Nancy and Jeanne: Alike . . . But Different

NancySmilesAdaptivePENov2014

Jeanne hates P.E. and avoids it at all costs.
Nancy boards the bus with a smile.

NancySurveysFirst

Jeanne walks into the gym
and finds the nearest corner to hide in.
Nancy walks in, surveys the scene,
then finds herself a comfortable spot along the edge.

NotQuiteReady3

Jeanne hates touching the dirty, rough, grimy balls.
Nancy doesn’t mind playing . . . once she’s good and ready.

Jeanne makes sure she stays in at recess when Red Rover or Dodge Ball is played.
Nancy is willing to play Dodge Ball,
but she sees no need to run the bases like they told her to.

Jeanne is your classic over achiever.
But our Nancy? Not so much.
You’ll notice how she throws the ball
away from her teacher – at least initially,
indicating a complete lack of concern for such dreaded things
as grades or (coveted) distinctions as teacher’s pet.

MichaelJonesSheildsNancyAdaptivePENovember2014

People clamor all over each other for a chance
to hurl the hard, gritty balls at Jeanne
who just curls herself up into a small knot
and vows “never again”
while the teacher rides around the gym on her golf cart,
yelling belittling motivational phrases through the bullhorn.
Nancy’s student teacher doubles as an angel,
patiently staying with her, then
using his body to shield her from incoming balls.

TwoHandedAssistanceNancyAdaptivePENovember2014

NancyandMichael1

On the rare occasion she actually went to P.E. (which was never),
Jeanne was graded on her performance (or lack thereof)
as compared to others in the herd.
Nancy worked one-on-one with Michael Jones
(a student teacher in the Bethune-Cookman College class
called Adaptive Physical Education
conjured and taught by Timothy Mirtz).
Michael took the assignment from his professor
along with the information he’s learned in the classroom
and adapted it to fit Nancy’s special and unique needs.

I love the word “adaptive”, don’t you?
When I’m queen, it’ll be the first word in every course title
because let’s face it,
one thing Jeanne and Nancy do have in common:
we both . . . we all . . . have unique, special needs,
some are just more obvious than others.

~~~~~~~

P.S.: Tim asked me to say a few words to the students at the end of the class. I led by telling them how I found their trash talking impressive. It was impressive . . . and not just because of the intensity or steady stream of the trash talk. See, the thing is, with the trash talking, the student teachers treated these special students like “normal” folk, and trust me: this very important act didn’t go unnoticed by anybody in that gym. They may not have noticed it consciously or given words to it, but they noticed. Oh yes, they noticed.

An Improvisational Anniversary

Arrowleaf

I spy the leaf
as I walk to the truck
to begin our 12-hour ride.
Not the way I’d wanted to spend
the fourteenth anniversary of Daddy’s death,
but business meetings being what they are and all,
off we merrily go.

“Talk to me,” I pray silently to Daddy
as the sun stretches awake and water colors the sky.
“At least wave to me at 8 a.m. just to say ‘Hey’.”

At 8:00 a.m. on the dot,
(not knowing a thing about my secret ritual,
perhaps not even remembering the significance of today)
The Engineer pulls the truck into a Hardee’s,
the place where Daddy breakfasted with friends every morning.
“I’ll see y’all later,” the man in the John Deere hat says
as he exits the table.
“I’m gonna’ go do something bad enough to lift my spirits.”
I excel at eavesdropping.

As we ride down the country roads,
I remember . . .

Barn1

Barn2

the chicken houses and barns
my Daddy helped his daddy build . . .

Field3

how Granddaddy hired out his tractor
and his 12 year old son
to bale hay for neighbors . . .

Partiallyhidden2

Abandoned3

Abandoned2

the adorable little house
Daddy and his brother
built for their grandmother.
“We were just teenagers,” Daddy told me once.
“We didn’t know a single thing about building houses,
so we built Mimmie’s house right on top of the ground.
You never saw so many termites.”

Watersky

I look at the water

Clouds

the clouds

Moon

the early moon,
I watch the black bird in the morning
and the black bear in the evening
cross the road in front of us,
and I think this day is
the best conversation I’ve had with Daddy
in a long, long time.

How the Morning Unpacked Itself

Thursday, 13Nov14

One : 7:43 a.m.

Headinthecloudsthismorning

My head is in the clouds.
This is no metaphor.

~~~~~~~

Two : 8:07 a.m.

10minutewaitattheseednfeed

A 10-minute wait at the Seed ‘n Feed this morning.
Take a number, please.

~~~~~~~

Three : 8:09 a.m.

HereBirdieBirdieBirdie

Poof – just like that
the line is gone.
No more wait time.
Wonder why . . .

~~~~~~~

Four : 9:35 a.m.

Dancingflame

It is a plain white pillar candle
With a wick.
A birthday gift from my son and his fiancee.
Quite non descript.
Quite ordinary.
Quite easily overlooked.
Ah, but inside this plain white pillar candle
Is a woman.
A Fierce woman
A Knowing woman
A woman who is Enough unto her self.
Her flame dances with abandon
As the winds blow all around,
Falling nearly horizontal at times
But never ceasing to burn.
She will not be extinguished.
All the while leaving a trail of black smoke
That will stain the ceiling.
I am mesmerized.
Essence must surely be her name
As she only appears when all
The layers encasing her
Have been burned away.
I can’t wait to meet her.

~~~~~~~

Five : 9:52 a.m.

Flamecloth

I am reminded of this cloth
and how much fun I had
stitching it.
I was on fire, free.

Onward

Sometimes onward means going back
or stepping into The Great Unknown . . .

Nancyfall2014a

Recent photos of Nancy taken by Mona Diethrick
indicate that she’s moved from drawing to something else.
Arranging?

Nancyfall2014b

Bringing order?

Nancyfall2014c

Maybe a type of mosaics?

Nancyfall2014d

One thing’s for sure: her work as an artist is evolving.
And I’m just tickled
and intrigued
and thrilled.

Iool3b

Meanwhile back on the ranch,

Iool3a

I pick up where I left off on
In Our Own Language 3,

Iool3c

restitching the 50 drawings
I removed to give me a nice, generous border.
Is it just me, or are the days getting shorter?
And I don’t mean on account of the season or time change.
I distinctly remember getting more done
in the days of years gone by.

~~~~~~~ Backstory ~~~~~~~

Since June 2012:
She, Nancy, my developmentally disabled sister-in-law draws.
I, Jeanne, the woman who flat-out loves her, stitch her drawings.

Click here to see more In Our Own Language 1
and here for In Our Own Language 2
and you guessed it – here for In Our Own Language 3.

~~~~~~~

This post is part of Nina-Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

On A Bear Hunt

Bear1

It happened on this very piece of Earth Jewelry.
yesterday – Sunday, 26 October 2014.
at 5:30 p.m.
Timing is everything, you know.

As the sun bid its adieu and made its way for bed,
the shadows came,
and in the space of 12 minutes

Bear2

there was a turtle

Bear3

then a one-hump camel

Bear4

then a one-hump camel wearing deely boppers.
Or maybe a cat.

Bear5

There was a one-humped camel turned Ernie from Sesame Street
and finally, at 5:42 p.m.
what everybody came to see . . .

Bear9

Bear15

a BEAR!!!!

Lingering,
at 5:45, we see the bear become

Rat

a rat.

Makingbear

All this from the sun playing hide-and-seek with this mountain
and a splash of our imagination, of course.

And though it’s fun and quite playful,
it seems quite significant, too,
like Mother Nature is telling us an important bedtime story
allegorical style.

A Cloth Called Only Love Survives

Kippmarnieotto2

My son Kipp married Marnie on May 24 of this year.
Their border collie / my granddog Otto, was the ring bearer.

Flowers1 copy

It was a beautiful time . . .

MOGMOB

a fun time . . .

CityPark11Aug13d

a hectic time. Chaos ruled. Feelings rose to the surface, and some were bruised. The weather threatened. The best laid plans crumbled. As is often the case, the big life moment party passed quickly while the bills and tiredness lingered long. Despite all that, I wanted to create a cloth to commemorate this once-in-a-lifetime event.

So . . .

FullSizeRender 2

KippMarnie1

OnlyLoveSurvives9

I transferred over 400 photos to fabric

Table1

then I stitched them to fabric used as tablecloths at the anti-rehearsal dinner The Engineer and I hosted the night before the wedding. The theme for that evening? Things That Hold Stuff Together Comma Vintage.

OneDayMore29

As a special surprise for that night-before dinner (I don’t think calling it dessert is too much of a stretch), I rewrote the lyrics to One Day More from Les Mis, and had members of the two immediate families gather and rehearse for one hour before performing it – complete with blocking and choreographed movements, I’ll have you know – as a flash mob at the end of the evening.

OneDayMore32

I’m guessing it’s because they were stunned, but getting only applause at the conclusion of our number, I took the microphone and, borrowing the words of my brother-in-law Donn, informed the audience that we were going to perform that song over and over and over again till we got the Rousing Standing Ovation we so richly deserved. We got it, baby. We got it right then.

OnlyLoveSurvivesFlag3

Back to the cloth ::: using the flag (because what’s One Day More without a flag) as the core, I cobbled together other blocks of left-over tablecloth fabrics (and yes, those are the lyrice – my lyrics – also transferred to cloth and stitched to the flag),

OnlyLoveSurvives2

then stitched the more than 400 photos I’d transferred to cloth (photos taken by me, by The Engineer, by my brother Jerry, my sister Jan, and by the bride and groom’s photographer),

OnlyLoveSurvives3

and added embellishments like buttons and ribbons from corsages and centerpieces, along with handles from goodie bags and anything else stitchable.

9patchborder2

I used only what I had on hand, you see,

and I made it work, even when things didn’t come together neatly and easily and wind up looking like they did in the image I had in mind when I started stitching.

As with most of my hymns of cloth, I did not attach a binding, instead leaving the edges unfinished and softly frayed, perhaps unraveling just a little bit here and there.

and I decided to not add a backing fabric, preferring to make visible the back side, the often unseen side, the side that bears the knots and seams that hold things together.

OnlyLoveSurvivesLargeness

As I stitched along, the cloth got bigger and bigger and bigger – more than 131″ wide and I can’t even measure the height – eventually too big to see in its entirety. Too big to see all at once.

OnlyLoveSurvivesBanners1

OnlyLoveSurvivesBannerSpace

OnlyLoveSurvivesBannerMercy

Having still more fabric left over – even after all the photos and flag and the small 9-patch pieces surrounding the flag – I created banners, each bearing what I consider to be a necessary component of a good, healthy, lasting marriage. (Love, Laughs, Mercy, Refuge, Fun, Awe, Space, Gumption, and Pluck) Banners that became pillars of support when I realized one morning in the dark thirty hours of stitching that I wasn’t just stitching a cloth to commemorate the wedding, I was stitching a marriage.

OnlyLoveSurvives10

And what of all the pings and chaos and disappointments?
They slowly, quietly fall away in the days since last May, so that Only Love Survives.

Champagne

Only. Love. Survives.

It’s Friday, so It Must Be Merry Olde

LondonSky2

London sky as a portrait of life.

Despite a delayed takeoff
and a delayed landing
and yet another lengthy delay caused by the tour guide not being at the airport to meet us,
we find ourselves in London today.
In the few hours of daylight we had left after all the delays,
we packed in plenty of steps and sightseeing.

LondonKensingtonGardensDuck4

We walked to Kensington Gardens
where we walked a lap around
the heavily populated Round Pond,
home to big ducks

LondonKensingtonGardensBabyDuck

baby ducks

LondonKensingtonGardensDucksInARow

pretty ducks all in a row

LondonKensingtonGardensSwan1

and even a swan or two.

LondonCorgiNamedBiscuit2

Got my Corgi fix in Kensington Gardens when Biscuit’s person let me pet him.

LondonSunflower2

LondonSunflower4

LondonSunflower7

Got my flower fix when we strolled past the flower shop.

LondonTiledSteps2

LondonTiledSteps6

LondonTiledSteps5

LondonTiledSteps4

LondonTiledSteps1

And I got my cloth fix
walking past the black-and-white tiled
steps and stoops.
Actually, this one is more like an itch than a fix.
Good thing I brought and bought some cloth.

~~~~~~~

To read from the beginning of this great adventure, click right this way.

The Alphabetical Dublin

Thursday, August 28. 2014.

DublinA

DublinArchitecture3

Dublin has beautiful and varied Architecture.

DublinB

DublinBicycles28Aug14

Bicycles are a dominant means of transportation.

DublinBlueSky28Aug14

And today we had blue sky! (At least for about 15 minutes.)

DublinC

(A makeshift C
because sometimes we have to take our C’s as we see them.
Created by cropping off half the opening to a sidewalk trashcan

then rotating it a bit.)

DublinCaptainAmericaJeanneAndyPhone1

DublinCaptainAmericaJeanneAndyPhone3

Happy birthday, Kipp!

YOU are our Captain America.

DublinD

DublinDragon28Aug14

He’s a Rescued Dragon
brought home to live because the little girl
loved him at first sight
when they visited the home for Orphaned Dragons.
The fact that he has a heart condition
just makes her love him more
’cause blue is her favorite color.
He’s a scrappy thing, this Dragon.
though some might call it appreciative.

DublinE

DublinDoorInTempleBar

Eunice was bad to paint
after she’d had a Guinness
Or fourteen.

DublinF2

DublinNightDeposit

The night deposits are so Fancy here,
you just want to drop money in
as you pass by.

DublinG

DublinTreeOfGoldAtTempleBar1

The tree of Gold, they call it.
(Sculpted in 1991 by Eamonn O’Doharty)

DublinH2

DublinHidden

The older she got,
the more she realized
that staying Hidden
was not something imposed on her.
It was her choice.

DublinI

DublinStreetArtist1

DublinStreetArtist2

DublinStreetArtist4

Missing her empty nest,
in the worst possible way,
Inez put her hands on her hips
and told that boy of hers to clean the garage
so she could park in it again
then go find himself a job.

DublinLetterJInSidewalk

DublinRedPaintPlant2

Then one fine morning,
she opened her window
and tossed out a bucket of red plant
and right about then,
the breeze happened along,
Just like she’d hoped it would . . .

DublinK

DublinSidewalkMusician

Kirk simply didn’t have room for all that furniture,
so he repurposed it into music.

DublinL

DublinLookLeftSign

Because sometimes you need a Little help
after 26 pints.

DublinManholeCover4

DublinMollyMalone3

Molly Malone was a feisty thing,
they say,
selling her fish in the street
to make a living.
Fish tale or no,
I like a self-reliant woman.
(Sculpted by Jeanne Rynhart. Cast by Dublin Art Foundry)

DublinModernArtMuseum6

DublinTinyChurchDetail1

A knockoff Noah’s Ark, perhaps?

DublinO2

DublinOttoDog

SOMEbody in Dublin needs this Otto dog we saw today.
I just know it.
And he needs you, too.
(I call all border collies Otto dogs
cause my granddog is a border collie
named Otto. But you knew that.)

DublinP28Aug14

DublinPurpleFlower1

Purple is Nancy’s favorite color
so that makes it my happy color.

DublinManholeCoverQ

DublinTheLightInside

As they approached the house,
he said, “I’ve told you umpteen times:
Quit leaving the light on inside.”
Something she heard both literally
and metaphorically.

DublinMakeYourOwnLetter

(This is a DIY R)

DublinReflections3

Reflections happen,
sometimes when we least
expect them.

DublinS

DublinSidewalkSign28Aug14

Because She loved ravens
as much as he despised them,
She Seriously considered following the directions
on the Sidewalk Sign.

DublinT2

DublinWeirAndSonsSign

“To Tell you The Truth,”
she said at The end of this day,
“I’m a little Weiry.”

DublinU

TempleBar3

What trip to Dublin is complete
without a little Ulysses?
James Joyce may have exiled himself,
but Dublin still loves and takes credit for him.

DublinV

DublinAlisonsCostume28Aug14

He might’ve worn that stupid little hat everywhere he went,
but she was Very glad he didn’t wear these.

DublinManholeCoverW

DublinAlphabet28Aug14a

DublinAlphabetBooks

EveryWhere We Went today,
We saW alphabets.

DublinX3

DublinTempleBar6

A possible case of Xanthocyanopsy?

DublinY

DublinDoorYellow

When he installed those bolts and locks
and mounted the burglar alarm keypad outside the Yellow front door,
she knew her mama had been right all along.

DublinMemoryTheMadHatter28Aug14

I looked and looked,
but I couldn’t find a Z anywhere.
So, just the Ztory . . .
After another full day in Dublin,
i go to sleep tonight
remembering The Mad Hatter.
Not this one, of course,
the one in Underground Atlanta
where I met the man I’m traveling with some 41 years later.
(Oh, and that Mad Hatter, it wasn’t a haberdashery.)
ZZZZzzzzzz . . .

~~~~~~~

To read from takeoff, go here.
To read tomorrow, go here.

The Old and The New, a Visual Poem

Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014.

DublinTheOldandTheNew

DublinTheOldandtheNew2

DublinModernArtMuseumDrinkCartWithBroom

DublinModernArtMuseumViewFromTheWindow1

DublinModernArtMuseumGardensNewBuildingsWithFlowerPot

DublinModernArtMuseumGardens11

DublinModernArtMuseumGardensNewBuildings1

DublinModernArtMuseumGardens1

DublinModernArtMuseumGardens4

DublinModernArtMuseumGardens3

DublinModernArtMuseumFlowersWithMermaid

DublinModernArtMuseumFlowersInWindowsill3

~~~~~~~

To read from takeoff, go here

and to go forward, go here.

This . . . and Other Things

Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014.

Today I spied things you just don’t see everyday . . .

DublinElephantInWindow

like an elephant in a windowsill

DublinGargoyleGuardingHeart

and a gargoyle fiercely guarding a heart

DublinMemorialFountain

and the Dublin Garden of Remembrance

DublinMemorialFountainMmoreFlowersthanSitting

. . . where there’s more room for flowers
than people.

DublinModernArtMuseumVasarely1

Today I saw a painting by Vasarely
(Lane, 1968),

DublinModernArtMuseumSign

something that made me laugh,

DublinModernArtMuseumGardensAndyWalingOffPath

and The Engineer going beyond the end of the path.

DublinModernArtMuseumSelfisInToilet

Today I saw me,
snapping a selfie
in the Ladies Toilet
of the Ireland Museum of Modern Art.

DublinModernArtMuseumLight2

delicious holes that let the light in.
(Or maybe I saw delicious light coming in through holes)

DublinModernArtMuseumGardensTreeRoots1

DublinModernArtMuseumGardens10

and tree roots that beckoned me to come, sit a spell
and conjure up some stories.

DublinModernArtMuseumBowls1

I saw bowls.
beautiful, colorful bowls

DublinModernArtMuseumBowls2

that thrill and delight
(once you get close enough and have a look inside)
and make me think of my nephew Drew
and the piece he gave me
called The Improbable Pot.
(They also make me think of people,
but we can talk about that another day.)

~~~~~~~

DublinModernARtMuseumStoneExhibitMyStone5

DublinModernArtMuseumStoneExhibitMyStone4

Today,
in an exhibit at the Ireland Museum of Modern Art,
This stone whispered to me:
Choose me, because I am
old . . .
(tho new to you.)
Because I can be a bullet
or a border
or a doorstop
or a tongue depressor
or a flower
a tombstone
or even a golf ball in a pinch.
I can hold napkins down
and tell a story
and break a window
and hold my worries for me.
I won’t ever tell secrets
or roll away when I say something it doesn’t like
or add inches to my waist
or make rude noises.
Choose me
because I don’t hold grudges
(I have no pocket for them)
or sing off key
or pass judgments.
Pssst. Choose me
because even though I have a tendency to
mirror the temperature of my surroundings,
I don’t ever try to be something I’m not.
That would be silly.(br>
So I chose this rock
for all these compelling reasons and one more:
I chose this rock because it has weathered storms
and hardships
of unimaginable proportions.
It has endured
and survived
and has had absolutely no choice about anything
yet it still doesn’t act like a victim.

~~~~~~~

DublinModernArtMuseumWhatSomePeopleSee

And once today,
I saw what some people
see all the time.

~~~~~~~

Today I learned that . . .

Guinness2

The original Mr. Guinness signed a 9000 year lease
and had 21 children.
(I think I know why they sell so much ale.)

DublinStPatricks2

Jonathan Swift, who had an inner ear infection
diagnosed long after his demise,
wrote Gulliver’s Travels
(here at St. Patrick’s Cathedral)
not for children
but for adults.

DublinModernArtMuseumBodyResemblesFace

the naked body resembles
a face
(Standing Nude by William Scott, 1954).

~~~~~~~

It was another good day
governed not by a to do list
but a see / feel / be list.

~~~~~~~

To start at the beginning of Another Great Adventure 2014 and read yourself current, go here.
To go forward to tomorrow, go here.