Thursday, January 22, 2009

January 20, 2009

What follows is my response to the Presidential Inauguration on Tuesday. I was so moved by what I saw and heard I just had to write it down, so, for your perusal here is my poem to our democracy and liberty.

Inauguration of Hope

Did you watch?
Were you there?
Did you feel the celebratory air?

We gathered today to listen
To be inspired and filled with hope
and were not disappointed.

In the cold clear light of noon
A new corner is turned.
We will follow with hopes held high
a million flags waving in the crisp air.

We will move forward,
not worrying
about How,
but saying
Let's do it now

A new leader is before us,
Gathering all our hopes and dreams
into his intention to live true democracy.

But not forgetting that to live our dream
We must contribute all we have,
Pledge to the good of all.

Let us stand tall,
hearing the voices
of past, present and future
and walk forward in expectation,

work to raise this nation
in the sturdy pursuit of peace
within and without our borders,

To inspire those around us
to give
a little bit more for others,
and take
a little less for ourselves.

For, it has always been

and thus will always be

Love each other as we love ourselves,
Being kind to friend, stranger and family.

Our strength lies in our ability to say
I was wrong,
there is a better way.

Take my hand and walk with me
To a better tomorrow
not forgetting all those things

that have gone before,
the hurts,
and the wars,

Draw deep from ourselves,

find a depth we did not know was there.

Let us celebrate and dance
the dance of liberty,

Joyful in the change that has been promised,

to this great nation.

And, I will say yes, yes, yes!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How to Avoid Getting Dressed

I know this is a funny title but think about it, don't you put off doing somethings because you have more engaging things to do? Like, for example, reading others' blogs and then being so sparked by what you've read that you just have to put it into words. I think that reading other's blogs does alot for me. It kindles memories of similar things in my life. For this I am very grateful as there are some interesting things about living that we all share in common.

I have been encouraged by friends to show some of my quilts here so I will be putting something together over the next week or so for you enjoyment (I hope). Having just retired I am finding myself again and reconnecting with those things that make me go and feel alive. Quilting is one of them and I think blogging has taken its place there as well.

Let's see, I have been quilting for about 15 years. That seems like a lot of years but it only feels like yesterday to me. The biggest change over those years has been the fabric. It has moved away from calicos to much more vibrant and exuberant colors and patterns. I like this as I've been drawn to that palette from the beginning. I remember seeing the first art quilt and I knew, I knew beyond anything else, that this was a place I wanted to go. I was drawn to fabrics by designers like Nancy Crow, quilt designers like Rachel Kinsey Clark. I took one of her classes and was so jazzed by it I could hardly calm down. I was sizzling inside by what she taught and the joy of putting fabrics together.

Like most quilters, I have spent much time building "Stash". Its the medium we work in and you just never know when you might need that wonderful, outrageous piece you found in Iowa while on a trip and don't forget that while some people collect memories by buying trinkets, quilters buy fabric. It actually doesn't take up near the space that some of those "trinkets" do and it always has a utilitarian aspect that shouldn't be forgotten.

Then there are those fabrics that we collect as pets. We take them out, stroke them, unfold them, crinkle, fondle and ponder what we will do with them. I had a number of them which, when we moved, found their way to my daughter's mom group. Lovely women with not so much money, but wonderful children and creativity that needed feeding. So Corinne (daughter) came over and together we went through my stash and I succeeded in parting with 6 storage cases of fiber. They were all delighted and so was I. I think my husband Dave was also relieved to have a few less boxes of fabric to move. I felt good because I was doing something for others that they really enjoyed as well.

So, fast forward to our new house, 267 miles away from anything familiar, all our friends and family left behind, and no one we knew waiting for us. Since Dave isn't nearly as social as I am I had a lot of adjusting to do. I love people, their vitality, their friendship and just chatting with them, always looking for that common thread. You know, even 267 miles from anything familiar I found common threads. But I think one of the biggest blessings of all is finding a group of women who share quilting in common, aging and a general delight in life.

I am going to add a photo at this point of the quilt I started fall, 2007, right after we moved here and finished this fall 2008. It's hanging in the spot I had in mind for it and does what I hoped it would, which is hang there and look beautiful, IMHO.

All the leaves that are on the body of the quilt are fused there, each one was buttonhole stitched by hand and then the whole quilt was machine quilted with echo quilting. I loved picking out all the fabrics, and I think I bought all new fabric for this one as it was my first quilt in the new home. It took much longer to finish than planned but that's another whole story for another time. It is interesting to me how much it made our house feel more like home.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Forest Sentinels

Tuesday we decided to take a drive to the coast. I've often wondered why Oregonians call it the coast and Californians call it the beach. To me it does evoke two different images, one with warm sandy beaches and one rocky with very cold water.

On the way home we took a side road in the Jedidiah Smith Redwood park. This road was little more than hardened dirt and gravel but very passable in most places. It was obvious however that the shoulders were still very soft and there were quite a few rutted areas.
One of the delights about having a Volkswagen convertible is that it is easy to put the top up and down. Also, having heated seats and a warm coat and hat helps too. Coming out of the forest with the top down was this scene of the trees that I really hoped to capture. The light was wonderful and colors so rich. It was amazing. So many of the tress began as several trees whose trunks then merged into one huge trunk. Lots of conversation about these giants. There really aren't enough words to describe how humbling and beautiful they are. We forgot the camera so this was taken with my iPhone. It takes very nice pictures but it was somewhat dark so the details are great but you get the idea.

Hopscotch was with us and she was not too crazy about riding in the small backseat. I could feel her stress which made me uncomfortable. I think Dave realizes that long trips - day trips in the backseat for her are not a very good idea. She was a trooper and we had her out often during the day. We also discovered that our 50/60 plus bodies don't accommodate 10 hours in the car very well.

We left early in the morning and got home just before dark. It was, to say the least, a long day for all of us. We were pretty tired when we got home.
There was heavy fog driving from Gold Hill over Hwy 234 to Eagle Point. It was hard to see and we were really happy to see our little casa. One of my quilting friends had just hit an elk about a week ago on the same road, but not with fog. It really did a number on her car but she and her passenger were ok. I was very grateful not to see any of our critters in my headlights too.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Life Very Ordinary

There is nothing more satisfying to me than finishing reading a really good book, a good meal, and any significant piece of communication. I love reading a book that you might call "Slice of Life" in style. I am so grateful to friends who know me well enough to send me these literary morsels. They are gifts in many ways. I've decided I need to keep track of all the books I read and perhaps go back and pickup a few from the past.

It seems to me that an ordinary life is what I have been called to live. I've had my ups and downs but all in all I have loved it all, good and bad, scary, exhilarating and boring. But I find that it is the life I'm drawn to and live. Everyone longs to feel more, to considered really good at something, known for something. I'm happy just going along. I like sharing insights to things with my friends and anyone who wants to listen. If you don't want to listen then you can click off. How about that....just a click away and someone else's life will be there for you to consume.

Many people are lining up to record their resolutions for the new year. I resolve to keep track of what I read; to love my friends and family honestly and deeply and to think about what I say and write. It is so easy to get caught up in rushing here and there that the intention of living is lost in the quest of an illusive idea with no structure.

So for now this is all I will say and I will try to get better at organizing my thoughts and communicating them to whomever wants to listen.
Happy New Year