My One and Only

Despite its title, this post isn’t about my marvelous spouse. But it could be. After all, like the actual topic of the day, marrying him is one of the most meaningful, fun and satisfying achievements in my life, and an act I intend to perform exactly one time ever.

But don’t we all have those? There are certain life experiences that we are so glad happened or are so pleased we did, yet there’s no intention whatsoever of our repeating the episode. Whether it, like my marriage, simply cannot be replicated in all of its fabulous fantastic-ositude-inous-ness, or it’s too expensive or difficult or ephemeral to do more than once in a lifetime, there are just things that will only occur once in our lives.

Making a stone sculpture is one such thing, for me. It was a required project somewhere along the course of my art studies, and I am glad it was required, because I doubt I’d ever have attempted it if the materials hadn’t been put right into my hands, the techniques taught to me on the spot, and the work necessary for me to fulfill the requirements of the class. I’m old enough by now to have figured out that there are a whole lot of activities and things in life I’d never have dared try, let alone figured out how happy I was to pursue them, if I hadn’t had to do them. Stone sculpting is one of those things that fell into the been-there-done-that category, finally, but besides having a decent little piece of art to show for it I am glad there was that one chance in the beginning.

Photo: Alabaster Sculpture

My very own [Untitled] alabaster sculpture, the one and only. Approximately 7.5″ (19 cm) H x 8″ (20.5 cm) W x 11″ (28 cm) W.

Luck and happenstance, of course, have their own parts to play in the determination of whether any new experience becomes a one-off or a lifelong passion. Or, like my marriage, a one-time event that turns into a lifelong passion.

In the case of the rock sculpting, there were a few particulars that [ahem] shaped my attitude about the experience. One was that when the pile of alabaster hunks appeared on the table in front of my sculpture class, I chose a piece, lone among the heap as far as I remember, that had no major, unavoidable fissures in it. This allowed me to make a piece that was not a lot smaller than the original stone without having large parts of it crack and fall off. And my bit of alabaster had some nice coloration, attractive pale veining, and a natural overall shape that guided my sculpting choices. So all I did was refine the existing form and exaggerated it, and that led to the abstraction I made in the end. I just aimed for a sort of rounded Henry Moore-ish sculptural curvaceousness to showcase the silky, milky beauty of the alabaster as best I could. It was a slow and fussy process to chisel out an alabaster sculpture, and it made me ever so much more appreciative of and awestruck regarding the accomplishments of all real stone sculptors throughout the ages. Also, glad not to put my perpetual laziness into extended servitude to stone carving.

So, yeah. I made an alabaster sculpture, and I kind of like the result. And I’m happy that I did it, that I had the experience and learned a deeper appreciation of that art form. And yes, I am also pleased that I don’t ever have to make another alabaster sculpture, with the possible exception of the if-and-when instance of my deciding someday to have another go at it. Meanwhile, I have a decent memento of the experience. And if I get tired of it as a decorative object, it’s big and heavy enough to make a decent doorstop. If not beauty, then utility: that’s kind of how those once-or-more decisions can go.

Rants in My Pants

Yeah, yeah. I get that itch and I just gotta scratch it. Clearly, I’m not much on keeping my feelings to myself. Secretive? Uh-uh. Obviously I’m not paranoid about my privacy. Got nothing worth stealing but the loves of my life, and they are all masters of their own destinies thankyouverymuch. The skeletons, if any, in my closet would likely bore the socks off of any self-respecting archaeologist, and any idiot that puts in the effort to sneak a peek into my nekkidness, physical or spiritual, will get the severe eye-poke he she or it deserves without requiring any action on my part beyond existing in my infinite beauty.

Then again . . .

photo collage of blue/white images + text

The unmapped life is full of wonderful surprises . . .

What I could never have designed for myself or expected as a reward for my humble personal resources is a life history marked by the remarkable and filled with the fabulous. To take inventory of the amazing things I have experienced and the outstanding people whose paths I have been privileged to cross is to stand in awe of my incredible good fortune and all of the odd and pleasing presents it’s tossed in my circuitous life’s wanderings. Here’s a little inventory of some of that funny life o’mine in the form of a list, in no particular order, of things I have or have not done, for good or ill. I guess we all do this sort of self-inventory from time to time because such reflection is an intriguing way of finding out surprising things about each other and, more than that, about ourselves.

Here goes.

Things I Have Done:

*   Been bitten by a pony
*   Exposed a thief by revising a public swimming pool’s accounting system
*   Captured a bird by using a veiled antique hat
*   Canoed the Kickapoo River
*   Designed/sewn a ball gown out of plastic trash bags for a special party
*   Used an arc welder—very briefly and ineptly, to be sure
*   Seen celebrities at airports and discussed tuna sandwiches with one TV star
*   Forgotten very nearly as many things as I’ve learned
*   Grown vegetables
*   Been president of a theatrical organization
*   Helped rebuild an old toilet by custom manufacturing obsolete parts for it
*   Changed tires
*   Been the pianist for a wedding and for a theatrical production
*   Attended a formal banquet in a foreign palace
*   Told lame jokes
*   Been served coffee by a famous symphony conductor
*   Gotten stitches for a hockey injury
*   Drawn pictures
*   Drawn a crowd
*   Drawn butter
*   Drawn a blank
*   Slept with my hairdresser (okay, my husband cuts my hair)
*   Won a Best Actress award
*   Won a safety-orange knit dickey
*   Fallen through a ceiling and hung by my armpits from the joists
*   Rooted plants from cuttings
*   Grilled shark
*   Had an allergic reaction
*   Taught university courses in art, English (writing) and learning strategies
*   Ice skated on a frozen lake
*   Stage-managed a national convention
*   Practiced archery
*   Delivered a homily to a chapel full of theologians and religion professors
*   Darned socks
*   Made dinner for an internationally famous cookbook author-editor
*   Carved alabaster
*   Run lighting for a professional ballet performance
*   Created a computer cataloguing system for a library
*   Disassembled and reassembled an ellipsoidal reflector lamp
*   Played guitar
*   Fried eggs
*   Worked as a temp in a software company
*   Served on a jury
*   Danced onstage at the Opera House
*   Photographed dead flies
*   Shaken hands and exchanged greetings with a reigning King and Queen
*   Driven a shuttle van
*   Attempted Bikram yoga
*   Written and produced a one-act melodrama on commission
*   Taken Chinese calligraphy lessons
*   Slept on a tall ship                                                                                                         *   Glazed a window
*   Been the subject of a midnight police raid on the wrong house
*   Won a baseball trivia contest without knowing a thing about baseball
*   Composed a song about a pony (not the one that bit me)
*   Gone snowshoeing
*   Seen a Blue-crowned Motmot in the wild
*   Fallen in love

Then there are all of the Things I Haven’t Done (yet, anyway):

*   Won a cash lottery
*   Had a dental cavity
*   Owned a four-legged pet
*   Broken a bone in my body
*   Been to Asia, Australia/NZ, or Antarctica
*   Learned a second language (some will say I’ve not yet mastered a first)
*   Eaten escargot
*   Written a bestseller
*   Visited all of the states in America
*   Cured cancer
*   Gotten skillful at any sport
*   Truffle hunted
*   Been able to understand and/or believe what politicians are talking about
*   Milked a cow
*   Danced gracefully

*   Lived overseas longer than a few weeks at a time
*   Mastered the marketing skills to sell my artwork and writing well
*   Been chased by a badger
*   Looked attractive in yellow or orange clothes
*   Died
*   Played golf
*   Decided to have children
*   Swung on a trapeze
*   Competed willingly
*   Overcome all my fears and anxieties and inhibitions
*   Made glass artworks
*   Had an audience with the Pope
*   Been arrested
*   Successfully raised Himalayan blue poppies for more than one season
*   Figured out how to get square pegs OUT of round holes once in
*   Knitted (except my brow)
*   Gotten irrevocably bored
*   Hybridized a plant
*   Studied marine biology
*   Piloted an aircraft or any boat larger than a rowboat

If I were to do even a tiny portion of the latter list, imagine where the remainder of life will take me. Oh, yeah–you can’t, nor can I. It’s the whole wacky and delightful point, isn’t it. There’s just no way to guess where the next turn in the road will lead. That’s how an ordinary broad like me managed to get to this point in life. Coo-wull.