It seems we always have a blizzard in early March, but really, I’d rather not. How about you?
The flowers I brought home for Thanksgiving - although they seemed to last forever (thank you, Flower Girl), eventually, their time was up. Ya’ know - all good things must come to an end. Or do they? Even as they began to languish, they still had so much to offer. So I spread them out on a vintage linen damask napkin (from my childhood), folded the napkin, wrapped it around a wooden dowel and tied it with string. I subjected it to steam for several hours and then I set it aside.
I forgot all about it for quite a few weeks, which wasn’t difficult at all because there are always so many other things to do. And on top of all the usual "other" things, there was Christmas, my daughter’s Big 30th Birthday, and her engagement to Bill. Yowzers!
Every once in a while I would notice the roll of cloth, on a window sill in the kitchen, and I’d make a mental note that it had probably "cooked" for long enough. But I was always busy with other things - important things, like bingeing on Netflix. Speaking of Netflix, I just finished watching a Netflix series called Seven Seconds - wow, it's really good - created by Veena Sud, who also developed The Killing.
Eventually my curiosity got the upper hand and I unrolled the napkin. It was pretty messy, with little particles stuck to it in places, so I used a whisk broom to clean it off.
And - Voila! - it’s beautiful! I love it. And I realize I finally have a piece of cloth worthy of the gorgeous hand-dyed threads I bought from Deb Lacativa a while back.
I hope I do something awesome with it. Lots and lots of stitches. In all those glorious colors. Maybe a patch here and there, maybe a hole. We’ll see.
I love to shop! Photoshop, that is. So, I thought I’d share some examples with you because it is amazing what can be done with Photoshop. Mind you, I am by no means an expert, but I have played with it for years now and I keep learning, albeit very slowly.
Above, an image of a boy in Poughkeepsie, NY, circa 1978. I got lucky with this shot.
As you can see from the original image, right, Photoshop helped a great deal in creating the arresting image it became.
An edited image of a geranium, above, and the original, at right. The edited version of an image isn’t necessarily better than the original, but it’s always interesting to see where a little fussing with the settings may lead.
At left, a gorgeous little girl I spotted at a friend’s wedding. Unfortunately, there was a mess of distracting arms and legs surrounding her precious face, as you can see, below.
Once again, Photoshop came to the rescue.
Above, another shot from the wedding celebration, this time of a charming boy named Finn.
The original photo was okay although a little flat. I could have just popped the contrast and be done with it, but I decided I really wanted to isolate the image of Finn, which is what I did in Photoshop.
I've been experimenting with a new camera. It is a Canon PowerShot G7X Mark II. If you have any experience with this model or maybe an opinion regarding a point and shoot camera you particularly like, I'm all ears. I have 14 days from the date of purchase to decide whether I want to keep it or not.
Ciao & Meow
I am empowered. I am happy. I am at peace.
Not much bothers me these days. Worry, something which I’ve been so good at for most of my life, I now see as utterly pointless. It’s a cliche, but it really does feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I embrace life as I never have before. This is not due to some rational thought process. I didn’t think, "Oh, I have cancer, I’d better enjoy life while I can." My euphoria is not the result of a conscious decision. It just happened, all of its own accord. It’s not on a time line and it’s not a matter of enjoying life until it ends. Life has nothing to do with beginning or ending. Life is now.
Suddenly, shamanism is everywhere. A friend lets me know she practices shamanism and offers to facilitate a journey for me, an offer which I gratefully accept. Another friend sends me an invitation to a shamanistic ritual taking place in town. The library offers an evening of drumming and shamanism. I think this is all synchronicity.
Out of the blue, I decide to wear lipstick. I’ve never been a lipstick sort of girl, but now I decide I will wear lipstick for every day of my first six weeks of treatment. And not just any lipstick ... I decide to wear red lipstick. This small decision feels meaningful to me. Within days of making this decision, I receive an order from Amazon. I unpack the box, checking my four items against the receipt. But there is still one more item in the box. I didn’t order it and it’s not listed on the receipt. It’s a shiny new tube of very red lipstick. Synchronicity.
At the very beginning of this cancer trip, an incredibly beautiful hawk showed up in my daily activities. It first introduced itself to me by swooping above my car, just slightly to the left of the driver side, so I could easily see it as it accompanied me up the hill I take to reach home. I immediately recognized this bird as a manifestation of a spirit animal, or a spirit guide, and s/he has shown up on several occasions since that first day.
The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned. - Maya Angelou
When I awoke from my journey with the shaman, I was startled to see this odd branch in the woods. It was a message telling me my spirit guide, the one with the awesome wing span, had visited and left behind this image of her/himself. The hawk spirit guide is associated with intuition, victory, healing, nobility, recollection, cleansing, visionary power, and guardianship. Sounds good to me.
Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you - all of the expectations, all of the beliefs - and becoming who you are. - Rachel Naomi Remen
I signed up for Just Considering Weave with Jude Hill (Spirit Cloth). My first attempt was with pale teal and white threads. It took only a few rows before I realized it looked mostly white and very boring.
So, I switched to a more colorful palette. For my warp thread, I chose a nice raspberry red. For the weft, I used a variegated thread, which almost feels like cheating, because it makes it so easy to weave a pattern.
Colorful is good at this time of year ... like my geraniums. My geraniums, by the way, allow me to pretend I have a green thumb. If it weren't for virtually maintenance-free plants, I'd have to admit the truth that gardening is but one of many Martha Stewart-esque talents which I lack.
I never look at geraniums without being reminded of a favorite childhood poem, written by A.A. Milne, author of the Winnie-the-Pooh series of books. I enjoy this poem even more as an adult.
THE DORMOUSE AND THE DOCTOR
There once was a Dormouse who lived in a bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red),
And all the day long he’d a wonderful view
Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).
A Doctor came hurrying round, and he said:
“Tut-tut, I am sorry to find you in bed.
Just say ‘Ninety-nine’ while I look at your chest….
Don’t you find that chrysanthemums answer the best?”
The Dormouse looked round at the view and replied
(When he’d said “Ninety-nine”) that he’d tried and he’d tried,
And much the most answering things that he knew
Were geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).
The Doctor stood frowning and shaking his head,
And he took up his shiny silk hat as he said:
“What the patient requires is a change,” and he went
To see some chrysanthemum people in Kent.
The Dormouse lay there, and he gazed at the view
Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue),
And he knew there was nothing he wanted instead
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red).
The Doctor came back and, to show what he meant,
He had brought some chrysanthemum cuttings from Kent.
“Now these,” he remarked, “give a much better view
Than geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).”
They took out their spades and they dug up the bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red),
And they planted chrysanthemums (yellow and white).
“And now,” said the Doctor, “we’ll soon have you right.”
The Dormouse looked out, and he said with a sigh:
“I suppose all these people know better than I.
It was silly, perhaps, but I did like the view
Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).”
The Doctor came round and examined his chest,
And ordered him Nourishment, Tonics, and Rest.
“How very effective,” he said, as he shook
The thermometer, “all these chrysanthemums look!”
The Dormouse turned over to shut out the sight
Of the endless chrysanthemums (yellow and white).
“How lovely,” he thought, “to be back in a bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red.)”
The Doctor said, “Tut! It’s another attack!”
And ordered him Milk and Massage-of-the-back,
And Freedom-from-worry and Drives-in-a-car,
And murmured, “How sweet your chrysanthemums are!”
The Dormouse lay there with his paws to his eyes,
And imagined himself such a pleasant surprise:
“I’ll pretend the chrysanthemums turn to a bed
Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red)!”
The Doctor next morning was rubbing his hands,
And saying, “There’s nobody quite understands
These cases as I do! The cure has begun!
How fresh the chrysanthemums look in the sun!”
The Dormouse lay happy, his eyes were so tight
He could see no chrysanthemums, yellow or white.
And all that he felt at the back of his head
Were delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red).
And that is the reason (Aunt Emily said)
If a Dormouse gets in a chrysanthemum bed,
You will find (so Aunt Emily says) that he lies
Fast asleep on his front with his paws to his eyes.
Winnie-the-Pooh belonged to Christopher Robin, of course. I had my own bear. Here I am with my dog and my bear, circa 1952.
My bear is still with me, in 2014. There are some things one doesn't give up.