Lizards in the Leaves

Rustlings in the green....imagination, art, whimsy

Nov 27, 2014

Surf the Change - Thanksgiving 2014

For the last 10 years, except for once at my friend Martha's, we have not had any sort of traditional Thanksgiving meal.

On this holiday in 2004, we sat for our 5th day in an Indianapolis hospital cafeteria, sad and exhausted, after Patrick's awful car accident, grateful so grateful he was alive, but fearful in the foreshadowing of what was to happen to him 16 months later.

I have not been able to plan festivities for this day ever since.

Oh, I have other, lovely Thanksgiving memories. It's rarely the food I remember (though the sweet potato pies from our friend Myobi in Miami will not be forgotten), it's the company, the camaraderie of family and friends, that I hold dear.

 And the best of those were the Miami years more than two decades ago. Years when we had so many people over we had to move the long table from our study into the living room. Years when my mother and brother were alive. Mama would cook the turkey and I, a vegetarian,  did the rest and my husband washed all the dishes. 

Our move to Indiana changed our traditions. Deaths changed them, too.

But rather than be sad about this, I think I want to celebrate all those joyful days and also celebrate how traditions can evolve with our shifting circumstances.

Everything changes. Everything. One of the wise things we can learn as we age is how to ride those changes like great waves. If we're lucky we might be able to do it with the same exuberance and exhilaration as a sunkissed  surfer.

I feel on top of this wave.

I have lentil soup simmering on the stove this morning. I have made lentil soup as our Thanksgiving meal for years now. Last night I made my chunky gingered applesauce. My husband made cranberry sauce and a boxed stuffing. 

He just got back from playing saxophone at our friend's bakery, where they are hosting a free meal for anyone who wants to come. He's going to band practice later. I'll be writing and knitting and planning Advent crafts for my granddaughter.

We'll eat when we're hungry. We are grateful for many things.

We're hanging ten and we're good.

Nov 26, 2014

Off the Needles Little Noro Sweater

This is important. I so rarely finish things like this. So....yay me!
It was an easy knit.
I didn't do the waist shaping as I wanted a more swing-y shape.
I also made the sleeves slightly shorter and wider.

Unfortunately, I am not so thrilled with how it looks on me...maybe it's the horizontal stripes, maybe I should have done the waist shaping.  Maybe it's just that I don't like pullovers that much.

Aw heck, the bottom line is I feel fat in it.  I think I look fat in it. I am a bit fat, in the middle of what I hope is my last weight loss journey. I've lost 20 pounds and have 20 to go. And I don't feel like I've lost 20 pounds when I put this on.

 It will probably look better with a skirt, rather than pants and it may look better when I've lost more weight, so I am not ready to give it away just yet!

On the positive side, I was really pleased with how soft it is - and how nice it feels next-to-skin. And just the fact that I finished it!

I think I will probably knit this pattern again - in a different yarn.  One thing that is very nice about the pattern is that it is digital and includes full, separate instructions written for each size.
Pattern available on Craftsy, $1.99, from Juliet Romeo Juliet designs: Simplest Sweater

Nov 17, 2014

poem: relief


at how, when we become so still
things peel away, 

a dirty cloak slides off,
an ugly veneer strips itself.

and the truth of the world dazzles
in sudden werelight.

relief at how there is magic at the core,
everything’s numinous.

at how, there are eyes
in the wood

and they are kind.

                           --Zann Carter [2014]


Since my brother's death, I haven't been able to write a poem. Until this week. This is the second of two.  I am very happy to welcome poetry back.
The picture is by me. I have become fascinated with the wood planks of my porch and fence. The patterns in the weathered wood! Angels, sorrowful beings, eyes, keyholes, whirling amulets. It's quite odd how something looks very distinctly like something one day, then only a sort of interesting wabi-sabi surface, just a knot in old wood...
In any case, I believe magic is definitely riding under the surface of everything. We have only to be still for a bit, to make an inner movement just a fraction to one side,  for its revelation.

Nov 12, 2014

I never knit pullover sweaters

...and yet, I seem to be knitting one:


Yarn: Noro Silk Garden 203

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Nov 10, 2014

2014 International FreeForm Challenge

This year's challenge was to limit ourselves to one color.  If you know my work (and Noro addiction), you will understand that this was very difficult for me. Here is what I wrote for the exhibit:

I struggled with this Challenge, as my work is usually a riot of color.
Inspiration finally struck with a skein of white. The many-layered tale of The
Snow Queen has appeared in my work before, with other pieces of the Snow
Queen’s wardrobe. Imagery from the story also appears in some of my poems.
The central piece is an angora/wool blend, edged with white ribbon yarn, yarncovered
pipe cleaners and sparkly white novelty yarn for icicles. Final
embellishment: a poem.

The Snow Queen’s Fascinator

She likes pretty things,
the swarming of her snow bees,
the miraculous flowers inscribed by her frosts,
the silvery glint of sun on her never-thawing ice.
She likes, too, a good party,
and dresses herself in wintry splendor:
pale ermine robes, white silk shoes, a fascinator
of satiny ribbon, softest angora & fine ivory wool.
Icicles chime as she bends to greet guests
with her infamous kisses, leaving lipstick stains.
Her shade? Frostbitten.

See other years' challenges at the  International Free Form Fiberarts Guild (formerly Int'l Free Form Crochet Guild). 

For technical reasons, a complete online gallery (including artists' statements and links to their websites) is not available for this year's work at the INTFF site. However, you can see all the images here.

You can see the preview for the Blurb book online, which makes all pages available and includes artists' text: One Colour.
The book is stunning, I think, especially because the exhibit is arranged by color.

Nov 9, 2014

you can always start over

"...Full, with everything
possible and intransient,
the slow pale oracle
of my longing
revealed something at last,
you can always
start over, levitating
from the edge
of a shadow,
as pure and whole
as this."

 - from Moon, a poem by Zann Carter [1987]

That is how I feel, after bearing witness to my brother's last breath, after journeying back to the Smoky Mountains to scatter his ashes.
I feel like I am in a new land, starting over.
I have little idea of where I might be going in this new place, so I'm just sitting here awhile.

Breathing in
and out.


Oct 19, 2014

Michael Carter, RIP

My younger brother died last month.

 I had the immense grace of being with him and my sister as he breathed his last, gentle breaths.

Now, we are two where once we were five.

Michael Channing Carter 1954-2014

Michael (already disabled with a back injury and poor, with no insurance) suffered tremendously for 15 months, beginning with abdominal surgery, septic shock, coma and major stroke in ICU. He survived all that only to encounter one health crisis after another in the months that followed. In the middle he had cancer, too.  He could not walk, nor could he speak or write because of the stroke. He went through radiation, chemo, more surgery and was declared cancer-free. He was an optimist and full of hope, seeming to come back from every setback with new determination to recover a meaningful quality of life.

On his 6oth birthday, after another surgery, he was told that his tissues were dying, that there was nothing more to be done. He entered palliative care and hospice. They asked if he was afraid of death. He said no. They asked him if he was afraid of pain and the process. He said yes. They told him they could help with that. And they did.

We were able to access a music channel that had peaceful, calming instrumentals, Celtic, New that vein. It played the entire time.  This, Pacific II by William Ackerman, was playing during those final moments six days later, pure serendipity. A song from one of my favorite albums. It wasn't until I listened to it again later that I realized how uncannily it mirrored those last breaths and long pauses.

So I am once again deeply grieving, wrestling with that question that comes up for me again and again: how do we accept the suffering of those whom we love?

I am sad and unmoored right now. But carrying on.

Blessed be. Namaste. Love, love, love.