What of great expectations...


I am not a huge fan of Charles Dickens.  More to the point,
I have disliked his work immensely.  Pardon me if that sounds too blunt, but that's the truth of it...

until now.

I recently watched the new PBS production of 'Great Expectations' on Masterpiece Classic
and my viewpoint has changed quite for the better.  Did any of you catch it?  Superb, don't you think,
on so many levels.
Gillian Anderson (from X-Files) plays the forlorn role of Miss Havisham...so delightfully creepy...
and the engaging Douglas Booth plays Pip, who "had come into great expectations
from a mysterious patron," and journeys to London where his hopes of becoming an English gentleman
seem to come true...

~ photo courtesy of PBS.org ~

The entire production (for me) was about the first perception of self as deficient...defined by what
one lacks, or is without...and as a result, subject to desire and all its complications, including guilt.

I have been thinking a whole lot about great expectations since then...

Here is a quote from Pip that I especially like:  "That was a memorable day to me, for it made great
changes in me.  But, it is the same with any life.  Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and
think how different its course would have been.  Pause you who read this, and think for a moment
of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you,
but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day."

Who would have dreamed that Mr. Dickens could set such a spark?  Not I.
As it happens, hours of (beadiful) knitting are very conducive to this sort of  introspection.

I think I owe dear ole Mr. Dickens an apology.


Texture Tuesday...perfectly perforated


Dunno how I got on this garden tool kick all of a sudden...in my previous post you had to read
all about my hori hori obsession and now this...
a portrait of my tried and truest, most favored and special watering can ever.
She's tough 'cause she's galvanized.
Doesn't she have a charming rosette?  THE BEST for sprinkling new seed beds.

And her handle swivels...oooh lah lah.

I once had a dark green plastic can that I loved so very much.  The pour spout was exceedingly long,
styled after those traditional ones from England...with a similar rosette, but upward facing
so the water came out like a small, delicate fountain.
Quinn chewed it tah bits shortly after she came to live here.

"Who me???....I only chew really big sticks."

Now I ask you, is that a face that could tell a lie?

: : :

Linking up with another of Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday parties...
used Kim's lovely watercolor texture, 'Oh my', on both ~ added 'Heirloom' from French Kiss 
(Glorious Grunge Collection) to the black munchmouth.  
Click HERE to see what everyone else has been up to,
so much creativity!

p. s.  I promise for next time that I will not write about another garden tool.


Better than 1,000 thread count Egyptian cotton...


just a tad scratchier (some might say unbearably scratchy) and only available
in a limited choice of colors... like beige.
Must be purchased by the bale
and applied with a pitchfork...

but  the new sheets on these beds couldn't be finer!

I suppose it depends on ones priorities [grin].

If I can't outrun the weeds, maybe I can outsmart them this season...free up some precious time
for other garden endeavors...
like sitting in the shade under the umbrella.

See that orange-handled tool poking up along the side there?
That is the one garden tool I couldn't possibly live without.  Called "hori hori" from some vendors.
Might wanna check 'em out.

Thanks to A. M. Leonard for the picture.  That's where I purchased mine although they are available
from several sources.  Leonard calls theirs a "Deluxe Stainless Steel Soil Knife" and that it is.
Basically, it's a re-design (more ergonomic) of an older style with a clunky wooden handle.  Not only
were those models heavier & not easy to grasp once muddied or wet, but heaven help you
if you laid it down in the garden somewhere and forgot where it was...
the old brown handle certainly wouldn't let you know.
I haven't lost this one yet and it's been a good two years now.

The best of the weekend to everyone...hope it's brilliant wherever you are
and may all your weeds be damned.


Truth about tripods...


Aimless Love

This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table.

In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor's window,
and later for a bowl of broth,
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.

This is the best kind of love, I thought,
without recompense, without gifts,
or unkind words, without suspicion,
or silence on the telephone.

The love of the chestnut,
the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel.

No lust, no slam of the door--
the love of the miniature orange tree,
the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower,
the highway that cuts across Florida.

No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor--
just a twinge every now and then

for the wren who had built her nest
on a low branch overhanging the water
and for the dead mouse,
still dressed in its light brown suit.

But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.

After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,

so patient and soluble
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.

~  Billy Collins ~

: : :

I worked for a long time in the garden today before the storm blew in.  It felt good to accomplish so much
in what seemed like such a short time.  Cutting back last year's growth has a way of opening up
the composition, so to speak.  Then I came inside, sat down in front of the glowing box with a 
very hot cuppa (extra milky, extra honey) and visited a few friends.  
That's how I was introduced to Billy Collins....
Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003.

Sometimes I think I live in a cave.

Thanks very much to Jane over at Ill Seen, Ill Said for posting his poem, Advice for Writers.
Oh, it's a beaut.


My springtime salmagundi...


Over the weekend, on & off, I muddled around in an attempt to put a new post together.
But it was useless ... a little of this, a little of that, nothing was gelling ... you know how that is.
And now it's Monday and I still have no *plot*... so guess what?  There won't be one.
Blame it on spring ... thoughts like weeds, all over the place.

I like what it says on the steering wheel of my jeep:


... the phone app made the view look like a vintage cyanotype ... love that.

For those of the knitting persuasion, likely to swoon over improvised stitches, here's
a tutorial (and video) for Five Stitches Cast On with Twist ...
the author states she had a "zen moment."
Must try this with a bead placed on each ellipse, I'm thinking.

I do a lot of that at the kitchen sink ... thinking, that is.
That's where I spied the first hummingbird of the season, out on this floriferous lovely ...

usually I hear the hummers first and spot them later, but not this year.
Ribes 'White Icicle' ... irresistible.

Also irresistible.  To some.
Amazing where spring color can pop up.  I think those gals who work at Ana-Cross Stitch
have way too much fun at their job.  Earlier in the year this pole in front of their shop was wearing blue.
Paid to YARN BOMB?!?  oh yeah.
When you think about it, what better free advertising for a yarn & stitch store?
Click here for an entertaining collection of yarn graffiti ...
scroll down to the military tank covered in pink, my fave.
Some think of it as, "improving the urban landscape one stitch at a time."
I'm fine with that.

Trying my own hand at some stitched shibori.  For this one, mokume (woodgrain effect).
I haven't a clue what I'm doing yet ...
just following the pictorial how-to trails through the internet and spending time
with like-minded gals to work on our stitching projects together.

To be followed by glorious messes with dye baths!

I'll be swearing off the chemicals and may be flying solo in our group in my determination to
use natural dyes.  Maybe one or two will eventually join me.
I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for some WOW factor results (to better coerce them).

While following those internet pictures I was sent the link to Mieko Mintz
and her exquisite kantha work.  Do be prepared for swooning.

Shall I add some cherry blossoms to this potpourri post ... for the young trees by
the railroad station in Anacortes were glorious in their pink petticoats.

The sun has come out and now it's time for walking with you-know-who...





...tonight's moon,
on its lofty perch within the branches of the old fir...
or so it seemed.

That owl...
just a figment of my imagination.
I like to think of them out there...flying soundlessly, unseen,
doing what owls do when the moon is full.

Spring seems to have arrived
and I'm no longer feeling caught between...

: : :

Thank you to Skeletal Mess for creating the 'old photo' texture
and to Matt Tillett for sharing his wonderful barn owl...




...it's time for another Texture Tuesday photo and the challenge this week
is the 'oh so SOFT edition.'

This is Isla dawg, watching raindrops.  Or at least, that's what I think she was doing.
She's sitting on the very edge of a small dock about four feet above the pond.  It was a new dock 
and she'd never been out there before.  I don't know if she'd ever looked down *into* water before...
she was fairly new to me at the time so I was still discovering
what she knew...and what she didn't...
like how she barked at waves,
didn't like to chew on hard things,
and lived for love over any other form of reward.

It was a gentle rain that afternoon and I was able to capture (what has turned into) one of 
my favorite shots of her.  Her white ruff is soft as an angora bunny...
that white triangle is such a symbol of her true nature.
It's also a symbol of how she doesn't like her picture taken, something else
I've learned along the way.
If the camera is pointed towards her, she will turn & often gives me her back...

I've re-worked this photo several times since taking it in 2009.  
The straight out of camera shot is
so  b.o.r.i.n.g.  Here's a very lackluster interpretation I did back then...
isn't it just so darn obvious my struggle with digital?

Ha! charting my photographic genealogy!

One of the most exciting things in learning about all the tools available for the "digital darkroom"
is the newfound ability to bring an image around to the way the moment  felt  to me.
That was my joy in the chemical darkroom, too...

: : : 

Today's tools?  Kim Klassen's texture 'embrace' paired with a texture from
French Kiss from the 'Glorious Grunge Collection.'

Is it worth noting...I'm probably not *done* with this photo yet...
it may show up here again at some point, dressed in new textures.  :>]]


I am the daughter of an April fool...


Genealogy is a trickster and a grand informant.  My earliest traceable ancestor on my father's side
immigrated to America from England to escape religious persecution.
He was a Methodist minister who settled in Woburn, MA.  The year was 1608.

Following this line, there were two men who fought together in the Revolutionary War...

my gt.-gt.-gt. grandfather and his son, both named Jirah.
I have copies of their war papers.  Jirah, Sr. was discharged in 1782, the document signed:

"By his excellency George Washington Esq., General and Commander of the Forces of the United States of America &c., John Trumbull, Secty.  By reason of wounds or disabilities received in service, he was placed upon the pension list, and was a pensioner June 1, 1813, "Rank, Private. Annual stipend, $60."

I can't quite fathom this...George Washington himself.

My father's father was named Lewis Napoleon...

As for my own father,  I wish I knew more.
Born today, April Fool's Day, 1924...he would have been 88.
I remain trumped by my own genealogy.

But back to grandpa Lewis... he married a young gal in 1917 by the name of Fanny Mae Bowyer.
She was from Hereford, England (the trickster is going full circle!) and while I lived in the UK in the late '80's,
I visited the village she came from.
I found the headstones of her/my ancestors in the village graveyard and had tea with distant cousins.

Fanny Mae was fond of hand work (just like my maternal grandmother).  She knitted & sewed and sent me presents when I was little.
I don't know what all of this means except that genealogy is potent.
Ever present.