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Love dreams

Lately, I've had a hard time remembering my dreams. I'm not sure why. It seems like last year, I was having really intense dreams every night and was thinking about them all day. Not so much any more.
For the first time in a while, I had a really vivid dream. I was walking in the woods behind the house where I grew up. It's weird when you have those dreams where you are mentally where you were 15 years ago. Everything was very green and lush. There was a big, muddy path through the grass, sort of like a horse carriage had made it. I took off running down the path and soon was hiking down a smaller trail. I came to a small fenced in cemetery with really old gravestones. There were some people there in some sort of church/cultural center and I was sort of off on the sidelines, spying on everyone. It was like some secret community. I kept looking for some indication of where I was, because I wanted to be able to get back there.
Then I was hanging out with Amanda. We were still outside and it was like she lived in some sort of steppe. There were other people over, but all I could see was her and Emily. She was telling me "This baby. She cries when people come and she cries when people go." It was so good to be hanging out with her.
All of sudden, the phone rang, waking me from my sleep. It was Amanda! I told her that I was just having a dream about her. She started saying the same things as she had in the dream. It's strange how we've always been so in tune like that. So we made plans to hang out this weekend. I haven't seen her in weeks, which is strange because a couple of years ago, we were completely inseparable. Yay for best friends!
Oh, and I made the initial travel team roster, so I've very excited about that. We'll have to wait until Monday though to see who made the final lineup. I'm nervous. And I can't wait for Maine!

HA!

This thing comes with goat smilies!

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Fancy and the color-soaked horse farm

One of the aspects I love most about my job is the chance to meet and spend time with great people doing really incredible things. This happened to me twice this week.
On Monday, I had an appointment to spend some time with Richard Callner. He's a painter with a rich, vibrant history who is really well-known in the art world. He was the founder of UAlbany's Master of Fine Arts program and lives in Latham. He's 80 now and has been suffering from Parkinson's disease for decades. He's wheelchair bound and can barely speak. But he still paints. 
I've known about Richard for a few years, because Val worked as his assistant for a while and really revered him and spoke highly of him all the time. So when an editor suggested writing a story about him, I jumped at the chance and turned what was supposed to be a short newsy piece about the hanging of some of his work into a larger retrospective piece on him.
He was at home with his daughter and a nurse. Since he can only speak in a very faint whisper, it was hard for me to actually interview him. But I asked a few simple questions and we ended up talking mainly about a trio of tapestries he'd been commissioned to make in the 70s. For decades, Richard has been obsessed with the Hebrew  goddess Lilith. It changed his whole outlook on life and painting style. When he discovered her in the 60s, he went from painting monochromatic monsters to creating decadent, love-filled, bursting with color scenes. My kind of guy. I was so inspired by him and decided to start painting again. I want to play with color.
The second super inspirational story subject I met this week was a woman named Nanci, who started her own therapeutic horse farm. She's got a sprawling farm out in Pattersonville with a bunch of horses, donkeys, llamas, dogs, cats and other creatures. She calls it Peaceful Acres. Very few things make me happier than being in the company of animals. And to see them all on big, open farm like this was wonderful. I made friends with a tail-less cat and a donkey named Starbuck who followed me around and kept nuzzling and hugging me. Nanci just completed her masters in social work and caters to troubled children, women and families. What a great life!

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