Thursday, August 30, 2012


On the back of this photo, my grandmother had written in her gracious script, summer 1924, Hazel and Carol. Her sisters stand in the dappled light of the orchard. The shadow across the face of the youngest, Carol, was more than symbolic. She died in September, 1924 of polio. The news must have come as my grandmother was giving birth to my mother, her first born. My grandfather, no stranger to grief gently suggested that they give my mother the middle name Carol and held the news, such heavy news, himself, until his wife could bear it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Someone had been sitting in my chair.
Someone had leaned back in my lawn chair and gazed out over the garden and eaten their lunch while I was away.
There are always clues;
Remnants of impromptu picnics.
I was startled by a scattering of chestnut husk.
I know now how The Three Bears felt when they arrived home.
I wasn't in when a squirrel came to call.
It made itself at home anyway.
It dined and dashed and left me with the trash.
My mother says no one rang the bell but I know someone has been sitting in my chair and look, there they are!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

outlined in silver

Walking into the setting sun, the world was etched in light.
A white cat crossing the street seemed outlined in silver.
A silver cat against a golden sky.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

speechless wonder

I cooked up batches of homemade playdough when my girls were little. Tinted with food coloring into a rainbow of color, it was happily rolled and stamped and pressed.
One afternoon, my three year old presented her visiting grandpa with a 'cookie' for his approval.
He promptly ate the sample.
I'm not sure who was more astonished.
Three year olds know pretend.
Grandpas know cookies.
"This sure is salty cookie dough," he had declared, suddenly appearing in the kitchen doorway.
"Oh, you didn't TASTE it did you," I cried in horror.
My mother-in-law stared in speechless wonder as did the little chef.
Speechless wonder.

just on her lips

"Auntie Jan wears lipstick," my tiny granddaughter announced.
"Not all over her face," she added, by way of clarifying.
"Just on her lips."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

shell shocked

The skies are smudged with gray and dimly lit.
Indigo clouds are piling up along the distant hills.
The air is cool but I still feel shell shocked.
Oh the heat, the sweltering heat of last week!

open my eyes

This morning the words of an old chorus were suddenly transformed into a prayer,
Open my eyes Lord,
I want to see Jesus,.....
It seemed the right sort of prayer for a Sunday morning.
I found myself thinking of the lyrics again as I sat waiting for the service to begin and wished I had thought to request it.
And then, like a gift, the pianist began to play....
Open my eyes Lord,
I want to see Jesus,
To reach out and touch Him,
And say that I love Him.
Open my ears Lord,
And help me to listen,
Open my eyes Lord,
I want to see Jesus.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

on the couch

I slept on the couch one night this week. A combination of heat and snoring drove me to this desperate act. I actually said, "Ahhhhhhh....." as I lay down upon my couch under the cool open windows in my quiet, quiet living room.


Just for a brief moment this past week, I felt like a sheet drying on the line, clothespins flying off as I billowed and flapped perilously in the wind.

so much more

It is good to have values and ideas and convictions.
It is fine if that makes us different.
We have a circle of influence; people life allows us to interact with.
This is both our training ground and life's work.
We must take care not to miss the importance of this mission in the daily ordinariness of life.
Our love given, our kindness, our appreciation, our courage and care all matter so much.
So much more than we realize.
It is the small things, the small acts of service that are the great things.
They are the bread that we cast upon the water.

housekeeping 101

Have you ever opened a door to a room, a darkened room and just thrown something into it?
I'm pretty sure that HouseKeeping 101 would have something to say about that in chapter one.

best motivation

My little granddaughter loves craft projects; pipe cleaners and popsicle sticks, glitter and glue.These works of art are seldom for her though. She will invariably choose green, her brothers favourite color, or add flowers for her mommy and daddy. Even the very young know that the best motivation, the greatest inspiration to creating is love.

why and how

My grandson wants to know things.
Yesterday, he asked me how people KNEW things.
Where the first knowledge came from.
How we came to know what we know.
Such deep questions touching on time and eternity.
And he wanted to know why we get boogers.

leaf by leaf

Plants with shallow roots, seedlings and yearlings alike, suffer in the heat if they are not kept well watered; High maintenance additions to the garden.
Sometimes I am neglectfully busy and forgetful and don't hear my plants until they cough weakly.
Sometimes the poor plant has keeled over, completely overcome by wilt before I notice and come to my senses.
It has always amazed me though, how quickly they recover when a chilling rush of cool water is inhaled by the parched ground.
This past week has been sweltering, scorching, smoldering, simmering hot.
I am wary of the heat.
I prefer it in small doses.
It can be too much of a good thing.
The heat seemed to build as the week progressed
I felt the warning signs.
Droop and wilt.
Today has been such a reprieve and I can feel myself recovering leaf by leaf.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

too much

It is possible to have too much snow.

look out below

Gravity is better than ten hands when it comes to rolling a giant snowball. My uncles lived to tell the tale, thank goodness.
Look out beloooooooooooowww!

star within a star

I've always loved this picture.
My mother and her brothers and sisters were on skis as soon as they were old enough to stand, no doubt a tribute to the influence of their Nordic father.
Snow and play and skiing were one and the same.
Who was the first clever mind to visualize a star created by ski and pole I wonder.
P.S. The poles create a star within the star.

grand white gown

Snow has a way of concealing and emphasising at the same time, not unlike a great dress. Not a little black dress, but a grand white gown.
Shape and shadow reveal the soft curve of hill and hollow.
Branch and bramble lie hidden.
There is something generous and regal about a deep snowfall.
The sweeping train of winter lies upon the land.

all is white

Perhaps it's the heat, but snow seems like such a good idea today.
And of course, thoughts of snow inevitably lead me to thoughts of Blue River.
Now there was a town that was on a first name basis with winter.
Once upon a time, my parents lived in this house.
Their first three children arrived in rapid succession,
hence the diapers that flap on a line; freeze drying.
Note the ladder to the roof.
All the quicker to scramble up and extinguish chimney fires I imagine. Or maybe to keep the snow on the roof to a managable depth.
A wide rack filled with skis at the ready leans against the wall.
All is white, all is calm, all is bright.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

non excusat

Ignoratia legis non excusat.
Ignorance of the law is apparently no excuse, but where quilting is concerned, it sure can be freeing!
Quilting, like any art form, cannot be contained within rigid walls or borders, no pun intended. In fact, it flourishes even in the absence of traditional material, and historical pattern. Think of the quilts of Gee's Bend. Colour and pattern, value and composition; these are elements that quilters humbly employ, their sum greater than the parts, and we as artists are neither above rules, nor bound by them.

Monday, August 6, 2012

the salty sea

It's interesting that words have such a power to evoke memories and feelings. 
Sea- wide, restless, ever changing, mysterious
Ocean- salty spray and foam, tidepool and crashing surf
Beach- sand, grass, rock and driftwood smoothly gray

bite size

Watercolor painting a card is a wonderfully bite size project.
Next time I paint this view, I will lighten the distant hill. Perhaps make it a bit misty or smokey.
I think I would like to add more color to the sky, and more detail to the mountain.
I do like how the reflection draws my eye though, and the faded autumn color of undergrowth.
I love how creating fits into little pockets of time; a half hour of happiness.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

like grace

My grandson is six now.
Such a wise fellow.
"We're having something we don't deserve," he remarked as we gathered for supper prepared by his aunt.
"What do you mean?" I asked, baffled.
"This feast," he explained, waving his hand over the laden table.
"It's like grace."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

landing gear

My cousins lived on a hill. Well, sort of under a hill really. They lived in a basement suite beneath my grandparent's log house. That suite was as snugly outfitted as any ship's cabin. There were built in closets and cupboards and bunk beds, wooden walls and cedar trim.
My Norwegian grandfather was an amazing craftsman, as resourceful as he was creative and this truly unique space seemed to snap and crackle with life, a reflection of the energy and style of my aunt and uncle.
I know childhood memories are filtered through a special lens, but this was one of those places that really was as magical as memory would make it.
As proof of this magic, as a sort of exhibit A, consider the fact that a slide had been built to hasten the descent of any child from the edge of the driveway on the top of the hill, to the distant bottom, down amongst the Queen Anne's Lace and rhubarb. A long slide. A very, very long slide of pale polished wood. My cousins 'other' grandpa had constructed this amazing structure and buffed its surface to an inch of its life. Upon that wood lay the sheen of speed.
The sheen of danger.
I remember one fateful descent.
The victim was my older sister.
Due to the thrill or possibly terror of speed, she forgot that most crucial of all sliders rules.
She forgot to put down her landing gear.
Instead, she shot down that slide like an Olympic athlete, and sailed right off the end, levitating briefly.
Gravity did its work and she landed with a smack, like a pancake poorly flipped.
The scene was almost devoid of sound effects.
The onlookers had drawn in their breath in unison, and my sister had every last bit of wind knocked out of her. She lay like a trout, gasping and glassy eyed.
I believe an air raid siren was mentioned later in descriptions of her return to life.
The slide endured for a time, its legend, much longer.