Blues, Pinks and Everything Else

March 19th, 2018

These are some patchwork pieces I’ve been working on for the past few days.  All the fabric comes from my scrap bin. Once again  I want to try and put all three of these into one quilt.   It didn’t work  the last time I tried this, but I want to try it again.

Good Monday Morning From Bedlam Farm 3/19/18

March 19th, 2018

I say in the video it’s a cold day for May.  Well it’s still March here on Bedlam Farm, not May as I said.  And It’s a cold day for March too.

Finding The Right Book

March 18th, 2018

Maggie sent me this little  bookshelf painting.  I recognized many, but not all the books on her shelf.

I’ve been going from book to book this weekend, trying to find one that is distracting enough to hold my attention.

I just finished reading Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi.

I got lost in the language of that book.  It was like a surreal adventure inside the mind of a refugee who makes her way, with her father,  from Iran to America then decides to retrace their journey in reverse,  deconstructing it as she goes.

There’s a bird on her shoulder and she drags around the suitcase she and her father made the grueling trip with.  Now it’s transformed into a miniature museum and an interactive piece of art.  Literature is her religion, and she often communicates in quotes.  It’s only when she started interacting with other people that I could see just how unusual and wounded Zebra really was.  There were times the book went on too long, but it never lost me.  And I was always pulled back into Zebra’s colorful, smart, sad and determined world, looking for hope.

On Friday, I picked through the books waiting to be read on the chest in the living room.  (Lucky me, because of Jon, I always have a choice of books waiting for me).  I started  The Bear And The Nightingale, by Katherine Arden, but it was too much of a fairy tale for my mood.

I leafed thought the latest New Yorker,  breezed through the short story by Gish Jen, but then it was over.    I loved the photos and small piece about the roses harvested for Chanel No.5 then skipped the middle section of the only other article that interested me.  It was about a plastic surgeon who specializes in feminizing the faces of Trans women.  I was captivated  until it started describing the surgery in detail.  I couldn’t’ stomach that, so I skipped to the happy ending and was grateful for it.

In between, I savored the small chapters of Elisabeth Nova Bailey’s “The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating.”

This morning I thought again about Jen’s story and that the short story format was what I needed.

So I picked up Jenny Zhang’s  Sour Heart.  Short Stories about the experiences of Chinese immigrant girls and their families coming to the United States.

I read the beginning of the first story  standing up in front of the wood stove.  I couldn’t stop, even to sit down.  It’s was perfect, gritty and real without an ounce of romance.  The  paragraph long sentences  made me think that the narrator has so much to say and she wants to make sure she gets it all in.

It feels good to know I have a book I want to get back to.  It’s always disorienting when I don’t have something to read.    Like there’s  something missing in my life.

Belly Dancing, “I Think I Can”

March 16th, 2018


My Belly Dancing Class. Don’t look for me dancing, I’m taking the picture.

“Instead of saying you’ll never be able to do it,” Jon said to me, “why don’t you say, I can do this.”

Yeah, I read “The Little Train who Could” but only later in life. “I think I can, I think I can“,  wasn’t part of my early neural system.  My little engine hummed  “Who do you think you are anyway? You can’t do that.”

So I go to Belly Dancing Class every week for the past six months and I think to myself,  I’m not a dancer, I can’t even clap to a beat, I’ll never be able to do this, but it’s kinda fun.

No pressure, no expectations.

On those few occasions when Julz tells me I’m doing something well or even just better than before, I think hmm, what do ya know?  As if I had nothing to do with it.

And yet, slowly, I’m seeing that there are some things I’m learning.  I first noticed it when, after a couple of months,  I found I knew enough to have questions.

And with some practice, I discovered that I actually was able to count out a beat and eventually even step to it, even using the right foot!

Now, I can even imagine being able to Zill someday. (Zills are the small cymbals you wear on your fingers and play while dancing)   I’m beginning to believe  it does become automatic, just as Kathleen told me.  (My fingers do two different things when I typing, so why can’t they do two different things when I’m Zilling?)

“Once you get it into your brain and body memory”, both Julz and Kathleen repeat again and again, “you won’t have to think about it anymore and you’ll just do it”.

So now I’m seeing I’m leaning something new each class.

Yesterday I realize that I’m very tight.

I always think of my body as being limber, but that’s different from being loose.  Your body has to be soft and loose to belly dance.

I’m moving my body In ways I never even imagined and discovering muscles I never knew existed.

I still often thing “I can’t do this”  But I’m trying to change that brain memory.   If I can learn to Zill I can learn to change “I can’t do this” to “I think I can.”

Now mark you Calendars:

On May 19th at 7pm  at the at the Mason Lodge in Bennington Vermont, Belly Dancers from all over the region will gather and dance to benefit  Meals on Wheels.  It’s only $10 and there’s food and raffles tool.

This happens every year and it’s the event that got me interested in Belly Dancing.  This year I’m going to  help design the stage set.  I’ve never designed a stage set before, but I think I can do it.

Here’s a promotion video from last years benefit…

Gus, Losing and Find Hope

March 15th, 2018

I wasn’t prepared for what Jon told me when he came home from the Vet the other day.

I thought Gus was doing okay.  Or as good as could be expected considering his Megaesophagus.  But our Vet Dr Farello told Jon  that with the amount of food Gus is eating, he should be gaining weight.  Since he’s not, it means that he’s not absorbing the food.

He’s always hungry.  We can’t feed him enough food.

He either spits it up, or it goes though him, not giving him the nourishment he needs.

We’re going to see Dr Farello tomorrow.

But we’ve already tried so many different medicines and foods, I’m not feeling hopeful.  And I know this feeling inside of me, of getting ready to face the truth about the disease that Gus has.  That it’s not curable.  That I never want my animals to suffer more than they have to, just to keep them alive.

Tomorrow we’ll see if Gus is holding his weight.  Hear what Dr Fariello has to say.

It’s happened again and again that I lose hope with Gus one day only to find it again the next.  This may be another of those times.

Socrates, The Amazing Snail, Wins My Heart Again

March 15th, 2018

I sat with Gus on my lap, holding him up after eating, watching as Socrates navigated being in a fish tank with our Goldfish Frida.  His shell twirled on his back like a beacon as he pulled his head in when she got too close.  Then, when all was clear,  he went back to eating the algae from the side of the tank.

Socrates Potholders

Socrates has gotten into my head.  These are the  Socrates Potholders I designed the other day.  I’ll be selling them in my Etsy Shop next week ( but if you see one you’d like, you can alway email me here at [email protected] and I’ll save it for you.  They’re $25 + $5 shipping) along with some other potholders I’m working on.

I still have some of my work for sale in my Etsy Shop.

There’s  packs of my Crocheted Gun and Baby Blanket Postcards, a few “Bag of Scraps” potholders, some Bedlam Farm Wool and Roving, and Show Your Soul Posters.

You can always get to my Etsy Shop by clicking on the big orange Etsy button at the top of my blog or you can click here.

(And, if you’re interested,  you can see more videos of Socrates by clicking on the YouTube button on the top of my blog or by clicking here. )

Hope From The Kids In My Small Upstate NY Town

March 14th, 2018


My Crocheted Gun and Baby Blanket Postcard. Photo by Jon Katz

Something different is happening.

Today the students in my small Upstate NY town participated in the School Walkout that is taking place all over the country.

Many of these kids grew up with guns, grew up hunting.  This is not a partisan issue for them.  It’s about being safe at school.

The Students of Cambridge Jr/Sr High School  organized a rally and wrote a letter to the community, in their words:   “…to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.”

These students are demanding something so basic from their government, something I wouldn’t think they had to ask for,  to be safe in their schools.

At the end of the letter they ask Congress to “pay attention“, because many of them will be able to vote in the November and Presidential elections.

Not only are Highschool students all over the country speaking out, but for a change,  they are being heard.

They also have  a lot of  support from the adults around them.  These are not the battles of the 1960’s where anyone over 30 was not to be trusted. What they are asking for is what the majority of people in America already want.

They are not alone.

It’s so easy to put down kids, say they are naive, don’t understand the realities of the way the world works.

But the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High and too many other children throughout the country, have more experience with guns and shootings than so many of the adults who are being dismissive of them.

That  coupled with their  inexperience, or fresh take on the things most of us have found hopeless,  their passion and determination, is just what’s needed to bring about change.

Reading the letter written by the students at Cambridge High gives me hope.   And not just about the issue of gun control but about the kind of people who will one day have power in our country.

You can read the whole letter written by the Students at Cambridge Jr/Sr High here. 

Thirty Second, Snow On Pine Tree, Meditation

March 14th, 2018

Bag of Scraps Quilt

March 14th, 2018

My quilts always look so different on a bed then they do on the floor or wall in my studio.

I put my Bag of Scraps quilt  on the bed in the guest room to see what it would look like, and give it a last going over with the lint brush, before  putting it in the mail to its new owner.

Here’s a picture of the back…

Making “Socrates,The Snail” Potholders

March 13th, 2018