Category Archives: blogging

Hail Mary, solicitors, and hope


Two days ago, when I was editing a published post about the only Catholic prayer I still say and a little about travel by air, the phone rang. It was a persistent solicitor — a number I’ve been seeing every day for weeks. I picked up to politely request my removal from their list while simultaneously saving the post —

and the whole thing vanished. Not just the updates — all of it.

I walked away, resolved not to let negative narratives spin up around the glitch, but also without the energy for a re-do. The negatives arose anyway (was silence imposed because the post was braggy instead of vulnerable? was it too facile with the Catholic rituals? not remotely concerning what is truly and deeply on my mind?)

What IS truly and deeply on my mind?

Yesterday, the wordpress app on my phone seized. Geez! Haven’t I said, I’m not shutting up?


So by way of recap, here’s a little from the other day — I hope I never stop feeling a sense of wonder about being up in the air and seeing the coast lit up below. I hope the Virgin hears our prayers. I hope Mary’s mercy can guide me to learn more about the complicated landscape of South Carolina. Help me filter history through a tender and flexible compassion.

Here’s one surprise from my recent trip. The most restorative aspect of our visit to Charleston came from a major reduction in news consumption. Not the sun, the 70 degree temperatures, the incredible food or historic sites (though they were amazing, too). It was LESS NEWS.


For wisdom about the business of balancing duty and lightness, I turn to Rebecca Solnit (“Hope in the Dark”). Even though since November I’ve had a hard time reading political commentary that predates the election, she will be an exception. She wrote:

“Joy doesn’t betray but sustains activism. And when you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated, and isolated, joy is a fine initial act of insurrection.”

Giving is an act of insurrection, too. Did you hear about the crowd sourcing that planned to raise $20k in a month for purposes of repairing the vandalized Jewish graves in Missouri? They exceeded their goal in THREE HOURS. Or about the million-plus dollars raised to rebuild that burned down mosque in Texas? Twenty-three thousand people contributed.

Closer to home, my city just voted to be a sanctuary city.

Powerful examples of our collective goodness absolutely abound right now. To stay sane, I really need to pay as much attention to them as I do to the ugly and dark work of the GOP.

  • Photos of Virgin, magnolia tree and house were shot at Magnolia Plantation, SC last week.

H is for humor C is for courage


Rethinking this platform big time. Bear with me while I re-jigger it enough to keep my own interest (and hopefully not lose yours). Otherwise, I need to just walk away.

First up, name change. This blog is now called: Pattern and Outrage. It more accurately reflects content and I have always hated the primacy and repetition of my name. If you list me, please revise when convenient (the url will not change).

I’m remembering Austin Kleon who said, ‘you don’t blog because you have something to say. You blog to find out what it is you need to say’. Bingo. I’m thinking of Jude, too, who over the years has consistently modeled blogging as a way to track her creative process. What I track may or may not inspire or even interest others, but I don’t have much to lose (as long as I keep my 35 readers, that is).

Here are a few things begging for regular mention: what I’m reading; what is inspiring; political resistance resources; the scary antics of the new administration (something along the lines of: ‘favorite lie of the week’); digital photo collage; and maybe, if I am courageous enough, deeper level thoughts about race — what I’m learning, where I’m stuck, etc. (that’s a  mighty ‘etc.’)

Also considering an occasional semi-private post — not sure how to do this (with a password?). It’s a strain to censor myself, but it strains me in a different way to air private matters. A recent revealing post brought this into sharp relief (now it’s tagged ‘private’). Unlike in the past when I have overshared and taken the post down immediately, this time there was an interval. In that space, many of you made generous and caring comments, both here and on the phone. It felt like part of the point. (NB: can my ADD-addled frontal lobe organize this?).

This is all very fluid. Input is welcome. Are there any improving tweaks obvious to you? What would make you more inclined to come here and/or comment more often? Would you prefer a different platform, like typepad? What form of social media draws you in the most right now and where do you read it?

So today for humor, I am going low. I find this absolutely hilarious.

And for courage, I go to the word itself and the inspirational Brene Brown:

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences — good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as “ordinary courage.”

Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame

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?

The capacity to surprise yourself 

I woke with a dream about an old boyfriend. Never got around to my pages. Puttered here til it was past rush hour and headed to Salem, where I promptly locked my keys in the mini-van. Somehow, it didn’t do me in. Just called a guy. I was mostly worried about being distracted around my sister, which can be a set up for disaster. Today it was fine.  The sun exhausted me on the drive home. It was almost as if I was about to fall asleep at the wheel, but really it was just a squinting weariness brought on by the intense glare. I said OM TARA TUTARE TURE SWAHA for myself on the way up, and for the boys on the way down. I am wondering what is making me so draggy right now. The state of my sister’s health? Maybe. It’s never good. The empty house, wondering who’ll show up for dinner? Nah, I’m used to that. A long, hot walk with Finn? No! That’s good. India Flint’s new book arriving and being blown away by her work and feeling more than a little inadequate? Yeah, definitely. Some sore spot opening up.  And this blog. I think I have to take more risks. Just have to. Or I will bore myself into silence. I plan to publish (yes, that IS the right word) some of the sketch-writing done in my class over the last year and a half. It will be scary — really scary — but I think it’ll add some much needed immediacy.  Until the novel is done, I don’t really feel comfortable talking about THAT process, which is too bad because it takes up a fair portion of every day. Maybe I need to rethink that, too?

And recipes. Why not? Isn’t this MY blog?! I just want to just throw them into the mix and tag them well so that the boys will be able to find them — both will be cooking on their own this year.

So. Some plans. I think maybe I am just tired.  

fade and wonder and authorship

collage light deemallonTry to answer the question ‘what is art’ and find half your audience in a narcoleptic stupor in a heartbeat. But ASKING the question and PLAYING with it in your hands and your lens and your canvas, is a fiery, soulful exercise.

If you make collage using magazine images, you can’t help but feel a little sheepish about matters of originality. When is borrowing theft? And, how important is endurance, anyway? Fade, fade, fade.

I made and framed this collage about thirty years ago. I can’t remember if it’s under archival glass or not (probably not. I was a law student paying for tuition with loans). Does the fact that I covered and cut the images of an artist’s clay masks turn them into ‘my’ work. Probably not, which is likely why I’ve kept this framed piece to myself all these years.

collage light deemallonBut now — look at the light angling across the glass! The light adds its commentary, without my authorship, and changes the stolen images yet again. Does my capture NOW make it more ‘mine’? And if paper is ephemeral, what is light passing over paper — even if captured in a photo?

“Light eats cloth” commented Mo yesterday. Fade, fade, fade.reveled in light passing through clothPart of me shrugs — or even yells a New Mexico YES —  because maybe that is part of the point — this mixing up of signature with indices of time.

I once sent a piece of patchwork to Grace in New Mexico. I had pulled some inner knots tight and didn’t know how to undo them. It seemed a simple thing to ship cloth west. I got energized by the idea of some fabric I had pieced together being touched by her, being blasted by the desert sun and sniffed at by goats.

The exercise gave me this idea of shipping sections of patchwork around the world, and asking others to let the elements ‘do their thing’, then return them to me so that I could piece them together into a more meaningful Global Warming quilt than I’ve made to date. (Still just an idea).

Jude plays at these edges all the time. Think – Magic Feather cloth, which gathered up hand sewn bits from all over the world, stitching a community together in the process (and a masterpiece cloth). Think of her play with light and shadows. A recent post showed one of her spectacular quilts with a shadow of her hand splayed over one side. Is the work the photograph of Jude’s hand casting a shadow on the quilt? Or the brief event of the shadow? Or is it ‘merely’ the cloth afterall, but now with a memory of the shadow?

Enough words. Time for a run to a garden center. It is an absolutely stunning day and I have both boys home!! Happy Mother’s Day to me!!! And Happy Mother’s day to all of you. We all mother something — ourselves, our pets, our ideas, and some of us, children.

boston winter pictorial recap (with captions)

icicles-deemallonI like blogging to be like food — seasonal. Current. But, something about the extremity of this past winter demands a little documentation. Here are a few windows into the winter of 2015 from this quarter acre suburban lot.

I was feted for my birthday all the way to the 28th!

because of weather cancellations, my birthday lasted til the 28th!

snowbank grew another foot after this pic

snowbank grew another foot after this pic; lattice guy wires broke

sewing? not so much. but collage and photo apps - yes!

sewing? not so much. but collage and photo apps – yes!

pet ER -- there were two brownie incidents

We waited for Finn to vomit at pet ER — after the FIRST brownie incident

I thought about my father's trip to the South Pole (I wonder why)

I thought about my father’s trip to the South Pole (I wonder why) (far RT)

I thought about selling some of our stuff online

I thought about selling some of our stuff online

I thought about how stories choose us and vice versa

I thought about how stories choose us and vice versa

Redoing 'Artist's Way' - shot this pic on an 'artist's date'

Redoing ‘Artist’s Way’ – shot this pic on an ‘artist’s date’

got busy on instagram - started hashtag fabricinfusedlandscapes

got busy on instagram – started #fabricinfusedlandscapes — still loving dianaphotoapp

finished SSDI five year review and resubmitted housing apps for my sister

finished SSDI five year review and resubmitted housing apps for my sister

thought more about story - specifically a white woman with black characters

thought more about story – specifically a white woman with black characters

I worried about power and the house

I worried about power and the house and filed first ever insurance claim for damage

I wondered where we would put the snow

I wondered where we would put the snow

I worried about K's back and my elbow

I worried about K’s back and my elbow

I really worried about Finn leaping (he did once)

I really worried about Finn leaping (he did once)

I learned sitting in that chair that I could clamp my legs around Finn's neck while playing tug-of-war

I learned that I could clamp my legs around Finn’s neck while playing tug-of-war (seated)

I worked on quilting these houses, but it was the photoapp grabbing me - not thread

I worked on quilting these houses, but it was the photoapp grabbing me – not thread

worried about far-off boys

worried about far-off boys

worried about Finn getting to the pin cushion (again!)

worried about Finn getting to the pin cushion (again!)

reveled in winter salads

reveled in winter salads

reveled in light - esp early, early

reveled in light – esp early, early

but also, late, late

but also, late, late

reveled in light passing through cloth

reveled in light passing through cloth

felt joy in unexpected places (Costco parking lot)

felt joy in unexpected places (Costco parking lot)

fell in love

fell in love

More recent event: I found a dead eagle yesterday. The wings are in my freezer. I know! I know! —  I have a call in to the authorities.





jump shift

I am so bored with my own blog that I’m not sure what to do. Certainly not complain about it or do some sort of mea culpa — one of the biggest (and most boring) blogging errors out there, in my humble opinion. (Is that because I was raised Catholic? “Bless me Father for I have sinned. I have not blogged in 10 days…. “)

Here are a few “what if’s” just to gauge the energy…

Kitty Oracle -- eyes and ears to come

Kitty Oracle — eyes and ears to come

What if I blogged about race — as a way to educate myself, be educated, and to produce conversation about something that matters in American life, and matters a lot? Really being prepared to be wrong. Something of the sort is already happening over on FB and I am finding it interesting, gratifying… the exchange of good links, etc. (Oh GAWD, I take that back. Just looked at recent comments and feel literally sick to my stomach). Why would I want to open myself up to THAT?!

What if I blogged about parenting? Not the gushing prideful ‘they’re turning into men’ kind of commentary but the ‘oh my god here we go again?’ kind? Including hand-wringing prognostications about the future — not just theirs but humankind’s? (I’ll tell you right up front, this one is out. Not for my sake, but for theirs. And besides, gloom and doom is its own version of boring).
Tucson Chili before oven

What if I blogged about pork?
Or noise intrusion in the suburbs? Or about how I hate themes, focus words, perfect studios, and one upmanship around sustainability practices (even if I think they matter and matter a lot?) In short, would it really be so bad to RANT once in a while? I could bolster this idea with a long-remembered quote by Audre Lorde (that’s her face) who said, “Anger is loaded with information”… and with the feedback from my writing group that I rant with a certain amount of –what?– energy? volume? aplomb? (Here, I will note my Irish blood).

What if I blogged about what it means to support a person with disabilities? A person completely ill-equipped to deal with being an adult? And how it feels when that person is your sister.

What if I blogged about writing — even though I have no idea when or if I will finish the novel I have so publicly set out to complete?

Or (and this overlaps with the above), what if I posted about synchronicity? This with the idea that noting it accelerates its occurrence. Just in case coincidences are God’s way of texting.

Oh well. Who knows? I’ll end with two snippets.
ferguson-deemallon-quiltThree quilts near completion. This one is called “Ferguson” and while I only walked about a mile and a half for Michael Brown this morning (far short of the five that I pledged), I AM quilting for him in a consistent and thoughtful way.

Day two of no sugar.