Is there a Confederate general in my lineage? And would I be happy with that?

When I was younger, my mother would tell stories about how, through one way or another, I was related to a Civil War general.

Yeah, right.  Sure.  Next thing, someone’s going to tell me that because my last name is Miller, I’m related to the guy who sang “Fly Like an Eagle.”

No wait, hear me out.

Somehow, according to whatever story she spun at the time, my grandfather – Charles Bragg – was a direct descendant of some sort to Civil War general Braxton Bragg.

Yeah, I’m not sure how to react to that.

Continue reading “Is there a Confederate general in my lineage? And would I be happy with that?”

An insurance revelation

Last Saturday, the Savoy Taproom in downtown Albany held an amazing charity fundraiser to help the victims of the four Madison Avenue homes that were destroyed in a Monday night / Tuesday morning fire.  Everything that night – from the cost of meals and drinks, to the entrance fees, to the silent auctions and raffles – all helped to bring some relief to those who lost everything in the tragedy.

On a personal note, I donated two artworks for the fundraiser – a giclee print of The Railsplitter, and Dream Window 17: An Adirondack Reflection – and both pieces sold for good prices.  Heck, even Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan placed a bid on the Dream Window.  That’s awesome in and of itself.

But within all those fantastic moments and amazing efforts by a community and neighborhood to help out its own …

I had a personal thought.  And it’s been something I’ve avoided doing for way too long.

Continue reading “An insurance revelation”

A fundraiser for the Madison Avenue fire relief

Four houses were destroyed.  Several families barely escaped with the clothes on their backs.

The Monday night / Tuesday morning fire that tore through a block of houses on Madison Avenue was scary, it was frightening, it was devastating.

Now it’s time for us – as a community and as good people – to help those whose lives were turned upside-down from this tragic event.

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From stress to structure: a sneak peek at an upcoming project

I have a theory.  Okay, it’s more like a hypothesis, but I’m calling it a theory.

When we encounter stress in our lives, we take that stress and use it as fuel to create something tangible.  One of my friends, when she gets angry or frustrated, she cleans her house.  Place looks museum-spotless every time I visit.

Another person bakes when she’s under pressure.  Woman could enter an Iron Chef competition and make a seven-course meal even if the secret ingredient is Marshmallow Fluff.

Me?  Whenever I’m under a tremendous amount of stress or conflict or pain or distress,  I write.  I craft.  I build.  I tear apart and reformulate.  I photograph.  I photograph some more.  I take those angry, painful emotions and turn them into tangible beauty.

Continue reading “From stress to structure: a sneak peek at an upcoming project”

The Plan of Return

Last October, I journeyed to the Boreas Ponds, the newly-opened parcel in the Adirondack Mountains.  It was an emotional adventure for me, as it involved a five-mile hike to and from the Ponds itself.

I promised myself I would return some day and take more pictures at that peaceful, serene location.

Then life interfered.  A broken foot.  Surgery.  Recuperation.  And just when I was physically able to contemplate the journey … well, I had another break in April, the end of an eight and a half year long co-dependent relationship.  And I had to recover emotionally from that.

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Teri Conroy is a saint on Earth

Teri Conroy is a very good friend of mine, we met as bloggers on the old Times Union blog portal.  She operates Wunsapana Farm, a “peaceable kingdom” farm with over a dozen llamas and other agrarian creatures, and the fiber sheared from those llamas exists as high-quality fabric sold around the world.  She’s always let me visit Wunsapana Farm to photograph the llamas if I needed a llama for a Competition Season photo – heck, she once gifted me a Rolleiflex Automat MX twin-lens-reflex camera that was in her possession, so there’s that.

The other day, Teri showed all of us a side of her that we hope that, if the day ever comes, we are able to rise to that level of compassion and dedication.

Let me explain.

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