Saturday, August 30, 2008

Yes, We Can!

It's all over. The Obamas and Bidens are in Ohio for the memorial service for U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio).  The Clintons are there, too, bringing the unity and joy of a remarkable Democratic convention with them. A remarkable woman like the congresswoman deserves no less.

After a speech by Sen. Barack Obama so remarkable my 86-year-old father, a veteran journalist who has covered more than his share of politics and an active member of the New York State Democratic Committee, said he's never seen anything like it, it's back to the real world. Back to spreading the word that change is possible and we can do it.

Barack Obama said that change doesn't come from Washington, it comes from us and spreads to Washington. Let's commit ourselves to change and a better world. It won't be easy, but I believe it will be the kind of work that makes you feel good when you drift off to sleep at night. Weary but satisfied.

The work begins now.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This week's virtual commute

Photo by Damon Winter of the New York Times

I'm commuting to Colorado this week. 

It's hard not to be stuck like glue to the TV, drinking up history. 

Granted, my political leanings tilt in favor of the Mile High excitement, but still. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could point to this moment in history and say, this is when it all changed. This is when the country grew up and came together. This is when we put race aside and buried the demons of prejudice at last.

A dream, perhaps. But I'm feeling pretty dreamy this week. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'll Be Seeing You

There's a wonderful song that my beloved mother-in-law listened to when she knew her battle with cancer was coming to an end. I think of her every time I hear it.

I'll be seeing you in all the old familiar places
That this heart of mine embraces all day through
In that small café, the park across the way
The children's carousel, the chestnut trees, the wishing well
I'll be seeing you in every lovely summer's day
In everything that's light and gay
I'll always think of you that way
I'll find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new
I'll be looking at the moon
But I'll be seeing you

The song was written by Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal for the 1938 Broadway musical "Right This Way." It also inspired an eponymous 1944 movie with Ginger Rogers, which was a perfect expression of post-war feeling. 

It's also a perfect expression of how I've felt this summer as friends, acquaintances and celebrities that I've admired have passed from this plane of existence. While some of these names may be familiar to you, others are not. I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge all of these people who have touched my life.

Lee Abromowitz
Michael Winokur
June Walker
Shannon Kelly Geiger
Stephanie Tubbs Jones
Bernie Mac
Leroy Seivers
Tim Russert
Harvey Korman
Cyd Charisse
George Carlin
Randy Pausch

I'm reminded of this because of Michelle Ward's wonderful 22nd Crusade over at the GPP Street Team. She's challenging her readers to find a way to "pay it forward" in their lives. 

Michelle recently lost her beautiful sister Shannon to cystic fibrosis and shared Shannon's bravery on her blog. Michelle took her grief and turned it into action, asking her readers to send pink socks for the patients and nurses at the hospital where her sister was treated. There has been a flood of pinkness arriving every day at her mail box that has far exceeded her expectations.

Then there was the passing this weekend of Leroy Sievers, long-time journalist who posted his fight in the NPR blog, My Cancer. He brought closure to my memories of losing my mother-in-law.

There are already some inspiring stories from the Street Team and I hope to add to them. In the meantime, thank you to everyone who has touched my life and helped me in some way to be a better person. 

I'll be seeing you.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Cutting Edge

Where has the summer gone?

I'm not ready for the cool weather -- I want to continue to eat out on my deck and watch the finches at the feeder, the bumblebees gathering pollen and the confused mourning doves trying to correct their direction in midflight. I have more swimming and gardening to do! And I'm not ready to see my Young Thespian return to middle school and his busy life. 

I've been remiss on blogging, but I have something new to share. Recently I was in Barnes & Noble looking for the marvelous book "1000 Artist Journal Pages" when I stumbled across Kanako Yaguchi's "The Art of Decorative Paper Stencils." I was immediate captivated by her delicate mastery of the art of kirigami. Origami is paper folding. Kirigami is paper cutting, after folding it into the appropriate shape. It's a lot like cutting paper snowflakes, but with more variations. Yaguchi does amazing things with a piece of paper and a pair of scissors. You can see more at her Web site here.

I've been experimenting on my own, recycling out-of-date catalogs. The paper is nice and thin and easy to cut even when folded into eights or twelfths. I've been cutting mostly stars and flowers but what to do with the results?

I started by gluing a few of them into my journal. 

Then I decided to try using them as actual stencils. Being delicate, some stuck to the paint. I decided they should stay there.

Then one ripped as I was pulling it up and I really liked it. 

So I kept going.

Once again, I have backgrounds I love so much I don't want to put anything on top of them. Wish I had a job designing decorative paper. I have so many samples! 

If you decide to try this, or need more instructions, let me know. I'd love to see your results.