A Very Blowy Day

The other morning it was misty when we did our morning walk on the trail. Then two days of rain so no walk. The leaves are mostly down today due to tropical storm Zeta coming through.

And I have four days of drawings to show. I really hated doing the scissors…too technical but loved the thread and scraps of cloth.

These cat claw clippers

are as hard to draw as they

are to use on cats.


My handy scissors

for snipping threads, bits of cloth

to keep on stitching.


Embroidery floss

and snipped pieces of fabrics

wait for a needle.


Some fringy fabrics

of neutrally colored cloth

are very useful.


Some more journal entries…..


Isn’t it odd how you have to find that one thing that was there before so you know that you are where you wanted to be? And then I draw it again…it is recorded…my presence is noted….I can bring it home…I can remember. Mary gave me this bowl she made of layers of papers. She was such a good find in Australia…a older woman from the UK who I traded my unknown Australian room mate for, just because she might be interesting. We became fast friends and spent time traveling together whenever we could. We laughed all the time we were together and when we last saw each other, she said, “The problem is Sandy, we didn’t meet soon enough.”  We had so many more stories to tell each other, but I am very grateful for the time we did have and the craziness we shared. Her bowl sits in the studio full of Eucalyptus leaves. I think she still reads my blog, so “Hello, dear friend….remember when we…..”

And some journal notes……because our fifty-third anniversary was just two days ago and was thankfully not given any attention.


October 27, 2003  36th anniversary alone in Townsville, Queensland.

I am on the Pacific coast of Australia and settled into my accommodation. Visited the art gallery and shopped. Found this one and only micro brewery nearby and ordered a grilled barramundi dinner. The young girl at the tap insisted I try the red as well as the stout – a full pint (schlepping those suitcases can only be rewarded one way). The bar keeper (young man) has brought me the beer. “Happy Anniversary” he says. This is a perk for lone traveling women with a conversational bent. I told him I just picked up an email from my husband telling me to go out and have a beer.

It has just occurred to me this morning in Mackay and now Townsville that most average Australians seem to have a Jimmy Buffet ambience – shorts, thongs and an easy goingness that used to be more apparent in the States. We seem “tense” by comparison. Now, post 9/11 we have lost the ease, or did it go before that? Did it go when we became concerned about secure futures and monetary gains? I do know this, when I get home, I am going to relax – take on the mental adjustment and notch it down. “No Worries” as they say here.

The boy who brought my beer is on the hunt for something salty to finish it off….a micro brew with just fine food and no snack or appetizer menu….a good boy to go looking. I may ask if I can take a bottle with me to have tomorrow after class and then peel the label.

I need a watch – have lost all track of time – just going by the sun now and it is still up. He has not returned and I probably need to move towards a take away for another day.


And those scraps of cloth ……. a finished coyote.

Til later.

Last of Beautiful Days

Sunset over the burial site.

Lee enjoying one of our last drinks on the porch for this year.

Our walk yesterday was an abundance of fallen leaves. The most beautiful this year are the reddish pink sourwood ones.

My last four days drawings.

A gift from Lorraine

coptic bound botanical

book for journaling.


Another hand bound

book of spare sheets that were not

very well printed.


Bamboo and skunk tail

handmade paint brush made for me

by a thoughtful friend.


And then another

paint brush from the same maker.

This one with deer tail.


Some Journal entries.

Southern Flinders Range – Adelaide to Alice Springs – 2007

A dead level flatness of pale gold green. Some dusty green scrub and small “branchy” Eucalyptus. The cloud shadow on the Flinders make them turn a dark purplish grey. The sun where it strikes the sides of these hills and glares off the wheat fields that push their way into the trees. All of it looks thirsty and empty. The sheep are lean and dusty looking. The few spaced farm houses seem lonely. I think the women who live here miss their children – the ones who left – and I think they watch themselves and husbands age daily. No prisoners ever came here to South Australia but some may have been imprisoned by the land. A place on the edge of “bone dry” inland. Salt bush grows here and supports the sheep.


And more prompts for writing…these two were actual personal experiences…not made up, but fit perfectly for the prompts.

Write a brief scene between an obese couple.

I saw them only once at a rally for railroad buffs. They were dressed in striped engineer’s overalls, hats to match and red bandanas around their necks. As they moved toward the table I was struck by where will they fit and slid casually down to one end of the bench. They eased in on the low benches opposite one another on each side of the table, she down, but not very far down from me. I smiled, nodded a greeting and looked away. I listened to them chat excitedly to each other about the trains as they held hands across the table. At first I was struck by their size – never knew they made clothes that big! How did they manage to do anything? They must have driven here together. How do they fit in a car? Truck? Where do they sit in restaurants? There are so many doors they’d never get through. How do they manage? I know one thing – however they do it, it’s always together – one hand reaching out for the other.


The man is not crying but you know his heart is breaking – How do you know?

Homer wanted to see me privately before going back to the class. We sat opposite each other in a quiet place in the entry way. His hands gripped each other in turn on the table between us. His eyes looked first at mine and then away as the words faltered and failed.

So that is a bit more of the journal writings. I miss writing. I miss so many things. And unlike Homer, I have no one to talk to about the things I miss. The other day I received a message via Facebook that I was missed, I was loved. Did you know that a person does not burst into tears? At least I don’t, I read words and thoughts like that and those tears just quietly flow. If I have to say why when Lee asks, I can’t answer. I can’t talk. My throat closes over. I can’t breathe. It is the realization that what was, will not likely be again. I know I am supposed to be grateful to have those memories and thoughtful friends, and I am. But I miss what was. I miss what used to be. And I regret that I took for granted that my life would be the same. It is not. And when these tears flow down my face I think of the tear duct plugs that my eye doctor puts in every six months to prevent dry eyes. If he could see me in these moments he’d say, “Damn, those things really work!”

Til later.

New Things/Old Stories

Our bowl of leaves is overflowing. The color is getting less vivid on the trail.

From this to this in just a few steps.

But late afternoons are perfect for a warm snooze on the porch.

And inside we have this! Thanks to one of very few people who offer to help out.

I no longer have the spare time to use the spa tub, so asked if the board Lee made to fit across it so I could read books in the bath, could be used as a barrier for someone who might lose their balance near the open stairway. Tommy said, “Sure.” and it was in place twenty-four hours later. One more thing off the list that wakes me in the middle of the night. And it will be easy to patch the holes when removed for selling the house in the future.

I also stopped by the grocery store and brought home many, many boxes to pack things away that we no longer use. Those boxes will be placed on a table we put up in the garage and be checked out by the kids, post covid worries next year, and then go to recycling.

Coming back from our morning walk, I saw this gasping effort of the nasturtium on the deck above. It is my favorite plant to buy in the Spring.

And this beautiful view of morning sun on wild grasses.

Now for those past four days drawings.

Onions like this one

are mostly well behaved if

they aren’t cut into.


A wad of burlap

tied to look like a pumpkin

with some sticks and stems.


A thank you package

from a very clever friend

living in the woods.


Only the right shoe.

It is all I have time for.

Cleaning lady here!


And I could not stop stitching on the Night Bunny. Now he is “boro-ed”. I had to stitch the paper to a piece of cloth so it would take the continued jabbing of the needle and pulling of thread. I have pinned another together of an owl on a nest in the moon light. Maybe it will be a Night Critters series.

Now for some more journal entries of sketch and story.

October 3, 2003 Perth WA

I am back pondering the plight of the traveler. Western Australian Museum Café – far outside corner. Latte again and a spinach cheesy pizza – downtown Perth. Expensive or more to the point, “pricey” town. A couple – middle age- one table over. Besides the companionship I notice another plus to being in company. The physical burdens of sightseeing are shared. He has the camera and cash and carries most purchases. She looks restored and cared for. Not only that, they sound American.

I carry whatever I left the B&B with this morning. In the string bag are camera, money, sketchbook, paints, notebook, pen, map of the city, some leaves and a recent purchase of blister bandaids – guaranteed to heal overnite. My shopping bag holds a sale book from the Art Museum titled Wildflowers in Art, a buy at $10. Bandaids and botanicals!

I am not thirty anymore. I enjoy saying “I’m American” as much as hearing them say “I know.” Besides my look of “older lady on holiday”, I cannot for the life of me get down the thing they do with the fork in the left hand. It (the fork) is turned over and the knife is used to sever bits of everything on the plate – then loaded up the “hill” of the fork. Fine, I can do all that – anyone who enjoys playing with their food can do it. Now keeping it in the left hand, turning and aiming at a gaping mouth is hard. I pass it to the right hand after removing bits, spearing one and go towards my face hoping I do not look as famished as the Australian maneuver appears to the watcher.

I am now going to look at old stones and shells and find the right train back.

Note* Not long after this observation on how to use the knife and fork properly I practiced….a lot…and for the past ten years at least, always make sure to add the knife to my right hand and pass the upturned fork over to the responsibility of the left. Only exception is soup. 

And another journal entry about Australia.

What is it about the Australians that seem to bring out the best in those of us who are not? In their company I am not a stranger but pulled into their raucous interior – inhibitions and hesitations fall away. They seem to hone in on the interior of a person, do not see or hear how we portray ourselves. To them we are all an equally appreciated part of their whole. We feel we belong and belonging to an Aussie group of fun-loving friends is definitely a good feeling. Even when parted, you will smile at the memory of being together and you will hear them laugh and feel their arms around you.

I will bring them out later, in secret, when my own kind neglect to see inside me and think I am someone else.

I love that last entry and have pulled them out so many times in this isolation.

All good today.

Til later.

Another Look Into Old Notes

This was this morning’s cache. The sourwood leaves are so hot pink this year. Usually they are bright red and gone. Several leaves have fallen off these past few days and most of them are brown.

I am getting anxious to finish this last sketch book of of drawings a day with haiku. I want to draw something else with a pen maybe. And no more counting up syllables! I have outlasted the rest of my group by months and months with this exercise and I am bored.

A nice neighbor gift

of a white pumpkin that has

a vine of paper.


Granny Smith apple.

The only contrast being

a poking out stem.


Attempt at drawing

the textures of a lemon

is harder than shape.


Red, ripe tomato.

No bruise and full of flavor

is waiting for me.


I am not sure how I can make a pen sketch last the 30 -40 minutes that these drawings and haiku do, but I have til end of the year to figure it out. I need that meditation time early in the morning.

Tomorrow I am going through all the bathroom cupboards and tossing out old medicines and jars of creams and whatever is not used daily. Then I will take a closet a day and do the same. My clothes now will go to a thrift store because covid has caused my usual stop at the craft shop to those who wanted to go through them, to come to an end. I miss that, dragging bags from the car to such fun girls waiting to see what was in them.

I will start collecting boxes from the grocery store and go through the cupboards in the dining room. If I think our kids would be interested, it will be stacked with other things they may want. But with the sensible thing being to stay put for the next several months and the need to get things under control here in case there is a sudden change in our lives, I need to quit putting things off.

I wish I knew a younger person starting out, especially an artist/craftsperson where even more could be unloaded. I really just want to get things gone, with enough left to make the house show well if we need to move. It will not be easy working on my own here to pack things up, but it is time to at least start.

I used to teach basketry and found this old sketch in a journaling book. Can you believe I found it just before news clippings of the war in Iraq, letter from a mentor on how she was coping with childhood assault memories that suddenly emerged, a cheerful thank you from a theater group we used to feed, an article on Paul Simon being the “thinking man’s” songwriter, quotes on art, short writings I did to share with my mother, and on and on. There were pictures from magazines saved in the same book. I am guessing it was started in the late 80s and then closed up fifteen years later.

I will copy out the good things then toss the book. Behind every cupboard door there is the equivalent of that old journal…lots of old stuff, very little needed anymore.

But here is another writing from a journal…

A writing used for The Traveler’s Box

Once he returned from his travels there was so much to sort through. So many memories – which ones to keep and which to let go – who remembered and who to let go.

Something like that…what if we reach a point of fullness that requires us to make choices.


So I will be making my way through memories and cupboards.


Cormac MCarthy from The Crossing

“Things separate from their stories have no meaning. They are only shapes, of a different size and color, a certain weight. When their meaning has become lost to us, they no longer have a name.”

Til later