hunger

It is hard to write about hunger

I am always hungry
I am always afraid
I always long for love

How can I always be hungry?
The hunger is partly for food
and partly for love

They are tied together
“You have food insecurity,”
A friend says

I want to argue and do
but I also know that he is right
I am always worried about food

My daughter has it too
she admits that even as she finishes a meal
she wants to know that there is food for the next meal

A friend tell me about running out of food
hiking in Alaska. He is ok with it.
My daughter and I agree we will never camp with him.

My mother says that pregnant
she is hungry the entire time
fantasizes about a banana split and chocolate syrup

After the baby is born
“I did not want the banana split!”
she says and laughs

Maybe it is the baby who is hungry
inside the womb, the fetus that is hungry
“The doctor yells if I gain any weight.” laughs my mother.

Hunger and love intertwined.
I don’t see my mother for nine months after birth
because she is ill.

I curl around my daughter ferociously
I want to protect her from any harm
I eat when I am hungry and feed her food and love

____________________

The photograph is me and my mother. She is getting over tuberculosis and is still very thin. I think that my grandparents took the photograph. I took the photograph of the photograph.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: hunger.

Achievement

My first achievement for today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt is spelling achievement. And no, I did not spell it correctly on the first try.

My daughter has finished her first two years of teaching eighth grade, during Covid-19. She taught remotely until March of 2021 and then in person. She worked on her teaching certificate the first year and finished her Masters last month. She is SOOOO amazing!

Hooray for ALL of the teachers who continued to teach during Covid-19, remotely, in person, hugs and prayers and sending love.

mother

It is my mother’s birthday today, May 31. She died in May 2000. Helen Burling Ottaway and I miss her daily. Hugs to all the mothers and the fathers and everyone who has lost their mother one way or another.

I took this photograph in the mid 1980s, borrowing a camera from a friend.

Finch Face

YOU thought I said “Fish face.” Fish faces came up at the wedding.

When my son is a baby, he goes with my husband for a well child check. I am in residency and can’t get away. The doctor asks, “Can he play patty cake?”

“No,” says my husband, “but he can make a fish face.” My husband has a long narrow face. He pulls both ears out and purses his lips. He wiggles his ears.

My son promptly makes a fish face.

“Good enough,” says the doctor.

My son has a small godson. They have mostly said hi on zoom. My son has taught his godson to make a fish face. When they visit in person, he makes the fish face and his godson’s face lights up. Oh, this is THAT person and they are REAL, not just on a screen!

The godson is the ring bearer at the wedding last Sunday. I tell him I am his godfather’s mother and make a fish face. Then I call my ex over. He makes a fish face and the godson is delighted. All of these talented people at the wedding! Who know about fish faces!

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: faces. Very Happy Mother’s Day to everyone, who is a mother, has a mother, is a grandmother, has a grandmother. I could go on.

FINIS!

Whew! I finished the AprilAtoZ blog challenge even with a wedding and not just a wedding but MY SON’S WEDDING on April 30th! Extra challenging. Two weeks before April 30th I started working on two posts a day, working backwards from the end of the alphabet and forwards from where I was. I set them to post on the appropriate days!

I have until May 7 to write a reflections post, but not today! I got home at 5 pm and it has been terribly exciting and rather complicated too. Weddings during covid turn out to be challenging, but my son and my new daughter are a delightful pair. I said that she has been a daughter for a long time now and she says that she felt like my daughter the first time that she got two pairs of wool socks in her stocking at Christmas….. That has become a family tradition.

Hooray for weddings in spite of pandemics! This one was postponed twice but is now complete! Blessings on everyone and thanks.

X is for X-Acto knife

I am blogging A to Z about artists, particularly women artists and mostly about my mother, Helen Burling Ottaway.

My mother disliked cutting mats more than almost anything except vacuuming and cutting glass. In the late 1980s and early 1990s my grandmother lived two doors down in Alexandria, Virginia. My mother took over part of the basement for matting, glass cutting and framing. Times right before shows included complaints about cutting mats and glass, her saying that she didn’t have enough things framed (though she always did) and at least one piece of glass broke. The X-Acto knife was the tool for mat cutting at that time. My mother usually cut herself at least once for each show. She was particularly annoyed if she bled on the freshly cut mat or the painting or etching.

Hanging the show involves a lot of time out words as well, but she would get excited once it was hung. Then it was time for dress up. Shows were a command performance: my sister and I were to go as well. We dressed up and talked to people politely and ate the strawberries when my mother was not looking. The opening of the show would include food and usually wine. In small glasses. And no, we weren’t allowed to have any. We had to look at the art and be polite to adults.

The photograph today is another of my poems with my mother’s etching. And look, she has avoided cutting a mat. She bought special frames, with two slots. One holds the glass. The second holds the mat with the mounted etching. If the glass rests on the etching, it can ruin it. She mounted all of our ten prints and poems this way. Clever artist and they look wonderful.

ATOZBLOGGINGCHALLENGE2022 #art #Women artists #Helen Burling Ottaway #ATOZCHALLENGE #Christine Robbins Ottaway #APRILATOZ

For more information about the #AtoZChallenge, check out this link.

O is for Opening

I am blogging A to Z about artists, particularly women artists and mostly about my mother, Helen Burling Ottaway.

Openings, art openings, were a part of my childhood. Sometimes they were my mother’s openings. Group shows or solo shows. She cut her own mats and cut her own glass. She hated cutting glass and would be doing that right before the show was to be hung. Hanging a show is a skill in itself: the pictures at the right height and arranging them and checking the lighting. I hung a show of her work and managed to drop one picture. Glass chipped off along the edges in the frame but it did not shatter entirely. I dropped a second picture and that one DID shatter.

My mother was usually dressed in ink stained t shirts and jeans, or else very dressed up and dramatic for a show. She wore make up for shows or going out to lunch or dinner, but not daily.

We would also go to other artist’s opening. We knew many many artists and showed up for their openings. There was also a gallery in Alexandria where we thought the art was consistently awful but the food for the opening was wonderful. Whole smoked salmon, plates of pickles and olives and vegetables, and chocolate dipped strawberries. My sister and I were always cheerful going to that gallery.

Three years ago my son and daughter and future daughter-in-law went to the National Museum of Women in the Arts. It is in Washington, DC and is wonderful. It is not part of the Smithsonian. They do not have a museum devoted to women yet.

I spent time wishing that a piece of my mother’s art was in that museum. When I started this A to Z blogging, I pulled her resume out of one of the portfolios. The last section on the last page is titled:

COLLECTIONS

Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY
U. S. I. S, The American Embassy, Jakarta, Indonesia
The National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC
Numerous Private Collections

So she already HAS art in the National Museum of Women in the Arts! I did not know that. I would like to know what they have. A watercolor? Prints? She was very active in the Washington, DC Printmakers Association until she and my father moved to Chimacum, Washington State in 1996. I am so proud of her! And she is in the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian.

O for opening but it has also been a joy to open up my mother’s work and look at her resume. More about that when we get to another letter…..

ATOZBLOGGINGCHALLENGE2022 #art #Women artists #Helen Burling Ottaway #ATOZCHALLENGE #APRILATOZ

For more information about the #AtoZChallenge, check out this link.

Visit the National Museum of Women in the Arts: https://nmwa.org/ and advocate for women: https://nmwa.org/support/advocacy/ .

The featured image is an etching by Helen Burling Ottaway in 1971, photograph taken by Renata Fleischner. It is in their collection.

Egg art

I have been collecting eggshells for a while. I am not sure exactly what I am going to do with them, but this is my first piece of egg art. I keep thinking about the large sugar eggs with the window, with small figures inside, that we got as children. I am saving real eggshells and bits of feather and fluff and pine cones and shells. With Easter tomorrow, I may dye some eggshells.

My mother loved dying eggs. We did not go to church but both my parents sang masses and the record player was just as likely to play Bach or Brahms or Carl Orff as the Loving Spoonful or Bob Dylan or The Beatles. We did elaborate egg dying, with wax and multiple layers of color. The complicated planned ones were often not pretty. It was the ones that we weren’t particularly trying that were often gorgeous. We always had both blown and hardboiled eggs. We would have “egg wars” when we wanted to eat one. We would each hold an egg and tap them together hard. The winner was the one with an intact egg. We ate the less pretty hardboiled ones first and the prettiest last. Mmmmm, egg salad and deviled eggs, yum.

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: eggs.

M for Maline and mothers

I am blogging A to Z about artists, particularly women artists and mostly about my mother, Helen Burling Ottaway.

Maline Robinson is a mentor to me and one of many mothers. As a baby, my mother has tuberculosis, so I am passed around and get a bit confused about the intentions of adults. Maline went to school at the University of Tennessee with my parents and knew me from birth. I went to college at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and got to know her there. I had very little money and we went second hand store shopping together. As well as her wonderful oil paintings and silk screens, she refurbished antiques and had small stalls to sell these treasures. She makes earrings, often from antique buttons, as well.

She also is a brilliant gardener. These photographs are from her house in Michigan. She lives near one of her sons and his family. My mother is gone, in 2000, so I get to visit and have her as another mother and wise woman in my life.

ATOZBLOGGINGCHALLENGE2022 #art #Women artists #Helen Burling Ottaway #ATOZCHALLENGE #APRILATOZ

For more information about the #AtoZChallenge, check out this link.