Saturday, July 12, 2008

Life's Pleasures

Today, I witnessed my grandson help his Little League team win the championship game. He is a talented baseball player who seems to have found his niche, as my eldest daughter said. We watched him hit his second home run in as many days, and his happiness at doing so. He is an all-around good player. It's great to be a grandmother when these milestones can be shared.

I live a little over an hour away from my grandchildren, and so I miss out on many things. In today's world, things are so different from the world in which I grew up. My grandparents were nearby and visiting back and forth occurred a couple of times a week. They were so much a part of my life, and I cherish those memories and all I learned from them. Grandparents are teachers of history, and I fear my nine grandchildren have not had the opportunity to hear the old stories and oral history of their ancestors. Perhaps children today don't care about the past, or perhaps their parents don't, but the oral histories told by grandparents teach children about their place in the scheme of things, if nothing else. But I can't change things or attitudes. I can just feel saddened by the loss.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Grocery Prices

The photo to the right (What I Saw Today) shows who is getting most of my money these days. And yours, too, I suspect. Normally, I run to the store every couple of days and vary the stores depending upon what I need. Today, I went to Giant Eagle and though I know their prices tend to be higher than other stores, their produce and variety are the best around here. So I put up with the higher prices. However, today I was really shocked by how much the prices have increased. A can of Maxwell House Decaf was over $13. A jug of Tide detergent was also over $13. A bag of frozen chicken was $12 something. So three items cost $38!! I remember when I was a newly-married bride in 1962 and spent $25 every two weeks for lots of groceries. I know I sound like my grandparents and parents sounded to me when I was young, but I really think these prices reflect more than high shipping costs. The greed of all the people from the grocery store back to the manufacturer/grower is despicable. For some of us who are retired or unemployed, these prices mean that we either eat or we pay our bills. This is a disgrace in a country which has so much wealth.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Flux Art and the Treehouse

As I was painting today, my mind was wandering a bit, thinking about various art movements of the twentieth century. Fluxism, or Flux art, was a movement which the general public doesn't really know about, much less understand. It began as anti-art, a mini-revolution against the abstract expressionism which ruled the mid-century art world. The "happenings" of the 1960's were a kind of flux art, where the audience in some way is involved with the creation of the art. Flux art was that of performance or participation. Often is is humorous and uncomplicated.

About ten years ago, I witnessed flux art being performed by a man who didn't even realize he was creating performance art. He was probably the most creative person I have ever known, though unsophisticated and unaware of his genius. His creativity was not planned to be creative, much less as works of art, and that is what made it genuine and real.

On my way home from work one early summer day, as I drove past his property just up the road from mine, I noticed that a very large tree which had stood sentinel at his driveway had been cut off about ten feet up from the ground. I thought the tree must have been diseased and was in the process of being cut down. However, every day for the following week, the tree remained the same. Then came the day when I noticed there was a wooden platform atop the tree trunk. Another week passed before anything else happened, and then a white plastic table was sitting on the platform. A few days later, a flower in a vase appeared on the table. The following week, a white plastic chair had been placed at the table. Needless to say, I was anxious every day to see how the treetop scenario had changed. I laughed aloud at each addition to the tree, but the last day was the best. As I drove past the tree, there was the creator of this art - sitting in the chair with his back to the road, reading a book. Now that is a really good example of flux art! I howled and laughed and I still laugh when I recall the entire event.

The whole thing actually ended up being a tree house for a fifty-year old man who never grew up, but had more creativity in his little finger than most of us who graduated from college with degrees in art. It was marvelous.

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