Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Now, Read This...

This was an eventful weekend. Or, shall I say, a weekend full of events? We had a house full of out of town guests. We attended the dedication of our new Synagogue building, theatre at the Mark Tapor Forum and my book club evening. All this in two days.

I belong to a book club that has been around for about 16 years. I’ve been a member for 14 of those years. I initially joined to broaden my reading experiences.

The vast majority of the members of this book club are physicians. Initially, I was one of only two non-physicians. Even today, there are only 3 or four non-physicians. Their busy practices mean they have limited free time to read. We meet every other month to give every one an opportunity to complete the book.

For me, that meant that I would have read at least 6 more novels by the time we met to discuss the chosen tome. I often re-read the novel to refresh my memory for the characters and the plot.

Over the years the format of the discussion groups has changed.

In the early days, we met at someone’s home. We still do. However, what began as a Saturday afternoon discussing a novel over cheese, crackers and wine, developed into an evening sit-down dinner.

What began as a discussion of a novel, changed to include wine tasting with vintages chosen based on the novel. A novel set in France guaranteed French wines. I had some difficulty picking a wine when we read “Little Dorrit.” I took Sherry.

About 5 years ago, someone had the brilliant to idea to select a movie for discussion in addition to the novel and wine tasting. The difficulty level increased significantly.

We were to read a novel, watch a selected movie that somehow related to the novel AND select a wine that had some connection to both the movie and the novel.

That poor novel was often left un-discussed after 14 members tasted bottles 14 wine. I am not a moviegoer. I do not have a palette for wine. Often, I did not see the selected film and I don’t enjoy wine tastings. I enjoy wine. I cannot taste the damned apricot or smell the soil of the Rhone Valley. I’ve been to the Rhone Valley: smells just like dirt.

I stopped participating in the book club. I continued to read the selections. I always welcome a suggestion for a novel or author I’ve not read. I continued to make suggestions for the next meeting. I just didn’t attend the discussions.

I missed my friends. I missed that bi-monthly event where we could all get together outside of work, let loose and have a good time. That was a revelation. This incredibly busy group of physicians scheduled one evening every other month just for this purpose.

The book was the catalyst for bringing everyone together. And isn’t that why I initially joined: to widen my experiences; to break out of my normal routine. I began attending again. I read the book and if we didn’t discuss it, that was OK. I was spending time with friends, friends I seldom see other than at the book discussions.

Oh! The book we read for Saturday’s discussion was “A Thing of Beauty” by Steve Martin. The play at the Mark Tabor was “Burn This.” I don’t know what movie we were supposed to watch and I have no idea what wines we drank…

I can’t wait to hear what the next reading selection will be! And, I’m bringing a wine totally unrelated to the novel just to see if anyone notice and mess with their minds. They’re physicians; it’s easy.

Please take time to visit my website at www.JerryLHanson.com. Take a look at my artwork. Contact me if you want to buy one of my works or if you have any questions about a specific piece. My contact information is on my website or you can leave a comment on this blog site for me to contact you (include your contact info!). You can e-mail me at JeryL@JerryLHanson.com or you can telephone me on my studio phone 760-992-3157. You can call me. I won’t mind.

And thank you for listening

Jerry L. Hanson

Monday, April 4, 2011

Blood, Sweat & Tears (of Joy)

I have two things dueling for my attention these days: Synagogue Art and Burning Man. The past several weeks have been about creating art for my synagogue. Burning Man is on the back burner, so to speak.

I’ve been in Los Angeles nearly every weekend since the end of February working collaboratively with my artist friend, Davi. She and I have worked together creating art since 1997. I love this woman! However, we are both married to a wonderful man & woman. We even celebrate our anniversaries 10 days apart – same number of years too!

So, Davi and I have been building the Eternal Light for the sanctuary. I’ve written about our process several times. I spent several weekends cutting large panes of glass into one-inch squares: about three thousand of them. It’s the kind of mindless Zen process I enjoy. It’s a meditative exercise for me.

It’s not unusual for Davi to slap me up side the head saying, “Jerry! We needed 20 of that color. You’ve cut about 200. Stop!”

We began constructing the light last weekend. Our goal was to complete it this weekend. Actually, that was MY goal. Davi’s goal was to complete it by 4:00 PM Saturday. She is a bit more OCD than I.

I arrived in LA Saturday at 9:30AM and we were in the studio working by 10:00 AM. At 10:45 AM I cut a piece of glass and sliced my finger open. The cut wasn’t “bad”. It wasn’t deep: it didn’t require stitches. It just wouldn’t stop bleeding. I was leaking all over the place. I wrapped a paper towel around my finger & kept working with Davi scolding me for “turning everything red.”

I managed to cut myself three more times before we completed the Eternal Light. Yeah. I’m a klutz, sometimes.

We finished the glass portion at 8:00 PM Saturday with Davi reminding me several times that we’d missed “our” goal.

We missed Davi’s goal, but not dinner. We closed up the studio in record time and were sitting down to dinner within 15 minutes. I crawled into bed exhausted at 9:30.

Sunday morning, I was up & showered by 6 AM. Davi was up early, too. We were both outside admiring our work in the sunlight. Natural sun through art glass is bliss. We walked around and around our work until we were both dizzy & teary eyed. We are both pleased with our work. Can I say that? Yes! I love what we created!

I glued in the light fixture and once the glue dries, I can attach the hanging mechanism and deliver the Eternal Light for installation. The building dedication is next Sunday.

And now we are onto our next project: making the mezzuot for the building. Rabbi Edwards asked us to make one. Somehow, it’s morphed into 20. Knowing me, we’ll end up making 50. It’s a Zen thing.

On a different subject, I‘m offering a couple of special deals on my artwork. I have pricing for most budgets – check them out here: http://dld.bz/KxWff. Contact me if you see something you like and please visit the rest of my website while you are there. Take a look at my artwork. And, while you’re checking things out at http://dld.bz/KxWf, sign up for my Newsletter. Add some spice to your reading life….

Contact me if you want to buy one of my pieces or if you have any questions about a specific piece. My contact information is on my website or you can leave a comment on this blog site for me to contact you (include your contact info!). You can e-mail me at JeryL@JerryLHanson.com or you can telephone me on my studio phone 760-992-3157. You can call me. I won’t mind!

Thank you for listening,

Jerry L. Hanson