Category Archives: Hearts

  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!’

 

 

Stitching the wind


Another landscape in progress on the right.


I am surviving a basement being excavated across the street, a patio being installed by back neighbor and the usual round of yard crews and year end celebrations over at the school (accompanied by booming music out in the field). By 5 yesterday, I was fried. Today will be better because kitty-corner neighbor’s hedges are now trimmed (two hours yesterday, electric trimmer).


These headphones were the best gift ever!

Hearts for Charleston Quilt – Depayne Middleton Doctor

IMG_3241This is the back of the heart dedicated to Depayne Middleton Doctor. She was 49 when she was slain last June during a Bible study circle at the Emanuel AME in Charleston. She left behind four daughters. So many people came to her funeral, they had to set up televisions in an overflow room in order to accommodate another 150 people.
IMG_3243According to “The Post and Courier”: ‘Middleton Doctor retired in 2005 as Charleston County director of the Community Block Grant Program. Last year, she began working for Southern Wesleyan University as admissions coordinator for the school’s Charleston learning center.’

The same article quotes a friend saying of Middleton Doctor’s singing voice: “So angelic it could move the very depth of your heart… How do you describe an angel?”

I made this heart and it was meant to capture a very rich personality, with some of the expansiveness of the heavens (the dotted dark cloths look like night skies to me).

Find out more about this remarkable woman and the family she left behind here.

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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

Hearts for Charleston

Ever since the senseless murder of nine black congregants during a Bible Study circle at the Emanuel AME in Charleston, it has been hard to think of much else. It is sickening to realize that we now all have enough experience with these tragic events to recognize what could be called the ‘one-two-three punch’. First comes the awful, heart-rending racist violence itself. Second comes the media distortions, in which various denials and weird angles continue the racist harm. Third, we get to wait and watch for the possible failure of the political and judicial systems to prosecute or make a finding of guilt (or take down the Confederate flag). These very distinct kinds of harm overlap and blur into what for me is an increasingly intolerable state. What must it be for families of victims? For all African Americans?

Which is part of why I want to make a quilt.  It’s not quite the ‘fearless action’ I consecrated myself to in a Solstice circle yesterday, but it is not nothing either.

A nine block would fitting.  If each heart was secured atop a square of woven strips (in the style of and with techniques taught by Jude Hill), I think it would convey something about hope and love uniting us all – whatever hue our stripe.

Unlike the flurry and fury of my online activity (facebook and twitter), this would be a gesture with a little heft. What I have in mind is a modest wall hanging. More of a sympathy card than an heirloom quilt but still, something with literal and metaphoric heart… something that the members of the congregation in Charleston could touch and hold. That feels important to me.

Anyone in?  I only need EIGHT SIX  FIVE  FOUR others   ONE MORE. Thank you Sandi and Donna! And Ginny! And anonymous. And Dana, Mo and Gillan.

Blue Valentine

first iteration

first iteration

As promised, here is the visual record of ‘Blue Valentine’. I’m still calling it a valentine even though over the course of its making it became a family portrait — including a memorializing (of a sort) of Jack’s passing. First post was here.

Morning light

Morning light reveals quilting

I brought the small quilt on our recent camping trip, and when I wasn’t reading, “Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen, I was stitching in and around hearts. Recall, the guys were gone for two days on a hiking adventure up Mt. Washington.

Amonoosuc Trail Head

Ammonoosuc Trail Head

reading companion

reading companion and the best book I’ve read yet this year (and I have read some really good books!!)

building-background

made heart blue; added red threads; birds did not make it; used one of the many woven strip rectangles I have lying around; appliqued pieced scraps or just scraps

further-back

added lots of quilting; once windows extended to the right, I saw a roof in the red; dog stitched/ripped out; couched baker’s twine around big heart; covered red ‘extension’ threads; where some fabric intersections were unruly, let myself apply whip stitch heavily

other half of roof, windows gaining definition

added blue X’s (kisses) on disintegrating dog shape; filled out roof and filled in windows

cloth-dog

gave dog form again — for a while

added window to heart

added window to heart

'matching' roof on left, giving heart 'wings', MORE windows

created ‘matching’ roof on left (which gave large heart appearance of having wings); added MORE windows; red ‘base’ to structure is distorted blanket stitch atop chain stitch

more windows

added more windows; scraped away some of the ecru silk to reveal red ribbing — getting to idea of revealing scars or wounds, or merely showing underlying structure

changed from Valentine to Family Portrait

added two more small hearts so that there is one for each of us (including Jack) — changing piece from Valentine to Family Portrait. I like the downward dip of the lower edge. Bamboo skewer is a temporary hanger

This Morning Glory showed up the day Jack declined and has been blooming every morning since he died. It’s one of those reseeds that come and surprise and re-instill a sense of the glory and power of nature.  Because of the timing, I can’t help but consider it a tribute to our Jack.

beauty in the 'burbs

beauty in the ‘burbs – five-pronged star is sacred to the Goddess, by the way

away

high tide

high tide

A friend has graciously lent us her beach house, even knowing that Jack is ill. It turns out that there is a linoleum-floored room that he can sleep in, and it is right next to the guest room. It should not go without saying that my friend is supremely generous, and flexible, to a fault.

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evening fog rolling in

There are glorious views of the marsh out of the western windows of the house. Glorious. I can see why some artists spend a lifetime painting scenes such as this one. A pattering rain falls, now, just as we were planning to grab the paddles and canoe out to the end of the spit — with Jack.  We are doing everything with Jack.

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in the weeds

Oh well.  As is often the case while at the shore, the excuse to stay inside and read is welcome.

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indigo heart lands on patchwork

resting comfortably

resting comfortably

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happy traveler

happy traveler

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weaving lets me expose a little of the underlying fabrics

It is hard to fully relax knowing what is going on for Jack. On a positive note, though, he continues to have a hearty appetite and to rest easily, with less panting than before we got here. With the boys on the West Coast and the mess of my own home elsewhere, it has been seamless to make Jack our Number One concern…  he and I are sitting together pretty much constantly.

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and this is where I am, right now – you can’t see Jack at my feet

And this is where I add that our house sitter has two German shepherds, each of which ON THEIR OWN, significantly outweighs me.  I hope they are not digging up the astilbes like last time.

heart exclaiming

Three days ago, the ‘exclaiming’ heart (below, right) seemed to me a little bit cartoonish, funny, just this side of ironic. . . reminding me of Lynda Barry‘s work somehow (if even a little).

heart-exclaiming

heart exclaiming

Today, it looks stunned. Vulnerable. And we are, with news that Jack has lymphoma. Either Stage III or IV. There is so much to say about it, and him, but I am at the tail end of a day that featured one thing after another, just about every hour and a half (most of it good) and the pull toward either my book (DeLillo’s “Libra”) or ‘the crap out zone’ (TV and a snack) is too strong.

I’ll leave you with two images — the first of one of the amazing catalpa trees towering in our yard. This time of year, the orchid-like blossoms tumble down the roof of our garage and litter the walk and plants below. Until they turn start to stink in rotting piles of brown, I feel like royalty… walking the petal-strewn path!

Catalpa blooming

Catalpa blooming

And, one of the places I like to sit and read.

one place I like to read

perfect height off the floor!