Sunday, March 27, 2011

infinite variety

I haven't forgotten my quilting journey.

Take a look at this site:

It's an exhibit in NY from a woman who collected over 650 quilts all in red and white!

I have a couple of local quilting contacts on my list to talk with in the weeks ahead and I will continue to post photos from the Oro Valley show three weeks ago.

Muddled Mind

I almost signed off the computer today without doing my blog entry. Instead I was burrowing through work chores and trying to get focused for a week of meetings, medical appointments, a friend's April visit and, I hope, some life to be lived. Thus, my mind is a bit muddled and my heart is a bit heavy with worry and grief.

The chaotic world is too much with us. So, to create my own world, I put myself in a church pew today and listened to Methodist "big" music, I call it. My church pulls in about twenty musicians from the Tucson Orchestra and adds the choir and organ every third Sunday. Today we heard Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Lizst. Wonderful sounds filled the arches and danced along the stained glass windows. Later, Mark and I walked along Mountain Ave. which added art work of poetry along the widened roadway. Ophelia Zepeda's poems were carved into granite boulders, in both English and her native Papago (Tohono O'odham) language. I smiled and cried as I read them aloud. {link for her poetry is )

My son tells me not to "stress out" so much. But it's my nature to take things in deeply and, so sometimes, I feel overwhelmed. How do you try to keep your cup from overflowing or keep your feet on solid ground? Yet, sometimes, to have life gushing out like a waterfall or to fly in the clouds can also be a good part of living. Where I get into trouble is when I lose the sounds of hope and laughter. I really have to dig deep into myself sometimes to open up to those sounds. Cacaphony from the news or words of conversations drowns out the light music.

This week was Robert Frost's birthday (3/26) and I learned that he, one of my favorite poets, struggled with depression most of his life. I wouldn't have thought so from his poems which speak to me very clearly. "I want to go out as a swinger of birches..." is a line that called me to it in the 1970's and still does. We have no birch trees in Tucson, but to swing out on a Cottonwood, or, higher up in the mountains, to swing out on an Aspen would be a good way to let go.

But not yet. My counselor this week wants me to come up with some ideas of what I want my life to be in the next ten years. If today is an example, it would be with more music and more poetry.

What "more" do you want in your next ten years?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

after the rain

The desert region is in a drought. Our lakes are receding, leaving limestone lines on the walls. But last night it rained. Not just the "squeeze a few drops" out of the sponge rain, but it really rained. When I walked my neighborhood today, there were raindrops hanging from the newly unfolded leaves. Birds were trilling from the treetops. The air is cleansed and negative ions are filling our lungs as we breathe deeply, refreshed and rejoicing in what rain can do to the desert.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tucson Book Festival etc.

Last Sunday, Mark went with me to (his first, my third trip) to the Tucson Book Festival. I wanted to get there early before the big crowds and I knew I probably couldn't squeeze in a writer's workshop, too. We focused on walking the UA Mall and adjacent areas to few the booths, take time to chat with an author or two and buy some lunch. It was great fun and a lovely day. According to the reports, the crowds continue to expand and this year, for the two days, between 92,000 and 100,000folks came to the Festival. It is an amazing display of local talent and interest in reading and writing. Hurray--Tucson has something to cheer about.

Maybe we will also be cheering for the UA Wildcats after today's NCAA match with Texas but it will be a tough game against a team whose players look like towers of power.

Today, the first day of Spring (and did everyone few the Supermoon last night?), we planted new flowers, laid flower seed and cleaned up pots and the garden area. Sort of tired before housecleaning starts, so "tending" to the blog instead.

As for blogging on quilting--yesterday, in between this and that, I stopped at Bookman's Used Bookstore and picked up a McCall's Quilting Magazine. My mother used to get McCall's Magazine for Women and I looked forward to the Betsy McCall paper doll page which I alternately got to cut out, sharing every other month with my younger sister. I didn't even know McCall's still published any magazines, but here I am gazing at it's cover for "the best American quilting."

In the magazine (March-April, 2011), there is an article on quilting and blogs and I found this site: Lo and behold, yesterday, 4/19, was National Quilt Day! I feel as if there is a cosmic rhythm somehow guiding me to stay connected with quilting, even though I couldn't get to the Green Valley Quilting Show this week as I had hoped. Daughter-duties with my dad took precedence on Friday and Saturday got consumed by buying flowers, seeing a friend and having the car tied up in a car wash. I was a bit grumpy about my plans being scuttled but now that mood has passed and I will accept that I am exactly where I need to be.

Where do you need to be on this first day of Spring where light and dark, day and night are perfectly balanced? Do you feel balanced? What are your counterweights to help you stay aright? Mine for today, in no particular order are: birdsong, flowers, walking and music. If I can integrate those elements into my daily life, I tend to not slip and fall. I hope you can hold steady, too.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Green Valley Quilt Show

Here's the link to this weekend's quilt show which I hope to go to:

So much is going on in March and April in the desert!

Here's a quilt fact for the week:

* Pre-Revolutionary War, houses were too cramped and dirty,and fabrics were not of good quality to make quilts, but during the 1770s a new middle-class started to emerge and textile manufacturing was developed. This new industry would play a major factor in the history of American quilting. (from America's Beautiful Quilts by Zaro Weil).

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Blue Beauty Quilt

As part of a new writing project (short short story) on quilting, I am doing research on quilts and went to the Oro Valley quilt show last week. Here is one lovely example and the info that went along with the quilt.

I have a well-loved quilt from my Grandmother Dice that hangs over a rocking chair in my bedroom. It is this quilt that has prompted my query into quilting. In the coming weeks, along with my periodic personal musings, I will be inserting knowledge I am gaining and asking you to hang in there with me as I "piece" my words, pictures and understanding into the background I need for stories.

I think my Grandmother's quilt is one she inherited from her mother or aunt and it dates back to the 1880s, as an example of a "grape basket" pattern, red and qreen, favored by the Pennsylvania Dutch. Even though this is what I have figured out so far, I need to get some confirmation of this by local quilting experts. Unfortunately, if my grandmother, mother or aunt told me the real story of the quilt, I have forgotten it...but sometimes an imagined story will serve just fine. Time will tell if that is true in this case.

So, here we go...on a quilting journey.

Friday, March 11, 2011


That was the pink license plate I saw a couple of days ago. I like to try to figure out license plates' messages which we seem to have a lot of here in individual-rights dominated Arizona.

Can you figure it out? It means: "get your mammogram." So if you haven't done your age-appropriate mammo yet, here's a stranger's message to you to do it.

Some of the license plates I read confuse me, but most I figure out. Is there one that you have read recently that piqued your curiousity, interest or visceral response?

If you were to conjure up your own message you wanted everyone to read, what would yours be?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

side story

I haven't been successful in adding this story to my posted pages at my writing website, but you can find it through this link. It's short and it's about birds.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

another birthday

I turned 62 this week and my (elder) cousin's birthday card reminded me of how time is measured in memories: she recalled us "girl cousins" standing in our Grandparent Dice's field of mustard, counting the box cars on the Illinois railroad as it sped by. In future years, I would look out those fields and see lines of houses encrouching on cow pastures. The last time I returned to Randall Road in Elgin, the farm was buried under a bypass and a strip mall fenced in the red maples my father had planted in the farm's front yard. Ah...time.

Yesterday I went to a quilt show in Oro Valley and took photos which I will be posting on my blog. Most of the fifty or so quilts were new but several dated back 100 years or more. I came home and looked at the quilt I have from my grandmother, wondering about the story behind it. I fear it is lost with her passing, and the passing of my mother and her sister. Maybe I once asked for the story and I, too, have forgotten it. Maybe it's time for me to make up a story to make a new memory.

I have a life to celebrate this week and I humbly (and not very gracefully) accept my aging self. Annual medical exams are in progress and each morning I wake up I know is a gift. Besides yesterday's quilt show, Mark and I went to the opening of a King Tut (replicas of artifacts) exhibit in downtown Tucson. It was really fun and the traveling curator, a retired Broadway writer, was a hoot to listen to and watch. He was as much of the show as the exhibit itself.

Today's gift--besides the songbirds outside and sunshine warming this first Sunday in March--I am going to a local production of "Anything Goes" with two friends. It's fun to watch young amateurs give their all to song and dance and even though my tap shoes sit forlonly in my closet (I did return to tap for my 55nd year), I am not throwing them away because I may use them again yet!!

While I continue with physical therapy (and standing two hours for the exhibit last night tested and exceeded my comfortable limit), I might be able to dance next year at my nephew's Bar Mitzvah; at least, that is my goal.

Another goal is to help the Susan Komen Race for the Cure meet it's goal. Right now, they are only 6% there with the race the end of this month. I donated to the national and, today, to the local race in memory of a dear friend, Lynn Slagle, who died of breast cancer two years ago. The curator last night said that, for Egyptians, if you say a dead person's name aloud, that person still lives. So I write, and say Lynn's name aloud. She was a fantastic work colleague and a brave person who loved her San Pedro River where her ashes were scattered. I encourage anyone who reads my blog to contribute what they can to their local Race for the Cure so that no woman has to wait (as a friend of mine did last year) for Komen funds to be restored so that she can have a mammogram.

Life is short no matter how many birthdays we have and, in between, we can dance literally or metaphorically. Another tidbit along those lines is to check out the 2010 movie, Alice in Wonderland. I watched it Friday night and it was terrific: sweet, creative and in the spirit of Lewis Carroll.

Find something to smile about today and live.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I share my birthday

with the poet Robert Lowell who wrote (an excerpt from "Epilogue":

Pray for the grace of accuracy
Vermeer gave to the sun's illumination
stealing like the tide across a map
to his girl solid with yearning.
We are poor passing facts,
warned by that to give
each figure in the photograph
his living name.


I am wise enough to be humbled by his writing and to just share this excerpt with you, my readers.