Wednesday, August 31, 2011

wishful Wednesday

in which our plucky heroine is a clever, if a bit wistful, monkey...

Back in the days when I lived up in OlyWa, for years and years I had the most magnificent swap ever. On alternate weeks, my friend M would get her house cleaned, and on alternate weeks I'd get a massage. Did wonders for both of us, and as all good swaps, we each were happy with the results and felt that our efforts were well recompensed. I've tried a few times here in Portland to set up something similar, but for various reasons it has not really worked out. (yet... I'm not giving up hope of a future success)

I really miss the assistance working out the stresses that accumulate in odd corners, and after the debacle of last Friday, my lower legs are feeling the trauma. M, my calves miss your skill and strength; wishful I am that I could find a local person willing to swap skill for skill - I do lots of useful and lovely kinds of things, at least I do when both hands are functioning, which should return before too long...

Speaking of which, 'twas needful to wash some dishes here... and lefthand is not yet really up for the task. I figured out that if I didn't fill the dishpans too full, and if I balanced the oven rack over the washwater, I could get things washed with minimal use of lefthand. Is slow, and a bit awkward, but definitely doable...

̿ ̿ ̿̿'̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=[^_^]=/̵͇̿̿/'̿̿ ̿ ̿ ̿
dog is resting, has ears up

Monday, August 29, 2011

"Meat Monkey Blues"

I know I have value
as precious as you,
but here on the table
that doesn't seem true.
The choices we're given
are damnably few;
Don't leave me here singing
the meat monkey blues...
You live as a doctor
and sworn to give care,
I live as an artist
with handicraft rare.

I lie on the table
with nethers stripped bare,
then treated so roughly
now does that seem fair?
The choices we're given
are damnably few,
Don't leave me here singing
the meat monkey blues...
Were our roles reversed sir,
your body in need,
respect would I offer
explaining each deed;

not touching you harshly,
uncaring you cry,
but thoughtful and careful
and do you know why?
The choices we're given
are damnably few,
I'd not leave you singing
the meat monkey blues.
For here on the table
or wide world around,
all beings are precious
wherever they're found.

Respect for each other
must never be lost,
when that is forsaken
we all bear the cost.
The choices we're given
are damnably few,
wish I was not singing
the meat monkey blues

The choices we're given
are damnably few,
don't leave me here singing
the meat monkey blues...


Has been a week since my surgery and hand is doing really well.

Lost one of the two metal clippies that hold my outer bandage on. You'd think that it would be possible to purchase some spare clips (tried three different places), but nooooo, you are intended to simply purchase a new bandage when the clips get lost. Grrrrr..... (found my spare Ace bandages, and thereby could pry away one of the little metal clip gizmos that hold the bandage in place, so all is well again)

Went downtown today, various errands needed done, and there were all kinds of interesting things to see on my rambling-round:
woodland animal fountains downtown are a favorite

sad dog sculpture near a bus stop

Jamison Square Park is like a beach, but in the middle of the Pearl downtown. 'Tis a fountain which simulates a shallow tidal pool. (and on the other side is a bunch of sandy gravel) I took off my shoes and waded in the splashy water. Guess I'm not a real grown-up...

Empty windows and huge rusty shutters are on the edge between the sidewalk and a parking lot downtown. There were bioswale plantings between the buildings too...

The first acorns seen this year, fallen from sidewalk trees in the Pearl

Datura (do not eat) looks a lot like a Georgia O'Keefe flower. Is huge, like about as big as my outstretched hand and fingers together...

̿ ̿ ̿̿'̿̿\̵͇̿̿\=[^_^]=/̵͇̿̿/'̿̿ ̿ ̿ ̿

dog is resting, but on watch
(writing songs is a surprise, biting is easier)

Monday musings

bounce bounce happy morning - woke up today and the sky is grey, which always makes me smile... looks like we are in for a few days of slightly cooler weather (sorry tomato geeks)

Called the insurance coordinating office. Called and left a message for my primary doctor. Both were glad to receive cogent written information* about the situation. Of course, that still leaves me now without any scheduled appointment to deal with the initial problem. And there I thought that I would be able to spend the time set aside for recovery from surgery to recover from surgery... Ha!!

There are lovely things in the yard here at Acorn Cottage. There are several good sized clusters of blossoms on the harlequin glorybower aka Clerodendrum trichotomum, which make my nose very happy. In the backyard, I've noticed that on the feral plum tree the young plums are starting to turn purple...

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dog is writing doggerel - "Meat Monkey Blues"
do not piss off artists, you will suffer the consequences!

*a more detailed account of the incident is found here

Sunday, August 28, 2011

stop now, rest and eat food

in which our plucky heroine is cleared for solo flight, more or less, and Acorn Cottage returns to a more usual, albeit cleaner, more well-organised and more well-stocked status...

I have been very heartened by the many supportive comments on my last post; all your varied and knowledgeable viewpoints confirm my concerns as well as give me faith in my own judgment. I have written up a statement about the various events that took place during my examination and will be contacting my primary care doctor, as well as the insurance coordinating office to start the process of getting my referral transferred elsewhere. Whole lotta phonecalls tomorrow...
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The chunk of the workroom directly opposite the pantry has been a depository for random junk for far too long. Sister was quite appalled, and with broom, dustpan, and the topical application of vast numbers of paper sacks, the area regained it's true function as my bike garage cum lumberyard. Much better! A trunkfull of recycling and debris left the premises...

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dog is turning around and making a nest to sleep in the tall grass

Friday, August 26, 2011

upson downs

in which our plucky heroine is certain that she is not a show pony, and is getting really tired of jumping through hoops and having the bar raised each time... I'll be good, can I please have my equanimity back now?

Handfix™ has been going really well, all signs seem positive so far for a smooth recovery. I'd be keeping my fingers crossed, (if that was possible) Last night we'd unwrapped the hand so as to allow for washing overly warm self in shower, and initial cleaning of palm-sutured area. Well that was dumb - would've been smart to make certain of Proper First Aid Supplies ahead of time. Bad Resiliency Ranger! Do have plenty of bandaids (and a modicum of the other b's) but somehow neglected to have gauze or papertape on hand. Will not make that error again.

Fortunately sister is Very Helpful, and ran to the late night drugstore for suitable supplies;

(and not only with running errands and cooking), but check this out --->
before . . . . . . . &. . . . . . . . after
she completely organised the pantry here at Acorn Cottage - aren't I a lucky girl!
(p.s. I did have some supervisory input into categories )

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The scarey doctor appt did generate some small amount of useful information, but the primary testing intended for that office visit proved painfully impossible to carry out. And now your somewhat less than intrepid heroine is just plumb terrified at the prospect of being put under general anaesthesia, to have yet more pokety-scrapety-inquiry done. Even a post doctor-visit lunch at the Chapel Pub failed to regenerate my equanimity; am home again, headed for another shower and maybe a nap...
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dog is spinning in circles and barking her gorram head off

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

plucky and austere

home and all is well... doc said I was a real trooper... surgery time 16 minutes... no sedation, local only...

more writing later, dear friends, the lidocaine is starting to wear off


In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.

~ William Blake

in which our plucky heroine has an amazingly fun weekend - my inner 5 yr old had waaay too much fun: (insert child voice here)

I got to go for a motorcycle ride, and go really really fast, and wish J a happy birthday, and play with clay and draw with chalk, and go really really fast, and help cook pizza and eat pizza, and go really really fast, and spend bunches of time with G, and play with hot glass, and go on a trip to go hear loud fun music, and stay up really really late...

party people

a birthday gift

homemade sidewalk chalk

OwlDog and CatFish

fire in the oven

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and then have my sister come to visit!!

Earlier today we took a lovely drive, up the Old Hwy 30 to Vista House and Multnomah Falls.

of course, we walked up the pathway to the bridge across the falls...

Gigi looked up

and I looked down
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Now it is well after midnight, tomorrow is Handfix™ - not sleepy, and NEED to go to sleep and be rested for tomorrow. The good news is that sister and I prepped a mortal huge amount of food this afternoon and evening, which is now in the freezer in meal-sized portions for after she leaves. She is going to sleep now. I have tried two different things to wind down, and well, so not working... Next attempt - topical application of hot water. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

wishful Wednesday

Look what I discovered growing under the redcurrant - 'tis purslane! Sounds odd, but one of the things that I intend is to have edible "weeds" growing here all scattered about, so as to increase the resilience of Acorn Cottage. Have not really yet begun the project, save by getting better at identifying edibility when found.

I do have some salad burnet that has seeded into the driveway cracks, but that is not one that I am particularly fond of; oh it tastes good, but the prickly-chokey texture of the leaves is not very appealing. (I'd welcome suggestions for other ways to eat that one)

I've heard good things about purslane, indeed, can buy various selections of it from gourmet mesclun seed dealers, but had never seen it on the hoof, or had a chance to try it up until now. So I did. Snapped off a few sprigs and ate them. Pleasant tasting, green flavored and mild, and is very high in omega-3s, vitamin A, and antioxidants. Will definitely encourage it to spread and propagate itself.
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Finished the Pelican enamel project that was the last current one on the list, and it has moved out with R & J to be carried to Sport of Kings this weekend. Feels odd to think about shutting down the workshop for a few months. Will definitely be doing some drawing in the intervening time.
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A corner of my standing workbench: a kitchen island (from Ikea As-Is, and hence exponentially less spendy), with a thick butcherblock top and solid 4x legs.Is hefty enough to stay put whatever I use it for, which is nice, since all the other workroom furnishings are much less stout, being, for the most part, made up of various other Ikea components, mostly Ivar shelving. I like having various workstations at different heights and in different corners of the room. Might be "less efficient" but it keeps my knees and back happy.
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All kinds of gifty bits in the last few days. My neighbor M brought me these lovely flowers. and a bag of assorted veggies, which have been a good addition to the weeks meals. And tonight D & N came by with lavender, home-cooked dinners, and a large container of cooked rice (now all neatly labeled and in the freezer) Truly I am surrounded by kindness. Getting through whatever lies ahead will be eased by the web of connection, and my wishful thought is to always appreciate it...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday thoughts

Stepped outside last night to shut the henhouse door, and the moon was all bedecked with silken clouds. The branches of the feral plum tree reach up up up. Been thinking a lot about friends lost in time, or gone from this world... missing them, the two-legged and the four legged ones also. They have gone where I am not yet ready to follow. This world is full of beauty and precious joy, pay attention, open your eyes, do not waste this life!
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There is plenty of media coverage of things that are woeful and disturbing, but how rare it is to hear about things that counterbalance that. Whilst rambling round blogland, I ran across this, and wish that there was a news channel for all the goodness instead of all the badness. Am I the only person who is not an adrenaline junky?
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Rhubarb being chopped up for preserves, metalwork happening in the studio, tunes drifting through the cottage, and hen-talk in the yard. Life does not suck.
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The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep."

- Rumi
translated by Coleman Barks

Sunday, August 14, 2011

how big is a peck?

Yesterday, I noticed that one of the Nardello pepper plants was looking a bit tipsy... this is why! Almost a pound of peppers hiding under the leafy bits. This plant gets a bit more sunlight than the other one in the same planter, and as a result, seems to be significantly more productive. Shall make a note of this when planning future garden beds. After further research, I come to find out that I should have left the peppers on the plant to turn red... oops! They will still taste good sauteed in some olive oil though.

Sunday snippets

somehow, this cartoon seems to relate to the current situation here at Acorn Cottage...
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from Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology this week, also seemingly quite appropriate...
Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)

What images would be most helpful for you to fill your imagination up with? What scenes would heal and activate your subconscious mind, inspiring you in just the right ways? I invite you to make a list of at least five of these, and then visualize them often in the coming days. Here are a few possibilities to get you warmed up: peach trees filled with ripe fruit; the planet Jupiter as seen through a powerful telescope; a magnificent suspension bridge at dawn or dusk; a large chorus animatedly singing a song you love; the blissful face of a person you love.

Whether it's your time to ferment in the shadows or sing in the sun, fresh power to transform yourself is on the way. Life always delivers the creative energy you need to change into the new thing you must become.
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Last night in dreamland, the zombie bad guys were outside, in the street and under the windows. I wasn't alone though, and we had armament, and a plan. I thumped awake back into this world, in the middle of o-dark-thirty, as nightmares are wont to do, but was better than times past: scared (but not in terror confused about which world I live in), and comforted, to have an ally in dreamland. A drink of water later, and turning around a few times, I was able to drift back to sleep, and journey to a more peaceful part of the landscape...
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My kid sister is coming here to help me the first week after Handfix™; am thinking about a Saturday Crafternoon on the 27th (instead of the usual Sunday) That way folks could meet my sister and she could meet some of my friends. Not sure what kind of shape I will be in after the various kinds of medical-fu (hand and other stuff) scheduled for that week, but seeing my pals is always a cheerful thing.
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dog is dreaming - paws twitching and dream barking

Saturday, August 13, 2011

looking around + in the freezer

look up...

wooden watertowers atop downtown buildings

look down...

decorative grating on an underground carpark

look all around...

a veg-head in it's native habitat

look at all the blueberries in the kitchen!

part of the twelve pounds that came home yesterday
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I shall probably need to do some kitchen crafting eventually; sorting through the freezer today to make room for the additional berry goodness gave me some ideas... There are a lot of citrus peels, mostly lemon, so perhaps attempting limoncello might be a good idea. There are a number of bags of (chicken)bones, so cooking up broth will clear out some space. There are still some whole tomatoes, which could be turned into chili jam. And some of the blueberries will become Lavender Blue jam as well, if there is still a bit of homegrown lavender in the side yard, or if one of my friends has some sweet scented lavender to spare
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This comic just tickles me, because the person who saves the day is a girl
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A while back, this kawaii hanging dryer needed to come live here at Acorn Cottage. I mean, really, it is a cephalopod, and the one I found was even blue! It lives in the shower, and occasionally drys delicate things that need to not be in the sunlight. Yesterday I discovered that the clips can also be used to hold the shower sprayer overhead, thereby allowing the handheld shower gizmo to also be used as a hands-free shower, which will become important in a little while. I am happy to have discovered this.
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dog is running around and barking again; I cultivate equanimity

Friday, August 12, 2011


Hot summer afternoon in a blueberry trance. A morning dove calls over and over as we wend our way up and down the rows of bushes, some with berries as thickly clustered as grapes and almost as large.

I'd set aside half of Friday for an adventure, and despite turning the day back to front and working in the nice cool morning hours, the berry picking was one of those iconic summertime activities, and now there are twelve pounds of blueberries that need to go in the freezer

dog is sleeping with one ear up, and a tummy full of blueberries

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thursday thoughts and tidbits

Still life with plastic horse. The upper bit of artwork came from Crafty Wonderland a few years ago, and the lower one, only partially visible, is a collage that I made back in the 80's. Just visible in the upper left corner is the knitted octopus that hangs out in the bathroom. I think that I spent a few dollars on the magnetic test tube holders, there is one on the metal cabinets in the kitchen, and one on the side of the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. A few flowers from the yard, or from the alleyway, add so much simple delight to my day, when they are in a place often seen.
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Went to Costco this week; cheddar cheese had been a popular snack last week. In two weeks the price has gone up a dollar. Seems like prices are increasing a bit more exponentially than in the last few months. Is anyone else noticing this grocery trend, or is the fact that gasoline is not rising as fast obscuring it? When there are few if any luxuries left to cut, (and most folks would consider an auto necessary rather than luxury), when staple foodstuff cost rises from month to month, when already frugal living must shift to smaller amounts of everyday items, I just wonder, what further adaptation will be possible?
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Bad hen!! Speckledy jumped out of the henyard this afternoon, and decided that two of the nice bright red ripening low-hanging Akane apples were meant to be a chicken snack. Grrrrr!... those were not meant for hen-food, but for Fjorlief food. and they are not even ripe yet, alas.
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Okay, I am asking for recommendations for fun food cart pods, and/or for food carts that are particularly tasty. I prefer interesting flavors to huge portions, and am not a super-spicy food fanatic, though a bit of spice is certainly okay. The thing is, my kid sister is coming here for a week to help me the first week after Handfix™, and I hope to show her some of what makes Portland special...
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dog is napping, one ear up in case of danger, but for now, rest is possible...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

wishful Wednesday

I remember this flower from when I was a child, it grew rampant and lovely in Southern California. Found it again on a fence on the way to work, over in NE; is one of the "common Passionflowers" They fascinated me as a child, and I find them even more lovely now, might have to add them to the list of viney things I want to grow here...
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the dog is awake, her ears are up, and nose in the air to catch whatever is heading this way...

sometimes only a song in your heart keeps the blues away
There are many ways to be prepared: this is one way, and this is another; I figure that as long as my sense of humor is intact, all will sort itself out somehow. Would be great to have a better idea of what is happening, but this is, in fact, the uncertainty that is life.

And, in the interest of eating dessert first, G and I both found this sorbet to be astonishingly scrumptious. I am so not vegan, and usually not particularly fond of coconut, but this is an instance where the sum of the parts combines to form something far greater - a wonderfully rich and balanced treat with such complex subtle flavor from the seasoning spices. Then again, I am just completely and totally a saffron fool...

my wishful Wednesday is that the diagnostic process goes smoothly and with minimal trauma, and the results are ones conducive to a long and happy life

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

more wassup...

in which our plucky heroine acknowledges that getting ducks in a row is at least as challenging as herding cats...

Handfix 2011 is set in place, and calm and helpful confidence abounds in that realm. There are plans, and arrangements made, and time/place reserved for said endeavor. (am delighted with the prospect of upcoming visit of Younger Sister to Acorn Cottage) All set about with uncertainty still is all the rest of the kaboodle further south, which is yet still undiagnosed and undealt with, and issuing forth yet more messages that something is not right.

Fortunately for my equanimity, a lovely and long visit from my dear one helped restore me to my more usual state of internal balance. My frantic panic of last week is eased by several days of delightful domesticity; I wonder if those for whom such is actually commonplace and daily appreciate it for the anodyne that it truly is.

While holding in mind the Metaphor of the Sleeping Dog, shall do my best to allow signs and signals to be an appropriate call to action ; Frank Herbert's "Litany Against Fear" * is an old friend from years ago that may also be a helpful touchstone.

I am a tough cookie, and most always pretty cheerful, with a life that makes sense, with more brightness and joy than ever I expected to have... I am not guessing at this time what I am supposed to learn from all this, am going to do my best to simply walk forward holding in open hands the growth and knowledge and heart that I have been working on all these years
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a bioregional brunch: scrambled eggs from backyard hens, toast from the local grocery bread case, (with Tillamook butter and homemade quince jelly from some gifted Sellwood quince), and the most delectable smoked salmon fishcakes (Alaska canned salmon mixed with local Puget Sound home-smoked salmon, another gift)
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between the sidewalk and the sky is a whole world, filled with the dappled sunlight of a summer day, and promising a future harvest; look up, and up, and up some more; you are looking into the land where bay-nuts are born...
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*I first read Dune when I was rising thirteen, chose it off the library shelves on account of it being thick enough to give me more than a day of reading...
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tuesday tidbits

Thanking all out there for the zen hugs and kind wishes, it helps a lot, and while I am not yet out of the woods, I carried all of you in my heart whilst negotiating the land of diagnostics today. (and thanks to S ... my next chicken in going to be named "Fuster"!)

there are folks out there that hold me in their thoughts, as I hold folks in mine, there is a web that holds us all...

I know something. . . I know we're all One.
I know it so well that if I'm falling out of a tree,
I know we're all One before I hit the ground.
I'm not going to forget it; I can't give it up.
~ Stephen Gaskin

Goodness and lovingkindness shall follow me all my days. I try my best to notice this everyday; what I call my "count yr blessings" is really a discipline of shifting focus, and vital to my well-being. All betroubled in mind and awake far before my norm, I hopped aboard the bus this morning having entirely forgotten the month-change, and holding only the July bus pass. Whoops! ... I was lucky: the driver was one of the kindhearted ones, and not only let me stay on the bus, but gave me a whole day transfer so I could get to the hospital and back, and to where I could buy a pass for August. later that day..
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Awake early enough to see the golden light just after dawn, and clinging to the backyard fireweed was a bumblebee still sleeping. So similar to the soft light of evening, and at this time of year, probably the most pleasant time of day, with cool air and the sun not yet over the urban tree edges.
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I counted the apples on the baby Akane: there are a full dozen. While several have scars where a jay may have pecked earlier in the year, there is enough fruit for almost a month of breakfasts, or for one whole pie. If I'd thinned the apples more when they were young, the individual fruit might be larger, but these are already "lunchbox-size" and starting to turn color...
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this is a nifty chicken feeder, might want to build this - looks do-able
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On the wall next to my computer is an exquisite 2011 calendar, of papercut designs by Ryo Takagi... August is all about getting through the dog days and keeping a weather eye out on the goal in the distance, the light of safe harbor...

Monday, August 1, 2011

no way round but through

Hot sunny weather just wipes me out, and while I realise that there has been well more than my share of wonderful cool grey days this summer, when I look at today's tenday forecast and see ten little round yellow sun glyphs, with ten little "chance of rain 0%" it just makes me want to curl up and hide. Of course, that is not an option. The plants here at Acorn Cottage need watered, the kale and chard, the currants and the fig trees - everything that lives in planter-pots needs attention in the hot sunshine.
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Getting ducks in a row is at least as challenging as herding cats... not done yet. This week is all about moving towards completion on various studio and sewing room projects, continuing to deal with paperwork hoops, notifying clients about upcoming changes, and carefully avoiding midday sunshine. Current is moving quicker now, swinging round towards a necessary transformation, and will be needful for focus to shift somewhat more internal for a time. Is a lot for me to manage in the next few weeks, so, there will be no Crafternoon this month (sorry).
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a bit of heartfelt joyful noise, to brighten the day

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There is a pathway, with luck to a more functional reality. (that is always the hope) I want
both my hands to have full use and strength, to be able to create in media: textile and metal and glass, to be able to ride my bicycle and not be in pain. No way around this but through... so must needs be a good strong little wolf-eyed girl and while no longer young, must still with determination take care of what needs doing, so as to allow healing for what needs to be healed...