Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Short Story for the Season

The day after Thanksgiving, also know as "Black Friday" when multitudes of shoppers descend on the malls and retail establishments like locust in search of the bargains to be had from within. This year my husband and I joined the ritual that I have taken part in for the past several years. It was Ted's virgin voyage on this journey of mayhem.

We awoke in the wee hours of the morning, grabbed a quick shower and a cup of coffee and drove to the shopping center near our home. I was anxious to see Ted's reaction to the crowds of shoppers and the famous department store chain we visited first was not to disappoint. "Oh my god" was his reaction as we approached the car park to find autos circling in search of a spot. We nearly got hit as one crazed shopper rounded a corner rather speedily to acquire a soon to be vacated spot.

After s few hours and a few stores we found ourselves at yet another retailer while lines were forming awaiting the opening of the doors. On the corner we spotted a coffee shop and decided to duck in for a cup of coffee and danish and wait in the comfort inside. As I was waiting for our coffee order I notice a large box for the "U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program" sitting next to the pick up counter. The mission of the program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. Since Ted served in the Marine Corps it has been one of our family traditions to donate toys to this program every year. I made a mental note of the box location and thought it would be easy to purchase the toys while inside the department store and drop them off in the coffee shop collection box as we exited.

We were in the check out line before I remembered my plan hatched in the coffee shop but I noticed a large display of big bags of building blocks a short distance away and sent Ted to collect one for our donation. We paid for our haul and exited the store. I took our shopping bag and handed Ted the bag of blocks to drop in the box. I watched as he entered the coffee shop. Time seemed to slow to a crawl as I witnessed him make his way through the crowd of patrons to the drop off. I stood in silence as he unceremoniously dropped in the bag of blocks and exited.

In the early morning hours, among all the hustle and bustle of the holiday buying frenzy, one small act of giving went totally unnoticed. It warmed my heart so deeply I nearly cried. We walked away hand in hand in silence back to our car. 'Tis the season!

( You can make a donation in the comfort of your home at "Toys for Tots")

Monday, November 15, 2010

What if we treated driving like we treat the arts?

We'd assume that people were either born to drive or not. We'd wait and see if, as children, they started driving on their own, if they had talent and a calling. If they did, we would be careful not to interfere with their talent and possibly suppress it. We would make sure to encourage only those who seemed they'd be able to drive professionally. We'd pay some of them millions of dollars to drive and lavish them with fame; others we would refuse to support, encouraging them to do something more useful for society. Everyone else would assume that they would never be able to drive and would just stand on the sidewalk and watch the traffic. At least the ozone layer would be in better shape.

From: "The Creative License" by Danny Gregory

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thanks Duck Store

Thank you to the University of Oregon Duck Store for inviting me to participate in the "Tools of the Trade Show". This was the 29th year of this fabulous event and I have been attending for the past several years to stock up on the great bargains.

This year I was invited to participate and demonstrate my colored pencils and talk about them to the attendees. It was a jam packed couple of days and I'm dog tired but I had a blast!

The personnel at the book store were all fabulous, the fellow artists were a treasure trove of tips and techniques and the art supply vendors had loads of valuble information. It seemed that customers were non stop and I thoroughly enjoyed talking to them and answering questions. I am always impressed by the support the city of Eugene has for the arts. Thanks again!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Duck Store Trade Show!

I will be at the U of O book store next Wednesday and Thursday demonstrating colored pencils at the "Tools of the Trade Show". Drop by if you are in the area and say hello. You can also get 25% off on all art supplies!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Turkey Tail Fungus 1&2

Worked a few hours last week and a few hours today. One of the hardest things is stopping the process to take some pictures :)

This is colored pencil on Strathmore marbleized paper.