Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Proofreading poetry

In my undergraduate days, I had an editing job on the college literary magazine. Like so many things from that era of Right and Wrong Answers, I thought I could apply copy-editing guidelines to our poetry submissions.

A guy named Randy (I think) became frustrated and shouty when I tried to edit a poem following my favorite rules – consistency, grammar and proper spelling. The poem was an allegory for life and shooting craps. I wanted to spell “dice” the same way throughout the poem, getting rid of the poet’s alternate “dies,” clearly a mistake.

I don’t even remember what Randy said, something along the lines of “that’s not how poetry works” and “you can’t mess with the poet’s words.” My comma rules ruined the pauses and flow and and and. He gave an exasperated explanation that the spelling of “dies” played with the theme of death.

D’oh. And duh. And light bulb.

My brain exploded.

In that pissed-off moment, he taught me more about poetry – reading and writing it – than I’d ever learned in school (before or after). In that moment, I learned about word choice and line breaks and climbing inside the writer’s head.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Memories of my dad

My dad passed away at age 77 around 11 p.m. on December 10, 2014. I miss him a lot. 

He liked cinnamon rolls and root beer floats and popcorn. He hated cooked spinach and soggy bread.

His little girls would ask "wiggle your ears, Daddy," but he wouldn't. Until we looked away and looked back out of the corner of an eye and caught him.

He wove doilies in his free time in the army. And fixed helicopters. He took photos of tulips in Holland. He loved his '57 Chevy.

He hated plumbing and electrical work. He was a carpenter. He brainstormed designs aloud, sketching on paper napkins during dinner, explaining how the pieces went together. He always had a pen in his pocket.

He made sure we had wiper fluid in our cars. And called us to the back window to watch a sunset.











Friday, May 9, 2014

Glow pops?

What the heck is with the super-white teeth in my profile picture? Like any minute, blinding laser rays will come pouring out. Where did that come from?

Farewell glowing mouth, hello frog hat.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Paczki Power

Donuts, fried and filled. Mmm.

What a lovely day with my honey. I took an impromptu mental health day and got lunch and a paczki run out of the deal.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A quilt for "Maui"

My sister and brother-in-law went through a bit of trouble before then had my niece. Not as bad as some, not as easy as most. And when my sister got pregnant, the specialist informed her the family trip to Hawaii was a no-go. Somehow, the wee one in her belly became "Maui" for casual reference.

So, this is Maui's Hawaii-themed quilt. She'll be 10 this fall, and it's a little small for the tall girlie she is becoming. 

The quilt is foundation-pieced on muslin blocks using the technique from Barbara Randle's "Crazy Quilting with Attitude" -- if not her colors! Most of the fabric was purchased at quiltfabric.com in two of the store's earlier locations.


Love this vintage-look Hawaiian-themed fabric on the back. I think it was a thrift-store find. My sister and bro-in-law love antiques and mid-century modern, so I thought the old postcards reproduced on the back would be perfect for their taste.



I borrowed a fancy-stitch disk from my mom's 1960s Singer and to use in my 1960s machine for the decorative stitches in the sashing. Maybe the ties were overkill, but I figured a baby would love to touch them, and I didn't want the quilt to fall apart! 


The rest of these stunning photos are quadrants of the blocks, so I have the images captured for posterity. I did a weird mix of 1930s ('40s?) repro prints, batiks and odds 'n' ends from my stash. I think it works?





You can see in the picture above that the backing fabric was folded over to become the border. That's what I discovered my maternal grandmother did with her quilts, along with tying them. The batting was an old flannel sheet. My aunt or mom said that's what their mom used. I liked that the new kiddo would have a quilt constructed like her great-grandma used to make them.


Em's Icara

I made this oodles of years ago (8 or 9?) when a favorite artist-poet-actor-goddess of mine moved south to return to the family fold. I worried how the quilt held up over the years after hearing a terrifying cautionary tale about the dangers of tying quilts. And I've worried how permanent the indelible fabric pen was too.

She was kind enough to send a photo in situ. 

The quilt has a quote from the Icarus story in Edith Hamilton's "Mythology":
"Escape may be checked by water and land, but the air and the sky are free."



And my photo of the front back in June 2006. Woo-hoo! Better with time.


Here's the back. What you can't see from this crappy, crappy photo is that the white ties appear as stars against a sky. The "signature patch" is inspired by Matisse' "Icarus." I free-handed it on a napkin at a restaurant to show my then-boyfriend what I was going for. He helped me blow up the image at a Kinko's and we figured out how to adhere it to the back long enough for me to hand-stitch it on.


A little closer look at the label. Is that...writing...on the legs?


Is this about the time you're saying, "Wait, didn't Icarus crash and burn? You know, when he tried to fly too high?" I have always called baloney sausage on that story. Oh, I'm sure it served a specific purpose or was a modern-day meme for the ancient Greeks. But it's never worked well for me in our world. When we rise above our troubles, we soar, dangnabbit.

And, you know, Icarus was a boy, Em is a girl. So, this one became Icara, which, in my firm belief, is the feminine Greek ending for the Icarus. Please do not attempt to dissuade me otherwise.

Here's the haiku for Icara, I mean Em. 

but when she rises
and finds freedom in her wings,
she consumes the sun



Christmas blankie for my sis

I loved this fabric. It's Moda's Nature's Christmas. I used a "Layer Cake" and "Jelly Roll" for this project. Maybe a "Charm Pack"? (Those are pre-cut 10" x 10" squares, 2.5" x 45" strips and 5" x 5" squares, respectively.) I had fun messing around, putting fabrics together and cutting them apart.

My sister had the (good? bad?) fortune to admire at the blocks fresh from the dryer one evening at my folks' house, and my fun little experiment became her birthday present when it was finished. If memory serves, I folded the back to the front to use as a border. And the quilt is tied instead of quilted.

Here, their cat plays Vanna to demonstrate the comfy-ness of the quilt.