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Reading List 4 of 2019

April 25, 2019

Covers the period from 3.29.2019 through 4.25.19


I own 6 of these items. I watched 9 items on Youtube/via streaming. Baltimore County Public Library system supplied 10 of the books and movies. Libraries outside of Baltimore County, via Inter-Library Loan, supplied the other 8 items.



RIP, Agnès Varda (1928 – 29 Marzo 2019)



Artists of particular interest:

  1. Alice Baber: Color, Light and Image, edited by Norton T. Dodge [1977, St. Mary’s College, Maryland] {abstract expressionist | oils}
  2. Joe Feddersen: Vital Signs by Rebecca J. Dobkins {lithographs; baskets; glass} [FN – Okanagan & Lakes]
  3. Emily Mason: The Light in Spring by David Ebony, et al. {abstract expressionist | oils}
  4. Georgia O’Keeffe: Watercolors, 1916–1918
  5. Paul Signac: A Collection of Watercolors and Drawings by Marina Ferretti Bocquillon {neo-impressionist}



Art ~ how to:

  1. 40 Watercolorists and How They Work by Susan E. Meyer [1976]
  2. The Art of Plein Air Painting by M. Stephen Doherty
  3. Artful Watercolor: Learning to Use the Secrets of Light by Lou Bonamarte and Carolyn Janik
  4. How to Mix Colors by Gabriel Martín Rig
  5. Just Add Watercolor by Helen Birch
  6. One Watercolor a Day by Veronica Lawlor
  7. Pure Watercolour Painting by Peter Cronin
  8. Sketching school by Judy Martin [1992]
  9. Watercolor: An Artist’s Guide to Painting on the Go! by Barbara Roth
  10. Watercolor: Painting Outside the Lines [negative space] by Linda Kemp
  11. Watercolor: Paintings by Contemporary Artists by Leslie Dutcher
  12. The Watercolour Enigma by Stephen Coates



Art ~ how to | Video:

  1. 8 minute tiny landscape by Kateri Ewing
  2. How to paint people [with watercolor] by Arty Julie
  3. How to use complementary colors in watercolor painting by Steve Mitchell
  4. Portraits in Watercolor, Part 1, by James Kirk [1988]
  5. Tube blacks vs. prismatic blacks (and why I love them both) by Kateri Ewing
  6. Watercolor Mindfulness by Jean Haines //watched first ½ only//
  7. Watercolor mixing chart tutorial by Mr. Otter Studio
  8. Watercolour realism: A different approach by Elizabeth Tyler
  9. Watercolor sets on a budget by Kateri Ewing





  1. Traces in Blood, Bone, & Stone: Contemporary Ojibwe Poetry, edited by Kimberly Blaeser {Anishinaabe | Wisconsin}



  1. A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota, edited by Sun Yung Shin
  2. Race-ing Justice, En-gendering Power: Essays on Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and the Construction of Social Reality, edited by Toni Morrison [1992]


British royalty:

  1. After Diana by Christopher Andersen
  2. Born to Be King: Prince Charles on Planet Windsor by Catherine Mayer



Films & TV:

  1. Downton Abbey, seasons 1–3, 1/2 of season 4, created by Julian Fellowes
  2. Frozen Fever, directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck





A(p)rian applied arts

April 22, 2019

Learning to observe more effectively.



In early April, Spouse saw a story on the NYT website about crowd-sourcing the identification of forest animals in Dutchess & Putnam counties, New York. He quickly got hooked on participating; I began soon after.

It’s fun, also addictive — I’m always hoping to see an unusual animal!

Out of the 30 possibilities (+ 1 category “nothing here”), I’ve seen various birds [including ruffed grouse, and turkeys, but mostly songbirds], black bears, a bobcat, chipmunks, a coyote, lots of deer, dogs, red foxes, gray foxes, herps [a snake, and maybe a frog], insects & invertebrates, mice, opossums, raccoons, gray & red squirrels, a woodchuck.   17 categories of critters.

Spouse has seen all of those, plus bats, and a family of black bears!


Critters I haven’t yet seen: bat; beaver; cat (domestic); cow; fisher; human being; mink; muskrat; river otter; flying squirrel; striped skunk; weasel.

(Who knew New York’s “striped skunk” looks nothing like Midwestern skunks?)


I have to pace myself, allowing days of rest in between sessions, but I’ve done stints on 8 days this month, for a total of 898 classifications.

As of early 22 April, the project was 7% complete.




The same website, Zooniverse, administers all sorts of crowd-sourced projects. I receive emails about which need more help, which got me started on Plant Letters.

The herbarium at the University of Coimbra in Portugal has a repository of letters to botanists that need transcribing. Letters written in Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and English.

I bungled the one letter in Spanish I tried transcribing — I found the date, 1877, irresistible, but the handwriting was almost impossible for me to decipher.

I’ve had better luck in letters and postcards written in English. A botanist in Surrey, England, writing in 1902, 1905, 1909, about various plant specimens he was studying.


I’ve completed 4 items. (Lots of typing keeps my numbers low.)

The project is 33% complete.




Applying my observations, creatively.



I surprised myself by how enjoyable participating in Fiberuary on Instagram was, so when I saw mentions of a “100 day project”, to begin 2 April, I impulsively decided to try it.

Unlike many of the people doing the project on IG, my version is not a well-defined topic [“100 days of human faces”].

I want a process for sketching things, in as few strokes as possible. But I also want to explore mixing colors, and how I feel about those colors.


As a kid, painting in oils was occasionally enjoyable, but more usually boring, and frustrating. I didn’t much care about the subject matter; I just wanted to explore juxtaposing and mixing pleasing color combinations.

I didn’t know, then, that I had emotion–color synesthesia.

I did know that I didn’t want to learn how to either draw, or paint, most subjects everyone else valued. But what was left?

A few years later, but still a kid, when I sketched with pencil, I portrayed only the item in front of me (usually a flower, or a tree). That is, no surrounding environment — no neighbors, no shadows, no perspective. Just the one thing.

Now I wonder … were my drawings disconnected from context because I was disconnected from context?


Even when I returned to painting (acrylics), in 2010, I was inspired by the colors themselves more than anything. Often mixing colors evoked moods and memories, which were incorporated into my paintings, but something(s) was missing.

It took years to realize that maybe I wanted to explore representational art.

Obstacles, however, included carpal tunnel, general muscle weakness, poor fine motor control, and being 30+ years out-of-practice with drawing. What method could possibly be available to me?


Sketching with watercolor.

Can I paint what I see, directly, without penciling anything in first? Yes. {Baby tapir figurine; Slyvori (snake plant); smiling pig figurine.}

Can I represent a mood, with a colorway? Yes.

Do I have a visual vocabulary of marks? Surprisingly, yes.

Can I freehand paint something I photographed, so it’s recognizable? Yes. {skunk cabbage}

If I do pencil something in, can I draw it well enough that it’s recognizable? Can I mix the colors correctly? Yes, and yes.


Spouse has taken up watercolors just now as well. As usual, our approaches are quite distinct.

He bought tubes of paint, and several brushes of various sizes, water brushes, a palette, a carrying case.

I’ve been exploring handmade watercolors, in pans and half-pans (and bottlecaps, and dots; also pebbles and paintstones), that I’ve found via Instagram. I’ve been using a 20 year old brush I’ve had for craft projects. I’m willing to try a variety of papers in odd weights, because I already own them.

Basically, I’m improvising with what’s at hand. Whatever’s easy.


Because I have to do a thing every single day — consistency to that extent is definitely not my strong suit — I’m letting myself find something that excites me to tackle, every day. What if I painted an item on my desk? Something I can see from my desk? Let’s try this new color that just arrived! Color mixing! What if I use the back end of the brush to swirl the paint in tendrils? What if I paint with this twig?


My emotions are infusing everything. And there’s a lot of ~amelia~. Much more than I would have expected, considering that (1) I’m not happy all the time; and (2) the colorways are definitely not the ones I think of when I think of ~amelia~. And yet, I feel ~amelia~, both when creating the paintings, and then when looking at them later.

Being surrounded by paintings infused with ~amelia~ is helping me feel happier/satisfied more consistently.


I’m looking at my surroundings differently: how could I paint this? Do I have the right colors? What might I need to add to my palette? Where’s the light coming from? What colors would I use for shadows? Which neighbors belong in my rendering? Can I add tree-friends from somewhere else? (Or would that work better as some type of collage?) My atlas! Maybe this is what was missing!!

Also, self-portraits.

I recently snagged a book of Georgia O’Keeffe’s watercolors from her early years in Texas, and they include her own self-portraits (some of which Spouse and I had seen at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in New Mexico in 2016, and were much taken by).

What if I sketched the plants and critters from trips in our future?

As far back as my 2013 trip to New Mexico, I was wishing I could record the colors I saw, the plants, the light. Photographs were not nearly personal enough, although I couldn’t articulate that at the time.

(For that matter, the light in Aotearoa, in 2005. I have a poem about it, but a painting, in watercolor, presents possibilities I very much want to explore now…)


Whom can watercolor help me become?

Reading List 3 of 2019

March 27, 2019

Covers the period from 2.26.2019 through 3.27.19


I own 2 of these items. I watched 8 items in the cinema/on Youtube/via streaming. Baltimore County Public Library system supplied 3 of the books and movies. Libraries outside of Baltimore County, via Inter-Library Loan, supplied the other 8 items.



3.6 weeks’ pause in reading books, while I reviewed, revised, and catalogued my own poems     [n = 227]




Rest in Power, Josephine Mandamin (c. 1941 – 22 Feb 2019), Anishinaabe Water Walker


First Nations’ focus


Cultures & geography:

  1. Lacrosse: The National Game of the Iroquois by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith
  2. Meet Naiche: A Native Boy from the Chesapeake Bay Area by Gabrielle Tayac {Piscataway | Maryland}
  3. Native American Tribes in Maryland: Piscataway, Piscataway Indian Nation, Susquehannock, Yaocomico, Doeg, Nanticoke Indian Tribe, Choptank Indian Tribe, Chaptico, Wicomoco, Mattawoman, Patuxent People, Pocomoke
  4. The Water Walker by Joanne Robertson {Anishinaabe | Ontario}




  1. Baptism of Desire by Louise Erdrich {Anishinaabe | Minnesota}
  2. River Woman by Katherena Vermette {Métis, Treaty One | Manitoba}
  3. Native American Literature: A Very Short Introduction by Sean Teuton {Cherokee | Arkansas}
  4. Sovereign Bones: New Native American Writing, edited by Eric Gansworth




  1. Making Coast Salish Territorial Acknowledgments Matter, by the Coast Salish Cultural Network, 25 Nov 2016 //Pacific Northwest//


+            +            +            +            +            +            +            +            +




  1. Captain Marvel, directed by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
  2. Coco, directed by Lee Unkrich & Adrian Molina
  3. Debutantes [1939, Britain], written & directed by Jonathan Gili
  4. Fighting with My Family, written & directed by Stephen Merchant
  5. Jim Gaffigan: Noble Ape, directed by Jeannie Gaffigan





  1. [SYW podcast] Oprah, Gayle, and Jada’s Media Takeover
  2. [TV] Catastrophe, season 4, written by Rob Delaney & Sharon Horgan
  3. [Poetry] Diary of a Ghost Girl by Shay Alexi
  4. Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life by Steve Martin
  5. Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee
  6. The Last Word: Reviving the Dying Art of Eulogy by Julia Cooper
  7. This Is Woman’s Work by Dominique Christina



Fiberuary Challenge of 2019

February 28, 2019

{fiberuarychallenge created by Cecilia Nelson-Hurt (@creativececi on IG)}


Spouse & I were in Kentucky visiting his parents as the month began, so I … had time to think about if I wanted to try the Challenge or not. Some of the prompts look triggering, but I’ve decided to be brave — start the process, see if I can finish the month.



// fabric, cotton, colorful //


HI, MY NAME IS… Mea. I’m a conceptual artist who sometimes uses fiber, but even when I’m immersed in other things, I touch fiber with my fingers and visually stim with it most days.

I am a generalist in a world of specialists. I can’t do (a) “fiddly”, anything that (b) takes tons of sustained effort, and/or (c) is supposed to be permanent — I’m all about experimenting, in small doses, always changing things. Therefore, stuff I make never looks “polished”; often, it doesn’t look finished. I rarely do the same kind of thing more than once.

My “openness to experience” is sky-high; curiosity gets me out of bed, helps me bear living. I’m a xenophile and heterophilist, and I’m always learning.



// trees, vintage stamps, cartography, biogeography, colorful //


WHEN I’M NOT KNITTING, I’M reading, usually books (319 in 2018): lots of SFF, poetry, biographies & memoirs, Eastern European history, neurodiversity & creativity, science, Black literary & cultural criticism, First Nations’ literature, anything about water.

I write poetry, and sometimes I write to other poets. I do snail mail, mostly with Postcrossing. I’m an avid photographer. I blog.

I used to draw and paint — too taxing and repetitive now.

Mostly, though, I think, and feel, and wonder.



// knitting, fabric, weaving, tapestry, machine knitting, texture; orange, indigo, teal, celadon–ivory–black–cognac–coral //


MY 1ST PROJECT WASin a conventional sense, as an adult, it was probably the orange swatch at the bottom right [of photo 1]. Feb 2000, I was taking a class in (iirc) fabric techniques. Tapestry at top right, a class in Sep 2003. Middle yardage, private lessons on a floor loom, spring 2007. Left, 1st knitting project, a class at my LYS [local yarn shop] in Feb 2010.

Not shown, I was a volunteer curator for the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef project when it was exhibited at the Smithsonian, summer 2010.


Classes/lessons: Glen Ellyn, IL; Indianapolis, IN; Arcadia, IN; Cockeysville, MD.


I began draping furniture to create impromptu soft sculptures, um, maybe 12-18 month ago.


My mother was a sewist, and I would’ve liked to learn from her, but … in my childhood, she used me as if I were a puppet, a proxy body to ‘create’ projects so that other adults would exclaim over the “child prodigy”, when actually all the creative decisions were hers. The process was demoralizing, and was part of a pattern of emotional abuse that stifled my creativity for decades.

When I finally separated enough that I could seek my own creativity, I first tried fiber art classes, and some of them were good. But for sewing, I wanted private lessons with a kind & patient teacher. I asked a kind & patient coworker (who made her own clothes), but she referred me to a local class, which I reluctantly took. It was a disaster. I needed way more help than everyone else; the teacher was impatient, then ignored me; I got injured carrying my sewing machine. I dropped the class, and it was years before I tried sewing again. 2 later attempts at private lessons were pointless, embarrassing, expensive.

The knitting class at my LYS was problematic. I’d asked about private lessons, but they insisted I take a 2-day class instead. The teacher was impatient, then ignored me. I felt stupid. But I enjoyed the activity, and hoped the second day would be better; weather forced a reschedule that mysteriously never occurred. Maybe they didn’t want me back.

I can’t learn from videos; I need someone right there with me, showing me, over and over.

So my first knitting project is my *only* knitting project, and 6-7 feet long, because I didn’t learn how to physically end it.

It’s been 9 years, but I would still like lessons someday. However, I’ve been afraid to ask anybody, for anything.



// fabric, paper, colorful //


MY CURRENT PROJECT IS deciding which fabrics I can drape something in.



ONE PODCAST I LOVEI’m not a podcast person.




[Hoo boy.] “Family” is such an excellent concept — I really wish I had the positive associations with it, such that stuff that heals others — creating “found family” or “family of choice” — emotionally resonated with me. Instead, even those are triggering.

The most intimate ‘family’ term I ever use is ‘cousin’, precisely because it can indicate almost any level of connection, including non-blood relationship. Similar to ‘friend’, but with more duration and affection built in.

Notice how you’ve never seen photos of me with human friendS, doing anything. Because I don’t have [a plurality of] human friends, and (when I have had them), we did not do creative things together. Groups, for me, are nightmarish, and I generally end a large social event in tears, feeling like an unlikable abomination. So, no “Fiber Family” to share.



// white, ivory, indigo; paper, fiber, conceptual //



These 3 garments I created for Spouse to use with models on photo shoots, 2011–12. Far left is clothesline rope; the other 2 are strips of art paper. [Photo 2] Depicts the notebook I recorded my ideas during that period.




I have books on crochet, and I like the idea of ‘freeform’ things… but since I need a teacher for learning hands-on skills, I guess we have to stick with only knitting, because at least I’ve done it.



9TH ON MY RAVELRY QUEUE? I’m not on Ravelry.




Coffee, spiced with black pepper, clove, and cardamom, in the early afternoon (when I arise), coconut milk, local honey. Iced tea often at dinner out (at the grocery, 2x a week). Herbal tea generally on nights I’m up really late, puzzling through some difficult thinking. Or I’m missing my grandma, my tea-drinking companion, who died in 1998.



// fiber, fabric, silk, floral; pink, yellow-green, delicious oranges ~ amelia //



Since I don’t knit, let me say instead… when I’m wrestling with scary thoughts, I curl up with the 2 skeins [seen in Photo 1]. The mixed greens colorway is the first yarn I ever bought, c. 1998, Indianapolis Art Center, years & years away from thinking I could ever *use* it. The red/orange colorway I bought [when I was on a business trip to NoVa] in Jan 2006, at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria VA.




I have emotion-color synesthesia, so I have favorite colorways, and many of them I’ve named (and use hashtags for). Photo 2 shows amelia.




As a geographer, I love the fiber art of Valerie Goodwin. Also, Lenore Tawney, Françoise Tellier-Loumagne (who also has a book, The Art of Knitting?!! Must get that!), and of course, crocheter Daina Taimiņa.




I’m not at all looking forward to “getting back to knitting”. I expect what’s been unfolding in IG’s knitting community has been uncomfortable & unpleasant for BIPOC, and I regret that. I also regret how unaware I’ve been in my own complicity, for far too long.

I have an uneasy relationship with the entire idea of ‘welcome’, because I personally never feel included in it. (I keep writing & deleting things.)






[Photo 1: Spouse & me in front of Tomás Saraceno’s Entangled Orbits installation at the BMA]

[Photo 2: pink kalanchoe flowers, green leaves]

[Photo 3: trees reflected in the water of the Gunpowder River]

[Photo 4: Drabhu, covered in snow]

[Photo 5: Slyvori]

[Photo 6: an assortment of roses]


Spouse and I have been married 26 years. Creating a life together has given me a life I did not dare to imagine. Art. My river. Tree-friends. Housemate. My local library. Flowers.





[Photo: handmade journal ~ brown, white, yellow, green; oxalis leaves]


Book by e bond

First Nations photographer Matika Wilbur’s Project 562


I’ve been a fiber artist since, idk, maybe 2003. It’s taken me years to realize that the work [of other artists] that I’m drawn to is what I’d like to do myself… except that anything tangible (i.e., not words-based) always seems out of reach for my actual capabilities.


Australia’s Erica Gray

Ghana’s El Anatsui

Japan’s Kaori Kato

Poland’s Magdalena Abakanowicz

USA’s Nick Cave {fiber artist, not singer}, Eric Gjerde, Maya Lin, Senga Nengudi.




[Photo: Cover of book, Arab and Jewish Women in Kentucky: Stories of Accommodation and Audacity by Nora Rose Moosnick, as seen at Joseph–Beth Bookstore in Lexington KY]


Both times I was recently in Joseph–Beth, I saw this book and considered buying it — ultimately I didn’t because (a) it was $40, and (b) I’d likely only read it once.

This book, today, because… I had just been scrolling through people who had liked a photo posted by my LYS, and I found myself pondering, “How do I know this person *isn’t* a white supremacist?” And then I did not follow any of them.

Possibly diversknitty stuff has occurred before — I joined the community ~6 weeks ago, so I don’t know — but before this new level of awareness, the only criteria I used when deciding to follow someone:

  1. Do I want to look at photos of these kinds of things? [Is there a variety to what I see? Or is it always human beings, always books, always their pet(s), etc.]
  2. Are the colorways pleasant/enjoyable? Or do they stab my brain & jangle my nerves?
  3. Does the person post infrequently enough that I don’t get sick of them/dread seeing their photos again?
  4. Is there religious talk? [Better if none, but small doses might not be triggering.]

But I didn’t consider politics. Now I do.


People talking about their personal religious practice is actually kind of interesting, and I often enjoy learning about it.    Any faith talk, though, especially if it’s Christian, is triggering, so I have to minimize my exposure to it.




// books; fiber art, creativity, heritage, Lithuanian, Latvian; design, information design //



I recently donated about ½ of the books that used to be here; these are the 31 I feel good about retaining:



  1. Lietuvos Gobelenas [Lithuanian Tapestries], 1983, Vilnius // written in Lithuanian, so I can’t read it, and am not even sure who the author is — bought it from eBay for the photos, which are spectacular //
  2. Finishing Touches for the Handweaver by Virginia M. West, 1988
  3. Reflections From a Flaxen Past: For Love of Lithuanian Weaving by Kati Reeder Meek, 2000
  4. Tapestry Weaving by Kirsten Glasbrook, 2002



  1. The Fiberarts Book of Wearable Art by Kathleen Duncan Aimone, 2003
  2. Artwear: Fashion and Anti-Fashion by Melissa Leventon, 2006
  3. Breaking the Mode [LA Co. Museum of Art’s Permanent Collection] by Kaye Durland Spilker and Sharon Sadako Takeda, 2007
  4. The Fashion Designer’s Directory of Shape and Style by Simon Travers-Spencer and Zarida Zaman, 2008
  5. Absolutely A-Line by Wendi Gratz, 2009



  1. Kentucky Quilts, 1800–1900 by Jonathan Holstein & John Finley, 1992
  2. Quilt National 2003 by Lark Books
  3. Speaking in Cloth: 6 Quilters, 6 Voices by Ann Johnston & Jeannette DeNicolis Meyer, 2006
  4. Collection of the National Quilt Museum, 2009


~Creative Miscellaneous~

  1. Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years by Elizabeth Wayland Barber, 1994
  2. The Art of Embroidery by Françoise Tellier-Loumagne, 2006
  3. Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes by Daina Taimiņa, 2009
  4. Expressive Flower Painting by Lynn Whipple, 2017



  1. A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander, et al., 1977
  2. Envisioning Information by Edward R. Tufte, 11th, 2006
  3. Designerly Ways of Knowing by Nigel Cross, 2007
  4. Decoding Design by Maggie MacNab, 2008


~Design | Paper | Visual~

  1. Visual Notes for Architects and Designers by Norman Crowe and Paul Laseau, 1984
  2. Lenore Tawney | Postcard Collages, 2002
  3. Creating Sketchbooks for Embroiderers and Textile Artists by Kay Greenlees, ?2005
  4. Visual Grammar by Christian Leborg, 2006
  5. Finding Your Own Visual Language by Jane Dunnewold, et al., 2007
  6. Typographic Systems by Kimberly Elam, 2007
  7. Visual Thinking for Design by Colin Ware, 2008
  8. Origami Tessellations by Eric Gjerde, 2009
  9. Folding Techniques for Designers: From Sheet to Form by Paul Jackson, 2013
  10. Typewriter Art by Barrie Tullett, 2014





Black Sheep Yarn Shop, which was on York Road for years, very convenient, and — although I hate shopping — dropping in on them was a fun excursion that got me out of the apartment with some frequency. Pretty colors! Things to touch! Friendly people!  […] Luckily for my peace of mind [after my unpleasant knitting class experience], the shop relocated away from York Road, so I’m not constantly driving past them.




// fabric, fiber, colorful, texture, amelia; silk, lace, ribbon //





My Etsy history informs me that I bought this lovely ball of yarn from Fabulosity Yarn in March 2010. Some of it appears in my 9 7 ft long scarf.  […]      Honorable mention to Janet Stollnitz, who dyed my red/orange “kitty” {{See 2.11}}.


These days, I recognize that yarn, especially (but also most fabric, ribbons), are not going to be made into something permanent, so I rarely buy them anymore.




[Photo: handwoven wool vest; pattern is 6 bands of Mediterranean-looking design elements; colors ~ apricot, purple, orange, fuschia, indigo/violet, red. The colors are richly saturated, in a startling combination, but it works!]

Maker is Joan Brown, of Dancing Cat Originals. I bought it at the Torpedo Factory, maaaybe 2010. I’m pretty sure it was the store run by “my” guild, Potomac Fiber Arts. Amazing colorsense, and quite warm — I practically live in this vest every winter.




// fiber, New Zealand, wool, lace //


Maker of this woolly knit jacket is Rosemarie Muller. I love how deliciously warm it is, but it’s so scratchy that I need 3-4 layers of cotton underneath it, so I rarely wear it. Beautiful purples, tho. And a lovely reminder of visiting Aotearoa in 2005.




// metal, glass, ammonite, labradorite, enamel, amber; swirly, dragons, chameleon, leaves, trees, love; linen, lace, pink //




// fabric, frogs, honey, colorful //


My body temperature doesn’t regulate properly [part of dysautonomia]. So I’m generally freezing for 6-9 months of the year, then overheating & sun-overwhelmed the remainder.

This winter, I’ve found myself layering 3 wool sweaters, but still being cold… Spouse got me the big navy poofy thing on the pillows — my “snuggle sack”! The whole thing is lined with (fake) shearling, including the hoodie. It is *so* *warm*.

3 pillows [against the headboard] so I can relax the kinks in my back enough to properly start my day, while drinking coffee, enhanced with clover honey from Frederick County, Maryland.

Bunny for company.

My (warm) cheerful polartec throw, patterned with frogs and butterflies.

Coffee cup with hot air balloon dates from a 1992 bouquet of flowers Spouse (then just my BFF) sent to me at my job, when I was really struggling there. It always cheers me up.


October 2018 was awful for my GI issues: the Kavanagh hearings triggered me so much, I was a nervous wreck. But this month has been *twice* as dire — I keep quantitative records — and I’m mystified as to why.

I’m attempting to “take it one day at a time” (rather than worrying if this might be “my new normal”), but my energy levels, and my motivation, have cratered.            Thus, cozy has become absolutely vital.




// fiber, wool, delicious oranges, yellow, shades of pink, golden, amelia //


This is my favorite colorway. Outside of flowers; yarn; and the occasional floral fabric; I don’t encounter it much.

I often cuddle with this yarn — the colors, but also the springiness of the wool. It’s like its secret name is Exuberance!




// indigo, shades of pink; Drabhu, branches; ribbon, iridescent, Lilliput Hats //


If I manage to leave the apartment in a bit [[I didn’t]], I’ll have to add a bunch more (warmer) layers, but just for now… A favorite hat that I don’t wear! Souvenir from a trip to Canada, near Niagara Falls, circa 24 years ago.



I wrote *something* on 25 days, skipping 3 prompts only because I could think of nothing interesting to say. The prompts I thought might be triggering, I persevered with.




Reading List 2 of 2019

February 25, 2019

Covers the period from 1.20.2019 through 2.25.19


I own 6 of these items. I watched 2 items in the cinema/via streaming. Baltimore County Public Library system supplied 14 of the books and movies. Libraries outside of Baltimore County, via Inter-Library Loan, supplied the other 5 items.




  1. Dream Work by Mary Oliver
  2. Falling Awake by Alice Oswald
  3. Turning into Dwelling by Christopher Gilbert
  4. Your Enzymes Are Calling the Ancients by Karen Donovan
  5. The Wilds of Poetry by David Hinton // anthology of 15 white dudes, mostly dead, and their ‘ecopoetics’ ~ if I’d realized that, despite my shock at G&R closing, I wouldn’t have bought the book//



  1. Between the Folds, written & directed by Vanessa Gould
  2. Brave, directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman; story by Brenda Chapman
  3. If Beale Street Could Talk, written for the screen & directed by Barry Jenkins



  1. Becoming by Michelle Obama {5 stars}
  2. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics by Donna Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, Minyon Moore, with Veronica Chambers
  3. The Life of Poetry by Muriel Rukeyser [1949]
  4. How to Be Alone by Lane Moore
  5. On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old by Parker J. Palmer


British royalty:

  1. The Crown [season 1], created by Peter Morgan {rewatched, with subtitles}
  2. Harry: Life, Loss, and Love by Katie Nicholl
  3. Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor by Anne Edwards [[Queen Mary was Elizabeth II’s paternal grandmother]]
  4. The Queen’s Marriage [Elizabeth II and Prince Philip] by Lady Colin Campbell



  • The Good Place, season 2



  1. The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger
  2. First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
  3. Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
  4. Whiskey & Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith
  5. [SFF] Charm: A Wicked Cinderella Tale by Sarah Pinborough
  6. [SFF] The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden



  1. A Visual Dictionary of Native Communities by Bobbie Kalman
  2. Why We Dream by Alice Robb
  3. Words at the Threshold by Lisa Smartt



Dreams: 1.27.19

January 27, 2019


CK has handed me a packet of photos from the Pacific Rim vacation he took with NN when she was in remission and well enough to travel, a year ago (before she died).  I’m marveling at the blue, blue-green waters, the lush greenery.

He walks away for a few minutes, and I come across 2 photos of my cousin RL, but… she’s got a mustache? And her hair is different? She’s wearing big bandaids on her face that are a cheetah-print, but in teal.

CK returns, and I riffle through his photos, so I can ask him about the photos of RL— did they, coincidentally, all happen to be in Fiji at the same time??! — but they’re nowhere to be found.

Doing that, though, I run across photos of CK and NN having playful sexytimes inside their cabin. I rush past those, apologizing, but he says I don’t need to be sorry. I’m still embarrassed, as if I invaded their privacy (even though he handed me the whole packet; even though… who snapped the photo?).


Later, CK and I are both in the back of a taxicab, and he is much taller than me, looming over me in fact. I would like to have a serious conversation with him, but the driver is blaring his music so loud I can barely think.      Still, I put my hand on my uncle, to catch his attention; when he turns to me, I say, “I sent you a note…” (To my surprise — it could not possibly have arrived already) He smiles a bit and says, “Yes, I read it, thank you.” I tap him, again, for emphasis. I say, “How are you? Really?”


Later, I want to stop the cab somewhere quiet, a park maybe, so we can really talk, but when I suggest that to the driver he says, “Lady, you’re the one who needed to get to their destination quickly; that’s why I’ve been driving so fast!” (This is not true.)

We’re now at the top of a hill, and I realize the grade is rather steep. I’m just thinking, “I would not feel safe driving that…” when the driver plunges the car down the hill, which adjusts itself as we drive so that it’s like an 80 degree angle. It’s steep.

I don’t know if we’ll survive the drive to the foot of the hill.



Interlude: There was a color in one of the dreams, but now I don’t recall which one. I don’t quite know how to describe the color: muted cheddar? It’s not yellow, not goldenrod, not orange, not brown, but it’s sort of a mix of all of them.

When I consider how the color makes me feel {I have emotion-color synesthesia}… Okay, which colors would I put it into a colorway with, to clarify my emotions? That’s when I realize… this color jangles and disrupts. It doesn’t harmonize or stabilize or ‘play nice’.

Because I can’t definitively name it, or determine what I’m feeling about it, this color … calls attention to itself, and is memorable.




I’m in my 40s or so, and I’m taking a night class. I think it’s some flavor of history, maybe history of science. The teacher is Mr. Brust [my h.s. physics teacher].

We assemble to take an exam: we have 2 hours to complete 40 questions. As I do my initial read-through of the questions, I vaaaaguely recall having read some of the material, weeks ago, but I didn’t study it, and now I don’t recall details.

I set to work. I look up, and the first hour is gone: I’ve completed 4 questions. Clearly, I’m going to fail this exam.

I continue the exam, but now I’m partly distracted by remembering that I’ve failed most of the exams in this class. So I’m probably going to flunk the year.

I reflect to myself that I am genuinely interested in the subject matter, and I think the teacher knows the material well. They lecture in an engaging way, and I also enjoy the interplay with my classmates. (I’m getting much more out of the process of learning the material than I would by simply reading a book about it.)

I even like reading the assignments… just, not week in and week out, every single week. Sometimes I’m too tired, sometimes I’m exploring other interests, sometimes I forget.

So the real stumbling block, from my end, is… studying. I’m not going to study the subject. (Too much bother, I’m too old for all that nonsense.)

From the class’s end, the stumbling block is… being graded. If I could just attend the classes every week, enjoy the lectures and class discussions, do a reading once in a while, and skip exams and quizzes, I’d be golden.

And that’s when I realize… I’m an adult. I have agency. I can audit the class.




If RL actually had a transgender aspect, we’d have something in common. But there’d certainly not be a way to ask CK about it.

I don’t have a relationship with CK. I did send him a note, which has not yet arrived.

Distractions in waking life, preventing a serious conversation, are legion, and likely not overcomable.

I said Something, and now I zoom off into my actual life, elsewhere.



-unsettling color-

Air months are uncomfortable for me anyway, but in this Air month, on 1/23, I arrived at an unexpected milestone, and have been shaking up my cozy life since (which feels like it was weeks ago, not 4 days).

Gereny Vox, =vallo=, Q.

I’m finally ready to embrace Being Old.




NC and Mr. Brust are the 2 teachers from high school I’ve dreamed about, for almost 40 years.

NC encouraged me to excel by expecting a lot out of me, giving me suggestions very occasionally, and then sharing that she was very pleased and proud when I succeeded {Mexico project}. She remains the only schoolteacher I had who behaved that way. (Gramma, too, tho.)

Mr. Brust could somehow tell I was really smart, so he expected me to do well in his class, but when I struggled, fairly continuously, he offered no help, just “disappointment”. He was never pleased with my efforts, nor proud of me.    He was… a lot like my parents.

I loved the subject of physics before taking his class. The topics in physics I most wanted to cover, our class never arrived at. I wasn’t “smart enough” to overcome not being in the calculus math track … a disability, you might say, which of course no accommodations or workarounds were offered for. No, it must be that I was lazy, or stupid, or a bad person. Or all 3 at once.


Nowadays, I rarely take classes. Instead I read books. A LOT of books.

There are no exams. I don’t have to defend my knowledge base. I don’t compare myself to others. I just do what I like, when I like. Then I move on to other things.


If I have no residual hope of returning to science, then I can get rid of all books that were solely around to help my science career. I’m definitely not going to be a science writer, so those books can go, too. Books about how to do fiddly things that I couldn’t do, even if I wanted to, bye.


Having a dedicated studio has been a wonderfully nourishing and encouraging experiment. 24 years: 6 residences, in 3 states.

Time for a change. Time for radically reimagining who I am, now.

Dream-like: 1.21.19

January 21, 2019

I slept for 12 hours last night, and I remember pieces (some are long) from 4 overlapping dreams. However, I just finished (another) book on dreaming, and the way that author interpreted her own dreams was much more straightforwardly than I’ve been doing.


I’m in college, as a 20-something, but it’s weird because it’s simultaneously a science/technical track (which I’m excelling in), and “art school”… which I’m flunking.                    In media res, I’m pulling an all-nighter, along with most of my art school cohort, to “finish” our final project and take-home exam. My classmates are all bonding over the exhilaration of finally finishing this stuff under such a tight deadline. I’m … panicking, because mine are barely started. I would need weeks to finish.

My mother is going to be pleased; she has never supported my attempts to do both things.

And during the term, I realized that the “left-brained” stuff, I could fairly easily achieve getting into a groove with, then churning out the assignments and tests with ease.      “Art school”, though… it wasn’t just that it was switching gears to “right-brained”. Everything required… looooong stretches of time, for ideas to incubate. And then, more long periods, of doodling/sketching and experimenting/iterating.    So doing both STEM and Art during semesters of the same length was a big part of the problem. In several years at the college, I was supposed to be preparing to graduate in another year or so, but I’d only baaaarely begun to figure out what sorts of Art problems intrigued me.



I’m home alone with my father, and he’s trying to explain what procedure I should follow if Vicky calls back, but he keeps getting distracted.

I’m (inexplicably) bare-chested, but wearing lots of strings of beads, which I tell him are from projects I did in art school.

Later, I catch sight of myself in a mirror. Not only am I wearing two silly-looking knitted hats in blue*, but I don’t recognize my body at all. I’m shorter in stature, my chest is quite large while my shoulders are narrower, my skin color is more golden.



I’m talking to my parents, and decide to ask them just which highway it is that reliably “takes me home, when I’m lost”. You know, it’s the one that’s like a rollercoaster? That is, you drive up a very steep incline (as if it were a drawbridge opening), and then you drive down the plunge on the other side? Before the lanes separate into 5 different highways. That one — what is it called? It’s always there when I need it.

My parents look at each other, flummoxed. They have no idea what I’m talking about.



I’m at my aunt and uncle’s house in SLC. A big family reunion is happening, but… I don’t recognize a lot of the people.

At one point, dream-HO is giving me a hard time, and a girl passing by tells him to knock it off — which I appreciate — but… she does it while calling me DeadName — which I don’t.

Later, I’m with Y, playing with K’s baby/toddler. I introduce myself to the baby as Mea, and she beams at me. I wonder aloud how hard it would be to get everyone to switch over.

Later, someone’s talking to Vicky on the phone. I jump on, and am prompted to tell her about the much bigger reunion that she should totally attend, that’ll be happening in Queens, in 2020.

Huge (hand-sized) “ants” walking across the sandwich on my lunch plate turn out not to be me hallucinating, but instead are remotely-controlled robot ants that a bunch of the adolescent guys are fooling around with. I feel left out, but I’m also wondering if I can eat my sandwich.

Much later, I realize this reunion has been an opportunity for (a) me to ‘reintegrate’ with my extended family, but also (b) poet Natalie Diaz to revitalize her relationship with her husband, and 2 teenaged sons. Instead, though, ND and her husband have, regretfully, decided to divorce, and her sons are heading out into the world for their adult lives.   And I… feel just as alienated after a family reunion as I do before a family reunion.



*Possibly the same-ish “radioactive-spider-blue” as in Spider-Verse? But why??


I know poet Natalie Diaz is a lesbian, and thus, has no husband. I don’t think she has teenaged children.

Natalie Diaz is one of my poetry heroes, so I would normally be excited about her appearing in a dream. I’m grateful my brain did it this way, instead of more nightmares about ARCTIC SEA ICE MELTING.          (Per her IG feed, her brother has written a book called The End of Ice (because global warming), so now I’m going to have to stop following her. Dammit.)



The knitting community on IG, heavily white and privileged, has just recently discovered racism exists in their midst.

I found out about it when one (white) knitter I happen to follow started linking to stuff in her stories. I got all caught up in it, emotionally, even though I’m not part of the community at all — I don’t knit; I don’t buy knitting patterns (and I couldn’t and wouldn’t follow them, if I did); I don’t spin; I’m not on Ravelry; I haven’t woven since before we moved to Maryland — almost 11 years; I don’t buy yarn.             The only aspect connecting me at all is… I do like looking at pictures of pretty colorways in fiber.


I don’t ‘belong’ in groups.

I don’t know how to navigate groups so that I don’t, eventually, become a scapegoat.

I don’t feel safe in groups.

Groups accomplish things lone individuals don’t, however, so (on some level) I wish I could belong to a group, the ‘right’ group.


A group in which I can be defended, publicly, but only by being misnamed? No thank you.

A group where everyone is fine with the time scale, but I can’t make it work for me, and therefore am not just failing, but feeling shamed as a ‘loser’? Nope.

I don’t have a relative named Vicky. My cousins might have a cousin Vicky  though. ‘Belonging’ to those cousins had to come through my uncle, whom I don’t think ever liked me much. Also, HO set himself up as the arbiter of who was allowed to ‘belong’ to his clan, and he always pushed me out. I saw no way to go around both males. But even if I had… The whole clan is devoutly Catholic, which means patriarchal, authoritarian, all that.      I’m none of that.


Why do I keep trying so hard to be accepted by people who aren’t interested in me?

It’s time to learn different.