art museum

I’ll bet you didn’t know we have an art museum two blocks from our house. Its hours are 9 to 10:45am and only open today. Of course I didn’t want miss out, so I went!

Given its small window of opportunity, no one else wanted to miss out either.

My ticket gave entry but no docent met me, which allowed me freedom to self-tour the displays. One particular artist’s work caught my attention.

I was surprised to see she was an art instructor, and I was honored to be invited to sit at her table!

My teacher was so thorough, she even added her own elements to my creation.

This wall display of self-portraits caught my attention. Kindergarten art impressionism is fun to interpret, but rather than presume I recognized Brynn from among her classmates, I asked for her help. I had an ulterior motive for wanting accuracy.

Are you at all surprised I have a photo folder titled “self-portraits”?

These two are the works of son-in-law artist John Williams.

Could be his son, Oscar, drew this portrait of his dad.

Not exactly a self-portrait either, this portrait ended up in the folder.

And this one of ME by an unknown artist who perfectly captured my essence during those years after our tandem crash and leading up to surgical back repair.

Back from that little side trip into my photo files. I’m prone to wander, as you know. Here’s my art instructor with her mama, a volunteer at this museum.

I’ll leave you with my favorite of all the art media on display at the museum. Sometime I’ll walk around our house and photograph all the similar pottery pieces I still consider art from my children’s school years. Sitting here in my office I can point to three such treasures. Consider that a warning.

Yes, I’m that pathetic.

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the wonder of loss

I learned today that my second cousin Bob Ronke died. I haven’t had direct contact with Bob in many years, especially since his mother, Beryl, passed away. I’m glad my first cousin Helen Katherine has had a more intentional relationship with him through phone calls, which is how she received this news.

Bob returned from the Vietnam war with PTSD, never to recover his full emotional health. This affected the rest of his life, likely inhibiting multiple opportunities for professional and relational pursuits. So it’s only natural I feel more than the usual sadness at learning of Bob’s sudden illness and death; I feel the weight of the cost he paid to defend my freedom.

Rest in peace, cousin Bob. I’m glad we shared a family tree.

Posted in family matters, nostalgia | 1 Comment

happy birthday to us

Today’s a day of celebration for at least two of us here in Grand Rapids, Michigan! In particular, I’m celebrating motherhood that began 50 years ago this day down in Jacksonville, Florida.

This is the son I always dreamed of, dating back to my childhood when all I wanted was to be a mom. I wore out the pages of the Sears catalog where the baby clothes and equipment were displayed. I practiced on baby dolls until I was old enough to babysit for the neighbors across the street, who added children nearly annually–Ricky, Mary, Sarah, Tom, Jean, John, Bernice (plus two more after they moved across town).

But first came love, then came marriage — then came Bentley in the baby carriage.

I was so smitten by his perfection that if he was napping, I’d sit and stare at this picture, not yet believing he belonged to me. But I eventually came back to earth, and let’s be honest, raising children has its ups and downs.

So today I’ll wish my boy Ben a happy fiftieth birthday and at the same time wish myself a happy birth day, celebrating God’s good gift to Paul and me.

Now before I go meet up with the birthday boy, I leave you with a photobooth matchup. (The tan is real…we lived in Florida.)

This last snap is from the photobook I made of Ben’s first 50 years. What else was I going to do with all those pictures of him?

Here’s the book, if you want to see for yourself.

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We went out for pizza tonight and on the way there we both had the same flashback—to 1990.

I was Sherry Carlson back then, had flown to Oregon from Michigan to make this recording. We’d finished our work and on Sunday night decided to celebrate the accomplishment before I flew home the next morning. I was staying with Mauri’s folks, so I told them we’d be at Ye Olde Pizza (a favorite of the Macy family).

The shop was full of commotion, but the manager called out with a phone call for Sherry Carlson! It was Quinn, calling from Michigan with some time-sensitive questions relating to the Real Estate Guide she was prepping for a Monday morning print deadline!

Ha! That doesn’t happen every day! This was nearly 30 years ago, and we can both remember where we sat. Not so much what happened yesterday . . .

We look somewhat different now. A lot of water has passed under the bridge, so to speak. Ye Olde Pizza changed ownership multiple times but kept the name and the same basic menu. Until recently—new owner, new name.

Goodbye, Ye Olde Pizza. Back there in the prepping area—that’s where our memories will live now.

Time for some new memories. Let me just say—Odd Moe’s Pizza won us over. There’s room at the table. Come join us!

Posted in in the neighborhood, nostalgia | 2 Comments

treasures in wooden form

Have I mentioned I’ve been releasing attachments / deaccumulating lately?

Yea, I suppose I have. Well, I’m still doing it.

Nine wooden puzzles. I’d be rich if I had a dime for every single time I put them together through three childhoods, none my own. That tow-truck puzzle is way harder than it looks. Actually, it’s a small miracle I still have all the pieces. But guess what! I have three grandchildren just the right ages for Playskool puzzles!

So I sent these pictures to their mama in Virgina, and she said YES, they’d love them!

I put each one in a big white envelope so the pieces would stay put. The P.O. has a one-price-fits-all priority box just the right size. Wooden puzzles weigh a lot, but because the box has no weight limit I packed all the extra space with . . .

. . . blocks! Maybe you remember that some of these blocks ended up in Quinn’s Babies of Juarez shadowbox.

In Virginia, you can see who was most eager to recreate his childhood joy of block building (while the stack of puzzles waits for another time).

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i stopped noticing . . .

You might remember my admission that I’m leaving messes all over the house. This is a small one, comparatively speaking, and its scope is narrowed to electronics. We decided this living room chair was a good place to leave it until our calendars aligned and we could sort through it together to decide what cord matches what gadget, etc., and whether we even still use it.

Let’s see, how many weeks ago was that?

Meanwhile, John came over one evening to make music (and entertain the dog) in that room. My photography carefully avoided the mess in the chair (and elsewhere).

When Bethany came over yesterday morning with scones and some show ‘n’ tell, the living room mess hadn’t entered my mind. You know how you stop noticing? I’m pretty sure that’s why we didn’t get around to dealing with it.

You’re curious about those pens. Yes, seven fountain pens! Bethany didn’t come with the intention of showing us the seven pens she carries around in her small purse. Each one has a story; each one might be her favorite for individual reasons. “This one has a protected nib; this one has a fine point; Bryan gave me this one for my birthday; Bryan gave me this one . . .; I ordered this one online because it had Bethany written all over it!”

This, when all the time she only intended to chat and to show us her new website. She’d probably stopped noticing she carries seven pens in her purse.

Oh and she came for one other reason.

To make beautiful music (and entertain the dog) in our living room. Here I am again, behind the camera, taking photos strategically to avoid certain messes we’re stopped noticing.

And so, today we got after that mess and look! Some progress in the ongoing effort to deaccumulate.

Next up . . . get those IKEA curtains hemmed and hung. The rest of the mess is mostly empty containers (the first step is to admit you have a problem. . .).

Posted in 514, series / match-ups | 1 Comment

it happened again

I’ve been making messes all over the house as I work to clear out accumulation that happens without much effort. Almost everything deemed unnecessary goes to Goodwill, but there were some items that fit more in the antique store category. I’ve found myself in this place before, where I’d be happy to give my stuff to the local antique merchants just to encourage their business. On two different occasions in the past two years at two different downtown stores I’ve asked the owner to come out to my loaded car to look at my treasures for what they might find marketable. Each time they wanted to know how much I was asking. Each time I replied, “Just give me a really low number.” Finally they said something like $20 or $30 and I would bid them down, happily walking away with $10 or $15 in my pocket and leaving them with a story to tell when they got home from work.

Yesterday I pulled into the parking lot of a third local antique store, went inside, talked to the owner, and convinced her to come look at my stuff. She looked through a basket of small items (only one with any sentimental value to me) not very interested (since her store is already crammed with similar items) while I pulled a wooden music stand and a wooden high chair and an old fire extinguisher out of the car. I started with: “I’ll give you all that stuff if you’ll consider a really low price like $20 for these items. “OK, how about $40?” she answered.

We settled on $30, as we both chuckled at the reversal of our bargaining roles. And I hope she makes a bundle on our business dealings.

But there these well-worn Farberware pans waiting by the stairs. Why is it so hard to part with them? They were a wedding gift to Paul and me more than 50 years ago, used by Mauri and me the past 24 years until I scored a set of Calphalon Classic at the church garage sale last year.

Maybe this has something to do with my reticence . . .

Cassidy, now 15 years old.

Oscar, turns 10 tomorrow.

Sage will be 8 in a few weeks.

And these darlings who visited just a few months ago.

Maybe I can fill them with dirt and grow tomatoes. Maybe the Calphalons will fall apart and I’ll call on these faithful pans again. Maybe they’ll be useful if the roof springs a leak. Maybe you can help me justify keeping them handy “for a rainy day.”

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