What A Powerful December!!!

I don't know where it went. But it was like a whirlwind or tornado or something. At the beginning of the month I knew that I was going to need to construct another blog to make it easier on myself. I decided to just post art here. So baseball, Pop Lloyd, family, books, etc will be at my other blog. It's called Conversations. Click on the title and it will get you there. Take a look! It was a wonderful month full of family, friends and creating. And I was able to begin this new project.

They began as ornaments, but have transitioned into something that I am finding even more appealing and challenging. I'll share some of the new ones with you later. If anyone is interested in how they re made. Send me an email. I'm really happy with them.

Can We Help them Read...
Just A Little Bit More?

As some of you may know, I've been reading and reviewing books for 2008 Myers Center Book Awards. What a joy, pleasure and honor. I wish that I could have made more of contribution. I read juvenile literature, below are the titles that I had the pleasure of reading. As you think about holiday gifts for youngsters in your life, consider any of the titles below. Anyone of them will enrich their lives by challenging their thinking.
I know that it becomes increasing more difficult to get our children to sit still for more then 5 minutes without something in front of them that moves or provides audio visual stimulation. Heck, it's hard for us adults. So how about making this something that is done together. Try reading alternate chapters to one another. Believe me, there are enough "What do you think?" conversations in any one of these gems. Make sure that you check grade levels for suitability.
No, the gift of a book will not initially make you the favorite aunt, uncle, grandma, granddad. But if you have them bring those books for their overnights or holiday visits with you. Reading them together, and making meaning of the stories will helps to create unique memories that will last a lifetime. You are also helping them to develop a life skill that they need to survive.

"From kindergarten until third grade children learn to read;
and for the rest of their lives they will read to learn."

Here's Another Gift Idea

2008 Sheroes
Womyns Warriors Wall Calendar

"Three hundred and ninety six images and bio-sketches of women (it's a 13 month calendar) who resisted the pressure to 'go along to get along.' Who made a difference.

Why the different spelling "sheroes" and "womyn"? To signal that women take action, says Loretta J. Williams, Myers Center director, and that women are not a subset of men to be measured only by their attractiveness to men. There's a spectrum of strategies and tactics used by the various women in the calendar.

Do you recognize the seven sheroes on the cover? From left to right: Egyptian, Tanzanian, Japanese, Okanogan, Menominee, U.S. southerner, South African - resilient womyn! Huda Sha'rawi, Siti binti Saad, Yosano Akiko, Morning Dove, Ingrid Washinatowak el-Issa, Anne Braden, Ellen Kuzwayo. Look inside the calendar, and you learn more about each, and about many, many others.

The calendar speaks to achievements, and to the cost that many paid for their efforts. It honors sheroes from all continents and ages who have challenged exploitation in their people, communities and societies. No one need agree with each and every strategy and tactic used by each audacious woman. Each woman's story, however, offers insights for reflection.

The Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights, an independent national center (www.myerscenter.org), is now selling this popular education resource portraying a bevy of women, one for each day of the month, who took risks for greater than their own private purpose. The 2007 calendar, proceeds of each calendar sale go to carry on the work of the Myers Center, has been used in classrooms for writing and research assignments, been read daily over the airways (Atlanta's WRFG 88.93, for example), discussed weekly in human services support groups, and much more.

Women's agency - women's power - as Sonia Sanchez says: "[A]s necessary as water…..as sweet as rain --- Smile rivers!"

We welcome suggestions on womyn rebels who should be included in the 2009 calendar. Email us at lorewill@myerscenter.org.

Thanks - for in the struggle for justice is the hope!"

You can purchase your calendar by clicking here.
Frida Kahlo/El Dia de los Muertos Tag Swap

My first Tag Swap. I used foam board and cut it to the size of large tags. This was also a good time to experiment some more with Paverpol to try and get a 3D effect with paper. The color on this self portrait was an ideal candidate. I cut the entire thing apart and then reassembled it using Paverpol as the glue and to help me shape the collar and flowers at the top of her head. Diego was added for extra measure.

Blogger is acting up again and I can't post individual pictures. I'll have to revert to the slides again.


I've been trying to finish these dolls from an earlier post this month. Finding the right hair has been my most challenging task. Fatima ( the one in fire colors) ended up with child. I don't know if you can tell that from the picture. The other two don't have names yet, so if anything comes up for you as you look at them, please let me know. I got a great deal of joy out when I figured out how to make the wreath. Blogger hasn't been letting me upload pictures so I had to do these slide shows. When I figure out how to get around this problem, I'll show you how I did it. I am still working on a gourd purse from Sherry Goshon's class at Lisa Heaven's. It REALLY got put on the back burner.

To play slide show click on forward arrow

The FIELD Museum, Red Bull and Philadelphia

While surfing this month a found a site that announced winners of a Red Bull Art Competition. Artist were challenged to make art using Red Bull cans. Entries were on display in Chicago and Philadelphia. DH and I went to the Philadelphia show at the FIELD Museum. The Building is a magnificent old band building. Unfortunately for me the elevator was not working. That means that I only had access to the first floor. The issue of access is one that I face more and more as I try to negotiate the world differently. Sometimes it really bottoms me out. I hate that it has become a question that I have to always ask. I hate that there are those who have always had to ask it. When I was told that the elevator wasn't working, I put on my happy face and "sucked it up". What I really wanted to do was scream at the to of my lungs "I WANT TO SEE WHAT'S UPSTAIRS TOO!!!".
To play slide show click on forward arrow

When we left the museum I walked 4 blocks to the car... The Betsy Ross House was next to the museum and there were some absolutely marvelous buildings in those four blocks. We stopped and had a great lunch. Philadelphia is really a beautiful city. Take a look.
To play slide show click on forward arrow

There was this one poster on the walls that I saw in several locations. It appeared to be really radical. It's the green and white one in the photos. I finally found one that had a logo on it. It was a Mountain Dew ad!

The Wonderful Smells of Fall & Channeling Dorothy

Going to visit Alex and the kids, we have had the pleasure of taking in some and colorful sites. The local farm markets are harvesting gourds and pumpkins, and corn stalks are bundled for Halloween decorations. When the sun is shining they seem even more brilliant. I think that fall has a smell. It's like nutmeg and
cinnamon. It's a smell that you can smell even if there's none around. The autumn colors are the key. It's like Winesap apples. My husband loves Winesap apples. He waits all year for them. And it also has a feel to it. Autumn feels like flannel pajamas, soft and warm. It's that preparation time.

I think that I really got caught up in the spirit of the autumn this year. Could be channeling my mother (Dorothy).
She LOVED Halloween. Decorating, making treats,kids at the door--definitely her thing. Even when she had forgotten... these kinds of things she remembered.

Restaurant Week in South Jersey

Last month, Hot Chefs of South Jersey sponsored Restaurant Week in South Jersey. All I can say is YUMmmmmmmm! If you are in the area, and you missed this one, don't miss the next. The next one is in March. You can find out more information by clicking on one of the links above.

The Hot Chefs web site is worth a visit no matter who your are, or where you live. Hot Chefs is an association of local chefs and restaurant owners. Here's a excerpt from their website. They speak better for themselves then I ever could.

"We are locally owned, independent restaurants that are chef driven by passionate culinary professionals dedicated to providing great food and great service. In almost all cases, you will find an owner present during your visit. We live here, and we are tied to our communities, and not to the shareholders of distant corporations located thousands of miles away. If you appreciate uniqueness and authenticity, you have to be concerned with the emerging picture that is making America one gigantic mall with all the predictable players. Big business just keeps getting bigger and the concept of originality continues to disappear. Our local coffee shops are now called Starbucks; our local sporting goods stores are now called Sports Authority; our hardware stores are Home Depots. Our drug stores have been replaced by the initials "CVS" and our local banks keep changing their names on an almost monthly basis. Restaurant chains are everywhere, and they have threatened the future of independent restaurants. Thankfully, there is still a significant segment of the American public that appreciates what we do and understands the concept of expertly prepared, fresh food. We view dining out as an adventure and a unique and pleasurable experience. We urge you to try our restaurants and hopefully spread the good word. South Jersey has arrived, and you don't have to travel over bridges to have a great meal. We're right here in your own backyard, and please be sure that we appreciate your support."

We made our reservations, and headed for the Emerald Fish. Big Fun!! Even Alex enjoyed his night out (past bedtime). Four Courses for $30. Don't miss March.

Get Well Armando Vasquez!!

My friend Pam called me yesterday to tell me that Armando Vasquez was in the hospital. He wasn't well when he was here Pop Lloyd Weekend. It was good to see him and I know that he really enjoyed being here. I captured a few pictures of Armando and his best buds... Pedro Sierra and Minnie Minosa. Can you tell that they got something goin'? Get well Armando, we need you back here next year!!!
It appears that during my "brief" absence from Blogger a few things have changed. This is causing a little confusion for me, but I will overcome it. I promise. Here are some photos from Pop Lloyd Weekend. They go along with the previous post.

It's Been Quite A Month!!!

I'm going to start deciphering this month from the beginning. Hang in there with me. It's really been something else. There's been dolls, a 40th Class reunion, Halloween, Gustav Myers Books and just a ton of processing. Processing what? My Absolutely Fortunate Life!!! How did I become so fortunate to know such wonderful people; to share such fantastic moments of sheer joy.

I can't believe how busy I was during the month of October. I said to wonderful David the other night that it was hard for me to believe how long it had been since I last posted. I just finished editing the pictures from Pop Lloyd Weekend. Ah, the memories. I've been trying to think of how to put that weekend into words. I can't. I thought maybe by posting the slide show, I could convey what it was like. It doesn't. But I will post it anyway. I'm going to put it on the side. Take a look. I've grouped the photos by activity.

It starts with the Educational Symposium that we do in partnership with The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. Although this is technically the beginning of the weekend, it really starts for me on Thursday. This is when the players and speakers for Thursday arrive. My heart begins to pump harder when I see the first player, or weekend alumnus.

This is one of the first faces that I saw on Thursday night. His name is Herb Douglas. He makes me smile from the top of my head, to the very bottom of my feet. I love this picture because it really captures Herb. If you google Herb, this is some of what you will find out:

Herbert Paul "Herb" Douglas, Jr. (born 9 March 1922) was an American athlete who competed mainly in the long jump. He represented the U.S. in that event at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, where he won the bronze medal.

Competition in the long jump was particularly keen at the London Games. Willie Steel of the U.S. won the gold medal at 25' 8"; Australia's Theo Bruce came in second, taking the silver medal at 24' 9.5". Herb Douglas captured the bronze with a jump of 24' 9", and Lorenzo Wright of the United States ended up fourth at 24' 5.25".

Douglas served as Pabst's national special markets manager from 1965 to 1968. From 1977 to 1980, he worked as vice president of urban market development for Schieffelin and Somerset Co., where he helped popularize Hennessy Congac X.O, V.S.O.P, V.S and other brands in the African American community. Douglas has worked as an urban marketing consultant since 1987.

In 1980, Douglas founded the International Amateur Athletic Association, Inc. (IAAA), of which he is president. He has also served on the board of directors of the Jesse Owens Foundation and the University of Pittsburgh. Douglas, a member of the NAACP and Urban League, was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1992. Semi-retired, he lives with his wife in Philadelphia. He was selected by Ebony magazine as one of the 100 Most Successful Black Men.

But... what you will not find there is what a tremendous human being Herb Douglas is. And you won't find any reference to his generosity of spirit. And you probably won't find a picture of him as wonderful as this one. Herb was a Pop Lloyd Humanitarian Award winner a few years ago. He has returned every year since. I look forward to seeing him, being in his company and experiencing him and this wonderful smile.

This is "Red" Moore and his lady Mary. They come each year from Atlanta. Mary brings me little packages. The best sweet potatoes and fresh black eye peas in the world. She brings them on the plane and I look forward to them.

Red played with the Newark Eagles during the mid '30s to the mid '40s. You can
google "Red" too. How many people do you know that were born in 1916. That's when my friend "Red" was born.

I asked Mary how she got those sweets and peas up here from Georgia. She says she just packs them up in a little bag and puts them in her lap. I think that there must be something in the soil that makes them taste so good. Or maybe it has something to do with the warmth and care of Miss Mary.

Another person I want you to know about is Ms B. Isn't she a cutie. Well my girl is now a sophomore in college. But... what you need to know is that there have been v
ery few Pop Lloyd Weekends without she and her brother. They have sold more books and mugs for the Committee then the rest of us combined. As you can see, she's a daddy's girl. Really though, she belongs to all of us and she really has a special place in the circle of this weekend. It really feels like everyone does come home for Pop Lloyd Weekend. You should try it sometime. Her Dad, well that's Michael. My Dad used to call him the Hatchet Man. And, he used to say it with all the love and respect in the world. Micheal really makes the weekend happen. And he has already started working on next year. In between working at Boys and Girls Club, sideline counseling any kid, or adult that might need it. Did I tell you that he doesn't sleep? I think it's because he believes something won't get done. I like this picture too.

I'm going to share just a couple more that rock my world, make my heart sing and say more then I am capable of. I'll just give you a brief commentary.

These three pictures were taken on Saturday afternoon at Kathy (Michael's
halfside), and Michael's house. Kathy and Michael graciously open their home for a luncheon for everyone. It's become a tradition. You know the song "Wind Beneath My Wings", well ask Micheal about Kathy. Heck, you could probably ask any of us. Well, there's Michael and Kathy. Next is Chef Ike. Ike has been cooking Pulled Pork sandwiches for this crew for the past 4 years. He's now a student of Culinary Arts at the Vocational Arts School. Ain't he handsome. And the pretty youngster with the glass in her hand is Joetta Clark Diggs daughter. She is the generation in grooming. And believe me, she will be just the one to continue the legacy. Ain't she just the prettiest little thing that you ever did see. I could just squeeze those little cheeks. Oh, Joetta was one of our award recipients this year. Congratulations Joetta!

I have to post this picture of Mahlon Duckett. I love this beautiful head of soft white hair. It is just so beautiful, and so is
Mahlon. He looks really serious here doesn't he?

And you really don't post
Mahlon without Stanley Glenn. They are usually together. Former Phila Stars, they both sill live in Philadelphia. This particular shot was taken when we toured the Civil Rights Garden in Atlantic City.
had her back to him leaning over the fountain in the middle of the garden, reading the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" This shot speaks volumes for me. Even though it is the back of Stanley, I remember taking it. He stood there for quite awhile reading those pillars. And
Joettaspeech to her daughter. I saw a sticker somewhere recently that said: "Life is not measured by the breaths that you take, but by the moments that take your breath away." If that is true, then in these few days, I lived a lifetime. Thank you all for the moments.
Amamee Scott-Stephan: My Hero

My daughters are amazing women and they all have such amazing friends. They make me want to jump up and down and cheer for today's young adults. It makes me ashamed that we didn't/couldn't have done more so that they would have to do much less. I am proud and in awe as they articulate their beliefs and stand up for causes that effect us all.

I find strength knowing that they have the capacity and integrity to make this world a better place. I am inspired by how their morality guides their actions and their intentional use of their intellect and creativity. My daughter's friend Amanee has committed to walk in the Philadelphia 3 day walk for the cure. I have family and friends who have been impacted by this devastating disease and so I am touched by it it in a very personal way. I think this is an important issue facing all women. I have three daughters and am not naive enough think they are immune from this disease, but that is not the only reason I am supporting Amanee.

I am supporting Amanee because I know there are at least a million other things that this young women could be doing next week end. I am supporting Amanee because there are a million other things she could have been doing all of the evenings and days that she spent raising the $2200 that she raised. I am supporting Amanee because she asked for me to help her, and I am honored that she thought enough of me to think that I would. The walk in Philadelphia begins on Friday, October 5 and ends in Philadelphia on October 7. Even if no one asked you, I'm sure that is someone who could use your help, so I'm asking you to reach out. You can even help this cause without contributing a dime. Just click right here

Natures Own Way...

My Organizing...

We didn't "dead head" our cone flowers this year we just let them have there way, and go to seed. The joy of unintended consequences was watching what happens in nature when you let it... You get to watch the goldfinch ignore your bird feeders for more tasty treats.

And you get to watch the elders teach the younger goldfinch how to extract the delicious seeds from the cones. (Much tastier I suppose then the store bought Niger).

And if you're real lucky... You'll get to see the elder birds feed the young. It just doesn't get a whole lot better then this.

But what really amazes me is how they balance themselves on these flowers. AND the whole while these flowers don't move. These guys must be as light as air.

And can you believe this hold out. I thought that all the Passion Flowers were done. But there she was, and this picture doesn't do her justice!

And there's a lot going on in my studio too. For my b-day this year I got new cabinets. We went to IKEA and picked them out. We even bought them home that day. I really needed them and was so glad to get them. Did I say that my b-day was in March? Can't rush into these things you know. I hated to stop working in my studio to give my darling hubby a chance to put them up. Plus I had to move stuff around and all. It just really meant doing a lot of reorganizing... Maybe more appropriately reorganizing. Well, they're up now and I've started organizing. I'm sooooo proud of myself.

I must, however, admit that I have quite a ways to go...

But oh when I finish, it's going to be GREAT!!! At least for a little while!

But you gotta check out these two cuties.

Notice the deer in the headlights look.

Well the conversation went something like this.

Melinda: "Wow, Dad can you really take pictures with the computer?"

: "Oh yea. It has this software here. I'm not really sure how it works."

: (As she walks over to join her father) "Well let's see."

: "Well this is the software, so maybe if we just do..."

Melinda & Dad: "Oh Wow!"