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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dia de Bloglandia, Shrines, and a Blog Give-Away

Dia de Bloglandia

Bienvendio! Come in. I'm celebrating Dias de la Muertos a day early this year because we're going to the mountains this weekend to see my sister-and-brother-in-law, Mary Ann and Don.

Here's the shrine I made for the Children's Cigarbox Shrine Auction.. The auction to raise funds to benefit the street children of Oaxaca will take place in March, and you can read more about it on Rebecca's blog.

Santuario de Amor y la Felicidad

My tabletop alter is in memory of my father.


When he was twenty, he joined the Air Force to learn to be an airplane mechanic. He scored so high on the tests they gave him, though, that they trained him to be a fighter pilot instead.

Good Times

Daddy's medals

I made the Casa de los Aviadores (Ma Maison) in honor of my father and three of his buddies, two of whom died in the air, in a training accident a week after they graduated.

Casa de los Aviadores II


During my childhood, my relationship with my father was distant. He struggled with chronic depression all of his adult life, and I didn't know him very well, until I had a son of my own. Some things about my father, though, I did know. I know that he flew a secret mission over Cuba in the early 1960's and that he dreamed of moving to Alaska. I know that he could play the trumpet and that he had a wickedly twisted sense of humor. I know that he could repair, plumb, wire, or build absolutely anything. I know he loved photography and potato salad and Jimmy Buffet and boats. I know that, we didn't spend much time together because he worked a full-time job during the week and served in the National Guard on weekends, just to make ends meet. But I know that we had some special times. I know that, when I was eight and wanted to wear my hair in braids, he braided my hair for me before school every day until I could do it myself. I know that, occasionally, when he had to pick me up from school, he would take me fishing and that sometimes I could stay up late and watch Westerns with him, and though we wouldn't talk, it felt pretty good. I know that he saved all my letters and everything I ever made him. I know that I loved the pressure of his hand on the back of my neck as he steered me out of church every Sunday. I know he taught me how to tap out letters in Morse code, how to sew, how to drive, and how to sail a 34 foot sailboat. I know that I would have done anything in the world to please him. After I had my first child, I got to know Daddy better because I wanted my son to know his grandfather. He was a loving and generous grandfather to my sons and to my nieces. He took them to waterparks and sailing and to cut down Christmas trees. He never forgot a birthday, and he showed up for all the important events, even until the end. He tried to make up for the kind of father he thought he'd been.

When he was 55, he was diagnosed with leukemia. He also had high blood pressure, a bad heart, and a pack and a half a day habit, and we joked about how he long survived his cancer, in spite of all that. He said it was because he was too tough to die. I said it was really because he was just too mean to die. But the truth was, I was proud of the way he fought. I was proud of the way he changed his life in those last years. I was proud of the way cancer didn't slow him down until it did. I was proud of the way he said it was time for him to go. And to tell you the honest truth, in spite of lot of other complicated feelings, I was always proud of you, Daddy, and I miss you.

Ofrenda II

So, I'm going to go up in the attic and pull out his photo albums and celebrate and remember my father.(Saturday Surprise)

Sacred Heart Shrine

Please join in my blog give-away for this original Dia de los Muerotos journal page by leaving me a comment here. I'll use a random number generator and post the winner in a just a few days.

Dia Journal Page

And you can visit lots of other lovely celebrations, if you check the complete list of participants on Rodrigvitz Style. Thank you Stephanie and Susanna for hosting such wonderful event!


Moira said...

Hi Alberta, long time no visit, but I see your work just keeps being so inspiring and engaging, your blog is always such a pleasure to visit. I want to ask a HUGE favour, could you let me have your email address so I can ask. It's about asking you do do a couple of pieces of work to go on a website. My email is moira@happy-daze.net


DMG said...

Of course! I'm off to e-mail you right now.


DMG said...

Moira, For some reason, my e-mail keeps coming back to me and I can't find your blog any longer. So I hope you stop back by here. My e-mail is katherinemccullen@yahoo.com

Sharon said...

I was so happy to see your post today. My Dad is still with us and he is 91. Quite a character, and stories sometimes that will make you blush, but I say, go for it Daddy, live, live, live!!! Thanx, Sharon

Maria-Thérèse ~ www.afiori.com said...

Very, very moving. My dad is alive and kicking, just turned 60, but far away with parts of his third family. I wish he - and many others - would come to his senses before it's too late.

I love your beautiful space in the pictures!!! I want to crawl through the screen and visit you :D Sit with a huge cup of tea in that red chair...

Lori Saul said...

Beautiful shrine and a loving and sensitvive tribute to your father- what a lovely way to honor him. Trick or treating aside- this time of year is a powerful time to remember those who have passed on and connect with them again in memory and celebration of their life!

Faye said...

Wonderful tribute to your father, Alberta. How very special your art is today.

Stephanie said...

Alberta, What a way to start the weekend, you write so beautifully about the relationship with your father, just so beautifully.

thank you so much for sharing this piece of your heart.

Terri Kahrs said...

Ooohhh, Alberta! What a loving tribute! Tears are in my eyes; your beautiful post really touched my heart. I, too, lost my Dad - he was only 57. And he, too, was in the Air Force. When you mentioned that he could do plumbing, wiring, etc. - that was my Dad too. If I close my eyes, I can still feel my hand in his. Thank you for bringing wonderful memories of my Dad back to me through your loving remembrance. Love & Hugs, Terri xoxo

peggy gatto said...

this is what art is all about and why I enjoy the art of others,art from our hearts

Janet said...

Your studio looks fantastic with all the candles.

This post really struck home for me as my dad and I never really had any kind of relationship unless you consider not speaking as one. You did a wonderful tribute to your dad.

Kim Mailhot said...

This is a beautiful tribute post, Alberta. Isn't it amazing how as we learn more and more about life, the more we know that our parents were people just like us - getting through the tough stuff and trying to soak up the good. Whatever your history with your father, he taught you that live life to the fullest philosophy well !
Enjoy your weekend with the family !
Much love !
(By the way, the attic looks sooooo amazing- so wish I could come and just sit in your red chaise and have a chat while you play...)

Giggles said...

I enjoyed reading about your special father, and I just love that cozy room with candle light, and colorful
paintings....it speaks to me. Thanks for sharing this intimate side of your life and your dad!!

Big hugs Giggles

susanna said...

What a loving, real tribute! Sounds like your dad was interested in life, and interesting as a person. It's evident that he loved you. And I must say that your place is filled with creativity. I found myself pouring over each photograph, looking at all the artwork on your walls. You are a creative spirit!

deb did it said...

Alberta, what a beautiful tribute to your father. so very heartfelt, thanks for opening up and sharing your story. and all the wonderful colors, candles and creations to celebrate this wonderful event. Have a wonderful weekend.

deb did it said...

and oh what a lovely journal page to ~maybe~ be lucky enough to win!! heritagehaus at yahoo dot com

Nettie said...

your beautiful tribute to your Dad brought tears to my eyes too Alberta,in spite of everything you loved one another and that is what counts, and isn't it amazing how touch and scents are mostly how we remember our loved ones. I was 16 months when my Father passed away, so I sadly never knew him and grew up with a patchwork of ideas of what he was like: from everyone else's memories. How tragic that the two young airman died so young . . my cousin's Dad (my maternal uncle) went down with his plane and crew over the Bay of Biscay, my cousin was 8 months, not one of them were ever found. It is so sad the tragedy that touches too many people's lives, maybe that's why we like to lose ourselves in art. I am so happy to have found your blog and be inspired by you. Go well dear friend.

Pom Pom said...

WHAT a touching tribute to your dad, Alberta. You are such a fine writer.
This is a lovely post all around. Your photos are so warm and full of love.

GlorV1 said...

I loved what you said about your father. It was a moving tribute with love and warmth. It is always so comforting to honor those we love. Thank you for sharing.

nolaa gallery said...

your studio is amazing! this was a touching post, thank you for sharing with us.

mwquilt said...

Thanks for sharing this. It was very moving. I think I will do something like this next year to help me to remember my own father and maybe deal with some unreconciled issues we had

Tatieva said...

Hello Alberta,
Ton atelier créatif - autel est trés beau... Il est accueillant et chaleureux. Et c'est un lieu serein pour honorer ceux qui sont partis trop tôt...
Ne les oublions pas.
Kisses from France,

somepinkflowers said...

thank you for sharing
your dad with me.


i so loved this part--->
""he taught me how
to tap out letters in Morse code""


i am still smiling from this...

i celebrated my daddy, too,
in my Dia de Bloglandia posting.

looks like you and i
are among the fortunate
to have
such warm and lasting memories
of our dad.

may we both
keep these memories
4 ever.

Deborah said...

First, your studio is fabulous! That window! **swoons* Your writing about your father gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes. My own Daddy is 88 and we almost lost him last winter. I thank God every day for blessing him with a long life. Beautiful tribute for your Daddy. **blows kisses** Deborah

Nettie Edwards said...

Your post has left me speechless. I am in regular touch with my father but my recent trip with him to Holland has made me realise how much I am still hurting from the fact that he walked away from his family 40 years ago. Thank you for reminding us that however complex our relationships with our parents are, it's important that we make our peace with them, while we can. Thanks also for the beautiful photographs of your studio (jealous???? moi????) in all it's Day of the Dead glory x

lyle baxter said...

the photos are wonderful the writing better .fathers seem to have some difficulty relating to daughters . but your dad managed to do a lot of wonderful things with and for you! dont you wish you understood him better when you were young? I wish that about my dad who is long gone. enjoy the good memories! lyle

Julie Prichard said...

I love looking at all of the ofrendas today...this is such a beautiful event, thank you for sharing your with all of us!

elsa said...

i enjoyed so much to read about your father- truly wonderful memories. and your altar for him is beautiful- may his light continue to shine brightly on you alberta!

Sacred Yoli said...

Your tribute touched my heart. Thanks for sharing your memories of your your Papi. Him braiding your hair melted my heart.

I am sure he is brimming with pride and loves that you remember all those beautiful moments.

Saludos to you and your Padre.

couragetocreatewriteandlove said...

your art is BEAUTIFUL!
everything is so colorful and vibrant, full of life and that is a gift, good for you dear!
i love those boots, too!

tami said...

a beautiful post about our father - I too celebrated my father this year - they were larger than life to us!

Laume said...

I am always so honored when someone shares something of their heart with us. I loved hearing about your dad, it sounds like regardless of whatever distance life put up, he obviously set out to do the best he could. The photo of his boots, the thought of him braiding a little girl's hair... really touched me.

Elizabeth said...

What a beautiful, loving and complex tribute to your father exploring all sorts of aspects of his complicated nature.
So he must have bequeathed all sort of things to YOU.
He would be proud and touched, I think, that you have paid him this tribute.
Love your blog.

tami said...

what a touching tribute and beautiful altar - the sight of his boots was especially moving.

thank you for sharing.

Brenda said...

Love, love, love your pictures, and such a truly honest and sweet tribute to your dad. Like you, I wish mine had been around longer so that I could have known him better. Thanks for sharing!

lulu moonwood murakami said...

Hi Alberta - Oh I'm so glad you left me a comment so that I could find you. This is such a touching tribute to your dad. Isn't it amazing how participating in this event stirs up our feelings - complicated and beautiful all the same. (speaking of beautiful - I LOVE all the color in your house! Nuestras casas serán muy simpáticas!)
: ) lulu

robin westenhiser said...

lovely, your dad would be so proud, nothing sweeter than a dad.

Anonymous said...
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Chris said...

This is an amazingly touching and warm post. Your ofrenda is lovely. I love those black and white photos, and your journal page is so cool.
Thank you for sharing photos of your celebration and I hope your visit with family was wonderful!

meandering pearl said...

i love the tribute to your Dad & his comrades, they would appreciate being remembered too!

loveliest wishes

rebecca said...

you have taken us all in to the deep and rich chambers of your heart, and in doing so you have shared your father so vividly he has come to life.

thank you for the warm generosity.

Anonymous said...

That was so touching, reading what you wrote about your dad. I've got goosebumps and I'm choked up. What a wonderful tribute. I got a big lump in my throat when you mentioned the hand on your neck thing. My dad used to do that to my brother and I.

It's so good to see what you've been up to! I always love your colorful, happy, joyful pieces!

Anonymous said...
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