Precious Art

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At Lake Tahoe with DJ, Alyssa and Larry. We sit and ponder, silent for a moment. I remember beautiful things. It’s a strategy I use to keep from crumbling. That doesn’t mean I don’t cry. A focus on all the beauty that surrounds keeps me walking.

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The candles in the kitchen of my tiny house with its Karastan carpet in the middle of the floor. The candles making a soft light.

The bonsai on my window sill surrounded by tiny white lights and Ellen’s painted rock. The bonsai is a gift from my dear friends in the Story Sisterhood.

The orchid, tiny, tall and slender, a gift from Mead during the days following Donnie’s decision to move. Move on.

The card, artful, in blues and greens and purple and violet with a touch of yellow and orange water color marks and thin lines. From Monika, a woman I’ve never met in person, only online, sharing writing and colorful visions, vibrations of kindred spirits, a reaching out, her sympathy card, with its heart felt message.

Remembering the fire in the back yard fire pit two nights ago. Smoking from green kindling scavenged from the curb instead of walks in the words. Our strategy for urban fires is yet to be developed.

This morning wet glistens from the rain last night that kept Highlin’ awake and us through the thunder.

The golden light from the antique lamp on my dining room table, covered with the old lace table cloth I shibori dyed in fuchsia and yellow green shades.

I know the difference between satisfied and dissatisfied. I follow the good feelings a particular thought gives me and I witness he goodness that follows. The beautiful memorial for Donnie.

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Tryin to go back and figure out the past is of no avail. Better to go forward from where I am. In my Darley House. Sunlight streaming in. New botanical print fabrics drying.

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Challenge

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It’s been 3 weeks and 3 days. I take on challenges in the same way Donnie approached life. I start with appreciating what surrounds me. My friends and family and the gift I have to be creative. I read and reread, my son, DJ’s words. I ponder colors. And after I choose, I reflect on the story they tell.

Eulogy 

by DJ Saltigerald



I’ve learned through this process that you don’t always realize how someone has impacted your life until something like this 

happens and you spend time to reflect and so thinking about Donnie I’ve seen how deep threaded aspects of my life have their roots in my older brother…



Two of my favorite things in life, are sports and music and I can trace some of that love back to my early relationship with Donnie.From the Beastie Boys back when I was listening to rap music and then to my transition to bluegrass and outlaw country.



I liked what Donnie liked, and I was eager to share music I had found or tell experiences of live shows Id been to.



Being a first generation Kentuckian, my UK fandom wasn’t passed down from my father and his father before that. My love for UK came from my older siblings. Dana took me to my first football game, and Donnie. . . that’s what we had. . .we talked sports.



He gave me a blessing. . .and a curse. The blessing was UK sports. We constantly talked UK basketball and football and most of the games I went to was with him. People always talked about the loudest Rupp Arena was is when #1 Florida came to town and we ran them out of the gym. . .and I always think “I was at that game. . .”

I was at that game with Donnie



For a while, when I first moved home from California, I went on Wednesday nights to put him in bed, and that was my chance to catch up with him on UK and the NFL.



Speaking of the NFL. . .that was his curse. It’s because of him I’ve spent the last 27 years rooting for the Dallas Cowboys.



He tricked me with three Super Bowls in the early 90s and its been all down hill since.



But the Cowboys are my team, and they are my team because they were his team.



People always ask me, “Why do you like the Cowboys, your from KY?”



I tell them, “My older brother moved to Kentucky from 

Texas when I was 11. I’ve been a Cowboys fan ever since.”



But you know, on a deeper level, the third way Donnie has impacted and influenced my life is by his spirit of endurance and perseverance and his fight.



Donnie endured a life changing accident and all that comes with that…surgeries, physical therapy, re-learning how to live and operate. 



He persevered through to his independence…graduating from college, starting his own business, living on his own, driving himself where he needed to be…

and he fought hard to overcome any obstacle in front of him…



When he told me about people parking in handicapped spaces, blocking his accessibility…



He didn’t punch down, He punched up…



and through all that, while im sure he had his moments in 

private, he never projected any self pity or a “woe is me” attitude.



To me, from the 

beginning, it was as if he said, ”OK, this is the 

situation, how do we 

proceed from here and move foreward?”



Donnie defined his life in a wheel chair, his life in a wheel chair did not define him!



His attitude, and determination inspired me to look at any 

situation I might be in and say the same thing as he did. “This is what Im dealing with, how do I move forward.”



But the thing about enduring…about persevering…about 

fighting…

it can ware you out…it  can be exhausting…



and 20 years is a long time to fight…and Donnie was tired…



so….I don’t blame Donnie…



I’m not mad at Donnie…



I love Donnie…



and I miss 

Donnie.





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My heart is broken

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My heart is broken with the passing of my sweet son, Donnie.

 Donnie Wittler, March 23, 1972 - September 12, 2018

Donnie Wittler, March 23, 1972 - September 12, 2018

In Memory


Donald Joseph Wittler, Jr. (AKA Donnie, Uncle Donnie, DW, Big D, D Dub, Donaldo, Blacksheep, Great Dane) passed away Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at the age of 46.  

He was born in Elmhurst, Illinois and grew up in Roaring Springs and Alvarado, Texas and Lexington, Kentucky.  He will be remembered fondly by many family and friends in all three states.  

Donnie graduated from Alvarado HS in 1990. He moved to Lexington soon after graduation and worked as a carpenter, developing a niche in historic renovation. In 1998 he suffered a spinal cord injury that left him a quadriplegic. After the accident, he went back to school to earn an architecture technology degree at BCTC and transferred his building skills to architectural drawing and design. 

Donnie was always creating. He would design all kinds of gadgets to make his world more accessible. Donnie was passionate about improving accessibility in Lexington. He worked with the city government and was successful in significantly increasing the fine for illegally parking in a handicap space.  Donnie was also passionate about sports. He played high school football in Texas and loved his Cowboys.  

When Donnie moved to Kentucky, he embraced Lexington and its culture as his own.  He bled Blue and rarely missed watching a UK football or basketball game.  He loved the track and will be missed dearly at the Keeneland Spring and Fall meets. Donnie enjoyed bourbon and channeled his love for bourbon and design into creating beautiful pieces of bourbon barrel art. 

Donnie will be loved forever and missed by those of us left behind: His parents and step parents Donald Joseph Wittler (Lou) and Laverne Zabielski (Larry Vogt). His sisters, Danielle Wittler and Dana Logsdon (Gary), his brothers, DJ Saltigerald (Alyssa) and Johnny Saltigerald, nephews, Avery and Chuck Logsdon and step siblings, Sunshine, Rainbow, Nightsnow, Sky, Gretchen, Susanna, Timmy and Tommy. His aunts and uncles loved him like he was their son and he was like a brother to his cousins.  

Donnie had many great caretakers and aides over the years. The family recognizes their contributions to Donnie’s independence and know that he will be missed by them.  A special shout out to Joanna Lile, and Samantha Thornton and her family.  

Donnie forged many special bonds. We want to acknowledge the Rives family, Pat Logsdon, Jake, the  O’Daniels, folks at Hanover Tower, Donnie's fantasy football teammates, high school buddies, the Bourbon n’ Toulouse crew. Countless other friends and relatives helped Donnie live a full and exciting life after his life-changing accident.

Please continue sharing your beautiful stories during the reception. If we don’t get a chance to speak this evening, be sure to sign the guest book or call any time.  

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Brave Soul Seeking

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For soul seeking energy, I go to the ocean by surrounding myself with a sea of turquoise. Cool and calming next to all the red orange brightness and warmth I’ve been dying. Mixed messages of a life fully lived. Warm, hot one moment. Calm, cool and collected the next. I layer colors, layer clothing, layer life.

“ Focus on your bravery, not outcomes.” A wise friend said. “Really? You think I’m brave?”

“Well, of course you are brave. You’re 71. How can one not be brave having lived these many years?”

Yesterday evening, the art gallery was filled with bravery. The women in the room. The fiber art on the wall. It was earthy and alive. As though the fibers in each piece were responding to the conversations filled stories and questions.

“How did you do this?”

“Do you know the story before you begin, or does it evolve?”

“I start with the title. The story reveals itself.”

“Is your home filled with your art?”

“This is my first show. I’m new to fiber art.”

I was seeking turquoise in as many pieces of art I could find. Sometimes buried. Sometimes a pop. Leaning towards teal, I wanted a sea of calm to surround me. Something to reach my heart and find its way to my words and reveal the consequences of aging.

I really thought it would be easier. That age would be a time of coasting of emotions. I didn’t expect heartache and pain to continue as friends pass on, children suffer, grandchildren struggle and I still think I can fix everything.

Today, I will focus on formulas. Seeking turquoise. Finding more spiritual growth and empathy. I will let this sea of teals, blue and green become my shapeshifter.

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The older we become,

the more need for bravery. One of the consequences of age is we see more. We experience more. We must be brave. There are more people in our life and their lives touch us. Our creative process is how we prevent suffering from overtaking us and leave room in our hearts to comfort others without taking on their pain.

Living a Layered Life

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The layering begins with fabric and words

L     Living a layered life

A     All writing counts

V     Vibrancy abounds

E     Expression emanates

R     Ready

N    Never bored

E    Embracing each day

 

Community, the Ultimate Art

It was suggested that I admire my bravery for growth, no matter what happens. Fortunately, having an art practice allows me to do that and I encourage you to develop one also. An art practice happens when you value the process as much as what gets created. That’s where the growth lives. The act of sharing your art is where bravery lives. Bravery feeds our growth. Keeps us happy and healthy. Broadens our community.

 

The older we become, the more need for bravery. One of the consequences of age is we see more. We experience more. We must be brave. There are more people in our life and their suffering touches us. Our creative process is how we prevent suffering from overtaking us and leave room in our hearts to comfort others without taking on their suffering.

 

That’s a biggie for me. I want to fix everyone’s problem in ways that are not sustainable. I feel the weight of this desire in my shoulders, the back of my neck. My body sends me warnings in the form of headaches and anxiety lives in the pit of my stomach.

 

The phrase, “the art of . . .” has come into vogue. Everyone is an artisan. At first I was offended. I saw it has marketing jargon without substance. Now I see it as problem solving. I have expanded my definition of art to include anything that has problems to solve. Your creativity comes into play when you implement the solutions revealed.

 

Rock climbing becomes an art with the numerous problems presented with each rock. After assessing the situation, you come up with a solution and proceed keeping the most important factor in mind. I don’t  care. Of course you care that you are safe. What you don’t care about is what others think about your solution. The path you choose. Slow and around. Straight up. Or that you ask for help when needed. 

And then you share. When you share your accomplishment community is created. The ultimate art. Community lives in the act of sharing of what you create. 

Reveal

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Last Friday I arrived late for Meriah Kruse’s launch of her well written, informative, succinct, step-by-step book, “Life Force Marketing.”  Fortunately, I was able to purchase a copy. Her book presents a strategy for developing a successful solopreneur business. While she describes it as “a prosperity guidebook for holistic practitioners” the information can be applied to many other small businesses. 

She teaches you to draw on your past successes and use them to develop a list of personal resources and revise the story you’ve been telling yourself about your life. Your new story becomes powerful and engaging. It enhances your marketing tool box. She shows you how to take the contemporary over used concept of “what’s your story” and transform it into an effective message that communicates who you are, what you do and what’s the problem you’re solving. 

Using her own life as an example, you could almost call it a very creative memoir. Meriah shares her successes and failures giving you insights into what’s possible in a way you can’t wait to get started implementing her ideas. The strategies she shares make it worth reading her book, even if you don’t have a business. Everyone needs to market themselves. 

I am a fabric artist. I dye fabric and design art to wear that reveals your inner beauty.

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Patching Stories and Fabric

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Thundering. 6 AM. Still dark. My dog pants, drools and paces. He tries to climb onto my lap. That is not possible. He weighs 70 pounds. I cannot take away his pain. I cannot take any of my children’s pain. I cannot solve their problems.

My coffee is bulletproof. I like that word. It protects me. It sustains me. It is made with butter and MCT coconut oil. It helps me solve my problems. It helps me eat less of what I don’t need and more of what I do. For lunch I will make massaged organic kale salad. 

My dog, Highlin', pants beside me. He was Johnny's dog. Johnny asked if he could stay with me 10 years ago when he became an extreme athlete, kayaking class five rivers. He once was lost in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Confronted three rattlesnakes finding his way home. HIghlin' has been here ever since. 

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I am writing in low light at the folded down cherry dining room table. It is in the room usually called the living room. Larry’s music collection and some of our books are here. My new patchwork kimono, waiting to be photographed, hangs against the shoji screen.  The table is covered with an old lace tablecloth that I shibori dyed as part of the tapestry for my new home. It is the dark crimson of a garden rose, the color of a precious garnet, or as “Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours” describes, the outside of Quills of Terico. A purplish red. We call this room in the library.

I am old now. I am reading Stephen Jenkinson‘s book, “Come of Age, The Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble.” He writes, “Without  the tutelage of limits and endings, we have no elders to practice and incarnate the wisdom of enough. . . no record of noble restraint that would make us an ancestor worth claiming, no defeat of the nobility making kind.” 

Old is a good thing. Today I focus on the tiny moments. Use remnants to patchwork new designs. Find books to give away. Wait for phone calls, and for the rain to stop.

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Prayer

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May you take each day slowly and safely. 

A sip of mango sweetness, a rush of sunset tea. 

May you have no fear. The warmth of hot red and flaming orange fire. 

And may an answer to your every quest appear with the tingle of sweet aftertaste lingering. 

May you have happiness and abundance. A child hood Christmas stocking filled with tangerines and candy. 

Everything you ever need is there for you. Slippery and sweet. 

May your body heal itself.  May every  ache and pain be soothed and touched, every step you take be as effortless as the rush of sunset heat. 

Go as slow as you need, my dear. There is no need to hurry.

Nowhere to get to. Nowhere better than now. 

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30 Years of Love

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Oh God, I have discovered love

how marvelous

how good,

how beautiful it is

I offer my salutations

to the spirit of passion

that aroused and excited

this whole universe

and all it contains.  

--Rumi

 photo by Sue Beard, cake by Martine's

photo by Sue Beard, cake by Martine's

Being so in love with Larry, all these 30 years, I am renewed. 

 photo by Sue Beard

photo by Sue Beard

There is an intense bonding. I feel protected and safe. I feel joy, exhilaration and upliftment.

As a result of loving and being loved by him, my heart is open, extending empathy and sympathy to others. I have become a vessel, light, sensing energy coursing through my body.

 photo by LInda Gorton

photo by LInda Gorton

We make art, read. He plays music, I listen. There is an intense bonding. I feel protected and safe. I feel joy, exhilaration and upliftment.

I reread vows I wrote on May 15, 1988 while Larry plays. They are the same today.

Orchids Have Taken Over

 linger

linger

After the flowers fell, I tossed them aside, into the compost. 

At the cabin I let them linger. 

A new bloom appeared a year or two later.

Orchids became my event flower. I bought one for the centerpiece. 

Took it home afterwards to take in the light.

The collection has grown, forcing me to let go. 

Can I save them forever? 

Can I save anything really or anyone? 

 letting go

letting go

It’s that saving that’s got me going.

I must shift. 

I must understand that while everyone is an orchid, they don’t necessarily bloom in my garden. 

That can’t be true. I must reassess. 

 standing back

standing back

There must be away. I’m standing back now, to witness, to see if I can understand, oh yes, to stand under. That is not so easy. 

Yet I promise. 

"I hear you," I say. 

And then like the orchid I wait. 

 waiting

waiting

Calming Red Buds Bloom

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There is something calming when the red buds bloom. Their deep pink, petals fall to the ground. Mixed with moss, grass, and dirt, they cover stones. Each morning and evening, planning each day, then reconciling, we walk paths.

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The pink, pale and deep, is comforting. There is compassion and understanding about the tug of letting go. We are moving back to city life in Lexington with it’s commotion and excitement. This is more than we’re used to after the calm of the country.

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The cabin empties itself a little more each day. We find new places for furniture, dishes and mementos. Let go of others donated for safe keeping.

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The pink petals, with all the passion of red, excite this move and softened it with the purity and openness of white. You can do this. Trusting the difficulty, dropping pink on the path, so tiny you have to squint at times to see them, and I do. They are tender and kind with their message of understanding.

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I packed Johnny’s well-worn baseball glove and soccer trophy. Placed a broken teapot in the woods. All this layering of a past long gone next to a future imagined. We plan graduation parties and birthday brunches. Trunk shows and poetry reading smixed with music classical and jazz.

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You are invited



Five Senses Salon and Trunk Show at Tribeca Trunk

116 Old Lafayette, Lexington, Kentucky

Featuring Laverne's Newest Designs

Hand dyed Boleros and Kimono Jackets and Patchwork Dusters

Moving and downsizing means that I also have to let go of lots of art to wear from the past

and my artist proofs at very special prices.

(Sort of a everything must go kind of sale! Tiny houses have very limited space.)

and

Soreyda Benedit Begley

Statement Headdresses

Special Occasion Dresses, and Custom Designs

If you ever wanted a dress designed especially for you,

come on down and introduce yourself to Soreyda.


Friday Reception, April 20, 5-8 pm

Larry Vogt, Improv, Classical and Jazz Guitar

Saturday Trunk Show, April 21, 11-4 pm

Sunday Salon, April 22, 1-4 pm

Open Mic Poetry and Music

My World

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There was a secret ingredient for creating my world. I had moved to a city where nobody knew my name. This gave me freedom. I could be anyone I wanted. I never had to explain myself to someone from my past. That little voice from my childhood that asked, "who do you think you are?" Was replaced with, "I know who I am." 

I embraced the concept, I own this place. Not as in I own the whole city. I owned my identity that inhabited this place. Take me as I dress. 

 Shibori Silk Charmeuse and Devore Wrap

Shibori Silk Charmeuse and Devore Wrap

It's a stance, a posture, the way you walk, the way you set your eyes on the road ahead, your gaze, accompanied by a smile. A confident smile that says, "Hi." A tender smile that says, "underneath I know we're the same. Our hearts beat. Our heart peeks out."

It was a posture that took me downtown for celebratory parades, or on strolls through the park with toddlers and then without when they became teens and wandered on their own. When our car was stolen we rode bikes, a baby seat on the back. In winter I rode my bike wearing a L.L. Bean down coat that covered my artsy haircutting fashion. During the summer I rode my bike to the farmers market wearing a flowing white gauze dress. I dressed for the day. Form followed function. Once after work I went to a Halloween party. Someone said you're supposed to come in costume. I said I am in costume.

I am at home. I defined my borders and they were safe. Take me as I dress. 

 Shibori Silk Charmeuse and Devore Poncho

Shibori Silk Charmeuse and Devore Poncho

Glitter

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It’s not art if it is not organized.

I am organizing. And pondering my theme. Is it by date? By subject? By feelings? What do I see?

This is what I see today, gathering old journals. Sequins. Sequins appear often in my work They are tacky, glittery, and full of color.

Aug 6, 1993

Each sequin I cut off and place in the crystal heart on my antique dresser. I organize the sequins by color. They are a reminder to get organized. I hope they set me straight, get me out of the caring mode. Caring in the sense of caring that I do it right, or caring about what other people think. Ever since artist, Deborah Koehne, came into my life and told me punk was fuck it, I knew that was my direction. I’ve written before about getting back to fuck it, and getting organized was part of the plan.

First, I arrange the jewelry and lipstick in the top drawer of my dresser. The one you have to be careful when pulling it open. Otherwise, it shakes and knocks over all the photographs and empty perfume bottles. I place the jewelry in coordinated white boxes. I glue sequins on top to designate the contents. I toss out the eye shadow I never wear. It’s not my color.

My mother’s dress lay on the bed. It was the dress I was removing the sequins from. It was the dress she wore when she was a can can dancer. I try to imagine my mother ever being like me. I try to picture her leaving us four kids at home with my dad and going off to rehearse. I only know she danced the can can because of photographs of her in a line with several other women. Their skirts were making circles, their legs kicked up and they were all smiling. Especially my mother. It was clear she had the drive to learn the routine. She did more than stay home and take care of babies. In another photograph, I can see my dad is proud.

This is the part that starts to get difficult. The sequins secured on the front around the darts and the pleats and the ruffles were stuck. I can’t get them off.

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Value Process

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"It is only by learning what I could contribute and how I could share that I was able to foster meaningful exchange." Kirsten Sevig

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These are the only three books I need as I prepare for 2018. In "Necessary Endings" Dr. Henry Cloud helps me identify what I need to let go of. In "Striped Pears and Polka Dots, The Art of Being Happy" Kirsten Sevig reminds me the goal is the journey, not the destination. Like when on a road trip and my kids would ask, "Are we there yet?" And the 2018 Planner I bought myself at Anthropologie with my 15% birthday discount gets me organized.

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Be happy! Enjoy the process!

Kirsten is absolutely correct. I have experienced the value of process working with Soreyda and all the other planners and models and designers to produce Blossom 2018. It started with a conversation about how to take all that has been painful in 2017 and allow it to blossom into something beautiful and empowering.

Let’s say adios to 2017 in a fun and fashionable way! 

A Fundraiser for Lexington Community Radio 93.9FM

El Pulso Latino 95.7FM and The Ingenia Club

Lexington Community Radio 93.9FM. El Pulso Latino 95.7FM

Empowers the community by engaging listeners with local, timely, and relevant information and opinions that positively impact safety and quality of life in Lexington. And envisions a more informed, connected, included, equitable and empowered America, starting right here in Lexington, Kentucky. www.lexingtoncommunityradio.org

The Ingenia Club Founder, Bella Begley, wanted a space where young people could meet with like-minded peers interested in all types of creative activities. With the help of the Living Arts and Science Center, this vision is becoming a reality. The club provides a space and a framework, but what it ulimately becomes is up to you! Please join us - there are no dues or fees! The Ingenia Club provides space and community for people who will create something wonderful! www.lexingenia.com

Lexington Fashion Designers: Rosario Sosa, Iris Jimenez, Krista Shah, Laverne Zabielski, Soreyda Benedit-Begley, Ronald Cooper and Mya Price.

Traditional Chinese costumes and dance showcase by Shuling Studio. 

Traditional Mexican Costumes showcase by Casa de La Cultura Hispana de Kentucky

Dance performance by America Diminicci, Tahiti dance performance by Claudia Ochoa, and Jazz performance by Connor Perry. 

Music performance by LaKyya Washington. 

Dance party with DJ Xtremo!

Tickets may be purchased at Eventbrite

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/blossom-2018-new-years-eve-eve-fashion-show-party-tickets-40168154030

Another Kind of Light

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If I look deep, into the night, there is another kind of light. I saw it on Christmas eve. Everyone gathered around in our tiny sunroom, opening presents, reading the poems I had written and given as gifts. As I sit here in the morning soft light, I remember. My lovely daughter, her amazing husband, their two children, my grandsons, and my son, Donnie, rolling in with his big, big heart. He parked his van in front of our neighbor's drive. They didn't mind. They hardly ever use it. It made it so much easier for him to lower his ramp.

For my birthday Donnie gave me a tall candle and for Christmas, he gave me a bourbon barrel candle holder that he designed and our friend, Malamin, built. Unique and precious. Dana, Gary and boys gave me homemade chocolate chip cookies and a chenille throw, rust color, to compliment the olive, hand-me-down loveseat and chair. Cozy for keeping warm.

We didn't take a single picture. How did that happen? Gary brought his selfie stick. In a minute, I kept thinking. It was as though I never wanted to leave the moment.

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Transporting Stories

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In the beginning, I knew my grandsons would get many toys for Christmas. I decided when they were babies to give them art. I continued that tradition every year. A few years ago, feeling momentarily guilty, I thought I should choose something else. Would the boys like something from LL Bean? I asked my daughter. That's not their style, she said. And, they have come to expect art from you. Yes! Going through possessions due to my upcoming move and downsizing, this year's theme is containers. This is what I have written to accompany their gift.

Container
An object to contain or transport something.

The memories and the stories our ancestors told, hold and shape the person we are, and are to to become. They carry us forward. Do not hold them too tight. Stories are always suspect. They are meant to embellished, researched and rewritten.

This bowl is from my grandmother, Stella Butterfield Tilson. She was raised in Oklahoma and West Texas. Andrew, her compassionate father, and Gabriella, her strong, outspoken mother, were missionaries. Gabriella was referenced once in a book that written about Andrew and the missionary work he did with the Indians. He converted over 500 to Christianity. She said she didn’t like what the soldiers were doing to the Indians. She didn’t like that they brought the children to the shcool in a chicken-wire covered wagon.

When I asked my aunt Eugenia about this comment, she said, “Oh, now you’re getting political.” And said no more.

This bowl is also strong. It has lasted a long time and is now ready to contain your poems and stories, carry them forward. I have added Frank Walker's book of poetry. He gives you history way before FB. Read it and ponder. Then write yours.

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Searching

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Even though it is cold outside and I have made a fire, I crack the window to hear the hoot owl. She has been out there for several hours. 

Going through boxes, I found two tiny Christmas cards my mom sent to her mother and father from Japan in 1956. Her note inside is in beautiful penmanship. It tells me a lot about her desire to share and her love for her parents. She was living on Tachikawa Air Force Base where my dad was stationed. They had four children. I was the oldest. We traveled by ship to get there, plane to return to the states.

In the note she explains why she has chosen a yellow tie for her dad. My grandfather became a magician when he could no longer cotton farm in West Texas. My grandmother accompanied him to the many schools and civic organizations. Once, as a little girl, visiting from Kansas, I was his assistant.

        "Dear Daddy, we picked this tie because we thought you could maybe use it in your magic costume someway. A magician is usually in black and the yellow tie would show up on the stage and a touch of the Orient is always mystifying."

In the note to her mother she explains why she chose the carved ivory earrings and cameo.

         "Dear Mother, we chose Ivory for you again because it is different and to me it means excitement and adventure. The earrings are carved so delicately by hand, and the cameo too."

Knowing what to rescue of your parent's possessions when they are gone is important. My mother knew to retrieve the small pieces of jewelry. After she was gone, I found them in the bottom of the hand carved wooden jewelry box she had also purchased in Japan. While there was not an excess of money in our family, my parents didn't know the value of fine things.

My biggest fear is that no one will be able to find my fine things. And they will end up at Calvins, an antique and junk store in Monticello. And, that no one will know the story. I have a lot of searching and writing to do.

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I Gotta Have It

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Larry has been at our dollhouse on Darley for the past two nights. He is preparing the side yard for my she-shed-studio. We want to be sure it is set far enough back so there will be room to haul dirt or other building materials. I stayed at the cabin. It may have been a mistake watching the opening scenes of "Voyeur." GayTalese takes us through his office. He saved everything. And it's very organized. The secret ingredient for making anything artful. And "Voyeur" asks provocative questions. Who's life is worth exploring? How do we weed through truth and lies in personal narratives. Is telling worth it? And can there be redemption for subject and writer? Whoa! That's a lot to process for one evening.

As I pack up to move into a smaller home, I now realize I can't toss things in plastic boxes. My packing must adhere to the principles of organization. All my handmade journals go in one box. Art and artist books go in another. Books and magazines I've been published in go in their own box. Books inscribed by the author are their own collection.

Spike Lee's new series of "She's Got To Have It" is equally thought provoking. Following a young black woman's perpetual implementation of her feminist agenda is welcome. Nola never misses a beat. Intellectual and hot. She is clear about who she is and who she is not. So far, my favorite song is in the second episode at 12 minutes. I replayed it several times. Dancing as I washed dishes, Netflix cut me off from too many rewinds. In episode three it is clear our choices as women need never be questioned. I look forward to wearing my LBD at my party. And taking my own advice. Add color.

 LBD with color

LBD with color