Lizards in the Leaves

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

Jan 26, 2008

protected by cellophane

Zann Carter, Protected by Cellophane (2006)
7" X 12" X4",Wool yarn, plastic bride & groom, cellophane, paper, crocheted, glued, stapled

(one of molly's favorite authors is ee cummings.
last year i made the above piece for her because one of her favorite poems by him is this

this little bride & groom are
standing)in a kind
of crown he dressed
in black candy she

veiled with candy white
carrying a bouquet of
pretend flowers this
candy crown with this candy

little bride & little
groom in it kind of stands on
a thin ring which stands on a much
less thin very much more

big & kinder of ring & which
kinder of stands on a
much more than very much
biggest & thickest & kindest

of ring & all one two three rings
are cake & everything is protected by
cellophane against anything(because
nothing really exists


I love it that my daughter also loves one of my favorite poets.

Jan 17, 2008

Whimsy for Troubled Times

Spending hours a day in a nursing home with a mother with Lewy Body Dementia is certainly Troubled Times. I won't even get started on the additional stress coming at me from the facility itself. Sigh.

It's a huge effort to even stay awake when I get home in the evening. And then I'm sort of a sighing zombie-woman. I'm trying very hard to find any little place where I can feel and be light-hearted and remember the joy in the Universe.

Last week, I stopped by BooksAMillion on my way home to get a cup of tea, to unwind, and wandered into the Old Navy next door. And wandered out with:

Dr. Seuss hands!!

These gloves were on sale - in matched pairs, of course. I bought the last purple pair for me and bought the navy/white stripe for my sister. Then I decided to make two mismatched pairs of them. What can I say--the sight of these on the steering wheel as I drive just makes me smile. Much like the serendipitous muppet paws fingerless mitts I made way back in 2006. Which, by the way, as glitch-ridden as they were, were literally bought off my hands at a party! The woman claimed she was used to wearing whole sweaters with knitterly flaws....

The picture above was taken by my lovely daughter-in-law DeAnn, over dessert at the Bit of Britain tearoom on Monday. I had hoped to top off my quiche and salad lunch with their Sticky Toffee Pudding (which I have only heard about thus far), but, poor me, they were out and I had to settle for this Fudge Brownie Pie. Yes. Poor, poor me.

Thus fortified with good company and good food, and my Dr. Seuss hands, I began another week.... Oh, and I sent the other pair to my sister. I'll bet she'll be getting them today. Hope she gets some silly smiles on her face, too!

Jan 14, 2008

Letting Go: big things, little things

Mother's Day Geranium, digital photo by Zann Carter, 2008

To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your life depends on it; and when the time comes, to let it go.
-- Mary Oliver

I had a secret resolution this year: to blog more and better. And my life became even less accomodating to my being able to keep that! Ah well.

I've been spending time every day at the nursing home since my mother came back from the special geriatric hospital unit. I've been unable to compartmentalize what I am experiencing there, so even when I'm not there, my thoughts swirl around the situation and an inertia sets in. I'm having a difficult time keeping on with my own life. For a week now, I've gotten up and my morning is spent getting ready to go to the nursing home, and my evening is spent recovering, usually by falling asleep. Then I awaken at midnight and spend a few hours awake, trying to knit or read or write, until I sleep again for a few hours. Then it begins all over.

I realize it can't continue like this--that however much I love my mother and have responsibilities toward her care, I must find some balance. I must find a way to care for myself and enjoy the amazing bounty of blessings that I do have while honoring the responsibility for Mom.

So that's what I'm mulling over this morning: the letting-go that seems to be what our lives consist of. And when one lets go of one thing, one must be grasping another thing....

Today I'm trying to let go of the fear and depression I carry from the nursing home. I will try to bring peace and calm to my mother and when I walk out the door after our good-byes, I will walk back into my life, to nourish and fortify myself.

I'm having lunch with my daughter-in-law today. I'm going to the post office to catch up on some overdue mailing, including a scrumble for the exchange I'm in. I'm going to work on the Celebration of Life workshop pins. And I'm blogging with a delicious cup of Vanilla Caramel tea at hand!!
On the lighter side of letting go, I'm ready to let these socks go:
These are mosaic socks from Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. I'm using a gorgeous rich orangey-brown hand-dyed sock yarn from Shibui and I was very, very excited about them until I got to the heel.

For one thing I just do not like her heel flaps which have 3 stitches in garter along the sides, and for another, there are significant mistakes (fairly obvious to an experienced sock knitter) in the directions. Luckily I had already downloaded the errata for this book, something that I have started to do whenever I buy a new book! But I swear, even the errata has errata on this one.

I decided to do my own standard heel flap and turn (but only after I'd first done it as directed and so had to rip it), but I can't for the life of me figure out how to complete the sock as pictured - the foot is done in a fair isle stripe. I just LOVE the way this sock looks, and I desperately want the pair as pictured on my feet. But I think I'm going to wind up either doing the foot in one color or turning these into fingerless mitts.
Here is another necklace I made:
I promise I'm going to figure out how to take some detail pictures. I just inherited my son Shaun's digital camera, which is very nifty, about 1/4th the size and weight of my old one and it takes much better pictures. I've just got to embark on that learning curve...

Anyway, this necklace has a little monkey head, a tiny cat head, a bit of coral, a spiral and a lizard charm. And the beads are black seed beads between some amazing vintage glass beads. These tiny ovals are thin glass, swirls of color, each one different from the others. Little works of art that remind me of the infinite variety of patterns on some tiny sea shells I once encountered being used as gravel-type fill on a walkway in Miami.

And I'll end with a picture of our sweet Clover, happily esconced in her new bed, given to her by Tifani:
One more thing: Granddaughter Sophia said something the other day which I have been carrying about in my head, pulling out whenever I want a smile and a warm feeling to rise in my heart.

We were up in my special spiritual room I call the Goddess Room. Sophia and Clover were sitting in the window seat peering out to the street and front yard. Suddenly Sophia turned and hugged Clover and said, "I'm so happy to come to your house today, Clover."


Jan 6, 2008

new year thoughts

Lucitropic, digital photograph by Zann Carter, 2007

"But only the dance is sure!
make it your own.
Who can tell

what is to come of it?"

from The Dance by William Carlos Williams

Some stuff in no particular order of importance....

Just one resolution. One word: MOVE
That's to move my body, as early and often as possible. Last fall I took an 8 week Tai Chi class and began to do the movements every day and I love it, have signed on for another 8 weeks. I saw a definite improvement in the knee pain I have, and a sort of centered grace as I moved through the days. I have finally let go the idea that I will ever have a regular yoga practice, an idea I have had since the late 60s and I admired my friend Cathie starting her day with Sun Salutations. Oh, there are few poses that I will probably still do, but I am done with thinking that I will grow up to be a 70 year old yogini. The crunching that began in my knee in the last class I took over the summer has convinced me of that.

Tai Chi, on the other hand, the simple forms for arthritis developed by Dr. Paul Lam, has completely won me over and I look forward to advancing with it.

On Christmas Eve, my mother had to be transferred to a special geriatric hospital unit in a city two hours away, in hopes of trying to get her stabilized -- her dementia has worsened into a state of constant agitation and hours of screaming. It is a grim situation and it is looking like there will be no middle ground, medication that quells her outbursts and pain leaves her lethargic and bedridden. If that is backed off to try to allow her more wakefulness, the screaming begins anew. It's grim and sad and an inevitability I have known was coming...

For two years, we have provided personal assistants, caregivers, to try to give her some quality one-on-one attention several days a week. I took them to lunch on Friday and gave them these pins I made. The picture is dreadful (none of my pictures of my new work in wire and beading are very good), but I did lots of spirals and a big coil-wrapped spiral around a pinback. There is a little vintage glass heart bead dangle on each one. A thank you and acknowledgement of their deeply compassionate care for mom.

She will be returning to the nursing home sometime next week. I have no idea what to expect and little sense of what I can really do anymore. I am trying to hold myself in the present, in a place of love...

Here's a necklace I made for Tifani...not very Christmassy, but very Tifani....little carved bone skulls and pointy coral bits, strung on 18 gauge silverplated copper wire and attached to braided black rayon ribbon yarn. A loop and skull bead closure.

---------------------- little surgical venture went very well and all the pathology reports were excellent. I have taken care of all the wellness checkups, tests I need to have for awhile and I am determined to set myself upon a course of remedial self-care...the Tai Chi, a simple array of important supplements, stress management techniques and a renewed dedication to bringing art and creative thinking into every nook and cranny of my day.

....and so the knitting goes, still socks, socks, socks.

Commitments 2008:
a Maple Center day for women with breast cancer - Celebration of Life. As part of my work in Patrick's memory to promote the joy and healing power of expressive art, I'll be doing a workshop on poem-making and journaling. This is a challenge for me and I hope I'll be able to create an hour and a half of fun and be able to share the enthusiasm I have for playing with words and images and mindfulness....

I have also created a special wire and ribbon pin for the day and have committed myself to making 150 of them! I have made 80 so far and I still have 2 months, so I think I'm going to be able to meet this commitment. Also, along with Beni from Beading Paradise, we are going to be able to have every participant make a bracelet. More on that later as well.

I'm also being challenged to create a freeform crochet workshop for April at RiverWools.

And finally, we will hold another workshop on healing grief and loss through expressive arts. This year we will have it in early November, which I think will be a particularly good time since the winter holidays are so perilous for those who are grieving a loss.

Enough commitments? I think so. Just enough. And I see wonderful pleasures and benefits for me in taking on these challenges...

I wish all a Mindful and Abundant New Year!!!