Saturday, March 28, 2009


Bless Maggy for regularly sending me fun things to think about. Not that I don't already have enough to think about - but I'm pretty burned out on cell tower technology and alkaline hydrolysis. So this week's ideas from Maggy (which I saved for today) are Taking Up a Hobby and the love/hate topic of Personal Organizing.

I was a bit put off by Slatella's introduction of the hobby as a distraction from tough economic times. (Keep in mind this article is in the Fashion section of the Times.)

"I’ve been spending my time, like everyone else I know, obsessing over bigger problems — how will I pay for two kids in college and still be able to buy white wine ($9 a day)."

As I read on, I realized I'm not like the obsessed writer. I'm the friend who drags her into the hobby:

"She’s my competent friend, the one who has all kinds of practical skills. She knows how to make pies and how to cut fabric on the bias. She even knows what a “bias” is. What does she have to worry about? If a giant meteor hit the earth and debris from the impact blocked the sun, she’d survive just fine in some homespun coat she made out of super-warm wool. And the coat would be cute, too."
Maggy knows I've recently started making jewelry. I haven't worn jewelry for years. It turns out my new-found interest is more about the look and feel of beads and wire.

But a decade or two ago I did wear beads on a regular basis and people gave me many lovely necklaces. Now every single one of those looks to me like a source of beads to remake into new jewelry.

Beads aren't just ornamentation for the body. They're equally decorative on the wall. Ideas are beginning to form in the back of my mind for spectacular beaded embroidery artwork.

Which brings us to Personal Organizing. The only empty desktop space you see in this photo is the spot where my camera was before I picked it up to take the picture. Maggy and I share an ADD type organizing challenge. We both need to be able to see our stuff. And we share a sense that "She who dies with the most organizing books wins."

Rimer's organizer thinks the key to organizing is the label maker. I have a label maker. I'm not exactly sure where it is, but I'm pretty sure it's still in the package. B gave it to me a year or two ago for my birthday or Christmas or some such. Apparently owning a tool isn't really the answer. There always seems to be actual work involved.

The real thread these two articles have in common is the need for distraction.

Ms. Whited came to the label maker a few years ago, when she had a major health scare, and one of her first worries was about her husband and three small children: “How is Pete going to know where everything is?”

She began labeling everything she thought her husband might need to find in her absence: children's medicine, cat treats, paint thinner, bread... Bread? Doesn't bread come with its own label? The fact is, the labels may have helped her husband, but they really helped her endure the time while she waited for her medical test results. Happily the results were negative. By the time she got the news, the label maker was her new best friend. I think I'll go find mine now.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Irish Heritage

I think President Obama is right. On St Patrick's day everyone searches for a trace of Irish heritage to celebrate. Mine's pretty direct. My grandmother, Agnes Bannon, was Irish. But that's as far as I can trace it. As I recall from my mother's stories, my grandmother was an orphan.

My mother was born in 1923 and her sister was 13 years older. There was an older sister who died of tuberculosis in her teens. So, perhaps it was 1906 when my grandmother married Edwin Crowther. In my mother's stories, he was a house painter. He died when my mother was very young, so she never knew him.

My grandmother worked as a seamstress in a laundry. Young though my mother was during prohibition, she remembered my grandmother and friends enjoying beer in the back room of a neighborhood ... um ... establishment.

I liked my grandmother. She laughed a lot. I don't remember her ever being angry. And once, when she was staying with us while my parents were travelling, she let me go to school with my hair down.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Turkeys Are The New Deer

This is sort of what I meant about turkeys looking better when they appear shyly at the edge of the woods.

The Toms, of course, not so shy, but still good looking.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


I have several pictures of Winter Aconites covered with snow. But I still feel they're a sign of spring. This year, even more so because most of the flowers have bees in them.

Poor bees, can't leave the huddle in the hive 'til the temperature is over 50 degrees. They're out in force on the first warm day of the season. Have I mentioned that it's a bad idea to hang out your laundry on that first warm day? The bees have been steadily consuming their stored honey all winter, but they don't poop in the hive. So those first poops in the spring are BIG. Tempting as it may be to hang your sheets outdoors for that fresh air smell, you'll probably have to wash them again before you can use them.

This is one of my favorite bouquets every year. It's practically full size in this picture - about 4" tall including the tiny brandy snifter vase.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

On My Nightstand

Hyperion, Dan Simmons

People of The Book, Geraldine Brooks

Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood

Last month I read and loved Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood.

Last year I thought about quitting my bookclub 'cause we'd chosen a few books I didn't care for. I couldn't put my finger on why I didn't like them 'til I found this in an old interview with Ernest Hemmingway:
"All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you."

Monday, March 09, 2009

In March It Is Mud...

"Housewife's Lament" is the first song I learned to play on the guitar. Well, it's C, F and G7. So, learning to play it wasn't a big deal. But, much to my kids' dismay, I like to sing it.

In March it is mud, it is slush in December.
The midsummer breezes are loaded with dust.
In fall the leaves litter, in muddy September,
The wallpaper rots and the candlesticks rust.

Oh, life is a toil and love is a trouble.
Beauty will fade and riches will flee.
Pleasures they dwindle and prices they double,
And nothing is as I would wish it to be.

This was the view last week:

Mourning Doves huddled up in the cold and snow.

And yesterday this was the muddy view: 24 Turkeys on the lawn.

You know, I like wildlife. But I have to say, deer and turkeys in particular are cuter when they peek shyly out from the edge of the woods than when they take over the entire lawn like this.