Blargh. I hate writing these things.

me, the early years

My name is Chel, which is short for “Michele”.

I’m 43 years old as of writing this (born in 1974).

I was born and raised on Long Island, NY, went to college and grad school in Atlanta (Emory University, studied Art History and Film Studies), and I currently live in Southwest Florida.

I have a husband named Tom (we’ve been together since 2000) and a daughter named Grace (born in 2005, and we adopted her from Vietnam in 2006) and a bunch of pets– four rescue cats, three small parrots, and a leopard gecko. All but one of our pets are rescues and senior animals.

I’ve also been a vegetarian since I was 15- I’m quite invested in the issue of animal welfare and things related to humane treatment of animals.

I sort of had to “retire” several years ago due to health issues- I was born with Spina Bifida, which is kind of serious, but I’m doing pretty good, all things considering. However, when I was in 30’s my doctors made it clear that if I wanted to *continue* to do well and live a long life, I needed to make my health my main priority. Since then I have made art my main focus. I paint, draw, collage, keep a visual journal, and whatever else floats my boat. I take tons of classes and change mediums often.

I’m an obsessive distance swimmer– it was and is the only “sport” I can take part in because of my health stuff, so when I was 18 years old I started swimming a few laps every day and I worked up to about five miles a day. I’m super regimented about swimming every.single.day. It keeps me healthy *and* sane.

I’m very shy. Since I was a chatty baby, my family sort of stuck that “outgoing” persona on me my whole life,and I didn’t realize until my late 20’s that I was super shy. Now I honor the need for quiet as much as possible. This extends to social media- in November of 2016 I pretty much dropped off everything but Pinterest and the very unfrequent Instagram. Blogging is pretty much my jam. I started this “blog” in 1997 when I was in graduate school, but back then we called them “online journals”. I still think of it as an online journal, which you can probably tell by how long-winded I am in entries.

I’m Buddhist (Mahayanan, mostly)- I started learning about neuroscience and mindfulness about ten years ago and wound up converting to Buddhism last year. I actively study and practice at Sravasti Abbey.

I’m an avid believer and supporter of science, evolution, personal choice, climate change, etc. and my current political mood is “disgust with all involved.” That being said, I have (and always will) vote for the lesser of the evils. 2016 was pretty devastating in this area, and I don’t think I need to say more.

I love tea (loose black tea leaves, please), books, gardening, and writing. I’ve always been weirdly obsessed with outer space and physics, but not as educated on those topics as I would like to be. Maybe someday soon I’ll take an online class and get up to speed.

I’m a very very picky eater. I’m not interested in cooking. By extension, I’m not really interested in anything with the word “home”: (things that don’t interest me: homesteading, homeschooling, weekend home improvement, flipping homes, tiny homes, etc.) The only thing that really interests me about “home” stuff is keeping things clean, comfortable, and as UNcluttered as we can.  I am interested in minimalism, but more from a “let’s only keep what we love and regularly use” perspective, not a “let’s get rid of anything that doesn’t fit in a recycled mesh tote bag and move into a house the size of a tent” perspective.

I love movies, but the past few years I have moved from needing to see every movie in the theater towards obsessing over binge-able TV series. TV is really great right now.

I’m a really responsible and organized person (tending towards anxiety) but I am *terrible* at responding to emails, phone calls, and texts. I wish this were not the case, because it makes me feel crummy, but for some reason it’s just an aspect of who I am.

A huge chunk of this journal (late 2005-mid 2006) is focused on Gracie’s adoption from Vietnam. I didn’t do much “mom blogging” after she came home because I kind of feel like her life is *her* story to tell, if and when she is ready.  From time to time I mention her, but I try not to get too personal.

Okay, there’s that. At least for now.

– October 12th, 2017


me, back when I started this whole online journaling thing in my grad school apartment, in 1997. Check out the butt-length hair! Now I have a  super short pixie cut. (I do still have the framed Winslow Homer print on the wall, but that plaid couch is long gone.)




7 thoughts on “about

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Chel, thank you for sharing the watercolor/ gesso idea for gelli printing. I can’t wait to try it. I’m returning to art after a couple years of illness and the loss of a loved one. I read your bio and appreciate you being open. Hearing what you have gone through gives me hope to keep on climbing this personal mountain…I’ll just paint as I go. Looking forward to viewing and reading everything you have here and trying some out. Thank you so much.

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