Being Safe

Lee and I are in, and trying to follow the rules. This continual rain is getting him down. He wants to be out there with his rocks, moving them from one place to another.

Some of them he saves for something only he has knowledge of.

I keep up with my drawings.

Traveling corkscrew.

You just have to remember

to take it along.


I found this Qantas

bag in the back of the drawer

with coins from Bali.


It measures and cuts.

And it will magnify some

of the little things.


So these playing cards

made by Patsy have many

hard patterns to draw.


We are keeping our cleaning lady at bay til this safe distancing ends. And today I assigned jobs between the two of us. Anything that made a noise like the vacuum, Lee took. He does not know how to make it slant down to use or how to turn it on. But once started, he vacuumed like a pro. He also liked getting down to clean off all the baseboards he could reach and dust doors. I got to use the Swiffer to get up all cat hair left behind, do the dusting, scouring and cleaning bathrooms. Lee finished up with polishing the stainless steel in the kitchen. A good morning and the house smells great.

Last Friday evening my students in Australia face timed me once they finished their workshop and had a full day of working in the house we always share afterwards. It was so special to see them and offer suggestions on their projects. I did not cry until we rung off….I miss them and they are so terribly kind to remember me when they get together. Now they have all traveled back to their homes and like us are keeping the distances they did not have to while together in that magic place.

And speaking of tear-rendering kindnesses, the other day two cards came in the mail. One from a friend who came here for private lessons on white line printmaking. He sent a sketch of a bird in his yard and asked how we were doing. Not that many ask the question on how we are faring in this sometimes very hard situation, but he always does. Makes me feel looked after from a distance.

The other card that came that day was from a total stranger out in western Canada I think. She told me how she reads all my blogs and feels she knows us. I try to read these cards to Lee but cry every time. I can even cry during commercials when I get overwhelmed.

I get funny cards from a guy that was in the art group. He is the only one I hear from and in a month a year will have passed since our last meeting.

I asked the home care person to see if she could get a few things on my grocery list. They are letting us older ones get into stores between 7 and 8 am by ourselves but the manager told me the new supplies don’t come in that early. I can get wine and beer because the church people have not sunk that low in this area.

Today I ordered special meals for Lee and I. The types of meals you would only get in a restaurant. It is take out only…like the brewery on Thursdays. We pick them up today at 4:50 pm. It is right across from the liquor store so I might replenish that as well.

Tomorrow Lee and I have appointments at the salon for his pedicure and my haircut. I will go there on time but only to give the girls some money to help tide them over as all salons must close tomorrow night. It is how these people make a living and the incredibly slow to respond federal government appears clueless on the impact this has on our working class population.

We are trying to stay safe and I am trying to keep Lee in the moment and not in a state of confusion of where we are and what we need to do.

A very large thank you to those who make me cry over your thoughtfulness. You know who you are and it helps so much knowing you are there.

Til later when I show you the latest and perhaps only attempts at lino printing.


And So It Goes

As you will see I finished with the small collection of Indonesian carved bottles. So I went to the studio and brought up a basket of small foundry molds and other wooden bits to draw next.

My head rolls behind

the bookshelf and then gets stuck.

But not any more.


We cut some bamboo

into little serving cups

as seen in Japan.

Some of our more tippy bottles have to stand in these cups to keep them upright.

An interesting

foundry mold once constructed

for something. But what?


It boggles the mind

how metal parts from these molds

all fit together.

And the Bush Book is nearing completion. After the luna moth double page comes this.

A pileated woodpecker, mud wasp, crow and ground hog (wood chuck).

Now I am on the next to last double page. I started with the wild turkey, then a bullfrog, a kingfisher, red tailed hawk and coyote before that page is finished. I have something fun planned for the final section.

I will need to make covers for the Bush Wildflower book. But it is pretty well ready to start on.

Lee is slipping a bit more this week. I have had a person let me know they could schedule in some time for him. Our doctors office is sending a list of names of people who do this kind of work. Just sitting for awhile so I can disappear for maybe an hour or so.

I think I would love to go over to the apartment and just write another story. Find new friends on a legal pad to hang out with. Our friend from up north is coming down to stay for a week or so to take a weekend class and hang out with Lee. But that is not until late April.

In the meantime I take great comfort in the supportive emails and comments on facebook. The vast majority of those come from Australia. And it is getting close to the time I would be heading down there….but not this year. To say I will miss it is an understatement. The chatter of friends, the salads loaded with rocket, pumpkin and goat cheese, the perfectly poached eggs with avocado and crusty bread, the wine, the shops that always have the best little things that have been waiting for me, the feeling of belonging, being in a place where age is seen as “gorgeous”, surrounded by kindness……

Lee is back outside stacking rocks. We tried a new brewery today as our usual is closed for two weeks. It wasn’t bad. We’ll go back.

The other day Lee thought his electric tooth brush was his electric razor. Easy to understand as they are close to each other on the vanity. We both laughed when I showed him the difference. His comment, “Yeah I noticed it wasn’t working very well but sure felt good.”

A little humor in a week filled with sorry-ass Senators excusing an impeached president. Pathetic times here in the states and Australia when it comes to those given power over the rest of us.

More later.

Christmas Break

Our doctor friend loaned us some puzzles to work on. So we started with this 1000 piece one with loads of tiny figures working out in a very large gym. Then I took breaks to the studio to work on the Sandy Heads. Marla helped me put the bases together that go with each of the four heads. The printmaker Sandy head was finished a while ago, but not the base. Now it is.

Here are the other bases.

The starting pieces of the writer Sandy…..right and left brains still to be worked out.

Homemaker Sandy collecting a whole lot of parts.

And my present project is Explorer Sandy.

First I carve out each side of her head to put her bits and pieces into. The left side is a collection of bottles of pigments and other collectibles from places. The right will have a deeper hole for all the bits of things randomly collected.

Then I collaged old maps all over her head of the places I have been. I think there will be a boat sailing around between the places….maybe lots of boats.

Her forehead has Australia front and center….Tasmania just to the right of the compass.  I put Australia here because it is always on my mind regardless of where I am.

This morning my son Patrick cut out a top part of a very large dictionary, three inches down from the top and four inches deep. It will be laid across the writers head after I fold over some (many) of the pages to make it stand out like “hair”.

I am going to post the really great gift from Marla of the old book turned into a sewing kit. We all got one from her this year.

I just think it is so clever!

Also here are the Charles van Sandwyck books that I received for Christmas. This first one was a used in perfect condition and is hard bound. The others have luscious soft covers.

And another one that is just gorgeous!

And inside it.

And the owl one.

And inside the owl book.

And because it looked somewhat familiar….downstairs tucked in between some other Nature books I found this one that I must have bought in Vancouver many years ago.

They are all such an inspiration as I work on my Bush Book.

It has been a great holiday. Our favorite masseuse David is finishing up the last one of us to get a full body massage. Our three guests head home tomorrow. Lee and I do laundry and put the beds back together and then just get on with things.

The puzzle took two days to complete.

Til next week or whenever I need to talk/share.


Slowly Work Gets Done

The studio did not get completed this past week. A promise of Monday. The same day I have to get Lee to a dentist two hours away for a root canal. But both will be finished by end of day. It is hard to access anything in the studio because the plastic covers everything. But I have been able to get some stitching done upstairs.

The John C Campbell Craft Shop took all the new pieces and I took two of the ones they had in inventory back home with me. I told them to mark the rest down to what would sell, gave one to the auction, two to redecorating plans they have in the works and then gave two like the ones below to the two girls who work there and have always been so supportive and encouraging of my efforts.

They were very appreciative and loved the new work.

And here are some images of what I am working on in the den with Lee.

I love that the cloth has memory, some from my own clothes or sewing projects and then these antique Japanese textiles from Wafu Works near Hobart, Tasmania. It is fun picking out color and sizes of threads to work over the arrangements of cloth and print. This one below is worked over a less than successful dry point engraving with fabrics I contact dyed while in Australia and here at home patched in. There is also some silks dyed by a friend in Australia…..I cut up a scarf she made because I knew I would not wear those colors. Also are scraps torn from wood block prints. I just move the bits around until I like the way it looks, then try to still like it after the stitching.

The funny thing is I tried to add some luscious red threads to a piece and it looks awful. I can’t work in bright colors even when I think they are just what it needs. I might tear it apart and use the good bits in another one. I often wish I was raised to be more wasteful. Then I could just toss it. But we were told that things must be used up. So I am always thinking there are possibilities even when it is quite clear that all possibilities have been exhausted.

A young man came this week to do all the weeding. Nice kid. He is willing to come every few weeks to do it again. And this morning another not so young young man came and reset all the slanting stepping stones with packed sand. He also stopped by the hardware to pick up twenty bags of mulch for the younger young man to spread when he returns in a few weeks. I felt like I was getting somewhere this week.

The repairman doing the ceiling in the studio even stuck around and had a bourbon with us. It was great because I could vent all I needed on any subject I wanted. He is a good listener and I have missed having one.

In the middle of being out of sorts earlier this week, our satellite TV went out. I called and of course eventually got someone with an Indian accent. She forwarded me on to someone in billing who told me (like I was an idiot) that this was billing and not repair service. So I tried again and got the Indian woman a second time and as soon as I was getting into it, she hung up on me. So I asked the ceiling painter to come up and fiddle with the controls. He obliged but was stumped. I called the phone number again and this time got someone I could understand who put me in touch with the right people and ten days later I would have a service man come. I mentioned that I would likely be spending many hours in a bar watching their television and she said she would put “urgent” on my request.

And here is the best part. I went back into the den, pulled out the secret hidden control that goes from satellite to DVD and sure enough it had been bumped when I put it back the night before and was on some channel completely foreign to the Satellite and DVD player. I made the adjustment and all was fine.

I called back to cancel the service request (which took more time than getting the service scheduled) and the nice, very nice young woman told me it would be wise to just keep the appointment and the service man could check all the wires and connections, to set my mind at ease.

Then she politely asked if there was anything else she could do for me and I told her, “Yes, please, please do not vote for Trump or any Republican for that matter.” She laughed and I felt sure she would not make the wrong decision at election time.

So all in all, a good week.

Til later.