Friday, December 31, 2010

Saying arriverderci to 2010

 
"I still remember my first day in school, my first kiss, my first break-up, my first child being born. Will I remember my first post on my first blog? The answer is probably no.
Anyway, here it is. A first."

My first blog post January 2010.


Do I remember my first blog post? Of course not.
In the realm of IMPORTANT, this would most likely be toward the bottom of the list.
But it was nice to revisit aspects of my life via a blog. I realized as I scrolled through that my favorite posts were the ones that defined a brief moment, a mere blink in the context of a life well lived.

Some of the bigger moments in 2010 got blog attention-the big remodel, Jim’s retirement and sadly the passing of two very important people in our lives.

But some of the news did not make it into the blog. My very new and exciting job at Art Intersection. www.artintersection.com and the most exciting news of all:
I will be a grandmother in 2011 and there is no doubt that I will be posting about this in the New Year.
Thank you to all my readers for staying tuned. I love all the comments and cherish them all.
Looking forward to 2011, 
My wish for you: strength, clarity and wisdom in all of your pursuits.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

thank you

No seriously, thank you.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It isn't about why



Throughout my life I have always had a weakness for the humble handmade object.. Not that I don’t enjoy the cost and freedom that the little doohickey made in (insert developing country) affords me but there’s something indelibly precious about the hand crafted object, particularly when it starts with humble beginnings.

Generally, I have a fondness for those things that aren’t particularly useful. Things that are meant to be admired, not necessarily used, like the appliquéd kitchen towels Jim’s mother had stored away in her hope chest. I just can’t bring myself to use them as much as I would love to.

Maybe it all started in grade school with my absolute obsession with hand painted plaster of paris molds that I made every summer at my local playground. I still remember the entire process- the pouring of the creamy white plaster into the rubber mold, the warmth of the plaster as it hardened, and the agonizing wait until it was set up before you could release it from the mold.  The magic moment when still slightly damp and now cool mold, a bas relief of assorted subject matter all creamy white broke loose of the mold just begging for some tempera paint. I relished this stage-carefully deciding on my color palette while all the other kids were headed to the swings.
Paint dry, I would dutifully take them home, present them to mom and never see them again. I mean what does a mother do with several dozen bas-relief plaques?

I do remember one summer my friends and I found an absolutely perfect use for said plaster plaques. If you broke them up they made excellent chalk and we proceeded to decorate all of the sidewalks around our elementary school, proud as punch, until two cops cars drove across the lawn, with stern police officers threatening to arrest us for
vandalizing the school grounds. They threatened to drive us each home to tell our parents of our offense, which made me quite nervous because that would be the end of my mold-making career.
There were many more semi-useless ob·jet d'art checkering my past. In the 80’s I designed and sold lingerie bags. Beautiful (well, beautiful by 80’s standards), satiny bags with a Color Xerox image of, yep, lingerie. I sold them (not a lot of them) at street fairs and even at Hand and Spirit Gallery for a while.  Recently, I was out antiquing and actually found one of my lingerie bags in someone’s antique booth with a tag that said ”circa 1980” on the same tag I had originally put there. Hmmm, which leads me to believe that lingerie bag didn’t get a whole lot of use.

Which brings me to my most recent obsession: the petite blank book made from recycled materials. I obsessively create the structures from left over scrap materials from larger scale projects. I make them, teach other people to make them and even sell them at times for ridiculously small amounts of cash. Why? Because it gives me pleasure.  I cut up old covers of old art magazines, discarded books on cats and astrology, old calendars and other forsaken ephemera and repurpose them into a small hand constructed book that, well, one could argue you could find plenty mass produced blank books that are far more useful, practical and maybe even cheaper.

So what’s the point here? Sometimes something that simply gives you pleasure can be enough of a reward.

Join me at the first annual CRAFT RAVE, December 4th, from 2pm-12am. Let’s make a book together. More info on the Craft Rave at: http://craftyphx.blogspot.com/



Friday, November 19, 2010

So close




So very very close.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

And then there were walls


Complaining about your remodeling experience is a bit like griping about your most recent cosmetic surgery procedure. People don’t want to hear about it. Period. You can almost hear them saying, “Well, genius, what part of this did you think was going to be a day at the park?”
I get this. Even though I have not elected to endure the pain of cosmetic surgery I did jump on the All American Remodeling Dream Wagon.
Almost 2 years later, fists full of dollars, cold showers, hot plates and dust, plenty of dust….we have walls.
Beautiful, glorious, space defining, brand-spanking new walls.
We have walls.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Caption Contest

Come up with a witty caption of this remodel picture and win an all expense paid tour of the job site.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Red shoes revisited....

Sometimes when you are looking into the deep well of destruction,demolition and deconstruction you see a bright light of possibility.
In my case, this epiphany came in the form of a pair of Dior shoes: RED, impossibly high heels and enough sass to last until judgement day.
Background story:
I was out gathering my fruits and veggies for the week at the Town & Country Farmer's Market, which in its own right brings joy to my heart, when I decided to stop in at Poor Little Rich Girl, a consignment resale shop on Indian School Rd. I walked in and spotted these beauties standing regally in a crowd of pedestrian offerings. My size?, no way. Dior? what?! Like new? 90.00, for real? No matter that these red hot mamas were a shoe-in for " Most impossible footwear to actually walk in".
I had to have them.
Sitting in my little studio space. Still looking perky and sassy amidst all the rubble that used to be my home. A talisman for all that is superfluous and fabulous.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Thoughts on remodeling

 

1. Living with the bare essentials, whether you are holed up in your bedroom washing dishes in your bathtub or living the dorm life in your back studio, makes you realize how little you really need which is cruelly ironic when you are expanding your space and upgrading to include unnecessary luxury items.

2. Construction workers are an interesting and lovable bunch. Living amidst a bunch of dudes on a daily basis you learn a lot like, the reason they walk so funny is because their tool belts are so damn heavy.

3. Sometimes the recession/housing crisis can have a silver lining. If you are forced to stay put because you’ll never live to see a profit in your real estate holdings and you refuse to just walk away, think outside of the box. Make your place exactly how you want-without a thought on resale potential which is crazy anyway. When did we become a nation of flippers? Just go for your own style even if it involves installing bright orange kitchen cabinets.

4. Never pay retail for anything. Just by asking around, checking periodically in at places like Construction Lots and the Marketplace Forum at the Modern Phoenix website you can find crazy good deals. Case in point: An Italian-swiss made kitchen (once part of a high-end model loft) sold to us for $1,000.00 cash by a marketing consultant who took the kitchen in trade when the company selling the lofts went under and had no money to pay her for her services.

5. It is wise to ignore good intentioned people who shake their heads and moan when you tell them you are planning to start a remodel. They will tell you to prepare for it to take 50% longer than you expect and cost 100% more than you budgeted for. Just give them a smug smile, nod your head in agreement and move forward in “ignorance is bliss” mode and once you are in it you just don’t care anymore and basically lose track of days, then weeks, then this thing called money becomes an abstract vehicle that allows you to move forward and end this living hell.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The master at work

Sometimes we need to be a bit flexible with the rules. Two steps up from ground level are now permitted.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Grounded for life

When you have fallen off the roof twice, technically off then through, you no longer have roof privileges.
Enough said?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

the grand remodel

I really have no energy to actually discuss the particular joy that I am experiencing in our latest venture in remodeling land. Pictures will just have to do.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Ecology of Healing

“The problem’s not that the truth is harsh but that liberation from ignorance is as painful as being bornRun after truth until you’re breathless.  Accept the pain involved in re-creating yourself afresh.  These ideas will take a life to comprehend, a hard one interspersed with drunken moments.   ~ Naguib Mahfouz, “Palace of Desire”

Taken from "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts" by Gabor Mate'

Saturday, August 14, 2010

HOME

I found this snapshot in a trendy antique store in Venice beach. I was out for a stroll on Abbott-Kinney Blvd, marveling at the hipster parade (not hippie-that’s another story), and since everything on this street is way over-priced (including the snapshot) I decided this picture would be the perfect memento of my week-long family holiday at the beach. After I paid my 2.00 I quickly slipped the photograph into my purse waiting to explore the rush of feelings I experienced resurrecting it from a pile of vernacular detritus.

Now that I am back in Phoenix, I can attempt to open the stubborn little doors of my heart and see how this simple little picture could sum up the complex emotions I feel each year we have our beach experience.

My children are all grown adults living on their own so the concept of home, our collective home, is really just a memory. But, each year we pack our towels, bathing suits, boogie boards and enough food to feed the neighborhood and spend one week together in a cramped cottage, with one bathroom,by the ocean. We laugh a lot, EAT
A LOT , get on each others nerves, laze around the beach, watch ridiculous movies and generally cherish our short uninterrupted week being a family under the same roof.

In retrospect it wasn’t so much the image of the sturdy rambling house that I coveted but the urgent and stocky red uppercase letters spelling out the word HOME.
In some elusive way, the word, etched into the photograph’s surface signified the complex nature of how we think about that place where people reside together.

I will cherish this humble little picture and remember our cozy beach cottage in Venice Beach, our home of one week, until the next time.

There’s no place like HOME.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

waiting


The house is 2/3 packed up. The shrubs are gone in the front yard. There’s a big hole in the back yard. The big remodel is on hold until the city stops red lining our plans.

Patience, my friend, patience.

But there are figs on our tree-sweet, sticky, sexy figs.

Come on over and pick some for yourself.

Just watch that hole in the ground….

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

summer in the city


In the spirit of optimism, I challenged myself to think of 10 reasons I love summer in Phoenix:

naps in cool dark bedrooms with fans blowing
the musky scent outside in early morning or late afternoon during monsoon season
the sound of cicadas reminding us of the inequitable nature of nature.
the wiry, electric charge in the air before a storm hits
the anticipation of fresh figs, heirloom tomatoes, ripe melons
leaning into laziness
the act of peeling off sweaty clothes and relief of cool showers
the joy of sitting in a dark air-conditioned theater mid-day and afterward loving the blast of hot air as you exit the building
the relief of rain
the promise of escape

Sunday, July 11, 2010

What is Suffering


From "A Thousand Names for Joy" by Byron Katie


Some people think that compassion means feeling another person's pain. That's nonsense. It's not possible to feel another person's pain. You imagine what you'd feel if you were in that person's shoes, and you feel your own projection. Who would you be without your story? Pain-free, happy, and totally available if someone needs you—a listener, a teacher in the house, a Buddha in the house, the one who lives it. As long as you think there's a you and a me, let's get the bodies straight. What I love about separate bodies is that when you hurt, I don't—it's not my turn. And when I hurt, you don't. Can you be there for me without putting your own suffering between us? Your suffering can't show me the way. Suffering can only teach suffering.

The Buddhists say that it's important to recognize the suffering in the world, and that's true, of course. But if you look more deeply, even that is a story. It's a story to say that there is any suffering in the world. Suffering is imagined, because we haven't adequately questioned our thoughts. I am able to be present with people in extreme states of torment without seeing their suffering as real. I'm in the position of being totally available to help them see what I see, if that's what they want. They're the only ones who can change, but I can be present, with kind words and the power of inquiry.

It's amazing how many people believe that suffering is a proof of love. If I don't suffer when you suffer, they think, it means that I don't love you. How can that possibly be true? Love is serene; it's fearless. If you're busy projecting what someone's pain must feel like, how can you be fully present with her? How can you hold her hand and love her with all your heart as she moves through her experience of pain? Why would she want you to be in pain, too? Wouldn't she rather have you present and available? You can't be present for people if you believe that you're feeling their pain. If a car runs over someone and you project what that must feel like, you're paralyzed. But sometimes in a crisis like that, the mind loses its reference, it can't project anymore, you don't think, you just act, you run over and pick up the car before you have time to think This isn't possible. It happens in a split second. Who would you be without your story? The car is up in the air.

Sadness is always a sign that you're believing a stressful thought that isn't true for you. It's a constriction, and it feels bad. Conventional wisdom says differently, but the truth is that sadness isn't rational, it isn't a natural response, and it can't ever help you. It just indicates the loss of reality, the loss of the awareness of love. Sadness is the war with what is. It's a tantrum. You can experience it only when you're arguing with God. When the mind is clear, there isn't any sadness. There can't be.

If you move into situations of loss in a spirit of surrender to what is, all you experience is a profound sweetness and an excitement about what can come out of the apparent loss. And once you question the mind, once the stressful story is seen for what it is, there's nothing you can do to make it hurt. You see that the worst loss you've experienced is the greatest gift you can have. When the story arises again—"She shouldn't have died" or "He shouldn't have left"—it's experienced with a little humor, a little joy. Life is joy, and if you understand the illusion arising, you understand that it's you arising, as joy.

What does compassion look like? At a funeral, just eat the cake. You don't have to know what to do. It's revealed to you. Someone comes into your arms, and the kind words speak themselves; you're not doing it. Compassion isn't a doing. Whether or not you're suffering over their suffering, you're standing or you're sitting. But one way you're comfortable, the other way you're not.

You don't have to feel bad to act kindly. On the contrary: the less you suffer, the kinder you naturally become. And if compassion means wanting others to be free of suffering, how can you want for others what you won't give to yourself?

I read an interview with a well-known Buddhist teacher in which he described how appalled and devastated he felt while watching the planes hit the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. While this reaction is very popular, it is not the reaction of an open mind and heart. It has nothing to do with compassion. It comes from believing unquestioned thoughts. He believed, for example, "This shouldn't be happening" or "This is a terrible thing." It was thoughts like these that were making him suffer, not the event itself. He was devastating himself with his unquestioned thoughts. His suffering had nothing to do with the terrorists or the people who died. Can you take this in? Here was a man dedicated to the Buddha's way—the end of suffering—who in that moment was terrorizing his own mind, causing his own grief. I felt compassion for people who projected fearful meanings onto that picture of a plane hitting a building, who killed themselves with their unquestioned thoughts and took away their own state of grace.

The end of suffering happens in this very moment, whether you're watching a terrorist attack or doing the dishes. And compassion begins at home. Because I don't believe my thoughts, sadness can't exist. That's how I can go to the depths of anyone's suffering, if they invite me, and take them by the hand and walk them out of it into the sunlight of reality. I've taken the walk myself.

I've heard people say that they cling to their painful thoughts because they're afraid that without them they wouldn't be activists for peace. "If I felt completely peaceful," they say, "why would I bother taking action at all?" My answer is "Because that's what love does." To think that we need sadness or outrage to motivate us to do what's right is insane. As if the clearer and happier you get, the less kind you become. As if when someone finds freedom, she just sits around all day with drool running down her chin. My experience is the opposite. Love is action. It's clear, it's kind, it's effortless, and it's irresistible.

Friday, July 2, 2010

How hot is too hot?


One of my small attempts at going green ( I really hate the term) is to hang my laundry on the clothesline. I’ve been doing this pretty religiously for about two years now. I marvel at the fact that it took me this long to figure out how easy and yes, GREEN, this simple act is.
So, today it is 111 degrees ,or something in that god forsaken neighborhood. As I am pulling the clothes from the washing machine the thought of actually going outside is so painful I begin to have a hot flash just thinking about it.
I actually contemplate side stepping the whole hang’em out routine and eyeball the dryer thinking, “What could it hurt? Who would know? Who would care?”
After the flash had subsided, my higher self kicked back in and I dragged the wet clothes out to hang.
Ten minutes later they are bone dry.
Welcome to July.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010



The power of Google

“bitter/metallic taste in the back of mouth”-this is exactly what I typed into the familiar rectangular block of my google site. The first site that came up was www.pinchmysalt.com, a foodie blog. The post had dozens of testimonies on how after eating pine nuts from various stores, including Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, they would experience a strange and annoying taste primarily in the back of the throat lasting several days.
On Saturday, I had made a large batch of pesto using basil from McClendon’s farm and had been eating it with crackers ever since. On Monday, after lunch, I got a bad headache, my lymph nodes were swollen and I felt very tired…and yes, everything except water had this bizarre bitter/metallic aftertaste.

I’m not sure if the flu like symptoms are associated but I’m convinced that the pine nuts are the culprit of my bitter throat symptoms.

Today the remaining nuts were returned to Traders with a note with the pinch my salt URL attached. The manager said that the FDA was looking into a particular supplier of pine nuts. I noticed that on the bag it said they were from Korea, Vietnam or Russia.

I guess this means pesto with walnuts, pistachio ,pecans or pepitas, all delicious in their own right.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

today


Early onset of dementia or a zen moment?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The humble cookie



Is there anything more comforting than a freshly baked cookie? Seriously, I can pass on cake, pie and even ice cream but there’s something about the humble cookie that begs
“eat me”. I’m sure we could all contemplate the many reasons why cookies are so irresistible, the chewy vs. crispy debate ( I’m a chewy in the inside crispy on the outside kinda gal) the sheer economy (one little cookie never hurt anyone) or the nostalgia that the cookie brings to our collective consciousness.

I’m really more of a cook than a baker. I like to grab a bunch of really great ingredients and see what happens when I start chopping, sautéing and drizzling.
Baking doesn’t work that way, believe me I’ve tried it. In my tenure as a young idealist mother, I attempted to convert a family brownie recipe into a healthy snack by replacing the chocolate with carob, sugar for honey and white flour for whole wheat. I still remember the look on my daughter’s face when she bit in to the brick like square.

I do make cookies. Mostly one particular cookie that my children lovingly named
“ mini-pans”( short for Panaro). This cookie’s provenance is suspect. I think I started with the Neiman Marcus cookie recipe and just experimented from there.
This cookie is pretty legendary around my circle of friends, family and students. I do not give out the recipe, the only recipe I do not gladly offer to anyone interested.
Most of the time I bake up a large batch and freely supply anyone within an arm’s throw
but a few times a year, I package them up in little bags and sell them.
Perhaps it provides me with that small taste of what it must be like to have people throw hard cash down to eat something you made. That little fantasy that some day I could be the next Mrs. Fields.

In real life, I much prefer the humble offering. If you’re within an arm’s throw this Thursday evening or Friday morning (see details below) and mention this post-a bag of free cookies are waiting for you.

a.ware pre-memorial day sale

join us for happy hour
sangria & small bites 5-9pm
Thursday, May 27
or
coffee and cookies 10am-1pm
Friday, May 28

534 W. Coronado Rd. Phoenix

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A thing of beauty



Friend and colleague, Angela Ellsworth (http://www.aellsworth.com/) has been busy globe trotting these days due to an invitation by curator David Elliott to show at this year’s Sydney Biennale. For more information and an insider view of the event, you can read Tania Katan’s blog: http://oursydneybiennale.hearsight.com/. Those who know and adore Angela's partner, Tania (taniakatan.com/), will not be disappointed in her funny and irreverent glimpse at all things “Biennale”. I pulled this quote by David Elliott from her blog this morning.
Wise words.

"Contemporary art can be an expression of many things: a celebration of survival, resistance, freedom or intransigence in the face of threat, as well as of the joys and horrors of what it is to be a live. But it’s not an instruction manual or tool for life, and it will not 'tell' you anything, particularly not what you should either think or feel about it or the world. Each art work stands alone, to be appreciated as a unique experience. This is the beauty of art as well as the beauty of distance. Distance allows us to be ourselves, despite the many capacities we share. We are all the same, but different, and it is our difference that make us—according to the circumstances—beautiful, terrifying, attractive, boring, sexy, unsettling, fascinating, challenging, funny, stimulating, horrific, or even many of these all at once. All this is underlaid by our essential similarity to each other, often much greater than many care to acknowledge. More importantly, the idea of distance expresses the condition of art itself, which is to be of life, run parallel to life and sometimes to be about life. But for art to be art, it must maintain a distance from life because without this it has no authority. Art can reflect the sweetest or strongest of emotions and also represent the most threatening or traumatic events but, unlike in life, nobody gets hurt."

David Elliott, “The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age”

Angela Ellsworth
Seer Bonnet VI
15,564 pearl corsage pins and fabric
24"x11"x13"
2009

Monday, May 24, 2010

Spilled salt


I am not the superstitious type but spilled salt tends to unnerve me. Mostly, I'm just annoyed by the inconvenience of it but somewhere in our collective history, we have absorbed our ancestor's anxiety.
Most folklore about spilled salt tends to lean toward bad luck,inviting evil into your home and all around malevolence.
My Italian family was very superstitious particularly concerning the malocchio or "evil eye". Whether it was wearing a cornetti around your neck(lit. "horns")or giving the hand signal resembling the popular gesture used at Metallica concerts,my Americanized family seemed to easily resist these superstitions in the land 'o plenty.
My preference would be to think as the Brits do, that each spilled grain was said to represent a tear. To acknowledge the shedding of tears seems a perfect metaphor. We all cry and when we do it is an act of spilling our insides,allowing something to run over and it can be quite messy sometimes.But,always a cleansing act of release and renewal.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

the morning after/the night before





As retirement parties go-I would say this one was for the books.
Students, faculty, friends and family all here to celebrate a life devoted to art, photography and education.
The universe smiles.
The Dude abides.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day



Do we really need to hold everything together, and can we?

Indian Buddhist teacher


As I type the quote the computer selectively places a green squiggly line under the “ I should” and I have to smile at the connotation. There you go again, girl, saying the should word.
As a mother, the should is a like a mantra. You should is a more liberated delivery than you must or you need to. And yet, it still sounds like judgment day every time it comes out of my mouth.
As a mother, when one of my kids is in need of advice or is in some sort of crisis mode I have this curious inner discourse that goes something like this:
“ What would my mother do? “ like the ebullient WWJD Jesus bracelet. I look at the situation, imagine how my mother would respond and basically try to do the extreme opposite. I’m 55 years old and still rebelling against my mother’s parenting.
My mother really did believe that she could and should and would hold everything together by simply telling you how something is done, her exact way, do it immediately and that’s the end of the story. She believed that whatever situation she had been through, by simply telling me how she blew it; I would avoid the same mistakes. “ Carol, that’s what parents are for. To tell their kids what is right and wrong. Learn from my mistakes. If anyone did stupid, I did stupid. Don’t do stupid.”
Okay, mom.
Now that my kids are grown up, I am beginning to see her point. I mean, wouldn’t it be a perfect world if your kids listened to all your advice, did exactly what you said, because you are wise and have been through it and know how it’s done?
Except that this perfect world would consist of a bunch of safety clones who never got the opportunity to get their fingers burned in the flames of first hand experience.
So, I will continue to repeat, “You do not need to hold everything together.”
Again and again, and feel the heady euphoria that begins to creep in as I begin to really believe it.

The Margarita face-off



The tallies have yet to be calculated but word on the street is while the "Hajicek Blend"
was smooth and elegant, the "Segura Suave" delivered the punch.
A fun time was had by all.
Thank you Adrienne and Hung for a memorable evening.

Monday, April 26, 2010

a grapefruit moment


My spoon digs into three perfectly cut wedges of grapefruit
The grapefruit lovingly prepared by you
Waiting for me in the refrigerator
In a white bowl covered with plastic wrap.
As I slip the spoonful, distractedly into my mouth
While reading something about art
I experience the burst of pure cold sweetness.
I put the book down and savor this moment.
This is all I have right now
And it is enough.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lineage

34 years is a long time. As evidenced by the outpouring of genuine sentiment at the current exhibition at Northlight Gallery, James Hajicek’s tenure at ASU has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.

The three rooms of the gallery are filled with work spanning four decades. Both photographs that James created and the work of past and present students who he worked closely with grace the walls along with heartfelt and poignant statements about how they were impacted by him.

In many of the statements, you get the sense that “The Captain”, which he is lovingly referred to, has given the gift of process to students hungry for the tactile, the physical and a certain reverence for “the object”. Yet, there is this other less quantifying aspect of Jim’s influence that resonated in each statement; a belief system in which to enter into the realm of art making, an understanding of the ineffable and sometimes terrifying process of being an artist. Beyond that, you get the sense that his influence has gone above and beyond the world of art but that his guidance in how to navigate life is immeasurable.

Filippo Tagliati, a former graduate student from Italy, expressed it the most succinctly:

“Jim, first time I entered your office I was sick and you healed me. You taught me how to teach. When a band of thieves stole everything from my house, you taught me what the power of community is. When I was looking for direction in my work, you taught me how to create a research project. And when I was looking for a job, you convinced them I could walk on the water. Right now, I can really walk on the water just because you taught me how to believe in myself.”

When you look around the rooms of Northlight you cannot help but notice the attention to those two dangerous words in our post-neo-post modern world- Truth and Beauty.

There are many people to thank for making this exhibition possible- Liz Allen, the director of Northlight who saw this entire thing through to the 11th hour, the students in the exhibition class who framed, typed and hung it all, the students who dropped everything and sent work from all corners of the country, and to all who came to the opening to support Jim, another testimony to the power of community.

Lineage will be open through May 3rd

Northlight Gallery

Matthews Hall

http://art.asu.edu/gallery/northlight/

Hours:

Monday night 7-9

Tuesday 10:30a-4:30p

Wed-Thurs 10:30a-4:30p

Saturday 12:30-4:30p

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Buona Pasqua


Every year, at Easter, I make a special bread. I’ve been making it since my father passed away almost 18 years ago. My father made the same bread every year after his father died 35 years ago. My Grandpa made that bread for as long as I can remember and who knows how many previous generations in some village in Italy my ancestors were preparing what we call Easter Bread.

It’s a rich yeast-raised bread, full of butter, eggs, and sugar that is braided much like a Challah. I am sure that each generation modified the bread to suit more of the American palette. I do remember my grandfather adding a dyed hard-boiled Easter egg in the middle.
When my father took over the hard-boiled egg disappeared but I’m pretty sure I have the same recipe that my grandfather gave to my dad.

The rituals and practices that remain connect us to something sacred.
I cherish making the bread each year as a tribute to a tradition that has managed to stay alive through the generations of my family.
Today, we will break bread together and with each sweet bite I will cherish the privilege of all of it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Balancing Act


All of us struggle with balance. In yoga, this is my greatest challenge, keeping myself upright while standing on one foot.
In life, balance is essential. Through trial and error I have learned how to cultivate a life that maintains a proper weighing in of, for lack of a more accurate term-yin and yang.
One of my strategies in balancing out the more cerebral activities in my life is tending to my plants. I probably have close to a hundred potted plants at this writing, and each one is lovingly cared for from agave pups to my most prized orchid pictured here.
I’m not an orchid aficionado but my daughter gave me this plant last year and I was very proud of how I had managed to keep the blooms alive for almost 6 months.
Once the delicate flowers died and fell off poetically, one by one, I contemplated putting the plant in the compost since the notion of getting it to flower again seemed remote at best.
But, I just couldn’t do it. So, I put it in a sunny place inside the house, watered the roots with filtered water and sprayed the leaves with orchid food-whispering encouragement throughout the winter months.
Today the first bloom broke open. Standing alone in celebration of rebirth and renewal.
Teaching me so many lessons-patience, perseverance and self-care.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

On being "on time"


One is either an “on time” person or not. To be on time one must plan ahead and have a strategy. It is so simple and yet many of us still cannot seem to get some place at the properly appointed time. Is it a character flaw or a social construct? What’s your attitude about being “on time?”

(when asked “ what time is it?”, james replied, “ what time do you want it to be?)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What we do ( part 2)


433.00 dollars-lots of ones, several fives and plenty of twenties. I didn’t even bother counting the change. Yard sales. A study in social behavior. What do people really want?
What are they willing to pay you?
I am intrigued with the entire process. Selecting the items you are willing to let go, pricing, setting the merchandise out, sitting waiting for people to buy your discards. Witnessing the drive-bys, the hagglers, the hunters, the gatherers.
Then it’s time to pack it all up again. Sneak back a few things you just can’t part with…yet.
Most of it in the trunk for donation. Clearing space for more stuff.

( towels I purchased at my neighbors yard sale that I will cherish. 1.00 for 2)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Food is Love


As far back as I can remember, food has been central to my life. Of course, we all need nourishment-that’s a given, but growing up in an Italian household-well, let’s just say, food-and by that I mean the growing of it, going to the market for it, preparing it and then finally sharing in the eating of it, is central to Italian culture. Memories abound of my father bringing home strange and exotic foods like wild cardoons, a relative of the artichoke. He would clean the woody stalks and boil them first then bread and deep-fry them in olive oil. The humble dandelion would grace our table every spring, sautéed and mixed into a frittata.
Of course there was the ubiquitous tomato. In late summer you would find many families in our neighborhood busy in the kitchen canning them, rows upon rows of beautiful jars of tomatoes with just the right amount of basil leaf. These tomatoes would be the primary ingredient in the Sunday sauce every week throughout the year.

One of my most vivid and tender memories as a child was when my father would make the Sunday sauce. He would always include a few pork bones for flavor. When the sauce was finished cooking he would take the bone out and offer me the “ mookoo” and I would suck the bone marrow out of the bone-the rich complex taste mingling with the tomato sauce. This offering was his special way of saying I love you.
Holidays at my grandparent’s house were riotous affairs with adults firmly planted “a tavola” drinking wine-and eating a never-ending feast. There was always some sort of drama but amidst the tension there was lots of laughter.

As children we would run in a pack, hungry little wolves, grabbing food while inventing elaborate imaginary games. I remember a July 4th, one of the cousins sneaking some of grandpa’s homemade wine
(It didn’t end well…). Most times we were content with our bottles of cherry soda from Black Rock Soda Company.

And the food- a never ending procession of homemade ravioli, manicotti, meatballs the size of tennis balls,
pizza with anchovies, olive salad, bracoile, and for Christmas, Grandpa’s legendary assortment of Italian cookies. Like most second-generation American children-I thought a lot of Grandpa’s food a bit strange. What were raisins doing in my meatballs and was that a hard-boiled egg in the sauce? The cookies had weird fig jam in them with anise flavoring.

What I would do for one of those cookies today.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The table and the bed



In the book, A Thousand Days in Tuscany, Barlozzo, the padrone of a small village in Tuscany has these words of wisdom:
“ They all know the truth, that there are only three subjects worth talking about…the weather, which as farmers, affects everything else. Dying and birthing, of both people and animals. And what we eat-this last item comprising what we ate the day before and what we’re eating tomorrow. And all three of these major subjects encompass, in one way or another, philosophy, psychology, sociology, anthropology, the physical sciences, history, art, literature, and religion. We get around to sparring about all that counts in life but we usually do it while talking about food, it being a subject inseparable from every other subject.
It’s the table and the bed that count in life. And everything else we do, we do so we can get back to the table, back to the bed.”
From “A Thousand Days in Tuscany” by Marlena De Blasi

Friday, March 19, 2010

what we do


"...Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
Friday, Saturday, Saturday to Sunday....


"...i gotta feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night
that tonight’s gonna be a good night
that tonight’s gonna be a good good night

Tonight’s the night
let’s live it up
I got my money
Lets spend it up..."

(james just sold his '72 mercedes on craigslist....it truly is the end of an era.)