Jon and I are still sleeping in the living room. Him in a big stuffed chair, me on the couch. We talk about how nice it will be to be in bed together again.
Soon we say.
With all the difficult things that have happened in the past few weeks, there are also some very beautiful things too.
The whole experience of believing that Jon may have been dead and how I handled the situation has helped me to see myself in a different light. It has also made me clearly aware of who my true family really is.
I will write about it more at some point.
But for now, I will say that I am acutely aware of how it took both shadow and light to expose to me the truth and beauty of my life.
The sun was shining at Suzy’s house, but it was a gray rainy day here on the farm.
The sunshine came when Suzy sent me a photo of her latest Shawl. I named it September Sun (with Suzy’s blessing) because, with all that yummy yellow, it brought brightness and warmth to my day.
Before I write about it more, I want to show you the video Suzy sent me of her hand spinning her yarn. In it, her corgi Finn makes an appearance. He’s spinning too, the way a dog might….
Selling Suzy Fatzinger’s Shawls has become a tradition on my blog this time of year.
She creates them all winter, spring, and summer, first hand spinning the mohair from her goats into yarn (as you can see in the video), then hand knitting them.
Each is a unique combination of color and pattern. Each one, a wearable piece of art.
I love how one end of September Sun is yellow and the other gray. I’m also taken with the white locks spun into the yellow yarn. It’s just the kind of thing that makes Suzy’s shawls even more special.
Suzy washes her shawls in a natural solution which makes them even softer than the natural mohair already is.
September Sun is 23″x 75″ long. It is $175 + $15 shipping. You can buy it in my Etsy Shop, just click here. Or you can email me at [email protected] I take checks, PayPal, and Venmo.
Most of the yarn Suzy spins comes from her goats, April, Alice, Lucy, and Ruth. She also gets some of the roving that she spins into yarn from other fiber artists that she’s been working with for years.
Below is a photo of Suzy’s goats in their full mohair coats.
We had that shed built for the sheep when we first moved to the farm. But they rarely use it. Sometimes the donkeys like to stomp around in it. I hear them since the shed is just outside my studio window.
Today they spent some time in the shed getting out of the rain.
Saturday morning I woke up thinking about my Raven Quilt. I had done some work on it and at that moment I knew it wasn’t right.
So Saturday afternoon I went to my studio and took apart what I had done the day before. Then I laid out some fabric that felt good to me. It all came about quickly, but I didn’t have time to sew it all together.
On Sunday I woke again thinking about my quilt.
This time I saw one of the mushrooms I had made when working on my Raven fabric painting. It didn’t make it into that piece, but I knew it would be perfect for my quilt.
I only got to my studio after lunch because I was busy mailing out my Flour Sack Potholders in the morning. But when I got there, I didn’t have to think about what to do next, the fabric was already laid out on my floor.
Next, it was time for the standing Raven and the mushroom. They needed to be grounded on the bottom of this section of the quilt.
I wanted to keep working, but it was time to feed the animals, and I knew I wouldn’t get back to my studio. So I stayed just long enough to lay out the next step….
Jon and I had to turn around and go back home. I’d forgotten my earrings.
But a little while later, as we walked up the stairs at The Mansion, Julz, my Bellydancing teacher, opened the front door.
“I always show up early to case the joint before everyone else gets here, that’s DJ Julz’s job,” she told me later.
I wanted to get there early to make sure the space was set up for us to dance and to rally people in case the audience was spare.
But Janine, Sunday’s activity director, had pushed the couches and chairs to one side of the room and left a huge space for us to dance. That polished wooden floor was the best stage I’d ever danced on.
And the couches were already filled up with an enthusiastic audience.
I was especially glad to see Jenn there. After learning that she was in the Boston Ballet, I wanted her to see us. She was supposed to go to church with her sister, but she told me she decided she wanted to see us dance instead.
More than once I looked at her smiling as we danced and it made me smile back.
I went up to each person and made sure they recognized me. Many were from my art classes and weren’t used to seeing me wearing makeup or dressed as a Belly Dancer.
Emily, Trish, and Callie showed up soon after and we began the performance with “Gratitude”, the movements we begin each class and performance with.
We danced two songs (you can see us dancing here) after that, we took a break and Julz explained how our dance isn’t choreographed, but improvised with certain moves that we string together. She explained how different people take the lead and we all follow.
We danced to two more songs after that. Then Julz taught everyone in the audience how to do floreos with their hands and explained what a Zaghareet was (an expression of joy and support). Later Peggy, who lives at The Mansion, asked how to do a Zarghareet and Julz demonstrated.
Jon was there taking videos. You can see the video of us dancing, watch the audience doing floreos and hear Julz zaghareet here.
After the performance, Emily said she had never seen me so relaxed while dancing. “It was like you were dancing in your own living room,” she told me.
I wasn’t surprised at that, I feel so comfortable at The Mansion, and with the people there. I could plop down on the couch in the great room or on one of the rockers on the porch and start a conversation with the person next to me as if I belonged there as much as they did.
It was only when I got home that I realized how much dancing at The Mansion with my sister Bellydancers meant to me. I didn’t know how much I wanted these two important parts of my life to come together.
I wanted them to meet each other. And I wanted the people who I have come to know so well who live at the Mansion to see this part of me.
As I let go of the family I grew up in, I’m finding my new family in people and places I hadn’t expected. As if they were there all along. It may not have the stability of family as we traditionally know it, it’s more like a rotating family. But it works at the moment, and I’m beginning to trust, one way or another, it always will.
After the show, Julz told Paryese, who set the whole thing up, that we’d love to come back in the dark days of winter and dance again.
This was the first time Jon had been back to The Mansion since his stay in the hospital. When Julz found out she said it was a great way for him to come back.
She was right.
There was a sweetness to the morning that filled my heart and made me feel a little softer. I can still conjure that feeling up. It’s like when I have a really good dream that I want to hold on to, but I know the feeling will eventually fade.
But unlike a dream, I do have the videos to watch whenever I want to.
Jon took two videos of us dancing today. I can’t post them on my blog, but you can see them on Jon’s YouTube. Just click here and here.
A little over a week ago, when Zip first came to the farm, it was so hot. So hot I was glad he was in the barn where it was cooler than outside.
On Friday if was as if Fall had come overnight. So I put one of the cat beds that Minnie and Flo used to sleep in, in Zips crate. At first he wouldn’t go near it. But the next morning he was snuggled down in that bed as if it was always his.
“This could do it,” I said to Jon, “that bed could be the thing that makes Zip never want to leave.” We thought of Zip spending the first year of his life trying to find a soft warm place to sleep outside. The bed must feel like a little miracle.
Squeezed into a sliver of a crack between a slate and cement on the back porch a seed from the hanging petunias dropped grew this flower. Sometimes when it droops I water it. But mostly it does fine on its own.
For me, this petunia is a symbol of possibility during the most hopeless times. It is the unexpected at its best.
My first thought when I saw Suzy’s new shawl was elegant and earthy.
Then marigolds came to mind. Especially this time of year when the other flowers are starting to fade, the marigolds, just get richer, and deeper. Their opaque petals seem strengthened by cool air.
It’s hard to look at Suzy’s photo, and not imagine sitting on one of the yellow rockers wrapped in her shawl. In my mind, I have a cup of tea and am watching the birds.
We do this every fall, Suzy Fatzinger and I.
She sends me photos of the shawls she made all year long and I put them up on my blog looking for the right person to buy them. And it works. There is always a person that belongs to each of Suzy’s shawls.
The first Shawl I posted last month, just announcing I’d be selling her shawls soon, was sold before I even offered it for sale. But that’s not unusual. Suzy’s shawls sell quickly.
If you don’t remember from past years, or you’re new to my blog, Suzy hand spins and hand knits her shawls.
No two shawls are alike, each is a unique piece of wearable art.
Suzy’s shawls are made from the mohair from her angora goats, April, Alice, Ruth, and Lucy. Some natural and some dyed. She also uses wool from her favorite fiber artists. One who is the breeder of her goats.
Suzy’s hand washes her shawls in a natural solution, so they are extra soft.
Marigold Shawl is 19″x 70″ and it is $175 + $15 shipping. You can buy it in my Etsy Shop. Just click here. Or you can email me at [email protected]. I take checks, PayPal and Venmo.