enigma on the move

i continue to stitch the image. am thinking . . . well, actually, i’m trying not to.


(i have got to get a camera that loves me.) (i’m sure it’s that this camera doesn’t like me cause mr. thrillenity used it yesterday to take some marvelous pictures.) (really.)


hidden in plain view

spent the day dealing with unexpected messages from nature and working on two houses, so no time to stitch. will substitute a picture from my sunrise walk. can you see the white tail of the deer romping through the woods? that deer’s about as well hidden as so many other things i find myself needing every day . . .


sunday saunter

“to hell with the ego of it. be free,” jude says. and, as usual, her crystal ball works better than mine. it’s precisely what i’m after, the notion of being free. it’s what i’m perpetually chasing: an ego-free existence.

having been raised in a religious environment (i’m over that now) (as much as you can ever be over early religious training) (ever hear julia sweeney’s one-woman performance called letting go of god? it’s the catholic version of me.), the phrase “pride goeth before a fall” was something i heard as much as i heard the word “salt”. (i could tell you (perhaps convincingly) that we used salt to cure the hogs we killed for food – and i can actually remember that happening. but just barely. truth is: as grossly unfashionable as it is, we just like salt. which is good for my mother’s side of the family who has low blood pressure and bad for daddy’s side who has high pressure.) pride is, of course, a dress ego wears, and i think i’m pretty much over it now, given all the water that’s run under . . . well, let’s try to contain our metaphors: given all the stitches that have been ripped out of that particular dress.

and though i’m mostly over it (finally), there are still a few remnants of perfectionism (another dress ego wears) hanging around. there’s the brightly colored dress of “will-i-be-found-worthy” that often jumps to the front of the closet (stay with me: i’m trying to stick to the metaphor chiffarobe i created), just within reach (almost) every time i sit down to write a blog entry.

these are the clothes i’m trying to outgrow. don’t want to move off and leave them behind for somebody else to wear; don’t want to donate them to the thrift store because i sure don’t want anybody paying for a wardrobe of such burdensome attire.

and i think this (ever present) desire for a new wardrobe – a wardrobe in which every single piece bears a label (and this would be a good time to tell you how much i despise labels of any kind) with jude’s words – is what’s got me thinking about creativity. i mean i like how elizabeth gilbert resuscitated the ancient romans’ notion of geniuses – “distant disembodied unknowable spirits” who live in the walls of an artist’s studio and sometimes (frequently if the artist spends enough time in the studio doing their part of the work, as glennis so eloquently points out) come out with the most brilliant ideas and schemes.

but somehow along my way, i got stuck on the renaissance notion of self being the center of the universe. self-reliance became (and still) reigns large for and over me, and it permeates pretty much every area of my life. while i’m quite comfortable with the notion of being responsible for myself, for making my own choices and enduring or enjoying the inevitable consequences of those choices, it’s really pretty exhausting. (can we coin a word and say egohausting?) (exhausting = a word that back in steam engine days meant to let steam off after it had done its work. the “haust” part come from latin “haurire” which means “to draw”. and, in certain contexts, the ego does serve a worthwhile function: because orange is not my best color – and the ego knows this – it keeps me from, well . . . let’s just say that it makes me behave. so maybe i’m after an ego-free creative existence.)

ambling back to what i think was my central point . . .

okay. we’ll have to get back to this later. hubbie is (understandably) ready for breakfast and to get busy building cabinets that will, by the end of the day, replace the boxes in our bathroom.

to be continued . . .


enigma continues

continuing to think about creativity. about faith, trust, mystery, work – all components of or cousins to creativity. but after a day of shopping for (and finding!) flooring, bringing it home from n.c., and unloading the truck, i just don’t have the wherewithall to pull together a string of complete sentences tonight. i did, however, sit and stitch a wee bit. still creating the image i call enigma:



must’ve seemed like i had taken the loot, said a public thank you, then rode off into the sunset.

not the case.

just have had no where to sit, and no time to sit – sitting being a prerequisite (for me, anyway) for stitching. but now – just today – i began to create an image i’ve been carrying around for weeks. there’s no translation, no explanation. just the image.


which leaves me (once again) pondering creativity. the intriguing, captivating mystery of creativity.

a few years ago, my son introduced me to TED, a convergence of creative, innovative thinkers and doers who gathered under the umbrella of technology, entertainment, and design. since its inception in 1984, the scope of TED has grown and expanded, while the concept remains the same. my son and i immediately put it on our list of things we want to do before we die: attend the TED conference. now, thanks to http://www.ted.com, we can!

anyway, this month elizabeth gilbert (author of eat, pray, love) presented a different way to think about creativity. after reminding us of the way ancient greeks and romans viewed creativity, gilbert proposes that we are not creative geniuses but we have creative geniuses. as gilbert says, the notion that we, ourselves, are not totally responsible for the creative end product somehow takes the edge off the immense responsibility creatives often assume.

take a few (about 20) minutes and watch the video. we’ll talk later.


first mail received there

by Naomi Shihab Nye

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.



i have come to e-know so many people through blogs, each (you know who you are) famous to me in their own way. two women are particularly famous tonight because not only did they not forget what they could do, they took action and did it!

julie and laney are sweet, empathetic, generous souls who read my whines about threadless days i’m enduring as we move, and they each put together a care package and mailed it to me.

from julie:


and from laney:


from both: delicious fabrics in a variety of colors and textures, needles, thread, scissors, batting, paper and colored pencils, several downright thought-provoking morsels – everything i need to satisfy my itching hands, soothe my soul, and stoke my inquiring mind.

thank you both, for your thoughtful, caring generosity. i will have sweet, sweet dreams tonight as visions of stitching plums dance in my head . . .


update from here

still sleeping at the “old” house due to no heat and no bed at the new house. in the old house, we have heat and a bed, but not much more. a cardtable and those 4 straightback chairs i mentioned earlier. my computer. 2 sweatsuits (so i don’t have to wear the same thing every day). no washer/dryer, no food, no pots/pans, no plates or glasses, etc.

and my car has been in the shop for over a week.

so i guess it’s understandable – perhaps even predictable – that i officially succumbed to cabin fever tonight . . .


meanwhile, back on the range

unpacked a lot of boxes today, but none containing cloth and thread. daughter, moxie, got a canary yesterday (a late holiday gift to herself), and pavarotti (we call him ‘rotti for short) immediately captured the attention of housemates . . .


at first they froze – didn’t blink for 2.5 hours. then they decided to take a closer look.


and all the while, ‘rotti sang the most beautiful songs . . .



these hands of mine haven’t touched fabric – except to don the same sweatsuit (the only one i have here) the past several days. it’s interesting living in limbo. though almost everything except hubbie’s tools and a few clothes are there, at the new (or “to” as i call it) house, the heater decided to die, so it’s too cold to stay there overnight. then hubbie and i got sick this week, probably our bodies taking charge and forcing us to slow down a bit.

am feeling downright cratchity having not held cloth and thread or strung words together in so long. am itching to pick up needle and thread – to do what, i don’t know. i just need to get some cloth in my hands. but who knows where it is or when i’ll unpack it?

i do, however, think that with views like these (snapped from the deck on the back of our “to” house), i’ll be inspired to create something . . .



let the melioration begin

melioration has begun – finally. not much to show, though, because, well, we’re moving, you see.

that is, we might be moving – it all depends on when we will have our fill with the . . . well, never mind.

we thought we were moving before christmas, so all the fabric, floss, needles, fabric scissors, irons are now residing in one of the gagillion boxes somewhere in the overstuffed garage. i found a snippet of cream-colored fabric with white hearts that’s not too chirpy, and cut (more like hacked, really, given that those scissors have cut everything except fabric), and using ye-olde-fingerpressing technique, tucked under the edges. then, after much fussing and grumbling about how uncomfortable it is for me working with big pieces like a completed-if-tattered quilt, that one rectangle of not-too-chirpy fabric is in place, covering one of the bald spots and extending this quilt’s life well into future generations of little jeannes.


my plan (if you can call it that – it just occurred to me as i cut hacked the snippet of not-too-chirpy fabric) is to patch/cover/conceal/mend with various whiteish fabrics. 88 pieces, to be exact. same number of keys on a piano.