Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I feel fine about this!!

... and I feel fine about this!!
Woohoo!! I"m happy and proud to be included in this amazing new book - my image (a self portrait) and quote will be one of many in this important social work. Below are a few excerpts from the final email I recieved ...

"Dear Susan,

I realize it has been some time since you last heard from us; we have been very busy finalizing the We Feel Fine book and have some great news to share with you. Your image (below) has been selected to appear in the published edition. Thank you so much for your contribution and congratulations!

My name is Sep Kamvar and I am one of the co-authors of the book (Jonathan Harris, whom I have cc'd here, is the other co-author). I wanted to take this time to give you some more information about the book, and also let you know about next steps. Please make sure to read the Next Steps section of this e-mail because there still might be some things that we need from you."

... (detail info) ..

"So, here we go...


The book, titled
We Feel Fine: an Almanac of Human Emotion, is currently scheduled to be released on December 1st. Our publisher is Scribner, which is a division of Simon & Schuster.

I've attached the book cover as well as the page where your photo appears. We are very pleased with how your photo fits into the book and hope that you agree. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.""

This is the image that will be used ...

It's a self-portrait that I did to accompany a post in Flickr here when I was "tagged" for one of those "getting to know you" games (list 16 things about you that most people don't know".)

The quote they will use with it was,
"I'm 56, but in my head and my heart I feel 32 ..."

Isn't that fun?!

No, I don't get paid, but it is fun to be a blip in a book that is being talked about as "the conversation book of the century"! I'll be listed as "a contributor" - complete with headshot, home town and blog info. And of course, I was invited to the publishing party, etc. (if I happen to be in New York at the time.) Ha!

It's a such an interesting project, these tiny life stories/works of art - and I just saw the most amazing talk by Jonathan Harris (one of the authors)
which includes this project and others ... wow! I highly recommend it - fascinating to say the least!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

On Saturday we made a family trip to Firewheel Mall ...

a wonderfully, quaint "outdoor" mall designed around the concept of the old style "town square". They have fountains, a "creek",
a playground, shaded patio style dining tables and beautiful plantings everywhere. I think I'm actually "allergic" to indoor malls. I'm not what you'd call a shopper ... I almost always have a specific place and purpose in mind and detest having to waste time and energy slogging the length of twelve football fields to get to it! When I can simply park in front of the specific store and get my business done I'm a happy camper - especially if that leaves me enough time to stroll around lovely grounds and window shop at my leisure.

This trip included both daughters, the five little ones, the Budman and me ... and the first stop was a "visit" to their friends at Build-A-Bear. There was hilarity at every turn it seemed, especially as most of the accessories tested were found to be Luke-sized!

Then we stopped at a visiting vendor station - Incan Indians playing the most wonderful music from their handcrafted instruments - lovely flutes and other wind instruments of all styles and other beautiful instruments and jewelry as well.


Each kid was allowed to choose one little something special.
Wise choices ...

Kenzie chose the lovely shell necklace (looks so beautiful on her!) Trey selected a wooden flute and Zachary the clay flute (ocarina) on a leather strap. Madison preferred to choose something later from Sweet & Sassy (such a girlie-girl!)

I took pics of the artists (Inka Wayra) as they played which pleased them and I think they'll be happy with the photos that I'm emailing to them.

Inka Wayra at Firewheel Market

The "mall police" however, weren't too happy with my photo-taking! One little lady on a Seguay scooter came over - said that she was sent by management to check me out and inform me that photos weren't allowed except for family - absolutely NONE of the architecture. I showed her a bit of what was on my cam (family, flowers and the vendors - with their prior permission) and she reluctantly agreed to let me continue ... but I had the feeling she had her eye on me!! ;-)

The kids couldn't stay away from the rocky creek area for long and soon we found ourselves there -

They splashed and climbed and we got some great impromptu family shots and some fun candids to remember the day.

Family at Firewheel

By then everyone was ready for a treat so the next stop was the Nestle's Tollhouse Cookie Shop which has awesome icecreams as well.

I opted for a cherry slushy - perfect for a hot day - the first I've had in ages ( I'm craving one again right now)!

The guys in the party were ready to head for home, but we made one more stop for the girls - the Sweet n' Sassy Shop - for only the girliest of girls, I tell ya ... fun!

When some folks talk of "going to the mall" - it's to shop. We, however, came away with most of our money still in our pockets - and richer still for the photos and memories of family fun.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Learn the flowers ... go light.


The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us.
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:
stay together
learn the flowers
go light


Pink Flip-Flops ...

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Below is quite possibly my most very favorite poem ... It comes to me - full and rich - in the oddest of moments.

This time I had slogged through the mud of the recently tree-cleared and re-seeded side yard after a thorough watering - wearing these - my "at the ready, by the back door" flip flops. A puddle had collected in a dip in the driveway (our Texas foundations are want to rise and fall) and I happily used it to splash away the mud from my toes and left the sandals floating - to soak away the rest of the muck.

There - standing in the sunwarmed puddle - in the beautiful light at the dimming of the day - still a little damp from dodging the sprinklers to follow a monarch butterfly around the yard - I thought to myself "This day has become a presence to me."

Granted - I had no great charge to answer for this particular day other than preparing meals and doing for my family - but once again I was awakened - to do it with a whole self and a full heart.

- VARIATION ON A THEME BY RILKE -(The Book of Hours, Book I, Poem 1, Stanza 1)

A certain day became a presence to me;
there it was, confronting me — a sky, air, light:
a being. And before it started to descend
from the height of noon, it leaned over
and struck my shoulder as if with
the flat of a sword, granting me
honor and a task. The day’s blow
rang out, metallic — or it was I, a bell awakened,
and what I heard was my whole self
saying and singing what it knew: I can.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

The #1 Sign of Summer!

I love how they package these popsicles ... in a mesh bag - they look amazing! Can't freeze them fast enough to keep up around here!

Popsicles have always been such a huge part of summer my whole life ...
I remember the days when we made our own popsicles ... Mom would freeze Koolaid in icecube trays. It was a huge revolutionary "event" the day that Tupperware introduced the plastic popsicle molds! We'd check the freezer every ten minutes to see if they were ready yet!
Now I'm addicted to the frozen fruit bars - in particular the "real fruit" (strawberry) Yummmm ....

In blog talking with my artist friend, Liz, (about how she renders walnut ink for use in her amazing art!) I was reminded of my childhood when we pounded mimosa blossoms to render our own "paint" (which we then used to create our "art" on the driveway and tattoos on our bodies - yikes!) That in turn reminded me of this poem I wrote a few years ago - which oddly enough happens to speak of both popsicles and mimosa juice memories in celebration of summer and childhood - and holding onto what we can of it all ...

Stains of Summer

I put on quite a show in my garden today...
heated beyond all sensibility I throw down my tools
and sprint through the sprinkler mist.
Grass and soil cling to my toes,
mascara runs unchecked
down sunburned cheeks puffed wide in a comic grin -
as the water cools hot skin,
washes me clean of the day's sweat and red clay.
Shimmering rainbows of wet
glisten on grateful hot and weary muscle,
and my bones listen to remembered whispers
of younger days in the sun...

I was an abstract --
lively, living-child art.
Purple popsicle drips on brown bare legs
grass greened knees,
tattoos drawn in mimosa ink,
blackberry juice dribbled on cheek and chin -
summer stains worn with pride
scrubbed away in a glide
down a long, long runway
of dayglow orange slip-n-slide -
or bleached away in chlorined pools
to the point of sun weary, wrinkled,
red-eyed bliss....
or simply left to fade with the day.

A neighbor happens by;
her horn honk blasts me from my reverie-
I tip my soggy garden hat in salute
and paint my smile with purple popscicle.

Copyright ©2005 Susan M. Kennedy

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Brothers, originally uploaded by Sparky2*.

This was our first "shoot" - and we had such a blast doing it. :-)
Here is a link to see the entire shoot as a slideshow - in large and on black!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Celebration of Country, Family and Friends!

"Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people."
~ Ronald Reagan ~

Computer problems kept me from posting all the amazing things from our July 4th long weekend ... but better late than never, right?

We spent the afternoon at Bardwell Lake (near Ennis/Waxahachie) with family ... Kelly & Richie with their three kids, Richie's parents, his sister and her two kids (oh and the amazing Bailey-dog), Buddy & me, Shannon and her two and Shea & Kim (with their kid-to-be.) ;-)

The Schwartz families shared their pontoon and ski boat for an afternoon of tubing and skiing. There was a cabana for shade with baby Lukas and there were even a few quiet and tranquil moments on the beach in between dips. The weather couldn't have been finer for it and everyone had a blast.

After a day of fun and sun we made the short drive back to Kelly & Richie's house for goodies - lots of fresh fruit, veggies, cheeses and dips while dinner was on the grill ... fantastic shish-k-bobs, burgers and dogs, Laura's amazing carrot cake and cookies and I made my first flag cake... :-)
Then, of course .... FIREWORKS!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sometimes you've gotta just stop and eat ... or smell ... the flowers!!

Another off-the-road stop on the way home from Louisiana to Texas ... these guys were so adorable. I would have taken a thousand shots if it hadn't been so unbearably hot! I think what I loved the most is that they looked so happy and healthy ... a sad contrast to some precious critters I shot right after them a few miles down the road.

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