Birthday’s At The Mansion

August 11th, 2017

Jon blowing out the candle and giving Jane a piece of birthday cake.

Every month at The Mansion, where Jon and Red and now Gus, do therapy work, they celebrate all the birthdays on one day.

Today they celebrated the August birthday’s and Jon was invited to be a part of it.  There was a big cake, balloons, gifts and live country music.

Jon blew out the candle on his piece of cake then gave it to Jane, since he doesn’t eat cake.

I helped Julie pass out drinks and cake, then sat down with Diane and Barb and ate my own piece.

It was all very sweet.




India Haunts Me

August 11th, 2017

Women selling greens at the Flower Market in Kolkata

I can still see her dry, dusty, cocoa colored skin.   Her skeletal arm reaching out to me, her small begging hands.  A little faded dress, long uncombed dark hair and big brown eyes that echoed the urgency in her voice.

Please miss please, she pleaded. I don’t remember if she actually asked for money, but it was clear what she wanted.

Nadine took my arm, pulling me along.  “Just keep walking”, she said.

We had stopped to get money from an ATM  on the way back to our hotel in Kolkata.

Despite her neglect, the little girl was pretty.  She was maybe six or seven years old.  Later I would think how sometimes it’s dangerous to be pretty.

She kept pace with us running along side me as we walked as fast as we could.

“You see that man”, Nadine said to me.  “She’ll never see any money, he’ll take it all.  If we give her money, they’ll never stop using kids this way.”

I understood what Nadine was telling me, but at that moment all I wanted to do was give the little girl some money.  I wanted to pick her up and take her home with me.

When I think of her now, I imagine doing just that.  I scoop her up off the dirty sidewalk.  She’s light in my arms her bones thin like a birds.  As I run with her pressed tightly against me, I feel my feet lift from the ground and in moments we’re flying above the buildings, floating in the clear blue sky to someplace safe.

When I think of her now, I stop myself from imagining what happened to her when she went back to the man without any money.

India haunts me. It lives under my skin and behind my eyes.

I never wish I didn’t go, but sometimes I wish I didn’t have to keep feeling some of the emotions it brings up in me.  A part of me would like to go back to experience it again.  Maybe, I think, I’d be more prepared for it this time.  But a part of me wants to run from it and leave it all behind.

I heard from Soma at House of Hearts yesterday.  We communicate by messaging on facebook.  I’m leaning to keep my messages short.  Soma speaks and writes English well, (other wise we wouldn’t be able to communicate at all)  but the language barrier is still sometimes difficult.  And the physical distance makes it impossible to connect to each other in a way I’m used to when working with someone.

But we keep trying.  I’ll have a new batch of potholders in September.

Selling the potholders that the women at House of Hearts make is one of the many good parts of the trip.  The reason I went to India in the first place.  I try to hold that in my mind and feel it in my body when I think of the little girl with the dry, skinny arms running along side of me.

It won’t make a difference for that little girl. And me buying and selling potholders from House of Hearts isn’t going to change the world.    But the idea of women making their own money and having control over their own lives may make a difference for the women who work for Soma.  And who knows what can eventually happen, years from now,  if that idea is successful and continues to grow.





Gus and Lulu

August 10th, 2017

Feeling A Quilt

August 10th, 2017


The beginnings of my new quilt.

I woke up this morning with an idea for a new quilt.  Jon asked me if it was something I dreamed. But it wasn’t from a dream, it was how I was feeling.

I came into my studio knowing what colors I wanted to work with.  Don’t think, I kept reminding myself, feel what the quilt looks like.


Now I’m back from my Belly Dancing class and in my studio again.

It’s 8:30 and getting dark already.  I like being in my studio this time of year and this time of night.  When it’s dark outside, but still warm.

The dark hugs my studio, filling the windows with night, turning them into reflections so I see inside my studio instead of outside it.

It’s a solitary, cozy feeling.

Just me and my work, figuring out what comes next.


I’m Not Hiding My Belly Anymore

August 9th, 2017

Me and my belly. Wearing my choli and belly dancing skirt.

I pulled on the denim shorts I wear as a bathing suit.  The waist of the shorts come up just under my belly button, holding my stomach in. I put on the loose top I swim in.  It hides my belly.

Then I look in the mirror and tuck the bottom part of my shirt under my breasts and pull down the waist of my shorts so my belly is hanging over it.

I stand like a dancer with attitude and smile at my reflection, at my body, my belly.

I look great, I think to myself.

And I wasn’t just saying it, like I had a million times before as an affirmation. I was feeling it.

I actually believed it.  I really thought I looked great.  Strong prominent belly, unafraid to show herself.

I took the five minute drive to the Battenkill river and went for a swim.

I’m not hiding my belly anymore.

The hiding is the worst part.  When I’m hiding, it feels like there really is something to be ashamed or scared of.  That there really is something wrong with me.

Now when I look down and see my dress pressed against my belly, I feel like I have power over myself, instead of feeling ugly.

I feel beautiful and powerful and sexy – but for me, not for someone else. It has so much to do with the way I’m holding myself, the lifted chest, shoulders down, no more hiding.  My attitude. This is me.

Baring my belly in Belly Dancing Class was a big part of this for me.

And it continues to be, because every time I dance in  class with other women, no matter how good or bad I do, I feel good about myself.  I’m not even sure why.   Maybe I’ll figure it out the more I do it.  I do believe it has something to do with sharing the experience.

Another  thing that happened, is that I took a challenge from my friends Mandy and Athena to send them a picture of my belly for one month.

The picture of me above is one of them. I’ve sent 14 pictures so far.

The first few were tough to take and send.  I hesitated hitting that little arrow on my phone.   But now I look forward to figuring out a good way to get a picture of my belly.  It’s a very personal and creative process.

I never imagined me posting a picture of myself with my stomach exposed on my blog.  But it came to the point where it was just the next thing to do.  The next step to take.  Part of healing and honesty.  Part of being real.

Hiding is like silence, when words need to be spoken, when truth needs to be told.  It steals our soul and slowly kills our self, growing shame and fear in its place.






More Little Window Potholders

August 8th, 2017

I haven’t finished the last batch yet, but am making more Little Window Potholders.  Some of these will be for the Open House in October.

I’m donating the  Beet and Carrot  to the Silent Auction for the Cambridge Valley Co-op.  I’ll be helping my friend  Kim McMillan set up the Auction in the new Brewery in town next week.

I’m looking forward to working with Kim again especially on something creative.

Happy 70th Birthday Jon

August 8th, 2017

I pulled on one of Jon’s old t-shirts and rolled up my pajama pants legs so they wouldn’t get wet.  I got the scissor from the kitchen drawer, tucked a flashlight under my arm and Fate followed me outside.

It was 1:30am, still a couple of hours before the moon would dip behind the hill.    My plan was to gather the flowers by the light of the full moon.  But I didn’t count on the clouds and rain.  Usually at this time in the morning, when the moon is anywhere near full, it lights up the yard and gardens.

My feet and ankles wet from the grass, I stepped lightly  trying to avoid the low thistle that grows by the Hydrangea.  Then I worked my way around  to the front of the house, cutting flowers from our gardens.

I thought it would be magical to gather flowers by moon light and present them to Jon in the morning for his birthday.  And even though the full moon didn’t light my way, I still knew she was there, behind the clouds spreading her glow.

Jon is a hard person to buy gifts for.  Whenever he wants something, he just buys it for himself.  But this year instead of thinking of a thing to buy him, I thought of what he loves to do and doesn’t always get to.

Jon loves the theater so  I found the play, Legend of Georgie McBride, that looks like fun, playing in Dorset Vermont.

But the play is the day after Jon’s birthday so I thought of how every year Jon says he wants to go to the Race Track in Saratoga and we rarely ever make it there.  When I suggested we go to the Track on his birthday, Jon’s face lit up.

But it turns out that track isn’t open on Tuesdays so now were going to both the play and  going to the Track tomorrow.

That still left Jon’s actual birthday without anything special going on.  And as much as Jon insisted he didn’t want the day to  be any different from any other work day, I wanted to mark it somehow.

That’s when I thought of the flowers.

Jon turns 70 today and I’m trying to figure out what that means. In some ways it’s just a number, but in others it a mark of time past and time to come.  More on one end than the other.

I’ve only known Jon a small portion of his life, but If I had to choose, from the stories he’s told me, this is the part of his life I’d want to know him.

So lucky me.  I get to spend a good part of my life with the man I love.   And because Jon’s a thinker, the older he gets the more he knows himself and what’s important in his life.  And he continually acts on it.   He has not slowed down since I met him, but he is more focused and thoughtful.

Jon turning 70 is a reason to celebrate his life right now.   And knowing that there’s more life behind him than ahead, inspires us to do the things we want to do together.  Every age has its complexities.

The thing is, I really like the man who Jon is at 70.

Jon and I slept a little later this morning than usual and I brought the flowers up to the bedroom before we got up.  We’re having a regular work day, but it’s a little sweeter then usual just knowing what a special day it really is.



Training Gus

August 7th, 2017

I’ve really been enjoying training Gus.  But then he’s a very smart and responsive puppy, so he makes it easy.

As soon as I stopped taking this video, a car came up the road.

The few cars on McMillan Road, where we walk,  go slow and it’s easy to hear them coming before we see them.

I called Gus to me and had him sit on the side of the road.  Jon called Red and Fate to him and had them do the same.  I put a leash on Gus just to be safe.

Once the car passed I unhooked the leash but still had Gus and Red and Fate stay till I released them.

Red and Fate are good at this and Gus is learning quickly.

“Goddess Pillow” Sold

August 7th, 2017

Goddess Pillow

When I thought about my Goddess piece  I made on Friday,  I could see it as a pillow.

So this morning, when I got into my studio, I looked for just the right fabric to use as a border around it.

The piece itself was a patchwork square that Heidi sent to me.  I saw the white spaces on it as an opportunity do some drawing.   So, drawing with black thread on my sewing machine then using permanent marker to fill in the rest, I transformed the patchwork square into my own creation.

This morning, when I sorted though my black fabric and found the velvet, I knew the  Goddesses deserved the richness of the velvet.   And once I sewed it on to the piece, I also knew that was all it needed.

My Goddess Pillow  is Sold.  it measures 17″ x 17″ and is $100 + $12 shipping.

If it speaks to you and you’d like it in your home, you can email me here at  I take checks and paypal.

Good Monday Morning From Bedlam Farm 8/7/17

August 7th, 2017