Tuesday, December 23, 2008


This is the view from our office window. Again, I love the look of the intertwining branches and never tire of trying to figure out how it all connects together in space.
My watering can seems to have acquired a taste for a new job description - snow shaker!

I bought this plasma cut steel dragonfly in Montana last fall at the last farmer's market of the year. It has looked so neat in our hosta bed, but now it looks like an airplane ready to take off. This dragonfly looks really cold. I guess it needs some de-icer.


I love the lacy look of trees with snow on them. I especially like looking into the depths of the branches and seeing the patterns they create as they interlock. The icing of the snow just makes it a special treat for me.
Beignet has always loved paper. I have called her my personal paper shredder. No batteries, no electricity, just plenty of good food and clean water. She has been practicing up for the Holidays. This is the paper that has packed our belongings. We have unpacked, folded, put away, repacked, unpacked again, folded and put away so many times that I begin dreading opening a box because it will have MORE paper in it. We should be done in a couple of years:).
Google is sitting in one of his new favorite spots - in front of the window. It was out this window that he pointed out two deer in our yard the other day. Note the length of Goog's tail.

I hate to be all Scroogish, but who needs a Christmas Tree with THIS out the window. We have really been enjoying the appearance of the little forest we live in with its transformation from the snow.

Google loves to find the warmest, coziest spot around. He burns off so much energy with his racing around the house that we work at keeping him fed well enough. He is a rather thin cat, but all muscle. The boxes from our moving have become a favorite hideout for him - nice insulation, quiet surroundings and nobody to find him, unless I'm around with the camera. What a great cat he is. His sister Yahoo is pretty neat, too, but she disappears when the camera shows up.
It isn't too hard to tell that we have cabin fever around here. For goodness sake, I'm taking pictures of birds shredding paper and cats hiding in boxes and he doesn't exactly look pleased about it!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


This is Queen Anne's lace all covered with a crown of snow

The sign post to where we live is all wrapped in a bow. All of the mail boxes have wreaths on them that are now completely invisible.

This would be my Christmas card to all of you. It just exudes Christmas to me.

Oh my, look at the height of these trees. That is what you get when you live in old growth forest.

I believe this is a duplicate of the trees, but I don't know how to delete the photo, so hurray, you get a second look at those tall trees.
I have to give my husband Bob credit for these photos. I was a wimp today and stayed in. After living in the North most of my youth, I'm happy to just look at the snow from a warm window.
I wish a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a delightful start to a new year to all of you and your kin and friends.

Monday, December 08, 2008


Oh how I would love to post a photo tonight. My computer doesn't want to allow it, so it is time to use creative language. I have an image burnt in my memory. It is of a man kneeling by his son and wife, caressing them in adoration. It is what I have always felt that the image of the heavenly father should be, one who is caring, attentive and ready to meet my needs. That is what I saw my son (in-law) doing the other night. I had walked down the hall to the guest room and turned to ask a question when I saw him kneeling at the bedside of his wife and son. It is so dear to me to know what a good father and husband he is.

Sam is a fortunate son and Aimee is fortunate as well to have such a man in their lives. We all have physical needs such as food and shelter, but to have emotional and mental needs met so well is a great gift. I'm thankful that my daughter and grandson are recipients of that gift.

We are not always blessed with the people our children choose as life partners, but John is like a real son to me and I love him dearly. I wish I had the photo of him to show, but perhaps that image was just for my eyes so I could put it into words. Memory is all we had before cameras and memory is a wonderful thing.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Amazing, amazing and again amazing. I've become a grandmother and his name is Samuel Robert. He arrived weighing in at an amazing 10#4oz. and has not one roll of fat on his body. He has chubby baby cheeks and a lean well-muscled body with feet that will make his Mamma and Daddy want to start saving for custom sized shoes. His foot prints went outside of the lines, so at an early age he has learned to not color too much inside the lines (as an artist I'm so proud of this). I loved him the moment I saw him and he dazzles me with his awareness at such a tender age of three days. He is wearing the afghan I knitted for him over four year's time. Enjoy this glimpse of him at less than 12 hours of age.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


As of yesterday we are moved out of our apartment!!! Hooray!!! We finally have only the responsibility and joy of one home. Of course, we still have about 150 boxes to unpack and we've no idea where all of it will go. Last night we managed to arrange the two living areas so that we can actually sit down and relax. One is a sitting room, the other is TV room along with dining area. We have a dining room but it is filled with boxes of art supplies from my old 13x20 studio. We also have the office arranged and I think we are ready to start unpacking books.

It has been two weeks now at the new house and we were concerned that we wouldn't be able to move until later because Aimee's baby might come. We are still waiting for a grandchild who is 9 days overdue. However, we are happy that mother and baby are still healthy and content.

The cats have adjusted well to the move and now feel relatively comfortable. They are delighted with the big picture windows and don't miss a movement outdoors. There is a little bunny that visits once in a while.

Beignet has adjusted well, too. She has a view out of two windows and it is common to see here sitting and looking out the windows. She seems to really like it.

It feels so good to be in just one location. Since April we have been in the moving mode and is nice to know that when we need to relax that we can. Just one home.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Cello again, folks. Really, I mean that I got my cello out and played it the other day. It was good to see it and play it after having it in storage for four months. I placed the cello case on the small sofa which at the time was the only clear spot in the house. We have walls of boxes to unpack! When I went back to put the cello away I found both of our cats sitting in each of the flared areas to the cello case as if its velvet lining were made just for them. I'm always amazed at the places cats find interesting to sleep.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Here are some photos of our new home and the surroundings. The first is of Yahoo trying to hide in the old oven we took out. The second is of a gorgeous Japanese maple tree midway up our driveway, and the third is of the Japanese maple we see from our living rooms. The last is the "cabin in a woods" photo.
We have been busy transporting things to the new house and from the apartment and storage units. In particular I have been busy picking out paint for the kitchen and living rooms. I think I have settled on a Ralph Lauren color called Mexican feather grass. Bob is finishing the new counter tops this weekend.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


It seems a small thing when you think about it, but today I got to sweep out the garage and deck and sidewalk and driveway at our new house. It was a big job, but it was just sweeping. We used to play a game at dinner called FWIB. F was for the most fun thing of the day, W was for the worst thing of the day, I was for the most interesting and B was for the best. Today the most fun was sweeping, the worst was having aching arms, the most interesting was seeing the toadstools off the edge of the deck in the forest and the best was seeing the sunset in the sky as I swept. It was a small thing, but what a great part of my day.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Wow! I don't think I have ever done this in my life. Yesterday we signed papers on our new house and today we went to the appliance store and bought a new refrigerator, stove and dishwasher. I don't think that we have ever done that. Sticker shock (with tax) is still grating on our nerves, but I'm sure we will enjoy these modern conveniences for a long time. I will have crushed ice and filtered water to drink all the time. I love ice water and have just put up with tap water all of my life.

We walked out at the house today (we don't get keys until Tuesday) and looked at the variety of plants in our new property. It was so extremely quiet except for the sound of birds and the air felt clean and fresh because it is so purified by the trees in the area. I think it is going to be a good home and a great place for grandkids to grow up.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


My sister Lorrie and I recently went on a trip to Montana. Long road trips tend to encourage a lot of nonsensical talk and soon we began reciting some of our favorite things. Fresh blacktop, dark trees against the fading sky, the haze on blueberries, and many other things came up.

For a long time now I have kept a list of favorite things. At first the list began because I wanted to a piece of calligraphy listing my favorite things. Eventually the list became so broad that it couldn't be kept to one work of art, so I just kept adding to the list. At this point it could actually be subdivided into groups such as garden, color, feelings, nature, people, events, etc.

I would encourage everyone to keep a list of favorite things. At some point in one's life that list will become a part of a legacy to leave behind oneself. We are defined by the things we love.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


High on my list of favorite things is the call of the first bird of the morning. One bird sings in the distance and then another a little closer and then the forest is a cacophany of song. It stirs the depths of my being like a prehistoric force answering to the first alarm clock - the bird. Usually I don't hear it because my body doesn't seem to subscribe to the prehistoric force; it likes to sleep later, but occasionally I arise early and hear that sweet first bird call and love every single note it sings.
We live in the last swath of old growth forest on the West Side of Portland, Oregon that is privately owned by individuals. If one were to look at a satellite view of our home you could see the shining green swath looking like a huge punctuation mark on the map. All of the other green spaces are owned by corporations or the city. These are the only homes left that have towering trees above them and small creeks running below. These are the homes untouched by massive developers that devoid the land of trees, those precious oxygen rich beings that keep us breathing. Most of us aren't even aware that it is the trees that give us most of our oxygen. Lawns: they just look pretty and contribute to global warming with big lawn mowers and exhaust, plus they contribute to pollution with chemicals to keep them looking glowing, as well as use up water resources. Trees: they survive on their own, give shade, and allow the ferns to grow beneath them. For fertilizer they drop their leaves every year and let the slugs and bugs grind them up to be used again in a never ending process. The birds like the setting. It is beautiful and it has been my most honored privilege to live here for the last twelve years. Keep on singing first bird...


When I write and can't think of anything to write I follow the Natalie Goldberg advice, "Keep the hand moving." When I don't want to exercise and I need to I follow my own advice, "The body dies unless it keeps moving." That is not the kind of moving I am talking about. We are physically moving from one city to another. Moving from a 3000 sq. ft. home on 1/3 of an acre adjoining many other acreages that are all unfenced and a bit of heaven to a 2 bedroom apartment a little bit over 900 sq. ft. We are being so drastic so that we can try to sell our Portland, Oregon home in a bad market. So the plan goes like this: 1/3 of the stuff goes to storage, 1/3 of the stuff goes to our apartment and 1/3 of the stuff stays here so our home is "staged", the modern term for making a house look like a model home from a magazine. None of the stuff of personality is supposed to stay. It all has to look like we are sparse interior decorators who just love to look at 19 foot ceilings with nothing in the way. The real intention is to not distract the potential buyers from actually seeing the house, as opposed to seeing the STUFF.
All of that stuff I mentioned...We have also thrown away or given away about 1/3 of it. It is amazing beyond comprehension how one can accumulate things and never notice that the nooks and crannies are filling up. It is a slow and devious process that begins to take over a home and pretty soon the corners are screaming to be seen again, but the stuff keeps them silent. Not any more! The stuff that is accompanying us to Seattle, Washington is the stuff we really want plus the stuff that we didn't have time to sort through. Little does it (the stuff) know that I now know how to be ruthless. My husband and I have called each other Ruth and Les. I'll ask, "what to you think?" and he'll reply, "Ruth!", so I throw it away. You know the flip question and answer, don't you.
Our movers come in three days and I'm awake at 4:30 in the morning with my head swimming with overload. What do I think about, you ask. One would suppose that worry would be flooding my mind with the impending due date on preparation. Nope! The beginnings of a way to put three different stories into one has pushed its way through the thoughts of stuff and is running rampant. I have tucked it away into my file of things to write about and now I'm attacking a corner of stuff that has been eluding me. I'll get you my dearies.....!

Monday, May 12, 2008


Having viewed my last entry I realized that I wasn't prepared for the 30 day trial period. Life is just too full of life challenging changes to encompass that kind of trial. So...I have gone back to the change that works; the one thing at a time concept. It works for me and I can handle one change at a time. When that is habit, I go on to the next change.

The concept of diet has always troubled me. It has the word DIE as part of it and I think that really explains why it usually fails. Something that we think of as temporary doesn't usually work. Something that is thought of as part of the rest of our lives does work. I refuse to say that my last plan didn't work, the plan was just suspended while I worked on other things in my life. I don't diet, I make changes.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


I have a friend who is an artist (who also has my sweet little parrotlet Isabo). She says that she has a hard time just getting sat down at her desk and working, so she sets a timer for 30 minutes. She begins to doodle and pretty soon she is working on something with intensity and the timer goes off and she just ignores it.

Having gained several pounds (ugh!) I decided to try the same concept except that I would do the right things for diet management and exercise management for 30 days. I know it is really TROML (the rest of my life), but 30 days is something I can look at for a short term and have a specific goal and look forward to what can happen in 30 days. I was sick with the flu and look what happened: I got flabby and unmuscled and that was for 21 days. I can reverse all of that and even gain more muscle which will increase metabolism.

This feels pretty radical and scary for me, but it is what I'm going to do. I'm hereby beginning the experiment as of 8:30 this morning. I've already done my exercise, eaten a healthy breakfast and walked the dog.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

This quarter I'm working out a new strategy to keep myself busy. Last quarter I spent every night in front of the television and it literally sucked up three months of my life. I don't plan on doing that again. So far I'm doing fine, but this is just Tuesday so I can't pat myself on the back too hard.

I have been struggling with a pattern for a baby sling. After interviewing lots of Mom's I have discovered the things they like and dislike about some baby carriers. The most popular has been a tube like sling. I am attempting to get it to be just one seam and I think I have it figured out. It takes quite a bit of fabric, so just going for it seems like a huge risk. However, that is what I'm doing today - going for it!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


I have wanted to make one of Ricky Tims' Convergence quilts since last summer. I had some scraps of batik fabric and Christmas break was a good time to concentrate on one. Thinking back on the process, I think that I would have made decisions to create more open space in the pieces. As well, I would not use complimentary colors as I did in this one. My eyes buzz when looking at it. The whole process was fun and very EASY. What amazed me most was how easy it was to get perfect piece matching.
The pictures show only the later steps in the process, but it does reveal how easy this was to make. Everything is just done in strips. The book I used for this is Ricky Tims' Convergence Quilts. Instructions and great pictures are provided. Great job Ricky Tims for giving us beginning quilters a way to quilt without cutting out all of those tiny pieces. It is such a time saver.