First day of Spring

This is right now..blossoms out the window in the woods. But earlier this week:

Rain and clouds to match the mood here. Caregivers did not show twice. Lee left with no way to get outside. But one day without rain he pulled at the wooden pieces that he put there to hold grape vines until they and that section of vines are now gone. If he doesn’t see leaves, it must be dead. No worries. The yard men are coming to put trees and mulch down next week.

Lee also had a tooth extracted yesterday and recovered quickly. A person could go a bit mad trying to explain to a person with dementia that they need to have a tooth out. I just had to go all in and say that if it didn’t come out then all the teeth left would start falling out causing great pain. He got that, liked the ones who told him to hold still and congratulated him on how well he did and then proceeded to tell me over and over how glad he was that I took care of getting him there….a full ride of one and one half hours’ gratitude.

I also had time to write an explicit email to family on exactly how the day goes here from awakening to collapsing into bed. Then they can decide on when to come down after we are all vaccinated. Just not all at once. Those types of holidays are over. Way too much confusion. As our son put it, “We want to be a distraction, not a disruption.”  Perfect.  Also our friend who is like family will come down if I ever need surgery to look after both of us with a caregiver. My annual physical is coming up and of course I wake in the night with thoughts of tragic discoveries. Wish I could keep my imagination in check! But I feel good that she will make the sacrifice.

And the marks book continues.

My counter stools came back from upholsterers and all dining room chairs are now in their hands. An excellent job and I did not have to buy new stools.

After looking at my last post with pictures of my studio I think I need to get rid of things…seriously get rid of things. Of course the first thing I did this morning was buy more linen. It was on sale and who wouldn’t want to wear a pair of pants in “dark lotus”?

But as family arrive with empty cars and trucks they can take some of the things away. Artwork or parts that could be.  After they make their selection I will toss the rest. A while back I had asked the new director of the folk school near here to consider using the barn to host a large garage sale for local artists to unload usable equipment and materials to others looking for same. But it never came to fruition and I can no longer take part if it did, so time to toss. I don’t live in a spot that lends itself to garage sales and again, those days are gone.

A promise from caregiver agency that I will get my four afternoons this next week. But after last week, I wait until I see them before packing up my stuff to escape to the apartment.

Well, the leaking fish pond should be full by now. It takes twice as long because I have to use a different hose. Lee took a decided dislike to the old one that was quicker. And it is getting on lunch time…something mushy for Lee.  Something I can eat quickly for me. Always have to be ready to fix something.

Til later…

Escaping Again


I have escaped over here to the apartment which is just a bit down the driveway from our house above. My studio is on the lower level and today I went down there to take pictures of how neglected it looks.

Where I wrote and read.

Where I carved wooden blocks and thought about weaving.

Where I piled things and kept frames for work as it finished.

Where I put things.

Linens waiting to be sewn up.

And the tai chi wire and rock figures that remind me how long it has been……almost five years.

And when I leave this house to find somewhere that lets me be myself in a world of others trying to hang on, this most certainly will come with me.

Lee found it at the dump not long after we moved here in 1993. I remember the man wrote it on a store carton of some paper product. He framed it with lumber scraps and then painted it. How long it sat in his yard before he either gave up or she showed up, is anyone’s guess. I always loved his curly “G”s and the need to place periods here and there. He himself must have also been very serious.

It has been a constant reminder of my own shortcomings and will have a much more prominent place than the washroom of my studio.

I did get the Marks drawings finished up.

Some of these black pens seem to have an endless supply of ink in them!

I finally threw out all the sticks I put on the table last November.  Now that old pitcher is filled with forsythia.

I keep a copy of Trusting the Tether Line book on the table to put the thank you notes from those who received one. My memoir writing instructor was especially pleased to get one as I did so little memoir writing in her class. Others have emailed me their thanks and comments on the poems that most resonate with them. I am glad I wrote it and have kept two back for our children to read later on.

Below are two gifts that came in the mail yesterday from recipients of the book.

From Rosie in Australia a book for me to “sing along as you draw.” It is a continuous sheet from those old piano rolls that has covers of handmade papers from her sister, Barb, (also a recipient of the book) and a contact printed silk bag to keep my songs in. It all is the weight of a feather and I look forward to using it. So thoughtful and all the way from down under. Such a perfect gift! I must say the support, good wishes and countless cards with small gifts to lift my spirits has been wonderful coming from friends down there. The other beautiful thing to come in the mail yesterday was the contact printed card seen here. It is from a friend in St. Louis who when last seen, we were gathered around a dining table sharing poetry after dinner. Her words in the card are a reminder of why I miss her and others in St. Louis who I used to see often. I hope we get some of those times back, if only for a little while.

Now I have a little over two hours to get back to my next short story. And just a note of thanks to Gwen for her enthusiasm over the last one. Those kind of responses make me want to keep at it.

Til later…


The front yard after our yard man finished refreshing mulch and laying down pine straw. He also pulled weeds and promises to keep at it. Such a relief to have help. Now to keep Lee from thinking it all needs swept up. He has broken all rakes digging up rocks, broken at least one push broom, misplaced other tools, pulled all scrap lumber from the shed to spread around, undone some things we agreed looked nice….it continues.

I had to unlock a friends house so the bug man could get in yesterday and found his driveway lined with these that I brought into the apartment where I was writing. They looked lovely but reminded me how much I miss him. He’s been gone almost two years now.

I miss seeing those who made me smile.  Jo, who was with me all through graduate school and a very dear friend since, keeps in touch. Yesterday I received a letter from her (she lives in Canada). It was all hand written in blue ink with a real nib. Some parts scratched out and started over. She is eighty now but the rows of writing were so even and so chatty. It was like she was here. Also in the envelope were folded sheets and photos of things she thought I would like to look at. Jo wrote the letter while sitting by a window and chatted on about the different squirrels as they appeared to strip her bird feeder. I wish my writing was as legible as hers. Then I could write about what goes on outside my window. She also wanted me to know that two pairs of pants I gave her when her luggage was lost on a trip down here, finally gave out.  That was so many years ago. Maybe I will dig out another pair to send as a surprise. I can’t travel to Canada but I can send my pants!

My marks book is getting scribbly. From the snake to really messy for the last few days.

I finally found an upholsterer to redo the counter stools and the dining room chairs. It took forever to select the fabrics from all of the choices. And of course, ended up with various degrees of beigey browns. I somehow thought that I would have to take the chairs in, but she said, No…just take the seats out. The simplest things are out of my grasp some days. Anyway, she has the stool seats now because they had a remnant of what I picked out. The fabric for the dining room chairs comes in by next week.

It is a good thing that I am no longer doing my own seat covering. I tend to just find any old foam, shove the fabric underneath and push the seat back in with the help of a wooden mallet. Not too many years ago a now former friend, let me cover her chair and couch with gingham cotton fabric more suitable for aprons and keep it all nice and tight with roofing nails. I am not sure they even have roofing nails anymore…those nice wide headed silver ones. Everything now is shot with a gun of some sort…..good thing it wasn’t when I was wrestling her chair and couch….I probably did enough damage.

It is a cloudy Saturday. No caregivers. Lee needs extra watching when there is no sun and he has bursts of energy.

Til later….

Getting Ready for Spring

Long afternoon shadows on the porch with wine and Lee looking down at some rocks he may want to move around. But this morning he is with a caregiver who could only come at this time so I am in the apartment earlier than usual. Also here is the cleaning lady and the man who put the trail in. He and I are discussing new plantings of trees and bushes to hide the neighbors additions and parked vehicles that we see from the kitchen window.

It is most unfortunate that after all the investment we made in buying and surveying property so that not one homeowner would have to look at their neighbor we end our time here with someone who not only decided to make a full size home out of a cabin that we shared a driveway with, but rents it out continually all year. It is my own fault for not buying it when offered a few years ago and moving their driveway to the adjoining road away from us and then reselling the cabin with a new entrance and address. I just assumed that whoever bought it would be like the owners, using it as a vacation home twice a year at most. Lesson is, assume nothing. But the yard man is helping out with his expertise on plantings to block the view. Extra traffic on a steeply curved driveway, he can’t help with.

But today he is laying fresh mulch and pine straw, and checking out the trail. He will be spending several days here this season as we can no longer keep up the work that needs doing.

I found this fragile leaf on the trail the other day and had to bring it inside as a reminder how lovely “oldness” can be.

And keeping up with the marks book. I decided to leave the birdhouse uncolored.

Then on a chilly morning…palm trees!

And I finally started the Sticks and Stones Book.

It seemed a bit boring, so I decided to give the new graphite watercolor pencils a try to enhance the leaves and drawings.

It will take a long time to complete but looks interesting so far.

And the other day I saw a video on Ikebana using sticks. Shortly after Lee was wrapping a vine around some sticks to toss over the bank. I rescued it and made this for the kitchen window. I might just collaborate with him again on a larger piece. Problem is that Ikebana only looks its best against a plain backdrop…..hard to find in our house.

That’s it for now…might have a bit of apartment lunch….cheese, crackers, touch of wine.

Til later…