In the current upheaval about privacy following the revelation that Verizon and Google and a lot of other media

snip of google image search for Susan G Holland  plus  Holland Art Studio  June 10 2013

giants are spying on American citizens at the behest of the NSA, I have wondered what a benign person like me might have “out there” that I was unaware of.

Just for fun, this morning I Googled my name and my art business name and searched “images”.  I was surprised to see three whole rows of my stuff!  The fourth and fifty item in the bottom row of his image are NOT mine…but all the rest is!   My goodness!   I am glad I am not a purveyor of seamy art!

There are “about me” photos and some outtakes from my 3 Americas! exhibit in NYC.  Early Farmer’s Market work, and some recent process documentation of a favorite painted wood bowl. Yes, my current logo!   Even my daughter’s birthday gift puzzle!  And the signature I sometimes put at the bottom of my blogs.

I wonder how many rants of mine have made the cut?  Likely I would not be so much on top of the pile.  There are several high profile people with my name who are really well known in their professions, and somehow Susan Komen comes up in a search for me.  Well, that’s ok.

I do get angry at you government people, in case you are reading this entry.  Very angry.  I think you are manipulating things much as the Mafia has been guilty of doing.  The power of money and might has eclipsed the honor and humility that marked our earlier American way of doing national business.  I am ashamed.  But I still think that freedom and democratic practices are better than the other choices (as if we had a choice…most of us don’t.)

So, if I am to shamed in the public square for my protests and letters to editors and other media people I know the names of, I hope you pick one of the nicer photos to publicize the shaming.

It’s not so far away from the way some nations capture those who speak against a hallowed leader and imprison them like rabid dogs.  Or shoot them.

We all have some traps in the path of our journeys.  I see, with sadness, the traps multiplying…booby traps, even, for the folks who love truth and transparency.

When did we become so corrupt?  It is not the “image” of the nation’s government that is the concern.  It’s the reality of what emerges when that image is scratched off,  like the gold circle on a give-away ticket advertising a prize of ten cents to a hundred dollars.   Not much there.  And the numbers are not the only thing that are temporarily hidden!

Old Swimmer


The day audibly begins at seven am, nearly every day. I hear a greeting, or a bump on the floor above my downstairs apartment, and know that one or both of the dear people upstairs are ready for the routine that puts them above and beyond any married people I have ever known personally.

The sounds morph into a stair creaks, and two sets of footsteps that stop for the next half hour. I know where they stop. It is at the double recliner love-seat that is well named. My daughter and her husband are sitting there in bathrobes with their bare feet up and the morning paper out. If the TV is on, I don’t hear it.

What I do hear is two voices. TALKING TO ONE ANOTHER! Often there is just a comfortable burble of sound, intermittent, and reciprocal. Sometimes, like this morning, there is an outburst– I don’t hear the words. It sounds heartfelt, but I can’t really tell the nature of the passion… excitement, assertiveness, or consternation? Can’t tell.

What I do know is that these people spend the first half hour of each morning at a regular meeting with coffee, newspaper, and each other. They share the news. They offer their opinions. They don’t always agree. But they always talk.

My daughter and her husband have been married for 33 years. They are dynamic, opinionated people with an inbuilt portion of “feist” that is not boring, and is sometimes volatile. They have powered through serious differences of opinion, and some big weather-changes. My own marriage did not survive such stresses, but theirs has.

These two are evidence that love is an action verb.

Living with relatives is a dicey matter sometimes. And I am mindful of the stresses to my own marriage caused by the in-house residency of my own mother in years past. No doubt my former husband suffered somewhat silently. We didn’t talk to each other every day at seven. Sometimes we didn’t talk to each other at all…other than in passing. We lasted 20 rather passive-aggressive years.

Neither of us found success in remarriage. We never learned how to “love”, v. trans. Not at least the talking back and forth kind of love.

Today there was an outburst…just about fifteen minutes ago. Footsteps went rather loudly up the stairs at 7:30 am…to the shower. As usual.

Outbursts are not terminal here, with them. They are fearless about communication of nearly any sort. They work the muscles of this marriage. Sometimes they get sore.

But they talk to each other. And answer. Every day.

I am in awe. And not walking on eggshells here. Seems as if their stability will withstand the presence of a mother-in-law. If not, they will say so. I count on it by now.

Old Swimmer

Johnny Ring

Statue on Temple University Campus of Johnny Ring, bronze by Boris Blai, Dean of Tyler School of Art 1959

There is actually a statue of me in Philly!  Gathering patina from passing birds!!!

Seth Godin’s blog today was an enervating Dutch Uncle talk about critics and how important they really are.  I saved the following from that post, and have been thinking all day about statues, and how they stand there for long years, unlike critics who come and go without commemoration.

“No one has ever built a statue to a critic, it’s true. On the other hand, it’s only the people with statues that get pooped on by birds flying by.” from Seth’s blog today
It always surpises me to remember that I posed for Boris Blai’s rendition of the little boy who served alongside the soldier in the Civil War.  Dean Blai asked if I would like to pose for him as he worked on the plastilene model that was eventually cast into this statue.  I was glad for the money, and had the added allure of a Civil War uniform in the attic that belonged to one of my ancestors who fought on the Union Side.  Dean Blai was thrilled to have an authentic hat and real buttons, etc., for his project.
His wonderfully pleasant wife served us rose hip tea while I posed with sword and uniform for hours.  I suppose my strong legs (swimming, dancing, fencing) were an asset, and I was not very bosomy, so could pass for a boy in enough ways to adapt.   I went away with a bit of pocket change and an interesting memory.  I really never thought much about the final product until I ran across an article about the statue, and realized it was ME…my statue…in BRONZE, standing there in the garden at Temple U.
I can tell you, that I don’t really feel anything physical about my effigy standing there in snow and sleet and blistering heat,  but it gives me a sort of smug feeling to know how that statue was sculpted, conceived, researched.
Boris Blai studied with Rodin!   He used to rifle through the wastebasket at Rodin’s studio and snitch discarded sketches.  He told us students at Tyler about his nights sleeping on benches on the ChampsElysées and wearing the art student attire of the starving artists in Paris.  I am not sure how much of his memories were embellished, but he was indeed a man with a fascinating history, and not a bad sculptor!
So, for the record, this Old Swimmer is immortalized (I guess statues are more or less immortal) in bronze for all to see, and no one to get excited about.  But me.
Smiling, as I gather bird poop.    Old Swimmer

They’re lonely.

They were checked in like hats when the maternity leave was up, and became people with slots, labels, numbers, and a string of identification data attached so they wouldn’t get lost.

When the traffic sounds started up in the evening they learned to expect that the familiar face would come and take them home. In the back seat. The welcome visage was in reverse, in the rear view mirror.

First thing at home, once unloaded, was that they were placed into the rec room with a toy while parents prepped for the evening and night. Food utensils in the kitchen and good smells, hand-washing and sitting at the high-chair, and later the table with the plastic plates and sippy cups.

Then early to bed with maybe a story, and reprimands about being squirrely about going into the bedroom where the door would be almost closed, and the sounds of voices became muffled. A doll, a truck, or maybe a ‘blanky’ the dear companion for the escape to sleep.

This routine, dependable and efficient is normal for the families in my city. Kibbutz-like in its good intentions and sensible solutions. Kind people explain why we have to hurry up, and later stay in line, and do the homework.

Schools have pre-school groups and after-school activities. T-ball and soccer are outlets for energy and maybe frustration. They want to excel, and are not happy with poor performance even though parents say to be a good sport. Or maybe they do very well, but not quite well enough to please ambitious parents.

A birthday brings a little computer just for them. They are allowed these programs and they become best friends.. with this little computer!  Now there are a whole roomful of classmates hunched over their little computers.  Together, but separate.  

Later a better computer will find real-time strangers out there who become virtual best friends. These friends will be around any time..before school, after school, in the summer, late at night, all night long. These friends know answers to the questions when parents are not available. The friends in the computer know all about sex and smashups and murders, and you can find out anything you want to know by just keying in letters.

You need to know what these friends are doing when you are lonely. They are always there. They want to hear from you. They answer you when you text them. They wouldn’t let you down.

Why do people cling to Facebook? To Twitter? Online gaming?

They are lonely.

Even I, a 75 year old woman, check all the time to see what is happening to the people on my computer. My kids. My grandkids. My family. My “links.”

Does anyone care? I didn’t get any new email for the past three hours. I guess they are emailing somebody else. Does that mean I don’t have the friends I thought I have?

See what I mean? We have a new paradigm for the experience of friendship. Did we assume our friends are all like us? Maybe they are out having tea with a neighbor? Or taking a walk.

Or maybe they are stuck in a solitaire game. Is it any more solitary than the lonely people checking Facebook, or an online game?

Old Swimmer


A facebook friend shared this image today, and I could not resist.  Credit where credit is due: Earth Pics deserves credit, whether it’s photoshopped or not!  Old Swimmer



A day for mischief

but now Christ is risen

See? the joke’s on me!


flipped Mike Grinding

Mike Grinding counter clockwise