Denise Dances: A Return to Perfect Health - Body, Mind & Spirit!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Goodbye Sunshine, Hello Lightness!

OK, this is going to be difficult. Remember my pet parakeet, Sunshine, whom I may have mentioned briefly in other posts? Mom bought him for me in early December after the passing, within days of each other, of my other pet parakeets, Buddy and Chickietoo. As a Christmas present. Bright, bright yellow, almost florescent! I was hoping he would bring some sunshine into my life as I have difficulty dealing with depression, but at his untimely passing just a couple of days ago on Wednesday, August 13, I am still hoping for those rays of sunshine to enter into my life. Just as my beloved pet Sunshine of only about the past six months has entered into the Hereafter, after months of being sick by catching a cold through draft. I would like to think that I gave him to my best buddy Paula as her final birthday present!! That she is taking care of him now as we speak, so that I can get "out there" and circulate among "the living". That he has "ascended," as it is Ascension Day. I had him in my house for a couple of days in December, newly cleaned and all decorated for Christmas. "What's all the fuss about?" I would squawk to him, my new little birdie, as if the house had been cleaned and redecorated just for him, just in time for Christmas. Once he got used to the house and its familiar noises, as well as the Christmas lights, carols, and decorations, he was just the bounciest little birdie, falling way down off his perch and getting right back up again, tweeting, chirping, singing, playing with his toys, and he had even started learning to talk, just a little bit, "pretty, pretty, pretty," in response to my chanting, "pretty, pretty, pretty baby in February. And then I took off for the sunny and warm shores of Sarasota, Florida to visit an old friend. Brought him to my mother's house in the country, cooler than my own place. Just for a couple weeks. Of course, I worried about him the whole time I was gone. But over the phone, my mother had said, "Your bird is doing fine." He was so happy to see me when I came home. Back at my place, he seemed fine, back in his place on a long plywood desk that I have against the living room wall. I don't know what happened, but upon my return from Florida, the weather became nasty. But then, anything would be nasty compared to sunny, 75 degree weather every single day. I became depressed and despondent. I don't know if that's what did it. Then the strong winds came and never ceased until June. My birdie just never bounced back. I did everything I could, lots of TLC, fresh water, fresh food, millet spray treats, "school" for speech, playing songs all day long. He was probably just a year old. And he passed away. He was like a ray of sunshine, a ray of hope in my life. But I am trying to think positively, hoping the sunshine he brought into my life is here to stay. My family has seen its share of death in the past year, and this is just one more. Instead of throwing out my two bird cages in the trash, I decided to wash them thoroughly with soap and water. As well as all of Sunshine's toys. I am saving them for when I become more settled in my life, hopefully in a different place. Take care of my Sunshine, Paula!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Recollections of an Artist: Mystic Outdoor Art Festival

Tuesday, August 12, 2008 Over the past weekend, on Sunday, I attended the 52nd annual Mystic Outdoor Art Festival, wandering the crowded streets of downtown Mystic in the heady heat. Wasn't planning on hooking up with my family; just decided to go it alone at my own pace, as I have the Diabetes Gene which requires very special needs: fresh food at regular intervals (which nobody ever understands), periods of rest, and lots of excercise, accompanied by healthy snax. So I decided to go it alone. And I have found that being alone ain't so bad. I often did things alone before I met my best buddy Paula. I picked a side street to park, with a memorable address, 66 Library Street. Strolled past a beautiful brick building, which I have never seen before on any of my trips into downtown Mystic. Across the street stood a partially burnt building, shattering the perfect, summer tourist town known as Mystic and More! in these parts. The first exhibit I saw and stopped by was "Paintings on Plexi" by Kristin Nikodemski. I was intrigued by her palette of palpable color on glass: glass vases, glass panels, glass dishes, and even glass glasses!! I opted to purchase a set of notecards with blue, green and purple palette, reflective of sea glass but in actuality, she said the patterns are meant to resemble the blossoms of the beautiful hydrangea bush!! If you who are reading this post would like to see her creations, check out "" Enjoy this feast for the eyes! My very next stop was "Davidoff Watercolors," by Michael Davidoff of Port Ewen, New York. Awe inspired, I gazed at the microscopic detail, minute patterns and textures, which more resembled oil painting or even a photograph than the watercolors he claims to use. Seasonal, seascapes, New England landscapes, awesome autumnal color, oh!! I couldn't stop gazing and I told him how beautiful his paintings were. I asked him how long it took him to do one painting and I believe he said five to seven days, it depends. If you would like to see his paintings, check out (See Peter Tytla below. Sequencing never was my strong point!) Immediately after my recollections with kindred soul Peter Tytla, I made the acquaintance of Dick Brown. Standing in a corner while I strolled into his display of intense color photographs retouched with acrylic paint, he said, "I want to quit." Been doin' the fairs for 40 years! Former sports photographer, acclaimed, he had even photographed the Olympics in times past. Expressing the wish that he could be in Beijing, photographing the summer Olympics now, he confided how he and his wife would pack up for the fairs in different parts of the country every weekend and make $10,000 in one weekend! But not here. He said things just don't sell around here. I can believe it. New England is very conservative. Things are slow to change. Things just don't move around here, I have found, after living in other parts of the Northeast. Just then an old colleague of his arrived to interrupt our conversation. He gave me over to his wife, Barbara. I asked her for a business card and she came out and said that sometimes when people call, there is no answer. It is because their cat hears the phone and knocks the receiver off the hook!! There is no website, but you can learn more about Dick and Barbara Brown and their works of art by contacting them at: 136 Krape Lane Bellafonte, PA 16823 (814)383-2822 Cell: 814-360-3245 Unless the cat knocks the phone off the hook!! At the end of Cottrell Street where my sister Kelley has her interior design shop, Kelley Interiors, I spied a display by "Cold Spring Alpacas." I am constantly trying to persuade Kelley's boyfriend Brian to invest in an alpaca farm, often sending him articles of local alpaca farms in the news. Very soft beautiful yarn and knitted goods. The ladies were sitting there, knitting. Just in time for me to be introduced to the unlikely hobby by a woman named Julia who I met here at the Groton Library. I did join her and the ladies' knitting group at the Bean & Leaf Cafe in New London on Saturday morning and found it and the ladies to be calming; the Zen existence I once had with T'ai Chi and mountain biking on Block Island and now crave once again. Interested? Check out: out of Westbrook, CT. The last thing I saw that impressed me was at the opposite end of Cottrell Street. Except the hot dogs and soda booth, first thing in the morning!! ZEN Chuang, family physician, artist and gardener!! Original watercolors, bright, whimsical, and beautiful! Clean and original. Fresh (paint). Definitely into the healing arts. See what I mean? Here is an example of an artist who has a profitable day job which enables him to create his art. In order to check out his practice, go to: Out of Raynham, MA. I hope you enjoyed this virtual tour of the Mystic Art Festival, 52nd anniversary. As an added bonus, I spent some much needed quality time with my family. At the end of Cottrell Street, I decided to try Kelley's office one more time. As I approached the small house-like building with the wide front windows, I saw her startled appearance stare back at me. Upon entering, I realized that my mother Rita and youngest sister Kim were also there. We had a pleasant but very hot afternoon, ambling the streets of Mystic, a "too perfect place," reminiscent of "Mister Rogers Neighborhood." I kept joking that I needed a reality check, to get back to New London, Groton or New York!! As a cooling breeze wafted over the Mystic River, as the drawbridge came down ever so slowly. (Here is my friend Peter Tytla. I don't know how he got out of sequence!) Much further down the road, I spied my friend, Peter Tytla, who I once interviewed for The Resident Newspaper in the early 1990s when first I moved back home with my parents. I saw his "tired" old junkyard collages of scenes he has been assembling for years now with a multitude of photographs he takes on overcast days of cloudy skies, trees and grass, barking dogs, billy goats, used car salesmen, a jumble of assorted car, truck and tractor parts, often rusty. I introduced myself, saying I recalled interviewing him for a news article years ago. And did he still live in the Flanders section of East Lyme? He did. I remember what an adventure I felt it to be, back then, getting in my old car and driving out there to "parts unknown," into a hidden part of town in Flanders, into a big secluded yard with tons of lawn and garden ornaments which I believe his mother sold. I quickly confided to him how my best friend had passed away about a year ago. That she had encouraged me to do oil painting while she was alive. He said that the reason I ran into him at the Mystic Art Fest was her trying to get a message to me. That I should work on some oil paintings and try to be in the show next summer!! He said that you have to do what's in your heart, and not care what other people think. That this was still inside of him and so, he had to keep doing it. That you never know when your work is going to sell, so you never know when you will have money coming in. I told him that my parents hadn't encouraged art and I could see why: that there is no guaranteed money in it. Never-the-less, my best buddy encouraged it and said, "You'll be selling your paintings in Mystic." She hasn't been wrong yet! I often didn't believe the things she said while she was alive, but am finding much of what she said to be true since she passed. He asked me how old she was, the question I dread, as she never revealed her true age to me; I only figured it out months before her passing. So I told him her age and he said that was his age. My parents' age!! I spent some time, squatting, talking to him through a screen fence, separating him from his creations. If you who are reading this post would like to see them, check out