Friday, July 31, 2009

south carolina....

I am here at last with the family and we went on a ghost tour/history of the city within the walls of city to tell tales. I am frustrated by an unfamiliar computer but will attempt to senak a short blog in from time to time. Weddings can be hectic and two families meeting for the first time in a strange city can be exhausting...kind of like herding kittens who just want to explore and play and are rarely on time at the same time. This city is magical and on a walking tour in a light rain last night I felt transported to another time when peril was in the air with pirates, government officials documenting our every move in the moonlit streets. The 13 hour drive and then out late...my body was crying out loud...I need rest.
Today is slower and quieter and we are just finishing our late breakfast and about to take a short stroll around the historical district to still have time to come back for a swim before the rehearsal. The time is slipping away and I know I am missing sooooo much. I had wanted to go to the Magnolia Plantation this morning but I had exhausted myself yesterday.
soft summer breezes
float around our bodies
as we navigate unfamiliar surroundings
music drifts from inside almost mysterious doorways
beckoning us to step inside for
the unfolding story
of life here in Charleston
beckoning us to make our own history
as we walk on the cobble stone streets in the middle
of a chapter yet to be written
of a summer day in the Carolinas.
Distant voices
murmurs
plans developed
for a new life for my Amber aand Michael.
Affirmations for harmony
strength
and a sense of growing oasis of serenity.
The future is revealing as I put these words down to rremember.
Imagine and Live in Peace,
Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A happy celebration of life with people we love..





The mad dash is on to get everything I think I might need for the journey to South Carolina for Amber's wedding in Charleston. I have my rehearsal outfit and I think my wedding day dress...I think. I have tried to eliminate the unnecessary items plus sunscreen and new lithium batteries for the camera. I have to work a little more on my art kit for the road and find the needles and paint brushes I might need. I did get postcard stamps and mailed out my bills. Ken has done an incredible job on the wedding ceremony and I will have a reading and we are using Mom and Dad's 50th anniversary candles for the unity ceremony uniting two families. We are so blessed to still one another to join in in support and celebration of these two young individuals.
We helped to celebrate a dear friend's 80 something? birthday tonight and I felt a renewal and strength in the energy around the room. Stories were told and I think embellished; laughter and jokes sprinkled the pink and white room and the raspberry filled white creme cake was the hit of the evening. When you love someone please do not forget to tell them and tell them now! Life is short so eat dessert first and kiss right after...that negates all calories...this is a rumor I am starting on my own.
We stopped by the girls house tonight to say goodbye and assure them they would receive a postcard from our journey's landmarks to show them we will never forget them! Thank you Vicki ...I love you and Jennifer too! You share and show such generosity in times of a sometimes chaotic environment. Enjoy the Art Walk in downtown Newark and there is an ice cream social on Friday night. The artists and merchants have united to give the community a family friendly event with very little costs. Art Saves Lives! Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The first day Cole told me he loved me too.








Only another grandparent would understand how important this day could be and others who do not like little voices they will never understand how incredible this simple sentence is to hear. We spent the afternoon with Erin and her two little ones ...Cole is two and Morgan is a little over six months old. Chance is still doing his surgical rotation in the Dayton hospitals but this will soon end when he comes home on Friday evening. We pushed the swings on the play set in the backyard as the summer breezes caressed our skin in the cool shade and later the gentlemen practiced tee ball and batting practice. Erin ran to the grocery by herself...sounds simple but is a luxury for any young mother who is balancing meals, swims, naps and laundry all in one day. We are so grateful to have this beautiful young family close to home so we can stop by and just be there with them. It is true how quickly they change and grow and I wish I could be there for the daily ordinary rituals. My words are totally inadequate when I attempt to express the gift of being with my precious gifts...all of my grandchildren. We had Quiznos sandwiches and then read several books from the library and discussed the "Thunderbirds" in the air show they all saw at Wright Patterson Air Fields. Finally after Miss Morgan fell asleep in her loving mother's arms we bid farewell to Mister Cole and I told him "I love you Cole" and instead of "why"...he is two...He said" I love you too Grandma". I just wanted to share a moment of bliss with all who are dealing with the difficult times in our society. Find a swing set...hold a child's hand for a walk...play down on the floor with a six month old and sing...sing and dance like no one is watching except the tiny child mesmerized by your own smiling face.
I need to pack and make several trips tomorrow before we hit the road to Amber's wedding. I am not making much of my art marks but I am living an artist's life to the fullest. I am packing my art kit and will have plenty of down time by myself to document this passing of time. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Monday, July 27, 2009

Whoops...I forgot the Midland volunteers...





I was tired from my water adventures and forgot to post the future volunteers for our theater ...The Midland Theater. These children were dressed professionally and performed their duties as if they had been doing this their whole life...leading the guests to their green velvet seats. Maya graciously handed out the programs and Fall listings of upcoming events. The young gentlemen Devan and JJ guided the guests to the correct placement and Miss Taylor worked in the ticket booth selling the last minute tickets in the hour before the final performance. All in all they were to be commended for their undeniable service and dedication to the Midland. Thank You! Imagine and live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Swim Mary Swim...







Yesterday was an exciting day for our young and aspiring Thespians who performed and volunteered at the Midland Theater's production with the Missoula Children Theater. Sabrina were there bright eyed and bushy tale for the dress rehearsal and total run through of the Pied Piper at 11:00 am. By a little after 1 o'clock they went down to the orchestra pit to eat lunch and get caught up on last minute guidance from Johanna and Billy. I went out to grab a sandwich and came back for the first afternoon performance at three o'clock. If there were any nervous jitters I sure did not see them because they had all worked so hard for the last week and were as prepared as they could possibly be. I sat up on stage left and was able to take a few photos during the morning rehearsal and Ken made a short video later with the second performance. Sabrina was an outstanding little rat and stayed on her blue line and watched for her cues from the King Rat...Billy. They went through the curtain call procedure and photo opportunities for family members and then we headed our for an hour break and to pick up Maya for her first ushering opportunity. We had Lees chicken and made it back in time for make-up refreshing and line up for the big night. The room was filled with theater aficionados and beaming family members. It is really amazing how hard these students worked and how well they learned their parts. We were all exhausted but I do not regret one moment...I gave them a new opportunity and an experience they will have when they return to their classrooms.

This afternoon I went for a much needed swim to unwind my joints and strengthen my body with gentle exercise. I have been swimming three or more times a week and I feel a little stronger for it. I did miss my on-line chat with Wendy Rosen so now later I will have to read it without being able to ask questions or participate simultaneously around the USA and even further. Oh well my body needed attention also. Enjoy my photos and Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Friday, July 24, 2009

24 hours of revitalization in the lost and abandoned spaces...







Here are a few of the photos I took at this traveling exhibit. Thank you Chad for thinking outside the box and demonstrating courage in the local art environment here in Licking county. Sometimes walking against the wind of conformity is a difficult process and I commend your energy and optimism against the odds. Enjoy the photos. Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Final rehearsal... and an Art event in Newark, Ohio







Today was the final day of rehearsal for these young inspiring Thespians working on the Pied Piper! It is truly amazing what the positive energy and one week on stage can do for my young protege's self confidence...Sabrina is tired and having the time of her life. Grandpa stepped in to take Maya out on the golf course for her first nine holes and she has already requested to play 18 holes the next time. She was allowed to drive the golf cart and as you will see in the photo she is very confident of her powers. Arts and the physical environment united to provide an inspiring day for the loves of my life...both Maya and Sabrina have enjoyed a week to remember and share when they return to school...only about four weeks and the summer ends for our young students.

On my way home I traveled around Newark to discover an unusual art experience in our community. Chad Sines and MacKenzie were two of the six artists exhibiting their artworks at the "closed" and abandoned gas station on Mount Vernon Road around 6 PM. Traffic is very hectic at this time of day especially on a Friday evening and with the resounding horns of support and recognition of the artists addressing the blight on our community's landscape due to the expanding economic crisis the country is experiencing at the present time. Chad is leaving for Parson's School of Design in August and Mackenzie is hoping to attend Hallmark School of Photography in Boston if she can find a way to meet the huge financial demands. ( I hope I have the name correct...brain dysfunction and all.) The works hung by good old Duct tape amidst the disparaging surroundings with trash, weeds, debris and total loss of pride in appearance. When the Clark station was opened I bought my gas from the hard working employees who took pride by their need for cleanliness and even planted flowers and vegetables during the past summers. I am hopeful with this new awareness maybe land improvement can be expedited as quickly as possible. Bravo to the courageous artists on the front lines in a very unusual form of political demonstration on a warm humid summer afternoon...the exhibit just ended a few minutes ago and had run for 24 hours around the city. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Curtis you are a super star!!!!




My mural/artist friend was on the CBS Morning Show yesterday in New York city demonstrating his incredible expertise in street art for the public masses. He has created three downtown murals here in Newark and I helped him on the first one...I was so lucky. Today he is working daily in Columbus documenting the history of long times ago. Yesterday he created...with children helping him... a three D effect of a morning pancake breakfast complete with hot steaming coffee and a large glass of OJ. Art You Can Walk On by Rick Compton demonstrates several of Curtis's different styles and examples of an art form that has been growing since the 1980's and in over 50 art festivals throughout the United States. Bravo dear Curtis!!!! You did us all proud!

The show must go on and the Missoula Children's Theater production of the Pied Piper has moved right along and I am amazed at how well the children have come together to create a cohesive demonstration of playful creativity. The little Rats...a Vermin Sermon...is one of my favorites plus the Zombie Rat walk out of the hamlet is a scream. Tomorrow is the final rehearsal day and the costumes and sets are ready to go. Maya Rose has a new white blouse and her black pants to create a professional Usherette look. The transformation is exciting to witness as these children celebrate the Arts and make the script their very own.

My day was almost ruined....if I would have let it...I was given a parking ticket for overstaying my three hour permit. I have to go to court so I am sure this will appear in a piece in the very near future. Frustration!

Have a great evening and we are enjoying refreshing evening rains that are much needed in the farmers fields and our lawns and gardens. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What do we do to suit our needs in times of economic uncertainty?







I have continued my quest to sort and organize my publications and supplies for my personal art studio. I realized I have to complete my renewal project and publish it before we take off for our next adventures. I worked in the studio and then went to my volunteer service/board meeting for the Greater Licking County Visitors and Convention Bureau where we faced so very discouraging news for our economic tourism here in Ohio. The funds are needed in so many areas but the children, the poor, the elderly, the libraries , the Arts and even our tourism are being cut or almost eliminated. I love where I live and know we have so much free to share and continue develop for everyone. Our board is voluntary and full of some wonderful people who work hard to show the diversity and histories of our community. As an artist I came home asking how I have changed my lifestyle since I faced layoff in December. Money is tight and with hospital and doctor bills I have to think twice before I write that next check. I feel that the opportunity I am giving my grand children with the theater workshops and plays this week might not seem important to another but I passionately believe "Art Saves Lives" and with the exposure and creative experiences give gifts to their future and education. I am making my supplies and energies go farther these days but with each endeavor I am living in my present moment. I do what I can and hope after a few more weeks my art schedule will return and I can find solace in my studio but until then I am collecting and sorting my materials and research. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Monday, July 20, 2009

Missoula Children's Theater...Pied Piper with Billy Hart and Johanna Brooks







How do you audition 104 excited young aspiring actors between the ages of 5 through 18 for about 50 individual parts? For two hours Billy and Johanna; both in their twenties mesmerized these blooming young Thespians and went over several different actor exercises and some dramatic demonstrations and a few quick dance steps. This amused the waiting parents and grandparents as I tried very hard not to become one of those crazy stage Moms who wave directions to their young prodigies from the sidelines. When all was said and done Miss Sabrina was selected to be a cheese grubbing and terrorizing RAT for the small hamlet's community. Maya Rose was not selected but with moist eyes she proudly announced her sister would make a great Rat with this Pied Piper production. We quickly signed her up for two theater workshops on Wednesday morning...the first is at 9 AM and is "What If" magic questions that will take the imagination to places where you have never ever been before. Maya will work with imaginative props while creating a character on the stage. The second workshop is Improvisation to help the students develop their thinking and doing skills in an environment where anything can happen. I was exhausted when the two hours were completed and we took the girls for quick sandwiches to rev up their energy levels for the evening's activities. I was so impressed at how they both participated in a large group like today's and in front of everyone and their families. I am not too sure I could have done this at an early age but they faced the challenge and gives them both bragging rights for just being there. Maya will also become an usher for the second performance this Saturday and seems very happy to just be there in the middle of all the activities...I think she will need a new outfit to perform her duties but I do have to check the correct dress code for this challenging exercise.

We were home for no more than ten minutes when Julie Barrett called to let us know that her cousin was in town from Sacramento for a family reunion so we got back into the car for a quick trip to renew Earlham college days from many moons ago. Once again her garden became a serene nurturing gathering place surrounded by beautiful day lilies and sweet fragrance filled the evening air. Soft murmurs of conversations floated on the quiet evening breezes and laughter sprinkled the garden with loving human embraces and remembrances. Thank you dear Julie for sharing your family with us if only for a brief time but plans are already being made for next year's trip home to Newark so the guys can get out on the golf course for "MAN stuff". I felt honored to be included with such wonderful people.

I need to get off now to make a piece of mail art to send to New Zealand for an exchange with a blog mate who has entered my daily circle of friends that I have never met in person. This is a portal of intent and I want to play for awhile so I can get it in the US mail. Life is good and each day blooms with the promise of sharing simple gifts with the people we love. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Seth's buried treasures


I have been on the computer for over two hours ...much longer than I am trying to maintain for my daily use...but Oh what a wonderful time with other artists and poets. The words shared are authentic and full to the brim of a human heart with courage. Themes seem to reappear and we are all willing to risk taking the time to show our vulnerability and the underbelly of our human insecurities. Tomorrow I will continue my quest to expand my horizons and widen my lenses as I make my own marks here in isolation of my studio. Tomorrow is a special day for Maya and Sabrina as they audition for the Moussula Montana Theater group as they produce the "Pied Piper" this week at the Midland theater. Break a leg girls and remember to have FUN! Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A sweet memory for generations to cherish and save.....









We have returned from an incredible whirlwind of a trip home to our families in Indiana and Dayton,Ohio. James Taylor says it best with "the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time "with those you love and love you. Ken and I picked up Erin E with Cole and baby Morgan for a quick trip to Marion to visit with Great Grandma Stewart and as many of the Stewart siblings as we could gather in a short period of time that we would be there. Susie made her famous butterscotch pie for her little brother and Deanie made a huge wonderful lasagna dinner complete with all the trimmings. It seemed as if all we do when we travel is to eat wonderful foods and laugh until our sides were painful from all the stories of "back when" The love was like a soften family blanket aged to perfection over the years with the future generations offerings in the promise in the eyes of all the great grandchildren learning to walk on their own. I realized how fortunate my life has been in this extended family and yes I do believe the circle of loving is growing with each generation's awesome contributions to our global family. I have been graced walking in two worlds on one globe and with lessons yet to be realized and documented in my sacred marks. I am learning over and over again that silence is sometimes the best answer and with patience comes a newer understanding and appreciation for my family's individual gifts. My words are totally inadequate when it comes to expressing my love for these gentle, spiritual people with threaded connections and stories to share. I had the greatest sleeping experience with my grandson Cole and we awoke to caresses and his desire for me to make shadow puppets of dinosaurs on the sparkling ceiling in Great Grandma's guestroom. Erin and Cole made homemade banana and fresh blueberry pancakes with crisp bacon for everyone...Cole loves bacon.
Then we were on the road back to Dayton and DADDY...Chance is performing a surgical rotation in the hospitals in Dayton and we were all having dinner with Uncle Rick and Grandma Donna's "house of playful things "; with their daughter Emily home for her birthday and a friend's wedding, Andy and Lyndsey and Addison and Baby Drew, plus Grandparents extraordinaire Bill and Connie Hoyer. As soon as we arrived Cole climbed into his father's arms for a much needed and missed cuddle time alone. My heart breaks with pride when I see these young mothers and fathers creating a world of limitless love for our precious little ones. Rick cooked on the grill and everyone just "found a baby to cuddle" and we felt so at home with gracious hosts and extended family. The food was perfect and the time will remain in my heart's memories. THEN the time came for the famous Ken Stewart Fudge recipe and lesson. Donna...you did a remarkable job and the laughter made the dessert even sweeter. I hope you will enjoy the short video and a few of the photos from this afternoon of renewal. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

video