Taking Control

This past week I decided to stop waiting for the decision to be made as to when and if I get the necessary new flooring. The builder is waiting for the flooring company to be found liable for costs and I found myself just waiting. So, I decided to just pay for all of it, new and better flooring, and the labor getting it put down. Whenever the settlement comes through, they can reimburse some or all of my expenses. And with the decision made, new flooring is coming in later this week and hopefully being laid the following week. I will have to stay with the workers and empty the furniture that has to be moved, find a surface to put it on and then replace it all as each section of floor is finished to the point of getting the furniture back in place. I have photographed each piece that will require a heck of a lot of work! Like this:

Just the upper part of my liquor cabinet…down below are serving pieces and wines, etc. No flooring laborer can be expected to empty this and then get it all put back correctly.

And this! One wall in my studio. Each shelf has to be labeled as to where it goes back together because these all come apart to be moved and although each piece is similar, that does not mean they will fit….so I intend to label each and every one of them. The easier I can make this on the laborers and myself, the better. Sadie is holding down just one corner of my work table.

Quite an adventure that should be over in a couple of weeks.

I have a new cleaning lady who does the most amazing deep clean. After seven straight hours this past week, she agreed to return for four hours each month. She brings all her own tools and cleaning supplies. She even washed a few windows that she felt needed cleaning. I am lucky I found her, and am very happy she agreed to do my house.

The other day while meeting someone for lunch in town, I noticed this wall by the local hardware store. I found it beautiful and plan to do a walk around town when the weather is nicer to find other beauty in the ordinary.

I need to take a walk to the river but since they now mow the meadow down to just an inch or so, it is not so magical. No pretty weeds and flowers, no insects, no birds wandering about…nothing but dead grass between here and the river. A bit boring.

I missed my Manhattan time at the local bar last week because I had to meet up with an old friend from out west who is in the area teaching. A very good catch up over pizza and wine. Last night I cooked a less-than-very good meal for friends…burned garlic toast, rather stiff pasta with doctored up marinara, and a salad wilted in the fridge because it was left too long with its dressing tossed in. They kindly called it “wilted” lettuce salad and ate it all. We topped it off with store-bought biscotti and more red wine that they brought along. A good four hours of visiting.

Looking for interesting patterns, I shot this view by the front door.

Sadie spent the day in the sun today while I finished off a friend’s debut novel…a good page turner of art and murder in a small Appalachian town by Bradley Wilson.

Today I ordered a small rice cooker to help me make something different from heating up frozen pizzas and cooking eggs with spinach. Beans and rice for a change sounds good. In the meantime I am stuck finishing off last nights pot of leftover pasta with meatballs and doctored marinara.

Maybe pour myself a single malt and find some British program while sitting with my cats.

Til later…..

Still Drawing and Writing and Keeping Up With Myself

This week just flew by. I have all but the cover drawing finished for Scrabble’s Story.  Now I need to getting his story in easy reading words. Maybe tomorrow.

For now, I have this glass of Yellow Tail Jammy red wine. Yikes! It would have been very good dribbled over this morning’s breakfast.

There is a very dry frozen waffle under there. Colorful, isn’t it? And speaking of color, this was a dinner I fixed myself the other evening.

This is the year of the dragon. And Patsy from Australia sent me her linoleum printed one. She is so very talented with printmaking and other art media.  I am so happy with this and within ten minutes of getting it in a Happy New Year card, I had it framed and hanging with one of my own lino prints.

The other day I was cleaning out old but still very usable purses to take with shoes to the recycle center. I found a spiral notebook that was small enough to fit in a wallet. Evidently it went with me several years ago on a trip to Australia. I wrote this observation down as soon as I could slip off to the bathroom while the thought was still “warm”.

In Australia the voices ride over each other

never in a straight line.

Only when they become “soft”

do you know something “important” is coming.

Sometimes I think that I am missing the best parts.

Some of the women are like vocal automatons –

they come into a conversation and just speak.

Is it a planned attack on the existing conversation?

Those who were speaking stand no chance

of returning to what they were talking about.

All is forgiven with an air kiss and hug.

There are no pauses whatsoever.

Amazing to be among these “conversations”.

Today my new house cleaner and I interviewed each other. She has an accent of some place far, far away. She found my house and its things quite interesting. She will take special care of them. It will take her a couple of trips here to get the deep cleaning done to her satisfaction. She pointed out cobwebs in places I never look, gave me some cleaning tips on what supplies to not use because of damaging chemicals and demonstrated how a furniture beeswax polishes stainless steel better than specialized cleaners made for that purpose. Next week is her first day of digging in. And she loved my cats who chose not to scamper into the closet when she came into the same room. Perfect. She will be my monthly cleaning lady.

My financial advisor came this week and brought along his assistant. I consider her (the assistant) to be his interpreter for me. I keep a big basket of what I think is essential and when she comes, between rewording whatever he is trying to get into my head and making phone calls to make funds more profitable, she goes through it (the basket) to sort what I need to take to the income tax lady, what needs to be saved for the seven year obligation, and what I should shred. Most of the following day was spent shredding. It takes them four hours to drive here, get me sorted over the next two hours and then four hours back. Lovely. He keeps asking if I want to do anything special, take a trip, buy something, maybe a new car? But no, I am fine. I told him I was getting a cleaning lady and might take myself out to dinner more often. He sighed and said, “Good”.

I still head to the bar to write and have that Manhattan. Instead of getting back to Joey, the librarian, I wrote this.


Back in the bar

pizza ordered, Manhattan brought over.

Pen in hand over this large pad

that is waiting for words.


So am I.


Easy jazz vocals are overhead.

A couple sits at the bar

both on their devices, probably not in love

but probably were.


So was I.


And I write about the moments

I am living now. 

the ones I need to remember

about being here, being aware


Being alive


I’m waiting and watching

to see if there is anything,

anyone more important 

than this.


No. It’s Tuesday.                       

                                                S. Webster


That should do it for today. More another day.

Til then…..





Busy Week

A beautiful sky overhead the other evening.

My neighbors told me when I showed them this picture to just walk through their side yards to get the views without rooftops. I will do that next time. I miss the skies with trees and no buildings at my old place. It is about the only thing I miss.

Earlier this week I had a dental appointment in Murphy, so took a walk on the river there.

I expected to see some bits of green on the branches…but too early. And not one duck or goose on the river. Just a crow taking a bath.

This weekend is supposed to be rainy, so I will bake, make soup, write and draw.

It was exciting to have friends come and take me to lunch the other day. We went to a restaurant I seldom go to now. It is an okay place and they offer the only sweet potato fries in town. What made this trip especially nice was the older, Latina waitress who stopped in her tracks to say how good it was to see me again. I remembered her quite well. She had stopped to say how pretty she thought I was about five years ago. Whoever says things like that to older woman showing their age should be remembered. She paused to say how well she remembered me. How I always came in on Sunday mornings with my husband to have breakfast. She said, “You always wanted waffles with pecans added, and your husband only wanted eggs over medium with hash browns, bacon and toast. You sat two booths from where you are now. How is your husband?” I told her he passed away last year. She was sorry to hear that. Then she asked, “Do you still have that pretty green car?”

I continue to go to poetry readings. Thursday I read one about how we seem unable at times to read body language. How maybe someone just does not care to listen to what others are saying…how they don’t look and notice how much you do not want to pay attention, and how you are worrying there will be a test later on to catch you up, and expose how little attention you were paying while you waited to go back inside yourself.

I wrote this poem the other evening when I was sure I was going back to visit Joey, the librarian. Maybe he and I can get reacquainted this weekend. Hopefully he will have more to say.


There is no title yet and I am not sure it is finished…but I do like it.


I feel stuck in the cracks

of becoming someone else.

Yesterday I was funny

and I laughed.

I told funny stories and was entertaining.


Today I am not stepping 

up and out of the greyness,

a comforting fog

that lets me be 

how I need to be for now.


No one asks if I am okay

because I don’t let them 

close enough to tell 

if I have fallen short

of who they think I am.


I breathe in these cracks

and think about how much

that means 


taking in only the the air needed

to pause and just breathe.

S. Webster



Think it is time to post this and take a walk.

Til later…..

Still At It

Okay, here we are again. So many days gone by since my last post. But none of them wasted. The other day while walking to tai chi I noticed how the fog could not bear to leave the cold ground. Somehow unable to move on.  Why not? More sun was needed…more warmth pulled it away. I suppose it is like that for some people…not wanting to let go… I have not been like that. Hunkering down in the past is not helping me to see what is coming, or worse, not letting me focus on the nows of my life.  And I am a bit fond of the nows.

After tai chi the fog had let go and the scene not near so evocative.

Remember these dining room chairs? The ones with the carved face of the Greenman in their backs? Well, they creaked and moaned, probably for years. But one gets used to certain noises over time. But this past Christmas, their continually whining and sounds of indigestion became a bit more than tedious. So when I couldn’t contact the fellow who refinished this table before I moved, I asked a woodworker in the poetry group.

And away they went that very afternoon. Wonderful!

I thought it a good idea to have them gone because I kept thinking that any minute the flooring men would come and start ripping up the flooring…in every single room and closet! But those chairs will be back in place before that happens.

I am not looking forward to the disruption of having everything that sits on the floor being emptied and moved as floor sections are removed and new boards put down plus shoe moulding. Spell check does not like that spelling of :moulding”. There are so few opportunities to pick the correct but not commonly used word, that it feels good to use the spelling that nosey perfectionist disapproves of.

Anyway, it is not the builder’s fault, not the floorman’s fault, but the product itself. Only having hardwood floors before, I was prepared to have something less than ideal with flooring on a slab of concrete. But not something this bad. There is no point in fussing over it. So what! I get to stay in my house while it is being done. Empty shelves and cabinets so the furniture can be moved, etc. Then of course put it all back in as soon as the new floor is laid in that section and the piece of furniture put back. My neighbor told me his took less than four full days. Using his place as a guide, I am figuring on six at least. The den with all those book shelves and books wedged into a very tight space will be a nightmare…but then so will my studio, bedroom, laundry room, and closet with Migun bed and file cabinet, and shelving units along the floor. But we will manage.

I am thinking that when the weather gets a bit warmer, I will sort out the garage. Get cabinets with doors and shelves and make decisions on what needs hanging onto. The rest off to good homes. With so much from my old studio still being in cartons and much already given away, I think I have already made those decisions.

At the poetry meeting I read “Social Distance”, a poem written during Covid times. We all need a reminder that it is not really over, yet. I passed out my copies and read from my artist book.

They’d never seen books shaped around the content of words and meaning. They asked if I could teach them how to make books around their poems. I said, “No.” My teaching days are done. Then could I teach a class on condensed poetry.  Same answer, “No.”  We all have a way of saying something that matters. We communicate in the best way we can. Like artwork, words and the form they take in poetry is unique to each of us. My way won’t work for those who study and work out the many forms poetry can take. I just have a feeling and respond to it with words placed on a page in a way to be understood while catching our breath.

My quick and negative response to their questions made me remember what my art teachers in under graduate school said after searching for the right words. “Sandy, we want to um, uh, thank you for your brevity.” At the time I did not know if it was a good thing, or bad. Twenty-five years later, I am sure it is what I always suspected….a good thing.

I am going through the twenty illustrations I have so far for Scrabble’s story and making them larger…about double in size. I recut paper and now feel I have enough space to get the characters inter-acting. At least so far….

Ten more to go and I can get back to the story where I left off.

Speaking of stories…I am reworking the short story about Joey the librarian. My writing about him seems best done at the bar over a Manhattan and wood-fired pizza. This one particularly good with gorgonzola and prosciutto.

Seems a glass of wine is in order.

Friends are coming down from Asheville area to visit and have lunch this coming week. They were so good at checking in on Lee and me during the hard times.  I am remembering all the Australian friends who kept in touch during those years and will have a Yellow Tail Chardonnay and say “thank you for being there.”

Monday I want to walk the river in Murphy between dental appointment and trip to Rare Bird and Lowes hardware. The flooring man will come when I get home to rip up a section of flooring to see how things are under the curling. Told my builder it was like walking on potato chips. So he came over to have a look and a glass of wine. He reminds me of the builders Lee and I had in Michigan and some of the ones here. Easy going and sympathetic in all the right places.

Til later….