Thursday, May 29, 2008

It Could Happen To You

Best political ad I've seen so far this election. Especially the "chickie" part. Yes, I guess I am a hippie tree hugger, but I can really relate. :)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Eugene J.Hedkampt. Gene or "Butch" to his many friends, was a Vietnam Veteran, and on this Memorial Day I find myself thinking of him. I met Gene at an Illinois estate auction in 2003, and he was such a fixture at them it would be hard not to notice him. I first noticed he would often buy toys and give them away to the children present, and one day when I was furiously bidding on an old lot of costume jewelry he winked at me. Of all the people present, he was the only one that recognized my bidding strategy and let me know he recognized it. In any case, over the two years I lived in Illinois we became very good friends, and I heard a lot of stories about his years working special operations in the U.S. Military. He even taught me how to make a really cheap bomb with household items, in case the need would ever arise for me to use it. (You never know when that could come in handy...LOL) It was always hard to juxtapose his very violent military history with the man he was when I met him, as even though his bark was totally lethal he was actually one of the most kind and compassionate people I have ever known. The kind of man who walked through life and when he saw a need didn't hesitate to deal with it. I can not count the many children who needed glasses, or bags of food for elder neighbors, or any manner of quiet acts of kindness I personally witnessed. He just knew people, accepted them and the places they were right then, and did what he could to make things better or give a little hope.

Yes, he was a Republican, but an "old school" Republican. The kind who considered himself a patriot, and was against "big" government and fiscally conservative. But it was this Republican that took me out to dinner the day of Kerry's defeat to console me, and admitted for the first time in his life he had actually voted against his own party. He was angered by the Bush administration, felt this war was was motivated solely by economics, and thought the party had been hijacked by religious zealots.

Gene had spent years after returning to private life working as a union labor negotiator at Anhesier Busch brewery, and could size up a person or situation with a very keen eye that I really admired. When I met him he was in the process of dying a slow death by leukemia, that he always attributed to being exposed so heavily to "Agent Orange" in Vietnam. The last year of his life we spent a lot of time together as friends, and I took him to art museums and discussed classic art with him as he seemed hungry to understand it. He tickled me by always buying postcards of the fine art he had seen in the museum to remember the artist and piece, and he made notes on the back of each. For his birthday that last year I surprised him with a double portrait illustration, "Gene as Devil and Angel" and he was as delighted as a child with it. I always knew he had a crush on me, but he was clear I was a lesbian and as a gentleman never acted on it. We truly became the best of friends, as odd as it might have seemed to others. When he died in December 2006, I got a manila envelope full of scribbled museum postcards to remember him by.

So today I honor my friend for his service to this country. Just one small story about one solider, one of the countless men and women that generously gave us this life by their service.

Miss you Gene-O.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Who's Yo Mama???

After growing as big as a pumpkin Crystal's dog Princess had her litter yesterday. I've been on midwife duty for well over a week, babysitting her during the day while the family were off doing their daily thing. For several weeks Princess insisted I rub her belly almost constantly, and it occurred to me yesterday it may be because I am trained in Reiki Healing and she sensed that. As much as I have been pressured by the kids to pick one of the puppies for my own I have up until now resisted. But that was until I met the runt of the litter,(he's the one that barely fills the palm of my hand in pictures above), and it is hard not to be in love that little squirmy thing!
I still haven't decided. But if (Just saying...) I were to keep this puppy there is the issue of the perfect name. Not too cutesy, something that sounds good being yelled as he jumps the leash and heads for the street. (LOL) So I am announcing the "Name the Runt" Contest. Time for you folks out there to get creative! I will share the best names on my blog next week, announce the winner, and by then I will have decided if he's coming home with me. Hee!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mama's Banana Pudding

My mother was a "closet" cook. You'd never tell by her projected intellect that she loved cooking shows on TV and making new foods. But even making the old stand by recipes gave her much pleasure. As I was thinking of Mother's Day today, I remembered her last.

As a family we'd decided on a family get together, and she would never miss an opportunity to make something to bring. That last year she decided on banana pudding. She assembled it a Patty's house, making what seemed to be an enormous vat of warm pudding. As she began to line a big bowl with vanilla wafers and sliced bananas, it became clear that one big crystal bowl was not enough. She started a second bowl of banana pudding preparation, layer after layer of cookies, banana slices, and thick, warm pudding. It seemed the banana pudding began breathing and took on a life of it's own...finally spreading to three big bowls before the process was complete. We laughed and laughed with her as she did this, joking about "the banana pudding that took over the world", and praised her efforts to beat the pudding into submission. "Save us from the creeping pudding!" I had never seen so much banana pudding in my life, too much for the fourteen or so people it was to feed.

I do not remember if we made a dent in that banana pudding at the actual meal that day, but I do remember eating it for a good week before it was gone. On this mother's day what I wouldn't give for a bowl of it! So happy Mother's Day to all those mothers out there in the world. It goes too quickly so enjoy them while you have them. And to my Mama a special memory just for you. I miss you, and even that creeping pudding too. :)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Manna from Heaven

Subtitle: How the Universe manages to employ it's magic to my constant amazement.

Soon (in two days actually) my friend Pam will graduate from college. Against all odds and at great personal sacrifice she's picking up her diploma at last, and I have wracked my brain thinking of how best to honor this event. My families difficulties keep me home bound, so attending her graduation is sadly not an option. So last week I dreamed of what to do (yes, I actually did) and found myself wishing for the perfect thing. Flowers? Hmmm..not really, she is more of a red tool kinda gal. I do know she loves cookies, but what cookie could possibly mark such a milestone? What to do...what to do...

Fast forward to our garage sale where I had delivered a few of my no longer needed cookbooks. I have so many, I figured a few would do well to inspire another cook. Because of the crummy weather, my sister and I found ourselves entertaining ourselves with the contents of the sale (Yes, that really was a vinyl breast squeak toy given to me by a friend with a wicked sense of humor. I just prefer mine attached LOL) Anyway, my sister picked up one of my cookbooks and out fell a recipe card. But not just any card...I can not count how many times I had wished for this cookie recipe in the last ten years, as it is truly the best cookie anyone ever made. And here it was, just when I needed it. THE Cookie.

From Teagan, a street person I befriended in Seattle. A difficult person, her insanity could sometimes be extremely creative. (Her claim to fame, Crucified Barbie Doll art pieces she would sell on the local gallery walks.) When times were really tough for Teagan she would whip up a batch of these cookies and sell two cookies for a dollar on the streets of Capitol Hill in Seattle. Not only did I buy the cookies, everyone did, and she would go forward with enough cash for wine and another crazy month. With the right marketing she could have made a billion dollars for these cookies, but her craziness would not allow her to "sell out" to that extent. In any case, it has been my lot as a big sister in life to do my best to assist wounded birds, and so I employed Teagan whenever I could in my jewelry making business. For my birthday one year she presented me with her cherished secret cookie recipe, and I knew it was a huge gift as she had no trust left in anyone.

And here it was, delivered just for THE Big Day! So be watching your mailbox Bammy, congratulations on your accomplishment. I am so proud of you, and hope for you only the best always. And that extends to cookies as well. :) Direct from me and the bountiful Universe.

I Wonder What Word Here Triggered this?

blog readability test
And how did I manage to spell it correctly? (LOL)

Playing With Food

These remind me of my old Art Director days. :) They are actual promotional photographs designed by a food stylist in NYC. Photoshop has almost made this kind of styling virtuosity obsolete, food is a very difficult shoot. Very nice work.

Miss Me?

To all my friends, thank you for your patience with me during this time. Also accept my abundant thanks for the prayers that have rained down on my family. The news this week is very good, the cancer has not spread and Lewis will be undergoing a radical surgery that promises to be successful without further radiation treatments. I have spent a lot of time helping the kids cope and trying to keep daily activities at my sister's house as close to normal as possible. So the luxury of blogging has been set aside for a couple of weeks as I do this, I have missed it.

I have continued to carve out a bit of time to continue my creative projects, and with any luck will be ready for my show by May 21st. At least I am crossing my fingers I will be. (LOL) The "Monster Garage Sale" went badly, raining and windy weather the culprit. My "never say die" sister Patty has rescheduled it, and her garage currently looks like a flea market explosion. I swear, her husband is a saint.

So this brings me to the present rainy blustery Spring day. Updating my blog and grateful for the small prayers that made this update a positive one. Thank you. :)