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…

Covid Second Shots and Fun Memories

We got our second shots two days ago and I only had a sore arm where the shot went in. Lee was fine the first day but yesterday was totally out of it. He shook in the afternoon, could not comprehend simple questions and just had a bad day. Our doctor assured us that side effects can be flu-like and happen up to two days after the shot. This morning Lee is back to his normal and is walking around the driveway with his rain hat on.

The other night I had a fun dream about one of the only friends I ever had who could me laugh out loud. We laughed in the dream and I woke smiling at the memories of our funny times. So I dropped her a message asking if she remembered how we shared details of our dreams over thirty-five years ago. And told her what a pleasure it was to share another good time together in my dreams. She immediately got back to me with a message of love and maybe a future trip to see us. Of course it would be after covid restrictions and might not even happen but I am still chuckling as I remember even more things we found so funny years and years ago. I really hope I dream of her again for another good laugh.

Yesterday a friend from St. Louis sent me a package of these.

Three Australian hankies! On bad days I can snivel away on a kangaroo, koala or map of that so missed country. They would also be fun to stitch into after they get softened and faded with use.

And the outcome of Mr. Snowman.

The last page of that signature gave way to anxious doodles yesterday and this morning as I watched to see how Lee was doing.


It sort of looks like a visual of “things fall apart’. and that is how it is some days.

Today a friend shows up with a pizza for our lunch. When she says, “What can I bring you?” Sometimes you just have to say, “Pizza!”

I still need to find the writing about the young girl who just did not quite fit in. It would be fun to try to capture that in a line drawing narrative.

It is sort of like this poem I wrote and then did a limited edition of tiny books with it.


The Position of Periphery

Our place is somewhere on an edge

away from those centered and focused.


It is a not-belonging place

with expansive views


where we are mobile

and deliberately uncommitted.


Free to choose and change,

we remain inaccessible  –  transient.


Free from doors closing behind us

and the constraints of expectation.


Here on the periphery we can

try on the skins of otherness


….and then discard at will.



Til later….

More Writing/More Drawing

Our son, Patrick, is opening that beautiful bottle of scotch from Kent. It is delicious.  Balvenie 12 year single malt. I keep up with filling pages of the Covid Coping Book 2.

It is what we all are drinking to get us through….no repeats of labels allowed.

Every couple of weeks I will get a package of labels in the mail from our friend, Marla, daughter, Amy, (always different teas) and her partner, Ben, who are using this time to clean out liquor cabinets and tea drawers. We have all become less particular during covid.

I forgot to photograph the previous days of Lee’s and my socks, so will put them in next time. But the last six pages of Drawing a Day Books are going to be covid masks.

A comfortable

covid mask from Medicare

is so wearable.


Safe Mate covid mask

purchased from Amazon Prime,

three colors, one price.


And another old journal writing about Australia.

Train to Ararat

I watch the land slip by and imagine how it was before farms and houses. The land barely lifts here and there are low valleys, low hills and everywhere it is dry and brown – a greyed brown. Eucalyptus are gathered in groups along the landscape. Old decrepit ones seem abandoned by their kind as they struggle alone to survive. My fellow travelers read a kindle and a magazine unaware and seemingly immune to the drama flying by our window. Tiny dust devils swirl upward here and there across the plowed fields in search of a cloud that may bring moisture and push them back down. I don’t see it happening today between Baran and Ararat, VIC. Just what are those cattle all chewing out there?

I can’t remember if I shared that one before…here is another…


Is there anything like a belly full of extraordinary food and wine – then locked up in a single cabin first class on the Ghan swaying your way into the Northern Territory and listening to the anti war version of Waltzing Matilda” I think not!

I am washed, lotioned and propped up in a space that is pie shaped, 24” at the pillow end and six feet down it is panning to 48”. My door to the hall is across from my daughter Amy’s cabin. A wash basin folds up not six inches from my right foot. All I need is here in this space.

A wonderful dinner with Aussies – full of politics, wineries and family talks and a promise to meet at breakfast. Then there is the window- more than a metre and open to the outback of Australia. What is out there in the dark? I know it is wild, mysterious and beautiful – nothing less. I will sleep through some of this and be sorry that I did. But I am older now than the last time and can trust Australia to be here when I wake. Good night.

And more from the other pages of books. Here I took pages from a John C Campbell catalog and then printed them using a gelatin plate, stencils and acrylic paint. They were bound into a book that serves no purpose other than to have pretty pages and I thought would be a good sample to inspire students in a printmaking class.

And you can see in my desire to have no waste, the folios are of different widths.

Two days ago I drew these lines in a sketch book. They are my matrix for the tether lines in the new poetry book.

After I photographed the sketch I put it into a photo app program to get more of what I wanted to use going from page to page.

I am going to stop and get some tea. And here is a poem about tea that I will use in the book.

Tea Leaves

I tilt the pot and pour

the last of my herbal tea.

Watch the leaves

settle in the bottom.


Wondering about

the hidden messages

of tea leaves,

I pull the cup closer.


It smells delicious.

And before I know it

I have altered what

they were trying to tell me.

til later…


Something Beautiful and Some Book Ideas

Have you ever seen anything so beautiful as this leaf. Barbara comes on Thursdays when she can to have lunch with Lee and me. She brought the other ones that I tied into a stack so as to see how they would push against each other as they dried. This leaf that has a waxy feel had fallen off the plant and into a protected place where it became this.

Right away I photographed it with a paddle made from Tasmanian Sassafras and purchased at the Salamanca Market in Hobart some years ago for Lee.

I tucked it away with this curling stack.

And the drawings a day.

A hat from many

bought in airport shops for Lee.

Here is New Zealand.


Hawaiian straw hat

A bit rumpled and crumpled

But can do the job.


Leather moccasins

Lee’s favorite any time

he is in the house.


Shoes that Lee will wear

if he is in the right mood

to fit his feet in.


And some more journal writings:



My Savoury Muffins when away


2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

Mix above together.

Stir in approx.

½ cup chopped sundried tomatoes

½ cup chopped sliced ham

2 slices cheddar cheese cut up

½ cup shredded parmesan

1 ½ tsp chopped chives

Dash of hot sauce.

Mix in

2 eggs with one egg’s worth of milk

Mix til just moist.

Shape in flat balls and bake 200 degrees celsius  (375 Farenheit) for 20 to 25 minutes.


From a bartender at the International Club in Stanthorpe, Queensland.

Whiskey Mac

Equal parts Stones Ginger wine and scotch whiskey.


The latest poem for the Tether Book:

The Sun Is Shining

The sun is shining

and he wants to be outside.

Back at work in the yard

lining up rocks

or raking leaves into rows.


But when clouds come

and put his day in shadow,

his mind will follow.

He drops the rake

and wanders into darkness.


All I can do is call him back

with hot chocolate,

a funny story,

or point to a bird out the window

still singing.


I will start working on drawing the tether line while our son is here. I can go back in the studio then. I don’t think the soft graphite will do…it needs to be a simple black pen tether line that morphs through the pages below the poetry. Illustrations are supposed to be in service to the text, not distract from it.

I just need to remember to pick it up where it left off on the previous page. Easy.

Speaking of books and making them fit the content, I still have this one left from an idea I had years ago. The idea was that these blank journals were to be used as diaries. And how could I get this across without the old lock and key. I came up with this plan of having to wrap and unwrap it to access the pages. They all had wooden covers that I could drill a ¾” in. Then larks head on a long cord to be braided with a weight on the end…sometimes a large bead, sometimes a coin. After you wrote your secrets, you were meant to wrap the cord over the top and keeping it loose, go inside the front cover, out the hole and pull the bead tight. Then reverse those steps to “unlock” the diary. It seemed simple to me but I had to make a drawing of the steps to place inside each one I sold. Something about pulling that bead down tight made everything inside seem so private.

I also made them with thick book board but must have sold those.

That should do it for now.

Stay safe.