Tag Archives: fall

In person

Look who came to visit! After years of FB messaging, sharing online reading, exchanging chapter reviews and comments about sewing, Deb Lacativa and I met in person. It felt as though we’d known each other for decades.

Deb was in town to deliver the key note speech at a writers’ conference in Salem. Her talk was what you’d expect: at once earthy, humorous, and inspirational. I was proud to be her plus-one.

During her visit, I made a bland chili, an alright chicken and potato dish, and an okay spinach salad. Why is it, sometimes, that my renditions of tried and true dishes disappoint when I have guests?

Oh well.

It rained one day but that was okay. Deb joined my class that morning and wrote along with us. That was fun. She also blew everyone away by reading a portion of her manuscript.

Regarding my own draft: conversations at the conference about word count have me all fired up. Today, I printed out a list of chapters and highlighted those that I either love or deem essential. That left about half as dross. Half! I’m eager to see a leaner, more narrative version.

The world is rather rusty and yellow right now. Still quite a lot of raking to do.

The collapsed vegetation offers the rough beauties of decay.

A faux tree made of road ribbons!

And hello

More than usual going on. A beloved friend visiting. Being out and about with her — MFA and JFK Library. Then a dinner party. K with a mole that needed not just removal but excising. Meeting with estate planner same day as surgery. Crafting a query letter for novel. Sending it out once. Teaching a class (yeah!).

Purchased a nifty mini-light box. Hope to have time to really use soon.

It’s been very windy and warm but tonight the temps are supposed to drop: time to bring the last of the plants in. I’ll be tied up for most of the next week but will post some pictures anyway, here and on Instagram.

Fairy day at Tower Hill

Tower Hill Botanic Garden is only 45 minutes from here out by Worcester, but somehow today was my first visit. It was so worth it! There happened to be a fairy hut-making workshop this morning which meant we were enchanted by charming little structures everywhere we looked.


We encountered a few fairies as well.

The woods had a yellow cast to them that was also somewhat magical. The wonder of it reminded me that the Japanese have a word for this:

Shinrinyoku” (“forest bathing”) is to go deep into the woods where everything is silent and peaceful for a relaxation.

While looking that word up, I discovered this one — “Komorebi”. It means sunlight that filters through the leaves of trees.


There was also a wonderful outdoor art installation: THE WILD RUMPUS, A Stickwork Sculpture by Patrick Dougherty (better pix at garden’s website, linked above).

Finn had a good time once he settled down. Fortunately, we only saw one other dog.


I chatted up two women winding red lights on the branches of one of the trees near the visitor center (how like me — er, not!) and learned that Tower Hill does it up for Christmas. I plan to go back before another 25 years pass — maybe even in 2017!

Once back at the manse, perhaps inspired by the thought of that Garden done up for the holiday, I finished a Santa hat for one of my little critters. I’ll show you her tomorrow. She’s really quite special.

PS before the light faded too much I made my own fairy hut with whatever materials I could grab from nearby.

Pumpkin, dog, and holly

door-pumpkin-deemallonThere’s been a bumper crop of black walnuts this year. Thumping down, littering the garden and lawn. Rolling, feeding the squirrels, getting squashed by cars. There are dozens in that big tub and I have two boxes of soy milk to pre-treat swatches of cotton and linen, but not sure I’ll get to it. IMG_1423There’s been the bed bug situation, for one thing. I think we are on the other side of it, but my sister’s entire apartment has to be unpacked. I head up there today.

And there’s been a fair amount of writing. I did a kind of official page count yesterday and was thrilled to discover that even if I eliminate HALF of what’s there because it’s weak or stupid or doesn’t fit, I still have a novel-sized amount of pages. Not necessarily a novel, mind, but I am feeling excited about paring down and shaping it up. 
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Meanwhile, I am not yet ready for the slide into winter.  The good news — new curtains on the back wall of glass. For YEARS, I have hated how much of a fishbowl our family room becomes at night this time of year, but not anymore!!!

Stay tuned for the final Charleston heart. They’re all here now so I have to begin. I woke up this morning with the edges on my mind.

P.S. Do you see Finn staring out of both doors?

‘Let the Breath’

IMG_5583Today it pours. I am altering clothes for my sister. Picking out a background for a quilt nearly done. Finished “Gone Girl” earlier — felt a little guilty, but such a good day for reading! Am fighting a cold with Zicam and salt water gargling. I think I’m beating it back, but honestly — don’t have a lot of energy.
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It is hard to believe that I photographed this bee — drunk on pollen and probably asleep — less than a month ago. Now we move on to rust and dried catalpa pods and maple leaves absolutely everywhere.
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Let the Breath Take You Deeper

Let the Breath Take You Deeper

A refrain from another part of my life.

Call me a notebook nerd!

IMG_0516How I love September!  The air gets deliciously cool and sweaters are pulled out of closets with a sense of cozy relief.  I feel this way every year.  For as long as I can remember.

I like the sense of new beginnings wrapped up in the anticipation of winter.  I like the way the the shortening of the days seems to mandate a quiet looking inward. I like how the trees disrobe. I like (gasp!) Christmas shopping.  I really do.

Did I miss going to Staples with one or both of the boys last week?  I don’t think so.

I took part in that crazed shopping ritual every September for more years than I want to count, so its absence WAS noticeable.  Another marker of change.  But to stand in lines sometimes stretching from the register all the way to the back of the store, because I, like so many others, had waited until nearly the last minute?  Ugh.  To anxiously check the list and the items in the cart, hoping we selected the right size or color index cards and the exactly specified composition book?  No, I didn’t miss it.

I can go next week.  Or, not at all.  But, probably next week, because what is September without the purchase of some snazzy new notebooks and a dozen or so workhorse pens (I prefer Bic blue medium point).

Okay, so I AM a notebook nerd.  I probably buy everyone on my gift list a blank book at least every other year, because I can’t help buying them and because to me, they would be a welcome gift.  Tell me to stop!

I cleaned the boys’ rooms this week, partly in anticipation of company, partly as a way to acknowledge their absences.
IMG_0467Well, and in C’s case — in the service of hygiene.  I was so relieved to discover a very old plate of pulled pork on his keyboard tray (oh god, it was gross!).  Relieved, you ask?  Well, yes, because that meant that there was not, in fact, as I temporarily supposed, a mouse corpse wedged between inaccessible joists behind the desk (mice take about two weeks for their stink to rot away).

With the cool air on Sunday (hallelujah, rain storm!), I could run the fans all day and refresh the whole upstairs.
IMG_0352I let this dinosaur have his way with the fruit bowl — in honor of days gone by.  Some things I will save forever!

IMG_0479Pretty soon, sedum will be stealing the show.

 

 

Turning of the year

The leaves are down, and raked, pretty much.  The hydrangea near the side steps catches the morning sun.  Each lacecap has retained a ring of dessicated petals.  They bob slightly in a breeze, like a spindly offering of gold coins to the coming winter.  Cold has finally descended.

Yesterday I hung a selection of work at the New Art Center.  Even if not a single piece sells, I am grateful for the DEADLINE — it forced me to finish two new quilts.  I am calling one of them “L.A. Circles” because a key fabric was purchased during a visit to Los Angeles this past February.

There are the L.A. circles in the middle, above — a fantastic pink and black burnt velvet.

There are some of the larger pink circles in the lower middle, flipped to their ‘wrong’ side.  The hut on the right incorporates half of a woven-strip-square and uses another sheer fabric for a roof  — a blouse from a thrift store.

Another couple of woven-strip-squares were incorporated on this side.  Many fabrics were overlaid in what seems to be a new way to work (overwork?!!) for me, obscuring the obvious outlines of the squares.  This might be the first quilt that I heavily hand AND machine-quilted.The title “L.A. Circles” emerged quite some time ago – not just because of the burnt velvet, but also because of the solar disks — the sunflower, the stitched linen.  I had fun emphasizing the circle shape with machine stitching.