Beauty & The Bee Thursday, Jun 30 2011 

This summer my daughter attended a summer arts camp for budding young artists in the area, and an open house exhibit was held last night for all of the proud parents/paparazzi. I had been hearing all month about her creations, and her paint splattered clothes were evidence that she was truly and perhaps madly inspired. She is a fashionista and likes to design her own attire, so I am not going to lie. It crossed my mind a time or two that the clothes were splattered on purpose and when I arrived, I scoped out the exhibits and backdrops for very specific colors on the spectrum that I myself had scrubbed from her wardrobe. We just threw out the fabric SPRAY PAINT here since my walls have been shaded a nice Caribbean Blue by her talented apprentice/younger brother so this suspicion was not totally out of reach.

The big piece I had been dying to see was a large chess piece sculpture created from a glass jug, paper mache, plastic plates, styrofoam balls, and of course paint. Someone drank A LOT of wine to have emptied those jugs, yet I had not even been called. I would have volunteered my services for such a worthy cause if only I’d been asked. The day she came home and described to me her theme for this series was a proud one. She envisioned a series of chess pieces created around insects. Her first inspiration was “To be… a bee” and it was not a question. A queen bee represented her personality well and would not be too difficult or time-consuming to create in the amount of studio time she had alloted. Her second idea? A spider as a king piece. Why? Because it might easily freak out her brother should she sneak it into his bedroom in the middle of the night. Her third and final vision was my favorite though admittedly would have been difficult to construct. This masterpiece was conceived around the bishop figure for her class’s game board, and when she asked me to guess what insect would represent this piece, she folded her hands together and bowed her head. A PRAYING MANTIS was to serve as the bishop. That’s MY girl!! Take a bow, Honey! You have come a long way from the little thumbprint butterflies you made for me and have left a print on my soul that is as unique and individual as your creations.

She attended classes in 3-D sculpture, 2-D sculpture, and Cartoons & Comics this summer and had art on display from all of them last night in the gymnasium. She had constructed a board game with a heavenly theme and little angel game pieces where the object was to get into the gates of Heaven. Too bad the corner broke off as she was running away with it from Brother today. The poor little devil. She sculpted a giant Tetris game piece constructed of tin foil and blue water colors that we have discovered STAIN and may induce my own “Blue Period” if I discover it on my walls next to last week’s Caribbean Blue fabric paint. My little Picasso hand painted a set of dice and a hot pink and orange set of game tiles that were displayed with her cute little age and name for all the other parents and family members to see. We took pictures of her last night in all her glory standing in front of her maze she had designed, colored and hung. We were struck by her refusal to follow suit with her deck of cards picture in that she chose to draw a princess “like her” instead of a queen and decorated all fours corners with green shamrocks for luck instead of traditional black clubs. It was a proud night for all of us as this summer has been one of change, but our little family and the pride we show has remained a constant even though we may have joined a different club in the statistics. (more…)

Daddy’s Girl Sunday, Jun 19 2011 

So it’s Father’s Day. And THIS is my Dad. It’s one of my favorite pictures of him, and in it he’s celebrating a professional victory. A BIG win on a BIG case in the BIG Easy. He looks cool, right? I mean, everybody has a picture of their dad wearing a leather Bomber jacket over a duck appliquéd sweater over a fancy Cousin Eddie mock turleneck dickie, for sure. He’s smoking the celebratory cigar, and I can still remember his favorites – Flora Fina 858. Look carefully, and you can see my reflection in the glass of the frame. You can see a lot of him in me today. He helped frame who I am, and as I reflect on the 24 years that I was blessed to have spent with him, I do it with a smile on my face. Good, but with no cigar… Yet!

One time when I was flipping through old photo albums, my daughter, who was about 4 at the time, entered the room and the conversation went something like this:

JC: You know, I KNOW what your dad was.
Me: Oh, really? How did you know? Did I tell you?
JC: No. But I know what it means.
{dramatically looking down her nose at me as I was sitting on the floor}
He was one of those guys that stands around a store or parking lot and doesn’t pay for anything.
{And she narrowed her little eyes disapprovingly}
Me: Wait, whaaa?? HUH??? Where did you hear that?
JC: I saw it on a sign and asked you what the word meant.
Me: {frantically flashing back through my mind to recall what I could POSSIBLY
have said to have disparaged my dad so…. BING! Light bulb illuminates}
Oooooh!!! No, Honey. I must’ve confused you. My dad was a LAWYER not a LOITERER.
JC: What’s the difference?
Me: Well… Um… Nevermind actually. Just go with that I guess.

Dad was an attorney. He was a pretty damn good one too. His strength was in the courtroom where he had an amazing ability to connect with jurors and colleagues alike. It was just something that came naturally to him, and his personal attributes helped him professionally. He was a small town guy that was more relatable to the every day Joe than the big city high falutin corporate types. I’ll never forget the time he told me about how opposing counsel walked into the conference room to prepare for depositions and everyone had to wait while Bentley, Baron & Higgins (or whatever their Ivy League sounding names were) inked up their Mont Blancs with their little wells. Dad finally got annoyed, I guess, at their tactics used to intimidate the poor little commoner being deposed, and pulled out his Bic like a knight in shining armor brandishing his sword to save the day. “C’mon, Guys. Let’s get this going,” he said. He was a great litigator and his reputation as such allowed him an edge when trying to settle cases out of court. He was a formidable opponent in the courtroom so other attorneys often wisely chose to settle rather than risk a duel. People almost HAD to like him even if they were against him. It was a double edged sword for an opponent.

Daddy held an office on the 6th floor of a local building with a view of the lake. I even got to work there as a runner for the law firm. It was a very prestigious position as I believe I was the ONLY runner in town who’s job title was truly accurate. I literally ran all over downtown in the summer heat and humidity frizzing my hair with each important delivery that I made since I did not have a car. Ever the outdoorsman, he also kept a set of high powered binoculars perched on his window sill in that office so that he could look out and into the boats on the lake. If the birds were working and his own work could wait, he’d fly down the road to the house where he kept his boat. Many a partner of his may recall getting a phone call saying, “Meet me downstairs at the seawall. I’ll pick you up in the boat in 10 minutes.“ Those same guys may also remember getting into a bit of trouble at home when they’d arrive from a long day at “work” with their suit paints smelling of salt water air and fish guts. I may need to set my own sights on a nice set of binoculars for myself someday because from where I sit at my vanity/writing desk, I have a similar view. Except I don’t live in a big HOUSE. Or have an OFFICE. And neither are on a LAKE. But since I DO have a second floor apartment, my view of the SEWAGE POND from the TRAILER PARK behind me and it’s residential POOL offer me quite an entertaining view from my HOME/OFFICE ifIdosaysomyselfthankyouverymuch!