Friday, March 26, 2010
I never loved Cinderella, Snow White, or any of the other passive, please-rescue-me-types who whistled while they scrubbed floors or wiled the years away waiting for someone else to pull them out of the tower. My hero was always the girl who had the nerve to dive down the rabbit hole, crash the tea party, and stand up to the army of cards dispatched by the Queen of Hearts. She ran fast, ate what she liked, and was never cowed by anyone she encountered during her adventures. Her curiosity inspired me, her bravery impressed me, her black Mary Jane shoes delighted me.
And they still do.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Things I've learned in life:
~ hold on to only the important things
~ have friends who own fabulous shoes, preferably in your size
The suitcase belonged to my great-aunt. It might not seem a likely thing for me to keep around for all these years, but it's the one she carried on the train from Philadelphia to Phoenix as she raced to elope with her fiancee before he left for World War II. Readers here might remember another story about this night, so this piece really could be a bit of a prequel.
My dear friend J, who has stellar taste in footwear, helped me find just the right shoes for this photograph. She also let me take over her foyer with my equipment while our children behaved like crazy people in her home. The story this piece tells isn't just about my aunt. It's for all of us who've ventured out that first time alone. The possibilities, the nerves, the challenge of taking along only what you can carry.
I promise I don't have a shoe fetish - I'm working on a commissioned series, and the only guidance was "shoes." I decided each should be a little sonnet about life - our lives - something to which every woman can relate. What was your first solo adventure? I'd love for you to share it with me.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Many thanks to the lovely Felicia of "Another Bright Idea" who so kindly interviewed me this week! Please pay a visit to her blog and enter for a chance to win my "Love Park" art glass pendant...you can give it away to a lucky gal, or keep it for yourself (shhh...I'll never tell).
Check back here tomorrow for the next "story behind the picture!
Friday, March 12, 2010
It was the first day of my junior year in high school. The physics lab broiled in the heat of the early September sun. I looked around at my classmates (mostly seniors), and realized there was only one other person wearing a skirt in the room beside myself.
Mr. C began his “Welcome to AP Physics” speech with all the enthusiasm of someone whose spare time was filled with accelerometers, calculators, and equations. As I shifted my weight on the uncomfortable yellow lab stool, I head him pause. He looked directly at me, and then to the one other person wearing a skirt in the room, and uttered the following:
“You might as well prepare yourselves: girls traditionally do not do well in this class.”
What I wanted to do was get up off the uncomfortable yellow lab stool, take my newly sharped pencil, and stab it in his neck. What I did do was sit perfectly still, my hands clasped in angelic fashion atop my text book, and gaze back at him with my most winning smile (which, I’m certain, was tinged with discernible malice). The validation to the pulse pounding in my ears and adrenaline flowing in my veins was my lab partner’s barely audible comment of “oh, no he just didn’t...” I’m not sure if he was horrified by Mr. C’s statement, or if he was just concerned I might go on a sharpened-pencil-stabbing spree right there in the lab.
He needn’t have worried. I had no intention of murdering Mr. C. It was far more enjoyable to watch his face each time he handed me my test results. For one year I enjoyed the delicious satisfaction of earning one of the highest grades. Of the entire class. Including the boys.
Fast-forward ten years to the soccer fields where my husband and I coached our team of middle-school girls. “Time for push-ups!” he called, “and just so you know, there are no GIRLY push-ups allowed!”
Imagine, if you will, the sound of 15 girls (and one of their coaches) gasping at the sound of the word “girly” being used as a euphemism for “weak.”
I don’t think I need to tell you what happened next. As he apologized to the girls (many of whom were giving him looks that echoed my own pencil-in-the-jugular expression) for his poor choice of words, I realized sexist comments should always be harnessed for the opportunity-providing-pieces-of-nonsense that they are. Never ignore them. Never pretend they don’t exist, only to seep into the cracks of your psyche when you least expect them. Instead, hear them: hear them for the insanity that they are. Turn it around on them. Relish the look on their faces when you answer every test question correctly. Enjoy the feeling as you complete 30 “girly” push-ups...you know, the kind where your legs are perfectly straight and your knees never touch the ground? Those are the only kind of girly push-ups I know how to do.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Just a quick mid-week update to let everyone know about my April show at Elcy's Cafe and Coffeehouse in Glenside, PA. The show runs all month with a fun opening reception on April 2nd from 5-9 p.m. Would love to see you there!
Friday, March 5, 2010
My mother asked that I share a funny story this week. And, as you know, I always do what my mother says.
I have two boys. I think everyone who follows along here knows this by now. I think everyone also knows that they are not exactly quiet, reserved, timid little children. Lately, my job as mother primarily involves refereeing battles that start promptly at 4:04 p.m. (when the bus delivers my eldest at the end of the school day) and don't end until bed time. Or later. And by "referee" I mean actually pulling children off one another when it starts to get ugly. I should wear a mouth guard and collect a stipend.
So what's with the apples? I was trying to harness a little creativity during the epic snowstorms that have pummeled us since January. After a few days of snow-induced captivity, apples were the only colorful thing I could could find in the house. That and lots of tiny Legos that I accidentally found with my feet. Very comfortable.
As I'm lining up apples on my windowsill, I hear the fight begin to brew:
"No, Danny, noooooooo!"
I decide to continue on with the apples.
"Danny!!!!! Stop it!!!!" *heavy thumping noises from above*
I'm still debating as to whether my referee skills are required, when I hear Lucas yell (at decibel 11):
"Danny! I do not belong in the hamper! I am not clothes, I am SOMEBODY!"
It was, at this point, that I was actually proud of my loud, brawling, scrappy 3 year-old. That's right, Lucas, you ARE somebody. Nobody's going to put YOU in a hamper. Unless it's your big brother, who still managed to get one of your legs in the aforementioned hamper before I reached the bedroom and, once again, had to pull you children off of one another.
Great art is not created while your children are trying to shove one another in a dirty clothes receptacle. The apples, above, are not great art. We ate them later for snack (out of desperation because we were out of cookies and there was 97 feet of snow on the ground). I'm okay with sharing the not-great-art here. It happens. This week was about the story, about my boys who love one another with great devotion, and about always trying to be creative, even if people are shoving one another in hampers while you try to work.