Tag: planet jeanne (Page 2 of 7)

the numbers add up . . . if you leave some out

Floss

I needed floss. DMC #550 (dark violet) because purple is Nancy’s favorite color, and I like this particular shade. It took one hour to get to the store and four-and-a-half hours to get back home . . .

View2

because on the return trip, we took the road less traveled, and Frost is right: it made all the difference.

Falls2

Trees just beginning to wake up and think about changing into something green.

Rock

Heart-shaped rocks still wet from recent storms.

View1

I felt so small, so protected. The quiet wrapped itself around me like a lullaby.

Falls1

And just as I dropped the floss off in The Dissenter’s Chapel (the name of my studio), along came a flood of ideas – 21 to be exact – for new quilts. I guess that means I’m working in a series now?

[cue contented sigh]

It was a day well spent (even if we did spend five times as much on gas as we spent on floss).

my true childish heart

Agespotsvase1

Came a package bearing a gift from my son. The handwritten note said he was late because he had trouble finding something special enough to commemorate the Big Birthday I celebrated on Valentine’s Day last. So what did he decide on? A vase. A shiny, gorgeous, handmade vessel.

Agespotsvase3

Though he didn’t choose it with this in mind, the small opening is perfect for a woman who’s now in touch with her own mortality and firmly committed to being quite conscious and selective about what comes into those remaining years.

Agespotsvase4

The somewhat extended neck, perfect for a woman who now feels tenured and firmly committed to speaking her mind without regard to being found pleasing or worthy or even sensible.

Agespotsvase2

And oh my goodness, the glaze. The beautiful glaze of rich blues and greens – my favorite – peppered with small circles resembling crocheted doilies.

Or maybe . . . probably . . . Age Spots.

I feel another cloth project coming on, y’all . . .

[ ::: ]

“I learned to value only that which truly activates what is in my heart. I came to value those experiences which activate my heart as it really is. I sought, more and more, only those experiences which have the capacity, the depth, to activate the feeling that is my real feeling, in my true childish heart. And I learned slowly, to make things which are of that nature.“
[Christopher Alexander: The Nature of Order, The Luminous Ground]

Whatever

04Apr13

Whatever
the occupation
the age
the gender

Whatever
the sexual preference
the religion
the hair color

Whatever the size of
the bank book
the house
the appetite

Whether one likes
numbers
beakers
paint
words
proof
or
faith
best

Whatever
the handicap
the illness
the eye color

Whatever
the height
the dental records
the shoe size

Whatever
the favorite color
the preferred mode of transportation
or dress
or leisure activity

Whatever the differences . . .
We’re all Somebodies
Somewhere
in Some Way.

on the third day of yoga, my true self brought to me

Dahlia

Unless you have problems with your short-term memory, you may recall that on the third day of Christmas the true love came bearing gifts of 3 – count them, three – French horns. One feller who talks like he knows, says the three French horns refer to faith, hope, and charity while another fella proclaims the third day of Christmas to honor the life of St. John, who has the distinction of being the only one of the twelve apostles to die a natural death.

Anyway, in likening my third yoga class to the third day of Christmas, I see some distinct similarities. Given that I am short and round and stiff, not tall and lanky and bendy like most yoga folks, just signing up for yoga shows that I have a heaping’ helping’ of faith and hope. Charity? April (the teacher) provides that.

I tend to hang out with yoga folks online, and I have a few questions – three, in keeping with the title – that came up as I spent time on the mat today . . .

First of all, am I the only one who sweats like a big ole’ glass of sweet tea on a hot summer afternoon? This isn’t Bikram yoga, folks. This is plain ole’ yoga in the Episcopal church.

And does anybody besides me worry about passing gas during yoga class? Or having bad breath? April came over to help me with something today, and when she asked me a question, I just gave her a closed-mouth smile in return for fear I have the post-water-drinking-dry-mouth-means-bad-breath-at-least-for-me-anyway thing going on.

I tell you what, there are parts of me that touched the floor today that haven’t met with the floor in an awful long time. The floor right by the door, where I always set up for reasons I don’t feel like explaining right now. The floor by the door where people tracked in the pollen which I inhaled as the clock ran out on my 12-hour Clairin-D during the Child pose . . . which I thought for a while was “china” pose . . . which set me to thinking about digging my way there and wondering if there are still a boatload of staving children there. Yeah, you could say my mind wanders during yoga. But oh my goodness, you should’ve seen the images that went floating through while we were laying on the floor meditating. I wish I had a camera on the inside of my eyelids.

(Confession: I think I snored there at the end of class.)

tenured

Jhcatcemetery14feb13

[from my journal yesterday morning, 2/14/13,
on the occasion of day one of my big, milestone birthday]

Today I wake up
celebrating
a milestone birthday.
This is the birthday card I send myself.
I call it My Womanifesto.

I have no more time to waste

on conforming
or contorting
in hopes that you will find me pleasing or worthwhile.
If you are that focused on me,
if you are willing to devote so much time and energy
to keeping me small so you can feel late and powerful,
I give that back to you and call it what it is: your problem.

I will not sit still
Or be quiet
Or calm down
on command
ever again.

Don’t expect me to show my work
simply because you don’t understand.
I am out of apologies, justifications, and explanations-on-demand
and I am not restocking.

Never again will I diminish my light
or quiet my voice
or step aside
– especially when i know i am right –
for fear it will diminish you
or make you feel bad
or incur your wrath.
That is your problem to deal with.

You may label me
and make assumptions
about me
simply because I am
a Southerner
and a Woman,
because I call people I care about Sugar
am funny
carry too many pounds
don’t use phrases like
“for the common good”
or
“it’s not fair”.
Yes, you can surely do that . . .
and it will show
your ignorance
and small mindedness.
It will say much more about you
than you are trying to say
about me.

No longer will I sit in the
cold drab metal folding chair
in the dim corner of the room
waiting on somebody . . . anybody . . . to ask me to dance.

I don’t have to like you
And you don’t have to like me,
and even if we do like each other,
we don’t have to agree on everything.
But know this: I will not stand still
while you berate me
or insult me
or call me names
or stomp, kick, or otherwise malign me
because I think differently.
Don’t have to
and I won’t.

If I like you and believe in what you are doing,
I will be your number one cheerleader.
I will support you, encourage you, hold you.
I will help you any way I can but know this:
I will not be disrespected or taken advantage of ever again.
And I will not give you something simply because
I have it
and you want it.
That’s where the word earn comes into play.

I will ask you daily if you’ve thought for yourself
so be ready for it,
because it’s what I’m most passionate about:
self-expression,
thinking for yourself.
I will if you will.
I abhor bandwagon mentality,
despise it, I tell you,
and I will do everything within my power
to support you as you burn your bushel basket.
This political correctness stuff
has to stop.
We are different,
and we each shine in our own way.
I am ready to embrace my shine,
to turn it loose,
and I’m ready for you to do the same.

I am declaring to us both
how I will live my life from this point forward:
no excuses,
and no apologies.
This is a big, milestone birthday
and for the first time in my life,
I feel free to unzip, step out, speak up.
I have tenure, you see,
so I can take up as much space as I want
and I can make as much noise as I want
and I can speak and move and live
as raucously and as tenderly
as I want.

I . . . have . . . tenure.

[ ::: ]

I love this woman, and I love this post.

Bushel Basket Burning

Bushelbasketsformybirthday

This is a photo of my beloved husband, Andy,
taken yesterday as he was buying me the bushel basket
that topped the list of
What I Want For My Big Milestone Birthday.
I have a plan, you see:
I will decorate this basket,
festoon it with ribbons
and words of wagging fingers,
most from long-forgotten,
unnamed voices,
words that nevertheless linger deep and long.
“Who do you think you are?”
“What gives you the right?”
“Well, you’re getting too big for your britches.”
I will write these words (and more) on the basket,
trim them with ribbons and glitter and sparkle,
then I will set fire to the basket,
while singing
“This Little Light of Mine”.
and dancing.
Oh good lord
how I will dance.

in the middle of unmuddling

Altar103b

I think of the letters shared by women who preceded me . . . “I put up 7 pints of bread-and-butter pickles today.” . . . “Jerry is down in his back again.” . . . “Katie sent me her upside-down pineapple cake recipe. It’s in the oven baking now, and it smells so good. I’ll let you know how it turns out.” . . . “My iris are blooming this year. I separated them last year, planted them not quite so deep.” Sometimes a copy of a new recipe was tucked inside the envelope along with the letter . . . sometimes an article snipped from the local paper . . . sometimes a picture of a grandchild.

I love these old letters. The handwriting is evocative and so is the dailiness of a (so-called) ordinary life. Women staying in touch. Sharing. Reporting in. Plucking jewels from their ordinary day.

Something Sarah said in her comment got me thinking about these letters . . . (she always opens a window for me, and i never know what the view will be but i always love it) . . . about how back in The Day we used blogs and the comments as exchanges of letters. We’d read a blog post and respond in the comment how it resonated with us, what it brought up in us, how it affected us. We’re share stories. Sometimes we’d take something from a comment and write a whole post around it, carrying on the conversation. We had the same 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week, and we used some of that time to read each other’s blogs.

I miss that.

So that’s what I’m gonna’ do here in this blog. That’s what feels right in my bones. It’s like it touches some deep longing and beckons it out to be tended to. Susan says in her comment: “Share when the urge hits and if you don’t feel like it, don’t bother.” Advice that feels real good to these bones. And that’s why I’m posting twice today. Maybe even another post before bedtime (cause I’m getting of an age when at bedtime I can’t remember what happened in the morning, so why not make it easier on myself).

(But hey, one thing you’ll never read here: “I put up 7 pints of pickles today.” You can take that one to the bank.)

p.s. The photo is altar #103. I’m revving that up again. It’s 365 or bust.

p.s. 2: The altar is treasures I picked up on Daytona Beach a couple of weeks ago when we went down for the opening of the museum exhibit my first hymn of cloth is in. Yes, really. Me. My cloth. In a museum exhibit. SQUEEEEE!!!!!

in the middle of a muddle

Utahfierceandbeautiful

how does this blog fit into my life? do i even dare ask: how does this blog fit neatly into my life? no, that seems a completely different question that speaks to writing in the midst of interruptions and such, so i’ll choose the question i led with: how does this blog fit into my life?

that’s a question i’ve been asking myself of late. i don’t want to give up the blog, you see, cause i look forward to being here and i miss being here when i’m not . . . and yet it’s like fiddling with a Rubik’s cube to figure this out. is this little acre in the ethers a journal, a therapist’s couch, a postcard, lunch with friends? it’s a question that pops up every year or so for me, and i think it’s a conversation worth having, though i’d almost rather get a root canal without anesthesia. i count myself lucky that it’s a conversation i can have with my friend angela, and following angela’s good lead, i’m analyzing the blogs i enjoy regularly in terms of what i like about them and why i keep reading (even if i don’t always leave a comment. which is another conversation i’m having with myself.). she has a really good system – you should ask her about it sometime.

on any given day, my life looks like a woman trying to sip water from a fully-loaded firehose. i hugely – enormously – admire women who can pluck jewel or three from their day and write about it clearly and succinctly and interestingly. me? i just see the steady stream of water, not the individual drops. i’ve tried pretending i’m writing letters to friends. i’ve tried pretending that my kids are interested enough to drop in and see what mom’s up to. i’ve tried pretending i’m throwing parties here. and still i question: how much to reveal? what to write about? how often to post?

and to further complicate things, the more i stay away, the deeper the hole gets, the harder it is for me to isolate a single thing to write about because as we’ve already established, i’m not good at plucking, and honestly, maybe i’m not smart enough or aware enough or whatever enough, but the thing is: i just don’t have an epiphany a day. it’s with a bit of a red face that i tell you i can go years before the lightbulb goes off.

it might be easier had i information to impart, but i don’t. i really don’t. and to tell you the truth, i’m kinda’ tired of hearing and seeing all these offers from folks who will tell me how to make every inch, every aspect of my life better ’cause i know it’s ultimately up to me. and right now, that’s precisely what i’m doing: seeking ways to live the life with my name on it, to live it with gusto, sass, abandon, and sparkle ratcheted up so much i need sunglasses to brush my hair.

so, sigh.

14,600 Days or 350,400 Hours or The Blink of an Eye – It’s All the Same to Me

JeanneAndyFormal1974

Forty years ago today, I walked into a bar in Underground Atlanta with a girlfriend and walked out several hours later with the man who would, in a mere six months, become my husband. Our forty years of togetherness have been marked by much change. We’ve birthed two amazing people, and we’ve buried too many to count. We’ve laughed and cried . . . and eventually laughed again. We’ve pursued our own interests and always come back home to tell each other all about it. We’ve shared interests, cheered each other on in individual pursuits, and worked side-by-side on all sorts of things.

An engineer by training, he views, interprets, and goes through the world in a more linear way than this quirky Aquarian. He is patient, I lean towards impulsive. He is literal, I see and hear metaphors everywhere. He is formulaic, I live like like a pot of soup, pulling sparklies in from every whichaway. He is quite thorough, I want immediate results and have a tendency to get bored and move on. We are good for each other.

It’s not always been easy, but it’s always been the two of us together, and that sure helps. I am not the same woman I was forty years ago, and he is not the same man who mixed me that Tom Collins. But laughter, space in our togetherness, listening, and holding hands continue to define our way of loving each other.

As he says, I’m the best he could do with the car he was driving at the time. And as I say, he’s the best I could do with the boobs I had at the time. Here’s to at least another forty, Andy.

Clink.

Cheers.

JeanneAndy1980sRes

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