Category Archives: animals

  Blood and money

The other night, I clipped one of Finn’s nails too short and it bled. And bled. Oh, and it bled some more! The special powder had turned to rock, so while K held a paper towel on our poor alarmed pup’s paw, I whipped up a concoction of corn starch and baking powder.

The bleeding stopped, as bleeding usually does. But later, after settling on the pillow that he sleeps in at the end of our bed, Finn worried at it some. I didn’t know it then, but the nail bled again. The next day while making the bed (or what I call ‘making the bed’), I was astonished to find a perfect heart of his blood on our coverlet.In writing class last week (and weirdly, I can’t remember if it was before or after this nail incident), I wrote (and wrote) about blood. Oh how I wrote! If this is the year for making myself uncomfortable with risk-taking, then I ought to share it, oughtn’t I?

img_1256Meanwhile, I lost my progressive lenses two days ago (my $600 progressive lenses!) It’s disorienting and distressing to say the least. I have tons of three dollar reading glasses which I lose all the time with little consequence. But these? Until two days ago, I had considered my successful tracking a function of respect for the price tag.

(That’s $600 with insurance, by the way. If St. Anthony doesn’t come to my aid, I’ll be looking to Warby Parker for cheaper replacements).

Coincidentally, I recently recommitted to a babysitting job that kinda ruins my Thursdays. I didn’t want to say ‘No’ and I didn’t want to say ‘Yes’ either. In the aftermath of saying ‘Yes’, I decided that earmarking my modest earnings as ‘mad money’ might ease the ambivalence.

And then I go and lose my glasses. I lose my glasses something like ten minutes after the ‘mad money’ idea — glasses that cost almost to the dollar what the babysitting will produce in income.

Maybe they’ll turn up. Certainly, I won’t spend $600 to replace them. But correlations like this make me pay attention and ask questions.

Questions like: don’t I deserve to spend $600 on myself? (this from a woman who recently purchased a sweet grass basket in Charleston for $270 and considered it a deal). Or, is the designation ridiculous, given the amount of our resources spent to keep me nicely clothed and in bath salts?

Could it be an old lesson — that old, old one about the dangers of saying ‘Yes’ when I want to say ‘No’ (I thought I was done with this one).

Or maybe it’s about losing focus. Pure and simple (although, what’s simple about that?)

Such first world issues I leave you with today.

UPDaTE: I re-thought the Thursday commitment. Relief. ‘Hear that glasses? You can show up now!’

 

 

A crowd gathering on the mantel

These creations have a way of taking over. Are they gifts? One or two. Do I plan to sell them any time soon? Nah. Never mind — they demand to be made.

I machine stitched that pink and white kitty head and soft mauve body (below). She’s going to be a gift for the girl I babysit one day a week. I love that her ears are different colors and that her face has that triangle of pink. Soft, old wools help. I was hoping she would wear that pink satin skirt (to the right), but she has other ideas. More sporty.


Today we went to a Big Box store primarily to buy nuts for baking (yes! Christmas IS happening) and (somehow) managed to buy $450 worth of other stuff while we were at it (not counting booze).

A case of wine and bourbon fell out of the hatchback and landed on my foot in the parking lot. Incredibly, five bottles survived the crash and luckily, one of them was the bourbon. Ironically, fifty dollars worth of wine met the pavement while I was making sure they hadn’t overcharged us $16 on a package of meat (still agog at the $500 total. I mean, seriously — batteries, men’s shirts, and frozen shrimp notwithstanding).

Last weekend, we gathered with K’s cousins. It was a surprise birthday party for two 60 year olds. Yes, it’s come to this — gag gifts for extra hair and bad joints, jokes about Medicare, and actually wanting to be in bed by nine. Here’s C with H. She moved to the West Coast at the end of the summer and C is moving there at month’s end.

Everything will be LESS this year. Less cookies. Less shopping. I may not even bring in the nutcracker collection this year. Fortunately I gave up card writing more than ten years ago.

This doll no longer looks quite so forlorn. I added more hair, closed up the sides of her head, hemmed her cowl. She’s being shaped and auditioned on a bottle, with a chop stick for stability. I am considering keeping the bottle, instead of creating a cloth body with gravel at bottom for ballast the way I usually do. These are not kids’ toys, after all.

These two felt doggies (below) are whispering behind the curtain. I’d love to know what they’re so giddy about.


I gave the Red Bell Pup to my sister on Wednesday. Her cat may think it’s for her.

Tomorrow, we get our tree. “Less” will govern there as well. We have high ceilings and have typically had gorgeous 8-9 footers gracing our living room. Not this year. I’m thinking small — not table top small, but maybe six feet, max. It’s not just that I continue to feel done in, anxious, and lost. It’s that LESS truly feels like enough.

A little happy cloth

In the spirit of finishing things, in the spirit of working with sweet themes, I finished a half-worked patchwork yesterday. I love it –  not because a thing has to be sweet to be loveable, but because I do.

This one I think I will add batting, backing, hand quilt and offer for sale. It could serve as a baby cloth (to be tucked into diaper bag, say) or as a hanging.

(The house is appliqué. The rest, pieced).

Saturday

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A very cold day that included a brisk walk, raking (and more raking), and cleaning out some duct work. Polishing glass. Writing and sewing. Decapitation.
IMG_6377.JPGThat’s right: decapitation. I took the head off one of my figures. More on that later.

Meanwhile, Boy Mouse has his skates. His grey scarf is another one of my size zero knitting needle adventures. He’s more ready for winter than I am!

IMG_6375.JPGWhen I lamented to my husband that Boy Mouse’s skates were a little too big, he quipped, “That’s okay. He doesn’t have feet.”

IMG_6374.JPGThe pipe cleaner on his back is for hanging. He can go on a wall or a Christmas tree. His jacket comes from old pjs and old (clean!) socks.

IMG_6373.JPGI made a substantial salad with blue cheese, bacon, apple, romaine hearts and bitter greens for lunch. It was satisfying.

IMG_6370.JPGI’ll sign off here. Stay warm if you are in cold temps! IMG_6371.JPGDanny comes home tomorrow and there’s chili on the stove in his honor. Later in the week, I’m cooking for Thanksgiving, but only for seven, so I hope to check back in here before then!IMG_6376.JPG

November clouds and sounds

window-shadowMist this morning. Rhythms shift as the days diminish. Some things stay steady or grab ahold. Others seem to fall away. I don’t quite feel in control.

Frustrations — the ongoing irritation of yard crews buzzing, seemingly, through my skull — sometimes four a day, sometimes the trucks blocking my road. An expensive ‘upgrade’ with Verizon that not only DID NOT increase our speed, but created the lovely new quirk of dumping our devices off-line even when sitting within several feet of the (brand-new ‘upgraded’) router. The prospect of switching providers is on the horizon. While it will be good to do something about deficient service (especially when that ‘something’ might include two years of free HBO — a real prospect to a 57-year old who has NEVER had cable), it is nevertheless the case that switching a decades-old email address can only feel like a nightmare in-the-making. Ya know? And I hate how even the ‘easy stuff’ never is — fellow oldsters know what I mean! — how you get that four step list and the first three super-simple steps do not take you to the tabs or settings they say they will and you have to walk away or start over, all the while assuming there is something seriously wrong with your brain?!
clouds-wires-horizon-deemallonAnd then there’s WordPress, which misbehaves regularly. This week? Random new default settings for picture justification and the lovely (revisiting) trick of rearranging the placement of a photo if I add a caption after insertion. That neither of these things were happening last week and that neither seems amenable to my attempts to correct just add to their power to annoy the crap out of me.

I’m not done yet — every other picture I shoot on my phone produces the “NO SPACE” message, even though I only keep about 250 AND I keep deleting apps AND I have very little music there. Since recently discovering the DianaPhoto app, it suddenly matters to me, meaning that what was an inconvenience two weeks ago, feels like a creative constraint today.

The PC where I type now presents its ongoing inefficiencies with photo tweaking and storage (my friend the Blue Spinning Donut). Any rearrangement of pix (say to a separate hard-drive) risks losing the trails and producing a gallery of question marks (it’s happened!). I actually feel sick thinking about all of this.

All fixable problems, of course, but not without outlays of cash for expert intervention or, in the case of the phone, massively upgraded monthly service. OK, I’ll learn about the cloud. OK!! OK!! I’ll go talk to one of the fucking geniuses at the mall.

But more money? No and no.

No wonder this little girl cheers me so!! She’s immune to these maddening issues. Completely Old World (which, let’s face it, might be 1991). She doesn’t even care that the hem of her pink silk skirt is ripped.
felt-mouse-christmas-deemallon-pinkShe sports her imperfections with elan! She eagerly greets every morning! All she needs for a happy day is someone to share her seasonal gifts with. Today, she’s my role model.
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IMG_6280I think when I get back from Salem today, I’ll have a nice long chat with her.

Maybe her name will come to me on the drive North.

For now, let me beg forgiveness for the complaining (and by the way, for those of you who know me better, you know this is NOT a rant… more like a Report of Defeat).

Let me also apologize for the possible incoherence. I am typing to Alison Krauss (followed by Amy Winehouse) played a little too loud. This, to obscure the sound of two trucks somewhere nearby that seem to have nothing to do but BACK UP.

Beep beep beep beeep beeeep beeep. And now the street sweeper. Oh god, this is making traffic on 128 actually look appealing!

Wrap up

But before I go off to my LIST and my PAGES and the CLEANING I like to do on Mondays, I wanted to assemble a collection of pictures from the summer class I took —  ‘Considering Weave’ with Jude Hill over at Spirit Cloth.  Just as a place to see what I did.  How much I learned.  These kinds of visual bookmarks make a difference down the road…  it is so easy to underestimate or lose track of the volume of threads/cloth that went through the process with me… this will help me remember!

And, by the way, the act of doing this — its value both now and later — is just one of the many, many things learned from Jude.

in-process butterfly received a needle woven body

in-process butterfly received a needle woven body — idea to embroider words inspired by Cindy over at handstories

some actual weave; some figurative

some actual weave; some figurative

one of my indigo cloths with woven opening

one of my indigo cloths with woven opening — made so many mistakes!

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a woven patch

a woven patch — lumpy, loveable, functional

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the “Triscuit” crater — backing from my indigo vat

woven strip square open and woven at center with butcher's twine

buckling caused by size of opening could not be fixed even with machine stitching to a heavy weight backing

woven 'islands' extending patterning over edge

woven ‘islands’ extending patterning over edge — one of my favorites from the class

woven islands partnered with Middle Passage piecing

woven islands partnered with Middle Passage piecing

visual weave with vertical and horizontal running stitches

visual weave with vertical and horizontal running stitches

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the crow got a woven base and flew off to Wendy Golden-Levitt

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seeing warp and weft all around

seeing warp and weft all around

continuing on a piece in context of weaving

continuing on a piece in context of weaving — many sections begun in another of Jude’s classes

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more strip weaving because it's hard to stop; travels well

more strip weaving because it’s hard to stop; travels well

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speckled vintage linen from Deb Lacativa’s dye pot

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blue sky — arashi technique with commercial dye — by moi!

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sampler:  Corn Guy

sampler: Corn Guy

as I started 'sewing' more, back neatened up (worked top down)

as I started ‘sewing’ more, back neatened up (worked top down)

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copy of Jude’s waves. Woven on primitive box loom (which was a rectangular basket in my case)

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Planning to order a bead loom so that I can continue without some of the frustrating tension issues caused by wrapping warp around a basket and taping it to the back.

I didn’t get a chance to make any fringe and look forward to trying.  Would like to edge some of my Star Maps with it. And, I can’t wait to try some of the more experimental techniques offered this month. Any more meaningful reflections on the class will have to wait.  It was a terrifically provocative journey (as usual)… and if other classes I have taken are any indication, the fruits of the learning will keep coming over the next months and seasons.

Bye for now!
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