Saturday, July 30, 2011

the barns, floating in the meadow as we leave the lake through the winding farm path, past the docile bull, wandering down the path with a ring in his nose. we spent the afternoon with a dozen children playing in the lake and eating hotdogs. a spiderman birthday cake for a newly 3 yr old darling boy. sheila and i rowed to the middle of the lake to dive into it's dark cool depths. tom kayaked to explore the island that sits across from their beach. making new friends and getting to know others better. a pontoon boat pulling up with the fun cousins just as we were getting ready to leave. sandy flip-flops. a delightful day at sheila's cottage.
and the day began skyping with my parents and the lovely bodi-yaroshevich family in moscow. the beautiful sisters who shared their family and their day with my parents on their last day in russia. i will be forever grateful.
such a beautiful day.

Friday, July 29, 2011

i'm trapped in the house by a most magnificent summer rain. my windows are wide open to the clatter and roar of it. the scent of rain, flowing through the tangled flowers and in the window. and it seems to be falling harder and harder.
i love this wedding photo of my parents, heading out of the church with umbrella in hand to avoid the august rain on their wedding day. my beautiful parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in a few weeks. they are off on a river cruise in russia together and we'll have a lovely family gathering to celebrate when they return. they married young, on my mother's 21st birthday. he was 23. and they married after a very short courtship. he was moving across the country to medical school in california. so she cut her college career short, became his wife
and supported them working as a secretary, until i was born, 5 years later. a leap of faith. alot of love. somehow they knew it was right. and they have always worked to keep it strong. they really have a wonderful marriage, that couple who enjoys being together, all the time. maybe a little rain on a wedding day is good luck afterall.
this week we watched 'grand hotel', the 1932 oscar winner for best picture. the acting was over the top and the plot a little awkward. but what fun it was to see the beauty of greta garbo
and joan crawford fill the screen. we were outside with our friends on a perfect summer night, surrounded by the sounds and scents of summer. it's wonderful when wednesday feels like a weekend.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

a still morning, bright and clear. late july and i feel just a touch of sadness in it's song. i'm breaking into the day while my house is still silent. the neighborhood is quiet and sleepy still. the sun is bright. and i can smell the lake. clothespegs in my hand, always two at a time. white cotton towels bleached by the sun. a cup of yogurt and some tea. and a walk through the harbor with edgar. that is my morning. and i love it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

i have been working on a collage series this month. i have fallen in love with this series of splayed creatures. what is beneath the skin......

Monday, July 25, 2011

the queen anne's lace is beautiful this year. tangled and thick, making little meadows sting my eyes with the loveliness of it. we drove to the cottage yesterday for the afternoon and i had a hard time keeping myself from stopping all along the way to pull out my camera. the side of the road is most beautiful in july. a mass of fresh lacey white flowers waving and nodding and smiling. and while we were at the lake, we took the boat out exploring and marvelling at the day and all it's moments. i wonder if it was all the beauty that made me sad. but i found sadness flow through me in waves for much of the evening.
today there are quilts waiting for me to finish. and a book that i need to read. those books are rare for me now. the book that immediately makes itself necessary in my life. that makes me hungry to learn the next word. yet there is one sitting next to my bed that is just that. a new book by elizabeth hay. i don't know the title. titles rarely interest me or hold my attention.
tom is coming in the rain with my coffee and bagel. this day is starting.

Friday, July 22, 2011

my hydrangeas at night. a little blurry. the light from the living room behind. i took this coming home from rudy & krista's where we watched casablanca. watched it in the yard with the sun setting purple-y all around us. and drank french 75s. and finished with little fiestaware cups full of gelato. another superb evening in our little village/harbor/neighborhood. i sewed until late....i'd told them i wouldn't be joining them.....too much work to finish. but after i came home and fed edgar, the light in the sky drew me out and i wandered over to their yard with my camera. and i stayed. laughed and giggled and gossiped just a little.

a reflection as i was leaving the kitchen door, closing it behind me in the early morning sun. i caught my reflection in the panes of glass. the sun was sharp and froze the moment. it was the swiftness of my turn combined with the movement of the closing door. the morning sun, bright and high caught the top of my head and bounced the image into the glass. the back of my head. all i saw was my hair. the color and the tangled mess of curls. the varied depth of golds and auburn and deep, dark brown. the depth and detail in the briefest milli-second shocked me. endless colors.
and now my tea and yogurt on the porch.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

the heat is intense. the cats have looked like this all day. i took a quick trip over the border to the land of my birth this morning to pick up a roll of cotton quilting batting that i'd ordered. and the queen anne's lace waving in the fields and on the edge of the highway made me cry as i drove. it is one of many personal iconic summer-isms, but possibly the one i hold dearest. i will head to my parents in the next few days to get photos of the fields all white and dreamy. i am finding this summer the most beautiful i can remember. and sarah harmer's 'songs for clem' is the soundtrack to all the steamy beauty.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

the bells sounded during our walk this morning. the 8.00 bells. the heat wasn't baking down on the day yet as we walked around the neighborhood. i saw our neighbor across the harbor with his 3 year old watching the boats and talked to another neighbor as she headed out on a road trip to pennsylvania, and as we reached home, walking past the wonderful tree in the front garden i found this thick grassy nest, tucked against the trunk and among the remnants of lavender. nests always amaze me. the soft cushion of dried grass and leaves is so dreamy. especially in the branches of a leafy tree.
i'll be sewing on the porch today. my hands are turning brown like a gardeners. i work outside in the sun but i dig through paper and fabric instead of the dirt.
my parents just phoned as i was writing this. from russia. they're in st. petersburg. the overseas delay repeating my own voice back to me is always a delight more than an annoyance. i love the excitement of it. they are off to the ballet tonight....but their luggage has yet to arrive, so they must make do with their 3 day old travelling clothes. and i must head to the studio.

Monday, July 18, 2011

storms rocked the early morning. and rain has been falling most of the day. so for the first time in several weeks i was working in my studio today rather than on the porch of the studio under the sky and the maple tree. my beautiful friend eleanor had been planning to stop by later in the afternoon, but suddenly in the midst of loud music blaring from my work room with the sewing machine pounding away, she was at the door with rose deshaw. let me explain that many of my favorite books have come from the wonderful book store that rose owned many years ago. but even my favorite books are often subjected to the scissors if i'm making a collage and the right image presents itself. and although i was thrilled to see rose, i immediately felt chagrined for what i have done with her little treasures from so long ago (my mother would take me to her shop when i was home for visits from university in the 80s). i had to confess and show her the many collages i've been working on. and she approved!!! we talked about our mutual love of books and how my use of the images and the pages was a way for the books to live on past a dusty pile, or worse, a landfill. i loved having her in my studio, she is such a force of idea. but when eleanor returned from taking her home, it was with a pile of the most lovely 19th century books, well past their prime, with loosened or missing covers and the most magnificent illustrations. a gift from rose. exactly what i live to find as i scrounge through antique shops and thrift shops. eleanor and i poured over them as we visited with coffee and cookies before she left on her 5 hour drive back to port dover.
and i finished 5 baby quilt tops. it was a great day in the studio.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

we had a couple lovely days at our friends cottage. summer on the lake. peaceful and raucus. countless children and extended family. splashing and boating and eating and drinking and a constant flow of people coming and going, introductions to new people and being introduced. not noticing the oven-like heat that gripped the weekend. forgetting that i have a cell phone and not minding at all being without service. sand in my toes and in my hair. barefeet and broken flip flops. wet towels and watermelon. and i loved sharing it all with my parents this afternoon. almost 1000 photos of children grandchildren parents grandparents. summer is defined by days like this.

Friday, July 15, 2011

walking through the harbor and home through the park with edgar. a small woman with bright pink lips, smiles and comes toward us, directly for edgar. i warn her of his slobberiness. she dismisses it without a worry. she speaks carefully in english with a charming lisp of french. she presses edgar's head to her belly and tells me of when she was a girl and was taught by the nuns. her neighbor had a great dane who she loved. and the dog followed her to school, into the schoolyard, and frightened the children. the nuns made her stay after school for a week.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

my bed smells of leaves and twigs and the lake. the herbs from my front garden and the heady flavor of grass. the detergent tom bought has a sharp scent that smells of the towels when i was a child visiting my grandmother. the combination of the sharp soapy scent and the hard water and the damp basement laundry under the kitchen. it is a scent that lingers and is part of an extended memory of childhood. tonight my pillow holds mostly the outdoor scents from hanging in the sun and billowing in the lake scented wind for most of the afternoon. but my crisp white cotton shirt i sleep in has the smell of my grandmother's towels still. the shirt with the tiny holes where the seams meet. like stress fractures.
stella is sitting on the roof below our bedroom window. crying to come in. it's time for us to sleep.
early summer mornings when the light is fresh and the air is clear. the scents are bright. early, when the day is young. the house is quiet. my hair is still matted and i'm sipping fresh coffee. eggs are poaching with lovely grey sea salt and balsamic vinegar tossed in the water. more coffee. and pesto on my eggs, a cup of yogurt and the cats rubbing against my legs. soon i'll fetch the load of laundry that washed while we slept last night and hang it in the sun. i'll admire it a few minutes and then get edgar out to the lake. i'm into it now, my morning has drifted into a day. and i suspect my matted hair will stay curly and crazy until the heat forces me in for a shower hours from now.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

solitude is a luxury and a necessity. silence and solitude and stretches of time that is earmarked for nothing and has no plan. time that unfolds naturally and fragments into thousands of moments of my choosing. this time is rare lately and i find myself frazzled and unpleasant because i'm missing it. rare solitude

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

this past week has been hot. deliciously steamy. hot with the thin film of sweat that stays on your skin. hot so your movements are slower and a cold drink is always within reach. i've been working on the porch and periodically wandering down to the lake. life certainly slows down in the heat. lately we have been taking advantage of our local video store that has the best selection i have ever encountered. we are also fortunate that $5 rents us a pile of dvds for 8 nights. and they are always liberal with what they consider late. we've been spending our summer nights watching the series 'lost'. perfect for a couple of hours of down time on a hot summer evening. right now we're on the porch swing....tom with his book and me with my blog. but soon we'll go in and continue with our little summer marathon.

Monday, July 11, 2011

tom stole me from my piles of books and papers spread on the table on the porch. he wanted to go for a quick swim. the day was hot and a mid-day swim was the perfect break. i didn't really want to leave my work, but it was a good idea. and how could i say no to a wander down to the beach. i grabbed my faded little bucket. tom swam and i dug through the rocks and pebbles to find pieces of smoothed glass. and when i returned to my work, my hands smelled of the lake and i had no desire to wash them.
the day was full. i finished a collage that makes me want to never stop looking at it. i was in a swoon for ingres all afternoon.....staring at the portraits and the sketches.
my 71 year old mother came by in a strapless seafoam green bridesmaids gown.....yes, she was actually the bridesmaid....they stopped by between the wedding and the reception.
and i held 7 wk old baby helena with her tiny yawns and expression-filled eyes.
the rain sent me in from the porch and now i'll wait until tomorrow to return to the paper.

beauty is created without thought. that is my opinion, my experience. beauty emerges and just is. there is no explanation. it simply works. beauty isn't manufactured, mass produced, decided upon. it simply exists and floats along confidently above all the attempts to determine how to have it. there is no formula. and trying harder rarely means truer beauty. i never consider why something is beautiful. i just know when i'm drawn to it. and am not surprised when i'm the only one who sees it's beauty. for beauty is not a consensus. it's complexity orbits around the tactile and visual and emotional, whirling from everything i've seen and touched and loved.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

i'm leaving puddles everywhere i go. i walked back up to the house from the little beach carrying my shoes, with my skirt sticking to my legs. and a little bucket of glass from sitting in the waves and sifting through the pebbles for the last half an hour. what a lovely end to a hot july day. i don't start out sitting in the lake, but it always seems that after a few minutes that's exactly where i am. and i have such beautiful little treasures to show for it. i photographed a dry pile of glass from the other day beside today's fresh pile that is still wet from the lake.and my garden has blossomed in it's own wild and beautiful way along the front of the house. roses and hollyhocks and sweetpeas and lavender against limestone. lots of photos to choose from.

Friday, July 8, 2011

it is a slow build as i assemble my outdoor studio on the porch. boxes of images that i've cut and collected for years. piles of books that may have what i'm looking for. scissors. glue. brushes and boards. carrying armload after armload down the stairs and through the back door to the porch. and when it's piled across the table, there is alot of staring. and shuffling through images on onion skin pages and rough yellowed paper. and dealing with the glaring shiny paper that sometimes holds beautiful imagery. and running back upstairs to sift through piles that are buried in the paper room. making piles of 'maybes'. and whittling them down to the few that might just be right. it takes hours before i can pour the glue. and i slide the pieces around like a puzzle of the vision that sprouts behind my eyes. singing with nick cave and sarah harmer and david bowie.
the sun is spotted and leafy and dappled on my work area. the natural filter is perfect. yet the sun is warm on my shoulders and forearms and it naturally dries the glue with speed. the work takes over. i have to be forced away from it. this is what makes me miserable and ecstatic. this work is what i am.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

there has been a lull in my little world. tom was away for the weekend, edgar had a hard time managing the hot and humid days, i had quilts to make, and finally hosting a wonderful bbq with friends from work ended the weekend. there was impromptu, fully dressed swimming....the lake can be magnetic like that, you expect to simply wade and get your toes wet but the seduction is too strong and you end up laughing and gasping and diving under the waves. and greta (our golden squirrel) made an appearance or two. i'm beginning work on a series of collages that will make it's home in slovenija. i'm excited about this and thrilled to have time devoted to my paper's where the passion bubbles the deepest. but thankfully it's not a chore to make quilts either.
today we'll have a little drive, i'm sure, and we'll go for a lovely dinner downtown, for it's tom's birthday and a little celebrating is in order. i hate to say goodbye to june, but july is certainly a great consolation rarely disappoints.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

today was a rare day, the sort of day you can never manufacture, it just appears and gives itself to you. a perfect july day. i cleaned and hung laundry on the line and swept the porch and tidied the yard, but nothing felt like a chore. there was no pressure or stress. tennis was on, although i must admit i didn't watch too closely. i bought groceries and finished some quilts. and although all of this is rather mundane, it felt relaxing and calm and a bit luxurious as i puttered about feeling quietly pleased with all i was getting done, but without the rushed pace that usually goes along with it. edgar and i walked along the lake. i brought him home and went back to the little beach to collect was the first time this year. and i brought home a wonderful little bucket of pebble softened glass and fragments of tile and ceramic.
a marvelous day!