It was back in September of 1974 that York, Pennsylvania (home of Peppermint Patties, Air Conditioners, Barbells and the band, Live) was blessed with my arrival.
I was always a goofy, music-loving kid.
I spent my summers running around, barefooted, in the neighborhood with friends; doing penny-drops off the top of the swing-set, making “friendship pins”, wearing jelly bracelets, roller-skating, riding bikes, looking up through the maple leaves in the hammock and rolling down the hill.
I also spent several of my days pouring over old family photos and mementos.
I have inherited the Bell family’s love of Vernor’s Ginger Soda, from our many trips to my Mother’s birthplace, Dayton Ohio. (It’s not traditional ginger ale- sweeter and more ginger-y) It’s a mid-western product and they only started carrying it here in recent years, and sporadically at that.
On the subject of ginger, where I can find it, I absolutely love ginger beer! And it’s especially lovely with Turkish lamb shish, bread and dips!
Apparently, I lived in the clouds for a short time before my senior year of highschool. I don’t remember living there, so I must have been on some good stuff back then. Mmmmmm: Cloud-y!
At Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, I honed my craft and now I paint portraits, and design websites, among other things:
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1995, after being clinically depressed, but unwillingly to seek treatment, for a year. I’ve been in the hospital a few times, both in the States and in Melbourne, AU. I manage my illness with therapy and with medication. I don’t mind talking about this openly to people, because that is what helps to break down the stigma of mental illness.
It’s more common than some people realize, and once you educate yourself, it really is less of a scary and strange situation to be in, whether you have a mental illness yourself, or know someone who does. It might still be hellish, but it helps to know that other people have gone though the same things.
My education was interrupted in ’95, but I took a painting class at York College in 1997 and returned to Moore two years later.
In Spring 2001, I graduated, and spent a month in PA and NY with a fellow R.E.M. fan, woodworker and author, Cameron, from Australia. In December, I made my first journey from Pennsylvania to Melbourne, Australia to visit Cam. After three months there I decided that, yes, I could live there. I married Cameron Robert Miller in October 2002 and made Melbourne my permanent home (visiting the U.S. a few times), until the Spring of 2008 when I had a particularly bad bout with my bipolar illness. I traveled home to the U.S.A. to recover and sort out my life, which, for several personal reasons, felt like it was going backwards very suddenly. At this moment, I am still in that process of recovery.
Never in my life, before moving, would I have imagined the adventures I have had during my years in Melbourne. Nor would I have imagined how much it wrapped itself around my heart. I am forever changed by my years there, the love I found, the places I worked, the friends I made, the intriguing and colorful wildlife, the bustle of the city, the beauty of the landscapes, and of the people of Australia. There is a book in it, I am certain.
I have eaten kangaroo, which I am not particularly proud of. It is a traditional aboriginal meal, and it is sold in some Aussie supermarkets. There are arguments for and against it, and after sorting through it all, Cam and I resolved to discontinue buying it.
I enjoy writing poems when the spirit moves me.
There are always some pups somewhere in the picture… this sweet one, Gus, lived a very long life and remains dear in our memories.
I love gardening and flowers.
Favorite band? R.E.M.
One of my favorite songs is “If You Leave Me Now ” by Chicago. No, really.
Current crush? Craig Ferguson.
I will do artwork for money and worthy causes.
I listen, smile, laugh, hug, and do silly dances for free.
You really must get one of these:
The biggest loss I’ve ever known was the death of my friend, Tammy Petro, in a car accident at age 30, in 2005. The sticker in this picture is from her, and it says a lot about our bond. It still makes me laugh.
I love the beach.
I love lanterns and Christmas lights (aka “Fairy lights”).
I grew a marijuana plant at my apartment in college after finding some seeds after a party we had, just because my roommate said it couldn’t be done. Hrmm.. because I don’t smoke, I let her enjoy the whole plant all by herself.
I train blue tongue lizards to tap dance to “Puttin On the Ritz”. (They keep bugging me about getting little canes to complete the look, but I think they’re pushing it. I mean, the top hats and tails weren’t exactly cheap!) Here we are at rehearsals.
In some ways, I’m not much different than I was on my 8th birthday: I still want to be a singer and dancer, have lots of ice cream with my cake, and think the best times in life are when family and friends are gathered around the dining room table.
My favorite number is nine and I have been a night-sky gazer, always. The moon is my friend.
I am a huge fan of being silly.
My nicknames include: Lady, Stooge, Zany, Amis, Ames, Amereeno, Peaches O’Tulip, Buttons McTavish, American Matilda, Boots McCoy, M’Amy, Amseyface, Amo, Raaja, Hoocha Coocha Ding Dong, Pidge, Boobalagoo, Tea, Poppy, Peach, Lola Bullet, and Burpsy McElbowsman.
Nice to meet you.
Amy at flickr
Artwork for sale:
Amy aka “Buttons McTavish” on:Etsy
Amy on Facebook
Amy on YouTube