Saturday, April 27, 2013

99 points on the wall

Take that! Just got 99 pts in Words with Friends for the simple word "jars." J on triple letter, s on triple word. Ah, simplicity.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Being yourself

I've come across 2 references in the last day that urge self-acceptance. Be who you are. Don't try to change.

Such an interesting concept. One reference was in a meditation book by Pema Chodron. Buddhism seems to push us toward complete self acceptance. Warts, misbehaviors, maltreatment of the self and others. Still...observe...know yourself...dont be agitated.

The second reference appeared in Quiet. Yeah for introversion, shyness, sensitivity. Reclaim your power by staying true to your nature. Accept introversion. See, says the author: introverts have done incredible things.

I need to think about this. So different from the more familiar guidelines of act/change/improve.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Working on a sample of soumak. The warp is 5/2 pearl cotton. The weft is rug yarn from Halcyon.

I am using Collingwood's Techniques of Rug Weaving. The sett is not correct - at 18 epi it's much too close. And I am finding that the plies in the weft separate and twist in opposite directions. This is the first try on this sample

Monday, April 15, 2013

Las Vegas

Spent the weekend in las vegas for my nephew's wedding (4th wedding in 12 months in our extended family). Lots of dancing and laughter and this time even wedding cake.

We saw Seinfeld and Penn and Teller. Red Rock Canyon (why cant Illinois have mts?) Reading and crochet by the pool. (Splendours and Glooms: magic...puppets...victorian waifs...)

Now waiiiiiittttingg for our flight home.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Color wheel

Today at weaving guild we painted a color wheel in acrylics. The exercise dramatized color, tint - color + white - and shade - color + black.

I wanted a smock and one of those little easels from preschool.

Seriously, it is still fun to sit at a table, talk to your friends, dip a paintbrush into the water glass, and try to stay inside the lines.

I'd like to have another kindergarten outing to learn the difference between saturation and value in colors.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Memento Mori

This week we read Muriel Spark's Memento Mori for book club. Response was surprising: of 6, 2 adored it, 4 found it depressing, sad, difficult reading.

What??? Were we reading the same book? For me (amongst the minority) this is a joyous book about a group of octogenarians who have not grown past the jealousies and loves and self-pity and machiavellian machinations of their much younger years. Nearer and nearer to death they march, with no diminution of their attachments to the past and memory as well as to life.

The leitmotif of the novel is the phone call that each character receives. A voice - which is heard, variously by different characters, as a young man, a woman, an old man, even someone insistent on leaving a message when he does not reach the intended recipient - tells the caller, "Remember you must die." And how each character responds is a look into how we respond to the ultimate, unavoidable conclusion to a life. Clearly, we each must die.

Those who are most calm, even welcoming to the caller, exhibit a life well led. Given Sparks' Catholicism, it is not surprising that Miss Taylor and Charmain, two such characters have a strong faith, a commitment to the church. But a third character, Inspector Mortimer (often cited as the example of paganism, but I think that goes too far) has a Horatian mindfulness: the capacity to appreciate. He loves his wife. He loves his grand-children. And he loves his garden. Scenes of Mortimer at home repeatedly show him in the garden, or contain descriptions of his house and his garden - reminding the reader of an earthly alternative to religion: the appreciation of beauty in the shape of a tree, or the affection of a loved one.

As I hiked with the dog through the woods today - and saw three female deer, so silent, almost invisible in the foliage that has not yet begun to leaf out and turn green - I pondered Mortimer's centrality to the novel. He appears very little, but like another character,Lisa, who is the deus ex machina, he is spoken of quite often. Kept in front of our readerly attention, he reminds me of the importance of noticing the little things that aggregate into the quiet splendor of a day. The thing about Mortimer is that he notices. And he acts. There is this lovely simplicity and clarity, so it makes sense that he is the first to ascertain that the mysterious caller is Death. Still undisturbed, Mortimer explains to his wife the importance of keeping Death always in one's awareness; it enriches life, bringing it to a more lively pitch.

Of course, it was to be expected that today, when I went hunting for something completely unrelated on the Internet, that I would come across a post about this very subject. From a yoga teacher. Who quotes a poem about death. Which mentions King Lear, which is my favorite play and the one I tried to talk the book group into reading. Here's the post.