Sunday, May 29, 2011

Celebration of Life

Yesterday we attended a memorial celebration of the life of a friend of ours who died recently.  And what a celebration it was.  There were lively musicians playing banjo, bass, tuba, and trumpet; her husband who is a remarkable photographer had put together a  slide show with images depicting her life and paintings, including video clips of her working on various projects.  After seeing her when she was so ill, it was wonderful to watch her full of life, painting with her cat helper, mugging for the camera.   Ten to twelve people were invited to speak, to tell their stories - and as each one shared Margaret's impact, she grew larger in our midst.
We each have Margaret stories full of love, humor, observation, admiration, gratitude.  They are our individual pieces of her.  But there was so much we didn't know.  A hint of the fullness of this life came out in the community gathering.

While there were plenty of tears as well as laughter and the missing will continue, you knew that this was the perfect way to honor her life and to rejoice in the gifts she has given each of us.

Margaret Crenson's 2010 Christmas Card
from her painting

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Inspiration from Quotes

Robert Fulton Quote - Acrylic and Ink on Paper
Sometimes  you come across a quote that is so rich in imagery that you find yourself running for your pencil or paints.  The other day I was looking through  a Kaatskill Life Magazine and there was a nice little article on Robert Fulton.  It felt serendipitous because they used some photos from the Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston, NY, where just last week I'd left some work in their gift shop.  The quote used at the beginning of the article was this: 
"As the component parts of all new machines may be said to be old, it is a nice discriminatory judgement, which discovers that a particular arrangement will produce a new and desired effect... Therefore, the  mechanic should sit down among levers, screws, wedges, wheels, etc. like a poet among the letters of the alphabet, considering them as the exhibitions of his thoughts; in which a new arrangement transmits a new idea into the world."
I love this statement.  It IS poetry, and seems to fit so many creative processes, whether art, music, writing, scientific discovery.
I had to start getting this down on paper.  Here is my first attempt.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Into the Woods

Looking for frogs
Marcus has been itching to get back into the woods, streams, ponds, trails - wherever he can find animals.  I've  wanted to take advantage of this enthusiasm but with the kids being  sick so much of the winter, we haven't been able to get out to explore.  Lately there's been a lot of rain; yesterday we had a brief window between school and the next storm so we headed out.   I'd gotten him some good boots over the winter, and picked up some nets from the pet store.  I can't tell you how thrilled he was to be able to get into the small stream by himself.  "You stay on the bank and look for frogs, nana.  I'll go in here and see if I can find some."
And snakes

We had a great time in spite of the hordes of mosquitoes.  There is little more thrilling than introducing children to an environment that is so rich in lessons.  You take them to the smorgasboard and watch them feast. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Year of Drinking Green Smoothies

In response to an online challenge I began drinking green smoothies for breakfast a little over a year ago.  It was the perfect time of year to start, when your body craves good fresh fruits and vegetables. I experimented a lot with various combinations, including things from the yard - plantain, dandelion greens, violet leaves, raspberry  and grape leaves, and plenty of fresh mint.  As the season progressed I was able to use all kinds of greens from the CSA we belong to, no longer depending on the store for the kale and collards I especially like.  And I could get local fruits, except for the bananas that give the drink a nice consistency.
I worried about winter - I was afraid that drinking a cold beverage for breakfast might not appeal to me and I'd lose the habit.  But I found that I did still enjoy them.  And if I wanted to switch up on an especially cold morning, I would have eggs or oatmeal, and get right back to the smoothies the next day or so.
Today's beverage is made with kale, collards, plantain, mint, banana, apple, and pear.  Tomorrow it will be mango, banana, and pineapple, plus greens from the store and yard.  Much as I love spinach and lettuce for salads, I don't care for them in smoothies - they have such overpowering flavors, whereas the kale and collards just seem to blend right in.