Saturday, February 13, 2021


It's cold here. Dangerously cold--if you are caught out in it unprepared. Right now it's -8. With the windchill -24, and it is predicted to get as cold as -30 or -40 this weekend. I just took the garbage out, which is one of my most favorite things to do in this Covid winter. I get to walk on the pathway through my backyard, past the big tree, and down the steps, and across the driveway to the alley where the all the cans are. An unpredicted plus that I did not realize when I bought this house is that the garbage cans never need to be moved. They just sit there on the border of my driveway and the alleyway. No wheeling in and wheeling out. A small good surprise.

I have hit the Covid wall, which is much in the news lately as we all realize that even when vaccinated we can still get sick or transmit this vile illness. I am not yet vaccinated, and my provider's website had not been updated in ages. It's stuck on 75 and older. Maybe I will be 75 by the time they update it.

I am alternately happily busy making handmade paper, mending, making collages, writing, swearing at the TV, and watching my fancy new squirrel-proof bird feeder....when I'm not wondering what the hell my purpose is on this Earth. Just in the last few days I've seen chickadees, juncos, finches, hairy and downy woodpeckers, and the cardinal you see in my very amateur photo.  Oh, and I made my first attempt at ice luminaria, pictured at the top of this post.

The wildlife situation is so much fun here on ground level. Every morning the first order of the day is studying the tracks. Rabbits. Squirrels. And I think that is a raccoon print below.  I welcome all creatures. They are out there in -40 surviving. When the temperatures began to drop a few days ago, I watched squirrels paw up leaves and carry them in their mouths to insulate their abodes.

A not-so-small bad surprise is that the someone cut off my alimony. I've consulted with an attorney, roamed around here a few nights past my bedtime, spent a whole day in bed, spent another couple of days counting all my pennies. All that has been helpful--but the most satisfying thing has been collaging. It's just that I can't really send this type of card to anyone. So I'm going to put a couple here.


Kick in the Head

Here's a quote about collaging by Terry Tempest Williams:"If the world is torn to pieces, I want to see what story I can find in the fragmentation. I have taken to making collages.  I want to see whether a different narrative might arise from pouring over American magazines, tearing them up and putting them back together in a shape that makes sense to me. When everything is coming apart, the art of assemblage feels like a worthy pastime"

Saturday, January 23, 2021

I love coincidences

 Several months ago, pre-election, when I was on a book making binge, I made this.

It's a flip book in the style of the Exquisite Corpse game.

The pages are divided into thirds. Each whole page depicts a person, and when you flip a section of the page,  part of the person can be changed into someone else. Fun and games, and my mind saw a message just in the format. Walk in someone else's shoes. Get inside someone else's head. Feel what's going on in the heart of someone that isn't you. I thought the book needed a few words though so I excerpted several lines of a poem called, "In This Place." Turns out it's a poem by Amanda Gorman. I had no idea, back then, how appropriate that would be.

In other news, I am in this place--my new house in my new study where everything finally has a place and I no longer have to excavate a bin from beneath a bed to find a certain piece of paper.

Here are the other books I made during the book making binge.
And the sturdy deep shelves with room for books and my never ending collection of stuff.

The tiny closet is a wonder. There's room for my handmade paper, my hand-marbled paper, and all the stuff I use for collaging, plus the usual crap one keeps in a filing cabinet. Things like a final decree of divorce, mediation agreements, new divorce advice, tax forms, etc. 

A long while ago, there was this coincidence. Life is so mysterious and interesting. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Pernickety Lemon makes an Inauguration Day blossom


About 10 days ago I awoke to find Persnickety's leaves turned upside down and feeling as thin as tissue paper. We were all worn thin. So thin. Persnickety is working on a blossom now which seems all wrong for winter in Minnesota, but I'll be glad for it and see where it goes. Joe Biden really wasn't my choice for the Democratic nominee, but yeah, I'll see where it goes because I felt like blossoming when I saw our vice president sworn in this morning. 

Pernickety is quite the sensitive thing. The ups and downs of moving and open windows due to Covid and people come to fix this and that in my house have nearly done her in. I've had some ups and downs with the Someone recently, and Persnickety and I have been sisters in distress. I swear to you that while my gut was roiling this morning, I remembered my intestinal upset immediately post marriage break-up when I thought I most certainly had cancer and would be dead in weeks. I had that same terrible feeling, and I thought to myself, well...maybe the someone just responded to my email. He had. 

You might note the draft stopper thing on the windowsill in the photo above. It improved the texture of Persnickety's leaves almost immediately, and the very next morning after I put it on the sill, the leaves turned themselves right side up. I'm going to be holding one of those against my heart.

And I'll be studying Amanda Gorman's poem from this morning's festivities. I thought her reading of her truth-telling poem was flawless.

The Hill We Climb

by Amanda Gorman

When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We've braved the belly of the beast
We've learned that quiet isn't always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn’t always just-ice
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we've weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken
but simply unfinished
We the successors of a country and a time
Where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one
And yes we are far from polished
far from pristine
but that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another
We seek harm to none and harmony for all
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious
Not because we will never again know defeat
but because we will never again sow division
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid
If we’re to live up to our own time
Then victory won’t lie in the blade
But in all the bridges we’ve made
That is the promise to glade
The hill we climb
If only we dare
It's because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy
And this effort very nearly succeeded
But while democracy can be periodically delayed
it can never be permanently defeated
In this truth
in this faith we trust
For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
This is the era of just redemption
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was
but move to what shall be
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation
Our blunders become their burdens
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,
we will rise from the windswept northeast
where our forefathers first realized revolution
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,
we will rise from the sunbaked south
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it