Archive for May, 2006

My friend Meesh tagged me on this…

I AM high on life.

I WANT my iPod to wake up from it’s coma.

I WISH that we knew how to cure cancer.

I MISS lazy weekend mornings with my lover/husband pre-kids.

I HEAR Diana Krall singing S’Wonderful.

I WONDER what excitement awaits me behind door number 3.

I REGRET almost nothing (as a philosophy).

I AM NOT frilly.

I DANCE alone.

I AM NOT ALWAYS optimistic (but I try).

I MAKE WITH MY HANDS a sunflower fort.

I WRITE straight from my heart.

I CONFUSE reality with dreams (in the most delightful way).

I SHOULD learn to say “No” more often.

I START lots of conversations!

I FINISH my goals only to discover new ones.

And at the moment…I’m not gonna tag anyone…but I’m so glad Meesh tagged me!

I’m sitting in John’s hotel room with Anna, Dillon and Sharron…listening to music…and reading letters of love and encouragement out loud. Amazing how gifts of friendship are often handmade creations like M&M brownies, handwritten notes and a face-to-face visit. You wouldn’t believe how powerful a short note of encouragement can be. Anna sitting on the couch, her voice ringing out…”John, another message just came in…this one is from Dickie and Cindy…” you can feel the support pouring across the internet connection.

So…don’t be shy…don’t think you have to be profound. Just reach out…use paper, email, chocolate, flowers, thoughts, prayers, good vibes or register to be a national marrow donor (this Thursday, May 25 at Wheatsville Co-Op from 4pm to 8m).

And I’m astounded by how often when I go to lend a hand, my own heart is filled from the experience. My trip with Sharron to Houston to see John has given me hope, made me laugh and cry…but most of all reminded me how much I love and admire John Slatin. When I grow up…I wanna be just like John.

Most days I remember how blessed my life is. I breathe deeply and live fully in the moment. I’m not afraid to open my arms and my heart completely. I’d rather be open and get hurt occasionally than forget to live.

As I reach out to my dear friend John, who is courageously savoring each moment…I’m totally humbled by his grace under fire. I can only pray that I will be so noble if life ever deals such a wicked challenge to me.

The fragility of life couldn’t be more apparent to me today.

Note: If you read John’s blog, be aware that the leukemia has resurfaced in his brain and it is affecting his spelling and typing…

“I know there are lots of errors in this text. Some of them are ordinary, everyday mistakes that I would have made anytime and corrected without a second thought. Some are not. I’ve decided to let them stand, because I want to document what’s happening; maybe there are data here that will help the doctors figure out what’s going on and how to treat it. Maybe not. I find it very painful to let the mistakes be.” – John Slatin’s Leukemia Letters

Many of you have been touched by the wonderful work of Dr. John Slatin, accessibility expert extraordinaire. He has been my mentor and dear friend since I first met him in 2000. My passion for accessibility was inspired by him and his incredible attitude. And I’ll admit, that last year when he was diagnosed with Leukemia right after being named co-chair of the WCAG 2.0 Working Group, I was reminded how outrageously unfair life can be. But once again, John showed me how he doesn’t let a little inconvenience like Leukemia stop him from making the world a better place. A month ago, I was sitting at lunch with John and Jim Thatcher and rejoicing in his remission.

Last week we learned that John Slatin’s Leukemia has returned. John and his wife Anna have gone to MD Anderson in Houston for his chemotherapy. Gordon Montgomery has set up a yahoo support group for John and Anna. There is a very powerful post from John written on 5/14 (I rate it at least a two Kleenex post).

Sharron Rush had a marvelous idea for one way folks might be able to show their support…so…I share this idea with you…

A convenience has been set up for John and Anna while John is in chemotherapy at MD Anderson in Houston. The Central Market there will be happy to facilitate contributions to what they call the John Slatin Family Fund. John and Anna were tremendously moved by the support they received the first time John was hospitalized. And they are serious foodies, as we all know. But if you will not be close enough to bring your best homemade goodies on a regular basis, and are looking for another way to help John maintain his record of the longest hospital stay without eating hospital food, this may be it :)

Here’s how it works:

  1. Call the catering department of Central Market Houston 713-386-1750- Tell them you are contributing to the John Slatin Family Fund
  2. They will take credit cards or check-by-phone
  3. They will send a card with your name (no dollar amounts)
  4. John and Anna can have food delivered to the hospital, pick food up or go shopping at the store for basics.

I know many of you may have other ways you are supporting John and Anna through this time, so please don’t feel any obligation. This is offered as a possibility for a gift that will help with the practical food basics.

I’ll be headed down to Houston next week with Sharron to give John and Anna a big hug.

Last week I attended a Digital Storytelling Bootcamp for Museums. I was surrounded by some of my very favorite collegues as we were immersed in storymining techniques and digital media creation. It was like being locked in a toy store for three days…wireless, laptops, digital cameras, audio recorders, scanners, light kits, garageband, audacity and photoshop. But what really made the camp rich, was the focus on creating meaningful online experiences.

With experts like Tim Svenonius from SFMOMA and Joe Lambert from Center for Digital Storytelling leading the way, we were each inspired to develop a story that needed to be told from our museums.

The digitals toys were not the focus. Much care was taken to craft a story that begged to be told now…a story that would capture the imagination of the listener and create a reflective experience. After the storyline was developed and storyboards drafted, the New Media Consortium was on hand to teach us how to develop the rich media to support our storyboards. Finally, each team crafted their digital story using Pachyderm, a content management system for developing rich learning interactives for museums.

This is the way the web is supposed to work. Where brilliant ideas and tools are shared openly and stimulating minds are brought together to learn, create and dream.

I can’t thank NMC, SFMOMA and the Marcus Digital Education Project enough for giving us these resources to develop these stories that need to be told and preserved. Be watching this blog and the Blanton eLounge for digital stories as they emerge.

Need a story right now? Here are a few of my favorites:

This morning I went on a surprise adventure where I discovered my father horseback riding at the ROCK. What? My dad, horseback riding? Weekly!?! You’ve got to be kidding! After his brain cancer, surgery, chemo and radiation therapy, I’ve grown accustom to my hero being a brilliant sloth. In fact, I’ve been expecting him to be wheelchair bound. So to see him decked out in his cowboy hat and boots…and riding a horse was a precious gift.

I had never heard of hippotherapy before.

Hippotherapy is a treatment that uses the multidimensional movement of the horse; from the Greek word “hippos” which means horse. Specially trained physical, occupational and speech therapists use this medical treatment for clients who have movement dysfunction.

Physically, hippotherapy can improve balance, posture, mobility and function. Hippotherapy may also affect psychological, cognitive, behavioral and communication functions for clients of all ages. Clients respond enthusiastically to this enjoyable learning experience in a natural setting.

The man that got off that horse was walking taller and feeling stronger than I’ve seen in years. I couldn’t be more grateful for the angels (Nancy, Joan, Heidi, Pam and my wonderful Mom) who made this possible.

It is true. I’m addicted to art. You would think after all the time I’ve spent in the Blanton over the past two weeks, that I would have had enough (at least for a little while). Nope. No way.

For me, the museum is the most wonderful mind game…a mental adventure. And each time I go, a new thought emerges. Epiphany! Art is thinking.

Now, let me back up and say…that the tagline for the Blanton is “Art is …” Isn’t that the coolest? How do I interpret this phrase? I think this tagline clearly says art is what you think it is.

And what you think is so incredibly important to me (and the Blanton)…that somewhere in my sub-conscious, at any given moment, I’m brainstorming how to create opportunities for you to contribute to the Blanton experience. My mind is soaring with ideas for online interactives, which would explain why I’m up at 2:30am.

The idea that woke me up just now? artTunes: connecting art and music. I want to create a way for you (and you and you and you and…) to pair a work of art with music. I want to know what song you would pick on your iPod as you stood in front of your favorite work of art. What happens when you experience this song and this art together? What treasures did you discover?

Mmmmm…I could go on refining this idea…but for now, the thought that woke me up is captured right here. And the best thing for me to do now, is go back to sleep, while you mull this idea over and tell me what you think.

Go on…don’t be shy. Enquiring minds want to know…