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…..


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.


A Lovely Couple of Days

I wanted something a bit Christmassy by the front door so took myself into town to a lovely shop and came home with fake but realistic looking greenery and three more iron reindeer. I am happy that now when someone comes over they can be greeted with a bit of holiday.

And really good news. Last night I was taken to an art gallery opening in a town about an hour away. It was wonderful to see such high quality art and craft.  But the best part was seeing old friends and so many new ones from here in my new town. The first couple I saw was the ones who came to visit me during the hard times. Catharine brought madeleines, homemade sour dough bread, and a handwoven towel patterned after the surrender dish towel from the Civil War. Her husband Kent would draw animals on postcards to send to Lee so he had something with his name on it. So good to get hugs from them again. His cards and the many arriving daily from another local friend and those coming all the from Australia got us through some very hard and lonely times.

Others who came to the opening were some local business people from here and a new young artist that the gallery was representing,  and is opening a local space here for artist in residence retreats in a building that was once a school, then restaurant where I had my first osso buco many years ago. I enjoyed our chat and we are thinking of having lunch together to continue our conversation.

Here are a few random shots from the gallery:


The champagne and food selections were amazing.

I also had a conversation with a potter that I knew years ago. I told him that when I purchased his work I never knew whether to use it in a functional capacity. His work hovers beautifully between usability and art. He liked that observation and now I have another of Terry Guess’s works in my home. Thank you, Robert, for pointing out how well it went with this textile.

It is a dreary day…rain, drizzle, rain….I could have been writing more on my short story…but didn’t.  I did share the excerpt from that story with the poetry group. Positive comments afterwards.

I tried listening to a broadcast about writing “grabbing first lines” . The author (of young adult books no less), and an agent to boot. But could not take his voice and the cheerleader encouragement for the popularity of young adult books. Do they all need to escape into fantasy and lands full of magical beings? Spending time reading classics about to be pulled from library shelves by the crazy ultra right seems a better use of their reading time. Followed by some hard discussions of what is happening in the real world seems a better alternative.  My age and impatience of the encouragement to write young adult books “because they are popular” is definitely taking over.

I need another glass of wine now!

Til later…

Four More Days Gone

I have spent the last several days re-editing the novella, Kind Gestures. I requested one proof to look through. And that came in a few days.

Made a few changes and requested another proof only to be informed that it was ruined in the mail and they were refunding my money. So I used the one above to go through to check for noticeable errors…you know, the ones that even the smarty-pants proof reader who lives in the computer, just waiting to pounce on spelling and grammar, missed in their diligence.

The big thing was that the cover just gives the title. No more. Silly, isn’t it? Kind Gestures could be a book about, call your mother, treat someone to a beer, etc. So now it has a subtitle of (novella). That should help.

It has been a while since I read this and was not sure because it being an older work, that I wanted to add it to the other S. Webster books. A little bit of rearranging background information on one of the women characters, and I found I liked the story. So as soon as I see this next proof (Wednesday I’m told) and find nothing else out of order, I will publish it as well. Then their will be just the four books, all similar in size, until I create enough for volumes 2 of the first three and/or write another novella.

Time now is being spent on writing poetry and working on Burke and Wills.

It is still quite hot and humid here. A relief when it rains but brutal when the sun comes out afterwards. Sadie just stays low.

I know my basket making friends are gathered again this weekend in Tasmania, so to feel I am with them, added another drawing to the Gathering Book. It is of a Mahdi Chandler clay pot that has been contact printed with leaves and then coiled on the top. She is brilliant!

I met friends for lunch today at a local food truck/brewery and had one of my favorite local beers with a lobster roll that is only available on Sundays.

I was told to check out the bathroom and was certainly happy to step inside just long enough for this shot. too funny!

My short stories and novella are no longer on my website.  My web person is so good to deal with. He knows exactly what I am saying even though I do not have the correct words. Can’t beat that.

On another topic, I was noticing that what I am missing is conversations with the creative, passionate, strongly driven people that I got used to in my quest for BFA and MFA, then with students who were needing to express feelings in a visual form. My Australian regulars for master classes were so inspiring in that way. Meticulous, deliberate steps to arrive at what needed to be said. We stay in touch, and I am so grateful for that, but what i wish I had was that person that you meet up with to just talk art, not other life issues…just art. And I mean idea driven art.

When I was going to Asheville regularly, on my way out of town, I would meet Gwen Diehn, and she would haul her work into Trader’s Joes or show me in the parking lot outside before we headed in for breakfast and a good talk. She and I talked art for many years and I just supposed there would always be someone like that in my life.

Now I spend more time writing my ideas. And attending poetry reading groups. The words and poems that get to me are the ones that seem to come from those places that art did. The words need to be released in the same way the idea fixed in form does. It is not healthy for some of us to keep it all inside. Drawing in sketchbooks and writing are my way through this time of solitude. I am good company for myself and I understand what I am saying/thinking and that is good enough. I am getting used to myself. Not a bad idea to have a good talk and share a scotch with yourself.

Til later…..