Friday, April 30


Canal Street trolley, New Orleans

On the last morning we took the trolley into town, and as I waited for my mango smoothie, the husky, sun-beaten man in line behind me began to sing, Say, it's only a paper moon, sailing over a cardboard sea...

Later, going back to the hostel to get the car, we stumbled upon a wedding taking place there on the little music stage where they had been showing 80's cult flicks the last few nights. The groom, over 6 feet tall, wore peppers on his shirt. The bride, under 5 feet, teetered on straw platforms, and wore gold Mardi Gras beads on her head like a crown. Both trembled as they held hands. A dog sniffed my ankles and telephoto lenses clicked. The minister pronounced them husband and wife, and Tim and I went and dipped our feet in the pool while the sparrows hung jauntily onto the swaying stalks in the narrow garden. Three large mesh bags full of crawfish gleamed wetly by the outdoor bar as we took our leave.

Thursday, April 29

the backup plan

Bourbon Street, New Orleans

I'm going to share my wacky dilemma with you.

A day before I left for my road trip to New Orleans with Tim - where I would spend 9 days that were absolutely packed back-to-back with amazing and wonderful photo opportunities - moments that I wanted to spend lovingly with my SX-70 camera - I dropped my camera. My beloved SX-70 that has opened up new worlds to me. My dearest SX-70. If you know anyone who has one of these babies, or if you have one yourself, you know what I mean. 

I cried. I did. I held the thing and wished it better, but it just whirred at me and wouldn't shoot out a photo. Sigh. Cry. Gnash teeth. Wonder why These Things Happen. SX-70's are tough to fix and I wouldn't even begin to know who can fix one. I've seen SX-70's taken apart and they look tricky and sticky.

Now, perhaps this was rash, but I immediately went to eBay and bid for another SX-70. I won. I toyed with the idea of having it sent, not to my house, but to our hostel in New Orleans. New Orleans, where I would be seeing all sorts of wonderful colors, animals, and happenings. Sigh. I decided for safekeeping to just send it to my house for a rich greeting upon my return. I did so.

So all week long I used my Polaroid One600 Ultra Instant Camera. I tried to be open to the idea that maybe I was meant to know this camera better. I did enjoy using it and it does produce a different type of Polaroid photo than the SX-70 can, which was interesting.

But, you know....

So as soon as I got home last night I rushed my husband over to the neighbor, who had all our mail. I held the box with my new used SX-70. I ripped opened the box. I dumped out the peanuts. Upon minute inspection, the camera looked fine. It was dark out so, rather than waste a perfectly good Polaroid photo, I waited till this morning to test it. 

And it didn't work - 3 film packs later I gave Le Sigh. Le Wondering Why Me. I wrote to the seller. I pointed out that his Seller's Description was faulty.

And I actually bought another one on eBay.

I really cannot live happily or calmly without an SX-70 by my side. (I need to really think about this and maybe do some Morning Pages on it.) Then, I tested, just for hey and kicks, a fourth film cartridge. And it worked. It spat out a photo. It whirred and clicked and was generally wonderful. Oh my. My life was my own again.

So then I had to write the seller. Take back my tear-drenched email. And wish, maybe, that I had waited, oh, say 3 minutes before clicking that Buy Now button for the other SX-70. Not that I regret having a backup.

If it works.

Wednesday, April 28

a full moon, a happy cat, an electric kettle

Back home. Whew! 2,791.1 miles in 9 days. And I was there to see my car's speedometer hit 123,456.

Back to a full moon, a hugely grown garden, a happy cat, and a pile of laundry including some thrifted clothing from a Goodwill on the drive home today. This morning I woke up in our tent in Tennessee, near a river rising with mist and speckled with little flying birds. It got unexpectedly down into the 30*'s overnight but we did alright. I was expecting frost when we awoke but there was only a very cold dew on everything.

All day long on our drive home, azure and cerulean skies spread themselves with big white puffy crinkly clouds shifting into giant salamanders, rabbits, and snakes. We had made up a bed in the back of my wagon to alternately stretch out, nap, and read ~ so nice.

I like the transition from travelin' to being home again: all day long I was thinking of home things: things I haven't thought all week. About how big the poppies would be. If the chives sprouted (they have: purple puffs). If I really need all my stuff (I see some more decluttering and paring down happening this week.) About how I need more daily adventures in my life ~ how easy it is for me to get comfortable, and stay comfortable, even when I've outgrown it.

About how when I travel, traffic and waiting and unexpected challenges just seem interesting, not annoying ~ and why it doesn't seem like that at home.

And now I'm here, back home: with lots to do & lots to think about. It's nice. I missed my electric kettle. We got home after dark, so I'm looking forward to seeing the garden in the morning.

This greeted me in the mail. (I love checking the pile of mail when I get home!)

Sigh. Happy. 

Monday, April 26

dapple and light

afternoon at our hostel, new orleans

Friday, April 23

nashville to new orleans

Nashville didn't knock my socks off. I think it's probably a city of hidden treasures. We did find Crema, a little cafe, and ate a delicious lunch (three cheese panini & tomato soup) at Diana's Sweet Shoppe (which can also sell you a 4.5 lb. Gummi Bear.) On the surface of the city I didn't find much to dig my teeth into. I'm not much of a bar girl and don't really like the decibels and crowds of live music. But I enjoyed those little spots we found and am sure we'd find more if we knew the city better.

above taken by Tim

We got to New Orleans this afternoon and, upon arrival, Tim enjoyed a pipe (while I wished for a cup of tea) & I caught up a bit in front of the fishpond by our bungalow. We're staying at the India House Backpacker's Hostel. It was thundering and cracking lightning so we donned ponchos before we caught a trolley down to the French Quarter. I brought my trusty battered umbrella so I don't get raindrops sprinkled on my glasses. Most annoying.

We wandered, looked, explored, got lost, got found. So beautiful here, even if the rain is ankle deep in the streets. Ate beignets (and cafe au lait for Tim) at Cafe du Monde, inspected Mexican ex-votos in the voodoo shops, ate crabcakes and jambalaya, looked in galleries, stopped again for tea...I'm liking this city. The trolleys are so fun! And the colors...the colors. Tomorrow I'm heading to the Insectarium & possibly the French Market ~ and I'd like to find a bookstore, all while Tim's at JazzFest.

Presently I'm tucked away in our tiny bungalow (and I mean deliciously tiny: about big enough for the bed), which is made up with our comforter and pillows brought in from the car. Heaven. The fan is blowing, the fishpond is bubbling, I can hear muted and not-so-muted voices, an accordion, rainfall, some jazz...but lovely of lovelies, I can just chill privately in here. I always need privacy at some point when I travel: at the very least at the end of the day. Time to recharge, without people, and read, do some stretching, find some peace and quiet. It's absolute heaven. I'm so glad Tim's happy to go out and mingle without me, knowing I'm happier than a clam at high tide in here, content with my journal, cameras, books.

And, without further ado, New Orleans, so far as I know it:

above 2 photos by Tim

Thursday, April 22

900 miles in two days

Roan Mountain, Tennessee, camping

Whew! We left early Monday when the birds were still stitching their songs. A long road took us to Roan Mountain, Tennessee, to camp overnight. I can't stop thinking about how long it would have taken the pioneers to travel that distance in a covered wagon. Or how these forests full of fresh green and bright purple trees would have looked, say, 500 years ago, when only the First Peoples were here. How it would have been to travel through the woods and hills on foot or horseback, at a slow, absorbent pace, instead of gliding along highways doing a mile a minute...

Wednesday, April 21

Tuesday, April 20

Monday, April 19

time to hit the road

I leave tomorrow in the wee hours, with Tim (who will probably be sleeping in the back,) to drive down to Nashville to see My Morning Jacket and then on to New Orleans for JazzFest. We're leaving the dogs with relatives but the cat gets the house to herself and a neighbor to check on her. It's about a 14 hour drive to Nashville and we like roadtrips. I'm looking forward to a turn of the kaleidoscope and a different view ~ some camping, some hostelling, some exploring. We'll be a week in our travels. Never been down that way. I'm looking forward to this! I've got a page full of plans: the French Quarter, Cafe du Monde, the voodoo tour...

I'll be doing some wordless posting while I'm away ~ of Polaroids I've not yet shared with you. I hope you enjoy them!

Bon Voyage in your daily adventures this week!

Saturday, April 17

midday stars

Sitting on the couch under a striped white wool blanket, the rain plumping on the dark windowpanes, my red dog answers my invitation by jumping up to lie curled beside me. I hear the cat jump over the studio gate upstairs and rumple downstairs, to orbit cautiously around us: the dog is usurping her space, my lap. In front of me is a box of embroidery floss: emerald, goldenrod, cobalt, coral - and an old metal Corona tray that holds needles, flosses of choice, tiny sparkling scissors sharp as a golden praying mantis. Face-down on the couch, Fauna & Family waits to be picked up once more and read, underneath spoonfuls of lemon sorbet. The two go together well: the book is set in Greece.

I am happy.

Thursday, April 15

charming days

I've been working on these little clay charms lately. Along with some more work, which just got featured on Sacred Lotus' blog! I feel I'm over my deep, blue, wintry funk for finally. My roots are there, and I'm pushing new growth.

Except I've been having really heavy dreams lately. Anyone else doing this? Something must be working itself out. I don't know about you, but waking up from emotionally confusing dreams in the wee dark hours of the morning is making me feel about 7 years old. Hmn. More chamomile before bed, perhaps?


Speaking of chamomile, ours is doing very well taking over part of our garden. I can't wait to see if it blooms. It's nestled right in amongst the lavender I planted last fall - also doing well - and kind of makes me want to tear out everything we have and just plant more and more lavender and chamomile. And then take naps out there.

I know that my recent posts have been all about my garden, the marvelous weather, my garden, the sprouts, wonderful weather (oop! rain), gardening, etc...kind of along those lines. I do feel like this spring is magical. I am more awake in my life than I have ever been before. I hope this keeps happening each year. I feel like Zeus is up in a cloud watching over things, and that the gods are frolicking on Mt. Olympus. There is a feeling of mystery, happenings, beauty, and even sex. Yep, lots of sexiness out there right now: pollen being scattered left and right, birds doing crazy dances and crazy songs. Feathers changing to gaudy summer colors. Spires rising from the earth. Delicate little colors and blushing shades everywhere one looks.


You know what I mean, though.

And, just for fun, look hereherehere and here for photo gasps.

Enjoy your days!

Wednesday, April 14

nun's wishes

"There was a marvelous view from the windows, the bed was clean and so was the whitewashed room. There was a chair, a washstand, and a chest of drawers..."  ~ from Mr. Parker Pyne, Detective, by Agatha Christie

That explains my ideal room. When I was young, I always wanted to be a nun. I imagined a simple life, with cotton dresses and an herb garden (kind of like Brother Cadfael), and lots and lots of time alone.  Time to write and take baths with lavender floating in it, collect root vegetables for hearty soups and make fresh bread. (see Thale's Folly.) You can see I didn't grow up catholic. I think it was really a mix of Heidi, Georgia O'Keefe, a hermit and a hippie.

I find that simplicity comes as the result of a very stringent filter. Breathes because I weed out that which would smother it. I try, at least. Like a nun or a hermit, or Georgia O'Keefe. I think, in the end, that's what I longed for ~ peace, and the ability to create my own life, and nurture my own solitude.

"There was a chair, a washstand, and a chest of drawers..."

I strive to bring things back to that.

Tuesday, April 13


We have been rather busy around here lately. Our tiny backyard has been calling to us in a whispery green voice and we keep finding ourselves hauling blankets and pillows out there to sit and read, gaze at the yellow tulips, drink tea, watch the beets sprout, and pull up the occasional morning glory seedling from the vines I pulled down three years back.

It's been tough, I say.

But someone's got to do it.

Monday, April 12

tea stories

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who drew. All she drew came true. She drew jungle flowers and giraffes and letters, boats and candles and firelight. She drew dreams, cockpits, dogs, and tables. She drew people around the tables eating foods in vivid colors. She drew the breezes, the wind, the stars, the songs. She drew readers, sewers, acrobats, and grandmothers. She gave memories back to those who had forgotten. She gave futures to lost babies, families to lost dogs, and dentures to those who had lost their teeth. She drew seeds that sprouted in African deserts. She gave the lions back their savannas, the hippos back their rivers, the orchids back their rainforest. She gave plastic back to the inventors and hired woodcarvers and metalworkers and weavers to ply their trades. She gave children the right to self-regulate, and drew away all the rules and the shoulds. She drew a world with room for everyone, and drew it healthy, and drew it good.

Saturday, April 10

scones, anyone?

Chocolate Chip Scones
Recipe by Ellie Brewer, tweaked by me (her grand-daughter)

Mix 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup white flour, 2 teasp. baking powder, 1/2 teasp. salt, 3 Tbl. brown sugar. Cut in 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup) with a knife, then break up with fingers (the fun part) and finish cutting in with a pastry cutter or fork. 

Separately mix 1/2 cup whole milk with 1 large egg and 1 teasp. vanilla.

Add this to dry mixture along with 1/2 cup chocolate chips (or, ahem, more.) Mix with fork briefly until it forms a ball, then knead with hands 5 or 6 times. Form into flat round & cut into 6 or 8 wedges. Slice tops with knife, bake at 425* F for 18-20 minutes. Serve warm. :) Slather with butter & drink with tall glass of milk.

These are the best scones in the entire world. Enjoy!