The Muse Giveth

And so far, the muse does not taketh away.

I wanted to give a friend a present to signify the long-awaited end to a terrible ordeal, but nothing at the stores in my (admittedly tiny) town really said what I wanted to say, so I made my own. I would have begun with my own work, but was worried I wouldn’t have the quality after years of not crafting regularly. I liked the result so much, I wanted to keep it, except for me, the words would have quoted a different Louise Gluck poem, “Poppies”: “We speak because we are shattered.”

IMG_0598I used a canvas I got at Wal-mart (which has been surprisingly serendipitous for my recent crafting craves) and copied a Georgia O’Keeffe painting (if it wasn’t obvious) with cutting and painting fabric. I printed the words on marbled paper and glued them with some torn filmy paper behind (which I wish looked less like a mistake). The fabric came from a fat quarter.


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Will the Real Me Please Stand Up

See,  I should have ended up more like this lady than the person who has an office with a key and has to turn in a professional portfolio every year. The thing is, I didn’t meet my husband until I was 30. I had to take care of myself. And because I’m a late Gen-Xer and we just want to be told we’re doing a good job, I’ve wagged my little doggy tail for these several years trying to be good, but truly, sir, don’t fence me in.

After all, twas my husband who, in the first five minutes of viewing Pride & Prejudice, gave me a look and said, “Oh, you wanted me to watch this because that’s you,” after the part where Elizabeth goes tripping down the hill. So yes, I married the right person, but also, hmmm, this professional life is really not me. I mean really, has anyone who has ever known me really expected me to to wear a suit and say things with a buttoned-up lip?

elizabeth skipping

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Colors of the Wind

Douglas Adams comments, through Ford Prefect, on the absurdity of humans’ penchant for daily discussing the weather. I don’t find it that strange–we’ve no fur and our surface to area volume ratio is pretty large, so our lives are constantly affected by the elements, no matter how much we shut ourselves inside all day.

The incessant daily discussion I’d like to opt out of is comments on the colors of my clothes.

(1) There are only 6 basic colors (indigo was selected to force categorization). Chances are high we’re going to sometimes wear the same color on any given day. And sometimes I’m going to wear a dark color on a dark day, or a bright color in spring.

(2) The 50’s had the shirt dress, the 70’s had the caftan, the 80’s had padded shoulders, the 90’s had short plaid skirts, the 2000’s had those awful low-rise jeans, and the 2010’s have boots, skinny jeans, a cardigan, and a scarf. In graduate school, I had the time and the means (thrift stores) to never look like anyone else; these days, sometimes it’s easiest to just throw on that 2010’s uniform. So yes, sometimes we will dress the same.

Gah, so we both wore jailbird onesies on the same day! I’m still not going to go to your dog’s birthday party, stop asking.

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Racemes, spikes, spikelets, spadixes

It makes a nice chant.

What am I more excited for, delphiniums or dianthus? Oh, who am I kidding, it’s delphiniums!


I long for foxgloves, but I won’t ever get them because of digitalis (and Agatha Christie). I also long for hibiscus (never broke ground last year), hollyhocks (next year!), lupines (tried in the back, too disappointed to try again soon), and poppies (I think I’m getting some again). Oh, and gladiolas.

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How to know if you live in the woods

Your husband says, “You know what I saw that is the first sign of spring?” and your first two guesses are “bat” and “woodchuck” and the answer is “wolf spider” (in the garage, phew!).

close up ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

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Zen in the art of pruning fruit trees

The author of The Holistic Orchard talks about pruning trees as if it is a Zen activity. He says that some people just “get” it the first time they approach a tree with the shears.

The old plan...this area is tough on sweet cherries and apples (deer, cedar apple rust, frost)

The old plan…this area is tough on sweet cherries and apples (deer, cedar apple rust, frost)

I was delighted to discover that I am one of those people. I perched on the edge of the tree’s raised bed, looked down through the branches, and simply knew where the sunlight needed to go and which branches were in the way. I guess you could call it my first Zen experience, and I wasn’t even trying, but that’s sort of the point of Zen. Cut them at the collar, no branch should shade another, no water spouts, no suckers, nothing dead or broken. A direct appeal to my need to keep everything free of clutter, to have nothing unnamed.

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The Muse

The muse–she is back.

I would shout it from the rooftops, but they’re rather chilly at the moment.

She’s back! She lives! I can finally BE again, after two years. This is now the third time she’s left, only to return in even more bountiful gifts. Where can we go now? I can’t wait to find out.

From–a neat site purveying works by Elizabeth E. Schuch.

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