Yep, I forgot to post “Where I Stood” yesterday.  I just went downstairs to check on my laundry, and it turns out I forgot to start the dryer, so my clothes are still wet.  I’m forgetting people’s names.

We are having big problems with our home computer, it looks like we will lose a bunch of information, many photos and scans.  I need to be more mindful of many things, people’s names, and backing up computers.  Without the home computer, it is a little more difficult to post images right now, so I’ve only got words.

Starting today, I will be more mindful.  I will double check things.  Starting today.

Where I stood, contemplating the passing of time

chain link feet

Maybe it is because it was 25 years ago today that the Berlin Wall started to come down, maybe just having a few extra minutes this morning, but I’ve been thinking about how quickly time passes.  I was thinking that tomorrow night I’ll play trivia at the bar like I do most every Monday, Tuesday I’ll see my family, Wednesday morning I’ll talk art with my friends, life has gotten pretty routine. How lucky. I keep thinking “I get another one. Another trivia game, another shared meal, another conversion.” I’ve been meeting with my mother and my sister once a week since Jane moved out of the house, it never occurred to us we would still feel the need to get together so often after some 40 years or so. We so enjoy it, though, there was certainly no reason to stop. I keep thinking, “I get another one.” Another friend had a pet die recently. I know far to many people who have lost loved ones, not only parents, friends and spouses, but children too, a pain I can’t imagine. Maybe it’s the cool weather, perhaps it’s having an energetic kitten in this house, but today I feel like holding and keeping those I love close. Today could be a very good day for sharing cocoa with someone you love.

Making holiday presents

Do you make any of your holiday presents?  I make some, I buy some that others have made, and I buy some that factories have made.  Here’s the thing, when I’m making presents, my mind flies wildly back and forth between “What a beautiful little hand made gift, made by my own fingers, with love and care” to “who’s gonna want this piece of crap and maybe I should throw it out now before anyone sees it.”  I’m not one who really cares if the recipients appreciate the time and effort, I just want them to like it and not have to be polite and pull it out of the closet when I’m coming over, only to hide it away as soon as I’m gone.

At first I’ll think the thing I’m working on is quite beautiful, then I think it looks pretty good for handmade, maybe like something from an import store, well, perhaps imported from a country where they have limited tools and haven’t discovered rulers and measuring yet.  Pretty soon I’m hoping the recipient isn’t going to laugh and ask where their real present is.

When it comes to my own work, I cannot be impartial.  I’m too close to see.  Am I making a wonderful little keepsake?  Or am I doing the adult equivalent of gluing macaroni to a box and spray painting it gold?  If that’s the case, um, sorry.

A letter to the Detroit emergency manager

Dear Mr. Orr,

I’m quite upset to read that Christie’s auction house is appraising the collection at my museum.

My museum.  I not only refer to the Detroit Institute of Arts as my museum because I helped pass the millage to keep it going, but because I’ve been a member of the DIA for a very long time.  I think it was 1977 when I was going to the College of Art and Design downtown Detroit, and my sister was attending Wayne State.  We toddled into the art institute and asked if we couldn’t get a family membership, even though we were sisters and not a husband, wife, and children.  This level of membership afforded us more free passes than two student memberships, so we could invite friends easily.  The museum happily sold us the family membership.  I have been a member of the DIA ever since, sometimes a cheaper individual member, sometimes a little higher level, depending on my finances, but I’ve always been a member.

I don’t so much consider Graham Beal the director of the DIA, as I do the absolutely amazing man that takes care of my museum.  I visit it often, though not as often as I’d like.  Our art museum is a treasure on a level you won’t often find.  I am astounded at how user-friendly it is, the many provided explanations of the works, as well ways they give you to think about what you’ve seen.  The DIA is a gem.

We have phenomenal collections.  Have you visited the Islamic galleries?   Astounding.   Wander through our African collection, or the amazing American Indian section.   You will be transported.  You will be transformed.  This is a world class museum right in our town.

Why is Christie’s appraising my collection?  There is much talk, of course, of possibly selling some of it off.  It is a vast collection; the city is in desperate need of money.

I’m hoping I can explain to you what an outrage it would be to touch even a small part of my collection.  The Detroit Institute of Arts is like my daughter, I’ve watched her grow.  She is magnificent.  She is affordable, easy to visit, welcoming, and exquisite.  She embodies Detroit, reaching out to the diversity of the city.  I can’t help thinking “Go ahead, have her appraised, take stock.  But so help me, if you touch one golden hair on her head…”

I’ve heard it said “Certainly not every piece is important?  Surely we can get by with a few less wonders?”  Let’s pick one.  Let’s pick Howdy Doody.  Howdy Doody is a very important puppet, but a puppet none-the-less.  Who’s going to care?  What about a grandfather who takes his grandchild to the museum and tells the child what Howdy Doody Time meant to him.  Perhaps, when they get home, they get on the internet and look up some old videos of Mr. Doody, along with Muppet videos, and Chinese theater, and the child starts a lifelong interest, perhaps a career, in puppetry.  These things could, and do, happen every day.  Education is one of the purposes of museums.

Or we can sell Howdy Doody to a collector.  We get a good price.  No matter how good, we know that will be a drop in the enormous bucket of Detroit debt.  Mr. Doody is another casualty of the corruption of Detroit, the children of city have no chance to see him, and Howdy Doody spends his remaining days in a private collection, oohed and ahhed over by the collector’s rich friends.  I know, there are many images and videos of Howdy Doody, but to see a work of art, any work of art, in front of you, right there, that the artist touched, struggled, and sweated over, this is far more important than money.  Every piece removed from the museum is a missed opportunity.

Great civilizations are known by their art.  The wonders of the pyramids, the statues of Greece, these are what life is made of.  We are keepers of such works, and the inspiration for the art that will become our own legacy.

Know that every piece matters, greatly.  Certainly we all have works we don’t care if we ever see again.  I spent many years in retail working at a picture frame shop, and I framed posters of Bouguereau’s The Nut Gatherers more times than you can imagine.  I certainly wouldn’t mind if I never saw that piece again.  Yet is one of our greatest treasures, loved and visited by millions.  That image alone brings people to Detroit.

I tell you this because I want you to understand that the small nonsensical slips of paper on display from the Fluxus group mean more to some of us than some of the great works considered masterpieces.  Consequently, judgments of value cannot be made.  Who has the right?  Neither you, nor Christie’s, nor anyone else can decide what to sell out of my museum.  To rape the Detroit Institute of Arts is to destroy Detroit’s greatest treasure.  It will surely drive another nail in the coffin of Detroit.  DO NOT touch my museum!

Leann Meixner

Thankful, part three

21)   Sleep, and dreams.   What a bizarre idea.   Mind working frantically while body rejuvenates, what a strange way to rest.

22)   The cosmos.   They make us understand how small and unimportant we really are.

23)   Rocking chairs.   You can sit still and move at the same time.   They rock!

24)   Language.   It has it’s drawbacks, but it sure makes communication easier.

25)   Paint.     House paint, war paint, watercolor paint, all paint.   Let’s make it a different color.   All we need is a little paint.

26)   Rocks.     They are old, they know you’re not fooling anyone.

27)   Erasers.   I make a lot of mistakes.   I also like to carve them into stamps.

28)   Blue jeans.   What a great invention.

29)   Embroidery floss, beads.   Simple ways to make something prettier.

30)   The mail.   I love getting mail.   I love sending mail.   Still cheap.   Still works.

Thankful, part two

11)   Music.   All the live bands, but even more for all the record albums I listened to all my life.   How they helped me cope.

12)   The twelve days of Christmas.   Holidays.   A chance to celebrate.   Thanksgiving, Chinese New Year, Rosh Hashanah, Flag day, any holiday.   Let’s celebrate!

13)   Common sense.   Find it, and keep a little with you always.   It will see you through.

14)   Computers.   Technology.   Information that zips through the air.   Information that moves too fast for me.   Astounding.

15)   Color.   The reason we can’t see everything in black and white.   The reason we must look at things in different light, at different times, and from different sides.   Primary, secondary, especially tertiary, beautiful color.

16)   Height.   Whether it be a plane, a balloon, a mountain, or just a standing on a ladder, the ability to get above and look down at the world, or just a patch of floor, makes you just a tiny bit drunk with power.

17)   Mind altering substances.   Alcohol.   The wonderful way a glass of wine takes the edge off, smooths everything, and makes everything a little prettier.

18)   Turtles.   They are just cool.

19)   Different opinions.   The way everything is a unique experience, because no two people experience something the same way.   All the differences keep life exciting.

20)   Puzzles.   Something to figure out, and that wonderful feeling when you find you’ve got it!

Thankful, part one

I notice a lot of people making daily posts of the things they are grateful for throughout the month of November.   It does make sense, since here it is, Thanksgiving.   Well, November has 30 days, so I’ve come up with 30 things, and I’ll give them to you ten at a time.

1)   Great Love, and the one great love of my life.   It seems so usual and uninteresting to start with my significant other,   but I must.   Acceptance, support, humor, he’s the man of my dreams.

2)   Two balls of claws and fur, amazing little beings that share my abode.

3)   My creativity, mostly coming from my grandfather through my mother to me.   It makes life richer and a lot more fun.

4)   The four changing seasons, especially those beautiful springs and breathtaking falls.

5)   Five senses, including smell.   I am grateful for wafting incense.

6)   Books.   Billions and billions of books.

7)   The seven wonders of the world.   History.   All the things that have been made before my arrival on the planet.

8)   People.   My relatives.   My friends.   People to listen to, people to learn from, an ever growing circle of friends.

9)   Taste buds.   And a huge variety of food to pass over them.

10)   Sex.   What fun.


Today is a small milestone in my life, for it was five years ago today I wrote my first blog post.   I started Leannderthal on October 11, 2007.   People blog for many different reasons, some to get their points of view across, some to share their work, some to document progress, some to keep in touch with friends and family, some to rant and rave.   I’m sure I’ve done all of those on this blog, but the real reason I started it was to force myself to keep making art.   Without the blog it was easy for me to come up with great ideas and constantly think “I’ll work on it tomorrow.”   Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.   This blog is like a constant deadline for me, something I need to keep making work to please myself.     Now I think, “If I don’t get it made, I can’t blog about it.” and so I make it.   I do love having an audience, but I don’t worry about how large it is or if I am boring them, you can always stop visiting.   This blog is for me, so I don’t worry if there are too many family photos or to little political content.   The blog makes me happy.

My goal was to post three times a week on average, and I’m proud to say I’m closer to four and a half times a week, I feel pretty good about that.   The blog keeps me looking for interesting things.   It has done a great job of recording the moments of my life.   I’ll keep blogging as long as I enjoy it.   Here’s to the next five years!

Thank you, Kari, for telling me I need a blog and setting it up.   I really appreciate it!