Saturday, June 28, 2014


Graham and Grandson Roman on right flaunting Icee tongues

There are two worlds, people…my careful life of opinions and surety, and the explosive, risk-taking-joking-sometimes-scary-living-for-the moment-time-addled-planet of five and six year old boys. Last week I was immersed in this foreign land, feeling like a plastic shopping bag spinning and swirling in the big Pacific gyre of oceanic little boys. I visited my daughter Semra, and grandson Roman, who live in a Brooklyn brownstone. He just finished kindergarten on Wednesday. 
Lung power and hugs for the Kindergarten teacher on the last day

I’m Grandma, stepping into the imaginary life of this free spirit for a week, laughing on the street at him transform a balled up newspaper into "The Hunchback",

I sit on a bench in “Camel Park” near Fort Greene with Moms, Dads and Nannies, watching these kids let life rip…running, laughing, playing practical jokes, risking a jump from the monkey bars, gunning down and being out-gunned by super soakers filled repeatedly at the water fountain, getting thoroughly drenched under the large spray, falling, crying, insisting on fair play when someone gets too rough, saying sorry after tears, and then running as a pack with the incident shoved into the forgotten past. 
Roman left and friend Graham getting joyously soaked


 I walked and ran, bought icees from the ubiquitous push-cart vendor, refereed as best I could, provided a “safe place” next to me on the bench if necessary, but mostly I experienced frenzied, free-for-all-joyful afternoons in the park, and imagination mornings at home with the line-up of Extreme Super Hero Action Figures, both good guys and bad. 
Roman with the Marvel Good Guys (the big ones) and my tiny Lego Bad guys (my black knee foreground)
 I discovered that I’m still quick-brained enough to invent instant scenarios and dialogs between my bad guys like “The Joker”, Darth Vader and Electricon (name?), and Roman’s array of armored musclemen like Ironman and Mach 6??  Good and Bad live separate lives in Roman's world. It's black or white. When Darth lost his mask and helmet for a moment during our play, I declared as Joker that I recognized him from elementary school days…Huh? Oh, well…I was trying to inject some silliness. 
Roman and brand new combo Darth Vader/Anakin doll at Target

 At bedtime, Roman’s imaginary world falls away, allowing the actual surroundings of the apartment to move forward.
The nightlight needs to be on, the bedroom door open, 2 books read, a song sung, a glass of water, and a bevy of stuffed animals gathered into his bed on the top bunk. It’s 9pm and Grandma Me is stretched out in the bottom bunk with a red stuffed Clifford dog, ready for bedtime as well.
Roman and I on Clinton Ave. Brooklyn NY

Friday, June 20, 2014

MY 50th

Me in the circle

 Dearest Readers,
Here we are. The returning class of 1964-Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Friday, June 6th, behind the Italian American Club in Rutland, Vermont (pop 17,000). Seventy+ out of 164 graduates showed up to receive our “golden” diplomas at the end of the graduation ceremonies for the class of 2014. 

We honored the dead (25), and danced Saturday at the Country Club to celebrate our friendships, our lives and our resilience. I’m honored to be a part of this group. 
I personally danced my brains out with and without a partner. My torso muscles are still charlie horse from too much “twisting”!

We look old. No getting around it.  It didn’t matter. I heard that two classmates didn’t come because they had gained so much weight. Looking good and having some measure of success in life seemed to be unstated motives for attending. Cost, commitments, distance and lack of interest could also have been factors.
Cecelia "Candy" Kane

 I was afraid that my memories of our young, strong, hopeful faces would be ruined by the reality of our wrinkles and droopy chins–like smashing the heads on Mt. Rushmore. Luckily, my brain refuses to remember all the new faces. Two weeks out, and I’ve already reverted to visualizing the yearbook originals–(mostly).

Some memories:
Pappy McGann
Pappy reminded me of the morning she saw me come to school a little late. I guess she asked me what happened and I told her I had failed my driver's test at the Rutland DMV.
She said I burst into tears. Such humiliation!

Suzanne Richards
At the Saturday night reunion dinner, Suzanne, Pappy and I discovered that all three of us had been dating Peter Pond around the same time. He was the rich kid a year older than us who drove  a new Porsche, went to Williams College and was a good dancer. At the time this might have been shocking news. Now it was wildly funny. None of us knows where Peter is today.

Frank Short
I asked Frank at the reunion if he remembered the time I gathered my courage to ask him to the "Sadie Hawkins" dance (a girl could ask a boy), and he refused me. I was crushed. He was shy and I lacked self-confidence. "Yes"., he said...and his wife told me he has often mentioned it. Sorry now, I think.

Mary Margaret Connelly
Mary Margaret was a cheer leader...very cool. One night I was driving from the Hampton Manor– a dance club "over the line" in NY state where you could drink at 18. Mary Margaret told me to slow down. It was late, the 2-lane road was curvy, and I probably had drunk some beers. The Monkees were singing "I'm a Believer" on the car radio. (This may have been a year after graduation).

Hunka Marro
I came to MSJ in my junior year from new Jersey. Hunka reminded me that when a nun asked me for something, probably on my first day, I stood by my desk in class and gave her the answer. He was surprised because no one at MSJ got up when called on. My former school, St. Aloysius Academy in Jersey City required it.

John Spencer

John died in 2005. He was my Junior Prom date. I remember I spilled red grape juice down the front of my white scoop neck gown. I think he brought me a wrist corsage. That's all I remember about it.

Dennis Cosgrove
Dennis died in 1998. He was my Senior Prom date. His passing and John's hit me hard.

Sally Wall

Howard Shortsleeve
Howard and Sally were the golden couple-athletic, friendly, good looking and popular. He was a football player and Sally a majorette. They married and stayed in Rutland. Howard was mayor I'm told. He died in 2000 from cancer and Sally in 2006 from a fall down her basement stairs.
Life is indeed fragile. Even the strong do not survive. They were my friends.

I'll close on a happier note: Maryann Belfore McDonough who I've circled in the picture below
was one of my first friends. I remember she told me she was an only child too, "...but I'm not spoiled." she said. This was joyous news for her and for me, an only child, new to a high school in a very different town.

Maryann Belfore McDonough in front

Our Uniforms–Reunion logo shot and designed by me

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Dearest Readers,
Ecce Me…a lump of flesh inhabited by thinking and feeling.

I’m questioning my self-ness as usual.  I’ve been engaged for years in a gloved face-off  between my logical thoughts of self on the left hand, and feelings about who I might be on the right.

My website’s homepage presents a slow to frenetic spoken word piece, counting what’s going on in my head and my need to keep it all in control. (3min:30 sec)

So what about me? Where do I fit into this chaotic jumble of births/deaths/oceans and stars, called the universe?
(no answer yet from the cosmos, but plenty of certainties from other humans).

I continue to shove my feelings under the daily microscope of artistic investigation with the creation of Selfies
Day 74-Feeling Healthy-8x10 photo print 2009

 Portraits of Emotions, 
Day 74-Feeling Healthy-9x12, conte on bristol board 2014

 and intimate printed Quiltings of this face upon vintage family handkerchiefs.
Day 74-Feeling Healthy-laser print, embroidery, glass beads, cotton batting and quilting on vintage linen handkerchief-2013
In 2012 I harnessed my muscles  to dig a deep hole in my heartland of Vermont, four miles from the grave of Peter Fagan, my civil war ancestor. 

I climbed down, and climbed back out. It was a profound physical experience creating a capsule of emptiness, and descending inside to feel what it would be like.


I might start talking to trees. I found one nearby with nascent eyes, a black tongue deep inside, brushy lips and primitive teeth. Perhaps she might be coaxed into an interspecies conversation about who we think we are. More to come on this.
I’m in the Selfie Show at Chastain Art Center Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia, curated by Karen Comer Lowe. The opening reception is tomorrow, Thursday, June 12th 6:30-8:30pm. I hope you can make it. Other artists in the show are: Suellen Parker, Mario Petrirena, Matt Haffner, Devin Hamilton, Philip Carpenter, James Taylor, Karl Kroeppler, Meg Aubrey, and Tina Dunkley. The work looks great! Chastain is located in Chastain Park at 135 W. Wieuca Road in Atlanta. I’m exhibiting 18 of my latest quilted and embroidered self-portraits hankies.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


I came upon a little wing
Sprouting from a stump.
It resembled a seedling
Testing the possibility
Of happiness beyond
-c.k 6.2.2014

 Dearest Readers,
I’ve been in Peacham, Vermont a week now. As soon as I place my feet on Hapenny Road, Mack’s Mountain Road and then on down to “Downtown” Peacham, I feel like I’ve just been born. 

Hear 4 seconds on YouTube at
I’m exhilarated by the sound of the feeder freshets that border the way, gaining size and power, surging through a rock wall to wind up in creeks and marshes. 

I notice a leaf that falls, or the sunlight on an impromptu pond in a tire track swimming with one water skipper who found a home in this unlikely oasis. How amazing is the fecundity of life!

The view can be sunny and wide, pungent with the smell of new mown hay

Or jammed with vegetation in a dappled field

Sometimes the landscape is deep, dark and wet with secret lives

Or suddenly spotlighting a fragile violet

The warbling song of a single vireo pierces the air above the crunch of my feet through the fallen leaves of last year’s riotous spring.