Successful?

The above quote came across my facebook feed the other day (because thankfully, I have friends who post beauty and inspiration, not just their political views, something I am ever grateful for here in this swing state).  This quote puts into words something I grapple with often.  What exactly is success?  For most people, I suppose success is directly linked to earning money.  If you are earning money, then you are successful.  But like Mr Orr states, I think there is more to it.  And with this farther reaching notion of the definition of success, I’ll share with you some bits of what I believe have been a successful past few weeks indeed.

Last I wrote it was September.  The garden was in full harvest mode.  In spite of the work involved there, and work in general, I was able to schedule a date with a couple of albino hedgehogs in the classroom of my sons former elementary school teacher.

They huffed and puffed at being woken from their nap, but we got along just fine anyway.  And I made a few drawings.

Being the fall time, it is open house season at the kids’ schools.  And so I sat in shortened versions of high school classes.  And made a few drawings…. (below are English, AP US History, and Chemistry – liked chemistry the best.)

Mind you, these are doodles (a la high school) made on my hand outs.  Pardon the poor quality!

Soon it was nearing the end of September, and we had a wedding to attend in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, home of the beautiful Michigan Ocean (you can call it a lake all you want.  It is an ocean to me.)

We gathered flowers for the bouquets…

And honored the happy couple.

With music.

And game playing.

And long chats and a great deal of laughter with friends we do not see often enough….

Congratulations to Michelle and Chad on the beginning of their new life together.  You are loved!!  And speaking of new beginnings…. I came home from the wedding, to the birth my new niece whom I already love dearly.

What is it about the children being born these days?  Their little eyes are so full of Wisdom and Knowing that seems tremendously Otherworldly.  Like they’ve been around this block before and are here once again to show us the way.  Welcome to the world LuLu.  I love you to the moon and back.

In the midst of all this runnin’ and travelin’ and birthin’ and workin’, there is forever the music.

There’s Jazz on Saturdays with the Young Lions at the Blue Wisp.

and of course, never ending new adventures at the Riley School of Irish Music.  Below is Justin, one of the fiddle teachers, with his Nyckelharpa.  Not Irish, but very awesome.

As October arrived, it was time for me to bid adieu to my friends and co-workers at Carroll Concertinas and put my puppeteer hat on.  The Frisch Marionettes went on tour this month down to Atlanta, Georgia where we were welcomed by the fine folks at the Center for Puppetry Arts.

For two weeks we performed the classic Peter and the Wolf, along with the Frog Prince with these unconventionally sized marionettes.  I have some new muscles after this tour!  Unlike most marionette shows where the puppeteers hide back stage (precisely where I’d rather be), for this show we were on stage working the puppets.  And while I did have fun with this show, I’m glad we are back to the more routine proscenium style shows where I can let the puppets be the performers.

We made many new friends at the Center, and caught up with some old ones as well.  Like many of the circles I travel in, the world of puppetry is pretty small.  Quality over quantity I say.

The Center for Puppetry Arts houses an amazing museum with puppets from around the world.  They are currently displaying characters from the Jim Henson collections as well.  It was awesome to see Big Bird, Cookie Monster, the Fraggles and creatures and art work from the Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal.

There was even Ma and Emmet Otter from the way back….

I’ve not posted any pics of these amazing puppets out of respect for the museum’s no-camera policy. But if you are anywhere near Atlanta, ever, take the time to visit this amazing place.  There is so much to see, do and learn.

Ok, so I didn’t post museum pics… but not all of the puppets are in the museum.  Some were in rehearsal for the upcoming Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer production due to start in November.  We hung out.

The people who work there are passionate about the art of puppetry in all its forms, for children as well as adults, and this country is fortunate this place even exists.   They built these puppets to exactly match those from the old stop motion movie we all grew up with.  They are brilliant!!!  (puppet makers, as well as puppets themselves!)

With double performances most days and all the time spent poking around the center and it’s incredible library and workshops, there wasn’t too much extra time to sight see.  But I did get to a few Irish Music sessions thanks to one of my far flung musical buddies.  I also got to run a few miles with one of my former running partners from my marathoning days who ironically now lives in Atlanta.  Catching up with these friends was icing on the cake for the time spent there.  My dear friend from here at home also came down to spend a few days and we did take in a few local sites.

At the botanical gardens there was a Chihuly glass sculpture to admire as it distilled the evening sunlight.

And we were able to walk with some haunting work by Magdalena Abakanovich.  Someone who’s art I’ve always admired.

Back in the hotel room I was able to get Ginger Small and her Halloween themed Paper Doll sets mailed to the lucky recipients of them.  Ginger is a timid soul and this was her first foray into her public life in sales.  Successful?  Yes.  All 20 sets were spoken for, and Ginger and I are now working on her holiday themed card.

For those brave enough to wield their scissors and release poor Ginger from her page, there was much fun to be had.

It’s good to have choices when Halloween arrives.  Just in case there are multiple parties to attend, don’t you think?

I’m having loads of fun developing this character.  And I’ll share more of her adventures with you as she grows.  But eventually, homesickness does come to one living in a hotel room for more than a day or two.  I pined for my family and my dogs.  And for fresh air and open windows (yes, even when it’s cold!).  Atlanta is lovely, for a city.  But I prefer a woodsier environment for my walks.

It was time to head home.

We were treated to a beautiful and uneventful drive through the mountains and the countryside.  While we weren’t paying attention, (or rather, while we were in the south) autumn had arrived in full force.

In the short course of just 2 weeks, things had really changed at home.  Just beyond my treasured Enchantment Flags there is a lovely golden glow to the day.

So golden that even the dogs blend in to their surroundings like furry chameleons.

There are still some small late treasures to be found hiding in the garden, though I am guessing these are to be short lived.

The day I left for Atlanta, I planted some seeds.  And they promise a harvest of greens to be enjoyed as we venture into my favorite time of year.

Sweaters, stew, knitting, a fire in the fire pit.  These are the things that spell success in life, at least to me.  My couple of weeks away gave me a nice little paycheck, which I suppose is also a sign of success, for which I am grateful.

What spells success to you?  What can you do to make a small ‘micromovement’ in that direction?  I’ll be doing little things to develop the illustrator side of my art work, both on paper in perhaps in puppetry and short-film making.  As always, I’ll keep you posted.

Happy fall!!!