Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Creating: Crochet

Trying my hands again at crochet.  I have been interested in learning for some years now.  I am finally  getting serious.  I have my ball  set and my hook.  I started doing some chains.  I am on my way.  Among the projects  I hope to create are a hat, scarf, and leg warmers.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Living: New year 2019: Learning some Dirty Big Secrets St. Louis, MO (part 2)

"Atomic Homefront," Alexis said,"You have to watch Atomic Homefront. It is an HBO movie and it's free."  I started to write down everything she said.  She told me about the group on Facebook, Just Moms and how the radiation was affecting the community because of the  landfill Westlake.  I thanked her and thanked her some more.  I was shocked.  I decided to just enjoy a few hours in Forest Park as a tourist before I went back to the hotel to dive into the deep and shocking reality that was there.

I could only watch a few minutes of "Atomic Homefront" before I started sobbing.  These people are living in this and Alexis saved me from making a huge mistake. My family could have been stuck in that life.  I cried some more.  I couldn't take it.  I paused the video and took a shower.  I came back and watch some more and cried some more.  These people are sick and dying and the government is allowing this!  The crimes against humanity.  I was exhausted.  I took a break, then watched the rest.  I started to research more and more and realized that this was something that I needed to realize.  The reality that it isn't just St. Louis.  I had been living in my bubble for so long and now  I had to face environmental crimes and think about that when looking for a place to live.  Just when I finished my research, I got a text. It was the new real estate agent  I had contacted to try to see the house I was interested in Florissant. He wanted to confirm for Saturday.  I texted back. "Thanks for checking in. New information came to me today about the radiation contamination in Florissant. So I am taking my search to another state. Thank you so much for everything.  I spent the day talking to locals and doing EPA research."  He texted back," Ok enjoy. There are other areas in STL (St. Louis)"  I thought are you serious!!! He didn't even bat an eyelash.  Did he know?  And did he realize that St. Louis as a whole is a radiated city?  I responded, "No, the nuclear testing history and the lead production I learned about wasn't a seller for me."  He callously responded, "Lol, Have fun with your search."  What is wrong with these real estate agents I thought.  Are they soulless?

I found this,  St. Louis County knows there is radiation in the drinking WATER

The day I left St. Louis, I was hoping Alexis was working. I turned in the car and went inside.  I saw her and she was moving down the counter.  I caught her attention and said, " I don't know if you remember me but you told me about Atomic HomeFront." She smiled.  With tears in my eyes I said, " Thank you for saving me and my family.  You will always be in my prayers until the day I die."

The shuttle came to give me a ride to the airport.  This was not a house hunting trip, this was not a vacation.  This was an education.  And at night when I think about all the things I am thankful for.  I bless Alexis and her family and put a protective bubble over them.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Living: New year 2019: Learning some Dirty Big Secrets St. Louis, MO (part 1)

Every year.  I promise to write more in my blog. I was happy to see that at least I tied with last year.  So I promise again.  This time, this  New Year's post will be very different.   Recently, I came to learn a Dirty Big secret.  One that is causing people to lose their lives.  One that is causing children to be sick.  One that apparently is not known by everyone who lives in the St. Louis County area of Saint Louis, Missouri. When I found out this secret, I cried and cried.

Here is how I found out.  I am looking for a new place to live and I put my finger on the map and it landed on St. Louis.  I said okay, "Let's look there."  Knowing nothing about the city  I started to do research.  I looked at crime maps, real estate figures, walkability charts, sex offender addresses and none of that prepared me for the real world slap in the face reality of why the house I was looking at in the Florissant area were so affordable and a lot of them are available.  I just thought it was an old area and people were dying.  People are dying  but for another reason.

I arrived in St. Louis just a week ago to look at houses in the Florissant area, my real estate agent, Aarin Booker said nothing of the dangers in that area.  And legally she and the seller do not have to disclose this information. A few days before I arrived, Aarin Booker contacted me to say she would no longer work with me.  This was right after she kept pressuring me to put bids for contracts on two houses and I refused to sign the contracts because something didn't seem right and she said she was tired of "my feelings." Why was she pressuring me? I hadn't seen the houses yet and I was coming into town to do that! I always listen to those feelings and they worked for me. So, I made an appointment to see another realtor.  That night after picking up my car from the Alamo rental place, I felt like I purchased the wrong insurance.  I started to dismiss it because I was tired and it was late.  But I was like no, if you are thinking it do something about it in the morning.

So last Friday, I went back to the Alamo place and Alexis was there.  I told her I wanted to change insurance plans and she helped  me.  I chatted with her about allergies and she said she was into holistic medicine and I almost hestitated to say that when I was a kid my mom told me to go eat dirt, which she did say that... and I was the least sickly kid on the block.  Prior in the conversation I mentioned I was in town to buy houses in Florissant.  Alexis immediately said," Don't eat the dirt in Florissant."  I stopped, " Wait, what?!" I thought. " Tell me," I said seriously.

Visitor's Center in Forest Park, St. Louis, MO

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Appreciating: Photography Exhibit

The History Miami Museum opening reception for Nathan Benn,  native South Florida photographer, was epic.  The photos, slides, and the large format images as well as the digitally cycled images all were so powerful and captured a time in Florida when there was a lot of change. The photos are quite colorful and humorous with a few that are scary and grotesque.

Nathan Benn signing his book.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Appreciating: Music and Opportunity

I got an email that announced that Nestor Torres would be coming to play in a free Jazz concert at my local art museum: walking distance from my house.  I was excited because there are two local celebrities that I always wanted to see Jon Seceda and Nestor Torres.  If I saw Nestor Torres then both of those wishes would come true because I saw Jon Seceda earlier this year.  When I  arrived home on Friday, yesterday.  I was tired.  I questioned if I should  go.  Then at 7:15p.m, I changed my clothes, grabbed my camera and black umbrella and walked out the door.

I love walking my neighborhood  at night.  It is quiet and when people are out, they are usually  together.  Because I am a resident and my taxes pay for the museum, I get in for free, which is a nice perk. I love the various events the museum plan, but I only attend a few a year.

When I arrived at the museum, I was confused as where to go.  I wandered around for a while and  then  I saw the sign for the Meet and Greet where Nestor Torres was greeting fans.  I went back  outside and there he was! The Meet and Greet was over and was he was thanking everyone.

The museum grounds are under construction, so the usual place they set up the band stand was not available. The concert was in the parking lot in front of the police station.

The music was beautiful and sitting under the stars as it  rained on and off was so romantic.  It was nice. I am thankful  I had the experience.

Nestor Torres (right) posing for press.

Audience taking their seats.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Creating and Appreciating: in Philadelphia Part 3/3

In Conclusion... this is my review of the Better Letters Lettering Workshop by Mike Meyer.  If you are a self starter and learn easily from YouTube videos..this class may be too easy for you.  If you are a complete beginner and want to learn Casual Flash Lettering and Script.  Skip this class. Go find a class that is just casual lettering and script lettering.  It is covered so quickly and not in depth enough to learn enough to even get a grasp of it well.  Only two hours for casual and no strokes were given to practice.  I got very little from this workshop as far as that is concerned.  This workshop is basically a demo and the students go off on their own for the rest of the day. Mike walks around a little but mostly worked on painting projects for students to watch.  During the  fourth day, the person next to me had a mistake in their letter that I noticed.  I mentioned it to him and he didn't ask for further help.  Mike didn't say anything when he walked around.  If you need a teacher to really  push  you and teach you how to improve then this class is not for you.  Don't get me wrong, Mike will help you.  I  asked for a lot of assistance and got it. The cool part of the workshop in Philadelphia was meeting Gibbs Connors, he hosted the workshop at his studio.  He is real nice and a super good  teacher.  He gave me a lot of tips on how to improve.  He was the true teacher at the workshop for me. Tips like how to use a maul stick to pull straighter lines and how to make the slanted strokes to pull sharp corners.  Gibbs made the workshop worth while for me. That and the fact that I scheduled extra time to walk around Philadelphia for a few days after the workshop. Here are some pictures from today.  I learned how to make special effects.  This was so cool and super easy to do.  I just need to learn to pull straighter lines.

Day 4 Bevel Special Effects

My beveled lettering.

Dan's Beveled lettering.

Other student work.

Mike Meyer lettering on the boards.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Creating and Appreciating: In Philadelphia part 2/3

What a joy to wake up in Philadelphia this morning!  I went out to Walgreens to stock up on bottled water and I saw a 5K blockade had been set up.  As I made my way to Walgreens I said to myself, I hope I get to see them when I come out of the store" and sure enough there they were!  The Love Run.
view for hotel window

Love Run

Subway Station

The weather forecast said rain and snow, however I don't really see that many clouds in the sky.  Time will tell.  Today is Day 3 of the Better Letters Workshop on Lettering by Mike Meyer.  Today is special effects day.  Shadows.  I hope I do well.  I am proud of my accomplishments thus far.

I took the subway to the workshop today.  The platforms for the Philly stations are small and unremarkable.  I am so spoiled by the beautiful Montreal Metro stations.

Here are photos from the workshop for Day 3.

on purpose that says CEW I had the R  in art and didn't want to do another to spell out the word crew.

 I love the way this w looks.

Well class was better today people didn't write curse words and the work looked top notch. They even showed movies during the lunch break.  I was so cold.  My hands were numb.  I must have looked awful because everyone was asking me if I was okay.  My heart was hurting  and I didn't  realize  the reason was because I was so cold.  Pascale  insisted that I move to a location by a heater by just making it  happen  even though I said I was ok.  I am glad she did.  I roasted under the heater as I knew I would.  It was almost as uncomfortable as being cold, but at least my hands weren't numb and my heart stopped hurting.  I have to thank Pascale in the morning, again and the girl who switched places with me.

This is a cast shadow and inset shadow and the A has a an outline.

This is a Block shadow with a cast shadow.

.Today was a fun day.  I left early after I finished the purple cast shadow and got something o eat at Hip Veg.  I needed to go relax and sit  down.  The  workshop is a lot of standing in place.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Appreciating and Creating: In Philadelphia. Part 1/3

The No'Easter just passed by and I was able to get a flight out on Thursday, March 22, 2018 to Philadelphia International Airport.  All  flights out on Wednesday were cancelled from Fort Lauderdale so I was concerned and felt fortunate that the storm did change my travel plans.  The flight was quick and my 4:30 out of Ft. Lauderdale landed around 7:11pm in Philadelphia.  I found the information booth, asked about the Train to Center City and I was guided to the signs to the platform.  I purchased a ticket from the kiosk machine which was $6.75  and  on the train as I saw when I was on board the price cash paid to the conductor is $9.00.

I came to Philadelphia for one reason:  To learn and appreciate  the craft of  a sign painter and learn Casual Lettering. Day one at the Better Letters Mike Meyer Workshop in Philadelphia hosted by Gibb Connors.

This student actually is a sign painter.

No pictures of me here I had them on my phone and posted them on instagram for day one.  I learned how to decode the shape of letters which was more difficult than I originally  thought.  The painting technique was tricky also.  The paint consistency has to be right too thin it drips too thick it tis hard to pull the brush.  Yeah.  The appreciation for the magic sign painters can pull off really started to grow  on day one.

I had a chance to wander around the city in the morning before the workshop and I took a few pictures.

These photos were taken in the Little Italy section of Philadelphia.  I am getting ready for day two here in Philadelphia.  Casual letters day.

Day 2 Better Letters Casual Lettering and Script.  Well, I was disappointed honestly.  This is why I came to Philadelphia  to get a grip on Casual Lettering and it was a disappointing day for most of the participants in the workshop too.  I say this only because when the people in class start cursing like "this sucks" as they are lettering you know they are not enjoying it.  Even people who do graphic design were struggling today and one person who is a sign painter did not get a handle on the script.
First no individual strokes are taught.  Just a demonstration and then you are on your own.  No booklet or paper or poster with the order of the brush strokes were shown either.  I spent the whole day trying to teach myself to get the Casual Letters to look okay.  I  asked Mike to please paint me a reference alphabet and I watched carefully to pick as many tips  as I could.  After that I did do better.  I did not do the script at all.  I didn't see the point in it when I could  barely get casual.  I think most people at that workshop needed more time with casual.  TWO hours was not enough time.  Here are my sheets of practice from the day. 
Morning practice.  I like my Q.  Mike came and painted his Q on my practice sheet after I finished mine.

Practicing the angle edge strokes.

End of Morning practice.

Afternoon on my own continuing to practice casual.

At 4pm I finished this alphabet and left the workshop an hour early.

After I left the workshop, I took the dirty Philly Subway to Center City.  I got something to eat at Hip City, a vegan place and ate sweet potato fries as I walked around the city.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Living and Appreciating: St. Augustine

I started this entry on January 14, 2018
It is a three day weekend and I decided to go for a little trip.  I hadn't really spend any time in St. Augustine so I planned a road trip to come stay for two days.

When  I arrived,  I was cold!!  it  was 53 F and it dropped down to 48 with cloudy skies and breezes.  But then at one point it all changed and the clouds parted as if my magic and it was a cloudless sunny day.  I love these kind of moments. Because in Montreal, I would be all  prepared and  here I  think  53  not  cold.. yes cold with humidity.

Emmie or is her name Ellie, the tour guide for Colonial Quarter.
I parked in the Historic Parking Garage and it is perfectly located behind the St. Augustine Welcome Center. In the welcome center I purchased a pass for the Colonial Quarter and the Castillo de San Marcos.  Colonial Quarter was funny.  I recommend it.  The tour guide Ellie demonstrated how blacksmiths worked and told the history of the area in a really pop culture sort of way.

At the Castillo de San Marcos, actors were re-enacting the possible historical scenarios that took place there during various times.  The  costumes were amazing and they really  made the  Castillo come alive for  me.  I  highly recommend  visiting this site.

I wandered around and made my way to Flagler College.  It is definitely a must  visit.

This dome is magnificient.

I wandered around the city taking photos of houses.  I came across this house randomly and it was a house that Martin Luther King Jr. slept at when he was in St.  Augustine.  I just stood there and cried because I was there on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.  It was my favorite part of my whole trip.


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