Wednesday, April 29, 2009

caught up in what?

Having completed the last cloth piece a few weeks ago, I find myself more than a week behind on mailing the last round-robin book. I just haven't done a thing with it, and should give it up as a bad job and mail it off, start the next one. I miss having a creative project in the works. CW and RW are both renewing their requests for something quilty from my hands, and I have the fabric (with more ready to buy on my EQuilter wish list.) I should settle on patterns, start cutting. Make a summer of it. I'm sort of resistant now to producing functional objects, but I know I will make loved ones happy if I get busy. Meanwhile, I've grabbed up plenty of distractions. What have I been doing instead?

More reconnecting with folks I haven't seen in months. Hungry for this sort of connection, and for escape from anxieties in general, I've probably imbibed too much coffee and wine and such lately in the name of "reconnection" and relation. Welcome back, CH! See you soon, BC! All this socializing makes me feel like Queen of Slack. I even talked to my mom on the phone for almost an hour, this morning.

What have I accomplished though? Got our taxes done in time for the deadline. Paid a large sum to creditors out of the refund. (Now I'm left with the much larger anxiety of untangling the mysteries associated with Spirit in the House, but I need permission to hire an accountant for that. We didn't get our 501c3 and that leaves us holding the bag on several issues. Press on, press on.)

I dug out a new flower bed on Saturday, and now our large, wonky triangle is an even-larger and wonkier rectangle with a path running through it. One half will be veggies and one half flowers, and by mid-June it will hopefully be lovely. But I'm sore, still, here and there from all the shoveling and sod-busting.

I attended a spiritual retreat on Saturday that did leave me feeling very peaceful and determined, at least for a couple of days. More later on that, maybe.

I skipped church Sunday and spent a chunk of the weekend at home instead, trying to put in the kind of consecutive hours that will help my husband and son relax a little. I'm probably spending all that bank down this week already though -- late last night after a couple of drinks with CH, didn't get home until 7pm. Late tonight because I let myself go downtown to find a few summer outfits that would actually fit. 7pm. I'll be late tomorrow due to another social engagement, struggling to make it home by 7pm or so. And late Thursday as well, due to meetings for work. By Friday, we'll be back to Bad Mommy status, which is what happens when your husband and son make it home by 3:30 or 4pm each day and commence to waiting for you. 6pm is a really reasonable time for me to get home, considering I work normal business hours four days a week; s0 7pm shouldn't be a big deal. But when they get home at 4pm, none of that matters. Home is where they want me, asap. Yeah I know, it's tough being loved.'ve been to bed early the past few nights, trying to catch up. Stayed up crazy late one night last week, watching Hill Street Blues reruns and posting on Facebook. It took a few days to recover, in combination with the digging in the dirt. Here I am now, 1am on the dot, not a cure in sight for what ails me....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I can see clearly now...

I did not ride today, because the wind doth blow really hard (warm front) -- and because I knew I'd be spending the evening in south Mpls, whence comes the windy wind. So I feel funky, sort of in need of a stretch -- just sitting all day. Sitting at my desk, on the bus, in the bar, at the new LSS building. Sitting.

The wind and its warmth are a gift, a preview of coming attractions.

Facebook is causing me to underappreciate the blog. Fb is all about instant gratification (unless you're trying to arrange a coffee date, which I have found to be well nigh on impossible in most cases.) Fb is the enemy of articulate thought.

It's been a week of motion. Movement in affairs, in relationships, in the weather. Things happening -- I've connected this week with no less than FOUR lovely people whom I haven't had contact with in anywhere from seven months to eighteen YEARS. (Suz gets the prize. Then come Chuck, Aza and Amy.) I'm so so so blessed to still have all these people in my life. It renews my faith in connection.

And other things too -- dreams. Visions, big gifts, little gifts, messages from beyond. Words filtering in about my role in life, about the purpose of living. And here I thought Easter had passed me by. I'm awed.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

at the Textile Center Garage Sale

I went to the annual MN Textile Center "Garage Sale" Friday night, Fundraiser night (when it costs $25 at the door, but I'm not a member so it's a worthwhile donation.) CW agreed to go with me, surprisingly, and the three of us with H actually found a parking space in the rear of the building on University Ave. The Textile Center is nestled into the side of the Prospect Park neighborhood, a big hill overlooking the river flats and lots of industrial space, with twisting roads and beautiful old homes. Capelen's "witch's hat" water tower is perched on top, a landmark visible for miles. Anyhow, parking there is always a trial, we were blessed. I poked my head cautiously out the car door after we pulled in, raising my eyebrows at two ladies holding an impromptu barbeque (with beers) on the back steps. "Can we really park here?" I asked, and they laughed and nodded.

The place was of course a mob scene -- mainly giddy, disheveled women with bags and bags of stuff piled up to be counted out and paid for. A trio on accordion, fiddle and clarinet played fast-paced folky-sounding music -- klezmer maybe -- and my five year old was immediately mesmerized. Now he wants an accordion, but I suspect that's because it looks like a machine, a notion obsessing him for months on end. The music was perfect for that environment -- frenetic, joyful, lunatic. Cloth mongers of every shape and size jammed into the very modestly proportioned Textile Center, snapping up deals on everything from cotton and wool remnants and leather pieces to organza by the bolt and hand-dyed yarn, vintage tapestry and kimono scraps; plus piles and piles of normal, even boring quilting cotton. H was at first a little taken by the abundant silliness of it all, and many women smiled down at his comments and observations. He (I think intentionally) kept picking out the ugliest stripes and plaids for my approval. How about this one Mommy? And how about this one? Giggling every time. I wasn't putting down his choices, but I truly think he was messing with me. He's a kid raised in fabric stores. As he began to wear out, after CW paid for her finds and hit the snack bar, H located a bag stuffed with black-and-rainbow dyed yarn straight out of the Eighties. He hugged it to him, he had to have it. I tried to talk him out of it, hoping he'd settle instead for something I might actually use, but no-go. I don't knit, so I suppose we should try wrapping things with it -- sticks and such. Maybe make a God's Eye. (Yes, we also have one of those potholder kits, weaving with loops of dyed jersey.)

Life is good. I scored many fine bags of scraps, including some really lovely silk brocades, some kimono pieces, a pile of masterfully collected African print fabrics, and a whole host of not-so-boring cottons. At the last moment, as they announced the fifteen-minute warning, I found a beautifully-textured hand-knitted scarf in pastel rose for just $2, and grabbed it up off the floor where it had evidently tumbled during the fray. CW loves it and it will look good on her in the fall. Filled up my giant cloth bag from the State Fair full of goodies, and we spent a few more minutes wedged in at one of the cafe tables, enjoying the klezmer trio while CW chatted with a woman I remembered from way, way, WAY back in my W.A.R.M. days.

CW gleefully pulled out all my finds and examined every piece when we got back to the house, as H relaxed with a snack and a glass of cold milk. We sat and speculated about the origins of some of the scrap pieces, imagining what sort of woman had collected the fabrics and what she had created with the original yardage. We scoffed at the obvious "dogs" used to "bulk up" some of the $6 bags, fabrics you couldn't see unless you had taken everything out of the ziplocked bundle before you paid for it (something you just don't do at these affairs, there's no room) -- pajama pieces and synthetics from the seventies. But it's all good fun. I confess, I was thinking about Jude Hill's work during much of the trip -- see the sidebar under Recently Overheard. I'm hoping to take a similarly rule-breaking boundary-shattering approach to my next quilt, and these disparate scraps will make creative fuel. Delightful.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

out of the way of the guns, part 3

The New York Times printed an editorial yesterday that says it a bit better than I have. Our pity for the victims of gun violence and for their families rings hollow in a society that has no intention of limiting gun violence.

Monday, April 13, 2009

a little bit o hope

Last night while reading the Caring Bridge journal for Henry, the husband of a good friend, I came across a note written by someone else I know. Henry has recently been diagnosed with a serious cancer; a retired physician, he is supported in part by other good friends in the medical field. One of these is the father of this long-lost acquaintance, whom I'll refer to as CB.

CB and I were never close, but she is a life-long friend to another someone I once knew -- someone with whom I lost contact, after a dark period in our relationship, some five years ago. I'll call him CL. Yes, the degrees of separation are notable here, but press on.

I often wonder what became of CL. He left Minnesota in a perhaps desperate attempt to regain control of his life. Since those details should be considered private for now, let me instead say that it was a very difficult time during which I literally feared for his life, and to a certain degree his soul. Identity issues had led him to indulge in some risky behaviors, and the results were dire. I wanted him to be happy, but also safe, and I did what I could do. He slept on our couch once or twice when he genuinely feared he was a danger to himself. I went with him to the urgent care to get him some antidepressants. I listened as calmly as I could when he told me how much trouble he was in. I didn't give up on him when he lied to me.

In the end, though, as I found out later, my husband wasn't so patient. I had just given birth to our son; in this same period of a few months, my father died suddenly. When my husband found out just how risky some of CL' behaviors had become, he essentially forbade CL to have any further contact with us. I didn't know out west. I did receive a few calls from a number I didn't recognize, but no messages were ever left. I regret my decision not to pick up the phone when those numbers appeared on my caller ID.

Last night I emailed CB. I had heard from the wife of another old friend that CB had officiated a wedding, between CL and a new person, not long ago. I took the chance, and asked her if she had spoken with him recently; how he was, whether she could put me in touch with him. To my surprise and relief she wrote back right away, and responded that he's doing very well now and that she would agree to forward my message to him, and let him decide for himself what to do.

Even if he can't forgive me, for what I essentially permitted my husband to do (and my husband only wanted to protect us), at least I know that he's okay. Thanks be to God, and to CB, for letting me know. Now I'll wait, and see.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

zippadee doo daa

This week is shot, and progress is retrograde. So far this week I have worked three days, and I feel as though the simplest things are in a state of serious delay/decline. Not enough time to just plow through a project until it's done. Should really work as much as I can get away with tomorrow, even though Friday is Mommy and Skeeter day and he will not be inclined to amuse himself while I essentially neglect him. Plus we must attend church tomorrow night. For which I feel ill-prepared, in my speaking role.

I'm afraid Holy Week has eluded my grasp. The Horrible Dental Appointment on Wednesday was really a drag, my son is generally quite clingy right now (lots of separation anxiety, a little reversion, nothing serious), and I'm just not down with the finer points of the Resurrection at the moment. Like having to work through a vacation at the lake -- the scenery is nice, from a distance, but that's all.

Sorry to be such a drag.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

immaterial update

I am in an idiot mood. I am acting like an idiot. Wasting time on things that aren't, frustrated and fearful of things that are. Wishing so many things were different.

A favorite quote, from Grumpier Old Men:
"You can wish in one hand and crap in the other, and see which one fills up first."

Monday, April 6, 2009


Pretty much done. "Surely the people are grass" I mean -- check the sidebar. Not a perfect photo, but functional.

Holy Week. Feeling pent, frustrated, off Lent and interested only in clarity. Have to finalize my notes for my five minutes on Good Friday. "It is finished." Speak about this, the sixth word -- describe what it means to you.

per the guns

Please note that I am not equating gun ownership with mental illness. (see comment below)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

the guns, part II

What is it in the fucking drinking water of America that makes it seem perfectly logical to kill 13 people taking an English class -- or your own five children -- before taking your own life?

Why is it easier to buy a gun than to get health insurance?

Why do we perpetually scratch our heads and tisk while vacant bystanders tell the media about the sounds of gunshots, the angry loner, the nice guy who recently got laid off -- as if we were really looking for the cure for this horrifying phenomenon? Everyone knows these killing sprees are overwhelmingly associated with GUN OWNERSHIP.

America is a swamp. Prolific, fecund, riddled with rot, constantly percolating amidst apparent plenty the isolation, despair and violence common to a disintegrating society. We're all brushing our teeth with swamp water, taking our chances.

Right next door to you, citizen, is a guy (they are usually men, after all) who owns 3 guns, has plenty of ammo, and has completely lost track of his soul.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

this morning's shuffle

Tango Apasionado - Astor Piazzola
Babe I'm Gonna Leave You (The Quivver Mix) - Led Zeppelin
Cowboys (live) - Portishead
Straight, No Chaser - Thelonius Monk
Collapse - Soul Coughing
Can You Hear Me Knockin? - The Rolling Stones
My Prayer - The Ink Spots

Change My Heart, O God

ELW #801, our last Lenten hymn.

I'm stuck in some blue, maybe even maudlin mood at the moment, contemplating the end of Lent and the subsequent approach of Holy Week -- and me without any answers ("to life's persistent questions" -- where's Guy Noir when you need him?)

I know what this mood means too -- it means I deserve a good kick in the head, metaphysically speaking, and I just hope it doesn't have a negative affect on anyone I care about. This mood, I mean, as well as the pending boot.

My assignment for next week, as I said somewhere, is to get busy meditating on the line "It is finished." I don't know why I picked this one. My 'supervisor' was surprised as well.

Holy Week means we're rocketing towards Time After Pentecost again, the long green season of unchanging paraments and liturgical experiments. (Not that I'm against either intrinsically.) The seasons of the church are dominating my life, even my artwork -- somehow I'm feeling both drawn to and oppressed by all that.

And apt to brood.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

knawk knawk

If I ever get another cat, I will name it Hanratty; Carl Hanratty.