Posts Tagged ‘hands’

2011-07-17 16.28.22 auto

Abe Lincoln’s Hand – 14/365, Archive 365, Fargo, North Dakota, July 2011, photo © 2011-2012 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

On a road trip to North Dakota, we stopped at Scheels, a family owned business that has been operating out of Fargo since 1928. It was a new experience for me, but not for Liz, a native North Dakotan. On the way in the door of the 196,000 square foot building on 45th Street, off of Interstate 94, I was immediately drawn to the bronze sculptures to the north. I had to sit down on the bench next to Abe Lincoln and read the note in his hand. It contained words from the last paragraph of his second inaugural address given on March 4, 1865 (read the whole speech in its entirety here):

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves and all nations.

Lincoln is a life-size bronze sculpted by native Nebraskan Mark Lundeen. He now lives in Colorado.

ARCHIVE 365 is a photo collaboration between skywire7 and QuoinMonkey featuring images from our archives. We will alternate posting once a day in our Flickr sets from July 1st 2012 through June 30th 2013. You can view our photographs at skywire7 Archive 365 set on Flickr and QuoinMonkey Archive 365 set on Flickr.

-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, July 15, 2012. Related to posts: In Search of Letters & Artifacts On Abraham Lincoln

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Ms. Kiev: She Who Rules The Roost, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

It’s been a long week. Except for the house noises, it’s quiet as the wind. Liz went to the hardware store to buy a new shower head. For the first time this week, I’m alone. It was a hard week. I felt sick on Tuesday but went to work anyway. After becoming a national statistic earlier this year, for the last few months I’ve been driving a truck, delivering parts to machinists to be electropolished, drilled, deburred, picking them up again. It’s Saturday morning, a sacred time when I can actually catch up on reading my own blog.

Weekend hours are sweet. I promised Kiev during her morning ritual with Liz that I’d post a photo of her. She’s the only cat in our family who hasn’t made it to the cover of red Ravine. (Mr. Stripeypants was published for his support of Obama; we lost sweet boy Chaco this year.) I was sitting on the couch, writing. Liz called me on the BlackBerry from the bedroom; I picked up to hear her whispering that I should come and see the cats. I tiptoed in and took these camera shots. Family time.

The first photograph is alpha cat Kiev in her favorite position. Liz places her arm just so; Kiev curls up in the crook, same position every time. I have discovered that Kiev is difficult to photograph. She is jet black and her catty panther features all blend into night. I guess I need one of those umbrella reflectors. I do the best I can.

How do you spend your days and nights? What are your weekends like? Do you take any downtime, time to do things you can’t get to during the week? Or are you retired, off of work, and every day is the weekend for you. It seems like when I have time, I have less money. More money, less time. Where’s the balance?

In catching up on red Ravine, I see that Bob was moved by Anna Deavere Smith in our Writing Topic — 3 Questions. Our guest Buzz explained some of the nuances of basketball banter in his poetry post Hoops. ybonesy wrote about art as play, community art, something dear to our hearts on red Ravine. The renga has heated up in the Daily Haiku. And we made April plans to go to Lake Pepin in the Midwest writing group I am a part of.

I’m relieved to know that even though I feel dead beat at the end of my truck driving day, the creative world goes on around me. And sweeps me along with it. I’m grateful for that.

For Christmas, I may ask Liz for a pocket protector and a few cotton work shirts with my first name stitched above the pocket, but I’m still a writer, a photographer, an artist. Still full of wonder at the animal track flannel sheets in the photo behind Kiev. Making a living as writers and artists isn’t easy. All of you make it easier. Thank you for that.

Morning Rituals, Mr. Stripeypants: Paw Over Hand, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2009, photo © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, December 5th, 2009 with gratitude to Liz who holds up the other half of the sky, my family and friends who check up on me, and Roma, the best blog partner a woman could ever have

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SpongeBob Craves Deep Fried Tater Tots + Macaroni & Cheese On-A-Stick, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

SpongeBob Craves Deep Fried Tater Tots + Macaroni & Cheese On-A-Stick, Axel’s at the Minnesota State Fair, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2008, all photos © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

SpongeBob at the Fair
63 foods on-a-stick
waiting for you there

         Two Foods On-A-Stick, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Two Foods On-A-Stick, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Two Foods On-A-Stick, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

-posted on red Ravine, Thursday, August 28th, 2008

-related to posts: haiku (one-a-day), MN State Fair On-A-Stick (Happy B’Day MN!), WRITING TOPIC – BAND-AIDS® & OTHER 1920’s INVENTIONS, MN State Fair On-A-Stick

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By Bob Chrisman

I took a photograph of my mother’s hands before the visitors arrived at the funeral home. When she was well, she cared for her hands and nails everyday, but that stopped in the nursing home when she lost the strength in her hands and arms. Her nails grew long and dirty. That bothered her.

As she physically declined in the nursing home, she stopped caring for her nails. Instead, she would wait for me to arrive on Sundays. She would look at her hands and say, “My nails sure are long” or “I haven’t had my nails trimmed in a long time” or “My fingernail polish is chipped.” Those were clues that I should find the clippers and the nail file and go to work.

She had never directly asked for anything from me; instead she had relied on me to assume what she wanted and to do it. Many times my assumptions had fallen short of her expectations and she let me know of her disappointment in my failings.

When I could take the subtlety no longer, I would ask, “Mom, do you want me to clip your nails?”

“I wish someone would.” That was the closest to “Yes” that I ever received.

The intimacy of taking her frail hands in my big, powerful ones was almost too much for me to bear. How many times did I say to myself, “Come on, Bob. It is only her hands?”

To hold my mother’s hand connected me to her in a way that I didn’t want. Her inability to care for her most basic needs, her aging, and her impending death flowed into me through her hands.

This woman, who had ruled much of my life, who had consumed me in many ways, sat in her wheelchair and offered me her hands. So much of my life I had distanced myself from her and here I was, in the end, sucked back into her world through her hands.

The last three weeks of her life I noticed her hands every time I visited. Her fingers and hands had become skeletal as her weight had dropped to about 70 pounds. I trimmed her nails one of those weeks.

“I scratch myself,” she had said that afternoon. I held her hand and carefully trimmed the nails making sure that I didn’t pull on her skin or clip her nails too closely because my mother’s top layer of skin had become like plastic wrap and a scratch, however slight, would open her skin and she would bleed profusely..

One week her fingers were pure white and the tiny blue veins that ran down each finger stood out. The backs of her hands were a mass of age spots and bruises, a dark brown mixed with deep purple. The juxtaposition of her fingers to the backs of her hands looked as though someone had grafted the fingers of a stranger onto her hands.

The Sunday before she died her fingers and hands were a dusky, purplish-blue color. Her blood is pooling in her extremities, I thought. I knew from looking at her hands that she would not live that much longer.

She died that Thursday morning at 5:50…Thursday, February 28, 2008.

The mortician erased many of the signs of aging from her face and hands. She looked more beautiful in death than she had in life. Her nails had been trimmed and painted a pale pink. Her hands laid one on top of the other.

I wanted to remember those hands forever — even after everything else I remember about her disappears from my mind. I raised my camera to my eye, focused on her hands and took the picture.

My Mother’s Hands, photo © 2008 by Bob Chrisman. All rights reserved.

Bob Chrisman lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where he writes. Natalie Goldberg gave him permission to call himself a writer many years ago, and he has been writing ever since. His writing friends, particularly those from a Goldberg year-long Intensive that he and 23 other students took, have made it possible for him to continue and, thankfully, only occasionally be tossed away.

About writing practice, Bob says: My practice is simple. I meditate for 30 minutes every morning and then do six 10-minute “writes.” Sometimes life interrupts the schedule, but I return to it as soon as possible.

As so many writers have suggested, including our teacher, write first thing in the morning before anything interferes with the writing. But, if you can’t write in the morning, write sometime during the day. Don’t let it slide!

After my mother’s death I couldn’t always focus for an hour, but I made a commitment to myself to write enough to catch up for the days (or writes) I missed. I did them all. That’s how important these six 10-minute writes are to my practice, to my life and to what little sanity I have left.

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 Writer's Hands III, hands of Candyfreak author, Steve Almond, signing a copy of his latest book, (Not That You Asked) Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions, Minneapolis Central Library, downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Writer’s Hands III, hands of Candyfreak author, Steve Almond, signing a copy of his latest book, (Not That You Asked) Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions, Minneapolis Central Library, downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 2007, photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

It’s late and I’m tired. But I wanted to write a short note. I just got home from Thai dinner, stimulating conversation, and late night writing practice with two of my writing friends, Teri and Bob. Bob drove all the way from Kansas City, Missouri, to visit and write with us.

And last night, Liz, Bob, Teri, and I went to the Minneapolis Central Library to see Candyfreak author, Steve Almond, read from his new book (Not That You Asked) Rants, Exploits, and Obsessions. He was grounded, stimulating, generous with his time, and did I mention, fun? (Check out The Original Smarties Necklace wound around his wrist as a bracelet!)

There will be more to come about this author on red Ravine. But for now, get out and hear Steve read and speak. Buy his books. You’ll be inspired and motivated to action. And best of all, you’ll go home wanting to write. And change the world.

Thanks to Steve, Teri, Liz, and Bob for making the night a memorable one. Without the support of other writers, what do we have? And, Bob, have a safe journey home. And don’t forget the magic word – Hemingway.

-posted on red Ravine, Friday, October 12th, 2007

-related to posts, Homage To A Candy Freak and WRITING TOPIC – CANDY FREAK

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