Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kendall L. Hopkins (my grandma)

My grandma is beautiful. She looks like Katherine Hepburn only prettier!
The first time I met her she took down her hair. She undid a neat little bun which was held together with a handful of hair pins and a glorious mane of hair came down. This is where the little girl in her resides I believe. In her hair.
My grandma loves drama and insanity to some degree. Like me, there is a fascination with the tortured mind, perhaps because identifying that in others helps one to feel a little less alone.
Over the years, my grandma introduced me to some of my favorite books and movies. A Thousand Clowns, Harvey, King of Fools... I'm looking right now at the Collected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay, a hard bound book with underlinings and notes in the margins. I think she gave it to me for my 21st birthday. 
I know my grandma only a little bit in some ways which may be the reason I have only fondness for her. She is generous, always exclaiming that she really is a socialist. She is proud of her beauty and always enjoys the attention of a man.  
When I went away to college, my grandma sent me letters fairly regularly. sometimes there was money tucked into the card and more often there were articles about one thing or another. All interesting and thoughtful... I've still have all those letters.
My grandma died yesterday without having to suffer much which is good. I've been looking through Millay's poems to find an appropriate passage to send her off with and it's funny because the things she remarked on have a common theme; the difficulty of life and the "perhaps hand" of death... If there is a life after death, fleeting or eternal, this line (which she underlined on 2/14/1974 (valentine's day)) is maybe what she'd identify with, at least momentarily:
"And she was shocked to see how life goes on
Even after death, in irritating ways;" -Edna St. Vincent Millay
And then there is this, for us.
"We, we, the living, we, the still-alive,-
Why, what a triumph, what a task is here!
But how to go about it?- How connive
To outwit Evil in his proper sphere
And element?-Evil, conservative,
Established, disciplined, adroit, severe.
And yet, in some way, yet, we may contrive
To build our world; if not this year, next year."
Beside this passage she wrote
"Ah, yes

I will proceed with great love...
Happy new year!

Friday, December 26, 2008


Woke up to a calm and quiet morning. Coffee, panetone carried home from an Italian bakery, family and lot's of presents...
The biggest gift for me, for last! The big box with the big mystery which I was sure was a push lawn mower because I couldn't imagine anything else I could possibly want or need that was so big. But that only made the surprise so much sweeter! 
I've wanted a banjo for many years but because I don't know how to play one and because I've somehow convinced myself that I have zero musical proclivity I just pushed the longing deep into the back-est, hidden-est, recesses of my desires and left encounters with banjos to my dreams. In the dream I wear a wife beater and a long skirt. I sit on a tall stool with a microphone and sing and play my banjo and it feels right and it sounds great....
But not for real. Yet!
Along with the banjo came some lessons with a gentle man who I think I'll be able to relax enough to learn from and already I've learned to hold the instrument a little bit more properly and to relax my fingers and keep the digits discreet from the body of the banjo (which I think is good)!
It's such a pretty thing and it sounds so cheerful with just a pluck or a strum that I've decided I can learn to play. I will learn to play & I'm extremely excited!!!
Even if I never make it to the big time with the bright lights and the microphone, one day Jono and I will be able to make music together which is better than all the bright lights and big times in all the world!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A little there here...

Just a few extra special side perks of love coming home...
All is wonderful,lovely,snowy,warm,fun,happyhappyhappy&abundant!

A seminal exercise in gingerbread!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

mantra for today: 
"Be thankful for the way it is,
because the way it is,
is the way it's supposed to be."
-An Iroquois prayer

I suppose that must include endless snow and chilly cold.
so I'll repeat it. Over and over, all day long!

See the little devil laughing underneath the sun?! This is his time on the weather wheel, though the big and baffled sun is gearing up for a takeover. We'll see who's laughing come summertime!!!
Oh, have I already forgotten my mantra... I'm going to concentrate.... 

Monday, December 15, 2008


...another great underground band!


Once upon a time, there was a perfect peeper who was particularly peckish.
He flew down to find the feeder was full of fabulous foods. "fantastic"!
After enjoying enormously the edibles, this peeper of whom we speak energetically engrossed the entire environment with an earful of enthusiastic dance tunes before flying off for the next adventure.

Moral: eat, sing, enjoy...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

this is the garden...

It's funny because we weren't able to harvest anything from our garden this year and the one lonely tomato was all mushy on the vine before we got to it. It's still hanging on though, likely frozen solid on this winter's day.
& the sunflowers are still beautiful, all dried up, holding snow...
This is the first day with any real accumulation of snow and already I'm impatient for spring to come. I'll keep trying to convince myself that "winter is pretty" and that "snow is good because we need the water"... I can't think of any other plausible reasons at the moment but I'm determined to find a way to enjoy winter. 

Saturday, December 13, 2008

One great thing...

One great thing about distance can be getting foreign packages in the mail!
Today, aside from the stamps and the address on the envelope which plant romantic images in my head, I got chocolates which I'm trying not to devour all at once and, I love this, Japanese paper from France  (notice the writing on the upper right hand corner).
Talk about delightful abundance!
One great thing about chocolates is the surprise in the middle!
One great thing about paper is that there are a million great things about paper.
And one great thing about packages is that I LOVE getting them!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The most beautiful thing...

Today was the day I decided to tackle a task I've been putting off for awhile. Fixing the washing machine. I paid a guy $195 to come fix it last time and I decided that since I  was having the same problem with it, I could just do exactly what I had watched him do, save some money and tackle the mound of dirty laundry. It all started out great. I removed the front panel, drained the very smelly stagnant excess water, took out the coin which was causing the blockage in the drainage and put it all back together. I felt very empowered and even bragged to a friend who happened to call... Load one: the big test. Soaking wet at the end of the cycle.
Disappointment. Some internal swearing commentary. Some external swearing too, though very little. And then I looked up and noticed the little part of a poem I had stuck to the boiler when I first  moved in and decided to go back to doing what I've been doing while the system has been broken. Spin cycle again and again until finally the load was ready for the dryer...
Speaking of dreyers and trees, I got my first Christmas card today. Dreyers on a tree. Beautiful. Thanks!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


So, I know it's odd to be posting pictures of one's bathroom, but my bathroom changed my perspective today. It's cold all all of a sudden and Jono's been away for a few weeks now and I came home feeling a little bit exhausted and truth be told, downright mopey. I decided to take a bath with my special Italian valentine bath bubbles. I got nice and warm and as I relaxed I began to recognize  how cozy and wonderful it was to be home, with the luxury of time to take a bath in a really nice environment... Now I'm out of the tub and I've decided that instead of wintery Christmas decorations all over the place I'm going to make big, bright beautiful flowers and hang them from the vigas and make springtime happen all winter long! 
The end
Some things I love- hearts, flowers, late spring, the smell of garlic cooking, mint tea, the anticipation of new work from a favorite artist, writer, musician, eating out of my garden, Popeye, magic, colors, textures, a great salad, President Obama, wearing skirts and summer dresses, my sweetie, vintage knick-knacks, babies, dumb jokes, dancing, getting mail (not junk or bills), affection, This American Life & the whole Saturday npr lineup, Beautiful handmade things, bumble bees, surprises, romance, getting a massage, sushi, birthdays (especially my own), painted toenails, home, traveling, sushi & Thai food, punctuality, the sound of a banjo, Old Italian mosaic pins, bakelite & celluloid, the sky, soup, abundance...
Some things I hate- fear, feeling anxious, being too cold
Some things I don't care for- playing sports, anything scoogely/bristly/slimy or tendon-like associated with eating meat, driving, pumping gas, mopping, spiders (especially if I see one in the bedroom), instruction manuals, static, bad sounds, feeling obligated, morning...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Please send
a photo of
you or anyone.
1 1/2"-2" tall
and from head to toe.
The half bodies  look
a little odd!
You too can 
be part of the 
Send to:

This morning there is a little bit of snow which means it's officially okay to have decorated the plant! It seems there is always an abundance of gifts because for me, the joy of gifts is in the wrapping.  If I could spend my life wrapping things up I think I'd be contented!  I can even wrap things up for myself, things I've owned for years, and still be as excited about the potential behind the paper. I love this image. Snow out the window and geraniums in bloom.  I'm not so crazy about the idea of what comes next; Getting ready for work...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Here's the link to an interesting thing.
It's a national "arthouse co-op" which offers a variety of projects that anyone can participate in.
I'm working on the sketchbook project & the theme is "Everyone we know".
People from all over will embellish the little book that's provided and then send it back for a miniature tour in select cities.
It all gets explained much more comprehensively on their web site which I believe is

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wallet found outside bathroom. 
No money. no credit card.
All else intact.
I can't believe they weren't more interested in my Italian lesson 
or the outdated postage stamp!
This is the sad sight I saw at the end of a night out (last night). Not being intimate as I am with my pocketbook, you might ask, "why sad"? 
Sad because there is a bright orange wallet with lots of cash, cards, and misc. curios missing.
Someone actually unzipped my pocketbook, took the wallet and zipped it up again while I was dancing. A professional unzipper/zipper-upper. & the thing is that I knew. Even before going out I had a sense that maybe I should just put some cash in my pocket etc. but I overrode my instincts and proved them strong and reliable. As usual. That's the good news! & they didn't take my small supply of emergency duct tape or the fairly new vintage mini tape measure that Jono gave me or the fortune cookie fortunes that line the bottom of the bag. So I suppose things could be much worse!

Friday, December 5, 2008

No more leaves on the trees. Cold chill in the air.
Wintertime has arrived again.
I linger still when I find a pocket of sunshine. Eating apples and heating up the kettle for a cup of tea. Wondering why I haven't found a way to avoid the cold altogether and knowing that one day the way will come...
I'm making little pillows out of an old pair of jeans. Embroidering pictures and loving the colors and loving being in my warm, cozy home...

I got the David Byrne & Brian Eno record today and it's really good!

The first-is an experiment-with more-to come...