Tuesday, June 29

Things I'd like to tell my 19-year old self

1. It's okay to make yourself happy.

2. Go to more movies with your brother.

3. You are really, really funny. That is going to get you through so many things in life that are coming. Seriously. You even crack yourself up.

4. Gramom is going to start experiencing the early stages of Alzheimer's soon. As you go over to visit, pick berries and sew with her, talk to her more about her life. There will be a time when she won't be able to tell you anymore. Treasure this time with her.

5. You are not fat. You are athletic and strong, with long legs. You are beautiful.

6. You have an immense book collection. Reading is part of the answer. I think you know this. Could you save some of the finer, older editions for me because I use them now in my studio?

7. Don't let dad pick your jobs for you.

8. You're onto a good thing with those 4 rentals for $4 for 4 days from the video store. All those foreign movies are going to open your eyes to the world.

9. Keep writing in those journals. Your poems are beautiful.

10. You do not have to try so hard to get people to like you. The ones who are right for you will feel natural.

11. Dad doesn't understand you. He never will. Your efforts there are wasted. Put your energy into your own choices.

12. You've discovered drawing and painting and sculpture. Pretty soon you will decide to go to college for it. You are really, really good at it.

13. Enjoy living near your best friend. Pretty soon she will go away to college and never come home. You will spend years driving 8 or 6 hours in the car to visit her. It will never be like now. Go ahead, walk over to her house, throw pebbles at her window. Stay up all night giggling. Listen to her practice piano. Go on more road trips.

14. Don't listen to people who say you shouldn't be so exclusive with her. That's okay. You just found your closest friend forever.

15. Pay attention when mom gardens. One day you'll have a garden of your own and some more tips would not go amiss.

16. Enjoy sneaking out. One day you'll have your own house and there won't be the need.

17. You have enough money with your job to move out now if you want to. You could. And if you did, you would be okay. You have a fine mind and you could figure things out.

18. Your wardrobe is amazing. You have courage. Velvet rocks.

19. You take amazing photographs. Thank you for learning how to use a 35mm camera.

20. Speak the courage of your convictions to dad. Explain yourself clearly. Ask for what you need. You probably won't get it, but the practice will not be wasted.

21. Follow that feeling inside that tells you when to get away from people. Some people just drain energy. It's okay not to be nice to everyone.

22. It might be a good idea to pay attention when mom goes thrifting and flea marketing. The bargains are all around you in a way they will never be again, because Antiques Roadshow is going to come and raise prices everwhere. 

23. You want to travel. This is the key for you. This is not a waste of time or money. You are worth it.

24. Ask yourself what you really want. Do it. This is not a sin.

25. Selfish is actually not a bad word. It just means knowing yourself. And that's okay.

26. In 3 years you will go to Italy and backpack with a friend for 3 months. Enjoy that friendship with her because after that trip, life steps in and you will both go your separate ways. Also, on that trip, you do not need to pack so much.

27. Always use condoms.

28. You will not have acne forever.

29. Stay out of the sun. Do not put on baby oil.

30. The way things are now, is not how they will always be. This is all temporary.

31. Mom is wrong when she says you have an exercise addiction. Leaving the house and going for a run while watching the stars at 11pm at night because it's your only allowed coping mechanism for dealing with rage is not an addiction. It's really, really healthy.

32. One day you will be happy.

33. Stop using the blow dryer and flat iron on your hair. It is beautiful when it dries naturally.

34. Take a deep breath before dealing with difficult situations.

35. Mom is an anxious person. Take her terrors, her anxiety and her advice with a grain of salt. Hers isn't the only way.

36. Your hands are not too big.

37. You don't have to smile when men tell you to smile. 

38. Guys aren't really worth your time right now. They're not going to give you what you need. Be selective. Live your life.

39. You are resilient.

40. When you are upset, you freeze. Deep breathing really helps with that.

41. Drink a lot of water every day.

42. It is very clever for you to have figured out that both movement and nature heal.

43. You are the only one who can tell you what to do.

44. You are the best.

45. Anything is possible.

46. And I still love the tattoo you got a year ago.

I got the idea for this list from andrea at Hula Seventy. Her list is here.

Monday, June 28

poppy dreams

{hungarian blue poppy pods from my garden}

The house was neatly and imaginatively thatched, with a second roof, like a scalloped apron, over the first. The windows had leaded panes. A herringbone brick path crumbling with age and edged with lavender and santolina curved around to the back door. Here were hollyhocks and pinks, delphiniums, thyme and mignonette. An immaculate lawn stretched away from a flagstone area. At the bottom of the lawn, half hidden by a huge viburnum bodnantense, were two beehives. Barnaby, after his first shock of pleasure, stood for a long moment in silent appreciation. The garden settled round him as gardens will. Indifferent and harmonious; consolingly beautiful.*

That sounds like a house of perfection.

I'm also reading Handmade Houses: A Guide to the Woodbutcher's Art,** an incredible mostly-photo book of handmade houses; a collection of rustic stunners. One of them even has a tiny teahouse suspended on cables right over a creek. Bliss!

And lately I've been inspired by so much incredible photography on Flickr. 
Here are some of my favorites...

*from The Killings at Badger's Drift, by Caroline Graham, publ. 1987
** by Art Boericke/ Barry Shapiro, publ. 1973, San Francisco

Sunday, June 27



{high point cafe, mt. airy}

Somer's back home in Boston, and it was a lovely visit. Visits from good friends are always too short. Life seems a bit happy, appreciative, and also melancholy that, darn it!, she doesn't live closer. I'm looking forward to some hand-written letter exchanges soon.

I'm waiting for the rain today ~ happily looking forward to the time when the scorching sun will slide away to be replaced by heavy gray, the rain drenching the garden, the pavement, the windows ~ and bringing with it a flow of freshening air.

Until then, time to tidy the studio, putting everything into order and thinking through my week and the myriad lists and hopes I'm dwelling on.

What are you enjoying about your Sunday?

Friday, June 25

sea, sand & scallops

...and off to the beach we went, my friend and I.

It's so fun to have Somer visit.

Walking and talking on the beach, books and journals by our sides, filling with sand. Digging our feet into the cool beach. Cooking scallops with garlic and capellini. Reading in the quiet evening with Lucy by our side. Watching thunderstorms from the windows. Swimming in the cold Atlantic. Driving back home this evening through the city, to greet the garden & the pets, and drink a cool glass of water.

A quick rendevouz with Tim (bearing an orange rose which he got for free because the local flower shop was giving away a free rose to anyone named Tim ~ they change the name daily) (and he picked orange to remind me of his hair and thus him...) while he headed off downtown.

Somer & I are making scallops again, brought home fresh from the beach.

...and then there's time for a movie ~ possibly Wild Strawberries by Ingmar Bergman, or Restless Natives, perhaps a bit of moon and stars on the cool porch...

Is life any better than these moments?

Wednesday, June 23

it's hot and we're coping, but only just

It's a scorcher out there. On the way back from the beach, we heard on the radio the expected high was 96...  But the day is here and, although undeniably warm, is not impossible. Many glasses of iced water are being drunk.

Why does our dog Lucy lay in the sun on a day like today? I do not know. She's like a magnet attracted to full sunlight, panting and steaming until we command her to the shade. Usually within a few minutes she creeps back out into the sun.

Basil has popped up (peppers, hear this? hello?) and the herbs are flowering. Bees are aplenty. Each morning Tim puts his iPod on and waters the thirsty garden. We had a lovely time at the beach ~ I love walking on wet firm sand, with the occasional wave to rinse my feet...  And in about an hour I leave for the airport to pick up a friend who's visiting for a few days.  Fun times ahead, accompanied by many a glass of iced tea. (In the mornings I sip iced tea and feel decadent.)

Monday, June 21

Happy Solstice!

Today is our wedding anniversary
{3 years}
and this is where we're celebrating...

with dogs, books, Scrabble,
cooking plans galore,
and lots of beach visiting.

Saturday, June 19

campfire tales

{polaroid by tim}

{locust lake campground, pa}

I love coming home from camping and going through things ~ Polaroids, pressed leaves, leftover fruit; re-weaving that simple life back into the slightly more complex one at the house. Laundry, washing the camping dishes, sorting the books, shaking out the sand and the dirt from our clothes. We always have lists started, "Next time we'll bring...next time we won't need...next time it would be fun if..." Lists, plans and anticipation.

We built a campfire, waded in the lake, fished, walked, looked, and read. We ate simple meals, with our fingers (hunks of bread dipped in olive oil, draped with prosciutto and mozzarella.) I wrote, a lot. I listened to the sound of the trees and of the water, of other voices far off in the night, at other nearby campfires.

I thought of A Stranger in Borneo, how the author slept in the rainforest: no one around for a thousand square miles of pitch black. How life was before electricity, when the day centered around the sunrise and sunset, candlelight.

We woke, wide awake, without an alarm, at 6:45, and went fishing.

Friday, June 18

dreamy lakes, misty evenings

{locust lake campground, pa}

Wednesday, June 16

summer is 5 days away...

...and we're going camping tonight, and then it's off to the beach.
Just for a day or two.

(...and some California Polaroids have made it into my shop!)

Tuesday, June 15

new work in ye olde shop!

Yup. There's new work in the shop.

Otherwise I've been making plans. Lots of plans to be outside as much as possible. Thinking of what portable work I can take with me ~ sewing is always good. This balmy, crisp, warm yet cool weather always gets me feelin' all shimmery inside, like I have to travel or I'm gonna burst. It's spring fever. I start looking at the cheap flights on travelocity, and planning road trips. I have far too many plans to reasonably do. One is to drive up to Maine with my dog Lucy. I've never been to Maine and am in the mood for rocks, pine, and sea. I'm jonesin' to hit the road.

Another plan is Europe, somewhere, sometime, somehow. On the cheap. Living out of a backpack is my joy. I keep planning on how I can do it lighter and lighter each time. The first time I ever backpacked in Europe (10 years ago this fall, gack), my bag weighed so much. I've blocked how much it weighed completely from my memory. Let me just say, a full-sized toothpaste is not needed in Europe. You can buy toothpaste there. And shampoo. A full-sized bottle of shampoo is not needed. Ahem.

When Tim and I went for two months in 2006, my pack was much lighter. Very light in fact, as Tim kept trying to carry everything. That's the trip where we went to Italy and he insisted on carrying a half-gallon of olive oil in his pack. Somehow it opened up and soaked everything. That's my fondest memory of Siena. My theory is to pack light, since you can always buy what you need there, if you even turn out to need it.

You know, that's kind of my theory at home, too.

I can't wait to get going again. Soon. Somehow. Even for a week. Or two.

Monday, June 14

beachy love

Here's some more beachy love. (Please excuse the cat hairs: I always bring a few with me everywhere I go and sprinkle them around, so it feels like home.)

And, sunburn? I thought I was wise; I thought I was past sunburn. Tim took one look at me Saturday night and said, "What? Look at you! Who taught you to put sunscreen on! A three-year-old?" I will never, ever, ever be sloppy about SPF-application again. My aloe plant is pure, fleshy, burn-relieving wonderfulness.


Saturday, June 12

Thursday, June 10

Ten things I love about June. (on June 10th)

1. sunny evenings
2. sweaters at the beach
3. my wedding anniversary (on the solstice)
4. bare feet on garden dirt
5. gentle rain
6. veggie grilling
7. ceiling fans
8. hummingbird visitors
9. clover blossoms
10. corn dogs on ferris wheels

Wednesday, June 9

ants in your pants

A rainy day here. Great for the pepper and basil seeds. Great for the split and replanted herbs ~ and I'm glad someone took the free brown-bagged white iris I put out curbside before the bag got rain-sodden.

...It's just that...it's one of those days where I just don't know what to do with myself. Oh, I have lists. I have many lists; I have lots of wishes, desires, things to do, errands to run, rainy-day plans. But doing any of it is the last thing I feel like doing.

It's an antsy kind of day.

Ever have those?

Tuesday, June 8

knuckle deep in dirt

Yesterday was a good, meaty day full of gardening: splitting and moving the herbs and that invasive white iris (that I love.) Dirty hands, cool breezes, cold hose water, mud. Making the dogs suspicious by using the push mower. Drying out the 4 stuffed animals Donovan left out in the rain the other day. (Donovan is the rottweiler.) Weeding ~ I love weeding. When I'm getting brain-fried in the studio, I'll take a break and go weed. Right now we have no weeds in the garden, due to the past week's studio grindstone.

I planted pepper and basil seeds, and tided around and dreamed and smiled. At one point, I looked over to see Mimi having an intimate whispered conversation with the catnip, rubbing her face in the leaves with an occasional lick, eyes half-closed. (for those of you who don't know, Mimi is a cat.) Mimi really enjoys her life.

And I love watching the teeny birds (at other times aka the damn house sparrows) fluff and bathe in the glazed earthenware saucer I put out, on an overturned pot, as a birdbath. They're very serious about it, adjusting, poofing, squatting, and generally making a huge splattery, watery mess. It looks like a water balloon exploded around there when they're done.

It was a restorative day and badly needed, as the 4-hour opening on Sunday, which I really enjoyed!, completely fried me. I come home from those types of events so burnt out, knowing only time and solitude will give me back any modicum of life and energy. Being in my garden is helping! Does this happen to you, or are you energized by crowds?

Monday, June 7

a day of rest

I am completely bushwacked. I look forward to a day of rest. The opening went great ~ so many people were there, and I got some great feedback on my work, too. Which is nice after being alone with it in the studio with only the thoughts in my head for months at a time.

I'm off now to treat myself to breakfast somewhere, while Tim heads off to work.

Thank you all for your kind comments and luck-wishing! It worked.

I'm also looking forward to placing unsold work in my shop, and/or courting  prospective galleries with it....

All is well. :)

How was your weekend? Any fun bits to share?

Sunday, June 6

Have a peek! The show's up.

latitude and longitude, my sculpture
(and some of my small pieces on the right)

Metamorphosis: Works on Paper
June 6 - July 10, 2010

Four women artists explore the theme of metamorphosis through altered books, collage, painting, prints, and alternate paper medias.

Nicole Patrice Dul, Gloria Klaiman, Linda Lee Rossi, and Brooke Schmidt.

Opening Reception at Orchard Artworks in Bryn Athyn, PA today, Sunday, June 6, 2010, from 1 -4 pm. The show runs through July 10, 2010.

Here's the little ditty I wrote for my take on the theme of this show:

One day this winter, while looking through a stack of various library books I'd brought home, I came across this paragraph on the life of the caterpillar:

"The caterpillar, now encased in a hard outer shell (the chrysalis), becomes a pupa - seemingly lifeless and inert. But inside the hard outer shell, an amazing transformation is taking place. The tissues and structures of the caterpillar are being broken down and replaced with the tissues and structures of the adult butterfly. If development is proceeding straight through, this process usually takes one or two weeks. Or the pupa may enter a resting state for a few months, or for the winter."*

This reminded me so strongly of the incredible transformations we as humans go through, from birth to death: growing and changing in our bodies and then, finally, in adulthood, experiencing inner changes that can shift the very matter of our abilities, perspective, and being. Just as with the different types of caterpillars, this occurs in different speeds of change for people, too. My work for this show uses symbols, like that of the butterfly, in conjunction with materials and poems that reflect our changing, and yet familiar, inner worlds.

*Butterflies of North America, by Jeffrey Glassberg