Monday, August 25, 2008

How Much Is It Worth?

I really hate generalizations about people. Generalizing is lazy and disrespectful. Remember the "gun rack" comments of a few months back? That's what I 'm talking about. I am often the subject of broad generalizations. Let me give you a few examples:

1. Teachers are overpaid and lazy.
2. The only people who teach art are painters who could not make a living painting.
3. Teachers get three months paid vacation.
4. Christians are stupid.
5. Conservatives are greedy, ignorant and selfish.
6. Conservative, white Christians only cling to religion, guns and pick up trucks out of fear.
None of these are remotely true about me - or anyone I know. I am angered at the notion that people who do not even know me believe that if I am ___________then I must be _______________. I shall proceed with this in mind as I tell you about an awful thing happening right now. It will very difficult for me not to pass unfair judgement on people I do not know.
Early last week an art-teacher colleague of mine (not overpaid or lazy) informed me that Pi Beta Phi Fraternity is selling the land in Gatlinburg that is currently leased to my beloved Arrowmont. I have searched the Internet high and low and emailed a well-connected artist or two to try and figure out what is going on. What I can glean - and it ain't much, sister - is that Pi Phi believes more good can be done in The World with the money Pi Phi would make from selling the land than by LETTING ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL CRAFT SCHOOL ON THE PLANET SIT PEACEFULLY ON UNDISTURBED NATURE!
Looks like the undisclosed party who approached Pi Phi wants to build an indoor water park and all-inclusive resort where the Red Barn is. Pi Phi has a "shut up" deal with the undisclosed party so nobody knows how much they are getting for the land. I have read the figure 9 million dollars as the amount Pi Phi will give Arrowmont to get themselves back together someplace else. Someplace way else, I guess. Nine million MIGHT buy a fudge shop on Parkway. It could not begin to replace what Arrowmont has now.
Some poor slobs go through their entire lives without clarity. Not me. Arrowmont gave me clarity. On June 17, 2002 right there in the book studio, I heard the voice of the Almight Himself - "Go forth and make books." No Arrowmont = no more moments of clarity for the searching masses.
I'm no tree hugger. I like money. I believe in capitalism. But I also believe that worth cannot be measured in strict dollars and cents. I am sure a lot of good can be done with 47 kazillion dollars. I am also sure that a sacred place - to me and others, Arrowmont is a sacred place - can't be replaced for twice that. If Arrowmont ceases to exist, the possibilities of what could be learned or discovered or created there cease to exist, too. What's that worth?
Go to Go to the older posts section and read the one called Pi Phi Support for the words right from Pi Phi.
You can also link to a petition from savearrowmont.
I made the big book at the top with a 4 needle Ethiopian Coptic. I leaned that at Arrowmont. I finished it today. I'll tell what I'm doin' with it later.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Got Perspective?

By the spring of 2004, JR and I were sure that Whitley and Courtney had outgrown soccer in Bedford. They needed more technical coaching and stiffer competition if they were to continue to improve. That June, we took them to tryouts for the nearest travel club team, Bloomington Cutters. Whit was up for a spot on the U12s. The club's Director of Coaching back then was a guy named Sean Phillips. Sean knew our girls from soccer camps and rec league. The U12 roster was full from the previous season, but he made the cuts and gave Whitley a spot. Courtney's U11s were another story. In 2004, U11 was the youngest age group for travel. They play 8v8 and I'm not sure 8 girls even showed up for tryouts. People made phone calls and sent emails and scrounged up enough girls to put a team together. Courtney did not know a soul on that team.

Training started in August. Courtney's team was coached by Elena Veach, an high school English teacher and assistant coach of a very successful high school team. The girls on that team came from a wide range of soccer backgrounds - some had played since they were four years old; others were only at the beginning of their careers. What they lacked in skill and experience, they made up for in sweetness and fun. Emma, Lilly, Anna,Sarah, Mia, Hannah, Alex, Zoe, Willa, Asia, Olivia. And their parents - the fruit did not fall far from the tree - in a totally good way. The parents were so nice. Sometimes, people from Bloomingon make a big deal about people from Bedford - in a totally bad way.

The fall season for Elena's team was kind of ugly, but she was committed to getting them better, to making them a team and to getting the best out of everyone. She coached them like she meant it. No matter how bad they got slaughtered on Saturday, she worked them out like champs on Monday. Elena never lowered her expectations.

The spring season came, and the team started training and playing matches again. But this season was different. Elena's team was winning. Elena got it out of them. The team she created transcended their own limitations.

Elena Veach reinvented Courtney Crane. Elena made Coutney believe in herself. She instilled a will and desire to find the net into the little girl with braids. Tonight, Courtney Crane played her first high school varsity soccer match. Thank you, Elena.

Elena Veach died Saturday. I don't think she was thirty years old. She leaves behind a husband, a toddler and a newborn son.

Friday, August 08, 2008

So long, Summer Vacation

Today is really the last day of summer vacation for me. I don't count Saturday and Sunday because we get those days off year round. This has to be one of the biggest perks of my job - 11 weeks off! The other big one - to me, anyway - is that we have clear, concrete beginnings and ends; built-in times to reflect, evaluate and set goals. I woke up today thinking about whether or not I had spent my summer wisely, whether or not I had accomplished anything.

I am not sure I got enough done. I am not sure I should worry about what I got done. When I go back on Monday, everybody will say, "Did you have a good summer?" and I will say yes and ask the same. I cleaned out my closet and got rid of a ton, so did the girls. I went to Arrowmont. Whitley did driver's ed. We got a new heating and cooling thing. I saw a proof of The Book. I wrote an article for Cloth Paper Scissors. I taught at Hummingbird Art Camp. The girls trained and went to a couple of camps. Whitley turned 16 and we enrolled both girls in high school. That's about it.
The girls had their Red and White scrimmage match last night. They were on opposing teams. The score was 3-3. Let me break that down for you: Whitley scored all 3 for White; Courtney scored one and had the assist on another for Red. That means that the Crane sisters were responsible for 5 of the 6 goals scored. Yes, that's bragging.
I have been painting on and off all summer. It started when I was making my hummingbird sample. This is the back of canvas that I am using for the front. More to come. Other things on the art stove: A dos-a-dos interpretation, a long and complicated accordion pop-up, little quilts and my Christmas cards.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

I'm Back and It's August!

Okay, I've been back from New Mexico for a week, but I haven't felt like posting. Just been hanging out with the girls, back-to-school shopping and important stuff like that. Whit turned 16 on Friday. We went to Holiday World - not really for her birthday, but because it fit into our schedule. We had a little get-together for her last night, nothing too fancy, family and friends, lots of laughs. This is my Big Project:

It's my first foray into fondant. This is the second soccer ball cake I've made. I did one when Whit was 10, I think. Those hexagons! Yesterday when I was working on the ball was the only time I ever wished basketball was her #1 sport! Courtney wants either a running-themed cake or a guitar cake. Not for a few months, though.

Tomorrow is the first IHSAA official practice for cross country and soccer. Whit is playing soccer again. She is the returning varsity player with the most experience, so she should have a big year. Court is playing soccer and running cross country. There doesn't look to be too many conflicts. Both will be in high school!

I go back on the 11th; kids on the 12th. I think it's going to be a great year for all of us.