And what a summer!

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Since May. That’s a relatively long chunk of time and a really long time not to report on a blog. But so much has happened in the past 5 months!

In May, my art partner Linda Alexander-Radak and I decided to close down our shared art space at Avenue Arts Marketplace (formerly 2nd April Galerie). It was a tough decision since I had been there in some capacity for over 5 years, but we had reached a place where we were representing a passel of artists in our loft space on the second floor and we needed a change. There was a space available on the first floor, which was exciting, but it was smaller and we just didn’t see a way to move our business lock, stock and barrel and not cram it in. And we were tired. So we decided to take a break and pull up roots. And besides, someone was getting married!

In May, Khrysso and I made the trip to Atlanta over Memorial Day weekend to his family reunion. I really wanted his family to meet Annie and me before we got married, and in particular, his Aunt Terry and Uncle Nick, siblings of Khrysso’s mom. Our friend, Sandi, went with us and we had a pretty great trip. Everyone was so gracious and most were pretty welcoming. Plus we got to meet Krysso’s friend, Dandy. That was an extra treat.

June was devoted to preparations for the wedding and moving Annie, Pete the Dog, and me into Khrysso’s house with our friend and fairy godmother in a lovely neighborhood in Canton. That all went pretty darn well. Pete was a perfect gentleman with two cats, a species with which he had no experience. Annie got a very nice bedroom adjacent to the art studio and set up with a new computer, as well as a wonderful new Nana to provide love, companionship, and some grandmotherly guidance.

The end of June Khrysso, Annie, and I made a trip to Columbus for the Pride parade and celebration. Now THAT was an event. Annie in particular had a great time collecting swag and reveling in the spirit of acceptance and peace. She knows what it’s like to be on the outside, too.

And then came July 1st. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful wedding. Very informal with guests in all manner of dress from casual to debonair to fantastic, it was the party to end all parties that Khrysso and I were hoping for. Guests began to arrive, we made an entrance, everyone shared and ate and mingled and visited, we had some pop-up entertainments from our talented friends, and then somewhere in the middle, we said, “Hey! Let’s get married now.” And it was wonderful. I know I’ll forget to mention someone, but thanks are due to our circle of attendants Lonnie Haines, Daniel Cottrell, with best ladies of honor Cathy Clark Sheets and Linda Alexander-Radak. Khrysso’s best friend Sandi Vitek escorted him in, and Annie escorted her papa. My sister, Norlene Gill, made us an adorable wedding cake. Fairy godmother Patti Auber gave us her blessings (and catered Old Carolina BBQ for the event!). Steve Smith provided beautiful dulcimer music for the ceremony. And our officiant was our dear, dear friend Su Nimon. Khrysso and I wrote our own statements of devotion and failed to make it through without tears. It was a spectacular, breath-taking day.

Afterward we were off to a mini honeymoon in Niagara Falls where we had the best time in a gorgeous AirBnB rental minutes from the falls. Over much too soon, it was beautiful and magical every day and we had so much fun. Our only moment of friction was when we came back across the Canadian border. The guard asked if we had liquor to declare and I forgot we had bought a bottle of Iceberry wine and I answered, “No” at the same time Khrysso answered, “Yes.” Well, which is it? Uhhh…

And then back to Ohio to bring Carrie to her new home in Canton, and to get both girls registered into a new school district. August was spent settling into new routines and enjoying the lovely summer weather. We helped a friend with some house painting. I got to play in the dirt with some new flowers a little bit. We took Annie and a friend to Cedar Point. And then came August 26th.

Khrysso and I were tending Avenue Arts Marketplace (where Linda and I used to have our gallery space), and there was a space recently vacated on the first floor. We were only volunteering there for 4 hours, 10-2, but by 1:30 Khrysso says, “Let’s open a new space here.” What?? But, after a couple moments of discussion, it just seemed so right. So we called Linda who jumped on board, recruited our fairy godmother Patti as a fourth, and our new art space was born. We were patching holes Saturday night, painting on Sunday, and by the end of the week for September First Friday in the Arts District, Artful Codgers and Crones was open for business. And looking pretty darn impressive!

There have been some trials. Khrysso is doing an amazing job at adjusting to being a custodial parent for 2 special needs teens when 7 months ago, he only expected to be a step-father with visitation. His courage, insight, and commitment are phenomenal. Annie is doing great with opportunities and teachers in a much better school district and a job training spot in a local elementary school where the kids love her. And me? I wake up nearly every morning with my husband, realizing I’m smiling before I even open my eyes. I work in a studio, I’m writing new plays, and the future looks brighter than ever. I am blessed, in the hollow of the Maker’s hand.

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