Belly Dancing In The Post Office

April 15th, 2018

I handed Martha, at the Post Office, a copy of the flyer for the Belly Dancing Concert.  I’ve been hanging them around town, to get the word out.

Martha looked at the poster saying she’d love to go, but she has a family gathering that day.

Then she reminded me that she took  bellydancing lessons for years.  “I can still do a figure eight”, she said.

I asked her if she would show me.

Martha stepped back from the counter, adjusted her shirt and went into a smooth, effortless taxeem. She moved her hips slowly  in a beautiful  figure eight.  Then she said “And then you add a little bump”, and seamlessly  shook her hips twice on each side before moving from one to the other.

My eyes grew wide and a smile spread over my face as I watched her.

She started lessons when she was eight years old, but Martha hasn’t belly danced in years.

Yet her body remembers.

My body had never  before moved in the way it’s learning to in my bellydancing class.  My taxeem’s are stiff and clunky.  My figure eight has edges and corners.

It’s a matter of practice.  Muscle memory.  Maybe even cellular memory.  A matter or waking that memory up.

“Women would do this after giving birth”, Martha said.  “To strengthen their stomach.”  I read they did it before giving birth, the ease the pain and aid in the birth.

For what ever reason, Belly Dancing seems to be something women are drawn to do.

It reminds me of when I had Chloe, my pony, and was taking horseback riding lesson.  There’s something in us that drawn to certain things.

Even if those things seem to have little use in today’s society.  Somehow our bodies  innately know and crave them,  even if we’re never done them before and they don’t come easy.

Snail Eggs!

April 15th, 2018

Nerite snail eggs

See those little white oval spots on the stem and leaf of the plant?

Those are snail eggs. Nerite Zebra snail eggs.

I’ve never seen a snail egg before, but when I saw those white spots on the plant this morning, I had feeling….

Most snails lay their eggs in clusters that either float on the top of the water or attach to the side of the tank.

This morning after seeing those white spots I learned something about our snails….

I’ve been calling our Nerite Snails by the wrong name.  I thought they were an Apple Snail and a BumbleBee Snail.  But both the smaller snails in our tank are Nerite Zebra Snails.

They lay their hard eggs on plants and wood.

But we’re not going to have a tank full of snails, because they only hatch in salt water.  We have a fresh water tank.  The snails can live in fresh water and lay eggs, but the eggs are waiting for the right conditions to hatch.

We could move the eggs to a tank with salt water and start hatching them, but I’m not sure we want to do that.

Although I’m thinking about baby snails, they gotta be kinda cute.

Tacking My Gus Quilt

April 13th, 2018

I made the backing for my Gus quilt.  I have it all sewn together, now I just have to tack it.  It is already sold.

The Back of my Gus Quilt

Spring Morning on Bedlam Farm

April 13th, 2018

Flo and Minnie, Enjoying the Spring Weather

April 12th, 2018

Vintage Hankie Potholders

April 12th, 2018

One thing leads to another.

When I was making the Vintage Hankie Scarves, last week,  I found a few hankies that had some interesting images on them, but were too small to use in a scarf.  Some of them had stains on them too, so I decided to cut them apart and make them into potholders.

These four white cats came from one hankie…

I made these potholders from three different hankies.

I’ll be sewing them all together  next week and putting them up for sale, with a few other potholders I made today, in my Etsy Shop.

(You can visit my Etsy Shop at any time by clicking here or on the Etsy Icon on the top of my blog.)

A couple of the potholders are already sold, ( The Brownie and Cat on Top and bottom left) but if you see one you like you can email me here at [email protected].

Playing The Drums at RISSE

April 11th, 2018

I went to RISSE, the refugee and immigrant center in Albany, with Jon this afternoon.

I haven’t been there in a while and couldn’t believe how different the class rooms were.  The last time I was there, there were just long tables and with chairs around them and bare walls.   The kids sat quietly doing homework or drawing.

Today I walked into a whole new environment.

Posters, world maps, white boards and painting, done by the kids, hung on the walls.  I followed the sound of drums to a music room where three kids were making music.  Three girls were sitting on the new chairs in the library stringing beads and there was another room were older students were painting.

I met one teacher, Ms. Emma, an intern from Boston.  She had a lot to do with creating  the Amazon Wish List where all the supplies, rugs, chairs and lamps came from.

I know so many of you reading this are part of the Army of Good who helped buy  many of these things.   I hope you can see how much it means to the kids at RISSE when you see the looks on the faces of the kids playing the drums in the video.

(There’s only a few thing left on the RISSE Wish List, but they’re constantly updating it with more things they need for the kids and their families.  You can see it here. )

 

 

Gus’s Quilt and The Chickadee

April 11th, 2018

Gus Quilt

I was in my studio, on the phone with my friend Jackie, when I heard the unmistakable thud of a bird hitting my window.

Outside I found a small chickadee on the ground.

His tiny feet were clutching an even tinier root popping up from the earth.  I broke the root and cupped the bird in my hands.  He was stunned, eyes closed, breathing heavy, his little beak rapidly opening and closing, but otherwise I couldn’t see any damage.

I’ve never had luck with rescuing birds, ever since I was a kid, everyone that I ever brought home died.  Now I tend to leave them to nature when I find them.

But my friend Jackie, knows about rescuing wildlife.  Last year she saved an owl that flew into her car. I rarely talk on the phone, mostly I text my friends, but I thought it lucky that Jackie was there to tell me what was best to do for the bird.

After a few minutes, the chickadee opened his eyes and I got him to perch on my finger (I do know it’s a good sign when a bird can perch). Jackie said to keep him warm and contained.  This way, if he does recover he won’t hurt himself when he tries to fly.  And if he dies, at least he was warm and safe when he did.

I got him to perch on a branch in a dog crate and left him alone.

 

I had gotten to my studio early that morning.  And as soon as I looked at the patchwork of fabric on my floor I knew it was time to make my Gus Quilt.

I made the three patchwork pieces from the scraps in my scarp box a few days  before and after Gus died.  It was a  creative act that kept me focused without having to think. It occupied my mind and kept my hands busy.

The Gus patchwork piece

Sometime between finishing the third piece and yesterday I had looked at it on my floor and above it I saw Gus.  I knew it held his energy.  The joy and the sadness of his life reflected in the colors.   A life time of emotions.

I had seen Gus above the Patchwork, but I didn’t know how it would manifest.  Then, last week,  I found the piece of fabric someone had sent me with the patten of Boston Terrier heads on it.  I had forgotten about the fabric, because for some reason, I never brought it to my studio.

Jon has written a lot about Gus since he’s died.  It’s one of the ways he processes his feelings.

I’m not sure exactly how it works with me.  I have no urge to write about him or look at pictures of him or talk about him, except to Jon.   I feel like whatever is happening in processing my feelings about Gus is going on inside of me and I keep it there.

Until yesterday morning, when it wanted to come out.

And it did, in the form of the quilt.

I knew it would have a black and white theme, like Gus himself.  With big splashes of color, bold and alive.  The few subtleties soften and add a touch of the unknown to the straight lines and hard edges.  I’ve had that pink dragonfly fabric forever. This is what I was saving it for. As soon as I pulled it off my self, I was reminded  of Gus’ sense of freedom and fun.  It made me smile.

I worked on the quilt all day, and just put the finishing pieces on it this morning.

When I did, I thought of the chickadee.  How, when  it started flying around the dog crate yesterday, I reached my hand through the door and he hopped on my finger.  Outside, I held up my arm and he flew off my finger into the high branches of the giant maple in the back yard.

It wasn’t until the chickadee flew away,  that I thought about  Gus and the quilt.   How the chickadee came to me when I was working on the quilt,  how, unlike Gus,  I got to nurse it back to health and watch it fly off to live its life.

I felt as if Gus had come back, or the chickadee came as a message from him.  A message from the Universe affirming the continuity of life, no matter what form it may take.

Like Gus, the Chickadee was not yet full grown.  And he had the black, white and gray coloring of my quilt.

My Three Snails

April 10th, 2018

You can see Socrates II in the background on the wall of the glass tank.  He’s been pretty quiet this morning.

But my BumbleBee Snail, Emily (named after Emily Dickenson because when we first got her she was very reclusive) is very busy eating algae off the glass.

Snails have a tongue, called a radula, that has thousands of teeth on it.  They use the teeth to scrape off the algae from whatever surface it grows on.

Emily was pretty hungry this morning.

The last snail in the video is an Apple Snail. Her name is Stormy.

I don’t actually know what sex they are. I’ve read that snails are hermaphrodites, but I’ve also read that not all of them are, so I figure, I get to choose.

Stormy started to make her way under the leaf she spent the first part of the morning on.

I still find it amazing to watch  how they work their way around the fine edge of a leaf, which is so much more delicate than the snails are, with the leaf hardly moving.

I’ve read that is  because the slime that propels the snail. The slime is between the snail and whatever it climbs on. It protects the snail  and is what allows the snail to move around so smoothly.

Recovering…

April 10th, 2018

I didn’t get to my studio yesterday, I still wasn’t feeling good enough to work.  But I did finish up a couple of postcard drawings, start a new one, sort some fabric and get in a lot of reading.

I’m reading The Women’s Room By Marilyn French.  It’ one of those now classic feminist novels that I only recently heard about and got from a Little Free Library in Vermont.

Reading it at this point in my life makes me wish I had read it when I was younger, but it may not have registered in the same way as it does now.  I see myself in so many of the characters, in their behavior towards men and sex and the expectation they have for their lives.

The book, which was written in 1977 and takes place from the 1950’s through the late 60’s (as far as I can see at this point, I’m not done reading it yet) is like a history of my personal story.  In it I see my mother’s generation of women and my own.  It helps me understand some of the choices I’ve made in my life and why I made them.  Many choices that were anathema to what I thought I believed.

Jon just bought me Meg Wolitzer’s new book, The Female Persuasion.  It’s touted as the latest contemporary Feminist Novel.  I think I will be the perfect book for me to read next.  

I just started this postcard. The elephant comes from a wooden sculpture that my friend Mandy brought back from India for me.