Archives for the month of: February, 2008

this past week, the weather has been absolutely beautiful here in arizona. it’s a little over 80 degrees as i write this…with the sun shining in a golden hue. it has been very good for my spirits.

last weekend (i know, i know…i need to be quicker about my posts) i headed up to phoenix to see the family and to celebrate the recent engagement of Jill and Mike. congratulations to the awesome couple. they are simply great people and it is so inspiring to see the two of them creating a life together.

jillandmikd.jpg

here’s the ring…which is beautiful alongside a gorgeous margarita.

blinganddrinks.jpg

work has been crazy this week, and it’s only going to get crazier. we are heading into deadline time – which is a series of deadlines leading to our May 28th publication in the local newspaper. it has also been a crazy week for me in my personal life due to the reappearance of a particular person in my life. i had not quite a week to prepare for the arrival of a love from lincoln. overall it has been a nice reunion, although it has been awkward at times as we try to get to know each other again.

tonight i am planning on heading to join a few friends at Club Congress for a show of a few local bands that are heading to Austin for SXSW (South by Southwest) music festival. click here to hear some of the music.

i woke up today feeling about 100 years old, dirt poor and really wishing i had someone to bring me breakfast in bed. alas, that isn’t my reality these days so i made myself a strong cup of coffee and toasted myself a cinnamon-raisin bagel then hopped back in bed to read for a while.

last night, i attended the Vagina Monologues at the Fox Theater. i’ve seen the production several times in cities across the nation. each performance, around Valentines Day, is a fund-raising event for many causes associated with women’s issues – domestic violence, genital mutilation, rape, molestation – to name only a few. the statistics always confound me – 1 in 3 women have been a victim of some type of domestic assault by the time they reach their early 20’s.

i am the “1” in that “1 in 3” statistic. and i know many, many more “1”s.

the abuse of my body came early in life. my memories of those events were dormant until a few years ago when a deeply traumatic life event triggered their reappearance in my life, an occurrence which i now understand to be fairly common in abuse victims of very young ages. parts of my memory of still evade me, particularly memories between the ages of 3 and 10 years old. i work hard to recover those memories, yet at some point i ask myself, “just how much do you really want to remember?”

if anyone has ever seen a performance of Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues” or has read the book, you will recall the extremely moving piece the Ensler wrote after interviewing a woman following the ethnic war in Bosnia-Herzegovenia. the piece calls attention to the gang rapes of 20,000 women (a very conservative estimate). i urge everyone to read this piece, and i want to applaud the woman who performed the piece last night here in Tucson. it was, by far, the most moving performance that i have seen personally.

here are a few web sites for more information on the abuse of women:

now.org

usdoj.gov

who.int

rainn.org

feminist.com

4woman.gov

the most important thing any “1” can do it to speak out. tell someone you trust. it is a heavy, heavy burden to carry alone in silence.

vday2008cardforblog.jpg

salvation came to town this past tuesday night in the form of a real, live ‘Bastard’!

his name is Vance, and after an extremely disheartening couple of days in both my work environment and a huge annoyance with someone from my past, i can’t even begin to tell you how incredibly uplifting it was to get a big hug from a cool dude, that happens to be The Bass Player of my ever-favorite band, “The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash”.

bastardvand.jpg

Vance (right) and drummer John stopped into Tucson for dinner as they traveled home to Austin after a three week tour of California. i had a great time, especially  when Vance sported a huge grin as we talked about my dearest friend Becki. smitten, i do believe, very smitten.

yesterday i had a fun “photographer’s play date” with fellow photographer Emily. she invited me down to Sasabe, Arizona where she was traveling to continue work on a long-term social documentary project she began over two years ago, on border issues. Emily works for the Bureau of Land Management, where she works to discover immigrant trails and lay-up sites. once they are found, Emily and her colleagues hike miles and miles to these sites where they to work to restore the ecology of the areas. this includes bagging and hauling amazing volumes of trash and personal items left behind by people making the trek into the United States. when i say haul, i mean literally. they hike all that garbage out on foot. she is a truly great source of information about the immigration issue and was a great guide for my first visit to the border.

the cute, cute teeny town of Sasabe (which is a border town and a point of entry) is an odd contrast to the huge metal bars that now run for miles and miles in either direction. until you are standing at the fence and can reach out, touch it, look through it, feel it’s imposition on the landscape…it is nearly impossible to articulate or understand.borderfence3.jpg

looking into Mexico…

borderfence5.jpg

the historical border marker.

borderfence4.jpg

i found the contrast of this pink bra, a very intimate item of modern human life, to be very sobering.

borderfence1.jpg

the barbed wire in the foreground was the border fence for a very long time.

borderfence2.jpg

i give full credit to Emily for finding this composition. i am always amazed at how you can nearly always find beauty even in extreme situations. here are some images of Sasabe to give some context.

sasabe3.jpg

the owner of the Sasabe Store, Deborah, was a delight to talk to. she is a 4th generation Sasabe-an(?). she opened up the bar in the back of the store just for Emily and i to take photographs. she was so correct when she said that the place photographs well…

sasabe1.jpg

sasabe2.jpg

pay special attention to the names of the signature drinks in Deborah’s bar. after four generations in that area of the country, i doubt there is much her family is not aware of. Emily and i explored the town on foot in search of imagery. enjoy.

sasabetree.jpg

bluetraingles.jpg

this next image is an editorial comment on my former profession…

thedeclineofnewspapers.jpg

today was lovely as well. i met Regina for coffee this morning and had a really nice time talking about how we re-create ourselves throughout our lives. i’m happy that she and i are becoming better friends. and i have to openly thank Regina and Sean for playing “match-maker” last friday night. you know people like you when they try to reintroduce Love into your life.

after coffee, i jetted home to meet my sister and my nieces who came down to tucson for the day. it was really wonderful to see them. we did a lot in one afternoon. we visited the Center for Creative Photography and then the Museum of Art – both on the University of Arizona campus.

during the tour of the art museum, i fully realized just how spoiled i was back in lincoln to have the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery at my fingertips. the Sheldon has a truly amazing collection.

after the tour we went for a relaxed hike in Catalina State Park.

shadowsisters.jpg

the past week has been busy, busy, busy! it was so full of events that i won’t bore you with words. let’s take a journey through photos…

first and foremost, my newest nephew finally joined the world. Big Congratulations to Heidi and Jake! he was born on sunday to a whopping 8.5 lbs. and nearly 22 inches long. i can’t wait to meet him! he is healthy and beautiful. see for yourself:

kaeden-007.jpg

last thursday and friday were all about making Steph’s groundhog costume. we worked until midnight, had no formal pattern other than Steph’s hand-drawn blueprint. it was a furry adventure…

happy-steph-1.jpg

friday morning was all about running around town with the lovely miss Mamta P. in search of marigolds for Mamta’s Bollywood Birthday Bash (scintillating details below!). my sister julie must have been hallucinating when she said that she saw a ton of marigolds at home depot, because there were none. we selected spider mums, my favorite, and gerbera daisies in the colors of the Indian flag (white, orange and green).

after the flower extravaganza, i met back up with Steph to finish her groundhog costume in time for her private performance the following day (saturday). we finished just in time for me to head over to Mamta’s house for an evening of Mendhi (henna tattoos).

mendhi-1.jpg

Kylie was the artist in residence that evening. she learned the art of henna during a visit to her uncle in Bangladesh. she said that her mom wouldn’t allow her to become a cake decorator, so this fulfills that artistic desire for her.

mendhi-3.jpg

Mamta and Tesa share some mutual admiration of Kylie’s beautiful artistry.

mendhi-2.jpg

Mamta’s designs were so organic and sensual. i had been so excited to have Mendhi done on my hands for the first time. the entire experience created a very bonding experience of tradition, artistry and sisterhood. several women, of whom Mamta is the center pivot, came together and shared in a ritual that has a deep and rich history. the Mendhi on my hand is just now beginning to fade, and i’m going to miss it when it slips away.

saturday morning was errand running, laundry and the other annoying necessities of modern life….but i did make it to the debut performance of “Punxsutawney Polly “(a.k.a. Steph). it was a riot.

polly-2.jpg

Steph’s sister Lindy, visiting from Alaska, helps Steph turn herself into Polly. Lindy is way cool. she’s in Tucson for a couple months to attend farrier school (horseshoeing). she’s my hero.

polly-3.jpg

polly-1.jpg

that’s Steph’s boyfriend, Johnny, on the guitar and Jeff on the keyboard. Johnny also played the saw for the show, which the little rascals in attendance thought was the coolest thing ever!

that night was Mamta’s Bollywood Birthday Bash. everyone was instructed to wear Indian attire and arrive prepared to dance and eat – a lot. in celebration of Mamta’s birthday, her mom, who lives on Long Island, sent a huge box full of old saris and salwar kameez for ladies to wear. i felt very special when Mamta offered me my pick of the salwar kameez, and it was so perfect…chartreuse green with white and purple dots and designs. i love it.

mamta-and-i.jpg

holding-candles.jpg

Greg showed off his Indian dance moves. “It’s like holding candles,” he said.

bottle-opener.jpg

one of Mamta’s co-workers came ready to party – with a built in bottle opener in his flip-flop. i am so getting me a pair of those!!

this past monday was very BIG for me. i did something that i’ve never been able to do in my professional career due to journalism ethics policies – i lobbied my state senators and representatives over lunch at the capitol. we have an annual even here in arizona, Arts Congress, where all those who support the arts spend a day at the capitol to advocate our elected officials to allocate more money for the arts. i’ve the soul of an activist, so monday was very exciting for me! leaving daily journalism has opened my life to so many opportunities and i grow more and more thankful for these new experiences.

artscongress.jpg

katie tries to keep warm at Arts Congress and Rachel holds her son Asher, who flirted with me on the trip up to Phoenix. at least one boy in my life thinks i’m fascinating!