Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Life in Art

Photo by Dr. Eugene M. Gillum

What do Kodachrome film and Dr. Eugene Gillum have in common? They both hitched a ride to Guam in World War II and came back with stories to tell.  Introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1935, Kodachrome was a mass-marketed color film for 74 years.  Kodak stopped selling it in 2009. Dr. Gillum outlasted it.

I met Dr. Gillum and his wife on a recent date to the Fort Wayne Museum of Art’s exhibit of his WWII Aircraft Nose Art. A young man in his early 20’s, Dr. Gillum’s draft notice led him to serve with the 20th Airforce in Guam. Before he left the U.S., Gillum stuffed a roll of the film in the bottom recesses of his bag. There it would stay until September 1, 1945 – 15 days after Japan surrendered.

Dr. and Mrs. Eugene M. Gillum

Then Sgt. Gillum and his buddy, Sgt. Bob Dutcher, talked their way into the use of a military jeep and drove to the tarmac where the 20th Airforce’s B-29 fleet stood. With his roll of Kodachrome, Sgt. Gillum captured the artistry and life of the men of the 20th. Not until seven months later would the images come to life in a U.S. development room.

Depictions of life easily emerge in the themes of the art work.

  • Sexy women – all kinds of them in some degree of undress.
  • Mission – “The Laden Maiden” indicating the 500 pound bombs the planes carried, “Jus’ One Mo’ Time” perhaps both perseverance and prayer, and “Moonshine Raiders” a hillbilly in flight with a moonshine jug and outhouse.
  • Family – “For the Luvva Mike” a young pilot’s son, “Belle Martinez” a pilot’s gal, and “Fuzzy Fuz IV”  named for the cat belonging to the wife of the Commanding General.
  • Patriotism – “Liberty Belle.”
  • Honor – “Rose Marie” the surviving wife of a pilot who had been killed in action
  • Exhaustion, yet still a sense of humor– “Miasis Dragon”

Dr. Gillum stood for over an hour sharing stories of his early years, his journey into World War II, his detailed knowledge of the aircraft of WW II, and how his photos of the aircraft nose art came to be. As his time concluded he walked over to a table, picked up a picture of a current day Air Force officer, and share the story of how the man had recently come to visit him. Then, he turned, looked at us and said, “I delivered that young man when he was born some 30 plus years ago.”

Ah, there it was, the art in life meeting the life in art.

Thank you, Sgt. and Dr. Gillum.

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Unresolved

The same recurring theme keeps showing up in my dreams. These faces from my past, when life was different, and I was different. I am wanted. I am chosen. I am loved.

I see myself in these various scenes, and I’m not sure. Am I wanting? Am I choosing? Am I loving?

And what of today and this relationship I’m in with me? This wanting. This choosing. This loving.

Somewhere, like a seed planted deep within, grows knowledge that I am a chosen love, valued for who I was uniquely created to be, for who I am. Loved first.

The unresolved response is mine alone. I choose Love.

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Smitten with Yellow Fever

“Yellow wakes me up in the morning. Yellow gets me on the bike every day. Yellow has taught me the true meaning of sacrifice. Yellow makes me suffer. Yellow is the reason I am here.” ~ Lance Armstrong

The gorgeous yellow daffodils in the blog header are from my garden!!! They’re a beautiful mid-March surprise filling the weekend with a sense of optimism and happiness, perhaps even sparking creativity and energy.

They shine. They stand tall. They open their faces to the sun and the world around them. They shout, “Hey, look at me. I’m back after enduring the harshness of winter, and I’m blooming.”

Those who study the effects of color upon humans say that yellow stimulates us mentally, activating our memory and also encouraging communication. (Well, there you go, now we know why you’ve got another blog post to read.)

I associate yellow with taking me places, like to school on a bus or around the streets of New York in a taxi with an excitable horn. Any of you out there old enough to remember the Yellow Freight trucks? I wonder if they are still around? (Oh, was that the daffodils activating my memory?)

The contradictions in yellow fruits intrigue me. Lemons smell fresh and inviting yet attack my taste buds with such vengeance that I frown, clench my jaws, and spit. Bananas wrap their sweetness behind a bitter jacket and disguise the fact that both the flesh and the jacket are quite vulnerable. Pineapples, too, mingle sweet and sour in a manner both enticing and punishing me for overindulgence.

Famous artists disagree about yellow:
   “How wonderful yellow is. It stands for the sun.” –Vincent Van Gogh
   “What a horrible thing yellow is.” –Edgar Degas  
Fact is, yellow covers the spectrum of good and evil. From gorgeous flowers and glorious sunshine to jaundiced eyes and yellow-bellied cowards, it follows us through the range of wonder and struggle that is earth and humanity.
Apparently if yellow was my favorite color, it would mean this about me:
You are quite the powerful thinker. It’s this talent that allows you to overcome a plethora of great obstacles. Luckily, this doesn’t affect your ego and you give off a pretty easy-going appearance. You enjoy the finer things in life and also have an attraction to art. If you can help it, you try not to rock the boat. But you also can’t stop yourself from searching for new ideas, methods or styles.
“What’s this post got to do with your 52 Dates with Myself?” (Ha, you didn’t think I heard you, did you?)
Just slowing down enough to notice and give thanks for the daffodils and the sunshine. To consider and enjoy beauty, simplicity, and complexity. Cogitating the contradictions of little things both in my world and within me.
Ponder and Chat: What’s your favorite color? How does that color impact you? What contradictions show up in your world around that color?
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Reprising the Question

Perhaps you recall a few weeks ago one of my friends asking me if dating myself kept me from dating other people.  We had some good conversation around that both here and on Facebook.

Actually, I think my friend makes a great point.

Several of my single friends of late have recently started dating someone exclusively. It’s been great fun watching their excitement and sharing in their newfound giddiness. Yet, sure enough, there are some differences in our interactions. For example, I’m noticing:

  • I don’t hear from them quite so much. Makes sense, when they have time for chats, they’re chatting with their new special someone.
  • I don’t do things with them quite as much. Makes sense, they have someone they’re busy doing things with and aren’t necessarily looking to make it a group event.
  • I don’t know what’s happening in their lives quite as much. Makes sense, we’re not interacting on as regular a basis or sharing our lives.

During my last dating relationship I noticed feeling as if some of my friends were backing away. No doubt I was less available, and they were less inclined to think I was available, but:

  • I didn’t hear from them quite so much. When I would talk with them, they would indicate that they thought I was probably otherwise engaged, too busy with my new relationship to connect with them.
  • I didn’t get invited to outings quite as much. Probably an assumption that I already had companionship.
  • I didn’t know what was happening in their lives quite as much. We weren’t doing the regular and natural sharing that we once had been doing. My sounding board was often my new friend. Friendships are built from mutual give-and-take.

So, what’s this got to do with dating myself? Just like being in any other relationship, there seem to be some things falling by the wayside as I commit to this one year of 52 Dates with Myself.

  • I’m not connecting with my friends quite so much. Like any relationship, this one with myself takes time. Time to reflect. Time to plan. Time to interact and discover. Time to be together with myself.
  • I’m not inviting others to do things with me quite as much. This one troubles me a lot, as so much of life seems better experiencing it with others. But a Date with Myself has that danged prepositional phrase in it.
  • I don’t know what’s happening in their lives quite as much. Losing contact with others is definitely not what I want to have happen here, but fewer talks and fewer shared experiences means it’s harder to stay connected.

Ponder and Chat: What do you notice that falls by the wayside as you make time for yourself? How are your other relationships impacted?

Categories: Challenges, Commitment, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Of Friends & Prepositional Phrases

I love my friends! They’re all looking out for me and wanting to help me with my 52 Dates with Myself. 

Some inquire, “Can you count this as one of your 52 dates?” Others happily just advise me, “You can count it as one of your 52 dates.”

I could easily respond, “Absolutely, I can count this as one of my dates.”

Or, “Yeah, you’re right. Good thinking!”

Really, there isn’t anyone to say I can’t. These are my dates. It’s my project. My journey. I can establish the rules as I want them to be and change them in the middle if I choose. Right?

But there’s a clamoring in my mind. The voices of Mrs. Adams and Mr. Fields, two of the best and hardest English grammar teachers a student could have.

“52 Dates with Myself.”

“They’re missing the prepositional phrase It’s quite important here.”

“Do you need to diagram it?”

“Ha! No, thank you! I do not need to diagram it!”

It’s obvious, of course. The “with Myself” clearly functioning as an adjective describing which 52 Dates. The ones with Myself.

“Yes, I understand that they mean well. They’re great friends, too.”

“Ah, interesting idea. Yes, perhaps next year we’ll tackle 52 Dates with My Friends.”

I think I hear the bell ringing. Class dismissed!

Ponder & Chat: How do the people in your life create challenges for you to consider around your personal goals?

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Spring Fever Walking

A Little Girl's Chalk Art on Driveway

The unseasonable 70-degree day demanded a date but not even a sweater.

Sunshine burst forth, no clouds to scatter the projection of its rays.

Sidewalks filled with excited runners and bikers.

While puppy dogs pranced their winter muscles.

Lots of hellos, smiles, and “Isn’t it gorgeous!”

No strangers on this magnificent day.

Little girls turned driveway chalk artists, rode scooters and sang.

Little boys shot layups, 3-pointers, and banked it.

Bluebirds and robins flew purposefully.

Even bullfrogs and crickets sang out.

My heart soaked it in.

The warmth, the connections, the joy.

What a simple date.

What a glorious moment!

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A Celebration of Women in Word & Song

“How do you find your way when the signs point to all that could have been?” ~ Sunny Taylor, Paper Tiger” 

I could never have imagined the poetry and music I was about to experience walking into the nondescript building just on the edge of downtown. Little did I know, the professionals from Sweetwater had generously ensured I’d have a perfect acoustical experience at Come to Go Music Hall or that TRIAAC, the Three Rivers Institute of Afrikan Art & Culture, Inc., had ensured I would have a moving arts experience.

In celebration of Women’s History Month – to be honest I had no idea there was such a month – TRIAAC presented For Love of the Arts – Celebrating Women in Word & Song. 

SUNNY TAYLOR. In a simple, understated way, Sunny Taylor came to the stage with just her acoustic guitar, her poignant lyrics, and her sometimes haunting voice. She’s a self-proclaimed mixed genre artist, insisting fans who must decide consider labels rock, pop, folk, and Americana. Doesn’t matter how you label it, Sunny’s music is honest and heartfelt, sometimes tender, and sometimes playful. I laughed and I cried – doesn’t get any better than that. 

ERIKA MARTINEZ. Inside this slightly built woman resides the heart of a storyteller and a lyrical voice touchingly bringing her life stories to the world. Born in New Jersey, Erika spent many of her early years in Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic, before abruptly returning to the streets and winters of New Jersey. Erika holds a Master of Fine Arts degree and is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship. Her work has been adapted for the stage and presented in New York City as well as published in several journals. But on Saturday, March 3rd, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, she held my heart captive with true life stories of resilience and courage. I laughed and I cried – doesn’t get any better than that.  

CAROL LOCKRIDGE.  Named the Woman of the Year for 2010 by the Indiana Blues Society, Carol Lockridge, takes the stage with powerful presence and voice. She wrapped it up by 11 as the producer directed, but quite honestly, we all could have gone on with her “All Night Long.” I laughed and I clapped and I sang along with her – doesn’t get any better than that.  

What great local artists or venues have you found in your hometown?

Categories: Date Ideas, Date Night, Music, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Conflicted

“Everything we do that’s important is the result of conflict” Seth Godin

I’m awake at 3:30 a.m. for the 4th day in a row. Like a tangled skein of yarn, my thoughts seem impossible to knit together into a useful or recognizable pattern. Conflict.

Somehow the word “priorities” escapes the twisted trap. It struggles past voices, “Won’t this get in the way of you dating others?” “Are we going to spice it up a bit?” “Are you really just trying to attract a guy through this?” “Get out there and make some big plans – just have fun!”

Opinions. Advice. Guidance. Suggestions. Judgments. Appreciation.

Watching. They’re watching.

Priorities.

“Everything we do that’s important is the result of conflict. Not a conflict between us and the world—a conflict between us and ourselves.” Seth Godin

Conflict. This journey is about my priorities. What do I want from my 52 Dates with Myself?

  • I want to experience ME – with intentional focus, noticing the things that happen as a result of this year of commitment.
  • I want to feel the tensions that show up – when, where, why?
  • I want to develop greater awareness of my habits – which ones support me, which sabotage me? 
  • I want to be attentive to what makes me happy and brings me joy.
  • I want to develop awareness of my disappointments and fears – what do they mean to me? When do I most feel them? How do they propel me on or stop me? 
  • I want to have fun doing things I love, yet — challenge myself to new adventures, give myself new experiences, step out of my comfort zone.
  • I want to be mindful of my values – what do I proclaim them to be? What do I demonstrate them to be?
  • I want 24/7 alertness to the gift that is my life, this journey that is uniquely my own.
  • I want to bring ME to my world – with a richer, fuller, consciousness of what that means to those I’m privileged to come into relationship with along the way.
  • I want to embrace the challenge of the conflict within — to live the story that is only mine to tell.
Categories: Challenges, Commitment, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The agony of silence

Nine days of silence.

Wondering what it means.

Fear?

Disappointment?

Resistance?

Dislike?

Someone else?

Will I ever call again?

If so, what will I say?

Categories: Beginnings, Challenges, Commitment, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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