Finally Some Time to Write!

My yard man found the tree we were looking for. The nursery only had two….a weeping blue aspen cedar. The one by the house is a blue aspen cedar.

Now well-planted in the front yard.

I am still in the tweaking mode and under the influence of Marla’s good eye. I pulled some cushions from the African chair I made in 1994, and still need to have in my living space, and put them in place of the old undergraduate felted work on my front hall chest.

It’s the little things rearranged that make you feel in control. This morning I spent extra time tilting pillows on the bed while putting clean sheets on. Still not sure they are right, and there are other things I could be doing, but still, why not?

The other evening company from out of state came for dinner. Claudia Lee, paper maker was in town teaching and her assistant brought along her husband. A very good visit that only happens once a year. Claudia had recently taught in Australia and we know many people in common there, so it was an evening filled with fond memories and stories of who all she met in classes and stays in touch with via zoom-like conversations about paper.

It was a beautiful morning to walk up to the corner for coffee. Even a bird joined me.

And my walk over to tai chi has gotten quite lovely filled with flowers and grasses.

I love the intensely purple crown vetch paired with daisies and yellow wildflowers. Hard to get them all in one picture.

More sewing this week. Now the machine is put away for awhile.

New Gingher sewing scissors came. After all these years my old ones have a nick in the cutting blade that makes it hard to get a clean cut. I keep the non-cutting hand well away from the scissors as they are so very much sharper than the old ones. Those old ones have to be 30 years old by now, so new ones seem a good idea.

A neighbor left town for several days in New York City.  Her cats see me and tend to go elsewhere. I thought I would take them treats and give them a bit of company. Socks ate her treats, gave me a side eye and left the room. Old hard-of-hearing, Mona, who rarely stays in the room, actually took a liking to me. I got to pet her head. Something about a cat’s expression can make you feel important. Dogs always look devoted, maybe because they can’t do critical thinking. But cats have to make a judgement….so one out of two is not bad. I will keep treats in my pocket when I go over for that late afternoon wine time. Just look at this face.

I am going to spend the rest of this Memorial three day weekend writing. The laundry is finished and put away, pillows fluffed, scones ready to go in the oven, and it is rather dreary out there.

One other thing…looking for an image of a wine bottle among my saved cards to put on a book I made for a young woman who asked me to make her a label holding book (for all her favorite wines and drinking friends) I found notes sent from older people I have met along the way.

From Arlyn who passed some years ago came this:

“Here is the quote I wrote to myself years ago and somehow still hang on to…”Concentrate on making decisions quicker. Criticize yourself. Take immediate responsibility for your position. No carping, poking, nagging. Be honest. Project only what can be backed up.”    Keep up your wonderful work and come back to visit.”


From an 80 year old Margaret in 2005:

“I do think that “higher” education does more than teach skills but what it does best is teach how to think and how to use what has been studied before……..”


And Velma:

“thank you. it helps me, working in such isolation, to see how others frame their life in their work.  you do that so well.”


They made me feel like I should be doing more than fluffing pillows. I will keep these newly found notes handy to remind me.

Now onto those scones and writing.

Til later….


A Whirlwind Visit!

Marla arrived Tuesday late afternoon. Just in time to ready ourselves for a local wine tasting with delicious food on offer.  The following morning back into the coffee/wine/mail center to count wine orders from the night before. Then home to start Marla’s incredible eye for tweaking my living space.

But first the careful unwrapping of lilacs that daughter Amy gave to Marla to bring down. Many memories of me picking flowers along the road to send to my mother.

Wednesday morning we went down to Blue Ridge to visit a friend, look at art, and have the best lobster rolls I have ever had. Back here to get to work.

The heads finally have room to interact with each other and have a bit more breathing space. Now I can easily get to their right and left brain impulses.

The shelves thinned out in the living room. Isn’t it funny how you think every thing is necessary only to find out that it can all come down to “clutter”?

The best part was in the den. Over four cartons of books and several bundles of artworks were removed to head north to family. I will get a white line print using the soils of Australia framed and put on the wall above the top shelf. What few books on Australia that are left will be boxed up when I am ready and given to the young man from down under who operates a bike sales and repair shop in town. If he turns them down, the library will get them. All my many novels written about Australian characters have been sent north.

I found someone willing to take my larger etching press back to her studio. And when that goes, I can put the newly emptied shelves from the den that set under the window, into that space in the studio. Then that room will only be writing, poetry, printmaking (because I am keeping and using my X Cut machine) and sketchbooks I am still working in.

All my book arts teaching books have gone home with Marla. She still teaches different forms to her group of binders and can put my collection of teaching aids to good use.

And with so many baskets of books emptied now, the baskets fill the shelf in the laundry room.

Yesterday Marla came with me to tai chi and last night we had a spectacular dinner at the Copper Door in town. This morning a quick trip for lavender lattes and bagels at RareBird where we also got some early Christmas shopping done. Then we loaded her car up with all the cartons to go north.

After lunch it seemed a good idea that she head home today so there would be less time on the road tomorrow. As soon as company backs their car out, I put their linens in the washing machine. Now to fold and put away. She will message when she gets to her motel in Kentucky.

The cats are missing her already. I will take a walk around the neighborhood before cooking a frozen pizza for dinner.

Dilly has retreated to my rocker.

Til later…..


Chores Finished, Now What?

There have been some beautiful skies this week. Not much drama down here at street level, but overhead a bit of rowdiness. A tornado warning came in the other night to take cover….I just stayed in bed because there was about 30 minutes before that alarm was over. Lots of crackling lightening, wind and thunder but the tornadoes were not here.

Lots of flowers are now in bloom. My pot with a returning plant bloomed.

The walk into my neighborhood.

And a very determined snapdragon coming up near where we have coffee each morning.

I finished my double gauze shirt and the lime green one as well.

It feels like wearing a cool cloud, so I ordered more of the fabric in soft grape and linden green. Now I have nice cool oversized tops for summer that will take a turtle neck undershirt come cooler weather. It is nice to hear the hum of a sewing machine with the promise of new clothes that did not come from the clingy knits available today. After it sits against my shoulders and the outer edge of my front, this shirt has no intention of touching my body any place else. So nice!

Also this week my new rocking chair came in a very heavy box delivered as far as my front door. The word “Heavy” was taped onto the carton. I wrestled it into the house, took off the packaging and proceeded to put the screws in place. As long as I could see the screws, I was fine. But reaching up underneath and gravity working against me, I called MJ for help. She popped over after closing the coffee. wine, mail center, and in no time at all had it all solidly put together.

Now I can sit on the porch and read, rock, and think about whatever crosses my mind. The wood is Eucalyptus, so how could I not buy this chair!

This morning I went to the Mayor’s Garage Sale on the square. Not as many venders as last year and I felt sorry for all those who have to pack up their now twice rejected (by them and the on-lookers) leftovers that they hoped someone would want. I walked around it with one of the guys from the morning coffee gatherings. He found an old wood planer and a dozen pale blue farm fresh eggs. I found nothing.

And then this little cutie on my way back to the car.

Because of weather, the poetry meeting was canceled this past week. I keep writing……here is what I would have read and will when it is rescheduled.


The Glass is Clear


The glass is clear.

The water inside is not.

A part of what wasn’t

good enough for the page

has been left behind

in the rinse water,

to become dull and uninteresting

in the company of others.

No longer carrying the burden

of an artist’s intention,

each has dissolved into memories

of what could have been.


Sandy Webster

I am not sure if anyone ever considers their paint rinsing cups the way I do. So tempting to just collect all the muddied waters to use in some meaningful way.  But I am beyond that now and simply wave as they are poured down the drain.

Til later……

Scattered Day

The last of my dogwood blooms.  And what is looking like the arrival of Spring. I have added some succulents to the pots near the porch that gets full sun. And added more ferns to the shady areas. It is such a small area to look after compared to what I left behind in the “thens”. And even this requires the glancing look of the yardman I brought along. There was a local master gardener sale here just up the street this weekend. I did not go…what would I buy? where would I put it? I am quite sure there were no exotic Asian-looking trees for the front yard, so stay away. Do not buy those wonderful nasturtiums that have such large lotus-like leaves when you buy them and then once potted, they hardly seem happy to put out pitiful little ones that all seem to lean back toward where they came from. No more nasturtiums for me! I have filled the large pot they were in last year with sticks, dead branches my neighbors were trimming away. I like the look of a pot full of dead branches. Not sure my neighbor does…but I don’t like his gas tank and these help disguise the view. Plus I don’t like seeing his perfectly shaped and quite thriving bushes near that ugly gas tank. I will be collecting more dead branches for the fern pots out front. there is a theme going on here. The look of “less is more”. Dead branches cost nothing and look “good” all year.

Today I decided to sew the shirts I cut out yesterday. There was this lovely two-layered cotton gauze cloth I saw on the internet. So bought the only two colors I thought I’d wear. BUT when buying gauze fabric one needs to buy at least one and a half times the required amount. Once washed and dried, it simply puckers and shrinks into much smaller yardage. So the pattern my friend Jude in Tasmania made from my favorite shirt was looking doubtful to have them made in puckered double-layered gauze. But if I eliminated the cowl collar and gave up placing the sleeve on a fold and seamed down both sides. it could be done.

So I popped the first one (deep blue) over my head only to have it drift downward into a much longer length. No worries. I simply hacked off five inches. Once I figured I could get my head through the neck hole, I just cut a strip long enough to sew around the hole. I still need to hand stitch the inner edge. It will look like a bias there because the puckered gauze seems very forgiving and cooperative.

So here is what I learned:

Older women hate what is on offer at the shops. This is because unless they are as slim as they planned on being, all store bought clothing is now a synthetic, clinging to every curve, aka “bulge”, and looks as though they are wearing something they shouldn’t.

Trying to find natural fiber like cotton and especially linen ready-made clothing is near impossible.  Why in god’s name do they feel you want darts over sixty?!

And exactly how many older women want to look like they are wearing an off-cut of a Pakistani table cloth?!

So buy the fabric, regardless of the cost, use your favorite patterns and wish that the best seamstress ever, Jude from Tasmania, lived right next door.

Earlier this week I made savoury scones…ham, parsley, onion, cheddar and parmesan cheese. They are the scoop kind to save time and over-kneading.

They make a good quick lunch and a filler served with a tossed salad for dinner.

I did find time to add another Philosophical Consideration.