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)

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·


  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.

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

Leave a Reply

please solve the following with a number (spam control): *

flickr email me youtube channel pinterest instagram flickr bloglovin subscribe to rss feed etsy Image Map
I'm Chel (pronounced "shell", short for "Michele").

I'm an artist, graduate student (Buddhist Studies), writer, gardener, art historian, long-distance swimmer, crochet-er, movie watcher, animal lover, and avid reader.

Random facts: I have an eleven year old daughter named Gracie and a husband named Tom. I grew up in New York (Long Island, to be specific), 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.

If you'd like to know more, click here

contact me at:

subscribe to blog posts via email:
instagram photos: