Monday, October 26, 2009

Trial by media

Like much of the nation I was riveted to the news accounts of the flying saucer shaped balloon as it soared across the sky and felt dismay at the idea that a small boy could be inside. While it was still in the air I mentioned to several people that I hoped the boy was hiding somewhere because he was afraid after he let Daddy's big balloon lose that he'd be in big trouble.

When it landed and was empty, I felt relief and when they began reports of the ground search I thought they should start the hunt at home under the boy's bed and then expand to the yard and even check the dog house if they had one. When he was found hiding in a garage attic I laughed. Yep, laughed. Now that was the kind of thing either of my son's would have pulled at that age.

Immediately the hue and cry began that it had all been a hoax. Tonight they had a whole show about it with the "experts" interviewing some guy who sold copies of emails from the dad and saying they were proof of the hoax. Then they played some horrid rap video of the three boys using foul language to impress upon us how horrible this man is as further proof of the hoax. They have already convicted him and are wanting the powers that be to extract payment and punishment from the Father and they hope, the mother based on all the "evidence" they have uncovered.

So, what exactly is all this evidence? They show me that this family is in need of some real counselling, and Daddy needs some intensive therapy. From their "evidence" I see...

1. Daddy is a wannabe scientist.
2 Daddy is a big time publicity seeker.
3. Daddy was creating a flying saucer shaped helium balloon in the back yard and (IF) the emails are genuine he planned to use it in a publicity seeking stunt.
4. That the boys were aware the balloon was part of a plan for a TV show.
5. That Daddy had yelled at the boy earlier for playing in his precious project.

Hmmm, So Daddy had plans for a publicity stunt with a helium saucer...

OK, I've heard of brighter ideas but since the silly thing was still tethered in the back yard no stunt had been perpetrated yet. BUT, since it was capable of carrying the weight of a small boy it was obviously a dangerous thing to leave unattended with three very active boys about. So, I could understand a demand for an investigation into child endangerment.

But did Daddy plan the stunt to be that his son was missing and might be on board the balloon or did the boy prevent Daddy's hoax from happening by releasing it, hiding because Daddy would be furious, and inadvertantly created a bigger "hoax" in the process?

According to the trial by media, Daddy is guilty. I think they are wrong. I do not believe Daddy told the boy to hide or that this was the particular Hoax he was creating the saucer for. Who would trust a child that young to remain voluntarily hidden while all the fun was happening without poppin his head out to see what was happening? However, I would expect him to stay hidden if he thought he was in big trouble. And with what they have shown of this family Daddy would be a pretty scary man to face when he saw his big balloon flying off before his scheduled performance.

So, do I think they need to drop the whole thing? No! I think the media needs to back off and that Child protective services needs to step in before Daddy gets one of them killed.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Daylight Savings time

I was sitting back trying to relax and watch a bit of TV. But it was not very relaxing since I would check out the listings and click on the channel only to find that the show I wanted was not on. So, I surfed around a little and shut it off. Several hours later I repeated this and again found what was listed was not what was on...that is when I noticed that the little time readout on my task bar said it was an hour earlier than all my clocks...hmmm...the daylight savings finally dawns...the guide is clocks are an hour off...I'm sure glad I noticed it before I missed the season ending of Army Wives or went to bed and was an hour late for work tomorrow. I sure wish they would just move the clocks once and leave them there...maybe split the difference and go a half hour difference and leave it alone.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


After finishing the Dragonfly I was eager to begin another project. Continuing with the pond concept I decided to do a swimming turtle. He is not quite as garrish as it looks with the picture but the flash and the backlighting on the screen makes him seem almost cartoonish. But I am pleased with him.
I discovered during this process that what I really want to do is sculpt. But although clay is affordable, a kiln is not. That makes it unrealistic for me to be able to do the size pieces that I want to do. I am researching alternatives online and hope to find an affordable self hardening medium that will allow me to persue this interest.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Frustrated artist...

I have always wanted to be an artist. Not that I have any great talent or training to overcome my lack of it. But that has never quelled my desire to do something artsy. Over the years I satisfied this desire by trying different crafts and art forms. I tried sketching...but stick figures somehow didn't fit my desired image of an "artist". Hah! I showed less promise than the average 1st grader.

Then came oil painting with a friend. She was pretty good and I was less than adequate ... er...I had no skill there at all except for blending colors on the pallet. But I did manage to make a mess of a couple small canvases before giving up and tossing them into the trash.

Then came painting statuary in the 70's. You bought molded pieces and painted them...I actually did pretty good on that one but how many painted plaster pieces can one home hold... and why? ...they were not exactly great works of art. The phase passed and I moved on to sculpting with clay.

Clay sculpting was a true breakthrough for me. I bought a 50 pound brick of porcelain clay and had a wonderful time creating several pieces. I felt wonderfully artistic as I worked the clay into my vision of the statues I wanted to make. And much to my surprise they actually looked good! The pieces were never fired. First of all, I didn't have or have access to a kiln and second, I didn't know how to properly remove the air pockets from the clay so that they would have no doubt exploded if I had tried to fire them anyway.

That led me to an art class at the local Jr. college where I was taught the basics of working with clay and actually fired one piece. It was a billy goat and I was very proud of it. It made it through the first firing and then vanished. I suspect it got knocked down and broken but no one ever admitted to it. I did get an A in that class but was not able to return the next semester.

Next came a doll making class. You selected a mold and type of clay and the instructor poured it. From there you cleaned the green ware. My problem here was wanting to make every detail perfect. This left tiny doll fingers and toes too well defined and fragile so that they broke easily. The dolls came out ok but the hobby was too expensive to pursue at that time and molds just didn't suit me anyway.

Over the years I tried tile mosaics, latch rugs, embroidery, crocheting, sewing, quilting, photography, carving, and even writing. I completed 3 books that were so bad I never let anyone else read them and destroyed them after reading them through myself. Some things I just burned out on and others, like sewing, I had to stop because of carpal tunnel.

Then the computer came into my life and along with it there were photo programs and web building programs to play with. Software became my passion. And gardening became my favorite interest off the computer. Then one day, while chatting with some true artists on a forum, I commented on some lovely silks one member showed pieced together and how it would make a wonderful wall hanging. She sent me a box of the silk scraps and my desire to be artistic returned.

I didn't want to sew or quilt. I wanted to create a mixed media collage. I played with several designs on the computer and changed my mind at least a dozen times before settling upon my final design and getting to work. As the design emerged and shifted I felt wonderful. Manipulating the piece into my vision. . . Artistic! And when it was finished I picked up some scrap wood and began to make a frame to suit my project. I like the process of sanding the wood, staining it and using power tools to make a frame for my piece. When I finished it this morning I hung it in the living room and set back to admire it. It isn't perfect. I can see ways to improve my next piece. But I like it. I am proud of it. I am an artist at last. Not a great one but an artist none the less...and it feels good!
The feeling of pride in my own achievement is wonderful. I don't know why it has taken me all these years to enjoy it. I have always been my own worst critic and never really allowed myself to feel good about my efforts. But suddenly, I can say it and feel it. It would be nice if others like it too but even if they hate it or think it is worthless because I like it and I feel good about it. It is mine.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ashes to Ashes and Dust to Dust

Dad passed away on August 16Th 2008. He had been in failing health for the past few years and this last year was especially hard for him as he was struggling with the strength to even get out of bed for those most basic of human functions. He was ready to die and I am sure he even prayed for the Lord to take him home.

So when the final hour approached it was filled with all the normal emotions that accompany the minds of those left behind. Grief over personal loss, insecurities over doing the right thing, saying the right thing, relief that it was over and sorrow it was over.

My daughter and I were the first ones to arrive at the viewing. He was laid out nicely in his coffin and the room was quiet. I stood and looked down at the mortal remains of this man I loved so much and felt...nothing. He, my father, was not there. The corpse in the casket was just a thing. Not something to "say good bye too" What would be the point? That flesh and bone corpse was no longer my Dad.

Because of a snafu, I was not at the grave site to see him off. I waited until the following week to view his grave. When I stood there I wanted to feel like they show people acting in movies. I wanted to feel that there at his grave I could talk to him and that he could hear me. But again, he was not there and I could not "feel" him. I left the cemetery feeling somehow that I must be a very cold person because I felt no "connection".

As days pass into weeks, I miss him. It isn't the man in the bed I am missing. It is the man I remember from over the years. The one that stood in a pulpit on Sundays and worked as a construction worker and carpenter during the week. I missed the handsome guy that would sing out loud and strong, whistle a tune or play his harmonica. I missed the man that tended his roses, that loved my mother, that told funny stories, that commanded respect and stood tall. I miss the poet and the woodworker with the quirky sense of humor who created a lot of great things over the years, Dolly and Gar (wood sculptures) clocks and tables, boxes and wood turnings and carvings. Some serious and some, not so much.

I miss the man who practised what he preached and believed what he taught. He is gone. His memories however are still a part of me and those memories are not gone. Those memories are more the "real" man than those mortal remains now laying in the grave. And as long as those memories are real to me he will never be really dead. I am not a cold or heartless person after all. I just have a big enough heart to keep him alive inside of me.