Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Our View from Here

We did not expect to see 72, otherwise known as the Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, return to Everett.

We stopped our activity and marveled at the size and worth of this craft. So much beyond anything we can understand.

Serendipitous gifts lift our spirits. Joy comes with rainbows and good news from a friend.

Friday, May 27, 2011


"If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed, and color, we would find some other causes for prejudice by noon."

George Aiken, U.S. Senator (1892-1984)

Saturday, May 21, 2011


We have returned home from a week hotel-living in Seattle. We love living walking distance from markets, stores, coffee and people watching. Wednesday we hopped on the free bus and visited the Seattle Art Museum. The premier exhibit is the Chicago artist, Nick Cave’s creative recycled material figures, Meet Me At The Center of the Earth.

“Cave uses fur, fabric, buttons, potholders, plastic tabs, sandwich bags, spinning tops and found objects in ways that transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. The exhibition includes over 30 of the elaborate sculptures he calls Soundsuits as well as media components which show these utterly opulent characters leaping, jumping and dancing.”

At one point I was mesmerized. Turning to speak to my husband I realized he was far ahead of me and standing patiently at the exit. When I caught up with him his comment simply stated was “he uses doilies.”

I have been reading a series called the Elm Creek Quilts novels by Jennifer Chiavernini. In The Master Quilter the character Gwen expects to be made Liberal Arts department chair at her college. She has researched and published four books in sixteen years. Her subject is textiles and how they reveal social history. She is passed over for another woman who researches social media, “a more serious study than quilts.”

Cave grew up in a large family and I understood his statements about recycles illustrated in his Soundsuits. One presented hundreds of Beanie Babies stitched onto a wearable costume. For another he stitched knitted sweaters together to form a six foot tall animal. Others of fake fur flowed while the wearer danced. I found the doilies and quilts interesting. Cave's workmanship was excellent.

Cris Brodahl, exhibited in another area, is a painter who layers “jump-cuts” to create a patchwork of images. The monochromatic colors form surreal paintings of ordinary people.

We stood in front of a giant, wooly rat sitting atop a plaster man in bed and argued about the mediums artists use. Are wood, paint, or metal more artistic than textiles? Can doilies and buttons make valuable statements about culture as well as paint and ceramics?

The age-old debate continues: what is art and what purpose does it serve?

Sunday, May 8, 2011


“Grown don't mean nothing to a mother.  A child is a child.  They get bigger, older, but grown?  What's that suppose to mean?  In my heart it don't mean a thing.”  ~Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1987

And grown means nothing to the child. No matter how many years we give her thanks, she is still our Mom. Her years may number in the 80s and 90s. She will always be Mom.

The internet offers many quotes about mothers. I still think the best homage comes from Proverbs 31.

“A good woman is hard to find,
   and worth far more than diamonds.

“She is up before dawn, preparing breakfast
   for her family and organizing her day.

“She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
   diligent in homemaking.
She’s quick to assist anyone in need,
   reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows;
   their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.

“When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say
   and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
   and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
   her husband joins in with words of praise:
‘Many women have done wonderful things,
   but you’ve outclassed them all!’
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
   The woman to be admired and praised
   is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
   Festoon her life with praises!”

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


This year I have enacted all out warfare on chickweed. You may not grow this jaunty fellow in your part of the world. Here the chickweed begins as an innocuous pincushion until the multiple antenna sprout up and flower. In that instant we either pull it, gently shaking multiple hair-fine roots from the ground, or we pull it too late and it explodes seeds in all directions.

Hopkins was obviously on a recreational walk over someone else’s land when he lauded the weed. I share his enthusiasm for spring green, birds and flowering trees, but not so much for the chickweeds.


by Gerard Manley Hopkins
 Nothing is so beautiful as spring—
   When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
   Thrush's eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
   The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
   The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy?
   A strain of the earth's sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. — Have, get, before it cloy,
   Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
   Most, O maid's child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


There are spasms of time when we walk “in the valley of the shadow of death.”

Living with mountains both to the east and the west, we see the dark fissures crisscrossing snow on the upper slopes. Living in the foothills we recognize the cold, shady spots on the road that rarely get sun in the winter and conceal black ice.

Eugene H. Peterson translates Psalm 23  in The Message.

“Even when the way goes through Death Valley,
I’m not afraid when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.”

Though we feel disconnected, we cannot sit while we watch normal activity swirl around us. We keep walking in the shadows, slowly.

King David’s final quatrain offers comfort.

“Your beauty and love chase after me
  every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
  for the rest of my life.”