Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Welcome back....

( Oh man... does anyone over the age of 30 even know what this photo is from? For that matter, does anyone over the age of 30 not know? BTW, I was addicted to this show between the ages of 10 and 12 - but then came 1978 and the rest is history...)

20 days since my last entry?! Well, as I have stated before, things slow down on some level in August. But, now August itself is passing and I feel my blogging sensibilities reawakening.

I’ve actually had a rather full past 20 days - I had a very successful solo exhibit at the Chasen gallery in Richmond (a town for which I have grow rather fond - especially after the lovely weekend I had there), made some connections with some new potential galleries closer to home, made a visit to DC for a friend’s birthday, made several new friends and acquaintances, updated the website for the style magazine that I co-publish, finished reading 2 books, began teaching myself conversational Italian due to an upcoming trip to Tuscany, started and have almost finished a portrait commission. I could go on and on.

So, you see, it’s not as if I have been sitting around for the last 20 days staring into empty-eyed into the flickering blue haze of a television screen smashing Fritos into my drooling mouth like a semi-comatose zombie.

Now, since I have brought up the subject of smashing food into one’s mouth, once again I witnessed at the grocery store yesterday when I was in the checkout line the ugly trio of ignorance paired with low-self esteem and their ugly offspring - obesity. A mother and her two daughters ( I’ll guess them to be between the ages of 8 and 11) were directly in front of me checking out. They were all huge. And of course, what food items were rolling down the lane but ChocoCrap Cereal, Heavenly HoHos, Sugar Coated Lard on a Stic, you get the picture.

I saw the obese mother toss a quick glance at the healthy food stuffs that I was placing on the belt with a look that seemed to be a mixture of disgust, envy, embarrassment and hopelessness. In the instant that I noticed her super-quick glance and expression (one thing that I have mastered over my 30 years of drawing and studying faces is the multitude and subtleties of emotions that and expressions that people - often unconsciously - exhibit on their faces - basically I can read most faces like a book), I noticed her noticing me noticing her. Confused yet? She quickly turned her attention to her daughters and made some silly comment about not squashing the bread or something like that.

How is it that this is still going on in this country? Frankly. I’m sick of the excuses that most people use. The message that I would have liked to have given that woman would be to get your act together and think about what you are doing to your children. If you want to be an obese slob, so be it. But your kids? Do you really want them to grow up feeling the way that you must feel about yourself on the inside? You KNOW that what you’re feeding them is crap. And contrary to popular opinion, expensive crap at that. If you don’t believe me. the next time you’re in the market, compare the prices between a box of CinnaCocoa Cardio-Arrest Puffs to that of a box of old fashioned oat meal (not the bullshit, sugar laden, “flavored” instant kind). The Oat Meal is a powerhouse breakfast food and it takes only 5 minutes to prepare in the microwave. Toss on some blueberries, honey and cinnamon, and your kids will devour it and you will be amazed at how healthy it is for you.

Here's a story that just ran yesterday about how in the last year alone, obesity rates have risen in this country!

OK, now I can step off of my soap box ( or high horse, I’m sure, to some of you readers) and get on with my day - meaning I’m about to go on my 4 mile power walk which I will follow up with a wonderful breakfast of oatmeal and fruit. Just don’t ask me about my plans to meet friends for happy hour and free appetizers later on today...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Birds Of A Feather...

Yesterday, after my grueling 4 mile power walk in pea soup thick 95 degree humidity, I decided that I needed to make a quick run to the grocery store for a few items. I shower, throw on some clothing appropriate for wearing in “surface of the sun” temperatures, hop into my beetle convertible and head for one of the local supermarkets.

The icy temperature inside was wonderfully refreshing and I found myself drifting through the produce section casually filling my cart with a variety of different vegetables while enjoying the super powered air conditioning. It was then my little observation which is the subject of this posting occurred. I only preface it in such a way because I think that there is every possibility that some readers my find my posting as non-politicaly correct. Hence, I want to apologize in advance for any possible offense, yet at the same time, I have no intention about changing my mind about my observation. You can decide and feel free to comment about it if you wish.

Now, back to my story. I’m lazing about the produce section when I overhear a woman’s voice mixing with that of some children discussing a shopping list. I happen to glance over in their direction as people often do in grocery stores and thus began my observation. The woman was probably in her early to mid-thirties, dark blonde, tan and extremely overweight. In fact, I would call her obese. There were two little boys with her. I’m guessing that they were brothers as they were dressed in similarly and had matching sunglasses. One was probably about 10ish and the other 8ish.

They were well behaved, normal little boys and interestingly enough, they were not overweight at all. Now, what was memorable about the kids is that they were approaching the cart with their arms filled with packages from the other isles. The youngest had his arms filled with boxes of twinkies, HoHos, cupcakes and the like. The older of the two had his arms filled with giant boxes of Fruit Loops and Crunch Berry cereals. I remember thinking suddenly that the mother was going to say something like “put that stuff back” or something to that effect. I mean, I seen kids try to place sugary crap in their mother’s carts hundreds of time and I know for a fact that I tried to do the same when I was a kid in cahoots with my siblings.

What I wasn’t expecting was the mother to act as if such behavior was normal. In fact, she asked them to make sure that they had the “flavors” that they wanted. Again, all of them were well behaved and pleasant acting. Now, it is possible that this woman could be anyone to these kids. She may have been their baby sitter, a cousin or older sister. Or, they may have been purchasing food for a camp out or a birthday party for all I know. But, for some reason it didn’t seem like that to me. It seemed, instinctively, like an obese mother allowing her kids to jump on the highway to obesity with her.

A few isles later, we ended up the same isle once more and their cart contained even more crap. Frankly, I’m sick of it. If an adult wants to stuff their body, for whatever self-loathing reasons, with processed garbage and become obese - that’s their business. But to help your children to do the same thing is simply wrong and, in my opinion, possibly abusive. I can’t imagine that in this day and age that there is any parent, particularly obese parents, who don’t know that allowing their child to eat the same copious amounts of crap that they consumed is wrong! Why not but them a pack of cigarettes and hand them the keys to your car after offering them a few stiff shots while you’re at it? I just don’t understand it.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Inevitability of the Passing of Time

It’s almost 6:30 AM on Wednesday, August 8, 2007. There’s a light, yet steady, rain falling complete with cloud cover that has colored the morning with a much darker light than what is usually found at this early time of the day. Undeniably however, the sun has quietly begun rising seconds later each morning, now it seems, and, thus, setting seconds earlier. This can only mean one thing - the same thing it means every year - the arrival of Autumn in the air. I can sense its inevitable approach. It’s delivery announcement is proclaimed in every prematurely fallen brown and brittle leaf that occasionally spins about my ankles in a crinkly wind dance during my daily power walk through the park. Summer is slowly evaporating like a bar of amber colored glycerin hand soap. I pick it up, use it, and carry its crisp scent on my hands and even though it never seems to change its shape, every morning, there is less and less of it for my enjoyment.

The other morning, I awoke in a slight panic from that very thought. Though it was nothing other than the fading ember of a forgotten dream, the first thought that clarified in my mind as I bolted up from my pillow was that August was suddenly here and that meant that the death-knoll for Summer had begun. I could hear Autumn’s foot steps scampering across the antique wooden floor of my front porch looking for a place to disappear like an over excited child in a game of hide and seek. Though it was hidden, I knew it was there, somewhere, trying not to giggle and waiting to be discovered.

Once I accepted the onset of the season, I was content again. I have always been an adoring fan of Autumn and all of its golden splendor usually proclaiming October as my favorite month of the year. Besides, I would be fooling myself to pretend that the seasons are actually arriving quicker than before. It’s only that I don’t have as many new days ahead of me as I did 20 years ago. The psyche makes that realization deep within yet tries to mask it with rationalization about how quickly time passes. If you’re my age, or older, ask a child, a teen or someone in their early 20’s how quickly time passes for them, and you’ll know from their answer - even if they lie to you - that they can’t really relate to your ever increasing sense of the sand speeding through the hourglass. How could they? Why would they want to? It’s inevitable, cyclic, entropic, and natural.

A very close friend of mine, who is about 15 years older than I, once described to me in analogy how she felt about her perception of the ever increasing speed of the passing of time. “Imagine yourself in a little row boat on a river somewhere,” she said. “When you’re a child and up into your early twenties, you can sit in the boat all day with no current to move you at all just laughing and splashing water with your friends. But as you get older, you start to notice a slight current which grows stronger and faster with each passing year."

I believe she likened her current boat ride to that of approaching white water. My speed is a bit different, not quite as fast yet. Though, make no mistake, I can feel the current now. When I place my hand in the water, I feel it moving steadily through my fingers and I can watch the fallen leaves smoothly glide by me. And though I am able to catch most of them in my fingers, a few now are able to get past me...