Bracing for Winter

I have decided to just ignore the next few holidays. No decorations, nothing that will have Lee asking about when the kids are going to come. They are to stay home and stay safe. We will do the same and have celebrations closer to summer when the virus should be better controlled and vaccines are available to all of us. I just started this 927 page book to read aloud to Lee. Might take all winter!

Here are some illustrations from My Life in Clothes and the Fairy Book.

And an unfinished fairy page. I don’t have too many pages left in this book but thanks to Lorraine I have more books to draw into.

And those four days of scarves and haiku….

Organic cotton

in earth tones of stripes and dots

by Gudrun Sjodren.


Two long plant dyed scarves

twisted, knotted with tied ends

makes a neck warmer.


A very complex

patterned, layered and dyed scarf

I bought in Bali.


Mary and I both

wanted this scarf so we cut

it in two pieces!

I will take more photos of my sketchbooks from travels, etc. and post them another time. But the other day I found this piece of writing I did from a “taste” prompt in a writing class. My mouth watered as I read it!!

Lick off a spoon Poem

Homemade Fudge

For this I will use my largest wooden spoon.

I am sure I read somewhere that you need to use a large spoon.

It is a big pan with high sides.

The sugar has started to dissolve in the water.

I clip the thermometer to the side keeping it‘s tip off the bottom.

I stir it and taste the simple syrup on the spoon.

Now the cocoa powder is stirred in.

Taste again to make sure it really does taste like chocolate.

Boil to soft ball stage – 232 degrees Fahrenheit.

Just in case the thermometer is off a bit, begin tasting at 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Finally! 232 degrees.

But just to be sure it is soft ball stage, drizzle some from the spoon into cold water.

Lick the spoon.

And reach into the water to shape the drizzle into a soft ball.

Eat the ball.

Remove the pan of fudge from the stove and stir in the butter.

Stir vigorously til the fudge just begins to lose its shine.

Try to pour quickly into an 8 by 8 buttered pan.

OOOOhhh. Some has hardened in the pan.

Use the spoon to scrape it out – one mouthful at a time.


I found some other worthy bits of writing in old computer files and will post them later. I need to get this finished while I still have wifi at the house. The cleaning lady is cleaning. The caregiver will be here in an hour. I need to make a grocery list that starts with wine.

More later.

Getting Some Control

We have a friend who comes once a week to share her lunch with us. We keep our distance at the table. She listens to my apprehensions, worries, exhaustions…and then offer suggestions. The leaves above were a gift from her this week. I tied them together with string just to keep control over something and love how they dry and curl in this bundle.

After lunch I get Lee set up to be outside doing something while I vent to Barbara. Here are some of her ideas:

Start using the dishwasher again! Don’t rush through the meal and wash up while Lee is still eating…put the dishes for the day in the washer and even if it is no where near full, turn it on after dinner! It works!

Add another hour to the caregivers time and get five hours of free time. I talked to the caregiver and her employer and that idea goes into effect starting Monday. This way when I have toi do the shopping it does take up half my time, just some of it.

Use the apartment more to remove myself from listening to what is going on with Lee and the caregiver. What a great idea! I only used it once to write the text to construct books around before.

Speaking of which this is what I wrote the day before Barbara came that put me in a frazzle when she was here.

In Just Two Hours


In just two hours:

Left to do the grocery shopping,

had a car to car visit with neighbors

on the way back to my house.

Like everyone else when they see me,

I am told they think of us.

Can they visit Lee?

I tell them he may not know who they are.

We go our separate ways.


Groceries are unpacked and put away,

so is my coat and purse,

I am sweating.

The cold wine called,

I couldn’t just carry the bottle downstairs

past the hall where they would see me,

the caregiver and Lee.


And now I am here in the studio,

writing and holding the water glass.

Trying to make it last.


So yes the apartment works fine. I do not get internet there but the house phone can be carried over so the ringing will not upset Lee.

There are two trunks full of old memories I needed to look into and toss some out. Under a couple of trash bags I took over a bottle of wine. Yesterday I wanted to be ready to retreat here as soon as the caregiver came.

The first thing I did was fix a spot of herbal tea in my old favorite pot with the cup down below. Used a little of coffee raspberry flavoring to sweeten it.

Then I set up my pads, sketchbooks, laptop, etc on a table Lee made using sewing machine legs that is by the window and near the loom he made me in 1982.

The apartment also has old oil paintings I did in the mid 80s.

The door into the apartment and the counter tops Lee made.

And those two trunks stacked at the bedroom end.

And after facing the trunks, filling a large garbage bag, sorting letters and old photos for the kids to deal with, I treated myself. Wine in a glass that Lee frosted.

In looking at old photos of myself with the intention of just throwing them out, I was caught in a childhood I had forgotten about. Since I am the only surviving one of six children, there has been no one to say, “Remember when…?” The result is, you simply forget. I looked at an old photo book of me from 2 to 23. Then I met Lee and less than a year later our daughter was born. Those photos from that time  on were packed up weeks ago to push off on the kids. My childhood, their report cards and drawings all kept in one of the trunks are now ready to go off with them. They get to throw them away. I just could not do it.

The last four days drawings of scarves.

Antique silk scraps

pieced together randomly –



Very drapey mesh

of rayon strings loosely knit

and knotted at ends.


A knitted tie dyed

loop of a nice colorful

band in pinks and blues.


Multiple knit loops

gathered and knotted

from Laughing Squid.

*Note: I tried contacting Laughing Squid this morning to order another one of these fun neck pieces that wrap three times around. They must be out of business now. It was an Etsy shop. I wish I had bought more at the time.

More journals….



Is there anything like a belly full of extraordinary food and wine – then locked up in a single cabin first class on the Ghan swaying your way into the Northern Territory and listening to the anti war version of Waltzing Matilda” I think not!

I am washed, lotioned and propped up in a space that is pie shaped, 24” at the pillow end and six feet down it is panning to 48”. My door to the hall is across from my daughter Amy’s cabin. A wash basin folds up not six inches from my right foot. All I need is here in this space.

A wonderful dinner with Aussies – full of politics, wineries and family talks and a promise to meet at breakfast. Then there is the window- more than a metre and open to the outback of Australia. What is out there in the dark? I know it is wild, mysterious and beautiful – nothing less. I will sleep through some of this and be sorry that I did. But I am older now than the last time and can trust Australia to be hre when I wake. Good night.

And Anzac cookies made this week.

Til later….Lee just broke the leaf blower again….I will just buy another one on Monday. There could be another leaf somewhere.

A Bit of Brightness

Looking out my front door we see a late look at the beauty of the trees left with leaves. A sudden brightness from what was quite dull last week. Here are some more.

And after Lee runs down two batteries blowing them off the driveway, he just can’t stop.

He simply gets out his broom and continues.

Right now I have him vacuuming fern droppings on the porch. He is focused!

I have talked to two homes that care for those with dementia and he is now on a list for when a room becomes available. There is no reason for him to go now or in the near future as far as I can see. Our doctor and I will make that decision when the time comes. Both places that I called were very helpful in what to look for when the time gets near. It is a relief that both places are close to home and he is on a list that I can turn down when they call, if he is not ready. We simply move further down. Private rooms are hard to come by in these facilities but a shared room can be used by only one if the costs are met. So far all seems possible. Now I wait and watch. Their only precaution was that I look to my own health needs as well because caregiving can take a toll. For now the three afternoons a week for relief seem enough and we are settling into a routine of one caregiver keeping an eye on him instead of an assortment. He doesn’t mind the extra company in these isolated times and I like the bit of freedom of going to the store without leaving him in the car, having time to talk on the phone, work in the studio, etc.

Speaking of which….I finished the first sketchbook for 2021.

I like to hammer over my corners to make book more inviting to the touch. It gives it a worn feel.

I will continue to make blank journals for next year and beyond. I need to use up materials instead of hoping that I will have private students again. Then I will need to pack some of it up to give away.

It is sort of like how many wine glasses do you need when the dinner parties have stopped.

Here are some more scarves.

The conclusion is—-

drawing an eco printed

scarf – impossible!


Resist dyed large scarf

made by  textile artist and

teacher from Africa.


Nuno felted scarf

that I rolled up to make it

easier to draw.


Two shades of blue knit

scarf with lots of overlock

stitches in between.

And a bit more journal entries.


Nov 1, 2003 Gympie, Queensland

My last teaching obligation of nine in six weeks. I am on the deck of a apartment type room on the country side of town. The drive here from Bundaberg last night was horrendous – wind and rain in the dark on the only road – a fallen tree left traffic backed up for miles.

It can be very dark here in the country or “outback”. So dark you want the terrifying lightening to strike so you can see if you are still on the road.

This place is connected to a bottle shop/hotel/casino/bistro. Ordered two Toohey’s Old Stout before I even sat down to a meal of corned beef (the only thing left as it was closing time. The meat came smothered in white sauce and filled the plate – served ourselves the vegetables and salads from the counter. Over salads hung a lace table cloth to keep the flies away while the hot starchy vegetables were not covered – no flies seemed interested anyway. Interesting dish with sweet potatoes and coriander (cilantro)  – tasty. A very Australian country experience in hostelry. We return here tonight and I look forward to seeing what else is offered – hopefully wine and seafood.


“In my view, the best art is vulnerable. It is when the artist has given something of himself to the world. Perhaps what is most personal is also the most universal. In a classroom setting where student are set up to compete against one another and where the instructor inadvertently acts as judge over them, they are less likely to chances, to risk acceptance, to expose their vulnerability, and to deal with personal issues in their work.”     Agniewszka Matejko, Canadian artist and teacher

Til later…


It Is Not Over Yet!

We still do not know the official count to declare a winner for President of the United States! And who couldn’t see it coming that the worst president ever would want to contest the outcome? We are a sick country to elect this man in the first place.  Maybe by tonight he will find some graciousness and admit it is over. Of course, that is wishful thinking. My champagne bottle is ready when the winner is officially declared.

The other morning on the walk and with the change in light, I found this owl for the Fairy Book.

I have been working on that book but just got side tracked with stitching. After I finished this moth I told myself to stop for a bit and get back to other sketchbooks.

Speaking of which, when I finish this new blank journal for pen sketches and writing, I will continue to make more just to use up book board and papers. It is daunting to see what all has to be packed up in this studio and I need to start thinking of my next stop.

My long term care insurance person who checks in regularly called the other day and I asked if she had time to talk. My concern is that Lee may have to go into a care facility sooner than I might have thought and I am not even remotely ready nor knowledgeable on how that all works. She was very helpful and encouraging, and advised me to start looking around to see what is close by. I am starting that process.

But then the question is, do I want to stay at the end of the road alone. I like the quiet of being here. I don’t like the idea of having to endure the life of living in a home attached to a care facility. The idea of sharing meals on command with strangers is not something I look forward to.

Maybe someone to stay out in the apartment just to check in on me daily would be a good idea….maybe not.

Anyway my lifeline on the end of that phone call was full of encouraging possibilities. There is no one close to discuss these things with. It is hard to talk when Lee is with me continually. But I will get back on the phone as soon as I finish this.

In the meantime I am learning to make crumpets. No reason other than to have another option for Lee’s breakfast in the freezer and ready to pop in the toaster.

I bought these cute molds because I had nothing else to use.

They are a bit dense but tasty! More practice.

And the drawings of scarves….

Large loosely-woven

shawl that was tie-dyed in browns

and bought in Bali.


I purchased this one

in China 2004,

all grey and golden.



Randall Darwall shawl.

The most luxurious silk

threads are beautiful


Elderly lady

Esther owned this scarf many

years before I did.


Some more excerpts from journals.


What’s extraordinary about an ordinary day?

The extraordinary thing about what we think of as an ordinary day is that we missed the opportunity to see it otherwise. How we let them go by without noticing the promise of what each day has to offer. New dawns bring new chances to take, fresh starts, a window to the next day. The ordinary day gives us the place of memory that we rely on tomorrow. You can’t get more extraordinary than that!


“It is the lives we have while living. Not the ones of any distinction but the kind that slip unnoticed one into the other and then follows us pulling like gravity to a place we’ve left behind. And sooner or later we slow down and let them have their way, grateful for a place to rest in the surety of no more forks in the road.”….I can’t remember where this came from.


And I think this Luna Moth is finished.

Til later.