Saturday, March 29, 2008

Highway 80 West

In a few minutes I'll be driving down highway 80 from Montgomery Alabama, through Selma - first to Newbern, Alabama - World Headquarters for AU Rural Studio, then to Greensboro, Alabama. Highway 80 is best known as the The Selma to Montgomery National Voting Rights Trail.

Today is the grand opening of Phase II and Phase III of Lions Park in Greensboro, Alabama.

Phase II is a theses project by AU Rural Studio architecture students Mark Dempsey, Russ Gibbs, Pamela Raetz, and Adam Kent. They built amazing public restrooms using sustainable materials and fabricated a device to direct the gutter water into culverts for use in the bathrooms. The bathrooms have the most amazing concrete sink - designed and built by these students. Can you tell I love these students and think they ROCK! Their BLOG is a must read.

Phase III is a theses project by AU Rural Studio architecture students Joey Aplin, Lindsey Butler, Adam Woodward, and Anthony Vu. They are known as the Lions Park Surfaces Team. Their job was to take the original site plan designed by Lions Park Phase I, and complete the “Surface, Edge, Entry, Signage” It evolved into a landscape project and the manipulation of the surface treatments within the park. It is beautiful, and has - quote me on this! - "The coolest signs in the world!" I WILL post a picture when I get back. Their BLOG is amazing and detailed and its first entry is fall 2006! All eight of these young people have devoted two years - one year after they graduated - to these projects and the people of Greensboro, Alabama.

Phase III's most exciting recent news is that we received a grant from The Tony Hawk Foundation for $25K to include a free public skatepark. I've been working on the final paperwork all week.

This is what I love about my job - I get to work with and around creative and talented young people who use their knowledge and skills to make the world (West Alabama) a better place.

I'll be donning my Greensboro Allstars game shirt complete with DENNEY on the back that was given to me at the opening of Phase I. Most of Phase I was paid for by a grant from Baseball Tomorrow Fund.

We're expecting 300+ people today - I can't wait to let you know how it goes.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Quilt for Mark

Mark's Quilt is finished. I don't have words to describe the process, nor the reason.

Here is a close up of the machine stitching by Cinnamon Dreams.

The cool backing fabric is a hand-dyed, then hand spot bleached. It gives a grassy, rocky feel.

This is a simple fence rail pattern made with a jelly roll of batik fabrics.

A jelly roll is 2 1/2 inch strips rolled up and tied with a ribbon to make a beautiful display of fabric. I took a 90 strip jelly roll and sewed four strips together, then made two 10" squares each. Each block is duplicated once. There was no rhyme or reason to my design - just tried to balance the colors. Some areas are more successful than others.

The label reads:

A Quilt for Mark

We hope this quilt warms your body and comforts your soul. Love, The Denneys.

I hope it does.

Our Annual Camping Trip

Spring Break~ We know where we're going every year. We just had another wonderful week camping. Yep you read that correctly, camping.
For the last five years we have gone to Port St. Joseph Peninsula State Park.
We camp in a tent.
More about the adventures of the Spring Break Camping Trip coming up in future BLOGS~
In the meantime, who ARE these people and what did they do with my little boys?

Can you believe we take all this stuff? I'm looking
foward to telling you all about it.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Beware the Ides of March?

I don't think so, this year. Today is National Quilting Day. In celebration, I sent a quilt for quilting for my friend, Mark, with sever colon cancer.

Next, I cut strips for my friend Judith. She and her husband, Ty, who died in January, have been our Auburn tailgate friends for nine years. I'm making her a blue and orange quilt with batik orange and black fabric reminiscent of tiger stripes for the border. The quilt is in honor or our years of fun, food and football. All the fabric was donated to me by friends of Ty and my friends who know how much I love to make quilts for people. Last, today, I worked on designing a baby quilt for someone who is having a baby in June. A celebration of new life, it makes me smile.

That's the thing about quilts. For both the maker and the recipient - they warm the body and comfort the soul.

Happy National Quilting Day.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

What would you say?

Carnegie Mellon Computer Science Professor Randy Pausch's Last Lecture~

10 Minute Version

72 Minute Version

Dr. Pausch's Web Site

I wish I knew how to tag - I'd like to know what y'all think - and what would you say in your last lecture?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Must Read

If you haven't read this month's RollingStone, you must read it.

In allegiance to my journalism background and in the face of full disclosure - I have to admit that I have one very close personal friend who worked on Obama's staff for almost two years and is almost assured a political appointment, and her husband is a leader in his Virginia campaign and both are my children's Godparents. And, another close friend is the Executive Director of the Alabama Democratic party and a Clinton delegate.

I have not told anyone who I voted for in the primary, and will not ever.

"Hillary's Last Stand: The tragic self-martyrdom of a groundbreaking politician" by Matt Taibbi is right on point. Those of you who know my politics well, know that I have been a Hillary fan when being a Hillary fan wasn't cool. I became disappointed when she voted to authorize military force in Iraq. I remember thinking. . . what? et tu Hillary?

I DO feel betrayed by her, but also feel an obligation to follow her wherever she goes - she IS after all, my role model - the woman who stood up and said, YES - it's perfectly ok for women to be strong, to work in a man's world, and be a role model for their children - and their children will grow up to be perfectly good citizens and happy healthy human beings, despite what people say ~ But, does the woman I want to be, vote for war?

"The Machinery of Hope: Inside the grass-roots operation of Barack Obama, who is transforming the way political campaigns are run" by Tim Dickinson, comes as close as anything to convincing me that there IS something to this man - there is more than campaign rheortic.

There is another thing that is moving me, really and truely moving me~ The young people that I know who are passionate about Obama. Even Robert McNamara later admitted that he was moved by the young people on college campuses and their protests in his book In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam.


In another related matter ~~

I am the proud owner of a Stephen Fairey poster - One of the original 350! Obama fan or not - this is one the coolest things I've ever owned ~ third, maybe - to my signed Samuel Mockbee poster and Jennifer Bonner original~

Monday, March 10, 2008

Weekend Netflix

I can’t say it better than this guy~ Good Movie. I LOVE Denzel Washington and LOATH Russell Crowe. They are both good in this movie. It’s long – so start watching before 9 p.m. on the Sunday before the first Daylight Saving Time Monday~ UGH~

American Gangster
A Film Review by James Berardinelli
United States, 2007
U.S. Release Date: 11/2/07 (wide)
Running Length: 2:37
MPAA Classification: R (Violence, profanity, nudity, drug use, sexual situations)Theatrical Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Cast: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Cuba Gooding Jr., Josh Brolin, Lymari Nadal, RZA, Ted Levine, Ruby Dee, Armand Assante, Carla GuginoDirector: Ridley ScottScreenplay: Steven Zaillian, based on the article "The Return of Superfly" by Mark JacobsonCinematography: Harris SavidesMusic: Marc StreitenfeldU.S. Distributor: Universal Pictures

American Gangster is compelling in the same way that many mob-related motion pictures are compelling, but it fails to achieve the greatness that the best of them attain. The problem with American Gangster may be that it tries to hard to provide balance between the protagonist and the antagonist but never really achieves it. While the story is rarely dull and there's plenty of material to fill up the more than 2 1/2 hour running time, there's an overall absence of dramatic tension. Ridley Scott rarely creates an uninteresting motion picture, and this is no exception, but American Gangster will not go down as one of the respected director's best efforts.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Brave Man

"You're crazy," the bank officer declared with a friendly chuckle. "Why, The Warrior River is full of catfish for anyone who wants them. There are more in there than people will ever eat. And you think you're going to go sell them when folks can go get them for nothing? That's just a bunch of dreams!"

That's what my friend, Mr. Richard True of Newbern Alabama, was told when he and his friends wanted to raise catfish instead of cattle in 1960. Today catfish farming has blossomed to be a mainstay of the our state's economy, not to mention that it has sustained the Black Belt Area during this same period.

Mr. Richard took a chance, he was brave. I can only dream of being so brave.

My friend Mr. Richard died Thursday night. Even in your death, Mr. Richard, you were a very brave man.

I will love you forever, and thank you for Frances, you lovely daughter who is my dear friend.

Peace be with you always.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Our Weekend Netflix

A waste of 2 hrs. and 40 mins. It was aimless dialog that never seemed to have a point. It brought nothing new to the table - real or make believe.

If you like watching Brad Pitt for three hours, this movie might be for you.