what I drew and colored onto paper from Korea.

Oh, and after subbing for SLC's East High on Friday, I was offered and accepted a temp-to-hire position with Zion's Bank as an assistant fraud investigator.  Thank you, niece Emily, for the referral! Happy to be employed!  But really enjoyed my day teaching at East High.  Hmmm, we'll see which way the road takes me from here.  Perhaps I'll love working with Zion's and make it long term.  Maybe I'll continue to look for 1/2 time teaching work so I can get certified too.
We'll see (Mom's favorite sentence--now mine).
Ok, that's it for now--it this vanishes too, well, you'll be spared any unwelcome blogging completely!  Hope the end of summer finds you well, productive and happy.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Business cards and Education

Ok, the photo is far from new, but here's the face of my new business cards.  What do you think?  Since I won't have access to my belongings for a little longer, and am tired of having cards that have the wrong number on them, I sorted through the few suitable images that I could find on my computer, from stuff I've painted in the past, and decided on this.
Vista prints inserted this text color and I decided to keep it!
Won't tell you how long it took to find an 
image with decent enough resolution to work--
technology and I continue our uncomfortable relationship.
  Here's the back, with faux finished walls in a kitchen and dining area.
There was no room on my old cards to write anything, so I left some space.  
While my focus is primarily on my children's books now, 
 those images won't appear regularly until the books are completed and available.  So far, I've scanned and saved most of the
illustrations I completed in Korea.
Speaking of books, Jordan bought A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver DeMille
for my birthday last year, when I was visiting him in Boston.
Read it.  You might feel validated, or want to rethink your approach to education. This isn't about Mr. Jefferson, however.  It's outlines and argues for a teaching philosophy based on how leaders,
like Jefferson, acquired, and
will always acquire, a real education.
Jordan and I had been talking about the book for several weeks.
I wanted it for the reading lists included.
Thomas Jefferson has been an inspiration since childhood, and, as I glanced through the book lists
DeMille included, I wanted to start reading many of them.
However, quite frankly, college nearly burned out my natural love of reading.
I chose to major in English because of a love of classics
I've acquired over a life time, mostly through independent reading.
I wanted more.
My experience with 1960's and 70's schools didn't offer much.
But the rate at which we were required to read in college forced me to skim
and even skip a lot of what really interested me.
Further, pointless testing forced a fruitless focus on facts and names
which evaporated almost immediately after each test concluded.
The closed mindedness of several of my professors almost ruined it all for me.
No thought mattered to some of them unless it was cited from a valid source.
I remain convinced those professors would've failed the very authors
they raved about had those authors been their students, because those
men and women were the independent, untraditional thinkers of their day.
Fortunately, I was also blessed with some truly inspired and inspiring professors,
 who rekindled my desire to read.  But, I still drowned in the sheer volume of reading and testing,
so stopped reading almost entirely for over a year.
The deluge washed away my joy in it.
Now, slowly, I'm finally reading my birthday present from 2012.
DeMille's "Inspire, Not Require" approach, stating that "freedom is the natural teacher of leadership, just as leadership is the perpetuator of freedom," reinforces what I've always believed about learning.   He writes, "All I need is a book and I can learn," and "my thoughts are as valuable as anybody else's." No one forced me to read earlier; but, I could've used a good mentor to help me find more books like those which had already captured and formed my mind.
I did get a great volume of book lists from college.
For most of my life, finding great literature was primarily serendipitous.
I found Hawthorne's The House of Seven Gables in a used book store for a dollar,
and bought it because it seemed like it might be worth reading.
Have read it 3 times.
I've saved most of my reading material from college, because I want to read them at a pace which will allow me to absorb them.  I agree with DeMille and sincerely hope my son and soon-to-be-wife,
plan on providing their children with a Thomas Jefferson education.