December 14, 2013


The phone rings at 5 am. I then trudge into my little girls' bedrooms, manuevering my way through a minefield of opened books,wet towels,single shoes, my socks, spoons,and bowls full of some petrified mass that may or may not have once been spaghetti and I thought I told you no food in your room...

...and I search for their warm little heads buried beneath the covers. I push back their hair and whisper into their ears. The words every child longs to hear.

"No school today. Snow day."

Snow day. It means wiping the slate of Plans for Today clean and just letting the snow--and whatever else--fall all over the calendar. Now, without any kids in the house, I can experience the thrill of Snow Day without the agony of spilled hot cocoa, encrusted pancake batter, and layers and layers of wet clothes piled in a heap on the kitchen floor.

I got a Snow Day this week, the day after hitting my moody bottom in Pencilville. The Snow Day brought me this:

It brought me a glorious romp in the field with the dogs, who ran in a continuous spiral for 20 minutes, zeroing in only to get their treats. Which were snowballs. (Nobody ever accuses boxers of high level cognition, the kind that would make them realize that they could master their own treats just by looking down.)

Like the best snow days of all, the snow on this Snow Day was good-packing. Does anyone else remember this all important criterion? Good packing. It means the pickings will be ripe for a most excellent snowball fight, a great snow man, or a double-wide snow fort--in fact, I remember one fourth grade recess where the entire class worked on one snowball until all 30 of us could no longer push it forward.

Yes, in Michigan in the 1960s, unlike Pennsylvania in the 2000s, we went to school when it snowed. (We also had 30 kids in the class and apparently managed to learn how to read and write anyway.) We had recess on the playground, not in front of a video. Great recess in fact, because girls got to wear pants, if only under skirts and dresses. We were allowed to throw snowballs at each other, always mindful of The Boy Who Got Hit in the Eye by a Snowball and Went Blind (a close relative, no doubt, of The Girl Who Looked at the Sun During an Eclipse and Went Blind).

Oh, damn, I am just sentences short of lapsing into an angry post about what is wrong with childhood today. So I will stop here and say what I came to say: I love Snow Days.

December 9, 2013

A Week of Two Cloths

Several years ago, I borrowed a pattern called African Huts and created a baby quilt for the shop that showcased a funny fabric of Kaffe's called "Pencils." I called it "Pencilville" and was so excited when it made its way into Quilt Magazine.
Not sure where the hypen came from...or the young boy, who I am sure would really be turning those crayons into aliens and mobilizing them into an attack on the wall. (Ok, blatant stereotype but,hey,I had only girl children and their little boy pals always seemed to be animating inanimate objects with superpowers and launching them against various my face.)

This week, I made a new Pencilville because so many of the original fabrics have been discontinued. My design wall blossomed with brightness and simplicity as Pencilville, Too came to life.
But handling those confetti pinks and daffodil yellows really strained my heart. Its enough to say that the Big Black Dog of maternal doom and gloom is once again trying to climb into my lap. I am having to make adjustments to what it means to be the mother of my forever wayward Thing Two. My struggles feel anything but simple or bright.

They feel like this:
This is my Sad Cloth, which I started several years ago when my discovery of Spirit Cloth coincided with Thing Two thudding into the darkness.
 The quote is an excerpt from a poem called "Kindness" by Naomi Shahib Nye:
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

I am not in the red heat that dominates this cloth, but more in its shades of umber.
I am going to work on Sad Cloth for awhile. I used to feel frantic in the face of sadness. But cloth (and some extra years, I presume) steadies me, makes me able to just sit with the Black Dog until he goes back into his house. This week, then, is about two cloths. One for babies, who need something to clutch when the world of Becoming becomes just too much...and another for moms.

Who feel the same.