about me

24 Jan 2010

my little family – Gracie, Tom, and me – about seven years ago

I’m a 42 year old artist/graduate student living in southwest Florida with my husband Tom and my daughter Gracie and our little zoo of pets (cats, birds, and an elderly gecko- we also raise butterflies in our backyard).

In addition to loving pretty much anything and everything to do with making art, I’m also a:

– long distance swimmer (I swim five miles every day, which equates to about two-plus hours of laps…)
– animal rescuer and advocate (we volunteer at a local animal shelter)
– vegetarian (since I was 15 years old and becoming more and more concerned with the ever increasing cruelty animals suffer at the hands of the food industry. I know being a vegetarian is not for everyone, but it’d be nice to live in a world where killing animals for food didn’t also mean prolonged torture.)
– Buddhist (my “official” commitment to this path is fairly new, but my personal ethics have matched this path for literally decades.)
– only child. I’m super shy and a proud introvert, but I spent the first 35 years of my life not realizing that I was shy (just feeling really edgy about being around people too often) so I’m really great at being “on”, but I SAVOR my time alone with my family or by myself. I thrive on quiet, routine, and predictability. I wish I had understood my shyness earlier in life.
– obsessive tea drinker (loose black and oolong, please!, at least three cups a day)
– writer (I write fiction and post it anonymously around the internet…)
– music lover (Duran Duran, Simon and Garfunkel, David Gray, Innocence Mission, M83, Neko Case, Polica, Florence & The Machine, and Metallica are some of my favorite musicians)
– movie lover (true fact: I have a Master’s Degree in Film Studies and Theory and we go to the movies as often as possible)
– gardener (we have a GIANT container garden which I spend at least an hour tending every day…)
– crocheter
– art historian (trained to be a curator, became an artist instead… go figure!)
– avid reader.

I also try to meditate every day.

I was born with Spina Bifida, which is a physical/neurological thing. I did some extensive writing on it in earlier versions of this journal- they are here. SB was difficult to deal with when I was younger, but when I started seriously swimming in 1992, my perspective on my body (and what it is capable of) has radically changed. Getting older has also radically changed my perspective on things, so I almost feel like a completely different person. I’ve got some health issues that pop up from time to time that I do discuss pretty openly, so feel free to ask any questions.

I’m very interested in issues of creativity, spirituality, and well-being and I spend a lot of time thinking about ways to combine all three in daily life. This culminated in me becoming Buddhist in late 2016, and deciding to commit to a serious study of Buddhism. I am especially interested in Buddhist ethics, philosophy, practice, and cosmology. I am still very new to it, so everything is sort of “pending” as I learn more and more.

Confession: I love going to Disney World and Universal Studios here in Florida. It’s about four hours away so we were doing lots of day trips until a few years ago (it got exhausting). We hope to start doing it again soon, now that we’ve had a break.



me, back when I started this whole online journaling thing… (1997)

gingerblue.com is
the culmination of fourteen years of online journaling. I started writing LONG journal entries in 1997, when I was lonely and confused during graduate school. I didn’t think anyone was reading, but they were …

A huge chunk of this journal (late 2005-mid 2006) is focused on Gracie’s adoption from Vietnam.

Pages from previous versions of this website:

Koyaanisqatsi: A Life out of Balance
Wishlist Info (mine & Gracie’s)

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  1. Suzanne Fink says:

    What a treat to come across your website and read about your ventures.
    Beautiful daughter. We have somethings in common: Music, movies,
    and clay. Loved the idea of painting white clay with water colors. You are so right about the colors offered for clay. I am a 71 years old, a grandmother of 4 adorable grandchildren. Love to make jewelry using wood, paper and clay. I will be back often catching up with your adventues.

  2. Karrie says:

    We have a lot in common. I love to paint and mediate as well. I love spending time outside connecting with nature and bringing that peacefulness back to my paintings. I normally paint with acrylic paints and do a lot of whimsical pieces.

  3. Daniel says:

    Always wonderful to look in on your life and progress. You are still an inspiration in many ways. Years ago when I had serious knee surgery I took your health struggles and love of swimming as a guide and I have since spent the last five winters as a scuba dive master in the Caribbean. As an artist I now need to follow your lead and make more art with the same passion I have for the sea. Love what you are doing girl. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Dianne McKnight says:

    Wow! Just love seeing your work with the gelli plate. I recently got introduced to the gelli and am in love! Please tell me more of your secrets. I’m eager to see and love. I am a retired dental hygienist, grandmother, crafter, artist, card maker, scrapbookers and so much more! Love your heart and story. I am a warrior for my grandson who has autism and an amazing smile! I’d love hearing from you. Keep the beautiful work up. I live in South Carolina

  5. pakalolo says:

    hi. long ago, when the internet was new to me, ’98 i think, i found your online journal and though it was an interesting read. i dont remember exactly what happened (internet stalkers or something?) but one day you posted that you were making your journal private and i was no longer able to read it. while messing around on the computer and googling my old screen names, i found my own comment on your journal from back in the day and it led me here. i am happy to see that you are still online and to be able to see all of the interesting developments in your life.

  6. Lin says:

    Wow! I looked at some of your work and I love it ! Your ideas are wonderful! I’m a 18 year old hoping to become an artist sometime. I love your bright colors used in your work, I’m happy I was able to see it.

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I’m Chel (pronounced “shell”, short for “Michele”).

I’m a visual artist, writer, gardener, art historian, long-distance swimmer, crochet-er, movie watcher, animal lover, and avid reader.

I’m also a (newly) practicing Buddhist, studying online at Sravasti Abbey.

Random facts:
– I have an eleven year old daughter named Grace and a husband named Tom.
– I grew up on Long Island, NY, went to college/grad school in Atlanta (Emory University) in the 1990’s, and now I live in Southwest Florida.
– I’m incredibly shy but I adore my friends and family.
– I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 30 years and I love animals of all kinds- we have four rescue cats, three parrots, and an elderly gecko and we raise butterflies.
– I swim five miles every day- rain, shine, storm, or travel.
– I was born with Spina Bifida, and swimming keeps me healthy and sane.
– When I’m not in the pool, I’m in my art studio, with a hot cup of tea.
– I am REALLY BAD at answering email, and I hate the telephone, so I apologize in advance for being hard to reach. (Told you I was shy…)

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