Monday, December 31, 2007


Thanks to Mother Pie for including me in pondering what I'm still doing:

Still working for the same woman who hired me over 20 years ago

Still procrastinating about my sewing

Still wondering what I'm really meant to be doing

Still glad I moved South when I did

Still glad I haven't culled anything from my cookbook shelf; if I do, they go in a pile until I can stand it no longer, and return them to their shelf

Still cherishing memories, and finding I don't need physical prompts to jar them as often as I used to

Still wishing I were travelling, and the euro were on parity with the dollar

Still hoping for government that does what it's supposed to, on all levels

Still practicing yoga, for which I am truly thankful

Still grateful I have my little family, and we like being with each other, even in the midst of teenagedom

Still happy D is the driving instructor

Still wondering why fashion trends and I seem to have gone in two different directions.

Still looking forward to another year here!

Thanks, Hattie, for the prompt!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

What do you say

when a wonderful person, for whom you've prayed and lit candles and cried for, calls you unexpectedly to say she is going into hospice. And sounds so chipper and asks after you? I wonder if what I had to say was good enough.

Friday, December 28, 2007

new movie

L and I just saw the movie Juno and I highly recommend it. Funny, sweet, great sound track, and the actress who plays the title part is absolutely stupendous.

PS: The movie is much better than this trailer makes it out to be, so.

Monday, December 24, 2007

It's tonight

It's cold enough that the cats clatter at the blind on the door to go out, but once the door is open, and the bracing air hits, they hesitate. And have to be encouraged forward. Bear has decided that the wood ash in the fireplace makes a more-than-satisfactory replacement for her box or using the natural environment, so we must watch that she doesn't skulk over in that direction.

L has been invited to sing this evening, so we will attend the 11:00! I'm always tucked up asleep by then, so this will be a challenge. It will be wonderful to see the church lit by candles. I'll keep my attention skyward tonight, on the way home, just in case.

But for now, there is a cat at the door, asking to be let in . . .

Friday, December 21, 2007


our tree is up, thanks to L and D. And without much of a to do, either (no bad words; well, not many). This is the first year I've really felt festive since my mother died, I think. I'm finally ready to get into the spirit. We made polymer clay ornaments today, and had a generally Christmas-tidey time. L made her first batch of gingerbread, and quite delicious too. She even cleaned up. So another big step.

I've got some presents to wrap, and the church to help green tomorrow (even some greenery to contribute, after D lopped off the bottom branches of the tree), so things are going a lot more smoothly, at least internally, than they have the past several years.

And I'm truly thankful for the new friends I've met this year; so talented and endearing, the lot of them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I'm wondering if I should change my little turtle image. I think she seems a bit . . . judgmental.


time is running out; so say all the junk mail articles in my inbox and my mailbox. I'm not giving into stress, though. I think my gifts are all in their hiding spot waiting to be wrapped. D and L are out to buy the tree (no, we don't put it up until the last minute) so I'm putting the finishing touches on my copy editing.

Thinking about two friends who are (separately) in the beginning stages of both a divorce and a love affair . . .

Friday, December 14, 2007


I was glad to see L finally sit down and knit up a skein; she has her scarf now, but needs to weave in the ends. But I'm guessing it will be me doing the weaving.

She is in the middle of finals: two down and three to go next week.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I haven't stopped posting! Thank you for asking, though. It's just I have a job with a deadline, L to cart to her after school job, her finals start Thursday, I had to run errands, my fruitcake is awaiting the candied citron so I can mix it up and bake it, various packages keep arriving and need to be hidden, we haven't even gotten the tree yet, I've promised to go to Studio C tomorrow (maybe I'll remember the camera and post a picture of my weaving--just tabby, but still . . .), I had to attend an open house Friday for Stacie, and another open house on Saturday for Annie. Anyway, I'll be back in! Maybe tomorrow!

I wish I could be good and post a picture a day, but the weather here is freakish, and so I'm not so holiday-ish as confused and manic; 76 degrees F today. As I skulked about in Hobby Lobby, people kept greeting each other, saying, "This weather is just gonna make us all sick!"

Friday, November 30, 2007

The end

of NaBloPoMo! My Internet connection is sketchy today, so this is my final bow. Nothing more, until perhaps tomorrow . . .

Thursday, November 29, 2007


and more work. I received another editing job today (which will tax my skills in legal footnote style) plus more of the odious proofing of the "relational" text . . . ugh.

Now do you see why I've put it out there to the greater forces concerning what to do? Are you there, God? it's me, tut-tut . . .

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Why is it, do you think, that bacon can so satisfactorily fill any spiritual void? Especially when combined with prosaic peas from the deep freeze . . .


here, working at my desk, longing to get out.

This morning's yoga was quite a workout. I tried to put it out there that I want to discover what it is I'm supposed to be doing here on earth. Surely it can't be this?

I won't be able to get to the studio today; maybe tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I went down to Studio C today and wove, had a spinning lesson (I'm still not there yet, but I'm getting more consistent results), and visited with M.

L was home with teenager-itis; I think she needed one more day of rest, frankly. The View was its usual can't-look-away mess, so of course L and I watched it. Joan Rivers: yikes. Mario Cantone: why?

I have to dump all the hundreds of photos from my camera so I can take some more. I'll post a picture of my weaving (first project on the loom in almost 20 years, so be kind . . .).

Other than making chicken tonight, I have passed through an eventless day!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday, Monday, Monday

We went to the mall (bleh) today; our mission: to find pants. L got some and a shirt at the vast wasteland that is American Eagle. We had some good Chinese food here, then made our way over to the Barnes and Noble where we felt right at home, finally.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


photo by L

I feel like going out, but then again, I may sit here a while . . . It's Sunday afternoon, and I'm contemplating what to have for dinner. We are in a dinner entre rut around here, even with all my cookbooks for inspiration. The area we live in is not known for the wealth of exciting ingredients, so I'm often on the chicken/beef/pork circuit. I just can't get excited about tofu. I have one recipe for tempeh I use, but it's for a lunch sandwich mix from Moosewood.

Any suggestions?

Saturday, November 24, 2007


photo source: photos/autumn2005/

It was so nice to get out. D went out first, and I felt guilty, seeing him toiling by himself. So I grabbed my (hand knit, ahem) sweater and a rake and tackled the leaves by the kitchen door. I'd forgotten how satisfying it is to create a pile and drag it off, leaving a (well, an almost) pristine patch. L, after a bit of prodding, got into the act, carrying away tarp-fulls as I raked them up.

Here, we can rake the leaves (or dump them) into huge banks at the edge of the road, and someone from the town comes by in an orange truck and hoovers them up. But their schedule is a mystery, so perhaps we will be raking the same leaves back up into a pile again.

I remember my father raking them into a pile and burning them; I miss that smoky smell of autumn in the suburbs . . . And of course, nowadays, I could do without the annoying roar of the leaf blower.

Friday, November 23, 2007

day after

Well, L and I met up with Stacie, P, and M at a Japanese sushi restaurant. Only Stacie was a pro; the rest of us stuck with tempura. Very convivial; I did try some of Stacie's and liked it. And Stacie surprised us by treating all of us to lunch!

Then a quick tour around a few galleries, one of which Stacie is part of. After that, we went over the river (though not through any woods) to see what was up at another gallery. Very busy; not much parking and Stacie whirled away. Unfamiliar with the territory, she ended up back across the river, and decided to buckle down and go down to her studio.

Even though I didn't cook, I'm still tired. It must be the start of the whole merry-go-round, the center of which is Christmas. I'm sticking with my plans, so tomorrow begins some creating!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Have as tranquil a day as you can in whatever circumstances you find yourself.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

New intention

I went over here, and found that there is a whole movement afoot to buy or make handmade things. Given the fact that I'm very very interested in knitting, sewing, weaving, spinning, it only makes sense to embrace that in every way I can. After all, there isn't much of a leap from making dinner from scratch every night, from as many local, organic ingredients as possible, to making things "from scratch" or buying such items.

So, I'm taking up the challenge and getting down to it; I've got fabric, yarns, fleece: I just have to get past having to do everything perfectly. There is so much to look at for inspiration, too; so many good bloggers are great crafters and artists, too.

And then there's the whole issue of letting someone else decide just what it is you do want to have. And what about your standards concerning workmanship? Money versus quality? This brings up the lack of oversight concerning imports from China, as well as our domestic problems in food inspection. Maybe if we each get more involved in the doing, we'll also take back more control of family life in general! As Laurie Colwin paraphrased Ralph Nader in More Home Cooking, large corporations do not have our best interests at heart.

Well, enough of a rant; I'm off to find the scissors . . .

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanks for nothing . . .

Yesterday, the full realization of what it means to have Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant hit D, and hit him hard. All the busyness, all the preparation, all the cleanup, all the talking to (my) relatives, all the finding room in the refrigerator: All of it gone! Banished!

He was so overwhelmed with the notion of nothingness, that he fell into bed for an afternoon nap . . .

Tomorrow, no school until next Tuesday. No getting up early, chasing around for retainers and the like. But somehow, between tomorrow and next Monday, the mall is beckoning L. So there's that.

Monday, November 19, 2007


With all my pie activity yesterday, something must have kicked my baking gene into gear. I decided this morning to do everyone a favor around here and make cookies.

I went over to Smitten Kitchen and found these. But I didn't have pecans, and I had some chocolate chips that were swirled with white chocolate. So I substituted the walnuts for the pecans and threw in the swirled chips. A great cookie, but something about them makes me want to put in dried cherries . . .

However, they came out looking just like Deb's!

* * *

It sure doesn't feel like Thanksgiving week today; it's supposed to be 70 degrees F this afternoon. I need some brisk, breath-revealing crispness to get me excited. We've been invited to a friend's house, but I think I really want to skip all of the cooking and, dare I say it, go to a restaurant. What is more freeing than arriving, having someone else bring out your food, and, when it's all over and done, get up from the table and just leave! No "Here are all the sides I made at my house for you!" No "Here, let me do the dishes." No, just a simple car ride home. Sounds good to me . .

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pumpkin Pie

I spent the ENTIRE morning helping the youth group and their leader, A, to make pumpkin pies to raise monies for activities at church. The youth group was mostly helpful, until they decided to bring chairs into the kitchen and have an impromptu party.

The church kitchen has a great old Garland gas stove, with two ovens. We were able to fit eight pies at a time in there (there was only one rack per oven; otherwise, we could have doubled our output).

Poor A did not count output/demand, and we ended up with some extras.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Out . . .

Sometimes we do go to a restaurant. We've been liking this one recently. Plus, if you sit by the window, you can catch sight of the river.

A partial view of the menu:

L likes fresh-squeezed juice; they do grapefruit and orange.

I mean to get some wine glasses like this one; I like the way they feel in my hand.

D waiting . . .

For some reason, this reminds of the entrance to something other than what it is:

like a subway . . .

Friday, November 16, 2007


I've just come back from a greatly inspiring meeting on fiber arts, classes, a fashion show for next year! My head is reeling, and I'm feeling the excitement I wish I'd been feeling during the summer. I'm really fired up now to get back to all things fiber: knitting, sewing, weaving, spinning!

Even though I'll be involved in promotion, it's an exciting group of people. Class development is something I'm looking forward to doing too, so it's back to my original ideas for the shop (which, alas, several of us have pulled back from). But I think the direction I'm going in now will put me in wider connection with a group of people who are on the move.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


My loom now resides in Studio C; I've woven 20 inches or so in tabby on my scarf that was to be place mats (but it's pink, so I don't know what I was thinking when I started out to make place mats). I'm pleased that I'm making progress.

My knitting has been idle, though. I've got to get back to it.

I'm looking for a loom bench, Harrisville, the small one.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

More dental

Thinking about my tooth brings to mind things various hygienists/dentists have told/asked me over the years:

I'm on the verge of periodontal disease.

I'm a wonderful flosser.

Do I know how to floss?

I have an arthritic jaw.

Have any persons in my family ever lost their teeth? [this one truly gave me pause]

My gums bleed.

My gums don't bleed.

I need a crown right away on my upper left molar.

I don't need to think about a crown on my upper left molar.

If I keep flossing the way I do, I'm in danger of exposing some roots, causing me much pain.

I wonder what to think of all this rather conflicting information . . .

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dental woes

I had a cleaning today . . .

I hate going to the dentist. It all started years ago, when I was still in single digits. Somehow, I had an abscess, in the lower left quadrant (which remains to this day a troublesome area, tooth-wise). The dentist came at me with the hugest syringe I had ever seen. What did I do? Yes, I leaped out of the chair and got as fair away as I could from the dentist and his syringe.

What did he do?? He yelled at me to sit back down! And chased me!! My psyche has never been the same since.

Last summer, the dentist (not the screamy one; I'm sure he's long dead—at least I hope so . . .) told me I needed to have a crown put on in that lower left quadrant, on a tooth already much maligned with a root canal. Naturally I made the appointment and naturally I canceled it (when they weren't open, so I didn't have to talk to anyone). But today the dentist tells me that the "crack is widening; you don't want to lose the tooth, do you?" so I made another appointment.

I don't know what to do. Keep the appointment? These things are expensive. Gamble with my dental health?

I was going to post a picture of teeth, but I can't even bring myself to look a them!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Out on the town with D

Finding ourselves at a loose end, D and I took ourselves to the local tapas bar.

We were enjoying a glass of wine, when in came a not-young, not-old couple, obviously on a first date. As they were seated right next to us, it was difficult NOT to hear their conversation. The fellow regaled the spiffily dressed woman with his wine knowledge, including a detailed description of a wine course he had taken in the Napa Valley in California. Apparently, he was the only person there who was not somehow a sommelier.

The waitress came to take their order.

The man said, "Bring us whatever you'd like us to have!"

Nonplussed, but only for a second, the waitress said, "Red or white?" Surprised, the man looked to concur with the woman. "Red!"

Sunday, November 11, 2007

more minutia

We stopped in to see Stacie at her new gallery; she was very much on duty—even had a name tag! Her wonderful jewelry is really catching on like wildfire. Last week, I met her studio neighbor—a private investigator!

L's concert last night: superb, everyone in excellent form! L's group sounded great. They are taking a master class with a pretty darn good string quartet next week, and they are pretty darn nervous about it, let me tell you.

Sunday school was a rather fun travelogue-ish slide show of churches one member has seen on his travels. A has decided the youth group will make pies for Thanksgiving to raise money. But she's decided to make them next Sunday, starting at 8 a.m. in the parish hall's kitchen. We'll see how that goes. . . I've been asked to bring my mixer. I think I know what my day will be like.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


The dance last night was low key, I guess. Altar guild this morning was busy.

I've been dreaming of France.

Well, not the map of France, but this image will have to do for today . . .

With the dollar so weak, I don't think there is any way we will be able to go in 2008. L is going to the Auvergne on a course for the month of June, so at least one of us will be able to immerse herself in the language and culture. She'll stay with a family; seven other classmates are going, as well as two teachers. I hope they will be a well-protected bunch. They tend to cosset them at the school she goes to, which is just as well. Or maybe it isn't. I don't know. I'm feeling conflicted today.

Friday, November 09, 2007

busy weekend

These are the things going on, which I either have to attend or which I have to ferry L to and from:

Rehearsal this afternoon

Dance this evening

Altar guild

Cello teacher's wedding



Sunday school

Church service

Altar guild, part 2

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Reading Claude's post today made me realize how I've been thinking lately of having lived more than half of my life already. It's made me think about what projects I want to start, and to direct myself more toward those things I really want to complete. I think about the Kaffe Fassett needlepoint I began when my niece was a preschooler; now she's in her early twenties, and the project is still not finished. I want to be able to concentrate on those objects and projects that need to finish, and not start new ones. Or do I?

Sometimes we do just need to let something go, and move on. Perhaps I need to get rid of all these unfinished projects, literally get them out of the house. Why is it so difficult to clean out something and just let it go? Does it have to do with the fact I've paid for these things? So I've got to keep them, just in case?

I got to know someone quite well this year, well enough to see her habits as a cautionary tale. She cannot stop buying things, even though she will almost certainly never ever use these things, nor even remember in the rubble of her purchases that she has actually bought them. Indeed, I've seen her receive something, open it, and say, "Oh, for heaven's sake, I already HAVE this!"

It's time to strip down, get spare, clear out the cobwebs of stuff and see what it is I really want to do. Because the window of time for it all is shrinking . . .

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


It's very difficult for me to plunge in to a project. It is so easy to peruse one of the many, many books I have, rather than get to the loom or the needles. I wish I could be more like A, who picks up a bunch of yarn and just starts in on something that ends up being as much an expression of herself as a wearable item.

I get so caught up in doing it RIGHT that I sometimes lose sight of the process. I don't think I'm so much interested in making a thing, as I am in making something that is executed well. I don't know whether this can go hand in hand with creating something or not . . .

I think I shall think about my relationship to wanting to make something that reflects my ideas and notions. But I do wish I were more comfortable with color!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Sometimes, I feel, I don't know, quite conflicted about going out. Especially today, as I am facing a potentially contentious meeting with my shop mates.

Update: I'm back; it was contentious, though controlled. I'm still conflicted. I'll ponder all this tonight.

Monday, November 05, 2007


I'm trying to learn to spin. During my eBay frenzied period, I encountered a Louet wheel

for a good price and "won" it. It's sat here for, I guess, quite a while (I don't want to even think about how long) and finally someone introduced me to a spinning teacher. I can't seem to get much beyond this, though:

I don't think at this point anyone would mistake me for Rumpelstiltskin, spinning straw into gold, or roving into something to knit anything but a bobbly hat with.

It's a lot more difficult than I had imagined. I need a serene environment in which to do this; otherwise, I get all tense around the shoulders. And serene environments are hard to come by these days, let me tell you.

Plus the roving tends to fly toward the wheel at lightning speed, compromising my tension. Ideally, it should spin smoothly, evenly, almost gossamer. But it rears away like a runaway horse, before I can feather it out. Ack!

Also, my spinning teacher is quite a talker, so just when I'm starting to concentrate, another story, requiring my input begins . . .

Sunday, November 04, 2007


I had forgotten today was a baptismal Sunday for one little girl. Beautiful flowers on the altar and in the niches. So cold in the church, though! Heating fuel is so expensive, and of course we are waiting until a certain degree is reached before we turn on the heat. Brisk, to say the least.

That it was a baptism means many more people in the pews. An unfamiliar couple came in and sat down behind us. Very well dressed, middle-aged. Much rustling of booklets, and muttering. Then they proceeded to start a rather loud, whispered fight! During every hymn, they carried on the bickering in almost normal tones. I strained to hear what it was all about, but couldn't quite catch it. During the Baptismal Covenant, when the words "He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit" were intoned, the man actually snorted in derision!!! Several times they seemed on the verge of stamping out, but when it was over, they meekly followed everyone into a (beautifully decorated) parish hall for a wonderful lunch, courtesy of the child's grandfather and his partner. I spied them eating together, with a jolly table full of regulars . . .

L and the girls sang quite beautifully during the Offertory, and M played the flute. A disaster nearly occurred when the music stand almost sailed over the edge of the choir loft; A simply plucked it back from the abyss.

Who says church isn't exciting??

Saturday, November 03, 2007


I was disappointed to find, during one of my insomniac sojourns last night (or early this morning . . .) that one of my favorite bloggers has decided to switch her focus. She is shutting down her blog in favor of her hardbound journal. She has used her blog to explore different kinds of writing and moods, and I always look forward to seeing the little (1) next to her blog's title on my bookmarks page.

But I can understand the lure of the actual page; I had hoped that the blog would be an outlet for me to expand my writing, but so far, it has not been the venue for me I had hoped. I pretty much sit down, and just write diary fashion, but that doesn't really give enough time for true refection. I'll see what transpires this month, in which I'm forcing myself to write something every day.

Saturdays can be busy, but they can also be a place/time to curl up for half a moment to think about things. I'm getting my little Moleskine out, and writing there, too.

Friday, November 02, 2007


I've finally been able to sit down and read this week, something I haven't really been able to do for quite some time. My editing job finished and the next one fell through, so I've got some space in which to think. It seems sometimes that I have the attention span for catalogue copy and brief perusal of magazine articles only. Does this have something to do with age, I wonder? Sustainability of focus is something that has eluded me of late . . .

However, this week I read Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach and Valerie Martin's Trespass. I don't really agree with the Times's review of On Chesil Beach; I found it devastatingly heartbreaking. The review for Trespass I do, to a certain extent; I wish the reviewer had brought up the theme of the book Wuthering Heights, for which one of the characters is doing a series of engravings, however. Valerie Martin is a great writer, and I'm going to search out her other books. One is Mary Reilly, which I guess was made into a not-too-good movie.

Next on my stack is School's Out, by Christophe Dufosse, which I hadn't heard of, but seems to be an international best-seller.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

All Saints

Halloween was fun for L and the girls; they went out in the old part of town. We didn't get many tick or treaters here, just enough though for the candy to almost deplete. During the evening we watched Sunday, Bloody Sunday, as much a social and political commentary as anything else, I think. I'd forgotten how good an actress Glenda Jackson is/was (?). The movie was a snapshot of Britain when I first visited there as a teenager, and that's how I think of it still.

The unstoppable train that is Thanksgiving and Christmas has pulled away from the station . . .

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


happy halloween; L is going out with her friend and her friend's little sister. The weather couldn't be more perfect for a dash around a neighborhood (not ours) . . . We've got our bowl of candy at the ready for anyone attempting to access our kitchen door.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I've been busy. My colleague and neighbor, A, and I threw a party Saturday night!

A's grill was on the fritz, so at the eleventh hour, we brought our Webber kettle over to cook the hamburgers and hot dogs. I even made this, which was devoured! We did have kind of a fall theme, as A and I are still inundated with winter squash from our CSA.

There were about twenty-five or so, including Stacie and Shayne, plus various kids, all superb and divine. As they were all boys (L stayed to eat, then left as there were no teenagers; she worked on homework!) there was a lot of running around in the woods and, after dark, a great bonfire!

A's house is, as the real estate agents like to say, built for entertaining (she even has a pool!) so everyone flowed about with great ease. I really liked talking and listening to some of the husbands I hadn't met before. P's husband has quite a sense of humor.

Twenty years ago, I would have hidden behind a potted plant, rather than talk to anyone. Maybe it's turning 50, but I had a great time meeting and getting to know a wider range of people. I guess we do change . . . but it takes time.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A portion of my trip

Yes, we finally got away to a little inn right in midtown. All these photos are the handiwork of L; this view is looking down from our porch outside our rooms.

A peek into L's room, which opened right up to the porch; D and I were told to be quiet, as we were too raucous, I guess, during our pre-dinner glass of wine drinking.

We went here and had a lovely time, looking at all the plants.

We fought the urge, and followed the directive below:

Tranquility . . .

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Going to the big city for a few days to look at colleges (and maybe do some shopping?).

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Knitting today—string grocery bag

I've ensconced myself on the couch for a while; I've started knitting on this, from Purlbee. I'm using the Peaches and Cream I had used for the background color for a few dish clothes, rather than the Rowan cotton that was suggested. The P&C is worsted weight (and very cost effective, too!), rather than the fine, almost fingering weight of the Rowan. I'm still using number 9 needles, though. I tried 13's, but I think the holes of the lace would have been too large to be practical.

I'm eager to see how quickly this will work up, too; and I'll get some more practice in picking up stitches when I come to do the i cord for the handles. I'd like to get this done before the weekend and use it.

This might be a great start on designing something myself, and maybe starting to dye, too. This ecru color is pretty darn blah, and I'm sure I'm going to need another skein, whose dye lot probably won't be the same.

I'm taking a break from the shop, too, which is a good thing, I think. I'm waiting to see what transpires when our final member returns at the end of the month, but I'm thinking that group enterprises are not for me . . .

Saturday, October 06, 2007

spam? you bet!

I just checked my g-mail inbox, and what did I spy but over 100 spams . . . a record day!

I have to get these pictures up from the race, but lately my pix seem rather muddy. L tells me to send them through Flickr first; what do you think?

Monday, October 01, 2007

River run; Prelude

The river was absolutely beautiful yesterday; I have some pictures to post tomorrow of the Susan G. Komen race, but here are two preliminary ones. The race was partially along the river walk.

L and K walk down the River Walk toward their spot to play; one selection was, puzzlingly, Leaving on a Jet Plane.

The quartet played while the runners ran by. There was a lot of "woo-ing" from the runners in response to their playing. Yea, girls! And a saintly Mrs. B, who organized the whole thing, remained for the entire time. A group of fraternity boys stopped by, but the girls gave them the cold shoulder . . .

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Back from blogger blah?

You know, I've been feeling pretty lethargic lately:

And I kind of let go of blogging; I wish I could really get back into the swing of it all. I'm not the most prolific or profound, but I do get some satisfaction out of this online doodling.

Because we've had such a hot, dry summer, our CSA box has been filled with lots of these:

so much, so that there is an entire large folding table of them, drying in my garage. Does anyone want some organic dried red peppers? Or can suggest any uses for them, beyond the usual?? I've got some dried from years ago, which have ceased to look decorative and now look merely petrified. They've become little grey shriveled nubbins in their quaint Ball jar. (Yes, during my eBay period, I collected lots and lots of 1940s Ball jars . . .)

This appeared magnificently in the back garden:

The zig-zag thread she's spun looks just like cotton; quite durable, it seems. I haven't noticed any prey within her web, but the web itself must be 4 feet across. She herself is--let me check--3 inches at least. And she HAS caught something; she's almost finished mummifying it right this minute. I wonder what it is--or was??

I've gotten back to yoga; my bag awaits. It feels really good, but I'm stiff after a summer away from it.

But with my Pilates class, too, I'll soon be a toned rubberband, with muscles rippling at every movement . . .

L is busy with cello; she took this herself of herself (with the timer, I presume):

Her quartet/octet is very busy, playing at various venues. This weekend they play during the Komen race; then Father H's daughter is getting married, so they are playing at that wedding, plus various others school functions. It's cutting into her social life, though . . .

Speaking of Father H, church and Sunday school, both adult and youth, satisfyingly loony and fun. We talked about Descartes (I think, therefore I am . . .) one week and Kierkegaard last week! Oh the odd questions that arose! Can't wait for Sunday to roll around again . . .

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


My mother died in March; the world erupted in September. Nothing will ever be the same.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Miserable Monday

Head cold: I have one, L has one, D has one. Not a great time being had by anyone around here. And it's still so hot outside. And I have a meeting tomorrow. Which I have to attend.

But last week I did manage to get to my yoga class and a pilates class, so I'm feeling smug about getting back to exercising. That was my second pilates session ever, and there were two men taking it, which always gives these kinds of classes a whole different vibe. Last summer, we had a little man in yoga who stripped down to what appeared to be his underwear. Most disconcerting.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Today L is officially 16! I remember sixteen years ago this morning Dr. F coming into the hospital room, tiny L tucked up next to me, demanding of the nurse: "Why isn't this child wearing a cap?!" The air conditioning was so cold. In an instant, a tiny cotton thimble was secured over her head.

She was born with her hands in prayer position; a saintly child still.

Now, she's off to school, and I'm off to yoga, at the end of which my hands will be in prayer position. . .

Sunday, September 02, 2007


Wednesday L turns 16. When we moved here, she was not-quite-eight. My mother died a year and a half later, very unexpectedly. We spent the next several years traveling back up to the area she lived in to deal with disposition of things: property, possessions. In the mix, I think I lost several years to glassed-in grief. Although I thought I was dealing with things quite well, in retrospect, I think I was not quite present. We had spoken every single day, and suddenly there was no one to catch the same ironies, the same jokes that are the substance of the everyday.

It's difficult to be fully present in the best of times; I'm hoping I'm there now.

I'd better be; unexpectedly, someone has a beater to unload, and L is hoping to be able to have a car to drive around. But it's a standard transmission, so she'll need to take some time to learn . . . not to grind those gears.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


was our 20th anniversary! How did I celebrate? By taking my first spinning lesson, of course, and trying on a necklace D asked Stacie to design and make for me!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

hummingbird frenzy

This doesn't quite capture what's been happening over the past week or so at the feeders on our deck. We had put up two of these feeders at the beginning of the summer and received a few visitors, who would invariably drive each other away from the feeder as soon as one started to eat.

Gradually, we began to see more and more hummers, and they appeared to be all females, vying for ownership of each feeder. One would sit nearby, watching, and as soon as another started to feed, would chase it off with a display of tail feathers.

As even more birds came around, the feeder ownership was abandoned for ownership if the individual "flower" stations. That's when the males started to come around regularly.

It's been so hot here (over 100 F for over a week) I wonder if that is the reason we are getting about 15 to 20 birds coming around, all at the same time! It's quite a show.

* * *

L had a pretty good first week; all teachers acceptable, classmates good. New cafeteria/student center wreaking havoc with lunchtime, though. They have to get in and out really quickly. I'm liking the time back to getting work done, with no, "what's for lunch, anyway?" to add to the to-do list.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Yesterday, we had a great time in the shop, hosting an all day nuno felting workshop that Geri led. First we felted a little iconic woman to fashion into a pin. In the afternoon, we each made a scarf using a silk base and then felting fibers to it. It was great to get down to work, and having the entire day laid out for me with nothing else to concentrate on but the materials themselves. It's been a while (the entire summer, in fact . . . I wonder why??) that I've had a chance to concentrate fully on something like this.

Here are two photos of my efforts, and I do mean effort. Felting is hard work; there is lots of rolling the silk and batting back and forth (rolled up around a stick and soaking wet) to get the fibers to adhere to each other. After that, you dunk the whole works into boiling hot water, squeeze, and throw the wadded up material against the table a few times.

I'm not sure whether you can get the full effect in these photos, because I'm actually quite pleased with this first effort. The pin's "face" is a rusty bottle cap that Geri had punched a hole in, and I put on a few beads for gender identity . . . though the little round one needs to be removed. I have no idea why I put it there.

This fall, I'm hoping to spend a lot more time on my loom, and working out some embroidery designs based on some abstract images from some photographic images I've been looking at.

Tomorrow school starts, and a new editing project is being delivered to me, so I'm hoping this is a productive and creative one for us all, near and far.

Friday, August 17, 2007


It seems I'm getting rather a lot of spam in the form of e-cards from my "schoolmate," my "admirer, or my "friend." How is this so???

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My afternoon activity

is winding two skeins of Hand Maiden's Sea Silk. Then I've got to amend a scarf pattern for it.

Monday, August 13, 2007

cookbook stack

I'm using these recently; have you used any of these?

It's a dangerous thing, having access to, let me tell you . . .

Monday, August 06, 2007

heat index requires something cold

Many years ago, I gave my sister one of these for Christmas, and I'm sure it remained on her shelf untouched, until she carted it off to donate to some worthy charity—at least I haven't heard another word about it.

Imagine my glee when I discovered an intact unit, complete with instruction booklet, for sale for about a dollar in my local thrift shop.

Its housing has lived next to my jelly cupboard for the few years, though; the silver cylinder containing the magic coolant silently waited in the freezer for some kind of ingredients to churn within itself. Well, the wait is over; the day before yesterday L and I made the ice cream mix from this great book, and dutifully chilled it overnight.

We assembled the Donvier unit (moving as quickly as possible, per instruction booklet!)

and made this (blurred photo indicates excitement level of photographer):

We topped it with a butter/rum peach sauce from Sandi, that I made and absolutely ruined the first time around, but I tweaked it (melted the butter and brown sugar together over low heat and whisked them together before adding the other ingredients) the second time and it came together to die for.

D is perusing the ice cream book, which I believe came about through the author's blog, but I'm not sure as I just started reading it myself. His recipes seem very clear and if the vanilla is an indication, they all should work! We'll be moving on to chocolate shortly . . .

Sunday, August 05, 2007


The other day, L (photographer here), who is participating in the creation of her school's first-ever cookbook , needed to test a recipe. And so, for the first time she took over dinner from start to finish. I didn't lift a finger, and she made this shepherd's pie, peeling potatoes and carrots, chopping them, adding onions, browning meat, mashing potatoes, seasoning. Everything. It was a red letter day for me, and an eye-opener for her about exactly what it is I do every night.

We decided to get out the casserole dish that my mother always used for special occasions to bake it in. She always made what was then a slightly exotic concoction of boneless chicken breasts, sauteed rice, mushrooms, and pimentos, baked in this special pottery dish that I think she had received as a wedding present.

I did take over the washing up, and as I submerged casserole, I caught a whiff of that dish my mother made. Proustian moment? or perhaps my mother was around, peering over L's shoulder as she made her first supper.

I hope so.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


A college writing professor of mine told us, "No one wants to read about your dreams," but mine last night were so clear. My mother and grandmother were there; we were all going somewhere, a particular where, down roads I recognized until I woke up, and all the animals were back, alive and alert, noses quivering in the gathering twilight. You know how they can always smell a rabbit, or a porcupine . . . and the lake spread out, clear and black.

Monday, July 30, 2007


I received this news from someone who is so witty, savvy, and just great to talk to/work with today, so all prayers are just needed, whether or not you're inclined that way:

Anyway, at the end of June, I was diagnosed with pneumonia, but it turned out not to be that. It turned out to be blood embolisms in both lungs and advanced metastasized lung cancer. I was sent to ER immediately on 6/29 for 5 days and have been scanned and poked an biopsied and diagnosed, and every test gave more and more bad news. . . .

Please send your positive energy out.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I really need to get to my repairs. Pippo is a sock doll that I made for L about 14 years ago. He's been so well loved he needs quite of bit of surgery. I had hoped to get to him last week during a quiet afternoon, but none of those presented themselves. Underneath him is a rabbit in need of stomach surgery. This afternoon (or tomorrow . . .). I promise.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I can never seem to unpack the day I get back from any trip—or even the following few days. The reentry is somewhat circumspect, especially when I discover the vine I've been training has been painstakingly removed by D, in an effort to be helpful in my absence.

All my photo things are still jumbled in their bag; the mending of Pippo is still undone. I have one more chapter to finish before I can send out the invoice. Summer stasis.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The week's over, and

we're back. Phew, what a great week. Each day, we started at about quarter to nine and didn't stop until eight or nine at night, what with our photography, activities, contra and square dancing, meals, and getting to know new people and deepen friendships we've made in other years. Four years ago, we had our first inter generational week here and we've had great times each year, mixed in with the interpersonal dynamics between teenager and mother. I learn something about our relationship, and how to manage my own shortcomings, within this intensive context that I'm not able to in the daily fray of life.

Our group would never, I think, have gotten together in any other context than this one: we were a mother/daughter; father/son; grandmother/granddaughter; and, interestingly, cousin/cousin. This last pair came with several family members, and they all paired off so that there wouldn't be any mother/daughter mother/son pairings! We really coalesced as a group during our first gathering after dinner on the first night. L and I had to share the digital camera, but I had brought a little 35-mm for me mostly to use. Here is L, putting some new film in for me:

There is something about the mountains of western North Carolina, and the school, that brings an immediate sense of peace, and a sense that you can really tap into your ability to dig in and create. I don't know how many people have felt true joy in making something, and expressed that joy in so many ways—not just in the thing itself but in the way they manifest themselves. They really glow.

You can really sound out your different beat here, and know you'll receive an answering rhythm.

When we got in the car to go home, we really would have rather stayed.