Wednesday, April 23, 2014

prom fix

The next prom dress on the queue has no sequins or beads. Amazing.

Last night I got a call from a mom, asking for a slight adjustment to the alteration I had done on her daughter's prom dress. Seems I sewed in the push-up bra cup upside down....

I asked her if she considered just sending her daughter to the doctor for a surgical boob rotation, but she thought my fix would be easier. It never hurts to ask...

Monday, April 21, 2014

post Easter

 The problem with Easter is this: if I take the message seriously, then I have to believe that I was so bad that the creator of the entire universe had to die to save me. From the time I was a child, I would try to figure this out. Why did the creator of the universe make such flawed folks in the first place? And why did he create a universe that required a blood sacrifice? That just didn't seem very lovingly creative to me. And the terrifying thing was, I learned, as a child, that he knew me by name though I wasn't even born yet as he hung dying on a cross. Oh. But Easter is about resurrection. What was it like in the cave where his body was buried? Did rigor mortis set in? Had decay started? How was that reversed? What would I have seen if I had been in the cave for those three days? Some say a miracle. But how did that miracle happen? I always wanted to know how and why. As I got a bit older I learned about belief, which was, to my mind, accepting something as true based strictly on somebody else's say so. Which I tried to do. But I still wanted to know how and why, so I would look closely, peering into mysterious things, hoping to get some answers. And then, a bit later, I learned about the problem with doubt. But wait! I have a brain! Why would God give me a brain and then tell me not to use it? Is truth so fragile that it cannot be examined, tested, challenged?

Childish questions, at least for me. I never did get answers, but I did learn that it's good to ask questions. I ask different questions now that I've learned about human beings, mythology, fear, love, the nature of the universe, psychology, etc.

So if you do the church thing I'll honor your preferences. I'm hoping you'll honor mine. The real truth beneath the Good Friday/Easter Sunday story is much deeper and more mysterious than any one religious interpretation can explain. We are all One. We each sing with a different voice.


Friday, April 18, 2014


The weather was good, my workload was up to date, so we biked to the kitty bench again. Yes, the kitty was there, begged for goodies, then when the treats were done, she left. So it goes.

We're putting in about 13 miles per kitty bench ride, and I pedal as hard as I can to build up some strength. Also, after so many trips, it gets a bit boring. Becoming strong, however, is not boring. I was remembering what one bike shop owner told me: about the best I'd get out of my Townie would be 10 miles per hour. Now. Me. 70 years old, having kicked cancer's ass on three different occasions, I'd say my ability to take my bike to its supposed limit is worth crowing about. He didn't say 10 miles an hour was the limit for a 70 year old crone. So my thought is....DAYAMN!
Hey. Attitude is my friend. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

no peace, no quiet

My work day is finally over, though the work isn't done. Tomorrow is good enough. With George gone this weekend, I expected a little more peace and quiet than what usually happens. Well, I got the quiet, just not the peace.

It started with a last minute request for a prom alteration. The prom was in two days, but all she needed was for simple sleeves to be narrowed. That's a 10 minute fix. So ok, come on over. But then she wanted it hemmed, but she didn't bring her shoes. How high? Four inches, so I rounded up 4 inches worth of books and had her stand on them. Turns out she didn't need a hem after all. We're long past 10 minutes, and I haven't done the sleeves yet. We set up a return time: the next day at 5pm. After her dance practice. 5pm came by, 5:30, 6:00. I called - no answer. 6:30 I called her mom, who said she was on her way to pick up her daughter, and practice went long. Nobody could have called and let me know? When they got here, I gave them a bit of a stern talk to. No, you couldn't control the rehearsal, I know how that kind of thing happens, but because you were late and I had to be ready to let you in, I couldn't fix my meal, I couldn't take a nap, I couldn't do much of anything for two and a half hours. I charged her a rush fee, and they didn't have a problem with it.

But wait! There's more! She had a friend who needed a prom alteration, too, and mentioned me. The friend called. She needed a hem. Well, ok (I was caught up with my work, so could fit her in). When she asked the cost, I told her, plus added a 50% rush charge, and a $60 hem was giving her ouchies. But she agreed, she had no choice. And she came over with a dress that had more chiffon yardage than I've ever seen on a prom dress. I was already in a bad mood because of the earlier girl's very tardy appearance, and told this girl that I had a grump going on and she'd have to listen to me vent for awhile until I got it out of my system. So I grumped, and had to deal more grumpiness because I knew what it was going to take to hem 24 yards of chiffon. But she was a good sport and by the time we were done pinning, we were both laughing. I asked her when she could stop by tomorrow (today), and she said 1 pm. Not gonna happen. What's the latest? 4pm. So I spent six flipping hours on that dress, so the $60 turned out to be not so good for me. Yet in another way it was, because while I was doing the work, I had time to think about restructuring my pricing to accommodate monster chiffon hems and late charges. So she got stung with a high price, I got stung by too low a price. As I explained to her, we both hurt a bit with this one, but we both got something out of it, too.

My grump is gone, I've got a better pricing system, and all is well. My wine is almost gone, too, but as soon as I hang up here, I'm going to fix that....

Oh wait. One more thing. Remember when I said I got quiet but not peace? Not quite true. What helped get me through 24 flippin' yards of chiffon was old Oak Ridge Boys tapes. Cranked up loud. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

mountain talk

A few tears today...

We went to the bike shop, bought a couple of things, and made appointments for tune ups for our bikes.  And, for the first time, I had an opportunity, under the guidance of a good bike shop owner, to actually get up on a full sized 26" bike. He showed me how to handle the larger bike despite my poor hip rotation, and showed how, if I could handle this, I'd get an easier ride than on the bike I have now. Not that my bike isn't good - it's very good, and was the best bike to start with. I guess I've finally taken it as far as I can with that sweet Townie. If I stay with that bike, it's still good. I just have to work harder, and working harder isn't necessarily a bad thing.

On the way home, I was thinking about the chain of events that  brings me to this point...
Three years ago George finally convinced me to get a bike. That first ride? Three miles, followed by exhaustion and a nap.
Two years ago I read an article in the newspaper about a 60 year old woman riding the GAP, and wanted to get strong enough to do the same thing.
One year ago we took our first two day ride, putting in about 40 miles a day.
This year we ride the GAP ourselves.

I saved that newspaper article. I know others have tougher roads than I do, but mine was tough for me. When I was a little girl, I remember quite well wishing I were a boy so I, too, could have adventures. I wanted to climb mountains. Well, I've climbed mountains, figuratively, throughout the years. And next month we ride in the mountains.

Life is good.
The view from the mountaintop is divine...

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

joyful noise

My head is still ringing joyfully from a conversation yesterday evening. A high school girl needed an alteration to her prom dress. I see a lot of that these days. She arrived with two of her friends, one of whom had been here earlier with her own prom dress, and she just wanted to come along. Nice.

Pinning up a hem doesn't take a lot of mental concentration, so while I was doing that, all four us us started talking...about books. Yes. High school girls sharing their favorite books, their favorite authors; fiction, nonfiction, math, geology, public health, psychology, history, and who knows what other topics might have come up if we could have kept at it. These girls are all lovely serious students, full of life and curiosity.

At one point one of the girls started a list of books they all thought I'd like to read, and made another list for themselves of books I've already read and recommended. Can you imagine? High school girls.

There was one other dynamic at play here, something I don't see very often with ANY age group. Not only were they sharing their life and experiences with me (most people will talk about themselves), but as part of the dialogue they actually were interested in what I might have to say (most people I know casually don't really care). Too bad.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

mirrors up

This morning I investigated a noise coming from somewhere outdoors near our house. It was a robin. He was attacking his reflection in a basement window. He would hop over to the window, peck at his reflection (which kind of knocked him a bit sideways), then hop away, regroup, and come after that damned reflection again. Over and over and over again. Last year it was a cardinal attacking my neighbor's second floor window - over and over and over again, day after day, for most of the summer.

We're like that, too. We are threatened by an enemy we see and attack it, not recognizing that what we see is a reflection of ourself. As I've heard it said...Mirrors up!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014


Where is this place
where we walk casually across a field, and suddenly our next step is onto a bridge
a narrow bridge with a low railing on either side
too low for much comfort
as we look down into a 200 foot canyon and see a river

he isn't afraid; he walks across the bridge to the sand dunes on the other side, and enjoys the dunes with others who are playing and sculpting sand art

I am more afraid, but grab the railing and carefully cross the bridge

I don't see him any more, but I also don't want to play in the sand, so I turn to head back.

As I turn, I see behind me a canyon wall looming as high as the river canyon was looming low
an incredibly beautiful canyon wall
rough chiseled, as you might imagine arrowheads being chipped and chiseled
the irregular surfaces were in a variety of jewel tones
shimmering in the sun

I peacefully wait for him to return

Where is this place? Is it only in my imagination? Or do I travel to other universes in the night?

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

daily smiles

I dreamed I only slept for one hour.
No, I don't understand it, either.
Because I got a good night's sleep.


Today was a good day. A small hawk sat on one of the shepherd's hooks at our bird feeder station. At first I thought it was a super large mourning dove, but no, it was a hawk.

Bike ride: we continue to add distance to our daily rides, building up strength and stamina for our GAP ride. Today we heard the peepers, and had a chance to speak with a woman who had ridden the GAP several times. Excellent! Plus the kitty was at the kitty bench.

My prom dress girls are a lovely collection of young women this year; most very serious students, planning on college majoring in subjects that are very important (in my opinion); environmental studies, political science, economics, medicine. They add a bit of hope in what seems to be a world turning grey.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

odds, ends, and mysteries

Where shall I start? Perhaps in chronological order.

The mudslide in Washington State: When I first heard of it, I immediately contacted my son who lives in Seattle. Are you there? Are you home? Are you ok? Fortunately, he was home and ok. He said he hikes in that area, but it was unlikely he would have been swept up in the slide anyway. However, if he had been hiking safely at that time,  he would have had a hell of a time getting home because the only access road was closed off. When all's said and done, I think a long drive home is much much better than never finding home again.

Bike shop. We found a good one. I can't wait to take my brother there where he can drool over bike gadgets and gizzies. The staff was extremely helpful. George wasn't sure which model of rack and bag to order, so they ordered all three of the ones he was considering. They also explained why my bike doesn't roll as easily as George's does. I didn't understand it, but he did. When we've brought that up at other stores, even the store where I bought the bike, nobody bothered to explain it. In addition, nobody bothered to order three possible racks and bags, either.

The dream. That was a doozie. I became a myth to a group of people. It was a long, peaceful, mysterious dream, full of symbolism I haven't deciphered yet. Hoping that myth thing doesn't happen for awhile. I'd rather just be a happy mundane real person doing real things in the only time/space configuration I understand. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

proms and such

So far, prom season is a delight. A couple of the schools are holding their proms in April, rather than May, which gives me time to alter the girls' dresses. May will be problematic for me, or rather for them. I'm available until the middle of May, then no more. Why? Brother! Mountains! Bike rides!

The girls that find me actually give me hope for the human race! I've only had six so far, and two of them are seniors, planning on college next year, and majoring in environmental science. To think that a teenage girl would even know about environmental science, then think it something worth pursuing makes my heart happy.

And then another girl suggested I not call her on her cell phone because she often forgets to turn it on. That, too, is remarkable. We chatted a bit about that, since I'm the same way. She just isn't into constant communication, and her classmates think she's weird. So be it. Good on ya, girlfriend!

Of course, there was another girl and her mother...
They came to the house, I escorted them to the dressing room and gave them instructions. As I left the room, beginning to close the door, I turned to say "see you in a minute", and already both mom and daughter were busy on their smart phones. Well, who knows what absolutely stunning bit of information needed to be texted right in that moment. Maybe it was about this wonderful alterationist they just found? Ha!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

bridge - a second look

Yesterday George and I were looking for the right photo to depict a page in my book, when we came across these. Immediately I thought of the Bridge song Steve and the quartet are working on. He had been telling me how they're trying to embrace and share the feelings of being the "bridge" to someone in need of help. Well, here's how it feels to the one needing the help.

May, 2008. I had completed chemo, surgery, and radiation. On my feet, but relatively weak and wobbly. Have I ever mentioned how much I ignore weak and wobbly if there's something I want to do? Like hiking. Biking, but that's another story. George, Bob, Mike, and me. Up at Brandywine Falls. We found the path that runs alongside the water; George walked with me while Bob and Mike tramped on ahead. After a bit Mike returned, telling me the creek was passable, but we'd have to cross on some rocks, and maybe we should turn back now. I wanted to cross, not knowing if it would even be possible.

And here's what happened. George crossed first and waited with his camera. Bob and Mike rearranged the flat river rocks, making sure they were firm and steady, and not too far apart. And now it was my turn. I was frankly frightened I might fall in. I handed the camera to Mike and slowly and carefully stepped from one rock to the next, holding Bob's hand in front of me, with Mike in back, offering encouragement, ready to assist if needed.

I don't remember if I crowed and shouted out loud or not once to the other side, but my spirit was giddy with joy. I crossed the river! It was an ocean! I crossed it! With a whole lot of help from my angels. They did what they could with their strength, and I did what I had to do - say yes and accept the helping hands.

So, yes, there are always tears when I hear "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

Sunday, March 23, 2014

bike preps

Bicycling. My legs need to strengthen before the mountain ride. And they will. Every day the temp gets over 50 degrees we ride the Galena trail. Up to the kitty bench and back is 10 miles, and I can add an extra mile every time we ride the "race track" at McNamara Park. I'm up to twice around the track, plus the trail, thus 12 miles. But for now that's enough. And yet...we'll be pedaling 40 miles a day for 4 days. On the other hand, we'll have all day to ride 40 miles.

But here's something interesting. Although I haven't been on my bike all winter, I discovered I have better balance than I did last year. I'm going to presume it's the remainder of the chemo drugs still bubbling up and out of my body. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

forty eight

Our 48th anniversary has come and gone, with a bit of acknowledgement, and that was all. We thought about going out, but it happened that our grandson's vocal department had a concert, so we went. Fitting, it seems, that we should spend our anniversary witnessing one of the results of our marriage in the first place! Junior high concerts are a bit of an endurance event, but we were delighted to hear him sing a solo, and sing it well. And why shouldn't he? He already sings in a championship men's chorus with his dad and grandpa. What was excellent was to hear him sing a strong bass at age 12. By the way, he also sings bass in the men's chorus. So cool.

Forty eight years, plus the few years on the front end when we were dating; so we've been in love for half a century. I don't brag on it much...too many of our peers have either lost their marriages, or lost their spouses, or lost their love. We still have all three, and it is a wondrous thing, this thing we have built. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

book work

The book project continues, and is building up a head of steam. "Things" are starting to come together. What things? Oh, some InDesign skill, some creative ideas for page layouts, and then there's this:

I was laying out a particular page with some free verse. In order to give greater impact, I wanted a photo of a lake. It needed to have a focus on the right side of the photo, and the photo itself had to be in portrait mode. Now that I could have manipulated, but its nice to not have to maul a photo more than necessary. Hopefully, there'd be a photo in my Glacier National Park folder, and yes, indeed there was. Lake, right side focus, and portrait format. This photo would sit behind the words, and then guess what! Seriously! The finger of land that jutted out into the lake was positioned exactly where the word lines were very short. I guess it's hard to explain, but no, I'm not putting up that page here. Mainly because I don't know how to extract one page from a pdf. Not yet.

I was pretty happy, having what seemed to be the perfect photo to help visualize the words. And then another thing happened...the Goddess voice. She said..."Now you know why you go so many places and take so many pictures. This is an important book, perhaps your enduring gift to others, and now you have a repository of photos as part of your raw materials." Words - something like that. Actually, my personal awarenesses don't appear as words at all, and I have to figure out how to say what happened.

So did that happen? Inside my head it did. That's all that's necessary. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014


When I left the teaching field, I turned my back and walked away, never looking back.
And yet...
I didn't walk away from the students. I've reconnected with several of them, and have even become good friends with a few. (Facebook can be a wonderful thing.)

I didn't walk away from my love of science. (and how I love Neil DeGrass Tyson)

I didn't walk away from the enjoyment of teaching; but now it's per request.

So what did I walk away from? The Church and its oppressive rules and restrictions. Administrators who loved their authority more than they loved education. Parents who's agendas were to further their children's "interests", which were really their own unfulfilled interests.

In the the space between walking away from teaching and today, I walked a long perilous journey. Cancer. Three times. Low paying jobs in the business world. Care of two mothers.

And today? Retirement has become a magical time of picking up the abandoned artistic dreams of the emotionally bruised little girl that I once was and bringing those dreams to life, and, in the process, healing those bruises.

So. What prompted these thoughts for this morning? Oh, a dream. A dream in which my muse sat beside me and played devil's advocate, teasing out my understanding of my own personal "flow."
Was that really just a dream?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


the dream
not a nightmare
but I was glad to wake up from the constant frustration

but then
a bit later in the morning
the dream memory returned
I guess I hadn't paid enough attention to it

the dream
we've probably all had these
you don't know where you are, or
you try to make a phone call and the phone doesn't work, or
potential danger lurks all around

but this time

the dream initiated where I had already lost sight of my bike
and it was the middle of the night, and all the street lights were out.
I navigated in the dark, not by sight, but by "awareness"
and I stayed on the path

though there was danger surrounding me, I wasn't afraid,
and danger didn't approach

when I needed help, I found a phone
and it worked
I called and asked for a ride home

My imaginary dream muse reminded me that courage takes place, not often with glorious trumpets, but in situations of uncertainty, where we just do the best we can, often in solitary

and what I dreamed was what courage feels like.
(but I'm still glad I woke up...)

Monday, March 10, 2014


I was off by an hour. Though the clock said 11 o'clock, somehow I saw it as 10 o'clock, and when my client knocked on the door, I was surprised. I told her she was early; she told me I was wrong. And I was. We laughed, and she commented that I was being a normal retired person.

That reminded me of my days working as activities director in a nursing home. We were required to visit with all the residents at least once a week, and observe if they were "oriented x3", noting it in the nurse's log. Oriented to person, place, and time. We had to note whether they were aware of the year and of the day of the week. Now I ask: if every day is like every other day, and if there are no calendar obligations, then why should they have to know what day of the week it is in order to be classified as oriented? And then this: there was a year, when, though yes, I knew what year it was, I nevertheless thought I was a year older than what I actually was. Once it became clear, it was funny.

Sometimes I shed my personal identity and wander around the universe, connecting to the larger energy fields, riding the currents of time, and then I think I'm more oriented to reality than when I'm walking about my daily duties. 

Saturday, March 01, 2014


Another storm is heading our way. What an awesome winter this is!

Last night was also awesome. Steve's quartet and their coach met at our house, and I got to listen to three hours of an excellent coach working with an excellent quartet. I didn't think a barbershop quartet could do justice to "Bridge Over Troubled Water", but they did. I could hear the emotion (and see it, for that matter), which is what moves me. The barbershop chords? Not so much. But they weren't punishing my ears by insisting on loud chords. The music was the foundation on which the message was sent. And for me, the message is a higher priority than the musical messenger, though, of course, the messenger must be good enough to not bring attention to itself in a negative way. So as I sat there, listening and watching the ripples of gentleness and strength emanating from them, I noticed that I was touching my own painful memories and allowing the music to soothe them.

Monday, February 24, 2014


Sometimes a mundane and boring day is a good day. Today's mundaneness gave me an opportunity to rearrange my work room.

And discover a population of dust bunnies.
and pins and needles...
thread, snaps, buttons, bits of fusible interfacing...

I can't imagine that there could ever be an improvement on what I now have. But I think I said that the last time...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

sometimes you just have to let it go

Sometimes the best part of an alterations business is not the alterations. It's the people.

A church lady came to me with a dozen items from her closet that needed to be taken in. She had lost a lot of weight after a surgery. All she had left in her closet were jeans. Now, for me, that's still a pretty good closet. But this isn't about my closet, it's about hers.

We chatted while I measured and pinned and took notes . Quilting, my photography, her surgery, the latest storm threatening to blanket us with ice in a couple of hours. I told her about planning a bike trip in the mountains later in May; my husband, my brother and me. And, later on, I hope to turn it into a book entitled "Three Old Farts on Bikes." Oh, how she laughed, and admonished me..."Pat, that's not very ladylike." I looked at her and replied, "Well, I noticed you laughed. Sue Ann, we knew about farts back in the day and just called them different names." (In my family, we "let one go").

She said she'd pray for me...

Some days it's easy to love my life. This was one of those days.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

mountain climbing

Standing on the mountain at the close of the day, clouds settling in and around, reminds me of my own blankets that keep me warm and safe through the night.

I remember so well the first time I saw Mt. Rainier and fell in love with her presence. She is more than a hunk of volcanic rock stuck on the face of Gaia. She is reminiscent of a goddess, and I can understand how American Indians have held some of the mountains to be sacred sites.

But standing there, face to face with one of the peaks, is more than gazing into the soul of that majestic mountain. It nudges me to gaze into my own soul, too. Something stirs even when I look at the pictures.

Like now. I continue to create my book, the one from this blog, sharing in book form my musings as I strode up the mountain of breast cancer. I did climb that mountain, reached the peak, danced with the clouds, the sun, the rain, and came back down again to today.

I shared an interim copy of the book with my aunt, who shared it with a nurse friend of hers, who cried and asked if she could borrow it. That really moved me, to think my words had that effect on somebody else. Yes, I've been told that would happen, but being told is just an intellectual thing.

I guess, since cancer has appeared three times, I've pretty much become accustomed to doing battle. It has become commonplace, practically a way of life. Thus I forget the fear somebody else may experience the first time they are faced with their own life changing mountain adventure. So I sat down and read my own interim book copy as though I hadn't seen it before. Yes, I would have liked something like that to hold onto as I fearfully approached my long, arduous climb up and over the mountain.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


A post apocalyptic forest?
A monthly meeting of bed heads?
Genetically modified trees?
Funky clothesline poles?
(hmmm, guessing some of my younger friends wouldn't know a clothesline pole if they were hanging from one)
I show my age.

and....I love my age!

Friday, February 14, 2014

faraway thoughts

I have spoken of my regret that I'll never know about life that may exist on other planets. Yet there are people who live on my street that I also don't know.

So. Let's say some sort of scientific communication points to the existence of sentient life on another planet, most probably in a different solar system. Would that make any difference to me personally? No. But it would be fun to see how some of the fundamentalist religions deal with it. Oh. Wait. I know how they'd deal with it. They'd just wouldn't believe it. Anything short of a face to face encounter would simply not be "real."

But this is not what's on my mind tonight. What's on my mind tonight is the approaching bike ride of my life, now in the planning stages, to hopefully take place in May. The Great Allegheny Passage, otherwise known as the GAP. More later.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Adobe InDesign. Such a powerful program. Such a bear to learn. But I shall!!!!

Sunday, February 09, 2014

a sober realization

Do you remember when you first learned that the universe is expanding? That stars and galaxies are speeding further and further apart? I'm not an astrophysicist. Obviously. What I don't understand could fill many books. Obviously. But given our current technology, I did understand that we'd never be able to travel to another planet. And to another star system or galaxy? No. The closest is over four light years distant. So when I first understood this, I felt a sense of urgency to upgrade our technology. Hurry! The distances increase as we speak!

The body of knowledge has increased quite a bit since I first despaired of space travel. And yet...

I think of the vastness of the universe...
the amazing number of planets that are being discovered...
the possibility of life forms...
and from there, the possibility of amazing (and amazingly different) cultures...
of cultures that have grown, evolved, matured, died, and disappeared...
and we'll never know.
Just like our own culture will eventually disappear.

So. With that in mind, I'll cradle my hot cup of coffee in my hands, gaze out the window and rejoice in whatever I see. Today what I see is snow. Again.

Thursday, February 06, 2014


Welcome back, you (whoever you are) that stops in to see what I'm writing about. I know you're there...I see you've downloaded a photo (again) and didn't bother to say "hey". But that's the way of the internet, isn't it? Anonymity. At least for you.

Anonymity doesn't work so well for me. I'm probably on some low level watch list based on the political writings I've done in the past. Good! And, you know who I am here. I have a name. I share my stories. I remember a few years ago I wrote about seeing a Halliburton vehicle on the road, and wondering why. That was back when Halliburton was big in the news. Interestingly enough, somebody from the Halliburton world checked into my blog for a few days after that. Yes, I can tell where you're from, even though I don't know who you are. But I don't need to know. So just for kicks and giggles I'll put Halliburton in the subject line to see if I can snag them again. Ha!

But on to more important things...
I've seen the great horned owl that lives behind my house twice, now, in the same week. Once flying over my neighbor's house at night, and this morning it flew past my kitchen window. Right before sunrise. Awesome. 

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

weather report

Lots of snow last night, level 2 emergency today. No school,  and already school closings are being announced for tomorrow. I presume that's because the streets haven't been cleared enough for safety. Columbus apparently got 10", a new record for snowfall in one day. Westerville didn't get that much, maybe 5" with a crust of ice on top. I'm grateful for the snowblower; I didn't have to worry about George overdoing. He's in good shape for the shape he's in, but he's still 70. A neighbor had already cleared our driveway, so George cleared off the next driveway in line. It's good to have good neighbors.

Monday, February 03, 2014


Thank goodness the Superbowl is history, at least for this year. Yet it may not be about the game, it might be more about the electronic hyperactive noise from the television. I don't know. Yeah, that's it. The hyperactivity, brought to us in constant and painful wavelengths generated by talking heads who used to play, talking heads who will never play but are young and beautiful and therefore worth paying attention to, talking heads who love the game, perhaps because they are paid well and know how to generate that hyperactive noise that is like a magnet to those of us who have tribal instincts.

If I lived alone, the television would not have been on. But I don't and it was. If I live long enough to live alone, I might miss the television being annoyingly on, but for now I'll just bitch a bit about it.

Right now? This morning? Blissfully quiet, and perhaps I'll hear the great horned owls calling to each other in their haunting and magnificent voices. 

Friday, January 31, 2014

standing by

One of my favorite customers came in today - a high school senior who is an accomplished tap dancer. She told me of a competition where she'll be dancing to "Stand by Me". I thought that was a bit unusual, since the song is a bit slow for what I thought tap dancing is. We wandered off into discussing technique, dancing from the heart, and from there to discussing her long history of dance, her future, you know, the place dance has in her heart. Or, in her case, resides in her feet.

My take away was this: we create. First we learn technique. Then at some point the technique becomes second nature and the heart engages. We learn that the only audience that matters is our own heart. It is exciting to have this kind of conversation with a high school girl.

Of course, there's her mother, a good, sweet, supportive kind who nevertheless thought her tap pants were maybe a quarter inch too long. Really? So we pinned and looked and repinned and discussed and she couldn't decide. Her daughter and I didn't think anything needed to be done, but mama wasn't convinced. Finally I asked the girl to tug on her stretch pants up at the thigh, lift the pants about a quarter inch - not enough to make wrinkles, just enough to satisfy mom. That did it. Sometimes knowing when not to do something is as valuable as knowing how to do something.

But...  "Stand by Me". Wow. I love this version.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

dream machine

Dreams. Who knows?

I dream a lot, and remember many. It's not unusual for me to wake up in the morning remembering more than one. And, sometimes I wake up in the night, recall a dream, then go back to sleep and dream again. It's fun! It gives my brain something to do while my body recuperates from being alive the day before.

Most of my dreams are fairly hum-drum. I'm myself, just in another universe, doing hum-drum things. Last night was no exception. Toward the end of my first dream, a customer approached me and asked about the alteration I was doing for her. Yes, in my dream I have a distinct memory of meeting her in my workroom and pinning the alterations on a black textured garment. I told her it would be finished the next day. End of dream.

Wake up, think about the dream, go back to sleep.

Another dream. In the middle of hum-drum something or other the customer's husband pulls up in a car, expecting to get the completed alteration. But I didn't get it done. He was annoyed. End of the second dream.

Wake up, think about the dream and be glad it wasn't real, go back to sleep.

A third dream. I'm putting on hiking shoes to take a hike with Steve and Kerry, amused that I don't ever remember seeing these shoes before. We hum-drum chat about it a bit, and as part of the light hearted conversation I tell them about my first two dreams. End of third dream.

Wake up, it's morning, and I'm just fascinated with my personal dream machine.

For the record, I have no unfinished alterations in my workroom. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Today's word is somber.

A friend had to put down his dog, his companion for 14 years. It was time. It was an act of love, but sometimes love is not easy.

Pete Seeger's death was announced. He was 94, so it was his time, too. And, as he would sing, for every thing there is a season...
That doesn't make it easy.

Today was an incredibly cold day. To make things easier, I found something to keep the oven on for a long period of time; I roasted a turkey. It was the turkey's time, too. It was tasty. Somber came to an end.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Well, this happened.

I posted a link on Facebook to a video of Chris Hayes explaining the inequality of accountability. Chris is a respected and intelligent person, and the fact that he is liberal should not be a condemnation. He invites conservatives on his program, and discusses intelligently and fairly with them. I also didn't think his discourse on accountability was particularly political.

That didn't stop an ex-student of mine from commenting with ad hominem attacks, among other things. In the past we've disagreed but have had decent conversations to the point of finding common ground. But not this time.

Then another ex-student jumped in, and basically defended Hayes, pointing out the fallacies in the first person's attack. I was grateful for his comments because I didn't want to get into an argument and didn't quite know what to say.

The whole thing was awkward. I don't speak of politics to people I know who follow Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Ann Coulter, and folks like that. Come to think of it, I don't speak of anything else to them, either. It's a closed mindset that just doesn't interest me.  

So at the end of the big deal. A difference of opinion, a couple of unfortunate words, and that's all. And I did what was best - simply walked away. Life is uncertain and short, and I have many things to do that require my unstressed concentration. I care very much about the inequalities for different groups of people, but arguing with someone who gets their marching orders from Rush and company is doing nobody any good at all.

Friday, January 24, 2014

good to know

Something I've wondered about but never sought the answer to...until today. We were waiting to be seated at a restaurant, and a couple of local policemen were standing behind us, also waiting. So I asked:
hypothetical...I'm alone in the house, doors locked. I have an emergency and dial 9-1-1. The police or ambulance arrives, how do they get in? He said they can force open some doors, and, if not, will break it down to get it. So then. They take me out and put me in the ambulance, and the house is left unprotected with a broken door? No, he says, they'd secure the door. That's good to know. I then wondered if there were a data base somewhere with garage codes of homeowners. As a matter of fact, yes there is, if we choose to be part of it. That, too, is good to know.

And that's my discovery for the day. Of course, the day isn't over with yet.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

project complete - sort of

Weary. The book. I've reached a pause.

Dancing with my muse when the music is playing - that's the passionate part. It flows.

Designing the individual pages, each a small piece of art, combining the photos and the writing such that they dance together, complement each other - not quite as passionate, but nevertheless solid pleasure.

Editing, pouring over each page, looking for glitches - not so much, but it must be done.

And then. Design the book itself. Now I'm seeing that a book is more than the story on the inside. I can see why writers send their drafts out, hoping to get a publisher. Well, I'm not doing that. I'm self publishing, so I get to do it all.

The book is designed, title page, copyright, introduction, cover design. This is still just a test copy, so credits and acknowledgements will wait for the final product. I want Blurb to make me one book that I can hold in my hand, and get a sense of the final product before I put it "out there." So since everything costs, I'm cutting down on some pages.

And now I have to learn just how Blurb wants the information, and must now learn to work in their format. As I upload each page, I see occasional spelling errors. Shit. Ditch that page, go back to Photoshop, correct the text, save the edit, go back and upload it again to Blurb. Out of 68 pages, I probably had to do that a dozen times, and I'll bet any amount of money I've still missed some.

But this stage is done. Tomorrow I'll make a purchase of this interim book, decide what works and what doesn't, then go on from there.

This has been a lot of work, and I'm glad for it. Whether anybody wants to read it or not, I created something I'm really proud of, and that's good enough for me. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

bird talk

A pair of great horned owls are singing their love songs to each other somewhere in the trees behind our house. They sing a beautiful, haunting hoo-hoo-huh-hoo back and forth, matching syllables, the male singing the bass, the female singing alto.  Morning, evening, and sometimes into the night. I've never seen them, except once briefly out of the corner of my eye, alerted by the crows, I might have seen one of them flying close to the ground before disappearing again into the trees. That's ok. I don't need to see them. I can hear them.

On the other hand, I spend more time than is sensible chasing away starlings. They are the only birds I chase from the bird feeders. They come in like a mob, crowding out all the other birds, and devour all the food faster than we can replace it. I suppose that's not fair to chase away hungry birds, but oh well. They'd be eating elsewhere anyway if we didn't have a feeder. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Writing a book and making a book are two very different skill sets, as I now know. But, the book is done, so to speak. The writing and associated photos are finished, though I'm certain spelling and grammatical errors will be found. But those will be corrected, and then I'll be ready for the big step; offering it publicly.

But for now I'm finished. A test book will be made at I'll have a better sense of final product and flow if I actually hold one in my hands. A computer monitor is good for what it is, but it just doesn't reek of "book." Maybe when my eyesight deteriorates and I have to read from a computer or some such, I'll see things differently.

I will sleep well tonight. Good night, moon..

Saturday, January 18, 2014

heart talk

It seems like our hearts can hold on to several emotions at the same time. Good. Does that mean our hearts are multi-tasking?

One shelf on my heart is full of pride and joy. We got up earlier than our aging bodies are comfortable with, but it was the only way we could get to the music competition where our granddaughter was playing a flute solo. Thank goodness for travel mugs. She played beautifully, of course, and got the highest rating. Good. I sat there and at the same time I watched and listened, my heart was also replaying my own music competitions on the French horn. Was it really 55 years ago? Apparently.

On another shelf is a portion of worry, though worry solves nothing. Nevertheless. My brothers are so far away and I wish we were closer. They are struggling with their own stuff, as I struggle with my own. And that's really all I'm going to say about that. The interesting dynamic in this is, I'm more concerned about their struggles than I am about my own. Why is that? Probably because I'm powerless in regards to their stuff. Myself? A struggle? Well, shit, but bring it on. I'm a tough broad. Oh. So I trust my own strength more than I trust theirs? Is that it? Well. Hmmmm. Well. I guess I need an attitude adjustment. I never wanted anybody to worry about me...
I guess I'm going to have to admit a double standard here. Admitting it is one thing. Fixing it is something else, though

Friday, January 17, 2014


I wish there were a mirror that, when someone looked into it, they could see their own beauty that sometimes gets buried deep inside by the trials and difficulties of life. I wish we could be mirrors for each other.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

morning song

Have you ever listened to silent music?
The melody slithered in between the closed blinds
and whispered quietly...
Wake up!
And so I did; rolled out of bed, slipped on my robe,
walked out of the bedroom, glanced out the window,
and there it was!
Clouds dancing with the sun
creating the silent melodies
of red and gold. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I've got plenty of nothing.

No words
other than
words referencing..

Saturday, January 11, 2014


I have a very small business. I charge and then pay the state sales tax. If you know the percentage to charge, it shouldn't be a problem, yes? But it is. Never mind the complex form I have to fill out - I've done it enough times to practically work it with my eyes closed.

And then there is this time. A note in the mail says I can't pay in the usual way because of a change in the tax rate which hasn't been factored in to the payment system. There's been a change in the tax rate? I never heard about it. Yes, the letter states the amount of change, but just for kicks and giggles I decide to affirm that I'm charging the correct rate. The first sites I go to explain there's a basic state rate, plus then I have to find the local rate, the municipal rate, the school district rate, and finally an obscure rate based on whether transit authority buses service the area in which I live and do business. You'd think all I'd have to do is add all these rates together, but tax jurisdictions don't quite match the map, and I have no clue as to whether buses service my area since I don't take the bus.

I finally find a site that gives me the tax rate based on my address. Simple. Oh wait. At the bottom of the site is a disclaimer: in so many words not responsible for inaccurate reporting by any of the local tax districts.

This is almost as helpful as the directions (written in four languages) on how to put any piece of equipment together. Batteries not included. 

Friday, January 10, 2014


The old and the new, which is just like my family picture wall. Being the firstborn in my family, and George being the first born in his, we have boxes and boxes of photographs, all slowly aging, fading, falling apart. Does anybody care? Maybe. Maybe not. Nevertheless, some descendant may one day appreciate diving into family history. So despite having too many projects to complete in any calculation of how many years remain in my life, I'm nevertheless adding another project - digitizing and noting accompanying stories to as many photos as I can, beginning with the oldest.

Twelve boxes.

You know, if you say "twelve" several times in a row,  it really sounds weird.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014


a new piece of fiber art is approaching birth
labor pains
what will work best - this way or that way
keep the vision forefront
but be open to unexpected insights
an insight just happened
and it feels like an explosion of purple bliss
why didn't I think of that before?
but the thought is here now
arriving at the right time
the work is now breathing
birth has occurred
growth is still necessary
but the art piece now has its own identity
separate from my dream
though my dream idea is imbedded in it

Monday, January 06, 2014

winter day

Good morning, c-c-c-c-cold world! Thank you for holding back on the snow.  Actually, thank you for the cold, which isn't all that bad. Five degrees. We've seen much worse. The furnace is working hard, but at least its working. It is a good day to stay indoors and bake bread and other yummies. Would you believe baked cabbage? Yep, that's on the to-do list.
Soon enough we'll be seeing our crocuses wake up from their winter nap. 

Saturday, January 04, 2014

stormy thoughts

When I took this picture, we were on a boat watching for whales. Now I'm home, tucked in and cozy warm, watching for a storm. Watching, waiting, preparing. We do a lot of that, it seems. I guess preparing for the future is part of the eternal now, eh?

Well, enough of that. I do love a big storm, though. And yet...I know some will struggle terribly in this weather. Of course, some struggle terribly regardless. 

Thursday, January 02, 2014

gerbil talk

round and round
circles and spirals
are we circling up?
or are we circling down...
or are we just standing still,
walking in place
and the world is spinning around us?

does it matter?


the universe is infinite
or so I'm inclined to believe
thus, with no boundaries
every place is the center
and everybody is the center
and no matter who you are
and where you go
you are always in the center of the universe

maybe we're just glorified gerbils
on fancy wheels

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

now that you mention it...

You, the whole world of you
will be celebrating the new year tonight
but not me
not really
my friends and family know
I don't let the calendar dictate when to celebrate
or what to celebrate
just like I don't let the clock tell me when to eat
it just doesn't work for me
and that's ok.
Yes, I'll sit with George
and watch the ball drop
and share a kiss
and a glass of wine.
It matters to him
and he matters to me.

and that is who and what I celebrate
in the eternal present moment

Sunday, December 29, 2013


Familial and societal holiday obligations have come to an end
as all good things come to an end.
Thank goodness.

I'm ready for the solitary island experience.