Saturday, September 26, 2020

Michelle

       

Our Michelle
Gathered in love for her
in sadness for her parting
in gratitude for having had her in our lives.

Michelle, you will be deeply missed, but always remembered
and forever loved.
xo

Friday, September 25, 2020

SAFE

 

The Word Cloth

Still stitching
 
SAFE
 
I've been stitching on the word SAFE 
and it seems every day it takes on a new meaning. 

There are the broader points of safety.
Physical
Financial
Health
Spirit
Housing
Politically 
Community

In each, I consider what does safe mean to me?

This season is one of threatening our sense of safe.
So, I must consider what I have done, can do now
to feel safe.
And to help others feel safe too.


What can I DO to feel safe?
I can get educated.
I can be proactive.
~plan or Do as needed~
I can focus on ways to provide care to self
~read, write, stitch, reach out, create~
I can do for others
~That's important, for in doing for others, we help alleviate our own fears~
I can re-frame my thoughts, redirect my attention, distract when necessary
I can expand, I can withdraw
I can appreciate
 
There is so much more...
more ways to feel unsafe
more ways to support
more time to think while stitching.
I can be, feel safe enough.
 

 The Process:
Each word on this cloth has come to me, 
one by one. 
Each word waiting its turn, giving me plenty of time to consider the many meanings,
including wondering what it may mean to others.
~Only RBG's 9-patch and John Lewis's "Good Trouble"
 were stitched within the urgency of the moment~
 
As explained in previous posts, this has very much been a 
wait and feel process, which I do appreciate right now.
It is nice to have something to evolve with so slowly,
when the world moves so fast these days. 

In contemplating safe, I wanted to stitch it in a 
writing font not of my own hand, as I had with
ENOUGH, hope & GOOD TROUBLE.
So, I came to the idea of stenciling Safe.
This came with its own set of troubles, 
as my two stencils were too small and not the style in my mind.
What to do?
Well, in days of covid, you do a search of styles, and try to copy that!
Which then made it more of my hand than I'd intended.
 
Of course, I can whip that around to mean:
There is no one safe for all 
(not in the details at least!) 

Anyway, the photo  above shows the many greens I pulled out, 
as the idea that came to me, fully formed was 
stenciled military looking (shaped) letters, stitched camouflaged style.

This is just the first green stitched on.
It looks like a leopard or something.
That's fitting in the moment as 
I'd like to run like hell and get away from all that's going on!
My plan has been to randomly fill in each whole letter,
creating a solid, strong base for 
SAFE
 
⇄ ⇆ ⇄ ⇆ ⇄ ⇆

May you find ways to be safe
feel empowered
and know you are loved
xo


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Photographs by NAE ©2020

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Perhaps the World Ends Here

 Today was a day for looking through and deleting old 'bookmarks' on my computer There's a lot! It seems that my early days online, held enough excitement, that I wanted to hold onto it all! 

Things I thought I'd never want to forget, but really never much returned to. Teaching ideas, cloth worlds, writing activities and more all right there, just where I'd left them.


I found this jewel.

 

Perhaps the World Ends Here

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.

"Perhaps the World Ends Here" from The Woman Who Fell From the Sky by Joy Harjo. Copyright © 1994 by Joy Harjo. Used by permission of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., www.wwnorton.com.
Source: The Woman Who Fell From the Sky (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 1994) 
 
 
 
This spoke to me of how now, in this time, we come to each other's table in the world of blogging and how touching that is and has been, especially now, and especially in light of Jude's typepad troubles (posted about today)...where we feel how inpermante these places and our time really is.
 
To hear the spoken version go here 
 
To get information on this book go here 
 
To learn more about this author go here 
 
 
 
I notice how her book title aligns with my reading of Braiding Sweetgrass, wherein the first chapter is Skywoman Falling. 
 
May you make new discoveries out of the old
May you allow yourself to be embraced by the stories
May you find a place at the table, amongst others.
xo 
 

Friday, September 18, 2020

Adding Wordless on the Word Cloth

 
"When there are nine"
Rest in Peace
RBG 

" 
 
Was stitching this when I heard of her passing
(more on that later) 
Then along came the 9-patch, 
for the 9 seats on the Supreme Court.

Stitched in black & white
male & female
right & wrong
yes & no
Justice

Simple and clear, for a very confused time.

 May she rest well
May we find the peace we need
May a balance return 
xo
 
Photographs by NAE ©2020

Wishes, Reading

 This poem, discovered in an old bookmarked page

posted here in honor of Michelle's recent wishes and dances

These old rain photos, from March 2020, reminded what has been,

and may come again...some day.

 


 

Let the rain kiss you 

Let the rain beat upon your head 

With silver liquid drops 

 Let the rain sing you a lullaby 

The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk 

The rain makes running pools in the gutter 

The rain plays a little sleep song 

On our roof at night 

And I love the rain. 

 --- Langston Hughes 

 

Rain on my commute and at my  

workplace, how far away those 

days

seem.

〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰 

I thought perhaps today I could step out for a very short walk, but this was not to be. Even though the air quality is reported as moderate, my breathing is not good. So I wait.                      

I was excited by the bit of blue and touch of clouds,
only to be chased back inside by the faintest scent
and my cinched chest.
 
 
I will say, I do enjoy seeing more sky, now that the trees are gone.
And seeing even more clouds form each time I look.
 
〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰 
 Bit by bit, I've been reading my gift,
 
I'm taking my time, reading with pencil nearby,
ready to underline phrases or passages that I'd like to return to or remember.
Reading with pauses, to contemplate, to research. 

 
Last night, a car accident about a mile away,
knocked our power out for about an hour or so.
I read by LED lamp.
When the power was restored, I was compelled to 
get out this old book on Trees.
I've had it since 1978!



I looked up "Pecan" trees.
I paused in my main reading for some time
looking up a variety of trees I've known and loved 
along with others, whose names caught my eye in the index.
 
 
Of course, my beloved Cottonwood was the second one to look up!
I thought of the Cottonwoods in Northern California/Nevada area,
the Cottonwoods along HWY 395, near the Walker River,
the Cottonwoods near the irrigation ditches...
the smells...SMELL of earth where they grow, 
the sounds of the leaves in Wind 
and the fluttering of light as leaves danced,
the delight of white puffs on the breeze.
These trees belong to my Heart.

 
I thought of Grace's Cottonwood,
A Lot
standing near water, standing near fire.
 
〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰
 
 
I spent time researching and trying, hard, 
to recall what I had used to make this basket.
I finally decided it was probably seagrass,
which is why Sweetgrass sounded so familiar to me.
This did not make the move, this basket.
I feel bad about that, but only for a moment now and then.
You know what they say, "You can't take it with you".
I still hold the sweet memories of that day, basket making with friends.
I still hold the knowledge learned and 
the expanded heart of new ways of creating.


〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰
 
At the very beginning of "Braiding Sweetgrass",
the story of braiding with another,
the story of feelings evoked when braiding the hair of someone you love,
spoke to me
spoke
to me of my friend and our daughters, when they were young.


"Our elders say that ceremonies are the way we 'remember to remember'..."

Within the chapter, Council Of Pecans:
"...land held in common gave people strength; it gave them something to fight for"
 
〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰〰
 
So many thoughts from these pages already.
Of people, places, ideas, history of self and others...

We, here in blogland, us ragmates...
we often speak of slow cloth or slow weaving,
I feel as if I've begun to engage in 
slow reading!
What a gift of time I have.

May you enjoy the slow.
May you enjoy the go.
May you enjoy the time.
xo


Photographs by NAE ©2020

 
 


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Happy Mail!

I'm back again, for a quickie post.
Look what came in the mail...


Yay!! Hooray for friends who read your mind!
This often referenced  book, here in the blog community
has been on my mind. I had actually just thought yesterday,
that maybe I'd give it a try!
Today, here it is, arriving in green floral paper, bookmark enclosed.
This friend just so happened to work with my mom at the bookstore for those many years.
Now she works here:


So, if you're nearby Corvallis, OR
or you want to browse online to support an independent bookseller,
enjoy and tell 'em Nancy sent you!
(wink)

I am excited to browse online and begin reading.

May you have good friends
May you be a friend
May you hold great books in your hands
xo


Photographs by NAE ©2020

The Good - The Bad - And The Whistling

Hello folks!

This will be a strange post perhaps (haven't many been that lately?!)
But, if you look through my eyes, you'll see that there was
a certain flow, some connection.

Anyway, y'all know how I love Huell Howser,
a true California Treasure.

The first half in the show last night was about a bra shop in Monrovia, CA.
Yep, you read that right. Who new that The Wizard of Bras was so close to home?!
haha
Anyway, it caught my ear as Monrovia 
is one of the areas that has been on evacuation watch.
I know someone who has been waiting to hear.
Anyway, Huell quickly moves on from the bras and the shop owner 
to her daughters' hair salon.
(weird to see one open! I had to remind myself this was filmed long, long ago!)
There he meets a woman who is a Whistling Champ!
This was of particular interest as I was just telling someone how I'd been to the 
Whistle Off in Carson City NV in the early 1980's!
I love when things connect like that.
This brought back fun memories.
I remember being so blown away at the skills of the whistlers!

Next, I watched Huell at Bidwell Park,
(in the California Golden Parks series).
It is in Chico, CA - also near CA fires and Grace.
It made me sad to think of all the places Huell visited, we've visited 
that have burnt up. 
But, tonight's viewing was mostly fun and educational (that pool at Bidwell Park!)

    
1983 International Whistle-off in Carson City Nevada

The video above is oddly edited bits from the 
1983 Whistle Off in Carson City, NV.
I very well could have gone that year or maybe it was the year before.
How fun to be able to see this all of these years later!
And Johnny Carson...a huge part of my youth,
listening to the living room TV as I fall asleep.
is forever embedded in my brain! 

How refreshing all of these memories were after spending
a long time the previous night looking at photos and reading articles 
of rump in Minden, NV having a rally.
You can imagine those feelings easily enough,
but, the thought of him -there and those supporters - there
crushing.
I lived in the area between the ages of 20 and 25.
I think I knew the politics of the area, but I don't think I really paid much attention.
I was busy being newly married, having babies and moving.
We moved 4 times in 5 years, including the move up there!
Picturing that rally in a big heart place for me was hard.

Then I came across this article about Minden's

Man! I had no idea! 
Like I said, I was a young wife, mom, in my own daily life.
I told time by that siren, but never even thought about why it went off.

Of course, the article discounts this theory and goes about explaining why
it could not be true. And a woman writes a letter in defense of the siren, 
explaining it all, oh so clearly.
But, she also says this:

She also acknowledges its former purpose as a reminder for Native Americans to leave town, though not its discriminatory nature, writing:
“In 1917 a resolution by the Nevada State Legislature stated that in all Nevada cities, with Gardnerville in parenthesis, the local Indians had to be out of town by 6:30. Here again the sirens were used as a friendly tool, hopefully helping everyone to know what time of the day it was.”

WTHeck???
Do you need a 'friendly tool' like that?
I was blown away, not in a good way.

SIGH

With all of the unrest these past months,
it is at least a comfort to know, to see
so many young people aware and involved
(unlike me back then).
I sure hope they all VOTE!

PS On a completely different, hopefully fun note,
I keep seeing this commercial and am impressed with the editing
(me and my movie making! lol)
and charmed bay the dancing child, who reminds me of my friend's grandson.
But, I warn you, it's an earworm!!
Bored in the House 

May you find the strength to research, to learn, to listen
May you find the courage to know when your gut is right
May you find ways to to welcome delight in the midst of it all
xo


Sunday, September 13, 2020

KISS


 This started as a different post.
Just about books.
The title referred to Keep-It-Simple-Stupid...a phrase an old co-worker taught me eons ago.
This post beginning has been sitting here, so I no longer recall why I was using that title.
But, now it relates to the Books and Grandmas to follow.
How we love one another, give our grandmas kisses and smooch the babies.
So Books and Grandmas.

Happy Grandparents Day! 

A response to me from Dee over on her blog has had me 
thinking about shared traits with my mom, in a family.
Books are huge in ours.
Teaching too.
My mom, my sister, myself...even my son's wife...teachers.

So I'll start there.

↜↝↜↝↜↝↜↝↜↝

AS ALWAYS - IF WANTED - CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE
Teacher Mom, 1980
This was a favorite lesson of hers. She talked about it always. 
Even as she lay in hospice, she had my son read To Think I Saw it On Mulberry Street
to her. J and I sat and listened in the darkened room, as he read and 
she lay still with her eyes closed. When he was done she made a comment
about how she's not so sure that she still loved this book as much
as she had all these years.
On her way out, it felt different to her and I wondered why? How?
At any rate, here she is in her glory. She used to talk about how her students couldn't believe
that they were going to sit on the floor and listen to children's books!
I can imagine that the cookies were the icing on the cake!
She talked about taking these 9th grade students through lessons on childhood,
just as they were beginning to move away from their own.

↜↝↜↝↜↝↜↝↜↝

My Nana, maternal,  mid-1970's
This is my Nana, laughing like crazy. 
She was a huge fan of Erma Bombeck  
and would read her books while visiting at our house.
There she'd sit, reading and laughing until she cried.
It's one of my favorite memories of her.
She also clipped all of Erma's columns from the paper (do people still do this?).
I just found a stack, paper clipped together, and read them in her honor.
I was looking at her house dress in this photo as I prepared it for this post.
I thought about how grandmas don't really wear these anymore.
We're supposed to look, act, feel...be younger and younger, longer and longer.
I love her glasses and her little curl, that was probably stuck between those papers as she got her hair done. I was thinking how that cotton fabric would probably take a needle easily.
Then I was at Deb G's place and there she was, sewing bits of her Grandma's fabrics!
Perfect.
Anyway, back to books. 
We bought her every Bombeck in the stores 
and she taught me how to deeply enjoy written humor.

↜↝↜↝↜↝↜↝↜↝


Auntie Grandma - Mom, reading to my children
Here is my mama and my young children. She is reading Sloppy Kisses.
Perfect!
For their whole childhoods, she supplied books, mostly from the children's bookstore, where she worked for 20 years. The love of books, passed on to yet another generation,
from their beloved grandma!

↜↝↜↝↜↝↜↝↜↝


STORY:
My infant grandson has already fallen in love with books.
I watch his videos in awe and adoration, witnessing the love affair begin.
His mommy holds the pages, with a finger of hers between two pages, so he can reach out and turn the page himself. And he does. At just over three months, he does just that!
And she reads the book's invitation to engage in an animated voice, so when
she reads the many rhyming phrases in Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?,
his face lights up in twinkling eyes and a smile.
I sit amazed at how he hears and appreciates the cadence in her reading.
Another generation, falls in love with books. 

↜↝↜↝↜↝↜↝↜↝


Mom-Grandma-Teacher
Here, my mama was visiting my preschool class, early 2000's.
She brought the gift of a book and read it to them.
A book about little treasures, 
which she could appreciate with childlike enthusiasm.
↜↝↜↝↜↝↜↝↜↝

Books

↜↝↜↝↜↝↜↝↜↝

Following is a something I casually sent a while back  to a new grandma and to a now credentialed K-12 teacher, whom I've mentored for ages.
It involves my own values and ideas regarding children's books.
It is from many layers of my life with books, 
from my mother's introduction through my teaching days.
I'd sent it with a slew of favorite titles, all linked to amazon so the recipients could read more about each book. I talk about why I like each title and what children may gain from each particular book. There was even more included, but I'll leave it at this for today.
  
So, let's see...things I value in a book, things important in children's books (just my opinion):
  • Beautiful or fun illustrations (not cutesy) and photographs (love the real!)
  • Lyrical language
  • Values I can believe in, books with deep meaning
  • Books that can be sung and/or used with finger plays etc. (don't get me started on the importance of music and song for young children! haha)
  • Books that become their favorites (even if they are not mine!) or my favorites that I can share with them.
  • Books that teach in subtle, non-preachy ways (we don't have to beat it into them!)
  • Books which grow naturally into a group of books, in which the characters become friends!
  • Books that provide strong and interesting learning tools for children (i.e. repetition of words, phrases or cadence in the text).
  • Books, for the most part, are age-less, and they can be a pathway to ideas, subjects, or themes that capture or support children's interests for years!
  • Libraries are amazing!
  • Quality counts, quantity is not too bad either :)   Spoken like a true book lover!
  • Very young children love feel and touch and flap books!
  • Books are a great way to share your own passions and values or sense of humor!  Your favorites can become theirs!  What did you love as a child?
Things I don't love in a book (or series of books):
  • Series of books that take one idea and blast out a dozen of them (i.e. Hands Are Not for Hitting - so negative and a book done for every 'bad' thing a child could do - let's talk about how we'd like them to behave or be, not what Not to do!)
  • Series of books that take one idea and blast out a dozen of them (i.e. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, which was a great preschool book when it came out.  But, then the author did several more...different animal, same basic story line - Moose/Muffin, Pig/Pancake...you get the idea). Now, don't get me wrong, there is nothing 'wrong' with either of these series and children do love the Mouse/Moose/Pig etc books.  It is just that I seem to have adopted my mom's feelings on this! The lack of creativity and fact that livelihood income can be earned by just reworking one idea.  Dang, I can do that! I just need one good idea! haha
  • Obnoxious illustrations that seem to talk down to children (I feel the same about cutsey sing-song children's music!)
  • I do not need books that do more than flaps or textures...so: press a button -hear a cow.  I'd rather make those sounds myself and send the child the message that they are the interactive aspect - they can moo etc. Empower them!
  • I don't believe that every good book should be made into a board book.  Some are not appropriate for younger ages or the book needs to be shortened to fit the younger child - board book format.  I don't think that is wise or necessary.  My example today would be Caps for Sale, because normally I would not think it is a toddler book (too long), but because it is in our classroom, I have found ways to use it (shorten the repeating verses as needed) and I've discovered that the toddlers really love the sound the monkeys make and monkeys in general.  So take everything I say with a grain of salt I guess!
  • I also am not crazy about books with well-known characters (i.e. Superheros, Winnie-the-Pooh (except the originals of course - these were my favorites growing up!), Cartoon characters etc.).  I like originality and quality in books.  
(Can you tell I'm missing reading to my work babies?! lol)
 
↜↝↜↝↜↝↜↝↜↝
Two Books, in progress
I'm still reading Blue Highways. I wasn't sure I'd even finish it, 
but its been calling to me again, so yes I think I will.
I'm three quarters of the way through The Bluest Eye.
It's not an easy, fluffy book, especially these days. 
However, it is very good and I'm learning from it. 
↜↝↜↝↜↝↜↝↜↝

 So, I'll close this lengthy, wordy tribute to 
Books and Grandmas
with a thank you to Dee for prompting so many thoughts.

Happy Grandparents Day!
 
May you remember your grandparents 
and all they gave you, that you still carry in your heart.
May you read a good book,
one that you get lost in.
May you accept and provide nourishment for yourself and others. 
xo 




Photographs by NAE ©2020