Thursday, May 31, 2012

relaxed selves

We are hoping that our June will include a day of fishing.
A day of campfire and woodsmoke.
The air will be thick with birdsong.(and mosquito)
The water will be cold and deep and dark.
We will catch up with friends and be reunited with our relaxed selves.
Break out the matches.


My little granddaughter's heart beats for Douglas, a stuffed toy that belongs to my mother. She is often already calling his name as she climbs the stair. Never has a toy cat been the recipient of such attention. My mother has acquired two additional stuffed cats in an effort to disperse the wear and tear of such affection but my granddaughter's loyalty is unswerving. It is Douglas whom she longs for. Her objet d'amour.

little red hen

Remember the story of The Little Red Hen? Nobody wanted to help her plant the grain, nor water, harvest, grind or bake it into bread, but of course everyone wanted to help eat those loaves.
My grandson is familiar with that classic childhood tale.
"Do you want to fill these pots with dirt so we can plant the squash seeds," I offered.
He hesitated.
Other fun beckoned.
"Remember the story of The Little Red Hen?" I asked innocently, smiling.
He stared at me for a moment and then grinning, dashed to my side to help.


A large tree is truly humbling.


I made a baby quilt once that defied plan A. The placement of color and shape were duly decided upon, but something was lost between the sketch and the sewing machine. Quilters know that two pieces of fabric can be sewn together in more ways than the sides of the pieces combined; One of those mathematical wonders gone wrong.
Not wanting to reverse sew (pick out ), I turned all four corners to match and forged ahead.
When I stood back and surveyed the end result I was astonished to see a giant Irish Chain; a close-up view.
My astonishment came from the fact that I had been enamoured with Irish Chain recently. I had been looking at, thinking about and sketching Irish Chain quilts and all of the variations that seem infinite.
Somehow, my hands and mind communicated with each other and left me out.
I still feel surprised when I think about it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

like artwork

I love old buildings.
And I love old windows, especially when a pane is missing like a front tooth, leaving a blackened space.
Can you imagine cleaning all those little panes?
The graying wood, the water darkened boards and little rectangles of sky are somehow satisfying.
I could stand and gaze at them like artwork in a gallery.

view from the outhouse

I've thought for several years now that there is a painting that should be done. It would sell well I think, it is such a familiar view; one that would invoke nostalgia and longing for the comfort of home.
I would title it, "View From the Outhouse."
What do you think?

cleaning spasm

My mother had visitors yesterday morning.
In honor of the occasion, I tidied.
I carted and lugged and chucked and sorted and swept and dusted and mopped.
Tomorrow evening, we will be enjoying visitors ourselves.
It's always a comfort to get double duty out of a cleaning spasm.


The bees are out and about.
I see them stepping on the lower petals of the purple lupins, allowing gravity to help them open the flower, to unlock the sweetness at its heart.
Honey for their queen.
There legs are roundly cuffed with yellow pollen.
There coats are pin-striped; black and gold.
Regal colors for a regal insect.

Breath of Life

Do you ever get discouraged?
By your own propensity to fail; To get discouraged?
By the unkindness that masquerades as busyness.
By morning news and weather...
By slugs and barking dogs?
Do myriad joyous wonders occur each day or is the world a howling wilderness?

I heard an interview on the radio yesterday with a man who has recently climbed Mt. Everest. He mentioned that out of the 200 that attempt the summit each day, 6 die.
Most of them die because of lack of oxygen.
Breathing is pretty essential I guess.
I thought falling would be the biggest threat, but it was as simple as breathing in and out.

The breath of life. Sweet Breath of Life.

personal trainer

My grandson is trying to improve my physical condition. He felt that a run around the baseball diamond would be just the thing.
A ride-on mower had just hummed past as we set out.
As I gamely leapt along, over rows of dry grass clippings a movement caught my eye.
I usually scream first and then evaluate the situation, and sure enough, a giant worm was stretching and looping, its slime glistening in the bright sunlight.
My grandson pounced on it as fast as a cat.
He then set off at a trot towards the shade at the far side of the field.
He wanted to "help the worm."
Too much exercise in the sun isn't good for worms I was informed.
I know how they feel.
It gratefully disappeared into the cool earth.
I, on the other hand, continued toiling around the field under the watchful eye of my personal trainer.

comic relief

I pulled out into traffic and pointed the car towards home like a horse towards the barn. I was feeling rather pensive; life can be more drama than comedy by times.
As I picked up speed I noticed a man walking on the shoulder.
Where were his pants??!!
Oh yes, shorts!! He was wearing shorts that were shorter than his baggy jacket.
Baggy black shorts.
But his legs were so pale and skinny.
Mr. Bean came to mind.
I laughed out loud in the car.
When I tried to tell my daughter about it later, I laughed so hard, I cried.
Comic relief.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

black and white

A limited palette isn't necessarily limiting. Just think of black and white photos. Value truly is more important than color.
A Guild Show Challenge had me happily snipping and stitching.
This little quilt is a replica of a water color I painted a decade ago.
It was pretty exciting to see the sheep re-emerge in black and white.
The butterflies are 3-D; tiny, tiny quiltlets.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

deflected pleasure

A huge bouquet of flowers rang the door bell, or so it seemed when we opened the door.
Because my mother lives with us, we enjoy some deflected pleasure, as her gifts become our gifts as well.
My far away sister, pondering Mother's Day, sent an armful of flowers just in time for The Day.
A bouquet of such color.
A glowing orb.
Burnt orange Roses, flaming Gerbs, Lilies the color of summer sunshine; sweetness hung in the air.
As the days passed, the bouquet was reduced and concentrated into a smaller vase.
The Gerbs outlasted everything and are vibrant still, their many petals catching the light.
She loves me, she loves me not, she loves me!!

king of the sky

Seagulls call, but the sound my husband heard made him pause in his gardening and look up.
An alarm call, insistent and clamorous echoed all around.
His eyes sought out two gulls and then, there it was.
A huge bird wheeling against the gray sky.
Larger than a Bald Eagle.
A Golden Eagle, king of the sky.

unseeing eyes

I stood with unseeing eyes before my kitchen window, stirring muffin batter on automatic pilot.
A movement on the deck railing jolted me back to the present. My eyes focused on a robin that had landed and was gazing in the window. It seemed to be looking directly at me, but I realized that, like me, it was looking without seeing. It's thoughts were elsewhere. As I moved, the robins eyes cleared and it stepped into thin air and dropped from sight.
Under my deck are inviting niches, each trailing a strand or two of dry grass. The robins are pondering nest building and it is dividing their attention.
I know the feeling.

Friday, May 18, 2012


I sat in a British Fish and Chips shop today listening with delight as an Italian tenor sang passionately in the background. It seemed a perfect backdrop to a spontaneous lunch with my husband. Somehow the tenor's voice mingled with the decor of flags and linens made me think of Stuart McLean's fictional restaurant, Kenny Wong's Scottish Meat Pies.
As we ate, the new owner emerged from the kitchen and as soon as he spoke we understood the music. His accent was charmingly continental. His dark eyes sparkled as he spoke of fish and batter and his new restaurant.
He knew customers.
His friendliness and interest were genuine and heart warming.
He knew fish.
Ours was as fresh as the sea and crisply battered.
Grazie, amico mio....bring on the Tartar Sauce.


Sometimes I buy my husband a little treat when I do my grocery shopping. You know, something for the "inner child."
I'm a big believer in treats, and not just edible ones.
I've come to think of them as a sort of reward. A small celebration. There are so many note worthy moments in our lives that are worth celebrating.
And just as many moments that can be made more bearable with a little hit of happiness, a little treat.
My reward for being a brave girl at the dentist could be a trip to the Thrift Shop.
A doctors visit dictates a stop at the Quilt Shop.
And have you noticed how shared friendship often involves shared food.
At those times it's more about the conversation than the menu.
Surprises and treats and rewards; little things that make a big difference.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Sunday, May 13, 2012

the water's fine

I made a gift of love with ulterior motives. Is there such a thing?
The gift was a mini-quilt for my niece.
My motive was joy.
That doesn't sound too ulterior does it, but it really was.
The joy I had in mind is the sort of life-long and abiding joy found in quilting...both for yourself and others.
I am hoping that my sister and her daughter will take that leap into the dark that all creativity requires.
I am hoping that upon seeing how easily joy can be made and shared, that they will want to jump in too, into the delight of quilting.
I imagine them standing on the shore watching me paddling about in a circle and splashing happily.
"Come on in!" I cry joyously.
The water's fine!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

thumbs up

We went for a walk late this afternoon and followed our feet. They lead us past the community gardens; raised beds basking in the warm sunlight. Gardeners had been at work. There were wooden stakes and stringed rows aplenty, carrot seedlings as thick as grass, radish and delicate lettuce. Although young, pepper plants and celery were recognizable, so distinct are their features.There were even gifts remaining from the previous year; chives and parsley and potato; hearty volunteers.
This year, our backyard is poised and at the ready. Raised beds are filled, awaiting the wielding of spade and rake. Radishes with names like French Breakfast and Easter Egg vie for space with Denver Half Longs, Lincoln Homesteader and Royal Burgundy Bush.
We are looking forward to gardening as the seasons turn, inspired by the collective green thumbs of our neighbors.

useful information

My daughter spent the morning surrounded by children. Not as in, "we have you surrounded, come out with your hands up!" although just as stimulating.
Books are always a hit with little children, and as my daughter read to her one year old nephew he listened attentively.
"A is for apple," my daughter announced, reading aloud.
"Oh," the little boy said, his voice edged with surprise.
"B is for ball," she continued.
"Oh," he responded, gratefully, as though she had given him a piece of very useful information.
And I suppose she had.
When you are one, it's all useful information.