Tag Archive | Arkansas Cornbread Festival

Another day

Maybe it’s a misnomer to call this post “Another day,” since it’s been a week since the last one – the days have flown so quickly and so busily. But I love that song (and Paul, of course), and today is just another day in the life of a random little grandmother in Little Rock, Arkansas.

I’ve been 58 for a week. Feels like 57, which felt like – well, not 47, but the differences in years are minuscule the older you get. The cumulative effect is definitely felt, but there’s nothing you can really point to and say, “Well, boy, that’s changed since last year!”

Mother says it’s still that way for her. Hope it holds for me.

OK, so where did this blur of a week go, and why have I been such a bad blogger (bad girl! bad!)? In addition to work, we had the first garden club potluck of the year Tuesday – we didn’t join for years because we thought it was really a “garden” club. Nope. The Quapaw Home and Garden Club is a social club for eating, drinking, visiting with neighbors and seeing people’s historic homes.

We dig it, even if we don’t dig in the yard much.

Wednesday was the first night of 2013-2014 volunteer usher gig as Friends of the Rep, our fabulous local repertory theatre. This season is our 11th year, if I’ve counted backward right. I started in mid-season 2001-2002, I think, then John and  I met in July and he joined me as a regular that fall. We’ve been privileged to see so many plays.

Peace, love and ecology, baby, just like in my high school art classes. Somethings never change.

Peace, love and ecology, baby, just like in my high school art classes. Somethings never change.

Thursday was the fifth Sculpture Party and Fall Fest at The Bernice Garden, and though I work for Anita Davis, the lovely owner, I played hooky from working that night and just attended and enjoyed. You can see photos at thebernicegarden.org or on the  garden’s Facebook page. Here’s one little picture, of my lock on the Wish Locks Arkansas piece that was introduced Thursday night.

Speaking of art, I signed up to take a weekend class at the Arkansas Arts Center from my friend Catherine Rodgers, “Paint like Rothko – Color: Complement, Shade, Tone and Tint.” I haven’t painted since high school. We’ll see how well I do, but I’m looking forward to it. The small class sold out quickly and will be great, even if I’m not.

And speaking of art, let me just show off my husband’s handiwork again, now that the floors have cured.

John's design at the top of the stairs. He did it to surprise me a few years back, but with the finish, it really pops.

John’s design at the top of the stairs. He did it to surprise me a few years back, but with the finish, it really pops.

And here are the baseboards he's building. The walls look gray in the light, but they're periwinkle.

And here are the baseboards he’s building. The walls look gray in the light, but they’re periwinkle.

And just because this is a cool photo (to me anyway), I’ll add it. I pick the colors, but my painting days are few and far between with these damn shoulders.

Periwinkle to turquoise to teal.

Periwinkle to turquoise to teal.

Yesterday we upgraded phones, which always creates  a learning curve, but that’s good for our brains, though John is a little stressed over the leap from an old-school flip phone to my old iPhone, which he promptly upgraded to the new operating system. He’s dealing with my pink phone case and accessories for now,

Real men can carry pink.

I upgraded to the new iPhone, which prompted me to finally update my iPod Touch and get my iCloud and iTunes settings straightened out. Now I just need to upgrade this computer so I can fully live in the cloud. One thing leads to another.

Just like in life.

Time warp

I’m not sure what’s going on with the cosmos, but lately I’ve been caught in some kind of odd time warp. I mentioned that a couple recently recognized me from my old column in the newspaper – one that was abruptly cancelled 9 1/2 years ago but that they thought they’d just read recently.

Turns out that was just the first of five or six times in about 10 days that someone recognized me and said they’d been seeing my work – or that they missed it.

Then at ArtWalk, I ran into a reader who became an acquaintance many years ago after introducing himself to me at Barnes & Noble (as he reminded me).  We ran into each other constantly for years, but I hadn’t seen him in maybe five years until Friday night – and the first thing he said was, “I was just thinking about you,” which was odd enough.

“I was reading the paper the other day and thinking, ‘It’s just not right,'” he went on.


Sunday I pulled out what I thought was an empty manila envelope because I needed something to hold some documents, and it contained clips of a few articles I’d written – very yellowed with time and an absolute surprise.

Not sure what’s up with all that.

For much of my adult life, when I wasn’t working at the statewide newspaper, I taught high school, journalism, desktop publishing, newspaper staff, creative writing and, briefly in the mid-1980s, English. (And I served as girls soccer coach for three years, which was a blast.)

I loved my students, even most of the ones I could hardly stand.

But I always had a special bond with my creative writing students. So that made Sunday even more special.

My current writing gigs are for The Bernice Garden, the Arkansas Cornbread Festival and Esse Purse Museum, all extremely fun things to be involved with and right in our neighborhood.

I’d thought maybe I knew one of our 2013 sculpture contest winners at the garden this year (for the community project sculpture to be named “Wish Locks”) – the name Erika Droke was so familiar that I expected to recognize her when I got to the garden to talk to her and husband John Van Horn and take pictures of people painting locks Sunday during The Bernice Garden Farmers’ Market.

The very cool sculpture

The very cool sculpture “Wish Locks” will be decorated with locks painted by members of the community.

But I didn’t expect her to be one of my creative writing students from the early ’90s, though we recognized each other instantly! Crazy.What an excellent surprise.

John Van Horn and my former student Erika Droke came up with the creative

John Van Horn and my former student Erika Droke came up with the creative “Wish Locks” idea. Yes, I’m very proud!

We had a brief catch-up session and plan to do more. I’m going to take Jude to paint locks one Sunday – he’s quite the artist and we’ll each do one.

Speaking of Jude, in other time weirdness, I was putting something on a high shelf this weekend when I came across a little “Yellow Submarine” Beatles figures set I’d gotten him for Christmas and hidden too well, evidently.

When I mentioned that to Liz yesterday, she said, “Oh, yeah, I was just thinking about that. I wondered what happened to it.” That would be a flash of clairvoyance, according to Judith Orloff, who wrote Second Sight.

This was a perfect time to find it, though, because he started a summer art class at Arkansas Extended Learning Center (owned and run by my friend, Dana Venhaus, unbeknownst to Liz, in another small synchronistic touch) and was feeling shy. I told him I had a surprise for him if he went with an open mind and was brave

He did, he was, and the Yellow Submarine set was his reward.

One last “coincidence (?)” – the other day I had a missed call from a friend I haven’t talked to in ages. Since I’m not a big phone talker, I don’t call back if people don’t leave messages, assuming missed calls are pocket calls. (Unless it’s my kids/son-in-law or my mother.) So I didn’t call back. But I did run into her yesterday at Target.

It was indeed a pocket call, but we had a quick and fun catch up visit in the aisle, and now she wants to read Second Sight, too. Synchronicity at work or coincidence?


Well, I lied. One last last thing. As I was leaving Lakewood in North Little Rock tonight, I had a flashback to the early ’90s when Liz and I were in a guitar shop on JFK Boulevard. She was in junior high and dabbling with guitar, and I was teaching at NLRHS. A young woman who worked at the shop came smiling up to us with her arms extended.

“You was my English teacher!” she said, introducing herself, though I remembered her pretty well. (I still know her first name, which I’ll withhold.)

“Nice work, Mom,” Liz leaned into my ear and said. I had to stifle a laugh.