Blog

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.

Staying Out of the Studio

They are finally, FINALLY patching the ceiling and repainting in the studio today. Getting workers to show up after you locate them is nearly impossible here in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Closer to any of the cities just two hours away and there would be competition to do the job.

It is what it is….

Maybe by the end of the day it will be all over as far as the plaster and texturing goes….then later the painting….then later I can sort things out.

In the meantime I am keeping busy with little stitcheries upstairs.

This one is only four inches square with collaged pieces of woodblock prints and bits of cloth. It took me three crime series programs (three hours) to make another one that I did not like as much. So today I might just spend another few hours adding to it. They are a bit like puzzles of curiosity. What if I put this here, no wait, maybe not, maybe this piece, yeah that’s it, well, maybe not.

It is hot and humid here. This weather clogs my brain. There are no good choices to make when it is like this. Well there is the choice of whether to have a single malt or gin and tonic or white wine at the correct time….which seems earlier than most other peoples’ time because we eat so early so I can be in bed by 7:30 – 8:00 at the latest.

Between that drink around four o’clock and bed with a book is preparing and eating dinner, setting up the coffee machine for Lee to only push the “on” button at 4:30 in the morning, cleaning up the kitchen, making sure the house is closed up, finding a program for us and then him to watch, remembering to give Lee his evening pill, check the litter box and cat food dishes, turn off the fans and pond waterfall, having a phone conversation that I am only half paying attention to as I run through the list of what needs to be done next……BUT slipping into the sheets knowing that all of that has been done is the best feeling of the day.

I can read no more than ten pages and then my eyelids will not stay open. Lee will be in bed about one half hour later after he has pushed the off button (circled in black felt marker) and turned off the lamp in the den.

Sometimes like this morning at 3 am he will bolt from bed headed out to see who is ringing the doorbell. His dreams can be be quite real to him. Maybe I will get back to sleep, maybe not. My mind seems to be most active in those wee hours. There are no less than a zillion things that you can imagine going wrong in those times. But come 4:30 and NPR coming to life on the radio (always reminding me of what actually IS going wrong) then it is shower, dress for the gym, get that cup of coffee that Lee has poured for me, and we start all over again.

Yesterday we saw these two new additions to the crowd he feeds via corn, birdseed and anything they like from the front yard….azaleas, hostas, formerly flowering bushes….anything but the weeds!

Baby deer don’t pose for pictures very well. They are terribly cute though.

Til later….I am headed up to check on Lee and work on that little stitching that needs something….

New Thinking-New Responsibilities

I finished the third Hands of Responsibility. Lots of weeds, not knowing how to load the spool for the weed eater, sometimes help with tying shoes, now taking the garbage in my car, no driving his truck, rotten tomatoes in the garden, not emptying litter box, forgets where his underwear is kept, and needs reminding to brush his teeth.

After my last blog the two of us were having that beer on the porch when he decided he needed to put on a long sleeved shirt. After a few minutes I asked if he was having trouble finding it.

“No, it’s something else.”

He comes out with his shirt on inside out and he can’t figure out how to button it.

“That is because your shirt is inside out.”

“Oh” and he figures out how to get it back on right side out.

And says, “I know I did not hang my shirt up this way. I know you wouldn’t, so it must be that grandmother that comes around and changes things.”

I liked that….a grandmother sneaking about the house. So we both laughed when I told him it must have been her that burned his toast the other morning.

We also have another phenomenon going on. The cleaning lady came today and I showed her some things that looked like white bread crumbs in certain areas….but not necessarily the kitchen/dining areas. We tracked them into the bedroom, down the hall, in the laundry room, foyer….just some loose scatterings of them. They have no odor, no taste, no weight. She and I thought it might be basil blossoms coming in on damp shoes or jeans. She no sooner vacuums them up and then ends up sweeping up more before she leaves. That was three hours ago and now they are back. They aren’t coming from the ceiling, they are on the porch as well….but nothing is blooming right now. Very strange indeed and if it continues, then we have no choice but to think that there really is a grandmother having trouble eating her ghostly sandwich and finding a place to sit still.

Anyway…..

I have taken a look around the studio and know what my next “thing” will be. These heads.

They were always going to be right and left brained women with things carved into their heads and called “What Were They Thinking.”

They still will be but not on these elevated spools, rollers instead so they can visit each other. And they will have dormer windows built out so we can see deep inside…maybe even a couple of ladders heading into the windows. I want each one of them to be very individual. It will take lots of time which is a good thing.

Here are other things in the studio near the heads.

Suggesting windows made of mica.

They might gather around this dome with the yoga figure on top….not sure.

And one will surely need a life boat to escape.

So I will be looking for old wheels so they can get around….about the size of old roller skate wheels or old rubber toy wheels.

I like that I can make them travel or line them up and put a rope for them to hang onto like children going into a museum.

Anyway more to come on that.

Also the new stitched prints, now all framed behind glass, will go to the craft shop at John C Campbell and I will pull out older work to give away to whoever smiles at me on the way out and looks like they would like one, or they will go to an auction.

Til later.

The Shallows and Other Thoughts

I don’t have many pictures for this one.

Just thoughts written down.

It is not easy giving up a life that you thought had more “life” in it. This week our son took home with him half of the dozen extra chairs we bought for “entertainment” and “dinner parties” that are not happening anymore. As a matter of fact with our necessary considerations here at home, I have noticed an end to being invited to other dinner parties. It could be that we were the only ones having them or it could mean that friends think dementia requires a special diet. Whatever….love that word…..whatever.

And the plus point to that is we don’t have to look in our closets and mirrors to see if we can be made “presentable.”

The word, “presentable” reminds me of a conversation I had a while back with a friend who is married to a woman he sometimes thinks makes fairly “shallow” comments….quite often on others’ appearances.

We talked about that word, “shallow” and I told him that there are some like us that are just trying to stay afloat when we find ourselves over our heads in thoughts and ideas and responsibilities. And when we glance over toward the shore we see those who have the security of ground under their feet, water there for their own entertainment…….. and maybe, just maybe our disapproval might be a resentment borne of envy for that shallowness.

He just looked back at me and shook his head. Shallowness is something he just can’t get his head around. But for myself there is that memory of being there closer to shore and not feeling like I was drowning at times. And then being able to dry myself off and put something presentable on so I could go off to an event and sit down next to someone who had more to say, someone who could make me realize how privileged I was to be in the shallows.

And what else am I thinking of today…..?

On the way out this morning we stopped by our mailbox and found a hand-written note to us from friends in California who took in others from the horrible Camp Fire last year. Their life is getting back to normal. Soon they will be off on a biking tour from Amsterdam to London. How wonderful is that for those close to Lee’s and my age? Every so often they come here and stay in our apartment….and even invite us over for dinner. We smile when we read her note and when I get to the last word on the back and read about the artwork on the front I put it with the last few years’ Christmas cards in a bowl in the corner. It will stay there until the time comes when I look over and think, “I should clean that bowl out.” Then all those cards and notes from friends who keep in touch will be gone…..and we will get excited all over again when more show up in the mailbox.

It is almost time to share a beer with Lee. That is our lunch on Sundays because the breakfast out has a way of just sitting there needing liquid saturation.

We will sit on the porch and look at the weeds, notice how heavy the trees have gotten, wonder why we thought we needed a garden and when we get up toss the tomatoes over the bank for the deer in the morning.

Til later when I have some pictures of something more fun.

I might just talk about some artwork clicking away in my head.