Sunday, July 5, 2009

Beauty is in the Eye.....

Having never tried my hand at photographing fireworks, I must secretly confess to be pleased as to even freeze a visible image. While my operational skills can be greatly improved I'm nevertheless delighted with the painterly shots my camera registered last night while watching Fourth of July fireworks with a crowd in Federal Way, WA. In my mind they truly capture the magic and mood of the evening. They also easily provide a great foundation for these very lovely "pastels of light" studies. And what do you think?

Above: Enthusiastic crowd watches a fireworks display in Federal Way, WA.
Copyright 2009 by Mizu Sugimura

Copyright 2009 by Mizu Sugimura

Copyright 2009 by Mizu Sugimura.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tired Eyes, Eyelids and Other Tales

If there's a next time I sign up for any plastic surgery, I'll ask to hear every detail of the long version. This is because prior to my having a blepharosplasty to improve my peripheral vision the end of January, I had no idea that I would be still going back to my doctor for additional follow-up visits in this fourth month of 2009.

Be assured I don't look quite so ghastly as I did to myself when I first looked in the mirror after the operation. For most intents and purposes, I look fine right now, unless you get more or less right in my face. To some extent, this cannot be predicted as this is often where those factors that set us apart from each other as individuals come into play. Sigh...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Vashon Island's Blue Heron Art Center Inspires

Left: Aya Clark.

Using resources available on hand is a lesson that small arts organizations and larger communities can possibly learn from Vashon Island's Blue Heron Art Center. The center which once served as a meeting hall for a local chapter of the Independent Order of Oddfellows, provided a cozy and suitably intimate setting for a special performance of "From The Heart", a one-woman show by award-winning playwright Jude Narita.

I caught the ferry to Vashon while a passenger in an automobile driven by my long-time and talented theater buddy Aya Hashiguchi Clark. Clark may be known to many enthusiastic fans of Seattle and South Sound community theater for numerous appearances in front of audiences as an actress and behind the curtain as a director and producer.

Ms. Clark has also written occasional theater reviews for a number of local publications and has started her own blog. I have had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with Clark since looking her up in the phone book after enjoying one of her earlier journalistic efforts while reading a regional shopper many years ago.

We also shared membership in the same generational tier (Sansei) third-generation Americans of Japanese ancestry all of whose immigrant grandparents for the most part arrived in the United States in the early 1900's. Additonally, we share the sad fact people on both our mother's and father's side were forced into US government internment camps during World War II. As the early communities were essentially blown to bits physically and emotionally during this period of forcible dispursement, it's become highly unusual outside of a handful of communities in the State of California for both of us to ever run across, much less into another Japanese-American at all.

While we were on the island just happened to learn Ms. Narita's local hosts were none other than the Shiosaki's, another local family of Japanese-American heritage of who were formerly close neighbors of Clark when she was a girl and residing in Renton, WA at the southern tip of Lake Washington. The world is small indeed!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

More About Barbara Krohn

Last year I had occasion to write about Barbara Krohn in several columns published in the Federal Way Mirror including this piece ("Tearing down walls: Japanese "camps" in WW II", November 5, 2008)  which can be accessed using this link. A few other websites of note with links to Krohn can be accessed by clicking here and here. 

Remembering Barbara

Above: Photo and art collage by Mizu Sugimura
copyright 2009.

Barbara A. Krohn,
Writer, Editor, Publisher, Historian,
Preservationist and Humanitarian,
August 23, 1925 - February 8, 2009.

"As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives. " - Henry David Thoreau

Monday, February 2, 2009

Update - Recognizable Changes Will Take More Time

I went for a follow-up appointment with the local medical magicians who are supervising the transformation of my eyelids to improve my vision. The correct medical terminology for the procedure is called a blepharosplasty.

Not a word you find yourself using in daily conversation isn't it? And while I prefer to call them magicians, they rely on their skill and experience and not mumbo jumbo or hocus pocus which I secretly desired prior to my scheduled surgery.

The follow-up this afternoon went very well and I'm scheduled for a second visit in a week or so to have all the stitches that were made to facilitate the transformation of both eyelids completely removed, an event that all-by-itself could justify some sort of celebratory libation.

Most likely I'll pass on any alcohol and celebrate soberly with a non-alcoholic beverage of choice. Perhaps I'll help my favorite local ailing corporate favorite Starbucks with a quick sale and kill off a pair of those two proverbial birds once and for all.

Should you be interested in reading more about what goes into a blepharoplasty click here.

(Edt. note: For all of those animal and bird lovers out there - about killing the birds, that's just talk. Birders are among my dearest friends and as very fond as they are of me, the truth is I don't want to put them in a position where they'd regretfully have to make a choice...)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

During a difficult transition, sometimes it's hard to still recognize yourself

AUUGGH! Do not adjust your computer! No it's not Halloween. I haven't got rapid aging disease and even though I resemble a semi-finalist in a "Frankenstein's Bride" reality show competition, it wasn't my original intention to finagle a perfect match to the pioneering literary and silver-screen science fiction mega star.

Actually, the accompanying picture represents the mid-recovery phase of medical wizardry to tackle a condition informally known as droopy eyelids for which those belonging to me had apparently been endeavoring to create for some years.

In my case the phenomena had resulted in considerably reducing my level of peripheral vision. This fact taken in combination with a longtime prescription led to consultation with local plastic surgeons for possible improvement via surgery...

My biological ancestry comes directly from the great island nation of Japan circa the Meiji era (1868-1912) and I have a sneaking suspicion that several relatives on my mother's side of the family may have generously bequeathed a tendency to this condition along with other prominent genes.

It's equally possible that my father's family who share the same rich heritage might have made a small deposit. Meanwhile, throw in a percentage of normal wear and tear gained while the odd drummer and I beat our instruments and marched down the road of life with time and the earth's gravity as bonny companions.

Looking at my present visage in the mirror (see accompanying photo) it may take somewhat of a stretch to visualize any improvement, but I have been assured by my professional caregivers that the process is in hand.

Stay tuned for more details ....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reconnecting With Books

In recent years the calendar has been dominated by personal projects, some of which have all too completely absorbed the number of hours which pass for the waking interval of my attention span. Indulging in the pleasure of reading for purely it's own sake is also a luxury I have for the most part denied myself during this same period as a middle-aged woman dealing with ADHD, as not to break the all important and precious focus which I've been able to apply for the first time in certain cases to successfully bring to a number of these projects to a marvelously delightful and miraculous fruition!

If fairly recent events in my family life had not developed along the lines of the ambiguous script which is slowly playing out as this is being written, my reunion with the concept of unwinding with a book at the end of the day might have continued to be a stillborn infant for another quite unknown slate of a few more years. I am today to recognize a small list of books old and new which have as they say "hit the spot", launched me off happily to embrace their comfort and enveloping embrace and whom to the last author and tome I can fully and heartily recommend.

Depending upon your own reading preferences the list of books which have caught my eye may appear to be less than electric. To this I will answer with this confession, there has been a deliberate choice to counter the heady and circuitous chaos to which I now find myself, and my choice of escape is less of an adventure and more of a cocoon! Most prominent is the lack of any single novel on the entire list. And while every writer has in their time been included on some sort of listing of authors or celebrities of popular note, only two of them Sarah Ban Breathnach and Nora Ephron, might possibly qualify for membership on the rolls of current bestselling authors.

A) A Hotel Is A Place, Shelley Berman, copyright 1972 Shelley Berman, published by Price/Stern/Sloan Publishers. 108 pages.

B) The It-Doesn't Matter Suit, Sylvia Plath, copyright 1976 Frieda and Nicholas Hughes,
published by Farber and Farber Limited. 41 pages.

C) Moving On, Sarah Ban Breathnach, copyright 2006 Sarah Ban Breathnach, published by Meredith Books. 284 pages.

D) My Life As A Small Boy, Wally Cox, copyright 1961 Wally Cox, published by Simon and Schuster, Inc. 128 pages.

E) I Feel Bad About My Neck And Other Thoughts About Being A Woman, Nora Ephron, copyright 2006 Heartburn Enterprises, Inc., published by Alfred A. Knopf. 137 pages.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Reunite abandoned store carts with their families!

My personal contribution to the on-going campaign waged against abandoned shopping carts! Mizu Sugimura, copyright 2009.

If the residential area where you live has become anything like mine, you've noticed orphan shopping carts have popped-up by the roadside miles and miles from their habitual home base. During an idle search on the Internet a few years back I discovered a sampling of some of the myriad and truly creative solutions individuals in communities in all part of the world have come up with (the actual data may be revealed in another post) to try and deal with these wandering spawn of global commerce.

While I won't claim the idea sketched out in two and three dimensional form in the picture above is among anyone's Top Ten, if the powers-that-be in my own community would put the imagination up in their grey matter to work and what resources they have in hand today into motion it's quite likely we'd already have a more effective solution than our present bandage.

I just want to show visually that the germ of a city-wide publicity campaign can be pulled together by ordinary citizens working in the homes with scrap materials on hand.