Thursday, April 28

it'll keep


taken by tim



...and so after a full day at home enjoying the rain, the vibrant colors of the garden (produced from tangled roots + dirt + sunshine + clouds!),  I'm heading off to new york city. Tomorrow. Feeling rather vulnerable and newly hatched, and would very much like to stay home and nest, but also feeling adventurous and ready for some museums, and meeting up with a very wonderful friend. In answer to this feeling I have written a great must-be-done list, and then gently laid it aside.

It'll keep.



*

we're back (sunburnt) and it's raining here















this photo arranged by me, taken by tim



There's so much to tell of the beauty of florida, and of the beach, but here's where I'll begin...

We returned home last night, hoping the car would still be in the lot, because just as we arrived at the airport on saturday, my window got stuck in the down position (my volvo has over 135, 000 miles on it), and we had to leave it like that, first packing the window with anything waterproof and emptying everything out of the car (into our suitcase) in case it got stolen. We left with a laugh and tried not to think about it. It was still there when we got back last night around midnight ~ and the weather was warm and not raining, so things are good!

Our garden has grown biceps. The hops are over 6 feet tall, the bulbs from seattle have sprouted crimson amongst the lemon thyme, the lawn is waving around the knees of the adirondack chairs; everything is stunning. The cat is overjoyed to have us home. I missed her, and at some point swimming in the gulf I even looked down and found a cat hair on my bathing suit.

I appreciate that my aloe plant is doing well, for we need it sorely for our unintended sunburn.

It is so good to be home.




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Friday, April 22

ephemera of sharkstooth


That sharkstooth is one of my collection from growing up in florida; I was just learning to scuba dive when we moved. I was 12. I know that I would have had a whole different set of skills if we had stayed down there ~ I would have grown up near the ocean and the pines, knowing a whole different set of facts about a whole bunch of different birds. I have memories of rivers, manatees, water moccasins and that panther that my dad saw once when he was camping on the river. When Tim and I drove down to Venice two years ago, I hadn't been back in 20 years. I had visceral responses to the spanish moss, the orange groves, and the air plants. I looked for shark fins like I used to do. I felt the thrill again of seeing alligators in the wild. I'm glad that part of my life has been opened to me again.

Tomorrow will land me on a gulf coast beach once more, the coastline of my youth.

I'm really looking forward to getting there.




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Thursday, April 21

trip-bound



We leave for a wedding in florida in two days, so lately has been a slow procession of last minute burnishings, clearings, and tidyings. I like the fluster that a trip causes ~ making the house a welcome place to walk back into, thinking over ideas the traveling process roils up, and enjoying favorite homey habits that I won't be doing for a few days. I also took out some books from the library for the plane, the beach, and reading before bed in our inn.

The blue anemones I brought back from seattle have bloomed, my new printer and scanner have arrived and might just stay in their boxes until I return, and I have been called to the window multiple times by the pip of the courting cardinals.




The above photos were taken in Vivienne's Wading In e-course, which I'm finding really fun (there are a few spots open still if you are interested!) ~ also, words to shoot by is having a rare open call for entries: if you are up for shooting how you interpret habit, give it a try! I'd love to see you there.



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Tuesday, April 19

ritual

breakfast



heating a polaroid over hot tea



I'm enjoying the blossoming of some new rituals in my life. Rituals beyond the daily teapot. I feel there is room for improvement in my day so things stay fresh. It's begun to be a tradition that, on Monday mornings, we celebrate the last of the long weekend nursing shifts that Tim works by making something special for breakfast. Yesterday I made a quiche. Perhaps cinnamon rolls next week?





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Monday, April 18

on the horizon, camping looms

~ photo of me canoeing taken by tim ~







in my ring










In sorting through some photos, I found a few more of us camping last summer (which spanned posts here, here and here.) They seem to be mainly of Tim because if there were good ones of me, believe me, I've posted them somewhere already. Going camping again soon is right on the tips of our tongues ~ we're just waiting for the stars to align, and one day very soon we'll probably both think of it on the same morning, and the subject will get brought up, and before we know it we'll be pouring tea into our travel mugs, loading the tent and extra sweaters into the car, the dogs will be bouncing because they know, I'll be hemming and hawing over which cameras to take, bananas and wool socks will be packed, paperbacks selected, favorite pens remembered, shampoo will be poured into tiny travel bottles, and we'll fold ourselves into my Volvo station wagon to hit the road again, hearkening the call of damp forests, chilly lakeside mornings, toadstools, moths, woodpeckers, and the snores of napping dogs.

I'm getting chills just thinking about it. When we camp, we are our best, most alive selves.



*

Sunday, April 17

bird

wing

I have a new body of work coming very soon! It is making my heart so light to work on it. It feels like the culmination of so many things are centering on this series ~ my interests, recent events, and a whole bunch of snowball effects.

If my car hadn't broken that water pump between this day and this, I wouldn't be doing this...If, and if...

And so on and so on it goes. It is rare that I recognize so many threads of thought leading me to one point of action ~ usually I'm just keeping my head above water, but this feels like floating. If I don't grab it too hard it sort of skims along and if I'm good, and don't look at it straight on but sort of out of the corner of my eye (not to scare it off), and reach out and grab the tail feathers as it swoops by, I can manage to keep up. I may not understand what's happening, or where I'm going (why do I try so hard to?) but I'm getting somewhere I want to be.



Hope you are too. :)



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Friday, April 15

hello.




My life has been up, down, and all around lately. I've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly (about myself too: not very pretty), and have also been charmed by serendipity and luck, details and the just plain gladness of being alive. I have been falling under the spell of tiny wildflowers, pieces of velvet, bone buttons, feathers, seed pods, carved wooden birds and other things in the flotsam and jetsam of my studio, too, which is the best feeling of all. 


How is life going for you these days?



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Thursday, April 14

in need of a bit of advice

~ the magnolias are magnificent! ~

We currently have jackhammers in the street in front of our house, so I will be absenting myself from the premises ~ but before I go, I have a technical question I though some of you might have valuable input on: 

1. What photo printer do you know/love/hate/recommend? I'm getting so frustrated with my photo lab guys I am looking into printing high quality photo prints myself, at home ~ this would be so much easier and allow me a much larger variety to offer.

And that leads me to the next question ~

2. Do you know/love/hate/recommend a particular type of photo scanner? What would be a really great one to purchase? I have a little dinky one but I need one of good enough capability to print from the scans.

Thank you in advance. :)

Enjoy the magnolia trees, and your jackhammer-free day. (Consider me jealous.)




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Tuesday, April 12

stove-top popping

tiberio
~portrait of Somer's cat Tiberio ~

Tiberio is a whimsical cat ~ a sensitive little fellow who shied at the click of my polaroid camera and caused his own portrait to have wings ~ how appropriate since he would fly away when startled if he could.

I'm having a fly-away day too, startled by the complexities of many areas of my life hitting and richocheting off each other, and me in the middle remembering that this too shall pass. As it always does.

I have two sweet new cacti on my windowsill ~ it took all my resolve not to buy more (I can imagine a whole windowsill full) but I think I'll just try my hand at these first. There's definitely a person inside of me who would have windows full of ferns and about 10 more cats, some goats and a yard full of chickens: she lives happily right alongside the part of me who would own no plants or pets and travel all the time. Anyhow ~ it's been almost 20 years since I owned a cactus! I do quite well with my jade, my aloe, and our indoor tree, though, so have high hopes. Tonight we are sitting in front of the fire eating freshly popped popcorn ~ made with my thrifted stovetop popper ~ my first attempt ever and it turned out deliciously. The rain is bouncing on the stove pipe outside, and Donovan is begging. Half the fun of making fresh popcorn, it turns out, is scattering some on the floor and watching the dogs find every piece.




*

Monday, April 11

developments











developing




Most of the fun of working with a polaroid camera is when the picture develops ~ they are magic in the hand. I've been working on a new polaroid series featuring my large yet tiny collections. Hopefully I'll have more to share soon! Words to shoot by is up, and you can see what I'm working with there.

Today is supposed to be 80*, and I feel like I'm on a holiday since I got that speaking gig finished on Saturday (45 people showed!) ~ I'll be working in the garden and also in the studio. The hops are waving around by my knees outside, begging for a trellis, and the poppies are sprouting like green strings. The turnips are coming up but I'm perplexed on how much to thin them, and I hope my big lavender recovers after the severe pruning I gave it. Last night I was in the back yard when I spotted a few golden clouds rising over the roof, so I went onto the upper porch and the clouds against the setting sun took my breath away. I sat down to watch, and that was the first time I've done that this year: just relaxed to watch the sunset.



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Saturday, April 9

it's the weekend!

the espresso maker is a gorgeous thing.

This morning I'm speaking about my work at the gallery's saturday coffee hour, which I'll follow by a visit to watch a sand mandala being made locally, and/or a visit to the Cherry Blossom Festival. Lately the cardinals have been gathering at our backyard feeder, and I hope to have time (if this rain stops) to watch for them, and do some relaxing and maybe a fun little piece of embroidery. Possibly accompanied by chocolate chip cookies.

This has been making me laugh, and I hope Chelsea knocks 'em dead.

Have a fantastic weekend!




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Wednesday, April 6

poppies & dog winks


Do you ever notice (well, maybe it doesn't work this way for you but it does for me) how things go on really really great for a while, then they get really really hard (like unmanageably am-I-going-crazy? hard), then they are hey presto! really really great again. It can get a little confusing. I personally would opt for a less emotional way through, but I don't seem to have that setting. The great-again part comes as if by chance ~ yesterday at the library I left in a blue funk, and glancing aside as I walked outdoors, I saw a perfectly round bird's nest perched on the drainspout. It was enough. I was in love with life again when I saw that.

I've been trying to notice lately what are positive triggers for me ~ what things I can usually count on to uplift and invigorate, and trying to form conscious habits around those things so as to be influenced positively by them. Going for a brisk walk ~ writing a letter to a friend ~ drinking an extra glass of water.

As I planted rosemary and lavender today I noticed the confetti california poppies sprouting ~ the seeds were sent me by a friend, and I'm so glad to see them growing in my secret garden. Tim and I also took a rainy-day-drive today to a spot we know with a giant bamboo grove. I embroidered while he drove ~ my newest favorite thing to do in the car (besides talk.) Walking into the grove, there were deep leaves hushling underfoot and 30 feet of green segmented bamboo rising out of sight above ~ It felt like we were in another country. We have the owner's permission to harvest as much as we want for our garden. Their peacock was there displaying his tail to no-one and everyone in particular as we piled my station wagon high with lengths of bamboo for garden trellises, stakes and supports. Things are getting underway in our backyard and I look forward to some afternoons of building.

We ate saffron & marsala chicken tonight in front of a jazz-infused fire, shredding piles of cheese onto steaming mashed potatoes in their yellow bowl. Lucy winked at me as she sometimes does without realizing it. Good things are happening today, and I see cheerful things in my future.



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Tuesday, April 5

she rocks that hat

somer
somer

Last night's pale blue sky studded with swift flying birds pooled pinkly over the horizon, and I sat in the garden watching the daffodils glow in the dusk. The dogs grazed contentedly on pieces of grass at my feet. I wrote a letter or two and just sat and tried not to do much except observe and think.

This morning's rain lifted the white bedroom window curtain in gentle waving gusts and took all the energy out of the dogs, who lay on their beds like damp sweaters. Diamond drops cluster on the downstairs windows and the sunshine has a silvery feel. I can practically feel the rain unfurling the seeds and stretching out stems. 

I have a few more polaroids to share here from Somer's visit ~ like the one above. Doesn't she rock that hat? She'd just picked it up at the thrift shop and popped it onto her head and viola! I didn't realize I'd taken so many polaroid portraits of her and Tim, but quite a collection is growing!

Well, today is a day for dreaming, for errands, and for work. I better get moving.

Enjoy your day!



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Sunday, April 3

fireside to train station

mimi enthroned
~ Mimi on Somer's lap, fireside ~

Somer's short visit came to an end with a chocolate chip cookie, a leisurely ride to the train station, and the lend of an Agatha Christie paperback to entertain her until she arrived back in Cambridge late last night. It is always such a pleasure to play host to a good friend, and to see my house through someone else's eyes. It feels so balancing to have another woman around too: I've said it before, bless the men in our lives, but sometimes a lengthy woman-chat is just what's needed.

After I dropped her off, I came back home thinking of pancakes. So Tim and I made warm quinoa and blueberry ones with Vermont maple syrup for dinner, the cat on my knee playing her grumbly inner harmonica. Stars I couldn't see hovered just outside the reflections in the dark night windows. I stared into the fiery dragon stare of the stove and remembered last summer and its foggy lakeside evenings, its campfire-cooked dinners (always 3 courses), and time spent listening to the sound of the sunset. I've been thinking ahead to when "everything is on its way but not quite there: every flower, every vegetable, every blade. Every nest is finished, and one is just beginning to find those turquoise halves of robin's eggs all over the place."* When sunshine is the norm and sweaters become an evening pleasure instead of a morning necessity.

Every so often Tim would interrupt my inner conversation to ask things like How do you spell sitar? as he played games of Scrabble on his phone. It's a personal challenge of mine to answer as quickly as possible. I am almost always correct. I read books like a fish swims. Yet he almost always beats me at Scrabble.

This morning I brought the adirondack chairs up from the basement where we store them for the winter, noting in the garden journal that the hops are 32 inches shorter than they were at this time last spring! The prisms were casting off rainbows and gliding along with an unstoppable soft march over picture frames and dogs, moving as slowly as the sun moves across the sky. I took a stroll online, following my fancies and going on little road trips with people I wish I knew, stumbling over poems and then finding myself on strange inviting lanes. I put on a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young record and think that tonight I may finish watching the Woodstock documentary. Today is a day to do all of the things I like.

~

I've also spent some time this weekend adding some things here to make this space easier to navigate. You can now search my blog and find things through my tags (polaroid, camping, recipes...) I've also written a page about myself, and another about my artwork. You can see these changes at the top of my blog under the banner, and in the sidebars. Hopefully it'll streamline things a bit.


Hope you're enjoying your Sunday!



*from Spiderweb for Two, by Elizabeth Enright

Saturday, April 2

a short visit




*


The snow under the daffodils this morning melted away in the afternoon rain. My friend is visiting and we sat drinking pots of tea curled up by the fire with the cat moving from lap to lap as the fancy took her.  The thrift shop was visited, lunch was made, and turquoise and yellow were donned for an art opening downtown. Tomorrow my legs are longing to stretch on a woodsy hike and enjoy a few more hours of friendship before she returns home on the evening train.




*photo of me with mimi by somer o'brien