Friday, May 19, 2006

Eudora Welty and all that jazz.

Bill and I went to the Figge Art Museum, Bill's current employer, last night to see Jazz at the Figge, featuring the Charles Davis Quartet. It was a lovely evening, especially since we were also able to see a portion of the current exhibition: "Passionate Observer -Eudora Welty - Among Artists of the Thirties." Here's a link to some of her images. They are fantastic.

Examples of Eudora Welty's photography

Black and white photography is my favorite artistic medium. Especially of people and the capturing of moments. I think a lot more can be said in black and white. The lack of color allows your mind to fill in the colors on your own. There's more depth. The shadows are deeper.

After viewing part of the exhibition and then sitting in the auditorium waiting for the jazz to begin, I wrote this in response to Welty's work:

She gazes at me from her place on the wall.
She doesn't know me and I don't know her,
but it doesn't matter.
Her stare--blatant as only two stranger can share--goes through me.
In an instant she knows not only who I am but what I am.
She can see the blood in my veins and how my heart palpitates at the thought of her.
She knows my secrets.
Her stare deepens, but she doesn't speak. I don't speak.
My tongue is gelatin. She is still. Life. Caught motion.

I walk away, leaving her with what she knows.
I want to take her with me, but she is not mine to take.
She doesn't need me. There's no ownership.
I walk away leaving a part of myself behind.

"Portrait--A Poem"
by Minda Powers-Douglas

Before the jazz quartet started, I felt the baby flutter.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

"Take three breaths."

That's the advice I received today from my friend T.C. after he read my blog. Yes, he's right. I need to chill. My first step in this direction was to talk to a friend who is very centered and who advised me to do some throat chakra exercises. That has helped some. Then a few minutes ago I schedule an appointment at the massage therapy school for tonight. So the baby and I will go in for a one-hour massage then go home and watch our favorite TV show "Lost"--breaking only to check on the last few minutes of "American Idol" to see who's been voted off the island. Luckily, the vote-off show is not one you need to watch all the way through. It's actually quite on the cruel side. As to who I think should win, any of the three deserve it. I like them all. I'm partial to Elliot and Taylor, though. But Katharine is very good. The cool thing is that not one of them is really pop idol material. Pop is not any one of their strong suits. Taylor is soul, Elliott is R&B, and Katharine is an old-fashioned torch singer. They are not Britney/Justin wannabes, and that is cool by me.

Baby update:
Today we are officially 19 weeks along. I have still only felt the baby move once, and that was a few weeks ago. I figure the baby will move when the baby's ready for me to feel it. The nursery is painted and looks wonderful. Bill and I also picked out butter yellow curtains and have those hanging up. The cats think the room is being redone for them, especially Nola. While we were painting (Mom, Dad, my aunt Connie and cousin Sheri--THANK YOU!), Nola stayed in the room almost the whole time. She also got paint on her paw and ran around like a maniac. A little bit later I found the place under the window (where she had been lounging) where the paw print was. She is such a mega dork. India, our middle cat, also thinks the room is for her. She likes to lounge on the floor like queen of the world. Shakespeare, our oldest and my long-time girl, owns the entire house, so it's no big deal to her.

Bill and I have also decided on baby names for a girl and a boy. That is a major relief for me. Takes some stress off. Because what if the ultrasound on June 8 showed us the baby is a boy? And all we had was our girl name picked out! And even if the boy name changes later on, at least I'll know what to call the baby for the time being. It is a relief.

I'm back in the jewelry business. I took the weekend off due to nursery stuff. Tracey and I also didn't go to the Farmer's Market because of the rain and how cold it was on Saturday. I'm going myself this weekend, as Trace and John are heading to Phoenix on Thursday. It's supposed to be nice and 70s Saturday, so it will be lovely. Let me see if I can get the link to work this time to Tracey's website. I had it wrong in a previous post.

Now you far away friends can see what I'm working on all the time! I make the silver plated stretch bracelets in adult, teen and youth (or as I call them "cutie") sizes. They are the best bracelets! And they're only $5! The cuties are only $3. If you go to Tracey's site, you can click on the pics and see bigger, more clear photos. The one I have on here is pretty dark.

So this is my part-time job. I love it! I enjoy it and make a pretty good little cut. Plus I get to work with a good friend and make pretty things. It's low stress, too. Very important. And I can sit on my couch and make them in my pajamas if I want to! Of course, keeping Shakespeare out of the beads and stuff is a little difficult sometimes. She does love pretty things.

Epitaphs Magazine update:
I am ordering a limited printing of issues #1 and #2 this week. Copies will be sold at the Association for Gravestone Studies annual conference next month in Pennsylvania. I will have a small number on hand as well. For issue #1, this will take care of the long-time back orders we've had and leave me with a small handful of extras. But when they sell out, they sell out. I'm not printing anymore. This will be the case with issue #2 as well.

Issue #3 will be out in late June. I'm editing it right now. The articles are great, and we got a number of really good photos sent in. Thanks to everyone who took part!

Well, my co-worker is ready to go (he's a late-stayer) and I left my office keys at home. So I'm out of here. Off to my massage!


Sunday, May 14, 2006

So much going on. Happy Mother's Day.

We painted the baby's room yesterday. It looks lovely. Now the computer room is filled with the rest of the stuff from the baby's room I haven't found a place for yet. It never ends! And I want to haul stuff out of the house into the garage and move other stuff back into the nursery, but my husband says no way. Yes, I'm pregnant and it would be dumb, but I just want to get it all done. And his schedule is so ridiculous lately. He has a "day" job but also works Saturdays and Tuesday and Thursday nights. And since he's a caricature artist, he's also working at after-prom parties (4 weeks in a row) from around midnight to 3 or 4 in the morning) on Saturday nights. Today (and yesterday) he's working at the museum booth at the Beaux Arts fair in downtown Davenport. Aside from the fact that he's working long, thankless hours (7 days this week with no break), it's only been 47 degrees and rainy out for days. He felt like he was getting pneumonia yesterday! To top it off, because people aren't stupid and taking their kids out in this mess, they only had 28 people stop by their tent and do the activity they are offering. He was there from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thankless and ridiculous.

Just because they've ALWAYS had this fair on Mother's Day weekend doesn't mean they still should. Many years ago, May was pretty nice in this Midwestern area. But in the past 10 years at least, it's always been crappy. So move the date down! People are wasting their time and money setting up their booths with their fancy arts just to be rained on. It's so silly.

So, anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing my husband for more than an hour or two at a time. And half that time he's fallen asleep because he's so tired. It's getting to him and it's getting to me.

How am I doing? I'm 18 and a half weeks pregnant, I'm dropping weight instead of gaining it, and I'm having panic attacks. Work is stressful, my husband is miserable but keeping his chin up, the house is a wreck, my mind is spinning all the time, I have a magazine to produce right now, I just got an e-mail from a woman who received her copy of the magazine but not the book (which I am sure I mailed in the same package...argh), my uterus is stretching and does not feel pleasant at all, etc.

The panic attacks suck. They basically are making me feel like my throat is closing up. Almost all the time. I had problems with these before, a few years ago. Bill says I need to take more time to just relax. And I do. But I have so much going on. I've got the new magazine issue and old ones to reprint. I've decided though that once I do this reprint of issue #1, that is it for that one. People have been on hold for it for a while, but I haven't had enough to warrant a print order yet. Now I do, but once these are gone, they are gone. Limited edition or what have you. One thing I'm learning is how to know when to say when. When.

As to anything else cemetery related, the magazine is it. And any help I can get on that front with people sending in articles, photos, poetry, etc., will be great. And advertisements. My dream of getting the price of the mag lowered by getting a nice number of advertisers per issue is not coming together at all. I blame awareness of our super-cheap ads and the economy. If you have a small business, how can you even afford to keep it alive right now? It stinks. But let me tell you how "thrilled" I was to hear that Congress and the President are passing through yet another tax break for rich people. Well, that's just fab! While the rest of us are selling plasma to get by, the rich keep getting more help. Save the rich people! They pay more in taxes than my friends and family and I make in a year--all together! I don't know who voted this man into office (except himself), but he is far from "for the people." Our government is adding to my panic attacks. And don't get me started on the panic the media is trying to create over the bird flu pandemic possibility. Doesn't it seem like every time one of our presidents slides in popularity or starts/continues a war that some form of panic-inducing issue is brought up to scare us all? I know all about the bird flu; I read the book. It's called "The Stand," and Stephen King wrote it. All the stuff they're saying about it sounds just like the horror book. Captain Tripps is on the way so they say; and if it's not, the government will make it so.

Enough of that rant. It's just that I'm sick of hearing my dad and others go on about how a TV movie says that if the bird flu hits (which could be around THE BIRTH OF MY BABY), that it will "circle the world three times," blah blah blah. It's a scare tactic. A nation or world full of fear is easily controlled.

Well, I better start working on organizing this house again. I plan on bundling up and visiting my husband at his booth, too. Poor guy wore his winter coat today!

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Baby update - Week 17

This is from

"How your baby's growing: Your baby weighs about 5 ounces now, and he's around 5 inches long — about the size of a large onion. He can move his joints, and his skeleton — until now rubbery cartilage — is starting to harden to bone. His sense of hearing is also developing. The umbilical cord, his lifeline to the placenta, is growing stronger and thicker.

"How your life's changing: With more weight up high and out in front of your body, you may feel a bit off-balance as you walk around. Store away your high heels and wear low-heeled shoes to reduce your risk of taking a tumble. You're likely to feel protective of your tummy, and that's good. Trauma to your abdomen could be harmful to your baby and dangerous to you, so be sure to buckle up when you're driving. Keep the lap portion of the seat belt under your belly and very snug across your hips for maximum protection."

So my baby's an onion! Oh no! :-) Last week, the baby was the size of an avacado. Much less stinky.

I can feel how my uterus is growing to accommodate the growing baby. I feel a stretching sensation and have for the past few days or so. It feels like mild period cramps. Our next OB appointment is on Monday, and I believe Bill and I will be able to schedule our ultrasound then for sometime after 20 weeks. Everything is getting so exciting!

We have the paint for the nursery. It's a soft, pale green called Clair de Lune by PPG (I tried to find a sample of it online, but no go). We plan on painting the weekend after this one. But the house changes have already begun. Bill has been cleaning like a madman. It's great! And my dad came over last weekend to install a shower for us. Ever since we moved in five years ago, we've only had a bathtub. It's an old house with a clawfoot tub, which is cool. But the rounder I get, the harder it is to get in and out. So Dad saves the day!

We have the nursery furniture ready to go, though still in boxes until we finish painting. It's the Ellis collection from Simplicity. The crib is pictured above. We also have the matching dresser and changing table dresser. We've decided on the Classic Pooh collection at Target, though I still registered for this cute Safari set. I don't want everyone to think we only want Pooh stuff! Besides, the other set is sooooo very cute. Plus, it's not like we're going to be all "get us only this!" on things. Gifts are gifts, as far as showers are concerned. We'll be thrilled no matter what.

So that's the latest in baby news. I'll keep you posted!

As far as writing is concerned, I've put the New Orleans cemeteries book on hold and have also set aside the fiction ghost story for a while. I'm currently focusing on getting the nursery ready and preparing for the baby. I'm also working for a friend by making jewelry. I really enjoy doing it, and the pieces are gorgeous. She actually has a good side business going. We're going to start going to the local farmer's market again this Saturday. Tis the season! We had a lot of fun last year there. I'm also helping her with jewelry parties. The nice thing is that her stuff is beautiful and inexpensive. $5 for a bracelet! If you want to support my friend Tracey's small business (and me!), check out her site at This link may not be working right now, though. I was having trouble accessing it today. More on all this good stuff later.

Monday, May 01, 2006

My own personal boycott


First, I suppose this post should be offering a happy May Day or Mabon. It's a celebration that spring is here and that all the blossoms and green things are finally appearing after many dreary months. So hooray!

The original reason I decided to post this morning is because of a movie. Again I am venting about something in the entertainment industry. This time it is the movies that have my attention.

A movie fan since perhaps birth and a strong proponent of freedom of speech, I am adamantly protesting a current release. "United 93" has upset me since I first heard the film was in production--so has the Oliver Stone movie about the twin towers, which is due this summer.

I first saw a full preview for "United 93" more than a month ago when I saw "Inside Man." I was appalled. This terrible tragedy happened less than five years ago, and we already have people capitalizing on the loss of lives, the families of those who were killed, and the emotions of the American public.

There is an article on Yahoo today about the release of the film and quotes from people who went. One man said the film should be released because "it's too soon to forget." Exactly how many people have forgotten what happened on Sept. 11, 2001? How many people have forgotten one of those most horrifying events of American history? Are we all that stupid and forgetful? Do people assume that all of us have a form of ADD? Yes, it IS too soon to forget, because WE HAVEN'T. Movies like "Saving Private Ryan" are important because there are generations in existence that have no idea of what happened during WWII. But any of us who are old enough to attend "United 93" REMEMBER the events of that day all too well. Why do we need to be "reminded" of it in such a horrific way? Because someone saw the chance to make money off of it. I do not believe the filmmakers were being totally honorable in their intentions. We all know what this country is built on--capitalism.

"It's too soon to forget." How ridiculous that statement is. When will it be soon enough to forget? It never will be. We don't need to be patronized. What we need is to come together as a nation and figure out how we can make the world a place where things like this never happen again. That is how we can truly honor those who lost their lives in this horrible tragedy.