Date Night

Why have you made me like this?

“Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” ~ Romans 9:20b-21 (NKJV)

Wheel-throwing clay during my recent date at Bisque It Pottery in Fort Wayne. My teacher is Ashlyn Emberton. For more info on their classes visit their website: http://www.bisqueitpottery.com/Clay.html

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Categories: Artistic Dates, Date Ideas, Date Night, Pure Fun, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How I got in a fine fettle with Monet

“Take clear water with grass waving at the bottom. It’s wonderful to look at, but to try to paint it is enough to make one insane.” ~ Claude Monet

Insane or not with the help of a great deal from Living Social ($17) and a fun company called Wine & Canvas, I had a great time painting my very own rendition of Monet’s Water Lilies, 1916, including working to capture that grass waving at the bottom.

Enjoying working on a “masterpiece” on a recent night of 52 Dates with Myself

Nearly 30 of us – one or two brave men among all the women – met at The Factory restaurant in Fort Wayne and enjoyed an evening of painting, singing, and – for those so inclined – a glass of wine. (The singing to Don McLean’s, Bye, Bye, Miss American Piewas impromptu, not included in the price of the “date,” and indicative of the relaxed and fun atmosphere.)

I’d always wanted to take a painting class just to see what might be secretly waiting to erupt on canvas. This was a great way to dip in and try my hand, to make a start.

My impression so far is as Monet once said,

“No, I’m not a great painter. Neither am I a great poet.”

Of course, we all know his criticism of himself was quite unfounded. Of me, it’s apropos.

Never mind that! I’m a work in progress and for now along with Monet, I find,

“I’m in a fine fettle and fired with a desire to paint.”

Ponder & Chat: What are you in a “fine fettle and fired with desire” to do? How can we encourage you to begin?

Categories: "Cheap" Dates, Artistic Dates, Date Ideas, Date Night, Pure Fun, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Mother’s Day Date with Nosey Flynn

"Oh, I've never seen old Ireland o'er the ocean
Tho' I've wished for the chance to greet it
In my mind I've always had a crazy notion
That I'd know a bit of Irish when I meet it."

(Stanza from "Did Your Mother Come From Ireland?"

McNamara’s Irish Pub & Restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee

This date doesn’t get to count as one of 52 Dates with Myself – but since I get to make up the rules of my dating game, I’m sharing it anyway. Such a special date with my daughter I had this evening as we ventured out on a rainy Nashville night to McNamara’s Irish Pub & Restaurant in celebration of Mother’s Day.

David Coe, Sean McNamara, and Josh Culley of Nosey Flynn Band

Our time began in the restaurant with a “proper” cup of authentic Irish tea served with milk and sugar. We also enjoyed an appetizer of steamed mussels. Nearing 6 p.m. we moved to the pub in preparation for the music of Nosey Flynn, a bit of Hart’s Lager and a pear salad, before capping off the evening with Irish coffee and Sean McNamara’s tenor voice serenading us to “O Danny Boy.

There are lots of places to visit in Nashville and lots of country music to be found. But there’s only one McNamara’s and one Nosey Flynn band. There’s also only one person in the world who could have made it such a special date for me. Thank you, dearest daughter – light and love of this Momma’s heart!

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You’ve Gotta Meet “The Women of Lockerbie”

“Our hurts unite us. They define us. They make us not only human, but a family.” Billy Coffey
The year 1988 began with Miami defeating Oklahoma for the college football championship. Two days later Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s longest-serving prime minister of the century. Debi Thomas and Brian Boitano became U.S. Figure Skating Champions. CBS premiered a new show called “48 Hours,” and “Phantom of the Opera” opened at New York’s Majestic Theater. Judge Anthony Kennedy received unanimous approval to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In May of 1988, the Soviets began their withdrawal from Afghanistan. In July, the U.S.S. Vincennes, a naval warship patrolling in the Persian Gulf, mistakenly shot down an Iranian commercial airbus killing all 290 people onboard.  August saw leaders from Iran and Iraq begin talks to end their eight-year war. Earthquakes and hurricanes, nuclear testing and missile launches tested human resilience and faith.
On December 21st, Pan Am’s Flight 103 exploded after leaving Heathrow Airport in London for New York. All 259 people onboard were killed, and 11 more on the ground died as the wreckage fell to earth in Lockerbie, Scotland.
Years later among the hills of Lockerbie roams an American mother looking for the remains of the son she lost in the crash of Pan Am Flight 103.  She is accompanied by her husband, who has kept things together through the required acts of finality that accompany a death, at the expense of his own grief.
The couple encounter the Women of Lockerbie, who are striving against the U.S. Government over the disposition and possession of the clothing found among the crash ruins. They are determined to convert the act of hatred into an act of love by washing the clothing pieces and returning them to the families of those killed.
Playwright Deborah Brevoort wrote The Women of Lockerbie in the structure of a Greek tragedy. The fictional work, though loosely inspired by true events, is a poetic drama about the triumph of love over hate.  It’s powerfully packed with the raw emotions that accompany grief and loss and examples of the individuality of how we walk through it.
Presented by all for One productions, inc. at the Allen County Public Library Auditorium in downtown Fort Wayne, The Women of Lockerbie runs through May 13th.  Tickets may be obtained by calling (260) 622-4610.
Ponder & Chat: When was the last time you were emotionally moved by a play or movie? What was the underlying theme that touched you? How did it relate to your own life story or life lessons?
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Just Me, Myself, and Joe

I couldn’t believe I was about to miss my date for the night! I’d kept “Joe” waiting all day. He was flexible and didn’t mind that I’d not been able to set a definite time. His schedule was open until 9 p.m.

But where did the afternoon and the evening go? How did 1:30 turn into 8:15?

Jumping in my car, I quickly calculated that if I hit all the lights just right, I could maybe get 30 minutes with him. Those 30 minutes would be wonderful. I’d take them and enjoy every moment.

Like me, “Joe” loves good food. Though he’s a year younger than me, he seems so much wiser in the “ways of the world.”

Like me, “Joe” loves variety. Though his house is not that big, he has “mementoes” from many lands.

Like me, “Joe” likes good wine. Though he might choose something expensive, his “signature” bottles are, well, cheap.

Like me, “Joe” loves to have fun. Though he’s quite serious about business, he always looks like he’s going to a luau.

Like me, “Joe” loves communication. Though he’s not one for sitting down too long, he’ll “ring my bell” when something needs said.

Like me, “Joe” can be full of surprises. Though he’s often sure and steady, he’s always got something new and different for me to try.

Ah, “Joe,” forgive me for being late and thanks for unlocking the door when it was time for me to leave at 9:30.

Can’t wait to do it again soon!!!

Categories: "Cheap" Dates, Date Ideas, Date Night, Pure Fun, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Laughter at Taxpayers’ Expense & Other “free” Things

“The troupe has become a favorite on the Washington social circuit.  Its political satire brings chuckles…rave reviews…guffaws…and bipartisan grins all around.  The satire hits the mark.”

The Wall Street Journal

What’s better than laughing till your sides hurt? Getting in free to a great show that gives you the chance for that laughter! That’s the gift I found for last week’s date in my journey of 52 Dates with Myself. IPFW’s Omnibus Lecture Series celebrated its 100th Lecture since 1995 with free tickets to a hysterical performance by The Capitol Steps

Their musical political satire had the 1,600 members of the crowd in a constant uproarious state. Saturday Night Live on political steroids. Check out some samples of the fun here at their website.

Just as exciting and fun as the show was discovering the wealth of great events IPFW brings me. Over 1,500 free events annually. There’s lectures, comedians, cookouts, theater, visual arts, concerts. Many of them free, many of them very affordable. Looking forward to more date nights to come.

Ponder & Chat: What great free or very affordable date opportunities have you found your local colleges and universities provide?

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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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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

One-dollar Roses, Sushi, $2 Buck Chuck, & Charlie Rose

Crazy busy week of travel and major work projects! Translated this means there’s not been much time for dating. Yet, there it is looming before me – the commitment to do something special with myself. 52 Dates with Myself! Good grief! It’s already Wednesday night and the rest of the calendar this week is full.

Hey, do I like this girl, or what? Well, of course, I do. Do I want her to like me? Absolutely.

Alright then, stick with your commitment and do something nice for and with me.

But the cupboard is bare. No milk, no bread, no Greek yogurt! I need to stop off at Kroger’s new Marketplace on the drive home.

Yes, a girl does have to eat even if she has to run through the rain to buy groceries.

What? What’s this? Seriously? A dozen red roses for $1.00!!!

Sure, I recognize they are Valentine cast-off’s never destined to fulfill their intended $30.00 romancing role. Never mind that. Like finding a gem at a yard sale, I eagerly snatch them up, then gently put them in the top of my cart. Perusing the rest of the store, the smug and satisfied smile remains with me. One last stop for  sushi from the deli. A special treat for dinner. Then it’s back out in the rain for the drive home.

Goodness, it’s nearly 7 p.m. Stack the pantry  and refrigerate the perishables. Suddenly, I see it. There on the second shelf, chilled and ready!

There’s a date about to happen. Me and my $1 roses, salmon sushi and a goblet of  $2 buck Chuck – Trader Joe’s famously thrifty Chardonnay. Shoes off, light a candle, settle into my favorite lounge chair, and find Charlie Rose on the tube. Ah, what a great date night!

Categories: Commitment, Date Ideas, Date Night, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Ode to Mounds

“Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t”

Truthfully, I’ve never liked Mounds or Almond Joy. Even though I’ve sometimes felt like a nut,  I tend to be more of a “sometimes you don’t” kind of gal. You know, the more serious type – maybe even a bit boring?

But I do love almonds, and I’ve rarely turned down an opportunity for joy. So, after years of “nut therapy,” I’m finally learning to embrace even the smallest stirring of nuttiness.

Oh, I’m just kidding about the therapy, unless you consider all that talking to myself.

But I am consciously opening up to more fun. My “nuttiness” radar now constantly scans the horizon looking for blips that just might prove to be “nutty” and fun dates that could land a spot in my calendar for the upcoming year. I’m also seeking ideas from my more naturally inclined “feel like a nut” friends.

What “nutty” ideas do you have for adding “Mounds” of fun and the ultimate “Almond Joy” to one of my 52 Dates with Myself?

Categories: Date Ideas, Date Night, Planning, Pure Fun, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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