Catching Up

Sunrise on the way to the gym in the morning.

Because of a forest fire just to the west of here, the air quality warnings are now in effect until Friday. They are letting it burn out because it is in an area that is hard to get equipment into. Yesterday the neighbors and I could watch helicopters circling and dumping water. It is still quite a ways away from here but a bit scary when you see the smoke being blown in our direction.

I am off to another poetry meeting tomorrow after my tai chi lesson.  I am getting better at all the new movements I am learning, but still have moments of feeling like a clumsy goat. It’s those heel/toe turns that puzzle me when having to do it while the hands and arms are focused on their own movements. We are all learning from a very generous teacher who has been doing this for years.

I have been writing this week. One of the guys on the corner bought Short Stories and was telling a woman that although the stories are short, the characters in them stay with you much longer. He plans on keeping his copy in the bathroom, which is such a good idea. He wonders what happened to the characters after the story ends. He wonders if they are people I have met and talked to. I like that he wonders.

Both Story of Burke and Wills and Stoat Story are now on Amazon under Sandy Webster, author. It took a few proofs of Stoat Story to get the size right for the content. I have written at least six new poems since I published Inner Navigations and will likely publish another one like it within the year. My poetry groups are very encouraging when it is my turn to read.

Sadie is sitting on a book shelf above and next to so many books about Australia. I remember when I started collecting the stories from there. My daughter found a collection of Australian books about all the things I loved, botanical discoveries, convicts, explorers, etc…all from one owner who parted with them to a used book store (Dawn Treaders) in Ann Arbor, Michigan many years ago. My collection of those and the many additions of my own will likely go to my kids. both of them have joined me down under for a good look around.

I so dread having to unload all these shelves so the book cases can be move out of the way to get a new floor laid down. The good thing is that the cats and I can stay in the house and just be shoved out of the way like the furniture. Yesterday I went to see my neighbor next door and he assured me it was not that bad, only three days of living in a noisy mess of belongings. Easy.

I met a potential new neighbor yesterday. Our builder introduced us because she is thinking of the same floor plan I have. Her name is also “Sandy” but spelled with an “i”. My comment was that spellings like that came long after I was born. She asked when that was and I told her, 1944.  she said she was born a year later. Good grief! She looks not a day over 60. Very pretty and small and fit. She told me she was an artist and showed me some very accomplished paintings of shore birds and tropical plants. So i am thinking she is likely from Florida like several of my neighbors. Just as I was hoping for a different type of artist, she said she does not do that kind of work so much any more but likes making wooden assemblages and would like to learn how to make books. If she bought the house that has a floor being poured and is my same house plan, she would only be four doors down. I liked her even though I wished she looked her age! Hopefully she will come back and get a tour of my house to get a sense of the space.

Better go, I am getting a tour of the house around the corner that I am renting for the kids and Marla over Christmas week.

Til later….

Halloween and Memories and Poetry

The other day I went back to the river…

Halloween. Late afternoon the square was closed off in town for trick or treaters and shop owners to have the best time showing off costumes and filling their bags. I walked into town to see them because I have not seen kids in costumes in years. The first I saw was our old masseuse, David, all decked out!

We caught up on news from the last two years and  watched other costumes go by.

I lurked in a doorway for awhile and then felt like I should just go back home. I felt caught in a threshold of who I was and who I am. Too many memories, too much altogether. So walked back down the hill and poured myself a scotch. Next year I will do better.

I went over to a neighbors house to have wine yesterday evening and she asked how I liked the Halloween town party. I told her how it affected me and she totally understood as she still is adjusting to the loss of her husband. It was good to have someone to talk to…someone who listens and nods in the right places.

The day before I went online to a government agency to seek advice on getting help with the escalating cost of prescription drugs. The second call I made did not end so well. lack of patience on my part resulted in being told to watch my language. Even when I relayed this story to my wine-drinking-sympathizing neighbor, we both fell into a good laugh. Then being on a roll, I told her I called some old lady locally who helps out with senior citizen issues. When I told the woman on the phone what I needed help with, she called me, “honey”. “Don’t worry, Honey, we can get through this together.” And she made an appointment for next week for me to bring in all the necessary papers. When she called me “honey” the rest of the conversation was accompanied with sniffles and maybe a couple of sobs on my part. Two women who listen and get you to laugh is such a good thing.

Then today I walked on the dam and ran into another old lady who used to trek quickly past Lee and I for several years. And we had a nice chat about how I was adjusting to living here. After a brief conversation we went our separate ways and I found my stride getting quicker and longer.

I went to the poetry meeting yesterday and gave the Burke and Wills story to the poet who helped me get the rhythm of children’s poetry. This morning I woke to an email from her about how much her husband liked the story of an aging friendship between two very different beings and felt quite emotional at the end. So another old woman making me feel better. How lucky am I?

The poetry group is so supportive of my writing. Some think I should seek publication in established poetry journals, but I fail to see the point.  I think they are very kind to answer all the questions I have about the world of poetry. I seem to be the only one who takes notes. Next week I go to another poetry group and read another new one that needs to be heard by those who really listen to words in lines with spaces where the reader can breathe.

I will leave you with a promise to give a follow-up on the kind woman who calls me “honey”.  And here is a piece of writing I did after the poetry meeting.


No One Is Listening


So her voice lowers and slows

to the pace of a recollection

taking its time to arrive.


Something she was saying

called out to a memory, now returning

to comfort an old woman no longer heard.


Closing her book she walks through

their conversations, past her seat

and out the door to wait.

S. Webster


It will be fun to read this one to them and watch them nod in recognition.

One of the men came in for a quick coffee this morning to tell me he was reading his new copy of my short stories. The one titled, What Would Jesus Do?,  made him feel sad. I love that he had an emotional response to it.

Oh, and one more thing…my whole floor needs replacing. I asked the builder to come have a look. He did. Told me he needed to call in the man who laid the floor. Me thinking it would take ages for that to happen was a huge mistake. They both came back in twenty minutes. Yep, it needs replacing but first the company rep needs to look at it. I asked if the rep fellow was a nice man and approval would be quick. I was told he would likely blame the installer or the builder because that is what they do. I asked if my openly sobbing would help and was told, “No, the man is an  …….”

So after the holidays the furniture and artworks are moved slowly over, floor ripped up and replaced…then furniture moved back . He said we will be starting with the liquor cabinet….appropriate.

Best go and post this.

Til later…..

The Moon and More Walks

At five o’clock in the morning and just a couple hours later.

Another walk over to the dam in the middle of the morning.

So many of the leaves have blown off the trees here. It was not the prettiest of falls but nice clear skies.

I took out the shawl of earth pigment colors, eaten through sections that were stitched over with silks from Beautiful Silks in Australia and other fabrics. All held together by backing it with another linen shawl the same size. I worked on it while dealing with Lee’s dementia and then put it away thinking it would stay in the trunk. But I wanted to hold it again and stitch on top of the stitches. It is so soft and comforting as cooler weather comes our way.

I took this picture of myself wrapped up in it the other day. So much more stitching to add. It will keep me company through the winter.

This morning I went to the gym, photographed the moon, had coffee with the men, went to see the dermatologist, slipped in to get a hair trim where I told her to make sure I did not look like I was at a hair salon. I am ready to go back to messy!

Also I approved the changes in The Story of Burke and Wills. It is such a lovely size and feel now. Available on Amazon for $10. Today I reworked The Stoat Story into a smaller size and will get the proof on Friday. Isn’t it funny how you have to hold something to tell if it is where you wanted it to be? We are such tactile people. Always needing to touch.

I walked back toward the river today and visited with neighbors. Tomorrow I go back into town to see all the trick or treaters show up on the square, going from business to business with their bags open. My brother and I dressed like pirates in the early fifties and just walked into town to the tavern. It was the only stop needed to get treats, mostly full sized candy bars…no miniatures back then and the men were very generous once they had a few.

I will take some pictures for the next post.

Til later…

More Walks, More Wine, More Books

I love this view into the creek by the Indian mound near my house. And the walk to get there.

And how fall is taking over.

When I don’t walk up the hill to have coffee, this is what I step into from my car.

And the sunrises after the gym workout still have a view of Venus and the mist.

On Sunday friends came over with homemade pizza and this delightful bottle of wine. A nice deep red that can be purchased at the Food Lion grocery store, closest being about 45 minutes away. The bottle is a very heavy glass and was worth saving in the spirits cupboard. The label is in the 15th alcohol label collection books. No label to be repeated and a brief writing of what I thought of the drink and the company I shared it with. Been doing this since 2000. Documentations of good times, good company and very good memories.

The rest of my time this week has been spent trying to make The Stoat Story a more visually appealing book. The proof for this will arrive by Monday.

I did not like the images or text on white paper so did the book and cover in this soft grey.  Burke and Wills has a grey cover and this same font, but the pages are white because of the hopes of having a good color match with the original drawings/paintings.

Burke and Wills proof arrives Friday and I am hoping there are no more corrections or changes needed. It is a 5″ x 8″ book that is 48 pages . The Stoat Story is 8″ square and has a page count of 34. So, to keep the price down, both books will be priced at $10 each on Amazon. They cost about $4.10 each to be printed. My royalty is less than $2 for each book, which is not much but keeping them low in cost is more important than a royalty.  At $10 on US Amazon they still will cost about $15 in Australia. But I owe that country something for inspiring the names for Burke and Wills (most famous and ill-fated explorers there), their leaf print abilities, and some of the best students I have ever had in workshops. Beside all that, the Australians have been very supportive of the S. Webster books already available on Amazon. These two new children’s books are under Sandy Webster as author and can be found when finally approved for publishing with my Earth Pigments book from 2012.

Poetry meetings in the next two weeks so after a nice walk over to my tai chi class I decided to just pull out a pen and yellow legal pad to get things on paper.

Til later…..