Thursday, March 26, 2009

March 27, 2009 - Happy Birthday Chase!

My grand nephew Chase is now 3 years old. My niece mentioned having had to put him to bed 5 times last night so he's hanging onto the terrible two's status as long as he can. What are the three's known for? Thunderous Three's? Thrifty Three's? Thoughtful Three's? I'm sure I'll find out. Anyway, here's his latest pic from his mom.

It's been a boring week. Not that I haven't had things to do. Nothing has much inspired me this week. I tried to make a new lamp design yesterday but it just didn't fly. Have to start again. I always learn something in the process so it's not without benefit. It's been very cool and rainy for a few days but the sun may visit us today. Not any warmer though. And a mix or rain and snow is predicted for next week. Well we had a short break at least. All in all I can't complain. It's a typical spring in Wisconsin.

My friend Katie send me a bunch of cool photos yesterday. Here's a sampling:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

March 21, 2009 - A disturbing movie

I loved Ellen Page's performance in the movie "Juno." So I did a quick search on Netflix to see what other movies she's done. She's very young so I didn't expect a lot of choices. I ran across "Hard Candy." Looked interesting. Liked the actors. Put it in the queue.

I started watching and was immediately uncomfortable. Basically it starts with a close-up of on-line texting, setting up a date. You quickly learn that the "date" is between a 14 year-old girl and an older man. She seems incredibly innocent and gullible. He's handsome, charming, and reeling her in. And so you cringe knowing this can't end well. And it gets worse. She gets in his car and goes home with him. At this point I'm ready to call it quits but I stick around a bit more and the movie takes a sudden 180 degree turn. And even saying that may give something away. That's the problem with writing about this movie. It's too easy to give something away. But there's more than one twist and if you stick it out you'll probably find it hard to stop watching even though it's definitely disturbing, gut wrenching, provocative, and controversial. In this day of on-line preditors this will definitely get a discussion going about who's the real victim.

This is a movie that you will love or hate but it can't help but make you think. Watch at your own risk. And Ellen Page is excellent.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

March 16, 2009 - Springtime in Madison

Here in Wisconsin we're in that very unpredictable time between winter and spring. But finally, this past weekend we had a big dose of warmth and sun. And everyone was outside. Even though it wasn't much above 50 it felt almost hot. I believe our internal temperature tolerance gradually goes down as the winter progresses and when a day in the 50s and 60s comes along it's time for shorts and sandals. The windows go up, bikes come out, the gardeners are in a premature frenzy, the kids are yelling and playing in the yards. And neighbors actually stop and talk to each other. Everyone is coming out of their caves. Everyone is optimistic and making plans.

Of course this can all come crashing down with a spring snow or ice storm. But you just have to take them in stride and live in the spirit that the days are getting longer and the warm days are more frequent than not. It's inevitable. Spring is truly coming. Ahhhh. There's just nothing like it. Especially for those of us who have a severe winter. I think we actually enjoy spring more because of what we have dealt with.

Now once you get out there and wander around you realize that this is not an attractive time of the year. Not yet. Isolated snow piles dot the landscape like small beached whales. They just don't belong anymore. When will they melt for God's sake! And underneath that snow is revealed a kind of time capsule of "stuff" that last appeared on the day of the fist snow storm—a flattened pair of gardening gloves, the hose you never got around to storing for the winter, an odd toy or bike that the kids just never got around to picking up, and flattened dead flora and fauna. All compressed as if having been under a stack of heavy books. There's a kind a scum on everything. It is not pretty. This you must ignore or there is danger you will succumb to melancholy. It's best to wander about with your head held high facing the sun, sucking in that vitamin D. It will all change soon enough. One must be patient. (But of course we are not patient. We can't wait.)

And what's coming for my birthday you ask?
"a must see"
"the laughs unspool like wavy stands of thick, dark hair traveling through the infamousBlogojevich hairbrush"
"just the anti-Blogo catharsis you need"
What can it be? Why it's "Rod Blogojevich Superstar." Second City's ripped-from-the-headlines, rushed-to-the-stage parody on guess who. I'll be heading down to Chi-town with friends for a rip roaring hilarious experience. What a great way to get out of a winter rut and ignore the aging process but to laugh out loud and enjoy good friends. I can't wait.

And on the more well lit side of my life, I'm making lots of lamps for the American Craft Council show in St. Paul, Minnesota on April 17-19. I don't look forward to the grueling set-up and take down but it's always nice to experience a new show, meet new artists, and hopefully sell a few lamps. Not to mention spend some time with friends whom I don't see often enough. If you're in the area please stop in and say hello. And open up those pocketbooks. You've got to reward yourself for surviving the winter at the very least.

Hang in there. Spring is on it's way and happier times are ahead. Trust me. m

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

March 4, 2009 - Happy Birthday

This is my mom. She turned 79 today. I believe this is her graduation photo from Union City, Ohio. Union City's an unusual town because half of is in Indiana and half in Ohio. Which makes it  really strange when Indiana doesn't change to daylight savings time and Ohio does. Or something like that. My mom grew up on a farm on the Ohio side. I have many good memories of that farm—chasing the little baby pigs around the barn, walking over to the "park" that my grandpa kept for church group picnics and family reunions, crossing the rickety bridge on the way, the swans chasing us in a rowboat on the small pond.

Mom was born in 1930 during the Great Depression. Makes you wonder how things compare to today. I just talked to her in Florida. She's doing fine. She said she doesn't feel like she's that old and doesn't recognize herself when she looks in the mirror. "I look old!" Mom's definitely a survivor. She's been through a lot in her life but she keeps going. I wish her the very best on this special day. m