Frost and fiddle heads 

Woke to frost but – oh happy day – many of the ostrich ferns are showing signs of life. I love their dramatic unfolding: first a hint of green; then clear curls showing themselves;  and finally, the swift, miraculous reach for the sky. I am particularly grateful for their emergence because I wasn’t sure any of them survived our first year with Finn.

Thanks to Home Depot and my husband, they will be protected this season (thank you for the gardening tips, Mo!). By the way, does anyone know what you call the fern’s brown husky base? A ‘brown husky base’?

A slightly more decorative fence for the bottle tree-bed, below.Meanwhile there is still a lot of mud to deal with.   Last night, I couched black satin cording for the Sanders/Jackson label and embroidered the barber stripes. I’m finding it discordant with the other labels. Will look at it for a bit. We are off to Montreal soon in any case. Packing up Son Number One. The end of another era.

Susie Jackson and Tywanza Sanders Hearts for Charleston Quilt

 

 On June 17 last summer, the Jackson family of Charleston lost three of its members: Susie Jackson, her cousin Ethel Lance, and Susie’s nephew, Tywanza Sanders. Because Tywanza Sanders tried to shield his aunt from the shooter and then reached out to comfort her as they both lay dying, I stitched their names on the same heart. Their funeral services were held together.
img_3873Susie Jackson, the oldest person slain last summer, was a trustee of the Emanuel AME and a former member of the choir. In this article from “The Post and Courier”, she was remembered as “a family and church matriarch.” According to the same article, Ms. Jackson “volunteered in myriad ways over her many years of constant faith and fidelity.” 

Because of her love of music, I couched some black satin cording in a G clef for the back of the block.

Here’s a “Post and Courier” photo of Ms. Jackson’s son, Walter, holding his mother’s picture:

At their joint service, a rousing performance of “I Can’t Give Up Now” was sung. Here’s a link to Lee Williams singing a version of same.

This “Post and Courier” photo shows two caissons carrying the caskets of Susie Jackson and Tywanza Sanders from the church.

Before he was shot, Tywanza stood between the shooter and his Aunt Susie and said, “You don’t have to do this.”

He was said to possess a brightness of spirit and such brightness is very visible on his instragram feed.  “The Post and Courier” quoted a friend as saying of him that he had a “majestic and contagious smile few people have”.

From the next quote, you can see why the article about him was headlined: Poet, Hero, Tywanza Sanders.

“He was remembered for his artistry. A poem of his was read that spoke of social conscience and ended, “divided by color/So we are all trying to be equal.” It was titled “Tragedy.”

Mourners kept coming back to Sanders’ last moments. The family’s remembrance of him in the program said his last words were, “Where is my Aunt Susie. I’ve got to get to my Aunt Susie” as he reached for her.”

Tywanza was also entrepreneurial and hoped to establish a barber business. He already had his license and undergraduate business degree.  I am about to stitch the barber pole with the signature red, white and blue stripes.
img_2309Liz Ackert contributed some unbelievably beautiful labels recently and I will post about them this week.

On a completely pedestrian note, it continues to be unseasonably cold here. I keep thinking I can put my down-filled coats away and then finding myself wearing them. Today I added a wool scarf for my neck!

To read more about this project,
please refer to the the sidebar category:
“Hearts for Charleston Quilt”

To investigate this style of quilting more,
please visit the inspiring and generous master quilter, Jude Hill
  at her blog Spirit Cloth

Monastic hours

In the quiet dark then not so dark, I finished Toni Morrison’s novel, “God Help the Child”.

It’s the second morning in a row that Finn has gotten me out of bed before five. Yesterday, there were also dreams (first, the usual nightmare of a male intruder, this one around 7′ tall, then around 4:30, this one: Oprah offers me a job as her counsel. We kind of know each other, both having second homes in upstate New York. The offer is equal parts wonderful and absurd. I sputter, “but I’m not a member of the NY bar.” Then I tell her I’m working on a novel. She raises her eyebrows as if to say, ‘So? You can’t do both?’ Awake, I walk around wondering whether Dream-Oprah was a clueless benefactor or better able to see my possibilities).

Today, after the reluctant sliding of legs over the side of the bed, rummaging for slippers and socks, making coffee in the dark, I knew that the quiet would reward me.

It did.

Lots to love about the novel. Did not care for the thread of magic realism she inserted, but I never care for that much. Certainly, the story held together and drove me to its end. That matters to me more than it used to. I knew I would like it way more than the reviewer for The New York Times Book Review did. Here’s a beautiful paragraph (Adam is Booker’s murdered older brother):

Doesn’t that prose take your breath away?
I hope it warms up a little soon. I’m really sick of being cold.

Chilly

  
Chill in the air here still. I walked Finn with a down vest on just now and with gloves for the early walk. 

Called a friend to join me on second walk. Note to self: a rich and luxurious solitude slides into isolation when you’re not looking. 

Off to watch PBS news hour. Totally given up on CBS, which I used to watch on the dinky old TV in the kitchen while making or eating dinner. The TMZ format wears (tease, ads, another tease, more ads, then a story about ten seconds longer than the tease) as does the content. My favorite smarmy story-category of late? The eight year old white boy who feels so bad for the cops he bakes them some cookies. 

Can you hear me gagging on those cookies?

I am on pins and needles about NY’s primary. 

Teeny screen

 

 Thinking about technology and blogging habits. I don’t know what’s happening these days. I seem to have wandered away in a more thorough way than I have in the past. So little photography happening too. It’s just weird.

I think I need to either throw myself in with renewed and amped up commitment or walk away.

And if it’s the former (and of course it’s the former. I would miss my cyber-fiber friends way too much), I’m guessing that an iPad would make all the difference.

I rarely sit at the desk top anymore. I have an old iPhone with a teeny screen and it’s tough to read and comment on others’ blogs from here.

So. What do you think?

Chores and light

Every season there are surprises that I’m not sure should be surprises — things that make me ask, did this happen last year? Or ever before? This spring I am astonished by how many dried catalpa pods littered the yard. Were they ever this plentiful before, requiring five or six large barrels? Perhaps I forget year to year.

And, in other Aprils, I don’t remember the late afternoon sun being so glorious in what we call “the new room” (it remains “the new room” even as it ages through its second decade). Lately, the light has honeyed the walls and furniture in a way that gladdens me so much you’d think I’d remember. But I don’t. It seems novel and remarkable.

 

I don’t perform an itemized spring cleaning, but I do find myself taking toothbrush and Comet to windowsills and slate on a more regular basis than I might during the winter. Since C is graduating in a few weeks (with a BS in Chem, in case you want to be impressed), I want his room to be nice. Or at least, clean. The old windows in our house collect dirt and insect husks and paint chips in a way that require some real elbow grease. It is kind of gross how much of the filth comes off, but ever so satisfying to watch it go. And yes, the photo is an ‘after’ shot – you should have seen it before.

Now, do you see the black form under the yew bush below? Left side? There’s Finn sniffing along the fence. His insatiable joyful need for ‘fetch’ has a lot to do with the state of our backyard.   We are considering a combination approach: rolls of sod, pea stone, and slate. Using what we had on hand, K and I got a pretty good start on a patio at the garage end. The midsection would get the sod (too much shade to grow grass from seed) and the back third, the pea stone. We’ll see. Right now, half of our dog training goes to getting Finn to sit and then stand while we wipe his paws at the back sliders (he’s pretty good about it). I’m waiting to see if any of the trampled ostrich ferns come back. Fingers crossed.