Turtle Trax Diary. Page 34!!!
September 28, 2001.
Things that happened before the world changed...and after.
by Lucky Magnolia (Susan Shie)
Page One of this entry:
This is a detail of the painted quilt "Liberty Weeps for Her Country," which I made in response to the 9-11 tragedy.
If you like, go to Page Two of this diary entry.
Topics in this diary: Snyder Ice Cream Supper; Turtle Art Camp July 25 - 31; car handover; Nurse Skillet and her beau; Aimee and Sharon's LPN graduation; Omari, Jessica, and Teresa at play; Pat's YaYas' Hilton Head Adventure; Turtle Art Camp August 22-28; Our ART in this diary: Cars, WIMMINS, YaYas Book, Lovers, Mavericks' Picnic; Liberty Weeps.
As usual, this diary entry was, for the most part, written in pieces ahead of time, before the Sept. 11 tragedy. Making each bi-monthly diary entry takes me a week at the least anyhow. But now I'm nursing along a sick computer which could crash any day, according to my tech friend. So I had been dilligent about writing and putting in the image files very early. I only had to final edit it and send it out on Sept. 28.
But then the planes hit the buildings or crashed onto the ground, as we all watched and listened, wondering if the world were coming to an end. For far too many people, it did. And now we are slowly recovering our ability to think about other things in our lives, besides that horrid event. I hope there is no more terror to glue us to the TV screen for days at a time. I pray for peace and wisdom, for tolerance and safety for all. Below is the diary mostly as I had it written, with the addition of the story of making the artwork about the attack on 9-11, and a couple of other events in our lives that were more pleasant, that happened here since then.
On July 21 we had our Snyder Family Ice Cream Supper. It's my mom's family - Snyder is her maiden name. Here Aunt Nellie sits with Jimmy, and they're clearly gossipping about something very exciting! OR maybe they're just agreeing that homemade ice cream is the best, the very best! For the second year in a row, the party was at my cousin Carolyn's dairy farm, and this time we all got a walking tour of the production of milking cows. The lighting was too bad by that time to get good pix tho. Sorry! AND, if I'd had a digital camera, I coulda put these on the last diary on July 24. I will soon have a digital, I truly hope!
For the first time since 1967, our cousin Linda Corvan (right) came to Ohio from California and brought along her housemate Colleen Sweeney (left.) In the middle is my sister Debi Ondrik, and you can see that these girls are having a high old time at the ice cream supper! With all of us having a hard time figuring out which new baby or toddler belongs to which cousin's son or daughter, Linda and Colleen made us feel like family experts, since THEY knew very few of us at all. They plan to come back to Ohio again next Summer and continue their education of getting to know the family!
We had a Turtle Art Camp here July 25 - 31, with Jill Jensen of Forest, Virginia; Annemarie Zwack of Ithaca, New York; and Susan Leschke of Charlottesville, Virginia. I loved how these three women, who hadn't known each other at all before camp, took turns clumping up in all the possible combinations of two new friends! First you'd see Jill and Susan hanging out, then it would be Annemarie and Jill, etc. I think they worked really well together and became fast friends. Above we're on the patio, having our Fiesta Party, with Jimmy's twice barbecued burritos, including vegan ones for special appetites!
Jimmy and I had bought a new car the day before camp started. This art piece is the start of the commemorative quilts for the Car Handover, going from our 1990 Isuzu Trooper Babycakes, whom we loved dearly, to our new Outback, whom we named various things: Aunt Louise (therefore AL), Madamoiselle Kissey, and since the artmaking, GREEN BEAN!
All the black on the white fabric was my initial airbrush work. I really liked it just black on white, but knew I wanted to take it farther, tho sometime I'm gonna stop after black and just leave it.
Above are the two paintings with full color, before any sandwiching, stitching, or embellishment was done.
Here's a shot I took late in August, when the quilts of the handover were finished enough to take slides for a grant app. There isn't much beading on them yet, but I bet I do more, even tho the threads will catch on all those border buttons. But I really did cake them up with stitching. Each of the two panels is 23" h x 19"w, so overall it's 23" x 38". They look OK alone, but I've become really fond of them together.
Working on them helped me get over selling Babycakes, which was just a wonderful car to ride in! She had 205,000+ on her tho, and she was getting pretty weak. Both cars have a manual transmission and a 4-cylinder engine, and guess which one has a ton of pickup? Yep, the new one, but: Could you ever get a ton of stuff into Babycakes, and could you ever easily see her from a distance, standing tall in any parking lot! Our friend Duane bought her, so we hope to see her humming along, under his expert mechanic's care, for years to come.
At the end of the July camp, here are Susan, Annemarie, Jill, and Jimmy, after the students' diligent work in making their fake quilt, as the last assignment of the camp.
And here's the quilt itself, existing as a very nice composition for an hour or so, long enough for sewing the panels together lessons and a good photo op. I have learned to leave the room, while the students create this composition, after assigning them to create a harmonious piece, using all the work made that week, and to make the pieces fit together as well as possible, since the gaps, in real life Lucky quilting, would have to have little quilted shims made to fill them.
And I caution them that more shims would happen naturally, as they would really be sewing the pieces together from the top down, on the wall. Really sewing the panels together would cause some gaps to open up, even where you don't see them in the pinned version.
Here we are, modelling the lovely July Turtle Art Camp tee shirts, in front of the flowerbed behind our bedroom.
And here are the front and back of one of the shirts up close. This was the first time I ever had a student volunteer to make the first marks on the shirts, instead of me doing the Turtle Art Camp writing! Annemarie did it! Well, we all added more textures and colors to the open letters she designed, but she set up the font!
Jill had sat outside our patio and sketched our blooming Tiger Lilies in pencil one morning, so she could paint them realistically in her Deka project on fabric. I think she'd had enough of them by tee shirt time, so I did the lilies on the tee shirts. And I hadn't looked at them closely that week. Drawing from life is such a great learning experience! I shoulda made myself go sit outside and sketch them. When I went outside, to check my accuracy after painting their images. I realized was way off! Still, they're lilies "after" Tiger Lilies!
Before everyone went home on Tuesday morning, we had a photo op outside, to admire the tee shirts and the flowers in the yard. Jill, Annemarie, and Susan added to the luscious colors of the flowers, and I think these tee shirts will always make me think of the flowerbeds in late July!
Here's Jimmy with his cars and the Gloriosa Daisies near our front door. See how tall that Trooper is? You could see for miles in it in traffic! This new low rider stuff is hard to adjust to, but Jimmy says the Outback steers really nicely! We haven't packed it for teaching away from home yet, so we're still not sure how much it holds. You know, I just don't see him being willing to haul straw bales anymore!!!! Have to find a new way to get them to the garden!
You can see how obsessed and stunned I was about this Outback! This is my little sampler, made as the first July camp project, in which we try to go through all the Lucky School of Quilting techniques in one day, so we work super small, like 4" square. I used an antique rhinestone set in a bezel for the headlight, and a great tomato bead, from Embellishment Café is blowing off the roof. This was to justify my piece as representing AIR, since the students had decided we'd each do one of the four elements, but I'd had my heart set on doing Mlle. Kissey! So I justified making my car to stand for air: She goes so fast, the tomato pincushion falls off the roof!
I guess I was on a real roll in that camp! I made two paintings I'd been wanting to make for a long time, or at least I started them. I guess I finished painting them after the students left, that same day, so the paintings wouldn't sit in a heap, which is always a risk, if you wait too long in between work sessions.
The subject is a fictional medical institute run by me, as The Skillet Doctor, and Nurse Skillet, my friend Kat Gibbons. We started our conceptual crusade against domestic abuse in 1998, calling it WIMMINS, The Women's International Mega Medicinal Institute of Neuro-Skilletology. (Has to do with banging oneself on the head with a prescribed size iron skillet every day, rather than put up with a rotten spouse. And you are cured when you decide to clobber the abusive spouse with the skillet instead of yourself! I know, I know! This is terribly politically incorrect, but it's really just a joke, OK????) In the paintings, which are identically drawn and painted, my daughter Gretchen's old cat Vikki the Slasher, who is now gone, has become the institute's maskot, weilding her skillet and slashing, in the midst of a huge pink skillet. The nursie and I stand calmly, professionally, in our respective uniforms. I guess it must be real, since we now have a poster, besides our laminated cards we carry! And I collect iron skillets now, along with skillet cookbooks, as tools and reference books for the institute, which is really just my kitchen!
So here is Nurse Skillet herself, Kat Gibbons, with her beau Rock (Brian) Lucas. I had just given the nurse her WIMMINS painting, and she was happy. She was facing a brain surgery (this is real, not part of our institute spoof), and what she did next was wonderful thinking, for what to do during her weeks of recovery!
She had me teach her some of my Lucky quilting techniques, when we met before the surgery at another girlfriend's house, with our women's affirmation group Oasis (another real thing, not like WIMMINS). We laid the paintings out on the grass by a lake in the evening, after our picnic, and I showed her how to sandwich the painting into a quilt, and she picked a backing from some stuff I brought. I had my #2 Crewel Dritz needles and some floss, and we stitched the borders and ran out of light before the next lesson.
Above is the Oasis group, with a few missing members. From left are : Mady Noble, Susan McMillen, me, Gayle Judd (whose house we were at for Kat's affirmation sendoff party), and Kat herself (Nurse Skillet.) Right photo above shows Kat and her boyfriend Rock, taking a nice sunset kayak ride before our picnic supper at Gayle's.
Kat had her brain surgery on Sept 6, and is doing really well. I need to get out to her place and give her another sewing lesson soon. Boy, was I working hard on my own WIMMINS quilt, while she was in surgery in Cleveland! I am so proud of her! Oh, and this was her second brain tumor to have removed in 13 years!!!!!!!! You can bet our little affirmation circle was revved up that night at the lake, as we held hands and prayed together!
More women to be proud of! Here are two of my nieces, Sharon (Charmyn) and Aimee, at their LPN graduation ceremony on August 2! After a full year of nursing school, five days a week, half days in class, half days in hospitals, nursing homes, etc, there were 24 graduating from a starting group of 40 students. The service was in Jimmy's mom's church, packed full. We sat up front, so I could see, and I sat between my sister Debi and Jimmy, beside the graduating nurses. I kept thinking how very proud my mom would be, if she could be there, instead of in the nursing home. As an RN, she has been the model for these two girls, who admire their Panny (Grandma.) Even tho she has such advanced Alzheimer's, somehow I think she knows. And I think her soul was there with us that night. It was so beautiful, how each graduate hugged their teachers and director! And flowers everywhere! Such a sweet ending, to a great beginning!
Here is Aimee surrounded by proud family: her dad (my brother Jimmy), Aimee's baby-not-any-more! Toddler Omari, my sister Debi, and me. It hadn't been easy for Aimee to do nursing school and raise her new baby at the same time, but she did it! And Sharon had three little boys to care for, as well as school! Now Aimee's passed her state board tests and received her LPN license, and Sharon has decided to go on to earn her RN degree, starting back at the local branch college. Aimee will be working at a nursing home soon. Mom would indeed be proud of both of them! We surely are.
Aimee's half sisters Teresa, next to me, and Jessica, next to Aimee, stayed with her this summer for two months, as they had last summer, up from Florida. Over time, I've introduced them to LeRoy the dead Amish woodcutter, who haunts Wooster (according to Shie ghost stories that I've told the kids for two generations now!) In this walk, one of several this summer with this group, we all had to touch LeRoy's lighthouse, here in the curve of our street. Jimmy hadn't started on the walk with us, but ended up riding his bike down to the lighthouse, in time to take a few pix. After this walk, we went to the schoolyard, where Aimee had gone to grade school, and played on the playground equipment for an hour or so. Omari was big enough now to ride the teeter totters with someone behind him, and to not want anyone behind him! He's wanting to be a big kid now, I guess! But he's still too little for that!
After Jessica and Teresa went back to Florida, I went on an adventure of my own, with my girlfriend Pat Cornelius. Pat had turned 50 in April, and decided for her celebration, she'd get a bunch of her close girlfriends who all turned 50 within a year or so together, on the beach at Hilton Head, SC. She called us her YaYas, from the clique of women friends in Rebecca Wells' books "Little Alters Everywhere" and "Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood." Pat, Rita Cheuning, and I drove down from Wooster and rendezvoused with four more YaYas: Gloria Pachasa, Marsha Neunam, Barb Lamb, and her friend Daphne Cole.
Front row: Rita, Pat, me, and Gloira. Back row: Daphne, Barb, and Marsha. Pat knew us all, and a few of us had met before, but really didn't know each other. In the five days we spent together, we had a lot of fun, and it reminded me of having a Turtle Art Camp on location! I taught an astrology class to the other YaYas, doing up their charts ahead of time and bringing them with me, and providing my Lucky Stars and Lucky Signs books for further understanding after my talk. And I ended up giving them an art lesson or two, also, so that they each contributed a bit to the making of the little "book" below, which is my "YaYas at 50" book.
Here Marsha tries watercoloring for the first time since she was a little girl, finding out it's kinda fun after all! Pat was giving her lots of emotional support! Oh, these executive types and art, they're a good mix!!!!! This was also during the pajama party and contest, which I won with my Wal-Mart purple pj's, but only because I declared that I won, and none of those YaYas refuted me, which surprised me. I woulda put up a good fight if someone waltzed into the livingroom and announced that her pjs won, just because they were purple and perky! Silly YaYas!
Other YaYas adventures included walks on the beach, happy hour on the beach, shark fishing at night (OK, I lied about that one, but we did take a Dolphin watching cruise), AND cooking a lot! Oh, and creative floating around our house's pool, with the help of weird swimming noodles!
In the first page, which is really the "cover" of the "book," we see the lovely YaYas hanging around their rented pool, surrounded by many things they need for their time at Hilton Head, including at right in the drawing, an electrical outlet that would work.... We ran too many kitchen appliances at once and popped a breaker. Couldn't figure out which one was out, so we had to get help from the rental service. YaYas are supposed to be so brave and self sufficient! Oh well!
I gave an astrology lesson to the YaYas, including handing out their personal charts. I played Carly Simon's "So Many Stars," to get the YaYas into the astrology mood, too. They each got copies of my Lucky Stars and Lucky Signs books, so they could become enlightened scholars, and they got their printed out interpretations to lounge around the house with. I love teaching astrology!
Here's our dolphin cruise. It was pretty neat - three hours, just like in Gilligan's Island!
Pat was so psyched that all of us were turning 50! So here she is, as our own Madonna YaYa, sitting coyly on the big Five Oh!
Yesterday she stopped in at my house, to see me on my last day of being 50, since I am the first YaYa to turn 51, today. Sorry I missed you, Pat! Jimmy and I were out buying a great tall bookshelf for our kitchen, so I could put all my cookbooks and some of my Fiesta Ware into that shelf, thereby relieving some of the clog in other cupboards! It's all done and quite cool!
Ah, the amazing YaYas Noodle Lesson! I admit it: I can't swim very well, and I can't float even worse! And I've never used these foam swim noodles you always see in the stores. There were a ton of noodles at the house's pool, and we played with them a lot! They make you float! Where were these when we were kids? Hula Hoops wouldnt' help you stay up in the water! We didn't have the perfect childhood, after all!
This is the YaYas Art Lesson! After they'd seen me drawing and painting our adventures for a couple of days, I decided that the other YaYas had to draw themselves and paint! Here are seven little YaYas self portraits!
Here's our YaYas Clubhouse! We were the second house from the beach. And there were lots of trees to give us some shade!
I guess I should say that this "book" isn't really a book, since I can't reproduce it cheaply, because it's in color. All my Lucky Books are xeroxed in black ink only, and then you're supposed to color them yourself. But this one began as seven ink and watercolor drawings. It's just that they turned out kinda nice, and I do hope someday some publisher will pick me up, brush me off, and say "Hey, maybe we can do something with this little weirdo!" Til then, the Edible Press is really me, taking my originals to the local Staples. And there ain't no color that comes in the books to start with! You use your own crayons or markers! But I can dream!
Go to Page Two of this diary entry.
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Susan Shie and James Acord
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