One day for out patient surgery on my face. All is fine but it took a couple of days to get the anesthetic to wear off. No gym, no tai chi, no walking, and no wine!

I will see the doctor Monday for a follow up

Before my surgery I had time to sample the wares of the baker who moved into the kitchen where we all have coffee in the morning. She is superb. And on the first day she made the longed-for cinnamon rolls. Delicious! from there she went to an apple cider French toast made with brioche, pecans and  fresh apples from an orchard about an hour away. There are so many things coming out of the oven when I get there a bit before 8 in the morning, Monday through Friday.

Then another cinnamon roll to welcome me back from my day away is pictured with a couple of butternut squashes decorated with a smile. The men are gathering in the background pondering what to order for breakfast.

I did manage to put some of my own banana bread in the freezer and had some this morning with my latte. Dorinda the baker does not bake on weekends and as soon as she leaves at one each day she heads off to her “real” job as a paralegal. Amazing woman. My banana bread looks nothing like hers.

And while we are on food, I have the last of every vegetable, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, red pepper, celery, carrots, garlic, onion, spinach, tomatoes, all in a pot with ditali pasta. It will last me for several meals.

I worked on Burke and Wills and now have them well situated in the nursing home.

Now it is just constant reading aloud and changing words. My children’s poetry friend from the poetry group told me I tended to have eight syllables on most lines and that was a good number to stay with. It never occurred to me to count them! No wonder I seek her advice. I think the hard part of telling this story is over, but there will be plenty of edits before I want to put it all together. The final decision on where the nineteen illustrations go has been made

I need another project to get started on. Watching the end of the film based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, Alias Grace, today made me want to thread a needle and just stitch on something big. The quilts in the movie and her hands threading needles and holding layers of cloth were mesmerizing. I am going to open the large sewing trunk this week and seriously get out some cloth. I am thinking about the large linen shawl that had earth pigments and then hand stitching to get through the difficult news of Lee’s dementia. It was such a soothing and worn cloth. There were holes from the green earth full of an acids that needed sewn over. And rows and rows of kantha stitches in colors.

I wonder about cutting it up to piece back together with another cloth that has been waiting in the trunk. Something big that will take all winter and stay on my lap by a cozy fire.

I am also going to do a bit of sewing on clothes. I bought the most amazing linen in a grey with a hint of green this week. Washed and dried, it is begging to be made into pants. Today I have on the ones I covered with patches because a hole wore through the seat. And you can’t just have a patch on the rear end. They needed patches in different places as well to look right. They are so soft!

So after I see the surgeon on Monday and get to the hairdresser the same day, I am going to open that trunk, pull out my favorite patterns and the new linens that are waiting, and SEW!

Til later….

A Good Men Post

This morning the washing machine hose popped out of it’s drain. Big mess with water all over. Put the machine on “pause” and called the builder on a Saturday morning. He came and put things back together…even skinnied in behind to clean what the water did not wash out in the way of dust bunnies. I did not know I had so many towels!

Now washing towels with no worries that the hose will become dislodged again. Kept in place with five zip ties!

A week or so ago I went to the dermatologist to have those pesky things that appear on old faces looked at. Two of the three removed bits require more surgery at the hospital this coming week. I was told I could not drive myself home afterwards because of the anesthetic. So while having breakfast out with some from the coffee shop that I see five days a week, I asked about the county transit service to get to the hospital and back. One of the fellows said not to do that because he could easily take me there, hang out at Walmart, have lunch and be back there three hours later to bring me home. I told him I thought that was asking a lot and he assured me it was what he wanted to do.  Such out of the blue kindness. I am taking him up on his offer.

The past several days I have been writing more rhymes for the Burke and Wills story. So far I have written through ten of the nineteen illustrations. There is so much self-editing in children’s rhyming. Each time you look at it and read it aloud, you see where it could be better…it is just finding the best word to make that adjustment that takes time. But I will get there.

I looked on Amazon to see if there were any reviews on the four books under S. Webster….still only that one international review that gave five stars for each book. I am thanking that likely Australian for being so kind.

I continue writing poetry for the meetings twice a month, but feel a bit depressed when most of them write about aging, the state of the world, dying, etc. Some of the words seem to be wagging a finger at someone who is guilty of something or simply not paying attention to how things are. I so appreciated the children’s poetry writer who had a fun rhyme about using an elephant as a piece of playground equipment. Sometimes the other writers feel a need to share their life experiences related to someone’s poem, and too much time is lost that could be better used at critique time. And so many of them need to be published to feel their work is valid. It is strange the things we think are important.

Now here is something important!

A familiar convict on a new white label. I stopped buying much of the 19 Crimes wine after they thought it clever to put Snoop Dog and Martha Stewart on their labels as additional convicts. Those two may have served time but they had zero to do with helping in the early stages of developing new life in Australia. It was a pathetic marketing ploy to the American consumer. Anyway, the boys are back. I recognized this one from before. Figured I should photograph the back of the bottle.

Evidently this is one of those six who made a great escape back to the country they were forced to leave after committing one of those nineteen crimes that got them deported. And of course I downloaded the app so the label would come alive and I could hear him tell his story. And now the label even sports a chart of how bold the red wine is.

A convict’s wine should never be thought of as “light” but I will have to buy it to see for myself if it appears on the shelf.

I think I will write some more about the lives of Burke and Wills. They are growing up and getting a bit stout for the house they are in. Could be time to move.

Or, I could read Limberlost. Or start writing another short story. Or just finish the towels and have a massage on the Migun bed. That might just take me up to wine time. Or at least close enough. I will practice a bit of tai chi first…so embarrassing if I fell over in class next week.

Til later…


Back With Books

Another entry in the Meadow Book.

And the basket makers of Tasmania gathered again…so I had to keep up in the Gathering Book.

Then several more illustrations for the Burke and Wills book.

Burke’s mother keeping an eye on him.

Finding a bigger house that Wills can fit into.

The new kitchen.

And a bit more work on the place they end up…the nursing home.

I now have eighteen illustrations for the book. I need to get down to writing the story in rhyme.

And then a friend emailed me to ask my input on making a book to hold samples of weavings. I liked this idea so well that I wish I had samples of my own to house in a book. It would be good for basket weave swatches, loom weavings, collage and hand pulled prints….and anything else one could think of.

So, what it involves is the making of a double concertina book…or double accordion. The small concertina fits through slits in the valley folds of the larger one and are kept from slipping out by putting a piece through its extended fold that is the width of the protruding fold and the height of the book. These slits need to be in the center and if using a thick handmade paper, may require cutting a bit more away than just a slit. Keep things snug but do not tear the slit.

This book that can be added onto by simply making more concertina folds in both sizes to extend it. And the best part is the smaller concertina and its stop piece of paper gives lots of extra thickness at the spine edge where it will be needed to make up for the added on folios with windows to hold the samples.

The windows have been cut through the folio on both sides.  Keeping in mind that the samples need to be kept clear of the smaller extended concertina with its stop sheet. The folio only  glues on by 1/4 inch to the concertina that is extended further out.

You can see above how the short concertina folds coming out in the center help give space where needed. And here is another fun part about this concertina with the stop sheet fitted in. Years ago I cut a hole in the small concertina so I could slide a hidden image or message up into view. This can also be a thicker card stock to add needed thickness. For weaving samples I am seeing both concertinas made from a nice thick handmade paper. For hand pulled prints maybe a nice thick card stock…

To keep the sample or print from dropping through, a simple fold of paper glued to the front and back insides of the folio just below the window out of sight. Additionally printed information about the weaving/print can be added in the window on the back side.

When the book has all the pages it is going to get, lay it flat on the table and measure the thickness to cut a spine piece of book board and front and back covers a smidge bigger than the height and width of the book. Make a separate cover with these three pieces and then attach it to the book using extensions off the front and back to hold it in place. These will be covered with the end papers.

I hope this has not been too boring, but I needed to share this idea somewhere.

Til later….

Busy Days

I no longer walk over to the gym in the early hours. Too dark to cross through the field. But driving back after the workout, it seems most inviting starting down the road to home.

This week I had a check up with my eye doctor after the zapping spots surgery last week. And then a trip to the dermatologist who struck me as having a bit more humor in him than the last time I saw him. Not so prickly. He took bits off my face and I have to go back in ten days to get the results and maybe more holes on the other side.

I asked some Australian friends to recommend books for me to read. Here is the first I will get stuck into. Takes place in Tasmania.

Another one that several were reading is this one on Orwell’s wife. Should be interesting.

This morning after the workout at the gym, I had coffee with the guys in town. Then back home for a little while before walking back to the gym for the weekly tai chi class. I am getting better but the knees complain with the weight shifting. I seem to get the aches worked out by the time I walk back home.

Then a quick lunch and up to the library for the monthly poetry meeting. There were fifteen of us there and some very good bits of writing. I am beginning to understand it all a bit better. I read this one about an old man in my town before here who inspired artwork and writing.


The Repairman

He arrives daily with his hair slicked back and his shoes shined.

Even his work clothes look clean and pressed

as they hang comfortably on his body.


With an agility that belies his advancing years,

he seems capable and ready

for any task at hand.


His sense of order carries over into his shop.

There is a place for everything

and everything is in its place.


Name or initials painted on the tools clarify his ownership

and he expects each to be returned,

not only to him, but to its place.


Assorted hand tools, blades, brushes and belts

hang from every available hook and nail.

All of it labeled.


Drawers and boxes are marked as to their contents.

Jars of nails line the shelves.

It is all here. And it is easy to find.


Each day his shop fills with the smells

of wood, motor oil, dust, tobacco,

and the sound of men’s voices accented with low laughs and silences.


Small stools of scrap wood and old milk crates

are scattered around the shop as resting places between jobs,

offered, as is his coffee, to visitors.


What he enjoys most is the company of men who come by with some repair work.

So he can pride himself in having all that’s needed

to get the job done.


There is a casualness in the shared trust between him and the others around him.

And because of this it seems that each becomes a better man

when in his company.


I come here often to fill a longing in myself

and to remember others like him

who I have lost along the way.


Here in this shop, I watch and wait for him to select

The parts needed to fix the broken.

Here I am whole.


When I finished they asked where or what publication would publish this piece. And before they could get very far, I told them I was not interested in that. The poem was in one of the S. Webster books and that was enough. I think they hunger for being published in papers, poetry books, anthologies, etc. None of that matters to me. Chasing after notoriety at 79 years of age seems to have little meaning for me. I can only hope they understand. They all know where my work is available and I think only one has bought one of the four books. She is the one helping me to understand how children’s books are written.

Speaking of which, I did more drawings for Burke and Wills. One of them shows more of their midlife time together….before heading off to the nursing home where the story will end.

I enjoy the illustrating more than the writing. But I will get the hang of it.

In the meantime, Dilly and Sadie are the best company.

After the brief lunch with three other artists, we have decided to meet here at my place in October to show work and talk art. I look forward to that.

Not much else new. It has been an exhausting day. I have had an early dinner and will likely fall into bed in the next two hours.

More later…