Saturday, August 26, 2017

Summer winding down

Coming toward the official end of summer and I'm feeling I'm due for some kind of a "reboot". My friend June has been taking a summer break from her artistic practice in a purposeful and declared way. I did not declare or intend, but seem to have taken the summer off from what passes for "work" as well. Not much to show on the fiber art front and the blog has been pretty pathetic. Sorry about that. Or maybe not sorry. It's been a pretty great summer.

Two weeks ago my post was "part 1" of my vacation photos, which kind of implied there would be a part 2. Well, I went back to look at what photos I had taken with grandkids at Universal Studios and Los Angeles, and found I had taken very few. That was because we were having too good a time! And I'm OK with that. The pictures are all in my head. I will tell you that I loved Universal Studios and I am not a fan of theme parks AT ALL. The Harry Potter portion of the park is truly spectacular and was such a thrill for Sofia, who has read and adored every single HP book, that the rest of us couldn't help seeing it through her eyes and feeling some magic there.

We had barely recovered from the big California adventure when we hit the road again. When Ray and I realized that the family cabin that my Dad built, and my brother now owns, was within the eclipse path of totality we decided that was a great excuse to head to Idaho, last week, for a visit with brother Steve and SIL, Brenda, and a trip to the cabin. Favorite people, favorite place.

This is where I feel most in the heart of my childhood memories and the spirit of my parents. Steve and Brenda have made it their own, while preserving its heart and soul.

It has been a summer of heat and smoke, flowers and gardens and fresh vegetables, kids and their new dog, dinners on the deck, friends, family, frogs singing in the night, and shouting, joyful kid-sounds ringing through the neighborhood.

There have been magic moments: a young wizard receives her wand; four old folks sit at the edge of a mountain lake and watch the shadow of the moon move across the sun, suddenly extinguishing its light, and briefly, the stars come out and a shout of joy goes up from around the lake.

Another summer almost done. Once kids go back to school I think I'll be ready to go back to work. I'm beginning to wonder where I'll start...

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Very Fun Vacation, part 1

Los Angeles. Just those two words strike fear in my heart. As Ray says, it's a love/hate thing. Love the many amazing things to see and do. Love the weather. Hate the freeways, traffic, confusion. Hate the weather. I thought I had "done" Southern California, with no need to return. I sort of cherished that idea. "I've been there, had a great time, seen a lot, survived the experience and never have to do that again." But then my daughter announced that at the end of their trip to Ecuador to visit family, they were considering a several-day layover in Los Angeles. Their kids had never been to any of the attractions. Wouldn't that be fun? So we had to agree it would be, and Ray and I made our plans to meet them there.

Ray and I arrived two days ahead of the family, so we could do some of our favorite things first. We spent a day at the Getty Museum—in my opinion the very best reason to go to LA and risk life and limb on the freeway. Without a lot of explanation, let me just say it is a museum experience like nothing else, combining natural beauty, architectural genius and great art. The featured exhibits were in celebration of David Hockney's 80th birthday, and were perfection, but did not allow photography.

That evening we met Karen and Ted Rips for dinner and had a great visit! It was, in all, a wonderful day.

The next day we headed down to Olivera Street, where Los Angeles was born. We toured the oldest house in Los Angeles, browsed the Mexican wares in the shops and market and enjoyed an overpriced, but tasty lunch. When in Los Angeles one must go to Olivera Street. It never changes.

Then—a return to someplace very special.

Many years ago I read a story about a man, Simon Rodia, who, over many years, built fantastical structures and mosaics of found objects and broken crockery, in his humble garden in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. In the early '80s, we took our kids to Disneyland and I persuaded Ray to help me find the Watts Towers, as they had come to be known. We drove through a sketchy area of LA, guided by a paper map, with our two small children, and found it—one of the most magical things I had ever seen. I have thought about it for all these years, so on our recent trip we returned to see it again. It has not lost its magic. (For more information go to

My heart was happy. My California to-do list complete. Tomorrow the family arrives and Phase 2 of our California adventure begins!

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Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Summertime, little things

Aren't summer mornings the best? Before I'm even awake, I can hear the sprinklers' "sh-sh-sh-sh" and am aware of a little, fragrant breeze coming through the window screen and ruffling the bedroom curtains. Such a better way to wake up than to dim grey skies and rain. Awwwww

I'm having a lazy summer. Knitting, puttering, finishing projects and working on little things. My eye is nearly healed, but my vision isn't great. I'll need a new glasses prescription once the second eye surgery is done and healed and in the meantime it's hard to focus, especially for long periods of stitching. I'm practicing patience—never one of my stronger assets. Here's a bigger, little piece.

It's about 13"x15". Small pieces that are unframed run the risk of looking like placemats or hotpads, so I'm always looking for ways to give hem a little more presence. This one has a dowel with a wire hanger. The two littler chairs, below, have wire hangers.

I've had fun bending wire and concocting these hangers, but I'm still not sure I like them. What do you think? Hokey? Too rustic? Art is all an experiment...

Last week we went to California and met up with our grandchildren and their parents. I think my next post will be called "The Very Fun California Adventure and We Lived to Tell the Tale". I have photos to go through. Stay tuned...

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