Photos and Memories

deckatbeechfork

Deck at Beech Fork

I dumped the camera memory today and stumbled across this photo. It’s of the deck that Susan and I looked at, stood on , sat on, walked across and contemplated that last day together at the Beech Fork cabin. It was our last real conversation and it was real. We talked of all manner of things not the least of which was our friendship and how the years have treated us.

I will miss her. This photo seems poignant to me, but I don’t quite know why.

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Filed under August 2016

Meditation

meditation spot

Meditation Space

I have meditated on and off for years.  A few months ago, I decided to get serious about it but life intervened and it got shuffled to the wayside.  My psyche hurts a great deal these days and i decided it was time to dust off the zafu and begin again.

zafu

Zafu

Zafu is a meditation cushion that I use to sit on the floor with.   There’s nothing magical about sitting on the floor, but I like being at the same height as the coffee table which is where I have all the accoutrements of my meditation practice – candle, Tibetan singing bowl and hourglass.

 

15minutesThe hour glass is actually 15 minutes which is all I can manage right now.  I feel virtuous if I do 15 minutes and downght self-righteous if I turn it over and do 30 minutes.

The meditation space is beautiful. I worked to make it so.  Beauty is an important value to me.  There is beauty in fine fabrics, symmetry, black sand falling through delicate glass.

Meditation will be good for me.  I can feel myself coming back to myself already.

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Filed under August 2016

Susan G. Jackson, Ph.D.

susancropped

Susan Grace Jackson, Ph.D., died August 13, 2016 in St. Mary’s Medical Center. She was a Professor in the School of Art & Design at Marshall University where she taught art appreciation and art history.  Over a career of 31 years, she touched the lives of thousands of students.  As news of her death spread, her Facebook page began filling with testimonials from students and colleagues.  These testimonials share a common theme – Dr. Jackson is remembered as a mentor who had a profound impact on both academic and personal lives.  Her colleagues talk of her formidable intellect and keen wit.  Her students remember her as a demanding professor who challenged them to think critically and live fully.  Many remark on her exuberant laughter.

Susan was a staunch feminist. During her career at Marshall University, she chaired the Women’s Studies Committee as well as served as the Coordinator of the Women’s Studies Program. She felt it her duty and her honor to help women find their voices and their power.  In her personal life, she hosted gatherings at her home to encourage and mentor women.  These Sisterings are remembered fondly by all who were able to attend.

Susan began her academic career with a B.A. in English Literature earned on a voice scholarship after graduating from Portsmouth West High School in 1976. She went on to get a Master of Arts in Theatre History and Criticism and her doctorate in Comparative Arts.  All of her degrees were earned at Ohio University. She did her dissertation research in East and West Germany.  She did post-doctoral work at the University of Dayton’s International Marian Research Institute. In addition to her work with women, Susan served on many committees at the university.  She took her position as a member of the Marshall University Faculty seriously and was relied upon to do a great job at any task she was given.

In her personal life, Susan was a faithful friend, an accomplished cook and a voracious reader. Her email tagline was a Shakespeare quote:  “If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well / It were done quickly.”  Her friends and her family feel her loss keenly, but are thankful that her death was quick and peaceful.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Jesse Dean and Ethel Grace Jackson. She is survived by her sister, Carol Jackson, and her brothers, Edwin (Sandy) Jackson and Timothy (Lynn) Jackson, as well as several nieces and nephews.

Friends and classmates of Dr. Jackson have established a memorial fund to promote the advancement of the fine arts through education in public schools.  Donations may be made on-line at www.gofundme.com/susanjackson or by mail to Washington-Nile Local Schools, 15332 US Highway 52, West Portsmouth OH 45663.

Visitation will be held at the Reger Funeral Chapel, 1242 Adams Avenue, Huntington, WV 25704 on Wednesday, August 17th, from 5 to 7 pm.  A memorial service will then be held at 7 p.m.

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Filed under August 2016

Feeling Mortal

Today I admitted my best friend to the hospital with kidney failure.

It was an exciting weekend and I’m emotionally exhausted. She’s in critical condition.  I may lose her.

Last night, she was confused, but we spent the evening talking about life and love and family and last wishes. If she does die, I know what she wants.

I’ve been blessed with great loves and good friends. Life has been good to me.

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Filed under August 2016

Book It, Dan-O

doug and me grass hutI’m taking my mother to Hawaii for Mother’s Day, 2017.  Specifically, we’re going to Oahu for a week and Maui for a week.

We used to live on Kaneohe Air Station, Oahu, so part of the trip will be nostalgic.  We’ve been told for years that modern Oahu will break our hearts; hence the Maui trip.  Maui is reputed to be the Hawaii that we will remember.

I’m overwhelmed trying to plan this trip. It’s going to cost SO FREAKING MUCH that I don’t want to make any mistakes or leave anything out or have anything less than perfect.  We’ve started planning 10 months out and I’m finding that is not far enough.  I should have started this six months ago.

On Oahu, I plan to visit the Pagoda Restaurant, Ala Moana Shopping Center, and the International Market Place. We want to go on base and see our old house.  We want to see if we can find where our church used to be.  And we want to visit the beaches of our memories – tropical paradises that we didn’t think twice about.

For Maui, I want to snorkel and see Haleakala and the Road to Hana. I want pristine beaches and waterfalls.  I want to lay on the beach and breathe in the scent that is Hawaii – a combination of ocean, flowers, mildew and pineapple – it’s a very distinctive smell.

I can’t wait to go.  It’s going to be the trip of a lifetime.  I have about decided to hire a travel agent to make sure it all goes well.  We’ll see.

But today we booked the hotel for Maui, so we’ve started. Kahana Village Resort here we come!

 

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Filed under July 2016

My yoga instructor is 88-years-old!

Yoga-OhmMy yoga instructor, yes, is 88-years-old. Now is that a testement to the power of yoga or what?  She is amazing.

I’m a backslidden yogini determined to revive my practice.  I went to class tonight and got a good workout.  I love breathing through a big stretch.  I love seeing how much further I can stretch after a few exhalations.  And I love how yoga makes me feel.

I’ll be a regular again.

 

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Filed under July 2016

First Time

So. I did my first public reading tonight.

It went well. I think.

It’s odd, but I wasn’t the least bit nervous. I was a wee bit anxious to get on with it.  I had to sign up and there were 8 or so people ahead of me, but when my time came, I was fine.

Life is funny like that. Stuff that should make me nervous doesn’t.  And vice versa.

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Filed under July 2016