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A baby quilt from a group, day two

Making a quilt by committee is a challenge.  What you see here may not look like much, but that design is the result of an entire day’s work!  It’s going to be a baby quilt for my young classmate in T’ai chi class, from all the folks at the Seattle Kung Fu Club who contributed bits of fabric, and me. It is truly multicultural, with the pink and red “Folklorico Las Golondrinas” fabric by DeLeon Design group, the Zen-looking Chinese cats, the cute French baby words fabric, and the Seattle memorabilia. Since the baby shower is in just seven days, I’m zooming through this process and loving the work, with Angelique Kidjo and others singing me on! Stand by for more to come… It’ll be a busy week.

This story is simple:  1 & 1 (plus love) = 3, and we’re all here to welcome her!

SKFC baby quilt day two Sept 1 2019

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quilts: another satisfied client! (and Alias Grace is amazing)

Could’t resist this adorable shot of a new client with her quilt, from Honey Girl Books and Gifts LLC!

Olivia with her quilt June 2019.jpg

If you like quilts, you’ll love the new mini-series we just discovered last night on Netflix: Alias Grace. Based on the 1996 novel by Margaret Atwood, it begins in the 1850s with the testimonial of a beautiful, poised young inmate in a Canadian prison who tells her life story to a kindly doctor. In a wonderful sequence, she and her fellow housemaids make beds in a manorial estate, heaving colorful and original quilts, one after another,  high into the air before smoothing them down in a series of magnificent bedrooms. Every girl needs three quilts in her life, they explain. It’s her power: present in something as innocuous as a wedding quilt, which Grace likens to a battle flag.

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not quite perfect happiness

Well, that perfect moment of happiness has ended. Got some bad news yesterday about a couple cancers on my skin. So the perfect happiness is not so perfect anymore. But in a way that makes it all the more precious, because I realize how fleeting it is, to be alive and aware.

My first reaction from the doctor was actually relief. Relief that I am not endowed with some super powers that demand ever-increasing effort, nor am I immortal. I will not live forever, thank heavens! So I can be kinder to myself and say “No,” more often, and feel empowered to choose how to live, every minute of every day….  (It is also a reminder that my textile creations, via Honey Girl Books and Gifts, really are “limited editions”! haha, shop now!)

Oh well, live and learn. Hope your sense of happiness, perfect or not quite, remains intact as well…  I’m going to do a bit of sewing now and listen to the fabulous Angelique Kidjo: guaranteed to flood my spirit with joy!

Pictured here is a happy client with one of the baby quilts I’ve been creating this spring, for some lovely new people who’ve arrived on the planet! Welcome, babies!

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Day Six: follow-up on day five, or what do Gaston Bachelard and Jeanette Lawrence have in common?

After finishing the morning routine yesterday, despite my sense of overwhelm, I came away refreshed and with two resolutions: 1. Buy Gaston Bachelard, Poetics of Space. 2. Send a card and check to niece, Kelsey Julia, on birth of her baby Jeanette. Look forward to getting to know the little girl and watching her grow up!

Both of these ideas were stirred up by feelings of affection. Affection for Bachelard (1884-1962), who was a post-master in a small town in France before becoming a celebrated philosopher of space. I discovered him and his body of work as a graduate student in French literature. In retrospect, he is one of the most important thinkers I enjoyed reading. With the accent on enjoyed!

I want to reread his famous book and, knowing that I’m leaving behind a nice research library at Notre Dame, I want to build up my personal collection and own it. It may seem stupid to buy books right before you move. It probably is, to some people. But for me, these are moving preparations for the spirit.

Bachelard will help me capture the feelings I have for this house and the new one too. His abstract and companionable voice will be a constant, if I want it to be, during this time of uncertainty. I love his way of describing what one might call the “spirit lives” of rooms, drawers, cupboards, and tiny spaces. This old house on Riverside has many, many places like that to explore and contemplate. It has been a kindly place to live during a tumultuous decade.

(Editorial aside: When we first moved in here, I was in the midst of my exhausting career in the Notre Dame upper administration. I was drawn to the darkest, most protected space in this house. I still remember how relieved I felt when I discovered it:  a large dark, window-less closet with a secret hiding place in it for valuables. Hmmm… I wonder what deep need that met!?!  And what space will feel most protective in the new house? or will that thought even cross the mind? I suspect going home after 34 years away is going to be emotionally interesting…)

If a brief dip into The Poetics of Space is enough, then I will pack it away and rediscover it some rainy afternoon. I certainly won’t regret having it.

The other affection is for my niece and her daughter, my family, closer to whom I’m moving in 34 days. Need I say more?!

That’s what happens when you do T’ai chi–you start to feel a really happy energy, deep within, and then that good feeling  opens onto the world as a whole.

(It sounds crazy, but it’s true.)

Photo of Gaston Bachelard, [1] Dutch National Archives, The Hague, Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989 bekijk toegang Bestanddeelnummer 917-9599