Because It Matters.

I know, I know, I have not posted in AGES!  But it is summer vacation and soon I will have a “What I Did on My Summer vacation” post, but right now there is something a bit more important.

As everyone knows, Detroit is bankrupt.  Financially is the proclamation for now, but bankruptcy of a different kind has taken place long before that.  The people of Detroit have suffered from a decline in self-esteem, worth, value and significance brought on by corruption, racism, poverty and neglect.  Now I am not here to step further on top of what many shout out as the hell hole of America.  Quite the opposite.  I will be the first to shout out about all the beautiful places in Detroit.  The smaller, magical spots that people overlook and the grander more obvious places.  One of those places is my favorite place in Detroit.  A place I take others, or get lost in all by myself.  A place that fills my eyes with delight and in a turn brings tears to my eyes.  Good tears.  The DIA.  Never been there?  My header is looking out onto Woodward from the front steps, just look around “Le Penseurs” buttocks.

You don’t have to be an artist to appreciate all the beauty and mastery dating from primitive times until now.  There is something there for everyone, every age, every mood, every heart.  because of that, it is in integral place in the heart of Detroit.  Its architecture alone is a gem in a neglected mine that is being dusted off and re cultivated.  A bright spot in the gray matter.

It hurts my heart in a way that no metaphor can mimic to think that any of these valuable pieces of history could be sold to pay for someone elses mismanagement.  The DIA did not mismanage, the city did.  I’d like to say that I get it, but I don’t.  I get that if I was a retired or current city employee I would be pensive, to say the least.  But I will never “get” that the idea of taking what is great, from a city that was once GREAT to raise it to mediocre is the only option.

I am hardly an eloquent speaker of what art means, but I can tell you it must mean something since the cavemen were creating it way before our more refined versions ever arrived.  it was there before words and numbers. It was there to tell stories, to celebrate and to document history.  The DIA is an enclave of history, stories and celebrations.  it is one of the most important places to help this city to raise to GREAT again, and when things in this city are valued by the city, then people start to value the city and when that happens everyone starts valuing the city, and when I mean the city, I mean everyone in it.

Never been?  Here is what you are missing….

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Seriously, Calder, Kandinsky, Rivera, Rothko, Warhol, Van Gogh, Matisse and Detroit’s own Charles McGee…what are you waiting for?  Go, give your heart a lift, give the city a lift and for goodness sake, if art is the greatest asset to the city, make it a great asset to you.

Soothing My Soul…..

It has been a bit of a hiatus for me from blogging.  Not because I have not had any thoughts to share, just not enough time to do it.  But I witnessed something on Monday that I keep coming back to.  Something that soothed my soul in a fantastical way.

I was at LuLu’s swim lesson, sitting in the designated viewing room when I noticed a gentleman swimming around in the pool.  Normally this is not odd, however he was in the area where one does not swim laps.  In any case, I began to watch him swim about.  There was no rhyme or reason to the patterns that he created with his body.   He kind of reminded me of an otter.  He would periodically stop and lift an arm and stare at the water running off his hand, down his fingers and fall into the water.  He was in awe.  Mesmerized by the magic of gravity, or the spectacle the rivulets made coursing down his skin.  Mesmerized.  And I was mesmerized by him.

I was abruptly jerked out of my haze by Lulu’s need to use the bathroom.  When I returned her to the pool, I discovered that the man was not alone.  He was with a caregiver.  The caregiver was obstructed from my view by a slide.  Since there was only a few minutes left of the lesson I decided to stay in the pool area and resume my observations.   What I then witnessed was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.  If you had seen this caregiver on the street you would never have guessed that this was his profession.  He had long, dark, wavy hair similar to a heavy metal guitarist.  His face hosted a goatee of admirable length and he wore combat style boots with his black t-shirt and work shorts.  He was small in stature, but that was just the confines of his skeletal frame.  He was much bigger than my life.

I watched the man swim to him and they splashed a bit at each other and the man turned his back to him and the caregiver scooped up water and let it run over the mans head.  The mans face was of pure serenity and then pure joy and laughter as the caregiver rubbed his head.  It was like watching a baptism of sorts and I was just as mesmerized with the whole scene as the man was with the water itself.  And I told him so.  I also told him, the caregiver, that they were lucky to have each other and he replied that he was way more lucky than his friend.

Must Be the Mercury.

I skipped a week.  For multiple reasons, but I am going with mercury being in retrograde.  No seriously, it is, and apparently that is why my car is dead, I have computer issues and I have not been on time with my weekly post.  That and that I did not do my self portrait last week because I was feeling like an ugly failure.  We will call it mercury poisoning.

In any case, I did another self portrait.  I am struggling with setting up the self timer and making sure the thing is focused in the right spot and that I am in the said right spot.  Frustrating.  I have been having a hard time with the cruel Michigan winter that has everyone counting down the days until the spring solstice.  Is that when mercury gets out of retrograde?  I hope so.

So here is my result.  So far in this process I am discovering how little I really know about my camera and how I really do not really like my appearance.  I knew going into this that it would be much more than learning to take better portraits, but I am not sure how much self reflecting I am up for.  Or maybe its just the mercury talking….

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A New Year

In the chaos and excitement of the holidays, my time, energy and blog went by the wayside.  I spent a lot of time just thinking about what I want to change this year.  I heard the question, “what can you do in 4 years?”  I found it intriguing, as there is so much you can do in 4 years.  I am hoping to compile a list of what I would like to achieve in 4 years and have it ready by inauguration day.  I figure that is a good way to gauge my progress.  Me and Barak can compare notes and monkey wrenches.

One thing I am sure of, that I intend to do, is start another photo challenge for myself.  It is  52 self portraits.  I heard once that if you want to take good portraits, you need to be able to take a good self portrait.  But, another reason is that I am struggling a bit through the self image/aging process.  I don’t mind getting older in the mental and emotional sense, but I am struggling with myself physically.  I plucked 7 grey hairs out, I know I am lucky to be 42 and just starting to get grey hairs, but when your hair is one of your best features and it starts to fade, my spirit wanes a bit as well.  I am struggling to lose 15-20 pounds that keep re-appearing and staying longer than I like.  So, this challenge is a bit of an attempt to get all Jillian Michaels in your face and start accepting what I cannot change, change what I can  and embrace it all.  That and getting a better grip on lighting and figuring out how my stinking self timer works.

Here is my first self-portrait, and yes, I know my brows need to be trimmed and shaped.  I have yet to find someone to do them and do them well around these parts.

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Happy New Year!

Like the Ten Commandments Without the Guilt.

Like the Ten Commandments, but without all the guilt….is a phrase I heard early in the week that started making me think about this.  And I discovered that we are wrong.  Churches and even parents teach children the Old Testament before the New Testament.  Yes, they all teach “Jesus loves YOU!” , but what seems to be taught right after Noah, Moses and Adam and Eve, are the Ten Commandments.  The concern here is that these stories all have to do with judgement.  The scripture is taught in regards to obedience and lack of obedience, which certainly have their place, but become the platform on which we try to teach God’s love.

 

Now if you know anything about the Bible, you know that Jesus returns to the Ten Commandments when He preaches  the Sermon on the Mount.  At which He points out that looking at a woman lustfully is the same as adultery, wishing bad things upon your brother is the same as murder and so on….Leading to the end conclusion that living the Ten Commandments purely is impossible in our mortal, selfish, sinful lives.  He also states when asked which commandment is the most important and He clearly states that to love God, your almighty creator, with all of your heart and soul and to love your brother as you love yourself.  Why is this first not taught, imbedded, ingrained into each and every human being that is learning about God?  If you do those two things to the best of your ability how can any of us go wrong?  How can anyone walk into our livers, for no matter how long, and not feel loved?

 

I believe the teachings of anything before this just hard wires us to be judgmental.  Judgmental of ourselves and others, in a society that thrives on judgement.  It is Pharisaic in nature and everything Jesus stood against.  Oh the guilt and shame and the guilt of feeling shame…its a long twisted, knotty road we walk where we constantly trip ourselves up and ultimately deny ourselves joy and love.  That just sucks.

 

I heard this song last night, and i had heard it before, but I really listened to the words and realized this is what I am about when it comes to God.  I really wish all of you humans, myself included would get out of my way, it would be a lot easier.

 

Warts and all….

Some times I feel like this gourd.  Well, lots of times.  On first impression the gourd is warty, funky colored, not ideal.  I feel like that, too.  Seems I have always been the ugly friend, the “wingman” , the less refined, the socially inept, the chubby one, the one that had a lot of dreams but fears got in the way.  The B+, not the A.  The too needy, like a dog begging for attention or a child wishing for affirmation.  Yes, this is what I think about in the shower, during yoga, while laying in bed at night, while driving my car, while doing things with my kids-I am just not good enough.  But, this gourd is.  He, I will assume “he” as it is sexless, grows from a vine, and when complete, he is cut and sold.  As is, for seasonal decoration, then discarded.   On the brighter side of this, I took the picture because I liked his warts, his coloring, his overall funkiness.  I’m not sure, but I will venture someone else does too.

 

It was recently said, that in order to shine a light into the world, you have to start by shining a light in yourself.  So, do not think I am some self loathing individual,  I am just shedding some light inside to the corners and finding things that have been living there.  They seem to be blocking some major arteries of life for me and I just need to figure out how to flush the system clean.