Tuesday, December 28, 2010

the plows are back

The plow is outside my house and sounds as though he's doing the driveway.  I'm not looking.  I de-iced my own drive this morning with my trusty box of kosher salt.  I keep one in the garage for emergencies like this one.  Why did I want to de-ice the driveway? So I could get across the street.

 I will spare you the ordeal of this woman in her seventh decade out with a broom and a shovel, exhuming her buried car this morning.  The plow came by about 3:am and cleared an opening in my driveway.  So after I finished moving enough snow to get into my car across the street (see yesterday's picture), I had a chance to test my Subaru Outback's all-wheel drive. Passed with flying colors.  Up and over the pile of snow behind me and into the street.  But oh, dear - I couldn't get into the driveway because the opening they cleared was narrower than the car.

Just then, the plowing supervisor came by and I flagged him down and told him my dilemma.  The shovel and bobcat crew were home asleep but I couldn't go back into the mountain of snow I had just gotten out of and I couldn't go into the driveway and couldn't leave my car on the street.
He very nicely plowed out the parking area enough for two cars, so I am back there until they clear my drive.  Phew!   32" of snow, folks!  The rest of the day I spent indoors. 
Brain is shutting down, so tonight, instead of thinking, I was just perusing  the freecycle lists that came in today and then checked Craigslist to see what was on offer. Very tempting.

offered on freecycle & free on craigslist
musical candy dish
older desk chair
walk away the pounds video
car tire
hamster cage
broken pallets
pair of crutches for person 5'2"
yomega strobe yo yo
plastic fake turtle

wanted
 tarps to protect chickens from wind

For Sale on craigslist
Doorway chin-up bar
Stripper Pole

LOL. G'night.

Monday, December 27, 2010

at least the sun is out

The gas grill right outside my kitchen door to the deck. I couldn't open the screen door, which has about three feet of snow against it. 
view from my front door
From the upstairs window.  The street (out there, somewhere) has been plowed but there is no way to get to it.  My car (left) is buried across the street, but at least when they get here to plow the driveway( tomorrow, at this rate - it is almost noon) they will be able to do the whole thing.  Of course, if I can't get to my car....
The table and chairs on the deck
We are warm and dry and I have paperwork to do this week. No excuse to avoid it - I'm stuck!

last night's snow @ 11:30

Sunday, December 26, 2010

snowy Sunday - a progress report

It's coming down now - held off till late morning but we're finally in for it, I think.  I am happily sewing and not worrying about what I will do with these units I'm making from old blocks and things that were sitting in my box of leftovers.  Yesterday I was being too deliberate and that never works for me.

6:30 pm EST deck from the kitchen door.   Looks like about a foot on the table but I am not going out there to measure it tonight.  Back to the sewing machine...
below - 11:30 pm.
The plows seem to come by every few minutes.  I moved my car to the little parking area across the street so they will at least plow my whole driveway tomorrow (or whenever the snow stops). I am now heating up more soup.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

the stay tuned part

No Chinese meal.  After the movies (more on that in a minute) Marty needed his meds, so we had to come home.  Then we went to visit my mother and came home again.  I made shrimp scampi over linguini for dinner and the Chinese food will have to wait till next year.

The movie: The King's Speech. DO NOT MISS THIS.  It was the best film I have seen in years - funny, poignant, and a true story about King George VI that was faithful to reality in almost every detail, from what I have read. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush were spectacular; I could sit through it again, the acting was so good.

So, yeah, I sewed a bit tonight but lost momentum; maybe tomorrow.  I sewed some strips and then picked up a random pile of log cabin blocks left over from various other baby quilts over the years. Sliced a number of them into triangles and sewed them back together.
Oops - this next one is a fuzzy photo - sorry.


Of course, they are all different sizes so it is a matter of trimming them - but that will come eventually and I'm not sure I'm even going to use them now.  Nonetheless - this activity kept me busy tonight.
Hope you all had a lovely day.

We are supposed to get snow for the next two days.  I just read the forecast and it is peppered with  "doozy," "dangerous," "blizzard," "mayhem" and the like. The sand trucks and plows for the Turnpike are mobilized but tomorrow is a travel day for a lot of people.   Well, we have plenty of tuna fish, eggs, and cheese in the house and I can always make soup. 8-16 inches predicted so we will see.  I don't think I have to go anywhere for the next couple of days. Do i???

P.S. -I love when you leave comments but I HATE when your profile has no e-mail address and I can't find you to reply.

Buon Natale-Joyeux Noel-Boldog Karácsonyt-Priecīgus Ziemassvētkus-Crăciun fericit

Fröhliche Weihnachten - Feliz Navidad
I'm doing my own version - an ongoing journal of the day (oh, how fascinating).

I woke up so early, you would think I was expecting Santa. Actually, I did get a gift the other day.  Treated myself to a desperately-needed manicure/pedicure and showed up, as usual, in my Birks. (what else would you wear when you were getting a pedicure?). Grace, the salon owner, would not let me leave afterwards without something on my feet.
She sells these in the salon, but gave them to me as a gift and insisted on putting them on for me (ha - she didn't trust me to do it!). Her parting words were "I worry about your feet!" Aw...

We might never get out to the movies and Chinese food today, so I thought I'd treat myself to a special Christmas breakfast: lox, eggs, and onions.
Below, not quite done - but getting there. What a treat!

Anyway - my gift to myself is a day of therapy sewing.  Strips and strips, since I have about a bazillion of them overflowing in my sewing room.  I am sewing with no idea of what will happen - and maybe something for Emma will come out of all my play.  Here is what my table closest to the machine holds.
It is still Saturday morning. We'll see what develops during the rest of the day.  Stay tuned.

Friday, December 24, 2010

will somebody please tell me

how it is possible for me to go from two card readers to none in 60 seconds?  Well, ok - one disappeared a while ago.  But the ONE I still had (and used at 4:00 this afternoon to upload pix to this computer) has vanished. Vamoosed. Gonzo'd.

 I looked everywhere that made sense and a few places that didn't.
Under the ottoman.
 On top of the trunk, where it was before I used it.
  The garbage. The kitchen. The powder room. The bookcase.
The plastic bag with all the cords. 
The sewing machine. 
The cutting table. (well, it is -- in theory)

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Gornisht.

Then I spent 2 hours reading USB hub reviews - I need a GOOD one with 7 ports - anybody have a recommendation?

So tomorrow, I will buy another card reader and then find the missing one.  Par for the course.  I have duplicates of many things --  no wonder this place is such a mess.  I told Marty that it looks like we'll be going to a dementia unit together.  You can say "isn't it sad about Rayna? I knew her when she still had all her marbles." (and her card readers).  If I find either my marbles or my card reader, I will let you know.

This afternoon we had our first-ever studio holiday get-together with the artists in the studio across the hall.  Among other things, I brought this homemade (ahem) nut brittle. I made this Wed. night on the spur of the moment, motivated by Harold McGee's article in the NY Times Wednesday Food Section (where else?) on how to make candy in the microwave.
Marty is eating his way through what didn't get eaten today and I have to admit I am doing my part.  It is shamefully easy to make and really good - although next time I would probably use salted nuts, despite the fact that the recipe called for raw ones.  Unprepared as I was for this last-minute candymaking fest, I threw in what I had: walnuts, a few almonds, and a pile of pumpkin seeds I had forgotten I had.

When I was in the studio I looked for my cirlcle-cutting gizmo from Olfa. Of course, I found it at home while I was looking for the other thing.  But I can't find the instructions on how to use it and since I only used it once about 6 months ago, I have no clue. So now I have to go to the Olfa site and see if I can find what I need to know.

I also brought in a quilt that needs cropping, because I have room there to measure and cut it.  AND I took pictures of 3 things hanging on my wall there that are being curated into an exhibit, along with a few other pieces of mine. This is one of them.


Jessica's blog post for Forbes.com was picked up by a website in the Netherlands and translated into Dutch. How cool is that?? So, for all my readers in the Netherlands -- here are some great time-managment tips, for the studio or for the office.

And she made her Cycle for Survival goal, with the help of several of my faithful and generous readers.
THANK YOU!!! On behalf of Jessica and Jennifer Goodman Linn, whose soft-tissue sarcoma is one of the rare cancers that need funding for research.  Jessica will be cycling next Sunday, i think.

Tommy, Emma, and Jessica are in Wisconsin visiting Tommy's family for the holidays.  Tommy's mother and the rest of the family are all in heaven with Emma there; they haven't seen her since the summer. Father-daughter contentment.
 And this is my favorite Mr. Magoo face - makes me laugh, every time!
Just one more thing and then, since it is already Dec. 24 I had better wrap this up and go to bed.  I got this wonderful gift from Gjeneve Hopkinson, who took my class in Grand Junction last time I was there.
I'll be back there teaching in July and can't wait!  This time, at least, I won't get stuck in a snowstorm.
It's a book mark and I  used it yesterday to keep my place while I was reading Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore.  A very good book - beautifully written - about love and loss on a lot of levels.  Thanks Gjeneve!  Merry Christmas, everyone.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

another late night

 Before I forget, the word game site is http://www.wordplays.com and this is the word in a word that I like. They give you three minutes, which I don't care for.  But you can write the word on a piece of paper and take your time.

Tonight I have been sewing.  Emma needs her quilt by Feb 19, which is her baby naming.  The 18th is a Friday and is her first birthday (as well as Marty's). So, quilt.  I had made a string quilt forJordan - Jessica's friend Randy's first baby. She has always said it was the best gift she got.
Here are Jordan and his little brother on the quilt. They are too gorgeous!  I have one block left -- do I make more and give Emma a similar quilt? Jessica thinks it is a beautiful quilt. Dunno.

 On the one hand, I have strips up the wazoo that I could easily sew together and make something really cool.  On the other hand, I have multitudinous (is there such a word??) experimental things and leftovers sitting around.  I'll think about it over the weekend.



Or maybe I won't think at all, but just keep sewing and see what happens.  This seems like a better alternative.

Monday, December 20, 2010

midnight post

Well, not exactly - but almost.  I had an appointment this afternoon that took me past Trader Joe's and I had to stop.  I don't know what I bought - just random things like goat cheese and pot stickers, but it added up.  Thursday afternoon there is a pot-luck get together at the studio next door to ours from 1-3 so I figured I would roll a log of goat cheese in crushed pecans and cranberries and bring it in with some crackers.  Hilary served that at her house a couple of weeks ago and Marty, who claims not to like goat cheese, demolished half of it all by himself - leaving almost nothing for the rest of us.  Harumph!

This came back in the mail today and I have to repack it and send it to West Bloomfield, MI with a few other pieces, where they will all be in a show. It is really called "I Walked My Feet Off Looking for a Place to Live." but since that is too long to go on a sign, the short name is "Dwellings."  it was made for an invitational in 2003.  Where did the time go?


I have two more pieces to face - one small one to sew down and one large one to sew it onto and then sew on. These need to go out tomorrow late afternon. Hmmm... work cut out for me.  At least I paid all the bills this morning, so that chore is done and I might have the luxury of time to sew.

The lovely masala tea I made myself tonight (cinnamon stick, ginger root, cardamom pods, black pepper) is not keeping me awake and anyway, I am turning into a pumpkin. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

oh, the pressure...

Here's my brief, pictureless blog post just for the record, tonight.

Tjaps: all the copper ones and most of the wood ones sold 1-2-3.  The copper ones went out yesterday and the wood ones will be going out by the end of the week; I'm out of small boxes and need to get some more.

As I continue to clean out, I may offer some other items -- possibly some of my early quilts from the archives.  


Sandydee is always posting her horrorscopes but I can't find any that make sense for me.
The only one that is ever on target is in the town newspaper, which comes out once a week.  It's pretty much the only thing worth reading in the paper and it is dead-on every time.

This one is so accurate, it's scary.  I sent this to another member of my family who is a Scorpio and is going through a very rough patch -- we both hope this is right!  
SCORPIO, things are a bit rocky at home but you are a survivor. Just wait out this rough patch and you will find that things return to normal in no time at all.
Of course, it doesn't say how long this rough patch will last...but hopefully the new year will bring an
end to it!

Marty does a word game in the newspaper every morning: one where they give you a word and you have to see how many words you can get out of it. Well, there is no book of puzzles like that (yes, I looked) but there is an on-line word-in-a-word game that is the same thing. I went looking to make a list of word challenges for Marty and instead, got sucked into playing the damn game.  I need to do this when I am more alert -- not at midnight.

Try this word on for size - see how many you can get out of it:  BROADCASTING.

I finished quilting my unfinished piece and trimmed it so it is reasonably rectangular.  It has to go out with three other pieces by Tuesday so I guess I'll be burning the midnight oil.  But not tonight.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

for Del

Tonight's blog post is dedicated to my good friend Del Thomas, who keeps me motivated to post, even when it is 11:30 at night and my brain is foggy from overuse l-- or perhaps underuse.  I told her earlier tonight that my ilfe is so boring that sometimes I can't find anything to say other than "this was one of the most boring Saturdays I have spent in years."  Perhaps if I were Montaigne, now hailed as the father of all bloggers in the NY Times I could get away with it.  But I can't get away with very much. This will be a post full of non-sequitors.

I once attended a workshop for artists sponsored by the NJ Council on the arts. It was a few years ago, but the thing that remains with me is this: artists should never do laundry during the day.  But when you have to stay up till midnight till the stuff comes out of the dryer so you can fold it while it is warm, that advice doesn't really go over very well.   Fifteen more minutes till I can fold the laundry.

Hooray that the senate repealed the Don't Ask/Don't Tell act.  Too long in coming, but thank goodness one step more toward equality in the sexual orientation department.  Now, all they need to do is pass the Dream Act and they can go on vacation.  Fingers x'd on that one.

I came across an envelope full of old photos from my mother's house today and there was an album of a cruise my parents took on the S.S. Nassau with two other couples in January 1960.  They were, in these pictures, the same age as my eldest child.  Good grief! 
Then I found this one in a different envelope: Little Rayna, 3 or 4 days old. 

Emma is 10 months old today - I will go see her tomorrow.
 Told you this was non-sequitor.  My final picture makes me almost as happy as  the one above. My new ice machine is much quieter than its predecessor and I can hardly make a dent in the mountains of ice it produces.  The cubes are lovely but I can't imagine where these colors are coming from.
  Midnight!! The laundry is done, and so am I.   G'night, Del.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

up to my ears

in chores I would rather chuck for a good book, potato chip oatmeal raisin cookies, and a nice pot of tea.

As I go through STUFF, I am finding more tjaps and blocks I have to get rid of.  So before I put them on ebay, where they will probably go for more, you might want to take a look at my More Blocks and Tjaps for Sale page.

My lunch break is over - back to the drudgery.  See you later!

R.

wordless Wednesday

Sunday, December 12, 2010

soup weather

While we have rain instead of snow and it is relatively warm (was around 50F today), it is still icky enough to make me get out the pressure cooker and get busy.  The ultimate comfort food -- barley mushroom soup! The non-recipe recipe is here, along with one for potato chip cookies I am fighting against making.  By tomorrow, I will probably lose that fight.

Barley soup for lunch but then, as long as I had the pressure cooker out, I made a sort of hot borscht I had never made before.  I chopped a leftover half head of cabbage, 4 or 5 golden beets, threw them into some lackluster chicken stock, added onions, potatoes, dill, garlic,bay leaf, and a beef bone.  Twenty minutes later...golden beet and cabbage soup. 


I tasted it and it's pretty good.  It doesn't taste like my nanny's hot borscht.  Hers was red, of course - and I think she added a pinch of sugar to it - and flanken (soup meat). Truthfully, I was never crazy about it.  And it doesn't taste like her wonderful cabbage soup (which I make sometimes). No beets - just cabbage, onions, canned tomatoes, a beef bone, bay leaf, pinch of brown sugar and lemon or sour salt so it is sweet and sour. Mmmm. I might take half of this soup and make it into that cabbage soup.  But not tonight. 

Yesterday was another cooking day.  Jeremy, Anne Marie, David & Jake came for post-holiday lunch, since I had to give the boys their Chanukah gifts - gift cards to Barnes & Noble.  Leave it to Jake: "you gave me this last year," he said. Snort! No doubt next year, too.  Anne and Jer requested latkes, and I baked an apple cranberry pie because they were not here for Thanksgiving and it is Jeremy's favorite.  He took the leftover latkes and pie home with him.

I have stopped working and will treat myself to a bit of reading time before I go upstairs. Tomorrow, I am hoping to have time to play.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

juried vs curated or invitational shows

 Ever since I read Terry Jarrard-Dimond's post on juried shows, I've wanted to share my thoughts about the whole show thing. If you haven't read it, go do so and then come back here to join the conversation.
(I am finally blogging in daylight, so maybe I can actually think as I write - LOL)

I know people who absolutely refuse to enter juried shows because of the entry fees.  This goes for artists in other media, as well. When the non-fiber artists I know submit, it is usually to a well-regarded state or national show that will be showcased at a museum or an outstanding arts organization with good gallery space and a highly respected juror or jurors.  

While I enter juried shows, I have done it less and less - more from time constraints than irritation at the fees...although there is THAT if you are entering umpteen juried exhibitions a year.  Terry's point of being selective about entering is well taken, and I agree wholeheartedly with not just sending stuff off willy-nilly (does anybody use that phrase any more??) to every juried show.  Terry's list of things to consider before you submit is excellent and it's on her blog for reference. I have been a juror and can speak to those experiences (or probably have on some blog posts over the past few years).

Many excellent and established artists I know believe that juried shows are not necessarily any higher quality than curated or invitational shows - and I concur, based on shows I have both seen and been in.
This is a great way to get work out there that has been rejected from juried shows!

How Can You Participate in a Curated or Invitational Exhibition?

****Get your work out there on your website****!!!!!!!
 It's like the lottery - you don't play, you can't win.  Also, if there are what they used to call 'slide registries' (I guess they are jpg registries these days) - submit your work.  Gallery directors and curators look through those, too.  But I think today, websites work as registries in most cases.

***Join Local or Regional Arts Organizations that Sponsor Exhibits for their Members***
Local orgs may have their own gallery space or may use space at a local university or other gallery space.  There is almost always an annual open show for members and often, they will sponsor either curated or juried shows.

**Organize One and Submit Proposals**
If you belong to a small art critique group and have an idea for an exhibit (which needs a broad theme or title)  write a proposal and submit it to several galleries.  If it is accepted at more than one place, it can travel!

Have it curated by a group member or preferably, an outside curator.  My art crit group show is being curated by two of the members who looked at everybody's work and decided what would fit the title of the show.  It will be further curated when we hang the show.

I belong to several artists' groups where we submit proposals and if the proposal is accepted, we have a show. CAVEAT: make sure it is curated or it can be a disaster!!  Ask me how I know.

**Network**
Talk to everybody: friends, relatives, strangers. If you don't have a card that says "artist" with a visual and your e-mail & website, at the very least, you need to get cards printed.You never know who knows who or where your info will go.

What's the difference between a curated show and an invitational show? Sometimes they are the same, and that is good. There are non-curated invitationals and curated invitationals.

A non-curated invitational will most often have a theme or will be for a specific medium.  The organizer has something specific in mind and will invite selected artists to participate and send a piece of his/her own choosing that relates to the theme of the show.  The invited artist may have a piece that fits or may choose to make one because he/she has been INVITED to do so.

Many artists love these invitationals because they love the challenge of making something for a theme -- it stretches them creatively, motivates them to get to work (especially if they've been in a slump) and it provides a focus.  All good things.

Normally I never make anything specifically for a themed show.  One exception was when I was invited some years ago to make a piece to raise money for breast cancer research. The invited artists had all been touched by cancer - either themselves, or had a relative/friend.  This was a mixed media show with a lot of good publicity in a well respected gallery and was going to travel, so I said "yes. While I had not had breast cancer, I could relate to the hair thing and even though this was 4 years later, it helped me process-- and I took a lighthearted approach to this far from lighthearted subject.


Otherwise, unless I have major time on my hands (unlikely)or have a piece that fits (almost as unlikely) I don't participate in themed invitationals ...or submit to themed juried shows.  I also rarely make a piece for a specific size restriction (unless it is 12x12). This leaves me out of a lot of SAQA shows.

Curated Invitationals

I was recently asked by a professional gallery director curating a show for Studio Montclair, a professional artists' organization to which I belong, to be in a printmaking show: Revealing the Layers.
She had found my work on my website and invited me to bring a pile to show her.

She selected the pieces she felt 1) worked with her theme and 2) related to each other.  She also said she would re-curate on site if she needed to for space considerations or work that didn't speak to her on the second round. 

Taking this approach to the five-person show, she created an outstanding exhibition of five artists' work. Because this curator has a wonderful eye,her shows have always been top-notch in both content and presentation.  

Incidentally, all my selected work except two pieces had been rejected from juried fiber shows.
This is the benefit of curated shows - but your work needs to be on your website - "out there."

I belong to a critique group that submitted a proposal for a group show to a gallery. They accepted our proposal and two of the members are curating the show.  They have looked at all of our art and requested specific pieces.  

Finally, I am most surprised to have been invited to participate in a mixed media exhibition at the Alexy von Schlippe Gallery of Art in Groton, CT.  It is a multi media show and the director went to my website because a friend of mine knew she was putting together a show and told her to look at my work.  She loved it and asked whether I was interested in participating (ha!).  She asked for 3 jpgs; I sent five.  She wants them all. 

Three of the pieces have been rejected from major national juried shows: she asked for good jpgs of two of them so she could decide which one to put on the show's invitation.

'Nuff said. What has been YOUR experience and how do you feel about juried vs invitational/curated shows??  let's talk!!

    Wednesday, December 08, 2010

    cleaning out the cobwebs

    I really accomplished a lot today. "Sure," says my husband, "you spent money." LOL. Well, how else are you going to get anything done?

    You know how when you run out of toilet tissue, every bathroom in the house runs out the same day? Well, that's what happened with our scotch tape dispensers.  Every single one became empty within a day of each other.  Staples was my first stop this morning and now I have not only scotch tape but a new supply of little post-it notes.

    Next stop: the appliance store where George, the manager from the other branch had gone, leaving in his wake, half-dozen employees who knew nothing. When I walked away from George, I had ordered a G.E. Monogram ice maker, which will be delivered and installed next Wed.  I also bought the extended warranty and since it is not made by Whirlpool, I am keeping my fingers x'd.


    Tonight, Gary the Carpet Man was here (recommended by my son) and by the time he had left, I had ordered replacement industrial carpeting for the basement (gray).  Then, there were the four most dangerous words "while you're at it"... replacement carpeting for the sewing room (gray), replacement carpeting for the previously white carpeting on the stairs and upstairs hall and master bedroom.  I mean, who puts down WHITE carpeting on the STAIRS, forgodsakes?  No amount of cleaning it actually helps. Gray again for all of it (surprise!!).  

    This means I have to clean out all the extraneous stuff and organize so they can move the furniture. I started with the sewing room and got as far as the top of the trunk, which is now down to the absolute minimum.
    One lone basket. I got rid of two, the contents of which included several bottles of nail polish in a shade I would never wear these days. Eight Garden State Parkway tokens, which are useless unless you have a drill and can make a necklace with them. Six rolls of Kodak 200 film and a throwaway camera, all of which have been used. I should probably get them developed if I can find someone who still develops film.  CVS?  In addition...

    I think one of these cards in the Inspired! deck is mine, with a quote from me. What do I do with them?
     
     Six or seven pairs of glasses I hope never to wear again.  They need to be donated.


    Uh - I have a mouse that does not work with any of these. Shall I be daring and throw them out?

    BUT -- I did find two things I had been looking all over for and missing terribly. They were in the upstairs hall closet I don't use. (well, I guess I use it for something). This was a top when I found it somewhere in the early-to-mid '90s.  I put backing and batting on it and hand-quilted the whole thing. It is a vision of loveliness and in great condition.


     This one is my all-time favorite -- a beautiful ugly duckling. Depression era.
    When I found this top on the floor in an antique store in Nyack, NY, it was filthy. The backing was an old sheet, the batting was a smelly wool blanket, and it was not quilted but tied. With red and white bakery string.  I rescued it and liberated it from the filthy blanket and back. I put new batting, a small border and binding, and used what looks to me like a 1940's or 50s fabric for the back. I hand-quilted it and it is my favorite.  When I was sick in 2000, I cuddled under it for all the time I was post-surgery and in chemo and decided I wanted to be buried with it. It covers me as I sit in my chair now and write. I love it because the fabric combinations are wonderful and quirky and un-self-conscious.

    Finally, a packet of photos from November, 2001.  I looked terrible; my hair was still not back in all the way.  But I was alive.  Here I am with year-old Benjamin, who was literally being born while I was in the doctor's office learning that I had cancer. Ben just had his 10th birthday.
    And here I am (my hair came in curly) -- with my favorite uncle Solly at my birthday party in November 2001. Sol was my father's youngest brother and everybody in the family adored him.  He had Parkinson's and one kidney; he died two years ago when he had had enough and decided to stop dialysis.

    There is nothing like the hard copy of photos.  I need to take those rolls of film in.