Wings Cancer Foundation honored me with Artist of the Year!
She said tooting her own horn...
Blue Healer - the piece that will be on permanent collection with Wings.
There is a reception this evening from 5:30 to 7:00 if you're in the area. Please stop in, nose around and have a slurp or two of wine. The Wings Gallery is in their main facility, 100 N. Humphreys Blvd, Memphis, Tennessee. Wings offers support to anyone who is affected by cancer free of charge. 30% of the procedes of sales go to directly to the foundation.
I'd love to see you there! You'll recognize me right away. I'll be the redhead dipping her face downward and blushing.
Before the ceremony, Hud and I checked in to the gorgeous Romeo and Julliet Suite at the Peabody.
And they brought us strawberries and champagne!
Hud took me to lunch at Rizzo's downtown. It was divine.
Blackened catfish eggs benedict. Because you just should.
Then it was a quick trip back to the Peabody to change and hop into our carriage for a leisurely ride down to Tom Lee Park to meet our friends for the exchange of our vows.
Of course we chose the carriage with the most dogs and the sassiest horse. Meet dapper Diesel.
Diesel was a commedian. He took his time to get places. In fact when the driver swatted him and told him to go faster, Diesel would clippity clop for about a foot and a half. Then he would turn around and snort, like, "Yeah, buddy. Like THAT'S gonna' happen." Hud and I didn't care. The unexpected part of the trip down to the river were all the smiling people, waving and wishing us congratulations.
When we arrived and dismounted, the driver stopped to offer Diesel a drink from his water bucket. Diesel cut his eyes and smashed his snout into the bucket, spewing water everywhere! And then he threw his head back, bared his teeth in a wide grin and laughed and laughed and laughed. "Tip your waiters and waitresses, folks! I'll be here all week!" The driver exclaimed that he always did that. And I said, "Of course he does. It's funny!"
Afterward the beautiful ceremony, we all made our way back to the Peabody to our suite. What I hadn't shown you before is that the rooms are on two levels with a narrow winding staircase that leads to the living space.
The ceiling were about twenty five feet tall. It was stunning. I had brought our wedding albums. Hey, with twenty-seven photographers at the first event, we have a couple of books and a huge photo box of prints from our wedding. It was,um, well documented.
I put my incredible bouquet by Rachel's in a vase and started to cut the cake we had our friend, Joel of Manna, make for the occassion.
Well, tried to cut the cake. Unfortunately, the table was cut as low as my dress, so Hud had to do it!
We talked and laughed and ate Joel's Chocolate Dulche de Leche confection that tastes like a dream and comfort, sprinkled in unicorn sneezes and happiness. Our lovely friend, Tracey arrived just in time for the treat.
When everyone left, Hud took me to a wonderful dinner at Chez Phillipe. After that, it's none of your business! Let's just say that we had the best day ever.
This past month was a whirlwind of activites with my life rushing over me at such a swift pace that it took my breath away. In cleaning up the house, fixing broken bits of it, packing up some of the clutter and brick-a-brack like Hud's Stanhope collection and my fourteen sets of dishware, it happened. We fell in love with the house. Hud and I and our menage a trois love affair with Schyterbolle is hot and heavy again. We're just not quite ready to break up with her. In doing so, I gave up most of my studio to make an apartment. Hud called Rhodes and as luck would have it, a returning foreign exchange student called two days later needing immediate occupancy. She's happily ensconced in her new home and I can get on with my ninety thousand unfinished projects.
In the midst of it all, we did find time to celebrate this special occassion.
Hud and I renewed our vows in a small ceremony down by the Mississippi River. There were only seven of us present. Hud's best man from our wedding, Calvin and his wife, Jamie, the original photographer at our wedding sixteen years ago, Keith and his wife, Donna, the two of us and our dear friend, Bob, who officiated the event.
We chose well in Bob. He had some lovely things to say about us and our marriage. Everyone was in tears.
Hud said the most wonderful heartfelt things to me. Everyone was in tears.
And then it was my turn. I retrieved my vows from my bosom. Everyone laughed. Hey. Don't judge. There weren't any pockets in that dress! I managed to choke out my words for Hud.
That's Calvin, Donna, Hud, Me, Bob and Jamie with the Mississippi River Bridge and Big Muddy in the background.
And here we are with our longtime friends, Donna and Keith.
October 4, 2013 was just as special as that same day, sixteen years ago.
I had a recurring dream before I found Aida. I phoned all of my friends and told them about my new kitten. "Her name's Aida. Aida Velveeta, but that's just her stage name..." I had searched for my cat for weeks. On a trip to Knoxville to have my wedding dress fitted. She wasn't there. Nashville on the way home. No her. The pound in Collierville. No Aida. The Memphis/Shelby County Pound. She wasn't there. And then, in a small cage at the Memphis Humane Society, I found her. Tiny, shaky and newly operated on. Someone had abused her. Her tail had died and needed to be docked. "That's my cat," I stated to the lady at the counter. "That one? Are you sure?"she replied incredulousy. "Yes,"I sighed, "I'd know her anywhere."
And I adopted her and brought her home where she could be safe. I promised her that no one would ever hurt her again.
You see, I needed that promise myself. My father had committed suicide a few weeks before. I figured maybe we could patch each other up.
Well, relatively safe anyway. Carmen adored her. The first in a long line of canines dispelling the myth that dogs and cats can't get along. At least dogs and Aida.
We often joked that they were so close that they had always traveled through lives together, trading which one got the short tail in each incarnation. A border collie, Carmen had a long fluffy tail. But the only black on Carmen was on that tail. A thin line of it right where a docking would occur. This time it was Aida's turn apparently.
The abuse always caused her trouble. She leaked when she slept. She had bowel problems. And she was terribly shy. Fewer than twenty-five people had ever seen Aida in real life. My brother stayed with me for a weekend once and declared that we were imagining her. He swore the pictures were someone else's cat staged in our home. We started calling her the "Ghost Cat".
But Aida had many nicknames- The Big Cheese, Cheesy Poof, Fuzzy Bag of Bones, Stinky McStinkington. The list was endless.
My least favorite was "Bee Hive". Aida liked to crawl into my hair in the wee morning hours and knead it like bread. Only her claws nicked me. Oh, it was painful! Once we had a housesitter who had never met Aida, even though she had stayed here on many occassions. Late one night, as she slept, needy Aida over came her fears and perched on the housesitter's head. The housesitter awakened to what she said felt like a hive of bees stinging her head! She quickly realized that it was Aida. She laid there, taking the abuse because she was relieved that Ghost Cat had finally come out for her. Aida never hid from her again.
Aida was sweet, warm and friendly to us. When Boudreaux came to live with us, he fell instantly in love with her. She allowed him to mouth her head as she went about her business. It was constanly a slobbery mess. Aida didn't mind at all and sought out his company daily.
But Aida's health had been failing of late.
Yesterday, after contacting the vet who saw Zoe through her cancer, we took her to AngelCare and had Kathy Mitchener help us to take her home. Aida had lost more than half her body weight and was bleeding internally. She was constanty leaking fluids.
A fighter until the end, Kathy took little Aida back to put in the catheter in her arm. Aida started jumping up and down like a monkey. Pop! Pop! Pop! Then Kathy quietly told her that she didn't have to fight anymore. Aida stopped. Laid down, stuck out her paw and allowed her to insert the needle without moving a muscle.
Kathy brought her back to me and Hud and laid her in my lap.
It was a sweet and peaceful ending for my sweet and peaceful friend.
I love you, Aida Velveeta. Kiss Carmen and Zoe for me. But stay away from Tee Tee. She never really was a fan of yours. Well, of anyone for that matter.
Aida was sixteen.
* Thank you, Kathy Mitchener. You are the kindest, dearest person. You gave her the peace she deserved. Hud and I appreciate everything you did for the three of us.
The only reason I've been so silent is that my life is living me right now. I have no control of it. It's as if I've been pushed into a swollen, raging stream and all I can do is try to swim for shore.
So much to talk about. No time to do it.
Hud had a heart event. Atrial flutters. The doctors are managing it and he is doing just fine, but it got us to talking. And thinking. And refiguring our life plans.
We want need for Hud to retire. And keeping our beautiful, gorgeous house is more than we can handle. The grounds (three fourths of an acre), two houses, a pool and gardens are too much for us to say grace over effectively, given the changes of the last few months.
We are downsizing to a smaller property. We are leaving our beloved Schyterbolle. All of us are quite sad about it.
We don't know where we're going yet. The search has only just begun, as are the preparations to sell our handsome home. We've been here nearly sixteen wonderful years. This home has seen so much of our lives.
I always knew that at some point I would have to leave it, as a home like this is an inheritance of sorts. You take care of it for a while, and pass it on to the next person to love.
You've been gone two years and ten days now. I've missed you every single minute. I read some of our old letters today. The ones so long that we made up commercial breaks and drew cartoons in. I miss you telling me about swim meets and what the kids were being funny about and dinner parties and begging me to go on The Amazing Race.
Evelyn always had a death wish for me. At least that's what I always joked to her. She took me skiing - I ran into the lodge. She took me to the beach - I was in the water with a shark inches from me. She drove me home from a mountain trip - we nearly froze to death because the heater in Dennis, her car, went out. It was always something. Mostly due to my clumsiness. A trait she found comical. I was the center of some of her best stories.
Evelyn's life was an adventure. She always found the most wonderful things for her family to do.
And my one regret in life is that I did not go on that adventure to The Amazing Race with you. I probably would have broken my leg, but we would have had a hilarious story out of it.
Love you, sweet mischievous spirit,
Evelyn at sixteen, stopping by my house before heading off to work at Roy Rogers. Heeee.
There is a stand of vivacious bamboo, Chinese bamboo, that is hard to grow here in Memphis. It THRIVES in the space to the north of the living room where some fool planted it years ago. The fact that it is Chinese bamboo is important because it is what the pandas at the Memphis Zoo want to eat when they are breeding. The zoo comes out and harvests it annually.
And they didn't tell me that they were going to fertilize it until after the fact.
I HATE THAT BAMBOO.
Not only does it attract rats as it is their natural habitat, it has grown into every flower bed I in my beautiful yard. See this stand of double cup daylilies?
It used to be a carpet of orange. The bamboo is choking it out. And on Friday, I am choking the bamboo out. Well, two guys are anyway.
I'm having the beds dug up and cleared out to make room for something else. Something decidedly not Chinese.
Here's a gratuitous shot of Simone to make everything right with the world.
I may have to give up organic gardening. The weeds have become zombies and I am experiencing the apocalypse.
My poor Schicken and butterfly garden.
It's not just the pesky mimosa trees and sticky weeds and creeping-what-ever-the-heck-that-insidious-thing-is, it's the flowers of times gone by. We planted Torina thirty feet away by the pool about ten years ago. Every Spring? It covers the vegetable beds. And these Cosmos?
Were put in as seeds about six years ago. The Torina is carefree, taking up where ever it can. Content to grow under the shade of a tomato. But the Cosmo is an opinionated bully, springing up in walkways and shoving around the vegetables. The bed they have taken over with such abandon is actually an okra bed. The shamed okra is cowering beneath the showy Cosmos' display of strength.
I wish the little bunny who has been eating my beet tops and cabbages could learn to nosh on Cosmos and creeping-what-ever-the-heck-that-insidious-thing-is.