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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day, 2012

Winnifred "Bunnie" (Keelan) McCorkle, July 18th 1923-May 4th 2012

I’ve always known that there would come two Memorial Days, more difficult than all the others.  One of them has come.  My hands shook as I signed for the parcel on Wednesday, a parcel that contained my mother’s “Celebration of Life” program, a DVD of pictures made for the Memorial, three-thousand miles away, a beautiful note card from my eldest sister, and my mother’s wedding band.  Both sisters who took such loving care of my mother felt it should come to me, with my father’s blessing.  It slipped onto middle finger of my left hand, warm and heavy with memories.

Do we all feel like lost children when our mothers pass?  I am heartbroken, even as I rejoice that she has been released from the dementia that took her from us in pieces.  As I looked through all the pictures on the DVD, I kept hearing her last words to me, “I love you too, darling,” said over the phone, last year.  In the end, no matter the family sturm und drung, that’s what it comes down to.  We come from love, we regenerate love with life, and we return to love.  That’s the truth I’ve found, in over fifty-six years of living this messy, incredible life, and being my mother’s daugher.

But before we knew her as “Mum” she was a corporal in the Women’s Air Force, in England.  It was the second “war to end all wars” and violence crossed the Channel to her very home shores.  She lived through the London bombings, something she never talked much about.  I have three pictures of her in uniform, one was coloured by her sister, Paddy.  She did everything from making beds and First-Aid, to driving trucks.  The world was mad, and every pair of hands, needed.

She cooked scrambled eggs, one early morning, for a young pilot who had just returned from a bombing mission.  He was a handsome devil, and it wasn’t long before they fell in love.  Who wouldn’t fall in love with this vivacious young woman, who loved to laugh and dance?  He lived up to his wartime nickname of Lucky when he was able to span her eighteen-inch waist with his hands!  They kicked up their heels, on the edge of disaster.

I protest against those who would make war as business, because I’m a Royal Air Force brat…and every soul in uniform is my family, deserving more for their willingness to put lives on the line.  I send honour, respect, gratitude and love to all those fallen in battle.  There are so many souls to thank, for a lot of the world’s freedom, but this year I walk my labyrinth, wearing my mother’s wedding band, and the only name I will be able to say is, Corporal Winnifred “Bunnie” Keelan.  May you dance amongst the stars, with all the good lads and lassies, to the swing-time of Creation.

I love you, Mum.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Support for student art, art education, alive and well in Fife, WA

Above: The library at Columbia JHS in Fife was blooming with artistic inspiration including this hanging panel of
brightly colored high contrast stucent portraits arrestingly hung verically from hardware overhead. All photos copyright 2012 by Mizu M. Sugimura.

Above and below: While many area school districts have either voluntarily or been forced to make deep cuts in relation to arts related education, I'm happy to report that the Fife School District brought its very best student artists to the forefront during the districts Eighth Annual Art Show last night in the library at
Columbia Junior High School, 2901 54th Avenue E., Fife, WA.

Budding artists among the students families, friends and guests who attended the show were invited to sit down at a well-stocked table to make individual "scales" which will be incorporated in yet another piece of art to be created after the show allowing for a bit of mutual creative collectivity.

See table shots directly below.

Representative artwork from all grade levels taught in the district appeared at the popular show in such quantity covering all available table space, book shelves, and computer monitors. A few pieces were even hung from the ceiling! At a future date show organizers may need to look at larger space options if the response to the annual opportuntity to students to show their talent continues to expand.

Asia Pacific Cultural Center celebrates new beginning

All photos: The afternoon of Thursday, May 24, 2012  dignitaries, supporters and friends of the Asia Pacific Cultural Center of Tacoma, WA gathered to celebrate the opening of its new home, 4851 South Tacoma Way with ribbon cutting, ethnic food, music and demonstrations. For hours and program schedule contact the Asia Pacific Cultural Center at (253) 838-3900.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Grand Opening of Tacoma's Asia Pacific Cultural Center May 24 Shines Non-Canvas Link With Creative Chinese Born Korean-American Artist

As many artists and followers of arts are aware there's a reliable universal current of energy and creativity out there if and when one is able to tap in. One local artist I'm familiar with over fifteen plus years whose particularly able to tap this is the South Sound's Patsy Surh O'Connell.

O'Connell who came to the United States originally as an immigrant, is an example of someone who took a legacy from a nation overseas and transformed the local landscape of her adopted land by making the most of her natural inborn gifts of leadership, intelligence and talent.

During the many years she spent as a military wife abroad and here in the United States while raising her family, volunteering in organizations and working diligently on her craft, O'Conncell also transformed herself into one of the most dynamic and visable of the arts movers and shakers in today/s vibrant Asian-American community.

While the word indefatigable is widely overused, O'Connell quite well have may have inspired the word. She compilled an impressive resume in local and state art circles and is well-known in ethnic and  non-profit circles up and down the Puget Sound corridor. And while in more recent years she has spoken of self-editing her busy schedule to accomodate the changing needs and demands of a more mature family life, her calendar would give individuals a quarter of her age a most excellent workout.

O'Connell is, additionally, the  major reason  I try to keep currently abreast about the Asian Pacific Cultural Center, 4851 South Tacoma Way, (253) 838-3900, an organization while comprised of many hardworking and visionary individuals is also in my opinion, as much one of O'Cornell's works of art which have been enriched and developed as deeply as any of the tremendous canvases that she has produced over the course of the short eighteen or more years.

Coincidentally, the Asian Pacific Cultural Center is pleased to invite the public to celebrate their Grand Opening next week in the facility at South Tacoma Way on Thursday, May 24, from 4:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. which will be an excellent occasion  for Tacoma and Pierce County residents and their families to meet with center personnel, enjoy an assortment of food items and converse with instructors who will be sharing customs, skills and demonstrations from their communities of origin during upcoming classes and events.

During it's lifetime the center has occupied several storefronts and locations including at least two that I'm familiar with in the central downtown corridor. The more recent decision  by museum leadership and board to site the center along South Tacoma Way closer to the thriving economic hub of some of today's most vital Asian retailers and community services might well enhance its draw and appeal to the community base from which it has sprung. Kudos are also in order to the organization's current executive director, Lua Pritchard, who is equally a celebrated force in the community in her own right.

Having grown up in this state as a member of the Japanese-American community a different era and time when such options were not available to myself, my siblings and extended family members, I am well aware what a life-enriching treasure that the Asian Pacific Cultural Center can be. Not only are their resources a bonus for those of us whose ancestors called the Asian Pacific Rim their home, but such an organization is priceless gift for all who understand that our regions ties to other parts of the world will always ensure a better place for our children's and their children.

Gig Harbor Under Seige

This time of year I always get itchy for school to be out and to escape to Ilwaco.  For the last couple of years we’ve had the added incentive to pack up and leave of an on-going and never-ending road project.  Yesterday the electronic sign along the road read: “Wollochet road work begins May 21st.”  What year are they talking about?  What I call the Wollochet Boondoggle has been going on for a two years, heading into the third summer of road closures, back-ups and headaches.  Tucci & Sons are doing well on this project. Allegedly the project is to be completed next summer, but a neighbor talked to one of the workers who said that the entire project, to get out to the Fox Island Bridge, will take another five years and come by our house.  Argh.

And that isn’t the only construction going on in Greater Gig Harbor.  The overpass at Olympic Drive is being repaired due to an accident on highway 16 having damaged it.  They have reduced the traffic flow, but are not in a rush to get it finished as evenings and weekends are certainly not in their program.

Because the county thought we weren’t having enough fun with road equipment and traffic, they are starting another project beginning at the intersection by the over-pass on Pt. Fosdick and continuing in a circle around to 56th which was just torn up a couple of years ago.

Of all of these projects the over-pass repair is the only one that seems necessary.  Traffic on Wollochet gets slow during the afternoon “rush” hours, but it has never been gridlock—at least not until they started tearing things up.

So when June 21st rolls around I will be more than ready to head to the coast and our house on Spruce St, even if it is a main thoroughfare that turns into a highway.  Eighteen wheelers turning toward the dock to get their seafood are noisy sometimes, but at least we should be able to get to the store without running the gauntlet of three road constructions!

I won’t start on what they’ve been doing downtown because I don’t go down there.

Pretty Purples, Posted for a Pal

All pictures by Lorraine Hart
Seems veedub and I were on the same wavelength with our cameras this week, though I didn't wander far.  My friend and fellow Blogonia, Stephanie, came to my mind as I began to take pictures of purple in the garden.

Purple is Stephanie's favourite colour...and I believe she is a pansy!  How did the name pansy come to mean weak?  Last winter, I watched ten inches of snow and ice try to beat my pansies down, but they popped their tough little heads back up, when the snow left.  Carry a weight, put on some purple and shine...well, that's certainly Stephanie!

The last few days have been so gorgeous, here at the edge of the Salish Sea, and my garden is a magical place, every single spring and summer.  I didn't know my husband had sprinkled poppy seeds all about, and was delighted when they began to flower in such a beautiful blue-purple.  There is one bright red poppy, but we save that for another day.

Every Mother's Day, my husband makes sure to buy new flowers for the decorative pots on our back deck.  This year we really seem to be raising the purple, at least for this post!  It's only one of the colours in our garden's bouquet, like Stephanie, in our Blogonia garden.  Ah, such a beauty.  Here's to you, and here's to purple!


I loved the way morning light played upon petals.                

As you enjoy this post of purple, please remember that May is Lyme-Awareness Month.  There's a bumper crop of nymph ticks this spring, no bigger than poppy seeds, all over North America.  Love the purple...learn about the Lyme.
Deep in the heart of purple.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The tale of the tortoise and the hare

Above: A younger version of myself about forty years ago.

Above: The present and more mature model at Seattle's Wing Luke Museum
of the Asian Pacific American Experience during March 2012.

As a news moment this one wouldn't ordinarily merit any attention. But it's immensely satisfying as an individual to realize after poking through several boxes of duplicate photographs taken over the years (with the ultimate goal to finally downsize and purge the excess)  that forty years have passed between the black and white snapshot which appears at the front of this blog submission and the color photo which follows.

How clearly I remember my mother saying to me that given the fact we  both knew I wasn't say going to to paint New York or any other big sized town in the art world, in light of my obligations and duties it was better to forget about making time to work on my picture making skills until the day I actually had leisure hours or a large bank of days, weeks or months when the demands of a job or family were for the most part non-existent. 

I admired and respected my mother. Mom was always good at juggling time. In comparison I am a poor multitasker with then undiagnosed organization skills, distractibility, anxiety and depression. On the freeway of life I drive a Model-T. So I long despaired about not being able to set aside the blocks of time I was fully convinced would be required for me to make decent progress in the area of my artistic preferences.

Fortunately I was blessed in other areas with a real life script which has allowed a impatient Baby Boomer as myself to learn that falling behind where I thought my peers had already headed at such an early age was one of the best gifts I could possible receive. 

I needed extra time to figure out how to be comfortable in my own container dealing with my own pre-conceived laundry list of internal roadblocks. Once I got the concept I was easily able to allow myself far more room than I was originally prone to do.  Eventually I understood  small spaces here and there ultimately add up to something, and something is so often all that we need.

To paraphrase an Aesop's fable once or twice there's a blue moon and green turtles really do find themselves within hailing distance of a small but friendly crowd by the finish line.  And I content myself to let the rabbits nearby run as they will. Because all that is required is to stay focused.  

A Day

Yesterday, May 15th, was a day to photograph daily life.  It is a project by some folks from Stockholm.  It's worldwide in scope and the basic concept is for people of all ages and ability and from around the world to submit photos from their daily life and specifically pictures they take on May 15th.

I love taking pictures and there is so many things to take pictures of, even in my own neighborhood. I was excited to walk around my neighborhood around 6th Ave and South Pine and take some photographs.  I grabbed my humble camera and headed out for adventure.

Before I left the house, I took a quick photo of my seven year old granddaughter Aiyanna (or Yaya as we call her).

I decided to walk over a couple of blocks to a little garden in the neighborhood.  On the way, I took this of our street looking back toward my house.

On the way, I found a flower or two that caught my eye.

The Garden is a private lot that the owner has created and allows the people of the neighborhood to walk though and enjoy.  It is filled with all kinds of Rhododendrons and other flowering shrubs and plants.  These next two were also submitted.  

I did not submit this next one.  I include it here to give you some idea of the colors n the garden.

This one was submitted:  It's a path in the garden.
We love to take the grandkids and walk through it, admiring the beauty of the flowers and the owner's loving care.
The colors are so vivid!
On the way back home some kids were playing basketball at the hoop in the Epworth-LeSourd UMC parking lot.  This young man was happy to aid me in a my quest for some photos to submit.

And, in stark contrast to our beautiful street pictured above, is the back alley.

Lastly, I noticed a neighbor's cat resting on their porch as I headed for home to upload my pictures.

Here of late, I've started taking my camera more and more.  I find that it helps me to look for the interesting and the beautiful while going about my life.  I especially love taking pictures of flowers and my grandkids.  I hope you all are having a wonderful spring and enjoying this weather.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Look Back

I am going to go on a brief jaunt through my history tomorrow at Bellarmine High School. I want to give the Seniors in one class an opportunity to hear how I, with the help of family, mentors, and friends, tripped and stumbled my way through the first twenty years of my life. I am going to focus on how I continually sought ways to become visible to others, to be an individual who was admired. The picture below was taken at the end of my senior year in college, my team mate and I, Frank Demeyer, had elocuted our way to a national debate championship at Montanna State.
Can you see the Old Chocolate Drop standing on the right hand side of the picture? Behind that smile was a lot of fear...I really did not love myself; I had decided to enter the seminary because I had been dreaming about becoming a priest since I was eight; I had had a serious falling out when a very close friend; and I had no grade point worth even mentioning (1.7) and a ton of classes to take before I graduated. Passion... 100 percent; Oratorical Skills...92.9 percent; Self Love...0 percent and going down. That sums up the first twenty years my life. Well, family, friends, and mentors have gotten me to a wonderful point. I have come to realize that I (we) were placed on this planet to learn how to love ourselves and help others to love themselves. I have tripped and stumbled my way into happiness. Truly I believe that the greatest thing has happened to me because I am learning to love myself.