Friday, March 19, 2021

Still Happy at Home

Sakamoto is reminding me of a shop cat, or a library cat. I don't dwell too much on things I miss from traveling, from leaving the house. Geoff wants me to think about all the things you want to do when we can move about, again, and it hasn't been that easy to make a long list. Of course, I'd be happy to hug family, friends, to visit places I always want to visit, like Oregon, Wisconsin, the Redwoods. And my interest in traveling to further places, like New Zealand, Scotland, Hawaii, Japan, hasn't diminished. So far, all I have requested is Let's go to the Madonna Inn and bring home a red goblet. But just now, seeing Saki like this, I want to visit places with shop cats, and explore places with bric-a-brac, eat from a small cafe, then walk all day, moving in no particular direction, like a cat. Like a cat, I enjoy exploring, and like a cat, I enjoy my same spot, cozy, safe, familiar.
Geoff came home with a treasure, from a school auction. I should say another treasure from a school auction, because he has success with those. This time it's something we have always wanted, always admired... library card catalog drawers, and from a school we both attended, which is kind of extra special. It's remarkable that I have known Geoff since we were in high school, and we have shared our likes and hopes, our wishes, for all of these years, and everytime we get to make a wish come true, it is amazing to me. William went with Geoff to bring home the two cabinets and all those drawers! And to their surprise, some of the drawers are still full of cards! It's a good thing William went with his Dad, because it was a lot of work loading all of this up! Back home, I was trying to figure out where in the heck are we going to put more furniture?? And this entailed a lot of shuffling stuff, reimagining where we keep things, etc.
We feel like there was a little serendipity in the fact that we all watched The Booksellers the night before, and loved it. If you love libraries, book shops, collections, history, oddities, and curiosities, then you might love the documentary, too. Geoff and I were certainly excited for our wonderful aquistion, and when the young people saw what we were bringing in, they joined in our enthusiasm. We all worked at making space, and figuring out the necessary adjustments to make things fit... of course the new toy is getting all the attention and appreciation, and the rest of the house is in need of as much time and fussing to get things back in some kind of order. Ahem. We don't know exactly what we are going to organize, but my art and craft supplies are top of the list, and Geoff is super excited to laser cut labels for each drawer! I wonder if anyone would guess our favorite feature, the one each of us practically squeals over?
The number one favorite of our new found treaure is the pencil sharpener that was affixed to the top of the second cabinet! And we are pretty tickled over the pull out tables, as well. But. The. Pencil sharpener! They're still the best kind of sharpener, those hand cranked kind, that we all used in school. I wonder if Geoff has already ordered a fresh box of Ticonderoga #2s? I have certainly been picturing a "a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils." It's no wonder I am happy at home.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021


My apron... my wunder schürze! It's like wearing a cabinet of curiosities, because I am filling it up with curiosities and favorite delights, like birds, planets, bunnies and flowers. And I just finished the Moon and Sun, and the Morning Star, Venus.
Speaking of wonders and curiosities... one of the (many) bunnies that resides in our garden has started collecting the haircut trimmings, dry grass, and soft tufts of clover, in large mouthfuls. Shes' doing this in plain sight, and has the cats absolutely captivated. I became captive to her activities, too, and I just had to know what she was up to. It was obvious this was nesting activity, but she was doing this in such an open spot, and it took a little patience to realize her plan. William has been painting, and after the rain, he spread out his very large canvas tarp, draping it over the garden wall, temporarirly so it could dry. Mrs Rabbit is building her nest in the narrow tunnel beneath the tarp and against the base of the raised bed. The tarp is really big, you guys! But she's commanding a teeny bunny size section of it, and we will never ever disturb her nursery... not until we see her children grown, and packed for college! She is so darling. I made a "Reel" of her working, for Instagram, and I hope you can watch it. I wish I could post the Reels directly on the blog, because I am having a lot fun composing them. This one is of another bunny that was hanging out among the chicas.
Can you tell? That I am resolved to make the most free-form, groovy sun ever imagined? I am thinking of seeds and grains, of diatoms, of flares and prominence, of sunspots, and the corona. When it came to the Moon, I drew on actual textures and craters, but obviously very simplified. It's all very satsfying and random, yet intentional. It feels like happiness. I am happy in the moments when the stitches come out, one after another, and things take shape.
We are still cooking, still eating in. And Bambi and Alex are still turning to Heroes' Feast, the Dungeons and Dragons cookbook, and Galaxy's Edge, the Star Wars cookbook. Last night Bambi made a spinach salad that I love! And Maria and I helped Alex make Nerf Kabobs. Do you get the reference? Leia, and a certain Wookie? These things are so yummy! Alex makes them using Beyond meat, a vegan choice, and Maria fixed some using ground turkey. I am ordering more metal skewers, because we are all out of wooden chopsticks, and I know this recipe is going to be a regular on our menu!
Max is preparing for his internship. Have I mentioned that he got an internship? We are so proud of him, happy for him. He's teaching himself programming, and filling out a lot of forms and documents. And he needed a headshot, something with a white background. I stood him in front of our outdoor movie screen. It's not even remotely white, 11 years after we built it, but I think it worked fine. I miss taking pictures of people. Visitors come in masks, and we sit far apart, usually after dark. And us, here at home... well, I am aware, and want to be respectful of, the intimacy of photography. We don't have the same space, nor privacy, being 7 people in the same house, all the time. And, maybe, we aren't always wearing "public" faces. I don't know how to explain this... are you taking as many people pictures as ever? Have the lockdowns changed your photography habits? Anyway, I think the Grandparents will love seeing someone besides chickens and cats... love seeing a grandson, a familiar face. I know I love seeing him... my baby son. He is a wonder, a joy. I can't help feeling a rush of affection, and awe for this young man. We go way back.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

The Apron

Maria and I were talking about tattoos the other morning, after I described how I want to finish my apron. It started with the blue swallow, and then waking up with the idea that I could cover the apron in images and symbols that I love, that might be tattoo worthy. But Maria and I share the certainty that we aren't ready for real, permanant, tattoos. For me it's to do with how much my tastes and interests change. Maria expressed similar concerns. We agreed that in one mood we might choose a flower, but we couldn't feel certain that we wouldn't change our minds two days, or two years, later. I remember collecting teddy bear stickers in high school... what if I got a teddy bear tattoo? I would be full of regret about that. I feel deep awe and wonder for people that know their likes, and dislikes, who stick with a color palette, declare and embrace their aesthetic, from head to toe, from dishes to flooring! It seems, to me, an impossible achievement. Anyway, I can change dishes and bedsheets, collect other sticker themes, but tattoos... picking the right one? Nope. I don't think I could do it.
I recently noticed, that without a plan, without deliberating, I seem to have been curating a color palette. I was sitting in bed, with my blue pillows, and blue crocheted blankets and shawls, in my marigold dress, with the red gingham pillows, and trying to settle on color choices for the apron. Trying to be deliberate, mindful, artistic. But was I choosing, or had it already chosen me? It seems this is my embroidery season, and my colors are rose reds, sun golds, and sea blues... for now. I like this. Very much. I wonder for how long? No. It doesn't matter... I will simply enjoy this season, and let it be a favorite, for now.
There is almost always a kitty keeping me company. And they (mostly) don't cause mischief. Mostly.
I have been thinking about linen floss. Linen floss on linen fabric. I have been thinking about embroidery stands... the wood ones that clamp hold of the embroidery hoop. I have been thinking about the fabric I bought for making a cross-stitch sampler, and wondering what I will do about trying to design my own cross-stitch pattern. I have been thinking about drawing, painting, print-making, quilting, crocheting, pottery, gardening, baby goats, cooking, whipping the house back into shape, and getting vaccinated. And. And, I feel overwhelmed, like time is moving swiftly, and I could stay here all day making little jabs at fabric, and never think of anything else, again. Sometimes I try to think about what a year at home has done to my ideas and beliefs, what a lot of trauma, and unhealed issues are making of my courage, and dreams, but I cannot sustain the thoughts, cannot unravel the essential truths from my fears, from the things that will, finally, resolve, and sort out for themselves, eventually.
It's good the cats come and stay with me, even if they do bat at the floss. I welcome the distraction, the company. I am glad for the cats, and the view from our bedroom. I am glad for all of my floss colors, and the fact that I organized them 30 years ago. I am glad I brought home two more boxes of organized floss from the thrift store. I am glad Diana and Martha text me on Wednesdays and Fridays, so we can do cardio, remotely, together, apart, at the same time. I am glad we've had rain, and sun. I am glad that Bambi and Alex cook, and Maria, and William, and that we sit together for meals. I am glad Geoff figured out something to do about the pipes that broke under the new driveway... that the flooded driveway and dread, awful as they were, felt somehow only annoying. It's hard to say whether we are simply objective and calm, or too exhausted to let fly! I am glad we are almost always more likely to laugh than let fly!