Wednesday, September 02, 2015


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I've not been scared these past few weeks of not knowing. More like frozen halfway between panic that there is too much left to do, and relief that none of it will be my problem anymore.

The selfish anxiety has been how the potential illness and possible treatments would affect my thinking, my art. Thinking beyond that to matters of mortality has not been an issue. I'm cool with all that. Packed even.

Now that there are no excuses, I find that the road is wide open. In fact, there is no road. I've always enjoyed maps. Making them up as I go.

Thanks to everyone who was concerned, said prayers, did dances and made promises on my behalf. I'll do my best.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Some Kinda Wonderful

I went to the post office yesterday and was astonished to find the entire population of Wingdale, Milledgeville and another other nuthouse you care to name seething around in the lobby as if they'd been notified that gold bars were being distributed over the counter for free. Most of them were unhappy about the scam. Before gunplay ensued, I booked, putting the business off until today.

This morning I walked into the Lilburn office and there was one lonely staff person - the greeter guy who works the lobby making sure you know what you are doing before you hit the counter. I thanked him for my very own personal post office and two ladies came to the counter at my announcement.

"She's got another bundle of rags." One of them said. They always want to look so I never seal up the packages until they are done. Transaction and conversations underway simultaneously and, from the recesses of my bag, my phone goes off, LOUD (otherwise I can't hear it.)

 My ringtone for everyone is "Some Kind of Wonderful" by Grand Funk Railroad. I don't answer because I'm face to face with other humans and I like the music so I let it play and they all like it too. Spontaneous hoe down ensues, everyone bopping and stepping for thirty seconds. I'll get back to whoever.

Business concluded, I stepped outside to call back the mystery number. It was the neurologists office. The news was all good. Aliens in my brain had decamped, packing out their trash and leaving no traces. It must have been too hot and chaotic in there for them. Absent any new or recurring symptoms, I am no longer a candidate for skull drilling, experimental brain rays or a pine box.

I went back inside, about a dozen folk all milling about now,  doing the post office boogie on simmer. I raised my arm to get everyone's attention.

      "Ladies and Gentlemen! That phone call that we all danced to a minute ago?  That was my doctor. I do NOT have a brain tumor, brain cooties, cancer or aliens." It's been a long time since I was on any kind of stage. Applause is some kinda wonderful.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

wrinkled in time

A week ago I was offered a solo show at a local gallery where I have shown before. I love the space, but remain a bit alarmed at the amount of work it's going to take to open on 9/13/15.

I just finished stitching a sleeve onto this piece which has never been exhibited anywhere because I could never hang it for pictures. It's been hoarded along with a handful of others.

Time for being lazy and fearful is up.

It's not deeply creased, but I don't want to use an iron on it. Suggestions? (update - it's been hanging outside undercover in the shade and is almost wrinkle free) thanks for the input.

This was from one of the last shows, '12 or '13, I can't pin the date down. I intend on hanging this once "Ocean Homes" in the very same spot. Too pretty not to.

in the night

"Later she would say that the furniture in the room of her head had been moved. The room was much larger now and the open windows filled with light as if the sun shone from all points of the compass at once and fresh air breathed through her head like the wind in the willows."

The pool is coming around. It will take hours of intensive labor from inside the pool to finish the job once it clarifies a little more so I can see what I'm doing. Such a chore.

I left all the doors and windows open wide when I went to bed last night. It's sixty-one degrees out now and it feels like the first day of third grade in Goldens Bridge, NY,  1956. The year I first signed all my writing in script. No more printing.

Jake just told me that Charlie slept through the night a second night in a row. I had forgotten what a huge milestone that was for me and Jim who must have walked a thousand miles up and down the hallway in that first year, humming to the little sack of energy that he spawned. I slept sitting up in a rocking chair for most of  that same year until Colin, quite suddenly, got the hang of what the darkness was for.

I think that is when babies start to dream and have enough self-awareness to know that they are ok in that dream. Safe at home and in love and comfort no matter what dreams may come.

Monday, August 24, 2015

cloth identity help - updated

Thanks for all the help. The likely answer is Kona, but I'm not even going to run to HoAnne's to confirm it. I couldn't afford it in the first place and happily I just found a good two yards of undyed cotton that will do very nicely, a bit softer hand, but that's a good thing since it's going to be bedware. When I can get around to it. More about that in the next post.

I've come up with a plan for this cloth, but I have a problem. I need more of the same fabric and, although it's a type of high-end cotton used by dyers, I cannot remember what the brand might be.

So, I'm asking all the fiber folk who may be reading to see if you can name what I will describe.

It's 100% cotton, very fine threads, tightly woven,  with a smooth hand - if a little "hard". Even after dyeing and several washer/dryer trips it's still crisp and has held the dye like Alcatraz. It cracks when you snap it and will probably be hell to hand quilt, hence my decision to use it in a machine pieced design.

A long time ago I bought a few yards from TestFabric, but I don't recall the hand of that cloth being this fine. Any guesses?

Saturday, August 22, 2015

How does the Universe speak to you?

 The day before yesterday, I posted on facebook about Voodoo pissing in my private stash basket. I was able to wash everything and the basket immediately and I'm completely satisfied that everything was saved. this satisfied.

For some reason, my dryer has a habit of tangling these scraps mercilessly. As I sat clipping loose threads and freeing each piece from the Maytag Gyre, I took the opportunity to appreciate each one and try to remember what it was that got them into that "can't touch this" basket in the first place. I sorted them into piles, some to stay and some to go on to friends in far places.

I also spent a good bit of time contemplating what Voodoo's out of character behaviour portends. There was a late night conversation with Jimmy about where we would bury him the day the poor cat had some sort of stroke and appeared to be on death's doorstep for about twelve hours before he got up, shook himself good and went about his cat business. And how, in the final weeks and hours of Jim's passing, Voodoo never left his side until the moments just before dawn when he got up, stretched and made his way to my lap as Jimmy let go of my hand. 

All these thoughts on my mind when I went to sleep last night. It's no secret or surprise that I have been in a fog of depression and anxiety lately, wondering what made me think I ever had a creative bone in my body. It's like being wrapped in wet wool. There's no way to lay that doesn't smell bad or itch. An ongoing sense of claustrophobia. Just enough from keeping one from seeing/feeling beyond one's own mild misery.

Sometime in the night, the flock of bats that has been roosting and rustling in my head opened up their technicolor wings, circled a bit and vacated the premises.

I'm watching Charlie today so Jake can replace the starter on Jim's truck so Colin can drive it again.  On the drive over there, the two main characters of my book (they have not been speaking to me or each other for a while) struck up a brief conversation and an entire, needful scene rolled out right before my eyes, clear and real enough that I didn't even need to stop and take notes.

As I approached the entrance to their apartment, I saw that Jake had opened the door and was holding Charlie up so all I could see was his little face peeking around the door, head high. He was so happy to see me and even happier to help me take a deeper look at these fabrics to see what use might be found for them. 

The Universe spoke to me through cat piss.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Got health?

I met with a neurologist on Monday. He spent a long time going over all the test results and scans from my hospital stay before coming into the treatment room to actually have a look at me.

A little Yoda kinda guy. Went over all the paperwork with me and then told me he had a hard time connecting all the hard copy with the living person sitting in front of him. A good thing.

He put me through a bunch of hoops, you know, touch your finger to your nose, eyes closed. Tiptoe across the room (?) which must have been a spectacle cause he giggled.  Summation? He wants a repeat of the MRI so he can compare then and now. For some serious stuff going on in the scans, I was looking pretty healthy. No drilling for the moment. As you were.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

finding footing

Robbie, me and Kitty
This was the first time I've been back to New York when it was not the dead of winter that I can remember. The weather was spectacular with just one day of all day rain just to prove it was real.

My nephews are having the kind of childhood that I remember - spending most of their time outdoors, in or around the lake and woods. The community I grew up in is little changed, still idyllic.

Patty and me at Misquamicutt Beach. RI

Poor Patty was in the middle of some viral misery, but a perfect day at the beach went a long way towards making her feel better. We found a brand new favorite beach about two hours from her house.

The visit home was complete with a visitation from my parents' spirits, still at war. Unsettling, but not all that surprising.
There was no reading, writing or stitching while I was there. It was all about observing, appreciating and remembering. Lots of remembering.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


I was at the beach in RI yesterday. Brought a small bag with mending stuff and some scraps with me and let the cloth out to play in the sand.

I had thoughts of letting the tide take them away, but this is one of those public places that is very strict about littering.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Charlie's (1st) Banner Year

  Charlie turned one on the 1st of August.

When I first committed to watching Charlie, it was mostly to keep him safe. I just can't imagine hiring someone to do the most important job in the world and I feel for the many families that have no other option. I remember Jake saying something like “He'll give me a reason to smile” or something like that.

I know I was skeptical. My first nickname for him was Grub, then Groot, which quickly became Gooby....Good Baby.

I have never been a “baby” person. Never even held one right up until the ripe age of thirty when they handed me Colin and said “Good luck!” That started the seven luckiest years of my life because Jimmy, Fate & Karma conspired to make it possible for me to stay at home with both boys. Now it's my turn to pay it all back and forward at the same time, as long as I am able.

It's been a remarkable year. Charlie has given me so much more than just a reason to smile. He's given me a reason to look to the future and I'll always be grateful to Missy & Jake for trusting me with his care.

(He had a surprise for me at 1:27)

Monday, August 03, 2015

It's the little things.

This was an interesting day that did not start out auspiciously. To quote Leonard Cohen, “I ached in the places where I used to play.” I was tempted to go back to bed and stay there, but I'd had my fill of tossing and turning so I forced myself to get up and get on with what used to be a Good Day; coffee, some eats, getting dressed and out of the house, errands and a walk in the park, followed by some pool time. It's been since the end of June since any more than two of these were possible.

I'm going to be deliberately sketchy about the first event because I was the unwitting participant of a little Robin-Hoodery. Let's just say it was one disgruntled but friendly New-Yorker doing another one a favor in a show of solidarity. And somehow I knew he was going to do it before he did it.

Then it was off to the park. I haven't walked there in weeks and I didn't realize how my writing (what writing?) had suffered for lack of thoughtful footwork. Wallowing in the pool doesn't lend itself to fresh ideas lately, just bliss, too much of which turns the brain to jelly. Ask any opium smoker. 

Less than a quarter mile in, right at a convenient stone perch in the deep shade, I got down a substantial portion of a scene that I have been avoiding since it had a name. I called it good and went to stand on the bridge and watch fish for a while because it was hot and I was out walking will.

I have been a bird watcher, a bird noticer, my whole life. Seeing an unusual bird is meaningful to me. A sign of sorts. There, in the stream, playing on a sandbar with a few flycatchers was a feathered jewel. The small bird was completely
peacock blue and just glittered in the dappled light. I only know of one bird that is so relentlessly blue, the indigo bunting, but I had never seen alive, only in pictures. I can only assume that the greenish light of the glen gave it the turquoise cast, otherwise this was an alien visitation. Tomorrow I'm going back with the good camera and see if I was crazy.

Monday, July 27, 2015

July Dyefest 1

The first one that's gotten the work area cleaned up and tools and supplies organized. I'm a little disappointed in the subtlety of the results, but that's just Me. Never happy unless it's Carnival Time on Acid. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

one note in a score

Opposite ends of one small (11x24) piece of damask found folded and tucked down under a couch cushion. Discovered while looking for couch money!

It will serve briefly as inspiration for the dye deck tomorrow, rain or shine, and then, some traveling.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

some crass commercialism

I'm diligently spending time each day organizing/gutting the studio. There is a construction sized bag of vintage white cloth under the big table waiting to be carried (by some Oog, not me!) down to the dye deck. Summer will be long and hot, so no hurry.

There are also  four or five 30 gallon tubs of dyed scraps waiting for far-flung new homes and capable hands so they can continue on their journey to becoming Art.  See more about them HERE.

I'm also going to be  listing a variety of (mostly) never-been-touched art supplies and equipment for little more than the cost of getting it to you. The room is only 10x11 and I'd like to be able to at least rearrange the furniture!

Monday, July 20, 2015

an admin monday

all that bill paying, schedule juggling, medical appointment stuff out of the way, I can use the good morning light and work here and think about a name.

When the sun climbs and the light turns green from the trees, I'll venture out for a few more short errands.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

return to color

This has been on the design wall a while now. I think I stuck it up there just so it wouldn't get lost in the flood. I've been studying it  and have decided I'm in love with it again. How does that happen? Poor thing doesn't even have a name yet. It deserves finishing and a name so I'm going to set aside all the fits and starts in the river basket and try to focus on this one, so close to done.

It was built on a piece of polar fleece and will need to be backed and signed. It's pretty large, 30x44 I think. I will hang it on the inside of my bedroom door so I can see it from the bed.

Friday, July 17, 2015

my cure

It's been since Saturday since I saw him last and I was astonished at how much he's changed, but, then again, it may be that he was very subdued today since he's still getting over his first "day care" cold. All he wanted was cuddling, conversation and a little Curious George. I was happy to have help. Babies have always liked Colin. It's like having a circus for backup singers.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A+ day

"Nothing happens by thinking it through."  Who said that? Some damn hero I'd like to thank, but tonight, it's me.

I got up early, slew two administrative dragons and scratched them off the list. Then spent a total of fours whole hours actually writing.

The kinds of things that you say "Yeah, I got that. This, this and that needs to get yakked about here and more of the same there in order for this whole thing to make any sense.

Just having in my head is not all that useful to the reader. This little boring bits of connective tissue are everywhere. I feel Dr. Frankenstein's pain.

Meanwhile, the dye deck has become jungle lush. Who plants sunflowers and hyacinth vines in deck pots? My jars and steel tubs wait patiently.

Monday, July 13, 2015

just going - thank grace & jude

The only blogs still worth reading are the ones where the writer is having a substantive conversation with themselves while staying aware that they have an audience of readers who care. The things shared may be mundane - art fails, garden triumphs, day to day doings - or they may be world changers, which are tougher to share, but I like to think of the sharing, all of it, is an act of affirmation; the affirmation of the commonality of human experience.

I have withdrawn from here in recent months because I felt I had nothing to contribute. My creative focus has been pared down to words on a page and the feedback I get from the e-world regarding writing in general, is that it's a fool's errand. I might just as well finish a good scene and then take it to the crapper, shred it and flush a page at a time so as to not jam up the works.  And yet, I persist.

It reminds me so much of the major frustration of being a fiber artist! All that time and energy going into something that winds up rolled and put into storage! Right now I'm looking at a pile of over a dozen large pieces
waiting to be re-rolled, wrapped and inventoried to go back into storage in a different location leaving me to ponder what has been the real work of my lifetime, undoubtedly, my people.

Meanwhile, the world still spins day to day and chores await. Here's the annual studio in chaos picture. I can promise an "after picture" because life and changes have necessitated that I return to the room on a daily basis. Change your surroundings, change your mind? We'll see.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

mending & thank you

I keep missing these!  The moonflowers have opted to bloom on the outside of the trellis this year and I've been sleeping too late to catch the blossoms open. A trend that must cease.

Saw my primary doctor yesterday and he was happy that all of the things that I have been tested for have come back negative and my overall health is good .

That's not to say nothing happened. It was all in my head, yeah, that's the ticket. Whatever "it" was has left me with damage to repair through physical therapy for a while. There will be follow-up visits with a neurologist and I have to go looking for a walking stick but no drilling my skull for the fun of it at the moment.

Deep thanks to all of you who have offered strength and encouragement all along this mystery trip. I did not buy the t-shirt, or postcards and do not plan on passing this way again.

Monday, July 06, 2015

the world spins on ....

....without me. As it will for all of us, riders or not. I am feeling a little better each day even though I have no diagnosis as yet. I'm not being treated for anything specific- all of which makes me hopeful that my body is tending itself and making the necessary adjustments.

I feel suspended in time. When I go outdoors I can't tell by the sun or rain if it's spring or fall, the weather has been in neutral since I came home from the hospital.

I've not done any satisfactory stitching without stabbing myself so here's something that goes back a few months. My contribution to Charlies musical education.

He's had to start daycare a little early and it just breaks my heart even though he's a bold character and ready to meet the world on his own terms. He will flourish.

(If utube tampers with the audio here's the link to the music that was playing )

Thursday, June 25, 2015


I've been in the hospital since Sunday with what first presented as a stroke which was then (mostly) ruled out.

Since then I have been through five human toasters and have consorted with a squadron of vampires, but still have no diagnosis. Now it's hurry up and wait to see what comes next.

I asked that my project bag be brought to me here. It arrived without the project so I started something new from scraps floating around with the threads and such, but my left hand and some other left parts, remain a little stupid. Rough when you are working with sharps.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

at this rate

...I might finish this one around Christmas. So I'm going to put it in a gallon ziploc bag with all the essential tools and a small selection of thread and possible scrap contenders so I can have it with me, if and when the mood strikes. It's been happening from time to time while Charlie settles in for a nap. I can never tell if he's going down for an hour or just fifteen minutes!

Been kind of pre-occupied lately  battling paper dragons on all points of the compass; IRS, SS, local courts, other legal entities. "Who put me in charge of all this Shit?" she muttered as she stood before the mirror.

Summer spins on and the book is starting to fall into place. It's too hot to do any walking, but working the wet office has become part of the daily (well, three or four days a week) routine.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

flipping the days

We're having an all day rain so I pretended it was Sunday and didn't do any of the Gottas and ran with the Wannas. Most satisfying.

 I started auditioning cloth for this new piece, then interrupted the process to re-watch "Guardians of the Galaxy". Even more fun this time because we left the closed captioning on and I could actually follow the dialogue, such as it is. It's a comic book after all. Just fun.

Washed an unhappy cat and got back to cloth shuffling remarkably unscathed.

Sorry now that I have to set it aside to go to work. If the thunderstorms persist, there could be a miraculous power failure.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

sunday change up

Routines are good until they become ruts so I did everything different today, except for writing first thing in the morning.

NO housework. Whatever didn't get done yesterday will wait until Monday.

Pool early, before the sun was too strong.

A Braves game with Charlie napping on my arm

and late in the day, cleaning and restocking the river basket which led to a little tentative stitching.

My fingers feel stiff and dumb, but the cloth felt good and late day light is just as good as early morning.

Soon, I'll add night walking.

Friday, June 05, 2015

busy week

I did a little stitching when no one was looking. This light chambray shirt had a corporate logo over the breast pocket that just had to go.

Nothing gets done anymore without my assistant.

Yesterday would have been our 39th wedding anniversary I blogged about it here.

and today our 39th legal anniversary. We had to do it twice because the judge screwed up and it was always nice to have two chances to celebrate on the times that life got in the way.

What does it take to have a long and happy marriage?

A bunch of mothers, aunties and  grammas doing the tarantella in the back yard.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Hand dyed DMC

And I was afraid that they were going to be too dark....spooling these onto those cute little DMC cardboard thingies while I work tonight. 13 yards each.

Saturday, May 30, 2015


I have at least a dozen large pieces dating back to 2007 that just don't do it for me anymore. I can clearly remember being less than enthralled with the trend of throwing the kitchen sink onto every piece. A day didn't go by without one faction or another gushing about the Latest Thing with regards to embellishment which lead to discussions on how best to hang a piece freighted with beads, buttons, paint, whatever.

New to dyeing my own and whole cloth work, I was besotted with color and clearly remember being aggravated that I somehow had to have three layers and incorporate stitching if I wanted to be "in the club". Happy to say I never got in.

Still many of these pieces feel unfinished. Experiments in transformation are underway.

Friday, May 29, 2015

eyes wide open

No time for much else. These and another couple dozen will be dyed this weekend. Each one 13 yds of six-strand DMC floss.

Colors?  I won't know until the sun rises on Saturday. I also plan on working some larger pieces of linen and damask in the creeping darkness technique that I was experimenting with two weekends ago.

I spend most of what little free time I have writing, but I had a big bucket of emotional cold water tossed over my head last weekend.

There had been plans to give up both the studio, office and upstairs bath to a renter. I really thought I could do this, but when the preliminary meet with a person who would be anyone's ideal tenant was over, I sat in the studio at my sewing machine for a few minutes looking around, trying to decide what could be stored where and what would be parted with. Then I broke down in tears with emotions that reached far, wide and deep.

It took me a while to realize that I just couldn't take another square inch of loss in my life. So, I cannot afford to let this space, these materials, and most importantly, this practice languish and be wasted.  I have to try harder.
It's not like riding a bike at all.

and of course, there are life's delights.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

moving on

"Fierce" has come down off the design wall and will be outside on the pool deck with the elements for the time being.

It's been getting in the way of progress in the studio.

With these new test pieces just shuffling around up there for now, I've finally been able to see that my lack of passion for getting Fierce done was directly connected to all the ways that the piece went sideways to my original intent. It's helped me see a new way to accomplishing that goal.

Whole cloth with was resist was NOT the path. It was a quick fix that failed. There are too many basic design flaws to admit to and correct. And yet, this cloth will continue to serve. There will be surgeries, overdyeing and more. The base damask was very strong and will not be wasted. I have no time to waste.