Sunday, June 30, 2013

Slower & Simpler - Empathy

The whole point of living a slower and simpler life is to really LIVE your life, be aware.  And a huge part of that for me, now, is empathy.  I found this touching video just recently. It is truly worth taking a few moments to view.

I can't change what is happening in another's life.  But I can be empathetic - with a smile, a small courtesy, a quick email or written note to say congratulations, or I'm sorry, or I'm just here for you. Perhaps it is simply patience with another, and not jumping to judgments or conclusions.  It is so easy for me to be self-absorbed in my own issues and problems.  I'm reminded to look up, look around, and be aware of people around me.

Food for thought.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Island Choices

On the island, and it's summer, and there are so many lovely distractions enticing me away from
Anadaré and working, as I "should" be doing.  Somehow, I have a hard time dealing with "shoulds" when the island life and beach beckon.  (But then, the quiet and solitude also are so conducive to weaving and designing.)
Tonight there is an art opening and reception at the Colin Goode Gallery & Studio, tomorrow is the Farmer's Market.  And I'm starting to make a list of the possible diversions before, during, and after July 4th - outdoor concerts, Shakespeare at the Winery, and of course, the fireworks. I'm always amazed at the variety and abundance of island activities and cultural offerings.
And people ask me if I don't get bored here?  Really????

Friday, June 28, 2013

Coiled Basket on Shaw Island

Unpacked the car in sunshine yesterday evening.  Woke up to a gentle rain - is life just not perfect???

Walked onto the ferry to go to Shaw Island for Basket Day - and again, I appreciate just being able to walk onto the ferry without crutches.  I will never take mobility for granted again - at least that is my hope. Okay, I didn't exactly skip down the walkway, but the freedom of simply walking, especially unassisted, is refreshing.

A day with friends.....weaving.....sharing ideas......planning artistic adventures.  I worked on a coiled basket designed by Judy Wilson, called Anasazi.  It's a small and surprisingly firm little basket, rimmed  with beads.  I have plans to make it in other colors, but do love the simplicity of the cream and black. Coiling has such a pleasing rhythm and relaxation to it. And the best part?  Mine actually looks hers!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bridge is Up & Coming Home

The temporary bridge for I-5 at Mt. Vernon is up, and life is good.  Sophie and I had an easy commute to the island.  Waiting for the ferry in Anacortes, even in the rain, breathing the salt air simply eased all tension from my body (Sophie was simply asleep).  Coming home has never been so sweet.  Truly, one of these days I will simply just not go back to the mainland.  My husband says he will commute, and I may have to take him up on that.

I have packed enough basketry materials to weave for 3 solid weeks, but also have my harp, crocheting projects (that hummingbird tablecloth just might get finished one of these days), and beaded vessels to make.

I'm looking forward to solitude, work time, visiting the Farmer's Market, and going to art openings.  And even getting to the beach, although I'll probably have to take my cane with me.  HOME AT LAST.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Return of the Twinkies

News update: Twinkies will be back in stores by July 15!!! My husband (and millions of others) will be delighted.

The new owners (after the bankruptcy) say they will taste the same, just have different packaging with the tag line: The Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever.


PHOTO: This undated image provided by Hostess Brands LLC shows A box of Twinkies is shown in this undated image provided by Hostess Brands LLC.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Special Assistance, Special People

Traveling was a breeze thanks to those special folks that assist the mobility challenged among us.

Kudos to James from the Sheraton in Nashville (really - managed my baggage from my room, on the shuttle, and to check-in at the airport) and Sarah in Denver - extending my ride in the airport to take up my long layover!!!  (Sorry for the lack of oh so many ways.)

Am home safely, albeit very busy in reading all the accumulated emails, doing paperwork from the teaching trip, going to doctors appointments, and packing for an extended time on Lopez.  I have so many new ideas from this last trip that I'm excited to try.

Sophie (the kitty) was so worried that predators had taken me since I was gone so long that she even forgot to be upset with my absence, but just cuddled last night.  And yes, it was definitely nice to see my husband again.  It's a testament to the absolute pull that Lopez has on me that I even want to leave again so soon. But then, returning to the island is returning home.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Wearing Jeans

 So eager to get home. And it's delightful to be wearing jeans again (I am definitely a Washingtonian), as I travel. It is so hot and humid here that shorts or capris are essential. I am much more at home in my blue jeans!

So one more trip with airports and wheelchairs, planes and waiting. But the good part? Plenty of time to make lists for going to Lopez for a blessed 3 weeks!  Oh, and working on a new coiled basket that I just started...., and crocheting a basket weave potholder. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Slower & Simpler - Southern Living

Driving from Kentucky to Tennessee today was the epitome of slow, southern way. The roads were fairly empty, and we had a relaxing southern breakfast. Getting ready to come home tomorrow, but for now we'll be pampered in our lovely hotel. And my lists are starting for returning to Lopez!!!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Porch

Weaving on the porch after classes in the cool of the evening. Here is "Louise" working on a coiled basket. (I know you're reading this, Thelma!)

Cubed Squared Class

There are some wonderful weavers here in Kentucky. This is a deceptively difficult basket (done in lattice twining), but they have all risen to the occasion. 

We have laughed until we cried several times. I'm getting tired from my knee and teaching every day,
but this is oh so worth it!  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Waxed Linen Beauties

Judy Wilson's waxed linen delights. (And at last I found a spot where my phone works....hopefully).

My own classes have been going great. Wonderful students in a lovely, natural setting in RURAL Kentucky.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Travel Zentangle

I'm back to zentangling most mornings. Normally I have my computer or books close by for ideas (it's comforting to have designs handy so I don't have to create my own every single time).  But when traveling, I don't carry my computer or pile of zentangle books.

And then I discovered the book Zentangle Untangled , by Kass Hall - the Nook version!!  Color me happy!!  With a travel set of pens, a small sketchbook, and my nook, I'm all set.  The meditative drawing helps me get centered in the mornings before I teach, as well as helps to boost creative thinking.  It's sort of like calm calisthenics to keep my artist healthy.

It also helps me to be aware of patterns in the world around me, including floors, wallpaper, and most obviously, weaving designs by the gifted basket weavers at this conference.  I'm sure I'll make a few converts to zentangling - artistic sorts are attracted by the amazing designs.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Jabez, KY via Nashville, TN

My biggest challenge this week will be living in the moment and being fully present for my classes, renewed friendships, and the adventures endemic to travel.  My heart seems to be fully planted on Lopez Island and I can hardly wait until this trip is over and I can escape to Anadaré.  Ok, now that's been cleared up, I'll try not to mention it every single day.

Flying into Nashville, TN last night (after a layover in Denver) provided ample reading time.  (See - ever the optimist!)  All my bags also arrived - even better, since I can't teach without materials.  The best part was reuniting with a very good friend from Alaska, with whom I will drive up to Kentucky today as well as share a room at the conference center at Jabez, near Somerset.

So let the exploits begin!  New weaving opportunities to have patience with my mobility issues....

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Slower & Simpler - The Small Picture & Simple Questions

Simple living seems to require answering some simple questions.  I discovered this blog on minimalism that treats interesting topics in simple and direct ways.

One of the problems I had when I started down the minimalist path was seeing the “small picture”....
Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, try asking yourself a simple question or two.
  • What’s one thing I can never find when I need it?
  • What’s one thing that’s always in my way?
  • What’s one thing I never use because it’s inconvenient to get to?
  • What’s one thing I should eat more of?
  • What’s one thing I should eat less of?
  • What’s one thing I can throw away or donate?
  • What’s one thing I can do to move this project forward?
This might help you get unstuck. It might help you feel less overwhelmed. And if you “think small” often enough, you might just find the big things have a way of taking care of themselves.
- See more at:

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.
- -Pablo Picasso-

Working to complete the kits for this next teaching trip, I'm wondering why my usually efficient self has been afflicted with procrastination.  Why?  What? 

Possibly it is so uncomfortable because it really isn't "me".  At least, not my view of myself.

The hidden gem?  My darling daughter is coming over to help me finish getting ready and pack up.  (See, lessons from what I am coming to view as my year-of-mobility-challenges: ask for help when you need it.)

A loving daughter is a precious thing.

Friday, June 14, 2013

How Do We Make Choices?

Why do I read some news articles and not others?  Why do you read this blog (and whatever others that you read)?  Why do I live where I live?  Of course, once I start pondering on a question, a search on the net produces some interesting results.

Daily Good has an article on the psychology of choice.
Why are you reading this? How did you decide to click the link, load the page and stay? How do we decide to do anything at all and, out of the myriad choices we face each day, what makes one option more preferable over another? This is one of the most fundamental questions of the social sciences, from consumer psychology to economic theory to behavioral science.

If you haven't the interest or time to read the full article, they do suggest several books that cover the topic (one of which I'm downloading to my Nook as I write so I might read it on the plane to Kentucky):

How We Decide  by Jonah Lehrer
The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely
The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar      

I'm intrigued!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Miniature Baskets

You have to love our basketry guild.  Our speaker for the meeting last night had to cancel.  Spontaneously and creatively, one member suggested that we each bring some miniature baskets from our own collections to share.  Then we added an ice cream social, and ta-da!  A great event!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Beading Buddies

After my 3 month mobility-induced hiatus from my beading group, it was delightful to spend part of yesterday getting caught up with the group, being inspired by their beading projects, and learning about new kits and classes being offered.  My own contribution was showing the beaded vessels that I'm making in anticipation of the Artists Studio Tour on Lopez during the Labor Day Weekend - the tiny purses, pentagon pendant holders, and beaded chalices (to date).

And while I'm definitely not quite ready yet to commit the funds to go to some of the beading shows (such as Bead & Button or Beading by the Bay), I'm intrigued by some of the kits and patterns available.  There is still have quite the learning curve on all of this.  I'm familiar with the basketry world and its teachers; I'm only beginning to recognize well-known teachers and artists in the beading world.

What always attracts me most are the beaded geometric forms.  Think some of my reading on this next basketry trip will be The Beaded Sphere by Judy Walker.  Hopefully I will be all inspired on what to work on next as soon as I get home from teaching in Kentucky and return to the island for an extended time!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Taking Health for Granted

Things often happen for a reason, for a lesson to be learned. I know I've commented on lessons from using crutches, but a larger focus just may be not to take health in general for granted.  I now appreciate walking up or down stairs (a simple, every day task that I need to relearn), even walking normally (without limping or favoring one leg) is a task.  But I do know that life is very restricted if health (or mobility) is limited.  Huge learning: do not take my health for granted.

This past month has given me a lot to think about when it comes to health matters. What I’ve observed is that we take our health for granted, period. This is not new news but it’s worth highlighting. Most people are so busy focusing on their many external things that health is at best a side bar. But it’s much more than that, its about life and death. And until something goes wrong, we don’t seem to take much notice of it. What we fail to understand or think about is that our health is the conduit to so many things like, watching our families grow and have their families, enjoying friendships, having lifelong passions and being able to make them happen or even being able to simply work hard at a job. Without your health none of these things are possible. In some cases there are very specific things that we could be doing to live healthier and then there are cases where our health concerns are random or genetic and out of our control. If I think about it the most important learning is to live every day and feel grateful for your health and not take it or really anything for granted. But also to do the little things you can do to make yourself healthier.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Weekend Highlights

Grandson's birthday party at a trampoline center:
 - wishing I could jump and play, but strictly (and wisely) counseled not to do so with my still healing knee
 - chuckling about parking in the handicapped slot at a trampoline center.....who does that?????
- watching my grandsons grow up before my very eyes

Grandson's birthday adventure with Auntie & Nana (moi) on Crystal Mountain
- riding the Gondola to the top - sharing escapades and spectacular views at 6856 feet
- having special, quiet moments to talk or just dream together
- creating memories with him that will last a lifetime

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Slower & Simpler - Trading Up

There are some posts that simply (pun intended) astound me.  As I read this, I realized that this is exactly what I am trying to do with my lifestyle, even if I hadn't put it into words.  Now I have the words....

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 10:25 AM PDT

The more I think about the Be More with Less philosophy and the minimalist mindset, I realize that it really isn’t about owning less. Instead it is the willingness to consider that in order to live your very best life, you have to make a trade.

Your best life is not a result of having it all or trying to have it all, but including and appreciating what means most to you. That almost always means giving up all of the things that mean little or nothing. It means making big and small trades daily and over time.

Some of the trades I’ve made to live my best life:

§ I traded meat and milk for a less inflammatory, vegetarian diet that has resulted in better health.

§ I traded expensive vacations, new cars, jewelry and other luxuries to pay off debt.

§ I traded a stressful, reliable job for work I love that comes with more uncertainty, which has led to more joy and creativity in my work.

§ I traded most of my clothing for a tiny wardrobe that allows me get ready with ease and spend less.

§ I traded money for time, stuff for people and stress and drama for love and health. 

§ I traded the fear of uncertainty for getting started anyway.

§ I traded dwelling in the past for celebrating the right now.

None of these trades happened overnight. Some took years. Trades aren’t always black and white either, but sometimes less and more. For instance, I will trade less needing for more giving and less planning for more openness to new adventures.

I asked you on Twitter and Facebook about what you will trade …

§ I will trade autopilot for mindfulness.

§ I will trade having for doing.

§ I will trade buying for reusing.

§ I will trade food for weight loss.

§ I will trade shopping for knitting and stressing for confidence.

§ I will trade working more hours to acquire things for more time with my precious children.

§ I’ll trade frustration for confidence and clutter for freedom.

§ I will trade stress for health.

§ I will trade an under-paid part time job for a better family-life balance.

§ I will trade clutter for simplicity, freedom and peace.

§ We will trade luxury for necessity to live our best lives – and help other people live theirs!

§ I will trade expectations for peace to live my best life.

Some will have you believe that you deserve everything and success will come when you own it all, balance it all, or even give it all away. Instead, what you really deserve is time and space to fully consider and understand what is most important to you and what you want to include in your very best life.

Once you identify what those things are, you can begin to thoughtfully trade the meaningless, the distracting, the hurtful, and the mind numbing for focus and attention on the loving, the happiness, the beautiful and the most meaningful things.

Don’t be afraid to rethink and trade up.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Cleaning In the Moment

This morning I got a bit sidetracked by what I call "cleaning in the moment".  I can open a cupboard or drawer for months at a time, and simply ignore, or basically not see, the jumble, chaos, and proliferation of superfluous "stuff".  Then one day, it's so glaring that I simply must tackle it. 

That's what happened today, after I put the water on to heat for my morning tea.  The vitamin/medicine shelf in the kitchen beckoned loudly.  I grabbed a plastic bag (outlawed in Seattle, but I certainly still use them) and filled it with old meds, ancient half-used bottles, vitamins past their expiration dates, etc.  That felt so good, that I promptly (yes, the water is still heating) went upstairs and cleaned out a bin in the hall linen closet that contained old (and never to be used, but too good to throw out) lotions, creams, and extraneous make-up.  These are all unopened, so will be donated to the shelter.

Two bags later, and feeling more organized than I have in the three months of dealing with my broken leg, I'm just settling down with my tea.

"Cleaning in the moment" is spontaneous, cleansing, freeing, and really takes only a few minutes.  And because it is spontaneous, I don't put it off by over-thinking it, or trying to "find" just the right moment to start.  I just do it.  And I even found a couple of items that need to go to Lopez, that I didn't know that I had.  Lovely.

Yes, I'm feeling pretty satisfied, and I haven't even had breakfast yet.

Friday, June 7, 2013


Sometimes it's just nice to be inspired.  Here are some recent additions to my studio book that truly fuel my creative juices.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Ah (ough), I am so easily distracted sometimes....

The combination "ough" can be pronounced in nine different ways in English. The following sentence contains them all: "A rough-coated (uff), dough-faced (oh), thoughtful (aw) ploughman (ow) strode through (oo), the streets of Scarborough (uh); after falling into a slough (ew), he coughed (off) and hiccoughed (up).  When the word slough is used to indicate shedding skin, like snakes do, it is pronounced sluff. Slough meaning wet, swampy ground can be pronounced either slou (rhymes with cow) or slew.
Bumfuzzle:   confuse; perplex; fluster; may have begun as dumfound, which was then altered first into dumfoozle and then into bumfoozle. Dumfound (or dumbfound) remains a common word today, but bumfuzzle unfortunately is extremely rare.

Cattywampus:  askew, awry, kitty-corner. Long ago English gamblers called the four-dotted side of a die cater (from the French quatre, "four"). The placement of those four dots suggested two diagonal lines, which is likely how cater came to mean (dialectally, anyway) "to place, move, or cut across diagonally."  Catercorner (later kitty-corner) and caterwampus –and eventually cattywampus –followed.

All of this, simply because someone said cattywampus at a meeting, which another said dumbfounded them, and we started thinking about words in general.

Yup - too easily distracted.





Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Basketry Materials

Apparently, I'm easily engaged by being surrounded by basketry materials.  The feel and smell of wet reed and cedar bark, handling and winding waxed linen, and slipping patterns into sleeves are all entertaining and soothing to me.  Making kits always seems like work before I start.  Once I begin, I'm lulled into the rhythm and enjoy bringing order out of the chaos.

Maybe its that organizational gene that I have.

Or perhaps it is simply that I love being surrounded by all of the materials.

At any rate, getting the class kits ready for teaching is always more enjoyable than I remember.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Siren's Call

There really is nothing at all like coming home after traveling.  And while I know I complained about the weather being so hot, I have to laugh when I see that it's supposed to be warmer here this week than in Boston......not that it will be nearly the heat that we experienced over the weekend, however!

Watching the History Channel on the plane, I received several interesting inspirations for future pieces of work.  I simply never know where new ideas or designs may arise.  I need to finish getting ready for teaching in Kentucky in a couple of weeks, so these revelations are just noted in my studio book until I return to the island and can start playing with them.

It's probably better that I didn't return directly from Boston to the island but rather eased back into my slower life here at home first - I probably would have been traumatized by the culture shock - the absolute opposites in life styles.  Anyway, I have a bit more traveling to complete before I can return to my island oasis.  It's siren call is constant......

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Slower & Simpler - In The City?

Visiting in Boston in the very midst of the city, makes me appreciate how much easier it is to think and live the slower and simpler life when NOT in a city. The constant traffic noise is unsettling to my rural and island ears. It seems that everything here is on fast mode.

Oh, and the drivers? Aggressive is about the only way to describe them.  I'm used to Seattle traffic, but it doesn't hold a candle to what appears to me as rude and inconsiderate (they see it as normal).

I have so much more appreciation of the quiet, friendly island I'm calling home. Sometimes one needs a little distance to really understand and embrace life's treasures. 


Staying in this brownstone built in the 1800's. My hostess put a window air conditioner in for me! Wish I could walk about some and see more of the area. There is so much history here, but also we're so close to where the bombings were - an odd juxtaposition. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013


It's Boston.  It's hot. It's humid. It's fun to visit but even better knowing I don't live here.

Perhaps it would be better if I could get out walking, but that's not happening this trip - obviously.

I have a lovely hostess.  The board meeting is "interesting" (I don't dare say more than that yet). There is no air conditioning.

And I get to go home in two days.