Category Archives: In the Company of Cloth

notes from a quilter, collage artist, fabric collector


Still going… and wondering what all I’m trying to say to myself. Something good, I think, about there being so much, who we can be, and the choices we might make. ~Hazel at Handstories

Sometimes it’s hard to keep going with social media. So much is about tapping a beat and when the beat stutters, it can be hard to get it back. Then you wonder, Why? Why do I do this? That’s why I appreciated Hazel’s sentiments so much this morning.

In California for another two weeks. Body has made the turn. Soccer will be on all day. Nina will come and clean. Pork chops and apple crisp are on the menu. I hope the sun comes out. It’s been iffy.

We haven’t heard the Everton song yet. Their fans are CRAZy!

That’s all, really. Lila and I will head up the hill. She’s very opinionated and I defer to her. Don’t want to turn down Mayo? Okay, we’ll go straight. Don’t want to continue up the path past the gopher holes and eucalyptus trees? Alright, we’ll turn around. I don’t know if there is aversion involved (coyotes are a real possibility) or if she just reaches a point where she’s had enough.

We should all feel such ease about turning around don’t you think? Even if it’s mid-route and others have different ideas?

She, Lila, is the heart of this household. She came as anxious dog — still hides under the bed when the fireworks start, probably barks a little too much — but she has calmed down into a lion-like regal being. So much dignity! There are many striking things about her, but one is how she vocalizes when being pet. Sometimes I swear she’s purring!

Saw the boy again yesterday. We called home. Watched soccer (what else). Ate apple crisp (yes, today’s batch will be the week’s SECOND). And then he went off into his future — more immediately, to hear music in Santa Monica.

Lastly, I must express gratitude to the women with whom I regularly write. What would I do without them? This week, all three groups convened and it turned out to be an important place to note what’s happening here. Life after a stroke.

Truth is, it’s always good to note what is happening here.

And in that vein, if you haven’t read Deb’s blog lately, a recent post was a satisfying example of noting what’s happening. Life with Charlie.

Three feels like six

California time.

It’s weird to watch Nicolle Wallace at one. Been waking at four something or five since I got here and then wondering why I’m so hungry at nine a.m. Usually my clock turns around sooner.

There have been sightings of three Great Horned Owls above the gully behind Billy’s place. A beautiful hawk perched on his western-most fence post two nights ago, scanning for lizards.

Got to see C yesterday. I was dreading the introduction to his new tattoo but I actually liked it — a very geometric beetle with a body about four inches long. It’s just below and behind one knee. Thank goodness it wasn’t another female demon vomiting blood (I kid you not).

Things are blooming around here, as you might expect. All that rain! Hills normally gold and brown are waving with verdant grasses and wildflowers.

I really really saw why Birds of Paradise are called that this morning.

WordPress just wigged out on me — a bouncing keyboard. Really weird. I tried turning phone off. Then on. Tapped away trying to snag a command. Finally caught a save. But I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead.

Friday round up

Finn says: Happy Friday! I say: Fuck Off Anderson Cooper!

The smoke alarm went off for no apparent reason in the wee hours last night. I was glad my husband was home, even though he didn’t know why it went off or how to make it stop. It just stopped. I was just glad.

Can you see Finn at the door? He’s looking at me and I’m looking at my two new iris plants. Blooming this morning! Project Structure ongoing. I’ve moved many clumps of errant echinacea and potted up even more for a friend. This weekend: wandering ferns to get new homes (not the ones visible here but the ones crowding a new azalea bush).

Treats from India

One night while K was away, a pack of coyotes exploded into a yipping and howling cacophony over at the school. Woke me out of a dead sleep. At first I thought it was a pack of teenagers because we get those too, but no.

Photo by my neighbor

Once they dispersed, Finn dashed to the front hall windows and howled in a way I’ve never heard him do before. Bark-bark-hoowwwwl. Over and over, urgent and insistent. They must have passed in front of the house.

We also have turkeys and red-tailed hawks and an impossible number of rabbits.

I went for a tetanus shot yesterday and then left without getting it. Last one was 2016. Expertise varies about whether a cut from a rusty object warrants another booster before the standard ten years is up. I got fed up with the rigamarole. And anyway, it’s a small cut that I’ve kept very clean. Dr. Billy, my brother, didn’t think it necessary.

Some might not mind if my jaw locked up.

Meanwhile, the day before I had the chattiest mammographer ever. We bonded over being short. Laughing, I said I hoped that meant she wouldn’t have me on my tiptoes practically hanging by a clamped boob from the machine. It HAS happened.

I leave you with a mystery. See that thread crumbs shop moon? I didn’t put it there. That shelf is 18 inches off the floor. A few days earlier, I found it under the table next to an unruly puzzle piece. It seems to have a mind of its own. What’s it up to?

Soft air

Today it’s 70 and the air is soft. Finn and I walked once and will walk again shortly.

It’s that time of year: when my hands are dry and my nails rimmed with dirt.

After reading two James Lee Burkes and a Louise Penny in fairly short order, it is somewhat relieving to be reading O Pioneers! By Will Cather.

Re: being a pioneer living a difficult life. One of the (minor, unexpected) consequences of living in an era of climate crisis — I now have a tendency to view the hardships of other eras as, not trivial exactly and not automatically surmountable, but not apocalyptic.

She lived through hardship which was not apocalyptic.

It is at last warm enough to shift most of the houseplants to patio and deck. Because I can never decide whether I like the house better populated by plants or the sense of space that occurs when they go outside, I am reminded of the memorable Wallace Stevens verse from Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.

I do not know which to prefer,   

The beauty of inflections   

Or the beauty of innuendoes,   

The blackbird whistling   

Or just after.

*. *. *.

Sights and sounds

How is it possible to walk by something thousands of times and NOT SEE it?

When K and I circled Crystal Lake yesterday, we were astonished to see two gas-lit lanterns.


It seemed so impossible that we hadn’t noticed, that I went off on a riff about how easily sophisticated techniques can distress surfaces. Someone recently installing two street lights with faux paint peels seemed more plausible than our not having noticed.

In today’s walk, I actually said to my actual husband, “I stopped listening a while ago. Can you go back to the part about the hotel?”

It makes me laugh to think about. Him too. I think that probably signals something good — acceptance for starters (his boring itinerary recitations, my ADHD), but also the flexibility that long relationship with reserves of goodwill affords.

How lucky am I?

Further along, we used the Cornell bird app to identify a Northern Flicker. Besides using Siri to set timers several times a day, it’s my favorite new iPhone feature.

We saw it on top of a Cypress Street resident’s metal chimney cover. The song was throaty, distinct. The hammering must have been murder on our neighbors, that repetitive banging on the metal plate surely reverberating down the flue.

Lastly, yesterday’s celebration of my 90-year-old friend left me feeling a strange mix of melancholy and inspired. She is what you might call A BRIGHT LIGHT, the large circle of affectionate friends just one proof.

Both she and my mother were born in Brooklyn in 1933.