Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April Flowers

Played with my "new" camera over the weekend.  (New, as in Christmas gift from Gerry...)  What better subject matter than the intricate beauty of flowers?
 Bower vine

 Cactus garden


 Martha Washington geranium


 Plumbago (above)

 Red Bird of Paradise

 Ladies in waiting (gazania and periwinkle vinca)


One of the majestic yucca blossom spikes crumpled in the wind.  This allowed me to get some close up photos of the blooms, but we've left it collapsed until the bees are done having their way with it.

Round Robin Finale

Last July I posted the starting photos of the TAG Group's Round Robin, here: http://www.loloschild.blogspot.com/2015/07/round-robin-start-tag.html

The finished results were never posted... I have a variety of excuses.  We had so much going on the day of the reveal, I didn't get decent photos of any of them, but it isn't fair to not show some of the results.
 Diane's Queen of Fortunes (above)

 Yvonne's Queen of Stuff (above)

Cynthia's Queen of Halloween (Above and detail below)

 Deb's Queen of the Garden (above)

Sue's Queen of Chaos (above)

This was one of the most successful doll round robins I've been in.  No one "phoned it in" and everyone was tickled with the doll and the journal that came home to them.

After the December meeting, I announced that I was taking a break from hosting the group for a while.  Unfortunately, we are now four months into 2016, and we haven't had any more meetings.  The good news is that almost everyone involved has continued growing and exploring creatively, just not in a group situation.

Friday, April 22, 2016


I know what you’re thinking.  What does an overweight 65 year-old grandmother, living in the exurbs of Phoenix possibly have to say about Prince?  More than you would think, though nothing so significant that I’m going to get picked up by national wire services or anything. I can get pretty boring when I get lost in my memories, so feel free to stop here.

I haven’t always lived in Arizona – in fact, I’ve only been here for three years.  The first 45 years of my life were spent in and around Minneapolis.  Though I doubt I’ll ever return there to live, Minneapolis is home.  And in Minneapolis, Prince was ours.

Not only did Prince hail from Minneapolis, he grew up in one of the poorer parts of town – just like me. Though seven years younger than I, he spent some time in schools that fed into the high school that I claim. Growing up, going to high school, in one of the most maligned parts of town wasn’t always easy.  I remember being stiff-neck proud and defensive of my neighborhood, my school, and myself.  There was a time in my sophomore year of high school that I went to a dance in the next community – just a little suburb on the other side of the North Minneapolis line.  When one of those cute Robbinsdale boys finally talked to me and asked where I went to school, I told him “Minneapolis North.”  He snuggled up with a sly look and said “oh!  Where all the boys are on drugs and all the girls have red lights in their windows!” We definitely had a public image problem. It's only natural to feel a great deal for the person, the artist, who helped improve that image.  Prince's touch.

My very first real office job, not long after leaving high school, was in the warehouse district, just one block away from the Greyhound Bus depot, which later became First Avenue.  At the time, the bus line deposited an amazing array of people onto the streets near my office.  Some of them, we were forced to step over or push past on the way in the door in the morning.  I grew up on the North Side – I could handle it.  Later, I was amazed that dirty, smelly, derelict building was re-vamped into what it is now… Again, Prince’s touch on the fabric of Minneapolis.

Prince’s music is not the music of my youth.  Frankly, the biggest thing to come out of Minneapolis in my youth was The Trashmen, and “Surfin’ Bird.”  I was already a young mother when Prince’s music hit the scene.  Being a proper young mother, his music was confusing for me – joyful, sensual, moody, primal.  How I loved the way it could make me feel, and how I hoped it wasn’t triggering that in my daughters! (And now that they are grown young women, how I hope it DID trigger those instincts!)  You could turn it up loud and dance while doing housework (when everyone else was out of the house, of course)… you could car dance to it… you could have a good cleansing sob through it… you could use it to help you pull on your big girl panties and get on with life.

In the late 80s and early 90s, again working in downtown Minneapolis, you just knew that Prince was possible.  For all of us, there was some sense of his touch on the community, never knowing who you could spot when out on a lunch break, because of the draw of the presence of Prince.  I remember a time my favorite nail technician yawned her way through my fills.  Seems that Janet Jackson was in town the night before and Prince had a pop-up concert/party in an empty warehouse and my nail technician was there.  See, that’s the thing – nail technicians were invited.  Prince was possible for all of us. Once again, that quiet touch that makes the fabric of Minneapolis.

Fast forward a decade or so, and my now adult son tells me that some of the guys from his high school class have been part of Prince’s security team.  And when I tell him how I feel a little put-off that other cities are lighting up their bridges and their buildings with purple, he calms me down with the response, “Yes, he feels like ours, but be happy for the worldwide impact he had.  You should know that, Mom.”

This morning I turned on the Today Show to get a little glut of memorials, and to shed a few more tears, and watched Matt Lauer interview L.A. Reid about Prince.  Near the end of the interview, Matt says (with a slight shake of the head, and barely attempting to keep the skepticism from his voice) “but he never left Minneapolis.”  Bless your fuzzy little head, Matt, I don’t know why that’s so hard to believe. 

By being so much a part of the fabric of Minneapolis, Prince is a part of the fabric of all of us who have Minneapolis roots.  I can feel the words come straight from my heart when I say with pride that there he is, a Minneapolis kid who “made good.”  He is ours, will always be ours, but as good Minneapolitans, we’re proud to share.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

A Belated Happy Birthday

Yesterday should have been my father's 90th birthday; in June he'll have been gone 34 years. How is that even possible?  

Several times during the day, I thought about making some commemorative post, or changing my profile picture to his photo on Facebook, but then I didn't - because honestly, do I need attention that badly? Should I just hang a sign around my neck that says "it's all about me, really!"?  

But here's what's on my mind - this is the kind of man Tom Brokaw wrote about in The Greatest Generation. Quiet and unassuming, he gave an extraordinary part of his body and soul in WWII, and yet throughout my life, he acted as though it was no big deal, it was just the right thing to do, If anyone had referred to him as a hero, he would have laughed himself silly. He was just doing what he was supposed to do.

He never told us any stories about the day he was injured, or any of the days that lead up to it, for that matter. The only story I remember being told was about the German POW who was in the same hospital with him, when he came home to heal. They played checkers together every day (at least in my memory of the story it was every day). Neither ever learned the other's language - they just played checkers. He spent a year in that hospital. The summer before my eighth grade year, we took a family vacation, drove from Minnesota to Salt Lake, and right to the end of the driveway of the hospital where he recovered from losing his legs. We sat at the end of the driveway, didn't even go up to the building... and then we drove away. I don't know why.

I'm a day late, but... here's to you, Daddy. I know you loved me, and later, my children, unconditionally, though you never spoke the words. I actually remember being embarrassed at being loved so unconditionally, but I sure do appreciate it now. You thought I could do anything from help you milk 32 cows (at age 8!) to lower you on a rope from the roof - and I usually had to do it in a dress. I can't help but think of how you would have loved your tiny flock of great-granddaughters. Can you believe it? All girls...

Saturdays, early morning, were the best. I remember listening to you whistling and singing, as you rolled around the kitchen, warming up the first pot of coffee of the day. I drink my coffee the same way you did - just cream, no sugar. Some Saturdays we'd take a ride, just the two of us, and you'd stop at some small town drugstore and give me a $1 bill and tell me to go in and get two "drumsticks" from the freezer. You always made me fold the dollar to fit in the palm of my hand so no one would see it and snatch it away, and always reminded me to count my change. I miss you blasting Waylon, and Johnny Cash, but I still think you sang the best of all.  

You loved taking me for car rides. Of course, there was the time one of your sisters came to town for a visit, and you thought we should have wine. We never had alcohol of any kind in the house, and I was only 10 or so... we took a ride to a liquor store just off West Broadway, not the best part of town even then. You told me to lock my door, then you rolled down the window and gave one of the shady characters a $5 bill and asked him to go in and get you a bottle of wine. That Mogan David sat in the refrigerator for years.

I think of you every day, especially since moving west, the place you always wanted to be. Watching the farm behind us put up hay is an emotional experience... Oh, one more thing... thanks for the hummingbirds, and the Elvis song.

It isn't all about me... it's about him, and the others like him who never expected any recognition throughout their too short lives. Too little, too late...but Happy Birthday, Daddy.