Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Collected Works of You


   Nestled in between the books I love - are your stories. Keep writing!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Learning Collage

Last spring a friend sent a surprise in the mail. This is what it looked like.

I started trying to learn art journaling or soul collage as some call it. Somerset Studios magazines compels me. I took Maureen's gift as inspiration - unwrapped it from its original form and opened it up. I glued it down onto the back of a large calendar after whose pages had all been glued together for thickness. I wanted a thick base. A few more pieces of my own heart and thoughts were glued on - it was beginning to be a collaboration. Seven layers of mod podge were coated over the top.

 This is it in halves as it was too large to scan whole. It is a bit flat and lifeless still.

And a close up photo. 

But here's where it started getting fun. Gesso. Gesso is my newest friend. Gel, hard body, smooth, fiber, clear, black, white - any type. I love gesso! Smooch. 

One rough layer. Let it dry. Then I used acrylic paint, pearl powders, and distressing dye to finish the layers. In between each I mercilessly scrubbed, scraped, and sanded it. The dimension and textures are fantastic. 

What I loved most was the scrubbing off to reveal what was underneath part. What's underneath is always a surprise. iLike that. Thanks Maureen for the continuing education ....of me. 

This is the finished piece. It was beyond fun. I dance. I do. 

Try clicking to enlarge and see the details if you want. Many things changed or got covered up ~ or uncovered as it evolved.  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tea Invitation

A dear friend invited me to her annual Christmas Tea. It was the first time meeting her circle of friends. High Tea allows girls of all ages to be princesses for an afternoon. Everything was made from scratch. The lights welcoming us inside drew us to a table decorated with the finest setting. My eyes feasted on the vignettes in every corner.

High Tea is about careful details, ritual, and reveling in all things feminine. You want to be your best and enjoy it to the fullest. Gratitude abounds because of the invitation. Ugly can't come in the door. Every woman around the table seems to become more and more gorgeous as the conversation blossoms.

My hostess's deceased mother Helen, was mentioned several times. As I asked questions, it seemed like she was the common thread among them. Her influence had effected each of one.

 One of the stories made a deep impression. Helen kept her table set for tea at all times. Her hospitality was framed in a tangible, enduring way. She was expecting you, hoping you would come and be served delicacies from her heart and hands. A magnetic woman ~ drawing other women to allow themselves the luxury of being nourished.

These are old photos of Helen's welcoming table. 

She also wrote and sent cards to friends all her life. Many of the women there not only had kept each one, but had adopted the habit themselves and were leaving their own legacy.

One precious woman had enjoyed the set table herself so many times, she has been doing the same thing in her home for years.

She drank tea from a cup she had given our hostess many years ago. It was bittersweet for she is ill. Each year she is at the Christmas Tea is a gift, like each day she wakes. Full circle.

I think we have to experience a thing before we can absorb enough to have the wherewithal to give it away. Receiving it like a sponge is the only thing to do in these cases.

We were all reluctant to leave the magic. It was uplifting. The tastes and flavors lingered on our tongues like the memory will in our hearts. One afternoon of respite. One afternoon of nourishment and nurturing. One afternoon of such a gift spills over and drips on everyone and everything around us. It multiplies. I left wanting to pass it on, pay it forward.

Little girl tea parties are as playful as big girl tea parties. As I drove home I felt blessed to have been in the room with so much collective wisdom and luster.

Thank you ever so much for inviting me Kathy. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cracked Open

Our heels crack from weary walkabout. 

Minds crack and shatter wanting to fold. 

Hearts crack without tears. 

Skin cracks and peels from lack of moisture. 

Heads crack against buttresses impenetrable. 

Our bones crack from heavy packs. 

Finally, our very souls crack open 
wetting cracked lips.

 It's the only way to find our voice. 

Take courage my friend. Being cracked open lets your story out. It is still being written. 

Bird Below

White bird
circling high
above the valley
weaves a bouquet of
mountains together
below me

Waimea Canyon, Kauai. November 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Playground for Light

End of season fluff 
used to be harvested
by tribal prairie people
for diaper filling 
and women's flow.
 Bed mats too, softening 
sleep on earthen floors.
Soft cotton free and plentiful.
Back then? 

Farmers hate it like 
gardeners hate dandelions.
 One strong gust spreads 
millions of floating seeds waiting
to root. Blackbirds roost and 
nest in cattail marshes before
deciding to strip a field of 
sunflower seeds. 

"But wait, please don't kill the cattails" ~ I pled.

My first firefly show
happened here
long ago. 
The glow of it
 has yet to dim. 

Gallant Loverby 
got wet catching
one buzzing light ~
a love trophy for 
me, his new bride.
Captured magic 
~love's light~
magnified in 
a mason jar. 

This fall, Loverby stopped to let me take a picture at a thriving cattail colony in the slough. It was still there in spite of planes spraying for complete eradication all those years ago. I had gone crazy when I realized they were systematically trying to rid the prairie of magical places where fireflies played. When I came stumbling into the house sobbing because the planes were spraying overhead with a vengeance - my mother in law held me and cried with me. She explained that the blackbirds came in hoards like locusts and cleaned out the sunflower fields. The cattail sloughs were their breeding ground. They would have no harvest to harvest if something wasn't done. I hated not being able to offer an alternative.

I was an idealistic young woman raging against the destruction of the place where cotton batting grew free, and light played and lived.

 I still don't notice blackbirds. 

Cellar Remains


Playmates won't slide down this cellar 
door. It is gone like the house above. 
Rocks split on the grain 
were dry stacked flush 
by hard hands.
 An artist holding hammer 
and chisel raised the puzzle 
one row at a time. 
Small rocks 
fill empty spaces
big ones balancing careful 
until corners meet 
woven and strong. 
This cool dark hole 
preserved harvest well
until the long winter was done.
Homestead wives 
went down stairs outside 
to the store around 
   the corner  
         their porch. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Barefoot Heart

Comes a time 
a wintery time
between summers 
when my 
earth widened  
sun browned 
barefoot heart
has to squish 
expansive parts
back inside
tight spots 

constrained by 
framed by 

no air cleansing 
no water cooling 
no sand tickling 

no circles
only rows

no love feasts warm
celebrating at the table 
of friends
clacking plastic  
grating against shiny
metal holes passed somber 
baskets of crumbs
dead and dry and tasteless

unable to breathe 
or wriggle free
monstrous waves 
of panting panic


until ties are loosened 
buckles unfastened
restraints kicked 
off and away toward 
the preferred 
of summertime's
no blisters rub
my barefoot heart


Maureen encouraged me to join in the fun happening over at One Stop Poetry's One Shot Wednesday. Even though I feel quite shy about it, playing with others and learning from them is good. Poetry only recently found me. I'm most thankful. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


The pile of end cut two by fours tempted me. It was fire wood for camping, but playing with it wouldn't hurt it any, would it?

As I stacked two north and south on one layer, then two east and west the next ~ it grew quickly. The kids gravitated to the tower making. Soon they branched off with their own creative plans leaving me with a tiny midget of almost three years.

When I had to start lifting her to put one more layer on, we decided to started another small tower just her size. She promptly stuck her legs in using one side for a seat, the other for a table. With me squatting on the ground outside her 'house', we had a tea party. Sticks were scones, dirt was sugar, leaves were saucers and cups. The cream had to be poured out of thin air.

After a bit, she became concerned with the lopsided hospitality and insisted that I join her inside her 'house'. At first she had trouble understanding that my large body simply would not, could not fit. Puzzled, she looked around trying to solve the problem. Her eyes hit upon a wooden crate not far away. Leading me by the hand, she showed me my 'house'. She lit up with delight as we both took our places at the table and set out another, fresher tea party. It was very refined, and delicious. It felt like I had taken a turn into Neverland for a few moments. Tea parties with my girls were quite some time ago ~ mixing the memories from then into now ~ was sweet. It was a relief that I still remembered how to have a proper tea.

An older and wiser little girl of six or seven came over to see what we were doing. She didn't understand the laughter. She didn't see the tea party accoutrements, the steam from our cups, or the lemon curd drizzling down the scones.

She asked us what we were doing. A puzzled look scrunched her face as I told her, showed her, invited her. She shook her head no. I asked her if she ever played pretend. Again, she shook her head no, saying it was weird. As the grown up little girl walked away, I wanted to catch her up in my arms, and beg her to stay and play.

The shortest sentence in scripture is: Jesus wept. So did I.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Passion Play

Need Fire was one of the Celtic bands playing at the Scottish Highland Games in Enumclaw this weekend.  They took turns sharing one of the stages with The Wicked Tinkers.  

Little Michael Purser plays the didgeridoo and the fiddle for Need Fire. At the end of the day, I noticed his fiddle bow was nearly shredded. I asked him if this was a common occurence. He shyly hung his head and admitted that it was. If a fiddle bow could look happy, that one did. Completely tired and happy.

Since I was without a camera or phone to record the evidence, I asked Lauren Madison if she had any pictures of it. Turns out she is a photographer and gave me permission to dig up and use any she had taken of Michael.

Both of these celtic bands have pipers and drummers who send primal shivers down your spine and entice you to shed your inhibitions while you listen. What happens the Highland Games stays at the Highland Games......

At the end of life, I want to be shredded from being passionately used. Used long and hard and joyously.

Shredded passion ~ unstrung ~ then restrung only to be shredded once again by the music maker.

Play me.

Friday, July 30, 2010


This is how trains do it. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Loving Family Food

Overweight and morbidly obese are defining words for me. My 76 year old mother came to visit last week along with Lisa, my baby sister, and two of her youngest.

One afternoon it was so warm that the batch of sourdough bread I was making for supper had to be baked early. The neighbor kid smelled it, as did Loverby as he arrived home from work.

Hot bread doesn't have a chance. We all hovered in the kitchen where we demolished a large pan of buns slathered with butter and peach freezer jam. Appetizer course before supper. We were breadless for supper, no apologies.

The next night, mom was delighted to discover the freezer full of blackberries. She is famous for her pie.

She baked two lovely, flaky berry pies. Dessert was a french vanilla ice cream dollop on the side melting away from the warmth of the crust.......

Food feels like eating love. Swallowing, chewing, drooling love.

Fast food, prepackaged food, Costco crap, processed and refined foods don't tempt me.

Real food made with loving hands and passionate hearts, plated and served with joy; irresistable.

Family, friends and food just go together fantastically. Right? The last 'f' word is FAT. Unfortunately.

My chin has tripled and my stomach is splayed out across my thighs as I sit. I have no lap at the moment.

I am unable to walk, jog, or bend over, but perhaps I can waddle out to the garden and water?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Driftwood Day

The heat was nearly turned on today. Once again, I reclaimed my practical nature and put on socks and a cozy sweater instead. One more sunless day.

Our lawn looks like a pasture that needs cut and baled. The peas are leggy. Two rows of spinach bolted before they became edible. A rhubarb bed collapsed in on itself with rotten pithy stalks. A bed of peppers and basil haven't grown an inch since I planted them long ago. Pretty midget garden.

We have a generous crop of fungus popping up everywhere. It is equivalent to cancer for the garden and yard. I have no ideas for chemo or radiation treatments. They don't resemble anything you buy in the store, so I believe they are poisonous. Why can't they be $15.00 a lb portablellos?

All of our walls inside are either red, dark green, or a rich butter yellow. As I sat cross legged on the couch feeling like I was in a dark cave, I considered painting everything white before next winter. A crying jag erupted at the thought of sterile walls. White walls make me itch.

Craig came home during this breakdown. When he figured out there weren't any hopeful dinner smells  coming from the kitchen, he quickly went to plan Q. Plan B, C, or D weren't even considered.

Plan Q includes many things. First, he dries my tears as he leads me to the bedroom. The door is locked. I get tucked gently under warm down quilts. We snuggle skin on skin until life starts flowing in. Endorphins start flooding. Love blooms. Relief and release of real and imagined worries fly away.

The afternoon seemed brighter somehow, even though the sky was dripping still.

We got a wild hair to go out to a local beach and look for driftwood for a project we're working on. Maggie and I climbed around on heaped up, beached driftwood of all shapes and sizes. I filled a few bags and the back of the pick-up bed with treasures.

I recovered my equilibrium somewhere between the sheets of our marriage bed, balancing on piles of castaway wood, and take out pizza. Grey is never nice, but it does sometimes have delicious texture.

Monday, June 21, 2010


After blossom is gone, 
  delicate bones remain. 
Evergreen clematis blooms early. 
Empty pods reminding
me at a glance ~
 what once was 
 might be possible again. 
Fragile skeleton memory.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mother Things

Here is a valuable piece sifted from Ruth Riechl's book, Not Becoming My Mother...and Other Things She Taught Me.  

She is the editor of 'Gourmet' cookbook.

The following excerpt from the book is a letter from a man who wrote to the author's mother after spending time with her one evening. It seems like he was older and wiser, nothing romantic. He saw so much potential in her that he couldn't help but write her a note and encourage her.

Go ahead into life, full-blooded, courageous and leap for the adventure. But you must do it soon---before the summer of your youth has cooled into caution. You are magnificently charming--and you come like a torrent. But you will be spent on the futility of little things. You are not a watercolor. you are carved out of life--and there can be no petty hesitancies about you. 

(This was passed on to me via my friend Emily. She reads cookbooks for fun. Marcella Hazan easily trumps Jamie Oliver and Julia Child both; when Emily has her apron on.) 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gently Used

Quilts are pieced together with with forethought and love. The more they are used, the softer and more puckered they become. 

I'm sure if they had a say in it, they would choose to be cuddled until the colors blended and wore through. Tight hand stitching keeps it together even when the fabric gives way.

I love scrapbag antique quilts best. Re-purposed fabric from clothes. It seems like they whisper a better traveler's story. 

Someone said, 'we should be completely used up, poured out and worn to a nubbins when we die'. Or something like that. 

I concur. :)  


These are called love spoons. I found them in Wales. It was impossible to pick only one. I was smitten with the handcrafted artistry.  

Traditionally, when a young man started courting a girl, he began the process of carving his first gift to her. Maybe he was admired for his craftsmanship and his choice of wife? Perhaps she was admired for being worth so much effort and symbolic care? 

Girls? We still want wooed. Pursued. Won. Courted with creative words and actions of love. 

Loverby still makes me feel like this, after 21 years. It doesn't look like a spoon ~ one bursting gift of creative inspiration to seal the getting part. 

It looks more like tender hearted loving kindness in action. Whenever it is now. He decides ~ day after grueling day to generously and continuously help me feel chosen, like Johnny Lingo's Eight Cow Wife. 

Some days it must be a most difficult task. Carving a spoon with only your fingernails would seem easier, I'm almost certain. 

Thanks for your steadfast, forebearing, never failing, stout heart, Loverby. 

iLike. iDo.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Finding Rest

This is an old, water damaged lithograph from the turn of the century. It hung with a companion piece in my grandma's house since forever ago. I keep it in our bedroom. If you'll notice, the STALLION has all his anatomy present and is using all that testosterone well. Noble beast. 

Tacked unceremoniously underneath is a simple quote from John Eldredge's Wild at Heart
There under the shadow of a man's strength, a woman finds rest. 
It reminds both of us what our best roles are. 

Craig's is to initiate and use his strength on my behalf. Mine is to simply respond. 

And when a woman is relaxed, rested, protected, fought for....you never know what else he might initiate that she'll want to respond to.  

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

All Tangled Up

Love is nice to hold on to.
 Clasp it tightly, without a choke hold. 

It can look messy. Tangled. Meshed. Interwoven. Impossible. 

It's a good way to climb. Nice support for each other. 
It makes a seriously tangled mess.
Beautiful love knots tied to an irrevocable trust.