Tuesday, May 9, 2017

MTE EdFUND Photos ETC

As promised, here are photos from the luncheon. Pleased to announce that the final figure in as raised for College Scholarships for our young people amounted to $44,000!

Click here for MTE EdFUND Luncheon Photos

Monday, May 8, 2017

To Be Part of Comcast X-Finity LGBTQ Film & TV Collection

Pleased to announce:

Frameline Distribution on Comcast XFINITY LGBTQ Film & TV Collection

Frameline Distribution is proud to announce the release of 15 titles on the 
Comcast XFINITY LGBTQ Film & TV Collection, including two feature-length 
films and 13 short films. Here in the Bay Area, the buzz is mounting for Frameline's 
upcoming 11-day Festival (June 15-25), featuring over 100 programs exhibited 
across San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley. But it is through the Frameline 
Distribution partnership with Comcast XFINITY that LGBTQ community members 
outside the Bay Area, from North Dakota to West Virginia, will see the best in 
LGBTQ cinema.

Frameline Distribution has been distributing LGBTQ films for over 35 years, with 
an emphasis on those most underserved by mainstream media-youth, elders, 
people of color, and transgender and gender expansive people. This collection, 
available to all XFINITY TV subscribers through XFINITY On Demand or at 
xfinity.com/lgbtq, fulfills just this promise to the community through an emphasis
on social justice documentaries about queer and trans people of color (QTPOC), 
short films emphasizing youth experiences, and others in the community who are 
marginalized.

In Marco Castro-Bojorquez's award winning feature-length documentary El Canto 
del Colibrí, (made in participation with Somos Familia and BAYCAT), Latino 
immigrant fathers explain their acceptance of their LGBTQ children, delving into 
issues of prejudice, isolation, and religious and cultural beliefs. This film is in 
Spanish with English subtitles.

In the second feature length film, Treasure: From Tragedy to Trans Justice, 
A Detroit Story, director dream Hampton examines racism, transphobia, the 
exploitation of sex workers, classism, and the continued criminalization of black 
bodies while painting a portrait of one transwoman of color who died violently in 
2011.

The 13 shorts in the collection primarily feature youth exploring intersectional 
identities between race and culture and gender identity/sexual orientation, as well 
as other titles addressing bullying, ableism, family acceptance, and other issues.

Films will be available to all XFINITY TV subscribers through XFINITY On Demand 
or at xfinity.com/lgbtq through the end of 2017. The Comcast XFINITY LGBTQ 
Film & TV Collection features more than just Frameline Distribution titles; it is 
a large, community-curated collection of movies and shows featuring 
unapologetically LGBTQ characters and storylines.

Feature Length Films Available:
El Canto Del Colibri, directed by Marco Castro-Bojorquez Treasure: From Tragedy 
to Trans Justice, A Detroit Story, directed by dream hampton
Short Films Available:
Alaska is a Drag (2012), directed by Shaz Bennett
Alzheimer's: A Love Story, directed by Gabe Schimmel, Monica Petruzzelli
Gaysians, directed by Vicky Du
Genderfeak, directed by Rebecca Louisell
Monica's Story, directed by Glenn Holsten
Passing, directed by J. Mitchel Reed, Lucah Rosenberg-Lee
A Place in the Middle, directed by Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson
Teens Like Phil, directed by Dominic Haxton, David Rosler
The Infamous T, directed by Melissa Koch
The Paper Mirror, directed by Charissa King-O'Brien
Tomgirl, directed by Jeremy Asher Lynch
Unanimated (Desanimado), directed by Emilio Marti Lopez
Yeah Kowalski!, directed by Evan Roberts.


Friday, May 5, 2017

MTE EdFUND Luncheon May 3, 2017

The second annual was a success! Approximately 125 people attended, the keynote by Carmita Semann was stellar, three scholarship recipients shared the story of their coming out of homelessness to finding independence and are proud of their excellent grades in college thanks to La Casa Norte and The More Than Ever Education Fund. 

Michael spoke briefly and then presented the North Shore Exchange with the first annual Gregory Maire Leadership Award. Following is the text of Michael's presentation including a 3-minute video of Michael and Gregory discussing the MTE EdFUND. Photos will be posted at a future date.


MTE EdFUND Luncheon- Wednesday 5/3/16
😀
Howard, Members of the Board, Sol, Staff and Volunteers of La Casa Norte … all of the young people here today … Family, Friends, Colleagues.
I want to share my comments with you today by COUNTING just a few of the ways I am GRATEFUL to La Casa Norte … and GRATEFUL to you!
😀 NUMBER ONE 
Last year, at the inaugural MORE THAN EVER EDUCATION FUND Luncheon in May 2016, we raised over $59,000 … and presented 3 scholarship awards. 
Last December at our first annual holiday cohort celebration - we saw 6 more scholarship awards given, laptop computers gifted, and free housing contracts signed - bringing the number of student participants to 9. 
😀 NUMBER TWO
I am OVERJOYED to be standing here before you again … a quick year later … at the SECOND ANNUAL  MORE THAN EVER EDUCATION FUND Luncheon. 
Today will find a total of 15 deserving students with scholarship awards and more, AND we couldn’t be more proud of these young people, who you will get to meet later.
😀 NUMBER THREE
As a brief recap … twelve years ago … during the 29th year of Gregory’s and my … 41-year relationship … we received the diagnosis of Gregory’s having Dementia, most likely Alzheimer’s Disease. 
Knowing that the road ahead would be a difficult one, we recommitted our love to each other saying, “I  love you … NOW … MORE THAN EVER.” Thus the name of this fund …
😀 NUMBER FOUR
Much like people talk about what they would do if they won the lottery …  MANY YEARS ago, when Gregory and I were YOUNG …we talked about wishing we were able to help others in a significant way. 
We talked about how this would look and decided that probably the best way to help was through supporting young people who were seeking to better themselves through an education … but who could not afford to do so.
Shortly before he died, when Gregory and I re-visited our finances and investments, we realized that NOW THAT WE WERE OLD, we WERE in the position of doing good for others, to pay forward our own good fortune.
Gregory and I have been involved with La Casa Norte … about to celebrate its 15th anniversary of doing good works … almost since its inception. With one call to Sol Flores, Executive Director of La Casa Norte, the MORE THAN EVER EDUCATION FUND was born.
😀 NUMBER FIVE
Let's watch this three-minute video which documents a conversation about the fund, which I had with Gregory approximately six months before he died. You may notice that it is oversimplified, but at the time, that was the best Gregory was able to do.

Wow, a hard act to follow! 
Back to counting how grateful I am …
😀 NUMBER SIX
The fund we are here to celebrate today is described as “established by Gregory L. Maire and Michael A. Horvich.” 
Over time the Gregory Maire Scholarship Fund will be ONLY ONE of MANY funds under this umbrella. 
When I leave this world, you will see a second, the Michael Horvich Scholarship Fund.
With support FROM PEOPLE LIKE YOU and support from the business, religious, education, and social services communities … there will be MANY funds under this amazing umbrella legacy whose DEEDS will speak to the great potential available to La Casa Norte in providing educational opportunities to deserving young people. 
I invite YOU … TO JOIN US under the MORE THAN EVER EDUCATION PROGRAM UMBRELLA - by establishing and naming a fund of your own! 
Speak with Sol or me to find out how you might go about this.
😀 And last in my list of counting gratitudes, NUMBER SEVEN
Please raise your glass and join me in a TOAST.
1) …TO ALL OF YOU … who have supported today’s second annual celebration of the MORE THAN EVER EDUCATION FUND
2) …TO A LONG LIFE for the fund for many years to come and it's ability to provide educational opportunities to young people confronting homelessness 
3)… TO LA CASA NORTE for all their good works 
4) … TO the  YOUNG PEOPLE here today and those who will be joining this adventure in the future … taking our support and love with them … as they study hard and met success in their endeavors
 … and lastly 
5) … TO GREGORY … Who in many ways has made this all possible. 
Thank you so much for being here today and for your support.
😀
Next, it is my pleasure and honor to present the FIRST ANNUAL Gregory Maire Leadership Award. In addition to the scholarship fund, this award is also part of his legacy to the future and is presented to others who, like himself, have led the way for change and opportunity. 
I can think of NO BETTER RECIPIENT of the Gregory Maire Leadership Award … than … NORTH SHORE EXCHANGE. 
Many of you may know of North Shore Exchange, in fact, you may have shopped there. The North Shore Exchange is Glencoe's nonprofit resale boutique offering an edited collection of upscale and luxury designer women's clothing and accessories, as well as beautiful furniture and home décor. 
What you may not know is that ALL of their profits support organizations providing human services for children and families. 
Since opening in March 2013, they have given away $700,000 in funds to well-deserving charities. 
La Casa Norte was an early recipient of North Shore Exchange’s generosity and has continued to receive grants from them over the years to support our programming. 
Last year, North Shore Exchange deepened their commitment to La Casa Norte by increasing their support to help expand the Youth in College program, the very program that works with the MORE THAN EVER scholarship recipients. 
We are deeply grateful for the partnership we have in North Shore Exchange. 
It is my honor to present the 2017 Gregory Maire Leadership award to North Shore Exchange Board President, Wendy Serrino and North Shore Exchange Philanthropy Chair Scott Javore.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Life is a Sentence

FROM KATE SWAFFER:

Well, my BUB (Back Up Brain) Peter and I are home from Taiwan, Kyoto and Osaka, via Tokyo and Sydney. 

We are both feeling very tired, but also very emotional, as every time we hang out with other people facing dementia, we feel like we are family. I feel a little lost just now, without them. With or without our differences of opinions, we are all facing the same 'life sentence'. We quite like it in the 'cocoon of love and unique understanding' that being with others facing dementia brings.


Those of us diagnosed know we are changing and deteriorating. Those who love and support us, are somehow managing to keep it all together for us. They face stress, physical and emotional health issues, that I have no doubt, they rarely share with us, as they don't want us to worry about them. After all, we are diagnosed with a dementia. But we must think about them, and if we have YOD, we must think about how to better support our children and elderly parents. The stigma for them (I suspect) is actually worse than it is for us. 

Thank you to everyone who supported us so generously and with such incredible hospitably in Japan (and Taiwan). We also will miss you, and your love and friendship. We made many new friends, and connected with many old friends, and wished the flights were not as long, and much less expensive so we could ALL do it more often!

We love you ALL.

MY REPLY:

Wow. Words so beautifully and well chosen! And in general, life is a "sentence" for all of us! Maybe a jail sentence but I would rather look at it like a language sentence! A little harder to read aloud for some or at least different. But the comment shows that we all need to be kind, accepting, and loving of one another. We never know who has how much "difficulty reading their sentence!"

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Empty You

There is no reason trying to understand
Because there is no understanding.
There is no reason trying to explain
Because there is no explaining.
There is no reason to lament
Because there is nothing worth lamenting

There is no reason to hold on to things
Because there is nothing on which to hold.
There is no reason to worry about things
Because there is nothing about which to worry.
Everything will happen as it is supposed to
In its own time and in its own way.

There is only reason to wonder
Because all of life is a wonder!
There is only reason to marvel
Because merely being alive is magical.
Be whole with your experiences.
Be authentic in your actions and your thoughts.

In many ways the detail of our life is emptiness
Until it gets filled with our thoughts and experiences.
Which are not always what they seem or should be
Which may or may not be real or true or honest.
Let your emotions be your guide, your barometer
To help you judge where you are and who you are.




My TWO DAYS MORE evening post.
TWO DAYS MORE until May 3, 2017, 11:30-1:30 Orrington Hotel, Evanston, Illinois
ATTEND: A.S.A.P. E-Mail at mahwww@me.com
DONATE: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/mteeducationfund?code=MTEWebsite
No automatic alt text available.



Sunday, April 30, 2017

Different or Same?

Each person perceives their world,
Through their senses and thoughts.
Based on their circumstances.
Based on what they are told.
Based on what they have learned.
Based on what they accept as truth.

Therefore each one of us is different from each other.

Each thing we see, we see differently.
Each thing we hear, we hear differently.
Each thing we smell, we smell differently.
Each thing we taste, we taste differently.
Each thing we feel, we feel differently.
Each thing we think, we think differently.

Therefore each one of us is different from each other.

Each thing we love,
Each thing we hate,
Each thing we enjoy,
Each thing we fear,
Each thing we experience,
Each thing we accept,

Each thing we love, hate, enjoy, fear, experience, accept,
We love, hate, enjoy, fear, experience, accept differently.
If this is true, how can we say we are the same?
No wonder we say all Christians, Jews, Muslims, blacks, whites,
Are bad, or wrong, or vengeful, or dangerous?
No wonder one misunderstands and fears and hates all others?

Thinking each one of us is different from each other.

What I believe we can all say,
Is that although we are all different,
We all want the same thing.
We all want to be happy, to be warm, to love and to be loved.
We all want to NOT be angry, hungry, in pain, in danger,
We all want the same thing but we are all different

Therefore we are all different and we are all the same as well!

So what must we do to get along, to not war, to not kill,
To not provoke, to not disrespect, to not take advantage,
To not be greedy, to not be selfish, to not be unthinking,
To not prevent others from being happy, warm, loved?
To not prevent others from avoiding anger, hunger, pain, danger?
We must respect the differences realizing we are all basically the same

IN DIFFERENT WAYS!



Friday, April 28, 2017

We are happy to inform you that the short film Alzheimer's: A Love Story by Gabe Schimmel, Monica Petruzzelli has been selected to compete in the Maremetraggio Section at the 18th edition of the ShorTS International Film Festival, which will take place in Trieste (Italy) from 1st to 8th July 2017.



Monday, April 17, 2017

Wow! A reply to the previous post:

I always tell my little boy about the tag program and what a great teacher you were for us mr. Horvich! I remember you also never spoke to us like we were babies or little kids. One of my favorite memories is you telling some kid in the hallway he was acting like a jackass. Because he was! And that's when it hit me that you weren't going to talk down to us. You were going to talk with us. I loved every minute of your classes and grew every single day I was in one of your classes

Every Now and Then

Every now and then I connect with a former student and get praise like this:

I wanted to let you know, I jumped on a FB Live with Alexis Del Cid today and your name came up...

She's in broadcasting on a morning show and was on her way to present an award to a teacher in her viewing area. She talked about the value of great teachers and asked who some of our favorite teachers are. 

The thing you did for me in fifth grade, no one has since expressly taught, and that is divergent thinking. In your TAG program, we did many cool and engaging things but what stands out is, you described the process of thinking divergently and had us practice it.

To this day, 30+ years later, there is no single skill that is more valuable to me. The fact that I can take a single scenario and intentionally turn it over in my mind and flip it upside down and inside out gives me an immense freedom to take risks. 

I also believe it gives me an edge over less creative thinkers, in my various chosen fields, that is most of the competition!

I have created new opportunities in life and business, sold things to people who couldn't be "sold", even quite jobs with zero fear of what would come next simply because I am skilled from all those years of internalizing that one simple lesson you taught. 

Thank You!

By the way, I meant to tell her your name is pronounced Hor-Vick, it might have been autocorrected to Hot-Vick which she probably thought was crazy when she read it on air... Sorry Alexis!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

What a Lot of Posts

What a lot of posts today! 

Sat down today to think about what I am up to lately:

ALZHEIMER'S: A Love Story, the documentary continues to travel and do well around the U.S.A. and around the world. 77+ film festival acceptances. 35+ awards.

I have begun writing the script for ALZHEIMER'S: The Musical.

I came up with a new concept for an opera using some of my poems called: ALZHEIMER'S: A Poetic Opera, How many poems in a dozen? Eight?

I am working on GYROSCOPE: An Alzheimer's Love Story, my memoirs.

I continue to BLOG here at "michael a. horvich writes."

The MORE THAN EVER EDUCATION FUND second annual luncheon is coming up on Wednesday, May 3. I have been attending meetings with the administrator of the fund, La Casa Norte as well as seeking raffle prizes, mailing out invitations, and regularly posting about the event on social media.

I have recently been invited to join and have accepted a position as Board Member on a fledgling opera group called The Floating Opera Theater.

I have been attending a new group in the area called "The New 100" which is a creative incubator which meets monthly with attendees sharing new works in the arts for the purpose of networking, workshopping, connecting, etc.

There is a possibility that Michael's Museum: A Curious Collection of Tiny Treasures, a permanent exhibit at Chicago Children's Museum since 2011, will add a number of collections to the already existing 105!

I do this every now and then to remind myself that I am still alive and not lazy even though it feels at times like I am "slowing down."






Documentary

ALZHEIMER'S: A Love Story acceptance # 77: Shorts on the River - OUTwatch: Wine Country’s LGBTQI Film Festival. June 3, 2017


AT THE


Short of the Week

ALZHEIMER'S: A Love Story is featured on https://www.shortoftheweek.com. Scroll down to ALZHEIMER'S: A Love Story. Check it out!


Mine And Well Deserved

These are my hips and they can ache if they want to. These are my rotator cuffs and they can hurt when they want to. This is my lower back and if it needs to go out of alignment, I give it my permission. This is my headache and I am entitled to it although I might share it with a few asprin.

My body has served we well for seventy two years. Short of major surgery, which luckily exists if necessary, there is no neighborhood service shop that can oil my joints, retread my feet, tune up my muscle composition, rotate my blood vessels, alter my body mass, or refill my visual ability.

I have earned my pain over the years, variously through accident, injury, neglect, wear and tear, or just plain old age. And I am grateful to my body for the life force that it continues to deliver to me each and every day, especially since I wake up each morning, whether I want to or not. (And I still do!)

I do not complain  and do not talk about my aches and pains as part of the communication involved with friendships or family or feel the need to do so, but for some reason as I was in bed at 12:34 noon today to take a well deserved nap, I notice my hips were aching and I thanked them, welcomed the "zetz" (as they say in Yiddish) they were giving me, and rolled over to doze off.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Number 78

Congratulations!

We are delighted to inform you that your
​ 
​submitted
​​
 ​film,
Alzheimer's: A Love Story
​ 
has 
been selected to screen at the 8
th KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival
​, 
India
 to be held from May 24
th to 28th  2017.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

MORE THAN EVER EDUCATION FUND Luncheon 2017 - One Month From Now



ONE MONTH FROM NOW
Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Orrington Hilton in Evanston, 11:30-1:30. 

1) Thank you to those who have already made yourselves known to me. Will continue sending along periodic announcements between now and then to keep you up to date on our progress!

2) We sincerely hope that you (bring fellow workers and friends) are able to join us at the event. Purchase tickets here:

3) If you are unable to attend please consider making a contribution, any amount large or small. Donate here:

4) If you are able, become a sponsor for the event. Contact Michael at mahwww@me.com for more information.

5) Detailed information about the event:


Friday, March 31, 2017

The Worst Part of Alzheimer's

Last night as I was drifting off to sleep, I was thinking about the worst part of being on the Alzheimer's Journey with Gregory. At first so many visions assaulted my mind that the answer to my own question was one of numbness. The losses? The frustration/confusion? The sorrow/loneliness? The joys/sorrows? The inability to understand, and at times even to know how to understand the trajectory of the disease?

Then, like a flash, the answer/insight came to me: Life. Living. Being alive ... that was and is the worst part of the Alzheimer's Journey. 

"To be alive is to suffer" according to Buddhist understanding. In part we long for something, feel pain and loss in our lives, look for stability and predictability. We want things to always be the same, the good life; but in fact things change and what is ... is ... and it is not always good. 

Our lives are defined by dissatisfaction. We want better and we want good. Those are not bad expectations but it is not possible to hold on to them forever either. So dissatisfaction is how we deal with the reality of being alive. Things change, things are not always good, everything dies. Everyone changes, everyone dies. Dissatisfaction arises out of our own ignorance of our reality, wanting it to be something other than what it is. Our longing, craving, thirsting is what dissatisfies us as does the changing of our reality.

The study of Buddhism tells us that if we are able to sit with our dissatisfaction, look closely at the reality of life, live in the here and now; we can learn to accept this human dilemma and live wholeheartedly in the here and now, in the face of impermanence, knowing that some day we are all going to die, and that is part of life. We can increase our tolerance of instability and change and learn to appreciate today!

We are different people than we were when we went to sleep last night. We will be different people when we go to bed tonight than we were when we woke up this morning. These differences, at the basic level, are due to sloughing off cells and growing new ones. These differences are also based on our experiences as individuals: what was done today, what was seen today, what was heard today, what was said today.

These differences are what make life and love interesting and vital and in turn make relationships interesting and vital. There are failures and there will be successes. There are illnesses and there will be wellnesses. There are problems and there will be solutions. There are arguments and there will be "making ups." There are tears and there will be laughter. There are sorrows and there will be joys.

Even armed with this knowledge, I so still lament not being able to hold on to the physical interactions which Gregory and I used to have. This part of Gregory's death has been the most difficult part for me to let go. I want to kiss his lips, look into his eyes, smell him, tell him in person that I love him. I want to hold his hand, talk with him, share, hear his voice, walk along the beach together. I want to buy things for him, cook dinner for him, get him flowers and dark chocolates.

But those things can only exist now in memories and when I visit those memories, at times, I panic at the finality of these physical interaction losses. I want to hold on to them and not let them go but that is not within my control. Death arrived, in Gregory's case bringing completion and peace for him as well as for me. In my case it also brought deep grief for the change of a deep love, and is a constant reminder that nothing is permanent. Everything changes! The love has not been lost, but is has changed.

I have learned to "be with" Gregory physically in new ways: I talk with him at bedtime. I still bring him flowers and chocolates (which I eventually eat.) I acknowledge him as I pass his photograph which sits with his shrine in the bedroom. I sound a Tibetan Prayer Bowl to say hello. And periodically I dream about him. 

In my heart I celebrate holidays with him. I buy myself little gifts from him (which I used to do with his permission while he was alive.) I tell his stories and I tell our stories. His name lives on with family and friends, at Chicago Children's Museum, in my blogging, in the More Than Ever Education Fund, in the documentary Alzheimer's: A Love Story which has been accepted to over 75 film festivals worldwide and has won over 35 awards including two from the most prestigious American Pavilion of the Cannes Film Festival. 

So to be alive, to live, is to encounter changes including the ones death brings, including the ones Alzheimer's brings. We will all die. That is not a profound statement. We will also live and hopefully learn to accept that everything changes, that the reality is that we cannot hold on to things permanently, hold close for ever anything, except in our memory while we still live, and that is profound.

Living with Alzheimer's teaches that lesson so well and if you do a good job of giving and receiving unqualified love during the journey you will survive. You will suffer but you will survive, until it is your time to move on. 

In some ways the most important part of the story of Gregory's and my life together is what happens between the lines of: Gregory was born. Gregory lived. Michael was born. Michael lived. Gregory and Michael met each other. Gregory and Michael loved each other.  Gregory lived with Alzheimer's. Michael chose to walk the Alzheimer's Path with him. Gregory and Michael continued to live and to love and received many gifts of understanding from each other. Gregory died. Michael grieves but continues to live. Michael will die. 

That is the reality, so why waste time being dissatisfied? You are doing everything correctly. Be forgiving if you back-step knowing you will again move forward. Observe, acknowledge, accept your reality, and get on with the miracle and joy of being alive, no matter what it may bring!


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

When Stories Begin To Write Themselves at 12:18 AM

This story was motivated by my beginning the reading of Krista Tippit's: Becoming wise: An inquiry into the mystery and art of living, which was a birthday gift from friends Jan and Jerome. (I believe that Tippit's writing is a little more profound than mine but I enjoyed the adventure!)


• • • • •

Even in the bathroom the stories of life unfold and are explained in ways that do not reveal themselves unless looked for or at times asked about.

In that dungeon or that palace, called the bathroom, where we participate in the most basic of bodily functions as well as in fixing the beauty with which we would like to perceive of self, the magical stories of our life can flourish.

We cleanse, purify, and beautify but we also eliminate, pass gas, belch, and at times with illness vomit our insides out.

A look in the mirror can reply, "How beautiful," or "How old and ugly!" We look in the mirror and shift our glaze slightly left, then slightly right until we fix just the image of ourself we want to hold, then leave the mirror behind and carry that image with us, for better or worse,  throughout the day. And this is only one of our stories. But if you look more deeply, even in the bathroom things of your life can tell their stories.

What does the oversized digital clock on the wall over the sink tell me besides the time? Is it reminding me that all things pass, that all things change, and that one day I too will be gone as is my beloved Gregory? Some would say it's just a way of being on time, not keeping someone waiting, not missing an appointment. But that tells a story as well in a different way, doesn't it? 

The $200 Simply Human Magnifying Mirror hanging on the wall next to the large mirror allows me to visit, with accuracy, the pores of my face and attend to them as necessary. It also allows the errant eyelash to be found and washed to safety. Are these activities of vanity or necessity or both. $200? Sounds like an expensive venture, but hell at 72 years of age at least I can see what I'm looking for!

Over the toilet on the wall is yet more of my Asian collection, the majority of which is now at Michael's Museum: A Curious Collection of Tiny Treasures, now a permanent exhibit at Chicago children's museum since 2011.

There are three beautiful framed collages done by an older woman named Jo Nelson. Joe and her husband Bill bring her artwork to Evanston each year to show at the art fair which takes place just outside the front door of my condo.

Her pieces are gorgeous, well constructed of many small things, many of which are not only beautiful but also precious: for example the Mud Jade Buddha that is delicately mounted sitting on a wooden platform which is sawed in half and glued to the center of one of the pieces.

When discussing her art, Jo admits she has never been to China or Japan and has no interest in the people, the country, or the history. She just has been attracted to Asian items since she was a little girl and has amassed a vast trove of wonderful pieces which she enjoys weaving into visual feasts.

Surrounding Jo's artwork, neatly spaced to the left and the right are six smaller black shelves, each holding a multi colored ceramic temple or pagota with tiny ceramic mud people artistically placed sitting next to each one. On two longer black shelves, above and below Jo's pieces, are displayed Foo Dogs, Chinese dragons, an iron incense pot, several Asian sculptures, and a Japanese triptych folding screen with a hand painted scene on silk.

I'm not sure of the story that these items tell, short of their being miniatures. Perhaps it's the beauty and spirituality which is so artistically expressed by the Asian peoples. Perhaps it relates to the Buddhist nature that helps define these cultures and most recently has become part of my life as well. 

Hanging, twirling from the HVAC vent running across the back of the bathroom are two mobile units, purchased at the Chicago Museum of Modern Art, each holding12 postcards. Each post card artistically pictures a male nude, some current day photographs and some from vintage times. The men are beautiful or handsome or ruggedly ugly. Their bodies definitely buff. While they are not behaving sexually they certainly suggest sexuality. I'll let you revisit the story that you most likely know they tell about my life :-)

There are three framed large posters in the tub alcove dealing in order with Joseph Cornell, John Lennon, and Madama Butterfly.

The Joseph Cornell poster is from a show of his work, 1903–1972, which took place at the Menil collection in 1997. The Menil Museum is in Houston where Gregory and I visited on a Texas junket to my family who live in Fort Worth. Joseph Cornell's work, done by this non-artist in his garage workshop in the house where he lived with his mother, creates from found and created scraps, environments that at once are surreal and non-existent as well as familiar. I tried my hand at creating some Cornell type boxes but gave up when I realized that I did not have a garage in which to collect the multitude of bits and pieces that on a moment's notice call would be available to create my masterpieces as they unfolded themselves.

We did not get to see the Cornell show but did visit an installation called, "Witness" which provided a huge display of objects selected from the studios and workshops of famous Surrealist artists which they used as inspirations for their work. In the corner of this exhibit, on a well lit wooden platform, was a glass topped coffee table, the inside of which was reachable through a drawer at the bottom of the table, that belonged to Mrs. Menil in which she dumped hundreds of wonderful objects; new and old, precious and common and which she allowed her grandchildren to use to explore, discover, create, tell stories, and more. It was the motivation and prototype for one of the collections at Michael's Museum called the "Table Treasure Hunt." 

The next poster shows a profile photograph of John Lennon with the words from his song "Imagine." The lyrics of the song are stunning: 

Imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try, no hell below us, above us only sky, imagine all the people, living for today. 

Imagine there's no countries, it isn't hard to do, nothing to kill or die for, and no religion to, imagine all the people, living in peace.

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one, I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will live as one. 

Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can, no need for greed or hunger, only the brotherhood of man, imagine all the people, sharing all the world.

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one, I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will live as one.

The third poster is a show poster from the Lyric Opera of Chicago dated 1982. The opera is Madama Butterfly by Puccini. This poster is particularly important to me as I was not in the first one but was in three of the returning productions over the years. My role was Uncle, which in some productions is a singing role but not this one, but is an important part of Butterfly's family and part of the wedding party with lots of stage time, up front and center!

On the Wall between the tub alcove in the shower is a handcarved wooden plaque from Thailand which contains in 15 individual niches, 15 hand carved Buddha amulets showing seven pairs of seated Buddha's in variation and one individual pose.

Hanging on the mirror back over the sink, above the red ceramic fountain that contains water running constantly as a drinking fountain for my cats, is a banner with a quote from his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, entitled "The True Meaning of Life." We are visitors on this planet we are here for 90 or 100 years at the very most during that period, we must try to do something good something useful, with our lives if you contribute to other people's happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life. No need to tell the importance of the story behind this one!

So even in a room as as mundane as a bathroom, If you look closely, and sometimes ask, there are stories to be told.
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