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My Second Belly Dancing Class

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

I remember hearing a story about a writer who woke up one morning and found that his morning newspaper and all the books on his shelves were written in a foreign language.  In an alphabet he had never seen before.

What actually happened is that while he was sleeping,  he had a stroke and he could no longer read.

It took him nine years, but he eventually “taught” himself to read again by sounding out each letter by using his tongue to touch his teeth in a certain way that helped him be able to remember the letter and spell words.

It was one of those remarkable stories that often comes back to me.  First the mystery of the strange alphabet, then the creativity, determination and patience it took for him to be able to read and write again.

Tonight I have my second Belly Dancing class.  I’ve been practicing during the week, trying to move my hands and arms and hips all at the same time, all in rhythm with each other.

I’m not close to making that happen.

But I do think I have the hand movement down.

As long as I’m only moving one hand at a time.

And very slowly.  I can move one hand in conjunction with the movement of my hips, while my other hand stay frozen in the air.   I can’t even remember how I’m supposed to move my arms so I haven’t practiced that.

I’ve also been consciously loving my belly and trying to stand and walk with a dancers attitude  (when I remember).

And I’m trying to work up the courage to wear  the choli that Kitty gave me. (That’s the little bra-like top.)  It would be like I’d be wearing a bikini top with short sleeves and a skirt with my bare belly for all the world (or the class anyway) to see.

And if I do that,  maybe I’ll wear one of the hip scarves Kitty gave me.  (The one without the coins, I don’t want to have to be thinking about the sound my hips are making yet.  I’ll have enough to think about.)  Mostly because it looks really pretty on the skirt and gives me a boost of confidence.

So I was thinking about that writer this morning.  About his determination and patience and creativity.  And how they can be applied to my Belly Dancing.

What if I told myself I have as long as it takes to learn these dance moves.  That as long as I’m still enjoying it and getting something out of it, I’ll keep at it.

I can actually  imagine, after nine years of practice and work, my being able to move  my hips, legs, hands and arms  in a certain way, all at the same time.   And  that idea is strangely encouraging to me.

Studio Dogs

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Fate and Gus (can you find him on the pile of fabric on the left) hanging out in my studio.

Working on “Safe in the Woods”

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

I haven’t worked on my quilt Safe in the Woods because I was waiting for a new roll of batting to be delivered.

I got it yesterday.

So today I started  putting the quilt together.  I chose a gold and white stripped piece of fabric for the back.  It’s actually a sheet that someone recently sent me.

But I didn’t feel right about it.  It wasn’t that the color  didn’t worked with the quilt, it did, but still, it  didn’t feel right.

Earlier in the morning I went to one of the thrift stores in town to see if I might find something there.  When I didn’t I was resolved to the gold and white sheet.

Even as I ironed it, I was looking on my shelves to see if I missed something else I could use.  Then I started to pick up and put away the fabric that was on my floor.  It was a new batch that someone had recently sent me (the gold sheet was a part of it), it had belonged to her mother.  I  had looked at and washed all the fabric, but I wasn’t really familiar with it.  And as  I started to put it away, I found the right piece of fabric for the back of “Safe in the Woods”.

It wasn’t the deep green that I envisioned, but it had a richness  and warmth to it that worked.  And the fabric has a comforting weight to it.

I didn’t have quite enough, so I added the patterned piece of brown, which was exactly the right size.

Now I’ll start tacking it with a deep green wool.

“Safe in the Woods” is sold.

Morning at Bedlam Farm, Gus in the Pasture

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

“Okay” I said to Jon, “but I can’t look.”

I  trust Jon and I think it’s true when he says that Gus should be off the leash in the barnyard and pasture.   That he needs to figure out how to navigate that part of his world.

But as he wrote on his blog yesterday, I have a hard time with it.

I get nervous seeing him around the big animals.  The last thing I want is for him to sense that nervousness in me.  And he will if I’m constantly picking him up or bending down to try and “protect” him.

This is just something I’m not good at.  But Jon is, so I’ve handed it over to him.

This is where  trust comes in.  If I didn’t trust Jon, this could be an issue between us.  But I believe he’s right about it.  Jon’s  good at knowing the difference between when Gus is really in danger or not.

And Gus needs to learn that too.

In many ways, Jon’s better at reading animals than I am.  In situations like this, my fear and protective instincts take over, often blinding me from what’s really going on.

There’s  a difference between Fanny putting her head down to smell Gus and putting her head down to chase him out of the pasture.   When I’m nervous, I’m not always good at distinguishing between the two.

In a way it’s like teaching your kid how to drive, some people are good at it and some people aren’t.  So you want the parent who doesn’t rattle easily doing it.

Today I could see that Gus was figuring it out and the other animals are getting used to him.

I watched the donkeys treat Gus like any of the other animals.  They basically showed little interest.  Which is a good thing.  And I saw how Gus hugs the barn wall or stays close to me or Jon.  How he keeps away from the sheep and won’t go in the pole barn.

These are all signs that he’s learning to do just what Jon says he needs to do.

Sometimes, training a dog, is  about stepping back and getting out of the way.


This Year’s Three Sister’s Garden

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

We’ve had so much rain this year, my Three Sister’s Garden is thriving.

I put Ed Gulley’s Turtle Sculpture in the garden where some of the vegetable didn’t grow.   I was thinking of the Native American story of the how the earth was created on turtles back.

Some of the corn is taller than others and some didn’t come up at all.

There are only a few bean plants but the squash is doing well this year.  Last year was a bad one for squash, but  I can already see a few small squash on the stems.   And the three sunflowers that reseeded themselves are getting big too.

A Sweater Made From Bedlam Farm Wool

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

Baby sweater made from Bedlam Farm wool

On Sunday Jon and I took the wool to Deb at the Vermont Fiber Mill.  This time we took Gus with us, he slept all the way there and all the way back.

Like last year, I mixed the Border Leicester and Cheviot wool with the Romney wool.

I tried to match the colors mixing Suzy with Griselle’s, Liam with Rosemary’s, Socks with Biddy, and Pumpkins with Izzy’s.  I also I did something different in mixing Zelda’s Cheviot wool with Kim’s Karakul wool together.   I’ll get those in roving bumps and the rest in yarn.

The baby sweater in the picture above was made with Bedlam Farm wool.   The woman who made it for her grandchild, said the wool was a pleasure to work with.  I find the sweater just beautiful.

I’ll be getting the wool back from the mill in October.  Hopefully in time for the Bedlam Farm Open House.   But I’ll be selling it here on my blog too.

The wool packed in the car to take to the mill.

Sleeping Gus

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

Gus sleeps a lot.  Much more than Fate did when she was a puppy (Fate never slept during the day).

Gus plays hard then… just like that….a moment later he’s fast asleep.

He has his favorite spots.  One of them is under Jon’s desk, another between the couch and chair in the living room.  He sleeps under the bed in my upstairs office/guest room.

And then sometimes he surprises us.  Like this evening when I found him sleeping on our shoes.  He’s done this once or twice before.  I imagine he finds comfort in the smells (on the inside and outside of the shoes).

I’m realizing “Sleeping Gus” photos are becoming a theme on my blog.   He’s a creative sleeper.

Jon and Gus. Two Cuties….

Monday, July 17th, 2017

A Place of Belonging

Monday, July 17th, 2017

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”   Anais Nin

I got so much response to the piece I wrote yesterday about Belly Dancing and my feelings about my stomach, I want to thank everyone for writing to me.

Although different, so many of your stories echoed my own.   There was so much understanding and encouragement.

I knew I wasn’t alone in this, but reading about other people’s experiences brings it closer, forming a connection, like an invisible thread reaching between us.

I felt so good yesterday after hitting the publish button on my blog.  I didn’t realize how much this was  weighing on me.  But it has been for most of my life.   It was as if I had finally come to the moment of truth and there was no turning back.

Telling our stories and listening to each other’s stories is so important.  And I’m grateful to have my blog as a way of doing both.  I’ve never had any interest in writing in a journal.  I think because, for me, writing, like my art, is about making connections. It’s about not feeling so alone in the world.  Maybe even finding a place of belonging.

I can see that my blog has become a safe place for me.  A place where I can speak my truth even when it’s difficult or painful.   It’s a place of sharing and connecting.  And we couldn’t do any of that without each other.   So, thank you all, for making it possible.






Making “Gus” Potholders

Monday, July 17th, 2017

Some of my first drawings of Gus

It was Gus’ nose that made me what to draw him.  That little black nose, the curves so tiny and perfect.

That’s where I began. I doodled  little line drawings of his nose while talking on the phone, waiting for something to come up on my computer.  I drew that little nose in the “in between moments”.

Then I started adding the rest of him.  This has been going on since we first got him a few weeks ago.

I’ve been studying his face and today I decided to try to come up with a line drawing I could make into a potholder.

So I did some drawings…

Then I took a photo of Gus looking at me and did some more drawings….

…until I thought I had it down with the marker on paper.  Then I tried it on my sewing machine.

I experimented with the thickness of the line. Darker around the eyes. Just one thin line for the chin, inner ears and top of the nose.

I liked the way the practice pieces came out so much I  cut them apart and will make them into potholders.

I’ll probably make around 20 of these.  I stitch each one individually, so they’re all slightly different.  They’re $25 each + $5 shipping.  I’ll  have them all done sometime next week.  If you’re interested in one you can email me here at  Just let me know if you’d like to send a check or I can email you a paypal invoice.