Saturday, May 27, 2023

With littles


I had the pleasure of picking Charlie up from the last of third grade. The next morning, he was disoriented about what day of the week it was. No school, the first day of Summer vacation came as a shock to him.  Me too.
There will be a little summer school, a few weeks of day camp, and one away trip. I'll have his company scattered here and there. 

On the way to my house the next day we had to make an emergency stop at a tire place to have a repair made. Such luck that I scanned the dash and saw the warning light and the Tires Plus in Bogart was just minutes off the highway.
They squeezed us in and squeezed us out in about two hours. The errant screw was removed from the tire, 21.50 thank you very much. Nice, clean waiting space.

During the waiting, we had long and looping conversations. He had a device but seemed to play the game with a different part of the brain and was fully present to interact with me. I made an effort to not pick up my phone because Now is ever more important. 

  Before we got back to my house there was some discussion about Sweetie's state of being. The flux of her life. He wanted to react with a learned sadness, but I wouldn't let it stand. We talked about the quality of life and how (as far as we know) animals don't have a fear of whatever comes next. How if all their needs are met - food, water, shelter, comfort of companionship - they are satisfied. At ease. So she seems. 
    Charlie and Sweetie have always had a guarded relationship. He was a toddler when he accidentally stepped on her tail and at some point she gave him a warning scratch. I assured him that she wouldn't remember any of that, but she would remember cat cookies and soft touches.

We stayed outside in the fresh air and sunshine for a big chunk of the day. So many deep questions bubble up at this age. God, or not. Cultural norms that have been informed by cartoons. Heaven or hell. Reincarnation. A cartoon character who has two Dads. Question. Questions. 

He loves a good political discussion. Something we keep under our hat. I assure him that grown-ups who know right from wrong have most of this stuff under control. His only obligation is to learn from history and when he is old enough, to vote or to even run for office to make things right for the most people. He has a deep social consciousness and a prosecutor's heart.  

I have explained to him that I am a time traveler obligated to share the ancient wisdom. Like how pay phones worked. How to find north. How to put stuff in the same place all the time so you can find it again. Old people tricks. Questions lead to more answers. 

We are working on cultural exchanges. I watched the Super Mario movie with him, actively. I was pleasantly surprised. Soon, he promised he will watch Star Wars with me. More history lessons. More questions. 

The crown of the day was when he decided that I must be a witch because I always seemed to know what to do. Like Bactine for a mosquito bite. Ginger ale for a belly ache. Applesauce to make you poop. I gave him a little history of witches including the downside of people being persecuted by the ignorant. How it pays to NOT be ignorant. Educate yourself every day, all day. Listen. Watch. Learn.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Passages and indulgences

Just when we are all gearing up mentally for summer, the last few days have been more like February. Damp and raw. 

It does make for good reading, writing, and napping weather. I always have a nap coach ready to help.

The writing wobbles along. I'm at the place - in two separate stories -where I am chasing scenes, catching them after a lot of fuss, and then wondering why. Lotta chaff in the air lately. 

I was shopping online the other day and kept saying WTF or GTFOH out loud. When I gave up and went to the store I was still turning over price tags and muttering it for the sake of anyone within earshot. 

Judging by muted laughter, I wasn't alone in my sticker shock. 
I brought home a lot of nearly dead plants, a whole summer wardrobe, and lost my last cane.

Oh, that. Friday last was supremely stressful. I have a better understanding of a personal rubicon. 

    Midweek I made the decision to take Sweetie for a last trip to the vet. The home visit euthanists wanted nearly a mortgage payment for their kindnesses. So, it was set for Friday at 2. 
    My appointment for my back called for leaving the house at 8:30am with a driver. Colin came to the car with Sweetie bundled up in a lovey for her last ride, thinking I was a horrible person for being annoyed at his footdragging. Overwhelmed by his sorrow, he got the appointment times mixed up. He has such a tender heart. Confusion, tears, apologies. and my solemn vow that we would cancel the vet appointment if I could just get through mine. I doubled down on the valium and a bunch of needles later, and I could stand up straight without pain in my legs. For how long? I don't care. Now is just fine. 

A word about suffering. We aren't seeing any signs of pain, and certainly no fear. Sadness is our construct, not hers. After not taking any water or food for four days, Saturday night she set about making up for lost time. She wants to be outdoors as much as the weather will permit, but I don't let her stay outside alone. We sit together and watch the garden grow. Her friends sit too. Each day, still a gift. 

She's facing what used to be her wild lands. The overgrown shrubs and weeds between the stand of trees in front of the house. 

Now it's reduced to a decomposing mountain of woodchips and hopefully will be supporting a variety of perennials.  

I've always been a chaos gardener. It was so much easier in the black soil of the Hudson Valley. Here, it's hit or miss.

A string of pumpkin plants is already flowering from the guts of last year's Jack O lantern. I planted those 50-cent nearly deads out there randomly. Some tomatoes, peppers, squash, and watermelons no one wanted mixed in with the zinnia, cosmos, and a bunch of other things that I'd already forgotten.

We wait together to see what the garden will give us. Flowers, food, and eventually, a place to rest. 

I've taken to skipping dinner for dessert. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

The bonus and the dropped card

 I was gathering stuff in preparation for the next dyefest. There was a yardstick on the freshly cleared sewing table so I thought I'd double-check on the measure of the hanks.

At some point, I decided that forty turns around one of my heavy, blue "holds a full can of Coke" glasses was the ten yards I'd been advertising. I used to do this part while I was on the clock at the whine mine. Keeping the count true is important so it's not the mindless task you might think.

 Turns out forty wraps equal *12 *yards, so bonus to the buyers and I'm not going to change the process. Twelve it is.

  I'm winging a tutorial in my head. Don't know what to tell you about these glasses. My left fist fits in one perfectly. I've had them forever and don't remember the source. They have the number 500 embossed on the bottom. I dropped one on my foot once. They are mighty. 

A word about this bit of devil skin. First, it was on the floor in the kitchen and went into my pocket. Then it was on the floor in my bedroom. Finally, I caught Camilla (the snake charmer) mauling it in the studio. I took it from her and washed off the dust and cat cooties. Now it's in the river basket waiting. 

More than once a persistent little rag has had something important to say given half a chance. Like a dropped Tarot card, it needs to be heard.
"Anna didn’t answer but picked up the Moon card again. “We’re blinded to danger by distraction and dreams. Up is down and blood looks black.” As she put the card back on the table, her sleeve brushed the deck and a card fell to the floor between their feet, face down. Reflexively, Violet reached to retrieve it, but Anna said sharply, “Don’t touch it. That will be the last. The dropped card must be heard.”

   She turned another card and spread her fingers wide, touching all three at once. “Damn. Seven of Cups. More temptations and distractions.” She reached down for the card on the floor and put it face-up on the table. Death on his white horse.
Violet hushed a hiss.
Eyes closed, head down, her voice soft, distant, Anna said, “Don’ you fear Death. Respect him. He walk among us every day, unseen. He about change, not endings. Change as sure as sunrise, fulla promise. He the one thing we can all count on. Change. Whatever was, is ‘bout to be something else.” 

(Prophets Tango~Dancing in the Dark)

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

"You mutha!"


Reposted here from FB. I forget that smart people don't waste nearly as much time in that particular swamp as I do. And I use to tease my mother about reading the Inquirer!  

What did I get for Mother's Day? Snake bit!

Camilla was laying in the street playing with a huge garter snake who was not impressed. I didn't want either of them run over by a car so I made a poor grab for the one that didn't run off when I shooed her. I foolishly forgot how fast they are and how very sharp and grabby their teeth are."

Such a sensationalist! It bled for two minutes, was a little stiff and swollen by evening, and gone the next morning. And yes, I'm sure there's been a tetanus shot at some point along the life. I have always been fascinated by the nope ropes and will handle one if necessary (like in a drawer in the kitchen) but the first time one bites you or takes a greasy shit on you, you'll remember your place is at least a yard away.

We are being vigilant about snakes. This little idiot wants to play with everything and we do have copperheads in this area. Colin saw a very large, black snake - not sure of its species yet - sunning on a fallen tree in the backyard. That is a good thing as those types tend to run off the bad ones. 

It's nice to be able to show off the deck garden this year without worrying about getting arrested. And I check around those pots for long visitors every time I go out there. The lavender is about to explode with blooms. My indigo seeds failed but I also buried some new peony roots in the same container. They are doing fine. 

On a sadder note, Sweetie clings to the small pleasures, like sleeping in the sun on the front walkway or back deck. Last night she did something that I've been worrying about. Anticipating. 

Just at dusk, she wasn't in any of her predictable resting spots. 
I found her in the front yard at the far edge of the wild island in a sphinx-like pose. Listening. Waiting.

She cannot run or defend herself. She is mostly blind. I fear she's going to take herself off to nature for her last hours, but the thought of losing her to the pain and violence of being taken by coyotes keeps me awake at night. I reach out in the darkness and find her fur. I hold my hand on her until I feel her breathing. Only then I can go back to sleep. 

Monday, May 15, 2023

Monday sets

Update - Nine new sets of threads added to the store. 
 There's an awful lot of room for technical failures this morning.

Planning and prepping for the next dye fest around the next back fix on Friday. 

I'm still looking for that Blue that has no name. Just one degree of cool, clear, and deep...not dark. 
Bossy Turquoise is not the right starting place. I have to visit the sources but relying on the screen samples has always been a crapshoot. 

Sometimes, I think I just imagined this color.
Shake 'em, baby.


Saturday, May 13, 2023

On the road


This is the last leg of the trip, pulling into their road after an hour and fifteen minutes of mostly highway driving. The inclination to speed is always there, but the grace on a midday Friday is that there is too much traffic on the road and it rained on an off all the way. So, I just fall into line, hang back a bit, and just be semi-aware of what the other assholes are up to. Be the rock in the river. Let the music flow low. Don't get pulled over.

The writing/driving reflex is back in a big way. I struggled all week with a scene that was fully fleshed but seemed to have no purpose. "No legs" is the best way to describe it. I knew Jack and Daniel needed to interact and thought I knew how and why, but I was wrong. 

I wasn't on the road five minutes and the entire scene came together over a few missing elements and more importantly, its place in the story, the timing of the thing, was revealed. I pulled over and took a page of notes rather than let this one get away.

Who does this revealing and how does it happen? All I know is that, for me, the complex yet subliminal task of driving seems to clear a space for other ways of thinking through a problem. 

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Resources, finite


I've been evicted from the stitching chair. No more just dropping in.

She knows I have different things to focus on for now and it's not the best place for using the big laptop.  I'm not shifting creative gears as easily as I used to. Whatever it is I'm working on, deserves my full attention.  The river basket and threadbox will wait without complaint.

Friday, May 05, 2023

Ship day

 I found the sweet spot at our local post office. 10:30 Friday morning. No waiting! If you've ordered in the last week, your goodies are on the way!

Thursday, May 04, 2023

Epic Fail

I had high hopes for this three-yard swath of mid weight linen. 

But, the temps fell, Turquoise lost his power, and Demon Fuchsia crept out of Plum and spread its pink mud over the land...

The last time I had to deal with this the solution was.......I"m searching the archives.

Monday, May 01, 2023

Shopkeeping, Come What May


For all that, I only kept these three for myself. For now.  I have a lot of things going on and stitching always seems to come up in last place these days. 
Needs change, I guess.

So, there are finally threads and cloth in the shop for those who are still flashing needles and grins. 

Quantities are always finite, but it's only May 1! Plenty more dyefest coming this summer.  I'll be posting more first thing tomorrow.

And somehow, a tutorial.  

I don't yet know what I'm going to do with this cotton/silk twist. I pulled six strands from the rainbow hank just to see how they would handle. Easy enough. I have to measure (where's my measuring tape) to see what I have here. More on this in a few days.