Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rain and Homemade Soup

Ahhhh, finally bound for Lopez again this morning!!  I have packed beading projects, the crocheted table cloth I am working on, materials to weave a commissioned wall piece, and most of the research materials I have to date to work on two proposed books  (one on untangling the math of weaving, and one on single lashed bound weaves) and my new books on how to finish driftwood.  For the books-in-progress, I am simply hoping to clarify my notes and make an outline of how to proceed on each.  If I get more written, I'll be delighted.  Of course I also have my notebook/journal, and drawing accoutrements if I feel the need to sketch.

Bailey has been sitting by his carrier, fully expecting to join me.  Well, at least not wanting to be left behind.  I'm sure he won't graciously enter the carrier on his own, but it's pretty clear (to me, anyway) that he is ready to go.  Silly cat.  Of course, after leaving him for the 5 days when we were in Oregon - yes, someone came in to feed him!- and then again while I was in Hillsboro and then the Bead Retreat, he really won't let me out of his sight.

This will be my first trip to the island in rainy weather.  But my excitement and anticipation are not at all dampened.  I'm looking forward to having a pot of homemade soup simmering on the stove, maybe make some homemade bread, and nestling in for a productive 5 days or so of work.

Now to find my rain slicker....

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pirouetting Fountain Pen

As I was writing my Morning Pages this morning (the primary tool of creative recovery as taught in The Artist's Way - writing three pages of stream of consciousness every morning to cleanse the junk running around in my head so the creativity has a chance to peep through), I started writing about my love of fountain pens.  Okay, well really, my fetish for fountain pens.  I do have quite a collection of them at this point.

So of course, I googled fountain pen fetish, and found there are a strangely large number of people that share my addiction.  No, I didn't find a 12 Step Program, but there are quite of few of us out there loose in society.
Also found a blog that speaks to my heart:  I have to share one posting here that so captures the essence of my relationship with fountain pens:

The pen is poised

The pen here looks like a ballerina en pointe, about to pirouette around the stage. What it’s going to write doesn’t matter as much as the act of writing itself.

"What are you going to 'write' in 'my life'?" by Dan L
On the days that I might find writing Morning Pages a bit tedious, I still show up to write, if only to use my favorite pen.  Love the imagery of pirouetting across the page.  Of course, having the right notebook helps, too...but that just might need to be for another blog.

If you have never written with a fountain pen, I so encourage you to try it.  It epitomizes expressive, flowing elegance. I can only hope that this might inspire some of you to try a fountain pen if you never have before.  Or for those that do have one, to dig it out, wipe it clean, fill it with new ink, and enjoy!



Monday, October 29, 2012

Mountain of Creativity


Just returned from the Northwest Bead Society Retreat on Vashon Island.  What an amazing group of gifted beaders!  My idea notebook is full of books to buy, techniques to try - and yes, projects to finish.  The unfinished projects will wend their way north with me this week when I return to Lopez.

While on retreat, we had some interesting discussions on creativity, inspiration, and what prompts us to create, call ourselves an artist, and be vulnerable to the public eye.  Obviously there isn't just one simple answer to this, and everyone seems to get there by their own path.  But I still think there must be some commonalities for all of us.

In spite of all the other things going on in our lives (family crises, health issues, financial concerns), we still climb that mountain of creativity.  Something greater than ourselves invites us upward.  What is it, exactly, that drives us?  Certainly not profit (for most of us), and it's not that it's easy.  It's showing up, doing the work, and listening to that wee voice of inspiration, and riding that glorious but infrequent updraft of the blast of insight.

I suppose if we could tame it, and name it, it wouldn't be creativity, would it??

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dragonfly Box

Life is not always just about baskets. (Moderation in all things, etc.)  Beading is a close runner-up for me. Here is the new little beaded 5-sided box I created to hold a beaded dragonfly on its lid.  The box itself is 1.5"x 1.75" x 1.75", worked with delicas on Fireline.  The dragonfly is worked with 28 gauge wire and delica beads.

As suggested by some other beaders, I stiffened the finished box with Mop n Glo - it works amazingly well, and the product just seems to disappear.  Who knew??

Friday, October 26, 2012

Weaving Materials

I'm exploring other materials to use in weaving, due to the rattan shortage.  Of course there is always cedar bark, sweet grass, bulrush, telephone wire, copper wire, ash, birch bark - I will just need to adjust my thinking as well as my designs.  Perhaps less weaving and more driftwood?

So just a few more comments on the rattan shortage, and it's relationship within the fuller economical context,  from  (emphases mine)

Bans on raw exports can be difficult to fully enforce. Smuggling is likely to become more common especially in an archipelago where products are shipped from island to island, leaving many opportunities for materials to change course at sea. Indonesia will have to supplement these export bans with much stronger customs enforcement.
Policies are in the works to stop the export of raw mining commodities as well as crude palm oil. These new regulations will need to be supported by more infrastructural development in the country. Indonesia has given these policies until 2015 to go into full effect. In the preceding years there will likely be a large-scale effort to build out each industry so that the entire process from raw material to finished product can be managed domestically.
Indonesia’s handling of its rattan industry is a micro example of a macro trend. Indonesia and similar emerging economies are trying to keep their natural resources within their borders. Larger economies with more developed industries are importing raw materials from less developed countries and manufacturing finished products. In an effort to grow more comprehensive industries, emerging economies need to invest in creating complete, domestic supply chains.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Life's Little Irritations

Ah, still evidently need to learn patience. Interesting, how life presents opportunities for practice and growth.

Got home from the dentist, drove into the garage, and heard a loud hissing sound. Had picked up a huge screw in a rear tire. My dear husband got the spare on, and then I waited 2 hours for 4 (count them - four!) new tires.  Left there directly for a meeting, so had no dinner.

I love my little car with all wheel drive, especially anticipating bad weather on the island. But there is the drawback that all four tires need to match so that all-wheel drive train doesn't get messed up.  I guess that is a small price to pay for security on the road, in the rain and snow.  (Plus my little car holds all of my basketry materials, class projects, sleeping bags, display tables, etc.) 

It's the perfect car.  Cost for tires & service - over $600.  Cost for peace of mind - priceless.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

No Politics

Reading the Island weekly newspaper, it's refreshing to note that while politically aware, the Lopezians don't seem to aspire to cramming their views down another's throat.

I love being a Baha'i, and most especially during this political season.  Baha'i's certainly vote, after educating ourselves on the issues, but we do not join political parties.  We are about unity, and it's no news flash that politics and political parties are divisive.  (Won't it be nice when we are not bombarded with flyers in the mail and irritating phone calls by politicians, as well as having to listen to the opposing parties trash each other???)

O handmaid of the Lord! Speak thou no word of politics; thy task concerneth the life of the soul, for this verily leadeth to man's joy in the world of God. Except to speak well of them, make thou no mention of the earth's kings, and the worldly governments thereof. Rather, confine thine utterance to spreading the blissful tidings of the Kingdom of God, and demonstrating the influence of the Word of God, and the holiness of the Cause of God.
 (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 92)

The only political discussions I sanction are in my basket classes, when we talk about keeping the spokes completely straight and vertical (moderate) while weaving, not leaning to the right (republican) or to the left (democratic)!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rattan Shortage

In Oregon, I learned about the rattan shortage we are just starting to experience in the USA in basketry materials.  So this morning I quickly placed my order for materials for my upcoming classes through January, and got most of the reed that I needed. But the shortage is very real, and the prices have gone quite high.

I came across this blog at that has been well researched and clearly explains the situation.  This all begs the question, as she states, of the future of basketweaving as we know it.  We will definitely see an upsurge in the use of natural materials that are available right here.  This all seems to be a huge problem now, but might this not be a blessing in disguise??  To relearn to gather and prepare our own materials?  We may see a rise in the use of recycled materials as well.  Food for thought.  I just know as a teacher, more planning before submitting teaching proposals will be needed!  And yes, costs may also go up.

From Juliana's blog:  Friday, October 12, 2012

What's Behind the Rattan Shortage?

About a year or so ago, the cost of reed from my supplier was $6.99 per pound. Over the course of the year since, reed prices have steadily increased, and when I checked a few days ago, reed was up to a whopping $8.79/pound!

Coupled with the unbelievable increase in shipping costs, I found myself concerned over the future of basket weaving in America. I'm sure I don't have to explain to you the effect sharp price increases in a struggling economy would have on a small basket-weaving business, let alone not being able to readily get the raw materials needed.

This led me to investigate what exactly is behind this shortage and consequent increase in the price of rattan reed. One supplier mentioned shipment problems from China.

I found several articles that report an Indonesian ban on the export of raw rattan materials effective around the beginning of 2012.

You can read one of the articles here.

Since around 85% of the world's consumption of raw rattan comes from Indonesia, this seems to be the most plausible explanation, and would also explain why China cannot fill the demand for reed at this time (China imports from Indonesia, then exports to the United States).

I believe that destruction of rain forests has contributed to the decision by the Indonesian government to keep its supply in-house, and to only export finished products made in their country that use rattan (rattan furniture is a big one for them).

I also read that the Indonesians have initiated a cultivation program for rattan in an effort to safe-guard the long-term supply.

Based on what I found, I am not holding out much hope that reed prices will drop anytime soon, or that it will become any easier to obtain supplies of reed.

The Indonesian ban is in place for at least the next two years.

All of this calls for a need to find ways to reduce waste, conserve reed, or perhaps try using other more readily available materials for weaving.

It used to be that using wood slotted bases added significantly to the cost of a finished basket, but it is definitely one way to use less reed!

Do you have any cost-cutting ideas? What have you heard about the reason behind the rattan shortage? I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, October 22, 2012

San Juan County Textile Guild

Back from a great teaching time at Rockaway Beach  - and yes, we did have some sunshine (well, some rain at night just like Camelot) but most of the time it was wonderful.  I am ablaze with new ideas, refreshed from being around so many artistic weavers, and filled with vivid images of their amazing creations.  (Making some money while there is also a plus.)

And who could have guessed that while in Oregon I would meet a group of basket makers from the other San Juan Islands??  All are members of the San Juan County Textile Guild.  Since members live on all the islands, some of the meetings are held on the ferries!  The thought just makes me smile.  So, yes, I'm excited to join their group.  The basket weavers are a sub-group of the main guild, and meet on Shaw Island to weave together once a month  Needless to say, that is going to be one of my priorities in scheduling my time on Lopez.

Life is full of delightful, serendipitous meetings!!

Rockaway Beach

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Art and the Divine

For those days that I wake up with a new design or weaving technique in my head (and no, it is definitely not every morning), I am so very sure that the inspiration is coming from outside of me.  If not that, then where do they come from?  Yes, I am inspired (now) by the delights of the island and (always) the world around me, but to have the design almost fait accompli in my head is a bit unnerving. Add into that mix this pull, this attraction to weave that has become a tangible "need" for me.  If I don't weave or create something often enough, I feel out of sorts. Perhaps the draw or magnetism is about searching for a connection to the Divine?

That reminds me of some of the Bahai writings that talk about art (and work - but notice that art comes first!!) as an act of worship:
In this great dispensation, art (or a profession) is identical with an act of worship and this is a clear text of the Blessed Perfection.       (Compilations, Baha'i World Faith, p. 377) 
What an amazing confirmation for ANY of us that our work is actually worship:  to show respect by creating!
And although I'm not comfortable labeling myself as gifted, I can certainly relate to the spirit of this next writing, in trying to develop my work so as to reflect something way beyond myself:
Although now is only the very beginning of Bahá'í art, yet the friends who feel they are gifted in such matters should endeavour to develop and cultivate their gifts and through their works to reflect, however inadequately, the Divine Spirit which Bahá'u'lláh has breathed into the world.                (Compilations, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 81)

Very high aspirations, I know.  And I certainly feel at times like I'm merely stumbling along this path.  All I can do is remain open to inspiration, use my talents to the best of my ability, and take one step at a time.  And be in awe that for some reason, occasionally, I have been chosen to be the channel for this inspiration.  I can only try to do it justice. 


Friday, October 19, 2012

Working The Artist's Way

One of my artist support groups to which I belong (we work in a variety of mediums and decided to try to meet regularly to reflect, critique our work, and hopefully get inspired in our individual artistic growth) has decided to read and study together The Artist's Way - A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia  Cameron. 

I read and worked through the book in 1995, and have tried to maintain some of the disciplines in it over the years, especially the morning pages and artist dates.  I'm eager to reread and rework it with this group.  If you haven't tried the book, I highly recommend it.  Not just for full-time artists, it is for anyone interested in encouraging (finding) their creative side, to be used in their daily lives.  It's pretty amazing.

Actually, we created quite a reading list that we may or may not tackle together as a group, but could serve to inspire us individually as we find the time.  Okay, make the time.  (When I try to find time for something, it becomes quite elusive.)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

School Art Classes

Before I left the island this last time, I had an enlightening discussion about the art classes taught at the school on Lopez - grades K thru 12, with someone in the school district. For an island abounding with artists and craftsmen, not much actual art is being taught in their school!

Do the residents really know what is (or is not) on the curriculum? It's not for lack of a skilled teacher - it's apparently priorities, scheduling and funding. Just seems off to me. And worth some more discussion, obviously! Hmmmm, I can just see me stirring up trouble with this one. I'm not quite sure what my part will be in this, but I've been invited to visit the school, so we'll see what comes of that, and what opportunities it may provide. Who knows, maybe they DO know and just figure their kids will get enough exposure to the arts at home.

Which all begs the question of what art is being taught in the local schools here in my home district.  Why is this even important?  Wouldn't it be a gift to provide all students the opportunity to express their innate creativity and artistic expression, at least for awhile, before it is completely stifled by competition for grades, SAT scores, and getting into the right college?  I have some research to do.

Perhaps this is all part of that BALANCE thing I talked about earlier.  (And I will admit that I'm a little surprised that this topic has so grabbed my attention.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tidal Twinings Here We Come

Off to teach at the Oregon retreat.  It is always a wonderful mix of teaching talented students, visiting with friends, and going to the ocean beach.  Seeing what other basketweavers in the Northwest are creating is immensely inspiring.  I always come home with so many new ideas - and usually some treasures from the oral auction as well.

We'll make our usual stop on the way down (the car just seems to go there automatically) - to Shipwreck Beads in Lacey, Washington - advertised as having the world's largest selection of beads.  I can't vouch for that, but it is an amazing place to wander aisles and aisles of beads, gems, jewelry making items, books and findings.  I find that it's best if I make a very specific list of what I need - wandering around too much gets rather costly! 

PhotoAnd then just possibly we'll include a stop at Cabela's to check out the tools, of course.  (They will also have some Tru Oil so I can try it to finish driftwood.)

Another annual visit is to Powell's Book Store in Portland, Oregon.  Per Wikipedia: "Powell's headquarters, dubbed Powell's City of Books, claims to be the largest independent new and used book store in the world."
All I know is that it covers a full city block, with several floors, and has hard back, paperback, and used books shelved together for ease in shopping. Another very dangerous place to shop!!

It does sound like I love to shop, which is certainly not the case.  However, books, beads and basket tools and supplies are not "shopping" - they are necessities.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Snail Mail

Yesterday morning when I went out to mail a letter in my mailbox, I noticed this little guy that had slithered his way to the top of the mailboxes.

A testament to noticing the small things in life, yes.  But such a delightful, concrete example of the term "snail mail", I just couldn't resist.  Such entertaining moments bring a smile to my face.

Sometimes I wonder how many of these joyful connections I might miss in any given day?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Chicken Drop

My husband returned from the island with tales of Octoberfest.  One of the betting games was "Chicken Drop".  Wondering what in the world that entailed (no pun intended), he wandered over to watch.  Obviously, the imagination was running wild, but he was pretty sure it would not include any danger or abuse to the creature. 

There was a cage with numbers written in squares on the ground.  Bets were placed by picking the "winning" number. They released a chicken into the pen, and within 3 - 5 minutes (really!!), the chicken pooped.  Whoever picked the number of the square where the poop landed, won a t-shirt.  Ah,  the creativity of island life!  (I did ask what kind of chicken they used, but since my husband did not grow up on a farm, all I got was that it had black feet.)

I had to look on-line to see if any place else in the world plays this game.  Evidently it was created in Belize in 1988, and is their most popular gambling attraction.  And so my education continues - in some rather absurd and unexpected directions.

Obviously, next year, I most definitely need to be on the island for Octoberfest!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Home to the Soul

In one of my study groups, we have been reading together Compassionate Woman: the Life and Legacy of Patricia Locke (which I highly recommend, by the way), written by John Kolstoe.  In the portion of the book where he talks about Pat wanting to move to the Reservation (actually the Standing Rock Reservation, home of Lakota Indians, spanning North and South Dakota), when asked why she needed to move there, Pat simply said "It's home."

Further explanations listed that she simply loved to be there, to let it serve as a natural balm for her soul, to hear the singing of the many birds, to watch the deer, to revive her spirit, and just to think.  It held great beauty, remoteness, simplicity, and tranquility.  I had to stop there in our reading, so I could reflect on how succinctly it expressed my own desire to be on Lopez Island.  Her expression of need deeply resonated within me.

And sometimes, I'm finding, it is absolutely okay to feed our souls and do what helps us to "be".

Compassionate Woman Patricia Locke cover

For further information about the book, please see:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Siren Call of the Island

A new goal:  to be able to go to the island without consulting a packing list!  That just may be a dream, but how nice to just pack some clothes, groceries, and go.  I'll share that day with you if it evers comes to fruition.  Just a thought as I add to the ever-growing list for my next trip up.

My husband is going to the island this weekend to do some work up there - install smoke detectors and do some minor repairs.  And I am completely jealous, because I have commitments here and can't go with him.  This is going to take alot of self-talk to be fully present in my meetings and classes while he is gone, and not resent the fact that I am here on the mainland.  Talk about the Siren's call!

So I will content myself with reviewing pictures of Anadaré nestled in the woods, and the beach with its beckoning views and driftwood.  Maybe I should make one of those pictures the wallpaper on my iphone?  Not sure if that constant reminder will help or hinder.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Finishing Driftwood?

One of my new friends on Lopez shared with me that her husband used to work with driftwood, too - had the same love affair with it that I do.  But he sanded and finished the wood! Now why hadn't I thought of that??  It certainly sent my creative brain spinning and envisioning.  So now I need to do some research and start asking questions about sanding techniques and finishing.  A quick survey of the topic on-line provides a myriad of "how-to" articles on prepping, de-bugging (literally, not in the computer or technical sense), sanding, finishing and sealing driftwood. Who knew?

It also produced this quote that reflects my own thoughts so perfectly:

"Fascinating driftwood, battered by the elements, bleached by the sun, coming possibly from very far away, and finally washing ashore for us to harvest and unfold its artistic potentials."
I don't want this to overshadow the weaving, but it certainly would put the pieces that incorporate driftwood into a more refined category.  Sigh - so many possibilities.  And exactly the type of new ideas and inspiration I was hoping for.  Not all of them will "catch", but it's so fun to explore. (Okay, and it also holds the possibility for the necessity of new tools....maybe even power tools!!!!) 
It just gets better and better.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Salt Air & First Basket

It's bittersweet, puttering around my little nest as I clean-up and pack for the trip back to the mainland.  I won't be able to be back for 3 weeks!  I took my tea outside to the deck, and the silence is amazing.  No traffic sounds, no planes overhead, the birds aren't really awake yet - the stillness just seeps into my soul as I say morning prayers.  And have I even mentioned the fresh, salty air??

Growing up near salt water, I took the scent of the salt in the air for granted.  It wasn't until I went to college in Eastern Washington that I realized what I was missing.  One of the best parts of coming home for the holidays was the first sniff of the salty air again.  Smelling it now just totally centers me and feels right.  Simply another reason that I need to be here.

And now by popular demand, here is the first completed basket (although yet untrimmed) at Anadaré - Nine Star Base Basket.  And yes, shown with some of my beloved driftwood.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Simpler Life

Finally have internet service!  No thanks at all to CenturyLink in general, but a huge thanks to Jonathon in data technical support.  Still can't figure out why no one else could get it fixed on my first through third calls, but it is working now!

Another productive day.  Sorry, no photos just yet - one piece is for a show that no one can see ahead of time, and the other is just not quite done.  But here is a portion of my walk to the beach instead.
How could you NOT head to the beach each day with this beckoning????

Have been thinking all day how living this quieter, simpler life makes me want to reach out to friends, both old and new, spend more quality time in prayer, and just helps me reflect on what 's important in life and get some priorities straight.  Maybe it's because I have so many balls I'm trying to keep in the air at home, this time apart lets me just be.  This is not to make excuses, it's just easier to hear my head and heart and act accordingly I think. I know, I can't blame my busy life on anyone but myself.  Maybe I need both worlds - at least for now???

Monday, October 8, 2012

Working View

My first full day on the island, all alone and actually working!  Wow, if you can even call it work.  I woke up to an amazing view of the bay, watched the birds flit through my trees and field (yes, I bought a bird book….still trying to identify some of them), and worked on a beading project for 3 hours.  A neighbor stopped by late morning for a visit, then I worked until 4, beading a bit more and working on the rim for the 9 Petal Based basket.

At that point, I figured I had earned a trip to the beach, so I drove the couple of miles to Agate Beach.  The tide was high, so it was tough looking for agates.  But the view there is breathtaking.  Note to self:  get a tide chart.

Aside from the call of the beach, there are no distractions (TV or even internet, yet), so really all there is to do is work.  Well, okay, I did dance a little bit to some music.  But it’s so pleasant to weave a bit, then look up and absorb the calm of the bay or bunnies playing in the field.  And I’m not tied to any schedule.  Here is my view for weaving:

Today definitely put a smile on my face.  And it even was quite productive!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bailey the Cat

Not sure if I mentioned that Bailey, my rather odd cat (oxymoron? redundant?) has been making the trek to the island with me.  The first time when we were painting, he spent 1/2 of the first day beside the toilet, peeking around the corner.  After that, it was like he owned the place.  The next trip up last week, he stepped out of his carrier, looked around as if to say "I know this place" and immediately made himself at home. 

I decided to try taking him with me, because he and my husband are not overly fond of each other.  When I travel to teach, they never see the other....somehow avoiding each other for a week at a time.  At home, Bailey does follow me from room to room like a dog, so I thought it was worth a try to see if he could handle the voyage to the island.

He loves the bay window in the front, which goes down to the floor.  He can lay there and survey the view.  He's intrigued with the horses in the far pasture (I'm not sure he understands the perspective issue so perhaps they appear to be mice to him??), all the birds, and the deer that come right up to the low deck and are eye level.  But he does NOT like the wild turkeys.....he'll glare at them while backing away, as if thinking that birds that size are really, really wrong.

So to make his journey to the island a bit more comfortable, I cut down an old pillow this morning to pad his kitty carrier.  Actually it looks pretty comfy!  The car ride is not his favorite thing to do, but at least he doesn't yowl in protest.  He just meows occasionally, asking (I'm sure) - Are we there yet??

And he does like the shower in the main bathroom at Anadaré.  What?  Your cat doesn't take showers with you?  (I told you he was odd.)  The tub has a built-in step on the outside of it, so it's easier for him to get up on the rim of the tub and lounge there to stick his paws in occasionally if I'm taking a bath, or patrol the rim if I'm in the shower and stick his head and half his body around to get wet.

One more item off the list for the trip up tomorrow!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Good Memories

Today, after water aerobics,  I finished weaving a second class basket sample for the teaching trip to Oregon, ordered some class materials (why DO I leave some of that to the last minute??), worked on a beading project for the bead retreat that is right after the Oregon retreat, and gathered more household items to take to the island.

One table cloth that I packed was my mother's, and I remember it from the kitchen table at Wollochet Bay as a child.  Interesting how we hold onto some things and let others go from our life.  But it's a simple, satisfying feeling to have this table linen filled with memories traveling to Anadaré with me.  Did we use more linens and doilies back then? Absolutely.  So it's a little thread bare and I think it has a hole or two in it.  Actually, I remember playing mahjongg on that table cloth with my parents and sister on the occasional, winter Sunday afternoon.....and oh so many card games and jigsaw puzzles. Good memories - may it be a starting place for all of the good memories I hope to create on the island.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Recipe for Happiness

Returning to the island in just three days - days full of meetings, preparing class materials for teaching in Oregon in two weeks, taking care of the business of being a mobile notary (to help defray some of the costs of my island retreat), more meetings, and then a day with friends.  So part of my recipe for happiness? Retreat to the island for quiet, reflection, and creative work, then back to the mainland to take care of the business side of things and see friends - then repeat.....often.

As I was getting a pedicure today, between running errands and purchasing some essentials for the island, I was reflecting on how happy I am and that I love my life.  I'm not sure I've ever really said that so often to myself, as I have these last few weeks.  I'm not telling myself I don't deserve it, plus I'm not waiting for the other shoe to drop because I said it!  Hmmmm, just a possibility of some healthy growth going on, as well as an abundance of gratitude.

The beauty of the island is not diminished in the least by some clouds and mist. I'm tempted to rename this Serenity Bay, but I'll hold off on that until I see what it's like during a winter storm.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Driftwood Zen

Back on the mainland, which feels more like my "temporary" home now, I'm happily planning the return trip to the island.   I almost feel lightheaded at times, possibly from this shifting of reality.  I want to be fully present in each part of my life, but  it's taking some effort, that is certain.  I"m sure we're all tired of my on-going saga in trying to get internet access, so suffice it to say that I'm not at all impressed with the customer service by CenturyLink.  I AM impressed, however, that I haven't gone into Dragon Lady mode with them.....yet. (So now the next possible connection will be next Monday.  More opportunity to breathe and take it all in stride.  Who knew this would be one of the hurdles of island life??)

Back to the main point of all this - creating!  My first new piece will obviously need to incorporate driftwood.  I've collected several pieces that are "speaking" to me, so I'm eager to sit down and let them come to be.  But I have far more sketches for ideas than I can probably ever weave - wall hangings, book ends, and of course baskets. One delightful part of this process is that I am surrounded by these wooden, wave tossed treasures - their rough edges worn smooth, forming such unique shapes.  This couldn't be a metaphor for the my sharp edges being softened, gaining patience with this process, could it???

Monday, October 1, 2012


Today was a day of waiting – for the phone guy to come to fix the internet hookup, for the counter guys to come to finish the new counter, for the phone company manager to call back regarding the dreadful customer service we are receiving, for the counter guys to come back tomorrow to complete the work, for the phone company to maybe come tomorrow instead…..all small irritations that could normally cause me to feel unsettled.  But how can I be anything but peaceful, when I look out at this view?  Calmness simply pervades, and I quietly go about doing the small chores that I CAN do, and explore my forested lot, and wander down to the beach to receive emails so I can get on a conference call (since I still have no internet….or did I already mention that?).

But the sign is up on its perfect piece of driftwood, serenely waiting to welcome my family, friends, and  specially chosen artists in residence who want to breathe this salty air, experience the peace and tranquility, and get inspired by the absolute beauty of this retreat.  So yes, I do plan on sharing my bounty of living here!

(And now a drive into the village to use the library’s wi-fi.  But it won't download the picture of the stay tuned for that!  All part of life on the island.  )