Wednesday, August 29, 2007

1st two assignments

I'm realizing it has been a LONG time since I was in school (25 years to be exact)! I've been swamped with projects, but I guess that's just the nature of a visual arts program. Anyway, I'm not happy with either of these really. The execution isn't the greatest, even though I met the rubrics of the project (at least I hope I did!) But there is a sense of satisfation at being able to put those to bed. Of course, only to learn of next week's assignment tomorrow. And so it goes. Yessiree, it's back to school around here!

And I'll try to take more pictures tomorrow!

I see one inch squares in my sleep

This is what I did all day long. I know, I'm really exciting company... just ask Bill how much fun I am when I'm hunkered over a cutting mat with an Xacto knife! This is for one of my two first projects in school, the one for my design class. The assignment is to precisely cut one inch shapes to illustrate harmony transitioning to variety, on a 9x12 grid, without using color or a third dimension. So I chose two shapes that suggest either a canyon a skyline. You cannot imagine how much difference a 64th of an inch makes until you start actually cutting these little buggers out! Ack!

Monday, August 27, 2007


Can you tell that Gomer Pyle here does NOT want his mom taking his picture?

If they can take that guy, and turn him into this guy...

...then maybe the Marines will be a good thing.
Grayson enlisted today.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ex nihilo

Frederick Hart, 1943-1999
We went to two art shows today. It's hard for anything else I saw to compare to this Frederick Hart sculpture, his model for the Creation series in the National Cathedral, Washington.

Faith without Works is Dead

Seeing this decrepit steeple --complete with crow rather than cross-- made me think of this idea: what good is your religion, what good is your faith, if it doesn't propel you to do something to make the world a better place?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Little visitor

Tonight Dalissa ( -- I've got to learn to imbed that! -- was travelling down interstate 85 and stopped over at my house for the night. One of the great things about the internet is the friends I've been able to meet over the years. I first met her in person about five years ago, and this time I got to meet three of her children too. This photo is of her younger daughter enjoying playing with Zeus. He particularly enjoyed her, as she was closer to his size and she would run through the house squealing in delight as he chased her and tugged on her twirly skirt.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Back to School

Today, I became a college student again! I enrolled for two classes, Design and Drawing. I'm hoping to get some fundamentals down, as I feel like my painting has been a hodgepodge. I've done well with it, but I feel like there's a large body of info that I'm missing (since I never had even one art class the first time I was in college!) This sharpener made me feel like I was back in elementary school, with two orange #2s. My children all started school today as well, so we've all got the shared experience tonight of being overwhelmed with syllabi.


Four of these statues, each holding a different symbol (this is the "Flame of Knowlege" according the the inscription) overlook an intersection in Rock Hill, SC. She looks like a Superhero to me.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A wormhole, perhaps?

Can you believe it? The Gateway to the WORLD is located within two hours of my home! I know, St. Louis thinks it is special because it has a big arch that claims to be the Gateway to the West. Whoop De Doo. Here in SC we have the Gateway to the World. Pretty impressive, eh? I drive past this every time I take my daughter to college, and it always cracks me up.

And speaking of driving my daughter to is a photo in her dorm room....after we've both eaten the free blue Sno-Cones they were giving out. At least I had the sense to keep my teeth closed! :-) Have a great year at school, Chelsea! I'll miss you!

Saturday, August 18, 2007


When we got to the triathlon site, my camera was completely dead....I thought I had charged it last night, but apparently I left it ON and drained it instead. So I resorted to cellphone photos...and forgot to set the resolution high. So we are left with pitiful pictures to commemorate M's first triathlon.

This is in case he drowns in the swimming section, so they'll know how old he is:

Here he is taking off for the biking section.

He finished this short kids' tri- in 30:06 in 26th place.

Friday, August 17, 2007

...'Bout sums up my day

My antipathy for Walmart is no secret. For awhile there, it was fashionable to hate Walmart, and everyone with an ounce of social consciousness railed against it. But I can't say I hate it just to fit in with the cause du jour. Nor do I kid myself into thinking I have noble objections to unfair negotiating practices, treatment of workers overseas, deplorable wages and benefits, driving mom&pops into the ground, etc. All those can be argued, and may have merit, but in my heart of hearts, I cannot claim excessive civic conscience. (I wish I did; but I know myself enough not to claim it.) No, my reasons for avoiding the Walmart experience are more banal and self-serving.

I don't like Walmart because they build ugly buildings. Architectural ugliness offends me even, and I especially don't like big boxes when they are abandoned for bigger and better locations. Walmart embodies suburban sprawl, which is another of my pet issues. Which of course reminds me that Walmart -- despite neighborhood opposition -- wants to build a store in my back yard, literally a few hundred yards away. There's very little variety in the lines they carry; everything is driven by price-consciousness -- not style, nor individuality, nor craftsmanship, nor product knowlege -- just price. Then there's the experience of shopping there. It sucks the life out of my soul, and life is short enough without wasting large swaths of it numbly pushing a cart through Walmart.

So where did I spend $80 of my back-to-school dollars today? You guessed it. I had to come home and take a bath.

Eye pollution

It bugs me to be driving along and encounter so many poles. Call it my pet peeve. In my ideal world cables would be buried, billboards would be eliminated, and street signs would be limited to only the most crucial. Oh, and we'd have traffic circles (roundabouts) like the British instead of start-&-stop intersections with traffic lights.

There. I feel better.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Newest member of our family

Grayson decided to get a motorcycle as a more affordable means of transportation. It's a Suzuki.

Monday, August 13, 2007


My mom gave me this sculpture for Christmas a few years ago , and I have it on the table behind the sofa. It depicts a girl, three boys and a dog playing together, which is the same order/gender as my children. I can't say my kids always get along, but sometimes it really does seem to tonight at dinner. Dinner conversation is noisy, irreverent, quick-paced, annoying (to at least someone), entertaining (to at least someone); it skips from topic to topic, none of which is anything deep or meaningful. There's usually someone moving around, someone gesticulating, someone wisecracking, someone talking over someone else. Sometimes it's exhausting. Bill especially wishes there were better manners and a quieter, calmer environment. I wish more kids appreciated home cooking and healthy fresh food. I think the kids KNOW good manners (even if they don't always use them), and suppose it will be quiet enough when the kids are all grown and gone. So this busy sculpture, going around in circles, encapsulates our family experience pretty accurately!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Marathon Man

I was totally faking the smile at the airport. I was apprehensive...not that he couldn't make it, but that he was alone with no means to summon help, no one looking out for him, no good 'worst case scenario' plan. Though I've privately cried off my mascara, please note I'm wearing need for him to see me hysterical or anything.

So here he is at the North Rim at 3:30 am, full of piss and vinegar. And adrenaline.

After almost four hours running downhill mostly in the dark for 14 miles, he arrived at the footbridge over the Colorado River. It was a welcome sight. He got off a phone call to me (must have been a landline at Phantom Ranch), to let me know he made it through the night. His voice sounded husky and dry, but upbeat. I felt a lot better knowing that the mountain lions had not eaten him. He did see a bobcat though, along with dozens of deer. And a pterodactyl.

OK, maybe it wasn't a pterodactyl. But it was big.

As seen from above. That's an angry-looking river.

The canyon walls dive straight into the water. For a size comparison, a person would hardly be visible on the rock wall. That's the thing about the's so vast, but the scale of it is hard to gauge, and it certainly doesn't ever come through in pictures.

There's not a lot of shade on the switchbacks of the Bright Angel Trail.

You really want to keep focused on the trail. If you don't ... it's a long way down.

He's looking just a little bit deranged, I think. The sun is starting to fry his brain.

Looking back at the route he's travelled. The trail runs inside that gash in front of you, across the canyon.

The last 2 miles were brutal. He was throwing up and of course feeling the effects of heat, fatigue, altitude, jet lag, dehydration... you name it. But he kept going, though his pace was a crawl; he had to stop every hundred yards to rest. This is the sign that greeted him after 11 hours and 45 minutes, at the top of the South Rim.

He reports that it was the hardest thing he's ever done. I knew he could do it. After the stuff he's done adventure racing I felt confident in his ability and preparation. But gosh, it's nice to have him back in one piece!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

News Flash: Grand Canyon

Just thought I'd let you worried readers know (I'm sure you WERE worried, because I certainly was!) that Bill made it across the Grand Canyon today, running from the North Rim, across the river, to the South Rim in 11 hours, 45 minutes-- it's about 24 miles, and a descent and ascent of about 5000 feet. He started at 3:30 am and finished this afternoon. He said it was without a doubt the hardest thing he's ever done; I cannot imagine how hard! For someone who's never run a marathon before I think it is one incredible achievement (and for someone who is almost 48 years old). Anyway, had to brag on him a bit and let you know he made it.

He did get some Grand Canyon pictures, although he was more intent upon just finishing. The bad news is that he didn't get any Star Trek pics... sorry to disappoint! Although, since he has to fly out of Vegas this weekend, maybe he'll swing back by the convention and get a few! :-)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

News Flash: Teaser

I just got off the phone from Bill in Las Vegas. Readers, you won't believe our good fortune. Bill is staying at the hotel where the ... Star Trek Convention!... is being held. I practically commanded him to go get us some good pictures! :-) Stand by to receive a transmission!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Last post for a few days...

Hopefully in a few days you'll be rewarded with some guest photographer shots from the Grand Canyon. Bill borrowed my camera (which I borrowed from Grayson...) when he left today for Las Vegas. He is teaching a class there tomorrow and then, um... doing a rim-to-rim hike/run of the Grand Canyon on Friday. He's done all the research, and has talked to folks who've done it before, so in that sense he's well-prepared. He's got his electrolyte tablets, and headlamp, and camelback, and flares, and powerbars, and all that stuff. But if you, dear readers, are the praying kind, I'm sure he wouldn't mind having a few of those sent his way! I am hoping that all the critters who hunt during the night (he has to begin around midnight in order to complete it before the hottest part of the day) will leave him alone. Thankfully he's got quite a few adventure races under his belt to give him experience in extreme conditions, but... I still worry! Whether he slows down enough, or remembers, to take photos...I don't know. But I hope he'll get a few.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Turning back the hands of time

This is the sole burger joint on the island. This year it is called McConkey's, but in years past it was called the Ruby Seahorse (a much more musical name, I think). Methinks they're trying to upscale it a notch, but c'mon. Look at it. It screams hot dogs and burgers.

People come to Edisto, I believe, to disengage from the real world: one can enter the world of "island time" and honestly forget having a real life back home. Bills, traffic, schedules, committments, paperwork, phone calls, and errands give way in island time to tides, riding bikes, phases of the moon, when the loggerheads will hatch, playing Scrabble and Bingo, the most difficult problem to be solved is 38 Down. Our vacation winds up tomorrow, and come Tuesday I'll be up to my elbows in getting textbooks and uniforms and sports physicals, and nursing my plants back to life, and sorting through mail, and single momming while Bill's on a business trip, and reacquainting myself with civilized niceties such as blowdryers and makeup. There's an ebb and flow to life, and Edisto time reminds me of that.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


Tonight's dinner started at Flowers, the fresh seafood market; then on to the farmer's market; and finally the Piggly Wiggly.

Here's what we had: tomato pie, creamed corn, and spicy shrimp, with chocolate pie for dessert!