Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Dolliver Trio in Concert

Not to be outdone by the junketings of Boud and HS, the Dollivers have opened their concert series with the Dolliver Trio, on recorders and keyboard.

This came about when they saw some black sequined material, harvested from a little discarded dress in the dumpster, and wondered what occasion this black formal gear would be just right for. And realized that musicians wear black, long lovely dresses, especially with sequins and everyone looks at them and admires their style, and I pointed out that musicians also have to work and rehearse and play instruments, as well as get tricked out for the big night.

Brushing this off, but I think they've secretly been practicing while the household was occupied with other crises this month, they instructed me to get moving with the camera and be ready for their closeups.

So here are the Ds Trio, ready for the show

And waiting for the orchestra to strike up

And here operating rather large instruments with great dexterity, they claim

Finally, they take a bow.

They are refusing to take off the concert dresses, on the grounds that you never know what media people might show up, and they need to be ready at all times for their public.

I hear this group might be planning to go on tour. Watch this space.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lights, Cameras, Music, Diners!!

Tonight Handsome Son and I left Handsome Partner in the capable hands of Helen G., and went off to one of New Jersey's finest, a Greek diner, never mind the name

it's changed hands several times, and we refer to it as the diner opposite the Superfresh. Except that the Superfresh is now closed, so I guess it's the diner opposite where the Superfresh used to be.

Which reminds me of a colleague who was famous for giving street directions that required historical knowledge to follow them, such as "turn on the corner where the department store used to be that burned down, and now it's a parking lot, and go five traffic lights, and you're there."

Be that as it may, we had a riotous time and were left undisturbed to chat and laugh and generally whoop it up, by my standards, anyway. Unlike the two EMTs at a nearby booth, who came in after us, had barely eaten a bite before they were beeped and we saw them racing off, lights and sirens on, to a call.

I was just thinking they were the kind of huge, calm guys you really want in an emergency, and next thing you know, they were off to attend one.

You can't leave a NJ diner without a portrait of the dessert display.

And since I had extra time I got all my food shopping done, yay, and caught the town fountain, all lit up in my honor.

Life is good!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Going, going, gone! the dishwasher, that is

Back to earth after a nice day of birthday greetings from all over the globe for HP, neighbors stopping in, really nice acknowledgment of him in many forms.

Sooooo, our magic contractor friend neighbor showed up this morning, and proceeded to explain his plans for the shelving, which sounds better and better, and for another base cabinet which doesn't work now, but will when he gets through with it, with a swing-out half lazy susan. Sounds like a golf stroke.

So here we have:




Sunday, June 26, 2011

This Year's Awards -- The Parties!

In honor of Handsome Partner's 79th birthday, June 27th, 2011, I have designated all of our annual awards to be centered on him and the people and things and actions that have helped him. Things are very fragile with him right now, crises more often, great loss of faculties, and it seems good to honor the people who are helping him continue to have a life!

Drumroll please for the 2011 Handsome Partner Awards, heretofore known as the Parties!

The award itself consists of my grateful thanks! worth every penny it cost you....and the enormous fame that accrues to being mentioned here in Field and Fen. Try not to let it turn your heads, but feel free to write acceptance comments..

First, the Party for Being There In Every Way When It Counts, goes to the wonderful local First Aid Squad whose members have been in our house more times than you can count, and who have been unfailingly kind, considerate and very professional.

Their cadets were at the store doing a pr stint and fund raising, and I wanted to honor them as future EMTs.

Then the Party for the Most Giving and Friendly Library staff, more than you see in the picture, goes to the other libe I go to, not the one you hear about all the time, who've been honored in other contexts.

Every person in this picture, seen here doing what they do ranging from solving patron puzzles on the computer, which has a new system which we are all learning to navigate, to repairing equipment there and then, has been great friends to us both, never failing to ask for HP when I get in there, exchanging views on The Wedding and what I'm wearing that I might have made and so on. They add a texture you can't describe to our lives. They make it all about us, not about them. Thank you.

And there's Claire Garland, whom I've never met, but whose Party Award, is for Best Book with Far Reaching Consequences! Her book Knitted Babes was the launch pad for the Dollivers.

I changed the designs, adapted, took great liberties, and the Ds. not only have a life of their own and followers, but are one feature of the living room that HP still recognizes and greets happily with "Good morning Dollies" every day. The joy they've brought him is something I hadn't expected, but he still has a great sense of fun, and I thank you, Claire, for your designs.

To a horticulturist whose name I don't know, goes the Party Award for the Most Cheerful and Faithfully Returning and Multiplying Perennial, the Stella d'Oro daylily, which blooms reliably right before HP's birthday each year and celebrates with him for six weeks.

at this point, his senses have faltered to where color and shape are more and more important, in the absence of being able to read much now. To see these huge flowers on the patio, is a daily joy for him, and so it is to me, too.

I have no idea who to give the Best Herb Party to, probably some deity or other, for the few scents HP can still smell and love, and I show you here the rosemary, basil, sage, oregano and thyme he loves.

HPs medical personnel have been honored before, but now we have a new honoree, Helen G., who has become a rock for us, coming in two evenings to week, doing HPs evening care and letting me go out without a care. Party Award for the Latest and Greatest Support Person, in every way, to our whole family goes to Helen.

Last, dear Blogistas, step forward at your computer and take a bow for Best Possible Internet friends, all of you who have written, sent greetings and cards and emails and just generally been there for us, follow our story and give me support that is so significant day to day. It's huge, you can't know how huge.

This includes the lovely people like Minimiss who sends funny and beautiful and touching email pictures, many about animals, a big favorite, and Eepy and Annie and Heather who write actual mail, making sure that there are interesting stamps for him to enjoy, too, and Rhonda who sent him Lapsang Souchong tea when she found he loves it and I can't find it in this region, and MaryAnn who sends marvelous animated greetings for all kinds of seasonal reasons, and Linda who sent me a care package that included items he enjoyed, from Ireland, and on and on. And the C. family, Harold, Jean and my old friend Heather, all of whom have made me feel like an honorary member of their group.

There are a lot of wonderful people, and please consider yourself included if your name doesn't appear here.

We're so lucky.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

HIgh Beams? where, again??

I'm starting to get the hang of evenings, at least the two per week where lovely Helen comes to take care of HP. So long since I was able to get out after dark that I have to think okay what do people do then? starting to make plans to meet people for actual meals!! and to rediscover that shops are open in the evening. Heck, I feel like President Bush the First when he found out about scanners at the supermarket.

Last evening, I realized that it was so long since I drove in the dark that I'd forgotten how to switch on my high beams. On a country road, the nice back way home from Target, I practiced finding them. Washed the windshield, put the emergency flashers on, set the wipers at high speed, and eventually found the high beam lever.

They do say that even when you can't see far ahead in life you can still get there, like writing a novel, where the endpoint is so far off you can't see it from here. But I think it's still a bit easier if you can at least find your high beams, metaphorically as well as in my ancient Honda.

I'd had a peaceful time at the library, reading a Fay Weldon, sardonic, cruelly funny and skewering, and in the next room heard a little burst of applause, then after a minute the family in the libe cafe near me all perked up.

The father said, stop stop, pose! as a little girl appeared in front of them with an award in the shape of a horse's head, posed for his camera and both parents were making a big fuss of her achievement, lovely family. I nosily tried to find out what the award was about, horse-riding? at the library? the family was a kind of private group, not open to talking with me, but I did discover the horse's head was in fact a knight figure, and she'd won the award as a chess player!

Clever little girl! I was particularly happy, since it was a Moslem family, all in traditional dress, and chess being originally of arabic invention, it just seemed so suitable that they had a young champion in the family.

News on the kitchen front: our contractor neighbor came over and checked out the situation yesterday, all in among the medical equipment people coming to deliver a special table for HP at Helen's request, and I had them fix the hand control for the bed which sticks at just the wrong times, and to lubricate the whole thing with a special stuff they use, so it doesn't squeak agonizingly as you maneuver HP's head up in the evening after he gets in, to watch tv.

Anyway, contractor arrives amidst this confusion, and measures up the doings for the overhaul of the dishwasher place. He can easily cap off the plumbing safely, and put those little hats on the electrical wires and bundle them out of the way. That way if a new dw is in the offing, perhaps in years to come by another owner, it will be easily installed. So he can yank out the dw, since he knows all about how it was put in.

And he is going to build me two shelves on runners, that will be the width of the opening plus the side piece he will remove, and will pull out to their full extent, so I don't need to unload the shelf to get in the back. Yay. And I am having him revamp another base cabinet which is the dumbest shape in the world, just to make it more usable.

The nice part is that our house is exactly like his own, so he knows just how things are and what can be improved and why! they don't use their dw either, and I think he might be thinking, hm, I can make better use of that space...

So in the next few days it will be under way. He plans to do all the building of the shelves at his house across the street, for the least disturbance for HP here, and then come just to install them.

So yesterday was a day of getting stuff done: bed oiled, controls replaced, table delivered, dw plans moving right ahead, and I found my high beams.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Limerence in art

Limerence really refers to an overwhelming emotional pull to another person combined with an equal need to have that pull reciprocated. Which in fact describes exactly the situation of an artist about to embark on a new project, any project. That totally-focused need to get into it, get the materials to answer and respond and generally make a team. You can't learn this stuff, you just know it. You can't teach it, your student either knows it or will never know it.

I'm laughing a bit at myself, though the above is dead serious, because limerence tends to hit at the most unlikely projects, such as now, that I actually have found a useful destination for all those little purses I keep making! just putting out the yarns and likely tools, and setting up the picture as if for a still life -- get those negative spaces! created such a sense of oh, this is great.

Anyway, the little purses will go to a Good Cause, as items for a Fall craft sale in support of a terrific local animal rescue group, which does several things: gives them a good home with appreciative buyers, raises some urgently needed $$ for the rescue group, they never have enough, and keeps me out of the bars at night. I did a test drive with a purse which led to the invitation to make them for their cause. Carol instantly put her blackberry or whatever she currently uses, into hers, slung it on her shoulder, and it worked nicely for her.

Speaking of bars at night, in one of which I've never been for the record, or even off the record, I seem to have finally come to a great arrangement with a capable and lovely homecare person who made her first visit last night, and suggested that instead of a morning and an evening visit, I would get more time to myself if she made it two evening visits, that way I could be ready to leave when she arrived. She can do all the care, transfer using the Hoyer, fixing the catheter, all that.

So if I wanted to hang around a bar, I could I guess. More likely I'll visit with friends, maybe get to dinner with them, won't know how to act, gosh, been so long, and play music. And since this nice lady Helen G., will have done the total body care for HP twice weekly, that takes care of a lot of what I would have to do, too. Still some daily care, there's still a lot, but he will always be in reasonably nice shape thanks to her.

No wonder I had an attack of limerence today!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice, happy Midsummer's Day

In this end of the world, that is! I know it's midwinter for some blogistas.

The picture is of the stephanotis on the patio table, where HP can see it, ready to burst out in a fanfare of scent any minute now. The scent is wonderful, powerful but not overdone, no wonder people like it in wedding bouquets. I pinch herbs for HP frequently, to let him smell. His sense of smell is very poor, result of medication years ago, but when he can smell them, it's a very nice experience for him.

And it's also the first day of summer, so the notion of calling it Midsummer's Day is puzzling, except that the seasons used to be counted differently, summer starting where spring now starts for us, so centuries ago, this was the middle of summer. I think the year was in two seasons then.

Of course if you live in north Yorkshire, the seasons make no nevermind, it's freezing even when the sun's out. I remember vividly, that part of the world being a lot further north than we often realize, on a par with Hudson's Bay, about, that it was light very late indeed in summer. We'd be able to play tennis in the park till it closed at 10.30 pm. Except that the sun might be out, but your legs would be chapped with the icy wind blowing directly from Siberia onto your tennis court and whipping round your poor knees.

HP's physio was here working with him when the French Open was on this year, and when I said it was live transmission, he said that's impossible, it's evening there, and look, broad sunlight! I reminded him about the latitude and he was pretty surprised.

But it is difficult to believe unless you visit, and I can't tell you how many pix I've been shown by US friends after their trip, look, this is us, and it's TEN O CLOCK at NIGHT! see, it's bright daylight! to which I say, well, yeah, like I told you before you went...

It works the other way too, though, and I remember not realizing how soon it got dark in the summer in Wisconsin, knowing the weather would be much warmer in the summer, and expecting long AND warm summer evenings. Dangit. Dark, mosquitoes, and warm. Hm.

HP is now more or less dozing and watching Wimbledon, and things are pretty calm today. Expecting various medical and helping personnel this week, nurse today. Oh well. The foot traffic is very difficult for me, being a person as likes her privacy, but privacy not an option right now.

Oh, good news on the kitchen front, thanks to encouragement from JC, mother of HC, how many people have a mother AND a daughter as friends? separately, individual people. Anyway, my contractor neighbor/friend is coming in Friday to take a look at my broken old dishwasher, which I've decided not to replace, rather have the space for better use, and he'll yank it out, cap off the plumbing and the wiring safely, and will measure up for a shelving unit to slide in there, yay, next week. JC had this done in their condo years ago, and it looks great.

He's done a lot of good work for us in this house, does houses, renovations, replacements, etc. So this is something to look forward to. Much better than seeing a useless rusty hulk under the counter..which has been a kind of dish drainer now for months.

Post interrupted for arrival of visiting nurse, who tells me things are going pretty well and she'll be back next week.

So Happy Solstice, all!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bicycle, parked. At the park

Seems logical seen that way.

On walk this afternoon unexpected comic relief: a group of teenage boys kicking a bunch of soccer balls around on the field, one gives a mighty swipe, ball sails, lands in pin oak, stays there.

Boys gather round with a second ball, toss it up to dislodge the first ball. Second ball settled right in beside the first one. Stays there.

Frantic search for a third ball. Toss that up, one ball rolls about a bit, third ball returns, others do not.

I took pity on them and left at that point, not wishing to dent their pride even further by watching the train wreck. As I left I could hear them you got to CLIMB it then, you did it! climb it how, branches are fifteen feet off the ground? get a long pole. Where? and so on.

I didn't even take their picture, because I'm a nice person. And because there were five of them and one of me..

I wonder if they ended up tossing the bicycle up to dislodge the soccer balls, and then tossing one of their number up to dislodge the bicycle.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day and Juneteenth

Happy Father's Day to everyone who has a father, would like to be one, is one, yes, there are male blogistas checking in, perhaps blogistos would be a better word. And Happy Juneteenth to those who celebrate that historical date when word of freedom finally made it to the people who needed to hear it.

And to celebrate all this, the first daylily of the year bust out this morning

posing also with the lavender

and a busy Charlotte had woven a wonderful web out on the patio

closer, see the rainbow?

Early morning quiet time, me and nature and my camera.

Some good news on the HP front: we have found a person, highly recommended, very nice, to come in twice weekly for three hours to do personal care for HP. She came to meet us yesterday, met son, too, who happened to be there, and we all liked each other. She's unafraid of the Hoyer lift, this is a first, and unafraid to give (not dispense, I count out and put in place) medications. Huge relief to me to have some help with all this. Just two visits per week is what HP can afford, since I have to be a good steward of his tiny savings, and no insurance covers this care. But what we can do, we're doing, and it does look better than a few days ago.

Friday, June 17, 2011


Two local friends posing for me so I could show them to HP at home!

Whatever Happened to Fridays? this life has no weekends! and I'm really hoping to get more help set up. Not before July, they tell me -- this very good group schedules by the month, and they have to see who they can get, etc., and get back to me, usual story. Odd how it now seems a long time to wait, considering how long I've been doing this by myself.

But at this point, every bite has to be fed, every sip offered with a straw, close observation to be sure he can swallow, mouthwash and bowl held, no more letting him use a razor to do a wet shave, it's all different. Explaining now you bite, now you suck, now you spit the mouthwash, it's all very puzzling to him to remember what to do.

And more seizing to contend with, more medication to decide about, since a couple of them are really up to my judgment, depending on how well he's doing.

So I have to look at my own schedule, to make sure I get meals, too! I'm figuring out how to do all this currently, without ending with permanent indigestion. And when I can safely go upstairs to shower and dress and all that.

The big change is that he can't be left with any unskilled however well meaning person. No more student respite people, I think, lovely as they are. Not fair to ask a kid to be in charge of this situation, however many safeguards I put in place.

And leaving him alone for a few minutes while I take a walk, vital for my own back, is more dodgy, but I am determined to get my walks in. I grab a time when he's sleeping.

As to what friends far away can do, several people having indicated they wish they knew, here are a couple of thoughts: letters in the actual mail are wonderful! if you want our address, please email me and I'll send it. Especially letters with furrin stamps, very exciting around here. The other day we got a postcard from Heather, which thrilled both of us. I read it out to him, twice, and he examined the view of Banff on it and I explained several times who sent it, etc., and all in all, we both got a lot of value out of it. Things like that. And he still loves handmade bookmarks, even though books other than images are in his past now. Cards with animals always hugely welcome! and flowers, and artwork, you know the kind of thing.

And his 79th birthday comes up on June 27.

For me, letters, emails, general cheerful messages to remind me you remembered me, are all wonderful, very welcome and cheering and whatever you say is lovely, don't worry about oh gosh what to of your families, and arts and hobbies and trips, and work stuff, your own life, all very exciting reading to me.

Meanwhile, have a nice weekend, if there's one on the cards for you, heh.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Joseph, c'etait le pigeon!

By way of light relief from the last drama filled posts, this is a reminder to us all that it is Bloomsday! Remember, the day on which the events and multiple-part jokes and allusions and general stratospheric intelligence masked as confusion that is James Joyce's Ulysses took place.

And my blogpost title is one of the funniest damn jokes in literature, very irreverent, very funny, involving the virgin birth, the depiction of the Holy Spirit as a dove, and a peasant girl who thinks what the heck, dove, pigeon, and explaining how this came about, and Joseph understandably puzzled and wondering what his next move should be now that his young bride turns out to be pregnant with no apparent effort on his part...this is so typical of the entire wonderful novel, which is packed, pressed down, and running over, with allusions that once you start to unpack you'll be at it forever. My picture is of the baby mourning doves who were born on our front porch a couple of years ago, playing their part in history...

So this is my personal Bloomsday Tribute. You'll be relieved to know that it won't be as opaque as Ulysses. Though I expect you've found a few allusions and wonder what they are about, or if you know, are figuring out how to retaliate, I mean reciprocate..

And my horoscope for today, I always read that no matter what is going down, among other gems, states: "Applying greater force will not get you farther toward your goals today." Well, dammit, when my main life policy is that, when all else fails, get a bigger hammer!

So I'll have to be content with sharply pointed allusions, I guess.

The homefront continues to be dodgy, but no worse crises have erupted, but I'm juggling all kinds of possible helpful things, which is wearing me out totally.

We had a very nice occupational therapist out today to see what can be done to help HP stay upright in his chair, since he has now lost all ability on his left side to keep the vertical. She had all kinds of good ideas and will follow up on some of them, and gave me many pieces of advice, mostly stuff I've been doing for years already! but very nice, very conscientious.

And I'm working on getting home aides to help out a couple of times a week with the personal care, too expensive to have them more often than that, Medicare not covering this. So I'm hopeful that just a bit of relief will be helpful.

But there's a mass of PTSD, terrible flashbacks to the nightmares of a couple of years ago, which come up with all these people, not them, the situation. But I live in hopes that it will pass.

So that's us! Happy Bloomsday, all. And please post your favorite bit from Joyce. Can be from Dubliners, since that's a favorite of a lot of people, and more accessible.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Purse by Purse

A few years ago, when the health issues really took a dramatic turn for HP, I kept my calm by knitting simple stuff, in waiting rooms, doctors' offices, operating waiting rooms, intensive care rooms, rehab rooms, and the principle item was the kitty blanket. There were a couple of artworks, too, but the blankie was the core item.

These were about 18 inches square, no two alike, all different colors, stitches, you name it, but all contributing enormously to my equilibrium under a hail of bad news broken up by worse news.

So this last week and a half, which HP's doctor visiting today, confirmed is a new stage, very likely a stroke/seizure with damage that will most likely not repair, has been another crisis time for both of us. He needs much more help now, hand feeding, holding his cup, putting his hand on his spoon, readjusting in his chair in which he can't stay very upright, doing exercises for him that he can't do himself any more. He's angry and upset, which is probably a symptom of stroke. So the calming work for me has to be small and very portable and very interruptible.

Yes, there's serious art going on, too, with a big new weaving in progress, too soon to show you, and others working out in my mind, but this is the forefront busy work.

Enter the cellphone purse. I made one for myself years ago when it was clear that I needed to have a phone at hand all the time without having to look for it or walk off without it, so I made a purse that slung around my neck. Made a couple for gifts for forgetful friends, too.

Anyway, the cellphone purse. Here are a felted one and several crocheted ones, which will probably be foisted off on innocent friends at some point. But meanwhile they've kept me together this week.

And in the last few days some of this collection has appeared, guarded by Duncan, who thinks they are probably advanced kitty toys, along the lines of the kitty blankies. And my own cats still demand to know where all those dozens of blankies WENT, anyway, they didn't get any.

I explained they went to little kittens who didn't have a blankie. Or bowls, or toys or a home, but were in search and the blankie was their first piece of luggage. They were unconvinced. But it's true, and I have a book of pictures of happy feline owners clinging to their blankies with all four paws to prove it. Carol Q. the rescue lady who distributed them to foster homes for cats sent me a wonderful album of them, which I keep with my handmade books and look at frequently.

I now have to make arrangements for more help at home, which I need but would rather not, but needs must. Sigh. Anyway, for the moment we have nursing visits weekly, doctor always on call, and that's good for the moment.

Big thoughts keep on hovering around the outskirts of my mind, like, what if HPs life is coming to an end, what will that mean for everyone, what if he still has years to live, what will that mean for everyone. And so on. I do know that he's in the right place now, and that I need to adjust to the new normal. Again.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Daylilies and inadvertent poems

HP is in a fairly fragile state, now okay, now not so okay, and the energy it takes to organize thought and talk is a lot for him. But now and then he accidentally comes out with what amounts to a little poem, though he is unaware that it is.

Yesterday he was looking at a book of Turner watercolors, and suddenly said

I looked for a red hummingbird
I thought I would see a red hummingbird
But no

None of this related to what he was actually seeing, but I think it triggered other kinds of color memories and thoughts. Nowadays pictures, especially of design and paintings, give him more pleasure than struggling to remember how to read the newspaper, though he does give it a try every morning.

Music, too, not the jazz he used to love, which baffles him now, but singing like that of Jackie Evancho, whose voice he has just discovered and loves, very calming and lovely. Color and shapes and music appeal to different brain functions than language and reading and linear thought, so he can still enjoy these other pleasures.

And after I've taken a walk, I often bring him home pictures of what's growing out there. Today's group is about daylilies, a flower I love, because even though each spectacular bloom lasts only a day, hence the name, the plant goes on and one blooming and coming back and increasing year after year.

And there are wild ones just as tall and prolific as the cultivated kind.

Around here you can either see them at the roadside, along with chicory and queen anne's lace, or you can buy them at the garden place, same plant. Cracks me up.

There are several varieties of the yellow daylily, and here's a group of smaller flowers, with pink flowers whose name escapes me, blogistas, please chime in if you remember it

And then there's faithful old Autumn Joy sedum, getting all organized to bloom in September

Sedum is beautiful at all four seasons, a big point to those with small garden areas who can't afford part time plants!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cliche title about bowls of cherries...

Update on HP is that things are looking a bit better today, lucid, able to express himself better, needed to be fed breakfast and medication, unable to manage cups, spoons, etc., but he was able to chew and swallow, a big deal at this point, according to his great Doctor P. And he is more or less able to sit upright in his chair.

So, though experience has taught me not to be too sanguine at any one time, so far so good. Clearly there's physical deterioration since two days ago, so we'll see if that repairs itself.

Meanwhile, after the heatwave broke, and the huge storms followed and cooled off the world, except that now everything's already dry as a bone again, I ventured out to check on my cherry harvest.

The bushes out front are now pretty vigorously growing, and I found that there was actual fruit on there. The bowl at the header is the first part of this year's crop. Quite a few unripe berries in there, too, waiting for a day or so of heat.

I found that these bushes coyly hide the fruit right at the place where the branch comes out from the main trunk, so that at first glance there's nothing, but if you separate and pry at them, you find good stuff. I'm hoping this will enable me to get at them before the birds I am harvesting actual food, a Good Thing.

And today I think I will be able to venture to the studio and see what my latest fiberwork is up to. I crocheted a warp and weft for a big piece, and dyed it, left it up there in the heatwave to dry, or cook as the case may be. So I'll see what's up. Next stage is to fix it to stretchers to form a loom, and then decide, oh heck, now what...usual point of decision making in any artwork, around here, at least.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thrills and spills again

Very dramatic morning, which I won't give all the details about, but suffice it to say that there was continuing calling between HP's wonderful doctor P., who sent a nurse over to assist, and the nurse, and HS who showed up loyally in no time at all to support me. This was really a time when we wondered if HP would in fact survive the morning. He is stable now, but I'm not yet convinced that he's where he was just a few days ago.

And it was one of those times where I had to remember what I would do if this happened or that happened, and how to proceed. Long ago, HP and I decided that heroic measures were absolutely OUT, and I have been very careful not to rush into hospital admissions, testing, etc., which, as his doctor says wisely may or may not tell us anything we can usefully do.

And he has a longstanding DNR document on the fridge, classic bulletin board for the use of EMTs and other technicians. DNR, for them as don't know, means Do Not Resuscitate, i.e. if there's a respiratory or cardiac collapse. It would not help, would cause suffering, and this was his own decision back when he could make it.

All this sounds very calm and collected, and in fact both HS and I have a great faculty for remaining calm throughout emergencies, waiting to fall apart until it's safe to do so! but the emotional cost is enormous of being the decision maker at times like this.

So we live to fight another day, it seems, at least we think so. And this afternoon, while HP slept, so did I. He was able to swallow once the crisis passed, which took several hours, so he had a nice cup of homemade soup with homebaked bread in it, and got caught up on the meds for now.

Which brings me to the real point of this moaning whining post: I always like friends to realize is it JUST FINE to give me ordinary news, make ordinary requests, crack ordinary jokes, etc., at times like this. In fact it's wonderful, because it reminds me that there is another world going on out there, where all is not crisis, sturm und drang. And I urgently need something other than fear and anxiety to put my mind on.

So thank you Donna, for that timely email asking about an art situation, and MaryAnn, for the lovely link to handmade book covers of all kinds, and you, AI for the little coda to a discussion we had the other day about teaching physics, and Ari for the hilarious note about the Cartoon Blog. There were others, but my short term memory is a bit taxed at the moment..All this was a wonderful leaven to a tough day.

Anyway, vibes galore would be much appreciated at this point! and jokes, and fun links, and oh well, whatever seems good.

And in today's mail came two State of NJ forms about property taxes, and for the first time in living memory, they had got all the preprinted stuff RIGHT!!! No need for hours on the phone and writing, and so on, to get them to fix it. They appear finally after years of hand to hand combat, to have fixed our forms. Yay.

See how little it takes to cheer me up? this means I'm either very easily grateful or totally boneheaded. Or both, that's always a thought, or both.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Luck of the Chimney Sweep

Today, it was the chimney sweep's biannual visit to look at, maybe clean, the chimney, and look at, maybe clean, the dryer vent. Patt and company have been visiting us for lo these many years, and now she's where she sends someone else up to the two storey high roof

to check the pressure on the dryer vent, while she writes up the paperwork safely on the ground, in sight of the climber.

HP had remembered this morning that it's considered lucky for a new bride to be kissed by a sweep on the way out of the church, she in her wedding regalia, he in his top hat, carrying sweep's brushes, and often soot. We told Patt and sidekick this, and though she said, hm, never heard of that, but I have heard of a handshake with a sweep being lucky.

Sidekick commented that they were recently at a Chimney Sweeps' Convention, who knew, but evidently they have them, and there was a contingent of Scottish sweeps in top hats, with shirts imprinted with "Kiss Me! I'm a Sweep!" so he believed me.

When she stopped laughing, Patt then shook hands with HP, to bring him luck! he was actually quite thrilled about this, and told a neighbor who stopped by later for a chat.

Having Patt visit is like seeing a relative you don't see often -- exchange of family news and views and illnesses and recoveries and so on. This is why a small town can be a very good place to live.

Monday, June 6, 2011

June 6

Hard to forget that June 6 was DDay in Europe. But, without triggering a lot of PTSD among those of us who were there during that war, it reminded me of when I was teaching French, as a student teacher in Madison, Wisconsin high school. The textbook was up to teaching how to express dates in French, including June 6, July 14, and so on.

Since my students were only in their second year, not very fluent yet, I broke into English, breaking my own rule, to explain the significance of the dates in the exercise, because I thought it was too important, in French history, for them to miss the facts if I explained in French. Whereupon, my supervising teacher, their regular classroom teacher, began to scribble furiously in her notebook, and I thought, oh heck, there goes my grade. She doesn't like me to drop into English.

Then, after class she said, you know what, I never ever knew the significance of those dates! DDay! I should have known that, and who knew when Napoleon escaped from Elba? and so on. I'm planning to sit in the rest of your classes with this group and take notes. Oh. This was a midwesterner, never been in Europe in her life, studied French at a midwestern college, very keen student, but clearly they hadn't had the total immersion that was the rule for the degree I took at my brit university. So that was okay, glad to oblige.

Duncan and I have been reading oddly appropriate stuff, and listening to appropriate music, without realizing it, too. Currently the Big Book I'm carting around when I need to rest my hands from knitting, weaving, mopping and mowing, is Katherine the Queen by Linda Porter, who is a true historian, interesting but doesn't insert her own opinions of what probably transpired where there is no record. This is the bio of Katherine Parr, Henry VIII's last wife and his survivor.

Turns out she had a lot of northern English connections and many of the places mentioned are ones I knew from Yorkshire. Great explanations of how the northern part of the country was feared by the southern rulers and how they were repressed in their attempts to maintain their religion in the face of big political changes. A lot of what's happening in the Middle East right now is very very similar to that period in England.

And blogistas will remember how I got all carried away by the movie The King's Speech, and was wanting to find the DVD so that HP could see it. Then lovely CarolQ lent me her copy, without even being asked about it, yay, and we were able to see it. HP was unable to follow a lot of it, but liked the parts he could follow, and I loved it again. And this time had the wit to find out exactly which bit of Beethoven was the wonderful music under the actual declaration of war speech. Allegretto from the Seventh Symphony. So I was able to borrow a CD of it and listen again. Great recording by the Vienna Philharmonic, conductor Carlos Kleiber.

It's about triumph over struggle, and hope and great bravery, and altogether good both to illustrate that particular person's struggle over his disability and his circumstances, as well as reflect the hope at that time that the brits would also retain their freedom. Very moving to folks like me.

And it reminded me of another subliminal thing going on at that time, since victory was the word of the day for years on end, to keep up people's spirits while Europe was falling bit by bit, and at home there was rationing, a polite word for semi starvation, lack of fuel, freezing houses, harsh winters, enough misery to go around.

But underneath the announcement of the BBC evening news at 9 o'clock each evening, the significant broadcast of the day, was a drumbeat dit dit dit daaaah, the last beat a fourth higher than the three short ones. The morse code for V for Victory.

And, turned the other way up and in a different key, you hear the opening four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.

Similarly, the war speech used a wonderful piece of Beethoven, great German composer, to convey the emotion of the time. One of those endless conundrums of war. Not to take this too far, but there are connections to be found all over the place if you look. No black helicopters!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Invisible strength

This post is partly about caregiving and how you need to have a life as well as devote care to another person, and partly about how gracefully Ruth L. does just that.

Her husband's birthday was yesterday, and they were at the library, he with his favorite Statue of Liberty (his number one Lady) shirt, and a new Marilyn Monroe calendar (his number two Lady, same birthday as he) in the company of his, her joke, this, number three Lady, Ruth! she had saved the calendar since the beginning of the year so as to surprise him, and he was so happy, making it to another birthday. His DOB June 2, 1925.

Ruth, in her own eighties, gleefully reminding us that this is her ninth decade, is still active in training physical therapists, with her husband in attendance as she does so. Against all odds, she pursues her profession, and maintains an amazing balance in her life.

The picture at the header is of an invisble spider web, blown out of the sunshine for a moment, but still there, strong as ever. As caregivers often are.

And this is the picture of the web, in the sunshine, same web, only now you can see it, shining and strong as Ruth.

And here's Ruth

Happy Birthday, J! and congratulations, Ruth!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Weaving outside the lines

I just got done framing this piece (which is 20 x 16 inches, for them as wants to know these things) ready to deliver for the July Libe show. Our local artists collective is putting on a show on the theme of Words for the summer, which fits in with the summer program for all ages, classes and explorations and trips and all kinds of good stuff on the same theme. This is the program for which Donna S. and I had our paper adventures a while back!

But this is part of the grownup stuff, and it's a crossover between fiberarts and works on paper, since it's woven paper and postage stamps. It's been done for ages, but had to dry and settle and get its act together before I could frame it. So now that's done. These were ancient, not valuable, stamps, all permanently glued together from long storage, and asking for a way to be useful again.