Monday, September 9, 2013

My Really BIG Announcement - Introducing ReMe Retreats!

When I was twelve years old, my Aunt Stella, my Grandma, my sister Janet, and I made a trip to The Outer Banks.  It was the first time that I'd ever seen the ocean, and I still have vivid memories of the experience.

Twenty years ago, I ventured with a friend for a week long vacation in Nagshead.  It was lovely, and as the week progressed we were drawn farther and farther south to the land of lighthouses, sand dunes, and undeveloped wide open spaces.  I'd never experienced anything like it, and I was hooked.

Shortly thereafter, I began a love affair with Ocracoke Island.  Ocracoke is a magical place.  During my years in corporate banking, my journey there and my time on The Island provided much needed stress relief.  In fact, as Ive faced most of my life's challenges, I've been able to find peace and clarity there.

My artistic vision and career were shaped on Ocracoke.  As a budding art photographer, my first show was held there; my photo was published for the first time on the cover of a local newspaper; I made my first sale to anyone other than a friend there; and I received my first gallery representation there.  Later, as my creative muse turned toward mixed media art and jewelry, I participated in my first festival, The Ocrafolk Festival, on The Island.  During my time at that event, I met Leslie Lanier,; her amazing shop, Books to Be Red, became my first wholesale customer.  Each of these events provided a huge boost to my confidence, and each was a major milestone in my life.  And that was just the beginning!

In October 2000, while visiting Ocracoke with my oldest and dearest friend, Theresa, a chance meeting changed my life.  It was then that I met Ken Skipper, and our long distance love began.  We've been married and happily living in North Carolina for almost ten years now. 

Through all of this, a dream has been dancing around my mind and my heart.  I wanted to be able to share the comfort, inspiration, and magic that I found on Ocracoke and in my career as an artist.  Piece by piece, the image of that dream began to crystallize; my family and friends loved the concepts that I shared with them; and in January 2012 the dream began to become a reality.

Jodi Ohl, an amazing mixed media artist, and I were on a road trip for a show in Florida.  I mentioned my ideas to her, and she loved them.  While on the road, we reached out to our friend, mixed media, paper, and book art maven Penny Arrowood, and our excitement about the possibilities grew exponentially.  By the end of that trip, we'd already reserved our dream retreat house on Ocracoke Island, and the hard work began.

From January 2012 through May 2013, ReMe Retreats was born.  We planned, planned, and planned some more.  We knew that we wanted ReMe to be an intimate experience filled with time for creating, time for reflecting, and time for just being with our fellow artists and friends.  In May, with eight of our nearest and dearest friends, we hosted a trial run of ReMe on Ocracoke Island.  From the moment we set foot in the door, we knew that we'd found our home.

Since that visit in May, we've been finalizing plans for our Inaugural ReMe Retreat on Ocracoke Island in May 2014.  As we fine tuned our website and other details, we began to distribute save-the-date-cards, and we set the date for our formal announcement of ReMe Retreats to the world. our utter amazement...our first retreat sold out before we'd even announced it!  No one could have been more surprised than the three of us.  From the time of our first guest registration to our last, little more than 24 hours had transpired.  With each new guest reservation, a flurry of text messages and phone calls between us was launched, and we enjoyed every minute of each mini-celebration.     

The enthusiastic response to the ReMe Retreats concept has reinforced that we're on the right track, and we're now working diligently to coordinate a second ReMe Retreat on Ocracoke Island in 2014.  We expect to announce that retreat within the next few weeks, and we've developed a procedure that should allow all interested parties an equal chance at registration.

Now this is important…to be sure that everyone who’s interested in attending ReMe – Ocracoke – 2014 and all future ReMe Retreats will have an equal chance at obtaining one of our remaining guest spaces, we’ll proceed as follows:

If you’re interested in receiving our official early updates about ReMe –Ocracoke,and all future ReMe News and Events, please visit ReMeRetreats to subscribe to our mailing list using the box in the margin of this page. Subscribers to this mailing list will always be the first to receive news from ReMe.
At least one week before we go live with the second ReMe Retreat - Ocracoke, we’ll send a message to our subscribers. It will contain the date and time that our PayPal Reservation Button will be posted to the ReMe Retreats Website. Subscribers will have the first opportunity to secure one of our guest spaces. Then, 3 days after the PayPal Reservation Button goes live on this page, we’ll formally announce our second ReMe Retreat – Ocracoke.

Thank you again for the love and support that you've shared with me through the years.  It means the world to me, and I'm looking forward to all that the future holds for each of us!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Well Earned Patina and Comfort In The Familiar

Like a moth to a flame, I'm drawn to rusty metal.  Bright, shiny, and new is nice; but the character and history of a rich patina thrill me to no end.  I suppose that the same is true of the relationships in my life.  Those that stand the test of time hold a special place in my heart.

Since my Mother received her diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia last year, her world has been shrinking.  At first our time was filled with physical therapy, doctor's appointments, church, store visits, and her weekly hair styling.  She seemed to thrive on the activity and the social nature of these trips, and we even discussed enrolling her in several programs at our local senior center.

Then, slowly, things shifted.  One by one her activities dropped away, and her steady stream of excuses for not leaving the house grew.  I know that it's a symptom of her disease.  She now thrives on routine.  A rigid schedule helps; but it's still sad to see.  Those activities and people who used to bring pleasure are no longer familiar, and they cause her anxiety to rise. 

Her visits with Robin at Salon 165 are now her one constant outside of our home.  She loves Robin, and today as we arrived for her appointment, I heard her greet her twice by name.  This isn't always the case, and it made my day.

Salon 165 is located in a sweet cottage on Rhode Island Avenue in Downtown Southern Pines.  We always park next to the ramp at the side of the building.  This shed stands in the neighbor's backyard.  It's identical to the first one that my Dad built at our house on Highgrove Road.  He was so proud of that shed, and this one brings a smile to my face every time that I see it.
I can still feel the way that he door stuck;
I can still hear the screech of metal on metal;
and I can still smell the mix of lawn clippings and gasoline.
There is comfort in the familiar.

Some days that's enough.