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…..


So Much to Work On

The walks to the gym continue. Love the dew on the grasses in the meadow on my way back before seven-thirty in the morning.

Two days ago the mail lady rang my door bell to show me a much-damaged package. When I saw it was from Australia, I automatically signed for it rather than to refuse delivery. I carefully brought it in the house to the kitchen sink. Once opened and cleaned up, there were four cans of Saunders malt extract – all with lids popped off due to the crushing, one can of Keens curry powder, crushed and spice sticking to a bit of leaked Vegemite jar (one of two), some Dukkah that had a ruined carton but packet inside was safe. A mess to be sure!

I rescued all but one can of Saunders (because its inner foil seal was broken), and the disappearing curry powder. It turns out the package was a birthday gift from my daughter from a store in Victoria Aus. that caters to those who miss their foods of home when they have moved out of the country. They did a lousy job of packing but the house smelled wonderful and I now have enough malt extract to make my malt cookies until the day I die! One of the jars of Vegemite went to the Australian bike shop owner because he told me how much he missed it and was unable to find it here. When I took it to him I had a chance to visit with his father fresh from down under and very grateful for the Anzac cookies I took in.

I hope to visit with him again before they head back to Perth.

I watched Sadie make a book selection the other evening. She is in the middle of the top shelf of Australian selections.

And today, right after returning from lunch with neighbors, the stone man made his delivery of flagstone and sand for the front and back yards.

I have been laying out both books, the poetry one and the essays one, in the proper format. It took a couple of days to figure out how to number pages, but I got there. I am keeping each of them the same size and hope to have them ready soon to send in and ask for preview copies to go over one more time.  Designing the covers was an interesting part of this adventure.  I want them similar in size, feel and look.

Not much else going on. Next week the stone laying crew come in and we are hoping that it finishes up in the five days they will be here. All depends on weather and how much help he can bring in.

And one more thing. Many years ago our tax man told me to keep track of my car mileage because I used my car for business purposes. I kept up the practice. So when I bought my yellow Ford Escape in 2002, I started a new little binder to keep track.

When I bought a new car, another Ford Escape, the green one I now drive,  I continued to keep track in the same book.

Well yesterday I was filling up and noticed there was only the smallest space left to record the date, mileage, and amount of gas put in. I stood there having a moment all by myself as this little spiral book of every gas fill up, oil change, new tires, car repairs, etc. just came to an end.  Since 2002 I knew all about my relationship with my car. Now I have about three weeks to find another binder of 3 x 5″ with the spiral on the long side. Friends and family think I am a bit obsessive to keep this up when it is not necessary anymore. And hasn’t been for some time. But I need to hang onto what I can at seventy-nine. I love this tattered book that has gone every place with me when I am driving. I just need to find another little companion to go with the pens waiting in the console til needed.

Better go…it is time for a walk around the neighborhood and some wine.

Til later….


Full Moons and Old Ladies

What a full moon can pull out of me… abundance of noticings.

“Noticings” – observations that require another glance, ones demanding awareness.

So here they are….

I look older, but not feeling older. Just more comfortable in the space I take up.

I am getting more cautious. Caution not only in where I step,  but who I want to talk to,  listen to,  share my time with.  I don’t want the company,  the chattiness that invades a quiet space and time I am guarding like it is in limited supply.

I don’t want to answer questions that start with “why”. If you have to ask a seventy-eight year old woman “why” – don’t.  Just make up your own answer and keep it to yourself.  Leave her alone.  Don’t put her in a position of trying to find an answer that suits,  or worse yet,  gets her lost in trying to remember why.  You are wasting your time, and even worse, wasting hers.

Keep me out of a room full of people talking.  Put me in a room with heads down working on private matters,  thinking,  writing,  making art.  With not one of them needing their neighbor’s comments or approvals.  If it has to be a room full of people,  have them all lost in the company of themselves,  having conversations with no interruptions.

The full moon reminds me that another month has likely gone by.  And I am looking around to see what I accomplished in that time – not much.

Okay. More baking. There is little that can match the anticipation of what is about to come out of an oven.  And I will completely clean the kitchen in the time it takes to bake something.  Whatever it is, needs to be brought into a place prepared and ready to receive.  I guarantee it will taste better if the kitchen has been cleaned up.

I didn’t make any promises to the moon I saw a month ago. So there is no guilt – only a tallying up.

I baked.

I met two new people, no probably one.

I laughed a bit more. And it was out loud.

I don’t know if the laughing made me feel comfortable afterwards but it just slipped out.  I soon got back to quiet.

I like my cats.  They are experts at taking care of themselves emotionally and ask little of me,  except when I walk past the treat jar and don’t open it. They sit on my pillow every morning at 5:30 a.m. and ask if today will be like yesterday.  I assure them it will.  They seem relieved to know that, and we all go about getting the day started.

I may have to switch to white wine or a more expensive red.  Older women can get a bit of acid reaction to some of the cheaper wines.  And by the time I take an antacid so as to have a second glass,  I think maybe a good single malt would have done the trick.  Besides, wine wants cheese and crackers.  Scotch just wants my company and stays around longer to hear all I have to say.

I would like to take myself out to dinner.  Just me.  But it’s a small town.  What happens if someone says, “May I join you?”  Could I really say, “No, but thanks for asking.”  Yes, I could.  I could do that now.  At seventy-seven I likely would have said, “Sure.” and then hoped they ate more than they talked.

The moon also reminds me of the work unfinished.  Drawings not made,  words not written,  needles not threaded and ready to jab into cloth.

I miss seeing the full moon shoving its way into my bedroom at night, through un-shaded windows. But now I have the shades and curtains in front of them – blocking sun and moon. It is a good thing that the moon now comes through the living room,  sneaks into the hall outside my door and waits for me to waken.

He is an old man looking for company and I wander out to watch and listen to his stories of what he saw on the other side of the world.  And his anticipation of what he will see next as he moves away from me.

He probably does not want to listen to a disgruntled old woman.  He has heard enough from them these past several hours and likely prefers the murmurings of young lovers.  Too bad.  This is all he gets from me.  No wonder he sneaks off into darkness and waits a month before calling me out again.

I must have been in this mood when I wrote the following poem.  I know I was seventy-eight – not seventy-seven.

If You Looked

If you looked

you would have

seen it in her face.

The way she looked

just now.


A glance in your direction

before she looked away,

back at her hands

holding onto each other

in her lap.


You would have noticed

how much was said

just then

in the way  she would not

return your gaze.


And saw how

her mouth was set,

her shoulders tensed,

how she pulled back

when you spoke.


If you looked

you would know

that you will stay on

the other side of the wall

and out of arms reach.


Leave her now

and let her go back

to the place

behind the door

that has no room for you


She will not look back at you

and does not want to hear

what you remember.

And you would have known that

if you looked.


S. Webster


I understood this woman from the time she popped into my head.  And left her alone as soon as I put her into words.

It is time to get something done.  Or at least started.

I’ll take a walk, and watch my step.

I’ll take a picture of something starting to come alive.

I’ll talk to someone I meet more than I will talk to their dog.

That’s my plan.

And I did go for that walk……

I must not be a rolling stone because I gathered more moss for my little moss beds on the bench. AND I did talk to two different people more than I talked to their dogs. Some improvement here in practicing social skills.

An Amazon order arrives later that will have cat litter, a cross cut shredder, the latest novel from Australian mystery writer, Jane Harper, and some personals. So much easier than having to find a store.

I think this is quite enough for now…..I sense a slight influence of Helen Garner’s essays in “Everywhere I look”. She is over eighty and totally honest in point of view. Brilliant Australian writer and worth looking up.

Til later…..


A Little Bit Late But Loads of Pictures To Catch Up

The meadow is exploding with goldenrod!

So yellow!

Walking along a newly mowed path I was briefly seeking shelter from a quick shower in this covered picnic area,

Just off to the left is my new house.

Then on with the walk…

Past this lovely tree and following the creek by the Indian Mound entrance…I found where it meets the river behind the corn field.

And more interesting trees.

And wildflowers…

On the way back to the house I talked to a man flying his remote control airplane. I took a picture of it flying around me.

The following day I returned to the river behind the cornfield.

My house is one of those roofs on the opposite side of the corn field.

I gathered moss for my moss gardens by the front door where there is no sunshine.

My remaining fish bottles with wires and rocks will hang over this bench when my son and Marla return for Thanksgiving.

While walking through the meadow I saw many butterflies and added some to my Meadow Book.

It was nice to have time to catch up with my book and what is happening in the meadow.

And one more thing. At the end of the kitchen cabinets sits the Information Center. It never occurred to me how easily it would be mistaken for a Bible open on a podium. The movers were the first to ask if it was a family bible. No, we never had one of those in my house. We had dictionaries.

Perhaps it is an assumption of where I live…that this would be a bible. It is not. And when I looked over to see what page it was opened to I found this sweet little drawing….illustrating a quintain.

A quintain is a mounted target for jousters when practicing. Interesting, right? A good scrabble word if nothing else…doubtful it will come up in cocktail conversations, but I might just share it anyway before opening the dictionary to a new section. And the word “quirk” is a good one for Wordle. I will check out that word, “quirt” before I change the pages. The fact that the acid content in the pages causes browning of the edges, gives it even more authority and the wisdom of age. It was published in 1983.

So that is all for now.

Til later….