More To Talk About

I see this tree outside my studio window. I am here now on a bit of a drizzly day with some time to work and write. The caregiver is on an earlier shift today. I forgot. Now the office is sending me reminders every week of who comes when.

Lee and I did get the shopping done early. I like to be there when the door opens at seven. This is getting more difficult as it now is darker later into the morning and now school buses are on the road. I think Saturday mornings might be a good alternative. No buses and unlike if I changed to Sunday, I could still buy alcohol at that early hour.

When we returned home I picked up the mail. Two wonderful gifts from Australia. Here is the first from Patsy. Her wonderful figures.

Sometime I will show you pictures of her studio where she conjures up these ideas. Patsy also is an amazing print maker. It might be fun to show some friends studios in the future.

Here is the other gift that arrived today.

Two more silk covered concertina books from Lorraine. She also tucked in a pair of hand knit socks for Lee and two silk scarves with contact prints. I twisted the two together and knotted them here and there to just slip over my head as the weather cools. But aren’t these books lovely? I will have to figure out what to draw in them after the fairies one is finished.

Speaking of which….

Another start to another page. I like the tulip on the one little fellows head.

I found another hidden doorway yesterday on our walk.

And I had an afternoon to draw some more clothes in the My Life in Clothes book.

Remember muumuus? I had a hot pink one with white hibiscus flowers on it. I think every female in Florida wore these around 1960. Then there is that wretched one piece gym suit….dark blue. A plaid kilt. straight skirt with the split up the back seem….why didn’t they just make fuller skirts so girls could walk? A peasant shirt (lots of loved those) and my first strapless bra in case I pulled the peasant shirt with elastic neckband off my shoulders. And penny loafers! I think these were costly for my parents to buy but I was so glad to look like everyone else back then. Certainly was a phase…teenagers!

Also going on in the studio is the figuring out how to bind all these reproduced images by another Australian. Judith had them turned into postcards that I cut down to place back to back over lokta folded folios. I might add other bits in between after it is sewn together and a cover is figured out.

And then the last two days.

An orange nasturtium

with it’s green lotus-like leaf

made a good subject.


The last of a bloom

on a dark geranium

with it’s bright green leaf.


After we returned from the store this morning we noticed that the last of the mulch was put down. He came silently yesterday and also pulled some weeds. Nice surprise. And then this in a sourwood tree right at the start of the trail. Isn’t it late for blooms? Is it Spring again and we missed winter. Odd things happening with weather changes.

I heard just a bit ago from a fellow in Australia just wanting me to know hoe very sad he is for our country. The willful ignorance has brought us very low.

Til later.


Lots To Show Today

Lee and I found this passion flower on the trail today. So it had to be the drawing this morning. Here are the last four days.

A few brown dead things

from along the trail and some

from on the driveway.


Couple more dead leaves

dried, curled, rumpled and holey

– just right for drawing.


A very ratty

mud-filled feather is cleaner

as drawn on the page.


The passion flower

remedy for sleeplessness

is difficult to draw.


I finished my sewing as far as I could take it the other day. Now the studio is cleaned up of all the scraps, machine, ironing board, iron, pins, threads, scissors, etc. I miss the needles as soon as I put them away. I might just have to piece together some scraps if for no other reason than to keep stitching.

On the idea of sewing clothes. The thing that I like the best when looking at those who are modeling clothes is the looseness of them. And yes, the models are thin and everything looks loose on them. But when you go to look at larger models wearing clothes, they all seem to be in stretched out to the max knits. Every shirt catches on their bum. It just does not look good nor comfortable. So given a choice, I am going for comfortable. The linen pants I sewed are loose so they create a breeze when I walk. The shirts are big enough to fall away in the back and not get hung up. I added asymmetrical bottom pieces to the short vests I made a couple of years ago. I like the two tone of them. I like how they flare away from the body. I like how they looked layered already. I am not sure I could find anything in the stores that looked like these things I sewed. And I really like how I have been influenced by friends in Australia who just keep putting pieces together until it can be worn out in public.

So once sewed, I threw them all in the new washing machine and dryer to see how that worked on the linens. Then I ironed them and put them on hangers together with matching pants. I think I might do that with all my clothes. Just hang them together so I don’t have to go looking for what goes with what.

I agree with the stories I hear about how Covid and isolation has caused us to become more casual in our clothing tastes. We want to stay with comfortable. Even when this is finally over I don’t see myself buying much in the way of new clothes or shoes. I know what I like and have made sure to have enough to get by. Lots to give away when I get out to give away.

Other things along the trail this past few days.



His mom.

And Thumper.

I found some more faces to work into the fairy book.

This one almost ready to fall off the tree.

One carved in stone.

And this one giving me the side-eye.

I did start another page in the Fairy Book. And wonder what to do when it is finished. If I go to edition a small number of them I may just try to do it myself. The Stoat Story cost me not only the printing cost but just shy of $100 to get the pages shipped from Asheville to here…..a two hour drive but something I really can not do right now with Lee. I also think I would like to use a more fluttery paper to go with the subject matter…we will see how I go on that.

The books I sent to Australia are beginning to show up now. So far they are pleased to get them and make donations to the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Center.

And then the other morning while waiting for Lee to finish up in the bathroom down by the studio before we continued our walk, I looked close at one of the pieces that did not make the burial. It is a forty inch square canvas with much stitched and glued to the surface. Lots of shellac afterwards. It was the original idea for Lost Peaces about our penchant for going to war. And while I was staring into the textures I took some close up pictures.

Here a peace dove is shot down.

He ends up in the specimen drawer with others, all have the reasons for failure tied to their stiff and curled feet.

And this hole. I love the doorway-ness of it. “Holes are for taking things out and putting things in”….I read that somewhere. I also think these colors are luscious. I miss the days of just picking up bits and pieces and sticking them onto a surface with the intention of telling a story. I do not do this anymore because there are enough stories out there already and we can only listen to so much before everything becomes a slow meaningless hum in the background of our lives. But this, this one small part of a bigger humming speaks volumes to me. It is loaded with memories of those who were telling big stories at the same time. The ones I loved sharing ideas with….the passions we had to make our own noise in our work. I miss them. I miss the feeling. I want to walk through this opening and return to then. I really do.

And this other bit. The fragility of cloth and thread and paper in the company of organized metal pieces. Hard nails and screws that have had a hard time of it. They all, every piece of this work, seem exhausted by the efforts of keeping peace. And yet some of us just pick up the needle and thread and try like hell to hold it all together. I need to look at this work more often. I need to see the hopefulness and not the destruction. As these times have revealed, some things are worth holding onto and others are simply not.

And a small note on how Lee is doing. He is traveling a bit more into his past. At least twice a week he will hide something he thinks is necessary for his trip “back home”. Yesterday he told me that the house had changed and nothing was familiar….he wanted to know where the other things were…where the other people were. I said, “Let’s fix dinner.”

And yesterday I also finished reading the Australian mystery, The Dry, to him. He does not know so much what the story is about but likes the sound of my voice describing other things, other places. Next I will read him the latest Louise Penny novel about Inspector Gamache. It comes on the first of September.

Thank you to those who ask and those who keep in touch by sending cards and newsy notes. Last week he hid the bag he keeps them all in so I know he values them.

Til later with more fairies, more clothes I used to wear, and maybe even a new bit of stitching.



It’s The Weekend! Is There Difference?

We visited our favorite dog today. She loves us. We love her and take her special treats. Dogs are just so devoted to expressing their loving side. Our cats are cats and are especially good at expressing indifference.

More mulch went down these past few days.

Some views on the trail.

A pigment path.

Bright fairy umbrella.

An old balding white queen of the forest wearing lipstick of all things!

And the jowly old man’s head in the yard.

He definitely needs a place in the fairy book.

The last four days of drawings.

Tiny little slugs

have their way feeding on leaves

of morning glories.


Two little feathers

are all I have for drawing

this early morning.


Caught in the breezes

along the trail these feathers

suddenly appear.


Leaf that caught Lee’s eye

was it the way it floated

_ lay like a feather?


And more work in the My Life in Clothes book.

A dress handed down from a sister fifteen years older. My mother sewed all my clothes once we moved to Florida where jeans and tomboys were prohibited. Also I drew my first and likely only crinoline.

My most favorite flats…fringed white soft leather. A dress and hat my mother made me for my first airplane ride back north to visit relatives. It had large soft bluish green roses on white…a luscious color. My first purse probably was something like this. It was pre-backpack days.

And my first home economics sewing project of an apron with pockets and tie. Tiny red roosters on it. And the assignment of an A line skirt with darts and zippers. I had to tear them out so much to please the teacher that it ended with too many perforations to get a good grade. I have hated darts and zippers ever since. And culottes…quite the innovation in clothing.

One of our favorite patterns was this boat necked dress. Mom used it a lot. And a half slip. Must be sixteen about now.

Better go. Lee is up from his nap and is pacing.

Til later.

A Little Respite

It is interesting how going into this fairy book and looking for what is already there can be so comforting. So the lesson must be that whatever I am searching for is right here….I just need to breathe deep and start looking.

We had a little help with that when our masseuse showed up in costume, walked the trail with us, blessed the space we live on and then flitted off. Wonderful David.

I have always made the time to do the drawings a day.

Another big one

from the wing on the other

side of the turkey.


A dirty feather

left by an otherwise clean

well-groomed mourning dove.


A river birch tree

has leaves that look like these here

from the ends of stems.


A hardy weed with

dark green leaves and lavender

blossoms sprouting forth.


And just this morning waiting for the caregiver to arrive I had time to draw some saddle shoes in the My Life in Clothes book.

I heard from our long term care insurance contact this morning that Lee will not have to be evaluated for another six months. The covid virus makes it too difficult to do in-person interviews. So he is good until late February and then another decision will be made. We also have finally met our ninety days in requirements so from now on all those expenses of having someone look after him will be paid for. This is a very good thing. For the three afternoons a week it has cost about $1500 per month. And that is also the amount of a new washing machine and dryer this month. So good new all around from the insurance company.

I notice that I have had to do things in such a hurry now with Lee’s dementia. I race through so I can help get him ready for the next thing I have to hurry up with. I plan every move from the time I get out of bed. Get his toothbrush ready and make sure he has put some clothes on before he heads out to get the coffee I put on right after putting paste on the toothbrush. Next hurry my way through a shower, get dressed to join him in the kitchen. Tune into whoever “is in the box”….friends on facebook to read to him. Get out to feed the deer and birds right before daylight because that is when they come in. Then get Lee into the shower and have clean clothes ready to help him with when he gets out. Then go fix our breakfast before having to hold his tee shirt or tell him his shorts are on backwards. Then breakfast, then the news with a cup of coffee. Then the dishes, clean up. Go for our walk on the trail. Return to start the drawing a day with whatever we found on our walk. Then feed the cats, the fish in the pond, maybe do laundry, or maybe just the ironing. Then get him pointed in a direction that I think will hold his interest and I can make necessary phone calls. I think about having a drink but it is only 9:30 in the morning.

Plan dinner, make sure things are out of the freezer, remind him not to go up where the chiggers will bite him, tell him again that the neighbor is not pushing the property line closer to us, get him interested in something else. Walk to the mailbox to put a DVD in and hope that another one comes with today’s mail. Fix lunch, eat lunch, clean up lunch. Have a cookie with the noon news on what horrendous thing the president of our country is up to today….this can become an obsession as you wait for him to simply implode. While thinking about it I pull another part off the advent calendar. He is wearing considerably less now…some hair gone, private parts exposed, footless and almost legless.

I might go into the yard and while I fill the fish pond once again, I will help him line up some rocks, convince him to take them from one line and put them into another. If it is a caregiver’s day, I make sure the TV is tuned to the cop channel and scoot downstairs to see what needs to be done. So far this past two weeks I have one pair of pants and the other that just need the hems today. I brought down some other tops I made to see if I can use the extra linens of grey and darker grey on them to change their look.

I find I am wearing the same things in the five days between laundry. Lee is too. Clothes wear out quicker if you wear them so much. I look at the other women in line when I go fully masked to pick up a take out. At first it used to bother me that I might look a bit tattered, wrinkled….seems my favorite clothes are those I have added patches to over spills or loose linen that is a bundle of wrinkles by the time I get out of the car. My hair is not combed….it hasn’t been in in the last six months. I don’t put on earrings….seems a bit silly when you get the rest of the picture. Anyway, those other women are not wrinkled, they are not patched….but they are masked for the most part and keep six feet away from me and anyone else. They are not my people. I am now totally convinced that my real people are down in Australia….a land that taught me how to be comfortable and be myself. A land that calls me “gorgeous” and makes me believe it……no matter how wrinkled and somewhat messy I may appear. Maybe we could call it frazzled. That would be better.

It is time to clean out the closet. I noticed that yesterday we tore Lee’s half completely apart three different times looking for his electric razor and cord. He said he put it in there so it would be ready when he goes…..goes where? I explained again that we can’t go anywhere, we are going to stay here for now. But the search went on. I was about to just order another one when I pulled out the towel drawer again and lifted up the towels. There it was. I lectured him on the importance of keeping it on the counter and plugged in…he got it ….. at least for now.

I glance at the time….if it is near 3 o’clock, then I can have some wine. If it is later and dinner is all set except the heating up, I might have a scotch or gin and tonic. He will have the gin and tonic. Anything that requires sipping, he has lost the concept. Sometimes he will ask for a wine and then dump it down the sink. I have learned to pour just the tiniest bit in his glass.

So now I had better head into the studio where the sewing machine is waiting for me to put the hems in. The ironing board is wondering what to do next, the pincushion is losing its pins, the patterns are waiting to go back into their baskets, some mending of even older clothes than I have on now are waiting to be “fixed”.

So til later.

I am trying not to think too hard on my friend’s surgery that she was finally able to get scheduled this morning. The whole idea of being in a hospital now with covid is frightening.

Off to those hems….and a sewing machine that is making noises like it could use a good cleaning….it has been at least ten years or more since I found someone to do that.