Thursday, January 1, 2009

Butterflies, life and transitions...

Happy New Year everyone! Well, I actually made it awake until midnight, first time in a while. Lee and I tended to stay at home over New Years, keeping the house safe for any of the kids who wanted to have a safe haven from parties, or just to crash. Often we slept right through the ruckus of fireworks, dogs barking, sirens, neighbors' parties, Times Square throngs, and dropping balls. Well, no crowds or parties tonight (the kids are out for the evening, however). Got the three dogs, fire in the fireplace, old movies on TV, popcorn. The only thing missing is Norman Rockwell...but I digress (or I'm about to digress-never sure which is which. See what I mean?)

I've been thinking a lot about butterflies lately, so I thought I'd share something from Lee's last Journal - the one she obtained to track her experiences through her cancer journey...Here's the journal's cover:

...So it all brings to mind the whole universe of transformative experiences and how they are intimately emeshed with those perrenial questions about life and wonder: Who are we? Where do we come from? Why are we here? Where do we go after that machinery we call a human body ceases to function? - How does all this evolve into our worldviews, spiritualities, embracing the totality and polarity of our happinesses, hopes and dreams - our sadnesses, fears and nightmares- our capacity for love and compassion and at the very same time our capability and often tendency torwards attachment, aversion and disregard.

Change can be very painful (which is why we avoid it) and ugly (kind of akin to the amorphous mess inside a cocoon). But it seems necessary to grow emotionally and spiritually. Lee embraced change with wonder and grace and was my greatest teacher in this regard.
She and I spoke often (usually early in the morning before sunrise, sitting in the garage-studio) about these and similar topics. During the more than fifteen years I knew Lee, she always had a deep thirst for knowledge. She had wisdom way beyond her years and was a very old soul. These morning discussions were the most intimate moments we shared, far more than physical intimacy- an intimacy of the mind, heart, soul and universe. Very cool, indeed.

Six weeks before she died, Lee penned her last entry in the "butterfly" journal (many pages were adorned with butterfly stamps, stickers, and photos)...

Sunday, October 19th
Tomorrow it will be three months since we found out about the cancer and that I have six months to a year to live. As predicted, I am happy. The spiritual gifts have been amazing and I am strong emotionally...

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Life Celebration Info...

Hello to everyone. Here we are on the edge of a new year and I wanted to wish all of you a safe, healthy, love-filled and very, very happy new year.

We are proceeding along with the plans for LeeAnne's Celebration of Life to be held at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, CA on Sunday, January 11th. Information and Directions to Asilomar can be found on their web site and I'll also be sending out another email announcement in the next day or so with directions. 

The program will start at 12:30 PM, but I would encourage all attending to arrive early to park and get settled in. The celebration program will last about an hour, maybe a bit more followed by a reception in the chapel until 3:30. 

Well, that's all for now. Wishing all of you peace and happiness.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Memorial Scholarship Fund...

Glenny Densem-Moir of Art and Soul Retreats ( ) and I have frequently been asked if there were a way to make a charitable donation in LeeAnne's name. Today,I would like to announce that we are in the process of setting up a tax-exempt nonprofit scholarship fund in her memory. One purpose of the fund, amongst others, would be to offer the experience of attending an Art & Soul retreat to those who are unable to afford it (e.g. students). For those wishing to donate to the fund, checks can be made out to "The LeeAnne Wallace Memorial Art & Soul Scholarship Fund") and mailed to our home at the following address:

David Granovetter
209 Sherry Court
San Jose, CA 95119

An alternate way of making a charitable contribution to the fund would be as follows (as previously posted, but with a new twist):

For Lee, creating art was her soul work. Her passion. Her meditation. Her art was inherently linked to her connection to the endless seasons and cycles of life and to her eclectic spirituality. She would continually encourage our children, other young people who hung out in our garage/studio (and all others for that matter) to follow their life's passion, whatever that may be. To that end, it would also honor her greatly for anyone to do just that: Create a work of art of any type and donate it to the fund. It would later be auctioned off at one of the Art & Soul retreats and the proceeds donated to the scholarship fund.

More details will be forthcoming as the fund criteria is finalized. Glenny, myself and others, had the opportunity to discuss this with Lee before she died. Her soul was touched deeply by these plans and she was so thrilled. She will be guiding us throughout the process.

I can also be reached via email ( or cell phone (408 202 0504).


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Peace on earth and pieces of art...

Greetings all:

Here is our wish for this holiday season: May you find, by whatever means, lasting inner peace...and may you pass the wisdom and creative energy engendered by this peace to your loved ones and to all those who's lives you touch... and by reaching a critical mass of peaceful human beings, may we truly achieve peace on earth.

Ok, so having finally semi-organized digital representations of Lee's work over the past several years, I offer up than initial selection. 

Her "turtle baret, " created for her first Art & Soul in 2006, reads "coming out of my shell" and her work really took off after that...I bathed in the passion and magic of it.

Then  her last set of canvases, started during a class at Asilomar in April of this year, and continuing through early October.

I thank all of you for all of your kindness, love, spirit and for just being in our lives...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lee's art work, more photos, celebration plans and additional musings...

Plans are in the works for Lee's Celebration of Life to be held on January 11: Beginning at 12:30 and lasting an hour or so, there'll be a program consisting of a non-denominational service blended with shared experiences from family and friends (all attending are invited to participate) and ending with a visual montage honoring Lee's life, spirit and creative passions. Immediately following, there will be a reception in the chapel until 4 PM. For information regarding directions, see the Asilomar web side or send an email to I'll also post written directions on the blog as the date approaches.

I've been asked by some about making charitable donations in Lee's name. Her favorite charity was CARE an organization devoted to fighting poverty and empowering women around the globe. Or pick another charity of your choice.
OR here's an alternate idea....

For Lee, creating art was her soul work. Her passion. Her meditation. Her art was inherently linked to her connection to the endless seasons and cycles of life and to her eclectic spirituality. She would continually encourage our children, other young people who hung out in our garage/studio (and all others for that matter) to follow their life's passion, whatever that may be. To that end, it would also honor her greatly for anyone to do just that: Make art. Create. Care for others. Follow your life's passion(s). And then, if you would like, dedicate it to Lee's memory in your own way. She would also have loved it if you made the dedication to the memory of any loved one...or for the happiness or all beings...or to anything which brings you inner peace and happiness!

Others have asked why I haven't posted any of Lee's art on the blog yet. Well.... I'm working on organizing and cleaning up some of the scanned images and scanning some additional canvases and journal pages. Look for them to appear in another day or two. Or three.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

LeeAnne's Celebration of Life to be held at Asilomar on 1/11/09

A Celebration of Life for LeeAnne will be held in the Chapel at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California, on Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 12:30 PM. All are invited and further details will be posted on the blog soon.

Lee had talked often and passionately about holding a life celebration in lieu of a traditional memorial service and Asilomar held a special place in her heart and soul. She loved the ocean, the beach and particularly the Monterey Bay area. Having first visited Asilomar during an Art and Soul Workshop several years ago, she would be drawn back to the omnipresent creative, spiritual and mystical energies of these grounds. Early on in the course of her illness, we would return several times for overnight stays at one of the numerous Bed and Breakfasts which border the conference center. During one of these visits, she was able to walk on the beach, gather seashells and bask in the sun buffered by cool ocean breezes. Later that day she would write in her journal:

"...Asilomar Beach, September 2nd

Gosh, the beach was beautiful. It was warm & the sun was shining and I got to walk barefoot in the sand. one of my favorite places in the world- Asilomar. Alwas feels like I've lived here before- like this place is mine and other people come to visit. I loved it so much, I think I walked for about a half mile. My body cooperated as long as it could before I had to turn around and come back to reality. I didn't want to leave, But I couldn't stay. time to move on..."

During the last few months of her life, Lee spoke often of her desire to return to this place of refuge, hopefully for the May, 2009 A&S retreat. Lee never made it back, but it seems altogether fitting to hold her Celebration there.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Last (?) letter from LeeAnne


During this past week, while exploring LeeAnne's writings and journals, I came upon this email, saved as a draft and dated 11/14/08. I recall her struggling with composing it and how long it took to get the words just right. It was to be the last email she composed, and these words were intended for all of you.

My dearest friends,

Sometimes we pop our heads up long enough to to watch the sunset slowly trickle across the strips of our backs only to return to the ebb and flow that seem to be the the contrasting of our days . Other days, we are propelled into someone else's reality that makes us realize that no man is an island unto itself. For you see, the bell does not toll just for me.
Rather it tolls for you and me.

Thank you. Look for blog by early next week.

I Love all of you.


(Wow! Her reference to the wondrous and mystical interconnectivity of all things was a common topic of our conversations, usually in the wee hours of the morning, sharing coffee or tea and sitting in Lee's garage-turned-art-studio).

I have posted some slide shows from the past 4 months, and will set up some links to others. Lee's 45th birthday party's theme was "Marilyn Monroe." You see, Lee was adopted and often joked about her fantasy that Marilyn was her birth mother (hence, all the MM look-alikes in the party photos).

I am continually grateful to all of you for your loving emails, blogs, notes, calls, prayers and thoughts.