Tag Archives: gratitude

A balmy wind and gratitude

A balmy wind blew here today, making the black walnuts rain down like artillery. You won’t hear any nuts landing in this clip, but the wind shows up.

After four days of enduring an under-the-lid stie, I am beyond grateful — and not just to be better. I am grateful for how K put up with my whiny helplessness. Grateful for good medical care even if the doctor seemed to minimize things a bit. (“I see a little stie,” he said. Since it felt like a toothpick was lodged under my eyelid, I responded, “don’t you mean a giant stie?”) I’m grateful my brother could come through with a script for antibiotics even when the “little stie” local doctor wouldn’t.

But mostly, I am grateful for my vision.

Otherwise, I wouldn’t have seen this dead snake out and about with Finn this afternoon, would I? Or the morning sun shining through the bromeliad.

Or been able to stitch and type and make soup.

Today — TA DA — I finished font conversions and created a single document holding the entire novel. Word count: 315,000 plus a little. That’s about 650 pages. Not ideal, but I’m starting on my query letter.

I can’t tell you the relief at moving on!

Editing cloth and prose

The base. Pieced. Bottom left sea green patch bugs me and presents itself as a problem to be solved.

What if I go back to my hybrid method of quilting? I used to combine piecing and appliqué in a somewhat slapdash way that embarrasses me a little now. It sent me into a purist phase — everything must be pieced! What if I now consider some of those “nice” purely pieced quilts as unfinished — or at least, as potential canvases?

How much fun to defy the lines of the seams and extend patterning in a spirit of play?

And, as always, how about adding more houses? The pinned one on the left, believe it or not, is a “discovered” house, fussy cut from a rayon blouse. The green house to the right was made by simply topping a vertical rectangle with a roof.

There are so many more pictures of Italy to share but they already feel like old news. But I will be sharing more, if you don’t mind… along with a half dozen mini book reviews. They’re piling up! Turning into homework (ugh!)

One Assisi insight (not profound at all but hear me out): when you’re not walking the dog, cleaning the house, watching two MSNBC news programs a day, cooking dinner most nights, and tending a demanding mentally and physically ill sibling, a charge whose hours of attention are preceded by dread and followed by a period of demoralized recovery — there are a lot of hours in the day! In Italy, I had soooo much time! Time to wander the streets. Time to drink Caffè machiatto at the bar with the old men. Time to light candles for my sister all over the city. Time to read and write and quilt.

(My street — San Rufino Ave).

I am watching how I vacuum and scrub and now garden (yes!) to avoid the page.

It’s a process. And I miss my sister more here than I did there, particularly (and ironically because it was a place of ongoing tension), whenever the phone rings. It rings and I think: it will never again be her.

But you’ll be happy to know that of the 200+ chapters in my manuscript (Blood and Indigo), all but a handful have received a hard edit. One of the best things I did in Italy at the advice of fellow-writing-resident– the supremely lovely, warm, insightful and generous Argentinian writer, Elena Bossi — was to chop a lot of dull descriptions of interior crap and replace them with dialogue. What a good piece of advice that was!

Maybe that was one of the reasons I was so taken with the statute of David at the Cathedral of San Rufino — the dynamism of his raised arm, about to strike! I deleted two entire chapters while I was at it. Highlight, click! Highlight, click!

And what a pleasure to come home to a world exploding with the extravagance of spring.

Gratitude at year’s end

It took time to make all the calls — to the caseworker at the hospital, the caseworker at the caregiving agency, the O-2 people, the nurses at Davenport 7, my sister, and then all of them again. I had the time.

When the scanner on our printer didn’t work, I took pictures of her eight page health care proxy and emailed them (today’s FAX?). My sister turns 64 today and is waiting to get the okay to go home, which because of her oxygen needs, will be by ambulance.

I grocery shopped early, made lentil soup midday, and lamb for dinner. Calls all in between. Here, we all read and watched a little TV in a comfortable, restorative quiet.

I am ever so grateful.

For these legs that walk. For a body I can maneuver in and out of cars. For the car. For money to buy food, including lamb, which I love. For a pile of Christmas novels, one of which I finished yesterday.

I am grateful for the health care professionals that took over ordering the home oxygen and guaranteed that it would be in place at my sister’s return (I was struggling to figure out how to make that happen). I am grateful for the nurses, doctors, and social workers who know what to do and do it well, even on Christmas Eve and Day. I am grateful for Medicare and MassHealth. The costly intervention will not cost my sister a single penny. And good thing, too, because she has no spare pennies.

We will bring champagne and cookies, order Japanese for lunch, and deliver — you guessed it — another owl!

(I better post this now because a trio of leaf blowers over at the school and day three of tree work are getting on my nerves. And my sister just called to report not just delays in her release but idiotic tinkering with her meds).

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!