Category Archives: gratitude

Joy where it comes


The Royal Wedding. Sneakers that fit and offer support. Really good homemade gluten free cookies. Lilacs. Lichen. The strength to push a lawnmower. Friends to see movies with. Movies. Social media (yes, even that).

Honeysuckle. Flying overhead: a robin with twigs in her beak (or is it plastic?) landing at the crook of two branches, building her nest. Good books.

A coyote crossing the street at 6:30 in the morning, pausing to look at Finn and me. Disappearing behind Daniella’s place. Finn. Cloth and gifts of cloth (thank you Deb and Ginny!!)

And SoulCollage. Here’s a card made, believe it or not, while constructing the burning infernos and dark fields (actually, I started it months ago and only glued it up this week).

I am the one who adores the wind and the sky and anything that plays with the wind in the sky. I adore red — how it pops and dances. I launch kites — and images and ideas, too. My element is air; my status freewheeling. I am the one who is not afraid to be silly or stand on the edge of a chair.

Counter the bitterness

Sometimes my capacity for bitterness amazes even me. So let this be a gratitude post. Here’s to rocks that spell love out of ancient debris and planetary pressure.

Here’s to the animal companions who model joy and devotion and health without even being asked.

Here’s to the creative impulse which follows seasons and rhythms all its own, thankfully exhibiting an immunity to doubt and self-posturing.

Here’s to the birds that sing, to cleared off sidewalks, to the bobbing red head of the woodpecker out front, and to spring bulbs that continue their flourishing growth long after the flowers are gone.

And lastly, to all sources of wisdom, both unseen and seen, as well as to the tiny window of the personality willing to be cranked open and let them in (at least sometimes), I give Thanks.

Happy Monday!

PS. That cap “T” is one erroneous autocorrect that I’ll let stand. I give Thanks.

Getting show ready

First and importantly to all my readers, known and unknown: you are the best! I mean it. This community has sustained me for years and now, as the U.S. administration spirals out of control into what I’m calling a “Fox shitstorm”, you matter more than ever. Period. Thank you.

I’ve been pulling work out of the basement to air before the show here at my house. It’s “go time” with only two weekends left to prepare.

I have never been so pleased to be in possession of crappy powers of memory. Opening my plastic bags of inventory has been like Christmas! How much I forgot about! And, given how much my style and standards have changed over time, I’m pleased and surprised by how much of it I still really like.

There are at least six quilts from the Global Warming series (example above). More on that another time.

Many pretty baby blankets, this one machine pieced and hand quilted. This week, in light of time pressures, I bought a big spool of bias tape for edging. Usually I cut my own. (#amazonslut).

I’m heartened to see a number of pieces that just need edging. K and I plan also to experiment with wooden frames, where dimensions allow (there’s no time to build frames). To my mind, there’s something violative to the qualities of quilted cloth when you put it under glass or stretch it like a canvas, but I want to be flexible. I want to see how people respond. There remains a certain –ahem — lack of imagination among some buyers about what properly belongs on walls. Frames might overcome that to some degree.

Notes to self:

  • Stowing finished quilts with lavender sachets is a really good idea
  • Stowing quilts leaving price tags pinned on risks rust
  • Wouldn’t it be cool to try a quilt version of the #theunreadshelfproject?
  • Give yourself a little more credit
  • Resume practice of inserting inventory lists in stow-bags

We barely got touched by the last nor’easter but K travels to China again soon, which imposes its own set of (somewhat stressful) conditions.

And can I just say, for those of you following a certain drama in Colorado, my brother has acted the fairy godfather this week. Bless him!

And it’s a “No”

How fortuitous to be watching the Ladies Short Program figure skating last night before and after I opened a polite rejection email from a literary agent! (“Ladies” short program — really? What do they think it is — 1962?)

But there the athletes are — in their bejeweled leotards, the opening bars of music swelling, years (and years!) of practice and competition behind them as they take a breath and GO!

The routine starts well enough. They seem to have the requisite speed for the triple axel, but then something happens — a failure of nerve, insufficient rotation — and boom! – down they go! It’s shocking and disappointing every time.

But what’s really remarkable — and it impresses me EVERY TIME — is how these professionals get right back up. They get right back up and finish their routine — a program with more jumps, no less.

So I got dinged. Not only that, but it was boiler plate without a whiff of feedback. I knew engagement was a long shot, but I’ll admit to expecting a little more substance in the response.

Not a fair expectation, mind. She’s entitled to the convenience of being blandly polite. Literary agents have to write a lot of these emails, after all.

Disappointment reigned for the evening. Slowed my snacking for a bit. But I tell you — watching those skaters get up and finish their routines after a catastrophic tumble filled me with new appreciation.

And guess what? Nothing’s really changed. I’m still researching points of interest — (Charlotte Bull’s date of birth and when she married John Drayton; the plot lines of the play mounted at the Queen Street theatre in 1737), still writing new passages and revising old ones. In other words — making slow but discernible progress.

So! Onward and upward! It’s back to winter here. Hail earlier. Snow predicted for later.

Wow and wow

First wow : I was the lucky winner of Deb Lacativa’s birthday lottery. My selection of “precious bits” and thread came in a crocheted pouch — didn’t expect that! I haven’t purchased any of Deb’s cloth in a long time (or much cloth at all these days) and I’ve never used the magic threads, so I’m psyched!

Whole worlds live in some of these scraps.

Using even a little bit of this fabric elevates a composition, so how luscious would it be to construct an entire house with them? Imagine!

The second wow : the weather. You cannot believe how the wind and rain swept through here last night. It pounded and blew with a furious insistence that seemed to express the mood of a nation anticipating the Mueller indictments. I couldn’t sleep, so I padded out in the downpour around midnight to clear the sewer grate, weirdly happy to be reminded of my mammalian place in this world. The elements. A bathrobe getting saturated. Then I made popcorn and watched TV until two. Distraction is something to feel grateful for as well. Nearly every square foot of the backyard has a fallen branch in it — some moderate-sized and some small, but everywhere!

Peace is a Leaf Sent round the World

Peace is muscular and requires postage. Without facts, messages of peace are gauzy and limp and when espoused without action, they might as well serve as tombs to defeat. But peace upheld by informed citizenry and expressed by those willing to place their hearts in the hands of the world, shines and leads. Sinewy and generous, that kind of peace has the capacity to inspire and uplift us, even now when so much else sends us in the other, darker direction.

Liz Ackert of Texas is teaching me these things. One time contributor to the Hearts for Charleston Quilt, creator of the Peace Pin Project and now, the conduit for Peace Objects Extraordinaire, her work to advance world-wide peace is robust and by the way, lovely. Both conduit and creator, she is keeping her friends around the world focused on “Yes” — no easy task.

https://deemallon.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/img_2027.jpg?w=512&h=683

This beautiful leaf was crafted in Australia by Barry Smith. You can read more about him and it on Liz’s blog, Mo’s blog and at the artist’s blog.

Liz sent one of these leaves to each of the Hearts for Charleston quilters, reconnecting us in a kind of devotional and aspirational network. It feels good to revive that group specifically. It feels good to be connected, generally. And, as with the Peace Pin project, it feels good to be warmed by Liz’s shining example of what I’ll call ‘aesthetic activism’.
When I think about Naomi Klein’s wise thesis that it is not enough to resist anymore, I’m often stymied. Saying NO takes so much energy! There seems to be more and more to say NO to! Where is the way out or forward and where’s the energy to go there? To define and uphold YES?

Liz reminds me that positivism can begin at home. She reminds me that it can be launched with a simple idea, a sheaf of stamps, and a gift-giving impulse. The way her gestures resonate literally around the globe is testament to the nature of love, to the artistry possible while envisioning a better future, and to the power of connection.

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And of course, getting gifts in the mail is nice!


The leaf came wrapped in silk that Liz hand dyed with Brazilwood (true to form, I can’t locate it at this very second — it’s probably lounging & gossiping somewhere with the white silk sent to me by Mo).

A beautiful letterpress piece by Fiona Dempster of Australia was also enclosed. It speaks to the energetic nature of peace. Liz’s cover card, itself a work of art, offers inspiring words and a sense of occasion.

Liz is literally and figuratively ‘loosely binding us in silken ties of love’. How powerful a gift this is! Thank you, Liz — please continue!

One of these days, one of us will be the 100th monkey…

 

How unbelievably great

I didn’t stay long at the hospital this morning because as it turns out, my sister had to be transported from one hospital to a bigger one for testing.

In comes Handsome Ambulance Guy number one, named Jimmy. My sister bemoaned side boob. I commented, “Gee, couldn’t they have sent the guy with acne?” Jimmy was really handsome, not just a little handsome. Then another cute guy came in, all solicitation and sweet, professional regard for my sister. Also named Jimmy. As they wheeled my sister out, I said, “Well, you know I have to say it: Thank you, Jimmys!” They laughed.

I was heading home from the hospital when I got the text about my bag. Can you believe it? K and I dashed down to the Boston Police Department to pick it up. I got to meet the honey-voiced, uber-competent Officer James. He outranks the Jimmys as my hero of the day.

A morning filled with powerful proof of good people.

P.S. At first I thought my noise-cancelling headphones were the single item stolen out of the bag, but heading home on Route 9 my kind and sane husband made a suggestion: ‘Maybe you didn’t bring them?’

Sure enough. They’re in the drawer with the dog medications where, believe it or not, they live. NOTHING was taken.

It’s all good. My sister is getting the best medical care there is. K mowed the lawn in spite of sticky humidity and I deserve a nap. Maybe it’ll rain soon. That’d be nice.